Gladden proposes bill to prevent rapists receiving parental rights


Etowah County Coroner and candidate for the state House of Representatives in District 29, Michael Gladden recently  that, if elected to the State Legislature, the first bill he will introduce would prohibit a person convicted of first-degree rape from claiming custody and visitation rights.

Studies have shown that survivors of rape are the largest population in the nation to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gladden said one goal of his proposed legislation is to protect victims and their children from being forced to live with a dangerous threat.

“No woman should be tethered to her attacker for the rest of her life,” said Gladden. “As coroner, too many times I have seen the result of violent crimes. No woman or child should be forced to live with that threat.”

A 2010 article in the Georgetown law review estimated that at least 25,000 women nationwide become pregnant every year as a result of rape. 

Yet, Alabama is one of more than thirty states that continues to allow a person convicted of sexual assault to claim the same custody and visitation rights that other fathers enjoy.

Gladden said his proposed legislation would change the law so that a person convicted of sexual assault would automatically lose custody and visitation rights if a child is conceived as a result of the sexual assault. However, the legislation would allow certain exceptions, such as cases of statutory rape.

“Our goal is to protect women and children who are the victims of a violent, sexual assault, not to go after seventeen-year-old kids who get their fifteen-year-old girlfriends pregnant,” said Gladden.

Gladden said the rights could also be restored under his legislation if the victim chooses to give those rights to her attacker or if a judge rules that the rights may be restored.

“An elected official’s first responsibility is to look out for the safety of the people they represent,” said Gladden. “More importantly, as a husband and father, I want to make sure that my wife and daughters and every other woman in the state of Alabama is protected under all circumstances. That is why I am making this legislation my priority if I get elected to the State Legislature.”

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