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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Gov. McKee signs into law Rep. O’Brien’s bill that terminates parental rights of rapists
STATE HOUSE – Governor Daniel McKee has signed into law Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) legislation (
) that would terminate all parental rights of convicted rapists when a child is born from the assault.
Representative O’Brien notes that 32 other states in the country have a similar law on the books.
“Sadly, this is still a tragic issue in our society and that is why I reintroduced this legislation again this session. Survivors of rape and their children should be free of the fear of being sued by their attacker for child custody,” said Representative O’Brien. “Rapists operate out of hate and are incapable of providing the love that a child needs, therefore, they should not have any rights pertaining to that child.”
Representative O’Brien’s legislation would apply when the parent has been convicted of sexual assault upon the birthmother and a child results from the sexual assault. After a fact finding hearing by the Family Court establishes the paternity of the child through DNA testing, the father’s parental rights would be terminated by order of the court.
Termination of the convicted father’s parental rights will include the loss of all parental rights without limitation, including the adoption of the child. The convicted father will also have no right to any visitation with the child and will have no right to any inheritance from the child conceived as a result of the sexual assault.
“Unfortunately, many of these devious individuals sue for custody, even though they have no chance at winning the case. These vile perpetrators do this to relive the rape and to further harass their victims. This bill will put an end to this heinous practice,” added Representative O’Brien.
Representative O’Brien is also thanking Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and the sponsor of the legislation (
) in the Senate, Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), for their support of the bill.
“I have introduced this legislation for several years now and I am very grateful that it has finally passed the Assembly. Speaker Shekarchi, Senate President Ruggerio, Whip Goodwin and so many of my colleagues in the legislature deserve thanks for recognizing the importance of this bill and how it will protect victims of rape from further assault by their perpetrators. Victims and their children can now rest easier with the passage of this legislation,” concluded Representative O’Brien.
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request