A Phoenix man who had sex with a 20-year-old woman at the age of 14 now owes thousands of dollars in back child support for a child he never knew existed.
Nick Olivas became a father in 2006 — a fact he didn’t learn until two years ago when the state served him with papers demanding child support.
“It was a shock,” he told The Arizona Republic. “I was living my life and enjoying being young. To find out you have a 6-year-old? It’s unexplainable. It freaked me out.”
Mr. Olivas said he panicked and never responded to the papers demanding he take a paternity test. The state eventually tracked him down and seized money from his bank account and is now garnisheeing his wages, The Republic reported.
The father owes at least $15,000 plus interest in back child support and medical bills going back to the child’s birth, the newspaper said.
Mr. Olivas says he is a victim of statutory rape and was taken advantage of at age 14 by a 20-year-old woman. State law says a child younger than 15 cannot consent with an adult under any circumstance. Mr. Olivas said he never pressed charges against the woman.
The Department of Economic Security doesn’t exempt such situations, unless the parent seeking child support has been found guilty of sexual assault. The rule’s purpose is to ensure that the child is cared for, officials told The Republic.
“We don’t see those cases very often, and we’re really glad for that,” said attorney Janet Sell, chief counsel with the Attorney General’s Office’s Child and Family Protection Division, The Republic reported.
Mel Feit, director of the New York-based advocacy group the National Center for Men, pointed out how “ridiculous” it would be if the sexes were reversed.
“The idea that a woman would have to send money to a man who raped her is absolutely off-the-charts ridiculous,” he told the paper. “It wouldn’t be tolerated, and it shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Mr. Olivas said he agreed with paying some child support, but objects to fees incurred before he knew the child existed.
He also is trying to see his daughter, The Republic reported.