*A Louisiana woman is speaking out after the man she claims raped her was granted full custody of her teenage daughter.
Crysta Abelseth told WBRZ that she met John Barnes at a bar in Louisiana in 2005 when she was 16, and he was 30. She claims Barnes offered to take her home but instead took her to his residence and raped her on his living room couch. The sexual assault resulted in pregnancy.
“Everybody else just assumed it was from a boyfriend, and I just let them believe that,” Abelseth told WBRZ.
When Abelseth learned about the child in 2011 he decided to pursue custody. Watch the video report above.
“When my daughter was 5 years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me,” Abelseth told the news station.
After a DNA test confirmed paternity, Barnes was initially granted 50 percent custody. In 2015, Abelseth pressed charges against him, alleging simple rape. She waited so long to file a report because she didn’t know she had the option. As noted by Complex, no one under 17 can legally consent to sexual intercourse under Louisiana law
“I was young and I didn’t know the law at the time. I didn’t think I had any more time to do it,” she said. “I thought if I didn’t do it right after it happened—like, the next day—then there was nothing I could do about it […] I went to that trauma counselor, and he informed me, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.’”
While the rape investigation is open, law enforcement has refused to take any action.
“Back when I filed the charges (of rape against Barnes), I was told that it would be handled with care and that they would take the proper steps,” Abelseth said during an appearance Wednesday night on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
Louisiana Judge Jeffrey Cashe is under fire after a woman says he gave custody of her child to a man who raped her when she was 16 and he was 30. Crysta Abelseth also says Cashe ordered her to pay child support to her accused rapist, John Barnes: https://t.co/MIZ6gdp2nj
— Heavy.com (@HeavySan) June 16, 2022
“I gave them witness phone numbers and everything they asked me for. No one has contacted me. I’ve made multiple phone calls to the detectives. I’ve sent emails asking for the status of the case. No response,” Abelseth said.
“It was never assigned to any detective and nothing was ever investigated,” Abelseth said, noting that Barnes has close ties with the local justice system.
Barnes reportedly owns a web branding company and his clients include the Ponchatoula Police Department.
Earlier this year, a judge gave him full custody of Abelseth’s 16-year-old daughter, after he complained about the mother giving the teen a cellphone without his permission. Abelseth was also ordered to pay her rapist child support.
Crysta Abelseth says her rapist was given full custody of her daughter. A judge then reportedly ordered her to pay him child support.
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) June 17, 2022
Stacie Triche, founder of the nonprofit organization Save Lives, is Abelseth’s advocate and helping her regain custody of her daughter, WKNB reports.
“You have birth certificates. You have DNA evidence. All the facts are there, so this mother should have never had to go through this mud that she’s going through for the past 10 years with this legal battle back and fourth, because he should have never been given any rights to the child at all,” Triche said.
“She’s been forced to pay her perpetrator,” Triche said. “She’s been forced to pay the rapist child support, she’s been forced to pay his legal fees, and she’s been forced to give up custody of this child that’s a product of the rape. It just makes no sense.”