In today’s wtf headlines, a California woman was forced to pay spousal support to her ex husband, who was convicted of raping her daughter over many years. To add insult to injury, the ex, Ed Abar, sued Carol Abar for back payment for the period of time that he was in jail for raping her daughter.
Carol Abar told CBS2, “Every time I wrote that check, I cried because I felt like I was paying the man that raped my daughter.” Her daughter, who wishes to remain unidentified, said, “It hurts me. I still feel like I’m being victimized.”
Watch here via local Los Angeles CBS2:
Sometimes the law just hasn’t caught up with justice. This is one of those cases. Under California law, spousal abuse can be taken into consideration when awarding spousal support, but child abuse is not a mitigating factor under current California law.
Carol Abar had paid a total of $22,000 to her ex husband, $1,300 a month, before he went to prison last year after striking a plea deal on five rape charges for raping Carol’s daughter. A judge temporarily stopped the spousal support payments while he was in jail. According to Carol’s lawyer, Ed Abar filed to reinstate the spousal support as soon as he got out of jail, including back payment for his time in jail, which amounts to approximately $33,000.
Sherry Collins, Ed’s attorney, told CBS2’s Andrea Fujii that he is “entitled” to the money, “Under the law, he is entitled to some relief from the higher income producing spouse, so that the marital standard of living can be maintained.” Ed Abar maintains that he is innocent, and his attorney says that he took the plea bargain to avoid a longer prison sentence. Since rape charges are notoriously hard to prosecute, it’s hard to understand Mr. Abar’s explanation of why he took a plea deal.
Carol Abar was forced to pay spousal support at the time of the divorce because the rape charges hadn’t been dealt with formally yet, and therefore, the judge ruled that Carol had no proof of the allegations. Carol Abar married Ed Abar when her daughter was 9 years old. The daughter said that Ed Abar raped her for 16 years before she told her mom. She didn’t tell her mother because Ed threatened to kill her, her mother and her step-brothers if she told. When she finally did tell her mom, Carol Abar divorced Ed.
Carol Abar told CBS2, “Every time I wrote that check, I cried because I felt like I was paying the man that raped my daughter.”
Under California law, “When deciding spousal or partner support, the judge must take into account documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties. The judge will also consider any history of violence at the hands of the spouse or partner to be supported against the person that would pay the support. And there is a rebuttable presumption against giving spousal or partner support to an abusive spouse or partner who has a criminal conviction for domestic violence against the other spouse or partner.”
But note from FAMILY.CODE SECTION 4320-4326, “The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.” I would think a good attorney could argue that it’s abusive to rape the child of your spouse. But in case that doesn’t fly, the court is also allowed to consider, “(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.”
It makes sense that the judge would wait until there was proof of the sexual abuse before taking it into consideration in regards to spousal support. Accusations can fly during divorce, especially if there are financial implications. But, it takes a lot of hubris for a person to file for back support from the parent of a child he stands convicted of raping. No matter why he took the plea deal, he did. He is now a convicted rapist, demanding support from the parent of the victim. He should count himself lucky that his victim isn’t suing him in civil court, but instead, he’s demanding to be supported to such a degree as to maintain the marital standard of living.
The judge can deny Ed Abar’s claim based on “any other factors the court considers just and equitable”. Let’s hope California updates their laws to include not paying support to someone convicted of raping the ex spouse’s child.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.