A California woman has expressed fears that she might have to again start paying spousal support to her ex-husband who raped her daughter, leading some to scrutinize the laws that are allowing a situation like this to happen.
"Every time I wrote that check, I cried because I felt like I was paying the man that raped my daughter," Carol Abar told CBS2.
"He's asking not just to resume the existing support of $1,300 a month, but he's asking for what amounts to approximately $33,000 in past due support and that too is a miscarriage of justice," added Brian Uhl, Abar's attorney.
The man in question, Ed Abar, married Carol in 1991, when her daughter was 9 years old. He abused and raped her for 16 years before she finally spoke out, telling authorities that he had threatened to harm her family if she didn't stay quiet.
"He had threatened me that he would kill my mom; he would kill my stepbrothers; he would kill me," said the daughter, who wanted to stay anonymous.
When Carol Abar found out about the abuse, she immediately filed for divorce but since the rape charges were brought in later, she was forced to pay a $1,300 alimony every month because she made more money than him.
"The judge told me I had no proof. It was my word against him," the woman explained, noting that she had paid him $22,000 in total over the years. "He had been raping her since she was little, since I got married to him."
Ed Abar was finally sentenced to more than a year in prison last year after striking a plea deal with the court, which stopped the spousal support. Now that he is free, however, the man wants to reinstate that support.
"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," said his lawyer, Sherry Collins.
Carol Abar commented, "He victimized a little girl all these years and I have to pay him for that behavior … it just doesn't make sense to me."
Even though Abar is now a registered sex offender and convicted of child abuse, California law only takes into consideration domestic abuse between couples when deciding spousal support. The couple did not have serious incidents while married.
"It's remotely possible and that concerns myself and it should concern those people in California that have similar situations," Uhl said, noting that Ed Abar might be successful in his petition.
Laws relating to rape victims have come under scrutiny in the U.S. before as well. Last year, following the controversial remarks on "legitimate rape" by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a Chicago lawyer exposed a gap in the legal system of 31 states that allows men to exercise custodial rights over children they have fathered through rape.