DENVER (CBS4)– A bill being discussed at the state Capitol would prevent rapists from having parental rights if the victim has a child.
At the state Capitol on Friday an Army veteran described her sexual assault from nearly 30 years ago while she was a medic stationed in Vietnam.
Valine Demos described how she and a friend were kidnapped at gunpoint, beaten and raped by fellow American soldiers.
“Cause I was in the medical field we knew both of us would have to be tested. My test results came back I was pregnant and had gonorrhea,” said Valine Demos.
She said one of the rapists began to stalk her.
“One of the notes said to me that he had found out I was pregnant and he wanted custody of the baby,” said Demos.
Under Colorado law he could have sued for parental rights.
Representative Lois Landgraf, a Republican representing Fountain, is trying to change that.
“First of all they’re faced with the horrible trauma of being raped and then faced with a difficult decision of if I do get pregnant do they keep the child and if they keep the child will they face some relationship with the rapist,” said Landgraf.
She is sponsoring a bill that would require the courts to sever parental righs of convicted rapists.
“Without adequate laws it can be an extremely confusing and daunting process for victims who may or may not receive justice,” said Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault spokeswoman Karen Muldovan.
Muldovan said there are cases in Colorado where victims have had to fight to keep a rapist from getting custody.
Demos said it is for those women she speaks out, “So please, on behalf of us, vote for this bill.”
The bill only applies to convictions after July 1 of this year.
The rapist would still be required to pay child support. It also sets up a task force to study what to do when there is no conviction but evidence of rape.
The bill is headed to the full House after it already passed unanimously out of the Senate.