Residents of Illinois may be shaking their heads in disbelief as well as relief at the recent case of a Michigan deadbeat dad. It's hard, really, for anyone to believe the facts of the case, and it's a relief to know that this guy is another state's problem. It all started when he fell behind -- way behind -- on his child support payments.
According to reports, since 2003 the man had paid a total of $90 to support his two children by S.B. She took him to court. In July, more than $63,000 in arrears, he admitted his guilt and, in exchange for reduced charges, agreed to pay 10 to 100 percent of what was owed. He had not paid a dime by the end of August. He explained that he'd been out of work.
His failure to pay the judgment led to his arrest, and during a presentencing investigation his complicated family connections came out. He told investigators that he had fathered 15 children with 12 women. Maybe -- it seems he couldn't remember them all.
The court ordered a comprehensive investigation, and the results were stunning. This man had, in fact, fathered 23 children by 14 women. There was no evidence that he has supported any of them.
The news struck the prosecution hard. Citing this as one of the most outrageous felony nonsupport cases in its history, the Child Support Division of the Michigan Attorney General's office urged the judge to deviate from the sentencing guidelines. "For a decade," said the prosecutor, "the defendant impregnated at least one woman every year."
The judge agreed when he'd heard the facts of the case. For "substantial and compelling reasons," he sentenced the man to 23 to 48 months in jail, well in excess of the six months called for by the guidelines. And the court is not done with the guy yet: There are at least 14 more child support cases pending against him.
Critics say that sending the man to prison will cost the state tens of thousands of dollars and not help the children at all. Others counter that depriving the man of his freedom is the only recourse the state has, considering his failure to abide by the earlier judgment as well as the sheer number of children he has to support.
Resource: ABC News "Ultra Deadbeat Dad Gets 23 Months in Jail" 9/29/10