Ex-Wife Fights Order to Pay Alimony to Her Attacker
Crystal Harris must also pay ex-hubby's $47K legal costs in sex assault conviction
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 12:33 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2012 2:00 AM CDT
Money   (©401K)

(Newser) – A California woman is turning to the state legislature for help after she was ordered to pay alimony to the ex-husband convicted of sexually assaulting her. Crystal Harris, 39, told the judicial committee of the State Assembly yesterday that the 2010 court judgment "amounted to making a rape victim write a check to her own rapist every month." Assembly member Toni Atkins has introduced a bill that would keep any victim of a violent sex crime from having to pay alimony to the abusive former spouse. "Most logical people hear this and think, 'You've got to be kidding,' " Atkins tells ABC News. "It makes a mockery of the intent of laws that govern a fair division of assets."

Shawn Harris was sentenced to six years for sexually assaulting Crystal while the two were married, and will be released from a state prison in 2014. He was financially supported by his wife, who works as a financial analyst, beginning in 2002. She was ordered to set aside $1,000 a month in alimony—reduced because of his crime from the $3,000 a month she would normally have to pay—to be turned over to him when Harris is released. She was also ordered to cover her ex-husband's $47,000 legal fees. In the only current crime exception to strict California alimony laws, a spouse does not have to pay alimony to a partner convicted of attempted murder of the spouse.

Next on Newser: So Who Is the 'Bird Man'?
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Woman Fights Order to Pay Alimony to Her Attacker is...
14%
12%
1%
62%
4%
7%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 12 comments
trailmix
Mar 22, 2012 10:35 PM CDT
She can pay the legal fees, if she can afford them, but any alimony money should go a battered spouse fund. The way it looks though, he stands to walk out of prison with $30 or $40 thousand or more. Shit use that to pay the Lawyer fees.
lauriec67
Mar 22, 2012 10:23 AM CDT
this is beyond ridiculous! if I was her, Id invite everyone I know to watch me BURN EVERY LAST DOLLAR I HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would then leave the country for someplace without extradition, find a fabulous job and a cabana boy, and laugh every day for the rest of my life! screw that rapist....& the judge he rode in on.
ExceleRater
Mar 22, 2012 8:13 AM CDT
The U.S. is often cited as a "nation of laws." Yet stories as pathetic as this one appear every day in the press. It would suggest that we are a nation of poorly written laws, poorly interpreted and applied laws, and poorly enforced laws.