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.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
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.
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.
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.