An eye-popping story out of Northern England, where the Times of London reports a convicted rapist was contacted by the Rotherham Council while incarcerated and invited to seek out visits with the son he fathered through rape. The child's mother was 15 when she became pregnant by Arshid Hussain, and the Sun explains the origins of what one official calls an "appallingly insensitive" move: The boy, now a teen, reportedly has needs beyond his mother's capacity, and so a case was brought to family court regarding placing him elsewhere. The law requires the local authority handling such cases to alert all "respondents," a category that includes those "with or without formal parental responsibility" for the child.
Though Hussain was listed in court documents as not having such responsibility, he was listed as a "respondent" all the same and alerted by the local authority of what was happening. The boy's mother, Sammy Woodhouse, tells the BBC she was devastated upon learning about the situation. She took to Twitter Tuesday to decry the situation and to change the law "to ensure that rapists can't gain access to children conceived through rape and abuse." She was one of nine Rotherham girls that factored into the 43-year-old's 2016 conviction; he was given a 35-year sentence. The Times reports Hussain opted not to seek a role in the boy's case, but Woodhouse wants an investigation of the matter all the same: "This is happening to people all over the country. It's wrong and it's got to stop." (Many US states allow rapists to seek custody of children conceived during a sexual assault.)