A southern Missouri couple is concerned that a former soldier will be granted visitation or custody of a child he conceived with their then-14-year-old daughter.
A judge scheduled a hearing Tuesday in the guardianship and adoption case filed by the Pulaski County couple regarding their grandson. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the girl's parents also are seeking to terminate the parental rights of the father, who is seeking visitation rights.
The teen became pregnant in December 2010. Mutual friends introduced her to the solider, who was 19 at the time and on leave from Florida.
This past December, he was found not guilty by a military court in Virginia of aggravated sexual assault, statutory rape and committing an indecent act. He was convicted of a drug charge from a separate incident and left the military with a less than honorable discharge.
The former soldier told the newspaper that all the accusations are unfounded and that he was acquitted.
The mother, whose name is being withheld because of her age, said she never wants to see the former soldier and does not want his money for child support. She said the military did not give her justice.
The teen's family agreed to have the criminal case handled by a military court.
Missouri law permits the steepest penalty for statutory rape in instances that involve an adult and someone younger than age 14. The possible punishment is less for cases that involve someone who is at least 21 years old and someone who is younger than 17.
In a brief interview, he said he was not concerned about the feelings of the girl or her parents as he seeks to have his parental rights recognized.
"All their accusations are unfounded, and they actually took it up through court and I was acquitted," he said. "It is my son. Wouldn't you do the same?"