Mom Ordered to Give Full Custody of Daughter to Alleged Rapist — Because She 'Gave Her a Phone'

A Louisiana woman who claims she was raped at 16 by a 30-year-old man has been ordered to give up full custody to him — after he accused her of giving the teen a cellphone.

Crysta Abelseth, now 32, has also been ordered to pay the alleged rapist child support.

The outrageous case came to light on Sunday when Crysta told her shocking story to WBRZ‘s Investigative Unit.

She said that she met the man in 2005 after a night out with friends at a bar in Hammond, when he offered to drive her home.

“Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house,” Crysta alleged. “Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch.”

That night, Crysta got pregnant — but she never told the man.

“Everyone assumed it was from a boyfriend, and I let them believe that,” she said.

In fact, the man did not even know the child existed until 2011.

“When my daughter was five years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he basically pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me,” Crysta said. “They granted him 50/50 custody despite the fact that it was caused through rape.”

DNA tests proved with 99.97% accuracy he was the father. The fact he was 30 at the time and she 16 means, under Louisiana law, that the intercourse was illegal, even if it was consensual… which Crysta maintains it was not.

Since her daughter’s date of birth proves she was under the age of consent anyway, under Louisiana law it is defined as statutory rape.

In July of 2015, Crysta attempted to press criminal charges for simple rape; when a victim is unable to give consent — because of intoxication, for example — and the perpetrator is aware of it.

She said she waited so long because she was not aware of the law.

“I thought if I didn’t do it the next day, there was nothing I could do about it,” she said. “I went to a trauma counselor, and he said, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.'”

But for the next seven years, nothing was done about it. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office told WBRZ an investigation is still open.

But then, just weeks ago, Crysta said a judge granted full custody to the father, after he accused her of giving the teenager a cellphone… which Crysta says she did not.

“He’s well connected,” Crysta said. “He’s threatened me multiple times, saying he has connections in the justice system, so I better be careful and he can take her away anytime he wants to. I didn’t believe him until it happened.”

According to WBRZ, the man owns a digital branding company that counts Ponchatoula Police among its clients.

Stacie Triche, who works for the non-profit organization Save Lives, told the outlet she stepped in to help after learning a rape victim was about to lose full custody of her daughter to her accused rapist.

“She’s been forced to pay her perpetrator,” Triche said. “Forced to pay her rapist child support and legal fees and give up custody of the child that’s a product of the rape. It makes no sense.”

The office of Judge Jeffrey Cashe, who made the custody decision, said he is not permitted to talk about the case. The court records are under seal.

After WBRZ aired the interview, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux told the station he is now reviewing the case — and claimed it was the first he’d heard about it.

Rafael Goyeneche with the corruption watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission also told the broadcaster he had requested an outside law enforcement agency to step in and review the case.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is confounding and deeply disturbing.”

“That’s why I’m making a referral to another agency today, for them to take a fresh look at it to see if it rises to the level of an actionable felony, and the agency that I would refer it to would have the authority to seek an arrest warrant and arrest any culpable individuals in this case,” Goyeneche added.

Sean Cassidy of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault told the station: “If a child is born from a felony rape, the law mandates that the abuser shall not have visitation or contact with that child… much less custody,”

A hearing is scheduled for July 15 on the custody issue in Tangipahoa Parish.

In the meantime, anyone who wants to help Crysta with her mounting legal expenses can donate here.

TooFab has reached out to the DA’s office for comment.

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