Appeals Court: Just Because a Woman Made a Baby with a Teenager Doesn't Mean She's a Bad Mom.
Debra, 38, a mother of three, lived two doors down the street from 15-year-old Miguel.
She had known the teen since birth, and was practically lifelong friends with his mother.
Then one day Debra and Miguel had sex, followed 30 weeks later by a baby.
But does the fact Debra had a kid with a kid mean she's a bad mom?
According to a recent California Court of Appeals decision, the answer is no.
"While [Debra's] relationship with Miguel certainly reflected poorly upon her judgment in one area," states the court opinion, which does not use any last names, "nothing suggested that it would cause her to neglect or abuse her baby daughter."
In March 2010, Miguel told the Santa Ana police that he and Debra had sex about 30 times and that it was consensual. Social services then removed the baby from Debra's care and a juvenile court awarded Miguel full custody of his child.
The appeals court, however, disagreed, and found Miguel to be a less-than competent parent.
At a hearing last August, Miguel testified that he was entering the 10th grade and was not involved in raising his child, leaving that chore to his mother.
Miguel did not know his daughter's birthday or the name of her pediatrician, and believed that a temperature above 93 degrees indicated a fever and that the best way to treat a fever was to lay the baby down.
On the other hand, the appeals court found that Debra was successfully raising her three other children and disagreed with the rationale that Debra's decision to have sex with a teenager meant she was a bad mother.
"[Social Services'] position assumes an adult woman who has had a consensual sexual relationship with an unrelated 15-year-old boy will probably sexually abuse her infant daughter," states the appeals court opinion. "This is, of course, a complete non sequitur, so it is not surprising that the record contains no evidence to support this assumption."
In conclusion, the court decided that while "we do not wish to be misunderstood as excusing Debra's behavior," the mother will not lose custody of her daughter.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.