(KMOV) -- A mother is outraged and shocked after a St. Louis-area judge gave custody of her daughter to a registered sex offender.
The mother of the 10-year-old girl is speaking out only to News 4, heartbroken her child’s biological father will get custody even though he admitted to committing a brutal sex crime.
Lawyers tell us the judge may have been within the law, but this mom says it’s sickeningly wrong.
“After 10 years, you don’t think someone is going to take your child from you and give them to someone else,” said Jenn Blunt, a mother in Washington County.
In 2002, David Matthew DeClue pleaded guilty to chaining up a young woman and sexually assaulting her.
Blunt says she was only intimate with DeClue once and after he got out of prison, she rarely saw him. Records show she had to take him to court for child support payments.
“That’s the only reason he wanted her is because he doesn’t have to pay child support now that he’s got her,” Blunt said.
Last month, a judge granted DeClue custody of the 10-year-old, knowing full well of her father’s sex offender status.
“Of course that would be a very important factor the court would look at,” said St. Louis Family Lawyer Jim Carmody.
He was not involved with the case, but News 4’s Lauren Trager went to him for answers about the law.
“Bottom line, to the public, a sex offender with custody may be a bit shocking, but it’s not against the law?” Trager asked. “Correct,” Carmody said.
Instead, according to court documents, the judge weighed other factors, including finances, living arrangements and Blunt’s past. She admitted to us, she was charged with a misdemeanor for spanking a child with a spoon.
“I don’t see how a misdemeanor and a felony are the same,” she said.
Under Missouri law, a sex offender is automatically excluded from custody if the child in question was the victim of the offender’s crime.
The judge in the case could not be reached for comment.
DeClue’s attorney declined to go on camera, but told News 4, given the other factors on the mother’s side, the judge’s decision was in the best interest of the child.
Blunt wishes to appeal the case, but said she currently does not have the money to continuing paying her attorney’s fees.