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August 22, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

The case of Steven Carter I wrote about yesterday just got stranger. Carter’s the British man who’s paid out some £31,000 in child support for a child who isn’t his. Genetic testing revealed the woman, now 22 years old, has a different biological dad. The British Child Support Agency promised Carter twice that, if he were proven not to be the father, then he’d be reimbursed for what he paid in support. But now the CSA has reneged on its written promise. Some of us harbor the quaint notion that a written promise to pay is a contract, but apparently the CSA disagrees. I guess we’ll see.

But now the child (now an adult), Katie John, at the center of this outrage has publicly expressed her own anger here (Exeter Express and Echo, 8/21/14). And guess whom she’s angry at. Is it her mother who for 22 years lied to her and everyone else about who her father is? No, guess again. Then surely it’s the CSA for hounding the wrong man, promising to repay him if the DNA test showed he’s not the father and now refusing to do so? Nope, wrong again.

No, she’s angry at Steven Carter! And why is that? All in all, it’s a bit hard to figure. She seems to be casting about for a reason to blame him for something.

She said: “This is all a bit of a joke. He has never stepped up as father and I never really knew the bloke or what he looked like until I saw it on the Echo website.”

That’s right. He never “stepped up as father” because he’s not one. See how that works? Katie John’s mother thinks she can simply pick a man, name him as the father and start cashing in. She thinks that of course because she can – and did – do just that. She seems to have conveyed the message to her daughter. How else to explain a woman who’s ticked off that a man who’s not her father didn’t “step up as father?”

“He has never taken an interest in me.”

Right again. He’s never taken an interest in you and still doesn’t. In fact, he’s treated you in much the same way he’s treated the other 3.5 billion women and girls in the world to whom he’s not related; he’s ignored you. Oh, except for that one difference. You’re the only one for whom he paid £31,000, money he probably could have put to a better purpose. And speaking of that cash:

“He claims he paid out all this money but we didn’t see any benefit from it.”

No, actually you did. At least you and your mother saw £31,000 worth of benefit from it unless there’s something seriously wrong with the CSA that no one’s thought to mention before. What? You’re saying the CSA just kept the money? Of course they didn’t. You’re just saying you didn’t receive a benefit because you’re looking for someone to blame and, well, there’s a man around, so why not blame him? After all, it’s a lot easier to blame a stranger than to blame your mother who, after all, brought all this on you, Carter and whoever actually is your father.

“I have got two kids of my own and four months ago I needed to know for sure what my blood background was as one of my children was very poorly.”

Yes, that’s one of the many important reasons why paternity fraud is such a bad idea. Katie John has kids of her own now and it would really help if she knew who her father is so she can attend to their (and her) health needs. But her mother decided that, along with everything else, her daughter and her grandchildren could just do without, and if that compromised their health, who could complain? It was all in the service of getting the maximum money out of her choice of men to be “father” to her daughter. So if everyone else involved, even to the second generation, has to suffer, well, you can’t make an omelet…

“It has made me a bit mad that he is playing the victim in all this or why he is doing this now.”

Katie, he’s not playing. He is the victim. He’s not the only one. You’re a victim too and so are your kids and so is your actual father who, of course, you don’t know. But seriously, try paying out £31,000 for someone else’s fraud and see if you don’t feel victimized. It’s just a guess on my part, but I think you’d find it feels pretty rotten to be taken by a con artist for such a sum.

Ms John said that despite the lack of a relationship she had always grown up believing Mr Carter was her father.

“It was a bit emotional getting the DNA results as growing up I believed he was my dad,” she said.

“I had no other reason to believe he wasn’t. When people asked who my dad was I would always say it was him.

“I have not talked to my mum about it yet. The last couple of months have been a bit of an emotional train wreck.

“And it is upsetting to think that my life has been a lie for the last 22 years.”

Yes, that’s what I meant about your being one of the victims of your mother’s fraud. It’s the way it always is with paternity fraud; so many people hurt for so little reason. Maybe you’ll figure it out one day. Maybe you’ll learn who the real wrongdoer has always been in this sorry affair. I know she’s the person who raised you, but she lied to you every day of your life. Your “life has been a lie for the last 22 years,” because Mum decided to play it that way. Take a good long look at how you’re feeling now and get a grip on the fact that it was your mother’s doing. Hers and hers alone.

She said she is most upset that what was supposed to be a private issue has been turned into a public debate…

“We had not told many people about the DNA test. But now everyone knows. I am angry he has gone public on something that should have been kept private. It is not only about him and my mum – I am involved in it all as well.”

That’s a strange take on the matter. Up until the article linked to, no one outside of your circle of friends and acquaintances knew you were the girl in question. Steven Carter never mentioned your name and no one’s mentioned your mother’s name. He went public with his complaint, not against you, not even against your mother, but against the CSA. And he did so because they’re trying to renege on a promise. It’s appropriate for the public to know that their public servants are lying to taxpayers and treating them like dirt, don’t you think?

So, Katie, you rushed to the newspapers to complain about publicity? If you’d have let Carter do it his way, no one would know you have any involvement in his fight with the CSA. The only publicity you’ve received is the publicity you sought. You have no complaints, at least not with the man whose hard-earned money went to raise you.

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National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

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