A Louisiana man who lost full custody of his teenage daughter on Tuesday after the girl’s mother claimed she was conceived during a rape may soon face charges for the alleged crime.
Crysta Abelseth has claimed that her daughter’s biological father – John Barnes – raped her when she was 16 after they met at a bar in 2005.
But Barnes has denied these allegations, and was granted full custody of their 16-year-old daughter in March after Abelseth reportedly gave the girl a cellphone she was using to send inappropriate text messages.
As part of the ruling, Abelseth, 32, was forced to pay Barnes child support.
But on Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Cashe on Tuesday reversed his decision to grant Barnes, 46, full custody of the 16-year-old girl.
And now Barnes may finally be charged with statutory rape for the alleged crime.
Speaking to DailyMail.com on Wednesday, Jarrett Ambeau, who is representing Abelseth pro bono in her custody fight, said he and Abelseth met with the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney to discuss potential charges against Barnes.
‘We met with them,’ he said, adding that he is ‘very happy’ the District Attorney’s office listened to Abelseth’s claims.
Ambeau said he expects the District Attorney’s office to reach a decision about possible charges early next week after collecting evidence and speaking with witnesses.
The meeting on Wednesday comes a full seven years after Abelseth first filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office documenting the alleged rape.
Sheriff Daniel Edwards has since admitted his office ‘dropped the ball’ by not investigating the complaint until last week, but denied that it was intentional.
‘I feel bad for Crysta that happened,’ he said.’But I want the public to know this was not a willful continuing failure.’
Crysta Abelseth (left) came forward last week publicly accusing John Barnes (right) of raping her when she was 16 years old.Barnes may now face statutory rape charges
The mother filed this police report in 2015 alleging that she had been raped five years earlier
The meeting with the District Attorney’s Office also comes just one day after Judge Jeffrey Cashe reversed his decision granting Barnes full custody of the girl.
The decision cannot be appealed, Ambeau told DailyMail.com, saying: ‘It was the right thing to do, and it’s a step in the right direction for sure.’
He explained that Cashe’s decision came after he presented documents proving ‘unequivocally’ that Abelseth was only 16 when she met Barnes in 2005.
Barnes has claimed that he did not know she was underage – as she had a fake ID she was using at a bar.
Judge Jeffrey Cashe previously granted Barnes full custody of his daughter in March, and ordered Abelseth to pay child support
Abelseth, meanwhile, said in an interview with that the ruling is the first bit of fairness she’s seen in the court system in nearly a decade.
She also suggested the reversal was a result of the ongoing media coverage of her case.
‘When I sat down with you, I thought maybe a few people would have watched it on the news and say “Ok, that’s sad,” and move on.
‘The fact that we’ve received so much attention, it’s pressed the issue to make these people do what they are supposed to.’
A trial to decide which parent gets full custody is now set for July 15, and Ambeau, said they are building a case.
‘We’re going to present that case in full force to the judge on July 15, and I think it will get the right outcome,’ he said in an interview on .
He added to DailyMail.com: ‘We’re going to create a record and fight this case as far as we have to, even as far up to the Louisiana Supreme Court.’
DailyMail.com has also reached out to Barnes for comment.
In the meantime, the girl will be put in the custody of guardians, as agreed upon by both parents.They will then alternate custody on the weekends.
A Louisiana judge on Tuesday temporarily reversed his decision to grant a man full custody of his teenage daughter, after the girl’s mother Crysta Abelseth, second from right, publicly accused him of raping her when she was a teenager
It remains unclear what prompted the judge to reverse the decision granting John Barnes (left) full custody.He has denied the claims of rape
Abelseth has accused Barnes of raping her 17 years ago after she accepted a ride home from him in Ponchatoula, a town of 6,000 people, 50 miles north of New Orleans.
She was 16 at the time, and he was 30.The age of consent in Louisiana is 17, meaning that even if she consented the act would be considered statutory rape: a felony punishable, by up to 10 years in prison.
But Barnes has not yet been charged with statutory rape.
The married mother-of-five previously told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that she believes her attacker has avoided imprisonment, or even being charged, because of his status in the town as a contractor for the police.
Ponchatoula police are among the clients of his graphic Freelance Web Design Kuala Lumpur company, Gumbeaux Digital Branding.
‘He has openly threatened me, saying he is well connected in the justice system and in the courts,’ Abelseth told DailyMail.com.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news floatRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-2adefe30-f22d-11ec-9590-d581308d72ea" website REVERSES decision to grant full custody to father