FOX UNDERCOVER - A rapist who wanted visitation rights with the child he had with his victim is back on the streets, after spending nearly three months in jail.
The case of Jamie Melendez led to a nationwide debate about whether Massachusetts and other states are doing enough to protect rape victims who give birth to the children of their rapists. Melendez pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape last year and was sentenced to probation. He also sought visitation with the baby his victim had.
The latest twist saw him behind bars for violating his probation, but now Melendez is once again a free man.
At an earlier hearing, a judge found that Melendez did in fact violate the terms of his probation in the rape case, by failing to report to his probation officer, moving without reporting his new address, and staying out past his curfew.
The probation department wanted Melendez sentenced to prison. But at a hearing today in Middlesex Superior Court, a judge let him go.
But now Melendez's attorney says his client is focused on getting his life back together through work and school and is not going to pursue the visitation case, at least not at the moment.
The victim is still worried Melendez could change his mind. She was 14-years-old, an eighth-grader, and Melendez was 20-years-old when the crime happened.
Melendez is still required to register as a sex offender and remains on probation for the original rape charge.
A hearing in family court on whether to give Melendez visitation rights is already scheduled for the spring. It's not
clear whether that hearing will still happen now that Melendez appears to be backing off his push for visitation.
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