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Federal lawsuit spotlights alleged injustice against unwed dads

The acronym RICO is most often associated with conduct typically involving an established pattern of unlawful behavior by a criminal enterprise such as a drug cartel or prostitution ring.

That close association with organized crime makes the application of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to alleged wrongdoing in the realm of adoption both singular and highly notable. We pass along the details of a legal case that has recently emerged in Utah that does precisely that, noting that the story might reasonably be of interest to many of our Georgia and other readers.

The case has in fact been reported in media outlets across the country, with commentators centrally noting its fathers’ rights slant. The lawsuit filed by an unwed father alleges illegal acts committed in concert by a number of parties that the man states have deprived him of access to and custody of his now four-year-old son.

The named defendants are the boy’s mother, her attorneys, the adoption agency involved and the adoptive parents. Among other things, the lawsuit charges them with racketeering, kidnapping and human trafficking.

The complaint states that the mother -- already married to another man -- lied to the father about the child’s birth date, and that the boy had already been placed for adoption by the time he discovered the truth.

Several media stories, including one from the Salt Lake City Tribune, cite what is alleged to be pro-mother discriminatory policy in Utah’s adoption laws, stating that unwed fathers must clear multiple hurdles to establish their paternal rights.

In the case at hand, the unwed father did initiate a paternity claim, but he failed to register as the putative father during the pregnancy, as required by state law.

The man’s attorney states that the litigation is in part intended to draw attention to the rights of birth fathers in Utah and the state’s discriminatory adoption policies.

The lawsuit seeks $130 million in damages, with $100 million of that amount specifically targeted “as a deterrent to this kind of conduct.”

Source:, "Unwed father alleges racketeering in adoption lawsuit," Emiley Morgan and Carole Mikita," Dec. 30, 2013

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