Thomas Kenny, a 25-year-old from Birmingham, England, not only cheated on his long-term partner — but also accidentally impregnated his mistress. He did everything he could to avoid taking responsibility and paying child support, going so far as to pressure his mistress into getting an abortion, which she decided not to do.
When the local Child Support Agency finally ordered him to take a DNA test to prove he had to pay up, Kenny hatched a scheme so absurd that it could have appeared on a late night sitcom.
He sent a lookalike to take his paternity test for him.
“You wished her to have an abortion which she declined and then in December 2012, when you knew you were the father of her forthcoming child, you decided to deny paternity. As a result of that she and the child were forced to undergo DNA testing. On 24 June 2013 you were required to provide a DNA sample to a doctor,” said Judge Philip Parker QC, according to the Birmingham Mail. “One way or another you sent someone in your place. The effect of what you did was to seek to avoid payments to the child that was genuinely yours. You are plainly the author of your own misfortunes.”
As most boneheaded schemers are, Kenny was eventually caught. The truth came out after Kenny’s girlfriend, who was the mother of his first two children, was also subjected to a DNA test.
Though zany the scheme may be, it is not totally unbelievable that someone who already supported two children with limited income would do whatever he thought possible to avoid paying child support. It is expensive, after all. In the United States, 18% of a father’s gross monthly income is allocated for child support collection if there is one child, generally speaking. The average amount of child support due in 2011 was $6,050 per year (or about $500 per month), which can be a serious amount of money, depending on one’s financial circumstances. This, however, does not excuse his actions, of course.
“He is obviously a young man who has made a big mistake,” his lawyer, Heidi Kubik, said. “He is a man who has been under enormous pressure and stress and has spent a number of months contemplating the prospect of going to custody.”
Kenny was sentenced to six months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £885 in compensation and £500 costs.
“I know you are said to be the loving father of two children by your long standing relationship but this case shows you were prepared to disown a child of your own for financial gain,” said Judge Parker. “Morally you can not sink lower than that.”