Sheriff’s Department Says They “Dropped the Ball” in Rape Case
KPEL news has been covering the story of a woman who claims that she was raped sixteen years ago, and now the man she alleged raped her, was awarded full custody of the child. Click here for our original story.
WBRZ aired the story of 32-year-old Crysta Abelseth who says she was raped by John Barnes when she was sixteen and he gave her a ride home from a bar. She says she didn't seek police help the day after, and thought she wouldn't be able to. It wasn't until she was made aware of Louisiana law that she reported the alleged rape to authorities
Barnes found out he had a child when the little girl was 5. Recently, the judge in the two adults' child custody case awarded Barnes custody of the now sixteen-year-old daughter.
Abelseth says nothing has been done about the rape case since she first reported it back in 2015.
We reached out to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office where we left a message. We also left a message for John Barnes on his work phone. Neither did contact us. However, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards did issue a statement about this case.
In the statement he says,
In tracing this case back to the time the initial complaint was filed on July 1, 2015, it was discovered that the report never made it through the proper channels within the department to be assigned for investigation. Therefore, our department absolutely dropped the ball, and we simply must own our mistake.
During her interview with WBRZ, Abelseth said she believes the reason nothing was ever done about her rape case is that Barnes is "well connected" in the town where they live.
The case has gained national attention after Abelseth says Barnes was awarded custody of their daughter after she gave her daughter a cell phone.
Barnes has denied any wrongdoing. He says he did not rape Abelseth.
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