Louisiana mother who lost custody of teen daughter to her alleged rapist claims he’s raped daughter, too

A Louisiana woman has lost custody of her teenage daughter to her alleged rapist—and now she’s accusing him of drugging and raping their child.

The whole sordid affair began back in 2005 when Crysta Abelseth, who is now 32, claims she accepted a ride home from John Barnes in the small Louisiana town of Ponchatoula. Located some 50 miles north of New Orleans, Ponchatoula is a typical small Louisiana town of only 6,000 people.

Abelseth was 16 at the time, and Barnes was 30. As the age of consent in the state is 17, any sexual contact between the two is considered statutory rape, whether it was consensual or not. The punishment for such a felony, in the severest cases, can be life in prison. Abelseth alleges that Barnes has avoided criminal charges due to his status in the community, which includes being a contractor for the local police.

“He has openly threatened me, saying he is well connected in the justice system and in the courts,” she explained in an interview with The Daily Mail.

“I think people can put two and two together,” she concluded, when asked why Barnes managed to avoid prosecution for so long.

According to Abelseth, her nightmare began when she visited the Ponchatoula Pub as a teenager 17 years ago, and proceeded to become “highly intoxicated.” Barnes was there, and offered to give her a ride home; Abelseth alleges that he took her instead to his house, and sexually assaulted her. Ashamed, Abelseth never told anyone of the incident—but her subsequent pregnancy was impossible to hide.

Everyone assumed that her boyfriend at the time was the father, and Abelseth did nothing to discourage that assumption.

“I felt people would shame me,” Abelseth told The Daily Mail. “They’d say, you shouldn’t be doing this, doing that. They are shaming me now. But at this point, I don’t care.”

Somehow, in 2010, Barnes learned that he was the girl’s father, and that’s when Abelseth’s life turned into a nightmare. A DNA test was requested, which proved beyond doubt that he was the father, and then followed protracted legal wrangling that eventually resulted in Barnes being awarded joint custody of their daughter in 2015. Now, as of March 20, Barnes has been awarded sole custody of their daughter, and Abelseth has been forced by the courts to pay child support to Barnes, who is now 46.

On February 25, she filed court documents accusing Barnes of sexually abusing their daughter.

“Minor child contacted me (her mother) on February 23, 2022 with the suspicion that her father had drugged and sexually assaulted her two nights in a row,” the documents allege. “My daughter, minor child, was conceived as the product of the defendant raping me when I was a minor child of 16 years of age. I suspect drugs were used by him to sedate me as I was unable to move while he raped me. Now it is alleged that he has committed the same heinous crime on our 15-year-old daughter.”

Nevertheless, on March 18, the court dismissed the allegations, finding that “medical evidence does not support allegations in petition.”

So, for the time being, it seems that Barnes will retain sole custody of his daughter. As far as Abelseth’s allegations of rape are concerned, that should be easy enough to ascertain given the age difference between Barnes and Abelseth, and the age of the child who is the alleged product of that rape.


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Todd Jaquith


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