Child Rape Leads to Payday
Originally Published November 17, 2014
In re: Marriage of Schu filed Nov. 2014 California Court of Appeals Dist. II
Laws often times have an odd way of benefiting those who harm others. In this family law case, a senseless marital settlement agreement punishes an innocent man, Donn Schu Jr., while rewarding a criminal, his (now ex) wife, Genise Schu.
After more than 23 years of marriage, Genise was convicted of seven counts of sexual intercourse with a minor less than 16 years of age and three counts of oral copulation of a minor under 18. Her actions violated California Pen. Code, §261.5, subd. (d), 288a and ultimately led to her six year sentence.
Donn filed for legal separation just days before Genise began serving her sentence. The trial court granted separation but also “ordered Donn to pay Genise spousal support in the amount of $500 per month.” This support was to continue from one year after she started serving her sentence and terminating upon death or Genise remarrying.
The order seemed an especially one-sided outcome considering Genise’s dalliances. As a result, Donn amended his initial filing from separation to divorce. In order to grant divorce, the parties met for a settlement conference with prison staff escorting Genise.
At this conference it was agreed the marital assets would be split roughly evenly. That is standard procedure since parties mutually accumulate and benefit from assets over the course of a marriage. However the matter of long-term spousal support was tabled for a future decision by the trial court.
Five weeks prior to release, Genise filed requesting the spousal support that was not decided earlier. Trial was set for three days after her release, but due to multiple continuations the trial court claimed its jurisdiction expired and denied Genise the spousal support.
Genise appealed that decision and the appellate court finding that jurisdiction did exist, reversed in her favor. Her motion requesting spousal support will now be contemplated by the trial court.
In light of the circumstances, mandating Donn to pay Genise would be akin to courts distributing paychecks to any common crook with the courage to ask for compensation after conviction. A mandated stipend she receives from Donn would be income, and a result of extra-marital affairs – affairs involving young boys. Genise’s actions simultaneously broke wedding vows and state law. But the travesty is not in her infidelity, the travesty is in the government’s promulgation of her actions by the initial award of $6,000 per year.
This issue is not exclusive to California. Marital settlement agreements are common practice in each of the fifty states. Adultery and child rape is also a sad reality in many places across the country. But what remains uncommon is the ability for a spouse to benefit from raping children. There is no incarnation of a law where that concept could be considered just. There is however a narrow foreseeable good that could result from Genise winning on remand. Family law attorneys when drafting nuptials will now encourage the inclusion of stipulations against financially supporting the criminal acts of spouses.
Donn is guilty only of being victimized by his pathetic ex-wife. In the remanded hearing, the court will consider whether it should further victimize this man. The choice seems clear: punish offenders of the law, and protect those who follow it.