J.D.S.' Alleged Rapist Identified
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 15, 2003
ORLANDO, FLORIDA--A 75-year-old man was charged Tuesday with raping a woman whose pregnancy became the center of an abortion debate in Florida this summer.
Phillip Strong, the husband of group home owner Hester Strong, was identified through DNA analysis as the biological father of a baby girl born August 30 to the woman identified only as J.D.S. Strong was charged with "sexual battery on a mentally defective person", which is a first-degree felony.
Hester Strong, 73, who operated the home where J.D.S. had lived since age three, was charged with "neglect of a mentally defective person", a second-degree felony.
"She should've known J.D.S. was pregnant," said police detective Rick Salcedo. "She should've provided that medical care to her -- prenatal treatment, OB-GYN, making sure J.D.S. is healthy, as well as her unborn fetus."
J.D.S., 22, has mental retardation, cerebral palsy and autism. In April, Hester Strong informed the Florida Department of Children and Families and police that J.D.S. was about five months pregnant. Police do not know if Mrs. Strong knew about the alleged rape before reporting the pregnancy.
The fact that J.D.S. was not represented by a guardian -- from the time she turned 18 until after her pregnancy was reported -- prompted Governor Jeb Bush to appoint a panel to examine the state's guardianship rules for people with developmental disabilities.
The governor also tried to have a guardian appointed for J.D.S.' fetus, a move that was met with outrage by abortion rights supporters, and was rejected by state courts.
Some disability rights advocates also noted that it would be a form of discrimination to appoint a guardian for a fetus simply because the mother has a disability.