In Salem, Massachusetts, a man was arrested and charged with stealing nearly 23,000 dollars in four separate bank robberies. When probed for a reason for his crime spree, 28-year-old Justin Hanlon had a unique response: he needed the money in order to pay back child support so that he could see his 5-year-old son again. He had lost his job six months ago and was deeply in debt.
There are all sorts of problems created by our adversarial child support system. The biggest being that taking away someone’s drivers license for failure to pay or throwing them in jail only further hinders their ability to pay. And barring those who are behind on child support punishes the child as much as the parent. While intended to hold dead-beat parents to account, they often ensnare otherwise involved moms and dads.
Desperate people resort to desperate measures, and robbing a bank to pay your child support certainly qualifies as a desperate measure. Sadly, this man’s errant actions will only permanently estrange him from his son, and mom now has absolutely no chance of getting the child support she is owed. Losers all around.