Nathan Larson, who acknowledges being physically attracted to children, raised eyebrows in El Paso County when he began his quest to seek custody of his infant daughter.
The 35-year-old part-time accountant, who lives with his parents in Virginia, traveled to Colorado Springs in October for a jury trial. Larson hoped to prove he would be a fit parent in what's called a dependency and neglect case. The case, which is not criminal, couldn't terminate his parental rights. But it could prevent him from immediately taking custody of his baby daughter (who currently lives locally with her maternal grandparents), if he were found to be a danger to the girl.
The jury, presented with a barrage of evidence of Larson's pedophilic desires as well as his own admission, unsurprisingly decided he shouldn't be left in charge of the girl ("When dad is a pedophile," News, Nov. 11).
Larson, however, was free to continue seeking custody so long as he followed the orders of a judge. According to Larson, who sent the Independent several emails following up on the matter, the judge ordered that he could not be trusted with his daughter unless "a risk assessment said it would be okay."
Larson says he doubts he could get over that hurdle and no longer wishes to try. El Paso County Attorney Robert Kern confirms that Larson has filed paperwork to terminate his parental rights.
"I had a psychological evaluation of this sort done a few years ago, and the recommendation was that I not be allowed to be around kids unsupervised," Larson writes in an email to the Independent. "It's evident that when a patient says that he is attracted to kids, and that he questions the harmfulness of adult-child sex, the standard procedure of mental health workers is to recommend against allowing unsupervised contact with kids. But it's hard to raise a kid without being able to see her outside the presence of a social worker."
Larson says he feels he's being persecuted and that his daughter will suffer from being separated from him. But he adds it's a price he's willing to pay rather than give up his freedom to express his unusual views.
For instance, he thinks that it's acceptable for adults to engage in sexual acts with children of any age so long as there is what he refers to as "consent." Larson also feels pedophiles are simply a minority that is unfairly discriminated against.
Kern says there is a process for Larson to relinquish his parental rights. He'll have to undergo counseling and fill out more paperwork. Then a judge will decide whether to approve the termination. If his rights are terminated, the girl — whose other parent, a transgender man named Finn, completed suicide in June — would be free for adoption.
If her maternal grandparents seek custody, it's likely that they would be given the chance to adopt her, Kern says, as courts have a strong preference for family members in adoptions.