There are absentee fathers, and then there’s this guy.
Thomas Kenny was in a long-term relationship with the mother of his child, then pregnant with their second. By many accounts, he was a devoted boyfriend, a loving father.
But while his girlfriend was still reeling from morning sickness, swollen feet, and a cheerless mélange of other pregnancy woes, Kenny had an affair.
If you think that was a tremendous error in judgment, save some of that pearl-clutching for the rest of the story.
When he found out that he had impregnated the other woman, he pressured her to have an abortion.
When she refused, he avoided making any of the requisite child support payments.
He was soon ordered by the Child Support Agency to take a DNA test. This is usually where the “jig is up,” but Kenny’s lack of paternal merit was exceeded only by his profound self-interest.
Kenny sent a look-alike to take, and thus fail, the DNA test in his place, so that he could disown his child legally, having already done so in every other regard.
He was convicted of fraud at a Birmingham court last Friday and sentenced to six months in jail and a hefty fine. The Judge overseeing the case, Philip Parker QC, is as disgusted with Kenny’s actions as you likely are.
“How much you would have got away with defrauding the state is difficult to know, but is a minimum of £5,000 if you remained unemployed for the 18 years of the child’s life.”
“I know you are said to be the loving father of two children by your longstanding relationship but this case shows you were prepared to disown a child of your own for financial gain. Morally you can not sink lower than that.”
Kenny’s lawyer defended him, arguing that he made a grievous error born of a desire to preserve contact with his two other sons. But that, too, assumes that Kenny’s long-term girlfriend would deprive her children of their father, punishing them for his transgressions. But from what we know, her parenting hasn't warranted such scrutiny.