Rapists could lose parental rights under proposed law

HONOLULU (AP) — A man who fathers a child through rape in Hawaii has the same legal rights to custody that any other father does, unless he was convicted for the rape.

Hawaii lawmakers hope to change that. A proposed law would instead allow the courts to deprive rapists of parental rights as long as there's "clear and convincing evidence" that a child was conceived during a sexual assault.

The bill was introduced in response to federal law passed last year. The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act of 2015 increases funding for states that that allow for termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence of sexual assault.

The Hawaii Attorney General's Office says rape is one of the most under-prosecuted crimes, with less than 5 percent of rapes leading to convictions.