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Mike Creger, Forum News Service, Published January 16 2013

Judge orders Wisconsin man not to father any more children

DULUTH, Minn. - A judge in Wisconsin has ordered a Hayward man to not have any more children as part of his sentence for failing to pay child support.

Judge Eugene Harrington also ordered that John J. Butler reveal within three minutes of meeting any female that he is a convicted felon and has unpaid child support. The two-year probation sentence was handed down Jan. 9 after Butler, 28, pleaded no contest in October to felony failure to pay child support for more than 120 days in 2011.

Harrington’s other conditions of probation are maintaining full-time employment, making child support payments, counseling and sobriety. When reached at home Wednesday, the judge said he had no comment on the ruling.

Butler was ordered to not father any children until all of his past-due support has been paid.

Butler has a long history with the courts, including cases involving drugs, domestic violence and drinking and driving.

A similar ban on procreation was rendered by a Wisconsin judge in December, but Harrington’s requirement that Butler announce his status to new female acquaintances seems to be a new twist.

In December, Racine County Judge Tim Boyle sentenced Corey Curtis, a father of nine children, to three years of probation and to not have any more children until he could afford to take care of them. The judge went as far as advocating for sterilization if it were legal.

There have been other such admonitions across the country in recent years.

In 2001, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a ruling in Manitowoc County ordering a man to not father children until he was clear with his child support payments.

The court said a “Wisconsin judge can take into account a broad array of factors, including the gravity of the offense and need for protection of the public and potential victims.”

The vote to allow the condition was divided, with all three of the women on the bench dissenting. They said procreation was a fundamental right that can’t be taken away.

The Ohio Supreme Court overruled another procreation condition there in 2004. It cited the Wisconsin case but said the distinction was that the Ohio lower court ruling did not provide relief from the procreation ban should the father fulfill child support obligations.

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