Unwed father alleges racketeering in adoption lawsuit

Published: Monday, Dec. 30 2013 6:53 p.m. MST

The attorneys in the suit with Kirton McKonkie declined to comment, as did LDS Family Services. But Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said Strickland had an attorney who told him to follow Utah law and register as the father.

Weiler said he knows of the Strickland family and is sympathetic. He has heard Strickland's mother testify at the Utah Legislature and has met with her.

"It's a tragic story and she feels that she lost her grandchild and my heart goes out to her, but the protections there in the law were there and they weren't followed," Weiler said, emphasizing the ease of registering for paternity in the state.

"His rights would have been protected if he would have just followed the advice of his own attorney," Weiler said. "The lawsuit takes a shotgun approach against a lot of good people and a lot of good entities that are doing lot of good. … It appears to me that they're trying to blame everyone except for the responsible party."

He said he is aware of pending lawsuits alleging injustices for unwed fathers in Utah, but said they don't justify a serious change in the law. He noted that he is an attorney who has personally handled more than 100 adoptions.

"I'm not convinced that a dramatic change needs to take place, because when we make a change it affects tens of thousands of adoptions and what we're looking at in this lawsuit and a few other high-profile lawsuits are one or two bad examples out of 10,000," he said. "I don't think it's good policy for the state to look at one or two exceptions and say, 'Let's change the laws for everyone.'"

Contributing: Carole Mikita

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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