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Father of 27 speaks: ‘I know of people who have even more than me’

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 2:29 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 2:29 PM

The Dayton man in the spotlight locally since his appearance on “Divorce Court” aired Friday had a one word answer when asked how one man could have 27 children.

“Sex,” Nathaniel J. Smith responded Monday.

The answer came just hours after Smith was released from the Montgomery County, Ohio,  jail on a failure to appear charge related to a child support case.

Read: Dayton father of 27 jailed for failure to appear

Smith said he was unaware of the court appearance for which he was arrested Sunday morning.

The 39-year-old father of 12 sons and 15 daughters by 17 women said he didn’t think about his children’s best interest when he was procreating.

“How I lived is wrong. I will admit everything, but I am not going to keep kicking myself in the (butt) everyday. All I can do right now is be the best father for them I can be and that is that. Whoever can’t accept that, you know, Oh well.”

Dayton man: “I’ve got 12 sons and 15 daughters. I have 27 all together”

Smith, who hopes to get a reality show, said his estranged wife Jasmine Cotton has been contacted by two TV talk shows since the episode aired.

A poet and performer who goes by the stage names of Brave Nate, FlexLuthor and Hustle Simmons, Smith says he is a “full-time parent” and sees at least one or two of his children nearly everyday. Some do not received all the attention they need, but Smith says he does his best.

“If I am absent, it is because the moms (are) keeping them away,” Smith said. “I am not a danger to my kids. I am not in the streets. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do none of that.”

The show Smith and Cotton appeared on was taped in June. Smith said he contacted the show hoping it could help with his divorce. Instead, the show compensated he and Cotton $570 each and paid for their flights to the taping and their hotel rooms.

Smith faced strong words from TV judge Lynn Toler. He denied preying on young women, which Cotton and Toler accused him of doing.

His wife is 23. Smith said the majority of his children’s mothers are at least 28 years old.

He said he has custody of two of the children and is currently trying to get custody of another. All said he says he is in contact with all but five of his children and has 21 child support orders.

Smith wouldn’t reveal how much money he owes in child support or say how much he pays monthly.

“That is no one’s concern,” he said. “That information is not available for public inspection.”

Smith said many people in Dayton knew he fathered several children before the show aired.

“With me, it really wasn’t a big deal because I know of people who have even more than me,” he said. “The difference is I take care of mine or at least attempt to.”

He said he personally knows two people with as many children as he has and one person with 40 children. He said his attorney told him of two fathers with more than 60 and more than 70 children.

Smith’s oldest child is 21 years old and is a mother. His youngest is almost a year old.

He knew his Divorce Court appearance would create a splash, but he didn’t know the reactions would be so condemning, Smith said.

“To judge me? I read somethings on the website that were like, “wow.” People say I need to be in jail. If I were to go to jail, what about my kids …, what about them?” the Patterson Co-Op High School graduate asked. “People are going to be people. They get someone who has abortions all the time and they give them the thumbs up.”

He said he would be alarmed if one of his daughters introduced him to a boyfriend with several children, but he said he wouldn’t judge the person without getting to know that person’s intentions.

Smith said he has always been popular and his personality has helped attract the opposite sex.

“I am no different from a football player in college or high school,” he said. “They are coming at you.”

Before losing his barbershop a decade ago and his barber license around 2006, Smith said he had plenty of money. In recent years, his children’s mothers have contributed more.

“They had to step up. Nobody is missing a beat. I don’t have no poor looking kids,” Smith said. “I am blessed is all I’ve got to say. If I was to die today, doesn’t mean they are going to go without. Everything is going to be fine whether I am in their lives or not.”

He said he loves his children and would not change a thing if making that change would mean a single one would not be born.

“What is done is done,” he said. “One thing I would change is different moms.”

Molly Ringwald recounts sexual harassment, assault by 'the other Harvey Weinsteins'

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 4:22 AM

Molly Ringwald (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images
Molly Ringwald (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)(Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)

Molly Ringwald, an ’80s teen idol, opened up about being sexually assaulted by a director in Hollywood in a new op-ed published in The New Yorker.

>> Before Alyssa Milano, #MeToo began with activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago

In a piece titled “All the Other Harvey Weinsteins,” the “16 Candles” star described her own experience with sexual assault in Hollywood in the wake of the Weinstein scandal.

“I have had plenty of Harveys of my own over the years, enough to feel a sickening shock of recognition,” she wrote.

>> Carrie Fisher once sent producer a cow tongue after friend was allegedly assaulted

Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment

Ringwald said she was “lucky” that she did not “have to turn down giving or getting a massage” and “wasn’t cajoled into a taxi,” but her own experiences were still horrific. She recalled a disturbing encounter with a 50-year-old crew member when she was 13 and the time a married film director "stuck his tongue in (her) mouth" when she was 14.

>> Read more trending news

“At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to become a sexually viable young woman, at every turn some older guy tried to help speed up the process,” she wrote, adding that she was thankful for having protective parents growing up, but they couldn’t shield her from everything she experienced. “I shudder to think of what would have happened had I not had them.”

Ringwald said she never spoke about her experiences because “stories like these have never been taken seriously.”

Several leading ladies in Hollywood have recently opened up about experiencing sexual harassment and assault.

>> Reese Witherspoon discusses being sexually assaulted at age 16

Reese Witherspoon also revealed that she was once sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16 years old at the Elle Women in Hollywood event on Monday.

“[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” Witherspoon said. “I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal. For the young women in this room, life is going to be different, because we’re with you, we have your back, and it makes me feel better. It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”

What Is "Me Too" On Social Media?

Oklahoma police officer who shot, killed daughter's boyfriend found guilty of manslaughter

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:12 AM

FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/AP
FILE - In this June 30, 2017 file photo, ex-Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, left, arrives with his legal team for afternoon testimony in his third trial in Tulsa, Okla. Jurors in the fourth murder trial for Kepler, a white former Oklahoma police officer, heard a 911 call Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 where his daughter screams to dispatchers that her father had shot her 19-year-old black boyfriend. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)(Sue Ogrocki/AP)

A jury has reached a verdict in the fourth murder trial of a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer.

>> Watch the news report here

After more than five hours of deliberation, the jury found Shannon Kepler guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 killing of Jeremy Lake, his daughter's boyfriend, and recommended 15 years in prison.

>> Watch reaction from the courtroom here

Kepler Trial Update

VERDICT IN: The jury has returned a guilty of manslaughter verdict in the 4th trial of former Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler.

Posted by FOX23 News on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kepler is accused of killing Lake in 2014 while off duty.

Though he was charged with first-degree murder, the jury also considered the lesser charge of manslaughter in the heat of passion.

>> Read more trending news

Three previous trials ended in mistrial.

Some members of Lake's extended family traveled over an hour to be at the trial.

While the district attorney said evidence doesn't show that Kepler needed to use deadly force to defend himself, the defense claimed the state's evidence did not show that Kepler went to Lake's home with bad intentions.


Before Alyssa Milano, #MeToo began with activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Activist Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement over 10 years ago to  amplify the voices of survivors of sexual abuse, assault and exploitation, particularly women of color.
Activist Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement over 10 years ago to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual abuse, assault and exploitation, particularly women of color.(@strangebirdproductions)

In wake of mounting sexual harassment and assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, Alyssa Milano tweeted a call to victims to share their stories. 

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” the actress wrote on Sunday.

The hashtag spread far and wide, but Milano isn’t the originator of using the phrase to bring attention to these stories. That credit belongs to Tarana Burke, a New York-based sexual assault, abuse and exploitation activist.

>> Read more trending news

“It's not about a viral campaign for me,” Burke told CNN Tuesday. “It’s about a movement.”

CNN reported that Burke began the movement -- the genesis of which happened in 1996 -- when she was a youth camp director and heard a young girl’s story of abuse.

“For the next several minutes this child ... struggled to tell me about her ‘stepdaddy’ or rather her mother’s boyfriend who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body…” Burke wrote on the Just Be youth organization website. “I was horrified by her words, the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut, and I listened until I literally could not take it anymore…which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. Then, right in the middle of her sharing her pain with me, I cut her off and immediately directed her to another female counselor who could ‘help her better...’

“I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain,” she wrote, later adding, “I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.”

Burke told CNN she began the movement to help young women of color who survived sexual exploitation, abuse and assault. 

“It started with young people and I quickly realized adults needed it too,” she said. “When you experience trauma and meet other people that have a similar experience, and you show empathy for each other, it creates a bond.”

As of Wednesday, #MeToo continues to be tweeted and shared on other social media spaces, including Facebook and Instagram. 

“Somebody asked me, does this (campaign) amplify your work? And it does in a certain way, but also when this hashtag dies down, and people thinking about it, I'll still be doing the work,” Burke told the Los Angeles Times on Monday

“I think the viral moment is great but the amplification of that -- I worry about disclosing their status as survivors en masse on social media and not having space to process,” she told CNN. “I worry about survivors coming on to social media and being bombarded with messages of ‘me too.”

What Is "Me Too" On Social Media?

By Monday, Milano tweeted that she was made aware of the origin of the movement. “(T)he origin story is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring,” she wrote with a link to the Just Be website.

Before then, some were critical, Ebony magazine reported. To a number of women of color on Twitter, Milano’s elevation of #MeToo and the day-long Twitter boycott following Rose McGowan’s temporary account deactivation ignored the fact that black women and other women of color are excluded from conversations. 

“Where was the boycott when actress and comedian Leslie Jones was harassed by trolls to the point of deleting her account for months?” writer Ashley C. Ford wrote in a Refinery29 essay.

“I think that women of color use social media to make our voices heard with or without the amplification of White women,” Burke told Ebony. “I also think that many times when White women want our support, they use an umbrella of ‘women supporting women’ and forget that they didn’t lend the same kind of support.”

“I don’t think it was intentional but somehow sisters still managed to get diminished or erased in these situations,” she added. “A slew of people raised their voices so that that didn’t happen.”

Lawyer: Rapist granted joint custody of boy he fathered will not seek visitation

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

A Michigan man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 2008, fathering her child, will not attempt to see the boy, despite being granted joint custody by a judge, the man’s lawyer said.

Barbara Yockey, a lawyer for Christopher Michael Mirasolo, told the Port Huron Times Herald that the matter is being resolved privately. The boy her client fathered is now 8 years old and being raised by his mother. 

“He’s not going to attempt to see the child, no,” Yockey said. 

Related story: Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

The ruling over the boy’s custody garnered media attention -- and consternation from the public -- over the weekend. Those angered by the judge’s decision included Michigan’s lieutenant governor. 

“This is outrageous and unacceptable,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wrote on Facebook. “I will begin work immediately on remedies. This article says that this case is the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps in the nation. We need to make sure that it is also the last of its kind -- and that the decision is overturned.”

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a former state representative, also vowed to see that the victim and her son remained safe.

“You can bet that I will keep an eye on this situation, and if the court further denies this victim justice, I will work with the Attorney General to ensure Michigan’s law is enforced and rape victims are protected,” Lyons wrote.

Yockey said she expects that the issue will be resolved in an Oct. 25 hearing scheduled on the case. Mirasolo’s victim, now 21, sought recourse through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, a 2015 law that grants states more funding for victims of sexual assault if they allow courts to terminate the parental rights of rapists who father a child.

The woman’s lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, told the Times Herald that her client is the first victim to seek protection under the new law.

Kiessling said there should be an immediate investigation into the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office, which initiated the custody issue. 

Prosecutors said Tuesday that the office is reviewing how it handles paternity complaints, the Times Herald reported. They disputed Kiessling’s previous claims that the judge in the case, Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross, gave Mirasolo her client’s home address and ordered that his name be added to the boy’s birth certificate without her client’s consent. 

“This young woman came to the Sanilac County Prosecutor's Office and completed and signed a paternity questionnaire in which she disclosed the alleged father's name and address,” read the prosecutors’ statement, obtained by the Times Herald. “She further signed an agreement to cooperate with pursuing paternity and signed a statement authorizing the disclosure of her address.”

The Detroit News previously reported that Ross awarded joint legal custody to Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, after a DNA test proved he was the boy’s biological father. WDIV-TV reported that Assistant Sanilac County Prosecutor Eric Scott filed a motion to establish the boy’s paternity and collect child support on his behalf. 

Mirasolo was accused of forcibly raping the victim and threatening to kill her in September 2008, when she was 12 and he was 18. She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend sneaked out of the house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend.

That friend was Mirasolo, who asked the girls if they wanted to go for a ride, Kiessling told the News. 

“They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere,” Kiessling told the News. “Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit, where he stole gas from a station, and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative.”

>> Read more trending news

Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the attack. He faced 25 years to life in prison, but was given a plea deal in which he was convicted of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Sentenced to a year in jail, Mirasolo served just six months before being released early to care for his sick mother, the News reported

Kiessling told the Times Herald that the plea deal in her client’s case was “atrocious,” considering the victim’s pregnancy proved a sexual assault took place. 

Mirasolo also served four years in prison in a second case from 2010, in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second victim, who was 15 at the time of the assault. Now free on parole, he is listed as a Tier 3 offender on the Michigan State Police’s sex offender registry

The Times Herald reported that the victim in the second case reached out to Kiessling after Mirasolo’s custody issue made national headlines.

“He should have been in prison when she was raped,” Kiessling said. “It is the prosecutor’s fault that she was raped.”

The attorney, who is co-founder of the organization Hope After Rape Conception, said the case is a good example of why laws are needed that terminate a rapist’s parental rights. 

“First of all, a rape victim should not have to be tethered to her rapists for 18 years,” Kiessling, herself a child conceived through rape, told the Times Herald. “She deserves to be fully protected from her rapists, as well as the child. Secondly, we've had several women in our organization conceived in rape, and their biological rapist fathers used visits to molest them as well.

“Someone who raped is unfit to be a parent. They don’t respect basic boundaries, so they shouldn’t be a parent. You also shouldn’t be able to benefit from your crime.”