Nebraska high court lets abused Guatemalan mother keep kids

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a Guatemalan mother who fled her home country and Nebraska to escape abusive men can keep her children.

The court ruled unanimously for the mother, known as Juana L, the Omaha-Journal World reported.

She became pregnant with her first child in Guatemala when she was 12, according to court testimony. The father abandoned her.

Juana later moved to live with her grandmother, where she was raped and became pregnant again. She then fled to Nebraska, where her parents lived.

But she continued to face abuse in Norfolk. She became pregnant a third time by a sexually and physically abusive boyfriend, who also hurt her children.

She was reported to the Health and Human Services Department for leaving her 4- and 2-year-old sons at her Norfolk home alone while taking her baby to the doctor.

She later fled to Minnesota to escape her abusive boyfriend without notifying the agency. When Juana was arrested for using fake identification to get a job, the Madison County Attorney’s Office tried to take away her children.

She was granted asylum and released from custody in 2020.

The court ruled that Juana’s criminal offenses don’t make her an unfit mother and that she’s unlikely to reoffend.