Frank Hatley is free after spending the past year in jail for being a deadbeat dad. Problem is, Frank has no kids.
Back in 1986, Hatley was in a relationship with a woman named Essie Lee Morrison. Morrison became pregnant and had a baby boy, but the couple parted ways shortly after the child’s birth. The couple never got married or even lived together.
When the boy turned 2 years old, Morrison applied for public support for her son. In Georgia where she lived, the state can go after the estranged parent to recoup the money paid to take care of the child. For the next 13 years, Hatley, believing the boy was his son, made child support payments, but in 2000, he found out the boy may not be his biological son. A DNA test done later that year proved he was not the father.
But that didn’t stop the state of Georgia from persisting with collecting the child support from him, even going so far as to send Hatley to jail twice for not paying when he ran across a streak of being unemployed.
When the courts found out Hatley was not the child’s biological father, they relieved him of any future child support payments, but he was ordered to pay in excess of $16,000 in back payments they said he owed from the 13 years that he believed the kid was his.
It wasn’t until Cook County Sheriff, Johnny Daughtrey, alerted attorneys from the Southern Center for Human Rights who visited his jail about Hatley’s case that he was freed of all charges and payments.