This news of child abandonment went viral on social media with many child rights advocates lashing at the CDC presidential hopeful for refusing to take care of his biological child even though the kid was born outside of his matrimonial home.
“This is a ten year old case we are talking about here. How much longer must a child grow up not knowing the father? How much longer must this mother continue to make excuses for this child's father? Does this man even get it that fathering a child comes with responsibility? An injustice on your own flesh and blood is an injustice to the whole of humanity. Is this the man who has been hoisted as the liberator of injustice?” E. Rem Gray told The Capitol Times in a conversation.
The arrest warrant was issued following a complaint filed by Senator Weah’s 10-year-old daughter’s mother, Madam Meapeh Gono Glay, for Child Abandonment. Ms. Glay was sacked as Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Labour after overstaying in the United States during the heat of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
Kenna White, the clerk of the court for criminal hearings of the Newton County Court in Covington, Georgia, confirmed to VOA that a petition was filed by Meapeh Gono Glay, the mother of Weah’s 10-year-old daughter.
The court official also confirmed that a hearing has been scheduled for May 11, 2016.
Despite the confirmation from the court, Mulbah Morlue, Vice Chairman for Operations and mobilization for the CDC, says that warrant is no longer in effect.
“The speculation that there is an arrest warrant for Mr. Weah quoting court sources is just not true. While it is true that a court document published on the 18th talked about the warrant, but also the same court issued another document that neutralizes or withdraws that court file of 18 April 2016. So as we speak, there is no arrest warrant for Mr. Weah,” he said.
The CDC official argues that the case in the Georgia court against his political leader is politically motivated in order to diminish Weah’s popularity ahead of the election.
Coming on the heels of the heated political activities leading to 2017 legislative and presidential elections, pundits are of the view that this case would throw monkey wrench in the political ambition of the former soccer star.
Under Georgia law, child abandonment is automatically treated as a felony if the non-custodial parent, which would be Senator Weah in this case, is out of state. And, if found guilty, Senator Weah could face up to 12 months in prison.
According to court records, the decision to issue a warrant came due to the continued refusal of the defendant to comply with an order of the court. The court document indicates that as a result, the offense may have been egregious enough for the judge to deem it a felony.
Under the state of Georgia law, a child is considered abandoned or neglect if the child’s basic needs are not met for a period of 30 days or longer.
The law also states that “if any father or mother willfully and voluntarily abandons his or her child, either legitimate or born out of wedlock, leaving it in a dependent condition, and leaves this state or if any father or mother willfully and voluntarily abandons his or her child, either legitimate or born out of wedlock, leaving it in a dependent condition, after leaving this state, he or she shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years. The felony shall be reducible to a misdemeanor.
Any person, upon conviction of the third offense for violating this Code section, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than one or more than three years, which felony shall not be reducible to a misdemeanor. The husband and wife shall be competent witnesses in such cases to testify for or against the other.”
If the parent whose arrest is sought lives in Georgia, the application must be filed in the county where the child lives. If the parent whose arrest is sought does not live in Georgia, the applicant should seek assistance from the District Attorney’s Office and should file a warrant application.
According to sources, there have been multiple attempts by Weah and his aides to keep the case from going public but the child’s mother has reportedly been unwilling because support has not been forthcoming.