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Lawsuit: Mother Put Child Up For Adoption Without Father’s Consent, Knowledge

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File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a judge’s gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (CBS Las Vegas) – In a federal lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court, a local man claimed the mother of his infant son put the child up for adoption without his consent or knowledge.

The man, identified by the Salt Lake Tribune as Jake Strickland, said that the mother of the child, Whitney Vivian Pettersson Demke, purposefully attempted to deny him access to his child, along with the unnamed adoptive parents. LDS Family Services and attorneys Larry Jenkins and David J. Hardy were also named as defendants in the $130 million lawsuit, among others.

Together, the defendants were said to have behaved in a “clandestine” fashion in order to “essentially [kidnap]” the child by means of an “illegal, deceit-ridden infant adoption.” The paper learned that the complaint accuses the defendants of charges such as human trafficking, fraud and racketeering.

The child was expected by doctors to be born in January of 2011, but was in fact born on Dec. 29 of 2010. Rather than inform Strickland of the child’s birth, Demke was said to have concealed the news. Ultimately, Strickland did not learn about the child’s birth until Jan. 5.

The adoptive parents and attorneys named in the lawsuit are said to have aided in carrying out what the documents call a “fraudulent scheme.”

It additionally states, “Utah’s pro-adoption and anti-birth father laws, facilitated through fraud immunity, have given rise to a greater number of out-of-state birth mothers forum shopping Utah, and through their own efforts, aided by legal counsel, and in some cases by the prospective adoptive parents, they have been able to successfully place their babies for adoption through misrepresentation and fraud — keeping biological fathers in the dark throughout the process.”

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