The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

May 18, 2012

Man who had 30 kids with 11 women wants child-support break

LOS ANGELES — You have to say this much for Desmond Hatchett: He has a way with the ladies.

The 33-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident reportedly has set a Knox County record for his ability to reproduce. He has 30 children with 11 women. And nine of those children were born in the last three years, after Hatchett — who is something of a local celebrity — vowed “I’m done!” in a 2009 TV interview, saying he wouldn’t father more children.

But Hatchett is back in the news this week because he’s struggling to make ends meet on his minimum-wage job. His inability to make child-support payments on such a meager salary also means he’s back in court again and again, most recently to ask for a break on those payments.

“Yes, we’ve got several cases with Mr. Hatchett,” Melissa Gibson, an assistant supervisor with the Knox County child support clerk’s office, said with a sigh.

Hatchett’s attorney, Keith Pope, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Under the law, there’s nothing officials can do to force Hatchett to abstain from having sex.

“If there’s something out there like that, I’m unaware of it,” Gibson told the Los Angeles Times, before adding, “It definitely needs to be.”

Gibson said Hatchett is believed to hold the Knox County record for most children. (He’d hold a similar record in most counties in the U.S., which might explain why news of his predicament was pinging around the Internet on Friday.)

Gibson said she couldn’t say whether any of his children receive public assistance. The youngest is a toddler; the oldest is 14. Asked in a TV interview whether he can “keep up with it all,” Hatchett said he knows all their names, ages and birthdates.

Also in a TV interview, Hatchett tried to explain — in a PG-rated way — how he managed to end up with so many kids: “I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”

When Hatchett is working, he is required to turn over 50 percent of his wages for child support — the maximum allowed under law. Child support payments are based in part on the ages and needs of the children.

Some of the mothers of Hatchett’s children get only $1.49 a month, reported WREG in Memphis.

 

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