U.S. NewsCrime

Actions

Woman suing after ancestry DNA test led her to mother's alleged rapist

A woman is suing New York's Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, claiming her mother was raped in 1985.
Image of a DNA strand
Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 08:25:17-04

Maggie Cruz, 36, says she was a child born from rape. Now, she's fighting back to right the wrongs she says her mother faced. 

Cruz filed a lawsuit on behalf of her mother, who is described as a severely developmentally disabled woman, against New York's Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. 

Cruz claims that while her mother was under the state's care in 1985, she was raped by a caretaker. Cruz alleges that the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities failed to report the rape or "seriously" investigate her mother's pregnancy. 

An ancestry DNA website.

Maryland quietly shelves parts of genealogy privacy law

Maryland set limits on police access to ancestry websites. But state leaders stopped rolling out some of the new law, a Scripps News investigation finds.

LEARN MORE

The lawsuit says Cruz was able to positively identify her father with the help of police and an Ancestry.com DNA test. 

The criminal statute of limitations have elapsed, preventing police from pursuing the case. However, New York passed a law in 2022 that gives survivors the option to file a civil suit even if the criminal statute of limitations have expired. 

“My mother has had a hard life, and I hope this lawsuit will help her get the care that she deserves after OPWDD failed to protect her from her attacker 37 years ago," Cruz said. "I live a blessed life and I thank God for my amazingly supportive husband and five kids, who give me the strength to lead with compassion and grace every day.”

The Office of People with Developmental Disabilities has not publicly commented on the lawsuit. 

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Cruz is 36 years old, not 33 years old. 

DNA sequence

Protecting consumer privacy as DNA testing booms

Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Montana and South Dakota have passed legislation to protect consumers' genetic privacy.

LEARN MORE