This May Be First Allegation of a Crime From Space

It involves a custody dispute and an estranged spouse accessing a bank account
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2019 7:30 AM CDT
This May Be First Allegation of a Crime From Space
Expedition 58 Flight Engineer Anne McClain of NASA waves during a press conference Dec. 2, 2018, at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.   (Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via AP)

It's an unfortunate custody dispute between estranged spouses, with one element that makes it stand above all others—it has led to what the New York Times reports might be the first allegation of a crime in space. In the short version, astronaut Anne McClain is accused of improperly accessing the bank accounts of spouse Summer Worden while McClain was aboard the International Space Station, reports Click2Houston. Worden has the bank records to prove that McClain did so, and the astronaut is not denying it. McClain is not accused of taking or even moving any money. She maintains that she was simply doing what she had always done while the couple was together: keeping on an eye on finances out of concern for the boy they'd been raising together. “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” says her attorney.

Worden, though, says she is "appalled," and she and her family have filed formal complaints with the FTC and with NASA. They see it as identity theft. The dispute centers around Worden's 6-year-old son, who was 1 when the couple met. They married in 2014, but Worden resisted having McClain legally adopt him as her son, too, per the Times. Now that they're splitting, McClain is fighting for shared parenting rights. If McClain's name is familiar, it might be because of an odd story from earlier this year. She was supposed to take part in the first-ever all-female spacewalk, but NASA called it off at the last minute, explaining they didn't have enough medium-sized space suits. (This even became a bit on SNL.) A NASA spokesperson tells the Times the allegations had nothing to do with the scrapped spacewalk. (More astronaut stories.)

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