Colleen Hermesmann was a babysitter for Shane Seyer during 1987 and 1988. When Hermesmann was 16, she raped Seyer who was 12 years old. When she was 17 and Seyer was 13, she became pregnant and their daughter was born in 1989. Criminal charges had been brought against Hermesmann by Shawnee County, Kansas, accusing her of "engaging in the act of sexual intercourse with a child under sixteen" whilst she herself was a juvenile. In the event she stipulated as a juvenile offender to "contributing to a child's misconduct" which is not a sexual offense.
In 1991, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, in Hermesmann's name, took Seyer to court seeking child support, in Hermesmann v. Seyer. Hermesmann's criminal culpability was not addressed in this trial, as this was purely a civil court case. The Department also sought and was awarded $7,000, equivalent to $15,000 in 2022, for its own costs. However, in the later Supreme Court hearing, the Department stated it never had any intention of collecting its award.