The husband of Sherri Papini, a California woman who admitted to making up a 2016 abduction that touched off a nationwide search, filed for divorce and emergency custody of the couple’s two children, according to court documents obtained Friday.
In divorce papers filed earlier this week in state Superior Court in Redding, a lawyer for Keith Papini noted that Sherri Papini pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and lying to a law enforcement officer and said that she is “under exceptional pressure with national media attention on her case.”
The filing said that she “has not been acting in a rational manner” and that their children, 9 and 7 years old, “should not be subjected to the traumatic chaos if she attempted to take actual custody.”
In a statement, Keith Papini said that his goal was to provide a safe, stable environment for their children.
“I am asking that the court help me protect my children from the negative impact of their mother’s notoriety,” he said.
A lawyer for Sherri Papini, 39, declined to comment Friday.
Sherri Papini has not offered an explanation for the fabricated kidnapping plot, which involved two Hispanic women who she claimed held her at gunpoint and branded her.
Sherri Papini’s three-week disappearance in November 2016 from her Northern California home prompted a search across California and several other states that ended with her appearing on Interstate 5 with a chain around her waist.
She was actually with an ex-boyfriend in Southern California, authorities have said.
After reappearing, Sherri Papini sought $30,000 in victim assistance funds and lied to investigators when they confronted her with evidence that her kidnapping was fake.
Sherri Papini has said she is "deeply ashamed" for making up the story and that she will "work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done."
In a plea agreement reached this month with federal prosecutors, she agreed to pay more than $300,000 in restitution. She faces maximum sentences of 20 years and five years for the charges, though prosecutors have said they would ask for reduced sentences.
Sherri Papini is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.