Sherri Papini’s husband reportedly has filed for divorce, just days after the Northern California mom pleaded guilty to charges related to staging her sensational 2016 kidnapping that ignited a massive manhunt and drew international attention.
Keith Papini, of Redding, California, filed for “dissolution with minor children” on Wednesday after saying he finally “learned the truth” from a plea agreement his wife signed with prosecutors earlier this month, according to his court filing obtained by the Sacramento Bee and other news outlets.
Papini, a father of two who said his wife has been living with a relative since early this month, requested sole custody of their kids, saying he “must act decisively to protect my children from the trauma caused by their mother and bring stability and calm to their lives.”
Until her arrest last month, Sherri Papini continued telling their children, ages 9 and 7, that the investigation was a misunderstanding with authorities, according to the divorce filing.
“The fact that their mother lied to them on such a major issue is something they and I are having a hard time dealing with,” Keith Papini said in the filing. “I do not believe she is in a position to provide good parenting and it would be inconceivable to thrust the children into that chaotic situation.”
His filing came just two days after his wife of nearly 13 years pleaded guilty to mail fraud and making false statements in relation to her 2016 disappearance. Until then, Sherri Papini had been silent on her hoax for nearly six years.
In a plea agreement signed on April 12, Sherri Papini, 39, admitted to staging her own kidnapping with the help of an ex-boyfriend, who housed her at his Southern California home. She claimed she was taken hostage at gunpoint and assaulted by two Hispanic women while jogging near her home.
When she resurfaced more than three weeks later, she had what authorities said were self-inflicted injuries.
Her attorney said he’s not sure himself why Papini staged the crime and doesn’t know if anyone else does either, including her.
“In my opinion it is a very complicated mental health situation, but one that has to be confronted and dealt with — and that includes admission and acceptance and punishment,” defense attorney William Portanova, told The Associated Press when the plea agreement was announced.
As part of her plea deal, Sherri Papini agreed to pay more than $300,000 in restitution to local, state and federal agencies that tried to find her and investigated her scheme.
Prosecutors also said they will request a prison term that’s at the lower end of sentencing guidelines when she’s sentenced on July 11.