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Shekem Amsu Khnemu

Shekem Amsu Khnemu

Eric Holder changed his name in 2002 to Shekem Amsu Khnemu. Look up “Amsu” on the baby-name website called She Knows, and you find “personification of reproduction.”

The name fits. The 49-year-old Lincoln man owes support for 14 children in Nebraska.

In Lancaster County, Khnemu owes nearly $80,000 in back child support in cases dating back to November 1984, according to county records. His most recent child support order started in February 2011.

In addition, he is named in 15 paternity suits by nine women in Lancaster and Douglas counties.

On Monday, Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson issued 11 bench warrants for his arrest. Khnemu was booked into jail Tuesday afternoon and out fewer than 24 hours later.

Before jailers cut him loose, Nelson found Khnemu in contempt in each of the 11 cases and sentenced him to 60 to 180 days in jail for each -- a total of about 4 1/4 years.

As is typical in such cases, she suspended the sentences and put him on a “purge plan,” which gives him a chance to pay what he owes and wipe away the contempt orders. To do so, he will have to start shelling out $500 a month in child support and another $800 in back support by Dec. 1.

If Khnemu doesn’t, he goes to jail.

But he still has a chance to get out.

Unlike in criminal cases, people sentenced in child support enforcement cases can buy their way out of jail. Nelson set the bar for Khnemu to do so at about $600 in each case, for a total of $8,570.

Khnemu could not be reached for comment, and his court-appointed lawyer did not return phone calls.

Khnemu's child support enforcement cases are among 12,000 active in Lancaster County, County Attorney Joe Kelly said. Non-custodial parents paid $21 million of the $24 million they owed in 2011, although some of that went to pay back support, not what was owed last year.

Statewide, parents paid $163 million of $234 million owed for child support between Oct. 1 of last year and Sept. 30 of this year, or 70 percent, said Russ Reno, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Said Reno: “We’ve been one of the highest states ranked in the nation.”

Reach Jonathan Edwards at 402-473-7395 or jedwards@journalstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/LJSedwards.

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