Former “Bachelor” Clayton Echard addresses his paternity lawsuit win: 'Accountability needed to be had'

"I think now I just have to be able to take the time to finally break this down in my own head and come to terms with all that's occurred.”

Former Bachelor Clayton Echard says he's “kind of in disbelief” after recently winning a paternity lawsuit filed against him by a woman who claimed he'd fathered her unborn twins during a one-night stand.

The reality star, 31, told PEOPLE he was pleased with the verdict because “accountability needed to be had” after the unidentified woman — whose name was revealed in recent court filings to be Laura Owens — publicly accused him of getting her pregnant nine months ago.

“It felt odd that this has been going on for a year and just now it’s, I guess, ended,” he explained. “It was very exciting though, and I was excited to go talk to the other victims and let them know as well.”

<p>Pamela Littky/ABC via Getty</p> Clayton Echard in 'The Bachelor'

Pamela Littky/ABC via Getty

Clayton Echard in 'The Bachelor'

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In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Arizona Judge Julie Ann Mata found that Owens “knowingly presented a false claim, [and] knowingly violated a court order compelling disclosure or discovery.”

The judge stated that Owens “acted unreasonably when she initiated litigation without basis or merit," adding, "Without an authentic ultrasound, sonogram, physical examination, and in conjunction with a belief she passed tissue in July 2023, the Court finds the underlying Petition premature at best. At worst, however, fraudulent and made to incite communication, a relationship, or both, with the [Echard].”

As a result, Echard was granted his Petition for Non-Paternity and payment of his attorney fees.

In addition to Mata’s ruling, the court also found that “Laura Owens has a pattern of similar, if not identical behavior, and court involvement” and passed the issue onto the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for an additional review into her conduct.

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Echard told PEOPLE that it felt “odd” for the legal battle to finally be behind him. “I mean, in a weird way, this has been the last year of my life — and not that I wanted to ever go through this — but it almost became a part of my identity for all the wrong reasons and not what I ever wanted it to be,” he said. “But it's weird to navigate forward now and say, ‘Okay, I'll just put this behind me.’”

He continued, “Of course that's what I want to do, but it feels like so many emotions are wrapped up. And I think now I just have to be able to take the time to finally break this down in my own head and come to terms with all that's occurred.”

The realtor noted that he considers Owens’ case being directed to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office as “the ultimate win for me,” adding, “That's what I wanted more than anything else, because at the end of the day, I don't want this to happen again.”

Especially since Echard stated he believes Owens has "shown no signs of stopping" her behavior in the future. “I mean, I was victim number four that we know of, and so we felt that especially when somebody commits a crime, they should have to face legal repercussions for doing so," he said.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.