Heymann & Fletcher

Child custody dispute centers on molestation allegations

Parents who are faced with a custody challenge from the state are often plunged into an immediate sense of panic. While many of these cases stem from a genuine concern for the well-being of children, not all of them are based on actual facts. There are instances in New Jersey and across the nation in which state agencies remove children from fit and healthy homes, and where the parents are placed in the terrible position of having to fight to defend their parental rights. An example is found in a child custody dispute that centers on multiple allegations of molestation.

The case began when a judge removed a set of twins from the care of their parents and placed them into foster care. That decision was made based on allegations that the parents had allowed the children to witness acts of domestic violence and subjected them to neglect. Once the children were placed into foster care, along with their older half-sister, additional allegations of sexual abuse were made by the half-sister and one of the twins.

However, the case becomes complicated under closer examination. An investigation concluded that the allegations of abuse and neglect were found to be unsubstantiated. Delving deeper into the claims of sexual abuse, it was discovered that the older child had been speaking about actions taken by her own biological father and not her stepfather. Upon interviewing one of the twins, it began to look as though the foster father had committed acts of sexual abuse and not the biological father. The foster father was arrested and is awaiting trial in the matter.

This case has a lot of different elements and is difficult to follow. It remains to be seen what acts, if any, were committed against the children involved, and which party is responsible. However, the judge in the case has been placed on suspension for her role in removing the children from their biological parents. For parents in New Jersey and elsewhere, the stress and turmoil that this family has been put through during their child custody dispute is hard to imagine.

Source: kentucky.com, "Before suspension, judge put 5-year-olds in foster care. Now foster dad is charged with sexual abuse", Fernando Alfonso III, April 7, 2017

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