Letter to the Judge
Okay STeppers.... this is D-Day! We are going to file for sole custody on Monday. DH's attorney asked that a letter be written to the Family Court Judge about why there should be a change in custody. Here it is. Your feedback is appreciated....
To Whom It May Concern;
This is a chronological description of events that have directly affected SS12 and SD9 since June 2012 up to this date. These events were recorded here by their father, Dad. SS12 and SD9 live in Oregon with their Mother; The Mother and her boyfriend, (Mom’s Ex-Con BF).
The three children are SS16, SS12 and SD9 . SS12 is a12 years old boy and has a medical diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He is prescribed four different medications to address the associated behaviors. One of these medications is a narcotic that is also a very popular illicit recreational drug. SD9 is a 9 years old girl and has a medical diagnosis of non-organic failure to thrive. Her feeding tube was removed when she was 6 years old but she continues to remain very small for her age. SS16 is a 16 years old boy and lives in Nevada with his Father, after a change of custody was approved by the Family Court in August of 2011. This change came after SS16 was shot with a BB gun in his Mother’s home.
***June 2012: The Father gets a telephone voice mail from (Mom’s Ex-Con BF) . In the phone message (Mom’s Ex-Con BF) states that his own son, (BF’s kid21), has stolen some of SS12 medication. This is the second time that SS12 Ritalin has been reported to be stolen but this time (Mom’s Ex-Con BF) has named his own adult son as the thief. *This event was reported to Oregon DHS for child abuse by a housemate of the Mother's. DHS investigated this event. (see entry for May 22 2009 for first event of stolen medication) See "Denial of Medical Treatment" below.
June to August 2012: The Father treats SS12 and SD9 for head lice infestation after they arrived at his home in Nevada. SS12 is furious with the Mother because he will now be expected to attend a public school for the mentally retarded when he returns to Oregon in the Fall. Apparently, he has been found to be too disruptive in his regular school without his prescription medication to control his behavior. SS12 insists upon living with the Father in Nevada. The Father declines to permit a child to make such an important decision for himself and reserves that right for the parents. See "Denial of Medical Treatment" below.
August 2012: The Mother reports to The Father that she has been living for an unspecified amount of time with a man who is a registered child molester. She has discovered that she cannot legally evict him from her Housing Authority rental property. The Mother decides to abandon her subsidized housing in Hillsboro in favor of moving herself and the children into another rental property with (Mom’s Ex-Con BF)in Salem, OR. This means that SS12 will not be forced to attend a school for the retarded, after all. See "Neglect" below (protection).
December 2012: SD9 is reported to still have head lice. This issue has gone on unabated for over a year now. The Father visits his children in Oregon during their Christmas break, as he does every year. SS16 stayed at the Mother’s home during this break per the Parenting Plan. See "Neglect" below.
EASTER 2013: The Mother called SS16 at The Fathers home and informed him that she is pregnant and her baby will be due in September. The Father remarked to his wife that the Mother had a tubal ligation performed after the birth of SD9. It is highly unlikely that she could conceive without direct surgical reversal of that procedure. However, this information was not shared with SS16.
May 2013: During one of The Father’s weekly telephone visitations with SS12 and SD9 the Mother informed him that she had “miscarried” and was no longer pregnant.
June 15, 2013: The Father picks up SS12 and SD9 from the Mother’s home to begin their summer parenting time with him. The Mother states that she has treated the children for lice again “two weeks ago” and that they should be lice free now. The children complain of “scabs” on their scalp that have been there a “long time”. The children are instructed to avoid scratching the scabs and they will go away.
June 16 – July 9, 2013:
• SS12 and SD9 continue to complain about the scabs on their scalp not healing. Repeated reminders not to scratch the scabs are not effective enough to prevent the children from scratching. SD9 goes to the hair dresser and is discovered to be infested with lice again. While the children are being treated for lice, The Father takes photos of the wounds on the children’s scalps. See "Neglect" below.
• SS12 also complains that his Mother and (Mom’s Ex-Con BF) have told him that she miscarried her pregnancy last May because “I stress her out so much.” SS12 stated that he believes that he is a “baby killer” because he is responsible for his Mother’s miscarriage. He also states that his Mother is attempting to have him committed to a hospital for “crazy people”. See "Spurning" below.
• SS12 complains that the Mother and her babysitter (BF’s other kid18) lock him in his bedroom because he is “too loud”. He complains that he cannot get out of his room to use the bathroom or get water to drink during these times of confinement. See "Isolating" below
• SS12 is 12 years old and still cannot tie his own shoes or eat his meals with a knife and fork. SS12 places his face close to the edge of his dinner plate and uses his hands and a fork to shovel food into his mouth. The Father continues to attempt to train SS12 in these basic activities of daily living. See “Exploiting/Corrupting” below.
• SD9 was tying her own shoes while she visited her Father in Nevada last summer (2012) but has now lost practice since returning to her Mother in Oregon. She states that her Mother “won’t ever buy me shoes that tie”. SD9 must now start over from scratch and relearn this basic skill. SD9’s progress is notably faster than SS12’.
July 10, 2013:
• The Father takes SS12 and SD9 for medical care for their open wounds on the scalp at the local medical clinic. The children are treated for a bacterial infection of the skin due to chronic lice infestation. The PCP provides a progress note about this event. See "Denial of Medical Treatment" below.
• SS12 is beginning to learn to tie his own shoes and is successful on the first attempt about half of the time. SS12 is rewarded for his efforts with a new solid wood chess set per his request.
July 21-22, 2013: The Father drove SS12 and SD9 to Cornelius, OR to visit with his Mother (the children’s Grandmother). The Father then discussed with the Mother these issues of the bacterial infections due to chronic lice infestation. The Father approached the Mother about a change in custody at this time. The Mother reacted defensively and became overcome with emotions during this discussion. The Mother demanded immediate return of SS12 and SD9 in exchange for SS16. The Father returned the younger children to the Mother’s home and picked up SS16. Dad and SS16 then returned to Nevada.
August 7, 2013: Since returning to Nevada on July 22, 2013 The Father has made several attempts to contact SS12 and SD9 by telephone but was unsuccessful. The Mother either said that they were not home or she simply did not answer the phone. Finally, on this day Dad was able to talk to SD9 who immediately reported that SS12 had kicked through the door of his bedroom. When The Father confronted SS12 about this accusation SS12 complained that his medication has been redirected for the third time. The Mother admitted that some type of medication was missing but denied that it was his narcotic medication that was stolen this time. She also defended her right to lock SS12 in his bedroom as a disciplinary measure and refused to discuss if there was a mechanism in place for SS12 to be able to escape from his bedroom in the event of a fire. See "Denial of Medical Treatment" and "Isolating" below. *This event was reported to Oregon DHS and it was investigated for child abuse. During the reporting of this event the screener for DHS indicated that the information that is on file for this family states that the Mother finds SS12 to be “potentially dangerous to another child in the household” and that locking him up in his room is for the safety of this other child. DHS ultimately referred this event to the local police department for further investigation. Note: SS12 has lived with his Father for the entire summer two years in a row and has never once displayed behavior that could be considered to be dangerous to another child. It has never been necessary to forcefully confine or restrain SS12 for any reason.
August 8 – 20, 2013: The Father continues to make frequent phone visits with SD9 and SS12. However, SD9 is now terrified to speak to her Father and utters only one word replies to direct questions whenever possible. This is a dramatic change from her usual behavior of chatting and telling her Father jokes while on the telephone. SS12 continues to be eager to talk to his Father and often asks him when he is coming back to Oregon. See "Terrorizing" below.
These events describe a small amount of the poor parental judgment that the Mother has displayed over the past four years in regard to our children. Her complaints that SS12 is uncontrollable and dangerous to others are the same complaints that she made about SS16 two years ago (before he moved to Nevada to live with me). In fact, after SS16 had been shot in her home the Mother stated that SS16 “got what he deserved”. For the past two years SS16 has not once displayed inappropriate, violent or otherwise dangerous behavior in my home or community.
However, that does not suggest that the Mother’s complaints are not real or legitimate – to her. These acts of cruelty and complaints of not being able to cope with the special needs of these children are a cry for help. She sincerely cannot control the repetition of these types of child maltreatment in her home. It is for this reason that I am now seeking an emergency temporary custody order pending a judgment of the Court for sole custody.
According to the Oregon State DHS policies and guidelines published online at: http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/children/Pages/abuse/index.aspx there are multiple definitions of child abuse with examples given. The website is very specific to point out that one of the qualifying characteristics of child abuse is that "the parent or caregiver may not be able or willing to protect the child.”
"Denial of Medical Treatment: Refusal or failure to seek, obtain, or maintain necessary medical, dental, or mental health care.”
However willing the mother may be she is undeniably unable to administer medication prescribed to SS12 for his behaviors if the medication is not in her home. Additionally, she cannot be able to administer medication that has not been prescribed for a bacterial infection that she has left undiagnosed due to failure to seek medical attention.
“Neglect: Failure, through action or omission, to provide and maintain adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, protection, or nurturing. Chronic neglect is a persistent pattern of family functioning in which the parent or caregiver does not sustain or meet the basic needs of a child resulting in an accumulation of harm that can have long-term effects on the child overall physical, mental, or emotional development." This speaks to the lack of effective treatment to eliminate the infestation of lice from the Mothers’ home or to seek treatment for the resulting wounds. It also speaks to permitting a known child molester to live in the same home with the children.
This website also has a specific document entitled "Attachment A-3 Forms of Psychological Maltreatment” that provides several definitions and examples of various types of child maltreatment. These types are broken into these categories; spurning, terrorizing, isolating, exploiting/corrupting, denying emotional responsiveness:
"Spurning: belittling, degrading and other nonphysical forms of overtly hostile or rejecting treatment, consistently singling out one child to criticize and punish.” This speaks to SS12’ conviction that he is “crazy” and a “baby killer” and to locking him in his room for long periods of time.
“Isolating: confining a child or placing unreasonable limitations on the child's freedom of movement within his/her environment; placing unreasonable limitations or restrictions on social interactions with peers or adults in the community.” This speaks to locking a child into a bedroom without permitting him to toilet himself, to get food or water, to interact with his family or having a mechanism in place for escape from the bedroom in the event of a house fire.
“Exploiting/Corrupting: Infantilization” (treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age). This speaks to the children’s lack of basic activity of daily living skills such as tying shoe laces or eating with a knife and fork.
“Terrorizing: Threatening or perpetuating violence against a child, threatening or perpetuating violence against the child's loved ones or objects." This speaks to frightening the children into not talking to the Father about events in the Mothers’ home.