Saturday, May 31, 2008

Justice Denied


Mother’s Day is the most traumatic day of the year for many mothers. For these mothers who unjustly lost custody of their children and who did not spend Mother’s Day with their children, Mother’s Day was anything but happy. Karlene Gordon, Director of CAPE and member of Voices of Women (VOW) spoke at a press conference at City Hall calling for Family Court reform and announcing the completion of VOW’s report which clearly recorded the flaws in Family Court that re-victimized survivors of domestic violence.

Voices of Women was joined by several elected official, including Council member Liu, Deputy Borough Presidents of Brooklyn & Manhattan, Yvonne Graham and Rose Pierre Louis, staff of Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

According to Ms. Gordon, “There is a misconception that mothers almost always win custody of their children in custody battles, however, studies show that batterers file for and win custody of their children in 70% of the cases.”

In a poignant address, Ms. Gordon, spoke of the abuse of power by her ex-husband who is an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County. She noted the power dynamics that exited in her case, in that, the Queens District Attorney’s Office provided a lawyer for her ex-husband for the past 11 years and therefore has aided and abetted the continued abuse of power and DA’s privileges. The conspiracy to transfer custody of her son to his father was carried out by Administration for Children’s services, Family Court and Paul Siminovsky. Paul Siminovsky, who was also her son’s lawyer, was later arrested, convicted and jailed for selling custody of children to the highest bidder or to the more politically connected parent. The corruption and bribery which Paul Siminovsky and Judge Gerald Garson were convicted of in Supreme Court was and still is prevalent in Family Court. Ms. Gordon, individually and with the Voices of Women, petitioned Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines for justice for herself and the hundreds of victims of illegal kidnapping of children in custody battles. Charles Hines contended that his office had no jurisdiction over Family Court.

As a teacher, Ms. Gordon was legally obligated to report abuse to the authorities. As a mother, when she reported the abuse inflicted on her son, she lost custody. Her son’s school, independent of Ms. Gordon, also filed the same report which was validated. For doing her job as a teacher and as a mother she was accused of Neglect by her ex-husband and that charge was validated by Paul Siminovsky, ACS and Family Court. The charge of Neglect was enough to transfer custody, it wasn’t necessary to prove it. The judge, Paul Siminovsky and ACS individually and collectively offered to drop the charge if, and only if, she relinquished custody of her son to his father. She refused and was force to see her son only by supervised visits. She has seen her son only 6 hours in the past 5 years, for which she was required to pay $65 per hour.

Although the charge was later dismissed, Ms. Gordon has never regained custody of her son, nor received any visitation schedule. She was never vindicated, nor did she regain her status as a ‘fit mother’. Ms Gordon is only one of hundreds of Mother’s who has fallen prey to the injustices of Family Court which removes children from the lives of their mothers, indefinitely.

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