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Judge says mom lied, so she'll lose custody

 
 
au1929
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 04:07 pm
Judge says mom lied, so she'll lose custody



By BOB PORT
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER




Why would a judge take two thriving, giggly 4-year-old twin girls away from their loving, doting mother and the happy Manhattan home they have known since birth?
Manhattan Family Court Judge Arlene Goldberg decided to do it because she believes the mother falsely accused the father of sexually fondling their children to prevent him from gaining custody. The father, the judge believes, is innocent.

Now, mom so hates dad, Goldberg decided, that the twins are better off with their father, a busy, traveling casino executive who years ago slept with their mother while he cheated, as he frequently has, on his loyal wife.

That, in a nutshell, is the case of John Aylsworth vs. Bridget Marks. It's a bitter custody fight involving a millionaire CEO and a former Playboy model that is about to test the changing boundaries of state family law.

Marks carried her twins through pregnancy despite pressure from Aylsworth and his wife to get an abortion, according to court testimony. "He didn't take me to court," Marks said, "until I refused to have sex with him anymore."

The Daily News first reported the story in late March.

On Tuesday, lawyers for Marks plan to go to federal court for a restraining order and to challenge the constitutionality of New York's custody process. Marks will bare her outrage on Court TV's Catherine Crier talk show that night.

Reports are being prepared by "Dateline NBC" and ABC's "2-0/20." Dozens of people phoned The News Friday enraged by Goldberg's ruling, wanting to protest, write letters and raise hell.

"This is one tough decision," said Hal Mayerson, co-chairman of the state bar association's custody law committee. "This is such a rare decision, but this judge had to make a decision."

For more than a decade, New York's higher courts have been embracing as gospel a concept psychologists still debate - that when one parent wrongly bad-mouths the other by alleging sexual abuse, children are better served if custody goes to the accused.

The accused, the reasoning goes, can then counteract an accuser's damaging behavior.

First termed "parental alienation" in 1985 by the late Columbia University psychiatrist Richard Gardner, who tried to define the behavior as a mental illness, the theory quickly became standard offense or defense in custody cases.

Many New York judges bought it. Meanwhile, some researchers dismissed Gardner's theories as junk science while others moderated his ideas and refined them.

Today, parental alienation has new names and more subtle definitions. Some states treat it as "generally accepted" science while some judges reject it as quackery.

But in New York, many parents are stunned to learn parental alienation, as Gardner conceived it, is the law. The official remedy in one New York appeals ruling after another: Hand over the kids to the parent wrongly accused of perversion.

Goldberg cited this line of cases in ruling against Marks.

Abuse accusations are, as Mayerson puts it, "the atom bomb in custody cases."

But Marks sees her punishment as a hydrogen bomb for her children and says the judge has overreacted. Goldberg found that Marks had coached her children "to say their father had 'touched their peepee,'" but Marks vehemently denies this. Her concerns, she said, are rooted in a pattern of her former lover's crude language and overbearing physical touching.

Aylsworth refuses to speak to the press.

A review of records and videotapes from the case backs up Marks. The judge had no hard evidence to support her finding - only opinions from a court-appointed psychiatrist, two social workers and a children's lawyer.

The judge ignored three contradictory opinions from experts hired by Marks and testimony about how Aylsworth "made inappropriate comments about the beauty of the children's genitalia."

Carol Bruch, professor of family law at the University of California at Davis, is a frequent critic of alienation becoming a ruling principal in custody. "Parental alienation is a crock," she said. "It's snake oil."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 9,813 • Replies: 47
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mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 04:48 pm
I have no problem with the judges ruling.
For to long,all a woman has had to do is claim abuse and the father has no rights.Even if he is aquitted at a trial,his name and reputation are forever destroyed.
So,since the mother lied,its only right that she lose custody.After all,what else concerning the wellbeing of those kids could she be lying about.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 05:52 pm
I dunno. Purjury doesn't necessairly mean a mother is unfit to raise her children, and that has to remain the central point.

Yeah, mysteryman, there are some accusations that amount to a conviction just by being voiced. I don't believe it's central to the issue.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 06:01 pm
Being an unfit mother is and was never in question. She is a very fit and loving mother. The father on the other hand is a philanderer who wanted no part of the children and now he is stealing the children for him and his wife to raise. The judge IMO should have her head examined.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 06:13 pm
That's what I meant. The judge has lost sight of the real issue.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 May, 2004 09:44 pm
It seems like even the very central accusation is ambiguous. I can see how the same actions -- "innapropriate comments about the beauty of their genitalia", "crude language", "overbearing physical touching" could both be overstated as sexual abuse and be true in substance. Like, he really did these things, the mother was genuinely creeped out by it, but it wasn't "sexual abuse" in any kind of classic definition.

Hope this one gets straightened out. Poor kids, regardless.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 06:55 am
3 broken hearts

Cruel court ruling rips twins from mom today

By BOB PORT
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


Bridget Marks holds her teary twins, Amber (l.) and Scarlet, who spent yesterday with their mom before going to live with biological dad today, as ordered by N.Y. Family Court.

Bridget Marks will lose her 4-year-old twin daughters today - and it's going to cost her more than $1,000 a day to visit them and as much as $150 an hour to talk to them on the phone.
A state judge has ordered supervised visitation for the 38-year-old Manhattan mom. The children's wealthy father, Marks said, is insisting she pay for court-appointed social workers, who charge between $100 and $150 per hour.

"That's more than $1,000 a day," Marks said yesterday, as she packed her children's luggage and struggled to fight back tears. "I don't have the money to pay for that."

At noon today, Marks, a former Playboy model and actress about to publish her first romance novel, will experience heartbreak as few mothers do.

She will have to say goodbye to identical twins she reared alone from birth, all because of a judge's order.

In one of New York's most unusual child custody battles ever, Manhattan Family Court Judge Arlene Goldberg awarded custody of the twins to their father, 54-year-old casino executive John Aylsworth.

Goldberg decreed that although Marks is a fit mother, it is in the best interests of her children that they live with their father because of Marks' "unbridled anger" toward him.

Aylsworth, chief operating officer of President Casino Inc., a riverboat gambling business based in St. Louis, fathered the twins during an extramarital affair with Marks.

Under the judge's order, Aylsworth and his wife of 34 years, Karen, 53, will move to New York.

Yesterday, Amber and Scarlet Aylsworth played their favorite board game, Candyland, sang songs and watched a video of their preschool graduation as their mother sobbed.

"Kiki," a lame pet Chihuahua the twins nursed back to health, got a wet goodbye kiss. Their father refuses to take their dog, Marks said.

"No!" Amber shouted, when asked if she wanted to live with her daddy, who apparently has told Amber she can now call his wife Karen her mommy.

Scarlet started to explain how she wants to stay with her real mother, but her lip quivered and she broke down into tears.

Amber frowned as she watched her sister. Then, they hugged their mother as all three wept in one another's arms.

In her ruling, Goldberg cited cases where New York appeals judges have declared children better off leaving a parent who badmouths the other parent.

But even a strong supporter of that principle in custody law, psychologist Richard Warshak of Dallas, said less severe remedies - like counseling for the accusatory parent and liberal visitation for the estranged parent - may make more sense for young children in a stable home.

"The idea that there should be an automatic transfer of custody is wrong," said Warshak, often labeled a father's-rights advocate and author of "Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex."

Aylsworth and his wife have refused to speak to the press.

But the case has turned Marks into an outspoken critic of New York's Family Court. "This is a disgusting example of how people drunk with their own power ruin lives and destroy children," she said. "It is savage."
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 07:24 am
Whatever happened to making child custody based on what is best for the children? If she lied, then charge her with perjury. Make the child care decision based on what is best for the children.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 07:28 am
Linkat wrote:
Whatever happened to making child custody based on what is best for the children? If she lied, then charge her with perjury. Make the child care decision based on what is best for the children.


I think the judge's reasoning and this theory she followed holds the idea that taking the children away from the lying parent IS in the best interest of the child.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 09:23 am
I'd certainly hesitate to offer any opinions on this case, based upon the extremely biased nature of the newspaper article (really, the Daily News? Why not the account printed in the Weekly World News?)
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 09:57 am
joefromchicago

Bias, I have not detected any. This story has been unfolding in NY and has been basically the same in all accounts I have read. Have you seen a different version. If so I would appreciate the link
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 10:02 am
I checked on Google and only found this one article, published a few places. (This topic is actually the first result!)

As laid out, it's just awful. I understand the point of the penalty to parents for lying about the other parent. If the facts are as presented, though, this is clearly wrong.

Definitely poor kids, no matter what.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 11:00 am
Quote:
Family Court Judge Arlene Goldberg has ruled that Bridget Marks, 38, coached the girls to say their father molested them. But Marks contends that a court-appointed psychiatrist and four social workers lied, leading the judge to award custody to married casino exec John Aylsworth, 54, with whom Marks had an affair.

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/25054.htm


not that i can tell if the nypost is a better/worse source
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 11:02 am
(i did a google news search - 22 hits - almost all the same)
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 11:12 am
au1929 wrote:
Bias, I have not detected any.

Then you're not reading very closely. To give just two examples:

The wife is described as "a loving, doting mother," while the husband is "a busy, traveling casino executive who years ago slept with their mother while he cheated, as he frequently has, on his loyal wife." Now, is it at all possible that the father is not also "loving and doting?" And why bring up dad's infidelities without also mentioning that mom was sleeping with a married man when the children were conceived?

Likewise, the story states:
    A review of records and videotapes from the case backs up Marks. The judge had no hard evidence to support her finding - only opinions from a court-appointed psychiatrist, two social workers and a children's lawyer. The judge ignored three contradictory opinions from experts hired by Marks and testimony about how Aylsworth "made inappropriate comments about the beauty of the children's genitalia."
So, in other words, all mom offers are opinions from people who are otherwise unaquainted with the children. But how is this any different from the father's evidence? Why, in other words, are the expert opinions that support the father worthy of less credence than the expert opinions that support the mother?

au1929 wrote:
This story has been unfolding in NY and has been basically the same in all accounts I have read. Have you seen a different version. If so I would appreciate the link

You misunderstand. I do not hesitate to offer an opinion because I have better sources, I hesitate to offer an opinion because I don't have them. This is the only story that I've seen on this subject (despite reports to the contrary, these parochial New York disputes do not register the same sort of seismic response outside the tri-state area), so I would not venture an opinion based on a single source that, on its face, betrays a definite bias.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 11:47 am
From what little info there is here on this case the decision looks spot on.

Apparently lying about sexual abuse is less of a big deal to some here than to others, to me it's a very grave accusation and if I had my way the mother would go to jail depending on the severity of her claim.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 12:02 pm
What I'd like to know more about is what she actually claimed.

If she complained about "innapropriate comments about the beauty of their genitalia", "crude language", and "overbearing physical touching", and it was true, and was characterized by someone else as sexual abuse... this (removal from custody) is completely wrong.

If she specifically fabricated situations and told her daughters to lie, she deserves punishment of some kind. I don't know what.

I very much agree with Joe that there is not enough information, and what information there is displays bias.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 02:05 pm
IMO to take children from a mother who has provided a good home for her children and to give them to a father who along with his wife had urged they be aborted, and further to make it as financially difficult as possible for the mother to be in contact with the children is a miscarriage of justice.
I should point out that the ruling is based upon the Judges opinion and not evidence.
Quote:
A review of records and videotapes from the case backs up Marks. The judge had no hard evidence to support her finding - only opinions from a court-appointed psychiatrist, two social workers and a children's lawyer.

The judge ignored three contradictory opinions from experts hired by Marks and testimony about how Aylsworth "made inappropriate comments about the beauty of the children's genitalia."
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 03:42 pm
au1929 wrote:
IMO to take children from a mother who has provided a good home for her children and to give them to a father who along with his wife had urged they be aborted, and further to make it as financially difficult as possible for the mother to be in contact with the children is a miscarriage of justice.


It's a good thing you proceeded all of that with "IMO" because that's all it is. You have NO way of knowing what the children's home life was like or how good of a mother she was.

Quote:
I should point out that the ruling is based upon the Judges opinion and not evidence.


And your comments here are based on your opinion without viewing ANY evidence. The judge heard more evidence than you have.

And I'll point out that the NY Post article that ehBeth linked to says that there were a total of 5 state employees that testified that the mother was lying. The mother, on the other hand, had 3 "experts" that she paid for that claimed she was telling the truth. Your Daily News reporter there isn't reporting the news - he's being her personal cheerleader.

If you were a judge who's word would you accept? The word of 5 state employees who have nothing to win or lose in the case or the word of 3 people paid for by one of the two people that have a clear interest in the results???
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concerned dad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 04:59 pm
View Point of Someone Going Through This
I guess I feel particularly qualified to offer an opinion as I myself am going through a similar issue. Over the last several years, my ex-wife has been doing everything in her power to eliminate me from our child's life. Sure it started out small like denied visitations here and there, rude comments and allegations to care givers and medical professionals, setup's for failure and abusive language, but it has culminated in similar abuse allegations. I can only suspect that this case, has a very similar history.

I think what many people are missing, is that the best interests of the child need to be considered. The perfect answer would be for both parents to act like adults and figure out how to share their child, but as we all know, and observe in our kids, sharing is easier said than done.

When one parent decides that they do not wish to share, or it's too much to deal with the weekly ineraction with their "Ex", or in general are too insecure with themselves, there is the very real possibility of purposely or sub-conscience alienation. On purpose or not, the result is the same, it is allowing one parent to systematically destroy the other's parent's relationship and is being done in a way such that the other parent can not control or fix the issue.

Unless you have gone through this yourself, I would strongly suggest you hold your opinions on how devistating it can be for someone to hurt your children like that. Every child has the right to know, love and interact freely with both parents. And in cases like this when one parent is unwilling to support the other parent's and the children's rights, well something needs to happen. Status quo or minor penalities are not a solution and only encourage further problems as the parent realizes that nothing will result from their poor behavior.

I don't think there is any perfect answer, someone is going to get hurt regardless. My view point is that the person instigating the issue should bear the responsibility of their actions, and in this case, lose custody.

Should it be a permanent change? In my opinion, no...but somehow a very clear message has to be made. If you make false allegations and are willing to lie in court, well, there should be consequences? That is what we teach our children...right? Why should those rules not apply to us as adults?

I can't pretend to know all of the facts in this case, but I can say from personal experience, anything short of super human support and encouragement of your children to interact with the other parent is inexcusable. We owe it to our kids to get along and actively support the other parent just as if the marital relationship were intact. They didn't ask for our emotional baggage, and certainly do not deserve it.
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