Law News

Three Children Denied of a Mother — Standard Procedure for CT Family Court

The divorce and custody case that got me interested in CT Family Court is Ambrose v. Riordan.

What interested me is that the court gave the father “temporary custody” of three adopted children and the stay-at-home mother of 13 years was denied the right to see, speak, write to, skype, or make contact with her children.

The matter has been in CT Family Court since July 2019. There has been 36 days of trial, spread over 11 months. The father is still presenting his case. Murder trials do not take this long.

Shock for Children

Family Court Judge Jane Grossman ordered the removal of three children living primarily with their mother, and into the home of their father, with an added provision that the children may not contact their mother. Why?

CT Family Court Judge Jane Grossman ordered the children out of the home they shared with their mother all their lives and placed them into their father’s home.

In one swift, sudden ruling, Judge Grossman, without permitting the mother to testify, terminated the mother’s parental rights and severed the children’s relationship with their primary attachment figure, to be with a parent with whom they repeatedly stated they were uncomfortable, their father.

On April 24, 2020, Judge Grossman ordered that, “The existing parenting plan calls for the children to be with the father tonight, Friday night, through Sunday night at 5:00. The children will be transitioned from their mother’s home to the father’s home immediately with the assistance of the GAL [Guardian ad Litem, an attorney who is retained to represent the children’s best interest]. They will remain with the father until the hearing is complete or until further order of the court. They will not return to the mother on Sunday at 5:00.

“Until the hearing is complete, or until further order of the court, the mother may not have any contact with the children, directly or via third parties. She is not to respond to any contact the children might initiate. The father may reinforce this no contact order via the children’s phones and electronic devices as he deems appropriate…. These orders are temporary and will be reconsidered and/or amended upon completion of evidence.”

The no contact order was never reconsidered by Judge Grossman, and has been continued by the trial judge, Gerard Adelman.  The children have not been with their mother for 676 days.

There has been no legal finding, or even the slightest allegation that the mother was unfit or abusive to her children. Just the opposite. The record is filled with witnesses to acts of her loving caring and sacrifice made for them. The record is filled with the children’s cries not to be separated from their mother.

There has been no medical diagnosis of her being unfit or mentally ill. She has no criminal record.

Sawyer was adopted and Karen Riordan was there when he was born in Utah. She remained with the prematurely born baby, born with cocaine in his system, until he was released from the Newborn Intensive Care unit. Because of Karen’s experience as an adoptive mother and with special needs children, Sawyer was released to Karen when he was 11 days old. She raised him every day of her life, while her husband worked away from home until Sawyer was suddenly removed from his mother’s home when he was nine and placed in the home of his father, who the boy has repeatedly claims has abused him.

When I read this ruling, I was dumbfounded. How could a court steal the mother from these children without any cause and without even a hearing where she could speak?

Robin Lynch PhD, a noted expert on child psychology. She was mortified by the ruling of the court in taking away the children’s mother.

According to a report on this injustice of taking these children away from their mother, by Dr. Robin Lynch, “Preventing children from being with their primary attachment figure for a significant part of the week is likely to do significant harm.”

These children, Mia, 15, Matthew, 15, and Sawyer, 11, are prevented from being with their primary attachment figure the entire week, week after week, for what is now 96 weeks.

Dr. Lynch continued, “Following divorce, children’s anxiety, and attachment issues are inversely proportional to the amount of warm parenting time the children receive.”

The record shows that these children were estranged from their father, a man who was out of state during most of their childhood. When they were removed from their mother’s home, and up until the present, they continue to be estranged from their father. They call him names behind his back, including “P” for Pinocchio and “Creepy Cree” based on their claims that he lies and is addicted to porn, including what appears to be porn featuring very young male models. The father admitted on the record to the custody evaluator in this case that “as an adult, [he is] allowed to look at porn.”

He also sated that a website he visits called “Latino Boiz,” does not include children, though it does feature nude males who appear to be underage, who involve themselves in scenarios with an uncle or adoptive father who performs on them anal sex.

This may not be cause for concern, and they were not for the courts of Judge Jane Grossman and Judge Gerard Adelman. Both of these judges, at the behest of the GAL, went to extraordinary lengths to suppress  evidence of the father, Christopher Ambrose’s porn predilections, as trial transcripts, and court orders show.

It made me curious that the court had no interest in ascertaining more about the porn habits of the father, especially when the children were the ones who discovered it, perhaps by design of the father.

Despite the fact that the children are adopted, and are Latino, and the father’s porn proclivities tend toward young Latinos, and despite the fact that the children have disclosed to medical experts at two hospitals that their father has inappropriately touched them, the court has either ignored this, including not requiring the father to take his children for forensic testing as recommended by health professionals who were mandated to report the alleged abuse, or they have worked feverishly [as trial transcripts show] in tandem with the GAL to prevent this from being fully explored at trial.

For now, this issue of porn will have to wait for its proper place in the series. I mention it here for it shows the level of distrust and resentment the children have for their father and suggests that they have anything but a warm, happy home.

The children have gone so far as to actually publish porn they found open on their father’s phone and computer on  social media – before he took their accounts away.  They have also published secret recordings they made of him, after they found he secretly recorded them.

This may not mean much except to show what a miserable home they live in with both sides secretly recording each other. The children have complained to medical experts and to police that they do not feel safe with their father, that he inappropriately touches them and tries to get in bed with them.

He killed their pets, he took the doorknobs off their doors so that they could prevent him from entry any time day or night, he added bells to the doors so they would jingle when they went in and out of their room, he put secret recording devices in their bedroom. He got drunk, excessive drinking, and yelling, screaming, issuing threats and intimidation. He strips them of all their belongings, no internet, no phones, no gifts from relatives –to control and punish.

The children took to taping Ambrose, they said so people would believe them. He puts on such a good show, they said. They said they wanted the tapes to prove they were telling the truth and “P”, his nickname, was lying again.

Maybe none of this is illegal or even immoral – and within the rights of parenthood. But the point is the children do not have a warm relationship with their father and seem to be, as they get older, increasingly resentful of the fact that he is to blame for their losing their mother.

They said they saw through his lie that it was the court alone that denied them their mother, when the record shows he could end this isolation at any time for there has been no finding of wrongdoing by their mother

Selfies of Chris Ambrose. The unhappy children got these off his phone, and released the photos in Aug. 2020 on Pinterest, four months after their mother was taken from their lives. Ironically, it was Ambrose taking their phones away to prevent them from contacting their mother that led to the children’s discovery of these photos and other more explicit photos. Since they had no phones, they had to use his when they were permitted to make a phone call.

In short, these are three unhappy children. They continue to send emails about his conduct. They contact reporters, including this writer. I say this knowing that he may punish them, but what greater punishment can he give them then feverishly working to deny them their mother? They are growing desperate and losing hope that they will ever see her again. These are three depressed children.

They refer to their father with deep resentment and describe their isolation from their mother and all the family, her family, they knew growing up, as like being in a prison and have made pleas for help.

I want to help them.

These three children have lost all warm parenting time in their lives for almost two years.

Robin Lynch PhD, a noted expert on child psychology.

As Dr. Lynch said, “The adult world, court system, child guardians, and custody evaluators are supposed to protect children from mistreatment. Removing children from their primary attachment figure to be with a parent, with whom they are uncomfortable, causes betrayal trauma and serious long-term psychological damage.”

These children are at risk of serious long-term psychological damage.

That’s why I got interested in CT Family Court– this case and these children.

I will go to my hypothesis first then in subsequent posts I will attempt to prove it: Money, not children’s best interests, drives results in CT Family Court.

It appears I have only glimpsed a tiny, frigid, painful tip of the iceberg of CT Family Court. And iceberg it is. Imagine the coldness of heart it must take to recklessly throw children out a happy home, with a warm, loving mother and into the home of a man, as I shall show you in subsequent posts, Chris Ambrose is.

Karen Riordan, a mother denied contact with the children she raised.

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