|National Organization for Women-NYS Decries Court Ordered Visitation with Convicted Sex Offenders|
Court Ordered, Visitation with Convicted Pedophiles/Sex Offenders is dangerous for women and children.
ALBANY, NY 4/20/11 The New York State Appellate Division 3rd Department recently affirmed the outrageous decision of a Saratoga Family Court Judge Courtenay Hall, ordering a five year old girl visitation in a maximum security prison, with her father, a convicted pedophile. Mr. Culver plead guilty to twenty-nine counts of first degree sexual abuse after molesting eight of his first grade students. He was afforded a free attorney to drag his ex wife through the Family Court, forensics and the Appellate Court, all on the taxpayers dime. Though the Appellate Court overturned the lower courts order for the mother to absorb the cost for the child's 3 hour transportation and escort fees, the child's mother, who committed no crime, lost her right to decide what is best for her daughter and now they both are court ordered to suffer the consequences of this mans crimes.
In June 2010, Sukhwant Herb of Brooklyn, NY, was sentenced to 50 days in Rikers Island for refusing to allow her 9-year old son to visit with his father who is a convicted serial rapist father in an Arizona prison. She was denied bail, and though technically not charged with a crime, she served 19 days before public outrage and a Daily News article won her an early release. Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares is still a sitting judge though reassigned to Civil Court. The father, Seon Jonas, was able to obtain a visitation order while in jail.
Suffolk County Family Court Judge, Andrew Tarantino, granted overnight visits for children whose father was convicted of third-degree rape of a minor and possessing child pornography. The judge refused to hear expert testimony and stated in his decision, "to consider sinister every activity in which there may be contact may approach paranoia in some circumstances and this court can not render a decision based upon paranoia". Notably Judge Tarantino was recently censured for taking a teenage litigant to an out of the way beach park for a chat without notifying his attorney or opposing council. The young man has since committed suicide. Judge Tarantino has been reassigned though still a sitting judge.
These orders defy common sense and ignore the laws that are set up to protect citizens and their children. It further exemplifies how judges have been given too much discretion and too little oversight. Judges do not have to detail the reasons for their decisions that are often made on personal preferences rather than legal precedent and suffer little to no consequences for the damage they do. Though commissions were set up to address these matters, we still see no ability for the court to correct itself.
Along with NOW-NYS, urge the NYS Assembly to pass common sense legislation immediately halting all court ordered, forced visitation with pedophiles and sex offenders. We ask that all taxpayer funded programs used for this purpose be cut off immediately and completely. Finally, we ask for a means to remove bad judges. They suffer no consequences for their actions and their actions are often careless and dangerous.