Judge Gilbetz, sitting in the Family Court in Bronx County, was recently presented with a case of child abuse against a father. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is the agency in the City of New York charged with investigating and making presentations in court concerning allegations of child abuse.
In the case before Judge Gilbetz, out of court statements were made by a four year old that her father had sexually abused her. ACS brought a petition against the father claiming that the out of court statements were sufficiently corroborated to require an abuse finding by the court against the father. The court ruled against ACS. It held that they failed to sufficiently prove there was corroboration of the child’s out of court statements.
ACS had obtained the testimony of a “validator” named Dr. Lewitts. At the fact-finding hearing, they attempted to get into evidence corroboration through Dr. Lewitts. He testified that, with a reasonable degree of psychological certainty, the child’s statements were consistent with those of other children who were found to be sexually abused.
The father introduced testimony of his own expert. The father’s expert’s presentation was that Dr. Lewitts violated standard methodologies in the manner in which he questioned the child. During the course of questioning the child, he had the mother present for the interviews.
The court found that Dr. Lewitt’s opinion could not be given credibility. The court’s ruling was that the validator did not corroborate the child’s testimony. The validator simply substituted his credibility for the child’s credibility. This did not meet the legal criteria for a finding of child abuse. The court’s decision went on to state that, due to the inappropriate interviews and the incorrect methodology utilized by Dr. Lewitts, his opinion could not be considered of evidentiary value in the case. The court therefore dismissed the petition of child abuse against the father.
The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been litigating fathers’ rights cases for more than thirty years. We have represented fathers accused of child abuse and child neglect in courts through out the Metropolitan New York area. The Long Island and New York City child abuse defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have an excellent record of successfully representing fathers in child abuse cases.
The fathers’ rights lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have also represented grandparents in grandparents’ rights cases. We have represented fathers in parental alienation cases and have a long history of identifying parental alienation syndrome in children.