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Child Rights - Virtual Library, Resource Centre, Archives and Advocacy
Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles 2009

Media Release

The Men's Right's Agency, Australia, by Sue Price, Director, November 19th, 2009

November 19 – International Men’s Day

TIME TO STOP ‘BAD DAD’ STEREOTYPING

Nov 19: On International Men’s Day, the Rudd Government has been accused of declaring war on Dads in response to calls from extremist women’s groups, who see no need for fathers in children lives, apart from their usefulness in paying the bills. The accusation has been made by Men’s Rights Agency Director, Sue Price.

International Men’s Day is an occasion for men to highlight discrimination against them and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and childcare.

But according to the Men’s Rights Agency, in modern day Australia Anti-male women’s groups (led by author Barbara Biggs) are seeking to roll back the shared parenting changes to family law. Their petition makes two claims 1) the need to protect women and children from violent husbands/fathers and 2) to prevent children from being sexually abused by their father. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Rich Nation, Poor Children

The Toronto Star, November 20th, 2009 ( Canada's Child Day and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

One in nine Canadian children, more than a million, live below the poverty line according to the 2008 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada. Although this should be a concern every day, it is especially a concern on Nov. 20, National Child Day and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC).

Fifteen years ago, the Canadian government resolved to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Nine years later, nothing has changed. The rate of child poverty has remained at 12 per cent for two decades now, according to Statistics Canada.

“For many families, it’s very difficult to get out of poverty. There isn’t enough money to feed the children, clothe them properly, or even enough money to pay for the bus fare or to look for a job,” says Grant Wilson, President of Canadian Children’s Rights Council. It’s even harder for new Canadian children and aboriginal families as they are at a greater risk of living in poverty, according to the report. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Why Canada can't stop bullies

The Toronto Star, Noor Javed, STAFF REPORTER, November 19, 2009

Daniel Sebben was just 13 when the taunts began. Day after day, for the next three years, the Newmarket high school student faced homophobic slurs, insults and verbal abuse from a group of six boys.

He would come home upset, confused and fearful of what they might do to him the next day, said mom Karen Sebben.

His marks slid. He became depressed. He began cutting himself and eventually attempted suicide.

"He emotionally bottomed out. Every day, he was convinced they were going to get him."

But it was also the lack of support within the "chain of command" at school, among superintendents and those at the board level that left the family distraught. The aggressor was suspended for a few days, and when he returned, things got worse for her son, she said. More..


The Law Times magazine

Judge reverses parental alienation ruling

Controversial trend continues because opposing parents lack funds: lawyer

The Law Times, Canada, by Heather Capannelli, November 09, 2009

In another case underscoring the controversy over parental alienation workshops, Justice Thea Herman of the Ontario Superior Court struck down part of an arbitrator’s award earlier this year that would have removed two teenage boys from the custody of their father and sent them to Texas. The decision follows a series of judgments in which Ontario courts have ordered a change in custody and sent the custodial parent along with the children to participate in the workshop.

In S.G.B. v. S.J.L., the court set aside part of an award concluding that the workshop was in the best interest of the boys because the arbitrator relied too heavily on an assessment of them prepared by Richard Warshak, who admitted he hadn’t met them personally. More..


U.S. News & World Report

Parental Alienation: A Mental Diagnosis?

Some experts say the extreme hatred some kids feel toward a parent in a divorce is a mental illness

U.S. News & World Report, By Lindsay Lyon, October 29, 2009

From an early age, Anne was taught by her mother to fear her father. Behind his back, her mom warned that he was unpredictable and dangerous; any time he'd invite her to do anything—a walk in the woods, a trip to the art store—she would craft an excuse not to go. "I was under the impression that he was crazy, that at any moment he could just pop and do something violent to hurt me," says Anne, who prefers that only her middle name be used to guard her family's privacy. Typical of a phenomenon some mental-health experts now label "parental alienation," her view of him became so negative, she says, that her mother persuaded her to lie during a custody hearing when the couple divorced. Then 14, she told the judge that her dad was physically abusive. Was he? "No," she says. "But I was convinced that he would [be]." After her mother won custody, Anne all but severed contact with her father for years.

If a growing faction of the mental-health community has its way, Anne's experience will one day soon be an actual diagnosis. The concept of parental alienation, which is highly controversial, is being described as one in which children strongly attach to one parent and reject the other in the false belief that he or she is bad or dangerous. "It's heartbreaking," says William Bernet, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, "to have your 10-year-old suddenly, in a matter of weeks, go from loving you and hiking with you...to saying you're a horrible, ugly person." These aren't kids who simply prefer one parent over the other, he says. That's normal. These kids doggedly resist contact with a parent, sometimes permanently, out of an irrational hate or fear. More..


China Daily

Paternity test reveals secrets

China Daily, By Wang Hongyi 2009-09-23

Clinics say 30 percent of tested men are not the biological father of their children

A leading Beijing paternity testing center says up to 30 percent of tested men were not the biological fathers of their children.

The Forensic Science Center of Beijing Genomics Institute, which has 19 offices across China, said there had been a 20 percent annual increase of paternity tests since it was founded in 2002.

A clinic worker surnamed Wu said 30 percent of tested men at the clinic had not fathered their child, and that the real proportion could be higher.

"Actually, some couples coming here for the tests are not married in real life. The 'husband' that confirmed a biological father of the child is indeed the woman's lover."

Beijing Chaoyang Hospital's paternity test center also reported a sharp increase in paternity tests.

When it was founded in 2000, the clinic conducted a dozen tests. Last year, more than 600 paternity tests were carried out, said Xiao Bai, who is in charge of the center.  More..


The Guardian UK - Female Sexual Predators - Female sex offenders

Up to 64,000 women in UK 'are child-sex offenders'

After Plymouth case shocked the nation, police say number of women abusing children

The Guardian UK and The Observer, UK, by Mark Townsend and Rajeev Syal, Sunday 4 October 2009

Child sex abuse by women is significantly more widespread than previously realised, with experts estimating that there could be up to 64,000 female offenders in Britain.

Researchers from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), a child protection charity that deals with British female sex offenders, said its studies confirmed that a "fair proportion" of child abusers were women. Donald Findlater, director of research and development, said results indicated that up to 20% of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles were women.

The release of the figures comes days after a Plymouth nursery school worker, Vanessa George – together with Angela Allen from Nottingham and Colin Blanchard from Rochdale – pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young children.

Last night George's husband appealed to her to identify her victims, whom she has so far refused to name. Andrew George, 41, said: "I would plead to her, tell those parents, all those parents who want to know.

"If Vanessa has got any shred of human decency in her she should tell those parents." At her trial, Mr Justice John Royce had urged her to tell police the names of her victims.

Findlater said: "There was some suggestion it was only blokes that sexually abused children. Over time those arguments have fallen aside and people have had to wake up to the fact that actually, sadly, there is a fair proportion of women abusing as well."

There are 32,000 names on the sex offenders register. But LFF researchers suggest that the real number of paedophiles is 10 times this figure. Provisional studies suggest that between 5% and 20% are women.

The calculations put the number of female child-sex offenders in the UK at between 48,000 and 64,000, a figure Findlater describes as "highly possible". He said: "The problem is far bigger than conviction rates and, if you look at survivor studies, you end up with a very different story about the scale of the problem of female sexual abuse."   More..


Woman charged with torching car

Owen Sound Sun Times, Owen Sound, Ontario, September 12, 2009

City police have arrested and charged a 34-year-old woman with setting fire to her common-law husband's leased car last week. A 2008 Honda was set on fire in the early morning hours of Sept. 6. More..


The Globe and Mail

Two moms, two school bullies and two different ways to deal

The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest national newspaper, By Dave Ginn, August 25, 2009

One mom taking the issue to the courthouse, while another is taking her kid to kickboxing lessons

One Manitoba mother of a bullied child is taking the issue to the courthouse, while another is taking her kid to kickboxing lessons.

Earlier this month, Deborah LeBlanc filed a lawsuit against the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg, claiming her son's junior high school did not protect him from a bully.

The suit alleges that in May 2008, another student attacked Ms. LeBlanc's 13-year-old son Bryan in school, grabbing him by the throat and knocking him unconscious as his head hit the floor, which left the boy with neck injuries and possible brain trauma.

"People shouldn't have to turn to violence to prevent violence," Ms. LeBlanc says.

But another mother in the city thinks otherwise. The mom, who has asked to remain anonymous, has enrolled her teenage son in kickboxing classes and has given the boy permission to "kick the snot out of" his bully, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. More..


AAP

Affair led to mother murdering her own kids

Days after buying another woman Valentine's Day flowers, a Sydney father came home to find a trail of blood leading him to the bodies of his two young children lying next to their mother, a court has been told.

Australian Associated Press, Aug 24 2009

The woman had given the couple's three-year-old daughter and four-year-old son rat poison and an unidentified pink liquid before smothering them and killing them, court papers said.

She then tried to take her own life, the NSW Supreme Court was told.

Doctors agree the mother, from Canley Heights in Sydney's west, was suffering from "major depression" when she poisoned her children on February 19 last year.

She has pleaded not guilty to the two murders by reason of mental illness.

As her judge-alone trial began, the mother's lawyer told Justice Clifton Hoeben his client didn't think life was worth living after learning about her husband's affair.    More..


The Globe and Mail

7-year-old takes Dad's Honda for a spin

The Globe and Mail, by Les Perreaux, August 3, 2009

If it were not for the seven-year-old boy at the wheel, the video would be an unremarkable vacation shoot of a young family rolling down a forest road on Quebec's North Shore.

Instead of a happy memento of summer, the YouTube clip is now evidence in a provincial police investigation.

It's unknown how the joyride ended, but the video posted on the weekend of young Samuel driving his parents and two siblings at speeds up to 70 kilometres per hour left many Quebeckers cringing yesterday.

As Dad runs the camera, the video posted on Friday shows the boy perched on the edge of the driver's seat of the Honda CRV so he can reach the pedals. More..


Canadian Press

YouTube video of seven-year-old driver sparks police inquiry

THE CANADIAN PRESS, August 03, 2009

MONTREAL – Parents who let their seven-year-old son drive a car along a bumpy back road in Quebec and filmed it to post on YouTube could be charged if they are caught by provincial police.

Video of the youngster confidently driving a Honda sport utility vehicle surfaced on the popular video-sharing website and has been seen by police.

Letting junior test drive the car may be a rite of passage in many families but police aren't amused.

"Since seeing this video, we've opened an investigation," Sgt. Chantal Mackels said Monday.

"Once the investigation is over with, we'll give it to the Crown prosecutor who will analyze it and decide if he's issuing a criminal offence."

Mackels would not comment on what type of charges could be laid.

Besides the underage, unlicensed driver at the wheel of a swiftly moving car, none of the occupants is wearing a seatbelt.

In the video, the seven-year-old sits on the edge of the driver's seat, looking relaxed but alert as he grips the steering wheel and gets the vehicle up to 70 km/h.

His father sits in the passenger seat with the video camera and gives a running commentary, identifying the boy as Samuel from the North Shore.

Dad cheerfully notes as the speed approaches 40 km/h that "it's a little fast." More..


The Globe and Mail

Childcare is key. Good parents are, too

The real question about what's best for our kids has to take in that immutable reality: Women work

The Globe and Mail, by Judith Timson, June 23, 2009

Being a parent has always been about being judged. Way back before any so-called Mommy Wars, there were neighbours and relatives clucking about your child's atrocious manners or the fact you spoiled your kids. Or even occasionally lost track of them.

Now, of course, much of the judgment is ideologically fixated on childcare arrangements, as if everything you need to know about the quality of a child's life is revealed by whether her mother works outside the home.

Some social conservatives wistfully want to return to the land of the child-focused stay-at-home mom. Would those be the mothers I see pushing strollers distractedly while madly texting? Or the ones with kids velcroed to home computers, who are, as Bill Moyers once trenchantly put it, being "raised by appliances"? More..


Edmonton Journal logo

The verdict on Katrina Effert

Why some of her friends judge the convicted baby killer so harshly (and why other friends do not);

Edmonton Journal, By David Staples, June 28, 2009

Two juries have rendered unprecedented and controversial guilty verdicts in the murder case of Katrina Effert, but Effert's peer group in the town of Wetaskiwin is still trying to make sense of what went wrong with Effert.

They are finding no easy answers.

The Effert case is divisive. Two juries--one in Wetaskiwin in 2006, the second in Edmonton this past week--clearly saw Effert, 23, as a killer for strangling to death her newborn son Rodney. But many others argue that she is also a victim here. The recent verdict and Effert's mandatory life sentence with no parole for 10 years is an extreme departure in how the courts treat women who take the lives of their newborns. More..


Edmonton Journal logo

Baby killer conviction provokes controversy

Believed to be first mother convicted of murder, rather than infanticide, in 61 years

Edmonton Journal, By Karen Kleiss, June 24, 2009

A murder conviction handed down to a young woman who killed her newborn has touched off a debate about Canada's controversial infanticide law and the place of juries in the legal system.

Katrina Effert, 23, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance at parole for at least 10 years Tuesday after a jury convicted her over the weekend of second-degree murder.

The Wetaskiwin woman is believed to be the first Canadian mother to be convicted of murdering her baby since 1948, when Parliament added infanticide to the Criminal Code. More..


Calgary Herald

That 'piece of paper' is very valuable to kids

The Calgary Herald, Calgary, AB, By Licia Corbella, June 13, 2009

"We don't need no piece of paper from the city hall, keeping us tied and true --no . . ."

--Joni Mitchell from My Old Man (1971)

As much as I admire Joni Mitchell, the growing acceptance and prevalence of shacking up is not just some benign hippy-dippy sentiment, it's an extremely costly reality, not only for Canada's coffers but, more importantly, for the health and safety of Canada's children. That's the conclusion of a new report entitled Private Choices, Public Costs: How Failing Families Cost Us All, by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

Marriage, or that "little piece of paper", holds a lot of value, particularly for the well-being of children, write report authors Andrea Mrozek and Rebecca Walberg.

"Children with cohabiting parents are five times more likely to experience a parental split than kids of married parents," states the report. In other words, cohabiting couples with children have a 500 per cent greater likelihood of breaking up than their married counterparts!

To paraphrase another song, not only is breaking up hard to do, but it tends to throw the offspring of that cohabiting couple into poverty and dependence on the state.

Cohabiting is a trend that has grown exponentially through the decades. In 1961, 92 per cent of all Canadian families were headed by a married couple compared to just 68.6 per cent of families today. It's even lower in Quebec, where just 54.5 per cent of Quebec families are headed by married parents. More..


Angry scenes as nursery worker appears in court on sexual assault charges

Vanessa George remanded in custody after crowds jeer from public gallery and throw missiles outside court

The Guardian, UK, by Steven Morris, June 11, 2009

A court drawing of Vanessa George

A nursery school worker was jeered and spat at when she appeared in court today, charged with sexual assault and making and distributing child abuse images.

Vanessa George, 39, who worked at the Little Ted's nursery in Plymouth, was remanded in custody amid angry scenes in and outside the city's magistrates court.

George, of Plymouth, faces three counts of sexual assault on girls and one on a boy. She is also accused of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children. More..


Our blind rage at women who abuse

Because we assume women never commit child sexual abuse, we treat one who is accused with disproportionate disgust

The Guardian, UK, June 11, 2009

About 20 years ago, I gave a talk about sexual abuse to the RAF. At the end, a young airman came up to me and said, "It's not just men, you know," before hurriedly walking away. That pulled me up sharp. Up till then, like most people working in the area of sexual abuse, I'd always assumed the abusers were men.

This just isn't so. We can't be sure of the precise prevalence of sexual abuse by women, as there hasn't been enough research into the subject. Academics have just assumed it doesn't happened. But conservative estimates suggest that 5% of girls and 20% of boys who have reported being abused have been abused by women. From my own research – I have had 800 cases reported to me – I believe the more likely figure is that it is 20% of all sexual abuse that is done by women.

It is women themselves who have done most to propagate this conspiracy of silence. It has almost become a feminist axiom that it is men who are to blame for abuse and that if women are in some way implicated, it is only because they have somehow been forced or controlled into doing so against their will. Again, this turns out to be completely incorrect: 75% of the cases reported to me involved women acting on their own.  More..


More charges laid after 3 infants' remains found in Ontario home

Warning: this story contains disturbing details

CBC News, June 9, 2009

A 32-year-old woman in London, Ont., was rearrested on fresh charges Tuesday after an autopsy determined the remains of three babies — not one, as originally suspected — were found in a home on the weekend.

A police forensic identification van is seen Tuesday outside a northeast London, Ont., home where the remains of three infants were found over the weekend. (CBC)Police were called to the home in the city's northeast on Saturday after the current resident found remains of what was believed to be an infant in advanced stages of decomposition in a bucket in the basement.

An autopsy performed on Monday determined the bucket contained the remains of three infants, London police said.

The house was being rented by a woman and her boyfriend, but the couple recently split up and the woman moved out, the CBC's John Lancaster reported on Tuesday from outside the house.

According to a neighbour, the man came out of the house on Saturday with the bucket, which contained blood-soaked babies' clothing. More..


Canadian Press

Remains of 3 babies found in London home

THE CANADIAN PRESS, June 09, 2009

LONDON, Ont.–A woman described as a recluse was back in custody and facing additional charges Tuesday after police discovered that infant remains found in a southern Ontario home were in fact the badly decomposed bodies of three babies who may have died years ago.

The grisly find left police with a slew of unanswered questions ahead of an autopsy to be performed Thursday, including the sex of the children, the causes of death, and their relationship to the woman charged.

What is clear is that the bodies are severely decomposed, so much so that police initially thought they were dealing with the remains of only one child, said London police Det.-Supt. Ken Heslop.

"The bodies have been decomposing, it could be over a number of years," Heslop said. More..


IT World Canada

McAfee software watches kids' Internet use

Computer World Canada, By Jennifer Kavur - June 10, 2009

Ontario’s privacy commissioner gave a thumbs up to McAfee on Tuesday as the company unveiled Internet security software for families. Why protecting your kids online is protecting yourself

McAfee Inc. is taking online identity, relationship and privacy protection to the next level by focusing on youth, according Ross Allen, Canadian General Manager for McAfee.

Allen was on site at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in Toronto on Tuesday for the unveiling of McAfee’s new Internet security software for families.

“Many threats now come through our children visiting legitimate Internet sites which cyercriminals have hacked into,” he said.

The company is also planning to direct more attention to whitelists. “We are used to trying to blacklist and keep the bad guys out. We are going to change that and say, ‘Here’s the good guys,” said Allen.

McAfee Family Protection allows parents to specify time parameters for Internet use, including the amount of time their children spend online as well as what time of day they are allowed to access the Internet.

“The single most important factor in determining how at-risk kids are is the amount of time they are online … too much time means too much time to get into trouble,” said Parry Aftab, family Internet safety advisor to McAfee and chairman of the McAfee Consumer Advisory Board. More..


The Globe and Mail

Success, in contempt

Globe Editorial

The Globe and Mail ( Canada's largest national daily newspaper ), 20 May 2009,

Family courts are not supposed to reward abusive parents, and punish parents who play by the rules. They are not supposed to allow an abusive parent to nullify the responsible parent's role in a child's life. But that is exactly what an Ontario court has done in a case of parental alienation. It has, in effect, disposed of the child's father, perhaps permanently.

Tasnim Elwan has been given permission to take her nine-year-old girl from Canada to Saudi Arabia, where she will have "a seven-bedroom home with two nannies," thanks to Ms. Elwan's wealthy new spouse. The nine-year-old hates her father because he abandoned her - or so she thinks. When he managed, with the RCMP's help, to trace her to Saudi Arabia after her mother in effect kidnapped her, and made his way to that country for 10 days, he was permitted just 15 minutes with her. Some abandonment. And now he is to be allowed one telephone call a month, which the judge doesn't expect Ms. Elwan will allow, anyway.

Ms. Elwan makes no secret of her disgust with her former spouse, Ayman Al-Taher, a chaplain at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. She calls him a mentally disturbed supporter of Hamas and al-Qaeda. If those accusations were true, asked Mr. Justice Leonard Ricchetti, why then did she agree, in a formal, court- approved settlement, to allow him any access to their daughter? And why, he asked, make that settlement if she never intended to comply with its terms? (She was found in contempt of court for taking her child to Saudi Arabia.) More..


The Globe and Mail

JUSTICE / 'IT IS DIFFICULT TO CONCEIVE OF A MORE VICIOUS ATTACK'

Blameless father a victim in brainwashing case

Judge lets mother move child away, but condemns her tactics in denying father access

The Globe and Mail, by KIRK MAKIN, JUSTICE REPORTER, May 19, 2009

The family law system has failed Ayman Al-Taher, leaving him just one sustaining force as he battles for his severely alienated daughter: his faith.

A Muslim chaplain at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Mr. Al-Taher's last hope of seeing his 10-year-old child Ihsan slipped away last week, after Ontario Superior Court Judge Leonard Ricchetti permitted her mother to move their daughter to Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Justice Ricchetti expressed frustration that Tasnim Elwan beat the system by flagrantly violating court orders, spiriting Ihsan out of the country, and taking every measure possible to keep them apart.

Mr. Al-Taher is blameless, Judge Ricchetti said. Nonetheless, he said Ihsan has been so thoroughly alienated that granting her father any form of access would be harmful to her. More..


Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Anti-Dad bias

Why is the father always the villain on American TV?

Washington Times, Washington DC USA, Monday, May 18, 2009

Strong families need strong fathers, but American television has come a long way from the 1950s series "Father Knows Best."

Now Lifetime TV, a network known for its movies about women being endangered by men, has sunk to a new low - a reality program called "Deadbeat Dads."

In the beginning of gotcha TV, viewers enjoyed watching the police bust down a door and haul away the bad guy on a show like "Cops." That same format migrated over to Animal Planet, where the cops bust down the door and arrest the man who has been starving his dogs or kicking his cats. Now Lifetime is doing the same thing to divorced fathers.

Lifetime TV's new reality show, "Deadbeat Dads," centers around National Child Support founder Jim Durham, who finds and confronts dads who do not pay their child support. Reuters news agency reports that Mr. Durham "functions as sort of a 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' for tracking deadbeats ... it's ambush reality TV." However, the reality show, originally developed at Fox as "Bad Dads" and later dropped, is Lifetime's attempt to take cheap shots at men while ignoring the damage the show can cause children, wives and other family members. More..


Times Colonist

Victoria lawyer and children's advocate dies at 54

Lex Reynolds played key role in case of Sherry Charlie, a victim of abuse

Times Colonist, By Lindsay Kines, May 15, 2009

Lawyer Lex Reynolds dies after heart attack, at 54.

Photograph by: Darren Stone, Times Colonist, Times Colonist

Victoria lawyer Lex Reynolds, whose advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children led to improved oversight of B.C.'s child welfare system, has died.

He was 54. More..


Canadian Press

Montreal father of missing girl found in B.C. still fighting to see her

The Canadian Press, ANDY BLATCHFORD, May 12, 2009

MONTREAL - A Montreal father is still waiting for a "miracle" reunion with his 10-year-old daughter who resurfaced last month in Vancouver, more than two years after she vanished.

Transit police found Ashley Gonis after she ran away from her mother's Vancouver-area home and called 911 from a commuter train station several kilometres away.

It's now been over a month since she turned up, but her father Frank, who has sole custody, said Tuesday he still isn't allowed to speak to her.

Instead, Ashley's mother, who Quebec police allege abducted the child, is preparing to restart the family custody fight on a new battlefield - a British Columbia court.

Gonis, who had packed his daughter's teddy bears, clothes and drawings into boxes because it was too painful to look at them while she was missing, described her reappearance as a "miracle." His jubilation, however, has since eroded.

"(It's like) there's a nightmare, you wake up and then the nightmare comes back - and now here we go, Round 2," he said.

"Parents shouldn't have to go through stuff like this." More..


The Globe and Mail

FAMILY LAW

Parental alienation cases draining court resources

Study says such cases should be moved out of court system, handled by individual judges

The Globe and Mail, by KIRK MAKIN, JUSTICE REPORTER, May 13, 2009

An escalation in parental alienation allegations is draining valuable courtroom resources, a major study of 145 alienation cases between 1989-2008 concludes.

"Access problems and alienation cases - especially those which are more severe - take up a disproportionate amount of judicial time and energy," said the study, conducted by Queen's University law professor Nicholas Bala, a respected family law expert.

"One can ask whether the courts should even be trying to deal with these very challenging cases." More..


The Globe and Mail

Quebec's parents have lost the freedom to choose religious education

OPINION SECTION, by JOHN CARPAY, The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest national daily newspaper, May 11, 2009

At a trial that starts today in Drummondville, Quebec's Superior Court will be asked to decide who has ultimate authority over the education of children: their parents or the state.

Last September, Quebec's new "Ethics and Religious Culture" (ERC) course became mandatory for all elementary and secondary schools in the province, including private Catholic, Jewish and Evangelical schools.

The provincial Education Ministry has steadfastly insisted that no child or school may be exempted from the new course, even if a school offers to teach the same contents as the ERC course but present the contents in a different manner.

Before the ERC course became mandatory, Quebec's parents could choose to enroll their children in Catholic, Protestant, or non-religious moral instruction. In spite of record-low church attendance in Quebec, most parents chose Catholic or Protestant religious instruction for their children, with only a minority opting for non-religious moral education.

Having lost their freedom of choice, parents are now going to court to assert their freedom of religion and conscience, protected by both the Canadian and Quebec charters. Parents also point to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the prior right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. These parents object to a course which, in their view, denigrates and trivializes religions by portraying all of them as mere folklore.

Parents challenging the ERC course also disagree with the very young age at which students are introduced to a multitude of faiths; they want their children to learn about other religions after they have acquired a deep and comprehensive knowledge of their own. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

1 divorce: 54 hearings, 5 judges, $200,000

The Toronto Star, (Canada's largest daily newspaper), by Susan Pigg, Living Reporter, May 08, 2009

Gloria Lewis finally worked up the courage to leave her abusive husband six years ago and thought she and her two young children would be well on their way to a new life within six months.

But next week she heads to court for the 54th time and will appear before the fifth judge to handle the couple's divorce proceedings, having spent more than $200,000 in legal fees and amassed four boxes of legal documents. She spends her days working for "the greatest boss in the world" and her nights researching case law for her busy lawyer as a way of trying to keep a lid on her mounting divorce tab.

Today Lewis, who earns less than $40,000 a year, is preparing for another stint before a judge, wondering if anyone will ever put an end to what she terms "legal bullying" by her ex-husband. The biggest issue that has eaten up her savings and keeps her awake most nights: How much do kids have to see a father they fear, and will the visits be closely supervised? More..


Mother who left baby in the cold should not go to jail, court told

CBC, Friday, May 8, 2009

A Regina woman who left her baby in a stroller in the bitter cold has changed for the better, according to presentations made during a sentencing hearing on Friday.

Natacha Araya, 22, should not be behind bars according to submissions from both the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer on the case.

Araya had already pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life after leaving her six-month-old son inside a baby stroller on a Regina sidewalk on a winter night.

It was 1:10 in the morning of Feb. 28, 2008, with a temperature of –20 C, according to information provided to the court on Friday.

Court was told how Araya was seen struggling to make her way as she pulled a stroller along a snow-clogged street, at one point dragging the baby carrier behind her like a sled.

Eventually the woman gave up and walked away, leaving the stroller — with her child inside — behind.

A man driving in a truck saw what happened and thought he should check because he was not sure there was a child inside the stroller. When he discovered the boy, he took the child into his truck and called police. More..


Barrie Advance

'Bat Girl' arrested after publicity stunt

Barrie Advance, Barrie, Ontario, by Rick Vanderlinde, Staff, April 25, 2009

A woman dressed as Bat Girl climbed to the top of the water tower at the Cookstown Outlet Mall jut before noon Saturday and unfurled a banner in the name of Fathers for Justice.

Firefighters from Bradford West Gwillimbury used an aerial ladder truck to climb to an upper platform of the tower to bring the unidentified woman down. More..


The Globe and Mail

That toxic tug-of-war

In a custody battle, making peace is more important than being right. Indeed, the very notion of 'parental alienation' glosses over whose rights are at issue — namely, the child's

The Globe and Mail, Globe essay by Justice Harvey Brownstone, April 24, 2009

Several recent court cases have focused on the serious problem of parental alienation. Although many are hearing about it for the first time, it has always been a prevalent concern in high-conflict custody litigation.

Mental-health professionals debate the definition of parental alienation, and whether it is a clinical "syndrome," but few would disagree that the problem exists. In simple terms, "parental alienation" refers to a parent's persistent campaign of denigrating the other parent to their child (sometimes called "brainwashing" or "poisoning" the child against the other parent), which causes the child to unjustifiably reject the other parent.

Alienating conduct can take many forms: badmouthing the other parent's personality and conduct; portraying the other parent as dangerous, abusive or as having abandoned or not loving the child; withdrawing love and affection from a child who expresses positive feelings about the other parent; and denying the other parent contact with the child. While some mean by "parental alienation" only the misconduct of custodial parents, we judges often see high-conflict cases where both parents badmouth each other to the children, cruelly placing them in conflicts of loyalty. Moreover, such conduct is not in the exclusive domain of mothers or fathers; both engage in it. More..


Judge reserves decision in infanticide case

Joint submission from lawyers seeks no jail time for Angela Kuehl

The Ottawa Sun, by Terri Saunders, April 21, 2009

Prosecutors are not seeking a jail sentence for an emotionally disturbed woman who smothered her newborn with a plastic bag to keep her pregnancy a secret.

Angela Kuehl murderer
Angela Kuehl leaves Ottawa court today after her sentencing hearing.

In a joint submission before Judge Lynn Ratushny today, both the prosecution and defence suggested Angela Elizabeth Kuehl, 27, of Ottawa, be sentenced to a year of house arrest followed by two years of probation on a charge of infanticide. Ratushny reserved decision and will sentence Kuehl in August.

Kuehl sat quietly in the front row of the Ottawa courtroom throughout the hearing, periodically wiping her eyes with a tissue. She was surrounded by family members, friends and her new boyfriend.

Kuehl pleaded guilty to one count of infanticide in February after a charge of second-degree murder, which had originally been laid against her in the baby's death, was withdrawn. After a series of psychological assessments, it was determined that Kuehl was in a "disturbed state of mind" at the time and was not capable of fully understanding the implications of her actions.

Kuehl went to an Ottawa hospital on April 19, 2007 to seek treatment for complications following childbirth. At the time, the infant could not be located and an investigation was launched to try to find the baby.

On April 30, police officers found the body of a male infant inside a city garbage truck. An autopsy determined the child was Kuehl's and had been alive at the time of the birth. More..


Los Angeles Times

Tracy woman faces charges of kidnapping, raping and killing girl, 8

The Los Angeles Times, By Alexandra Zavis, April 15, 2009

Melissa Huckaby - female sex offender  rapist

Melissa Huckaby, 28, cries during her arraignment in which she's charged with murder with the special circumstances of kidnapping, rape with a foreign object and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child. More..


The Globe and Mail

Flouting custody orders to cost mother $35,000

The Globe and Mail, KIRK MAKIN, JUSTICE REPORTER, April 3, 2009

You can read the Court's reasons for judgment

A 42-year-old Toronto mother has been fined more than $35,000 for systematically alienating her three daughters from their father after the couple's marriage broke down.

In making the unusually harsh ruling, Madam Justice Faye McWatt of the Ontario Superior Court said that the woman - a chiropodist identified only as K.D. - blithely flouted a series of court orders aimed at restoring her children's relationship with their father.

"The respondent came to this court time and time again and consented to orders in question," Judge McWatt said. "Once she left this building, she ignored the orders, believing that she could escape scrutiny. The evidence of her contempts is overwhelming."

The ruling was the second stage of a decision Judge McWatt started last year when she ordered that the three girls be seized, sent to a parental alienation centre in the United States for deprogramming and prevented from communicating with their mother.

The children - aged 14, 11 and 9 - now live in the sole custody of their father.

"At the end of the day this was a case about a parent who did not care about what was best for her children," the father's lawyer, Harold Niman, said in an interview yesterday. "The contempt findings and penalties will hopefully make it clear to other like-minded parents that orders are to be taken seriously - and there are consequences to those parents who ignore them." More..


Associated Press

Mom drugged daughter to get her pregnant: police

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, U.S.A., April 3, 2009,

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania mother has been charged with giving her 13-year-old daughter drugs and alcohol so the woman’s boyfriend could impregnate the girl without her knowing, police said Thursday.

Shana Brown, 32, is no longer able to have children but wanted to have a baby with her current boyfriend, Duane Calloway, said Uniontown Police Detective Donald Gmitter. The pair decided to drug the girl so Calloway, 40, could have sex with her, he added.

“There’s some sick people on this case,” Gmitter said.

Brown has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, turned herself in Thursday and was being held in the Fayette County jail, police said. Brown’s attorney did not return a call for comment.

Calloway faces several counts of attempted rape. He was arrested Wednesday and remains in jail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

The three attacks occurred in Brown’s home in Uniontown, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, according to the criminal complaint. More..


National Post

Quebec parental discipline case may go to Supreme Court of Canada

National Post, By Marianne White, Canwest News Service, April 7, 2009

QUEBEC — The lawyer for a Quebec man whose 12-year-old daughter took him to court to challenge his punishment said Tuesday the case might be taken to the country's top court after the father's appeal was quashed.

The Quebec Court of Appeal sided with the girl, who won a decision from a lower court last June overruling her father's decision to ban her from a school trip.

The court stated that it is a question of parental authority and that what should have been a daily parenting decision burst into a major conflict. But the girl was right to ask the Quebec Superior Court to resolve the matter because her divorced parents couldn't agree, it added.

The mother was in favour of the school trip while the father forbade the girl from going because she didn't follow his orders to stay off the Internet and got into a fight with her stepmother. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Slain toddler at centre of parental custody war

Mother tried to deny father access to boy, court documents show

The Toronto Star, Emily Mathieu, STAFF REPORTER, April 01, 2009

In the months leading up to the death of Jayden Marc-Anthony Bernard, the toddler's parents were involved in a bitter custody dispute, according to court documents.

The documents show the father of the 18-month-old boy, who was found dead inside a parked car last week, had filed for joint custody after the child's mother attempted to deny him access to his son.

Shortly after the boy's body was discovered, police charged his mother with first-degree murder. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Parental alienation syndrome leaves bruises deep inside

The Toronto Star, by Susan Pigg, 31 March 2009

In the end, it was one tiny voice that silenced anyone who still had doubts that parental alienation is real and one of the most insidious forms of child abuse.

The voice wasn't real – Dashiell Hart opened his arms wide and threw himself off a Vancouver bridge eight years ago at the age of 16.

But his voice was brought to life at a Toronto conference by his devastated mother, Pamela Richardson, who endured a 12-year court battle with her ex-husband to try to win back the heart and mind of her son.

Dash was just one tiny soldier in the growing army of children who are becoming collateral damage in bitter battles between ex-spouses that are overwhelming Canada's divorce courts, the first Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) heard recently in Toronto.

"Over 12 years I had four different sets of lawyers trying to convince the courts my son, who lived less than 10 minutes' drive from me, needed to see the mother who loved and raised him," Richardson told the conference.  More..


The Australian

Mother loses kids for anti-dad stance

The Australian, Australia's national daily newspaper, by Caroline Overington, March 31, 2009

TWO children who have been in the care of their mother since their parents separated in 2005 have been sent from Hobart to live with their father in Melbourne after the Family Court heard the mother encouraged them to have "negative" feelings about their dad.

The two children - a girl, aged nine, and a boy, aged seven - had been struggling with "change overs" between parents, saying things such as "I don't want to go" and "I don't have to go" when their father arrived in Tasmania from Melbourne to collect them for access visits.

The court found the mother did not discourage them from saying these things, and did not encourage a positive relationship between the children and their father. More..


Altanta Journal-Constitution

$2.3M awarded in suit over botched circumcision

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Altanta Georgia, USA, by TY TAGAMI, Monday, March 30, 2009

A Fulton County jury has awarded $1.8 million in damages to a boy whose penis was severed in a botched circumcision.

The state court jury gave another $500,000 to the boy’s mother in the decision rendered Friday.

The case involves a child, identified only as D.P. Jr., who was born at South Fulton Medical Center in 2004. In a suit filed two years later, his mother contended that the doctor who circumcised him removed too much tissue and that his pediatrician failed to respond when a nurse complained of excessive bleeding.

The tip of the penis was placed in a biohazard bag and might have been reattached if a urologist had attended to the boy within eight hours, one of the mother’s lawyers, David J. Llewellyn of Atlanta, said.

The jury found that both the pediatrician, Dr. Cheryl Kendall, and the physician who performed the circumcision, Dr. Haiba Sonyika, were negligent. South Fulton Medical Center was absolved of liability. More..


Canadian Press

Quebec man wants name stricken from birth certificate of child who isn't his

The Canadian Press, March 30, 2009

MONTREAL — A Quebec man who has failed to have his name removed from the birth certificate of a young girl he found out was not his biological daughter wants to argue his case before the Supreme Court of Canada.

The businessman has already struck out in Quebec Superior Court and in the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Both courts ruled that paternity is ironclad if a man's name is on the birth certificate, if that status is not contested within a year of the child's birth and if other factors, including the same family name, indicate obvious bonds between the child and the parents.

The courts ruled there is little room for interpretation, but the man's lawyer disagreed with both rulings.  More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Slain baby's mother tried to kill self, police say

Woman's 911 call led police to her son's body

Toronto Star, by Bob Mitchell STAFF REPORTER, March 28, 2009

A 34-year-old mother of three from Bolton tried to commit suicide after allegedly killing her 18-month-old baby boy, police say.

Peel police yesterday found the dead infant in the passenger seat of a Honda parked in an underground parking garage of a downtown Mississauga office building.

The child's mother, Nadine Bernard, who had called 911 a little earlier, was found at the scene and taken to hospital, police said.

"We believe she attempted to commit suicide," Peel Const. Wayne Patterson said. "She was taken to hospital and treated." More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Mother guilty of feeding cocaine to toddler

The Toronto Star, Peter Small Courts Bureau, April 02, 2009

A 26-year-old mother has been convicted of steadily giving her toddler cocaine over 14 months, finally administering a near-lethal dose that left him brain-damaged.

"It's difficult to see what would motivate her to give him cocaine, possibly to stop his crying, or to get him to sleep, or to control him. Was it to punish him or to get back at the father?" Justice Tamarin Dunnet said yesterday. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

The artful menace of female bullying

Toronto Star, by Cathal Kelly, March 28, 2009

When I was 10, a classmate named Dino would terrorize me after school each day. It became a tired ritual. Dino would wait just off school property. Despite my feeble attempts at evasion, Dino would spot me and chase me down. Once caught, I got a drawn-out beating and went home snivelling.

Eventually, word filtered up to my mother. She tried the new-world way by talking to teachers. When that didn't work, she retreated to territory more familiar to someone raised in rural Ireland: violence.

She held one small fist up to my face for emphasis and said, "When he's not looking, jump him and kick him senseless." Fear of my mother trumped fear of any bully. I worked myself up into a teary frenzy.

When Dino innocently passed in my general direction, I turned on him like a rabid squirrel. More on account of surprise than fighting ability, I found myself on top of him. I grabbed two handfuls of hair and pranged his head into the playground asphalt until I'd opened a good-sized gash. Dino and I were never exactly friendly after that, but we had established an understanding. More..


National Post

Judge chastises Norway after woman, daughters flee Canada

The National Post, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, By Lori Coolican, March 26, 2009

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan judge slammed the Norwegian government last month for providing new passports to help a woman flee Canada with two children in the midst of a nasty, transatlantic custody battle.

“The Norwegian government played a pivotal role in the breach of orders of this court. (They) could not have left Canada without its assistance,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Geoff Dufour remarked in a Feb. 19 written decision obtained recently by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Man gets 6 1/2 years for killing baby

Garfield Sibblies, 40, admitted to taking out his frustration on infant, who suffered 38 injuries

Toronto Star, Bob Mitchell STAFF REPORTER, March 24, 2009

A son of an internationally acclaimed reggae singer will likely spend less than another six months in jail after being given a 6 1/2-year federal prison sentence yesterday for killing a child under his care. More..


The Globe and Mail

Rihanna, M.T. trial

Feminism in the Web era: It ain't pretty

Globe and Mail, by JUDITH TIMSON, March 24, 2009

Recent events have made me wonder despairingly whether decades of modern feminism have made any significant dent at all in the quality of relationships between young women and men.

The Web chatter by teenage girls who have been casually forgiving of rapper Chris Brown's alleged battering of his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, has stymied me. If you judge by some of the posts, many girls seem to think she must have done something to provoke it, or that she is equally to blame. A New York Times story last week, headlined "Teenage girls stand by their man," quoted one Grade 9er: "She probably made him mad for him to react like that. You know, like, bring it on?"

Equally frustrating were the soulless text messages from the shocking M.T. murder trial in Toronto, in which a 17-year-old girl who can only be identified as M.T. was convicted of first-degree murder last week after spurring her boyfriend to stab another girl to death, partly in exchange for sexual favours. More..


National Post

Custody judges rule on vengeance

Courts criticized for recognizing ‘parental alienation’

National Post,  ( Canada's 2nd largest national daily newspaper), by Kathryn Blaze Carlson, Friday, March 27, 2009

Toronto -- The scope of the courts' reach into family affairs has long been contentious, but a recent trend in Canada's legal system has brought a new controversy that has some onlookers praising judges and others condemning them for accepting what they call "voodoo science."

More than ever before, Canada's judges are recognizing that some children of divorced and warring parents are not simply living an unfortunate predicament, but rather are victims of child abuse and suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome. More..


The Globe and Mail

Gender bias evident in parental alienation cases

Mothers are more likely to be the parent behind children's estrangement, yet fathers more often ordered into counselling, study finds

The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest national newspaper, by KIRK MAKIN, Justice Reporter, Saturday, March 28, 2009

JUSTICE REPORTER — A study of alienated children has found that mothers were significantly more likely to be the parent who emotionally poisoned their children than were fathers.

Toronto family lawyer Gene Colman told a Toronto symposium yesterday that of 74 court rulings that found parental alienation since 1987, the mother was the alienator in 50 cases. The father was the alienating parent in 24.

"I'm not trying to dump on moms," Mr. Colman told about 150 psychologists, family lawyers, mediators and activist parents. "I'm just saying, that is what the data reveal."

In parental alienation syndrome, an estranged parent systematically brainwashes a child into hating the other parent. The profile of the syndrome escalated over the past year, after three Ontario judges ordered that children be removed from an alienating parent and taken to U.S. clinics for deprogramming therapy.

Mr. Colman said that alienating fathers were twice as likely to be ordered to undergo counselling as were mothers in alienation cases - a finding that raises serious questions about whether judges are exhibiting gender biases.  More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Mother charged in toddler's death

Infant's body found in passenger seat of car parked in underground garage

Bob Mitchell, Staff Reporter, March 27, 2009

A 34-year-old Bolton mother has been charged in the slaying of her 18-month old child.

The toddler's body was found earlier today in a car parked in an underground garage of the Mississauga Executive Centre located directly across from Square One Shopping Centre.

The woman is to appear later this afternoon in a Brampton courtroom. She will be charged with first-degree murder. More..


The Australian

Dads who fight win favour in custody cases

FATHERS who want custody of their children will have more success in the Family Court than by trying to strike a deal with their ex-partners.

The Australian, Australia's national daily newspaper, By Michael Pelly, March 24, 2009

In a break with conventional wisdom, fathers are twice as likely to get majority custody of their children if they take their fight to the court.

A Family Court review shows fathers were given majority custody in 17 per cent of litigated cases, but only in 8 per cent of those settled by consent, or early agreement, with the mothers.

The review of the shared parental responsibility reforms of 2006 shows that in 14 per cent of litigated cases, the father received between 30 and 45 per cent of custody. This figure fell to 11 per cent for early agreements.

The review shows that, if fathers are given less than 30 per cent custody, abuse and violence are the main reasons. And about one in 12 court cases end with an order that a child should spend time with their grandparents.

The reforms, passed by the Howard government, introduced a rebuttable presumption of "equal time" parenting and were aimed at promoting co-operation over conflict. More..


The Globe and Mail

PSYCHOLOGY: MIND GAMES

The family Pandora's Box

Some victims of parental alienation syndrome don't realize until adulthood that one parent turned them against the other

The Globe and Mail, by Tralee Pearce, March 24, 2009

After Joe Rabiega's parents divorced, when he was an adolescent, his father repeatedly told him his mother had abandoned him. The boy had to return any gifts that came from his mother's side of the family and, twice daily, he had to pledge his allegiance to his father.

"I was never allowed to have anything to do with her," he says from his home in Raleigh, N.C. "The consequences were dire if I did. He said I would have nobody."

Even though Mr. Rabiega, now 33, had witnessed ugly behaviour by his father toward his mother and knew his dad to be an erratic alcoholic, it wasn't until he sought counselling for personal problems in his early 20s that his past snapped into focus: He had been the victim of parental alienation syndrome - his father had systematically turned him against his mother.

The phenomenon, coined by psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner in 1985, has gained traction recently due to a number of recent high-profile divorce cases in Canada - not to mention the very public case of movie star Alec Baldwin, who accused his former wife, Kim Basinger, of parental alienation. More..


Scientific American

DNA on the Loose: Next-Gen Blood Tests Tap Free-Floating Genetic Material

Tests using floating nucleic acids could diagnose disease, monitor pregnancy and weed out "mad" cows

Scientific American, By Barbara Juncosa, 18 March 2009

Free-floating messages in the bloodstream could soon provide a unique window into the body. Researchers worldwide are racing to decipher circulating genetic material for better ways to diagnose disease, monitor pregnancy, and even improve food safety.

Circulating DNA and RNA—temporary gene copies that act as blueprints for protein production—was first discovered in 1948. Researchers still do not fully understand how the free-floating genetic fragments (chemically referred to as nucleic acids) survive outside the protective barriers of cells, but recent technological advances now allow scientists to comb through these tiny messages for clues about human health.

Traditional genetic screens, such as paternity tests and criminal profiling, utilize the abundant DNA stored in the nuclei of circulating blood cells. Although these tests shed light on a person's genetic inheritance, they do not provide insights on the current health of specific tissues and organs—information that could potentially be gleaned from the free nucleic acids. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

How to deal with 'toxic' parents

Courts ill-equipped to handle parental alienation, leaving children at greater risk of emotional damage

The Toronto Star, Susan Pigg, LIVING REPORTER, March 14, 2009

When Toronto lawyer Brian Ludmer speaks about the suffering caused by parental alienation, the words come from his head and his heart.

He's seen the devastation of a mother's orchestrated campaign to make her children hate their father, or how a dad can use a 4-year-old as a weapon against his mother in the ugly aftermath of divorce.  More..


Canadian Press

B.C. judge bars mother from seeing daughter

Court orders one-year ban after 'unfounded' abuse allegations made about teenager's father

THE CANADIAN PRESS, March 10, 2009

VANCOUVER – In a case of extreme parental alienation, a mother has been banned by a B.C. Supreme Court judge from seeing her teenage daughter for more than a year.

Because of the urgency of the matter, Justice Donna Martinson issued the terse, two-page ruling outlining 15 conditions the parents must follow, including that the mother, known only as Ms. A, not see her daughter until at least March 31, 2010.

The decision came after the mother alleged extreme emotional abuse by the father, which she claimed was putting the teenager's safety at risk.

"I am satisfied that Ms. A's allegations are unfounded," Martinson wrote.

"I am further satisfied that she has continued to undermine the relationship between M and her father and has acted in ways that are detrimental to M's psychological healing." More..


Canadian Press

Ontario-wide strategy needed for male sex abuse victims, inquiry told

Canadian Press, By Allison Jones in Toronto, February 27, 2009

CORNWALL, Ont. — Male victims of childhood sexual abuse need specialized support services and a provincial ombudsman dedicated to their plight, the Cornwall inquiry heard Friday as the $40-million probe drew to a close after three years of testimony.

The inquiry, established to examine institutional responses to allegations of sexual abuse in eastern Ontario, spent the majority of its final week hearing submissions dealing with allegations that a pedophile clan operated with impunity in the city for decades.

Lawyers at the inquiry cast the clan stories as fabrications spread by a misguided police officer and embraced by a panic-stricken community.

On Friday, the submissions focused on healing and reconciliation for the community and victims.

Following a complaint in 1992 that a former altar boy had been sexually abused by a priest and a probation officer, many others came forward to allege they had also been abused by prominent people decades ago.

Many of those complainants were men, and a lawyer for the counselling group The Men's Project said even though there were a lot of community services in the city at the time, none could adequately handle men's counselling.

"In fact, they had to bring in my client from Ottawa because they were the only ones with expertise to deal with this," David Bennett told the inquiry.

"Even though there were existing social services they just weren't able to deal with it and (that's) why there needs to be a specialized area."

Both The Men's Project and the Victims Group urged the commissioner to recommend that the Ontario government create victim treatment service centres for male survivors of sexual abuse provincewide.

Both groups also called for the province to create a sex abuse ombudsman.

"There has been a theme from survivors of not being believed, getting the run-around, being kept in the dark, which for some had the effect of re-victimization," the Men's Project said in its written submissions. "An ombudsman could rectify this."

In addition, the government needs to remedy how treatment for sexual abuse victims is funded, the Men's Project said. More..


Visayan Daily Star Newspaper

DNA test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge

The Visayan Daily Star, February 28, 2009

Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Ray Alan Drilon has annulled the marriage of a Negrense couple after a DNA test showed that the child borne by the wife was not the biological offspring of the husband who works abroad.

The family court judge ruled that the marriage of the couple, whose names are being withheld by the DAILY STAR on the request of the court, was null and void.

Due to fraud committed by the wife in getting her overseas worker husband to marry her, properties acquired during their marriage are awarded in favor of the husband, the judge said in his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday.

The judge also declared that since the overseas worker is not the biological, much less the legitimate father of the child of the woman, the Civil Registrar is ordered to change the surname of the child to the mother’s maiden name and remove the name of the plaintiff as father of the child. More..


The Sun - Dad at 13
Baby-faced boy Alfie Pat

Baby-faced boy Alfie Patten is father at 13

The Sun, UK, By LUCY HAGAN, Published: 13 Feb 2009

BOY dad Alfie Patten yesterday admitted he does not know how much nappies cost — but said: “I think it’s a lot.”

Baby-faced Alfie, who is 13 but looks more like eight, became a father four days ago when his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman gave birth to 7lb 3oz Maisie Roxanne.

He told how he and Chantelle, 15, decided against an abortion after discovering she was pregnant.

The shy lad, whose voice has not yet broken, said: “I thought it would be good to have a baby.

“I didn’t think about how we would afford it. I don’t really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10.” More..


Associated Press

Woman accused of trying to swap kids for $175 and a cockatoo

Associated Press, U.S.A., February 26, 2009

NEW ORLEANS -- A Louisiana woman is accused of trading two young children in her care for a pet cockatoo and $175 cash from a couple who had been trying for years to have their own child, authorities said Thursday.

Donna Greenwell, 53, a long-haul trucker with an arrest record from Pitkin, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, along with would-be adoptive parents Paul J. Romero, 46, and Brandy Lynn Romero, 27, of Evangeline Parish.   More..


Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK, By Graham Smith, 18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001. More..


ABC News USA

First the Affair, Then Paternity Test, Then Abortion?

Concerns Grow in the U.K. That the Rise in Prenatal Paternity Tests Leads to Abortions

ABC News,(American) LONDON, UK, Jan. 27, 2009 — By AMMU KANNAMPILLY

The illegal use of DNA testing to determine the sex of fetuses in the developing world is widely known, but now, concern is growing in the United Kingdom that the availability of prenatal paternity tests is encouraging women to terminate fetuses that are the result of extramarital affairs.

According to Dan Leigh, the marketing director with DNA Solutions, a global DNA test firm with offices in 40 countries, the number of women opting for the prenatal paternity test shot up from 20 in 2002 to 500 last year.

"The testing technology has improved vastly," Leigh told ABC News. "It's become much more accessible."

"It's fairly common to see women take this test after their husbands have found out about an affair and want to know if they have fathered the child their wife is carrying," Leigh said. More..


The Daily Mail UK

Paternity fraud fight of husband 'duped for 17 years by wife'

The Daily Mail, UK, By Lucy Ballinger, 22nd January 2009

A husband was conned for 17 years by his wife into bringing up her lover's child as his own, a court heard yesterday.

Mark Webb only found out the truth from DNA tests conducted after the girl turned 18, it is alleged. He has tried to sue his ex-wife Lydia Chapman for deceiving him over the paternity of her daughter.

In the first 'paternity fraud' case to reach the Appeal Court, Mr Webb claimed his former wife and her alleged lover conceived the girl at a hotel in 1985. More..


Sydney Morning Herald

Biology, not heart, provokes infidelity

Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, Deborah Smith, Science Editor, January 15, 2009

BEAUTIFUL women who have affairs can now blame it on their sex hormones.

Women with higher levels of oestradiol, a form of oestrogen, not only look and feel more attractive, they are also more likely to cheat on their partners, a new study has found. More..


The Globe and Mail

Man who didn't father twins must pay child support

The Globe and Mail, by KIRK MAKIN, January 7, 2009

A Toronto man is on the hook to pay child support, notwithstanding a DNA test that proved he is not the biological father of his ex-wife's twins, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled.

Madam Justice Katherine van Rensburg ordered Pasqualino Cornelio to continue paying child support to the 16-year-old twins – regardless of whether he was bamboozled by a philandering wife.

“While the failure of Anciolina Cornelio to disclose to her husband the fact that she had an extramarital affair – and that the twins might not be his biological children – may have been a moral wrong against Mr. Cornelio, it is a wrong that does not afford him a legal remedy to recover child support he has already paid, and that does not permit him to stop paying child support,” Judge van Rensburg said.  More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Mother of slain child avoids jail

The Toronto Star, Precious Yutangco, Staff Reporter, January 09, 2009

The mother of a 7-year-old girl who was allegedly beaten to death by two guardians last year walked out of court a free woman yesterday.

After considering the fact that the drug charge Bernice Sampson was facing was what had prompted her to give custody of her daughter, Katelynn Sampson, to the girl's alleged killers, the judge handed down a four-month conditional discharge rather than jail time. More..


Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Missed shots spur kids' suspension

Students lacking required vaccinations may be kept out of school

The Toronto Star, Kristin Rushowy, EDUCATION REPORTER, January 2, 2009

They haven't done anything violent, illegal or even behaved badly.

But thousands of students across the province are suspended – or threatened with suspension – for not keeping up to date with vaccinations.

It's a necessary step to keep diseases from spreading, and to do that, high compliance rates are needed, says Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto's associate medical officer of health. Toronto Public Health oversees vaccination compliance for the city's school boards and private schools.   More..