If you had to look up the word “inimical” after reading the Fathers & Families article title (linked at the end of this article), you’re not alone. The intelligent dudes at F&F, god bless ‘em, don’t make it easy for us proles to get our heads around stuff sometimes. And I have a degree in Literature! In all fairness, the New Hampshire court was the one that used “inimical,” but F&F ran with it.
Anyway, it’s a great moment for fathers (don’t worry, it’ll pass and you’ll be back to the bottom of the socio-familial order soon!) – as a New Hampshire Supreme Court decided that a particular mother’s custody was not in her children’s best interests.
James Miller and Janet Todd met online and (without marrying) had two daughters. As the relationship blossomed, Todd accused Miller of abusing the girls – with the help (read: corroboration) of her parents.
During this ordeal, Todd is awarded custody – and Miller is given visitation rights. The allegations of sexual abuse go on for years. Every allegation was investigated and Miller no evidence of sexual abuse was ever found. Unfortunately, embarrassing and invasive exams are given, even and especially to children when claims of sexual abuse are mentioned.
Here’s the kicker – during the investigations into the sexual abuse, Miller was no allowed to see his children at all. The investigations and proceedings went on for over two years.
The court ordered a psychologist to come in and examine the whole family. What she found was astounding; her 88-page report concluded that there was no evidence of sexual abuse by Miller. Also, Todd might not have intended to falsely accuse Miller of abuse. I’m not sure how it works or what it’s called, but the psychologist said that Todd “will not only fail to recognize or foresee the consequences of her actions at times, but that she will also become confused at times in separating fantasy from reality.” So, in other words, she plays World of Warcraft. And furthermore, the psychologist mentioned that Todd’s parents used the power of suggestion to poison their daughter and by proxy, granddaughters.
So – and this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the New Hampshire court decided that the original trial court’s decision to award Todd with custody must be reconsidered, using the knowledge from all the proceedings that happened between then and now – determining the children’s best interests, which the New Hampshire Supreme Court flat-out said were not any of the things Todd had done.
And as I mentioned in another post today, the ultimate losers are always the kids. The father, though legally and emotionally battered, is an adult, and understands (can anyone truly understand) “the system” and how biased it can be. The children, however, are innocent, and caught in the middle. Invasive physical checks and emotional second-guesses have already hurt them – and they’ve still got a whole lifetime for emotional reconcilement. At least they’ll now have a father with whom they can begin to rebuild a relationship.
Believe it or not, that’s not the whole story. If you’d like to read more of the details, start from scratch over at F&F. They’ve got the court’s PDF linked, which is just about as dry (but interesting and important) as it gets.
Sauce: Fathers & Families