We’ve heard of some pretty sketchy custody cases lately. The one where the mom lost custody of her kids because she has breast cancer leaps to mind as a particularly awful miscarriage of justice. But this case from Oregon just about takes it.
A mom in Oregon is suing for sole custody of her kids after learning that her ex-husband got back together with his ex-wife. The ex-wife who shot and killed their two daughters as the girls slept in their beds in 1991. Yes, that was 20 years ago. Yes, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Yes, she was released from a California mental hospital after four years and was deemed not dangerous.
But she still killed her children. You’d think any judge would find “not living with a child murderer” to be in the best interests of a child.
You’d be wrong. The judge that initially heard the case found no reason to change the current shared custody arrangement. Even though the father had been lying to the mother for years about the identity of his “new” wife, and had trained their kids to call her by an assumed name. You’d think dishonesty on that scale would be reason enough to award custody to the mother. Not to mention that this guy is so disturbed he was willing to shack back up with the woman who murdered his first two kids.
What was he thinking? I know love is powerful stuff, but I cannot imagine being able to live another day with someone who shot and killed my children. No matter what their reasoning was. The thought that he could remarry, have two more kids, and then deliberately bring that woman back into his life and the lives of his new children is…well, disturbing doesn’t really cover it.
It’s difficult to imagine what the judge was thinking. Maybe this stepmother really isn’t a threat to the boys who live part of the time in her home. Or maybe she will go off the deep end one day and hurt them. There’s no way of knowing, and her past certainly shows it’s possible. How could it be better for them to continue living with her than to be full-time in the home of their stable, loving parent who is not married to a child-killer?
Parents can lose custody for drunk driving convictions, financial problems and all kinds of relatively mundane things. Why would a judge not err on the side of caution in this case?
It’s extremely troubling. I can only hope her appeal is successful.