Saturday, May 23, 2015

FIve-year-old daughter living with sex offender dad in custody battle (Stuart, Florida)

Of course UNNAMED DAD's name is hidden and his identity protected.

Custody battle: Daughter living with sex offender dad

By: Brian Entin
Posted: 6:58 PM, May 22, 2015 Updated: 7:04 AM, May 23, 2015 

STUART, Fla. - A custody battle that is making news internationally is playing out in a Stuart courtroom.

A 7-year-old girl is living with her father who is a registered sex offender, despite the mother's battle to get her daughter back.

"Can you imagine how I am feeling? She has been with him for fourteen months," the mother, Karla, said.

WPTV is not using the mother or father's last name to protect the identity of the underage girl. Karla is from Brazil.

She says she did not realize her then husband was a registered sex offender until after they were married and she was pregnant.

"Can you imagine my surprise," she said. Karla ran off with her daughter to Texas after she says her daughter complained about being abused.

According to a Department of Children and Families report from 2010 obtained by WPTV, "the child has made statements indicating that her father has molested her."

The report says the investigation was closed with "verified findings of sexual abuse."

The father was never charged. After nearly three years on the run, Karla was arrested and the father was given custody.

 Karla's been fighting since to regain custody but says a lack of money kept her from getting good legal representation.

"I haven't had the financial resources for this. I have to pay my lawyer with money from the church and friends," the mother said.

The mother says she is only allowed to see her daughter for a few hours under supervision on Saturdays.

"You can't imagine the pain, but every time the pain hurts me really hard I have to close my eyes and see my daughter's smile," the mother Karla said.

The father's lawyer William Hess says there is more to the story. "The mother's statements are self-serving and frankly they are false.

She has made every effort to conceal this child from the father and she continues to try to do that," Hess said.

Martin County Judge Laurie Buchanan called the allegations "very serious" in court, but did not make a decision on Friday because the father's attorney said he wasn't given all discovery in the case.

Another hearing is set for the end of July.