Category Archives: New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct

CHILDREN SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TRADE PRIVACY FOR PROTECTION


 

I met a wonderful woman by the name of Margaret Roddin Besen. She is intelligent, honest and the loving mother of two beautiful children who she has not been allowed to see in almost a year. Judge William J. Kent of Suffolk County Supreme Court in Central Islip remanded her son and daughter to the sole custody of their father on January 8, 2013 and gave her supervised visitation only, which has now been terminated. There are no abuse or neglect charges against her at all. There has never been justification for any of this. Her custody attorney Margaret Shaefler of Hauppauge, appointed to Margaret by the court stated in writing that their recommendations “DEFIED LOGIC”.

The children have been crying out for help for years,  yet not one person in power has stepped up to help them. Why not? How can this go on? Her story has left me speechless and in tears. It is one of the worst cases of child abuse and political and judicial corruption I have ever seen.

Will you be one who will stand up to help these children?

Written by Colleen Callan

Sunday, 31 March 2013
This is one of the most difficult stories I may ever have to write. The children involved are about to trade their privacy for protection. It is about the failure of a handful of individuals to protect two small children from the alleged sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of their politically connected father.

The children in the case are so desperate for help that they have made videos of their allegations, naming the people who both abused their trust and failed to protect them… as was their job. If the children are forced to release this video to social media as they are ready to do, then a ten-year old boy will have to expose his identity and the fact that he has gotten a sexually transmitted disease (according to the child and documented medical evidence) allegedly from improper touching by his own father. The daughter claims to have had improper touching as well and in the video holds up pieces of paper with the names of some of those who hurt and failed to protect them, including their court appointed law guardian.

These are the words on little slips of paper, the young girl holds up one at a time in the video:

Hi!
I’m 13 years old
I love to dance
I have a little brother
He is ten
We need help
We have been hurt
my brother got a bloody nose
We both have gotten our arms (hurt) too
I got a black and blue
and my brother got a
sexually transmitted disease on his butt
I wish Faith Herman CPS worker Lisa Towns
Nancy? Other Cps workers
lots of other CPS workers
& I don’t remember names
Thanks to them my dad
Who was the cause of all this
has full custody
I want to go back to my moms
Who did nothing wrong and
she is safe
my attorney-Joy Jorgenson
she wouldn’t help us at all
she wouldn’t even call my brother in to talk about his
bloody nose and he was in the waiting room
comment below with advice
Thank you!
End of Video

The little girl is planning to release it with her full face showing…and the words on little pieces of colored paper…and the music playing in the background is the song “Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride.

These are the lyrics:
She walks to school with the lunch she packed
Nobody knows what she’s holding back
Wearing the same dress she wore yesterday
She hides the bruises with the linen and lace, oh
The teacher wonders but she doesn’t ask
It’s hard to see the pain behind the mask
Bearing the burden of a secret storm
Sometimes she wishes she was never born
Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone
In a world that she can’t rise above
But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place
Where she’s loved concrete angel
Somebody cries in the middle of the night
The neighbors hear but they turn out the light
A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate
When morning comes it will be too late
Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone
In a world that she can’t rise above
But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place
Where she’s loved concrete angel
A statue stands in a shaded place
An angel girl with an upturned face
A name is written on a polished rock
A broken heart that the world forgot
Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone
In a world that she can’t rise above
But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place
Where she’s loved concrete angel
Songwriter(s): Stephanie Kay Bentley Copyright: Songs Of Polygram Int. Inc., Hopechest Music

In the video, the thirteen year old girl holds up pieces of paper saying she and her ten-year old brother are being abused, that her little brother has a sexually transmitted disease and they need help. She says she has told several people at Child Protective Services (CPS) to no avail. With the music playing in the background it is a heartbreaking image and statement. It is devastating to see.

It is the opinion of this reporter that these children should not have had to resort to even making this video in the first place. Now because no one will help them, they are about to put it out on social media trading their personal privacy for protection. This should not have to happen. So to prevent that, I am going to try to tell their story using just some of the documented evidence the mother has provided to me and somehow walk a fine line to get the children help without actually revealing their identities. When you read this, if you will call those involved and give your opinion, perhaps it would force them to protect the children.

THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

Because the father in the story is a political figure on Long Island and has had fundraisers for many high level Suffolk County politicos, in August, 2012 the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office asked Judge James Hudson (Riverhead) to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case of alleged abuse of the children by the father/attorney/politician.

Last Thursday March 28, 2013 a copy of a letter was sent by E-Mail to Freelance Investigations containing information that reveals these children are allegedly not being protected. It was a letter from the mother, sent to the Special Prosecutor in the case, requesting his recusal in the case for “his failure to act and protect” her children. The letter was cc’d to Freelance Investigations as well as to several New York State Bar Associations, the Suffolk County District Attorney, The New York State Inspector General’s Office, The New York State Attorney’s General as well as several others.

According to the mother, last Thursday, when speaking at a meeting with the Special Prosecutor, Kevin Keating and Detective Bruce Croce of the Suffolk County Police Special Victim’s Unit (Detective Croce was assigned to the case in July of 2012) the mother said they admitted there was still an ongoing investigation. The mother says she has provided both of them with medical evidence of a sexually transmitted disease her son had gotten last fall. In the document, the child admitted his father had been snuggling naked with him and putting his private parts in his buttocks and groin area. The doctor was the only person in this entire case who did the right thing, according to the mother. The doctor called Child Protective Services as the law demands whenever there is a question of alleged sexual abuse.

The daughter told authorities she took the door off the hinges of the father’s bedroom to stop him from hurting her and her brother, according to the mother. The daughter says she is also a victim of sexual abuse by the father and is willing to tell anyone who will listen what has happened to her and her brother, according to the mother. In the letter, the mother asks why the Special Prosecutor has yet to interview her children in nearly eight months since he was assigned to the case. The daughter has called the Police to report the abuse, since she and her brother have been put by the Judge in the case in the sole custody of the father since January of this year. The mother says at one point CPS admitted there may have been touching of the daughter’s private parts over several years by the father, but they told her they couldn’t prove that he got sexual gratification from the touching, so they hesitated to name him. Since when is the need to prove gratification by the alleged pedophile a requirement?

The mother said the Special Prosecutor told her last week he could probably get an indictment against the father if he presented this case to the Grand Jury, but then the children would have to go through a long protracted trial, lasting years perhaps. according to him. The mother said the children would prefer that to the continued abuse. If they are ready, able and willing to go public now, she said she asked the Special Prosecutor last week, then wouldn’t it be better to tell their story to the Grand Jury, because at least the Grand Jury testimony is sealed and they could protect their identities?

 

IN GOD WE STILL TRUST…AMERICA’S SONG FOR THE PEOPLE


On Facebook today, November 11, 2014, I saw this video and heard this song by Diamond Rio for the first time, In God We Still Trust. I was extremely moved by this song, not just because it is Veteran’s Day and my Dad was a  World War II veteran; not just because my mother was kidnapped and imprisoned until her death by Mary Giordano, elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY ; but because of the horrible state of affairs our amazing country is in.

“You place your hand on His Bible and you swear to tell the truth.” I watched that happen in the courtroom during my mother’s guardianship trial; they all swore to tell the truth…none did. I watched them commit perjury and sat there in shock, wondering how they could just lie and lie and lie and how Judge Joel Asarch just allowed it to go on, while he sat under the flag of our great country.

People are the ones who make up a country. There are a small percentage of individuals in the world who are working very hard towards the destruction of America. Let’s stop them now. Let us work as one and save our great land from those whose only goal is to destroy America. To take a quote from another great song, “This is my country, land that I love.”

D.A. Policies Fail to Protect Rights


D.A. Policies Fail to Protect rights

By Richard D. Willstatter

New York Law Journal

July 31, 2012

State Bar Criminal Justice Section Chair Marvin Schechter should be commended for publicly stating a simple but uncomfortable truth about the state and federal criminal justice system: Prosecutors all too frequently violate defendants’ right to receive favorable information. The district attorneys association’s condemnation of Schechter’s statement (“D.A.s Challenge Claim by Bar Section Head They Undermine Brady,” NYLJ, July 30) demonstrates that many prosecutors cannot even admit their failure to adopt policies to prevent violating the rights of the accused. As the D.A.s should know, the state bar’s Task Force on Wrongful Convictions found that Brady violations are a continuing problem, denying defendants a fair opportunity to organize and present a defense. That is why the state bar endorsed A.4879/S.3276 and one major reason why broad discovery reform is required and is sought by our association, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Innocence Project, the Legal Aid Society, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, among others. Predictably, these needed reforms are resisted by the district attorneys association.

We are disappointed that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., himself a former defense attorney, would express disappointment that state bar President Seymour James did not respond to his complaints with laudatory comments for prosecutors. At least one of New York’s district attorneys, Charles J. Hynes, understands the issue. He has stated that “disclosure is not only an ethical and legal obligation, it is a moral imperative.”

A 2010 Working Group on Brady hosted by the Jacob Burns Ethics Center at Cardozo Law School and cosponsored by, among others, the National District Attorneys Association, found that “as a general principle, but subject to exceptions, prosecutors should disclose all evidence or information that they reasonably believe will be helpful to the defense or that could lead to admissible evidence.” Although Vance gave a talk at this same symposium, he apparently seems to have forgotten that finding and now thinks prosecutors may only be given “respect and support.” His criticism of James is as disheartening and baseless as was the district attorneys’ criticism of Schechter.

The reliance of the district attorneys association on a recent handbook it prepared is telling. The handbook asserts that prosecutors need only disclose “material, exculpatory information.” But Vance certainly knows that is simply not the standard set forth by our courts and guaranteed by our Constitution. The courts and the Constitution require the disclosure of all information that is “favorable” to the defendant. The DAASNY‘s position on Brady obfuscates their real and continuing obligations as public officials to promptly disclose favorable information and adherence to it will inexorably lead to more innocent people being wrongfully convicted.

Richard D. Willstatter
The author is president of the New York State
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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