On May 16, 1996 a young bride was married in a Catholic Church Mass in Argentina. The bride was thirty-five years of age at the time of her marriage. She was a virgin on her wedding night. The new husband brought his bride back to the United States after the wedding and pursuant to his religious beliefs; a Jewish wedding ceremony was performed that October. The bride is a devout Catholic who is very close to her family and lived at home with her parents until her marriage. She was a kindergarten teacher when she lived in Argentina with her parents. Once she moved to New York with her husband, she was an educational consultant for Scholastic.
The husband was 37 years old when the couple married and had lived apart from his parents since college. He had experienced other romantic involvements prior to his marriage. Although, he was Jewish, he was not a practicing religious person. From the beginning, it was clear that there was going to be serious cultural differences between the two. What was not expected at least by the new bride, was that her new husband was going to begin to exhibit inappropriate, controlling, and abusive behaviors toward her. Ultimately, he began to demonstrate strange preferences.
At first the wife viewed her husband’s desire to watch her urinate in the bathroom as just odd. It was not until he began to push the issue that he wanted to watch her that it took on a different feel. In 1998, she became pregnant with their first child. She was thrilled, but because of her age, doctors were concerned that she should have an amniocentesis. She explained that because she was devoutly Catholic, the results of the test were not important. Her religious view was that the child is a gift from God and you accept whatever God gives you. She explained that under no circumstances would she consider having an abortion. While the doctors understood, her husband did not. He began to hound her incessantly about having the procedure done. It became more of a power situation. It seemed that he was attempting to prove that he could make her have the test done in spite of her strong religious convictions not to have it done. Later, a family member testified in court that she had completely fallen apart one day crying about how he was hounding her daily to take the test. This continued until it was too late in the pregnancy to have an abortion.
Once the little girl was born, the wife became a dedicated mother. According to all accounts, she took wonderful care of the little girl. One day, however when the child was only 18 months old, the family was at the wife’s aunt’s house. The husband had gone into the bedroom to change the child’s clothing. The aunt went in to help and saw that he had the baby girl’s panties in his hand and that he was sniffing them and sighing. She testified that it was bizarre behavior. The aunt stated that he was startled when he realized that she had been standing there watching him and tried to brush the incident off. He commented in court that it was done as a joke. He said that he took the child’s panties, sniffed them and as a joke said, “Oh, Oh, Oh,.” The aunt was disturbed by the behavior.
The wife was having a difficult time with his behavior in public and in private. He was grabbing her breasts and buttocks in public embarrassing her. He was repeatedly attempting to photograph her naked when she was pregnant, or later while she was breastfeeding. But when events began to involve her small daughter, she realized that it was time to take action.
On night she saw strange movements going on under the covers on the bed. When she lifted the bed covering, she discovered that her husband had their small daughter’s feet against his genitals and was rubbing them against him. She was upset, and he tried to tell her that he was warming her feet. He maintained this story through trial although, he testified to different body locations at different times. He also testified that he did not remember the situation only to later testify that he recalled the situation exactly.
Another situation that he stated he did not remember at all, only to recant and suddenly remember the time of day and even the color of the child’s pajamas occurred shortly after dinner one night. Although, oddly he insists that it occurred in the morning hours. The mother was in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes from dinner. When she was done, she realized that he was playing with their daughter in her room. The mother went in to the room as the child was leaving. She observed the husband lying on the bed with an obvious erection. She confronted him and asked him what he had done? At first he told her that he had been asleep and that she had just awakened him. Then he said he had to go to the bathroom and left the room saying something to the effect of, “Oh, I don’t know.”
The husband’s explanation for what happened was disturbing to say the least. After first denying that it happened at all, he claimed to have been asleep, then said that he wasn’t. He stated that the incident might have happened, but he did not remember. Then he stated that sometimes men just get erections. He claimed that he frequently got erections during the day and that it was not abnormal. He stated that he had an erection when he and the child were, “jumping around.” He further attempted to dismiss his behavior by stating that sometimes men get erections when they are playing with their daughters. He stated that it was a normal way for a man to show affection to his daughter. He said that it was a non-sexual erection and an expression of love.
On February 3, 2002 the wife was in bed when the husband came in to the room and began to fondle her breasts. She told him to stop and that she did not want to have sex. A little while later, she fell asleep. Shortly after that, she woke up with her husband climaxing inside her. She was upset and asked him what he thought that he was doing. He stated that she was not going to be the only one in the family who decided if they were going to have another child. She advised that he said that he wanted another child and that he had unprotected sexual intercourse with her in the hopes of getting her pregnant again. Shortly after this incident, the wife filed documents for divorce.
The husband did not dispute that these incidents occurred; only that he had a more positive explanation for each of them. As far as the non-consensual sex act was concerned, he stated that he had thought that she was awake and that he was following clues that she had given him that led him to believe that she was interested in having sex that night. However, again on cross examination his story fell apart. It clear that he had not been following any clues and that his wife had been asleep in a dark room when he came in to the room and assaulted her.
The court ordered that two different psychologists evaluate the parties. Without dispute, both professionals found that the husband exhibited behavioral patterns that “were possessive, controlling, obsessive, and that his personal qualities are ‘associated with strongly held sexual stereotypes that featured his presumed self-proclaimed male prerogatives.” Because of this, the husband had a problem with violating ordinary physical and psychological boundaries. They found him to be disrespectful and controlling of other persons, particularly women and young girls. They found that his behaviors were consistent with the behaviors of other abusive personalities that they have interviewed.
In light of these findings, the court finds that overwhelming evidence has been presented in this courtroom to suggest that under no circumstances did this father qualify for custody of this child. Sole custody of the child was granted to the mother. On the option of visitation, it was agreed that visitation could be allowed, but only if there was a trained professional supervising the visitation at all times. There are no overnight visits permitted unless they are sufficiently supervised. The question of the safety of the child as far as potential for sexual abuse was considered to be high. The court finds that this father needs to consider therapy and sexual therapy in particular. Only upon completion of the court’s mandated therapy would any changes to visitation would be considered.
In many cases, it is difficult for a person to understand that incidents that occur within hearing of a child constitute neglect or abuse. A parent who threatens to kill the other parent is in effect neglecting the mental wellbeing of the child. Any act of outright domestic violence, hitting, slapping, pinching, verbal abuse, all constitute a criminal act. If they are done in front of a child then it constitutes neglect.
If you find yourself in a position that may be considered domestic violence or child neglect based on an incident of domestic violence, contact Steven Bilkis and Associates. At Steven Bilkis and Associates there are attorneys who are available to assist you, no matter what your case. Steven Bilkis and associates are qualified to handle any domestic violence needs.
Issues of law are constantly changing. A person who is not specifically trained in the law cannot begin to know what all of their rights are without the assistance of a professional. Here at Steven Bilkis and Associates, we provide New York Order of Protection Attorneys, New York Domestic Violence Lawyers, New York Assault Attorneys, and New York Criminal lawyers. New York Family Lawyers will stand by you and ensure that your rights are protected. New York Personal Injury Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are considered. We make sure that you are rightfully awarded compensation for your suffering.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Domestic Violence Lawyers has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including Corona, New York. Our Personal Injury Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Domestic Violence Lawyer you could lose precious compensation to help with your medical bills and the trauma to you and your loved ones following such a frightening experience. This is true even if the Attorney for the assailant has not adequately made their case. In addition to Personal Injury Law, Stephen Bilkis and Associates can recommend Criminal Lawyers who will protect your rights if you are ever arrested