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Nov 13, 2009

Attorney tells the father’s side of custody case

Story PictureRichard and Gesenia Cook are still legally married, but they are involved in
a battle over custody of their child. In 2005, media houses in Belize and the United States picked up the story when Gesenia said that Richard returned to live in the United States with their daughter Zoe. Richard took the five year old girl without permission and Gesenia was able to get Zoe back about a year ago. On Thursday Gesenia was emotional when she told News Five that the courts in Belize were taking too long to resolve the issue of visitation. But there are two sides to a story and this afternoon Richard’s lawyer, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, said that there are allegations of physical abuse while Zoe was in her mother’s care. Richard now lives at mile thirty-one on the Western Highway and says he only wants to care for his daughter.

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Attorney for Richard Cook
“My client does admit to having taken the child to the states. He admits he was wrong and he has said that he would never do that again. He knows the ill that he did and it would he is saying that it would never happen again. He is a loving father; he and the child have bonded very much. In fact the child was with him for several years and she is only seven or eight now. There is a very good bonding and actually the child had said he would like to be with him. Of course, we know that the Human Development Department is making their study as we speak. After the hearing of his application for increased access to the child, what has happened is that the gentleman of Gesenia had carried on a series of threats and threatening violence towards my client because my client only gets to see Zoe once a week with the supervision of the mother at B.T.L. park. If he wants to bring her an ice cream, he has to bring it to the park. If he wants to birthday cake, he has to bring it to the park. But the gentleman who is Gesenia’s common-law partner has been threatening my client, saying he’s going to get him. He has been calling him up on the phone, calling him the worst of language; you white so and so; that kind of thing. What has been happening is that they have been going to the police and other places spinning a story against y client, who is doing absolutely nothing wrong. What is not in dispute is that last week this little girl was beaten badly. She told my client she was beaten by her mother and I do know that the Human Development Department has gotten involved. My client was able to observe bruises on the child on Sunday last and he was so concerned that he made sure that he went to Human Services Department on Monday morning. My client only wants more access to his daughter. But knowing of the situation with the beating of the child, he did make an application to the court for custody. But the matter that is actually pending before the application for custody is his application for increased visitation. He would like to see the child on the weekends for example. But knowing exactly what has happened with the child then he applied for custody.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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