The first is here (Bakersfield Californian, 6/12/11). It’s about our old friend Christian Diaz, and thanks to writer Jose Gaspar for continuing to report on his case.
Diaz is the teenager who fathered a child with his girlfriend who was also a teenager at the time. He always wanted to raise the child and she led him to believe she did too. But when it came time for her to give birth, Diaz learned that she’d misled him. First, she didn’t tell him which hospital she’d be going to. When he figured that out and showed up there shortly after his son’s birth, she told hospital authorities he wasn’t the dad, so he was escorted from the premises without ever seeing his son.
The mother had decided to place the child for adoption and already had parents picked out. But Diaz went to court immediately to assert his parental rights. He’d already purchased furniture, toys and supplies for the baby and he and his mother had set aside a room especially for the little boy.
But the court denied Diaz his right to raise his own flesh and blood. It did that because, in California, a single father must perform certain acts in order to establish his parental rights. Single mothers, like Diaz’s girlfriend, face no such requirements.
Into the bargain, no one lets dads know just what those obligations are. In his case the court said Diaz hadn’t done enough to support the mother during pregnancy, which means he knows that now. When it mattered, he didn’t and so another child with a loving father was taken by adoptive parents. As I’ve said many times before, that means that another child somewhere in the world who needs adopting, who doesn’t have a loving father to care for it, has been denied adoptive parents.
That’s what the State of California calls acting “in the best interests of the child.” It’s an odd concept. Denying one child the love of his father and denying another the love of adoptive parents somehow adds up, in the minds of state legislators, to “the best interests of the child.”
So Christian Diaz is appealing the adoption of his child. Attorney Marc Angelucci for one sees several problems with forcing adoption on a child who doesn’t need to be adopted.
First, the judge denied Diaz a fundamental constitutional right to parent his child, for no good reason except that he’s an unmarried father and that the court felt he did not support the pregnancy enough, said Angelucci. Second, the evidence did not support the decision; instead it was based on gender-biased laws that violate the equal protection rights of fathers like Diaz, claims the attorney.
Young mothers have a presumed right to their child; so should young fathers like Diaz, said Angelucci.
Shorn of legalese, let’s look at what those concepts mean in the Christian Diaz case. When reviewing the facts ask yourself “whose behavior is rewarded and whose is punished by the State of California?”
She lied to Diaz about raising the child together, misled him about where she would give birth, refused to tell him about the adoption or the adoptive parents and lied to hospital authorities so he couldn’t see his newborn son. That behavior is perfectly alright according to the California legislature and the judge.
By contrast, Diaz did everything he knew to do to prepare for and be a father to his child. That behavior is punished by adoption law in California.
He and she are both young and both are single parents. But gender equality is an alien concept in family law in California and elsewhere.
While he waits for the appellate court to get around to hearing his case, Diaz still maintains his son’s room just the way it’s always been, waiting for the day he believes he’ll gather the boy, now one year old, into his arms for the first time.
He’s not only never hugged the child, he’s never seen him. That’s in part because the adoptive couple have refused to send him photos as long as Diaz contests the adoption. If he drops the case, he’ll get to see the photos; if he doesn’t, well, it’s his tough luck.
About that, Christian Diaz says “there’s no way I will ever agree to give up my son.”
Our second update comes to us from the Houston area. It’s the case of the area high school teacher, Anne Lynn Montgomery, who carried on a lengthy affair with one of her students, Bradman Moore. It started when he was 16 and she was 31. She got pregnant – twice – and bore his two children. At least we think they’re his. Moore says she had sex with five other high school boys over the years.
At some point, the two split up after apparently living together for a time. That was when Montgomery made a mistake almost as big as carrying on a sexual affair with an underage boy. She went to the county prosecutors and demanded a restraining order against Moore. The police investigated her claims and found them unsupported by any evidence, but in the process, they noticed the obvious – that the woman had committed multiple sexual assaults on an underage boy.
So they arrested her and charged her with two felonies, sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between a student and an educator.
Well, this article tells us that Montgomery wasn’t too thrilled with her prospects, which could amount to 20 years behind bars. So she’s now on the lam (New York Daily News, 6/17/11). Apparently Montgomery has disappeared.
I don’t think that’s the smartest move she could have made, but she seems to have a history of not very smart moves. My guess is that she’ll be found, brought back and have yet another charge against her. In doing so she’ll have squandered her female sentencing discount.
What I really want to know is where the kids are. Surely they’re not with her. After all, she’s accused of a couple of felonies and could easily do time. So does he have his children? Amazingly, no article deems that worthy of mention.