September 9, 1988
DEFENDANT'S AFFIDAVIT IN OPPOSITION TO
PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR MODIFICATION
OF CUSTODY OF THE MINOR CHILD
Howard G. Ferguson, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. I am the defendant in the above captioned action and hereby
object to the plaintiff's application for modification of custody with the
minor child ex parte, and for an order of permanent custody, and
request that my son be returned to my exclusive custody, for the reasons
hereinafter set forth.
2. I categorically deny the allegations that I sexually abused my
son, Steven, at any time, and further state that I am a fit and
responsible parent and am an appropriate person to have custody of Steven,
as was acknowledged by the plaintiff when she voluntarily agreed to give
sole custody of Steven to me in early 1987.
3. Plaintiff has demonstrated herself to be unfit to have custody
of Steven. The custody of all three children was awarded jointly at
the time of the divorce in 1983, and the children lived with
plaintiff. In a letter to me in October of 1986, respondent stated:
Steven has become increasingly difficult to handle, at
home, at school, after school and on weekends. He is not
concentrating in school and as a result has had to be put in a lower
reading group and has poor grades in English and Science. He has
little regard for any authority and is now beginning to badger kids
before and after school. I do not find his red neck behavior cute
or acceptable. He talks like he has lived in the slums half his
life and seems to feel that being more and more like them is his goal in
His violent temper is another part of him that cannot
continue to persist. I fear that if it is not dealt with and
channeled somewhere else he will become a hazard to himself and others
I don't know whether you see any of this or not on the
few occasions you have him but that is academic, at this point.
You are his father as much as I am his mother. The time has come
when it is more than necessary for you to have some input into his life
aside from one weekend a month and a few phone calls now and then.
(Exhibit 1 hereto.)
4. Plaintiff clearly felt incapable of dealing with Steven's
alleged behavioral problems which had developed while he was in
plaintiff's custody. Subsequent to this letter, plaintiff refused
to take Steven back after what was supposed to be a weekend visitation
and thereafter voluntarily stipulated to give me sole custody.
Steven has lived with me continuously since January 1987. He has
been enrolled in the Canterbury School where he was to have begun sixth
grade last week, but for the legal proceedings commenced by his
mother. All of Steven's classmates from fifth grade will be back
in his class this year.
It is defendant's position that it would be in Steven's best interest
to continue to reside with me as he has for the last year and a half,
and to continue to go to school with his old schoolmates and be within
the vicinity of his friends.
5. Defendant has arranged to have a series of other adults
supervise defendant's continued custody of Steven, should the court feel
that necessary or appropriate. However, the defendant respectfully
requests the court to expedite the proceedings in this matter since it
is clearly a tremendous burden and inconvenience to all concerned, to be
subjected to this supervised status for an extended period of
time. At the present, defendant has arranged for supervisors to
reside in his house with him and assist in Steven's day to day care, for
a period of two months. It is hoped that that should give
sufficient time for the court to order, and the professionals to
conduct, the various psychological, psychiatric and physical
examinations defendant has sought by motion. Annexed hereto as
Exhibit 2 is a schedule for the next two months showing the days each of
the supervisors will be staying with us.
6. Steven has already suffered the trauma of having been
rejected by his mother in the autumn of
1986 and had his residence and custody transferred from his
mother to me in January, 1987. It would not be in his best interests
to place him temporarily with his mother where he would have to meet new
friends and start a new school, only to ultimately have the court conclude
that his custody should remain with me, which would then require Steven to
move back with me and start school in the middle of the year. This
kind of uncertainty certainly is not in Steven's best interest.
7. As long as my continued custody of Steven is supervised, the
court should be comfortable that there is no risk of danger to Steven by
continuing to let him reside with me. Steven has, throughout the
time he has resided with me, had his own room and his own bed, and will
again do so.
8. I have denied the allegations of abuse. However, I am
willing to subject myself and my son to the imposition of supervision,
in order to protect each of us from the damage that would result from
further false accusations, and to permit the appropriate evaluations to
take place on an expedited basis so that the issues raised can be
promptly resolved and Steven's best interests determined by the Court.
9. It is respectfully requested that the court refuse to
continue the ex parte transfer of custody to my ex-wife, and
reinstate the previous stipulation and order of the court granting me
exclusive legal and physical custody of my son, Steven, pending whatever
additional investigation of these allegations is necessary and their
ultimate determination by the court. It is further requested that
such investigation and determination be made on an expedited basis to
minimize the trauma to my son.
HOWARD G. FERGUSON