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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Austrian court grants full custody to father of Schlesinger twins

LONDON – A Vienna court has granted full and immediate custody of the Schlesinger twins to their father Michael, citing their mother Beth’s public campaign to have the children returned to her care as a factor.

Judge Susanne Göttlicher granted temporary custody of the boys to their father in July 2011, following a psychologist’s assessment which concluded that Beth Schlesinger was mentally unwell and incapable of raising children. 

Schlesinger, who is originally from Manchester, England launched a website and Facebook page publicizing the case, and was featured in a number of newspapers internationally.

“It is very distressing to have yet another setback, but if there is justice in Austria then I am confident this will not be the final outcome,” she said of the latest ruling. “For the boys’ sakes, I hope common sense prevails.”

Judge Göttlicher “has torn into me for the ‘media war’ I have waged,” and praised the father for raising the children amidst “all the campaigning,” she told Times of Israel.

He was also commended, Beth said, for continuing to allow unsupervised access despite her “terrible behavior.”

The four-year-old children, Samuel and Benjamin, will continue to see their mother every Tuesday and every second Sunday, but her application for weekend and overnight visits was denied.

The boys were kept down a year in nursery and Schlesinger alleges that they are still in diapers and that their speech is delayed.

The judge stood by the psychologist’s assessment of Schlesinger’s mental health, despite a subsequent, court-commissioned report concluding that she had never suffered from mental illness.

Schlesinger said that the original psychologist has no qualifications in adult psychiatry, and that the court never commissioned a psychological assessment of the father.

She intends to take up her right to appeal within 14 days.

“The decision is so highly irregular and so full of false statements that I do not see how it can possibly be upheld in any court of law, least of all in an EU democracy,” she said.

Dr. Michael Schlesinger and his lawyer have consistently refused to comment on the case.

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