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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gonzalez v Pena, 2016 WL 3654283 (D. Az, 2016) [Mexico] [Grave Risk of Harm] [Petition Denied]

In Gonzalez v Pena, 2016 WL 3654283 (D. Az, 2016) Gonzalez was a Mexican citizen residing in Mexico. Pena was a Mexican citizen residing in Scottsdale, Arizona. The parties were the parents of two Children: J.P., born in 2007, and A.P., born in 2005 in Scottsdale. In 2012 Gonzalez moved to Nayarit, Mexico with the Children. Pena continued to reside in Scottsdale and visited the Children in Mexico. There were no court orders dictating the parties' parenting time. On June 7, 2015, Gonzalez agreed that the Children could visit Pena in Scottsdale. The parties agreed that Pena would return the Children to Mexico by August 6, 2015.. Approximately one week before the Children were to be returned to Mexico, A.P. informed Pena that she had been sexually abused by Gonzalez's live-in boyfriend. As a result, Pena decided to not allow the Children to return to Mexico.  The district court found that Gonzalez established a prima facie case for return. Although Pena's retention was wrongful, the Court found he had met his burden of showing that returning the Children to Mexico presents a “grave risk” or would be an “intolerable situation” and denied the petition.  Sexual abuse most  constitutes a ‘grave risk’ of physical or psychological harm.” Ortiz v. Martinez, 789 F.3d 722, 728 (7th Cir. 2015). The evidence clearly and convincingly established that Gonzalez's live in boyfriend sexually abused A.P. at least once. Moreover, Gonzalez's stated that she did not believe any abuse could have occurred because she had the only key to the bedroom. At one point, Gonzalez stated that she believed only “touching” had occurred, “not sexual abuse.” And she stated that she kicked her boyfriend out of the house not because she believed any abuse had occurred, but because she wanted the “situation to clarify.” Notably, not once during her testimony did Gonzalez state that she would take any steps to protect the Children from abuse if they returned to Mexico. The evidence also demonstrated that the Children had already suffered psychologically from the abuse. A.P. has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and J.P. had been experiencing anger issues with the incident. A.P. had experienced some depression, and experiences trouble sleeping and nightmares. The Court found separating the Children would significantly aggravate their emotional state. 

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