Experts testify to trauma experienced by Isabella Miller in sworn testimony now published online
June 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com is publishing sworn affidavits by two experts and another eyewitness who testify to evidence of trauma suffered by ex-lesbian Lisa Miller’s daughter, Isabella Miller, following court-ordered visits to Miller’s former lesbian partner, Janet Jenkins.
The documents, available for the first time on the internet, also include court testimony by Isabella Miller’s court-appointed advocate, who expressed concern that transferring custody from Miller to Jenkins would “turn her world upside down.”
Links to all four documents can be found at the conclusion of this article. Three of the four were originally quoted by LifeSiteNews in March of 2010, but were not published in their entirety until now.
The documents illustrate the concerns that presumably led Miller, who had repudiated the lesbian lifestyle and converted to Evangelical Christianity, to flee the United States to avoid further contact between her daughter and Jenkins, with whom she had shared a civil union in the state of Vermont.
Among them is testimony by clinical therapist Sylvia Haydash, who had two clinical sessions with Isabella and observed her for an hour on another occasion. She concluded that the visits were doing serious harm to the child, causing anxiety, renewed bed-wetting, and general psychological regression.
“Isabella appears to have been traumatized by the limited visitation thus far, a serious consequence, taking Isabella in a negative direction as compared to Isabella’s condition before the recent visitations where she was a child that was well-adjusted, flourishing, above-the-curve developmentally, verbally gifted, and readily able to separate from Lisa and meet with other people,” wrote Haydash in 2007.
“At this point, after only two supervised two-hour visits, and the resulting regressive behaviors, it is my clinical opinion that leaving Isabella unsupervised with Janet for visitations would needlessly exacerbate Isabella’s trauma,” Haydash also stated. She added, “I further believe that unsupervised visits would be detrimental to Isabella at this time and could cause permanent damage to normal development.”
Gwen Corley, a social worker who also observed Isabella, noted the traumatic effects of Isabella’s relationship with Jenkins
“Isabella suffers from sleep disturbance and nightmares, having difficulty sleeping through the night,” she told the court in 2007, adding that “Isabella also talks about death, and has expressed fear that if her mother Lisa dies she will be at risk. Without prompting, Isabella has said she is afraid that Janet Jenkins may take her away from Lisa.”
Corley added that “the distance from Virginia to Vermont, and the time it takes to travel back in forth, coupled with these emotional concerns, are simply too great to require a five year old to make the trip during the school year ... in my professional opinion it would be detrimental to Isabella’s emotional well-being for her to travel back and forth to Vermont during the school year.”
A final witness, a friend who sometimes cared for Isabella, also expressed her “great concern” at the child’s reactions to her visits with Jenkins in her November 2007 testimony.
Tammara Canfield told the court that Isabella had become “withdrawn” and “unhappy,” despite her normally cheerful demeanor. She also said that she didn’t want to talk about her visits with Janet because “it makes her cry.” She testified that pictures drawn by Isabella also “cause me concern.”
Similar concerns expressed by Miller
The concerns expressed in the affidavits reflect Lisa Miller’s own testimony. Miller told the court that her child had referred to being forced to bathe naked with Jenkins, had begun to touch herself sexually, and appeared disturbed and unhappy following visits. She elaborated on the troubling situation in an extensive interview with LifeSiteNews (LSN) in 2008.
“Last year, Isabella put a comb up to her neck and said she wanted to kill herself after one of the visits,” Miller told LSN. “She took a comb and pressed it into her neck and said, “I want to kill myself.” I don’t know where she got that. It was immediately after a visit. Other people have seen huge changes. She also started openly masturbating which is not something that my child has done.”
“She is 6 now but this started when she was 5 – after visits. The very first time that Janet ever saw Isabella after the two and a half years, her very first over-night visit – the court ordered it and I allowed it because it was in Virginia and she was supposed to have been supervised by her parents, Isabella came home and said, ‘Mommy, will you please tell Janet that I don’t have to take a bath anymore at her house.’”
“I asked her what happened. She said, ‘Janet took a bath with me.’ I asked her if she had a bathing suit on. ‘No, Mommy.’ She had no clothes on and it totally scared Isabella. She had never seen this woman except once in 2 ½ years and she takes a bath with her.”
Court appointed legal advocate warns against ‘turning her world upside down’
Michelle Kenny, Isabella’s personal legal advocate appointed by the Vermont court, agreed in 2009 that transferring custody might be harmful to Isabella, and acknowledged that “the position of my client [Isabella] is that Virginia is her home and she wants to stay there” and that she is a “thriving and happy go lucky kid.”
Although Kenny claimed that Jenkins had “a right to a relationship” with Isabella, she told the court that “I certainly can extend to the Court that Isabella’s doing well, that she does want to stay where she’s at” and expressed concern that moving Isabella to Jenkins’ custody could cause an “adverse reaction” in the child.
“And I think that’s probably a concern of the Court, and I would certainly hope it’s a concern of all parties that this doesn’t go as well as the parties may otherwise be suggesting. I mean, we are talking about a complete change in Isabella’s life, and she’s seven years old,” Kenny stated.
She added that there was “a real risk that we have, turning her world upside down and changing, you know Virginia to Vermont.”
However, the Vermont court under judge Richard Cohen was not persuaded by Miller’s expert witnesses, nor Miller herself, and ruled that the visits were to continue. When Miller refused, he attempted to remove her daughter from her custody and transfer it to Jenkins, discarding the concerns expressed by Isabella’s own attorney.
By the time Cohen issued his ruling transferring custody in January 2010, Miller had already fled the United States with her daughter. As LifeSiteNews reported earlier this week, domestic and foreign police services are now hunting for the two in Nicaragua, where Miller reportedly took refuge from a government that is now determined to take her child from her.
The four documents appear below: