NewsFri Mar 5, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST
Lisa Miller’s Daughter Appeared Traumatized by Visits with Lesbian ‘Mother,’ Court Documents Reveal
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
RUTLAND, VERMONT, March 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews) - The daughter of ex-lesbian Lisa Miller appeared to have suffered emotional trauma following forced visits with Miller's ex-partner, according to sworn testimony submitted to a Vermont court.
The affidavits, recently obtained by LifeSiteNews, give credence to claims by Miller that her daughter was being emotionally harmed by the visitations with her ex-partner Janet Jenkins, which were ordered by Vermont judge Richard Cohen following the breakup of the couple in 2003.
Despite expert testimony and other witnesses, as well as testimony from Miller herself, Cohen continued to order unsupervised visits with Jenkins, and even ordered a permanent custody of transfer in 2009.
Experts note symptoms of trauma in Miller's daughter
Clinical Therapist Sylvia Haydash, who had two clinical sessions with Isabella and observed her for an hour on another occasion, 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 her sworn testimony of June, 2007.
Gwen Corley, a social worker who also observed Isabella, noted similar trauma. "Isabella suffers from sleep disturbance and nightmares, having difficulty sleeping through the night," she told the court in September of the same year.
She added 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."
A friend of Lisa Miller, who said she had cared for Isabella while her mother was out of the house, was also disturbed by behavioral changes she saw in the child.
"[Isabella] has told me she does not like to talk about her visits with Janet because it makes her cry," she wrote to the court.
Further visits could cause "permanent damage"
Both Haydash and Corley warned the court against further unsupervised visits with Jenkins, over concern that Isabella could suffer irreparable harm if they continued.
"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," wrote Haydash.
"I further believe that unsupervised visits would be detrimental to Isabella at this time and could cause permanent damage to normal development," she added.
Corley concluded 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."
Moreover, even the legal advocate appointed by the Vermont court for Isabella agreed that transferring custody might be harmful to the child, 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."
While claiming that Jenkins had "a right to a relationship" with Isabella, her advocate 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 there was "a real risk that we have, turning her world upside down and changing, you know Virginia to Vermont."
Expert opinions ignored by court
The expert testimony submitted to the Vermont court in 2007 is in agreement with statements made by Miller herself to the press regarding the traumatic impact of the visits on her daughter.
In interviews with numerous media outlets, including LifeSiteNews, Miller stated publicly that her daughter had spoken of wishing to die after her visits with Jenkins, and had even put a comb to her neck saying she wanted to kill herself. She had also complained of being forced to bathe naked with Jenkins, according to Miller.
The expert testimony submitted to the court, along with Miller's own testimony that her daughter was suffering from emotional trauma due to the visits, did not dissuade Cohen from continuing to order unsupervised visits with Jenkins.
After years of resistance to such visits by Miller, Cohen finally ordered a permanent custody transfer of Isabella to Jenkins in November of last year. However, Miller had by that time disappeared with her child, in an apparent attempt to protect her from the court and Jenkins.
Isabella Miller was conceived by artificial insemination while Miller and Jenkins were in a Vermont "civil union" in 2002. Jenkins has no biological relationship with Isabella, and her name is not on her birth certificate.
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Arrest Warrant Issued for Lisa Miller in Vermont
Lisa Miller Safe for Now: Virginia Judge Refuses to Issue Arrest Warrant
Lesbian Janet Jenkins Begins Media Campaign to Gain Custody of Ex-Partner's Child
Judge Gives Miller 30 Days to Transfer Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover or Face Arrest
Exclusive Interview with Lisa Miller, Ex-Lesbian Fighting for Custody of Own Child against "Civil Union" Partner