A surgeon who spent 25 months in jail rather than reveal the whereabouts of her 8-year-old daughter has been given custody of the girl by a judge in New Zealand, a television station reported.
The report Thursday night by Washington television station WUSA said a family court judge in Christchurch gave Dr. Elizabeth Morgan custody of her daughter, Hilary Foretich.The ruling, which was issued last week, could not be confirmed in New Zealand, which has strict laws banning the publication of any family court matters.
Under terms of the award, Hilary must stay in Christchurch, located on the east coast of New Zealand's southern island, report to court every six months and refrain from any further publicity.
Morgan hid Hilary after claiming the girl's father, Eric Foretich, an oral surgeon from Falls Church, Va., sexually abused the child.
The judge who issued the custody ruling did not say whether Foretich abused the girl, but he quoted from a court-appointed psychologist.
"Hilary believes she has been sexually abused by her father and her paternal grandparents," the judge quoted the psychologist as saying. "It is no longer possible to distinguish fact from belief. It would be impossible for her not to identify with the convictions of her mother and her maternal grandparents."
Foretich dropped his custody bid in March.