The high profile case of convicted child sexual abuser Allen B. Hadfield has turned into a war - pitting 4th District Court judges against the Utah attorney general's office, therapists against attorneys, and parents against each other.
While the separate clashes continue, the victims continue to be victimized.Hadfield's children have gone for two months without psychiatric therapy because of a contempt-of-court order filed by their father against their mother. It is not known when, if ever, that therapy will continue.
The issue will be decided in court.
The Hadfield controversy has been brewing since 1985, when authorities began investigating allegations of widespread sex abuse in a Lehi neighborhood.
Last December, in one the most highly publicized child sexual abuse cases in Utah, a jury of eight men and women convicted Hadfield of sodomizing and sexually molesting his son and daughter. He spent six months in jail and is undergoing court-ordered treatment for child sex abusers. He never, however, has admitted any wrongdoing.
His children, meanwhile, were pulled out of therapy more than two months ago because their mother, Gay Lyn Hadfield, refused to take them to a court-appointed therapist.
In the Hadfield's divorce decree, 4th District Judge Ray Harding ordered Gay Hadfield to take her children to Dr. Lynn Scoresby, a Provo psychologist. The judge specifically ordered that the children not be taken to Dr. Barbara Snow, the Salt Lake social worker who testified that the children told her that they had been sexually abused.
Fourth District Judge George Ballif, who took over the case for Harding, went one step further. He ruled that Gay Hadfield could not take her children to any therapist but Scoresby.
"In the divorce trial, Scoresby said he didn't know if Hadfield had abused his kids," said Richard Nemelka, Hadfield's civil attorney in the divorce proceedings. "He said he needed to work with the kids more, not only to find out what happened, but to help them."
Nemelka said because Scoresby wouldn't say specifically that Hadfield abused his kids, "my assumption is that Mrs. Hadfield didn't feel that he was on her side. He wasn't. He was on the kids' side."
On the advice of her attorney, Sharon A. Donovan, Gay Hadfield wouldn't comment on Nemelka's allegations.
However, people close to her said Gay Hadfield didn't feel her children would receive adequate treatment from Scoresby because his initial evaluation procedure included repeated interviews of the children in their father's presence.
As criminal proceedings against Hadfield progressed, assistant attorney general Robert Parrish, chief prosecutor in the criminal case, said he told Gay Hadfield to take her children to Scoresby, "but at the same time to take them to Dr. Paul Whitehead for the supportive therapy during the time they would be testify against their father in the criminal case."
Whitehead, a Salt Lake child psychiatrist, testified at the Hadfield's weeklong trial that he believed the children's stories.
Following Hadfield's conviction, Nemelka filed contempt of court charges against Gay Hadfield for violating the court order by taking her children to Whitehead.
Judge Ballif ruled she was in contempt and fined her $1. He furthered ordered she pay $750 in attorney fees to Nemelka. That order led to garnishment of her checking account by her husband and his attorney last week. Ballif also ordered that Allen Hadfield didn't have to pay any of Whitehead's bills because they were incurred in violation of the court.
Despite the fact that the Hadfield children haven't seen Whitehead for more than two months, Nemelka has filed another contempt charge. The hearing is set for Jan. 27.
"She is finally getting the message that she should comply with the orders of the court," he said. "But she still hasn't taken them to Dr. Scoresby. I am not sure that would accomplish now what it would have 11/2 years ago because of what the kids have been through."
Nemelka said their purpose is "not to put the kids through any more.
"We think that's the worst thing that has happened in the whole deal - not only (what they went through) in the sexual abuse trial, but all the therapy with Whitehead. We are not sure anything Whitehead has done for the kids has been beneficial. We feel it should be handled a lot differently, but we don't have a clue if it was good, bad or indifferent."
Whitehead said he didn't know how Nemelka drew those conclusions because they are "inconsistent with the facts." The children, he said, progressed well in treatment. Through Whitehead and his staff the Hadfield children received both individual and group therapy.
Parrish says he agrees that Ne-melka "doesn't have a clue" as to the benefit of therapy. Snow issued similar sentiments.
"The rulings in this case are a clear example of how the system can further victimize and punish children. Second expert opinions in child sexual abuse cases can be warranted," she stressed. "How that opinion is rendered determines whether children will be further traumatized."
Snow said, "Too often children are subjected to multiple evaluations by therapists with no expertise with children or in sexual abuse who are purchased by the defense for the sole purpose of discrediting the child."
Meanwhile, the 4th District judges have waged another fight with the Utah attorney general's office.
Harding and Ballif have filed a complaint with the Utah State Bar against members of the Utah attorney general's office.
The judges contend that assistant attorney general Robert Parrish, chief prosecutor in the criminal case, violated rules of professional conduct by encouraging Gay Hadfield to violate a 4th District Court order requiring her to take her children to a court-appointed therapist.
Parrish said the attorney general's office will respond to those allegations and "is anxious to set my conduct in context to what was occurring in the case.
"We intend to tell the entire story about the reasons Judge Harding rescued himself from the Hadfield divorce proceedings, and the circumstances and legality of Judge Ballif's later modifications," he said. "The motivations I had behind advising Mrs. Hadfield to seek supportive therapy for the children were to avoid further trauma of the children while they went through the difficult process of testifying against their father. Judge Ballif's order deprived them of that type of therapy."
On still another battle front, Allen Hadfield continues to wage war against his ex-wife, whose future will also be determined by the courts.
In the January hearing the judge could throw Gay Hadfield in jail. In fact, one therapist said Gay Hadfield could theoretically spend more time in jail than did her husband.
Allen Hadfield escaped the minimum mandatory prison term Utah law dictates for child sexual abuse convictions when 4th District Judge Cullen Y. Christensen issued a controversial order that Hadfield qualified for the incest exception to the mandatory sentence law. Hadfield was put on probation.
Nemelka doubts, however, that Gay Hadfield will spend any time behind bars.
"He (the judge) will try to decide what is best for the kids in terms of therapy. I think he has to decide what is best for the kids; that's why we are taking them back to court."