The attorney for Gay Lyn Hadfield, who was held in contempt of court for refusing to take her children to a court-appointed therapist, has asked that the hearing on those charges be moved from Utah County to either Summit or Salt Lake county.
Attorney Sharon Donovan, who filed for a change of venue on Wednesday, believes that Gay Hadfield, ex-wife of convicted child sexual abuser Allan B. Hadfield, cannot get an impartial hearing in Utah County."Due to the current emotionalism in the community, there is a serious risk that dispassionate proceedings will not be possible and any action is likely to be perceived as tainted," her motion reads.
To support the claim, copies of most of the newspaper clippings relating to the Hadfield case from the Provo Herald were attached with the motion filed in 4th District Court.
It's not the first time an attorney has tried to get a related case moved out of Utah County. The Utah attorney general's office also asked for a change of venue during Allan Hadfield's criminal trial, citing inflammatory pretrial publicity by a local television station.
It was denied. But Donovan is trying again.
According to the motion, Donovan believes that a clash between the 4th District judges and the attorney general's office also could bias the judge's ruling in the contempt hearing.
Because Gay Hadfield now resides in Heber City, and her children go to school there, Donovan believes it will be much more convenient for the defendant, the children and other witnesses if this matter is transferred to Summit County or Salt Lake County.
The attorney's action was the latest in the Hadfield controversy that has been brewing since 1985, when authorities began investigating allegations of widespread sex abuse in a Lehi neighborhood.
In a heated and highly publicized case in December 1987, a jury convicted Allan Hadfield of sodomizing and sexually molesting his son and daughter. Hadfield spent six months in jail, and is now undergoing court-appointed treatment for child sex abusers.
Battles between mother and father, judges and attorneys, have nevertheless continued.
In the Hadfield's divorce decree in February 1987, 4th District Judge Ray Harding ordered Gay Hadfield to take her children to Dr. Lynn Scoresby, a Provo psychologist. Fourth District Judge George E. Ballif, who took over the case for Harding, upheld that ruling.
Gay Hadfield has said repeatedly, however, that she 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. Scoresby was also a witness for the defense in Allan Hadfield's criminal trial.
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 testifying against their father in the criminal case."
Harding and Ballif contend that Parrish, in giving Gay Hadfield this advise, violated rules of professional conduct. The judges have filed a complaint against Parrish with the Utah State Bar.
The attorney general's office has filed an informal response to the complaint questioning the judges' formal and informal involvement in the case.