Girls' safety a concern in custody fight
Mom accused of not reporting sexual abuse; dad in Mexico seeks custody
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County mother who deputies say failed to protect her daughter from being sexually molested is now fighting to keep both of her girls in the United States.
The young girls' father, who lives in Mexico, is seeking full custody. But lawyers argued Monday that the girls, ages 5 and 6, may not be any safer south of the border.
Misty Goble, 33, was arrested last month on charges of child neglect. Deputies say one of Goble's boyfriends sexually abused one daughter on at least two occasions and Goble failed to report it to police.
Attorneys for the girls' father argued Monday they'd be safer with their dad in Mexico.
A family counselor told the judge the girls need to be with immediate family. But attorneys for Goble said moving the girls to Mexico has its risks.
"I view this as a further victimization of the children, and this is the same thing as a deportation of the children," defense attorney Carole Vogel. "And they won't be looked after. The guardian at litem has done no work to show that resources are available."
Vogel says the Department of Children and Families hasn't yet fully determined if all of the childrens' emotional and physical needs will be met in another country.
"At this point, we don't have a clear picture of what triggers it would take to return the children, how long it will take, what would happen if something happened in a father's home," Vogel said. "Would they be in an orphanage, on a street corner?"
The girls' father testified by phone Monday with the assistance of a translator, promising to fulfill all the state's obligations to have his daughters at home.
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