On Your Side: Judge downplays abuse in custody case

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 1/27 7:02 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Antonio Morales showed us a binder full of pictures he says were taken by Clark County Child Protectives Services showing his daughter Abbigail and the injuries she suffered, allegedly, at the hands of her mother in 2011.

"Injuries on top of injuries. Bruises that were already healing, with fresh bruises on top of that," Morales said.

Abbigail's mother, Roxana Arteaga, was arrested in June of 2013 by Metro Police in Las Vegas on a felony charge of child abuse, and is currently awaiting trial. But that hasn't stopped her from filing for custody of her children, Abbigail and Robert, who currently live with their father in Reno.

It also hasn't stopped Clark County Family Court Judge Jennifer Elliot from considering Roxana's request. A trial is set for Wednesday to decide who gets primary physical custody of the children, even though the mother is currently out on bail, awaiting trial on that child abuse charge.

When Judge Elliot's office was questioned, her staff said the judge's policy is to wait for resolution of the criminal matter before proceeding on custody issues.

Antonio says he's simply asking for the judge to follow her own policy in this case. "I would love for her to acknowledge that there is a criminal case and for her to step back and say let's see what happens and then go from there. It's only fair," Morales said.

But Judge Elliot is pushing forward expressing concern that Antonio is "alienating" the children from their mother. She cites that as the biggest issue in this case, not the allegations of child abuse.

"I think the alienation might have outgrown any other issue," Judge Elliot said, on the record, during a recent court hearing.

That means Antonio's children could end up in the custody of a parent who is formally charged with abuse and neglect.

Antonio says all he can do is hope that's not the outcome. "It is really hard to swallow that they could leave me and go the abuser," he said.
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bigmama - 1/31/2014 10:21 AM
1 Vote
This judge is sending out a horrible message! With all the violence going on in the world right now, this woman is going to let parents everywhere think its ok to abuse your kids and get away with it. Not to mention the lesson being taught to these children! They will now think there's no one to turn to the next time they're abused. Who do they call? The same people that are going to force them back with the abuser?! This system is failing our children and it needs to end. This judge needs to step down if she's not going to do what's obviously best and let someone take her place that can break the chain of abuse!

CourtneyRenee - 1/30/2014 3:33 PM
1 Vote
I can't even begin to comprehend why this has gotten this far. Is there really a question about who should hold custody of these children? This man is clearly doing everything he possibly can to save his children from this mentally impaired woman! Were the pictures not enough alone? Does she (the judge) need a better prescription for her glasses? The fact that the mother is on bail and awaiting trial for CHILD ABUSE/ENDANGERMENT should put an end to the whole situation. If she was arrested that means there was evident proof of abuse... Um, HELLO?!?!? I just don't understand. Give this man his children, PLEASE!

Konagirl - 1/29/2014 2:11 AM
1 Vote
Okay so this is telling me that I can beat the hell out of my kids and do nothing for them, yet I will still have more rights than the parent that has done everything to save them. Judge do you know or understand the rulings you make? This makes me so sick. I wonder would the judge do this if the dad was the abuser? Would she favor him this much? I think not it would just be another static for her books. Judge where do you feel any of this is fair? Think about this would you want your son with YOUR grandkids to experince this? Oh thats right because your a judge you'll get the best that money can buy and you won't have sleepless nights like these kids and father have been having. Good job judge way to show these kids the justice system does nothing for them.

prplediamd - 1/28/2014 5:04 PM
2 Votes
This Judge (if you can call her that)is a WHACKO and needs her head examined. Is the Judge thinking that one vote by the abuser (can't call her a mom)will get her re-elected? NO person in their right mind would grant custody to this abuser. She should be having SUPERVISED visitation only!!!! What drugs are the abuser and the Judge on??? I am so proud of Antonio for being a Man standing up for his kids serving our country and just doing what is right for his kids & family. We got your back!

Markb79 - 1/28/2014 11:07 AM
2 Votes
I really don't even understand why there is even a consideration to give an abusive parent custody of any children. Especially with a felony child abuse case pending. Alienating? Really? C'mon judge. That's BS and you know it!

Barney Colborn - 1/28/2014 10:22 AM
2 Votes
Hey Judge The Father Is Whom The Kids Should Be With Period...

DLPeterson5 - 1/28/2014 10:17 AM
2 Votes
I've been going through the same thing. My son's life was put in danger numerous times (without my knowledge) by his father and the "dishonorable" Bridget Peck keeps allowing him visitation. Visitation that has become very detrimental to my son and his health. But no he has "rights". You're not alone Antonio. Karma is fiesty and what comes around most definitely goes around. They'll get theirs.

Cornholio - 1/28/2014 9:10 AM
2 Votes
remember this when elections come around people. WE ARE THE ONES WHO ELECT THESE JUDGES!

melyssa - 1/28/2014 8:29 AM
2 Votes
What is wrong with this judge?what makes her think the morales kids are safe in a home where they are abused. What if some thing worst happens to the children while the mother has them.at is judge Elliot going to do? It's so sad that after thesse children have been through this they have to return to an abusive mother.hooking judge does not put this children back with their mother.God bless the Morales family nd touches judge Elliot's heart

Baffled - 1/28/2014 4:54 AM
2 Votes
I am so glad this came to light. It is ridiculous to me how someone can want to send children back to an unsafe home just because of the gender of the parent. I gaurantee if it was the other way around she would get custody no questions asked. When you hit a child w/ a belt buckle in the face that should say it all in regaurds to your parenting. What kind of woman would want to give children back to a mother that abused them in such a way to leave bruises on top of bruises. She shouldn't be allowed within 50000 feet of them if you ask me. It's refreshing to see a man step up and fight for his children, so many times we hear about dead beat dads who don't want to be a part of children's lives... Just goes to show you don't have to be a man to be a dead beat.
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