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NJ Woman Convicted in International Custody Case

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Posted Nov. 12, 2009
NJ Woman Convicted in International Custody Case
The Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. - A woman accused of hiding her daughter in Spain to evade a custody judgment has been convicted by a New Jersey jury of custody interference and ignoring a court order to return the girl to the United States.
Maria Jose Carrascosa of West New York, N.J., has been held in a New Jersey jail for three years for refusing to bring her daughter Victoria back from Spain, where the girl lives with Carrascosa's parents.
A U.S. court previously granted Carrascosa's ex-husband, Peter Innes of Hasbrouck Heights, sole custody of their daughter, while Carrascosa has an order from a Spanish court that the girl remain in Spain until she's 18.
The 9-year-old still lives with her grandparents in Spain, and has not seen either parent in years.
"I have mixed emotions about the jury's verdict in this trial," Innes said Thursday in a written statement. "While I feel vindicated of the heinous allegations made against me through this entire process, it saddens me to think that yet even more time will pass that Victoria will not have either of her parents in her life."
A message left for Carrascosa's attorney, Scott Finchenauer, was not immediately returned. Carrascosa faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced in December.
Innes says the couple, who once lived together in New Jersey, signed an agreement when they separated that neither of them would take their daughter out of the country. But in January 2005 Carrascosa took her daughter to Spain, where she obtained her own court order, which said the girl should remain in that country.
U.S. State Department officials, judges from the New Jersey county where Carrascosa is incarcerated, and Spanish authorities traveled earlier this year to The Hague to mediate a solution. The results were not made public but Innes' attorney, Peter Van Aulen, said judges from both Spain and the U.S. recommended a joint legal custody arrangement that Carrascosa rejected.
"It's a shame, it should have never happened," Van Aulen said of the lengthy custody battle. "There's a child in Spain without a father or mother."
Both parties have spent huge sums entangled in the case, Van Aulen said, though he declined to specify a dollar amount.
This is not the only high profile international custody battle with ties to New Jersey.
Tinton Falls resident David Goldman has been battling the family of his now-deceased ex-wife over custody of his son. Goldman's wife took their son to her native Brazil more than five years ago. The boy is living with his mother's new husband in Rio de Janeiro.
The ongoing court fight seeking the return of the boy is now in the Brazilian courts.
President Barack Obama has spoken about the case, and U.S. officials have urged the boy be reunited with Goldman.

Peter Innes' interview in a Spanish newspaper after the ruling:
Google Translation:
I will not see the mother of my daughter in prison P 33
From the office of his advertising company Innes Communications Inc. in Hasbrouck Heights (New Jersey, USA), Peter Innes attended the interview yesterday Levante-EMV, a day after the verdict of guilty against his ex-wife for having taken her daughter to Valencia.
It's two in the afternoon in New Jersey (United States). The secretary answers to an international conference from Valencia. "Sorry, Mr Innes is busy with a client, but give me your phone and make contact. Two hours later, the estranged husband of Maria Jose Carrascosa answers all the unanswered questions so far. In a sometimes fiery and sometimes with sadness because it was done justice, recalls, "has not solved anything." Still can not see his daughter.
How do you feel after a Bergen County jury has convicted Maria Jose Carrascosa and knowledge that can sentence to 20 years in prison?
I have mixed feelings because they have destroyed my girl ... While I think justice has been done by another bark I do not think anything is resolved. So I'm not happy. No I celebrated last night was a sad day ... I do not want my daughter's mother in prison. I want to grow with a father and a mother, not only with the mother, which is what María José intended.
Are you going to keep fighting for his daughter?
Continue to appeal to the courts in Spain for my rights. I've done nothing wrong and there is no reason for any judge denied me custody. Maria Jose is the criminal, not me. Remember, we have lived in America during the time of marriage and that is the residence of the child.
Before this trial, offered him a deal for free if you come out to see the child leave. Do you offer other treatment after the sentence?
We offer another deal today, now! I am willing to discuss any agreement before it is condemned. I want Maria Jose is well and that's a good mother and having a happy life and married again. That's what I always wanted.
Have you tried contacting the family?
Ever since the beginning. But they have refused to reach any agreement and this is the problem. It is not only the family but her. It should be in prison. From the first day he entered prison, has had the opportunity in their hands out. But she chose to be in prison and being away from her daughter.
Do you think you can see his daughter in the upcoming dates? Do you think it can happen with it this Christmas?
I hope soon to see my child. On 23 December, the judge read the sentence. In the U.S., the victim can be heard at that time and the judge can consider your request. If that day my daughter is in the U.S., ask them to leave freely and Maria Jose spend a happy Christmas. I have no objection to that in January when the holidays pass, the whole family can return to Valencia with Maria Jose with the child.
Is this the solution?
Yes, it's that simple. Even I will ask U.S. courts to stop back to María José from Spain. I just want her daughter can visit me in New Jersey and accept living in Spain who has his or her residence. I have a new wife who is a policeman in New York, a son of two and half years and a stepdaughter, 17. I am certain that Victoria would be very happy to meet them. But the question is whether they will, if my daughter will bring. The solution is that simple.
Appealing to her family? It seems that grandparents are caring for the child very well and even take it to a bilingual school, which will facilitate your reunion.
Yes, I think Victoria speak English and they said that is an American school. I have great respect for the father, is a gentleman, but is in a very difficult position. And they have made it impossible for her daughter. in the U.S. have had 13 lawyers and Spain, seven more. But Maria José did not need 20 lawyers, you may have sufficed with a psychologist just because lawyers are not going to give the help you need.
Why does Maria Jose need a psychologist?
Imagine things. She accused me of poisoning them, and justice gave me the reason. I'm 49 and no woman accused me of having done anything wrong, only one person: María José Carrascosa. Of all these accusations, none was estimated by the Spanish courts. So here I submitted to the polygraph. She accused me of drug addict and I did the tests ..., but has never proved anything.
Does anyone believe these accusations?
The media in Spain have only heard and read its history, and people think I'm a murderer and a drug addict. Nothing is true. I am a normal American, a businessman with a family. If any of this were true, someone else would come to the fore to accuse. Everything is created by it.
Do you hate Maria Jose?
I think she hates me because I did since I left my life, met someone else and got married. Jealousy? It is not an international conflict or a case of poisoning, but the revenge of a woman who is destroying the life of my daughter and yours. But I fought for my daughter and I will continue doing.

Though I feel sad for the poor girl, I am extremely happy that US Courts have shown some spine and convicted her. Let us hope they will sentence her to the fullest extent possible.

I find it odd that US DoS officials and Judges sat together Spanish Judges and came up with a crappy arrangement of shared custody. The father was not given any access to the child in Spain so far. What made the US Judges and DoS to think they will in the future? This clearly looks like another example of DoS selling our children short.

I'm glad to see someone, especially someone that's female (since it's usually a male only law), serve serious prison time for kidnapping their child.  I just wish this case would get bigger press coverage.  It won't serve as much of a deterrent if no one knows about it.   I don't understand where the 10 year sentence is coming from though.  The IPKCA has a max of 3 years iirc.  Perhaps there is a NJ law that they are following.  Speaking of the IPKCA why don't they file charges against the grandparents in Spain and request extradition and Interpol warrants for illegally retaining the child?


--- Quote from: carlos;48989 --- I don't understand where the 10 year sentence is coming from though. The IPKCA has a max of 3 years iirc. Perhaps there is a NJ law that they are following. Speaking of the IPKCA why don't they file charges against the grandparents in Spain and request extradition and Interpol warrants for illegally retaining the child?
--- End quote ---



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