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Obtained Placement For Father

We obtained placement for a father where the custodial parent had continuously violated court orders regarding the child, after contested hearings for contempt. Since the child’s removal, mother has conceded that the child is doing wonderfully with father and that it is ‘the best place’ for him.

Tim gave a national teleconference on Discovery in Divorce that was simulcast through West LegalEdcenter as a webcast.

Comments on the presentation included the following:

Secured custody and possession of a nine-year old boy, and his return to a father in Rhode Island, after mother removed the child from Rhode Island in violation of court orders.

Iraq Veteran Transitioned To Shared Placement Of Children

Represented a veteran returning from Iraq to transition his visitation back to shared placement of his children as he progressed with counseling and treatment for PTSD.

Serving As Commissioner (Current Case)

Presently serving as commissioner to supervise the division of an extensive sports memorabilia collection, including hundreds of unique and valuable signed items from New England sports legends.

Residential Care Secured For Adopted Child

Assisting a mother who adopted a child who was sexually abused as an infant in securing appropriate residential care for the child

Helped Father Gain Physical Placement Of Children

In January 2015, we helped a father gain physical placement of his two children, in connection with a divorce. Prior to being in father’s care the parties’ daughter was struggling with truancy and disciplinary issues, and was at risk of being placed by DCYF.

Father Awarded Parenting Time

In January 2015, a mother filed a petition seeking sole custody and placement of her two children. Representing the father, we were able to establish an order whereby the father, who was previously being denied visitation, now has parenting time every weekend and for half of the children’s school vacations and holidays. The father also has a right of first refusal if the mother is going to be away from the children for more than three hours at a time.

Reduced Child Support Obligations Granted To Father

In December 2014, we helped a father lower his child support obligation by $200 per month and entered an order requiring his wife to pay one-half of their eldest child’s college tuition.

Mother Successfully Relocated To Florida With Children

In October 2014, we helped a mother successfully relocate to Florida with her children. The mother reports the children are thriving in their new schools and enjoying life in Florida.

Enforced Child Support Payments For Mother

In October 2014, we helped a mother who had not received child support in more than a year secure an order requiring her child’s father to pay support and contribute to the cost of the child’s preschool and medical expenses. We were also able to have the father’s wages garnished each week to ensure the mother received payment.

Crafted Comprehensive Parenting Plan

In September 2014, we were able to craft a comprehensive parenting plan whereby any changes and/or requests regarding the children had to be communicated via email and a failure to respond was deemed to be consent. This arrangement proved to be successful where the other parent routinely failed to communicate regarding the children. We were also able to secure sole control for the father regarding a child’s prescription medications, where the child has been recently hospitalized in Bradley and mother has exhibited resistance to the child taking medication.

Prevented Absentee Father From Gaining Placement

In June 2014, a previously absentee father who had moved out of state was seeking placement of his child. We were not only able to stop the father from gaining placement but entered an order limiting the father’s visitation with the child to visits only in Rhode Island.

Regular Contact And Visitation Granted To Mother

In June 2014, we were able to establish regular Skype contact as well as a visitation schedule for a mother who lived in New York and whose ex-husband had been denying her visitation for more than one year. Mother was granted most of the summer with the child as well as alternating school vacations and holidays in New York, and additional visits in the child’s home state. We were also able to establish an order that the father, who had previously been making the mother do all of the driving for the visitation, meet her halfway between their respective home states.

Mother Reunited With Newborn Daughter

In June 2014, we helped a mother, who had been removed from her home by DCYF, reunite with her newborn daughter.

Visitation Rights Granted To Grandmother

In March 2014, we secured visitation for a grandmother who was being denied visitation with her granddaughter due to a dispute between the child’s parents (her son and the child’s mother). We were able to get the grandmother visitation at a minimum of one weekend per month from Friday through Sunday as well as one week for vacation in the summer.

Visitation Arrangement Negotiated For Grandfather

In May 2013, we were able to negotiate a visitation arrangement, including overnight visitation, for a grandfather who was being denied visitation with his grandson.

Child Support And Visitation Negotiated For Father

In August 2013, we were able to get an order lowering a father’s child support amount to accurately reflect his income. We were also able to straighten out a past accounting issue with Child Support Enforcement that could have led to the father losing his license.

In July 2014, we were able to negotiate a visitation schedule for this father, who lived out of state, that resulted to the child traveling to visit with his father for Christmas vacation as well as most of the summer.

Helped Marine Establish Court-Ordered Schedule For His Son

We helped a Marine stationed in South Carolina to establish a court-ordered schedule for his son to travel from Newport, Rhode Island, for visitation.

We secured dismissal of a domestic assault charge lodged by a parent who wanted to change custody to increase welfare benefits.

We obtained orders requiring the valuation of a family jewelry business in Westerly, Rhode Island, as part of a divorce.

Finalized Reorganization Of Couple’s Family Business

Tim finalized reorganization of a couple’s family businesses, structuring long-term benefits for one spouse, collateralized with stock pledges.

Client Released From A Limited Partnership Holding Colorado Real Estate

We handled a workout releasing a client from a limited partnership holding Colorado real estate that had been mismanaged by client’s former spouse, relieving her of a potential six-figure deficiency claim.

We enforced a Rhode Island prenuptial agreement to bar a Brazilian national from pressing foreign alimony claims, and protect the client from enforcement of any judgment obtained in Brazil that violated the prenuptial agreement.

Heroux v Carpentier, et al

Rhode Island Superior Court litigation stating claims against a Rhode Island priest and the diocesan hierarchy for child sexual abuse, and raising claims of fraud and concealment on the part of the hierarchy. This is one of at least 30 such cases presently before the Rhode Island Superior Court. Mr. Conlon chairs the Plaintiffs’ Counsel Committee.

Documents referenced in the complaint prepared by attorney Richard Cappalli and attorney Conlon regarding the prior knowledge of Rhode Island’s bishops also are available for public review.

Smith v O’Connell, et al

Federal court litigation stating claims against a now deceased Rhode Island priest and the diocesan hierarchy for child sexual abuse. This litigation involves the validity of the church’s assertion of “First Amendment” protection from child sexual abuse claims, the “repressed memory” issue as it relates to adult claims of child sexual abuse, the “false memory syndrome” defense to such claims, and allegations of fraud and concealment on the part of the diocesan hierarchy. Plaintiffs are pursuing appeals from a district court ruling that their conditions as a result of sexual abuse did not “disable” them for the purposes of Rhode Island’s statute of limitations tolling provision, G.L 1956 (1997 Reenactment) §9-1-17.

In re: Donald G., et al

Family court litigation on behalf of all children placed by the RI Department of Children, Youth & Families in a locked residential treatment facility operated by a private corporation. This litigation led to a Rhode Island Family Court consent decree freeing 14 status offenders from confinement in the facility, and establishing standards that still govern the detention and treatment of juvenile nonoffenders and status offenders.

***** and ***** v. D’Amario

Family court litigation on behalf of a mother and father of a special needs child alleging traumatization of the child by the State Department for Children, Youth and Families. Litigation resulted in an injunction restricting the state child welfare agency’s contact with the child, and yielded a 95-page report recommending systemic changes in training of child abuse investigators.

Gill v. Gelineau, et al, Doe v. Gelineau, et al; Doe v. Gelineau, et al; Roe v. Gelineau, et al

Counsel of record for four children and the families of three of those children in pending civil actions arising out of allegations of ongoing sexual abuse, and failure to report same in a defunct orphanage formerly operated by a corporation under the aegis of the Diocese of Providence.

Tavano v. Messa et, al; LaFlamme v. Messa, et, al; and Ferrara v. Messa, et, al

Companion civil actions brought on behalf of child victims and their families against Thomas Messa, a former Providence school teacher convicted of six counts of second-degree child molestation, and various administrators in the Providence school system for negligence in their supervision of Messa.

Doe v. McKenna et, al

A related matter arising out of negligent supervision of Messa. In a ten-page decision released May 8, Superior Court Judge Alice Gibney referenced repeated incidents, years before Messa’s arrest, in which school officials learned that Messa had been accused of touching students on the rear-end or in the private parts. These incidents were not reported by school officials, or documented in Messa’s personnel file. Judge Gibney therefore rejected Ricci’s argument for immunity and summary judgment.

Croce v. RCA Service Corp., et al

Irons v. RCA Service Corp., et al

Maldavir v. RCA Corp., et al

Companion civil actions pursued on behalf of former residents of a private residential treatment center formerly located in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Nadeau v. Nadeau

The firm represents a father in Rhode Island trial court and appellate proceedings arising out of an interstate contested custody matter with crossing allegations of psychological abuse. In an 18-page decision released July 21, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act prohibits mother from removing children from the jurisdiction, alleging abuse and then maintaining out-of-state custody proceedings. Trial is anticipated in August of 1998.

Herbert R. v. Barbara R.

Attorney Conlon was brought in after a hearing on the merits divided 13.5 million dollars ’50-50,’ and used computer forensics to document substantial investment assets that were not divided. Although the party that failed to disclose these assets claimed they had only ‘speculative value,’ a review of computer files revealed detailed net worth statements prepared by that party in advance of the divorce showing the marital estate at roughly 24 million.

The innocent party was awarded 55 percent of the whole, and counsel fees as a result. Attorney Conlon has presented several seminars for attorneys on the use of computers in litigation, and electronic discovery and computer evidence .

Business Buyout

We represented a shareholder in a successful liquor business during his divorce, and when it sold, through a closing that released stock restrictions used to secure the former spouse to allow the third-party buyout.

Hidden Asset Case

Round 1

Originally settled as uncontested by another attorney, were brought in by wife’s trial counsel when undisclosed assets ($75,000) were uncovered

We discovered $13 million in assets that had not been distributed in the divorce. Negotiated settlement for 55 percent of the entire ($25 million) estate. Secured payments for counsel fees, accounting fees and computer forensics

Round 2

When he didn’t pay, we arranged for seizure of boat ($1.2 million) in Turkey to collect funds.

Protected Spousal Interests In Business

Negotiated to protect spousal interests in successful Rhode Island business, working within existing stock restrictions to secure employment for divorcing spouse pending equitable distribution. Later retained to negotiate collateralized buyout of the employment package, and stock buyout (3.95M)

Successfully Recovered Funds Improperly Transferred By Husband

Successfully recovered $300k, improperly transferred by husband to a family member during divorce

Secured order allowing recovered funds to be used for support of client and the parties’ son during pendency of proceedings.

Business Woman Taken In By Foreign National

A successful Rhode Island business woman was taken in by a foreign national who moved hundreds of thousands of dollars offshore during a short-term marriage

We freed her business interests from claims by the husband and secured her 100 percent of the remaining assets in the U.S.

Achieved The Return Of An 8-Year-Old Boy, Removed From The State In Violation Of Family Court Orders

Secured the return of an 8-year-old boy, removed by the then custodial parent from the state of Rhode Island in violation of family court orders

Upon recommendation of a guardian ad litem, the child now resides with client

Successfully Dismissed Sexual Violence Charges Against Father

Brought in as co-counsel to represent a father in obtaining placement of four children, where father was wrongfully accused of sexual violence against mother during divorce, in order to gain leverage in the family court. Father now has placement and criminal charges are dismissed

Secured Return Of Child Who Was At Risk Of Being Removed From The Country

We helped secure the return of a child whose dad believed was at risk of being removed from the country. Less than 24 hours from the date of our initial contact with the dad we were able to secure an emergency order granting dad sole custody and physical possession of the child, restraining and enjoining mom from removing the child from the state of Rhode Island or the borders of the United States, and authorizing law enforcement to assist in securing the surrender of the child to dad immediately. We utilized a private investigator, local and federal law enforcement, contacts at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of State to locate mom and the child, put “flags” on their passports to prevent them from leaving the country.

Helped Mother Secure Placement Of Her Minor Children

Round 1

Helped a mother secure placement of her minor children with limited visitation for dad based on a history of psychological abuse by dad as well as get an order that dad reimburse her for approximately $40,000 in educational, medical and extracurricular expenses relative to the children.

Round 2

Helped mom modify the existing visitation schedule so she could successfully relocate to Florida with the children. Mom reports the children are thriving in their new home.

Negotiated Visitation Arrangement For A Grandfather

We were able to negotiate a visitation arrangement, including overnight visitation, for a grandfather who was being denied visitation with his grandson.

Represented Grandmother For Best Interest Of Child While Pending Mom’s DCYF Case

Represented a grandmother in connection with a DCYF matter. We successfully argued the grandmother had a right to be heard regarding the best interests of the child given she was a relative who had provided care for the child. The child was placed with Grandma pending mom’s completion of DCYF’s case plan.

Secured Visitation For Grandmother Being Denied Visitation With Granddaughter

We secured visitation for a grandmother who was being denied visitation with her granddaughter due to a dispute between the child’s parents (her son and the child’s mother). We were able to secure the grandmother regular overnight as well extended summer visitation.

Special Needs Adoption Threatened DCYF Case

A special needs adoption was jeopardized by a DCYF investigation that went off the rails. We brought a family court action that led to a 100-page expert report (paid for by the Department) that exonerated the parents, called for upgrades to DCYF training and reforms of the system.

The child was able to remain with the preadoptive parents through adulthood

Angry Daughter Claimed ‘Abuse’

A doctor – when an angry teenage daughter claimed ‘abuse’

Years after the spat, and the case was resolved the daughter subsequently hired us to represent her!

Resolved Difficult Divorce Regarding Funding Costs For Autistic Child

We resolved a difficult divorce that had been hung up over the funding of treatment costs for an autistic child, and the division of a stock option buyout.

Obtained Protective Order For Innocent Spouse

We obtained a protective order for an ‘innocent spouse’ whose husband had run up $40,000 in unfunded (and undisclosed) tax liabilities.

Used Information To Shut Down Hundreds Of Thousands In Offshore Transfers

We identified and documented hundreds of thousands in offshore transfers – and used the information to shut down access to all remaining U.S. funds.

Helped Place Student With School After Incident With Teacher

We helped a student get placement out of her school district for the new school year after an incident with her teacher.

Helped Marine Achieve Custody Of His Daughter

We helped a marine stationed in California get custody and emergency placement of his daughter in Rhode Island.

Met With Accountants For Local Oral Surgeon

We met with accountants for a local oral surgeon to review practice buy-in documents as an alternative to the expense of valuation of a dental practice in a divorce.

Collected Payment From A Former Spouse Who Had Failed To Pay

We collected $875,000 for a California woman from a former spouse who had failed to pay a family court judgment — and then used the money he owed her to build himself a house in Greece.

Emergency Order To Back Up Computers To Secure Data

We obtained an emergency order authorizing the immediate back up of computers at a Rhode Island-based business to secure data regarding substantial international dealings, and then supervised a data forensics team’s overnight shut down and imaging of the company’s servers.

Helped Mother With Immediate Return Of Child Held In Violation Of Court Order

We helped a mother obtain police assistance to secure the immediate return of a 15-month-old child held in violation of a court order.


POSTED BY TJC • ESQ || 10-SEP-2002

Providence Bishop Robert E. Mulvee announces the historic settlement and apologizes to the 36 victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.



Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence yesterday reached a $13.5-million settlement in 36 sexual-abuse lawsuits, abruptly ending what is believed to be the longest stretch of litigation over clergy misconduct in the nation.

Standing next to plaintiffs’ lawyers at a news conference at the diocesan headquarters, Bishop Robert E. Mulvee said of the decadelong legal battle: “This is a day long sought that brings to an end the difficult and often contentious process of litigation that has been painful for most concerned.”

“I reach out with deep sadness to the victims. Certainly in the name of the church, I ask their forgiveness and offer an apology for the harm that has been done to them.”

The settlement comes less than two months after a Superior Court judge for the first time ordered the diocese to open its files — to show what it knew and did about abusive priests. The ruling, by Judge Robert D. Krause, was a blow to the diocese, which had long successfully argued that its files were protected by religious freedom. The diocese appealed Krause’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, which encouraged the two parties to enter into mediation, plaintiffs’ lawyer Timothy J. Conlon said yesterday.

Conlon, speaking on behalf of five plaintiff lawyers involved in the cases, called yesterday’s settlement “historic,” saying “we are the oldest group of cases in the country,” and that the long legal battle has “torn at the very culture” of the most Roman Catholic state in the country.

Standing at the podium, Conlon then turned to Bishop Mulvee, saying: “Your heartfelt condolences in reaching out to my clients means more to them than anything I could bring; it’s more than you had to do, and it’s the right thing . . . I applaud your courage.”

One plaintiff yesterday said the settlement was like having a “building” lifted from her back. Anita Guilbault, 43, said she was abused by her family priest as a teenager in Cumberland.

“There will always be reminders; he abused me when I was 16 but he came into my life when I was 4,” said Guilbault, of Lincoln. “Whenever I smell a pipe, there is the priest’s presence. But this is official closure.”

Leland J. White, another plaintiff, cried at the news conference, and hugged Monsignor Paul D. Theroux, who had represented the diocese during mediation. White, who is 46, and a lawyer in Arlington, Va., had filed a lawsuit in 1993. He was one of eight men whose lawsuits alleged abuse by the Rev. James M. Silva — who was convicted of abuse in 1995.

“Thank you,” White told the monsignor. “Today meant a lot. Today meant a real lot.”

White, in an interview, said he felt that filing a lawsuit was the only way to get the church to publicly take responsibility for the abuse, and to prevent future abuse.

“I was raised a Catholic. As a Catholic, confession has two parts. You say you did something wrong, and then you do penance, make some gesture of sorrow,” he said. “The church has said publicly, ‘We are sorry,’ but there was never anything behind that, just empty words. Now there’s something real and genuine behind that and it makes all the difference in the world.”

But outside the diocesan headquarters yesterday, in Cathedral Square, one victim said he was hesitant to believe the diocese’s sincerity. He noted that the decision to settle after so many years came shortly after Judge Krause “had ’em up against the wall” with his decision in July that the diocese hand over its files.

“Only time will tell if their actions in the future will uphold what they’ve said today,” said James Egan, a teacher who was repeatedly sexually abused by the Rev. Michael V. LaMountain as a teenager. LaMountain pleaded guilty to the abuse of Egan and four others in 1997.

Jeanne Egan, James’s mother, was with her son. Asked whether she was disappointed that with yesterday’s settlement, the church’s records would likely remain private — she said, “oh yes.”

“I think they should come out,” she said. “It’s the only way the public is going to know.”

The Providence settlement is one of a number in the past year. The Los Angeles Archdiocese paid $5.2 million to one plaintiff last year, the Tucson diocese paid $14 million to 16 victims in January and the Jesuit order paid $7.5 million to two alleged victims earlier this month. The 86 plaintiffs in the Boston abuse case are considering a $10-million proposal.

The Providence agreement covers all but two of the 38 men and women who sued the diocese, accusing 11 priests and a nun. Negotiations are continuing in the other two cases.

Bishop Mulvee said that to come up with the $13.5 million, the diocese will seek both “internal and external financing,” including investment reserves, pending insurance claims and possibly the sale of “excess diocesan property.” One candidate, he said, could be the Watch Hill mansion that serves as the bishop’s summer home — “but no final decisions have been made.”

He is insistent, he said, that the money not come from parishes, or from charitable campaigns, such as the Catholic Charity Appeal.

Of the settlement, Bishop Mulvee said: “Some will ask, what took you so long?” He said there is no simple answer, but that these cases presented “a number of new legal issues that required a great deal of study and research.”

Bishop Mulvee, who spoke both from the podium and through a statement he released to the media, explained: “The legal issues still exist of course, but while very important, they do not outweigh my overriding concern for the hurt suffered by these victims and the need to provide them a just resolution and ongoing therapeutic assistance.”

He said the diocese had pledged to provide counseling for any victims who requested it.

Jeffrey R. Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer well-known for his cases against the Catholic church, yesterday said that dioceses everywhere have taken a more conciliatory approach since the U.S. Bishops’ meeting in Dallas. But the Providence settlement, he said, represents a major shift in legal strategy.

The change in public opinion about sexual abuse cases, he said, coupled with a judge’s orders to turn over documents, likely changed the course of litigation in Providence. Those scenarios are also starting to play out elsewhere.

“They can’t operate with the degree of arrogance, insularity and secretness they had before,” he said. “They know this is a public relations disaster.”

Plaintiff lawyer Carl P. DeLuca said, however, that while it was true that the diocese had entered into mediation after the courts swung against them — church officials seemed sincere in wanting to resolve the cases.

During mediation, as individuals began telling their stories, DeLuca said, church officials “were human beings finally having the reaction that we were always expecting they would have.”

Monsignor Theroux, who attended the mediation, yesterday said the mediation had been emotional for him. He said victims felt betrayed not only by priests, but also by the church.

“When the church didn’t respond as strongly as they hoped, they felt betrayed again,” he said.

One of the plaintiffs, Daniel Heroux, yesterday said that mediation “was the first time I’ve had the diocese listen to me.”

Heroux, a 42-year-old analyst at Amica Insurance, said, “I felt I could walk away with my head high and that, for once, I wasn’t made to feel as though it was my fault.”

The plaintiffs’ lawsuits named not only individual parishes and priests, but also Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence — a company that holds the church’s most valuable land and property — plus the hierarchy: Bishop Mulvee, former Bishop Louis E. Gelineau, and former auxiliary bishops Kenneth A. Angell, now bishop of Burlington, Vt., and Daniel P. Reilly, now bishop of Worcester, Mass.

The accused clergy members included the Reverends Robert A. Carpentier, Joseph D’Angelo, Alfred P. Desrosiers, Roland M. Lepire, Michael V. LaMountain, Robert A. Marcantonio, Richard Meglio, Edmund Micarelli, William C. O’Connell and James M. Silva. The other accused are Monsignor Louis W. Dunn, and a nun, Sister Mary Claudine. None of the clergy work for the church anymore. Four are dead. Six have been convicted of child abuse.

The diocese listed assets of $97 million in its most recent financial statement. Plaintiffs’ lawyers believe the diocese owns $44 million in property — a number the diocese won’t confirm.

Explaining the settlement yesterday, Bishop Mulvee said “there is very little property that is not directly tied to ministry.”

The 75-acre Aldrich Mansion on Warwick Neck might seem to be excess property, he said, but it is used for many diocesan meetings, seminars and gatherings. Also, he said, the mansion — a posh banquet venue — generates enough revenue to maintain the Aldrich property, which is also home to a girls’ boarding school.

One leader in the church laity said yesterday he was somewhat bothered by the concept of resolving sexual abuse lawsuits with money.

Ralph Lawrence, a trustee at SS. John & Paul Parish in Coventry, explained: “I certainly feel badly for anyone who was abused and I want them to be able to move forward with their lives, although in some of these cases I feel . . . and I’m not referring specifically to cases in Rhode Island — that the payment of these monies is not necessarily how you help a person move forward. They certainly need help with counseling . . . that type of thing.”

Lawrence said it also concerns him because, “quite frankly that money is coming from other programs. It’s coming from somewhere. Just the concept of it bothers me, but if that’s what it takes to put it all behind us so the victims can move forward and the church can move forward and concentrate on the positive and good work it has always done, I guess we have to face that as a fact.”

But yesterday, one plaintiff, Kenneth Sousa-Hart, said that “money is really secondary. I didn’t go into mediation thinking I was going to come out Donald Trump.”

Sousa-Hart, who is 45, said he was molested at around age 11, at his Newport parish. He joined the lawsuits in 1994 at the suggestion of his father, who had read about a few individuals suing the church. He told his son if he still needed to get this “weight off my shoulder and this ugly situation out of my head, this would be the time to do it.”

“The church is very powerful,” said Sousa-Hart. “It has no problem owning property or passing around the basket; this is just another way to strike it and to tell it that they should be paying attention to its staff.”