Court Transcripts: May 1, 1992
Susan DeVries – Family Court Services Custody Evaluator:
I believe that at various times Mr. Collins probably said to the children “I’m going to strangle you if you keep that up.” I think there were probably times when he grabbed the children and perhaps even shook them. These are very sensitive youngsters and I think probably were frightened by that. On the other hand these are all behaviors that many parents do engage in without reaching the level of abuse or developing a terrified relationship with their child.
I believe that what happened here is that Ms. Collins because of her anxieties, perhaps because of her abuse from Mr. Collins or perhaps because of some internal anxiety, has over responded to remarks the children have made about Mr. Collins or things she may have observed.
My evaluation of these children strongly indicates to me that there has been interference in the relationship between Mr. Collins and the children…
I haven’t seen any behavior on the part of Mr. Collins that as I’ve observed it, makes me uncomfortable about him seeing the children.
Both of the children expressed a desired to me, when I inquired what would help make your relationship with your dad better? "We want our dad to apologize for the things that have happen in the past. We want him to promise he won’t do scary things to us again or mean things."
I spoke with Mr. Collins and he said that he was willing to have such a conversation with the children…
Question: Is there any reason why she (Holy) is not going to continue her children’s alienation from the father?
DeVries: There is certainly no guarantee that that won’t happen. One of the things that I would be hopeful of is that this problem having been brought to people’s attention can be more carefully watched.
Question: I’m also not entirely clear. I know that you said it is conceivable to you, at least that Mr. Collins did shake his children as a mode of discipline?
DeVries: I think that s a possibility because what the children have said.
Question: And the children have said that he did shake them by holding their necks. Is that correct?
Question: And are you saying that that may have happened?
DeVries: It may have happened… yes… What I said was that many of the behaviors that the children described are behaviors that a number of parents engage in from time to time but that did not constitute physical abuse.
Question: A number of parents engage in shaking their children by the neck?
DeVries: Yes in my experience that ‘s true.