A group of parents demonstrating on Courthouse Square Friday morning across from the Lackawanna County Administration Building at 200 Adams Ave., Scranton, said they feel the county’s family court and guardian ad litem are the focus of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Olyphant resident Cherie Matassa said guardian ad litem Danielle Ross, who is supposed to represent her two children in a custody battle that began in March 2010, has not listened to their own wishes. Ms. Matassa claims that Ms. Ross forced her to provide visitation for her children claiming that her ex works for the Lackawanna County government despite the children not wanting to visit with him. The ages of the children were not stated.
Dawn Lewis of Scranton claimed that her father-in-law’s working relationship with a current county judge prevented her from keeping full custody of her now-7-year-old son after his father died from cancer in 2010. Ms. Lewis claims that her son, age 5 at the time, was seen by Ms. Ross two times for a total of 22 minutes and then decided that her son should spend three out of five days with his grandparents. She has been trying for over 18 months to get another court date. She believes that the FBI is looking into the finances of family court and that it “is only the tip of the iceberg.
Another woman from Blakely also feels she was treated unfairly by the county’s family court system. She said Ross, her children’s court guardian, gave custody of her children to a man with whom she had a prior relationship. That man was charged Sept. 28 with rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual assault of a child, indecent assault of a person under age 13, corruption of minors, and contact with minors involving sexual offenses, according to court records.
The FBI is not stating why the Family Court is being investigated. It is not often that you hear of this happening. Hopefully things will work out for these families.