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To Mr. Coutsoukis's consternation, the mother bargained down the
hours that Teddy would spend with her father, choosing instead
to have her cared for by hired baby sitters until 11:30 AM.
Nevertheless, Mr. Coutsoukis felt that it was the best he could get under the circumstances which, he said, included the fear of a feminist judge, the notoriously unfair treatment that immigrants received in court and the possibility that a court might grant exclusive custody to the mother, with limited rights for him, as happened subsequently.
Having left her $70,000 a year job, she then requested the court's
permission to move to New York, citing better job opportunities
She moved to New York in April 1997 and Mr. Coutsoukis followed a week later with Teddy. He moved his business so he could be close to his daughter.
Upon arrival in New York, Ms. Samora filed a petition in Westchester Family Court and applied for a temporary restraining order.
In June, with Ms. Samora claiming that he violated the order,
Mr. Coutsoukis was dragged into the courtroom in handcuffs. He
was brought into court without a hearing or admission of guilt,
without even informing him of his right to counsel, and with complete
disregard for the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). When Mr. Coutsoukis asked for a hearing where he would come in with a lawyer the judge refused.
The former New York Family Court Judge Ingrid S. Braslow, based on Ms. Samora's unsupported allegations, suspended the Oregon order and drastically reduced Mr. Coutsoukis' time with Teddy to weekly supervised visits.
Having been terrorized and having seen his daughter severely diminished, Mr. Coutsoukis consented to the order of protection at a subsequent hearing in September 1997. He did so "without admitting" and while vociferously denying Ms. Samora's allegations.
The judge dismissed the mother's modification petition with prejudice and reinstated the Oregon order.
Although, in the intervening three months, Teddy was only allowed to see her father a few times under supervision at the YWCA. Following Judge Braslow's new decision, Ms. Samora refused to allow Teddy to see her father as specified by the then-in-effect Oregon order, except for a few minutes in a child rehabilitation facility.
During that visit Ms. Samora brought a bowl of what Mr. Coutsoukis (a world class cook) described as "white vomit" for Teddy to eat.
Prior to that hearing, in the summer of 1997, Ms. Samora had taken Teddy to Dr. Darryl De Vivo at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center requesting that Teddy be placed on the ketogenic diet. Teddy was hospitalized in August for monitoring and to be placed on that diet.
Ms. Samora took Teddy to the emergency room twice, for emergency hospitalizations after she had seizures that went on for "more than 15 minutes".
In May 1998 the Oregon divorce decree was entered shortly after Oregon denied Mr. Coutsoukis' petition to modify the custody/visitation order and custody was given to Ms. Samora.
In August 1998, Oregon declined jurisdiction leaving the case in the hands of the N.Y. courts.
[*In April 1999, following a campaign to impeach her, Judge Braslow, to whom Mr. Coutsoukis variously referred as "la putana" -- and its equivalent in English and a few other languages, recused herself from all future proceedings in this case and quit the bench in mid term in December of that year.]
Ms. Samora had taken Teddy back to Dr. Darryl DeVivo at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. There he put the child on a ketogenic diet, a very harmful and dangerous, high fat starvation diet, despite the lack of scientific proof that proves the diet can be helpful in such cases.
Upon viewing Teddy's records, Dr. Oas wrote an unsolicited letter to the court stating that Teddy had shown regressive losses in cognitive, language and physical development. This letter was based on reports from special education teachers that teach in her schools in Ossining, New York. He said the therapy she was currently undergoing was inadequate for her needs. He continued that she needed daily parental intervention that he believed Mr. Cousoutkis could best provide.
Dr. Oas later on reiterated his recommendation, saying that since June 1997 Teddy's behavioral deficits had increased significantly, whereas before being separated from her father, she had progressed spectacularly. The decline occurred when Teddy had been under the care of her mother, with minimal contact with her father.