Student Battles Teacher for Custody of Two
Meanwhile in Texas, there's this breaking story (ABC News, 4/14/11). It all started some five years ago. That's when 30-year-old Anne Lynn Montgomery started having sex with 15-year-old Bradman Moore. She was a teacher at his school. A year later, she gave birth to his daughter. A year or so after that, she gave birth to another daughter, also his. My arithmetic tells me the girls are now three and four years old, so why is this just now becoming an issue? It's hard to tell at this point. The facts of the case remain murky. What seems to have happened is that Montgomery went to court to get a TRO against Moore based on alleged threats he made against either her or the kids. He denies doing any such thing, but whatever actually happened, the TRO was issued. That might not have been the brightest move she could have made though, because once a court was involved, certain facts came to light. And those facts don't exactly paint Anne Lynn Montgomery in the most favorable light. Slapped with a TRO, young Mr. Moore, who is now 20, slapped back, asking the court for an order granting him parenting time with his kids. That too was granted, which would seem to cast doubt on Montgomery's claims that led to the TRO. After all, how dangerous is Moore likely to be if the judge gives him parenting time? And since this has all hit the courts and the press, the police seem to have taken note of the fact that, five years ago, an adult teacher had a lengthy sexual relationship with an underage boy. That of course violated the state's laws on what used to be called statutory rape. But it's not just the police who have noticed Anne Lynn Montgomery's wrongdoing; the school district has too. It apparently fired her because she's alleged to have committed multiple felonies as well as violated school policy. So among other things, the teacher is getting an education: when you commit crimes, don't go to court and tell everyone about it. Where this will end up is anyone's guess, but it should be interesting to follow. In the meantime, I'll engage in a bit of speculation. My guess is that what led up to the TRO goes something like this: over the years, Moore matures and becomes more and more interested in his kids; Montgomery resists his efforts at involvement with his children; he threatens to report her to the police if she doesn't allow him more time with the girls; it is this threat or one like it that forms the basis of her complaint against him. We'll see about that. What we'll also see is the weight given by the family court judge to the fact that the mother took advantage of the youth and immaturity of a 15-year-old boy to have sex with and have children by him. Whatever the police decide to do, Anne Lynn Montgomery committed a felony every time the two had sex. And while I'm on that topic, Moore claims he's not the only one. He says there were a total of six boys with whom Montgomery had sex back when she was still a teacher. She and her lawyer have no comment about that charge, but my guess is that Moore knows at least some of the young men to whom he was referring. So I expect we'll be hearing from them soon and then we'll know if we can call Anne Lynn Montgomery a serial rapist or not. Whatever the case, we now have a mother who looks like a criminal and a young father who wants greater contact with his daughters than he's so far had. In short, we've got a custody battle that's just begun. As it unfolds, it'll be fascinating to see how the judge weighs all the various factors and what the outcome is. Does Montgomery go to prison? Is her contact with her kids sharply limited due to her previous child abuse? What provision can Bradman Moore make for his daughters? Does he get primary custody? Does she pay him child support? The answers to those and many other questions will tell us something about where we stand as a society regarding fathers' rights. To what extent do old, inaccurate narratives of maternal goodness and paternal corruption still hold sway in the decisions judges make even in cases like this one? Stay tuned.