California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody


Karen Anderson suspected that something strange was going on between her ex-husband,Rex Anderson, and their 15-year-old daughter. Prior to the couple’s separation in 1998, the girl would sometimes put on high heels and makeup, “visiting” her dad while he worked late at night in the family’s basement. It was the same retreat in which he stored the dildos and artificial vaginas he used to stimulate himself sexually.

After the divorce, Rex was given primary custody of his daughter, as well as the couple’s 8-year-old son. Karen says this was because he had a full-time job as a facilities engineer at Santa ClaraValley Medical Center, while she was unemployed. While staying with her on weekends, her daughter would sometimes say she hated herself and wanted to die.

Today, Rex Anderson is serving a 23-year sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga. In 2003, he pleaded no contest to 25 counts of sex crimes against his daughter, including child molestation, sexual penetration of a child with a foreign object, and use of a minor to create pornography. When she turned 18, his daughter left his care and reported years of abuse to police in El Dorado County, where they were living. (SF Weekly is withholding her name as a victim of child sexual abuse.)

Seldom are a parent’s allegations against an estranged former spouse rejected out of hand, only to be vindicated so completely. Yet observers say the Anderson case represents just one unfortunate outcome of systemic problems in the family courts‘ methods for investigating accusations of abuse.

Looking out for the children who find themselves in the middle of bitter divorces is the most important function of the state’s family courts, and arguably one of the most significant duties of the judiciary as a whole. Yet evidence has mounted in recent years that it is a responsibility in which family court officials are sometimes failing dramatically.

Read more: (San Francisco Weekly)

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