By Jeffery M. Leving
Chicago, IL – The death of Duncan and Jack Connolly, two Illinois children allegedly murdered by their father Michael Connolly, touched many people’s hearts. I lament this terrible tragedy. However, as a fathers’ rights advocate and attorney, I regret that this case is now reinforcing the malicious stereotype of the brutal father, potentially sabotaging the efforts of many good fathers who love their children and want to be a part of their lives. The media coverage of this case has pushed the fathers’ rights movement back 10 years.
The fact is that most fathers do not harm their children. Domestic violence is not gender specific. Some mothers have also committed similar unnatural acts. For example, I am currently representing a soldier, formerly deployed in Iraq, who is now struggling to rescue his daughter from the alleged abuse of her mother in Chicago.
Without a careful review of the entire file and transcripts of court proceedings, it is hard to say why the judge in the Connolly custody case made his decision to give unsupervised visitation rights to this father. With hindsight, it appears that the judge’s decision was clearly wrong. But, the current petition to remove that judge from the bench does not seem to solve the problem. The correct method of seeking accountability in such a matter is done through the Judicial Inquiry Board.
Until we know all the facts, I caution against unrestrained emotions which may militate against the rights of good fathers struggling to protect their children. A mother has lost two children; let us support her but not lose our sense of reason.
Jeffery M. Leving is one of America’s most prominent family law attorneys and the author of Divorce Wars. He is the publisher of levingsdivorcemagazine.com.