After being granted an emergency restraing order against Tara Walsh and being granted temporary custody of Evelyn Grace, a court hearing was scheduled to hear the case. Below is the filing for that Court case.
Family Case 154703 / O - 069-18 July 09, 2018
Stacey Poole of Lerner Poole LLP, 535 Pacific Avenue, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94133 (email@example.com) - Attorney for Stephen G. Russell
Tara K. Walsh and her attorney of record Audrey T. Courson.
A COURT HEARING WILL BE HELD AS FOLLOWS: 7/10/2018 @ 1:30 PM Dept. 404.
Petitioner: Stephen Russell v. Respondent: Tara Walsh (FPT-18-377425)
Retraining Order: Family Case 154703 / O - 069-18
Evelyn Grace Walsh 1/27/2018 - Legal and Physical Custody to the Father.
Mother - Supervised Visitation Only
Other Orders Requested: Minor Child Evelyn Grace be returned from NY to SF.
I, Stephen Russell,declare and state:
1. I am the Petitioner in this action. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth below, and if called to testify,I could and would testify competently and truthfully regarding the following.
2. Respondent, Tara Walsh ,and I are the parents of Evelyn Walsh ( hereinafter "Evie" ) born 1/27/18. I have financially supported Evelyn and Respondent since Evelyn's birth.
3. Respondent (hereinafter "Tara" and I have resided together in San Francisco with our daughter since March18 ,2018. Previously, Tara and I had lived together in San Francisco ( where Evie may have been conceived), but after an incident whereby she threw a bottle of wine at my head, I asked Tara return to New York. After learning that Tara was pregnant, I paid for an apartment in Brooklyn,upgraded her medical insurance,and found a specialist who could help with her high-risk pregnancy. Though open to resuming a relationship with Tara, I concluded that our relationship could not heal in New York given the abusive family dynamic between Tara and her family but attempted to focus on being a helpful parent inspite of that though financial support, attending and helping with medical appointments, and being present at the birth and sleeping in a chair at the hospital through four days of recover after Tara's C-section. I needed to return to San Francisco for work and asked Tara to move there to give the relationship another try, or failing that, to better support Evie. She agreed after negotiating a few key terms focused on her desire to establish 6 months of cohabitation and not to have to work. We first moved to a house where my mother was living and began looking at apartments and houses to live more permanently. Tara brought her two dogs with her and nearly all of hers and the baby’s things. Larger items were left stored in Brooklyn, with anything necessary like a crib or car seat being purchased ew in San Francisco. The crib Tara selected was expandable and could grow with the baby over years. We hired a nanny on a 6-month initial contract. I paid for Tara and Evie to join Private Medical, a high-end concierge medical practice in San Francisco that requires prepaid annual subscriptions. The cost was $45,000. Tara switched her primary care doctor and Evie’s pediatrician to Private Medical. We ultimately moved into a penthouse apartment in the Millennium Tower under a year-long lease. Tara switched her mail and billing address to our new home there. The bulk of Tara’s and Evie’s things remain in San Francisco, as her declared reason for going to New York was simply to take a short vacation and consult with her family about her diagnosis of “Borderline Personality Disorder with Sociopathic Traits” and explore options after series of incidents that ranged from being caught drugging me to injuring our daughter during a delusional episode.
4. Shortly after we began residing together in San Francisco, Tara began to exhibit increased signs of mental instability like I had seen in the past. Tara has had multiple worrisome episodes where she had thrown a full bottle of wine at me, threatened suicide, made threats to harm me, attacked friends on social media she thought might be interested in dating me, abused her medication, faked a pregnancy and miscarriage, negligently allowed her sister’s baby to consume a controlled medicine, and was generally abusive and emotionally unregulated with everyone in our life. While in San Francisco, because of our new baby the incidents seemed much more serious to me. Tara’s sleep and medication issues resulted in her spending relatively few hours with our daughter. Much of her time awake was spent verbally abusing me. She threatened suicide on multiple occasions. She bought a plane ticket and attempted to run away from San Francisco leaving our daughter behind. Had multiple delusional episodes including one that led to Evie falling on her head from a height of about 3 feet and needing to go to the hospital. Our nanny also witnessed, and Tara confessed to, putting drugs into my drinks on multiple occasions (see declaration of Abrehet Asmelash Tedla (hereinafter “Abby”) filed herewith. I have filed a police report for this drugging (SFPD Case No. 180494149 taken by Officer Dove). I was issued an Emergency Protective Order. See Exhibit A.
5. After talking to Tara’s mother and Tara’s doctor an emergency intervention was advised and Dr. Abilash Gopal, M.D was recommended by Private Medical to help Tara. After several individual and joint sessions with Tara and myself, Dr. Gopal spoke to both of us together then individually and recommended a “higher standard of care” for Tara, and also told us that Tara exhibited signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (“BPD”), as well as, sociopathic traits. With Tara present, he recommended I take a strong stance on her getting care saying that setting clear “boundaries” is the best way to help someone with BPD. He also advised me that the path forward would not be guaranteed or easy. On his advice, I told Tara that I felt she needed to enter and graduate a Residential Care program, or alternative recommended by her doctors, in order for our relationship to work and for her to be a good mother to Evie. I later learned from Tara that she self-diagnosed herself with BPD and her New York therapist had concurred in Tara’s self-assessment years earlier. Previously she had told me that she was bi-polar and ADHD which she had received treatment for since she was young. Tara’s response to Dr. Gopal’s diagnosis and recommendations was to fire the psychiatrist and ask him to keep her records confidential. She told me that she was worried she would not get better. Then she secretly attempted to leave San Francisco with our daughter, leaving behind her two dogs.
6. Upon learning that Tara was going to the airport with Evie, I filed Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (FL-200) on June 4,2018 and asked Tara’s parents for their help. After speaking with her parents, Tara returned to our home and Tara was personally served with the Parentage Petition on June 5,2018. The Summons includes the restraining order that neither parent can remove the child from the state of California without court order or the other parent’s written consent.
7. Because Tara’s parents very badly wanted to spend time with Evie and because I thought that Tara’s mental and emotional state would benefit from spending time with her parents, I agreed that she could visit her parents with the baby for two to three weeks. My agreement was conditional upon Tara’s and her parents’ explicit agreement to stay at her parents’ home so that Evie and Tara would be safe, and further required that she seek advice from her New York therapist regarding her potential BPD diagnosis and her recent episodes. Furthermore, they agreed the “vacation” would last no more than 3 weeks and then she would return home. Attached as Exhibit B is an email thread between me and Tara’s father, Steve Walsh, memorializing the conditions for Tara and Evie’s travel. When she initially tried to leave on June 4, 2018, she provided Bryan Crutcher, my security detail, a copy of a round trip ticket to return to San Francisco in 11 days. She asked for Bryan’s team to watch her two dogs while she was gone before deciding later to take them, and we were in the process of hiring a new nanny that Tara would be happy with. Attached hereto as Exhibit C is a string of emails between me and Tara’s father in mid-May through early June whereby I update him on Tara’s mental health. The very last text from Tara’s dad states “I’m very happy to hear she’ll be coming for a visit—we are all very excited about seeing Evie—all set up at our house to accommodate.
8. By June 22, 2018 it had become clear from my conversations with Tara that she had deceived us and was planning to remain in New York and would not be returning with our daughter in violation of our agreement and the automatic restraining order associated with the Parentage action.
9. Shortly thereafter I was told by Tara and Tara’s father that she intended to stay in New York and will not return to California and was acting without his involvement and support. Tara also told me that she had planted false evidence on hotlines in order to compromise my parental rights and things would be “very messy” for me.
10. Additionally, Tara emailed the concierge at our apartment on June 25, 2018 in response to an email notification regarding a FedEx package asking to be removed from such notifications as she would no longer be staying in the building. Please see Exhibit D. On June 23, 2018, Tara sent me a text stating “Well I won’t give any statement until you allow me to return to our home....”, implying that San Francisco was our home. See Exhibit E.
11. I also understand that Tara has filed for a Protective Order in Westchester County, NY where her parents reside. I did not have the opportunity to respond to the temporary restraining order as it was granted ex parte, nor have I been personally served with a copy of the restraining order but understand that there is a hearing set for July 17,2018. It apparently covers both Tara and Evie as protected parties. I will be substantially prejudiced if that restraining order hearing goes through and includes Evie as a protected party without a determination of the which state has jurisdiction over Evie. Also know that in the days previous Tara sent numerous texts and calls that among other things included apologizing to me, asking to move back in with me, asking me to come visit her in NY, and generally complaining about how horrible her parents and life in New York was. In those same messages, I repeatedly asked her to not to contact me and to please work through her father or attorney as her texts and conversations where often also abusive and generally not helpful in any way. I did agree to come see Evie though very soon and let her father know I intended to come by the following week. Shortly thereafter communications with Tara and her father stopped and we have not spoken since.
In these text messages with Tara from June 5 to approximately July 1, 2018 (attached hereto as Exhibit F). Tara makes such comments as:
“I accept that I made horrible decisions and made it impossible to be with” ; “I want to be able to see you and for all of us to be together”; “You should come this weekend for Father’s Day”; “1 still love you and it hurts to thing of breaking up, but that will never affect you seeing Evie.”; “I also would love to have another child(s) and give Evie a sibling”; “I do feel remorse for what I’ve done”; “My whole family just wants me to be close, but living with my parents is honestly not good for my mental health. You know the background very well.”; “I do want help but I seriously cannot handle losing my daughter”; “Every time I look at her I think of you and it hurts all the time that I ruined everything.”; “I only acted that way because I loved you deeply and my mind is messed up”. ; “It’s not nice that you asked me to come and got my hopes up” (in response to my asking her to come to a June 30th wedding in California.; “Like 1 time” “No that’s the truth Rashmi made me. Despite what you think I still want us to be together for Evie and I do still love you” In response to my asking her about calling abuse hotlines.; “You should come here to be with her on Father’s Day! It’s your first and it’s sad your not together”.; “...someone told me my emotions don’t matter now that I’m a mother—all that matters is Evie—that I could risk losing her if I can’t control myself.”; “When can you see us? ...Nothing is better then a long hug from you but I’ll earn it or at least try. Next weekend? I feel bad she’s not with you for Father’s Day.” ; “No I’m not now I’m super emotional from this med change still crying—I’ll be fine tomorrow.”; “I can’t help but think my mom gave BPD to 4/6 of us” “I love you a lot and I am sorry for not showing it in the right ways—you are so brilliant, talented, patient, and Evie is lucky to have you as a Dad”.; “It’s honestly horrible living here—it’s not healthy. I feel so sorry for my sisters” “And they get into physical fights and stuff with my parents”.
These texts show that TARA admits to having mental health issues, the environment that Evie is living in now is not safe, and that TARA is not afraid of me and does not express any concerns about me as a parent.
12. Tara has also filed a Request for Order in San Francisco Superior Court for August 14, 2018 to dismiss the action for lack of subject matter and/or quash the service of the Summons, stating that she was only visiting San Francisco. She also asks the Court in that hearing to be able to stay in New York with Evie until the jurisdiction is resolved. I request that Tara and Evie (or at least Evie) immediately return to San Francisco. Tara should have sought the Court’s blessing before leaving, and her claims of domestic violence are not accurate. In fact, the opposite is true, and Tara is a risk to herself and our daughter. Tara admits in recent texts to me that she plans to begin Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is a form of therapy to treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder and chronically suicidal individuals and is aimed at people who see little or no improvement in traditional therapy who engage in selUdestructive behaviors. Even Tara’s own parents have been adamant that she not leave their house for fear of consequences for Evie.
13. Tara implies that she was forced to come to San Francisco from New York City and that she was manipulated several times to remain here by me. She states that she never intended to leave her Brooklyn residence; however, in the restraining order she filed states that she is living in Westchester County at her parents’ home. The protective order is also filed in Westchester County. This is because Tara’s parents deeply understand their daughter’s illness and strongly discouraged Tara from living on her own according to her father. Tara texted me on June 23, 2018 that she doesn’t want to live in Brooklyn and asked me to pay for another apartment near her parents’ home, as a result.
14. Tara makes strong accusations about my mental health, domestic violence and financial threats about me. I am unclear what her purpose of including all of that information in a motion to quash based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction over than to paint me as a bad guy and win sympathy from the court for her actions in violating the Standard Restraining Order. I feel the need to respond to some of her statement in this declaration so that the Court is not biased against me given Tara’s accusations. Specifically, I did not hire security to watch Tara to spy on her. I hired security because there was a serious security breach at my company which warrants temporary personal protection for me and my family, which includes Evie. I also had concerns about Tara’s ability to parent which is why we had a nanny in place almost 24 hours a day or had a security person watching Evie. They protected and helped Evie and Tara in a myriad of ways never harassed Tara. As you can see from the declaration of Bryan Crutcher, the lead of the security team and other staff, Tara took full advantage of their services, which also include personal services and a concierge service. Tara had Bryan and his team pick up prescriptions, food orders, and laundry soap; she asked them to watch her dog while she went to New York; she was made vegetarian food and given personal training; and she also asked them to provide her transportation from the airport in New York to her parents’ house when she landed on June 4, 2018. They also screened for a nanny for the parties for when Tara returned from New York. She also invited Bryan and his family over for a cake for Evie’s 4lh month birthday.
Many of the other accusations made by Tara are dispelled in the declarations filed herewith by Evie’s former nanny and other staff. My chief of staff, Bryan Crutcher is a retired Vallejo Police Officer, he should be found credible and would not violate any laws or put anyone at risk.
15. I have never been physically abusive toward Tara and would never harm Evie. Given that I have security 24/7 (and Tara had security on her as well), one of the security guards would have seen these incidents Tara describes as abusive. Instead their declarations describe Tara’s anger, abuse and manipulation of me. As recently as June 23, 2018, she texted me “I seriously love and miss you”. We also joked with each other in the same text thread. On June 25, 2018, without further incident, she filed the protective order.
16. Evie has lived in San Francisco longer than she lived in Brooklyn, and certainly longer than she has lived in Westchester County. Evie’s father, extended family, nanny, and pediatrician are all in San Francisco. The psychiatrist seen by Tara (Dr. Gopal) who diagnosed as BPD is in San Francisco. Most of the persons who would be witness to the allegations made by the parties are in San Francisco. Most of the incidents described by Tara involving Evie occurred in San Francisco. This is relevant information for the Court for its discussion with the New York Court.
17. Tara admits to lying to me about my conditions for her to visit her parents in order to get away from me as she was “desperate to get away from me”. Tara could have done a multitude of things within the law, including filing for a Temporary Restraining Order; asking the Court’s permission to go with Evie in New York, or filed a custody action in New York. Instead she lied to me and has fled California with our daughter with no apparent intent to return. The status quo before she left should go back into effect. I filed a Parentage Action in San Francisco because I learned that she planned to leave with Evie without my permission and her caregivers and family were telling me she needed serious help for our daughter’s and her own sake. I did not manipulate her into staying each time; instead family, friends and doctors were able to talk with Tara and then she thankfully would choose to stay and cancel her own flight. On the day she took Evie without permission to the airport, she later told me that never actually intended to leave but was simply acting out and wanted me to understand the consequences if I left her or did not agree to marry her.
18. I did not serve Tara the restraining order. The person who signed the Proof of Service can be called to testify if requested.
19. Given my experiences with Tara over the past few months I have no confidence that Tara can safely care for our daughter or that she will not attempt to flee with her again. She clearly does not care about court orders or written agreements. The evidence will show that Tara intended to move to San Francisco. However, until that is resolved, Tara should be abiding by the Standard Restraining Order and return our daughter to San Francisco. 1 am willing to facilitate frequent and continuing contact between Tara and Evie in San Francisco while Tara gets the medical care and support her doctors on both coasts and family says she requires.
20. I respectfully request the following orders:
a. Evelyn to be returned from New York to San Francisco immediately;
b. Emergency Temporary physical custody of Evelyn to Father until it is determined that Evelyn is safe in Mother’s care and will not flee with the child, with supervised visits for Mother;
c. Emergency Temporary legal custody to Father pending a determination of custody; or in the alternative;
d. The court expedite its telephone call with the Westchester County New York Court to determine which court has proper jurisdiction over Evie given the UCCJEA. The restraining order hearing is July 17,2018 at 8:30 a.m. New York should not be making orders denying my access to Evie unless it’s determined that they have jurisdiction over her.
e. An order shortening time for the parties to attend Family Court Services mediation and a hearing to determine custody and visitation, and possibly ordering a custody evaluation.