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November 18, 2004
Only A Judge Couldn't Have Foreseen This

You can file this story under criminal stupidity -- on the part of a Twin Cities judge. The Pioneer Press reports that a convicted sex offender has molested again, this time raping his girlfriend's daughter after Judge Joseph T. Carter gave him custody despite his criminal record:

Even though Justin Paul Farnsworth was a convicted sex offender, a Dakota County judge agreed to give the Hastings man primary custody of his girlfriend's daughter and the couple's two other children. The judge said it was in the "best interest" of the children.

On Wednesday, Farnsworth, 31, was charged with sexually molesting the girlfriend's daughter just three weeks after gaining permanent custody of the girl, who is younger than 10. The little girl cried to neighbors about the sexual abuse and Farnsworth admitted molesting the girl for months, telling police that "whatever she said, I did," according to the criminal complaint.

Judge Carter and the Dakota County court-appointed attorney, David Jaehne, decided that Farnsworth was one of Minnesota's "success stories" and awarded him custody despite being a registered sex offender. Not only did Carter give Farnsworth custody of his two biological daughters, but later gave him custody of the girlfriend's daughter, who was not related to Farnsworth at all. Why?

In an earlier court order, Carter concluded that the mother had "abandoned the children" and pointed out that Child Protection Services was investigating her "parenting style."

The mother could not be reached for comment.

Evidently, Carter and Jaehne were much more impressed with Farnsworth's parenting style, which the unchallenged indictment states included forcing the girl to watch pornography as a prelude to rape. Needless to say, child-welfare workers in Minnesota are less than impressed with the two mouthbreathers:

"It's outrageous they didn't do more in terms of investigating," said Gail Chang Bohr, executive director of the Children's Law Center of Minnesota. "It's very tragic. It's not what we should be doing for kids. The question is, did anyone try to find out from the child if she felt happy and safe?" ...

Child advocates said Wednesday the decision to award custody of a nonbiological child to a felon with a criminal sexual history was startling.

"I've seen judges screen out parents for a lot less criminal infractions than that. This one, I would have thought, would have raised concerns," said Loretta Smith, a staff attorney with the Children's Law Center. "He wouldn't qualify for a foster-care license."

This happened in my home county, and you can be sure that I will stay on top of developments in this case. Carter and Jaehne should both be disbarred, if possible, and at the least should be chased from their jobs by Dakota County residents. The callous disregard for Farnsworth's daughters and the third young girl should be a criminal act. If they had a shred of decency in them, both Joseph T. Carter and David Jaehne would resign their positions immediately.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 18, 2004 5:52 PM

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» Stupidity of judges and lawyers from The Key Monk
George Orwell said that some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual would believe them. The corollary to that is some decisions are so dumb only a judge would make them. For instance: granting custody of an unrelated child to a registered sex offender. [Read More]

Tracked on November 19, 2004 10:51 AM



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