The Ambrose Papers Part 2: Children Cry Out for Escape From Father; Nobody Listens

Chris Ambrose, father.

This is part 2 of The Ambrose Papers.

It is about a man named Chris Ambrose, a man who used to be a scriptwriter for a number of famous TV shows until he submarined his career by plagiarizing from another TV show and getting caught.

It is also about the Connecticut Family Court system and how a clever, wealthy man in a divorce and custody proceeding can manipulate the system.

Ambrose declined to make comment for this story, but has a standing invitation to comment at any time.

Part 1 of the series, The Ambrose Papers: ‘Secrets and Lies’: TV Writer Chris Ambrose and the Connecticut Family Court Puts Children in Danger discusses how three adopted children, M, 14, M, 14 and S, 11, were placed by the Connecticut Family Court in the temporary custody of their father, Ambrose, in opposition to the children’s expressed desires and the wishes of their mother, who is in a divorce proceeding with Ambrose.

The children have been denied all contact with the mother, Karen Riordan.  This order was handed down on April 24, 2020, 17 months ago. The children remain with their father and the mother has not had a chance to speak in court. The hearing was never completed.

Riordan is not permitted to even talk to the children on the phone.  Ambrose also took the children’s cell phones away to ensure they don’t sneak a call to her.

Karen Riordan with one of her sons, M.

Ambrose also took the doorknobs off doors and testified in court that he placed bells on the children’s doors so that they jingle to let him knows the children have gone in or out of a room. He secretly records the children, with devices set up around the house, he admitted.

The fate of these three children was decided by three individuals:

  1. The Guardian ad Litem [GAL], an attorney with the law firm of Cohen and Wolf, Jocelyn Hurwitz
  2. A court appointed psychologist, Jessica Biren-Caverly
  3. Judge Jane Grossman.

There is no jury in Family Court, which means that trials are “trial by government” and not, as with a jury, “trial by the people.”

Three women in a room decided the fate of three children, rather than a jury of 12, who could make common sense decisions.

What Did Mother Do?

Karen Riordan, the mother, has no criminal record. No criminal actions are alleged against her by anyone.  No one is claiming she abused her children. In fact every official report suggests she treats her children in a loving, responsible and positive way.


Denial of contact with her children appears to be based on a report by the court-appointed psychologist, Biren-Caverly, who claims that Karen has an “unspecified personality disorder.”

A single piece of evidence, for a diagnosis that does not exist [try looking up “unspecified personality disorder” in the DSM-V {the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association}] took three children from their mother.

Dr. Jessica Biren-Caverly, Psychologist, custody evaluator, diagnosed Karen Riordan on the spot.

Biren-Caverly is not Karen’s psychologist. She met with Karen on two occasions for less than five hours. These were meetings with the mother and children where the mother nervously knew that Caverly’s purpose was to make a custody evaluation.

After she was denied contact, Karen tried to admit evidence that psychiatrists, who examined her more thoroughly, disputed Caverly’s ad hoc diagnosis.  Karen appeared to be a fit, good mother.

This was ignored by the court.

We will examine this further in our series, a series I expect that will be 50 installments long, but I suspect Biren-Caverly’s assessment was prompted by the wishes of the GAL, Hurwitz, of the law firm, Cohen and Wolf. The GAL has input into deciding who should be the custody evaluator and Biren-Caverly should know which side of the bread she is buttering. Caverly gets more than $10,000 for each report.

Jocelyn Hurwitz, of Cohen and Wolf, is the Guardian ad Litem for the three children of Chris Ambrose and Karen Riordan.

Based on the GAL Hurwitz, and psychologist Biren-Caverly, Judge Jane Grossman decided to remove the children from their mother’s custody and give them to the father, banning them from contact with the woman who raised them, almost solely, from infancy while the father was living apart, pursuing a writing career, mainly in Los Angeles.

There is no evidence that Karen Riordan is dangerous to her children or herself. There is a mountain of evidence that she bucked the system and got the GAL angry with her. There might be money motives for the duo of Biren-Caverly and attorney Hurwitz.

Karen fought tooth and nail to keep her husband from abusing the children, but, as for evidence that she is unfit, there is nothing.

There is a mountain of evidence that suggests Ambrose is unfit. There are allegations of sexual abuse made by the children to psychiatrists and hospitals, evidence that the children have undergone psychological and verbal abuse.

Chris Ambrose, the father.

There are also allegations that the father is dangerous and abusive.

Subsequent to him getting custody of the children, the State of Connecticut determined that Chris Ambrose was a high risk abuser. This was ignored by Judge Grossman.

Ambrose Had Advantages

Ambrose is more famous than his wife, a stay at home mother. The court did not know how he ransacked his TV career by a single, disastrous move called plagiarism, one of the deadly sins of writers. They did not know he had come home to Connecticut, not telling his wife he had been caught red-handed, after he had been dropped like a hot potato by his agents and fired from the TV show, Instinct.

He was dead meat in Hollywood. So he decided to return home and be part of the family. Soon after, he decided to divorce Karen and locked her out of the bank accounts. None of this mattered to Family Court. Ambrose has a disarming, and charming manner.  He also has money. Karen had none. One of the fascinating things is that he controls the marital assets, is not afraid to spend it, and the courts endorsed him controlling the marital assets.

The mother, who was has two master’s degrees – in special education and psychology, who was a special education teacher in the Connecticut public schools for 17 years, [she won teacher of the year for Greenwich Connecticut Public Schools] who quit her job to raise three adopted children, has no access to the marital assets, which was around two million when Ambrose took control.

He now claims he has squandered more than a million since taking control.

For three years, she has been without access to funds, not even her inheritance from her mother.

Chris Ambrose poses for selfies and trolls the internet pretending he is a barber seeking young men to give forced haircuts and other bizarre fantasies, many of them evidently involving young Latino guys. HIs adopted children are Latino.

Ambrose became unemployable in 2018. Before that Ambrose had a pretty good track record of writing for TV shows before he decided to plagiarize or at least when he got caught, It is not known if he had plagiarized in the past.

As a producer and/or writer [he is also a lawyer] Ambrose worked on Instinct [the show where he got caught plagiarizing] NCIS: New Orleans, Harry’s Law,  Law & OrderBones, One Bad Choice, Close to HomeJudging Amy, Queens Supreme, and Family Law.

Curiously, the GAL Hurwitz, who is the supposed to be guardian of the children’s interest, has billed more than $178,000 on the case, a figure paid, or to be paid, by Ambrose, since he controls the assets.

All of these issues, including Hurwitz’s billings, are worth examining, including how Ambrose ensured Hurwitz gets as many billable hours as it takes to ensure mother never sees her children. Ambrose told Hurwitz that he would like her to stay on indefinitely even after the divorce proceedings are final to maintain the no contact provision. At $400 per hour, Hurwitz was pleased to help out the needy father.

Ambrose also consented to the novel idea that Hurwitz bill to attend every moment of the trial at $400 per hour. Normally a GAL does not need to attend an entire divorce and custody trial racking up tens of thousands in billings. Usually a GAL will appear only to give testimony.

But Hurwitz liked the idea, Chris endorsed. The mother objected and the judge decided it was a grand idea.

Before we show the role of money in the house of Cohen and Wolf and partner Jocelyn Hurwitz, let us set the record straight: The children want to be with their mother.

The law firm of Cohen and Wolf is led by Ari J. Hoffman, Principal, Managing Partner, and Austin K. Wolf, Co-Founder and Principal.

Jocelyn Hurwitz is also a principle of the firm.

Other lawyers in the firm are:

  1. Richard L. Albrecht, Principal
  2. David A. Ball, Principal
  3. G. Kenneth Bernhard, Principal
  4. Jonathan S. Bowman, Principal
  5. Annmarie P. Briones, Principal
  6. Jason A. Buchsbaum, Principal
  7. Alexander Copp, Principal
  8. Richard J. DiMarco, Principal
  9. David E. Dobin, Principal
  10. Robyn H. Drucker, Principal
  11. Ann L. Fowler-Cruz, Principal
  12. David L. Grogins, Principal
  13. Philip C. Pires, Principal
  14. Stuart M. Katz Principal
  15. Mark A. Kirsch, Principal
  16. Julie D. Kohler, Principal
  17. David M. Levine, Principal
  18. L. Joyelle Maini, Principal
  19. Neil R. Marcus, Principal
  20. Rachel A. Pencu, Principal
  21. David M. Morosan, Principal
  22. Johnpatrick C. O’Brien, Principal
  23. Richard Slavin, Principal
  24. Greta E. Solomon, Principal
  25. Patricia C. Sullivan, Principal
  26. Matthew C. Susman, Principal
  27. C. Christian Young, Principal
  28. Joseph G. Walsh, Principal
  29. Jonathan W. Fazzino, Associate
  30. Marc J. Herman, Associate
  31. Sara K. Bonaiuto, Associate
  32. Wilson T. Carroll, Associate
  33. Dayna M. Chucta, Associate
  34. Tatiana F. DaSilva, Associate
  35. Jordan E. Sala, Associate
  36. Andrew S. Philbin, Associate
  37. Ariel R. Walker, Associate
  38. Jane B. Emons, Of Counsel
  39. Jacqueline F. Barbara, Of Counsel
  40. Clifford A. Merin, Of Counsel
  41. Joshua Pedreira, Of Counsel
  42. Michael S. Rosten, Of Counsel
  43. Suzanne B. Sutton, Of Counsel
  44. Lauren G. Walters, Of Counsel

Do the Children Want to Go Home?

How do we know? The father took their cell phones away and watches them carefully, isolating them from contact with grandfather, aunt, cousins, godparents, family friends, and anyone who they knew all their lives living in Connecticut, connected with their mother.

Family Court Judge Jane Grossman ordered the removal of three children living with their mother, to go to live with their father. She never met the children.

The children are not babies. They are 14, 14 and 11 years of age. Some would argue they should have some say in where they want to live. By Connecticut law they are supposed to have a say.


Official records show the children have repeatedly said to anyone who would listen, including psychiatrists, psychologists and hospital officials, that they want to live with their mother, not their father.  M even wrote a letter to Dr. Phil:

Dear Dr. Phil,

I am writing to you today to let you know what is going on in “The House of Lies”. I am at the point where I am always sad and I am always paranoid. I am always scared of my dad. I am scared he is going to hurt me physically. He is already hurting me emotionally and verbally…. we had to call the cops two times. He does things that people WE KNOW don’t believe us because he is such a good liar.

I am so scared I cry every time I’m there and have to sleep with a light on because I’m scared he is going to hurt me. My brothers are also scared. He yells at us that we run upstairs and cry. He also says, “No one is going to believe us.” He also calls us names: mean, b***h, cry baby, and many more hurtful things. I cannot express more. I just need your help, please help him get better. I can’t keep living like this. He records us and puts cameras all around us and is very hurtful with his words. Please help us.
From M Ambrose

The children wrote letters to the custody evaluator Dr. Biren-Caverly asking her not to place them with their father.

After they were removed from their mother, the two older children managed to get online and, in a cry for help, asked the world to notice their plight.  When the father found out, he took the internet away.

There remains an internet record, however, and it reveals the feelings of the children. Though Ambrose cut off access to the children’s cry for  help on the internet months ago, as recently as last month, the eldest, M, escaped from her father and ran to her mother. Police removed the child and returned the crying child to Ambrose.

Their social media pleas were never presented to the court, despite GAL Hurwitz being in possession of it.


When they still had phones, M would text his mother. By order of Judge Grossman, the mother was not permitted to reply.


A text to his mother:

All of the texts were shown to Hurwitz, of Cohen and Wolf, and ignored.  After showing Hurwitz the texts, Ambrose took the phone away from the child.

Social Media

Let us examine what M and M posted on social media. It will give us clues as to how they feel and prompt us to ask, what is going on in Family Court in Connecticut? How did Judge Grossman, GAL Hurwitz and psychologist Biren-Caverly decide to give Ambrose exclusive custody?

M, using his handle, “Small Dogz,” posted on Instagram:

Another by M, where he reveals his father took his phone away. His psychiatrist warned that not allowing him to be with his mother might lead to major depression.

In the custody of his father M also spoke of suicide.

M also spoke of suicide on her Instagram


M noted too that Ambrose was a heavy drinker.




Do these seem like posts of a well adjusted, happy child, as the GAL believes.

No emotion bc I’m numb…
over time -numb, tired, dead


.M also tried her best to let others know she did not want to be with her father.

She wrote a letter to Biren-Caverly, who ignored it. In reading it, I observed that it is bizarre, to say the least, that the father and the children secretly record each other. This did not occur when they lived with their mother.

Subject: Dads house – from M Ambrose
Date: January 6, 2020 at 5:43:50 PM EST
Dear dr. Caverly,

My dad has been taping us and listening outside our rooms and looking on out phones when we lived in Westport. We kept saying he was doing this but no one believed us, I told my teachers and I told the police but no one believes us. It is really scary and no one will help us.

Dad says everyone is on his side and it won’t matter who we tell or what we tell them.

He said You Josilin [Jocelyn Hurwitz, the GAL} and the judge, and dr. Horowitz [a psychologist Ambrose hired to give him cover after he laid hands on one of his children, more on that later] are all “on his side”.

He said we can tell everyone but nothing will change. We tape him because he lies and tells lies about us its really mean and scary. He pretends to be nice and everyone will believe him. At his house after we saw you he told S there were recorders hidden around  the house.

He said they look like usb drives. He said me and M were bad and were illegal. M found a box in the garbage and we took a picture to prove it.

Then later on we found the recorder itself in my room. He also stands in the doorways and recorded us and video tapes us, he does this to “prove we are bad kids” he says he is going to send the tapes to you and Nancy [Aldrich, Ambrose’s attorney]. When we found the recording device and hid it so we could give it to you because no one believes us.

He is really mean in what he says and what he does. We were really scared because he was looking for it but we lied because we didn’t want to give it to him. But he lied the whole time because he said his “work was on it”.

We all slept in M’s bed the last night because everyone was scared and crying. We kept calling my mom but she said she could not come get us. We are all really scared there, and everyone believes him. I had to sleep with the light on and with M right next to me. But now I can show you he has been taping us for years and now I can prove it.

M’s Social Media

Little explanation is needed here. Simply look at the postings and read what M has written. The first of these is from M when she was forced to see her father before custody was awarded to him.

Here is M on Pinterest

After the children were placed with Ambrose, M took took to Pinterest to show evidence of her father’s abuse.

Now you might say, this child is being naughty by going to social media to reveal her plight. She should just obey the commands of the judge, and the GAL who know what’s best for her.

But M got hold of her father’s phone, and took screenshots of some of the bizarre, sexually unusual, and perhaps criminal things their father does on his phone.  [This, in addition to the children saying Ambrose sexually abused two of them. And that he tried to persuade M that she is supposed to be a boy not a girl, according to M]

Imagine the situation where children are so terribly unhappy about being separated from their mother and placed with what they say is an abusive father, that they actually take to social media to expose their father to the world and nobody listens.

I am listening and I intend for their voices to be heard.

Stay tuned for part 3.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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