The Ambrose Papers # 3: TV Writer Bought Influence in Connecticut Family Court; Cohen and Wolf Lawyer Jocelyn Hurwitz Gets Results for Bad Dad as Children Suffer

There are those who think our series, the Ambrose Papers, the story of TV screenwriter, plagiarist, and allegedly abusive father, Chris Ambrose, is an exaggeration. He can’t be as bad as his children allege.

Lawyer Chris Ambrose

There are those who may think that Connecticut Family Court Judge Jane Grossman determined properly that awarding exclusive custody of three adopted children, M, 14, M, 14 and S, 11, to Ambrose, denying the mother, Karen Riordan, of any contact with the children she raised from infancy, was the right thing to do.

After all, Dr. Jessica Biren-Caverly, a psychologist of little-to-no repute, wrote a custody evaluation report that strongly advised the court to place the children with their father. Though Biren-Caverly is not Karen’s psychologist, she met with Karen on two occasions for almost five hours.

Dr, Jessica Biren Caverly knows how to make quick diagnoses.

These were meetings with the mother and children for the purpose of Biren-Caverly making a custody evaluation for the family court. Karen did not authorize her to diagnose her or submit to the usual procedures competent psychologists undertake in order to help their patients.

Karen was not her patient.

Three psychiatrists and one psychologist have written reports that the judge ignored that there is nothing wrong with Karen Riordan and that she is best suited to have primary custody of the children.
You might cry too if three children you raised from infancy were suddenly taken away from you and handed to a man the children claim abused them, A father, who had spent very little time with the children all their lives but who had enough power and influence to control the outcome and save himself hundreds of thousands in child support, got custody.

Denial of contact with her children appears to be based officially on the court-appointed psychologist, Biren-Caverly’s custody evaluation report,

The good doctor claims Karen has an unspecified “personality disorder.”

There are many personality disorders known to psychologists, but none of them are unspecified. Biren-Caverly couldn’t figure out which personality disorder Karen had but only knew that she has one.

There are Dependent Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and others. But Biren Caverly does not say Riordan has any of these. She simply states she has a personality disorder, of the unspecified kind.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association does not name such a mental illness as unspecified personality disorder.  It is like saying you’re mentally ill, but you cannot put your finger on what exactly is wrong.

Dr. Jessica Biren-Caverly can make impromptu diagnoses, even if you’re not her patient. Sometimes the mental illnesses she diagnoses do not even exist – not only in the patient, but in the lexicon of known mental illnesses. Her custody evaluation reports, it is said, however, never fail to follow, if not the children’s best interest, at least, the money.To be clear, a single piece of extraordinarily imprecise and plain wrong – from a scientific and medical standpoint – evidence, Biren-Caverly’s custody report, presented at a hearing in which Karen was not permitted to speak on hers or her children’s behalf, was the justification used by Judge Jane Grossman for placing three children with the father, yanking them out of the home they loved and away from the mother they lived with every day of their lives.

The good and fair Judge Grossman denied the children all contact with their mother. The one stable, consistently loving person in the children’s lives was removed from their lives on April 24, 2020, 18 months ago.

S, mom Karen and M. They miss their mother,

I find it fascinating that three medical doctors, all psychiatrists, and one psychologist with credentials that make Biren-Caverly look like a high school student about to flunk out from smoking too much weed, contest, deny and literally blast the Caverly report as wrong, improperly conducted and, if one reads between the lines, utterly biased and possibly corruptly influenced.

This was ignored by the court.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the reports.

First read the highly biased and clearly slanted-to-make-the-ever-billing-Guardian-ad-Litem-Hurwitz-of-Cohen-and-Wolf-happy:

Caverly report.

Then read the reports of qualified experts.

Dr. Margaret Coffey, M.D, Psychiatrist report.

Dr. Coffey was so upset by the clearly illegal determination of placing the children with their father that she wrote a letter to the US Department of Justice.

Dr. Tami Amiri M.D, Psychiatrist report

Dr. Dorothy Stubbe M.D. Psychiatrist

Dr. Robin Lynch, a psychologist. Her review of Caverly’s custody evaluation report makes it look abundantly clear that Biren-Caverly is not only unprofessional in the extreme, wrong on many professional levels but, reading between the line, Biren-Caverly;s report stinks to high heaven.

Follow the Money

We have already mentioned how Biren-Caverly relies and is made excessively gleeful [is it a personality disorder?] on work from the court and from referrals from certain guardians ad litem  We have spoken about the guardian ad litem in this case, the intrepid attorney from the prestigious law firm of Cohen and Wolf, the remarkable Jocelyn Hurwitz, who managed to bill more than $178,000, with more billings due for her work of deciding whom to recommend to the judge – the mother or the father.

Cohen and Wolf attorney Jocelyn Hurwitz has 178,000 reasons and counting to recommend that the children go with the affluent father.

A joke is circulating around Connecticut Family Court. A child says to Guardian ad Litem Jocelyn Hurwitz of Cohen and Wolf, “What sharp teeth you have, dear guardian” and Hurwitz answers, “all the better to eat up all your family assets, including your college education funds, my dear.”


It is not lost on everyone [at least not the G.a,L. Hurwitz] that the father is the one who controls the money and that he has slyly agreed to permit unusual billings for Hurwitz, including visits to the house, conversations with various and sundry individuals and to attend every hour of the trial. Most Guardians only appear when they are called to testify.  The generous father, Ambrose, also wants very much for the Guardian to stay on – billing at her regular $400 per hour rate – after the trial is finished, to continue her good work in looking out for the children’s best interest, which is, as they both agree, that keeping the mother away from the children, at least until the divorce is settled and it is decided that Ambrose does not have to pay a dime in child support, since he is taking care of the children.

That swift move alone – based on Ambrose’s past income – more than makes up for the measly $178,000 Hurwitz has charged and the future $178,000 or more she is going to charge, working for such a generous and soulful father.

Between Biren-Caverly and that GAL Hurwitz, they will lick the platter clean.

It is no secret that Hurwitz pushed for Biren-Caverly to be the custody evaluator and Biren-Caverly returned the favor by handing down the report exactly as Hurwitz desired – with an outcome that would ensure the best return on their investment – i.e. the father gets custody.

Dr. Biren-Caverly makes more than $10,000 per report, a pretty nice gig, if you get enough of them. And you don’t serve dry toast, you butter it, and Biren Caverly knows that butter goes best on the side of who pays for it.


So this, more or less, is Part 3 of the Ambrose Papers. It is a story of more than a cunning and manipulative father. A much more clever father, with fame and influence and all the money. It is also about how three women in a room, Judge Jane Grossman, and the Guardian ad Litem, attorney Jocelyn Hurwitz, of the law firm of Cohen and Wolf, and their court-appointed psychologist, the quack Jessica Biren-Caverly, decided to exclude the mother from the children’s lives.

We will gradually root out all the reasons for this in what is shaping up to be at least a 50-part series [I did more than 5,000 stories on NXIVM] and I believe I can say with reasonable confidence the reason for the children not being with their mother is not the unfitness of the mother. Or that the children prefer to be with their father. They do not.

What the real reason is we will endeavor to determine and it will, I suspect, be quite fascinating and possibly lead to some curious further developments.

Here is The Ambrose Papers Part 1: ‘Secrets and Lies’: TV Writer Chris Ambrose and the Connecticut Family Court Puts Children in Danger

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

How Come Family Court Offers the Justice of a Fascist Regime?

Of course, this kind of thing is what comes of letting government run amok.

It is what comes from not having jury trials, but rather “trial by government,” instead of “trial by the people” or “trial by the country” [i.e. juries]. Family Court trials are decided by the judge,  without the common sense reasoning of 12 people from the community called a jury.

The Family Court judge is an appointed position which means she is an attorney with political connections. They do not get appointed without political juice. And they have total control of the destiny of the lives of children whose parents are in custody dispute.

The attorneys who profit most in the system are their cronies.

Karen Riordan gave up her career to become a stay at home mother. Motherhood was taken away from her one day by the single – much influenced but curious ruling of one not so curious judge.

Of course, Karen Riordan did just about everything wrong. While Ambrose sought out politically connected players in the system, like his attorney Nancy Aldrich, a colleague of the politically connected Cohen and Wolf’s Hurwitz.

Karen, on the other hand, seeking justice, retained a crusading, but not politically-connected lawyer, Nikola Cunha, one of the old fashioned kind, one of those who fights for the cause. Who considers the law and justice should be synonymous.

Chris Ambrose being confronted by Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino.

Ambrose is Caught Red-Handed

Karen Riordan left her job as a special education teacher of 17 years to take care of three adopted children, while Ambrose was almost always away from the family home in Connecticut, working in Los Angeles and New York, pursuing his TV career, while the children were growing up.

Ambrose’s career however was upended when he got caught plagiarizing and then became dead meat in the TV writers’ industry.

Ambrose was in a pickle. He was unemployable in Hollywood or NY by 2018, so he came back to Connecticut and decided he had enough of his wife. He would now plan out how to prevent paying massive child support.

Chris Ambrose is confronted by reporter Wayne Dolcefino. Ambrose declined to speak to Dolcefino just as he declined to speak to Frank Report.

Ambrose, who wrote for Law and Order, Harry’s Law, Judging Amy and other legal shows, was, it seems “riding high in April” — until “he got shot down in May” – plagiarizing portions of two TV scripts from the Fox TV show Bones written by several writers and used it on the CBS TV show Instinct, claiming it as his own. The cribbing writer claimed he didn’t know the purloined scripts had aired but fans of the two shows noticed it at once.

His stupidity caused the chagrined producers of Instinct, [his plagiarized episode is ironically called “Secret and Lies” and ironically aired on April Fools Day  2018] to remove Ambrose from the series. He has not found work since. His agents dropped him.

Ambrose admitted, “I did a stupid thing” and that it was “shameful” and “hugely embarrassing,” but it is more than that. A writer who plagiarizes is a thief and he committed what is perhaps the only cardinal sin of writers. It doesn’t fly in Hollywood, it does not fly in New York.

It might fly in the Connecticut Family Courts but nowhere else.

Still, crafty Ambrose, down on his luck but in control of all the marital assets, which amounted to more than $2 million, hired the connected lawyer, and made sure the decision maker, the guardian ad litem, got all the billings she could ever want, while Karen opposed such dishonest moves since it was squandering the marital assets, and the children’s future [making the guardian ever more displeased with her.]

Karen’s highly principled lawyer, Nikola Cunha, seemed to be tilting at windmills at times. The well reasoned and legally sound filings were simply ignored. [We will get into these in a later post to show how black letter law was simply ignored.]

Ambrose knew an old secret of the Connecticut Family Court, which is “it is good to know the law- as attorney Cunha does, but it is far better to know the judge — as the guardian ad litem does.”

Investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino has issued his own special report on the Ambrose -Riordan case.

In an interview with investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino, Riordan’s attorney Cunha said of the case, It’s a nightmare. An absolute nightmare…  On a one to 10, this is a 10 in terms of bad. It’s as simple as that.”

Dolcefino said in his report, “Nickola Cunha had sought an injunction hearing from a court in the Connecticut state capitol. It is unlikely to stop the injustice. Karen’s been kept away from her three children for 17 long months.”

He asked Cunha,  “And she’s not allowed to see them?









Cunha: She’s not allowed to see them. She’s not allowed to have contact with them, and in my opinion, those are illegal orders.

Dolcefino: What do you think it’s done to the kids?

Cunha: It’s destroyed them.

M wants to go home – home being wherever her mother is.

One thing is clear, the children don’t want to live with their father. That may not matter in Connecticut Family Court.

Maybe you will agree with Judge Grossman that none of the behavior recounted below is strange or that the children’s desires are irrelevant.

  1. The father, Ambrose, hides secret recording devices in the home to record his children.
  2. The children, in turn, secretly recorded him with cell phones and shared these with anyone who would listen to show his abusive behavior.
  3. Ambrose took their cell phones away.
  4. He took the doorknobs off the doors so they could not prevent him from coming in the rooms. Here is a video that the unhappy children took on Christmas 2019. The man in the film is Ambrose as he sits guard over his unhappy children who film him through the holes in the doors where the doorknobs used to be.
  5. When the children blocked up the holes after Ambrose removed the doorknobs [on Christmas Day], Ambrose said the next step would be to take the doors off if they did not unblock them.
  6. Ambrose did not take all the doors off but he did put bells on the doors so that they ring and jingle so he can know when they go in or out of a room.
  7. The children said they are terrified of him and his entering their rooms at night.
  8. They night have a point: Ambrose bought the children’s three hermit crabs, one each for child. The crabs were kept in a small tank in one of the bedrooms and the children would feed them dry crab food. One morning, when the children awoke, the tank with the crabs were gone. Ambrose claimed he did not know what happened. Later, when Ambrose moved the children to another house, one day the children found the tank on a basement shelf, the crabs dead of starvation. Now someone had taken the trouble to take the crabs at the old house then move them to the new house and leave them where they could be found. When the upset children found the dead crabs, and confronted the suspect, their father, Ambrose laughed it off and said, “come on now. It’s really funny,”
  9. The children have video and audio recordings of Ambrose being verbally abusive and saying bizarre and, arguably, sexual things to his children, along with denigrating and taunting them [We will be publishing these videos and audio recordings soon].
  10. Ambrose would taunt the children with his oft-repeated line, “no one will believe you.” This is why the children repeatedly, secretly taped him, so someone would believe them.
  11. Even if you don’t agree that this is kosher for children to do – neither is it kosher for the father to secretly record his children.
  12. However, they both know about their mutual tapings, so imagine the tension in that house with everyone distrusting each other and recording each other. This did not happen at the mother’s house, which was a home warm with love and trust.
  13. Ambrose put an end to the secret recordings and videos at least those made by the children by taking the children’s phones and internet away.
  14. He won’t let them see relatives and friends whom they knew all their lives.
  15. The children sneaked a phone in and started posting to social media about their dad, asking for help.
  16. Ambrose found that phone and took it away.
  17. The daughter, M, said her father fondled her breast in a report to a hospital.
  18. S said Ambrose touches his penis and gets in bed with him. The boy is 11. He also made a report to the hospital.
  19. The children found gay Latino porn on their father’s phone, some of which suggested he has a penchant for young Latino boys. [The children are Latino.]
  20. The children found out that their father, a Hollywood screenwriter and a lawyer, goes online posing as a barber and that he has a fascination with forced haircuts.
  21. Ambrose, conversely, says his children are always abusing him, upsetting him deeply.
  22. The children accuse Ambrose of constantly lying.

This is not by any means a happy household.

As an indication of the kind of father Ambrose might be and why the children do not think highly of him, is best told in a story of the family dog, Cody.

Cody was a two year old cockapoo who loved to run whenever he got out of the house and had to be retrieved by finding and collaring him.

Chris told bizarre jokes in front of the kids about how Cody’s tendency to run would lead him to a bad end, such as “being harpooned,” “impaled by the fence,” or “hit by a car.”

Ambrose would say, chuckling, “it would be a shame if he got out and never came back.”

One day, before the kids were taken from their mother, Ambrose came to the house and left the door open. Cody escaped.

S playing with Cody.
M lying on the couch with Cody.

S and Cody.

M with Cody.


M, whose birthday it was the following day, went out to get the dog, and almost had him, but Ambrose ordered his son to go back in the house. Ambrose himself went out briefly but came back in because he said it was too cold. He refused to leave the house after to find the dog, because he was making stew and could not afford to leave it unattended,

A neighbor, Stacy, called a few minutes later to say Cody was on her porch and she was prepared to grab him and bring him to their house.

Ambrose told her not to bother for he had put a dish of peanut butter outside the door and that Cody loved peanut butter and would come home of his own volition to get at the peanut butter. Ambrose did not actually put any peanut butter out, and even if he done so it would not have brought the dog home, since Cody never ate peanut butter in his life.

Shortly after telling the neighbor and his son not to collar the dog, Cody was hit by a car and killed.

Ambrose made a fine pretense of crying that night. M had a most unpleasant birthday the following day, but Ambrose brought it all together when he tried to gaslight M, saying that had M not left the door open the dog would be alive on his birthday.

A few months later, an interesting double audio event occurred when the upset children confronted their father. The father secretly recorded his children and the children were secretly recording him as M is heard confronting him saying “Cody did not like peanut butter!”

M further confronts Ambrose by saying “you made Stacy [the neighbor] stay inside” .Ambrose says, “Yeah you’re right. I held my gun up and said ‘Stacy if you come out of your house and look for this dog I am going to shoot you and then I am going to shoot Brandon [Stacy’s six year old son]. That’s what I said. So no wonder she did not come out.”

Of course one can question the temerity of the child M to confront her father, but you have to hand it to Ambrose. He is one gallant gentlemen when it comes to dealing with children’s grief.

The mother, Karen, after being separated from her children for 17 months, was asked by reporter Dolcefino if she had any message for the children.

She said, “I’m so sorry. And I love you and I miss you and this never should have happened. And I’m doing everything I can 24/7. And mom loves you and Aunt Michelle loves you. Your whole family. Papa and Joani and all of your cousins, your aunts. Everybody loves you.”

Of course, the children are not permitted to see any of the relatives either.

Viva Connecticut Family Court.

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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