FR cannot confirm if Catherine Youssef Kassenoff died in Switzerland last weekend. She was a former federal prosecutor and attorney in a four-year divorce and custody dispute with Allan Kassenoff, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig. They had three daughters.
Though Catherine put her career on hold to be her children’s primary caregiver, Family Court in Westchester County, NY removed them from her custody three years ago.
Recently, Catherine was diagnosed with cancer for the third time (she had cancer in 2008 and 2017).
In a Facebook post on May 27, Catherine said she traveled to Switzerland, where she had an appointment at an assisted suicide facility that day. She wrote, “This is a story that ends with my own assisted death in Switzerland.”
She wrote: “The reason the courts engaged in this horror, where they ‘temporarily’ took away custody, my personal property, a home I owned and lived in, my dogs, my health, my career, and my dignity – for the last four years – was so that the nearly $4 million that Allan Kassenoff, my ex-husband, had to spend to destroy me could be handed out to the court-appointed forensics, therapists, lawyers for the children, and the attorney for Allan Kassenoff.”
Allan and Catherine married in November 2006. They had three girls.
In February 2016, Allan allegedly assaulted Catherine in their home, for which she was treated at a nearby hospital. The couple continued to live together, though Allan declared an “open marriage.”
In 2016, Allan by stealth, secured Catherine’s Apple ID and password and secretly “synced” her iPhone with his laptop.
He secretly accessed Catherine’s email and text messages for years, leading to his filing for divorce in 2019.
Allan read communications from Catherine’s family members, friends, and others. He even got her texts and emails from her attorney, Cynthia Monaco.
After his daughters disclosed to their schools that Alan allegedly kicked one of them, Allan filed for divorce in Family Court in Westchester County, New York.
Accusing her of “manipulating” the girls to make up abuse that never happened, Allan brought an ex-parte to kick Catherine out of their house and grant him temporary custody of the children.
Allan knew about parental alienation. He could hand-pick texts and emails to make her look like an alienator and exclude those that made him look like an abuser. Attached to Allan’s supporting papers were screenshots of text messages between Catherine and her attorney Monaco discussing legal strategy.
Allan’s affidavit included 11 select text messages from September 2018. Some were undated.
The judge granted his ex-parte application. Catherine was removed from the home. The judge granted Allan custody of the children.
The Court appointed Carol Most [above] as the children’s attorney and her associate Dr. Marc Abrams as the custody evaluator.
Abrams conducted a “neutral” forensic evaluation.
Catherine told Abrams about Allan’s abuse. The children pleaded with Abrams to let them live with their mother; their father was abusive. Allan provided select text messages of Catherine’s to Abrams.
March 25, 2020
Abrams issued his custody evaluation report, recommending to Judge Lewis Lubell that Catherine, as a parental alienator, should not see the children.
March 27, 2020
Judge Lubell issued an ex-parte order excluding Catherine from her home and granting Allan temporary sole custody of the children.
When police came to her house to remove her, Catherine had to leave without her belongings. During the COVID pandemic, Catherine was childless and homeless overnight. For a time, Catherine lived out of her car.
Allan got Judge Nancy Koba to sign an ex-parte temporary order of protection (“TOP”) for the children against their mother. Catherine fought and got it vacated. She was permitted to see her children with a paid supervisor at a cost of thousands per month.
The oldest daughter ran away to live with Catherine. She was forced to return.
Attorney Most selected Susan Adler and Carolyn McGuffog, both PsyDs, as the children’s new therapists at $600 and $450/hour, respectively. The therapists let Allan sit in on the sessions.
Dr. Adler decided that one of the girls, Charlotte, should never have contact with Catherine. Dr. McGuffog suggested Ally go to a “therapeutic boarding school” after she fled her father’s home a second time to live with her mother.
Dr. Adler described Ally as a truant, not a victim of domestic abuse.
Dr. McGuffog told Ally she “had to pick” between Catherine and herself as to whom to follow.
Drs Adler and McGuffog made nearly $100,000 from the children’s therapy.
Catherine sued Dr. Adler in Westchester County on the grounds of fraudulent inducement.
August 24, 2021
Through Catherine’s efforts, the Panel of Forensic Custody Evaluators removed Dr. Abrams for gross misconduct.
Dr. Abrams allegedly asked Catherine inappropriate sexual questions, as he reportedly did with other women during custody interviews. For example, he asked Cecilia Thomas to “lie on top of him” during an evaluation, she claimed.
Dr. Abrams was removed from the Kassenoff case.
Judge Lubell appointed forensic evaluator Kathleen McKay to make an “updated” report.
An Apartment, Then Eviction
Catherine began to get back on her feet and rented a three-bedroom apartment near the children in Larchmont.
Allan went to get another ex-parte TOP against Catherine.
Without a hearing, a judge signed a “one-mile stay away” order, requiring Catherine to vacate her apartment because it was within a mile of the children.
Catherine had to live in basements and couches of friends. She was not allowed to return to her apartment to get her belongings.
September 15, 2021:
Due to work obligations, Catherine asked to appear remotely in Judge Lubell’s courtroom or reschedule the appearance.
Judge Lubell threatened her with incarceration and an arrest warrant and to file an attorney’s grievance if she did not appear.
Catherine did not understand. Judge Lubell routinely allowed Allan to reschedule, absent himself from status conferences, and appear remotely.
Later, she understood why the excellent judge was angry. Catherine had gotten Dr. Abrams kicked off the custody evaluator panel. Judge Lubell was Dr. Abrams’ good friend. The judge even officiated Abrams’ wedding at his house.
Catherine accused Judge Lubell of bias. As a result, he recused himself from the case, citing “strong support for his recusal” in the record.
The custody evaluator, McKay, met with Allan 17 times and nine times with Catherine. She never observed Catherine interact with two of the three children. She never interviewed the children alone, permitting Allan to sit in the next room.
During this time, Catherine visited her children with a supervisor present to listen and watch them. She barely saw them from week to week and was not alone. The custody supervisor gave good reports about Catherine’s conduct with the children.
But Dr. McKay stopped meeting with Catherine while meeting with Allan. She also met with Dr. Adler for her professional opinion after Catherine sued her.
January 25, 2022:
Allan had the family court throw her out of their house and apartment. – a country mile away from the children at all times because experts said alienated the children from him.
But the one-mile stay away had expired.
Catherine was spotted in the vicinity.
Allan went to Larchmont police, alleging Catherine violated the TOP.
January 26, 2022:
Catherine was in front of her daughter’s school, getting into her car, when four police officers pinned her behind her car door. Police frisked, cuffed, arrested, took her to a holding cell, and led her before a judge, where she was arraigned.
Someone informed her employer – she was special counsel to the NY governor’s office – of her arrest. A few days later, she was fired as special counsel, a job she held for seven years.
Catherine went to court to prove no TOP prevented her from being outside her child’s school. The court dismissed her charges — no ACD, no plea on March 16, 2022.
Catherine had no contact with her children since June 2021.
Catherine went after the court-appointed attorney for the children, Carol Most, alleging unethical conduct. Most was removed from the case for misconduct and denied $113,000 of her $270,000 invoice for “services” on behalf of the children.
March 18, 2023:
Catherine went to see her 9-year-old daughter skate at her lesson. There was no valid TOP to prevent her. Allan came off the ice to confront her. Catherine told him to “get away from me.”
Allan caused a 911 call. Four police officers came to the rink. Allan said there was a TOP against her, which was untrue. Police did not arrest her this time.
Custody evaluator McKay made her final custody evaluation report, and the court adopted it. The judge issued a one-line order that Catherine could not have contact with her children.
This was it, it appears.
There had been over 3,000 court filings, with 80 motions in her case. There were three attorneys for the children and new therapists.
“I have liquidated retirement and other savings,” Catherine wrote, adding that Allan spent millions to get custody.
“The money being made at the expense of her family,” she said, “is so abhorrent that there will be nothing left at the end.
“My children have been diagnosed with various serious mental health conditions due to this trauma. They have been told to hate me, to call me ‘Catherine’ instead of mom,’ to give Mother’s Day cards to Allan’s … girlfriend … to call me a ‘liar’ and a ‘gaslighter.’
“The abuser who claimed he was alienated has repeatedly been empowered by the Courts of New York State to alienate me, the protective parent, from my own children…
“I am a 2-time breast cancer survivor with a new dire diagnosis that makes continuing this fight impossible.
“I continue to be placed on supervision, with no more than a few hours a week with my girls. No overnights, no taking my children to school, no bathing them, no hosting sleepovers or birthday parties, no getting to know their friends, no vacations, no living with them. The courts have thoroughly excised me from their lives…
“My oldest continues to try to see me secretly, calls me incessantly, and is screamed at by Allan and Kraft for doing so. She and her younger, terrified sisters know nothing will change in this courthouse for them, so they have been effectively silenced.
“Don’t let my death be in vain. And please ensure my children know the truth about me and what happened to them here in the great state of New York…
“Perhaps if I had not been re-diagnosed with cancer, I could have lasted longer in this fight. But I do not have the strength to go forward. More importantly, I do not want to traumatize my children anymore in this court system, where Allan and his attorney Gus Dimopoulos have used them to continue their abuse…
“Please direct any information or inquiries to my dear friend, Wayne Baker, at firstname.lastname@example.org.”