This is Part #2 of a series focusing on the latest developments in the long-running case of Ambrose v. Riordan in Connecticut Family Court.
For three years, the children lived in isolation with their father, missing their mother, separated from their extended family and all the friends they grew up with under their mother’s care.
In a recent letter to US Attorney Trini Ross, Assistant US Attorney Charles Kruly, and FBI Special Agent Brian Burns, Mia wrote:
“Family Court took my mother from my brothers and my life three years ago. I remember that day. In the morning, I had a normal day at my mom’s, and the next thing I knew, I was saying goodbye to her over text messages with no response because she wasn’t allowed to contact me.
“I was 13 when my brothers [and I] were separated from our mom and forced to live with our father…..
“Not having my mother anymore… was horrible. … not knowing if I had a safe place to go….
“It was constant fear at his home. I would say something wrong, and my father would follow me around and refuse to leave my room or get mad at the simplest things. His anger would go from one to 1000 within a second. It was scary….
“If I said something that wasn’t the smartest or answered his question using the wrong grammar, he’d say, ‘Oh, you sound just like your mom. Can’t even form sentences.'”
The father, Chris Ambrose, was a Hollywood screenwriter and attorney. On April 1, 2018, his writing career tanked when an episode he “wrote” of Instinct, “Secret and Lies,” aired. Within hours, fans noticed Ambrose’s script was a direct rip-off of a 2009 episode of Bones entitled The Plain in the Prodigy.
Ambrose came home to CT, changed the passwords to his and his wife’s joint money market accounts, and then filed for divorce against her.
The mother Karen Riordan, now 56, holds two master’s degrees and was a special education teacher for 17 years. The Greenwich Public School District, with more than 700 teachers, honored her with Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 2003.
At Ambrose’s request, she left her tenured teacher’s position to become the full-time, stay-at-home mother to their children – a task she loved for 13 years – until one day, April 24, 2020 – when Judge Jane Grossman flipped custody to Ambrose – saying Riordan alienated the children.
Mia, in her letter to US Attorney Trini E. Ross, said her father did the alienating.
She told US Attorney Ross that Ambrose “would say to my brothers, ‘Mia is crazy like her mom. She’s acting just like her mom.'”
US Attorney Ross, nominated by President Joseph Biden and confirmed by the US Senate in 2021, was given details about Ambrose’s abuse by his teenage children.
Ambrose was the first to write to Ross, claiming Frank Report was the reason his children were unhappy.
In her letter to US Attorney Ross, Mia asked for her help.
“My father, who is white, called me a ‘beaner’ because of my Guatemalan heritage. He called me fat. He questioned my gender. He called me a bitch. He would say I’m dumb and a horrible sister to my brothers. One day, he told me to kill myself…
“Chris Ambrose has threatened us constantly with the Madison Police, the state police and DCF. He’s told me I’d be put into foster care. He’s told us if we tell the truth, [about his abuse] we’d all be in foster care and we’d never see our mom or our dogs again.”
Psychiatrist Richard Gardner introduced the concept of “parental alienation” in the 1980s to defend his clients – fathers accused of incestuous pedophilia – claiming pathological mothers brainwashed their children to make false claims because they want “the total elimination of the father.”
But Dr. Bandy Lee, a psychiatrist who studied the case, suggests the family court remedy is worse than the problem.
She wrote, “Separating growing children from their mother and primary caregiver is one of the worst forms of abuse, which can have lifelong ramifications, as well as decades of loss of life for each child.”
Mia and her brothers lost their mother based on the opinion of a single custody evaluator – who was paid for by the father.
Matthew told Frank Report: “Chris… trashed my mother since before we were taken, calling her sick, evil, and much more. Our mother hasn’t ‘brainwashed’ us, because everything we say is what we have experienced.
“After I lost my mother… I was depressed… I was self-harming, cutting in eighth grade. I failed my third trimester of 8th grade. When I finally tried to participate in school online during COVID-19, he turned off the Wi-Fi but told the school I was refusing to participate.
Mia began cutting after Family Court removed her from her happy home with her mother….Mia continued:
“I began using food as a comfort for what I was dealing with at my dad’s house. When I lived with my mom, I was athletic. I was in excellent shape. At my mom’s, I did gymnastics every week. But when I was forced to go to my dad’s, I was depressed. I was eating all the time. He chose to enable my eating habits by getting super unhealthy foods. The only food there was what he wanted at the house. I entered high school depressed and was taunted for my weight.”
Like her youngest brother, Sawyer, Mia alleged inappropriate touching by her father.
“While I lived with my dad, he began grabbing my inner thigh when I was on the couch in front of my brothers. I would say not to do that. He would say, ‘Oh, it’s just a joke.’
“Then it got to the point where he would grab my butt or my breasts. When I objected, he said, ‘Stop being a baby. It’s just a prank.’
“I would walk to the bathroom. The next thing I knew, I was getting grabbed from behind. My father would grab my butt with his hand and squeeze it. I told my father I was uncomfortable with him touching me. He would say, ‘it’s just a joke. You’re being a baby.’
“In the car, he would grab my inner thigh, keep his hand there, and squeeze me. I didn’t want him touching me.
“He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He said I was a crybaby and ridiculous and had no reason to act this way.
“I’d say, ‘I do have reason to act this way. You’re touching me when I’m not comfortable with that.’
Sudden Surprise Visits When Mia Changed
Mia spoke of an occurrence that seemed to happen too often to be a coincidence.
“My room was in the basement at my dad’s house, which had no lock. My father started to come down when I was changing or taking a shower. It happened almost every day.
“Sometimes, he would say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ Then he would go into my bathroom for a second, come back out, and try to start a conversation while I was still trying to get dressed.
“It happened so often that I yelled and said, ‘How come every time I’m changing or taking a shower, you have to come down?’
“He said, ‘I have stuff to do in the basement.’
“It got to the point where I would change in a locked bathroom because he would otherwise come in just when I was changing.”
Had to Leave
After Mia turned 16, she ran away from her father – on April 22, 2023 – almost three years after Judge Grossman ordered her from her mother.
From ‘fields of ruin to fields of gold,’ Mia ran to the woman who loved her and asked her for safe haven. Her mother, risking arrest, took her in.
Tomorrow, Ambrose goes before Judge Eddie Rodriguez Jr. seeking Riordan’s arrest – and, if the judge grants his request, while Riordan is in jail, Ambrose further seeks Madison police to break down the doors of the mother’s home, capture and handcuff the three teenagers, and bring them forcibly back to him.
There will be a group at the mother’s home and a film crew from Frank Report ready for a live stream of the police capture of the teenagers.
At least one other national media outlet got editorial approval to report the arrest if it occurs.
But even if he does succeed in getting the court to force the teenagers back to his home, Ambrose has yet to explain how he will keep them in home confinement or guard them 24/7.
Even if Judge Rodriguez orders the mother’s indefinite detention, the children will likely run again unless the Court permits some form of physical restraint.
Don’t be fooled that Ambrose can hold these teens against their will.
Athletic and wiry Matthew, [above] nearly 17, is far too physically fit to be restrained by 60-plus-year-old Ambrose. Unless Judge Rodriguez permits Ambrose to be armed or authorizes off-duty Madison police to force the teens to remain under lock and key, they can’t be forced to stay there.
If they leave, the teenagers’ extended network of reconnected family and friends – the people they grew up with – would likely provide a haven to protect them from their aggressive father.
Hundreds of strangers watching the case have volunteered to help and some have offered to take them in.
Can Ambrose get all of them arrested?
Or is Ambrose delusional, thinking he can force teenagers to be captured and kept by force in his house?
Not New Accusations…
Three years ago, Yale Hospital took Sawyer in following allegations of Ambrose’s sexual abuse.
Here is an excerpt of an interview that New York City private investigator Manual Gomez sent to US Attorney Ross, where Sawyer, then only ten, said about his father. [This has yet to be viewed by CT courts]:
Sawyer Ambrose: He was touching me in my private parts.
Manuel Gomez: Can you demonstrate to me what he was doing to you?
Sawyer Ambrose: He was like touching me right here.
Manuel Gomez: All right, and how often was he doing that? Did you tell him to stop? And what did he say when you told him to stop?
Sawyer Ambrose: He didn’t say anything. He just kept on doing it.
Manuel Gomez: Did he ever show himself naked to you?
Sawyer Ambrose: Sometimes when he was in the shower, sometimes, well, like not on purpose, but sometimes there weren’t any towels, and then he had to go get his clothes naked.
Manuel Gomez: But did he let – in front of you, he did that?
Sawyer Ambrose: Um, sometimes.
Photos, videos, and audios back Sawyer’s claims and are in FR’s possession. Some of them are obscene and cannot be published.
The voice you hear in the interview with Sawyer is famed investigator Manual Gomez. The New York Times wrote that he is known to “Prove His Clients Innocent.” He won an Emmy award for the Hulu documentary “Crime + Punishment”
….Stay tuned for Part #3 of this series.