By Richard Luthmann
In her petition were abuse allegations, including allegations of molestation perpetrated by Ambrose against his children.
The juvenile court appointed Mia an attorney– Michael G. Curley of Mutha Cullina, LLP.
In investigating the matter, Curley emailed Nancy Stewart, Kelly Burke, and Michelle Peterson of CT DCF about allegations against Ambrose on June 6, 2023.
I have not gotten confirmation from my client (or her mother) that they are willing to meet at this time.
When we spoke previously, you indicated that the most recent report included allegations against Mia’s father, including a new allegation of penetration. This is the first time I have learned that there are allegations in the most recent report regarding the safety of the children in their mother’s home. Is that correct? Or did I misunderstand your email below?
Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report? Or a summary of the allegations?
MICHAEL G. CURLEY
Curley’s request was reasonable: “Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report? Or a summary of the allegations?”
The response from the CT DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson is where things get strange:
As Nancy states below, we have been unable to schedule a time to meet with Mia and Matthew in their mother’s home. This is necessary in order to assess their safety given that they are now residing with their mother. Per our own policy, we must continue to make attempts to see the children, mother, and her home.
We have an active assessment related to allegations against both parents. We have received several reports – some of which were not accepted because of duplicate information. Our most recent report is related to the children in mother’s care and allegations that they are not attending school, have missed appointments with providers, and are not taking medication as needed.
Another recent report raised general concerns about the children in mother’s care given there is a court order in effect that says she is only to have supervised contact.
These are all allegations that must be addressed with mother and her children, however we have not been given access to her household thus far.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could arrange a time for us to meet with your client, Mia, and her mother this week. While we also want to meet with Mia’s brother Matthew, I understand that he is not your client. We would like to be able to schedule a time that is mutually agreeable, but frankly our timeframe for doing so has long since passed. We would appreciate it if you could help bring people to the table.
Let’s break this down.
Attorney Curley makes a specific request: “Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report [of sexual penetration]? Or a summary of the allegations?”
DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson evades addressing the report of sexual penetration.
There is no further mention of the sexual penetration allegations. She does not deny they exist, and she does not agree to provide them.
She says: “We have an active assessment related to allegations against both parents.”
In plain English, that means Mia Ambrose complained about sexual penetration by Ambrose. But there were also complaints against Riordan. What are these complaints?
- The Ambrose children are not attending school. [When this exchange occurred, June 6, 2023, it was at the end of the school year, and Matthew, 16, and Mia, 16, were in Riordan’s care. Matthew and Mia were attending school with greater regularity than with Ambrose. Mia missed only three school days when her father was stalking her. But when she lived with Ambrose, she had 17 unexcused absences. Matthew’s return to his mother was a triumph for his schooling. After he left Ambrose and began to live with his mother, his depression lifted, and he began attending full days of school for the first time since October 2022. While in Ambrose’s care, Matthew had 50 unexcused absences, and because of his depression, he only attended half days when he went to school. DCF failed to find educational or emotional neglect against Ambrose but instead targeted Riordan.
- The Ambrose children missed appointments with providers. [They felt they no longer needed the endless rounds of therapy sessions for depression and trauma because they were forced to live with a man, they said, who abused them. However, Matthew saw his ICAPS counselors in his mother’s home for 14 weeks, and ICAPs reported Matthew was a new person. Of course, once his father got a restraining order, Matthew and his siblings were homeless.]
- The Ambrose children are not taking medication as needed. [The teens did not need the anti-depression medications now that they were not forced to live with their father and could live with their mother.]
Who complained about Karen Riordan? You guessed it: Christopher Ambrose.
And the next part is the kicker. What about the sexual penetration allegations?
“We have received several reports – some of which were not accepted because of duplicate information.”
DCF Program Supervisor Peterson stated in writing that it is the policy of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to not accept multiple reports of sexual penetration because of “duplicative information.”
Let me say that again.
DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson confirmed that DCF would “sometimes” decline to investigate multiple credible allegations that a parent is raping or sexually abusing a child.
But DCF will investigate truancy, missed doctors’ appointments, and medication compliance.
DCF gives no reasons or stated policy standards for why some reports are accepted and others are not. This is the textbook definition of unreasonable. It is arbitrary and capricious, and the CT Superior Court should ask ‘Why?’
Was Mia dressed in a purple shirt, and is it DCF policy not to take seriously multiple, specified, and particularized sexual penetration complaints from minors in purple shirts?
Or is it because Mia is brown-skinned and adopted, and her father is white? Is it DCF policy not to accept multiple, specified, and particularized sexual penetration complaints from minors who are black and brown when the alleged perpetrator is white?
DCF Commissioner Vannesa DoranteDCF Commissioner Vannesa Dorantes said of former DCF employee, brown-skinned, Hispanic, Eliezer Rijos, 40, who sexted with a 15-year-old girl but never touched her, “No child or youth should be subjected to or victimized by this type of behavior.”
On the other hand, allegations of sexual penetration by wealthy Chris Ambrose, white as an Albino, by his adopted brown-skinned teen are ignored by her supervisor, Peterson.
Commissioner Dorante saw to it that Rijos was fired on the spot, the girl was interviewed and offered therapy, an investigation was made in the DCF to make sure Rijos sexted no one else — and DCF referred his conduct to the police, where he was arrested.
Rijos sexted a girl. He was arrested.
In the meantime, DCF is fighting to get the Ambrose kids back from NY to CT to place them in the hands of Ambrose.
Suppose DCF investigated Ambrose as they did the lowly Rijos. In that case, it might divert the cash flow Ambrose pays family law attorney Alex Cuda and possibly divert it for a less deserving criminal defense attorney.
On Dorante’s watch, an affluent abuser can get the wholesale endorsement of DCF about how wonderful he is.
Richard Luthmann is a writer, editor, and investigative journalist.