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Posted by on Jun 19, 2009 in Breaking News, International, Media, Places, Politics | 30 comments

A “Ruling” in the Sean Goldman Brazil Custody Case


Both and MSNBC report on a startling development in the tragic battle by an American father to regain custody of his son who was kidnapped to Brazil five years ago.

A Brazilian judge has ruled that David Goldman should have custody of his son.

However, there is just one big, ridiculous catch: David Goldman can “have custody” of his son for only six days a week, from Monday 9 AM until Saturday 8 PM, and…in Brazil.

This arrangement is supposed to be in effect until a ruling on Sean Goldman’s permanent custody is given—whenever that may be.

There are reports of a video tape allegedly recorded in a psychiatric facility, where Sean Goldman allegedly is “interrogated” for 30 to 40 minutes from behind a one-way mirror, and says that he wants to stay in Brazil.

David Goldman’s attorney says such an interrogation “goes beyond the bounds of human decency and is a human rights violation.”

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, who has stood behind David Goldman all the way, says, “This is not a good status quo, it is not even a good interim solution. What is [Goldman] supposed to do…stay in a hotel?”

And, on the taped “interrogation,” “It has all the earmarks and markings of a hostage situation.”

An obviously disappointed David Goldman says, “It’s nothing short of tragic…the pain is beyond unbearable.”

His goal continues to be to bring his son back home, for good, unconditionally, no strings attached.

In the meantime, U.S. and Brazilian lawyers are preparing to respond in this latest round of an international custody battle that has already gone on for much too long.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • AustinRoth

    I hate it when I am right about things like this, Dorian. This is so far from being over, and I still am not confident it will be resolved the way it should.

    • CBS News, (Harry Smith), who interviewed Joao Paulo Lins e Silva and Sean’s grandmother on The Morning Show last week, needs to do the homework. The CBS interview was deficient in factual basis and full of bias. In my opinion, CBS preferred to sensationalize the case. I know that CBS was given access to legal documents that would have exposed the truth. AND see, for example how CBS now has re-routed this story to its 48 Hours | Mystery | Crimesider page. Oh, great sensationalism. Sean’s case was overshadowed, unfortunately, by the untimely death of Farrah Faucett and the death of Michael Jackson.

      Does the move of this news story to the 48 Hours | Mystery | Crimesider page mean that CBS is now claiming that the Sean Goldman kidnapping is a mystery? Does CBS claim that this issue is incomprehensible? Is the “Mystery” supposed to excuse Harry Smith from failing or refusing to read background information that would have helped him to ask the “hard questions” on The Morning Show?

      The Sean Goldman case is — plain and simple — a case about kidnapping. This time it is not a parental kidnapping. Rather, it is a second kidnapping (wrongful detention) of Sean Goldman in Brazil by his stepfather Joao Paulo Lins e Silva. Still, Brazil shirks its duty to return him immediately, as Judge Pinto ordered on June 1st. Brazil became a Hague Convention signatory on 12/01/2003. Since then over 65 children have been abducted by parents to Brazil and not one has been returned.

      Sean’s stepfather is himself a Hague Convention lawyer, as is his father. Therefore, every possible defense under the Hague Convention has been raised in the latest proceedings in Brazil. The Brazilian federal court judge, Rafael Pinto, shot all of their defenses down.

      Only the extraordinary and competent advocacy of David Goldman’s lawyers, Patricia Apy of Red Bank, New Jersey and Ricardo Zamariola Junior could have led Judge Pinto to his insightful and competent decisions. Those decisions swept away any serious consideration of the “defenses” raised by Lins e Silva.

      If CBS is too busy to read the 65 page June 1st decision by Judge Pinto and his subsequent June 8th decision describing the parental alienation to which Sean is subjected in Brazil, then I suggest that at the very least they read my summaries. I trust that Patricia Apy will correct me here if I have in any way failed to accurately state what Judge Pinto stated — both as findings of fact and conclusions of law.
      My summaries may be found here:

      Jeanne M. Hannah, Family Lawyer, Traverse City, Michigan

  • DdW

    I hate for you to be right (in this case), too, AR

  • concerned_Gigi

    It’s too bad that the father is can’t re-kidnap his kid on those visits and bring him home. What else should the kid say? He doesn’t know anything else, since he was so young when he was originally abducted by his own mother. If she is dead, then the boy should be return to his family. The step-father who is assuming custody is WRONG to fight this! Shame on him to keep this going! Shame Shame Shame!

  • MCAT

    Of course Sean wants to stay in Brazil, where he has grand-parents, a baby sister and a step-father that love him very much and is very attentive to him; where he has a lot of friends, fun, extra-curricular activities, etc., etc., …. he may remember his biologial father as to who he is, but it is entirely possible that day-to-day life is NJ is now a distant memory, in which he stated that he remembers it being “cold”… if that is all you remember, obviously, warm and sunny Rio de Janeiro is more appealing to this boy,
    While I don’t condone what his mother did and what his step-father is now doing, and while I do agree that David has 100% rights to his biological son, David needs to understand that the transition for Sean will be a long and arduous one. David seems to me that he is still living in 2004 and still imagining his son as a 4 year old that likes to sleigh-ride….

    • Mutha2X

      I cannot stand how unfair this is! That Brazilian step-father is a monster, who should be brought up on kidnapping charges. How can he justify keeping a child from his own father? How would he feel if the child he had with Sean’s mother were kept from him? Brazil needs a wake up call with HUGE U.S. pressure to turn this American child back to his American father! And what a great role model David Goldman has been. He could have taken an uglier route but he has always taken the high road for the sake of recovering his son!
      MCAT, what is your point? No matter how the transition will be, Sean Goldman should be put back where he belongs with his loving father! It won’t take him long to make American friends, enjoy American summers and feel the warmth of his father’s heart. Why don’t you call the well-connected Brazilian Family Lawyer who’s holding this kid hostage and talk to HIM about how he’s harming this boy! Get REAL.

    • dildo

      you dont condone what his mother did???? if kidnapping is ok, then you must be fan rape too, right???good job stupid.

    • yeyyey

      thats easy to say…..hope u feel the same way if it happens to u

  • kathykattenburg

    “The pain is beyond unbearable.” That is so heartbreaking. I don’t understand this situation at all. David Goldman is Sean’s FATHER. I don’t understand how something like this can happen. And interrogating a six-year-old boy for 30 to 40 minutes? It’s just unconscionable.

    My heart goes out to this father and his son. I wish there was something more I could do.

  • subee

    Our government needs to get involved – strongly.
    Sanctions against Brazil that “pack a punch.”

  • momx4

    MCAT your comment is shocking. This boy was kidnapped. His mother is dead his father is living and has fought diligently for 5 years to get him back. The long term damage to a child who is led to believe his real father doesn’t love him is huge. The Brazilian Supreme Court acknowledged the brazilian kidnappers (we need to call them what they are) are waging a campaign of Parental Alientation. This is a criminal case in my opinion. I don’t understand why the Hague Convention doesn’t require Brazil to arrest the step father for kidnapping. Had authorities acted when they should have this story would have been over 5 years ago. Your comment leads me to believe you are either not completely up to date with all that has transpired in this case or you are delusional.

  • DdW

    MCAT, the question begs:

    At what point in time do you feel a kidnapped child should be left with his or her kidnappers?

    After 20 years, 10 years, five years (as in trhe case of Sean Goldman), one year, a week…???

    And, let me ask one more: do you really think that the more attractive climate where the kidnapped son finds himself in now, or the “fun and extracurricular activities” he is having, should be factors in returning him to his rightful father?

  • MCAT

    I’m not saying that this boy shouldn’t be with his biological father here in NJ. I’m just saying that it doesn’t shock me for him to say he prefers to live in Brazil for the reasons stated above, and whether David is aware of it or not, Sean will undergo a huge transition once here and David needs to be well-prepared for it and be empathetic with his son.

  • flamingluca

    The boy was kidnapped in late June 2004 from a home that is along the New Jersey shore on a day where the average temperature was warmer than it was upon his arrival in Rio.

    If his last memories of NJ are of the “cold” it is because he has been fed lies by these filthy animals masquarading as his Brazilian family.

  • DdW

    MCAT: Thanks for clarifying.

    From what I have heard and read, I have no doubt but that David will be more than well-prepared and empathetic with his son.

  • shelly_p

    I am sick and tired of being completely outraged over this case….there has to be something America or Americans can do. If we all have a part surley something can be done!!!

  • kfreeman67

    I am so sorry for this man and for his child. This is inherently cruel and wrong, and unfortunately, it looks like the Dad is going to be held hostage just as much as his child is currently being held hostage. I simply cannot believe that this is allowed to occur; he has gone through every legal hoop and has done everything by the book, and has been tortured by the snail’s pace of the case, and has probably indebted himself, and borrowed from his family, only to be given the shaft in the end–all due to the heavy political influence of a wealthy brazilian ‘family’. It’s crap, and it probably would’ve driven a weaker soul to round up a covert team to go over there and snatch that child back, Ross Perot style. My heart is breaking for this man.

  • linsesilvaidiots

    This case will go on and on. From the Tribunal Regional Federal in Rio, it will go to the Superior Tribunal de Justica in Brasilia and then on to the Supremo Tribunal Federal. Each of those stops could take months or even years.
    If I were David, I would take my child to the U.S. Consulate in Rio and stay there until Obambi grew a pair and provided secure transportation back to the U.S.
    Any option involving mercs would put the boy in harms way. But I can see myself losing patience and going the merc way. The trouble is Paraguay is run by a communist now. Uruguay—you have to go south through a lot of populated areas. Bolivia is a zoo. Anything north of there is a long ways. Airplanes are out since the controls are tight. Sea operations would seem difficult to launch.
    So I think the best idea is to go to the U.S. Consulate with the boy and stay there until he’s given safe conduct with the boy.

  • GracieGee

    Okay, I know that there’s a habit of saying that we’ll do whatever’s best for the child — if they’re used to the new country, then some concessions should be allowed, etc etc.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that this is harmful in the long run. By allowing ANY kidnapped child to remain in the kidnapper’s country, we’re encouraging other kidnappers pull this exact same snatch/hide routine.

    Yes, it’ll suck for the first kids who are brought home no matter what, but I think it’s the only way. Once kidnappers realise that they can hold on to a kid for eight years and as soon as they’re discovered the child will absolutely be taken away, it’s not going to be so much of an incentive.

    And it’s pretty clear the Brazilian family have been filling this child’s ears with lies. Not exactly surprising, they’re kidnappers, but still very low.

  • Sherstone

    I never, never comment on websites but feel compelled to add my two cents. I have worked in family law and I am very encouraged by this latest Court ruling.

    The fact that the Court has now acknowledged that Sean should be with his father is wonderful. I am thrilled that the Court has given Mr. Goldman 6 DAYS A WEEK! This is wonderful – amazing!

    The whole situation has been unfair. It should never have happened. But it did and now the Court must make decisions that do not take into consideration the past injustices inflicted on Mr. Goldman and his son. The Court’s responsibility is the well being and rights of Sean as they stand now.

    Please remember that Sean has spent years believing Mr. Goldman is an uncaring father, a stranger; who has suddenly shown up and is going to cut him off from the only family he has ever known and take him to another country. Can you understand just how traumatizing it would be for Sean to suddenly be handed over? He is terrified.

    Untangling parent alienation situations usually start with a couple of hours of access per week and gradually extend to over-night access, giving the alienated parent more and more time; to establish a bond between parent and child, to create trust and security. This is a process that usually takes months, and provides the uncooperative parent with plenty of time to undue any progress. The Court is giving Mr. Goldman extraordinary access – this is a blessing!

    This Courting ruling, in my opinion, clearly sides with Mr. Goldman while putting Sean’s well-being first. In my opinion, the Court recognises that these people have organized this deliberate scheme; perpetuating a painful set of lies with no regard for how devastating it must be for this little boy to believe that his father does not love or want him; demonstrating how truly unfit they are to parent this child.

    Mr. Goldman has handled himself very well in interviews, responding with calm diplomacy. He has refused to muddy the situation by getting caught up in his own anger and frustration. This must be very difficult but it is the mark of a truly caring father. I encourage him not to speak ill of the people his son loves in order to win him over. Sean loves these people, trying to convince him that he should not love them will only further alienate him. It will be painful enough the day he realises on his own just how heartless and selfish they have been.

    • DdW


      Thank you for your reasoned and well-informed comments.

      If in fact, it is the intention of the Brazilian judge to do just that–to put Sean’s well-being first, by allowing time for father-son to re-establish a bond and trust– then I have to, perhaps reluctantly, agree.

      I hope you are right.

      I hope that it will not turn out to be as, another reader (linsesilvaidiots) put it:

      “This case will go on and on. From the Tribunal Regional Federal in Rio, it will go to the Superior Tribunal de Justica in Brasilia and then on to the Supremo Tribunal Federal. Each of those stops could take months or even years.”

      All we can do is hope and wait, albeit some more continuing political, legal, and popular pressure on the Brazilian government and Courts is also in order.


  • Marck1

    I agree with you totally! Bruna is the person that acted illegaly here. However, David is living in 2004. Shoud people just erase the last 5 years in the boys life. David is saying the boy has been “brain wahsed”. I am sure the boy loves his sister, grand-parents, school friends etc. He learned how to read and write in Brazil. He just lost his mother a year ago. He has strong emotional ties to his family and friends in Brazil and no / few emotional ties to New Jersey or his father. Is touching seeing David’s pictures with baby Sean plastered all over CNN everyday. However, I wonder if they think about the emotional damage that Sean my incurr if he is forced to return. Unfortunately, is 5 years later. Now, this case should be about the best interest of the child not about David Goldman.

    • iamoverworked

      It about both the child and his “fathers” rights. To say it’s just whats best for the child would mean that if you had poor but loving parents that they should give their child up at birth to well to due and loving parents by court order. The child will still have loving parents and better schools, medical care, etc. A parent not only takes resposibility when having a child but also rights to decide as their parents whats best for that child. Do any Marck1 want a court telling you how to raise your child because they think they know a better way to do it for your childs sake. A year is to long to wait. The adjusting to his father should have started shortly after his mother died. If it had for the sake fo the child like you say the he would know his father already. This step father and the courts don’t care about whats best for the child or they would have started a returning process a long time ago. Its about power and wealth being used to control the court and claim its for the child.

      • Marck1

        Sir/ madam:
        I think you did not understand my point.  David has rights and this undeniable! My concern is the same concern that a  psychologist  has recently expressed to the media.  Drastically changing the child away from his environment – sister, grand-parents, extended family, school, friends, etc can be devastating.  He has lived in this environment for the past 5 years and has recently lost his mother. He has strong emotional ties to his grandmother.  If I were David???  First…. I  would try to slowly build a relationship with him down in Brazil.
        I would want my child to be happy! The welfare of my child would be my first priority,  But, this is just my humble opinion.

        • Sherstone

          Yes Marck1 – I believe that this is what the latest Court ruling is putting in place! Sean will have the security of being in a familiar setting and still have contact with the only people he knows while he gets a chance to re-bond with his father.

          • Marck1

            Thank you Sherstone for the link.   I hope it works out for Sean and all the people who love him. I saw the Brazilian relatives — grandmother and step-father on CBS recently.  Here is the link:

  • Stan

    Sherstne, Mcat and marck1 are right. The same thing happened to me 11 years ago. I know it was wrong when it happened, but Sean obviuosly has a new life as does my son, in Canada. The fact is, the US should not be pressuring the Brazilian goverbment, any branch, to return a boy whose life is now in Brazil. They should, and in conversations with me (from State Department sources) have indicated receptiveness to the idea of helping David get settled, even to the point of giving him a job at the consulate closest to where Sean now lives, in Brazil. They have indicated that David only needs to approach them about it.

    Ms. Apy, David’s attorney would probably rather that didn’t happen. Cash cow case gone, media attention gone, loss of this battle. Even at Sean’s expense, she would rather see a child abused to give hr a victory. I have tried to cantact David about States’ willingness to consider a win-win solution for everyone. If someone knows how, please forward this to David.

    Consider also thar Congressman Smith has his own self-promoting agenda. I seriuosly doubt his best interests are the same as Seans.

    I spent equally as long as Dvid did and almost as much money trying to go the other route. I moved to, and still have an apartment in Norht Dakota, 3 hours from my son, no work in my field here, cold as Siberia. I now contract in some pretty dangerous places to be able to afford to have half the year off with no income. Not the solution I’d envisioned, but I think my son is going to be alright. His life was and is around relatives, people who love him, (including me when I can get up there!) and he does have issues, but workable ones.

    Our goverment, if they want to get serious about the poblem of international parental child abduction should concentrate on recent cases, not ones which will involve more trauma to the children by returns, and perhaps make a very clear and public statement to the rest of the world that there will be much more uncomfortable pressures brought to bear on the receiving nation – I mean REALLY uncomfortable!

    Stan Hudson

  • mariebk


  • mariebk

    Bruna’s parent’s and Joao Paulo Lins e Silva had been brain washe’d Sean. How can people here say that Sean need to stay in Brazil where he has a sister, extra curricular activities, grand parents and a man that pretend to break the law and be his father What about Sean biological father nobody cares about him he don’t count? He was fighting to have his son back home 2 weeks after his wife call him saying that Sean was not going to return to NJ and since now he is still fighting. His son needs to come back to NJ under a psychiatric supervision to see if he loves his town school friends and also the extra curricular activities he can do. If he have problems and just want to go back to Brazil ok. ANYONE CAN SEPARATE SEAM FROM HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER AND BORN TOWN. IT’S ILEGAL!!!!!!!!!!

  • jtdmkj

    lets boycott brazil. dont travel there, dont support its vacation destinations, maybe if we all get together and are determined we can atleast keep our hard earned money from going to a country that supports kidnappers and wrongdoing. just think if it was your family over there on vacation and something tragic happened, you know for a certainty you could not count on the brazillian government to help you. so take your vacations and family fun far far away from brazil. none of our hard earned cash will support brazil until sean comes home.

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