Legislator Asks Governor to Intervene in Custody Case; Stan Jordan Says Returning Boy to Biological Parents Constitutes Child Abuse

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, The Times-Union

Removing little Evan Scott from the only home he has known since his birth 3 1/2 years ago to live with his biological mother constitutes child abuse, according to state Rep. Stan Jordan, R-Jacksonville, who sent a formal complaint Wednesday to Gov. Jeb Bush requesting his intervention.

"It appears the future of this child's safety and welfare is being determined by who is right rather than what is right," Jordan wrote in his letter to the governor and copied to Luci Hadi, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Jordan said that while he respects the judicial restraints that led to a Circuit Court judge's decision giving shared custody to Evan's biological parents, he said he believed the Florida law on child abuse also requires compliance.

The law, Jordan said, defines abuse as "any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause a child's physical, mental or emotional health to be significantly impaired."

Alia Faraj, Bush's spokeswoman, said the governor was away from the office Wednesday and Jordan's letter had not been received. "I'm sure the governor will review the letter when we get it and take any appropriate action," she said.

Evan's case in the center of a custody dispute has drawn national attention. The product of an abusive relationship between an unmarried couple, Evan was born in Jacksonville May 5, 2001, after his biological mother, Amanda Hopkins, left her boyfriend, Stephen A. White Jr., in Maine.

Hopkins met Dawn and Gene Scott of Atlantic Beach through friends and agreed to give up Evan for adoption by the Scotts. Before Evan was born, the Scotts' attorney began preliminary work on the adoption petition, which required notification of the biological father. White first learned of his impending fatherhood when notified by the Scotts' attorney.

Although Evan has lived with the Scotts since his birth, their attempt to adopt him was thwarted when White refused and filed for custody himself. …


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