On June 16, 2004 David Goldman said goodbye to his son, Sean, at Newark Airport, in Newark, New Jersey. He didn't know it at the time but his wife, Bruna, was in the process of abducting Sean and taking him to Brazil with no intention of ever returning.Â In the United States and under international law, this is called kidnapping.
Brazil is a participating member in an international agreement known as the Hague Treaty, which deals with several issues related to international child custody including custodial kidnapping.Â As per this treaty, Sean should have been returned to the United States for a hearing to determine a custodial agreement.
Instead, Sean's mother retained Brazilian lawyers who successfully sought a Brazilian custodial award for the mother simply on the basis that Brazilian law favors the mother.Â This was accomplished in spite of the Brazilian Central Authorities stated position that Sean should be returned to the United States.
The case took a bizarre turn when Bruna Goldman divorced David in Brazilian court and preceded to marry her lawyer, João Paulo Lins e Silva, and expert in international family law, including child custody cases. Soon after, Bruna died suddenly during child birth.
Upon hearing of Bruna's passing, David Goldman immediately flew to Brazil to seek custody of Sean.Â Much to his surprise, "temporary" custody was awarded to Lins e Silva on the basis that during this difficult time, the child needed his familiar surroundings. No mind that these surroundings were familiar because of the fact that he had been illegally kept there for nearly two years.
For four years, David Goldman has fought a desperate and expensive legal battle for custody of his son, first against the mother Bruna and now against João Paulo Lins e Silva and his father, Paulo Lins e Silva, an internationally known lawyer.Â During that time he has never been permitted to see Sean.
This legal battle has generated several acts on the part of the Lins e Silva's. They have delayed at every possible step.Â They have fought to have all information pertaining to this case banned from Brazilian media. They have defied Federal Judiciary visitation orders. They have counter sued David Goldman, claiming that his public interviews have damaged their international reputations.
David Goldman's friends have created a website that publishes news and history of this tragic story. There are also email addresses and contacts of people who need to be constantly reminded that this situation must end for the sake of this child and his father.Â
People are invited to visit http://BringSeanHome.org and see what they can do to help.
Stephen Wash is a friend of David Goldman and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.