A mother jailed since August 1987 in a child custody dispute may not be freed until she produces her daughter for visits with her ex-husband or turns the child over to public authorities, a judge says.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon refused on Monday to release Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, a Washington plastic surgeon who was jailed 22 months ago on civil contempt of court charges.Morgan has refused to allow court-ordered visits between her daughter Hilary and Eric Foretich, Morgan's ex-husband and the girl's father, contending that Foretich sexually abused the girl. Foretich has repeatedly denied those charges, and Hilary's whereabouts have been unknown.
An appeals court had directed Dixon to review his December 1988 decision to keep Morgan in jail.
Stephen Sachs, Morgan's attorney, has argued that jailing her failed to coerce her into producing her daughter, and that the purpose has turned from coercion to punishment.
Dixon ruled that Morgan should remain in jail because she has not taken the opportunity to go free by turning the child over.