Mothers accuse Elkhart Family Court of mishandling custody cases

ABC 57

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- A group of mothers who have lost custody of their children in Elkhart County are accusing the judge and the "Guardian Ad Litem" (GAL) of mishandling their cases.  

Ashley Franklin says GAL Mary Raatz had provided Judge David Bonfiglio misleading reports, which played a major role in his decision. 

She lost custody of her son. 

Another mother, Ashley Persley, accuses Raatz of giving custody to the baby's father, Trey O'Brien, who was charged in 2018 with sexual misconduct with a minor. 

Emerson Earhart was motivated by her own situation and educated herself on the role of Guardian Ad Litem. 

Earhart attends and observes what is taking place in the Elkhart Courtrooms and says the system currently in place needs to be reevaluated. 

"They can act with impunity without any sort of oversight," she says. 

She is now an advocate for change. 

There is an organized effort by over 200 people who have signed a petition to have Raatz removed from her position in the county.  

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