The tedious citations of Carl Everett’s 1998 child problem
Updated! More citation goodness and further sorting out of much contradictory writing! And more to come! Whee!
Since this seems to be the center of controversy, I would like to provide in one place a set of citations anyone who wants to argue this can go to. Though, frankly, the more I look into this the more frustrated I become.
If you’re particularly interested in detailed citations and related stuff, as well as me detailing exactly what I mean when I rant about the child abuse charges not being dropped, go right ahead (strictly speaking, child abuse charges were dropped or, in some stories, never filed, and it was in family court that a finding of child neglect was made, but I’ll rant about why that’s important later). Anyone with Lexis-Nexus access or with family court knowledge who wants to add or clarify is welcome to drop us a line.
If, like me, you’d really much prefer to move on, please feel free to do so.
So! The infamous Sports Illustrated article that is a handy reference for the whole thing is
“The People v. Carl Everett” by Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated. New York: Jun 29, 1998. Vol. 88, Iss. 26; pg. 89, 2 pgs
Which contains this paragraph much of what people are discussing comes from:
A Shea Stadium childcare worker noticed a disturbing number of bruises and welts on the body of Everett’s six-yearold daughter, Shawna. Mets officials were alarmed enough to contact the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, which took custody of Shawna as well as Carl IV, Everett’s five-year-old son. Everett and his wife, Linda, were charged in family court with child abuse. Judge Richard Berman ultimately found the couple guilty of child neglect, ruling that Linda had inflicted “excessive corporal punishment” and that her husband had failed to stop her. Shawna and Carl IV were placed in foster care, and Everett-whose wife admitted in court that she and her husband had disciplined the children with a belt-became the center of a New York tabloid storm.
Which it did. Unfortunately for purposes of this argument, they’re not indexed by anything I have access to. Newsday in particular ran the story that the employee had seen bruising and welts on the head/neck/body, and I, unfortunately, don’t have access to all their archives.
There are several SI articles that deal with Carl Everett. This is the one that’s been cited repeatedly here.
If you’ve got a King County Library System card, you can go look this stuff up online, as they’ve got access to the SI full text archives through ProQuest. Or you can ask your helpful reference librarian.
That article is also where we learn that Everett, having regained custody of his son, then didn’t fufill his part of the bargain:
Recently Judge Berman publicly criticizied the Everetts for skipping not only counseling sessions but also a June conference at which they were to discuss their case.
On the issue of charging/dropping/what happens, the subject is confused because contemporary sources include things like this:
The Mets not only had Wednesday night’s loss on their minds, they also knew that Carl Everett, one of their teammates, was not available yesterday because of trouble within his family. On Wednesday night, at Shea Stadium, one of Everett’s two daughters and his son were taken into protective custody after somebody thought there were bruises on the girl. The action cast a pall over the family and, in consequence, over the team.
Last evening, after investigating, the police said they would not place charges and a police official said the explanation by Everett and his wife would be accepted. By that time, there had been a tense 24-hour period for all concerned.
That’s from the New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Aug 8, 1997. pg. B.7
However, this is further complicated by competing cites from the same paper on the same day. In the story “Everett Cleared in Inquiry Into Abuse” (NYT, Aug 8 1997, B9)
Sgt. Cory Cuneo, a police department spokesman, said last night that Everett and his wife, Linda, had been interviewed by the police; that no charges would be filed, and that the children would eventually be returned to the custody of their parents.
In what is probably the clearest article yet found on this, “DA Still Looking Into Everett Abuse Case” (NYT, Aug 10, 1997, S5) the distinction between charges by the police and his trouble with the family court is more clearly drawn:
Though police officials have closed their investigation into the child-abuse case surrounding Mets outfielder Carl Everett, his ability to retrieve his children from the custody of the city child welfare agency remains uncertain, with both a family court hearing scheduled for tomorrow and a separate investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s office still under way.
“The only way one can make an actual legal determination is by holding a fact-finding hearing,” Family Court Judge Richard M. Berman said yesterday. “Anything short of that is preliminary.”
This also contains this:
During Friday’s hearing, Berman read from the report phoned in from Shea Stadium: “Shawna is covered with bruises, and she is black and blue. She has welts that appear to be sustained from being hit with a belt.”
In reading from the report on Friday, Berman also said that some of the bruises appeared to be old and that “last Saturday the father slapped Shawna excessively hard in the face.”
However, whether that’s even possible, and who made that claim, remain unclear.
The article also quotes an official as saying that “Shawna had bruises behind her right ear and on her back and legs.”
Except that soon, Everett was in Family Court.
An agreement that would have reunited Mets outfielder Carl Everett with his two children now in custody of the city’s child welfare agency fell through yesterday, setting the stage for a Family Court trial to determine if the children have been abused, lawyers involved in the case said.
From New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Oct 16, 1997. pg. C.2
Eventually, they reached an agreement and the court found they’d neglected the kinds, and in particular:
Mets outfielder Carl Everett and his wife, Linda, reached an agreement in Family Court yesterday that could reunite them within a year with their two children, who have been in custody of the city’s child welfare agency after the couple were accused of abuse.
Queens Family Court Judge Richard M. Berman found evidence of child neglect by the Everetts yesterday, saying that Linda Everett inflicted excessive corporal punishment on Shawna, 6, and Carl Jr., 5, and that Carl Everett knew of it but failed to take appropriate action. The judge dismissed a more serious charge of child abuse against them.
From New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Oct 29, 1997. pg. C.8
Or, as Newsday has it:
A Queens Family Court judge yesterday entered a finding of neglect yesterday against Mets outfielder Carl Everett and his wife – who is pregnant. The couple had been accused of abusing their children.
The determination was part of a settlement between the Everetts and the city, which removed Shawna, 6, and Carl, 4, after a child-care worker at Shea Stadium reported bruises on the girl’s face, shoulders and back on Aug. 6.
As part of yesterday’s agreement, Judge Richard Berman said he would find that Linda Everett had used “excessive corporal punishment,” while Carl Everett “knew of the excessive corporal punishment . . . but failed to take appropriate action.”
More serious abuse charges that the couple beat the children with their hands, a belt and other implements were dropped.
In a finding that family-law experts likened to a “no-contest” plea, the couple did not have to admit to neglecting the children. Berman said Everett and his wife were consenting to the courts jurisdiction, which would result in his entering a fact-finding order of neglect against each of them.
That’s Oct 29, 1997, A7
This then turns up in other papers as
A New York Family Court judge dropped child-abuse charges against the outfielder and his wife Oct. 29, but ruled that Linda Everett inflicted “excessive corporal punishment” on their two children and that her husband did little to stop her. Since then, the Everetts have been allowed supervised visits with the children.
From the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Dec 23, 1997. pg. 9
[edit: I moved this section and expanded on the dropped/no charges thing in a subsequent post]