The process of modifying a court order to deny an abusive parent custody of their child should be straightforward, but it isn't—sometimes with devastating results. In New Jersey, a horrific case of child abuse turned deadly has shaken public faith in the system. The tragedy highlights the difficulty of changing an existing custody order without the help of an experienced advocate like the Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm.
In the Headlines
The case is shocking: a six-year-old boy, Cory, beaten to death. His father, Christopher Gregor, charged with the crime. And the grieving mother, Bre Micciolo, left with a paper trail of child abuse complaints that failed to protect her son. Now, Micciolo has filed a wrongful death suit against the State of New Jersey, Department on Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP).
Micciolo claims that she worked within the system to protect her son, reporting alleged child abuse as far back as September of 2019—two years before Cory's death. In the ensuing years, Micciolo photographed and documented abuse, filing seven reports with DCPP. Micciolo even caught a violent incident on security camera footage at Cory's father's apartment. But her calls to the social worker assigned to her case went unreturned and text messages—including one that included this video evidence—went unanswered.
Micciolo's lawsuit alleges that the agency's response was wholly inadequate. When the DCPP did investigate, it sent caseworkers to Micciolo's home when her son wasn't present. And the unresponsive social worker is also part of the lawsuit.
Options for Parents Who Suspect Abuse
If you suspect your child's other parent is committing abuse, it's important that you understand how child custody functions in New Jersey. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm can provide guidance in child custody cases.
Custody battles task the court with determining which parent or family member will best serve the interests of the child. This can range from awarding a parent sole custody, which will limit or eliminate contact with the child, or, in the most extreme cases, termination of parental rights.
For either case, the courts must determine that one of the parents displays “unfitness,” which can include a history of drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or child neglect.
Victims of child abuse (or their guardians) can file a criminal complaint of domestic violence while also seeking civil relief in the form of a temporary or permanent restraining order which may prevent the other parent from seeing the child.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm have helped many New Jersey residents obtain restraining orders to protect themselves against individuals who have harmed them or threatened to harm them.