IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE STATE OF
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF JACKSON
In the Matter of the Marriage of: )
SUSAN SAMORA COUTSOUKIS, )
Petitioner, ) Case No.
PHOTIUS COUTSOUKIS, )
) (s3B Volume 1 of 3 (s0B
&dDTRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS &d@
(s3B Volume 1 (s0B
September 12, 1997
9:00 o'clock a.m.
Before: The Honorable
G. Philip Arnold,
For the Petitioner: Cristina Sanz
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 443
Medford, OR 97501
For the Respondent: Beth Lori
Attorney at Law
220 N. Oakdale Avenue
Medford, OR 97501
September 12, 1997
9:00 o'clock a.m.
. . .
THE COURT: This is the time set for
Coutsoukis and Coutsoukis. Is the Petitioner
MS. SANZ: We are, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And is the Respondent ready?
MS. LORI: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: We have set this matter for
a bifurcated hearing. The issues to be
determined today deal with child custody and
visitation. All other issues will be dealt
with at another time.
One other thing I want to say: I have
met with the attorneys this morning, and just
to state this on the record, there are
depositions that will come into evidence
partially or completely. There are some
telephone witnesses, that is, people we need
to talk to by phone, that we don't expect to
get to today. All of this evidence will
needs to be received, and I anticipate that
before the petitioner closes her case we'll
need to receive all of that evidence.
Ms. Lori, you have filed a motion in
limine. You have requested that the
witnesses wait outside.
MS. LORI: Yes, Your Honor, I do note
for the record I do have witnesses in here,
including Dr. Oas. I don't know if you want
Dr. Oas to step outside as well, but I had
requested the Court to do an en mass
instruction to the witnesses about what the
exclusionary rule means and then have them
THE COURT: Ms. Sanz, do you object to
Dr. Oas remaining?
MS. SANZ: If he is going to be the
first witness, Your Honor, I don't see that
as an issue. My witnesses are not here, Your
Honor. I have asked them to come at a later
THE COURT: Well, we'll post a sign as
soon as the Bailiff comes back that witnesses
may not enter. Witnesses are normally
excluded from the courtroom until they've
testified, that is, have testified finally,
and that's done if either party requests it,
so I will grant that. What this means is you
are to wait outside, and you're not to
discuss with anybody who has testified
previously anything about their testimony.
You are not to discuss your anticipated
testimony with other people. The whole point
of this is so that when I listen to you, I
understand what you have to say uninfluenced
by other people. You will find, or at least
I have found, it makes your testimony
clearer, as well, so it's to everybody's
benefit. So please follow that rule as you
wait outside. If you're talking with each
other, talk about other things, but not about
the facts of this case. So the witnesses are
excluded from the courtroom at this point.
Doctor, you may stay.
Ms. Lori, your motion.
MS. LORI: Yes, Your Honor, before I
begin, at the outset you indicated that this
case was bifurcated. I understand that, and
I have instructed my client that this was a
final hearing, as opposed to perhaps a
THE COURT: That's correct.
MS. LORI: The other thing, if the
record can reflect all of the witness have
gone out of the courtroom, with the exception
of Dr. Oas. I appreciate that.
THE COURT: The record reflects that.
MS. LORI: Thank you. With my motion in
limine, Your Honor, what I'm seeking to do is
limit the amount of particular opinions that
come in on this case. This is in reference
to not only two perpetuated depositions that
were taken in this case concerning Ms. Kozol,
and I'll mispronounce this name -- Mencina
(phonetic). Some of that information is
improper for the reason that the opinions are
based on hearsay. Some of the opinions are
not indicative of the witnesses having the
qualifications to give such opinions, and on
top of that, they don't have the personal
knowledge to give these types of opinions,
and in my motion in limine I identified
several evidentiary codes that pertain to the
rules about when opinions can come in and
when they need to stay out.
On top of that, I cited the statute,
105.127, and in particular, I believe it's
Paragraph 2 states that the parties' conduct
and environment and lifestyle are something
that really don't enjoy relevance unless it
is shown that any of these factors are
causing or may cause emotional or physical
damage to the child, and I pointed out in my
motion the child in this case is rather
unique. She has a number of medical
conditions including brain damage and
developmental delay and language problems,
and it would be difficult to demonstrate
because of her condition whether or not she
is being caused or could be caused emotional
damage. So on those bases, hearsay, lack of
personal knowledge, relevance, the statute,
107.137, as well as other reasons I cite in
my memorandum that accompanies my motion in
limine, I'm asking for the Court to limit the
amount of opinion testimony that undoubtedly
you will hear in this case.
THE COURT: Ms. Sanz?
MS. SANZ: Yes, Your Honor, I wanted to
respond briefly. First off, Ms. Lori cites
107.137, Subsection 1. She didn't address
this in her statement, but I would like to
have my position clear that when this statute
discusses the four factors that the Court can
consider in determining a child custody
matter, this list is not an exclusive list.
In fact, there has been case law where the
Court has considered other factors in
determining which parent shall have sole
custody. For example, in one case we had the
issue of ancestral heritage, how that would
play in a custody matter. We also had an
issue where it involved the comfort level of
a child in discussing their medical or
medical decisions with a parent. Since she
cites that, or sort of alludes to it, I
wanted to make sure that this is not the only
Specifically to Subsection 3, I read
this statute to state -- and I think the
Family Law CLE by the Bar I think gives us
some guidance on common practice. I read
this to state that the Court can hear a lot
of different evidence. It has the discretion
to hear evidence. The court, however, when
it makes it's decision cannot base it on just
one particular factor, or if it was going to
base it on the misconduct avenue parent, then
there had to be some relevance that it would
cause or may cause emotional or physical
damage to the child. I think the statute is
dealt with broadly. These are family matters.
They involve many different issues, but I
believe that should be the interpretation,
that the Court can't just rely on the
evidence unless it has a basis.
Thirdly, the issue concerning personal
knowledge and opinion testimony. A lay
witness can provide the Court with opinion
testimony, as long as it's rationally based.
I believe that happens all the time, and it's
up to the Court in its discretion to
determine how much weight to give the opinion
With respect to the expert witnesses
relying on hearsay evidence, I think the
record, particularly with Ms. Kozol of the
Rogue Valley Medical Center Child Development
Center, the first ten pages of my deposition
do go quite into her background. And the
definition of an expert is not just a
technical person, like we assume in a
psychiatrist, psychologist, or a doctor.
Experts include -- their knowledge can be
based on skill, experience, and education,
and that is very much case law reflects that.
For example, land owners can testify as to
values of land. They have personal knowledge
and they have dealings in land, and that
alone allows them know give that type of
opinion. Their reliance on hearsay, then, is
With regard to Ms. Messina (phonetic), I
do not think the testimony that she provided
the Court was meant to -- I think she gave
primarily opinion testimony, and I did not
propose any of her statements to actually
indicate any kind of a medical diagnosis
about Mr. Coutsoukis or the child or anyone
else. So I think with that in mind, the
Court should allow this testimony in, and
also should opposing counsel have an
objection to any other issues that she may
raise at the time that our witnesses are
testifying, I think she needs to make that on
the record at that time.
THE COURT: Thank you, Ms. Sanz. I find
that ORS 107.137 addresses issues in two
ways; one is weight of evidence, rather than
admissibility, and the second is guidance to
me in making my decision as to what are the
relevant factors, and so I will not exclude
any evidence before the issue comes up. We
are limited, of course, to relevant evidence,
and then all of the various aspects of
relevant evidence under the evidence code. I
anticipate that I will allow opinion
testimony from a number of witnesses both
expert and lay witnesses, under the evidence
code 701, etcetera.
So you will need to make, Ms. Lori, your
objections, on the basis of relevance or
otherwise, at the time, rather that having
any blanket or larger ruling at this time.
Are we ready to proceed?
MS. SANZ: Yes, Your Honor.
MS. LORI: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay, call your first.
MS. SANZ: Your Honor, if I could make a
THE COURT: Okay. I have your trial
memoranda, and I have viewed those.
MS. SANZ: You stated that one of the
issues was custody and visitation. there has
been specifically a pleading by Mr.
Coutsoukis that it also included child
support, and I don't know whether the Court
will address that at this time or not, but
since that was plead --
THE COURT: Thank you. I intend to
address child support.
MS. SANZ: They have also noticed us in
their memorandum that they want to proceed
with the issue of two newly pled issues. One
is that the Petitioner be prohibited from
changing the last name from Coutsoukis. That
is not an issue for the Court to hear today,
and we do not plan to change her name,
anyway, or proceed in that manner.
Secondly, they also request in the
custody custodial parent be prohibited from
moving her residence 50 miles from the other.
I think that's a modification issue and that
can be addressed at the time whenever any of
the parents are going to move away from each
other, rather than having the Court deal with
THE COURT: Ms. Lori, what about that
last issue, the -- There is no issue, Ms.
Sanz tells me, changing the child's last
name, and so that would -- there would be
some statement that that wouldn't be done
absent notice, etcetera, appropriately. But
the last one is about changing the child's
residence. Is this a newly raised issue?
MS. LORI: Well, I don't consider it to
be a newly raised issue. Back in March of
1997, Ms. Coutsoukis did the Court for
permission to leave, and she was granted that
permission to leave to New York. My
client then moved to New York because he
wanted to continue to be a part of his
daughter's life. He simply doesn't want to
be cut off from his daughter's life, and he
can't keep moving his business around
whenever Ms. Coutsoukis moves somewhere,
whenever the Petitioner wants to change her
residence. He will always want to be part of
his child's life whether he is the custodial
parent or the noncustodial parent. So I think
the issue was raised before and it was heard
In addition to that, this is being
considered a final hearing, and I think I
should be entitled to get these kinds of
rulings now rather than require the parties
to come back on a modification basis.
THE COURT: So is there going to be any
additional testimony on this issue?
MS. LORI: Well, I had not anticipated
that. That's simply a request that I would
like the Court to make --
THE COURT: I mean if he's going to
testify about he wants to be near the child
and she's testifying that if she doesn't have
custody, she wants this, etcetera, it's not
going to be any new testimony related to
this, is there, Ms. Sanz?
MS. SANZ: I don't know, Your Honor.
THE COURT: I'm going to find that
that's a part of the issue of custody and
visitation, the aspect of changing the
child's residence, and I will address that
issue in my ruling.
MS. LORI: And Your Honor, I do have an
opening statement. I don't know what your
position is on that, but I do have one
THE COURT: I'll hear what you have to
say. I hope you won't to be repeating what
is in your trial memorandum.
MS. LORI: No. Did Ms. Sanz want to
make one or --
MS. SANZ: I would be willing to waive
it, since it's a time issue.
THE COURT: Thank you.
MS. LORI: And of course, I incorporate
my trial memorandum into my opening statement
Imagine a world in which the parents
deeply care for their parents, and imagine a
world in which people are child oriented, not
parent oriented, and where they care more for
their children than their jobs or their
houses. If you imagine that world, you know
the world of Photius Coutsoukis. He deeply
cares for his child Teddy Coutsoukis. I
predict that every witness will tell that,
whether they're for the Petitioner or for my
client. I predict that all of these
witnesses will also tell you that just about
everything Mr. Coutsoukis did was because he
wanted to help his child.
In his zeal to help and care for Teddy,
you will hear that he argued with day care
providers and medical care providers. When
you hear this, bear in mind that he is a
brilliant man and he will not hesitate to
tell you that you are wrong. Bear in mind
that his issues also revolve around matters
which really have no definitive answer. He
gained his knowledge about how to take care
of Teddy because he was her primary caretaker
from about the time she was born until when
the parties signed a mediation agreement in
the summer of '96. He gained his knowledge
of how to take care of her because he sought
medical advise here and in Greece. He has
done a considerable amount of research to
learn all he can about what is best for
You will hear that Teddy saw a host of
medical specialists. I anticipate that you
will hear also that there was conflicting
information about how to treat her, about
what her condition is or will be. One thing
that you will hear is that they all agree
they can't agree about how she got her
You will hear that Mr. Coutsoukis relied
on the medical advice of Dr. Helen Skouteli,
who is a neurological pediatrician from
Greece who has a research fellowship in
Boston. She will testify that what Teddy
needs is interpersonal relationship and that
she needs a lot of physical activity. Mr.
Coutsoukis gave Teddy the one-on-one
attention that Dr. Skouteli recommended she
receive. He also gave her the physical
activity that Dr. Skouteli recommend she
receive. He was doing all of these things
for Teddy and with Teddy until he began to
disagree with the medical care Teddy was
receiving in the Rogue Valley.
In hearing the testimony, bear in mind
that Mr. Coutsoukis' position stemmed from in
part the information he was receiving from
Dr. Skouteli and also that parents were often
receiving, maybe not conflicting, but
different medical advice about how to take
care of Teddy.
In October of '94 when Teddy's mother
filed for divorce, the competition to become
Teddy's primary caretaker began. In late
1994 and in early 1995, his access to Teddy
became less and less. Teddy's mother began
putting her in day care centers such as the
YMCA. Mr. Coutsoukis was, and still is,
adamantly opposed to putting Teddy in day
care centers, particularly when he is
available to take care of his child. He
believes that Teddy's medical condition
resulted from her being put in a child care
center when she was abruptly taken away from
him, and because she was very bonded to him.
As a result of his concern about Teddy
being in day care centers, he was trying to
instruct people on how to take care of Teddy.
When you are hearing all of this, bear in
mind the factors that 105.137 list for
determining custody. You will hear testimony
that Teddy is very bonded and attached to Mr.
Dr. Oas, who conducted a custody
evaluation of these parties, will tell you
that of the two parents Mr. Coutsoukis is
more emotionally present with Teddy. You
will also hear that Mr. Coutsoukis is devoted
to Teddy. He includes the child in his
business. Even with nannies there, he will
participate in the care of Teddy. He'll help
cook -- in fact, he'll cook, he will feed
her, bathe her, change her diaper.
Mr. Coutsoukis will also tell you that
Teddy suffers when she is not with him, that
she becomes ill and loses weight. He will
tell you he better supervises her. When Ms.
Samora, the mother, returns the child to him,
he'll tell you that Teddy often has colds,
diaper rashes, bruises, and cuts.
You will also hear that Ms. Samora
denies access to Mr. Coutsoukis to see the
child. In particular, just recently, in
August of '97, the child was hospitalized for
four days. Ms. Samora, the mother, did not
inform Mr. Coutsoukis about that. he found
out about that inadvertently while Teddy was
still hospitalized, and when Mr. Coutsoukis
found out, he still was not permitted to go
see his daughter in the hospital. Ms.
Samora's denial of access to the child hurts
the child. Mr. Coutsoukis recognizes that
Teddy should have access to Teddy's mother,
and he would not exclude Ms. Samora from the
shared responsibility for being Teddy's
Dr. Oas perceives that Mr. Coutsoukis
will permit the mother to have access;
whereas, he perceives that the mother will
deny Mr. Coutsoukis access to that child. For
this and other reasons, Dr. Oas recommends
that Mr. Coutsoukis be the primary custodial
parent, and we ask the Court to go along with
Dr. Oas' recommendation. Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you, Ms. Lori. And I
gather Dr. Oas is the first witness. Is he
your witness, Ms. Lori?
MS. LORI: Yes.
THE COURT: Come up, Dr. Oas, and be
. . .
DAVID A. OAS, PhD
was called to testify on behalf of the
Respondent, and being first sworn by the
Clerk, was examined and testified as follows:
THE WITNESS: My name is David A. Oas.
My Last name is spelled O-A-S.
&dDDIRECT EXAMINATION &d@
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Dr. Oas, did you bring a resume
A. Yes, I did.
MS. LORI: If I could submit that into
evidence, Your Honor --
THE COURT: Yes.
THE WITNESS: It's about a year old, so
it doesn't show that I'm now officially
retired from the college where I taught for
MS. LORI: Your Honor, if the Court
would be inclined to stipulate that Dr. Oas
has the requisite qualifications and
expertise to discuss the custody evaluation
he conducted in this case and express an
opinion, rather that having him go through
THE COURT: I know Ms. Sanz will
stipulate to that, and --
MS. SANZ: I will, if I can have a copy
of his resume.
THE COURT: And certainly, I will, too.
MS. LORI: I have marked as Respondent's
Exhibit 109 Dr. Oas' resume.
THE COURT: We'll see that you get a
copy, Ms. Sanz. 109 is received.
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Dr. Oas, do you know the parents
who are seated here in the courtroom?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Were they ordered by the Court to
undergo a custody evaluation?
A. That's correct. There was an
agreement between the two attorneys that I do
the custody evaluation. At the time,
Patricia Crain was one of the attorneys and
Ms. Sanz was the other one.
Q. When did you begin the custody
A. In November of '96.
Q. When did you finish it?
A. In March of '97.
Q. What did you do to do your custody
A. The first thing I did is I try to
take the time to meet with each parent until
I'm satisfied that I have a reasonable
understanding of the personality and the
general character and each parent's
conversation about how they see their
effectiveness as a parent to Teddy.
Teddy was born 9/28/93, so at the time
that I was seeing the parents, Teddy was just
a little over three years old -- or no -
know, just a little over four years old --
no, '96, so three years, old, that's right,
and then -- So I spent a certain amount of
time listening to them talk about not only
there own backgrounds, but to get some
perspective on how they feel they parent
their child, and also their perspective on
how they see the other parent in terms of how
they parent their child. Call her Teddy.
That's what she's always called.
A certain amount of testing will go on
with that. Oftentimes so of the testing will
involve personality testing. In this case
there was a resistance to the personality
testing on the part of Ms. Samora, and we did
quibble about that to some degree, and
finally, that part of the evaluation was not
completed, and felt that I could maintain and
draw my conclusions based to some degree on
my own perspective of the interviews with
Q. Did you do a psychological
evaluation of Mr. Coutsoukis?
A. No different than what I would have
done with Ms. Samora. And so there was an
evaluation of both of them, and I'm satisfied
that the evaluation is complete, although
toward the end of the evaluation there were a
few more things that I sought to get from Ms.
Samora, and whether it was in preparation for
her move or whatever, we weren't able to
complete, maybe, some other additional
questions that I had for her, but I was
satisfied that I could write a report on my
The second part of the evaluation,
though, involves taking some time to look at
the interaction between each parent and
Teddy. You know, you can have an evaluation
that takes place over a 20-minute period to
an hour period of time to ten hours, and
sometimes you may not learn a great deal, or
you may learn a lot even in the first 20
minutes. So again, what I have to do is I
have to look at each parent's perspective
about the other parent's effectiveness with
the child and then draw my own conclusions
about what I see during the interaction
between the apparent and the child.
Teddy's motor development, as you have
heard, is delayed. She has reasonably good
receptive intelligence. She can understand
the spoken language. She can understand the
actions of adults and then be able to somehow
attempt to respond in kind, but she has this
tremendous motor delay so that she has a hard
time walking. She can fall easily. She can
When she is on the floor and she's
playing with blocks or a puzzle or something,
she has to have a certain amount of time in
terms of motor movements to accomplish tasks,
and you can see that she has something
inside, sensorial, inside the brain, that she
wants to do, and oftentimes she is not able
to do that. Her speech is also delayed, so
that at the time that I saw her, she had just
a small number of words, such as pappa,
mamma, eat, look. These are some of the words
that she was able to initially squeeze out.
I don't know to what degree her vocabulary
has increased, but she certainly had a very
strong understanding of a lot of language
coming from myself, from the father, and from
the mother. She understood the nuances of
each of the parents.
When I was at Susan's home making a home
visit, and she was eating scrambled eggs, if
I recall correctly, at the time, and it was
really kind of a nice arrangement there, but
that whole process in terms of trying to
negotiate a spoon as opposed to her fingers
to get scrambled eggs to her mouth was a very
interesting experience in watching what she
had to do to find a way to get food to her
mouth, but it was almost a struggle. It was
very, very laborious and very hard work for
her, and is an adamantly determined little
girl. Not a little girl; she's a big girl
for the age she is; but she is very, very
determined and one who tries to find some
means to communicate, but there are very,
very clear handicapping conditions that vary
all the way from speech to visual
coordination and being able to get the eyes
to track, and at the time that I saw her, she
was wearing a patch some of the time on her
eyes and had to continually work to
straighten her legs to some degree,
especially when she was on the floor so that
she would kneel correctly rather than allow
herself to sprawl out incorrectly, which
could possibly increase some of the
handicapping conditions. And so there needed
to be a certain amount of continuous scrutiny
of this child in terms of handicap conditions
she had to try to rectify some of the
incorrect things that may be taking place in
her motor actions and so forth.
So I felt that I had a sufficient
knowledge of each of these parents to say,
and in my report I believe I said, that I saw
both of these parents as capable parents in
terms of interacting and providing from an
independent interactive process between that
parent and the child an effective interaction
that was an attempt to be the best parent
that they could be for this child.
What is at issue for the Court, from my
perspective, is that there is a difference in
the way that each parent approaches their
daughter Teddy and the assertiveness and
vehemence around those differences are from
my perspective very significant, and they're
significant in that the issue of whether a
parent's rights are usurped by another parent
who believes differently about what a child
shall have as in order, and a view that I
developed by studying the character of each
of these people is that I believe that the
one parent, I believe maliciously made a
decision based on her own emotional needs and
the feeling that she thought what her
daughter needed, began to deny the access of
that daughter to the other parent, and
sometimes that was done even spontaneously,
and not done through an interactive dialog,
saying "This is what I needed to do." It was
done without the other parent's knowledge.
And I want to drop back for just a
moment and maybe just some quick background
MS. SANZ: Objection, Your Honor, at
this point. I haven allowing some courtesy,
but it's not responding to the original
question of counsel, and I would like it be
in response to --
THE COURT: I'm going to allow Dr. Oas
discretion here to present his testimony in
the way he sees fit, so I'm going to overrule
your objection. If you find him moving into
areas that you think are not relevant or
appropriate in some way under the rules, make
your objection at that point, and we'll deal
with that, but I'm going to let him go
without responding to specific questions, at
least at this point.
The way we normally do it is you have to
ask a question so we're able to determine is
that going to be good testimony, and so
that's why this has been raised. Dr. Oas has
done this often enough and has the experience
to focus on relevant testimony, and I want to
hear it that way.
MS. LORI: Your Honor, if I may
interject, he did do a written report, and I
can submit it into evidence and that way he
can refer to it and you can look at. Ms. Sanz
does have a copy of it.
THE COURT: Why don't you go ahead and
ask him about that and submit that and see if
we can get than in.
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Dr. Oas, I'm handing you what has
been marked as Respondent's Exhibit 101.
This is a copy. I'm not handing you the
original. The reason is that I marked up the
original in a moment of confusion. Would you
identify that, please?
A. Yes, this is a copy of a report
that was submitted May 10th, 1997.
Q. Is that the custody evaluation, the
written one that you did of Mr. and Mrs. --
A. It's the custody evaluation.
MS. LORI: Move for admission of 101.
MS. SANZ: No objection.
THE COURT: Received. As I indicated,
I'll let Dr. Oas go ahead and testify in the
way he was doing, and were you about at some
point to back up, as I remember.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I guess I want to
back up because I think the strongest issue
in my mind, Your Honor, is that I feel that
their has been -- and this is making a strong
statement -- I believe that there has been
what I consider to be a contrived denial of
access by one parent to the other parent in
terms of having the opportunity to parent
Teddy, and I guess I want to digress a little
bit to say something about the character of
Mr. Coutsoukis and Ms. Samora from my
perspective in terms of interviewing them
with their backgrounds and so forth, and
through that digression I would like to get
back, then, to the issue of custody.
First of all, Mr. Coutsoukis was born in
Zaire, and his parents worked there in that
African nation for a number of years until he
was about nine years of age, and he came back
to Athens and then went to a boarding school,
and from that time on he was continually in
some form of educational program until he
received a scholarship to come to the United
States at 18 years of age.
At 18 years of age I think he went back
to Iowa and Cornell and, a quality school,
and from Cornell he then went to Columbia
University, and from Columbia University he
went to, I think, The School of Social
Research in New York. From there he went to
and got a an MBA at a technology institute --
I forget the exact name -- and from there he
had some additional work in the area of
computer technology, and he is a computer
technologist entrepreneur -- That's the way
he described himself to me -- and that he has
for a number of years taught.
He has a couple of siblings, and there
was a traumatizing experience, but actually,
there was one of his siblings, a younger
sister, who died in an accident, and this has
left strong emotional effects on his life.
Being brought up in Zaire and Greece, he has
quite a different perspective on the
significance of family and the concept of the
network of family and its importance and his
concept of marriage.
Ms. Samora grew up in New York, Yonkers,
New York. She is the youngest of four
siblings. Her mother has been diseased since
1970. She ultimately graduated from high
school and had some time at I think it was
City College of New York or New York State
University. She said she went to some junior
college for a short period of time is what
she quoted to me. She has been working in
the area of merchandising and worked for
American Express for a number of years, was
at Harry and David until last March, when she
resigned from her job there. She was here in
Medford approximately three years working for
Harry and David.
These people came together -- these
people came together probably in '79 or '80
and began to see each other and did some
dating, and they eventually got married about
1984, so a number of years went by before she
became pregnant with Teddy. She was actually
42 or 43 years of age when she became
pregnant with Teddy. They had gone -- It was
a very late pregnancy. They had gone to
fertility experts to find out what their
problems were. The problems were fallopian
blockage, endometriosis, and so forth. But
to some degree both of them struggled with
the idea of wanting to have a pregnancy and
wanting to have a family, and finally she did
Prior to that pregnancy there was a
certain amount of volatility in this
relationship, because we had two very
different varied sort of people. I think
Susan actually said it best herself. I was
going to try to make a quote here from Susan.
It will take just one moment.
Well, she basically said that they were
probably a perfect couple, or could have been
a perfect couple. She a very social, very
capable of facilitating new friendship and
having friendships. He was more quiet, more
shy, more reticent. Being a Greek in the
United States, he found that he had
friendships with colleagues, classmates,
neighbors, but in terms of any long-term
friendships here in this country, he had not
easily established those, so the deal was
that to some degree, she was able to help
facilitate the friendships. He was, from her
perspective, absolutely charming, absolutely
brilliant, absolutely humorous, and at the
same time, they butted heads frequently, and
in the process, she would leave the
I asked her how many times she left the
relationship, and she said "tons." I don't
believe he ever left the relationship, as far
as I know, except for one critical time that
I will talk about in a moment. So by the
time the pregnancy occurred, there had been
some separation, there had been some
difficulty, because of two very strong
dependent assertive personalities.
After the birth of Teddy, within two
months, when he and she described that she
said "Why would you want to be a mother
rather than a father?" And she was working
full-time in Medford, and in November, two
months after the baby was born, and he was
essentially staying home and being the
primary caretaker of Teddy, they began to
fight about their differences of how they saw
the care of Teddy. This even got down to the
issue of when Teddy cried, the different
kinds of things they should do. His European
background -- the whole notion of a family
network in that sense does not take a child
and leave a child in these situations, but
holds that child, soothes that child, cradles
that child, stays in the presence of that
child. It's something that is very strong in
terms of his convictions about the nature of
child rearing, and the whole concept of
tender years from birth to at least when that
child goes to school, the involvement
investment of the family is the top priority
for these children as they grow up.
He has scathing statements about what
happens in the United States. And we know,
and I know through the research what has
happened since the 1960s through the presence
which is the 1990s, when we have at least 60
percent of the kids in some form of day care,
and the mothers are essentially working in
the United States. His view is that in many
cases with a newborn child, someone ought to
be home with that in infant. Someone must be
there, must be providing some kind of
continuous affectionate, responsible care
with routines established for a newborn.
To some degree, she has said "I would
have stayed home in a millisecond." He does
not believe that. I'm not sure I believe
that. I'm sure that her conviction and her
belief is not to say that family is not
important, but that at that time at least her
career is more important. And she may have a
number of reasons that she can offer this
Court, but that her career was more
important, and in many ways the importance of
friendships and being with a network of other
people was important. For Mr. Coutsoukis,
his believe was that family was more
important than anything else.
So in that first two months after the
birth of Teddy, she was leaving this
relationship. Now, I have different kinds of
arguments as to why she left the
relationship, but she was the one who left
this relationship. She was the one who would
pick up and leave without telling him where
she was going, what she was going to do, and
then she may return a day or two later. But
she was not announcing to him "I am leaving
this situation," so he was on pins and
needles every moment, especially as the
primary caretaker. "What is going to happen
to the daughter that we have and that I'm the
primary person for caretaking and being the
parent of this daughter? What is going to
happen?" What happens?
Well, it was a situation where they had
a major battle after they came back together
from the separation. During that time, she
took a job in Los Angeles. This is prior to
little Teddy being three and a half months of
age. During this time, within a little over
a month, I think it was, she moved up -- I'm
not sure exactly, but it may have been in
February of 1993. Teddy was born in
September of 1993 -- in October, excused me.
In October of 1993 or somewhere in there, she
was up here in Medford. She does not want
him to come along. She basically wants him
to stay where he is in Los Angeles. She is
here with the daughter after he has been
doing a lot of the care for Teddy. She is
here. She wants to be separated from him,
not looking at his peace of heart as a
He talks her into allowing to him move
to Medford. He moves to Medford. He cooks
the meals. He goes back to his routine of
taking care of Teddy again. She goes to work
in late November for Harry and David. She
goes to work at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 in the
morning, she comes back at 6:00, 6:30 in the
evening. During the day he is doing the
primary care of Teddy. Nobody at this time
has any sense that there's any delay,
although Ms. Samora said later on she thought
that there -- she gave two statements to me.
One said that she thought that some of the
people who knew Teddy at that time did not
see Teddy as having any kind of mental delay,
and after the fact, she said she thought she
remembered Teddy as having some form of
delay. Mr. Coutsoukis says "I saw no delay
in the development of our young daughter,"
and that by the time January came around,
three and a half months after Teddy guy was
born, in January, she is concerned that he is
going to hurt her or something.
As far as I know, there has not been any
physical violence between the two of them.
Their has been some shouting; there was some
mental abuse from her perspective; there has
been mental abuse from his perspective. His
view is that the mental abuse oftentimes
takes place by her making decisions without
communicating with him about those decisions
involving their daughter. In my view, she
has continued to make decisions about the
daughter very early that have been to the
detriment of his opportunity to be a parent
to the child, and in some cases, potentially
to the detriment of the development of this
child -- we can't be sure -- but certainly
usurping of the father's rights in this
Teddy being three and an half months of
age, they have this huge fight. He gets in
his car. He said "How far do I have to go to
allow you to see that I'm not going to
somehow be a danger to you or Teddy?" And so
he takes off for Mexico. So he drives and he
calls every day, and she insisted to me that
one day he called 13 different times.
Now, I'll back up again just for one
moment. This man has felt unloved by his
wife and has been determined to make this
marriage survive because that's what he
MS. SANZ: I'm going to object to
further statement, Your Honor. I think the
issue -- His opinion of whether the marriage
should work or not is really irrelevant to
the case at hand. We're in a position where
both parties are seeking a dissolution of
THE COURT: Unless there's some
relationship, Dr. Oas, to the recommendation
on child custody, I agree with the objection
and will sustain the objection. So focus on
the child custody issue.
THE WITNESS: I will. The issue as far
as the relevance to child custody is that he
was desperate to somehow retrieve this
relationship, but in the process he was also
desperate to not lose his daughter Teddy. All
of this was happening at the same time. He
conferred with psychologists in Los Angeles
to some how get some sort of reconciliation,
and the reconciliation was he was able to
come back, move back to the house again after
he was gone for approximately three weeks.
What is relevant here is in that three
weeks he was anguished about the loss of the
relationship with his wife, but also
anguished about the potential of a loss of
the relationship with is daughter, and it is
that anguish that has never ceased from that
time to the present that he has lived with,
are and to some degree that anger has turned
into a certain amount of rage because of his
determination to be a parent to his daughter.
He came back, and when he came back, she
continued to work during this time, and so
Teddy was placed in day care at that time.
When he saw his daughter, there was a
profound change in his daughter. He looked
at her. She had a fist thrust into her
mouth. She was listless. She was not able
to effectively communicate as she did before
he left with her eyes, with what I call
synchrony. When you take a two-month-old or
a three-month-old, you develope a form of
synchrony between the parent --
MS. SANZ: Objection, Your Honor. I'm
going to object in terms of it seems to me
Dr. Oas was not present at that time to be
able to make that kind of observation. I
understand that he is relying on statements
made by Mr. Coutsoukis, but to proceed
further than that I think would be irrelevant
and call for speculation.
MS. LORI: If I may respond, that was
one of the points in tendering my motion in
limine, and I think under 105.137, it
probably should come in admissibility-wise,
and the Court may then give it what weight
this Court thinks is appropriate.
THE COURT: Again, I'm going to overrule
the objection, but ask Dr. Oas to relate it
to child custody, and I know that's what
you're doing. Sometimes it kind of seems
broader than that, and that's why we're
getting the objection.
THE WITNESS: I believe I have been,
Your Honor, and I'll go back. In my
observation of Mr. Coutsoukis at my home, and
my observation of him at his home and office,
and in my observation of Ms. Samora at her
home, there was a small difference in the
amount of what I call interrelative,
interactive dialog, if you will, between each
of these parents with the child. I think
that's going to come up as an issue in this
Court as we go over the other witnesses. I
think you're going to hear words such as
maybe his obsessive desire to interact with
this child. I did not see that as obsessive.
I saw his interaction with this child
tailored to something that I call
synchronicity. It's a scientific term that
has been used in the field of psychology that
has to do with a parent and child's style of
interaction and how fundamental that
interaction is for the development of
Attachment is one of the criteria that
we look at when we look at custody, Your
Honor, and the level of attachment and the
strength of attachment meant. And it is this
synchronicity that I saw between Mr.
Coutsoukis and his daughter that to some
degree Ms. Samora saw as kind of an obsessive
concern about the daughter. That was a major
concern to me about the attitude of each of
these parents toward this daughter.
The thing that is even more important to
me is that when you have a daughter that has
unique delays of one kind or another, so that
the inner reality struggles to make sense of
this world and the inner reality struggles to
make sense of outer reality, the importance
of synchronicity becomes even more
fundamental in the treatment -- in the
treatment of a small infant to sustain that
-- to sustain that synchronicity in the
treatment outside. That means whether over
at the child development center or whether
with a physical therapist or at the day care
center, one of the most fundamental things is
you've got to continue to work to maintain
that synchronicity or that rhythmicity.
MS. SANZ: Your Honor, I'll object.
THE COURT: Overruled. Go ahead.
THE WITNESS: So the issue -- Whenever
Teddy was left at day care or wherever she
was left, Mr. Coutsoukis was there. He had
his nose in there. He wanted to know what
these people were doing with his daughter and
how they were doing it.
I want to reflect back one more time,
and that is that the greatest theorist,
development theorist who has had the greatest
impact on child development is Piaget.
Piaget did all his research with his own
children and developed his models for human
development based on how children behaved
around him. He exhaustively spent time with
his own children. Mr. Coutsoukis believes
that. He believes that, and that is a strong
fundamental part of the developmental
research that we see as important for what I
call the developmental maturity of children.
So whatever you hear today, I have to tell
you that his beliefs are founded on what I
consider substantial, strong research
strategies that have become a part of the
science of developmental psychology. He
hasn't gone in haphazardly and with some kind
of obsessive feeling about what children need
without some thoughtfulness. And as I said.
Piaget was fundamental in looking at single
cases and studying those cases and on the
basis of that knowledge saying "I think this
is what this child needs."
Mr. Coutsoukis says this, but he does it
with a lot of passion and sometimes with
vehemence: "This is what I believe this
child needs." And I believe that he does
this not because it's at the expense of his
daughter, but because he is deeply committed
to his daughter. That the does not mean that
she is not committed; it just means that
there may be a different view as to how she
wants to approach this. She may have a
greater trust in day care. And earlier I was
going to talk about --
(At this point the Reporter interrupted,
being unable to hear with sufficient clarity
the words of the witness.)
THE COURT: Okay. Just a minute, Dr.
MS. SANZ: Again, Your Honor, I
anticipated Dr. Oas would continue to talk
about the issue of day care, and I think it's
getting a little cumulative here, and, I
guess I would like to have my objection on
the record again that not all of what he is
testifying to, since it is not in direct
response to questions, is getting beyond the
reasonable scope of the evaluation of the
THE COURT: Well, I had hoped by
allowing it that the testimony would move --
without specific question and answer it would
speed it up, but I'm not sure that's working,
but I think in fact, while it's always
interesting what you have to say, but we
ought to focus on it more, so if you could do
that, I would appreciate it. I'm going to
overrule your objection with that caveat, Dr.
THE WITNESS: If we take the situation
that shortly after three and a half months,
from that time forward, there was a
significant recognition on the part of Mr.
Coutsoukis, and then ultimately the pediatric
nurses and physicians and so forth, that
there was something terribly wrong with
Teddy, and from that time that there was a
certain amount of disagreement, as Ms. Lori
presented, about the physician's prescriptive
program, the child development specialist's
prescriptive program. Mr. Coutsoukis learned
What is important for me is that in this
process there was a gradual denial of Mr.
Coutsoukis' right as a parent to his own
child, and that has continued, even though up
until the sixteenth month he was clearly the
primary caretaker for Teddy. So even though
there were baby-sitters who assisted him
during the day while he was working, and that
he participated in hiring some of these
baby-sitters, and to some degree tried to
train them to do the kinds of things that
they did with Teddy, Susan Samora was also
hiring baby-sitters at this time, and the two
to some degree had a conflict about who shall
take care of this child. And so from that
time forward to the present, I believe that
there has been a situation where he has been
denied the right to parent his child, and he
has lost many, many rights, and this has been
a very grievous situation.
Q. Did you in your evaluation arrive
at an opinion as to who should be the
custodial parent of Teddy Coutsoukis?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And what is that opinion?
A. That opinion is that Mr. Coutsoukis
should be the custodial parent, for the
following reasons: And I may have stated it
here, but one is I think that he will cause
every bit of his energy, even as an
informational technologist, to find out what
will serve his daughter best, and I think
that he will then from that even take as a
father's right to try to discern what he sees
would be most fitting for his daughter based
own his own involvement with his daughter. I
do not believe he would leave Ms. Samora out
of that whole -- that loop in terms of -- I
don't believe he wants to deny her access to
their daughter. I believe he wants very much
for her to be a part of it. He feels that
she has not given him the same privilege.
And so he has a unique capacity in terms
of his own work experience, as well, because
of his capacity to create software, to have
an office at home. He is able to have some
control over the kind of care that his
daughter would have from other providers. I
believe that he should have that right. I
believe that parents should have the right to
have some control. I don't think that right
should be taken away from them. And I
believe that he would honor her right as a
parent to be a participant in it. I believe
that she has not honored his right to be a
participant, and so I see that as a major
factor in this issue, as well as his capacity
to interrelate effectively with his own
I see the other -- and she has admitted
to this. She has said that when the two of
them are alone, he does well with his own
daughter. So I feel that it is a denial of
access that is an issue her, and that he has
been the primary caretaker at one time, and
she has denied him access, and he can look
out for her future in terms of what her needs
will be and that he will use the resources,
but he will use them under his own scrutiny,
and he will not easily succumb or yield to
outside expert opinion until he is satisfied
that that expert opinion is going to be
something that is going to work for his
There has been no one at any time -- and
Ms. Lori has said that -- that has ever said
that at any time he ever wanted to undermine
or endanger his own daughter, and to me it's
very damaging when someone makes that kind of
allegation against him.
MS. LORI: No further questions.
THE COURT: Ms. Sanz, cross-examination.
MS. SANZ: Thank you.
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. Dr. Oas, you stated in the
beginning that you felt that this was an
agreement, that there was an agreement to
have you do the evaluation. You don't have a
copy of a court order that actually states
that you will do this evaluation, do you?
A. No, I do not have that.
Q. In fact, I take it you would be
surprised if I told you that there is no such
court order that states that the parties
agree that you would be doing this
A. If there is no court order, there
certainly was an agreement between the
MS. SANZ: Your Honor, I address this
issue in my memorandum.
THE COURT: Is there an order that you
want me to take judicial notice of?
MS. SANZ: Yes, Your Honor. The first
time the issue of a psychological evaluation
was raised was in an order dated January 29,
1995. That issue dealt with a postponement
of a custody hearing, a trial, and that Dr.
Michael Knapp would do the evaluation. That
was a stipulated order specifically naming
THE COURT: So was that order entered by
MS. SANZ: Yes it was, Your Honor.
THE COURT: So do you have your copy
MS. SANZ: I have --
THE COURT: My file is thick and
unindexed, and you said it was --
MS. SANZ: If I could approach the
Court, this is a copy.
THE COURT: Can we stipulate -- Maybe,
Ms. Sanz, you could tell me what the orders
in here are. The first time there was a
stipulated order, this shows January 29, '96,
That Dr. Knapp is to do the evaluation, and
then I gather there was some dispute. I
remembered what you said in you your trial
MS. SANZ: That's essentially it, Your
Honor. I just --
THE COURT: There was some dispute, and
then you brought that dispute to the Court,
and the Court ruled that Dr. Oas do the -- Is
that what happened?
MS. SANZ: I think a motion was filed to
postpone, and I objected at that point in
time. I think at that time Mr. Coutsoukis'
attorney was Patricia Crain, and even though
that original order was filed in January 29,
'96, stating a psychological evaluation, it
would be one of my -- One of my memorandums
discussed that there was never any attempt to
actually have the psychological done. It was
to paid by Mr. Coutsoukis, and we basically
were waiting for him to have it done by Dr.
Knapp, and subsequently, when Ms. Crain filed
a motion to postpone, she then resurrected
the issue for Dr. Oas to do the evaluation.
I objected. It was with the understanding
that it would only be Dr. Oas because we
would only have two weeks before the hearing,
and of course, two weeks before the next
custody hearing the case got postponed again.
THE COURT: So what order do you want me
to take? Gave me the date.
MS. SANZ: The 29th, Your Honor, January
THE COURT: I'll take judicial notice of
the prior order.
MS. SANZ: Thank you.
Q. Dr. Oas, your report states that
you took statements from Teddy's babysitter,
A. That's correct.
Q. Your report, however, does not
mention any of Ms. Carrillo's statements at
A. It may have indirectly been brought
in, but that's correct, I did not make any
statements about her contribution.
Q. Thank you. As you know, I had
attempted to -- You stated that you had been
working on this evaluation from November 1996
until about April of '97. Were you working
on this evaluation for that continuous period
A. No, I all of a sudden stopped.
Everything stopped because there was
apparently some kind of an agreement that had
been made between Mr. Coutsoukis and Ms.
Samora, because all of a sudden, I wasn't
Q. And prior to that, it had stopped
about December of 1996; correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. And I had called you or attempted
to contact you?
MS. LORI: Objection. Counsel cannot
THE COURT: You might put that in --
This is a question you're asking, Ms. Sanz?
MS. SANZ: Maybe I can rephrase that,
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. You received a message from me
wanting to talk to you about this case, did
Q. About December of 1996?
Q. In fact, I also wrote you a letter
requesting a copy of your report in December
Q. And we never were able to speak
A. That's correct. I wouldn't have
spoken directly. I think that there might
have been a message that came to you that
this was an incomplete evaluation at the
Q. And then I received in about
February of -- February 26 a release for
psychological records was forwarded to me by
Ms. Patricia Crain.
MS. LORI: I'm going to again object. It
sounds like counsel is trying to testify.
THE COURT: It's a question. Everything
she says is a question and everything you say
is an answer. So respond to that, if you
will, Dr. Oas.
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. Is that correct?
A. Is what correct?
Q. Okay, let me go back. There was an
issue of obtaining a release for
psychological records for both parties; is
A. That came to my office?
Q. That you were dealing with. You
wanted to have a release of records,
psychological records from the parties?
Q. And you did not send me that
release? You did not mail me a copy of that
release requesting that my client sign the
release; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. That release went through Ms.
Crain's office, who at that time was acting
as Mr. Coutsoukis' attorney; is that correct?
A. I believe so.
Q. You never contacted me -- I think I
had contacted you soon thereafter, in March
4, telephoned you. Do you recall my leaving
a message to discuss this matter with you?
A. I do recall.
Q. And you did not -- We never spoke;
is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. And in fact, we it came to -- You
never received a release from Ms. Coutsoukis;
is that correct?
A. From. Ms. Samora?
A. That's correct.
Q. Did you ever receive a release from
Q. At one point in time in your
discussion of releases with Ms. Coutsoukis --
I'm going to refer to her as Mrs. Coutsoukis.
Much you had a discussion with her that
releases would involve all pertinent records
since the time of Teddy's birth?
Q. The time of Teddy's birth. All
Q. Later you changed your -- And she
then -- She agreed that that would be
appropriate; is that correct?
A. I believe that's right.
Q. And then you contacted her later on
and said Mr. Coutsoukis did not agree with
that, and he wanted all records from their
entire life, and that's -- you decided that
that was what you -- you changed your mind,
and that's what you wanted?
A. That's correct.
Q. You changed basically an agreement
that you already had with Mrs. Coutsoukis?
A. That's right. That's probably
because I had not talked with Mr. Coutsoukis
and wanted to find out what the emphasis
would be in terms of this information about
what had happened in terms of Ms. Coutsoukis
prior to the birth of Teddy.
Q. In that release that you asked Mrs.
Coutsoukis to sign, did you draft that?
Q. You did not draft that release? Do
you have a copy of the release?
A. I don't believe I have a copy of
Q. Did you ask Ms. Crain to draft it?
A. I believe that she drafted that
Q. You consider yourself a neutral --
Do you take your position as a neutral party
or a neutral evaluator in this proceeding?
A. Until I wrote my report, that's
correct. At the time I put together all my
thoughts about this, I developed a clear
bias, or something that may not be a bias; it
may just be stating the strengths and the
weaknesses of each parent, but sometimes at
the time I write a report I draw a bias.
Q. I suppose, then, you're not
surprised that I'm surprised that the release
was not generated by you and given to the
individual parties, but it actually went
through Ms. Crain's office?
A. There was a reason for this.
Q. But do you understand my position
Q. One of the issues -- You go on in
your report about, you know, the goals you
saw in conducting this evaluation. Did Ms.
Coutsoukis refer you to Barbara Kozol of the
Child Development Center of the Rogue Valley
Q. Did you ever contact Ms. Kozol?
A. No, I did not.
Q. And you a were aware that Teddy,
having health and medical issues, was being
seen or evaluated at the Child Development
Q. You did not contact any of the
staff members of the Child Development
A. That's correct.
Q. You only contacted Donna Carrillo,
who was one of the baby-sitters of Teddy?
A. She had baby-sat for I think maybe
the longest of the baby-sitters -- I'm not
sure -- but from January 1996, probably, to
March before she left, 1997.
Q. Were you aware that there are at
least 12 or more caretakers -- that there
have been at lease 12 or more caretakers of
Teddy from the time that they were residents
A. I'm very much aware of that.
Q. You did not in your report
elaborate on the reasons for the parties'
separation, although in your testimony you
talked about volatility in the relationship;
A. That's correct.
Q. You were aware that this Court, the
Jackson County Courts, have granted two
restraining orders pertaining to the parties?
A. That's correct.
Q. And in those restraining orders it
was Mr. Coutsoukis who was restrained from
interfering with Ms. Coutsoukis?
A. That's correct.
Q. And so were you aware that there
were issues of abuse between the parties?
A. That's correct.
Q. Were you aware that one of the
petitions for a restraining order in 1994,
January, was a threat to kill Mrs.
A. That's correct. I'm aware of that.
Q. Your report, however, does not deal
with -- does not really discuss abuse or
domestic violence issues between the parties?
A. That's correct.
Q. You make a statement on the last
sentence on page 2 that -- I can just read
it. "Gradually Ms. Samora reduced the amount
of time she allowed Teddy to be with Mr.
Coutsoukis, hiring baby-sitters, child care
providers, and taking Teddy to the Child
Development Center at Rogue Valley Medical
Center instead." First off, were you aware
that Mr. Coutsoukis was also hiring
A. Yes. As a matter of fact, many of
the early ones he did. He was the first to
take Teddy to the Child Development Center.
He was involved before she was involved, as I
Q. As you understand it from Mr.
A. From both.
Q. But you've never actually confirmed
that with the Child Development Center?
A. No, I haven't.
Q. When you were dealing -- You agree
that Mr. Coutsoukis has always had the
assistance or the services of a baby-sitter
or a nanny from the time that that was agreed
upon by the parties up to probably up to the
time that you completed your evaluation in
April of '97?
A. That's correct.
Q. When you make the statement that --
I assume it was -- The next part of that
sentence takes about the Child Development
Center. Is it your opinion or is it Mr.
Coutsoukis' opinion that Teddy's involvement
in the Child Development Center was a means
to deny him access -- that it was a means of
Ms. Coutsoukis to deny him access to the
A. Can you show me where you are
looking at the --
Q. I'm looking at that same sentence,
"Gradually Ms. Samora reduced the amount of
THE COURT: What page is that?
MS. SANZ: Page two. "-- hiring
baby-sitters, child care providers, and
taking Teddy to the child development center
THE WITNESS: Well --
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. My question is is that reading it
the way it actual states it, that you felt
that the child going to the Child Development
Center was a method that Ms. Coutsoukis was
using to deny him access?
A. I probably would want to try to
correct that in some way, that statement.
Q. Your report talks -- You use
certain language. I assume you chose your
words very carefully when you prepared this
report, Dr. Oas.
A. I attempt to do that.
Q. And some of the words that you
repeat in describing Mr. Coutsoukis is that
he is "One-dimensional" in his beliefs; is
A. That's correct.
Q. You also describe that he has a
"rage," and that is in page three, the second
paragraph, the higher portion of the
paragraph. I quote: "His rage is most
strongly directed at women who choose to
return to work in their careers over
remaining home with their babies, toddlers,
and small children."
A. That's correct.
THE COURT: Ms. Sanz, I need to
interrupt at this point. We'll take a break,
we'll resume Court in approximately 10 to 15
. . .
(The trial was resumed following the
. . .
THE COURT: Be seated.
Go ahead, Ms. Sanz.
MS. SANZ: Thank you, Your Honor.
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. Dr. Oas, I think you've testified
today that it was also your perspective that
Ms. Samora chose to return to work when Teddy
was an infant.
A. Well, I wouldn't say it quite that
Q. Well, you said that you felt that
she was much more -- I don't want to put
words in your mouth, but she determined that
her career, or you determined that she had
higher career interests, and that's why she
returned to work?
A. You raise the question on decision
making. When you have a child in crisis at
three and a half months, especially the kind
of crisis that this child was showing, and
then you try to make a decision as to whether
you should go to work or not work. The
question is was there a possibility that
other decisive action that could have been
taken on her part. My view is that there was
a possibility of other decisive action that
could have been taken on her part.
Q. At this point when she went back,
would you have been surprised, though, or
would you agree that Teddy was two months
when she went back?
A. Yes, Teddy was two months when she
went back to work.
Q. Were you aware that Mr. Coutsoukis
also applied for the job at Bear Creek at the
same time Mrs. Coutsoukis applied for that
Q. Did you know, then, that she ended
up receiving employment and he did not
receive an offer for employment?
A. That's correct.
Q. Were you aware that he was either
fired or had a conflict with his prior job
and was unemployed at the time?
Q. Were you aware of the parties'
financial situation at the time the decision
was made for her to work outside of the home?
Q. You knew that they had five
mortgages that they were dealing with?
Q. You knew that they had significant
credit card debt?
Q. You were aware that Mrs.
Coutsoukis, even though she was working
outside of the home, was breast feeding
Q. Were you aware of the fact that she
was pumping breast milk in order that she
could continue to breast feed Teddy?
Q. Would you agree that as -- you
know, for a nursing mother to have pumped and
to continue to nurse, that is a certain
amount of commitment on her part?
A. It's a major commitment.
Q. And you agree that that is a very
positive commitment and a very positive
effect for a child to continue to be nursed?
A. Very much so.
Q. As compared to being bottle fed?
Q. In the middle of the second
paragraph on page three, you talk about Mr.
Coutsoukis' having had that trauma from being
separated from his family for approximately
three weeks. Fou describe that as a trauma.
You agree that he continues to have
significant anger to this day about his
perceptions of what happened earlier on?
A. More than that. He has anger to
this day for a variety of decisions that were
made from prior to that time to the present.
Q. But including that?
A. But including that.
Q. Really, the word anger -- The word
you've tended to use here is "rage," a
Q. And that rage is focussed -- is an
incredible amount of anger against Mrs.
A. It's not against just Ms.
Coutsoukis; it's greater than that.
Q. Including Mrs. Coutsoukis?
A. That's correct, but discriminating.
It's not just kind of a global anger about
some form of discrimination and philosophical
underpinning for the anger.
Q. When Mrs. Coutsoukis makes a
statement -- and I'm referring to your last
paragraph -- where she says that "it was his
way, and that was the only way," do you agree
with that, that's maybe a way to describe his
A. I have to correct you on that, in
the sense that the word one-dimensional
basically is a word that Mrs. Coutsoukis
used, not a word that I would use. I would
use the word single-minded. She used the
word one-dimensional and used it more than
once, and my view is there's a difference
between being one-dimensional and being
single-minded in terms of purpose.
Q. Well, you used the word
one-dimensional -- if I may bring your
attention to -- in describing -- It's
paragraph two. It starts "Mr. Coutsoukis, a
native of Greece," and you corrected
yourself. You say he was born in Zaire.
It's the fourth sentence -- the 4th line from
where that paragraph begins. It says
"Coutsoukis is well read, brilliant, and
clearly one-dimensional." That's your word
that you chose put in that --
A. That's my word. I would correct
that. As I think about that, I suppose I
chose that word based on the fact that I
heard that word through my interview with
Q. And later in page seven --
Q. Do you see the paragraph that
starts "His one-dimensional personality is
one that I highly value." Again, you chose
the word one-dimensional in that paragraph,
did you not?
A. That's right.
Q. You found -- In your evaluation of
Mrs. Coutsoukis, you found her to be capable
to be a primary caretaker for Teddy?
A. In her direct relationship with
Q. You're aware of the fact that
during the times Mr. Coutsoukis has had
access to his child, he has always had the
assistance of a nanny or a baby-sitter?
Q. I think you described Teddy as
being depressed, and "failure to thrive."
Did you confirm that with any of her health
providers, either her pediatrician or her --
A. Where did you see that?
Q. That's back in the -- let's see --
first full paragraph.
A. What page?
Q. I'm sorry. Page 4.
A. Thank you.
Q. First full paragraph, third line
from the last line of that paragraph. It
starts "vulnerability to illness, depression,
and failure to thrive."
Q. Did you confirm that with any of
her health providers, that she is a depressed
child? Let's take that first.
A. I would take a look at that again.
No, I did not confirm that with anybody else.
Q. Or her failure to thrive? Did you
confirm that with anyone else?
A. I did not confirm that with anybody
Q. When Mr. Coutsoukis talked about
how traumatic it was that he was not part of
the family those three weeks while she was an
infant, did he ever acknowledge that, you
know, his own failures, perhaps, which led to
A. He was desperate to -- I can't say
that he acknowledged his own failures. He
was desperate to try to make this
relationship work and did whatever he could
to make it work.
Q. If anything, he really blames that
separation for a lot of Teddy's situation;
A. That separation was very strong.
Q. So would you agree that he blames
the fact that he was not involved for those
three weeks as sort of a cause, whether
indirect or direct, to the kinds of medical
issues that Teddy apparently has?
A. Yes. We had a dialog on that
numerous times about his beliefs on that.
Q. And he had never raised, or rarely
raised that perhaps his own failures or
imperfections could have also led to the
problems that brought about that three-week
A. I'm trying to --
Q. It doesn't ready come to mind, Dr.
A. In that way that you have stated
it, counselor, it doesn't come to mind in
that way. We talked about relationship
difficulties, and that's what was talking
about in the sense of being unloved. That's
what I brought up earlier as really a key
issue, and trying to make up for that. So it
wasn't a case that he is saying that "there
is something wrong with me," but he was
saying there's something that I'm attempting
to do to make this relationship work.
Q. He didn't actually affirmatively --
A. Say "This is where I've failed in
this relationship," that's correct.
Q. Okay, I won't go back to that. Did
you ever attempt to test, to give Mr.
Coutsoukis standardized psychological
testing? Did you initiate any of that at
A. No, I didn't, I felt it had to be
equal for both parties.
Q. Well, your report, in page 6, in
the first paragraph you conclude that Mr.
Coutoukis' cultural background did not make
standardized psychological testing
A. That's right.
Q. So you made that determination
Q. But you requested Mrs. Coutsoukis
to do psychological testing, even though you
knew that you had determined that Mr.
(The question was interrupted by the
witness. The Reporter requested repetition
of the question.)
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. You asked Mrs. Coutsoukis to
consider psychological testing, despite the
fact that you had concluded that Mr.
Coutsoukis would not make a good -- that it
was not appropriate to have him do
standardized psychological testing because of
his cultural background?
Q. You have in essence adopted Mr.
Coutoukis' view that it's better -- that if
the world was perfect, it would always be
better to not be a parent working outside of
the home? You feel you have that same
A. No, I don't.
Q. You don't?
A. It doesn't mean that I have the
opposite point of view, either; it means that
I have something I can say to the Court about
that if you wish.
Q. I'll have other counsel address
that, thank you. You agree that having other
caretakers other than the parents themselves
is not in itself a bad thing for the child?
A. That's correct.
Q. Do agree that having other family
members assist in caretaking of the child,
other than the parents, is not a bad thing
for the child?
A. That's correct.
Q. Do you agree also that having other
baby-sitters or nannies be caretakers, even
for a significant time during the work day,
is not in itself a bad thing for the child?
A. That's correct.
Q. And even this child, Teddy
Coutsoukis, who, as we know, has some special
A. That's correct. But no, I disagree
Q. You disagree with that? However,
both parents have retained nannies and
baby-sitters throughout this entire period?
A. That's right.
Q. Do you agree that at one point
during your evaluation you had informed Mrs.
Coutsoukis that you would be recommending to
the Court that she have custody of Teddy
A. Not quite. What I oftentimes will
do is that I'm an advocate for each parent as
they come to me. It's like trying erase
personal past --
Q. I'm sorry, I didn't understand
A. Yeah. the view is that one side
seeing one side, I'm and advocate for that
side when that person is there, and then when
the other person comes in, the other parent
comes in, I'm an advocate for that parent,
and in being an advocate for each parent, I
will often say that "If this is as you say it
is, you have a strong case for being a
custodial parent. What we have to do is get
to the bottom of it and find out where we
have the contradictions, where we have the
potential for sins of omission, where we
have, in some cases, the sins of commission,
and then when all is said and done, then I
will make a final recommendation. But at no
time did I say to her that she should be the
custodial parent, but I may have said to her
and probably did say to her: "If this is as
you've said, you have a strong case for being
a custodial parent." It's when you take all
of this apart and listen to the testimony of
each parent over a period of time and you get
the interviews over and over again, and you
go back and have a second interview, which I
did with both parents, and then you begin to
tease out some of the factors that become
significant in terms of the final
recommendation to the Court.
Q. You said just in your statement
right now you had two interviews with each
A. Well, I had more than two, I
believe, with Photius. I saw Susan on 11/24,
did a home visit with Susan on 12/1, saw
Susan again on either 2 or 3/7.
Q. Two or 3/7?
Q. February or March, 19 --
A. Yeah, of '97 or '96. I can't tell
whether I've got two there or three there. I
saw Photius with his mother and Teddy on
11/22, and again on 11/24, and at the home
with Photius and Teddy at 12/1, and then I
saw him again sometime in March. As I said,
I attempted to see Susan one more time also
before she left, and had difficulty
completing that task.
Q. One of your recommendations to the
Court is that Teddy be coparented with the
least amount of interparental conflict.
Would you agree that that is very difficult
when there is a history of domestic violence
between the parents? Let me just stop there.
A. Well, I agree that if you have a
history of domestic violence that you can
still have coparenting by parents.
Q. My question is that it would be
very difficult to do coparenting with a
history of domestic violence?
A. Not necessarily.
Q. Would you agree that there are
perhaps experts in the field of domestic
violence who would actually conclude that
coparenting when there's issues of domestic
violence is actually inappropriate?
A. You have to look at the nature of
the domestic violence and you would have to
look at the nature of the coparenting.
Q. Well, Dr. Oas, if you could answer
my question. Would you agree that there are
experts who would conclude that with a
history of domestic violence or ongoing
domestic violence, it might even be
inappropriate to have coparenting?
A. I would have to understand what
their definition is of coparenting.
Q. Joint legal custody of the child.
A. Okay, if you use joint legal
custody of a child, I would agree with you.
Coparenting is a different concept than joint
Q. Coparenting, would you agree,
involves interactions between both parents,
codecision-making --or how would you define
A. I would refer to the Oregon Revised
Statute that defines that. What we do is we
have an opportunity for the noncustodial
Q. I'm sorry --
A. We have opportunities for the
noncustodial parent to have access to the
medical records, to have access to
educational records, to have access to, you
know, some kind of understanding of what the
decisions are about religious training, that
the noncustodial parent has access to the
Q. Okay, you're quoting the Oregon
Revised Statute in terms of continued access
of that noncustodial parent to information
concerning the child.
A. And visitation, and you know,
depending on the nature of the contact, you
take a look at what level of visitation is
most appropriate for the protection of each
Q. Do you see in your definition --
You know, since you recommend coparenting, in
your definition of coparenting are you also
wanting to encourage the parties to go beyond
just his access from providers for
information, but in terms of communication
between them on decision making for the
A. I was always in favor of that and
wished for that. That was one of the
Q. Do you see that as still something
you would recommend to this Court, despite
your knowledge that there have been issues of
domestic violence between the parties?
A. That's correct.
Q. And have you gone -- You've stated
-- Your report does not actually discuss the
nature of the domestic violence between the
A. That's correct.
Q. Have you actually in your
evaluation gone into and looked into the
nature of the level of domestic violence
between the parties?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Have you reviewed any of the Court
A. No, I haven't reviewed any of the
Q. Have you discussed any of these
issues with any staff members at Dunn House?
A. No, I have not.
Q. At the time you conducted your
evaluation, Dr. Oas, Mrs. Coutsoukis was
still working at Bear Creek here in the Rogue
A. That's correct.
Q. In fact, her employment ended in
December 31, 1977 -- or 1996, I'm sorry?
Q. I think your report stated that it
ended in April. Are you sure of that or --
A. No, I'm not sure of that.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that Mrs.
Coutsoukis since that time has not been
employed outside of the home?
A. I have heard that through a
telephone conversation with Photius.
Q. When you described to me earlier
the different contact you've had with the
parties, those were actually meetings. Have
you had --
A. Those were actually what?
Q. Face-to-face meetings with the
parties; is that correct?
Q. Did you also have a lot of
telephone contact with the parties?
A. Very little with Susan. More so
Q. So in fact, you had had more
telephone contact, as well as an additional
meeting with Mr. Coutsoukis, as compared to
your interaction with Mrs. Coutsoukis?
A. After the bias was established,
telephone contact mainly took place. That
means after this report was written, that's
when I had more telephone contact with them.
Q. But I assume that you continued to
address this case at the time that you -- if
Mr. Coutsoukis had given you some signature
information in that telephone conference with
him after you completed your report and made
your conclusion, you could have changed your
recommendation, could you not have?
A. I could have, that's correct.
Q. At one time you were asked by Mr.
Coutsoukis to intercede on his behalf on the
issue of when Teddy was going to start taking
a drug that was -- a medication that the was
prescribed by I believe Dr. Skouteli? She's
the Greek physician.
A. Uh-huh. I understand there was
something to do with drugs. Are you saying
that Mr. Coutoukis asked me to intervene in
A. I don't recall that he asked me to
take some responsibility for intervening in
the situation. I'm not a physician, and that
would not be my role. I know there was a
dialog about the merits of this medication.
Q. Well, maybe the word intervened --
I don't mean to use the word "intervened" and
have you consider it something else. You
actually contacted Mrs. Coutsoukis and wanted
-- because Mr. Coutsoukis had talked to you
about when this drug was going to -- when
this medication was going to begin and that
he had several concerns about it; is that
A. I may have contacted her. I'm not
sure I recall that conversation. But there
certainly was no recommendation with that.
It was maybe voicing a concern. I'm not a
physician. I would not make any kind of a
recommendation regarding medication.
Q. And do you recall that Mrs.
Coutsoukis' response to you was that we
should have Dr. Narus give -- who was the
neurologist -- give his advise to the parents
about what should happen?
A. That he --
Q. That she thought it would be more
appropriate that Dr. Narus advise the parties
as to when the medication was to begin.
A. If she would, I probably would have
concurred. I know Dr. Narus relatively well.
MS. SANZ: Thank you, Doctor.
THE COURT: Any redirect, Ms. Lori?
MS. LORI: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Ms. Lori, we will stop about
10 minutes before 12:00, so I hope you will
be able to conclude with Dr. Oas' testimony.
&dDREDIRECT EXAMINATION &d@
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Dr. Oas, can you definitely state
what this issue concerning getting these
psychiatric records or psychological records
of Susan Coutsoukis was?
A. It's a muddy business. She was
always resistant to testing. It didn't make
any difference what kind of testing it was;
it's as simple as that. and then with some
pressure, she began to say "Well, if I go
here, then he's got to go there," and so I
asked him if there was anything in his
history that was problematical, because she
said, you know, "You could go all the way
back 30 years when he tried to commit
suicide," and I said "If necessary, you know,
I could do that." I said "The problem with
trying to get all of these records -- you
know, it's really difficult to try to chase
this down and get all of this information, so
then I have to say is this really going to be
relevant? Do I think that I can on the basis
of my knowledge as a clinical psychologist of
each of these people be able to come up with
an opinion regarding custody without going
after those medical records?"
To some degree Mr. Coutsoukis is saying
"I think we need to have those records to
help convince you that she has this clinical
depression that he saw as being a part of her
life that may affect her parent
effectiveness, and I'm sitting there saying
"Well, it may affect their relationship. I
can't be sure that it's affecting her parent
effectiveness." And so I'm puzzling about
this and trying to make some decision, and I
said "Did you try to commit suicide 30 years
ago?" And he was a part of an hallucinatory
drug experiment way back when they were doing
the drug experiments back in 1963, Timothy
Leary and some of the people back there. He
was a part of this experiment, and I don't
recall the exact words that he used, but you
know, the hallucinogenic drugs at that time
could make people go relatively wacko for a
short period of time. It had nothing to do
with his own unique psychological state aside
from something that was ingested. But I
simply said "I think I can testify to this
Court with a degree of confidence without
getting access to those records.
So in my way I have to admit in this
answer to you that I was kind of equivocal
about this and I was ambivalent about this,
and to some degree I said "I think I'm just
going to leave all of this alone and just go
with my own ability to look at these two
people and make my own decision regarding
assisting the Court."
Q. With regard to the release, what is
the story about why it came through Pat
A. I don't know. In the end, I think
it's because I think Mr. Coutsoukis was
adamant at that time about wanting to get
more information about Susan's state,
psychological and emotional state, and
knowing that she had been in some kind of
therapy, knowing that she had had some kind
of medication of one kind or another for
possible clinical depression, he wanted to
get that to be a part of the record.
Q. Is it customary for you to develop
a bias when it comes to the time you do your
A. Absolutely. Well, I should not say
that. I shouldn't say it that way. In
Jackson County and Josephine County it's
fairly customary, because sometimes I'm asked
by the attorneys to offer that bias to the
Court. I have come to Court and said "Your
Honor, I do not have a bias; I see both of
these parents as equivalent, and what I'm
gone to do is talk about the strengths and
weaknesses of each parent, and you know, it's
your baby, Your Honor." But in this case I
was able to form a bias.
Q. Why didn't you contact the Child
Development Center people?
A. Why didn't I?
A. I have been over there, you know, I
have worked with Barbara Kozol before. She's
an ex-student of mine. I have worked with
Ann Batzer somewhere along the way. I have
been over and visited their agency a number
of sometimes. I think I know the level of
professionalism that's there. I think they
do a lot of good for some kids.
What is clear to me is we do not have a
child who had cerebral palsey, we did not of
that a child that had autism, infantile
autism. We had somebody even at three years
of age with some kind of an unknown disease
entity, and I kind of puzzle about it, you
know, the fact that they're using applied
treatment strategies with an unknown disease
entity, and I'm not sure there's a good match
there. What I'm saying is I don't know if
they did bad for this child, but I'm not so
sure that they did good, either, and I'm
puzzling about this myself.
Yes, I probably could have gone over and
sat down and had a professional interplay
with them, but by the time this was to take
place, I knew so clearly that they had a
very, very strong bias and that they were
basically -- and that bias was tied to the
fact that Susan was deemed as a temporary
custodial parent, at least, and that was the
person that they were going to work with and
that he had been ousted from interactions
with them, and possibly because of some of
his own biases about what he thought should
have been done or not done regarding
treatment of this child, and those biases, as
I said to the Court were tied to his own
interpersonal time that he spent with his
daughter, in much the same way that Piaget
spent with his children trying to attest to
what may or may not work, and I think there
was a battle between the professional staff
over there and his convictions, but the thing
is his convictions suddenly were not
important anymore because she was the person
that they were going to have to deal with,
and she had her own set of convictions about
what she sought from the professionals, and
that was that.
Q. Does the fact that you focussed on
the parties and observed them, how they
treated the child, and talked to Donna
Carrillo and didn't contact CDC or any other
person you could have contacted, does that
make your evaluation invalid?
Q. Why not?
A. Because I was satisfied with my own
ability to discern what the issues were in
this custody case, and while I seek outside
assistance, it's really important for me to
try to seek assistance from people who may
not have a been compelled or forced into a
biassed position, where I was still trying
not to have a biassed position myself. And
so based on that, and I guess based on some
of my own knowledge about crippling diseases
for children and various handicapping
conditions for children, I felt I could make
my own judgment, and I knew there wasn't just
Barbara Kozol, there was a large number of
physicians also, and I feel that, Your Honor,
you'll have the opportunity to hear some of
that testimony and make your own judgment
about the variations in the scientific
enterprise of a lot of opinions regarding
this handicapping condition that Teddy has.
Q. Why doesn't your report talk about
the restraining orders?
A. Well, because to some degree I
spent sometime interviewing Susan about the
restraining orders and a certain amount of
time interviewing Mr. Coutsoukis about the
restraining orders, and I'm a psychologist,
and Your Honor would know more about it than
I would know, that restraining orders are
constantly abused, and they're used for
different reasons, and they're used perhaps
for reasons to try to manipulate a situation,
and they do not always bear the brunt of
Q. With regard to your report on page
2 with your reference, last sentence there
about taking Teddy to the Child Development
Center, you indicated on your cross that you
would want to correct that statement. How
would you want to correct that statement?
A. Just to point out that Mr.
Coutsoukis was the person who started that,
if I'm not mistaken, that he was the one that
began it, and not Mrs. Samora, and she became
a participant belatedly, and about the time
that he first started, I am not sure that at
that time -- and probably this would be an
appropriate question for the Court -- I'm not
sure that at that time Ms. Kozol would have,
you know, a view of Mrs. Coutsoukis that she
maybe had later on.
Q. With regard to the rage that you
discuss in your report, do you based upon
what you've observed and learned about these
parties, and particularly Mr. Coutsoukis, do
you consider that to be a characteristic or a
feature, or is it related to certain contacts
A. Let me give you a context. This
comes verbatim from Mr. Coutsoukis. He says
"I can't imagine what is so loving about
incarcerating a baby into a daytime
orphanage" -- and you see the strongness of
terms -- "daytime orphanage for hours at a
time, especially when a loving father is
available to do the job. I can't imagine
that loving care consists of leaving Teddy
with perfect strangers who, among other
duties, must give her potentially lethal
medication. There is nothing loving about
the fact that time and again I would get her
on Mondays with diaper rashes, bruises and
colds whenever Susan decided that Teddy and I
should not see each other on the weekend.
Perhaps Susan's kind of child care by proxy
is considered loving by the standards of a
society of detached, neglectful, cruel and
abusive parents who have turned America into
the sewer of the universe."
These are very strong statements that he
"But it's most certainly not loving care
by traditional human standards or by the
standards of anyone who truly cares about
He goes on and says "My conscience will
not allow me to desensitize myself, to detach
myself from my child who needs me so badly
and whose suffering I can feel in my bones,
that is my soul mate. In my self-imposed
semi-exile from this society, the only time a
smile comes to my gloomy face is when Teddy
brings it about. She can move me to tears
easily, so although she may not necessarily
be the reason of my being" -- because I put
that in the report -- "to the best of my
ability, at any cost to me, it has become my
mission in life. I hope you agree that there
is no more noble mission than serving an
infant or a small child. If American parents
felt that way, this would be a better
Those are his convictions.
Q. And so my question to you, then, is
in your description in the report about his
rage, is it related to situations or contacts
or both, or is it a characteristic of him?
A. It's all of these combined.
Situations and characteristics are part and
parcel of a basic set of beliefs that he has
about what is wrong in our society.
Q. On page four of your report, the
information about Teddy's vulnerability to
illness, depression, and failure to thrive,
did that information come from both parties?
A. Well, it came from her, from the
standpoint that she strongly disagreed with
that and she felt there were alternative
explanations, and as far as the restriction
is concerned, both explanations have been
offered numerous times, and I have in my
classes taught both explanations, the
explanation that if a child were deprived --
MS. SANZ: Your Honor, I think the
witness is not answering the question put to
him. He is expanding on it, and I would like
to keep it in the bounds.
THE COURT: Sustained. The question was
-- Maybe you could repeat the question, Ms.
MS. LORI: I don't think I could do it
verbatim, but my question is on page four of
the report where you're referring to Teddy's
vulnerability to illness, depression, and
failure to thrive, is that information
something you got from the parents, both
A. Information from both parents with
a different coloring, but a strong
substantial belief by Mr. Coutsoukis that
that was a critical variable and from the
standpoint of Ms. Samora that that variable
was something that she did not see as
Q. In her cross-examination, Ms. Sanz
asked you if you had checked with the medical
care providers about the vulnerability to
illness, depression, and failure to thrive.
Did the information in your report which you
list here, did that come from her parents,
her vulnerability to illness, depression, and
failure to thrive?
A. That came from Mr. Coutoukis.
Q. Did Mrs. Coutsoukis at all indicate
that she felt that Teddy was also vulnerable
to certain illnesses, depression, or any of
those three factors you indicate in your
MS. SANZ: I'm going to object, Your
Honor. I think for the record, it's a
compounded question. He needs to respond to
the specifics as to which of the three --
THE COURT: I will overrule your
objection but ask him to answer that if she
gave any of those three, to specify which she
gave and which she did not.
THE WITNESS: I'll need a repeat of
that, it had so many --
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Did any of the information about
Teddy's vulnerability to, one, illness, two,
depression, three, failure to thrive, come
from Mrs. Coutsoukis?
A. I have to say as best I can recall,
that that was not the case.
Q. With regard to child care, you were
indicating on cross-examination in response
to a philosophical view what your position on
it was. Could you please explain to the court
what your position is?
A. Could you repeat that one more
THE COURT: Your position on child care.
Am I right?
A. Okay, my position on child care.
I'll try to do this fast. There has been a
small change. You'll recall back in the '50s,
everybody talked about the bottle was great
for kids. We got into the '80s and we said
hey, child care is where it's going to be,
there's inexpensive child care, we have both
working parents. Another source of
information says what about disadvantaged
families? Good child care -- we're talking
about good child care. With good child care
there are some advantages, especially for
kids three and older. You go back to two
years of age, and even in disadvantaged
families, you struggle and you say well,
that's better than nothing at all. But you
look at advantaged families -- and I look at
this as an advantaged family -- then you
begin to look at the merits of child care,
and you say if there is a chance for a
primary provider within the family, as
opposed to child care for someone who is two
someone who as in their first year, the
advantages begin to flow in the direction in
advantaged families, why not have a primary
provider be at home if the possibility
exists? If the possibility does not exist,
look hard for advantaged child care where you
have day care providers that are not doing
behavioral intervention in terms of trying to
keep them obedient and so forth, but child
care centers that are able to facilitate
cognitive growth and development in children,
where they have some understanding of that.
I find very few child care providers who
have a basic understand of what it means to
facilitate and enrich the cognitive growth
and development of children, so I can
understand the need to be very discerning
what kind of child care providers that we
Q. Okay. With regard to Teddy in day
care, is there a distinction about -- I don't
mean to offend anybody, but normal children
in day care versus Teddy in day care centers?
Q. What is that distinction?
A. Well, my view is that Teddy has an
inner reality that is going to take a fair
amount of effort to make sense of, and no day
care provider is going to have an easy
opportunity to understand that without some
kind of training. She needs some special
training. She needs some special -- She
needs day care providers that have had
special training. That's the view that I
have. She's not there for socialization
purposes; she needs more than that.
Q. From what you know of the child
care centers here in the Rogue Valley, do
they provide the type of special care you
perceive Teddy needs?
MS. SANZ: Objection, Your Honor, as to
relevance, as well as it may call for
THE COURT: Sustained.
BY MS. LORI:
Q. Ms. Sanz raised an issue about
domestic violence. Why, in this case,
knowing about the restraining orders, would
you still recommend that Mr. Coutsoukis be
the primary parent?
A. I do not believe him to be a
physically violent man. Maybe there would be
something under extreme conditions, but he
would never be this to his own daughter, as a
parent to his daughter. I believe that if he
had equal rights, I don't believe that he
would ever be this in relationship to Susan
Q. If Mrs. Samora or Mrs. Coutsoukis
had telephoned you, would you have talked to
MS. LORI: I have no further questions.
THE COURT: Anything in five minutes,
MS. SANZ: I'll try to keep it within
five minutes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you.
BY MS. SANZ:
Q. Going back to that consent, you
never -- have you ever looked at that
Q. Do you agree that the language, the
scope of the consent is critical when a
person is releasing private information to
any third party? Is that correct?
A. The scope of the --
Q. The language in the consent is an
A. It can be an important issue.
Q. And you never received a signed
consent from Mr. Coutsoukis, from his
attorney or from him himself?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Would you been surprised to learn
that the child, Teddy Coutoukis, was referred
to the Child Development Center by Dr. Diane
Williams, her pediatrician?
A. I understand that.
Q. You made a statement that you did
not think they did Teddy any good, but you
have never actually --
A. Did I say that? I don't believe I
said it quite that way. I said I can't be
sure whether they were doing good or not
doing good I think is what I said.
Q. So you don't really know what kinds
of services that they were providing for
A. I do not know the specific kinds of
services that they were providing for Teddy.
Q. And when you made the statement
that CDC had a strong bias for Mr. Coutoukis,
you were accepting Mr. Coutsoukis' --
A. A strong bias for Mrs. Coutsoukis?
Q. A strong bias against Mr. Coutoukis
or for Mrs. Coutsoukis, either way. You're
accepting Mr. Coutoukis' sort of concern or
position that CDC was against him in some
A. Well, I'm accepting hers, as well.
We talked at length about her views in regard
to using that agency.
Q. She talked to you about concerns
that the providers at CDC were having
difficulties in dealings with Mr. Coutsoukis?
A. That's correct.
Q. But the assumption that CDC last a
bias against Mr. Coutsoukis, that's an
assumption that you have?
A. It's an assumption that comes from
Q. Do you agree that that information
from CDC as to what action was going on could
have been helpful in your report?
A. It could have been. I can't deny
Q. You describe this family as an
advantaged family. Are you talking about in
terms of financial means?
A. In terms of first of all
intelligence, and in terms of maybe an on
openness to try to get information about a
child's difficulties and how to get that
information, access that information. I
think those are advantages, and actually,
they're having a certain amount of
difficulty, as I understand, but I haven't
paid attention. That's not really my role.
Q. And you agree that you made the
assumption that there was no physical
violence between the parties?
A. That's correct. Again, there was a
parade of different kinds of physical
violence, which I have to ask at what level
is that physical violence being done mutually
or is it being done by one person to another
person, and I was satisfied that domestic
violence was not an issue as far as raising
the issue of custody, of who should be the
Q. You make the statement that
restraining orders, Family Abuse Prevention
Act restraining orders are abused often or
can be can be abused often.
A. They can be abused.
Q. But that's not always the case; is
A. That's correct.
Q. Every case has to be dealt with on
its own merits; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. And you stated I think -- I don't
want to misquote you -- that you're
guaranteeing that Mr. Coutsoukis will not be
violent towards his daughter? That's the
last question, I believe, that Ms. Lori asked
you. Is that actually --
A. I didn't use the word guarantee.
Again, we know that no psychologist, no
professional person can predict violence or
predict dangerousness. We understand that.
What I have to say is that I know from what I
know of his personality and character, I see
it as very improbable that he would use
violent actions against his own daughter.
Q. How about, for instance, Mrs.
A. It would depend on what her
behavior was in regard to the daughter and
whether she did something that was a denial
of the right of the daughter to have safety.
Q. And so you are not as certain of
his use -- that he would not use violence if
he perceived he was being denied access to
A. I'm not sure of what the history
was in terms of the specific situation that
you're going to allude to at sometime today
about his actions in regard to whether the
daughter was present or not present and he
was showing violent behaviors toward Ms.
Samora or what the violent behaviors were.
She did not specifically satisfy me, other
than verbal an mental abuse, that there were
other kinds of physical actions that he took
against her. She did talk about the fact
that there was verbal abuse from her
perspective in the presence of Teddy, and so
when we talk about domestic violence, we have
to incorporate verbal, mental, to physical.
Basically, what came from her were things
that were verbal and mental, not physical.
Q. But by your response, you're really
not as confident that -- in admitting --
You're not as confident in saying that the
likelihood of violence toward Mrs. Coutsoukis
versus -- as compared to with Teddy -- You
can't be certain that there won't be violence
against Ms. Coutsoukis?
A. I cannot make a statement to you
with certainty -- I can't even make that in
regard to Teddy. I have to say about
improbability of actions on the part of a
human being based on my understanding of that
person's personality or character.
Q. One last question. You agree that
if there is an issue of deprivation of
visitation or access, one of the forums that
parent can take is to have a Court hear that
THE COURT: The answer is yes, Dr. Oas.
MS. SANZ: Thank you.
THE COURT: He agrees with that.
We're finished with the testimony of Dr.
Oas. Do you want him to stay or leave?
You're released. Thank you.
We'll start back at 1:15.
MS. SANZ: Thank you.
. . .