Family Court Evaluator Spied on Employees with Hidden Bathroom Camera

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We've written before about growing concerns over the competence, ethics, and eccentricities of psychological experts tasked with making decisions in California's family courts. These experts make enormously consequential recommendations to judges in disputed child-custody cases, but some question whether the decisions they make are always based on sound methods.

Over the weekend, the Seattle Times published an excellent account of the failings of one such professional: Stuart Greenberg, a forensic psychologist who frequently appeared in criminal trials and child-custody hearings to offer his views. As the Times reports, Greenberg, despite his stature in Washington state courts, had been disciplined years ago for being "incompetent and unethical" by state regulators. He was ultimately arrested for placing a hidden camera in his office bathroom so he could spy on employees for sexual stimulation.

He committed suicide in 2007 after his arrest.

As the Times puts it:

Greenberg had proved such a toxic force -- a poison coursing through the state's court system -- that it took more than three years for lawyers and judges to sift through his victims and account for the damage done.

For a quarter century Greenberg testified as an expert in forensic psychology, an inscrutable field with immense power. Purporting to offer insight into the human condition, he evaluated more than 2,000 children, teenagers and adults. His word could determine which parent received custody of a child, or whether a jury believed a claim of sexual assault, or what damages might be awarded for emotional distress.

The paper details two cases where Greenberg, testifying in family court, led to children being improperly removed from their mothers.

The story will sound familiar to anyone who has studied problems in state family courts. In a March cover story, SF Weekly described how Menlo Park psychologist Leslie Packer called a mother's fears that her daughter was being molested by her ex-husband "paranoid." The daughter was placed in the full custody of the father, who was later convicted of sexually abusing her.

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30 comments
ayman_farraj
ayman_farraj

* Dr. Bruce Harshman (LMFT 16888 ) as of 03-04-2014 has been removed from the Los Angeles Superior Court Family Court Services’ Private Evaluator List. You can contact Susan Thrall (List Administrator) to verify @ 213-974-5535 or D. Brett Bianco 213-974-5137 (Court Council).The deciding committee was comprised of superior court judges and administrators.

* Multiple complaints has also been lodged against him with the California Board of  Behavioral Science. Please contact Steve Sodergren @ Steve.Sodergren@dca.ca.gov or Kim Madsen @ Kim.Madsen@dca.ca.gov.

See complaint#2002014000370, complaint#200-2014000093, and MD028759

ayman_farraj
ayman_farraj

* Dr. Bruce Harshman (LMFT 16888 ) as of 03-04-2014 has been removed from the Los Angeles Superior Court Family Court Services’ Private Evaluator List. You can contact Susan Thrall (List Administrator) to verify @ 213-974-5535 or D. Brett Bianco 213-974-5137 (Court Council).The deciding committee was comprised of superior court judges and administrators.

* Multiple complaints has also been lodged against him with the California Board of  Behavioral Science. Please contact Steve Sodergren @ Steve.Sodergren@dca.ca.gov or Kim Madsen @ Kim.Madsen@dca.ca.gov.

See complaint#2002014000370  and complaint#200-2014-000093

Patbarrylegal
Patbarrylegal

Hi, Peter.  Thank you for your great article on Packer and other unethical incompetent professionals involved in family court custody proceedings.  I am representing a very loving father in Los Angeles Superior Court who has not seen his two sons in a year based solely on perjury and falsified custody evaluation of Bruce Harshman.  I complained against Harshman several years before when I represented a mother, and the judges rushed to his rescue rather than remove him.  In his evaluation against the father, Harshman suppressed evidence from juvenile court which placed the mother in supervised visitation for coaching the children to say false things against their father, suppressed a 10-page police report finding that she was coaching the children and possibly committing perjury, suppressed information from Dept of Family and Children's Services showing that several social workers believed the mother was coaching the sons, suppressed a finding by DCFS that she had engaged in emotional abuse, suppressed a deposition transcript of a vice principal and dean who testified that the allegations the mother made against the father while he was at the school could not be substantiated in any way and that she had heard only praise about him and his involvement with his sons, fired the therapist for the father and the children who said he was a very good father,  the sons loved him, there was no abuse, and the mother had coached the sons to make false allegations, and suppressed a prior custody evaluator who said there was no abuse,the sons loved their father, and it might be possible the mother was coaching the sons.   Harshman then lied to the judge and said there was no such thing as alienation although he relied on, and cited, Janet Johnston, a California psychologist who has written extensively on the alienated child and who she calls the rejected parent. Harshman also encouraged the sons to become rude and out of control with their father something they had never done until Harshman and the new psychologist, a Dr. Jessum, handpicked by Harshman began working together with the mother to turn the sons against their father.  Patricia J. Barry, Attorney

Lorraine Tipton
Lorraine Tipton

Thank Mr. Jamison for finally exposing all that goes with the corruption that exists in the cottage industry of the family court system.  Not only do corrupt officials make money off this system, children and women are dying.  In 2010, it was conservatively estimated that 175 children were killed in "custody disputes" involving custody and/or child support.  http://dastardlydads.blogspot....

The story is how mothers across the oceans are uniting as a loud voice for the triumphant return of MOTHERHOOD!  This is war and this is our battle cry, for if not us then who? If not now then when? http://www.americanmotherspoli...

robthom
robthom

"...but some question whether the decisions they make are always based on sound methods"

Oh, thats easy.

They're not.

california is run by insane people.

Gestalts of them!

Unfortunately the rest of the country is apparently run by stupid people since they keep copying what california does.

sena
sena

@ayman_farraj How can I connect with you?  I have an experience I think you would be interested in hearing about. 

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

Marcgolfs
Marcgolfs

Patricia,

Wow! Is that guy still working on evaluations through the court?

Im a great dad who wasnt favored by leslie packer, who since she screwed up the anderson case, no longer will favor a dad.

How did that case turn out?

get a clue old lady
get a clue old lady

You must be as crazy as the father you represented. Listen to yourself talk. First of all you are not a family law attorney and you have no business being involed in family law cases. Second, your past history proves you make the exact same accusations in every case you walk on to. You are never the attorney who spends time with the case, you walk on after the fact asking for large cash sums.

Whathappened
Whathappened

My god how this seems similiar to what happened when I went to Dr. Harshman.  The man is a complete fraud who accepted every impropreity alleged without proof. 

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

ce ce
ce ce

I agree with you. This insane old lady attorney needs to retire to a mental hospital. Everyone she represents is a psychopath. She does not know any facts to her cases and uses the same accusations in every case. I find it hard to believe that every case she has ends up with her attacking the professionals in the case. You are a sick woman. You may have won a case 30 years ago but you havent won won since. Stay out of the family courts. You are just as dangerous to these children as their crazy parents

Hjones
Hjones

You sick people. High profile evaluators such as Dr Harshman do not make things up. Did you ever stop to think that you are the problem. Judges do not just accept any report given to them. Each report must have substanial proof documented that can be examined. You crazy people need to start holding yourself accountable for your actions. Attorney Patricia Barry is a fraud. Research her before you hire her. She takes the case for very litlle money, demands more and files books of paperwork...all full of lies and untrue statements. She always loses in court. Besides what kind of attorney runs out of the courtroom crying when she is losing. What a joke.

Robbieb
Robbieb

Sounds like you have some issues. Obviously people who don't get what they want hate the ones who ruled against them. Something to think about... Evaluator Harshman never blogs negatively about anyone. That is a sign of a true professional. That Attorney Pat Barry that everyone is talking about only has negative things to say. Losers always complain and claim things were unjust.

Defmos333
Defmos333

I like how all of the bad remarks are obviously various aliases of one person  - that sick FUCKER BRUCE HARSHMAN!! Everyone who knows anything in the world of law in California knows that he is a fraud who pays everyone off to keep quiet. He is a sick bastard. Just spend a few minutes researching the internet.  Forget about Pat Barry..... he is just trying to deflect from the REAL issue at hand!  He could care less about the welfare of the poor children which is his supposed job, I am amazed he is not behind bars yet....YET...he will be though, there are enough people that have witnessed money exchanged right under judges noses. Bruce Harshman is the worst of the worst kind of person there are hundreds of people who would and will attest to that, many, many stories and he repeats the same pattern of dishonest and unethical behavior and has only been able to slip through this flawed system because these judges cannot admit that they put these cases and childrens lives in the twisted hands of such a monster, but, he will be exposed for what he has done...my child remembers, and soon the entire world will know who he really is.

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice..

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

Cbs
Cbs

do u know why she was suspended?

Omg
Omg

Oh my gosh, I have had experience with Patricia Barry. She was just recently suspended again for misconduct by the state bar and cant pass a simple test. Why don't they just take her license. She is not professional and has no clue what she's doing in family court. Last time I saw her in court she seemed drunk. Not steady on her feet, crying, and running out of the courtroom. What kind of attorney is that?

Marsen
Marsen

I agree with you all. Pat Barry cannot be trusted. I wouldn't believe anything she says or supplys to the courts

Maverick
Maverick

August 15, 2011PATRICIA JOAN BARRY [#59116], 68, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 29, 2011. The actual suspension was postponed until Aug. 15, 2011.

Barry stipulated that she pursued cases without merit. She filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of a client that included charges of taking a child from her parents, conspiracy and making a false claim of child abuse and neglect. Barry appealed after most of the claims were dismissed (including an appeal to the Supreme Court). Granting a request by the other side for attorney’s fees after Barry’s petitions were denied, one court called her actions “groundless and vexatious” and said the case “was unreasonable, frivolous, meritless.”Barry also filed a case against opposing counsel, a court commissioner and three Los Angeles superior court judges, charging among other things violation of her client’s due process and equal protection rights. The court ultimately said the claims were “groundless and without foundation.” Barry was privately reproved in 2005, but did not comply with probation conditions. She took and failed the MPRE twice.

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