Mother Backs Easier Access To Protective Orders
BALTIMORE (WJZ) ―
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- The mother of three children who were drowned in a downtown hotel bathroom by their father testified for easier access to protective orders.
The mother of three children who were drowned in a downtown hotel bathroom by their father testified for easier access to protective orders.
But as political reporter Pat Warren reports, not everyone is convinced it's necessary.
Dr. Amy Castillo hopes her devastating loss will somehow serve to help others in dire circumstances.
"I'm a pediatrician in Montgomery County, and I'm the mother who lost my 2, 4 and 6-year-old children when my husband drowned them in a bathtub in Baltimore almost two years ago," she said.
The deaths of her children at the hands of their father came just days after she tried and failed to get a protective order against her husband Mark Castillo.
"He told me that he could sabotage the house if he wanted to, and then he said, 'Actually I could kill all of you if I wanted to.' And then he said, 'The worst thing I could do would be to kill your children and not you so that you would have to live without them,'" said Amy Castillo.
A House committee is considering a bill to lower the burden of proof for obtaining a protection order from clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of evidence. That's like going from "not a doubt" to "there's a good chance" that the person seeking the order could be in danger.
"I think that when you're in fear of your life and for your children, and you make that move to step out and do something about it, and then you go to get a protective order, and you don't get it, it's just really devastating. The other person is twice as angry, and you really -- it's like a discouragement to make a change in your life that needs to be made," said Amy Castillo.
But Montgomery County Delegate Luiz Simmons is among those who believe the clear and convincing standard is working, with only 14 percent of requests denied.
"When you examine them more closely, sometimes you find that the truth is a little bit more complicated than a bumper sticker," said Simmons.
The Maryland State Office of the Public Defender has taken a position of opposition to the bill.
Supporters include the Women's Legislative Caucus and the Coalition To Protect Maryland's Children.
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