By Randi James
This story has as many twists in it as the David Goldman and Bruna Bianchi Story. Interestingly, it also has a couple of similarities. First, these cases involve the family courts in the State of New Jersey. Second, the wives have not been able to speak for themselves, so we have the father being represented by the media.
Let's break down the stories as reported in the United States. Please make note of the language that is utilized and the structure of that language:
In a March 6, 2010 NBC New York article entitled, NJ Dad Fights for His Children After Wife Flees to Korea:
"I suspect they are in Korea but i'm not sure," says Mendoza.
He says his wife took the children, then disappeared into her native country of South Korea
The father (Mendoza) doesn't really know where his kids are but says that his wife (Shim) took the kids (from where) and hid out.
Shim allegedly convinced Mendoza to move to a town south of Seoul. He says they were hurting financially so he returned to America to wait for his family that never showed up.
The father was convinced to move to Korea but the monetary payout wasn't what he was seeking. He went back to the U.S. to wait? So in the meantime, what was he doing? Did his wife say she wanted to return to the U.S.? Did she say that she would?
Shim tells the court and Korean authorities a much different story.
"Mrs. Shim, the mother, was told by her 5-year-old son there was some type of sexual abuse by the father to the 2-year-old daughter," said Shim’s attorney Christine Bae.
Mendoza denies the charge, asking why, if she believed it, his wife fled rather than show up in court to gain legal custody of the children.
The father denies the charge? Or the allegation? And why would the mother flee? She was in Korea, wouldn't the question be why would the father flee, especially in that Korea is non-signatory to the Hague Convention? Why not pursue his children in Korea?
Mendoza says his wife has allowed him to chat with his kids once a month through Skype, but he’s had no contact since his wife's arrest.
Once a month since when?
In a March 7, 2010 in a New York Post article entitled, Musician mom held in kidnap: New hope for desperate NJ dad:
A globetrotting concert violinist who absconded with her son and daughter in South Korea last year was arrested in Guam last week, sparking hope for a New Jersey father who has waged a ferocious court battle to get his children back.
Absconded with...in...? The mother did not abscond with her children TO South Korea--which would mean that she left somewhere (presumably New Jersey) with the kids and fled to South Korea. She fled IN South Korea.
Shim was busted Wednesday as she arrived at the airport in Guam, a US territory.
Busted? A little dramatic, no? It would be reasoned that this woman knew Guam was a US territory and thus travel there would pose a risk, if she felt she had something to risk.
Shim's arrest is the latest turn in Mendoza's custody battle, which has been mired in global politics and red tape because Korea does not observe the Hague Convention governing international custody battles.
Is the red tape because of the Hague Convention, or something else?
The nightmare began in February 2009 for Mendoza, 47, when at Shim's request he took a temporary teaching position she had arranged for him at Suwon University in South Korea. Shim told him she wanted to expose their children to her country's culture.
And so we have here that the father agreed to move to South Korea.
And a month into the trip, Mendoza realized his salary was only half of what his wife had promised. So in April, he flew back to the United States, hoping to earn enough money to move his family back to New Jersey.
And then the father decides to return to the United States, without his wife and children, for economic reasons.
Two days after he arrived home, his wife called him, saying he had molested their daughter and shouldn't return to Korea, Mendoza's web site says.
And here we have allegations of sexual abuse involving the father.
Shim vowed to raise the children on her own and said she had taken over his Korean teaching position.
The mother takes the job that the father held--the same job that seemingly didn't pay him enough money.
The devoted dad flew back to Korea in May and found that the apartment where the family had lived was cleared out.
Mendoza visited the US Embassy in Seoul to report that his wife had kidnapped their kids, he says. He was also questioned by Korean police about the abuse allegations, but was released without being charged.
Nothing mentioned about what the Korean officials said about the mother and children.
Mendoza took his fight to New Jersey courts, where, Brandt said, a judge awarded him full custody of the children.
Father returns to the U.S. and is awarded full custody of the children in absence of the mother and children in that New Jersey courtroom. What did the father say to the judge? What evidence did he provide? How was the mother noticed of the hearing? Did she have enough time to respond? If you make a kidnapping accusation in a New Jersey courtroom are you automatically given full custody of your children without any investigation into the matter?
In a March 12 article entitled, Dumont father battling wife in international custody case; kids are in South Korea:
Now, authorities are preparing to bring Shim to New Jersey to face charges that she kept their son and daughter in South Korea without Mendoza’s consent. Bergen County prosecutors have also charged Shim with interfering with custody, a second-degree charge that carries up to 10 years in prison.
When is consent or lack of consent established? What is the time frame? And how is this proven?
But not long ago, Shim told Mendoza that she wanted to move to Korea for a time, having lost interest in the conservatory and having become impatient with life in the Western world, he said. Mendoza said he reluctantly agreed to live there for a year.
The father agreed...for a period of one year. This would mean that the father violated the agreement when he moved back to New Jersey.
Mendoza worked as a music teacher and Shim worked part time while taking care of the children, and she seemed happier than she had been in Dumont, he said.
Soon, however, Mendoza found out that his pay was half of what he had expected, he said.
Realizing that he was not making enough to support a family of four, and fearing that a prolonged absence from the United States would jeopardize his teaching jobs here, he decided to return briefly and lay the foundation for a permanent move back to the U.S., he said.
The mother was happy in Korea despite what the father depicts as an income issue. The father was concerned with money and status in the U.S. Was this a marital agreement or a unilateral move on a hope and wish that his wife would follow suit?
Mendoza’s attorney, Galit Moskowitz, ...Scott Laterra, another attorney for Mendoza...
The father has two attorneys.
...Shim filed a criminal complaint a few days before Mendoza left Korea, and then told him about it after he arrived in the United States.
This would mean that the child(ren) alleged sexual abuse before the father even left Korea, but that the Korean authorities had not yet contacted him.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Alexander H. Carver issued an order finding Shim in contempt of court and issued a warrant for her arrest.
Remember his name.
Bae said the children are now with their maternal grandmother in South Korea, and stressed that Mendoza knows exactly where they are.
The children's whereabouts are known? This sounds like a NCMEC case /snark.
Mendoza said he has been able to talk to the children once in a while over the phone but has lost touch for the past three weeks.
Previously he said he talks to them via Skype on a monthly basis. If the mother is in prison/jail, how does he expect her to continue to facilitate this?
In a May 28 article entitled, Violinist to remain in jail until kids returned: judge:
A globetrotting violinist who was arrested in Guam months ago after she absconded with her two young children in South Korea will remain behind bars until the children are returned home, a Bergen County judge said today.
"She remains arrested under my orders," said Judge Alexander H Carver, of Si Nae-Shim, who did not appear in court.
He reiterated that she would not be released until the children are brought home.
The mother has not even appeared in court yet. The judge doesn't want to hear her, he only wants to see the kids returned to New Jersey. The mother has not spoken, therefore she has not been heard. How can the kids be ordered to return to the U.S. based upon the decision of one judge and one party--the father? Why not order the father to return to Korea? What gives New Jersey and the United States all of this power? Remember his name, again, Bergen County Judge Alexander H. Carver.
Will the U.S. will bully South Korea based on this case, just as they did Brazil (using economic sanctions)? Will father's rights continue to trump children's best interests? Will father's rights groups try to bully South Korea just as they are doing to Japan (regarding the Savioe case)? Will South Korea bow down to the
United States Hague Convention? Or will the hypocrisy of the United States and their treatment of women and children finally be exposed on an international level?
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