“The Family Center allows you and your children to stay together, as a family, so you do not have to be separated…” – Angela Walker, Executive Program Director in a video about FLP Visitation Center
Dallas, TX – The day of a long-anticipated visit with his children came and went for Stephen Warren with the tragic development that what had been scheduled for a two-hour supervised reunion with his daughters turned out to last only four minutes – minutes that were constantly interrupted by a functionary with a high-flown title who constantly interrupted him while she coaxed a written statement out of the youngest daughter.
According to Warren, the girl read a statement that allowed they did not wish to see him, that he had been mean to them when they were pre-schoolers, and – that was that.
Christina Coultas, Sr. Director of Community Collaboration at FLP Visitation Center in Dallas, has not returned phone calls
It is unclear if Christina Coultas, senior director of community collaboration, is a Licensed Social worker or certified Master of the discipline as required by Court orders specifying such for supervised visits. She did not return phone calls and officials of her organization refused to either confirm or deny the information, one way or the other.
FLP Visitation Center is not a friendly venue to visit your kids. All visits are supervised, video-monitored, and observed. No gifts may change hands; no inappropriate touching, and no promises or conversation deemed inappropriate by the referee, the social worker, is allowed.
This is a place where people in trouble with the law are allowed to visit their offspring – and yet, the truth is, this guy has no criminal charges pending against him, and there is no record of his conviction for any serious offenses. The cruelly aborted visit resulted from months of intense litigation that has resulted in a contempt citation containing eleven separate complaints of non-compliance with court orders.
There is a spin-off perjury case against the corporation that operates the visitation center in which Warren and his attorneys stand ready to prove staff lied when they repeatedly alleged they had received no intake information packet, or that the information they received was incomplete.
He immediately huddled with his legal team, a group of lawyers with subject matter expertise in family, criminal, federal, and corporate law that is working as a trial task force to come up with the best way to manage what has turned into a very awkward situation for a man who has twice been accused of heinous sex crimes – only to see the charges dismissed after years-long sojourns under conditions of bond that were as stringent as a judge could make them.
It was not the first such experience with disappointment he has had when it comes to seeing his kids.
On a day in the past, more than seven and half years ago, Warren went to pick up his daughters at his ex-wife’s residence in Rockwall, only to find there would be no visit, that the children and his ex-wife were nowhere to be found.
As a matter of routine – it wasn’t the first time it had happened – he went to the Rockwall Police Department to report the no-show, and when he returned to a house he had rented at nearby Royse City, he found a SWAT team waiting for him, guys in black ninja suits, wearing Darth Vader helmets and insect-eyes dark glasses.
From his spot lying face down on the ground, the muzzle of an assault rifle pressed to his back, he fished out his cell phone and called Houston criminal defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, who advised him to find out if they had a warrant for his arrest. The answer was no, only a search warrant for his home. On DeGuerin’s advice, upon learning he was free to go, granted permission to leave his home after a long and disappointing day, he drove to Houston to consult with the attorney.
It wasn’t his first go-round with criminal complaints from his ex-wife. She had previously filed a charge of aggravated sexual assault, claiming he had forced her to have sex. A prosecutor determined he could not obtain a conviction based solely on her affidavit, that corroborative evidence was not forthcoming. The charge was dismissed after DeGuerin and his investigator were able to show the District Attorney’s staff there was just no evidence with which to proceed to trial.
When Warren returned from Houston, police were waiting with a warrant for his arrest, this time on the charge of the aggravated sexual assault of his oldest daughter. Like the first charge, that one was eventually dropped for the same reasons after famed Houston defense lawyer Racehorse Haynes obtained a pre-trial, post-indictment, take nothing judgment of dismissal in the interest of justice – the kind based on a prosecutor’s recommendation.
It is ironic that these periods of extreme crisis coincide with developments in the case that could have led to a settlement of disputes over the standard possession agreement ordered in the original 2005 divorce decree between he and his ex-wife, Leslie Cavanaugh Bird of Rockwall.
Another visit is scheduled for Sunday, September 27, at FLP Visitation Center in this city, where he hopes to be allowed to visit with his daughters.
If Mrs. Bird continues to defy the court’s orders, his legal team intends to explore ways to add counts to the contempt motion they are currently litigating in family court. At present, she faces five and a half years in the county jail if found guilty of criminal contempt of court.
In an audio interview, he said he does not believe his kids’ statement of not wanting to see him. He thinks they were rehearsed, coached to say the things they put in writing.
In earlier stories, we revisited the circumstances of an exceptionally lengthy passage of litigation stretching back 12 years, to 2003, a monumental legal struggle that has cost him an estimated aggregate of $1 million dollars, all in.