An Oregon woman is fighting to stop her teenage sons from living with their father because he shares his home with a woman that killed her two daughters.
Trisha Conlon and John Cushing (who lives in Washington) were married in 1995 and divorced nine years later. The couple agreed to split the custody of their two sons, with Sam (13) spending most of his time with Cushing and Stephen (14) living with Conlon.
This child custody arrangement worked out fine until September 2007 when Conlon received a call from Children and Family Services in King County, Washington and was told that Cushing had remarried his first wife, Kristine.
Cushing was married to Kristine Cushing for 17 years. The couple had two daughters, (Amy and Stephanie) and lived in Laguna Niguel, California. Kristine filed for divorce in 1991 and began seeing a psychiatrist and taking Prozac that year.
While at home one night in October, Kristine shot and killed Amy (8) and Stephanie (4) with a .38-caliber handgun. She was found not guilty of the killings by reason of insanity.
John Cushing remarried Kristine in 2005. According to court documents, Sam and Stephen were introduced to Kristine and instructed by John Cushing not to mention her to Conlon.
Kristine Cushing’s psychiatrist learned of her living arrangement with the two boys and reported the matter to Child Protective Services. Conlon says that Kristine was ordered to avoid all contact with Sam and not to live with him.
Despite John Cushing’s claims to the contrary, Conlon found out in September 2007 that Sam had been visiting Kristine. In October, she discovered that Kristine was still living with John and Sam Cushing.
Conlon filed a motion to modify child custody and wants John Cushing to visit their sons in Oregon as long as he continues to live with Kristine. Mr. Cushing claims that Kristine was assessed by King County Mental Health Services and it was determined that she is “no threat to herself or others.” Conlon counters that Ms. Cushing received treatment in 2008 to “restabilize her mentally” and believes she may have been hospitalized. John and Christine Cushing divorced a second time in 2008 but they continue to live together.
King County Superior Court Judge William Downing has ordered an investigation into the welfare of Conlon’s sons and asked John Cushing to remove all firearms and weapons from his home, stop residing with Kristine Cushing if she fails to comply with the recommendations of her psychiatric treatment providers, and comply with any safety plans imposed by Child Protective Services. In the meantime, Sam will continue to live with Kristine Cushing. The court-appointed child advocate’s report on the findings of his investigation is due back in three months.
Source: ABC News, “Judge: Kids Can Live With Child-Killer, For Now,” Christina Caron, August 29, 2011