CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A custody battle over a 7-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother has created a unique challenge for a Mecklenburg County judge.
NewsChannel 36 talked with the mother of the children who asked us not to be identified to protect them.
The children s father is 36-year-old David Edward Kennedy. The couple married in 2001 and divorced after 2009.
Kennedy s past is the issue in the custody battle. Court records show that he has abused drugs and even lost his City of Charlotte job because he flunked a drug test.
After the divorce, though, Kennedy was granted visitation rights. However, last November, a federal grand jury indicted him on cocaine trafficking charges. Since then, the children s mother has refused to allow the kids to visit.
I cannot sleep at night thinking the kids are in harm s way, she said.
In November, the mother went to court seeking emergency custody but said she was stunned when Judge Charlotte Brown said no emergency existed and declined to change the custody arrangement.
In support of her ruling, the judge said Even if he was indicted with 20 kilos of cocaine...there has to be some danger to the child. If the child was in the car with him while he was making a drug deal or subjecting a child to maybe guns, then I could see the emergency.
The mother of the children still refused to allow them to visit their father.
When I did find out there was clear drug use going on and he was selling drugs, she said, it was clear to me that my kids were being put in an unsafe environment.
Kennedy has not agreed to a plea deal, but he has signed documents in which he confesses. His attorneys accuse the mother in the case of being spiteful and in court documents say, There is no reason for Mother to deny Father access to the minor children. Mother is acting in a hateful and spiteful way toward Father and she is not acting in the best interest of the children.
I'm doing the right thing for the kids, the mother said. And I know that I am if going to jail is what happens, that's what happens.
Late Tuesday afternoon her attorneys asked the Family Court Administrator s Office to remove Judge Brown and assign another judge, claiming she has a personal bias.
Thursday morning the judge will decide whether to hold the mother in contempt and send her to jail.