Post-Tribune (IN) - January 31, 1993
Author: The Associated Press
A March 25 trial date has been set in an interstate custody case involving a 15-year-old girl who formerly attended a strict, fundamentalist Christian school in northern Indiana.
Court papers filed this week in Orange County Family Court show the girl's mother accused the father, a 60-year-old truck driver, of immoral behavior and abandoning his children.
Judge Andrew P. Bivona set a March 25 trial, and delayed making a decision on a request to have the case moved back to Tennessee, where the mother and daughter have lived since 1987.
If Bivona rules he has jurisdiction over the case, he will decide which parent is better fit to raise the child.
The father asked the court to grant him custody of the girl and her 12- year-old brother since he learned the girl had been sexually abused by her stepfather and was placed in the school by her mother.
The stepfather has pleaded guilty and is serving a prison sentence.
The girl is a former student at Hephzibah House of Winona Lake, Ind., which provides firm guidance and "correction" for rebellious girls with disciplinary problems. It has an enrollment of about 20 girls ages 12 to 16.
The mother removed the girl from the school late last month after her father won the right to visit her at school.
The father has compared the school to a "concentration camp."
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