A court-appointed evaluator who recommended that a convicted sex offender get custody of his girlfriend’s daughter said he now wishes a judge had appointed an advocate to speak on the child’s behalf.
Attorney David Jaehne said Thursday he spoke with the girl and visited the home before recommending she permanently live with Justin Farnsworth, 31, of Hastings.
“I always talk to the kids. I always go to the home. I interview neighbors,” Jaehne told the St. Paul Pioneer Press for a Friday story.
Jaehne filed his report with Dakota County District Judge Joseph T. Carter, who last month awarded custody to Farnsworth without appointing an advocate for the child, known as a guardian ad litem.
On Wednesday, Farnsworth was charged with three counts of felony sexual misconduct involving the girl. He was jailed on $300,000 bond.
A number of people expressed outrage at the situation Thursday, and some attorneys who represent children questioned why Carter did not appoint an advocate for the girl.
But the Minnesota State Bar Association defended the judge, who has said judicial ethics preclude him from commenting.
“Given Farnsworth’s reported admission of guilt, it is easy to see that he should not have been given custody of the young girl he is charged with sexually molesting,” Bar Association President David Stowman said in a statement.
“Ideally, Farnsworth wouldn’t have had any contact with the girl,” he continued. “However, Judge Carter wasn’t dealing with the ideal; he was dealing with the reality of a little girl who didn’t have a responsible parent to care for her.”
One of the few things that upsets me even greater than any form of intolerance are the mistakes and injustices of our criminal courts.