A Florida father claims he witnessed his then 4-year-old daughter being sexually assaulted by her then 12-year-old half-brother – who still regularly visits the girl in their mother’s home.
Carl Sumner said he was preparing dinner at home in March 2010 when he heard his daughter crying in a bedroom. He claims that he opened the door and found the child, naked from the waist down and screaming; her half-brother was sexually assaulting her.
“There’s no question as to what happened to my daughter and when it happened. I saw it. I heard her crying,” Sumner said.
Sumner intervened and rushed the girl to an emergency room; his wife and the mother of both the children, Danielle Rowe, called the police, who filed a report.
The boy was not charged, but underwent psychiatric evaluation and spent subsequent years in group homes. A court order was, however, issued, forbidding the half-siblings from living in the same home.
Rowe filed for divorce from Sumner in February 2011; the divorce is still pending. Rowe does not dispute that sexual abuse occurred, but claims that her son did not “penetrate” the girl, a claim Sumner disputes.
She gained permanent custody of her daughter and the girl’s twin brother in May 2012; Sumner has repeatedly fought for custody of the twins. Rowe claims she allowed Sumner to continue seeing the twins, first with supervised visits and then unsupervised ones beginning in June 2013.
Despite the court order, the now 17-year-old young man still regularly visits his mother’s home in Fort Lauderdale, where the girl also lives.
“It was my daughter’s decision if she wanted to forgive her brother or not, and she chose to forgive her brother,” Rowe said. “She wants to have him in her life.”
Rowe’s attorney, Vanessa Prieto, claims that the Rowe is following all safety measures to ensure her daughter and son are never unsupervised.
Sumner, however, maintains that the teen’s regular visits violate a court order forbidding the teen and the girl from being together. He denies Rowe’s allegations that he refused to participate in family therapy in the aftermath of the alleged incident.
“My daughter is reliving the attack every time she sees him,” Sumner said. “She shouldn’t have to see the person who assaulted her.”
Fox News reports that last April, a Florida judge denied the father any visitation rights. According to Prieto, a court-appointed guardian testified that Sumner was “a danger, possibly physically and definitely mentally,” and, in reference to Sumner’s having taken the children away to North Carolina against the advice of his attorney, “a flight risk.”