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Georgia couple fights to dismiss child abuse case

Georgia couple fights to dismiss child abuse case

  • PublishedJune 1, 2024

“As of right now we’ve been ordered non-reunification, and they are trying to terminate our paternal rights,” Diana Sullivan said.

She and her husband tried for years to get pregnant and had all three children through IVF.

“This whole thing has been unreal, and any parent’s worst nightmare,” Diana Sullivan said, describing what it’s been like having her children taken from her.

Hospital records show Amelia Sullivan, who was just three months old at the time and weighed eight pounds, had numerous fractures.  The Sullivans believe a medical condition can explain what the child protection team believes was abuse.

Two months after they lost custody, Corey Sullivan was charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to a child and has not been allowed to see his youngest daughter. He adamantly denies abusing her.

“The way this works now is the juvenile court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the criminal case, and the criminal court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the juvenile case. So effectively, the parent who’s presumed innocent is deprived of access to his own child,” attorney Kevin Gough said.

Gough, who represents Corey Sullivan, has filed a motion for a speedy trial, a motion for him to be able to have supervised visitation, and a motion to have the juvenile case dismissed for what he says is “outrageous government conduct and a lack of evidence.”

 “It’s very disheartening that we can’t just get to the bottom of what’s wrong with my daughter,” Diana Sullivan said. “Why is there so much pushback on just finding out the answers?”

The Sullivans say they paid $3500 for genetic testing the judge ordered and believe test results could provide a lot of answers.

“Unfortunately, the results that we got back stated negative but negative based off the clinical data that DFCS decided to submit. Essentially, what that means is that they told the lab what genes to look for. So she was not tested for EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndromes) or any other genetic conditions that I carry within myself,” Diana Sullivan said.

“This ongoing issue with the medical evidence is extremely frustrating. As long ago as October of 2023 it was believed that the child needed to be tested for… Ehlers Danlos Syndrome… and that was acknowledged by the state’s own experts way back in October of 2023. And as we stand here today, going into June of 2024, that testing remains incomplete,” Gough said. “This isn’t a hard question. Does the kid suffer from this?”

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Human Services sent First Coast News a statement saying, “DHS/DFCS is bound by both state and federal law to protect the privacy of the people we serve. As such, we are unable to comment on the specifics of any reported abuse or neglect cases. We take seriously every report that might be made to the agency and work with law enforcement when appropriate to ensure the safety of Georgia’s children.”

“We have an agency here in Camden County that is running amok. Something needs to be done, and we believe the court ultimately will grant the motion to dismiss,” Gough said. “But we also believe that the individuals responsible for the tragic mistreatment of the Sullivans and other families in Camden County, that all of those responsible need to be held to account.”

The District Attorney’s Office in Brunswick declined to comment because this is an ongoing case.           

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