Court Orders Ga. Man to Keep Gay Friends Away from Kids

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jan 27, 2009

A Georgia father has been forbidden by a divorce court from having any "homosexual partners or friends" around when his children are present.

The in a Jan. 20 article that both Eric Mongerson and his ex-wife, Sandy Ehlers, were prohibited from having "overnight company with a member of the opposite sex, or with any person deemed to be a paramour, unrelated by blood or marriage, in the presence of a child."

But the Judge Christopher Edwards of the Fayette County Superior Court imposed additional restrictions on Mongerson, ordering, "Additionally, defendant is prohibited from exposing the children to his homosexual partners and friends" during the children's once-per-week visits.

Mongerson has filed for appeal with the state Supreme Court. His filing argues that, "There was no evidence presented that and the court made no finding that exposing the parties' children to any of Appellant's homosexual friends would adversely affect the best interests of the children.

"Therefore, such a prohibition on appellant's homosexual friends is an abuse of discretion."

The lawyer for Mongerson's ex-wife, Lance McMillian, cited as evidence to that effect the testimony by Mongerson's daughter, who told the court that she had discovered "one of my dad's magazines that had nude men in it doing things to each other."

McMillian's brief further asserted that Mongerson had been unfaithful, and that his children had suffered as their parents' marriage ended. The presence of gay friends during time with their father, the brief claimed, might result in "potentially damaging effects on the healing process" of Mongerson's children because they would be "reminded of the painful issue of the appellant's infidelity, new lifestyle and keeping of pornography in the home."

The brief also cited alleged "cruel mistreatment" of the children during a visit with Mongerson to his parents, during which, affidavits reportedly said, Mongerson had slapped and punched his daughter.

The affidavits further claimed that the elder son and daughter had accompanied Mongerson to his parents' home only out of concern for the welfare of Mongerson's two younger children, The reported.

The visit to Mongerson's mother and step-father also allegedly involved a violation of a court order that Mongerson not leave his children alone with his parents.

Mongerson's appeal seeks to undo a court order denying his parents contact with his children, as well as challenging an order to pay $800 per month in alimony and to pay the costs of the lawyers engaged by his wife.

The article said that Mongerson's visitation privileges are for four hours once a week with his youngest children, plus one-week visits during the summer and a day with each child just before or after a birthday.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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