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Child-Stealing Case Thrown Out by Judge

May 18, 1987|Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A judge today threw out child-stealing charges against a fundamentalist Christian woman, saying he didn't think she intended to keep her son away from his homosexual father.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Woodworth granted a motion of acquittal filed by lawyers for Betty Lou Batey. The judge told jurors he would have let them decide the case had he not been convinced that evidence pertaining to the law involving the charge was lacking.

"It's time to put an end to the anguish and torment to all three players in this tragedy," Woodworth said.

The decision ended a court fight that took more than five years, including custody disputes, civil contempt and criminal child-stealing charges.

Thrown Out Earlier

The child-stealing charges against Betty Lou Batey carried a three-year state prison term and were refiled by prosecutors after a now-retired judge threw out identical charges in 1985.

Earlier today, Betty Batey detailed the reasons why in 1982 she took her son, Brian, then 11, from his father, Frank Batey, who had legal custody.

Betty and Brian Batey went underground and lived on the run for 19 months before surrendering to authorities in Denver in April, 1984.

Frank Batey, who lives with his homosexual lover in Palm Springs, again has legal custody of Brian, now 16. Brian had spent two years in foster homes after he surfaced with his mother.

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