A court-ordered psychological report shed light Monday on why an Orange County judge awarded O.J. Simpson custody of his two youngest children.
In the sealed report, Beverly Hills-based psychologist Jeffrey M. Lulow concluded that while Simpson could be impulsive and sometimes lose control, he showed restraint around the children, sources close to the case said. The sources, who asked not to be identified, said Lulow stated that Simpson's children appeared to have a stronger bond with him than with their maternal grandparents, Louis and Juditha Brown of Dana Point, sources close to the case said.
The report is said to have strongly influenced Orange County Superior Court Judge Nancy Wieben Stock's controversial decision in December to award Simpson custody of Sydney, 11, and Justin, 8.
The Browns have filed legal notice that they plan to appeal the judge's decision, and a women's rights group has threatened Wieben Stock with a recall.
According to the sources, the report states that of the two grandparents, Juditha Brown is closer to the grandchildren, but that the children are closer to Simpson than to her. The Browns acknowledged that Simpson loves his children but said they believed that he would turn over the responsibility of raising them to his sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Benny Baker, according to sources.
Lulow also stated that while Simpson may have battered ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson during one well-known incident in 1989, he could not conclude that she remained in fear of the former football star, the sources said.
Lulow declined to talk about the report Monday and expressed unhappiness that it was being publicly discussed.
"Any time I do work in my profession, it's confidential," Lulow said.
Marjorie G. Fuller, the court-appointed attorney for Simpson's children, would not discuss the report specifically, but did comment Monday on Lulow's testimony during the trial.
"While no one has the ability to predict future behavior, the results of [Lulow's] examinations and his testing indicated there would be no danger to the children," Fuller said.
Fuller confirmed that during the trial, Lulow testified that the children had bonded with their father and recommended that they stay with him but maintain contact with their grandparents. She said the message he conveyed on the stand was: "These kids have suffered a lot of losses, and they don't need any more."
During the trial, Fuller had recommended that the children be returned to Simpson. They had been living with the Browns since Simpson was charged with murdering their mother and Ronald Lyle Goldman in 1994. He was later acquitted of the crimes.
Last month, a civil jury in Los Angeles found Simpson liable in the slayings and ordered him to pay $25 million in punitive damages to the relatives of Nicole Simpson and Goldman and $8.5 million in compensatory damages to the Goldman family.
Attorneys representing the Browns in the custody case had argued that Simpson was an unfit parent, in part because of past allegations of domestic abuse. The judge had refused to allow testimony about the murders from Simpson's criminal trial.
David N. Glaser, a psychiatrist hired by the Browns during the custody trial, criticized Lulow's report, saying incidents show that the Simpson household in Brentwood was troubled. He said a former maid indicated that she once had to huddle in a room with a tearful Sydney and Justin as their parents fought in another part of the house.