A judge in Long Island harshly dismissed the concerns of Thomas Valva’s mother and told her she was talking too much as she tried to detail allegations that her ex-husband was abusing their three sons.
Thomas Valva, 8, died last month after his father allegedly forced him to sleep in a garage. A medical examiner determined that the boy died of homicide, with hypothermia as a major contributing factor. Thomas’s father Michael Valva and his fiancee Angela Pollina have been charged with murder.
Thomas’s mother Justyna Zubko-Valva told CrimeOnline she had not seen her children for two years before Thomas’s death, and said her ex-husband was given full custody after he filed a false complaint about her. According to multiple reports, Zubk0-Valva fought in court to regain custody of her children and raised the alarm about her suspicions they were being abused.
Court records obtained by CBS New York show that a judge was dismissive of the mother during a custody hearing in which she shared her concerns about her children’s well-being.
“My children are coming soaked in urine. Anthony is sleeping in the garage. His hands and feet are bright red, your honor. He’s not getting any food,” Zubko-Valva told the judge, who replied:
“Ms. Valva, move along. I can’t remember everything you are saying because you’re saying so much.”
Zubko-Valva noted to the judge that CPS reports were being closed without a thorough investigation, but the judge refused to grant her custody of the children.
“Why? On what basis? The children’s life is in danger, your honor,” Zubko-Valva said upon hearing the ruling, according to the report.
“Because I said so,” the judge replied.
CBS New York did not identify the judge or specify the date of the court hearing cited in the report.
Attorney Thomas Liotti reportedly filed a misconduct complaint against the judges involved in Valva’s case.
“They do not deserve to be judges of any kind and they should be removed immediately,” Liotti told the news station.
According to the report, 17 calls regarding the Valva children were made to the state child abuse hotline, but the complaints were closed of dismissed.
Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn told CBS News that county officials are investigating systemic failures that preceded Thomas’s death.
“We are committed to getting to the bottom of the facts of this case and what happened, and help improve the system so it never happens again,” she said.
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