child custody evaluations - psychological testing in court - forensic testing - disclosure, release of test data in discovery

This page is

Children need. . . THIS? A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P...

Case Study C
Parenting Evaluations Written by Child Custody Evaluators

Seattle Times special report: Twisted ethics of an expert witness

Stuart Greenberg was at the top of his profession: a renowned forensic psychologist who in court could determine which parent got custody of a child, or whether a jury believed a claim of sexual assault. Trouble is, he built his career on hypocrisy and lies, and as a result, he destroyed lives, including his own...



The child custody evaluator in this example, Stuart A. Greenberg, a Washington doctorate-level MHP (Ph.D., ABPP), was widely hailed as one of the top forensic child custody evaluators in the United States (and also known as one who charged some of the most expensive fees). In July 2007, he was caught after concocting a setup in the women's bathroom in his office that enabled him to secretly videotape female employees, patients, and members of the general public as they used the toilet. He was arrested after videotaping an employee and masturbating to that. Some weeks later, he committed suicide. Numerous mothers subjected to his custody evaluations were gouged by exhorbitant and inflated fees, libeled by his reports (some losing custody), and made to suffer intrusive and detailed irrelevant questioning about their sex lives with which they had no choice but to cooperate because of the threat of losing custody of their children and other court-ordered sanctions.



Friend states that he has also received a telephone call from the respondent's wife "Marsha" and that she was only able to ask him "why hadn't he gone to her first?"

Custody litigant: mother: the respondent "always made her feel uncomfortable" as "everything she said he seemed to relate to something sexual"... "everything the respondent asked or talked about all seemed to return to sex."


Woman employee, a MHP, had a "weird feeling about him" and that was especially true when he interacted with other female employees... the thing that disturbs her most about this incident is that not only did she use the bathroom, but every single day extremely vulnerable clients, the public, patients and their family members all used this bathroom and were obviously being recorded by the respondent.

Woman employee, a MHP, always got a "weird vibe" from the respondent, who has "creeped her out."

(One of the woman employees, subsequently a videotape victim herself, never came to the defense of a woman custody litigant, who Greenberg decided was "histrionic" when she objected to his privacy-invasive questions):

"...I'd raised concerns about the inappropriateness of his asking a LOT of questions about my sex life during his interview with me... It felt weird and uncomfortable to me, threw me off during the interview, and then I didn't have enough time to talk about my concerns about my abusive husband. [Greenberg's associate Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D, who participated in the evaluation] actually included my mention of that incident into their report as evidence that I was "histrionic."
        They asked the court for two RCW restrictions against me, as opposed to only one for my husband. One for abusive use of conflict stemming from the court ordering supervised visitation and an unspecified as well as unsubstantiated personality disorder (among other things that I was histrionic and unbelievable) that made me a "danger to my child" My husband, who beat me unconscious and bleeding (15 stitches on the face), just lost his temper the one time and was a really nice, honest fellow who was taking responsibility..." [private interview with liz]

The associate-in-training went right along with Greenberg's nonsense. (Why? Did she really believe this is the way to decide child custody cases? Did she believe her boss/mentor's assessment? Did she not have a clue herself? Or was it just a matter of career opportunism, as I suspect it is with much of the therapeutic jurisprudence crowd.) The notes including the sex questions were not provided to the litigant as requested in discovery; the litigant was informed that they would cost her an additional $700. Outrageous.

Disciplinary file. A complaint filed in 2002 by another woman who was financially gouged by unreasonable fees was closed because, apparently, it did not involve sufficient fees to make it worth the Board's time.

There were numerous prior disciplinary files against Greenberg, others involving his practices and ethics, bias. They were all closed, mostly speciously as far as we can tell with the benefit of hindsight, without any serious investigations, and sealed from adequate public disclosure.

On July 6, 2007, apparently right after being arrested, Greenberg sent a letter to the board of psychology ("Board") resigning "for health reasons... effective immediately". What was the urgency? Did he not know he was impaired prior to his arrest? This is the sort of action a lawyer might advise as a defense, to moot further investigations by the Board of other facts and complaints that would not necessarily rise to a level of criminal behavior but could result in continuing news coverage and ultimately civil liability. Not exactly apologetic at this point. The Board stamped the letter as received on July 11, 2007. But then, interestingly, it nevertheless proceeded with its investigation and complaint, summarily suspending Greenberg from practice on an emergency basis for the public welfare, for a proposed period of 20 years. What was the Board's new urgency? The apparent continual telephoning by Seattle news reporters? Or someone's knowledge that perhaps the Board needed to rectify its prior negligent or lax investigations of complaints? I don't know; I'm speculating and wondering.

    Stuart Greenberg resignation letter


July 13, 2007 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER Voyeur psychologist case raises questions - Many relied on U.W. faculty member's expert opinion

July 19, 2007 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER Psychologist accused of voyeurism has license suspended

August 8, 2007 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER Families' futures decided with little oversight - Parent evaluators set own fees while wielding enormous power

SEATTLE TIMES - MEDICAL and MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL Misconduct Database - multiple articles, including psychiatrist Eugene Kester, counselor Thomas E. "Gene" McDonald Jr., psychologist Steven R. Kubacki, counselor Anthony W. Grant, and more.


WHO DOES THE MOST HARM? Based on the number of offenses per number of licensees, it is psychologists, with a close second by chiropractors. In sheer numbers, "registered counselors" commit the most offenses.

SOME OF THE PROBATE CLAIMS - Scroll down to read  

This work is part of ongoing research being conducted by the National Network on Family Law Policy, with the assistance of numerous scholars, professionals, and others who are investigating the workings of our justice system. For more information, contact sarah,

Also see Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts
and Custody Evaluator Quotes

LIZNOTE: What is most horrifying about this case is that this custody evaluator, Stuart A. Greenberg, Ph.D., was not just some local yokel easily dismissed as an aberration. Rather, this prolific author of how-to materials, and articles, and presenter at industry seminars on the subject of "ethics" and procedures in child custody evaluations, including evaluating of child sexual abuse, was (and inexplicably still is) hailed as a great teacher, mentor, example, and leader in the relatively newly-invented field of forensic child custody evaluation by some of the top child custody evaluators in the APA and AFCC.

Were this man's transgressions merely an anomalous few pages in an otherwised unblemished journal of life?

Were this man's transgressions merely of the sort that could be dismissed as a couple of isolated acts in his old age, some kind of spontaneous stumble into a newly sprung temptation, perhaps from stress or whoknowswhat -- as many of his friends and cohorts now publicly profess? Are these the sorts of things one does when he is depressed from... his heart medication?

Aw, come on... Read the police reports and related documents. Even if it were reasonable to believe that someone, in this case a psychologist, one day all of a sudden could become a sex pervert and against his own better judgment find himself unable to resist the temptation (that normal temptation that ostensibly tempts us all?) of engaging in a complicated, premeditated act of setting up a remote camera to create his own fetishistic pornography in order to relieve the depression he didn't know how to alleviate... there's too much other evidence "in retrospect" that something was wrong. These were the acts of a guy who just wasn't getting off any more on intrusive questioning, power mongering, and gawdknowswhatelse, while he sat in judgment for years making recommendations of dubious value about other people's lives and children, and making unusually grand (or grandiose?) fees for doing so. (..." everything the respondent asked or talked about all seemed to return to sex.") Like the guy who is caught speeding, or cheating... that's "the one time it was caught", not "the once".

Given the widespread, continuing state of denial by professionals in the field who knew him, either with incredible naivety or to throw up self-protective diversionary smoke screens (doubting all facts and theories when it's expedient to do so, as they do when allegations of the sort they don't like are made in custody cases), I felt it important to put up this web page with FOIA documents and other materials, and make them available, so that the facts cannot be brushed under the rug as the biased complaints of disgruntled and personality-disordered parents.

Is a man not known by the company he keeps? Where is the outrage of the "helping professionals"? Egoistically tsk-tsking, secretly gossipping among themselves, calling it all "sad", and empathizing with his wife and family (but not the vulnerable and already-troubled litigants who may have been devastated by his actions, not the woman who was beat unconscious and required fifteen stitches and then instead of getting help through the justice system, subjected by Greenberg to interrogation about her sex life and labeled "histrionic"), scavenging for Greenberg's materials, forms, questionnaires, unfinished articles, and the like, would be my guess.

Understand -- it's not that I'm unsympathetic to a fucked-up individual who doesn't want to be and can't control his obsessions. But just as we temper our sympathy for alcoholics who get into a car and drive drunk, placing others at risk, my sympathy wanes when an individual who knew better, knew he was a dysfunctional and disturbed man, knew his judgment about others could not possibly be competent because of that (and in fact wrote what he must have known was horseshit in some of his reports), continued to do -- and promote others doing -- this "forensic" work anyway, all the while charging ridiculous fees (which we can surmise were another part of his motivation).

And, more importantly, it's not Stuart Greenberg who is the issue or actual subject matter here; he is only the example -- an example that went undetected for decades and might have remained that way. I suspect that Stuart Greenberg is no aberration. There are more than a few in this field who "give me weird vibes" and tend to "creep me out" in the MHP professional vernacular (above) for one reason or another, and whose motivations I suspect range from financial opportunism, to personality disorders, to sex perversions, to substance abuse and pornography addictions, to misogynistic attitudes, to personal histories they need to normalize in their own minds, and axes to grind, to just plain old arrogant stupidity and ignorance, not infrequently projecting their own issues onto others (see custody evaluator quotes). Greenberg is the tip of the iceberg.

Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court Regarding motivation: we all know that individuals tend to go into fields of work that for one reason or another hold special interest for them. This applies to all kinds of professions. Often, the attraction is because something in the subject matter appeals to the individual, whether gardening or law or medicine, sometimes the individual gravitates into a field because of special talents, such as writing, or speaking, or singing or sports, or because of particular aspects of the field such as the hours, or travel opportunities, or financial opportunities, curiosity (the scientist), as well as plain old interest in the subject matter. Sometimes those interests mesh with a chosen field because of a particular personality attribute of the individual, such as the desire to be around, or conversely, avoid working with other people, or animals, or a desire for fame (author), or applause (actor), or for power (politics, CEO), or some kind of savior complex (law enforcement, the military), or a desire to work outdoors, or indoors... Sometimes a field of endeavor is chosen because it's the family business, or is "just a job" because the person couldn't think of something else to do and had no particular talents or interests that moved him but needs to pay the bills. Motivations affect us all. Usually there is more than one motivator, but the motivators are not always all innocuous. We know, for example, that pedophiles gravitate into fields in which they will have contact with children, thus, ironically, making these fields -- pediatric nursing, daycare worker, teacher, clergy -- more likely to have higher percentages of workers who are dangerous to children. The child's playground is a milieu that will appeal more to the pedophile than will the conference room table on the 43rd floor...

So it's fair to ask what motivates someone -- someone who clearly had the talent and ability to do other things, and who who didn't fall into his job by happenstance -- to choose to judge other people and meddle with their families and lives. And pontificate regularly on the ethics of it, no less. Perhaps we could say that someone such as a former business litigator who now finds himself on the family law bench might have "fallen into" the job. We could say that the pediatrician who is an expert witness on rare occasion didn't set out to do this for his daily bread. Ditto the legitimate scientist or actual research scholar who does the occasional forensic analysis (but query re the ones who become akin to professional witnesses aka "whores of the court").

What motivates individuals first to decide as youth to study psychology, and then to specialize in psychological issues involving child abuse or sexual dysfunction, and then -- especially as to those with a pro-defense bias that didn't move them in the first place into the field of law -- market themselves in positions of power and authority where they can meddle in some of the most private, intimate and important aspects of others' lives -- their family relationships, their sexual relationships, the custody and upbringing of their children? What percentage in this field are drunk with their own power, exercising it cavalierly because of the immunized, unaccountable authority granted to them by the misguided "therapeutic jurisprudence" ideas, and secretly satisfying their own issues and perversions.

Don't you think we ought to be looking at the motivations and likely biases and ulterior agendas of these individuals with at least a little of the suspicion they routinely heap disdainfully on parents in custody cases, especially protective mothers?

It's a fair question; no apologies if you find it offensive.

-- liz, Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts


Florida Handbook on Discovery - 2007
Clark v. Clark, September 15, 2010 Fla. 4th DCA: "material harm of an irreparable nature [to allow] expert to exclude recording, reporting or other people from being present".
Are Psychologists Hiding Evidence?
Releasing Records in Child Custody Evaluations (J. Poliacoff)
Signs of a Bad Custody Evaluation (J. Klass)
Therapeutic Jurisprudence Index
Child Custody Evaluations -- Reevaluating the Evaluators
Right of First Refusal in Parenting Plans
Child Custody Evaluators "In Their Own Words"
Parenting Coordination, a bad idea
Parenting Coordinator Practical Considerations
Those Joint Custody Studies

Offsite Links:
CCFC Amicus Brief, Tadros v. Doyne
Information on the RORSCHACH at
Information on the MMPI-2 at

Psychology is not science -- or good law

It doesn't matter WHAT the protocols are. It doesn't matter how unbiased the examiner. It doesn't matter how copious the information gathered or how conscientious the assessment. For getting at the "truth", it absolutely doesn't matter how much training the evaluator has in domestic violence, feminism, fathers' perspectives, or abuse defense. All the training does is create a belief bias. The general public -- and this includes judges -- need to be educated that there is very little expertise in forensic or applied psychology. There is no predictive power. There is absolutely no way to take sociological surveys about groups of individuals -- and this includes psychological testing -- and apply any of it to one individual. At best, we have insightful guesses. But training in psychology does not improve insight; those who go into the field frequently do so because they are people who already have problems and lack the insight to figure them out. And the training itself is as likely as not to diminish this cognitive function as its practitioners learn to deny their own flawed human cognitive synthesizing in order to substitute an even worse rote protocol under the pretext of neutral scientific investigation. There is no science. There is no falsifiable unifying theory with causation and prediction. There is no expertise. There is only familiarity with the presumptions, protocols and lingo of the field, just as one would find with "expertise" in astrology. No matter how expertly mapped, or with what nuance and consideration of all relevant details, the positions of the stars still say absolutely nothing about anything. -- liz

The Child-Centered Divorce Family Court is Not a Family-Friendly Place Parenting Coordination Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court


Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are copyright 1996-2011 the liz library. All rights reserved.
This site is hosted and maintained by Send queries to: