Judge: Quets Can't Visit Twins
Posted January 24, 2008 11:56 a.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2008 6:51 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge has dismissed the legal effort of a birth mother to visit the twins she kidnapped from their adoptive family in Apex a year ago.
Allison Quets was sentenced last month to five years on probation after she pleaded guilty to international parental kidnapping in the case. She spent more than eight months in jail before agreeing to plead guilty.
Quets took the twins, who were 17 months old at the time, on Dec. 22, 2006, from their adoptive parents, Kevin and Denise Needham, following an approved visit. Authorities apprehended her a week later in Ottawa, Ontario, and returned the twins to the Apex couple.
She has fought their adoption for more than two years, saying she was ill after suffering medical problems during her pregnancy and signed adoption papers under duress.
A Florida appellate court has upheld a lower court's ruling terminating Quets' parental rights in the case. So Quets pursued the case in Wake County, stating the adoption was contingent upon her "retaining a continuing and familiar role" in the lives of the children after the adoption was finalized.
But District Judge Anne Salisbury dismissed her claims this week, saying she couldn't seek visitation because her parental rights had been terminated.
"Once (Quets') parental rights were terminated, she no longer has standing to bring an action for custody, of which visitation is a component," Salisbury wrote.
Attorney Mike Harrell said Quets was disappointed by the decision. She hasn't decided whether to appeal, he said, adding she could pursue the case in Florida.
"This is not the first setback shes had with respect to issues concerning the adoption of these children," Harrell said.
Friends of the Needhams said they were pleased with the judge's ruling. But they aren't convinced this is the end of the case.
"I don't know that it's over because Allison continues to file lawsuits," Kat Moncol said. "When does the legal community see this as how many times do you say no?"