LIVINGSTON COUNTY – In a long, complicated, and painful legal battle involving drug addiction, divorce, and sexual abuse of his young daughter at the hands of hand-picked foster parent Pastor Alan Fox, a father is now seeking custody of his five children, including the girl who was abused.
In November 2011, the dad, James, moved to York with his now ex-wife and their five children, at the time ranging in age from early teens to toddlers. By April 2012, all five were removed from the home by Child Protective Services, and shortly afterwards placed in foster care.
“In April of 2012, there was a raging pill addiction in our house,” said James, 41. “My ex-wife was addicted to Methadone and I was doing Vicodin. The kids weren’t getting to school, the house was a mess, it was an awful environment.”
James says his wife is in a good drug treatment program, is now clean, and is gaining custody of her three infant children from a different father, but has a no-contact order of protection against her five children with James and is not allowed to care for, visit, or talk to them on the phone. James has two children of his own from another mother, one of whom lives on their own and the other lives with a relative out of state.
James says his life has come together now that he has been divorced, cleaned up and attended a fathers’ therapy group for the past two years, sometimes with his teenage son.
“I think the biggest ally as far as staying sober is taking care of my mental health,” said James. “It’s been really great. I have a lot of allies there, about 35 guys go with me routinely.”
James said his drug abuse was made possible by an error by a York doctor, who later lost his license to practice, and ended in 2012, when his children were removed.
“My doctor way overprescribed me for pain in my arm bones from a roofing accident,” said James. “That’s when the abuse started for me, when I had extra pills just lying around. It was beyond stupid. If it wasn’t for that addiction, I’d still have my kids.”
James says that he has not touched any drugs since 2012, but the road has not been easy.
“Withdrawal from Vicodin was the worst three months of physical pain in my life,” said James. “I had muscle spasms and hallucinations, complete loss of control over my body. It was a very hard time.”
James added that the next step for him is to regain custody of his children, who are all living separately in foster homes and care centers.
“The whole thing just seems like overkill,” said James, exasperated. “My kids have been more traumatized by their time in foster care than they ever could have being with me.”
Stacy, the aunt of James’ ex-wife, is a good friend of James’ and has helped him with his legal battle along the way.
“I thought we could all go into family counseling together, to help the kids, but I guess not,” said Stacy. “I just feel that CPS is out of control. I feel like it’s feeding on itself.”
Alan Fox, 60, a former pastor in Dansville and former singer/songwriter for the Christian folk band Band of Brothers, has been a foster parent to many small children for 30 years with his wife, Cathy. According to James, his daughter who was abused by Fox twice came forward with sexual allegations, and authorities took no action the first time. The second time she reported abuse, however, Fox was arrested.
James added that there are other allegations from other parents that their children have been sexually abused by pastor Fox, and that their allegations were thrown away as well.
“When [she] told us about the first incident, we immediately asked that she be removed from that house,” said James. “But CPS told us our story was unfounded, that Alan Fox was the picture perfect ‘hand picked’ parent.”
James says that once he finds a lawyer, he intends to gain full custody of all five of his children, the oldest of which is in their mid teens.
“My kids want answers,” said James. “They ask me ‘Daddy? When’s adoption day? I don’t want to be adopted.’ When am I coming home?’ They’re very sad, and they’re not afraid to speak their minds.”
James indicated that he is in touch with multiple local lawyers and will soon begin his legal battle for custody.
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