VALPARAISO — A former Porter County police officer convinced a judge Wednesday to lift an order barring him from having any contact with his two young sons, including one he is accused of battering and leaving disabled with a much shorter life expectancy.
But 50-year-old Curtis Jones still has another hurdle to overcome in family court if he is to follow through with plans to visit his boys via the telephone or by video conferencing.
The family court must approve the visits per the terms of his divorce settlement, according to Porter County Deputy Prosecutor David Urbanski.
One of the attorneys representing Jones, John Vouga, said his client will be petitioning the family court for the visitation rights.
"It is clearly not in his children's best interests to remain completely isolated and apart, especially in our modern age of technology which allows for safe and appropriate access," according to a motion filed on behalf of Jones.
The motion argues that the court-ordered, no-contact order was "unjust and unnecessary and potentially violative of Defendant's constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment."
Jones, who now is living and working in Florida, is accused of injuring his then-7-month-old son July 24, 2016, and is charged with felony counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a person less than 14 years of age, aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent.
A doctor at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago said the child suffered "the worst brain injury I have ever seen," according to court documents. The doctors determined the injuries were consistent with being shaken and must have occurred during the time he was in the care of Curtis when his former wife and the boy's mother was at her overnight nursing job.
Curtis Jones left the Porter County Sheriff's Department more than a decade ago.
He was in court Wednesday, along with his attorney and a courtroom responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring everyone, including the judge, to wear face masks and remain in designated seating marked at a distance from one another.
Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford said he was leaving in place a no-contact order for the boys' mother and Jones' former wife.
The motion filed on behalf of Jones claims that there are several of the children's maternal family members willing to supervise the proposed visits, who would stop them immediately if they became inappropriate, the motion reads.
But Urbanski said Wednesday he was told there are no family members willing to supervise the visits.
Jones is seeking two, half-hour visits each week with each child.
The underlying criminal case is set to go to trial over eight days beginning Feb. 2, which will be more than four-and-a-half years after the alleged offense.
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