KHQ: 8-year-old Emma has been deaf since birth and has cochlear implants in both ears. An attorney for Emma's mother, Jennifer Miller, who has primary custody of Emma, says medical personnel have deemed it essential that she consistently wear the device in order for her to develop both verbal and social skills.
Emma's father, Shaun Mclaughlin, is also deaf. When Emma is in his control the two communicate using American sign language.
In August of 2009 during a custody trial the two parties agreed that Emma would be required to wear the implants during waking hours.
When it became clear that her father was not forcing her to wear the implant in her left ear while in his custody, Emma's mother filed a claim against Mclaughlin for contempt of court.
In a pre-trial hearing on Monday Mclaughlin told the judge through an interpreter that he doesn't agree that he should force his daughter to wear the implants. He said he wants to honor his daughter's feelings and forcing her to do so would be abuse.
Shaun's mother, Judy Mclaughlin feels that Emma's father didn't fully understand the terms of the original agreement because he wasn't properly represented by an interpreter in court.
"His attorney didn't have an interpreter for him to converse with him and was relying on me," said Judy Mclaughlin. " He didn't know that was illegal and against the rules at the time."
Regardless of whether those allegations that Shaun's rights weren't fully met in court last summer are true, he still has to face this current claim of contempt when it goes to trial on May 13th.
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