SLO County judge places child in alleged assailant’s home

November 22, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County family court judge placed a young boy in a home with a woman who allegedly attacked the boy’s mother, and has refused to move the child in spite of a suicide attempt and allegations of negligence and violence.

Five years ago, when the boy was 14 months old, his parents, who were not married at the time, separated. CalCoastNews is not providing the parents’ names to protect the child. The father, who had issues with substance abuse, did not attempt to see his son for a year after the separation, the child’s mother said.

In 2019, when the mother attempted to move out of area, the father filed for 50-50 custody. A judge at the time refused, giving the mother full custody in San Luis Obispo County, and the father limited visitation.

The father than visited his child three times over six months, while falling $12,000 behind in his child support payments, according to the child’s mother.

Then in Dec. 2020, the mother and father met at the Rite Aid in Atascadero to hand the child over to his father and his new wife, Kate Slater, for a visit.

After the hand off, Slater confronted the mother in the drug store, and backhanded her. The child’s mother dropped her purchases and attempted to leave, but Slater again confronted the child’s mother, struck her and knocked her to the ground, according to the child’s mother.

While Slater beat the woman’s head on the ground, the child’s mother scratched Slater’s face.

The child’s mother was transported to a local hospital for treatment of a concussion and a sprained neck.

After viewing surveillance video of the assault, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed assault charges against Slater, who is scheduled for a hearing in December on a reduced charge of battery with serious bodily injury. Prosecutors also filed a criminal restraining order prohibiting Slater from coming within 50 yards of the child’s mother.

Judge Matt Guerrero, who also viewed the video, awarded joint legal custody to the parents, while giving the father primary custody at his home in Nevada.

“Judge Guerrero said he did not like the way I looked in the video,” the child’s mother said. “He felt my son was better off in a home with married parents.”

Guerrero also voiced concerns that the child’s mother had refused to allow her son to travel in March 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, to the father’s Nevada home and that she was interfering with the father’s ability to see his son.

The father said he filed for custody because the child’s mother was not permitting him to see the child for his visitations. The father said he drove to California once a month to visit his son, a claim the mother disagrees with.

Since moving to Nevada in May 2021, the now 6-year-old boy has had problems in school, including behavioral issues, sadness and seeking physical comfort, according to school and court records.

In Dec. 2021, a school staffer reported the child refused to play outside, saying it was “too cold” and he was “gonna freeze” because he did not have a coat. The staffer reported plans to borrow a coat from the school’s lost and found.

The child is currently permitted two Skype calls each week of at least 15 minutes each with his mother. In one of the calls, taped by his mother, the child talks of not feeling safe because of fights between his father and Slater, according to court records.

On Oct. 3, the child’s school informed his mother he had attempted suicide at school.

His mother responded by filing a request for an emergency order in which she begs the court to allow her son to return to her home in Templeton, according to court records.

At a hearing on Oct. 7, Judge Guerrero temporarily denied the request, in order to give the family court facilitator three months to investigate the issues.

Following the Oct. 7 hearing, a Child Protective Services worker in Nevada called the child’s mother to inform her that there is an ongoing investigation into child neglect at the father’s home. The child’s mother asked if the suicide attempt was the catalyst for the CPS investigation, and the worker denied knowing of the child’s attempt at self harm, the child’s mother said.

After CPS opened the neglect case, the father provided the child with a bed instead of a mattress on the floor and filled his closet with used clothing, the child’s mother said.

Clarification: The child’s father provided him his own room more than a month ago. The father says the mother was not allowing him to see his son when he visited San Luis Obispo County.


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Last Individual

In case anyone has forgotten, this is the guy purportedly responsibility for Wallace’s trial being moved to Santa Maria because of previous involvement (complicity?) with Wallace in the South SLO County Sanitation District. Said “involvement” made him a potential witness in Wallace’s trial apparently disqualifying all SLO County Judges from presiding over Wallace’s trial.


This is also the guy who essentially permitted Arata et. al. to “allegedly” block the freeway, assault members of the public, and extort businesses with impunity. His judgement (or lack thereof) to preclude the entire SLO County DA’s office from prosecuting the case essentially left no one to prosecute (the State could, but won’t).


The moderator does not like links embedded in comments, and the inclusion of same herein would most likely get this comment deleted. Otherwise, I would put links to articles about these events in this comment. You can find them yourselves by typing “Guerrero” into the “search” tab of this website.


Guerrero is but a single example of our completely broken unjudicial system. This is true top to bottom, all the way from the supreme court to the lowest cop and attorney. (There are very few good people in the unjudicial system, but so few and far between as to be nothing but background noise.)


There is no justice in a system which only the wealthy (in both money and time) can even ask for justice.


Athens_2004

There is an excellent post on the Crime & Consequences Blog discussing the absurdity of Judge Guerrero’s recusal of the entire District Attorney’s Office and The Court of Appeal’s Opinion, which is not only wrong but dangerous. Near the end of the post, there is a link to the Criminal Justice League Foundation’s Amicus Letter supporting the petition for review. It is well worth the read.


Google: Recusing the District Attorney’s Office by Kent Scheidegger


Athens_2004

As a victim of Judge Guerrero, I have witnessed the damage he inflicts on families. He appears to lack the ability to reason logically and reach conclusions based on sufficient evidence, opting instead to make his decisions based on sex. It is well known by attorneys in SLO county that Judge Guerrero is a misogynist and that he has created an environment that encourages perjury and gas-lighting. In short, Judge Guerrero’s court has become a tool for emotional and mental abusers. Further, Judge Guerrero makes it difficult for victims to fight back by refusing to award attorney fees. He is a threat to the family system he purports to protect.


dscottdavene

There seems to be a serious problem with the courts in this county. Why are we paying taxes if the county can’t even provide a working judicial system?


Last Individual

It is not just this county, or did you mean country? It appears nearly universal to me. You cannot put people who are stupid and/or crooked (these often look the same) in positions of power without a very high probability of them becoming corrupt.


Cindy

Guerrero has a reputation of misogyny. He refuses to give women who have taken care of their children while their husband worked fees to pay for competent counsel. He then sides for the man in the fight. Just ask any local family law attorney, and get an earful about issues and abuses in the family law court system. Will Guerrero now retaliate against the mother?


GrayGranny2010

Guerrero needs to be removed as a family court judge but how do “we” have loud enough voices to make this happen?


casappleton

Guerrero is a very unqualified individual. He should be removed from the bench and held accountable to the abuse this child has endured.


GrayGranny2010

I realize this story is coming from the boy’s mother but also have faith that Karen did a thorough journalist investigation before publishing this story. Also, as someone who, as a support system, sat through several days in family court listening to fabrications and untruths and the family court commissioner making an asinine ruling, there is no surprise here. The family court system is so broken and, from my first hand experience, the child or children do not seem to be the priority. I hope and pray this child finds an advocate who will fight for what is best for him and he doesn’t become one of those sad stories we read about with those who made the bad decisions pointing their “not my fault” fingers at each other.