Elizabeth Morgan Act

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The Elizabeth Morgan Act refers to an act of the United States Congress, H.R. 1855, which was passed as part of H.R. 3675.

Hilary Antonia Foretich (born 1982), later known as Ellen Morgan, was at the center of a well-publicized international custody case in the late 1980s. Hilary's maternal grandparents took her to New Zealand, defying a court order that Hilary have unsupervised visitation with her father, Eric Foretich. Her mother, plastic surgeon Elizabeth Morgan, spent 25 months in detention from 1987 to 1989 for contempt of court in Washington, D.C., for refusing to reveal Hilary's whereabouts.

Elizabeth Morgan had alleged that Foretich had sexually abused their daughter, an accusation that he has vehemently denied and which has never been proven in court.[1] Morgan was Foretich's third wife. His second wife had also accused him of sexual abuse of their daughter, Heather (born 1980). Foretich denies those charges, and has repeatedly said the two women have acted in collusion.[2]

Elizabeth Morgan was freed in 1989 by an Act of Congress and joined her daughter and parents in New Zealand. Congress passed the Elizabeth Morgan Act in 1996, which permitted Hilary, who by then called herself Ellen Morgan, to decide whether or not to see her father. The 14-year-old returned with her mother to the United States, but declined to see her father. Foretich sued in 1997. The law was overturned as a bill of attainder by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2003, but had no practical effect on Hilary, who was by then 21 and could choose for herself whether or not to see her father.[1] Hilary Foretich, aka Ellen Morgan, is now known as Elena Mitrano.[3]

The story was made into a television film in 1992, and released as A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story.


  1. ^ a b "Court strikes down law passed for mother who hid daughter". CNN. Associated Press. December 16, 2003. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ Barringer, Felicity (September 26, 1989). "Prison Releases a Defiant Mother". Professor Timothy M. Hagle, Department of Political Science, The University of Iowa. The New York Times. p. A18. 
  3. ^ Henry, Emily (February 4, 2009). "Morgan vs. Foretich Twenty Years Later". LA Weekly (Los Angeles). 


  • Hilary's Trial: The Elizabeth Morgan Case, A Child's Ordeal in America's Legal System. by Jonathan Groner. New York: American Lawyer Books and Simon & Schuster, 1991.

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