Goldman child abduction case

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The Goldman child abduction case refers to the international child abduction of Sean Goldman and the international petition for his repatriation by his father, David Goldman, over the objections of the family of his mother, Bruna Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro, and her widower, João Paulo Lins e Silva.

The child abduction case[edit]

The child abduction case evolved around application of Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Sean Richard Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro Goldman[1][2] was born in the year 2000 in the United States, to an American father and Brazilian mother. In 2004, at the age of four years, Sean went to Brazil with his mother for a 2-week vacation. However, his mother refused to return to the United States. The father David Goldman vowed to have his son back and lawsuits and counter-lawsuits ensued both in the United States and in Brazil.

Bruna Bianchi eventually filed for, and was granted, a divorce by a Brazilian court. She then married Brazilian lawyer João Paulo Lins e Silva in 2007, and subsequently died while giving birth to their child in 2008. After Bruna's death, the Brazilian husband obtained a custody order for the child from the Brazilian courts by failing to inform them of Bruna's death and requesting a new Brazilian birth certificate be issued that listed himself as the father under the Brazilian concept of socio-affective paternity, on the basis of which, he refused to return the boy to David Goldman, Sean's father. Based on a decision of Brazil's Supreme Court, Sean was handed over to his father on December 24, 2009. As of January, 2010, his Brazilian family was hoping to regain custody.[3] Sean's grandmother Silvana Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro has vowed to continue the battle through the Brazilian courts.[4] New Jersey courts have denied visitation rights for both grandparents[5] months before the grandfather's death.[6]

International ramifications[edit]

The case was focus of international media coverage. It was also subject of deliberations during meetings of high level Brazilian and American officials. US Congress introduced H.R. 2702, legislation to suspend Brazil's Generalized System of Preferences trading benefit.[7] The case was also discussed on the US House of Representatives floor with a statement from Congressman Chris Smith (Republican, New Jersey), a staunch supporter of David Goldman, a New Jersey resident;[8] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton treated the case as a diplomatic issue of Brazil's obligations under the Hague Convention.[9]

Media coverage[edit]

  • On 30 January 2009, NBC's news program Dateline NBC broadcast a lengthy piece titled "Fighting for Sean"[10] on the case and an interview by program's Meredith Vieira with David Goldman, the child's father.
  • The Dateline piece caught the attention of Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) who contacted the father and offered help. He wrote a major article in The Washington Times on 19 June 2009 titled "Will Brazil Do The Right Thing".[11]
  • Goldman was interviewed on many media outlets including in Today a few times, on Dr Phil show on 1 December 2008, on CNN's Larry King Live on 4 March 2009, on CTV's Canada AM and on Fox News Channel's On the Record
  • There were public comments on the case by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 4 March 2009 on NBC's Today show and by Brazilian President Lula on CNN on 23 March 2009.
  • On 15 July 2009, David Goldman testified in front of a Congress committee about child abductions. On 16 July 2009, NBC's Today broadcast a one-hour interview with him.
  • NBC paid for a charter flight for David Goldman and 9-year-old Sean back to the U.S. NBC News' Jeff Rossen was on board the plane. The Society of Professional Journalists condemned NBC News for practicing "checkbook journalism" by chartering a jet that carried David and Sean Goldman home from Brazil. However Mr. Goldman stated in his book A Fathers Love that [NBC] had chartered the jet to fly its crew home in time for Christmas and that they offered them a ride so that he wouldn't have to risk taking a public flight.[12]
  • On 8 January 2010, Dateline NBC broadcast a special on the case upon the successful return of the child to his father. The 2-hour special presented by Meredith Vieira was titled "Bringing Sean Home: The Untold Story". Parts of the exclusive interview and shots of the father-son reunion were broadcast on NBC's Today on 28 December 2009. Parts of this special were aired in Brazil by Rede Record newsmagazine Domingo Espetacular presented by Paulo Henrique Amorim, on 17 January 2010.
  • The season 20 episode of Law & Order titled Brazil was inspired by the custody case.
  • On April 27, 2012 Dateline aired an exclusive interview with Sean Goldman that was conducted by Meredith Vieira.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ GeneAll
  2. ^ (in Portuguese) Época magazine
  3. ^
  4. ^ Goldman Custody Battle: Grandmother Vows to Continue Battle in Brazilian Court
  5. ^ "Grandparents of Sean Goldman denied visitation". Archived from the original on 2011-10-15. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  6. ^ Brazil: Sean Goldman grandfather dies
  7. ^ H.R. 2702: To suspend the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil until such time as...
  8. ^ Rep Chris Smith: On Sean Goldman - Justice Delayed Again[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Return of Sean Goldman (Statement of Secretary of State Clinton, 2009-12-24)
  10. ^ Meredith Vieira: Transcript of Dateline NBC program "Bring Sean Home"
  11. ^ Rep. Christopher H. Smith in The Washington Times: Will Brazil Do The Right Thing
  12. ^ Huffington Post: Society Of Professional Journalists Slams NBC For Practicing 'Checkbook Journalism'

External links[edit]