Dads Against the Divorce Industry

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Toogood agrees to steps for regaining custody (/Oh BTW, She's a Thief)


October 23, 2002

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A woman caught on videotape beating her 4-year-old daughter must undergo counseling and take classes in parenting and rage control before she can regain custody of her child, a judge ordered today.

Probate Judge Peter Nemeth also ordered that Madelyne Toogood, 25, a self-described Irish Traveler who follows her husband around the country as he looks for seasonal work, must maintain stable housing, maintain consistent contact with the Office of Family and Children and visit her daughter, Martha, regularly.

She also must complete a parenting assessment and follow all recommendations.

Her husband, John Toogood, 29, was ordered to maintain stable employment, stable housing and to complete a parenting assessment and follow its recommendations.

The requirements were requested by the state Office of Family and Children. The Toogoods, who declined to comment today to reporters, agreed to the stipulations.

Their attorney, Fred Hains, said the Toogoods already have started meeting some of the requirements, such as Madelyne Toogood taking the required classes.

State authorities have said that if the Toogoods meet all the requirements, they likely will be reunited with their daughter in six months to a year.

The girl is now living with her maternal grandmother, Mary Agnes Gorman, who moved to the South Bend area so she could be the girl's foster parent. The Toogoods are allowed weekly visits.

Madelyne Toogood surrendered to police last month after a surveillance camera videotape from a Mishawaka department store was played on newscasts around the nation showing her repeatedly hitting and shaking her child.

Toogood is free on $7,000 bail facing charges of battery to a child and false informing after police say she gave a false address.

Toogood had a not guilty plea entered on her behalf Monday in LaGrange Circuit Court on a charge she and her sister stole fabric from a department store in Shipshewana in August.

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