The words were desperate and pleading.

"I am very afraid for my child's safety and mental development with her deranged father," Cherone Coleman wrote to Family Court in Queens in late April. "Father is losing a grip on reality and I honestly feel my child is in danger while in his care."

Coleman and her fiancé, Martin Pereira, had recently broken up, and he had weekend visitation rights with their 3-year-old daughter, Autumn. But his behaviour had grown erratic and frightening, and Coleman was hoping the judicial referee would stop the visits.

The referee declined to intervene. Less than two

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"He's freaking me out"

The credibility battle

No way to comfort