Herkimer’s Rogue CPS Workers

Stephen Ames Berry

In March, in flagrant violation of New York law, two rogue Herkimer CPS workers, Sara Riente and Lisa Bates, abused their positions and took a malicious hand in a child custody court battle in another state. They acted so brazenly, so unprofessionally and so illegally under the color of authority that we think this sort of malfeasance has long been tolerated in Herkimer County.  

“Herkimer! Protect My Precious $on!”

In January of this year, we were subjected to false allegations of child abuse by our son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji, an Indian national, as he tried to gain sole custody of our two-year-old  grandson Avram in lieu of paying child support. 

Our daughter fled to our home with our grandson to escape the abuse and neglect of the two of them by Somangshu, a very glib professor of music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Avram’s not his natural son. According to our daughter’s Ann |Arbor MI family court filings, (Case 19-352-DC), in which she alleged spousal abuse and neglect, Somangshu never bought the child clothes or toys, and called him as “the little bastard.”  According to our daughter, Somangshu sold everything we ever sent  her and Avram, pocketing the money.  Here’s our grandson Avram in our home last January, with first-ever new clothes and toys:

Somangshu Mukherji son's first toys everHad our grandson remained here with his mother, the good professor might have ended up paying $1,000+ a month in child support until the child was 21. He seems to have done the math, as his feet barely touched the ground on his way to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody. To protect his “son”. 

Our daughter had barely filed her child support payment application before husband Somangshu reported her and us for child neglect and abuse with New York.  Herkimer Child Protection Worker Sara Riente promptly came to our house, spent fifteen minutes investigating our grandson’s safety, offered no criticism and left. She made one even shorter followup visit a month or so later.

In March, we received letters from from New York Child Welfare exonerating us of our son-in-law’s baseless accusations: “Unfounded” was the official finding.  Yet this was not the end of the matter.  Riente and her colleague Lisa Bates then came to son-in-law’s Somangshu’s aid in his Michigan custody case, giving him a document that was as defamatory of our family as it was illegal:

“At this time Avram does not meet the [standards of abuse or neglect]. [However] it does appear that it would be in the child’s best interest to be in the care of the parent who can provide access to regular medical care, a stable and sufficient and living environment and age appropriate supervision and care for a young child. Based on the evidence gathered during this investigation, this Department’s decision would be that [the mother] is not providing the above-mentioned care.”

Herkimer CPS Workers Riente and Bates Go Rogue

Apparently dismayed at finding our grandchild healthy, well-fed, well-clothed and safe with family of whom they seemingly disapproved, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates went rogue, colluding with our son-in-law: at his request, they wrote him an “official”Herkimer County Social Services letter, falsely stating that “it is the opinion of this Department” that our grandchild would be better off with his father. Our daughter only became aware of their poisonous letter when she received a copy of her husband’s public court filing, in which their illegal letter was offered as evidence of our daughter’s unfitness as a mother and of our home as” [not] stable and  [in]sufficient.”

Bogus Herkimer Social Services’ Letter Key Exhibit

In their venomous and illegal letter supporting our daughter’s husband, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates threw aside any pretense of impartiality and professionalism. They miscast their libelous opinions as “the finding of this Department.”

Seemingly not liking the “Unfounded” decision they were required to render under NY law as child protection workers, they magically morphed into Herkimer county workers to express a different “official” finding,  malfeasantly subverting the law they were supposed to uphold.  Our son-in-law’s attorney cited their letter as key evidence that our daughter was an unfit mother and ours “not a loving home, Your Honor.”  Their treachery and  helped abusive and neglectful “dad” Somangshu Mukherji retain custody of “the little bastard.”

Herkimer CPS Workers’ Defamatory Letter In Support Of Plaintiff Somangshu Mukhjeri

Somangshu Mukherji sneering
Somangshu Mukherji Sneering

Here’s Riente and Bates’ letter to my son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji. I’ve redacted just about all the confidential information they malfeasantly  revealed, except for their conclusion on page 2, in which they dispute the lawful conclusion New York law compelled them to reach. They falsely present their scurrilous opinion as an official finding of Herkimer County Social Services. 

Despite our daughter’s request that the Michigan court disregard the Herkimer CPS’ workers letter as a violation of New York law, the court did not exclude it.

After several court appearances, our daughter lost custody of her son and he was returned to his father in Michigan–a process that was yet another instance of Herkimer County employees playing fast and loose with the law. 

Reporting Herkimer County Child Protection Workers’ Malfeasance

New York law enforces the right to confidentiality by those investigated by social services workers. It is one of the strongest in the nation. CPS workers Riente and Bates’ letter is a violation  of confidentiality under 18 NYCRR 432.7 and Social Service Law §§422(4)(A) & 427- a(5)(d)], and the New York’s Child Protective Services Manual. It’s a Class A Misdemeanor. The only information that should have been released to the father was whether his complaint was “indicated” or “unfounded”.  Anything beyond that is a breech of confidentiality under New York law. New York has an excellent and concise guide to the procedure.

Filing Complaints About Herkimer CPS Workers’ Illegalities

If we tolerate outrageous and lawless conduct, it will continue.  Complaints about Herkimer Child Protection Workers’ actions should be sent to:

Sara Simon, Director
Syracuse Regional Office
NYS Office of Children and Family 
The Atrium, 100 S. Salina Street, Suite 350
Syracuse, NY 13202

New York Attorney General,  Bureau of Public Integrity

New York Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St., 19th Fl., New York,
NY 10004. Telephone: 212-607-3300

Sue Them

You can also sue.  In a case like our daughter’s, where the evidence of malfeasance is low-hanging fruit, an attorney might take the case for damages on a contingency fee basis. Herkimer CPS workers are probably not worth suing. New York State is a sovereign entity and can rarely be sued. But Herkimer County can be sued.

This is New York, not Alabama. We have laws to protect us from illegal actions such as those of Herkimer’s rogue CPS workers. Make the law work for you. 

Child protection workers who engage in lawless vendettas against struggling parents and families simply because they disapprove of them should find another vocation. 

Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid

Stephen Ames Berry

Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid was cunningly planned and brazenly executed. It could have succeeded but for the grandfather standing in the doorway. And the Herkimer Police.  

Above is my sneering son-in-law, Music Professor Somangshu Mukherji of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, lying derisively as he tries to make off with our two-year-old grandson under the guise of a court approved visitation. (Video below.) 

Our Grandson’s Not His Blood Relative
Somangshu’s a nontenured associate professor of Music and an Indian national. Our grandson’s not his blood relative. Somanghsu’s marriage to our severely bipolar American daughter enabled him to obtain his Green Card, the gateway to his professorship at a prestigious US  university. 

Court Judges Abusive Spouse Better Parent Than Loving Mom
In January, after years of forced isolation, neglect and abuse by Somangshu, our daughter and our grandson Avram escaped to our home in Herkimer New York. Somangshu was soon in pursuit. He had joint physical custody of the child at the time of his visit.  Over our daughter’s strenuous objections, the Ann Arbor MI Family Court (Case 19-352-DC), granted Somangshu an unsupervised visit.

Ann Arbor Michigan’s a university town. Its courts give even the nuttiest professor great deference. Its family court opened the way for Somangshu to try to snatch our grandson Avram and take him back to Michigan with no legal consequences and no additional legal fees. Most importantly, he’d avoid paying child support of at least $1,000 a month for Avram. Getting the kid into that waiting taxi and heading back for the airport would be Somangshu’s Mission Accomplished.  

Rude and Demanding and At Our Door – Video

Somangshu Mukherji's Raid

Somangshu Mukherji's Raid

Timeline of Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid
 0:01 – 0:30 Green Card Dad Somangshu Mukherji [SM] arrives via cab at our home from the airport. Storms the house. I open the door.
0:31 – 0:55 SM “Give me my son.” Avram’s his son on paper only, a Green Card son. His wife believes he signed the birth certificate to enhance his immigration status.
0:56 SM “I’m calling the police.” I remind him that he doesn’t have a lawful NY visitation order.
1:03 – 1:22 I advise SM that he is trespassing.
1:22 – 1:56 SM Refuses to let me step out onto my porch. I do anyway. SM again demands “my son.” I order him from our property. He refuses to leave. Happily, he’d rather be outed lying on camera than do anything I ask.

Somangshu’s Litany of Lies Begins
2:06 – 2:20 SM, still refusing to leave, calls Herkimer Police: “This is about a custody order I’m here to fulfill.” He has a Michigan court visitation order. Had he a custody order, he would have no authority to fulfill it: Somangshu Mukherji is a foreign national and a Michigan resident.
2:22- 2:58 SM complains to Herkimer Police that I am threatening him, and violating his unenforceable Michigan court order, which he now says is a visitation order.
2:59 SM complains to police that I am “harassing [him] openly.” 3:04 – 3:04  SM tells Herkimer police that I am “violating a standing custody order.” (He does not have a custody order from anywhere). Miscellaneous verbal abuse from SM.
3:55 – 4:21 BRIEF MOMENT OF TRUTH: SM gives police his name and cellphone number (908-705-5616).
4:24 SM falsely states that his taxi driver is a witness to my “harassing” him. The taxi is out of sight around the corner, the driver in the cab, as my videos attests.
4:30 SM tells Herkimer Police that he’s spoken with Herkimer County Undersheriff Scott Scherer. 
05:01 SM at last leaves our property to await the police. (Note: no taxi in sight.)

Herkimer Police Arrive
5:04 – 5:44 Herkimer Police arrive. (Officers Carbone and Holt.) SM meets them. I follow and point out that his court order is a visitation order, not a custody order, and not lawful in New York unless registered with a New York court, which expense SM has avoided.
06:00 – 06:25 I repeat same to Herkimer officers when they interview me. I note that SM was trespassing and harassing me and refused to leave when ordered. They send him on his way, directing him  to not return.

Somangshu Mukherji’s Retreat

06:27 – 06:57 SM leaves the area afoot. (Later spotted around the corner, presumably awaiting a cab to airport.)
06:58 – 08:27 SM complained to responding officers police that he fears his “son” is being abused by his pedophile grandfather, crazy grandmother and neglected by his psychotic mother. (It’s in their report.) They’re obligated to follow up. Which they do and leave. It’s the same toxic twaddle Somangshu Mukherji  previously filed with New York Child Protection Services. They closed the matter as “unfounded”.
08:28 – End  Before leaving the area, SM has friendly chat with the drug trafficking Barton Gang’s Joyce Barton, who delightedly spreads tales of our troubles to the neighbors. SM in his custody filings has already cited the Bartons’ criminal activities captured on our videos as evidence that dangerous the neighborhood is for our grandchild.

Somangshu Mukherji – a Scourge of God
I’ve known Somangshu Mukherji for 16 years. He’s gone from the seemingly  nice kid we saved from deportation when he was at Harvard (allegedly “academic dishonesty”) to a scourge of God on our family.  Our daughter, his wife, is terrified of him. Obviously he lies a lot. He may even believe what he’s saying because he’s saying it, classic behavior of a malignant narcissist.

Somangshu’s already established a working relationship with the Herkimer County Sheriff’s Department, which later aided him in the illegal taking of our grandchild. On this day Herkimer Police sent him packing. Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid is an chilling example of how easily a biased judge can empower a malevolent personality to ruin a child’s life.

Here’s Avram with his first-ever toys. He was almost 3 then. We bought them for him when he arrived in Herkimer. Somangshu, our daughter told the court, never once bought his beloved “son” clothes, shoes or toys. “Never a dime,” she said. Smartphones, clothes, toys, shoes sent our grandchild and our daughter he allegedly sold on eBay, pocketing the proceeds. His wife and son he dressed in castoff clothing, except for the nice winter coat her bought our daughter, so she could food shop for him, on foot. (She was required to wear shoes that were too large, lest she try to stray.) 

Somangshu Mukherji's Green Card son
2,1,19 Our grandson Avram at our home in Herkimer, NY, with his first toys ever. This is shortly after he and his mother’s at last escaped Avram’s allegedly abusive and neglectful Green Card dad.