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CONTACT 13: More moms come forward to say Family Court judge is bully on bench

Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 22:11:03-05

More mothers are coming forward to Contact 13 saying a Family Court judge is a bully on the bench, accusing her of ripping families apart, failing to enforce child support orders and leaving children as collateral damage. 

"You don't understand. I love her. And I'm gonna miss her so much. Please don't do this to me!"  

Those are the words of a tear-stricken 12-year-old girl who'd been home-schooled in her mother's ballet studio for three years since her parents divorce... Pleading to stay with her mom, but being ripped from the home and the life she'd known.

"You're to take her with you," Judge Rena Hughes tells the girl's father in a June hearing.

Girl, crying: No!! I don't want to. 
Judge Hughes: That's too bad.

"She's such a bully. She's horrible!" said Welthy, the girl's mother. "This woman is horrible. I don't understand her motivation."

In court, Judge Hughes said the child's mother was alienating her from her father. But even he was not happy about the way the judge handled things, according to a comment he posted on social media. 

Judge Hughes' seeming disregard for the child is not an isolated case according to other mothers who've gone before her.

"It breaks my heart," Marisella Barry said after watching the court video. "I don't think she's fit for that bench. She's hurt too many families."

Marisella Barry raised two children on her own after a divorce. 

Documents from the District Attorney's Child Support Division show her ex-husband owes more than $10,000 in back child support.

"He's getting off paying the child support arrears when my children and I had to be on the SNAP program. We had to go get food from the food pantries because she's not holding him accountable."

Despite multiple rulings from previous judges, Rena Hughes let the children's father off the hook.

"I understand that the hearing master tried to overrule me but that's not gonna happen. I'm granting his objection," Judge Hughes said in a video from the court hearing.

"That is money owed to my children and I feel that their rights were violated," Marisella told Contact 13.

Marisella, Welthy and other moms we've spoken to believe Judge Hughes is biased against women.

Darcy Spears: Did you just feel like there was disrespect?
Marisella: Absolutely! Disrespect. Unfairness.

Both women will continue fighting their cases, but for Welthy, it'll all be hidden from public view. 

Judge Hughes sealed the case soon after the court video surfaced on You Tube.

"If you don't want people to know you are doing bad things, don't do bad things," Welthy said.

No one from Family Court would comment on the judge's behavior. 

A spokesperson sent a statement saying custody cases can be highly contentious and everyone has a right to appeal.