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Campaign to Bring Back to US Boy Abducted to Brazil Gathers Momentum

David and Sean Goldman David and Sean Goldman

David and Sean Goldman On June 16, 2004, Sean Goldman, born in New Jersey, then at age 4, was abducted by his mother, Bruna Bianchi Goldman, from the United States to Brazil. Ever since the kidnapping, David Goldman, Sean's father, has waged a legal battle to have Sean returned as required by U.S. law and an international treaty signed by both the U.S. and Brazil.

After Bruna's recent death, the man recently married to her was shockingly awarded temporary custody by a Brazilian court.

Through rallies, email campaigns and petitions, supporters of Sean and David Goldman have taken their fight to the public. Leveraging the power of the Internet, they aim to create public awareness and outrage in both the United States and Brazil for the plight of this father and son.

The central point of this effort is their website, http://bringseanhome.org. The site serves as the central location for all information and planning to help spread the news of this tragic story.

Visitors can sign the on-line petition, follow links to published news videos and stories, sign up to receive news updates, or leave a comment on the blog. Additionally, there is contact information for U.S. elected and diplomatic officials, Brazilian officials, human rights organizations, media and many, many others.

Over 15% of those who have signed the petition have not been from the United States, and many are from Brazil.  Several native Brazilians have contributed to the effort by translating information and news stories into Portuguese. This is evidence that the campaign truly is an international battle against a grave injustice.

On December 12th, many of the supporters gathered in front of the Brazilian consulate in New York city. Beneath banners declaring  "Bring Sean Home", they handed out flyers and collected signatures for the petition. This event was covered by local news and included a quote from the Brazilian consul.

The campaign has been quite successful in the United States in raising awareness, and is increasing in momentum in Brazil as well. Tens of thousands of "hits" have been recorded at the website, and national news outlets are beginning to cover the story.

As a result of the increased exposure, David has been able to speak with U.S. and Brazilian officials and has been invited to appear on several upcoming national news programs.

Many Brazilian officials realize that this type of publicity is not good for Brazil, especially given these difficult economic times. Time and again, human rights violations have proven to generate worldwide attention.

Brazil has taken strides in addressing the issues of slave labor and indigenous people's rights, strides that were necessary in order for it to be truly considered an emerging nation. But other issues remain, including the failures of its justice system.

It is yet to be proven that this campaign has been completely effective for one simple reason: Sean remains in Brazil. But it is a certainty that the voice of the people – not the American people, but people from all nations who abhor injustice and  human rights violations – is being heard.

The Story

On June 16, 2004, David Goldman said goodbye to his son, Sean, at Newark Airport, in Newark, New Jersey. He didn't know it at the time but his wife, Bruna, was in the process of abducting Sean and taking him to Brazil with no intention of ever returning.  In the United States and under international law, this is called kidnapping.

Brazil is a participating member in an international agreement known as the Hague Treaty, which deals with several issues related to international child custody including custodial kidnapping.  As per this treaty, Sean should have been returned to the United States for a hearing to determine a custodial agreement.

Instead, Sean's mother retained Brazilian lawyers who successfully sought a Brazilian custodial award for the mother simply on the basis that Brazilian law favors the mother.  This was accomplished in spite of the Brazilian Central Authorities stated position that Sean should be returned to the United States.

The case took a bizarre turn when Bruna Goldman divorced David in Brazilian court and preceded to marry her lawyer, João Paulo Lins e Silva, and expert in international family law, including child custody cases. Soon after, Bruna died suddenly during child birth.

Upon hearing of Bruna's passing, David Goldman immediately flew to Brazil to seek custody of Sean.  Much to his surprise, "temporary" custody was awarded to Lins e Silva on the basis that during this difficult time, the child needed his familiar surroundings. No mind that these surroundings were familiar because of the fact that he had been illegally kept there for nearly two years.

For four years, David Goldman has fought a desperate and expensive legal battle for custody of his son, first against the mother Bruna and now against João Paulo Lins e Silva and his father, Paulo Lins e Silva, an internationally known lawyer.  During that time he has never been permitted to see Sean.

This legal battle has generated several acts on the part of the Lins e Silva's. They have delayed at every possible step.  They have fought to have all information pertaining to this case banned from Brazilian media.

They have defied Federal Judiciary visitation orders. They have counter sued David Goldman, claiming that his public interviews have damaged their international reputations.

Service

People are invited to visit http://bringseanhome.org and see what they can do to help.

Stephen Wash is a friend of David Goldman.

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  • Show Comments (12)

  • Kathy Atkinson

    There is only one story
    I need to correct you – there is only one story – not two –

    David and Bruna were not divorsed when she got on that plane to Brazil – She left David behind thinking she was going on a 2 week hoilday to her family. Nothing indicated that there was anything wrong in their marriage…….Bruna divorsed David from Brazil – without him being present – without him even knowing……….

  • Paulo Vito

    All i can say is Brazillians think they can do as they like and people just have to take it. My fomer partner was Brasillian and his whole family was a Bunch of Brasillian Scum Bags. Now seeing what the guy Lins e Silva is doing is typical Brasillian ways. Doing what they want. Well this time the Brasillians are being put in ther place because the people of the U.S.A. are NOT going to take it and we are standing behind this David Goldman till he brings his son back home here in the U.S.A……Mr Goldman keep up the fight and know we are ALL behind you and our prayers are with you. Get YOUR SON and never look back…….As for Joao Paulo Lins e Silva and his family and Brunas famila you are ALL the lowest for of life……

  • vivian

    A custodia do filho eh da mae, se for boa mae o filho sempre vai preferir a mae! e por essa razao nao eh
    sequestro, porque o filho vem do ventre da matre, ele se casou com uma mulher de outra nacionalidade!
    que chato!!!!! A lei dos EUA eh ridicula!!!!! eles tiram filho de mae!!!!! por isso que os filhos nem querem mais ver a mae depois que crescem!!!!!!
    O Brazil protege as maes eh um pais que entende o MATRIO PODER!!!!!!!!!
    Esse cara dancou quando perdeu o vinculo de amor com o filho, quando nao compreendeu isso!!!!!! ele escreveu esse fim.

  • JP

    Message to BO
    BO

    The type of person who voted against your post might be the same type of person as bruna and the silvas. There are, unfortunately, people in this world who commit atrocities and evils but do not believe that they are wrong. Morever, some believe that their unwarrated evil is actually justified or even good. Obviously, these type of people do not exist on the same moral and logical plane that we live on. Confronting them with their amorality or illogic is often futile as they just do not get it. Look at Bruna. It appears that she did not believe that what she was doing was an atrocious evil cast upon both Sean and David. One could rightfully say that she was consumed by selfishness and therefore could not see past herself to recognize the disastrous affects she was having on innocent victims. Dealing with these type of people is a frustrating burden on those who think rationally and have a functioning moral compass. The person who voted against you might have something to say, but I doubt that we will hear it. Many people are afraid to have their ideas and beliefs known and challenged in fear that they will be either proven wrong and/or shamed. As far as I am concerned, unless the person steps up and accepts your challenge to be reveal his/herself, you might as well consider the vote to be posthumously casted by Bruna herself.

  • forrest allen brown

    THIS GOES TO SHOW THE US EMBASSY
    IN BRASIL IS ONLY THERE TO SELL VISAS TO BOOTH RICH AND CROOKS

    when it come down to doing something to deal with the rights of
    US citisens in brasil they are a bunch of spineless scum bottom feeders
    living high on the hog in brasil and doing nothing for there pay .

    the US could save billions not having to employ them and rent there
    high priced apartments , pay there over priced salries ,
    they are like a bunch of clown shoes
    just something to look and and serve no practial purpose

    not much more than brasilian politicans mouth pices

  • bo

    [quote]…
    written by lisa caruso, December 19, 2008
    Is there no recourse for the people of Brazil?? The honest, hardworking and ethically stable people of Brazil?? Or, are they all under the complete control of the likes of Lins e Silva family and their ethically challenged and criminal cohorts?? Is there ANY VOICE for the decent people of Brazil????

    Sean Goldman has ONE biological father. Had Bruna not succumbed to her own circumstance, Sean could have gone on to have had a NUMBER of other men in his life professing to be ‘father figures’. These people are ‘replaceable’, but loving, BIOLOGICAL fathers re NOT. And although he’s most likely unaware due to the devious nature of of Lins e Silva and his maternal grandparents, Sean’s father has lgone to the ends of the earth to see him. David’s always loved him and has been trying to stay in his life.

    Unknowingly, Sean was bamboozled by his mother in her abduction of him from the U.S. and is now being similarly bamboozled by a person of no genetic relation to him. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR THIS CHILD????
    report abuse
    vote down
    vote up
    [b]Votes: -1[/b] [/quote]

    What piece of human garbage would’ve made that vote….would love to know.

  • Marie Crescenzi

    A Call to Arms for Brazilians
    À¢€œAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.À¢€Â

    These prophetic words from French visionary Blaise Pascal are most relevant to the injustice that exists today in Brazil. Thanks to many good people who have spoken out there is a growing awareness of a situation that cries out for justice and decency. Special thanks to those Brazilian people who have signed this petition and expressed their dismay, and even outrage, that their government leaders and judges have not had the courage to right this injustice. If only more of the citizens of Brazil were aware of this situation, many more good people would have the opportunity to do something that could convince the authorities in Brazil to do the right thing and send Sean home to his biological father. One of the many aspects of this evil is that the people with custody of Sean Goldman have obtained a À¢€œgag orderÀ¢€Â from a Brazilian court that prevents the press and other media in Brazil from publicizing this case. Fortunately, through this forum and other internet portals, the good people of Brazil can be informed and motivated.

    So please, Brazilians, be aware that your countryÀ¢€™s reputation in the eyes of the world is being tarnished, even to the point of disgrace, by the self-serving actions of a few people who are circumventing the law. But clearly, not all government officials, not even all judges, and certainly not all people of Brazil are deserving of blame. The lack of effective government action in the four and a half years since SeanÀ¢€™s abduction points to the need for a grass-roots movement by the good people of Brazil. Please, get the word out À¢€“ do not forget those without internet access, and then in a democratic republic the people can tell their government leaders that they want this injustice to stop. Once informed, I trust that the Brazilian people will know how to motivate those in authority to abide by their wishes. I believe only the good people of Brazil are capable of demanding the proper action in a timely manner before this situation becomes even more tragic.

    ————————-

    “Para que o mau prevaleÀƒ§a, Àƒ© necessÀƒ¡rio somente que os Homens do Bem nÀƒ£o faÀƒ§am nada.”

    Essas palavras profÀƒ©ticas do visionÀƒ¡rio francÀƒªs Blaise Pascal sÀƒ£o totalmente relevantes frente ÀƒÂ  injustiÀƒ§a que hoje existe no Brasil. GraÀƒ§as a muitas pessoas do bem que resolveram falar, Àƒ© que hoje existe uma conscientizaÀƒ§Àƒ£o maior sobre essa situaÀƒ§Àƒ£o que implora por justiÀƒ§a e descÀƒªncia. Um obrigado especial a todos os brasileiros que assinaram a petiÀƒ§Àƒ£o e expressaram seu inconformismo, atÀƒ© mesmo espanto, com relaÀƒ§Àƒ£o aos LÀƒ­deres Governamentais e JuÀƒ­zes que nÀƒ£o tiveram a coragem de corrigir essa injustiÀƒ§a. Se mais cidadÀƒ£os brasileiros tivessem conhecimento dessa situaÀƒ§Àƒ£o, vÀƒ¡rias outras pessoas do bem teriam a oportunidade de fazer algo para convencer as Autoridades Brasileiras a fazer justiÀƒ§a e enviar Sean de volta ao seu lar. Um dos aspectos mais diabÀƒ³lico desse caso Àƒ© que as pessoas que hoje mantÀƒ©m a custÀƒ³dia de Sean Goldman conseguiram uma ordem duvidosa do mesmo Tribunal para impedir qualquer divulgaÀƒ§Àƒ£o do caso na imprensa ou qualquer outro meio de comunicaÀƒ§Àƒ£o brasileiro.

    Desta forma, brasileiros, saibam que a reputaÀƒ§Àƒ£o do seu paÀƒ­s perante a comunidade mundial estÀƒ¡ sendo degradada, atÀƒ© o ponto de total discrÀƒ©dito, tudo pela aÀƒ§Àƒ£o de uma minoria que burla a lei. PorÀƒ©m, sabemos, claramente, que nem todas as autoridades, nem mesmo todos os juÀƒ­zes e, certamente, nem o povo brasileiro merecem tal fama. A falta de atitude do governo durante mais de 4 anos, desde que Sean foi sequestrado, aponta para a necessidade de um movimento profundo e intenso capitaneado pelo bom povo do Brasil. Por favor, divulguem esse caso. NÀƒ£o se esqueÀƒ§am daqueles sem acesso ÀƒÂ  Internet. E entÀƒ£o, num paÀƒ­s democrÀƒ¡tico, o povo dirÀƒ¡ a seus lÀƒ­deres governamentais que a injustiÀƒ§a deve ser sanada urgentemente.

    Uma vez informados, acreditamos que o povo brasileiro saberÀƒ¡ como motivar aqueles no poder a obedecer seus desejos. Acreditamos que somente o bom povo do Brasil serÀƒ¡ capaz de agir corretamente, rapidamente, antes que essa situaÀƒ§Àƒ£o se torne uma tragÀƒ©dia ainda maior.

  • lisa caruso

    Is there no recourse for the people of Brazil?? The honest, hardworking and ethically stable people of Brazil?? Or, are they all under the complete control of the likes of Lins e Silva family and their ethically challenged and criminal cohorts?? Is there ANY VOICE for the decent people of Brazil????

    Sean Goldman has ONE biological father. Had Bruna not succumbed to her own circumstance, Sean could have gone on to have had a NUMBER of other men in his life professing to be ‘father figures’. These people are ‘replaceable’, but loving, BIOLOGICAL fathers re NOT. And although he’s most likely unaware due to the devious nature of of Lins e Silva and his maternal grandparents, Sean’s father has lgone to the ends of the earth to see him. David’s always loved him and has been trying to stay in his life.

    Unknowingly, Sean was bamboozled by his mother in her abduction of him from the U.S. and is now being similarly bamboozled by a person of no genetic relation to him. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR THIS CHILD????

  • bo

    What can one say?
    [quote]It also happens that NEARLY EVERY COUNTRY, DEVELOPED OR EMERGING, JUDGES AND LAWS will give the custody of the child to the parent whith whom the child is.[/quote]

    What you have neglected to take into account is that the family was living in the U.S. The child was born in the U.S. Sean’s parents were married and he was taken to brazil by his mother to VISIT his grandparents, not to go to brazil and never return. We all know that David would have never allowed nor agreed to that. This is called parental kidnapping. Under the Hague Treaty a child’s custody is to be decided in the country of “HABITUAL RESIDENCE”. In this case the U.S. And in the case of Sean Goldman he should’ve been returned to the U.S. within SIX WEEKS…..it’s now been 4 years.

    And JoÀƒ£o, there is no ransom theories here. The carioca grandparents are behind this lock, stock, and barrel.

    A similiar situation happened in my state here in Brazil some years ago. The brazilian mother died. The local and state courts here gave custody to the brazilian grandparents over the American father. The American father finally won at the federal level.

    A case much like this also happened but to the contrary. A american father took his american/brazilian child, that was born in Brazil to New Jersey and said they would not return. The state of New Jersey found the father and child, took custody of the child, and returned him to his brazilian mother in Brazil. Afterall, the U.S. participates in the Hague Council. Participant countries are supposed to abide by their rules….aren’t they? Isn’t that what it’s all about afterall?

  • João da Silva

    [quote]I need to correct you – there is only one story – not two – [/quote]

    Thanks Kathy for correcting Ch.C. But as a person who has been following this story for quite sometime, I could make easily understand what Ch.c is saying. Lets forget about his long lecture or the “Two Stories”. His [b]verdict[/b] is that Sean should be returned to his [i][b]living[/b][/i] parent. He is quite familiar with the Geneva and The Hague conventions and I ain’t going to argue with him.

    IMHO, the stepfather is holding the child for a ransom for unknown reasons. End of Story.

  • ch.c.

    Wellll…there are 2 stories in that story !
    STORY 1
    – There is a child whose parents divorce and one decides to leave the country and go back to his country home.
    That happens all the time in all countries, where the parent losing the child finds correctly this is injustice. But what about if this
    would have been the other way around ? The Injustice would have been as injust !
    It also happens that NEARLY EVERY COUNTRY, DEVELOPED OR EMERGING, JUDGES AND LAWS will give the custody of the child to the parent whith whom the child is.
    THAT SEEMS INJUST FOR THE OTHER PARTY, BUT AS SAID WOULD HAVE BEEN AS INJUST FOR THE OTHER PARTY IF HE/SHE LOST the custody ! right ?

    STORY 2
    TYPICALLY A PROOF OF BRAZILIAN TOTAL INJUSTICE TO NOT RETURN THE CHILD TO THE LIVING PARENT IN CASE OF THE OTHER PARENT DEATH !

    But in Brazil…INJUSTICE IS A WAY OF LIFE EVEN AGAINST THEIR OWN CITIZENS…WITH ONE OF THE WORLD HIGHEST WEALTH AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY.
    Everything wrong…is normal in Brazil. It is in their genes, in their blood, in their soul. They could not live or think otherwise.
    UNFAIR AND UNCOMMON SENSE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF JUSTICE FOR BRAZILIANS !
    FAIR AND COMMON SENSE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF INJUSTICE FOR BRAZILIANS !

    Simple as that !

  • bo

    What can one say?
    This is a classic example of B-R-A-Z-I-L!!!

    Que Vergonha!!!! 🙁

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