Kelly Rutherford has lashed out at the New York judge who ordered her children to return to their father in Monaco, after a near-drowning incident involving her daughter Helena has resurfaced.
A woman filed an affidavit claiming she rescued Helena from a hotel pool, while under Daniel Giersch’s care.
Layla Lisiewski, who lives in Connecticut, said she remembers the scary incident at Tuckers Point Hotel and Spa in 2012.
Rutherford found about about the near-drowning because a friend of Lisiewski lived in the same building as the former Gossip Girl actress and told her.
Kelly contacted Lisiewski directly and she filed an affidavit about the incident which was filed as part of court documents in Rutherford’s 2012 custody case against Giersch.
The near-drowning story was published by People magazine on the same day that Rutherford, whose children flew out of the US to be reunited with their father in Europe.
Lisiewski’s affidavit described how she had noticed a little blonde girl and her brother near the hotel pool playing with little squirt bottles.
She assumed that the man she had seen previously with the children and who was also sitting poolside was their father.
She noticed the little girl walk toward her side of the pool, apparently to fill her squirt bottle.
Lisiewski turned away for a moment and heard a splash and looked back to see the little girl was in the water.
Lisiewski affidavit stated, “In a split second, I looked toward the man, whom I assumed was the children’s father, and then around the pool to locate a staff member. No one seemed to have noticed Helena fall into the pool. There was no other sound other than the splash, since Helena was completely submerged at this point.
“I grabbed Helena and pulled her out of the water. Her eyes were huge with shock and fear. I was concerned that her mouth was closed; she was not gasping for air. I instinctively and firmly patted her in the middle of her back, which caused her to throw up quite a bit of water. Helena started whimpering, which relieved me, as I thought at least I knew she was breathing…
“As soon as the man [Giersch] saw me holding his daughter, who was still whimpering, he jumped over and ran to us. He appeared terrified and took Helena from my arms.”
Kelly Rutherford, 46, defied a court order last week to send the two children back to Giersch as scheduled after a summer visit. She was summoned to appear in court in New York with the children on Tuesday.
The judge ordered Helena, six, and Hermes, eight, to be turned over to their paternal grandmother and returned to their father in Monaco. The children flew back to Nice with their grandmother on Tuesday night.
Rutherford married Giersch in 2006 while pregnant with Hermes, and she filed for divorce in 2008 while pregnant with Helena.
In 2012, the California Superior Court ruled the parents should maintain joint custody of the children and that since Giersch is unable to travel to America because of visa problems that Helena and Hermes should live in France with him, with their mother traveling to visit them.
Rutherford has been trying to win sole custody of the children ever since.
In her bitter statement Tuesday, she said the decision to send the children back to live with their father in Europe ‘was the most cruel act against a child I have ever witnessed in my entire life.’
The actress said, “Never in my worst nightmares did I envision the children’s father to angrily, and unlawfully take legal action in New York to cause my children further pain, by demanding their forced exile beyond an already too long period of three years. Nor did I envision a judge [of] my own country violating the Constitution and adding to my children’s suffering by indulging his tactics”.
A custody hearing has now been set for September 3 in Monaco.
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