Sean Goldman, the focus of an international custody battle between his father, David Goldman of Monmouth County, N.J., and his mother's family in Brazil, has told a psychologist he doesn't want to return to the United States.
The interview, conducted in Brazil at the request of his mother's family, was filed in federal court in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
David Goldman's attorney, Ricardo Zamariola Jr., said in a Supreme Court hearing in Brazil last week that the 9-year-old was under pressure from his mother's family and was unable to decide for himself whether he wanted to stay in Brazil.
A Brazilian judge ruled this month that the boy would have to come back to Tinton Falls, where his father lives.
Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, Sean's stepfather, obtained a decision in a court of appeals in Brazil to delay the boy's immediate return to the United States. Sean's mother, Bruna Bianchi, died last year.
It is unclear when the court will issue a final decision on custody.
Arranged by the Brazilian family, the interview occurred in a hospital in Rio on Monday, and was witnessed through a one-way mirror by 13 people, including a family judge. The transcript, released by Lins e Silva's attorneys, revealed a boy upset with the possibility of leaving his Brazilian family.
"I want respect. I want to stay in Brazil," Sean said. "If I go there [to the United States], I'll start to break everything. . . . I will go crazy."
Bianchi took Sean to her native Brazil on a vacation in June 2004. When she got to Rio, she asked Goldman for a divorce, and three years later, she married Lins e Silva, a member of a prominent family of lawyers.
Bianchi died in August while giving birth to a daughter. Lins e Silva filed a request for permanent custody of Sean, claiming "socio-affective paternity" of the boy. On June 1, a judge ruled that Sean had to come back to his father.
Zamariola said the federal court in Rio had designated three experts to conduct a psychological evaluation over five months. Their report, submitted to the court this year, stated that Sean was afraid to disappoint his stepfather and his grandparents by agreeing to live with his father.
After his mother's death, Sean did not want to put them through another loss, the report stated.
"This is a heavy burden, even for an adult. Imagine that on the shoulders of a 9-year-old," Zamariola said in the Supreme Court hearing.
In an interview yesterday, Goldman's attorney would not comment on Sean's interview because it had not been officially released.
Sergio Tostes, Lins e Silva's attorney, said the purpose of Monday's interview was to show the court that the decision to send Sean back to New Jersey was "brutal."
If Sean leaves Brazil, "he will never go back," Tostes said.
In his conversation with psychologist Terezinha Feres-Carneiro, a specialist in family intervention, Sean said he feared that he would never see his Brazilian relatives again. He said he did not have many memories of the United States. He complained that his father had not shown up for previous meetings with him and that he "changed a lot."
"He is faking suffering, I can tell. . . . I don't trust him," said the boy, according to a transcript released by Tostes' office on Wednesday.
Tostes said that he also planned to appeal a judge's recent ruling that Sean must remain with his father six days a week when his father is in Brazil.