Lexi Dillon Case: What Caused An Expert to Change His Mind?
I spoke recently with Dean Tong, false allegations trial expert and child abuse expert, internationally recognized for his work as a family rights and forensic consultant on child abuse, domestic violence, and child custody cases according to his website and Wikipedia.
Tong informed me that, “I was hired by Lexi’s father, Mahathep ‘Matthew’ Srikureja, in June 2013, because the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) was considering the filing of criminal charges against Srikureja, alleging lewd and lascivious acts and child sexual abuse pertaining to his daughter, Lexi.”
Tong said that he was given limited information to review by Srikureja, through his attorneys, even though he had requested a number of court documents and other information, in order to assess the case and render an expert opinion.
Tong said, “I requested progress notes of two therapists involved in treating Lexi.” “One of the therapists had been hired by Srikureja,” according to Tong, “However, neither therapist provided progress notes as requested.”
Tong also said, “I was led to believe that the therapist hired by the father was appointed by the court but that turned out not to be true.”
In addition, Tong said, “I asked Srikureja to submit to a psychosexual risk assessment but he never submitted to it.” Such assessments are used to assess the risk level of a person and sexual inappropriateness toward a minor child.
According to Tong, “I later learned that when Srikureja hired me he was in Canada and wasn’t available to take the psychosexual risk assessment in the US.” “Moreover, Srikureja remained “in absentia” (absent from court) in Canada for several court hearings that took place at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange County, California in 2013 and 2014.”
Tong also said, “I was never given the multiple Child Abuse Supporting Team (CAST) interviews, that had been recorded on DVD, and that I had requested.” Tong indicated that these interviews are regularly recorded with a CAST Interviewer and the child together in a room.
“A police officer and Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) worker are present during the interview behind a mirror in a separate side room.” “Lexi would not have been able to see the police officer behind the mirror,” according to Tong. Tong indicated that these CAST interviews are crucial for an expert to review in order to render findings and an opinion on the spontaneity, reliability, validity, and trustworthiness of the child’s responses, or lack thereof.”
Tong said, “I was provided some intake information by DCFS, a timeline prepared by Srikureja and some drawings that Lexi had purportedly made from the therapist hired by Srikureja.”
Tong stated that, “I was also provided with 300 pages of discovery by Srikureja’s attorneys.”
After reviewing the limited and incomplete information, Tong said, “I was asked to provide Srikureja’s criminal attorney with an email giving my opinion about the case investigation.”
Tong said, “I sent an email based on the information that I had at the time which was incomplete.” Tong stated that, “Looking back, I now believe that this email was requested to help Srikureja’s attorneys win Srikureja’s criminal case.”
The criminal case against Srikureja was subsequently dismissed in September 2013 by the DA, based upon information that had been received, including the email from Tong.
Following the conclusion of Srikureja’s criminal case, Ruby Dillon, Lexi’s mother, according to Tong, reached out to him for help.” Tong said, “Ruby gave me 3300 pages of discovery instead of the 300 pages of discovery that I had been given by Srikureja’s attorneys.”
After reading the 3,300 pages of legal documents, Tong said, “That’s when I knew I had been a pawn used to beat the criminal case against Srikureja.”
Tong said he was convinced after seeing the evidence that he needed to contact the court and submit a declaration to help Lexi.
Tong said, “I, without taking any money from the mother, prepared a declaration to the Orange County Family Court (OCFC) and Judge Glenn R. Salter.” Tong indicated that, “My declaration essentially told Judge Salter that I questioned the accuracy of Judge Waltz’s Final Statement of Decision that Mahatep Srikureja did not sexually abuse his daughter and that Ruby Dillon coached her daughter to make false allegations of child sexual abuse against father.”
Tong recalls recently, “I received a 5 page fax from Judge Salter, regarding an Order to Show (OSC) the Judge filed against himself.” “The OSC said that I was being held in contempt of court with sanctions against me and that he was ordering me to retract my declaration.”
Tong said, “I was also ordered by Judge Salter to destroy the 3,300 pages of discovery that I had received from Ruby Dillon and approximately 500 emails between the clients, their attorneys, and myself.”
Tong said, “Although an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to argue the Judge’s OSC, the Judge took the hearing off calendar and I was never able to provide testimony.”
Tong stated that he is still bothered by a number of other facts in this case even though he is no longer involved in it.
Tong said that, “In a case involving allegations of child sexual abuse in a Family Law case, a ‘3118’ expert (California Family Code, Section 3118) is appointed so that the issue of sexual abuse can be resolved.” “This did not occur in Lexi’s case.”
Tong stated that, “Judge Salter took the word of a police officer that Lexi was not sexually molested but instead, was coached by her mother.” Tong argues that this is not expert testimony and should not have been used in place of expert testimony.
Also, Tong was adamant in his statements to me that he based his information solely on the incomplete documentation that he had received. He stated further, and was just as firm in his stance, that, “I never gave an opinion as to whether sexual misconduct occurred on the part of Srikureja because I was not given all of the evidence to review before I could render an opinion.”
Tong added, in hindsight, “Pursuant to Rule 704, only the Judge or Jury (Judge in this case) is supposed to make a determination on ‘The Ultimate Issue’, whether or not Lexi was in fact sexually abused.” “And, in my opinion, Judge Waltz acted outside of his judicial authority and became this case’s 3118 expert when he ruled Ruby Dillon coached her child.” “Coaching in a child sex abuse case should not be unilaterally decided upon by a Judge,” said Tong. “That is for an expert to decide.”
Tong went on to say that, “In my opinion, there was no evidence that I saw which shows that the mother coached Lexi, as had been testified to by the police officer.”
Additionally, Tong said that it concerns him that, “Dr. Sheffner, the court-appointed M.D. Psychiatrist and 730 child custody evaluator, also never saw Lexi’s multiple CAST DVD interviews.”
Finally, Tong stated that he was also concerned that, “The Family Law Judge at the time, Judge Waltz (the judge prior to Judge Salter), gave sole custody to the father based upon Waltz’s belief that the mother had made false allegations of sexual abuse against the father, while the criminal case pertaining to this issue was still ongoing and unresolved.”
It would appear that there are many unresolved issues and concerns in this case that may need to be revisited at some later time.
However, what is clear, is that Lexi Dillon appears to be no closer to being returned to her mother than she was following Judge Waltz’s ruling that awarded sole custody to her father, Srikureja over a year ago.
And chillingly, where is Lexi Dillon? Who has custody of her and who is raising her? Is Lexi Dillon’s “best interest” superseding everything else in this convoluted case? YOU be the Judge!