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DANIEL KESSLER v. MARY ANN GREGORY AND CATHOLIC CHARITIES (10/17/79)

filed: October 17, 1979.

DANIEL KESSLER, APPELLANT,
v.
MARY ANN GREGORY AND CATHOLIC CHARITIES, INC.



No. 1225 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, Civil Division, Entered on July 21, 1978 at No. 1978-399.

COUNSEL

Jon M. Lewis, Greensburg, for appellant.

Samuel R. DiFrancesco, Sr., Johnstown, for appellee Mary Ann Gregory.

Cercone, P. J., and Wieand and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 123]

Appellant contends, inter alia,*fn1 that the lower court erred in failing to file a comprehensive opinion fully discussing the evidence in support of its order awarding custody to appellee Mary Ann Gregory of their daughter Christine. We agree and, accordingly, vacate the order of the lower court and remand for a comprehensive opinion. In addition, because the record is incomplete, the hearing judge shall hold an additional hearing on remand consistent with this opinion.

Appellant and appellee Mary Gregory (hereinafter appellee) were married on November 29, 1975. The parties were divorced on May 13, 1977. Christine was born on August 31, 1977. Appellee placed Christine with Catholic Charities, Inc.*fn2 on September 3, 1977. On February 2, 1978, appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain custody of Christine. On July 14, 1978, appellee filed a counter-petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

The lower court held hearings on March 20, 1978, May 4, 1978, and July 17, 1978. Much of the testimony at these hearings concerned appellant's admission that, while he was married to appellee, he had engaged in transvestism (dressing in women's apparel) in the presence of appellee. Appellant sought medical treatment for this condition, and his psychiatrist, Dr. James Frye, testified that, in his opinion, appellant was cured. The record contains a report by William C. Ryan, M.D., who was retained by appellee to examine appellant, but Dr. Ryan was not called as a witness. The record also contains a report by James S. Burgbacher, M.D., who diagnosed appellee as suffering from "reactive depression." Dr. Burgbacher was not called to testify.

Appellant testified at the May 4, 1978, hearing that he graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and was employed as a marine safety inspector in the United States Coast Guard. His position with the Coast

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 124]

Guard was to end on June 23, 1978, and he had not yet secured new employment. Appellant stated that if he obtained custody of Christine, she would live temporarily in his parents' home. He described their home and stated that Christine would have her own bedroom.

Appellee testified at the July 17, 1978, hearing that she was a high school graduate and received practical nurse training for one year. She has not been employed since her marriage and is supported by her parents. Appellee stated that if she obtained custody of Christine, they would reside with appellee's sister and the sister's child in one part of appellee's parents' home. Appellee's parents also testified at the July 17 hearing.

The hearing judge, on March 20, 1978, issued an order directing Children's Services of Cambria County to evaluate the homes of the parents of appellant and appellee and submit a report to the court. However, such a report does not appear in the record, and no one from Children's Services testified at any of the hearings. On July 17, 1978, the hearing judge issued an order granting custody of Christine to appellee. The ...


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