Friday, October 11, 2013

Judge Genaro Gongora Pimentel: Ana Maria Orozco, How very powerful men can manipulate Mexico's Weak Judicial System !

MEXICO CITY — She was his secretary. He was none other than the chief justice of the Mexican Supreme Court.

She became his mistress, they had two children, but then they drifted apart.

It was the subsequent custody battle that was the real shocker. Ana Maria Orozco landed in prison after the father of her children, by then retired Judge Genaro Gongora Pimentel, accused her of fraud. There she languished, uncharged, for more than a year — set free only after supporters mounted a scathing publicity campaign.

The Gongora case is one of two high-profile custody fights that in recent months have illustrated how very powerful men can, critics say, manipulate Mexico's weak judicial system to their advantage over their children's mothers.

In the other case, still unresolved, the father is a former governor of the state of Mexico and a major political patron of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Both dramas have transfixed the Mexican public and stirred a battle cry among human rights advocates, especially feminists.

"Like this case, there are 70,000 more just like it," Edgar Elias, president of Mexico City's Superior Court, said when asked recently about the Gongora-Orozco conflict. "Many with prominent people, notables in the world of finance, politics."

Gongora, 76, is probably more than 30 years Orozco's senior. To hear her tell it, she agreed to their breakup but when she pressed him for additional child support, he refused and then in court accused her of fraud involving title to the house she lived in with the kids.

Though a civil case, a judge threw Orozco into prison last year. While Orozco was behind bars, the former justice went about building a case against her, including accusing her of abusing the children and trying to persuade Orozco's mother to testify to that effect, the family said.

Despite his judicial clout, Gongora quickly lost public support as details of the dispute emerged in the Mexican press. The specter of such a powerful man taking harsh legal action against the mother of his two small children, who are autistic, was unsettling. Once a respected jurist and an icon of the political left, Gongora found his reputation dragged through the mud amid the campaign to have Orozco released.

By Tracy Wilkinson

Los Angeles Times

Thursday‎, ‎October‎ ‎10‎, ‎2013

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