Mother squares off against sex offender ex

September 5, 2008 8:47:51 PM PDT
A convicted sex offender wants a place in his daughter's life again. It's become a showdown between a mother and her imprisoned ex-husband. She's scared the sex offender is going to strike again and wants to make sure when he gets out of prison, he can't get to their daughter. She tells us the lengths she's going to in order to make sure her daughter is protected.

It is for Catherine Friddle, a home movie that turns into a horror film.

"I see it all the time," she said.

It was a night 8 years ago.

"I woke up and my husband wasn't in the room," said Friddle.

Walking down the hall, Friddle says she found her then husband in her 11-year-old daughter's bed.

"Her panties were pulled down and he had an (expletive)," said Friddle.

Despite his arousal, he said nothing was happening. Regardless, her then husband, Greg Wellman, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault on his stepdaughter and failing to comply with the a sex offender registry while out on an appeal bond.

Wellman was sentenced to seven and a half years in Texas prisons. He will be released in May, and wants to be a father again.

The victim in this case is now an adult, but Wellman and Friddle had a child together before the assault took place. Wellman wants to be a part of her life when he's released.

"My goal now is to protect my children from him," said Friddle.

On Monday, Friddle is going to court to terminate Wellman's parental rights.

"My daughter's life is not worth putting on the table to see if he'll do it again," she said.

"What our judicial system has done to this man, it's just unforgivable," said George Dana, Wellman's lawyer.

Wellman, the incarcerated convicted sex offender, is not willing to step out of his daughter's life. He says he didn't do it.

"He was sleepwalking. And he had done it in the past," said Dana. "He ended up in the child's bed. When the mother walked in, flipped on the lights, he said, 'Why am I here?'"

A jury didn't believe that in 2000, but Wellman's lawyer believes it now, and hopes a jury will allow Wellman to have supervised visits with an 11-year-old daughter who doesn't remember him.

"He loves this child with all of his heart and all of his soul," said Dana.

They will be tough questions for the jury. How safe are other children within reach of a convicted sex offender, even one who maintains his innocence and whose rights in this case should be protected?

Friddle hopes the jury will tell Wellman he doesn't get another chance, ending the horror movie endlessly playing in her mind.

"It plays in my head a lot," she told us.

CPS can't get involved in this case. It's essentially a change in a private divorce decree. CPS can only be involved if there's imminent danger to the child. Wellman in prison for five more months and the action is seeking to protect the victim's step-sister.

This is the second time Friddle has tried to remove Wellman's parental rights. A jury in 2004 declined to do that.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments