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Dear Judicial Review Board Committee, October 10, 2011

I would like to file a complaint against the Honorable Judge David Bortner with
the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania for acting in an unethical manner in
regards to a child custody trial involving my fourteen year old daughter.

Judge Bortner has demonstrated ethical misconduct in two ways through

extreme and unjustifiable delay in deciding my daughter's custody case, and by
improper ex parte communication with opposing counsel, without the presence
of my attorney.

The trial I am referring to was a four day trial that started on May 16, 2011 and
ran thru May 19th, 2011. Judge Bortner took forty-two days make and interim
ruling for this case. Even though there were allegations of physical and sexual
abuse of my daughter by her father, Judge Bortner not only continued to
permit unsupervised overnight visitation between my daughter and her father,
but increased these visits to up to two full weeks during the interim custody

The sexual abuse allegations that were investigated in March of 2010, were
deemed unfounded, by CYF Chester County, they only had 90 days to make a
determination. An unfounded report doesn’t mean it did not happen, it means
that they cannot find physical evidence. Given her two year delay in disclosure,
it was not a surprise. But the physical violence had been proven in criminal
court and the father’s prior conduct was given little weight.

During this trial Dr. Maria McColgan Director of Child Protection Program at St.
Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia gave expert testimony that
she believes Angela's allegations of sexual abuse by her father are truthful. My
daughter does not want to visit her father because she fears further physical,
mental, and sexual abuse. If visitation is ordered, I feel it should be supervised
for my daughter's safety. Judge Bortner will not make a final ruling in this case
until November 4th, 2011.

On May 19th, 2011, Judge Bortner refused to hear factual information from my
fourteen year old daughter regarding sexual and physical abuse by her father
during her interview in chambers.

Judge Bortner took ex-parte communication as testimony on May 31, 2011,

which involved telephone communication between Dr. Don Seraydarian, my
daughter’s psychologist at the time, Judge Bortner, and Jane Marks, attorney for
the plaintiff. Carla Risoldi, my attorney, was purposely excluded from the
conference when she got late notice. During the call Carla Risoldi was not
permitted to join in to discuss my daughter’s mental health. Judge Bortner
stated the purpose of this conference call was intended to obtain more insight
into my daughter’s mental health, not to provide testimony, so that he would be
able to make a better decision in this custody trial. Dr. Seraydarian was
appointed as my daughter’s therapist by Children Youth and Family Bucks
County, she not feel comfortable with him, and went into crisis twice under his
care. Judge Bortner took this communication as testimony as stated in his
opinion dated June 30, 2011.

Judge Bortner has acknowledged father's violent behavior including four

violations of the Protection from Abuse Order; one violation was against my
daughter, where she sustained bruises from her father. She was always listed as
a protected party, because she was his main target. As a result of these
violations, the three year PFA was extended another year until March 2013.

With all the evidence presented during the trial, including father's violent
history, coupled with his blatant perjury, I do not understand how Judge Bortner
could continue to force unsupervised visitation.

Angela's father demonstrated neglect of her medical needs on March 26th,

2011 when he refused medical treatment for her after a 911 call was made. An
ambulance was dispatched to his home and Angela was found to have a heart
rate of 162 , BP 140/90 and complaining of suicidal ideation. Angelo Popolizio
refused transportation to hospital for further medical evaluation for his
daughter. Judge Bortner made note in his opinion this visit is one of the five
visits that "have taken place without serious incident." He does not take the
emotional torment that my daughter has to endure to see her attacker overnight

Judge Bortner denied a request to change the venue from Chester County to
Bucks County, where my daughter and I have resided since 2009. One reason
for transferring venue to Bucks County would be that my daughter would be
assigned an advocate. Chester County has not provided an advocate for my

daughter. I feel my daughter would greatly benefit from having an advocate, as

Judge Bortner has not fully taken into consideration my daughter’s fears of
further abuse from her father and totally disregarded the possibility of
irreversible emotional damage by his ruling.

As ordered by the court, I have complied with transporting my daughter via

third party to father's home for biweekly visitation. Previously my daughter has
refused to exit car for visitation with father for fear of abuse. On September 27,
2011 Judge Bortner placed me on probation for one year, threatened me with
incarceration, and reversal of custody if my daughter does not make visits with
her father. This forces her to choose between getting mentally tortured, and the
possibility of being physically abused, or place her mother behind bars. This is a
decision a fourteen year old should not have to make. Judge Bortner also
ordered an updated evaluation to determine the effects of reversal of custody
on Angela for which I am ordered to pay 100 %. This money will come from my
daughter’s child support payment. This will leave us without child support for
several months. How can this be in the child’s best interest?

My compliance of this order had been met, unfortunately, fulfilling this court
order rests heavily of the compliance of others. When asked for clear
instructions on what to do if I cannot find a third party to take my daughter to
her father’s house, Judge Bortner literally told me, “If you don’t know what to
do, then I am not going to tell you.”

This is nothing short of court ordered child abuse in my opinion, I feel if

something terrible happens to my daughter, including but not limited to
irreversible psychological damage, Judge Bortner should be held personally

In my opinion, the rulings from this particular judge do not appear to be in my

daughter’s best interest. Please consider this complaint for your board to

Tina Popolizio
Emailed comments regarding this judicial complaint from Renee Mazer, Oct, 20,
2018: This attached complaint got dismissed. Had Bortner been stopped and

disciplined after Tina's case, Fletcher [her son] might have been saved from
years of abuse. Had the judge been disciplined and stopped after Fletcher,
Karen [another mother seeking custody of a child from an accused abuser]
might not be in her situation.

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