The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that a lower court judge acted appropriately last August when he ordered the incarceration of Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, a Washington plastic surgeon, after she refused to permit her former husband to visit with their daughter.
The unanimous three-judge panel also upheld a finding by D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert B. Dixon that Morgan had failed to prove that Dr. Eric A. Foretich, her former husband and an oral surgeon, had sexually abused their 4-year-old child.
After reviewing the court record, the panel said, "we conclude that the trial court's resolution of conflicting testimony and the witnesses' credibility was not clearly erroneous."
Because the judge had held Morgan in civil contempt, rather than criminal, the panel's ruling does not have any direct impact on Morgan's liberty. Morgan was released by the appellate panel after spending three days in jail, and their child currently sees Foretich for unsupervised weekend visits.
Morgan and Foretich were back in front of Judge Dixon yesterday on Foretich's motion to gain custody of the daughter amid new allegations raised by Morgan. Foretich's lawyer John C. Lenahan called the recent allegations "wholly untrue."
In another development, Alan Alkire, 49, of Alexandria was acquitted by a Fairfax County Circuit Court jury yesterday of maliciously wounding Foretich. Alkire, an acquaintance of Morgan's, was accused of assaulting Foretich with a metal pipe in the parking lot of Foretich's McLean office in March. According to Alkire's lawyer, Stanley Klein, Alkire acted in self-defense.