Claire Benoit’s vacation in France with children downward spirals into a fearful custody battle and extended stay abroad.
(From press release) – Perplexed, drained, confused and afraid… Claire Benoit spends every day feeling like an unwarranted fugitive trying to understand why Yolo County Family Court (CA) District Attorney, Jeff Reisig (Child Abduction Unit) is in favor of awarding sole custody of her two toddlers to her ex, Eric Gilson.
Claire Benoit decided to seek peace from the havoc and trauma endured by Eric Gilson during their violently turbulent relationship. Not only was she a victim of domestic violence and rape by Gilson, she is one of several women that have undergone severe mental and physical abuse, after falling victim to his womanizing and manipulating tactics.
Benoit’s fear of returning to the U.S. with her children stems far beyond her relationship with Gilson… it reaches back through his criminal record, mental illness, prior imprisonment, and testimonials from his ex-wife/domestic violence survivor, Veronica Fragoso, who is also in the midst of a custody battle with Gilson.
He has several domestic violence and stalking charges against him involving Veronica and other women in different cities and counties across the country. As court documents reveal, these issues span most of his adult life… including an entire decade he spent in hiding.
Benoit is pleading for the current judge in her case to fully understand and assess Gilson’s character and history of the case. Gilson’s criminal record reveals that he spent several years in hiding for defrauding the United States military out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and was among the most wanted by the FBI. He served prison time for this crime before being released around 2006.
After separating from Gilson, Benoit petitioned the Yolo Family Court in July of 2015 to establish paternity of her youngest child, who was the product of rape by Eric Gilson, via DNA testing. “My sole purpose for the petition was to have my son on record as being entitled to survivors benefits as the son of a classified permanently mentally disabled father. As Eric has a chronic history of suicide attempts, I also wanted to be sure that my son was covered in the event of tragedy (in the event continued suicide attempts prove successful)” says Benoit.
Supervised visitation was granted at the first hearing, but never exercised by Gilson up until Benoit’s extended vacation departure to France with her children in October 2015. Unbeknownst to Benoit, Gilson would ignore her attempts to alert him and use the loss of her cell phone as an opportunity for him to file an ex-parte motion for a custody hearing and used a text message from his cell phone to Benoit’s (after being alerted that it wasn’t in her possession) as “proof of service”.
Benoit’s attorney will be standing in on Benoit’s behalf at the next hearing scheduled August 11, 2016, as the Yolo Family Court proceeds with the ex-parte custody hearing and decides if a protective warrant to pick up the children will be issued.