It's natural for a mother to be curious about a stranger who controls the fate of her child. So when Robin Wilson — a Mission district resident involved in a bitter custody battle over her 11-year-old daughter — learned that San Francisco psychotherapist Bill Perry had been assigned to evaluate her case, she did some research.
What she found wasn't comforting. An attorney acquaintance directed her to Perry's personal blog. The site featured a string of apparent first-person narratives, including musings on bestiality, transgender prostitutes ("Some people say it's the best of both worlds"), and — most alarmingly — what appeared to be an admission that Perry regularly uses chloral hydrate, a form of "date-rape drug" that drastically sedates those who ingest it.
Perry described administering the drug to himself — and to a mouse in his home. "I tried chasing him with the broomstick but just fell down a lot," he wrote of his efforts to apprehend the mouse while in an addled state. "Then it dawned on me. Cut open the capsule, pour the activating fluid all over the cheese, and just set the date-rape soaked delicacy in the box.... On the third morning I found one woozy little mouse stumbling all over my apartment." The post was dated the day before he signed a family-court evaluation that recommended full child custody for Wilson's ex-boyfriend, Kelly Paul.
"I was terrified," Wilson said. "A man who admits that he date-rape drugs himself every night should not be doing custody evaluations."
Wilson filed a complaint with court officials. Ann Donlan, spokesperson for the San Francisco Superior Court, said last week that Perry has been removed from the family courts' list of recommended custody evaluators based on a complaint. While she could not identify the complainant, Perry himself told SF Weekly he was informed by court officials it was Wilson's criticisms that led to his removal.
All this is a mistake, according to Perry, who said the blog writings are for the most part fiction, with only tangential connections to his real life. "I've been a member of a creative-writing class for several years," Perry said. "There is nothing there that has anything to do with court evaluations or my work as an evaluator.... Everything on the blog is fiction."
He said his blog post about the date-rape drug is a fabulation. (The post itself states, "With some poetic license, [the story] also happens to be true.") He said another post, in which he describes corresponding with a Chilean woman who gives blow jobs to a stallion named Diablo — "When Diablo ejaculates it is like a shower of it and I rub it into my face and breasts" — was "fictionalized."
Cheryl Sena, the lawyer for Paul, said there was nothing wrong with Perry's work on the case. "He did a professional job and came up with the appropriate conclusions in a highly contested case," she said. Paul agreed, saying, "I believe absolutely that Robin is attacking Dr. Perry as a way to get her daughter back. It's not because she's afraid of Dr. Perry being around children. If the evaluation had gone her way, none of this would be an issue."
Perry said after his evaluation went against Wilson she threatened to destroy his reputation, an assertion Wilson doesn't deny.
"I told him, 'I'm going to make sure everyone finds out what you've done, and I'm going to make sure you're never alone in a room with a child again,'" Wilson said.
Whatever her motives, Wilson's case resonates with family-court reform advocates who say too much power and not enough scrutiny are given to the court-appointed psychologists who make high-stakes custody recommendations to judges. Last year, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist was thrown off a case after a litigant discovered photos online of the evaluator baring his buttocks, and Facebook posts promoting the gay escort service Rentboy.com.
"This is just the latest in a string of stories we've heard of unethical, illegal, or bizarre behaviors from unstable family-court professionals who wield enormous power over the fate of children in divorce cases," said Kathleen Russell of the Center for Judicial Excellence, a family-court reform group based in Marin County. "Sadly, this is all too common."
Whether Perry's blog showcases fiction or fact, its discovery had little effect on Wilson's case. Wilson said she tried to bring the posts to the attention of Judge Patrick Mahoney, who supervises San Francisco's family-court division and was overseeing her case. Despite Perry's blogging, Mahoney ultimately followed his custody recommendation, and gave full custody of Wilson's daughter to her ex.