Delegate issued criminal summons on Christmas Day

Published 1:01 pm Saturday, December 30, 2017

Del. Rick Morris (R-64) has been issued a criminal summons for an alleged Violation of a Court Order for Visitation, sworn out by his ex-wife, Kathryn Morris. This comes from his attorney in the matter, Nicholas Renninger of Kozak, Davis, Renninger & Belote, P.C.

Del. Rick Morris (R-64) had a trying year, which actually began in September 2016. That was when he was arrested on charges of abusing a child of his third wife, as well as the spouse herself. But the hearing in December served to largely exonerate him when the child in question admitted that the allegations of abuse were lies.

But the Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office convinced the judge in the matter that a couple of charges still had some validity, and so were able to press the matter.

The couple agreed not to put the youth back on the stand at the urging of prosecutors, and even went so far as to accuse them of political bias. This past summer, it was decided not to prosecute the remaining charges left against the delegate.

Renninger stated in his press release that in November 2016, Del. Morris became the primary care provider for their three small children. In May 2017, Kathryn Morris voluntarily consented to giving primary custody of their children to him, and agreed that she would have reasonable visitation by agreement. This was entered via Consent Orders by the Suffolk Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, according to the information provided by Renninger. He added that a Final Decree of Divorce was entered on Sept. 26, 2017, by the Suffolk Circuit Court, which incorporated the previous orders of the JDR Court.

On Dec. 11, the delegate filed a show cause against Kathryn for allegedly violating the custody order by her decision to engage in conduct that he considers neglectful of the children and exposed the children to inappropriate behavior. The delegate also filed to modify the custody order by requesting that Kathryn have supervised visitation, and that she be required to provide child support to him for their small children.

On Dec. 13, Kathryn Morris filed a criminal complaint with the magistrate alleging that Del. Morris had violated an Order for Visitation. The Suffolk Police Department received the criminal summons on Dec. 14, but waited until Christmas Day to appear at the home of the delegate and their small children to issue the criminal summons.

“Clearly, Del. Morris has, once again, been the target of a spurious and baseless allegation,” said Renninger. “I am confident, when the facts are brought to light, that Del. Morris will be vindicated and that this charge will be shown for exactly what it is: the result of a vindictive and completely false claim brought about by Kathryn Morris in an effort to retaliate against Del. Morris.

“The reality is that Kathryn Morris voluntarily consented to giving primary custody of their children to Del. Morris and agreed to certain conditions pertaining to their visitation. After being confronted regarding her own alleged violations of the court order, she retaliated by making a claim against Del. Morris that is not only completely false, but quite simply is not legally sustainable. She has

accused Mr. Morris of violating a visitation order that says she has visitation by agreement, when no such agreement existed. Moreover, the allegations contained in the criminal complaint are patently false and do not pass any measure of scrutiny, and certainly not the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This is harassment, plainly and simply, and I am deeply troubled by the fact that the police department and or a magistrate allowed this matter to get to where it is now. The magistrate must not have looked at the parties’ divorce decree, because clearly what is alleged in the complaint does not comport with what is actually ordered. Therefore, Del. Morris never should have been charged in the first place, but now that he is, we are confident that the judicial process will expose the falsity of this claim.”

In a phone call to confirm this information, the attorney added his client will answer a summons on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and plead not guilty. A hearing date is likely to be scheduled at that time.