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Father retains custody in dispute

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas judge has ruled in favor of the father in an international custody dispute over his 5-year-old daughter.

State District Judge John Dietz refused Tuesday to turn the child over to Scarlett Kogel, the mother, because she had disobeyed previous court orders and fled to Belgium. Thomas Robertson, the father, had been awarded custody in 2001.

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Kogel accused Robertson of sexually abusing their daughter but a charge was never filed and a judge dismissed the allegation in a previous hearing. The child was seized by Belgian police last June and returned to her father in Austin.

Dietz also held Kogel in contempt of court for refusing to return the child to the United States and placed her on probation for two years, according to the Austin American-Statesman. He also ordered her to pay child support.

Kogel's attorney said he was not surprised by the ruling but he wants to see the outcome of a separate state administrative hearing to determine whether a court-assigned psychologist adequately investigated the sexual abuse allegations in the case.

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