TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A South Carolina judge on Thursday dismissed contempt of court charges filed against Dusten Brown, the biological father of the girl known as Baby Veronica who was caught up in a lengthy custody dispute.
The contempt case was dropped after Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation reached an agreement with Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who are the adoptive parents of 4-year-old Veronica, the Tulsa World reported Friday. Brown faced contempt charges after initially refusing to comply with a judge’s order to return Veronica to the Capobiancos.
Veronica has been the subject of court battles since she was born to a non-Cherokee mother, who put the girl up for adoption. The Capobiancos had been lined up to receive custody since 2009.
Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, pressed claims under the Indian Child Welfare Act and won custody when the girl was 27 months old. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978 with the intent of reducing the high rates of Native American children being adopted by non-Native American families.
But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act didn’t apply because Brown had been absent from Veronica’s life. In September, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court dissolved an order keeping her in the state, and Brown handed the girl over to the Capobiancos.
Both Brown and the Capobiancos have kept a low profile since Brown handed Veronica to them. Brown last spoke publicly on the issue in October, when he announced he was giving up all legal challenges over the custody of Veronica.
“I love her too much to continue to have her in the spotlight. It is not fair for her to be in front of media at all times,” he said then.
The Capobiancos are seeking more than $1 million in legal fees and expenses from Brown and the Cherokee Nation. That case remains pending in Oklahoma court.