Published November 22. 2012 4:00AM
A judge determined Tuesday that actress Ariel Winter's mother should not regain custody of the "Modern Family" star and that the 14-year-old should remain in her sister's care for the next few weeks.
Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas issued the ruling after considering a report by child protective investigators that was critical of Winter's mother, Chrisoula Workman. The report found there was evidence of emotional abuse toward Winter, and the agency planned to step in and take action if Winter did not remain in a guardianship.
The ruling came more than six weeks after Workman was temporarily stripped of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to Winter.
Levanas said the investigators' report found that claims of physical abuse were inconclusive, but an attorney for Winter's sister said they could be proven in a subsequent report. The judge set a Dec. 12 trial date to determine whether Winter should be placed in a permanent guardianship.
Winter has been under the care of her sister, Shanelle Gray, since early October. Levanas said that if the case remains in his courtroom, he will make sure the family works toward reconciliation. He said the Department of Children and Family Services could still choose to file its own case, which would remove it from his jurisdiction.
Winter's mother has denied all accusations that she was abusive to her daughter.
Winter's father, Glenn Workman, also filed an objection to the guardianship late Monday, stating he wants a better relationship with his daughter and would be willing to care for her.
Levanas said Glenn Workman's filing was in conflict with statements he gave to investigators and that he could not give him custody of the young actress. He also noted that Glenn Workman described his estranged wife to investigators as "controlling and driven."
Gray also was taken from Chrisoula Workman's care in the 1990s amid accusations of abuse. Chrisoula Workman contends Gray was a rebellious teen who left home and that she is contending with a similar situation with Winter.
"The allegations made by Ariel are false," said Chrisoula Workman's attorney Anita Gumm. "We really feel she's just a rebellious teen and wants her independence. It's our hope that the court terminates the guardianship. Both parents want Ariel home."
Glenn Workman's filing Monday does not address the abuse allegations, but it states he believes his daughter should be returned to live with Chrisoula Workman, or that he be allowed to raise her.
"I want to provide for her a calm loving home environment that is a retreat from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood; a place where she can think and relax without any distractions," he wrote. "This whole situation has turned into a circus and places Ariel in a position she should not have to be in."