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The US and Brazilian media have very different takes on a high-profile custody case.
Probably the most visible print story in Brazil about the case has been the March 9 cover of Epoca magazine, which portrayed Sean as a loving boy with a close family: Sean is passionate about his half-sister, clings to his grandmother, calls his stepfather “dad” and wants to be a lawyer (and practice the Brazilian martial art capoeira) just like him. “It is evident to anyone who passes a day in the house that he feels protected, but not spoiled,” the reporter wrote.
The first time Sean’s father is mentioned, it is for creating “an international circus with Sean’s face and images of his past printed on the internet by the biological father, the ex-model David Goldman, who today is a partner in a boat business that organizes cruises.” The story is followed by a much shorter telephone interview with Goldman.
Marcio Chaer, editor of Consultor Juridico, an online Brazilian legal publication that has followed the case and actually published the first known story about it in June 2007 (also with no names) said the Epoca report was “in no way balanced, was not correct, was not honest.”
Epoca's managing editor, Helio Gurovitz, said via email that Epoca gave space to both sides. "Nobody, up to our cover story, had heard the Brazilian family's version of the events," he wrote. "Nobody knew how Sean lived ... If our story has one clear side, that's the side of the kid — and of other children in the same situation." (Click here for Epoca's full response and more Epoca coverage.)
It's unclear whether an end is in sight.
Tostes, the lawyer for the Brazilian side, recently said that the matter had spun out of control, and that a negotiated solution would be the best way out.
“Everybody, especially the biological father, is not considering the interest of the kid,” said Tostes, a colorful character who in an hour-long interview showed several times that he has mastered English curse words. He also said he had proposed a meeting between the father and stepfather and their respective lawyers, with a mediator present. The mediator, he said, could be American.
Tostes said he was willing to listen to Goldman’s best argument that Sean should live in the United States. “Maybe he would convince me,” he said, not very convincingly.
For his part, DeAngelis (the Goldman family representative) said he was unaware of the offer to negotiate, and that the family would await the upcoming decision on the case in Brazilian federal court. He said he expected one of three outcomes: Goldman is granted custody and Sean returns to New Jersey while appeals are pending, Goldman is granted custody but Sean stays in Brazil pending the appeals process, or custody is awarded to Joao Paulo Lins e Silva.
Still, Tostes is headed to the New York area next week on a business trip. He confirmed he will be there to work on the case, although he would not be any more specific. On the off-chance that a meeting is planned, and on the very off-chance that an out-of-court resolution is reached, the families would accomplish what their respective countries’ media have not: being on the same page.