The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 12, 2010

Abuse claims false, former spouse says

By Francis Scarcella

SUNBURY — Bill Connington said Friday that his ex-wife, Jill Haugen, had made claims of abuse not only against him, but also against the father of a child she had with another man.

Nothing, he said, was ever proved.

“She has another son named Jeremiah and she claimed his father abused them as well,” Connington said Friday, when a Northumberland County judge ruled Haugen must return to Washington State to face charges related to her unlawfully fleeing with her two sons 12 years ago.

Custody of the boys had been shared by Connington and Haugen when she left.

“She has always been real good at playing the system,” Connington said. “When I met her, she was keeping (Jeremiah) from his father as well.”

All allegations of abuse she has made, Connington said, “have been unfounded.”

Connington said he spoke to Jeremiah about seven years ago, and that his ex-wife may not have spoken to him in more than 12 years.

“I don’t even know where he is now,” Connington said of Jeremiah.

A Washington State judge said Haugen was causing mental harm to his two children, Connington said, and that is why she fled.

“She ran because she knew she was going to lose the kids,” Connington said, “not because of anything else. They said she was messing the kids up and she kept claiming abuse a lot of times. The judge didn’t find her fit to care for the kids and after that, it took me about a year to get custody.”

He and Haugen had problems in their marriage, Connington said, but he declined further details.

“We just couldn’t live together,” he said.

He said that he is almost certain that his two sons — Anthony, 17, and Jamey, 15 — would be moving back to Spokane, Wash.

“I think they will be coming back after the school year,” he said.

“People from Washington have to come and check my house and things like that, I guess, but it’s just time I get time with my boys.”

Even after the events of the past 12 years, Connington said he holds no ill will toward Haugen.

“I just want to see justice done,” he said.