LAWYER, WIFE TAKE 5TH AMENDMENT IN CHILD-SELLING CASE

Couple decline to answer questions at hearing on whereabouts of baby

Bobette Riner
The Dallas Morning News
July 20, 1985

A Dallas lawyer arrested in connection with the alleged sale of a 7-month-old Grand Prairie girl and his wife invoked the Fifth Amendment Friday morning in a court hearing to determine the whereabouts of the child.

Lawyer Robert I. Kingsley and his wife, Kit, refused to answer questions in state District Judge Craig Penfold's court about a June 21 check for $1,210.45 to a Cedar Hill couple. A copy of the canceled check, issued by the Robert I. Kingsley trust account, was presented as evidence.

Kingsley was arrested Tuesday and posted $1,500 bond on

investigative charges of child-selling in connection with the alleged sale of Rachel Marie Hagg to a New York couple after a Cedar Hill couple had petitioned for her adoption.

Police are preparing formal charges against Kingsley. Three child-selling cases against Kingsley have been referred by state Department of Human Resources investigators to district attorneys in Dallas and Denton counties. State officials say they are looking into 24 others possible cases.

Garland attorney E.A. Weinberg testified Friday that the baby was last seen around June 21 when he and Kingsley met with the Cedar Hill couple in Weinberg's office to arrange the transfer of the baby to "New York or New Jersey.'

Police said they still are searching for the baby and the Cedar Hill couple.

Kingsley also invoked the Fifth Amendment when questioned about his work with a New York law firm in placing children with parents outside Texas.

Although Kingsley could not be reached for comment Friday, his attorney has said Kingsley handled only legitimate adoption cases.

Rachel's mother testified that she did not consent for anyone other than the Cedar Hill couple -- whom she knew -- to adopt her baby.

Weinberg said he had drawn up papers terminating the mother's natural rights, which made the Cedar Hill couple the infant's managing conservators. That gave them the legal right to determine who adopts the child.

At Kingsley's suggestion in the June 21 meeting, he testified, the two lawyers and the Cedar Hill couple discussed means in which they could legally consent to the adoption by the New York couple.

Weinberg said that they had talked about money in the meeting, but only regarding reimbursement for expenses and "possible arrangements for the future.'

Grand Prairie police said Friday that they were following leads regarding the whereabouts of the Cedar Hill couple, who are believed to have fled the state last week after being questioned by authorities.

Penfold recessed the hearing until Aug. 9.

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