exposing the dark side of adoption
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LAKE ELSINORE: Child endangerment charge against sheriff's captain dismissed



Child abuse charges against a Riverside County sheriff's captain and his wife have been dismissed, court records show.

Christine K. Nordstrom, 45, of Lake Elsinore, who also works for the sheriff’s department as a non-sworn community services officer, was charged in Nov. 2008 with misdemeanor child abuse and false imprisonment. The charges stemmed from allegations of long-term verbal and physical abuse of her then 15-year-old adopted daughter, court records say.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, the charges against Christine Nordstrom were dismissed Friday, June 1, during a hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley, court records show. Nordstrom pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor. She was ordered to complete six months of therapy after which the misdemeanor will be reduced to an infraction with a $100 fine, court records show.

Her husband, Capt. David Nordstrom, 62, was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and failure to report child abuse, court records show. As a sworn officer, he is obligated to report child abuse to the appropriate authorities. All charges against him were dismissed.

“Our office took a fresh look at the case,” said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office. Prosecutors felt they would not be able to obtain a conviction at trial, he said.

David Nordstrom, a 35-year veteran of the department, is assigned to the Coroner’s Bureau. Christine Nordstrom has worked for the department for 12 years and is assigned to the Southwest Station, sheriff’s officials said.

David Nordstrom told authorities in 2008 that the investigation was based on lies and that two key witnesses to the alleged abuse had ulterior motives for making false accusations, court records say.

Christine Nordstrom adopted the girl as a toddler, years before she and Nordstrom were married, when she was in a relationship with another man, court records show. The investigation, which was handled by the sheriff’s special investigations bureau, began in Sept. 2008 when a friend reported to Child Protective Services that the girl was being abused by her mother. The friend told authorities she overheard abuse and that Christine Nordstrom told her she handcuffed her daughter, court records show. Several others also told investigators about verbal and physical abuse of the child over the course of several years, court records show.

The girl described being handcuffed and punched in the mouth by her mother and other abuse, court records show. Court records show physical custody of the girl, who would now be 19, was granted to her adoptive father in 2008.

Christine Nordstrom’s attorney, Tera Harden, declined to comment.

Defense attorney Virginia Blumenthal, who represented David Nordstrom, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

2012 Jun 5