[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 237 Introduced in House (IH)]







107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. CON. RES. 237

 Expressing the sense of the Congress urging the Republic of Italy to 
safely and immediately return Ludwig Maximilian Koons to the custody of 
                        his father in New York.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           September 24, 2001

 Mr. Lampson submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was 
          referred to the Committee on International Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


 
 Expressing the sense of the Congress urging the Republic of Italy to 
safely and immediately return Ludwig Maximilian Koons to the custody of 
                        his father in New York.

Whereas Jeffrey Lynn Koons and Anna Elena (Ilona) Staller were married and had a 
        son, Ludwig Maximilian, who was born in New York on October 29, 1992;
Whereas before the marriage, the spouses agreed that Mrs. Staller would no 
        longer engage in activities in the field of pornography and erotic 
        entertainment, in order to dedicate her time to the family in New York, 
        where Mr. Koons maintained his residence and primary business interests 
        as a sculptor;
Whereas both parents wanted Ludwig to be raised in the United States, and Mrs. 
        Staller liquidated her businesses in Rome, Italy, and applied for 
        permanent residency in the United States with the intention of becoming 
        a United States citizen;
Whereas Mrs. Staller, while residing in New York with her family, went on a 
        temporary visit with Ludwig to Rome on October 11, 1993, and 
        subsequently left him in Rome in the care of a stranger while she 
        traveled to Ecuador to participate in an erotic show, thereby breaching 
        her parental duties and breaking her promise to cease all activities as 
        an erotic performer;
Whereas following Mrs. Staller's refusal to return Ludwig to his habitual 
        residence in New York and in light of her resuming her activities as an 
        erotic performer, Mr. Koons initiated divorce proceedings against Mrs. 
        Staller before the Supreme Court of the State of New York on December 
        27, 1993;
Whereas the New York Supreme Court issued a temporary order on January 17, 1994, 
        which provided that Ludwig could not be removed from the State of New 
        York during the divorce proceeding, and that both parents would have 
        temporary joint custody of Ludwig;
Whereas Mrs. Staller returned to New York and on February 4, 1994, filed an 
        appearance in the divorce proceeding whereby she accepted the 
        jurisdiction of the New York Supreme Court to decide the parties' 
        divorce without contesting Mr. Koons' request to dissolve the marriage;
Whereas Mrs. Staller's petition to the New York Supreme Court for temporary 
        relief, including attorney's fees, costs of litigation, and the right to 
        live in the marital residence, was granted upon her assurances that she 
        would not remove Ludwig from the jurisdiction of the State of New York;
Whereas, while the proceeding was pending, Mrs. Staller eluded security guards 
        and border control officials and fled the United States with Ludwig on 
        June 9, 1994, thereby committing an international kidnapping through the 
        illegal transfer of a minor, for which she was indicted by the Rome 
        prosecutor's office;
Whereas Mr. Koons obtained a final divorce on December 9, 1994, from the New 
        York Supreme Court, which ruled that the fault of the breakdown of the 
        marriage was attributable exclusively to Mrs. Staller, and granted 
        custody of Ludwig to Mr. Koons;
Whereas following months of hiding, during which time Mr. Koons had no idea of 
        his son's well-being or whereabouts, Mrs. Staller commenced a separation 
        action against Mr. Koons before the Civil Tribunal of Rome in an effort 
        to overturn the decision of the New York Supreme Court awarding custody 
        to Mr. Koons, and to legitimize her abduction of the minor;
Whereas Mr. Koons moved to dismiss the separation action on the grounds that the 
        Civil Tribunal of Rome lacked jurisdiction since the parties had already 
        obtained a final divorce;
Whereas before reaching a final decision, the Civil Tribunal of Rome awarded 
        temporary custody of Ludwig to Mrs. Staller;
Whereas after almost 3 years of litigation, the Civil Tribunal of Rome finally 
        granted Mr. Koons' motion to dismiss the separation action on October 3, 
        1997, holding that the separation action was improper on the grounds 
        that the divorce judgment of the New York Supreme Court had already 
        dissolved the bonds of matrimony between the parties;
Whereas the unreasonable delay by the Civil Tribunal of Rome to grant Mr. Koons' 
        motion to dismiss the separation action made it possible for Mrs. 
        Staller to retain Ludwig illegitimately for several years in Italy, 
        despite her commission of a serious crime and her lack of fitness as a 
        custodial parent;
Whereas following the dismissal of the separation action, Mrs. Staller initiated 
        yet another action before the Civil Tribunal of Rome, contesting the 
        custody decision of the New York Supreme Court;
Whereas at the conclusion of a detailed psychiatric evaluation of the parties 
        and the child, both the court-appointed expert and the public prosecutor 
        recommended to the divorce judge the immediate return of Ludwig to Mr. 
        Koons in New York, citing the danger of further irreparable harm to the 
        child if he were to remain in the pornographic environment in which Mrs. 
        Staller had chosen to raise him;
Whereas, on February 13, 1998, the Civil Tribunal of Rome entered a judgment 
        affirming the divorce judgment of the New York Supreme Court on December 
        9, 1994, and its awarding of permanent custody of Ludwig to Mr. Koons in 
        his New York residence, while providing for visitation rights by Mrs. 
        Staller both in the United States and in Italy;
Whereas the New York Supreme Court subsequently granted a petition by Mr. Koons 
        to modify the divorce decree granted in December 1994, holding that it 
        was in Ludwig's best interest that all decisions regarding custody and 
        visitation in the United States be uniform and identical to those in 
        Italy in order to ensure that both parents could be afforded the further 
        protection of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International 
        Child Abduction;
Whereas following Mrs. Staller's appeal of the divorce action, on September 23, 
        1998, the Court of Appeals of Rome overturned the decision of the 
        Tribunal, and awarded custody of Ludwig to Mrs. Staller, while 
        prohibiting the child from leaving the Italian territory;
Whereas, in awarding custody of Ludwig to Mrs. Staller, the Court of Appeals of 
        Rome disregarded the recommendations of the American and Italian court-
        appointed experts who were unanimously in favor of Mr. Koons, and based 
        its decision on the unsupported contention that the return of Ludwig to 
        New York and to the care Mr. Koons following years of residence in Italy 
        would cause him further trauma, and thus, would be contrary to his best 
        interest;
Whereas by setting aside the decision of the Civil Tribunal of Rome, the Court 
        of Appeals of Rome failed to consider that Ludwig had been up-rooted 
        from his family residence in New York and was only in Italy because Mrs. 
        Staller had committed an international kidnapping;
Whereas the decision of the Court of Appeals of Rome to prohibit Ludwig, a 
        United States citizen from birth, access to the United States 
        constitutes a serious breach by Italy of international treaties and 
        principles of law, including those contained in the European Convention 
        on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Hague Convention on the 
        Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and the New York 
        Convention on Children's Rights, which laws protect the rights of minors 
        to move freely between the respective residences of their parents and 
        which give equal protection to parents of different nationalities;
Whereas for such violations of international law, Mr. Koons filed a petition 
        against the Republic of Italy with the European Court of Human Rights 
        and a preliminary decision regarding the admissibility of that petition 
        is expected by the Court in October 2001;
Whereas pursuant to Article 36 of the Convention for the Protection of Human 
        Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe, the United 
        States has a right to intervene in proceedings before the European Court 
        of Human Rights because its citizens are parties seeking relief from 
        human rights violations;
Whereas Mrs. Staller, in blatant disregard for the recommendations of the 
        experts, has violated Ludwig's right to privacy by involving him in 
        numerous interviews on television and in the press as part of a massive 
        defamatory media campaign against Mr. Koons, aimed at swaying public 
        opinion in her favor during the pending custody dispute in Italy;
Whereas after 7 years of proceedings in Rome on the charge of kidnapping, Mrs. 
        Staller was convicted by the Rome Court of Appeals on May 29, 2001, for 
        kidnapping her son from his habitual residence in New York in 1994, but 
        the Court of Appeals did not have the power to order the return of 
        Ludwig;
Whereas following a judgment of the Civil Tribunal of Rome dated May 31, 2001, 
        which held that Mrs. Staller was liable for repeatedly publishing 
        defamatory statements on television and in the press, Mr. Koons has 
        petitioned two Italian officials, the Commissioner of Privacy and the 
        Commissioner of Communications, to denounce the media companies who had 
        collaborated with Mrs. Staller to violate his son's right to privacy;
Whereas Ludwig has incurred substantial harm as a result of Italy's decision to 
        allow Mrs. Staller to keep Ludwig in her residence in Rome, which, 
        despite the warnings of the child psychiatrists, she continues to 
        utilize as the headquarters for her pornographic activities throughout 
        the world;
Whereas Ludwig's continued exposure to his mother's pornographic environment and 
        activities, and his unwilling participation in her defamatory media 
        campaign against Mr. Koons, have placed the child in grave danger of 
        irreparable psychological harm, as recently confirmed by experts who 
        have manifested concern for the minor's deteriorating condition if not 
        removed from his current environment without delay;
Whereas all courts, both in the United States and Italy, recognized that the 
        family residence was in New York; and
Whereas the Department of Justice has been unsuccessful in its attempts to bring 
        Ludwig back to the United States: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That--
            (1) the Congress urges the Republic of Italy to immediately 
        return Ludwig Maximilian Koons to the United States and to the 
        custody of his father, Jeffrey Koons, in accordance with the 
        divorce judgment of the New York Supreme Court on December 9, 
        1994;
            (2) it is the sense of the Congress that, pursuant to 
        Article 36 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights 
        and Fundamental Freedoms, the United States should intervene in 
        the proceeding pending before the European Court of Human 
        Rights,  Jeffrey Lynn Koons v. Italy, case no. 68183/01, to 
        request the Republic of Italy to remedy the violations of 
        international law committed against Mr. Koons and his son, 
        Ludwig; and
            (3) it is the sense of the Congress that, pending a final 
        decision by the Republic of Italy regarding the permanent 
        return of Ludwig to the United States, the United States should 
        request that the Republic of Italy authorize Ludwig to visit 
        his father in his New York residence on a temporary basis.
                                 <all>