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The
Fatherhood

Coalition

'10' most wanted' poster includes 3 from WMass

By Dan Ring, Staff writer, The Republican, Feb. 24, 2004


BOSTON - A Springfield woman yesterday urged state officials to find the father of her 2-year-old son and force him to pay child support.

The father, Robert M. Capell, 34, formerly of Agawam, is listed as No. 10 on the state's new "10 most wanted" poster of child-support scofflaws.

"I'm hoping this will do the trick," said Jennifer L. Kirk, 30, of Springfield, the mother of the toddler. "I'm hoping they will find him."

The poster was unveiled yesterday by Lt. Gov. Kerry M. Healey at a Statehouse news conference. The poster contains two other men from Western Massachusetts including a repeat - Daniel C. Martinez, 53, a clinical psychologist who appeared on the 2002 list and is now ranked as No. 7. Martinez, formerly of South Hadley, owes $87,151 in back child support.

Also, Peter S. Wetteland, 43, formerly of Cheshire, is ranked No. 8. He owes $64,709 in back support.

Capell, noted for having an ankle bracelet tattoo on his right leg, owes $36,390 in back child support for his son, Austin R. Kirk, 2.

The mother, who said she was not married to Capell, said yesterday that she last saw Capell about three years ago during a court hearing to establish paternity.

"He said, 'You can take me to court all you want. By the time you get the DNA test back, I'll be gone,'" said Kirk, who is unemployed. "And he was."

Healey said yesterday the poster spotlights parents who are deliberately avoiding their responsibilities. The state Department of Revenue created the poster program in 1992.

Critics said the posters are hackneyed and unfairly humiliate fathers who are behind on child support.

"Men are routinely jailed for owing child support," said Mark A. Charalambous of Leominster, a spokesman for The Father Coalition, a statewide advocacy group for divorced and unwed fathers. "This is a violation of human rights to put somebody in jail for a debt."

Failing to pay child support is a felony in Massachusetts.
 
Martinez, the No. 7 "deadbeat dad," is the ex-husband of Fay A. Klein, a psychotherapist of Northampton. He owes support for three children, ages 22, 20 and 18.

Wetteland owes back support for two sons, Paul D. Wetteland, 14, and Peter C. Wetteland, 15, of North Adams. The mother of his two sons, Dorothy E. Wetteland, said yesterday she last saw her ex-husband in 1994, about the time they were divorced.

 
Dorothy Wetteland, 41, said she is also hoping for results from the poster.

"I actually would like to think there are people out there who will say, 'I know that guy,'" she said. "He's gotten off way too easy."

Previous posters are credited with helping lead to the surrender or arrest of 85 child-support delinquents. Seven people from past posters remain at large, including Martinez.

Delinquent parents on the posters have paid a total of $3 million.
 

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