Catherine Kassenoff, a resilient woman who triumphed over breast cancer twice and fearlessly confronted criminals as a federal prosecutor, has revealed that it was the New York family court system that shattered her spirit.
In a heart-wrenching death note posted on Facebook on May 27, Catherine disclosed her plans for assisted death later that day, taking her own life in Switzerland. The note laid bare her deep sadness and the reasons behind her decision.
The public post began with these sorrowful words: “With profound heartbreak… I am writing my final post ever. Today, I will be ending my own life… For the past four years, I have awakened to an unparalleled nightmare.”
A highly accomplished attorney who previously served as special counsel to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, the 54-year-old Catherine attributed her decision to pursue assisted death to a custody battle and alleged ongoing abuse by her ex-husband.
Despite Catherine having no prior criminal record, mental health issues, or substance abuse problems, a Westchester family court severed her contact with her three young daughters, aged nine, 12, and 13. She also claimed that the court had stripped her of her home, her dogs, and her life savings while continuously denying her any contact with her children.
Catherine had been entangled in a custody dispute with her litigator husband for over two years, and she alleged that the court exhibited a bias in favor of her husband. Photos indicating a potential conflict of interest involving the judge and custody evaluator handling the case have surfaced.
The children’s attorney, Carol Most, was dismissed from the case due to misconduct allegations raised by Catherine. Despite the emergence of new evidence favoring Catherine’s perspective, a new forensic evaluator upheld the previous report, further obstructing the mother’s access to her children.
Allan Kassenoff, the father of the three daughters and Catherine’s ex-husband, issued a statement through his attorney to The Post, asserting that the court had granted him full custody of the children due to safety concerns.
The statement emphasized, “Throughout this four-year custody dispute, the court system has acted responsibly and diligently. The court granted an emergency order giving their father exclusive legal and physical custody based on the findings of an objective forensic expert.
The court also imposed a temporary restraining order against Ms. Kassenoff, limiting unsupervised interactions with the children based on observations made while they were with their mother… Given the circumstances of this case, it was deemed in the best interest of the children to take these urgent measures. The children have been under our client’s care for 3 ½ years and are safe and well.”
Allan, an employee of the law firm Greenberg Traurig, is currently being investigated by the company and has taken a voluntary leave of absence to focus on his family. In her poignant death note, Catherine expressed, “I cannot endure this torment and the anguish that stems from such a prolonged separation from my children.
The court system is to blame… It is a predatory system that operates in secrecy, with ‘gag orders’ like the one in my case, an inaccessible docket, a closed courtroom, and ex parte ‘temporary’ orders that remain in place for years.” Catherine’s attorney, Wayne Baker, stated that he is still awaiting definitive confirmation of her death. He informed Ms. Magazine that he believes Catherine chose to peacefully and dignifiedly end her life in Switzerland.