NBA: Nowitzki files for paternity test; Cristal Taylor reportedly has three teen children
By Brad Townsend
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki’s attorney has filed a petition seeking a paternity test from his ex-girlfriend, Cristal Taylor, and sole custody of her yet-to-be-born child if tests prove he is the father.
The petition was filed last Friday in the Dallas County courthouse and obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
And a former housemate of Taylor’s told The News that Taylor gave birth to three children who are now teenagers, none of whom she raised.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that agents from Beaumont’s FBI field office obtained recordings of allegedly threatening phone calls Taylor made from the Jefferson County Correctional Facility to Robert Hart, Nowitzki’s attorney.
Taylor, who turns 38 on Saturday and Nowitzki, who turned 31 on Friday, could not be reached for comment. Their attorneys did not respond to e-mailed requests seeking comment.
According to Taylor’s former housemate, Gerrick Fallon, this is not Taylor’s first child-custody issue. Fallon told The News that Taylor gave birth to three children during the early to mid-1990s.
And a friend of Taylor’s former husband, James Westerhaus, told The News that Taylor “abandoned” the youngest child, at age 4, with Westerhaus in 1999.
Westerhaus’ friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Westerhaus is not the child’s biological father and that he sent the child to live in St. Louis with Taylor’s relatives.
Fallon said all three siblings — an 18-year-old girl, 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl — have different biological fathers and have been raised in the St. Louis area by Taylor’s relatives.
“Her mother always took care of the children because Cristal was either incapable or unwilling to take care of them,” Fallon said. “Because she was always (in trouble) or on the run.”
Taylor was arrested May 6 at Nowitzki’s Preston Hollow home. Since May 13, she has been in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility, facing a 2006 theft of services charge in Beaumont. The trial date has been set for July 27. Separately, she faces a 2000 probation violation in suburban St. Louis.
In two phone interviews and one jailhouse interview, Taylor has refused to address Fallon’s claim that she gave birth to three children — other than to repeat her general assertion that Fallon is “a liar.”
Taylor’s mother, Shirley, also has declined to address Fallon’s claims. Taylor’s sister, Carol Jackson, would say only, “Those are family matters.”
Last month, Taylor’s Beaumont attorney, Scott Renick, asked The News to “cease and desist” contacting Taylor and her family, adding that future questions should be directed through him. When The News asked Renick whether the family would address Fallon’s claims about the children, he responded by e-mail.
“My only focus is providing effective and thorough legal representation for Ms. Taylor while she is dealing with legal matters in southeast Texas. We do not feel it would be appropriate to respond until these legal matters are resolved in some capacity.”
Citing Missouri roots
Fallon said all three children were born in Missouri. Unlike Texas, Missouri law does not allow public access to birth records. Fallon said that Taylor was pregnant with the youngest child when they began living together in 1994, and that the child was born in January 1995.
Fallon said his last name is on the child’s birth certificate, but Fallon says the biological father was a Louisiana police officer. The News has not been able to locate the man.
Fallon said he lived with Taylor until 1998, when she eloped to Las Vegas to marry Westerhaus. Westerhaus and Taylor divorced in 2001, and Westerhaus lives in Lewisville.
When a News reporter knocked on Westerhaus’ door May 8, he was reluctant to speak about his marriage to Taylor. But his current wife told The News that Taylor was largely responsible for piling up $330,000 in debt, forcing Westerhaus to file for bankruptcy in 2002.
“What I can tell you is the debt was hers,” Westerhaus’ current wife said that night, adding “He was an innocent person, just like Dirk is now.”
The Westerhauses have since been besieged by media interview requests and declined to comment. But late Thursday, a friend of the Westerhauses stepped forward, under the condition of anonymity.
“When she (Taylor) was with Mr. Westerhaus, she only had that little girl,” the family friend said. “After she did what she did to Mr. Westerhaus, she just up and left the child with him.”
The family friend decided to step forward after becoming “tired of seeing Cristal play the victim” in interviews with The News. The friend said Westerhaus “loved” the now 14-year-old girl as his own, “but he couldn’t keep her because he knew that was going to bring Cristal around.”
After Taylor left Westerhaus and the child in 1999, according to the family friend, six weeks passed before he persuaded Taylor’s relatives in St. Louis to take the girl — after threatening to call Child Protective Services.
When The News interviewed Taylor on May 22 in the Beaumont jail, medical release forms were brought from Parkland Hospital and Dallas County jail, which she readily signed. The medical report showed that Taylor indeed was tested after her arrest and was found to be pregnant.
When the test result became public May 26, Hart, Nowitzki’s attorney, said he had previously submitted written requests for an independent pregnancy test but had yet to receive a response.
Hart remains Nowitzki’s lead attorney, but apparently now is working in conjunction with Katherine Kinser of the firm Kinser and Bates, which specializes in matrimonial law.
The Beaumont Enterprise was the first media outlet to report that Kinser filed the petition last week in Dallas District Court 330. Although the petitioner is listed only as “D.N.” and “C.T.” the respondent, Renick on Thursday, confirmed to the Enterprise that Taylor was served with the papers.
Renick, who told the Enterprise that Taylor is visibly pregnant, said they had not determined an “appropriate response.”
“We have to determine the best options, legally, to protect her rights and those rights of her unborn child,” he added.
Details of petition
The News obtained a copy of Kinser’s “Petition To Adjudicate Parentage,” which in part states, “Petitioner is a man whose paternity of the child is to be determined and subsequently adjudicated if he is determined to be the biological father of the child.”
The petition continues, “Respondent has repeatedly made public statements that Petitioner is the biological father of the child.”
Section 7, Purpose of Suit, says the petition seeks “to establish the parent-child relationship between Petitioner and the child the subject of this suit in the event that it is determined that Petitioner is the biological father of the child.”
On May 21, Hart released a statement questioning the validity of Taylor’s pregnancy claims. “We have been told that she was not administered a pregnancy test,” he said in the prepared statement, adding that if in the “remote” chance Taylor is pregnant, Nowitzki would look after the child’s well-being.
The News’ previously scheduled face-to-face interview with Taylor occurred less than 24 hours after Hart’s remarks. A visibly angry Taylor said she had left Hart a voice message demanding an explanation.
“But I don’t want to talk to an attorney,” she told The News that day. “An attorney did not help me make this child. Dirk did.”
After a late Friday afternoon report by ESPN.com, a source confirmed to The News that an FBI investigation began last week, focusing on at least one phone call Taylor made to Hart.
According to the ESPN.com report, FBI agents not only were looking at the threatening nature of the calls, but the possibility that Taylor demanded money. The ESPN.com report did not say whether Hart was the allegedly threatened attorney.
An FBI agent in the Beaumont field office referred The News to the Houston office and FBI special agent Shauna Dunlap, who handles media questions.
“It’s the policy of the FBI and the Department of Justice that we do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations or investigations in general,” Dunlap said. She said the FBI will only comment if a matter becomes public record, meaning enough evidence is found to make a formal charge.