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News: Former Bengal Under Indictment Owes Support for Three Kids, Not One, Prosecutors Say

By Katie Taft · August 5th, 1999 · News

Hamilton County prosecutors overlooked a few things when they recently discussed with reporters the indictment of former Bengals running back James Brooks.

While prosecutors said Brooks was wanted on a felony charge of failure to pay child support to the mother of his 6-year-old son, they failed to mention his 4-year-old daughter whose mother is owed $28,000 and has received just $50, or the other child Brooks had with his ex-wife.

"I have had so much trouble trying to weed through the system, and I don't have a lawyer because I can't afford one," the 4-year-old's mother, Lisa Mason, said.

Brooks was indicted about a year ago, but efforts to find him or collect the money have been hampered by the fact that he left the country.

In addition to the 4-year-old daughter in Hamilton County, Brooks owes $74,000 to his son by Cindy Saulsbury, who last month told The Cincinnati Enquirer of her plight, and $15,000 to a child he had with his ex-wife, said Terry Gaines, chief assistant prosecutor in the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

The felony indictment only seeks payment for the 6-year-old child, Gaines said. But another grand jury hearing was held Aug.

3, and a decision on whether to include Mason's daughter was expected by the end of the week, Gaines said.

Mason said she had been pushed from agency to agency with each one telling her that they would work in the best interest of her child. But now, Mason said, she is confused and frustrated because none of the agencies have located Brooks, and she has only received one payment of $50.

"It's like banging my head against the wall," Mason said.

Brooks was brought up on the criminal charge after prosecutors learned of the outstanding child support he owed for his 6-year-old son.

Mason's case was not included in the criminal charge seeking child-support payments because when it was filed, prosecutors used a process that relied on those waiting for support funds contacting the prosecutors, Gaines said. Now, he said, that criteria no longer is being used, and prosecutors do make contact with all parties involved.

"She has not fallen through the cracks," Gaines said. "I am well-aware of her report and, I have always looked at this as Brooks owing in excess of $104,000."

Brooks could face jail time in Hamilton County if he is located, Gaines said. The last known address of Brooks was in London, he said.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen asked that the FBI issue a warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, making Brooks a federal fugitive.

Gaines said he had reason to believe that Brooks changed his name and address while authorities were waiting on the go-ahead to extradite him from England.

If Brooks is found, prosecutors will present the indictment again to include Mason's case, Gaines said.

Mason said that she wanted to participate in the criminal prosecution of Brooks.

"He's affected people in a negative way," she said. "That's unfortunate, especially for the ones he's not taking care of."

While authorities are searching for Brooks, Mason said she might take another route to find some sort of silver lining in this situation. She is considering contacting Saulsbury so that the two children can meet.

"I think one day we will meet so that my daughter can know that she has a brother out there," Mason said. "I don't know when. This just takes a lot of a person." ©



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