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Actor Winter to stay in sister's care

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LOS ANGELES -- A judge determined Tuesday that teen actress Ariel Winter's mother should not regain custody of the Modern Family star and that the 14-year-old should remain in her older sister's care for the next several weeks.

Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas issued the ruling after considering a report by child protective investigators that was critical of Winter's mother, Chrisoula Workman.

The report found there was evidence of emotional abuse toward Winter, Levanas said, and the agency planned to step in and take its own action if Winter did not remain in a guardianship.

The ruling came more than six weeks after Workman was temporarily stripped of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to Winter.

The judge set a Dec. 12 trial date to determine whether Winter should be placed in a permanent guardianship.

Winter has been under the care of her sister, Shanelle Gray. Levanas said that if the case remains in his courtroom, he will make sure the family works toward reconciliation.

He said the Department of Children and Family Services could still choose to file its own case, which would remove it from his jurisdiction.

Winter's mother has denied all accusations that she was abusive.

Winter's father, Glenn Workman, also filed an objection to the guardianship late Monday, stating he wants a better relationship with his daughter and would be willing to care for her.

Levanas said Glenn Workman's filing was in conflict with statements he gave to investigators and that he could not give him custody of the young actress. He also noted that Glenn Workman described his estranged wife to investigators as "controlling and driven."

"A controlling mother does not mean she's unfit," Chrisoula Workman's attorney Anita Gumm said in court.

Gray was also taken from Chrisoula Workman's care in the 1990s amid accusations of abuse. Chrisoula Workman contends Gray was a rebellious teen who left home and that she is contending with a similar situation with Winter, who has been acting since age seven and stars as Alex Dunphy on the hit ABC series Modern Family.

People on the show's set are concerned about Winter's well-being and have been sneaking her food, according to in-court statements by Gray's attorney, Michael Kretzmer.

"Not for one second is this the picture of a rebellious teen," Kretzmer said during the hearing.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2012 C20

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