Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's wife has been granted permission to take their 2-year-old son to Venezuela for five weeks while she visits her ailing father, according to a court order issued today.
The order issued by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Albers modifies one issued in early February, when Mirkarimi, embroiled in a domestic violence scandal that earlier this week cost him his job as sheriff, was granted visitation rights with his son Theo.
According to the order, Eliana Lopez' father is undergoing chemotherapy, and she wants to travel with Theo to visit and care for him. She must return no later than April 28, and Mirkarimi is allowed daily telephone or Skype contact with Theo while they are gone.
The family, which has been left with no income in the wake of Mirkarimi's suspension, can no longer afford paid childcare, the order notes.
In Lopez' absence, Mirkarimi has agreed to complete "as many counseling sessions as possible," according to the order. The couple intends to enter marital counseling when Lopez returns from Venezuela, according to Albers.
The order is accompanied by a signed letter from Mirkarimi giving his permission for Lopez to take Theo to Venezuela.
Mirkarimi was sentenced Monday to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling after he pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment.
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped several other charges in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident on Dec. 31, 2011, in which he allegedly bruised his wife's arm during an argument.
Prosecutors have said they believe the argument was about Lopez's desire to take Theo to Venezuela.
Lopez, who was recorded by a neighbor crying and showing her bruise to the camera, has denied the allegations. The incident came to light after the neighbor turned the video over to police.
On Wednesday, Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay on official misconduct charges, which will be considered by the city's Ethics Commission at a upcoming hearing.
The commission will then make a non-binding recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which would need nine of the 11 supervisors to approve the charges for Mirkarimi to be removed from office.
Before being suspended, Mirkarimi said, "I do not believe that the conduct that I have taken responsibility for constitutes official misconduct" and said he looks forward to arguing his case with the Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors.