Accused of False Complaint : Mother on Trial in Child Support Case

Times Staff Writer

A Chatsworth woman who filed a criminal complaint against her ex-husband, alleging that he had failed to provide child support for their two children for nine months, is scheduled to go on trial today on a perjury charge in Van Nuys Superior Court.

Vivica M. Franzen, 36, is accused of lying in an attempt to get her ex-husband arrested during a highly publicized campaign by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to crack down on scofflaw fathers.

The ex-husband, Steven Thomas Boyd, 39, of Newhall, in fact had paid thousands of dollars in child support, prosecutors said.

Boyd, who works as a transportation coordinator for movie productions, received written notice of his ex-wife's allegations against him at his employer's office in Hollywood, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Katherine Mader.

The county letter informing Boyd of the charge and threatening him with arrest if he failed to appear in court in October, 1984, was opened by a co-worker, causing Boyd tremendous embarrassment, Mader said.

Affidavit Filed

Boyd's ex-wife, Franzen, 36, filed a sworn affidavit with the district attorney's child-support office in Reseda in September, 1984, alleging that Boyd had failed to provide any support, except two bicycles at Christmas, from September 17, 1983, to June 30, 1984.

When the two were divorced in 1979, Boyd was ordered by a court to pay $300 a month to help care for the couple's two children, now 12 and 14, until they turned 18.

The charge against Boyd was dismissed after he appeared for his arraignment and presented cancelled checks showing that he had paid nearly $3,700 in child support and dental and school bills during the nine-month period, Mader said.

The district attorney's office then filed a single perjury count against Franzen. Prosecutors in Van Nuys said they know of no other such cases arising from the district attorney's crackdown, which has included annual Father's Day arrests of parents who are delinquent in their support payments.

If convicted, Franzen faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Franzen has denied that she lied on the affidavit. Her attorney, William G. Cort, said at a preliminary hearing in March that Franzen did not mean to imply that Boyd had made no payments during the period, only that he had missed some.

Boyd contends, however, that he missed no payments, but made four in cash at Franzen's request because she had separated from her second husband and did not want him to have access to the money, court records show.

The trial before Judge Darlene E. Schempp is expected to last about five days.

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