Hall of Shame (page 5)
Below are more stories of families unjustly separated by the "system" without representation of counsel and/or a Jury of their peers. The starting page, with an index, is here. These people have volunteered their stories so that everyone can understand the true damage being done, and also, so those who may be experiencing your own personal "nightmare" may realize -- you are not alone! We want you to here them in their own words. We can't vouch for the accuracy of these tales and we hope you will understand the bitterness and frustration you will hear in some of these.
Mark Valenti Location:
Lincoln Park, MI
Children/Birth Date: Mark (2000), William (1999), Todd (1993), Ryan (1991)
Date Separated: 3/22/2002 and 3/25/2002
We won. It's lengthy! It can be found in a PDF at http://ivalenti.com/snowfall.pdf .
became a wreck at the legislative, now it needs to be fixed at the legislative
level, along with public awareness.
MARI KANG CLARK (FORMERLY MARI HALPERIN), 1999
Date Separated: MARI since June 2002, LUCA since 6-22-05
Next hearing scheduled 8-1-05, although I'm not even CLEAR if it's for final
custody or not, of Luca.
I want to state my situation to as many people as possible so that people will wake up to the reality of what is really taking place in recent years in family (child abuse) court system and the related agencies such as the Child Protective Services, SAFE visitation programs, DA's Child Abduction Unit, and the criminal courts system working together to protect rich, abusive parents while perpetrating heinous "crimes" against normal, honest citizens and young innocent children of this country. These entities are today in the business of legalized abduction of children under the guise of "protecting" children from "abuse". They either hand over the children "officially" through the help of the DA to the richer, often abusive parent or legal guardians (often grandparents) through family court, or when they determine the children are not "safe" with either parents because neither are "fit" enough (this could be due to poverty and homelessness) they may rip away these children and process them through children's court to terminate their parental rights and drop them into their adoption basket.
What they are really doing is "protecting children from poverty" by making poverty itself a crime punishable by abduction, or the "legal" taking of children from otherwise normal, responsible parents through governmental agencies, thereby making a segment of the population in this country (namely, the "poor") into a mere child production "factory". They don't much care why a parent or parents may be in poverty at a given time, we all know who have walked through the doors of the welfare office for whatever the reason may be that slavery is well and alive in this country today. And in most situations, the targeted are the colored people, but especially the colored women, and most specifically, single mothers of color (i.e. AFDC/TANF recipients).
People need to be aware that currently (at least to my knowledge in California), the Family Court System is an outreach and extension of the criminal justice system, precisely in its role in child abduction and child abuse matters. Today, it is just so easy for a victim of spousal abuse with children to find themselves the next minute a target of a vicious accusation of abduction and child abuse, and before they can even say a word in their defense against these false allegations, find themselves losing their children through the DA and police force, just as it happened to me last week. How often do you see a picture of a "missing child" and the "abductor parent" on a milk carton or a flyer in the mail and wonder, "hmmm, I wonder why most abductors are WOMEN?"
Are we sure that these good-meaning missing children's organizations are not actually duped into helping out the perpetrators of domestic violence playing victim and crying false tears continue their abuse by easing their way through the "system" to take their children hostage and making the true victims fall prey to further abuse and destruction of their lives for good, defaming them as government fugitives? When I realized what struck me early this June, it was too late for me to take any measures to save my son from the family *child abuse* court system, since the family court has already entered emergency orders to switch custody in early May (completely without my knowledge!) and had ordered the DA to "retrieve and return" my son to the father who was given sole legal and physical custody of him behind my back claiming I was concealing the child and putting him in imminent danger! The scariest part of it all is that the DA's Child Abduction Unit and family court will act upon it based on unverified statements and assumptions made by one or more of their people (Child Protective Services, minor's counsel, custody evaluator) who just may have ulterior motives in lying rather than through verification of concrete, material facts. There seems to be no system of checks and balances from outside sources when it comes to these entities, thus giving them dangerous and ultimate police powers to crush and destroy people's lives at their whims.
In my case, the family court situation has been ongoing for the last 5 years since 2000, and now, last Wednesday, June 22, 2005, it ultimately came down to me losing my younger child (3-yr old son) to the abuser and his family who may even have been molesting my daughter (5 yrs old) who has been taken hostage by them since 2002.
Last week, there was an illegal court hearing on an illegally entered ex parte order to show cause, which was filed by the abuser behind my back without notice and entered into on May 6, 2005. In his false claims (he has a lawyer), he had pled that my son was in "imminent danger" of being abused and that there was fear that I may have already "abducted" the child to Japan (once again), and that an order was necessary to have the DA look for me and retrieve the child immediately to "return to father". I incidentally learned of this action and hearings through a court report sent to me through the custody evaluator in which I also discovered egregious factual lies of material nature inserted. I do not know if the evaluator herself is writing a false report, or the social worker from CPS who is lying (it could be both!). The report does overall make me look like I disappeared into nowhere, and it also claimed that I abused both of my children by "beating them on the back with a stick", a statement made by my 5-yr old daughter living with the abuser and his mother.
I dodged this successfully, but I guess they were at it consistently, trying
to find other means to get me ("they" meaning father and his conspiring mother).
During summer of 2000, father and his mother started asking for more days to
"see" my child, and I allowed them visits, typically up to 3 days a week for 6-8
hours (his mother had convinced me to let her son visit our daughter and she'll
supervise him, while he also agreed to enter therapy). In August, I had a
scheduled trip to New York with my family (our daughter included) for a week to
attend my cousin's wedding, the father knew about this all along, more than 6
months. On 8-4-00, his mother took my 1-yr old on a visit, concealing the fact
that it was really her 1-yr old birthday party they were doing behind my back,
of course without inviting me. 8 hrs later, my daughter came back with a deep
puncture wound on her foot which looked obviously infected by then. By the next
day, our daughter suffered high
They informed me that if I continued letting this mother look after my child, I could possibly be charged with "child endangerment". I got scared, so informed father that I no longer can let his mother see our child unsupervised, or hand her over directly myself. That is when the father flew off the handle and started screaming from the top of his voice, "YOU'RE TAKING THE BABY AWAY FROM US!!! YOU'RE JUST A 'CARETAKER', WE GIVE HER LOVE!" He refused to see me the next week, being busy attending his activist committee (as usual) during the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. The following week was my scheduled departure to New York. His grandmother verbally reprimanded me for "taking away the baby for 3 weeks", when in fact, I was only to be gone for 1 week.
When I returned to Los Angeles, the father told me he filed an action in
Family Court against me. I asked "why?" And he said, "I warned you." I didn't
get served until 2 weeks before the hearing on 11-1-00, then found out he was
filing for "joint custody" of all things. He gave no basis for his actions; no
declaration was enclosed (I have knowledge he went to a "father's right's"
agency and paid $350 to have this form prepared!). Paralegal services told me
they couldn't help me because the form was filled out improperly, and that I
need a lawyer. I was forced to scrape my money and hire an attorney who went to
the hearing on 11-1-00. We stipulated on me having temporary sole legal and
physical custody of our daughter while he was placed on supervised visits 2
times a week.... then everything went wrong.
Being uneducated in these things, I had requested these "supervised" visits
to take place at my home, where my 1-yr old will feel more comfortable and her
daily routines won't be bothered. Father refused to have my stepmother supervise
and instead suggested that I supervise, which I did. Everything seemed to be
working good on the surface. My 1-yr old finally had an opportunity for a
"regular visit" with his father and started to become familiar with him.
Although father was typically 30 minutes late showing up and sometimes missed
the visits, I had also allowed liberal visits with him and his family (while I
tagged along). We were once again back like family, except there were no
physical violence like before, and I no longer let them take the baby alone with
them without me. He even started moving into my home, and he talked of "getting
back together" and trying to "quickly settle this court matter". I had
absolutely no idea what he was doing in court behind my back!
January 2001, nightmare struck full force. I discovered my attorney quit his firm, no one prepared me or my declaration for the January Fast Track Evaluation hearing, I learned I was pregnant for the second time but father denied wanting any involvement in this child's life, basically telling me I'm on my own, the evaluator was completely biased against me and ordered unsupervised visitation every other day which doubled his visitations, claiming I was maliciously trying to alienate the baby from the father with unsubstantiated claims of domestic violence, then the father attacked me physically at my home during the 2nd unsupervised visit to pick up my daughter over the fact that I was videotaping the visitation pickup trying to get some "proof" of his abusiveness.
I sustained a broken foot, bruised ribs, and various contusions and bruises
on my shoulders and arms. He was arrested and charged with spousal abuse and
vandalism of the camcorder, but his mother bailed him out!
Of course, she was never even bathed, so I had to feed, and then bath her after 8pm, which pushed her bedtime back to 10pm (from 8-8:30pm). I became emotionally distressed myself, had frequent false contractions, and poor nutrition due to child support completely stopping when he filed in August 2000, and inability to work (I was self-employed) being bedridden from my injuries for almost 4 months, and my belly was growing! (I didn't even have time thinking of abortion and didn't know if I wanted to do that at age 36). I ended up calling the child services again, regarding my distress over the father's treatment of my daughter during her visits. My main concern was over her nutrition and father's refusal to follow the orders to "comply with mother's schedule for the child", which directly caused her emotional distress.
But I did also mention of her constant violent night terrors and how she acted strangely now during diaper changes, just lying prone and opening her legs wide apart, which she never did before. CPS worker asked if I suspected any sexual abuse and I truthfully told her I don't know. She told me to take her in to the doctor for an exam, and when I did, they found she had labial adhesions but doctor assured me nothing to worry about it. Meanwhile, I called all sorts of resources to get help, and obtained the services of a home visitor/counselor who helped me walk through the "system". I finally got a copy of the police report and found at least 2 material lies in it; meantime, we made repeated requests to search for my court file which was last seen and disappeared from the custody evaluator's office, needed to obtain services of free legal aid; I finally got the file back from the attorney who quit my case and for the first time discovered the "fictional" declaration the father filed on 12-20-00, lying about how I was alienating the child from him and his family precisely when the opposite was true -- he was messing around with me getting me pregnant – and I felt completely "raped" and in a state of shock.
Meanwhile, the father's spousal abuse charges were dropped a week after I was subpoenaed as witness for the criminal hearing and neither he nor his attorney showed up. The DA in the case told me to come back a week later if they don't have a settlement agreement. DA calls me within the week stating that she heard I had made a false sexual abuse allegation against the father, according to father's lawyer. I told her I didn't, and that she can verify it from the social worker. Anyway, what does that have to do with his attack on me? I thought. Few days later, the DA calls me back telling me that they agreed to settle, and that his spousal abuse charge is dropped but his domestic violence charge is still attached to the vandalism charge, whatever that means. Because of the extent of my injuries, everybody told me he should have been charged with a felony in the first place, but he only was arraigned for a misdemeanor, and now, even that was dropped. Back in the family court arena, the court file that was missing for 7 months mysteriously reappeared at the evaluator's office, but it was missing most of the contents, including the 12-20-00 declarations.
In July'01, I finally scraped some money for a lawyer to represent me just 2
weeks before the next evaluation and the evaluation was continued to Dec '01,
then father retaliated by switching the "neutral 3rd person" to his mother, who
obviously wasn't neutral at all. She even threatened me with sheriff's at my
door trying to snatch my child away claiming she had a "court order" to pick up
the child which was a lie, and the sheriff's said "she forgot to bring her copy
but we believe her". I complained to my attorney about this, but he told me the
father maintains there's nobody else to do the visits, the grandmother suddenly
no longer available to do it coincidentally with my hiring an attorney. I asked
them to change the visits to a nearby police station instead where it will be
safe and we'll have no problem with 3rd parties (in fact, I was always more
afraid of his mother by then, because she has terrorized me at my own home with
the sheriffs and she've already th!
My stomach started churning in fear, and my unborn was doing summersaults in my womb. I suffered from so much emotional and physical distress from the every other day hell during July to the point I had premature labor (and was ordered "best rest for a week" after given shots to stop my contractions) 2 months before my baby was due. I couldn't physically tolerate this any longer, so I pleaded to have the visits combined to once a week, same total hours, but his attorney countered that I had to give them overnights if I want that (which meant doubling his visitation hours without going to court). That was it. I wasn't going to risk my life and my pregnancy over these games and took it upon myself to leave for Japan (where I came from) where I have family and support during this difficult times, and figured I'll have the attorney negotiate a long-distance visitation plans for our daughter (such as 2-4 weeks twice a year) rather than drag her any longer in this every other day hell which completely messed up her brain and healthy development. Of course I wasn't going to just abandon my barely 2-yr old child who was under my sole legal and physical custody at that time.
Back in Japan, I did not get the support I expected and instead, my own mother kept on telling me to go back to the US. She was apparently upset that I had become pregnant without marriage for the second time, and also didn't believe that a man you aren't married to can actually take a baby away from a mother (no such thing happens in Japan). I went to the welfare office and they transferred me to a confidential pregnant women's shelter where I can get proper nutrition and medical help in a safe environment to assure the safe birth of my son. However, they couldn't guarantee any help after the child was born to a foreign citizen, because I no longer had any legal status in Japan for over 15 years, living all those years and establishing my life in the US. Especially after learning that my daughter would have to be away from me in a government care facility for infants for a total of 2 months before and after I give birth to my son, I elected to come back to the US to give birth, now that the dangerous phase was over. I decided to have my mother temporarily take care of my daughter meanwhile since I won't be able to care for a newborn and a 2 year old all alone back in the US.
When my phone cards ran out, I returned to my house (I left everything intact when I left for Japan) and hid there. Next day was the infamous 9-11. I called my father to inform I was back and he told me that a jet plane struck the skyscrapers in New York that morning. I thought it was a joke. I turned the TV on and saw the replay of the building burning and melting like plastic. When my father told me that the FBI was looking for me and the father's family was inquiring about my daughter's whereabouts and welfare through the DOJ and American Embassy in Japan, I was shocked at the turn of events. What was my lawyer doing all this time?? I called the American Embassy and talked to the person there who knew what was going on with me in Japan, and asked what is happening.
They assured me that they haven't disclosed my location to the father's family (they knew where I was) but his mother had been sending inquiries to the Justice Department and DOJ had violated my privacy rights by disclosing that I was in Japan, being convinced by the "mother-in-law" that I was a Japanese citizen and made an inquiry to the Embassy to conduct a welfare and whereabouts of the child "in danger". I went into labor immediately and ran to the hospital for help. Since I still had 2 weeks to go, they stopped my labor and put me in observations. Knowing what took place, the hospital hid me while the domestic violence advocacy groups made calls to various shelters.
When they couldn't place me anywhere, they asked me to call everybody and anybody I know who could put me up until the safe delivery of my son. I found a friend of a friend of a friend, who didn't much know anything besides the fact that I was pregnant and in need of shelter put me up for the next few weeks. Immediately after my son's birth, my father and step-mother came into my post delivery room to see the baby and told me that I need to leave immediately for Japan, because the DA is looking for me and I will be in "big trouble" if I stayed. I didn't know what to think. I just came out of delivery and after what took place in the last 2 weeks since my return, my mind was all blank. Anyway, they packed me and saw me off at LAX back to Japan before I knew what struck me, just 10 short days after my son's delivery.
Back in Japan, I had even more hardships. I had no legal status to stay in
Japan, so I couldn't get any welfare aid. The biggest problem was finding a
place to stay with 2 small children when I had absolutely no money, due to the
emergency. Long story short, while I was struggling in Japan, I had apparently
become a fugitive in the US wanted for child abduction. I didn't know any of
this was taking place. Nothing from the lawyer suggested it (nor could I reach
him for a while). My father did mention that the FBI made inquiries but he said
they dropped the case. When my lawyer told me finally in Jan.'02 that there was
a final judgment for custody of our daughter in father's favor and I need to
return if I wanted to prevent that, I decided to call the father directly myself
(I haven't spoken to him in over a year because of the criminal protective
order) first week of Feb.'02. I finally learned from the father that there was a
criminal charge against me and that if I didn't return, they will extradite me
anyway, and it's better if I told him where I am so he can come visit his
daughter and he also negotiated for a joint custody and said he wanted all of us
to return. He also threatened me
I explained to him that I never wanted to take the children away from him, just that I was physically in danger of losing my son and I had to leave, especially with his mother and lawyer's relentless harassment and abuse. He drew up a legal document prepared by his attorney for "joint custody" stipulating how we were arranging to live together, anticipating marriage, and how he was going to drop the contempt charge from family court and work with the DA to get the criminal charges dropped upon my return and my daughter back in the US.
It was a big hoax and a set-up. He did indeed prepare a house for all 4 of us to live, but he never signed the stipulation for joint custody nor made arrangements for our marriage, and instead maintained his "sole legal and physical custody" given to him just a month before my scheduled return by lying to court that I refused to return the child to the US.
He told me I still had to show up in criminal court before the DA can drop the charges, and suggested I take my family lawyer to counsel me. I did, and went to court maintaining "not guilty", and they told me to come back in a week for the next hearing. Meanwhile, the father took my daughter and disappeared over the weekend and then called me telling me he "moved out". He abandoned my 8 months old son and me in a strange neighborhood he put us up in, which wasn't very safe either, with gang shootings going on just few blocks down and roach infested. He had in fact trafficked me and the kids back in the US like a "mail order bride", "legally" abducted my daughter then dumped me with my 8 months old in the lion's snare. At the next criminal hearing, everything was turned around. I went prepared to plead for a misdemeanor charge after being convinced by my attorney that will be in my best interest. He said the DA assured him I wouldn't have to go to jail.
However,at the hearing, the DA suddenly informed me it will stay a felony charge and that I will have to go to jail if I didn't accept the plea bargain. Apparently, the father lied to the DA that I had threatened to abduct my daughter once again and that he left me because our relationship was "volatile". There was a letter from his lawyer stating this which my lawyer showed me in the courtroom. I was put on the spot. I told my lawyer it was a bunch of lies. I didn't want to plead "no contest" (my lawyer's advice) and was still arguing with him on the stand. The judge assured me that if I accepted it, and get in no trouble for a whole year, it will be reduced to a misdemeanor or be expunged from my record. I finally reluctantly agreed, fearing that I may go straight to jail if I didn't accept this, and have my 8 months old son transferred immediately to the abusive father's custody without a proper hearing in family court (after all, I conceived him through sexual abuse and fraud, and felt completely raped when I found out the truth of what he was doing to me). I was in a state of shock and complete daze, and didn't even realize that I had signed myself for a 5-year formal probation term and also waived and accepted payments of stiff probations fees of about $3500, which I didn't even have ability to pay.
After I was betrayed, deceived, had my daughter stolen, and was abandoned with an 8 months old baby with a felony conviction of child abduction, I was put under constant surveillance of the father, his mother, and the probation department, while I serviced the father sexually whenever he desired (usually in exchange for food and other necessities) and cared for BOTH children left unsupervised under my care as an unpaid nanny slave to my own children. My own biological father was nowhere to be of help, he in fact left me penniless after he and his wife sold all my belongings after sending me off to Japan, didn't pay a dime to my lawyer from the sales as instructed but instead pocketed everything for themselves to pay themselves back for their troubles.
The father abandoned his mother's car with me to use for transportation in June '02 but refused to turn over the pink slip, possibly trying to claim that I "stole" her car, thus violate the probation. He also took away and hid the registration for the car so I had no information and couldn't get insurance, again get me in trouble for violation of probation. In Dec.'02, the father and his mother violently evicted my son and me from the house with nowhere to go on a cold winter night, rendering us instantly homeless. I guess their objective was to "disappear" me as if I was concealing myself, to get me to violate my probation terms, once again. I found out that the father received a call for my probation appointment, but withheld the information until a day later, then calling me about it, trying to get me in trouble. I couldn't see my daughter much for whole 2 months or so during my crisis at which time she came down with a bad case of head lice in Jan'03 and expelled twice from preschool.
Father, instead of letting me treat her long hair for lice or even cut it properly short, shaved her bald except for a ponytail on top of her head like Aztec style and she was taunted at school. Her hair is only recently (Jan '05) growing back looking normal. In April '03 she came down with repeated urinary tract infections. In June '03, she was screaming in pain and emptied her bladder. I took her into pediatric ER and they called the police for possible sexual abuse against the father, did forensic tests and found 2 spots of something under the Woods Lamp. The outcome?? I was arrested on the spot for the "outstanding" civil contempt charge from Nov. '01 (which the father told me was dropped already despite his refusal to sign the stipulation we agreed on), which the police said he wouldn't have bothered arresting me for except for the warrant amount of $100,000. During my 4 day ordeal, I was taken in, processed, then was given a red-striped "high power" tag preserved for violent criminals, put in handcuffs behind my back inside jail (where other criminals roamed free), and put in solitary confinement tank for over 18 hours before being placed in my solitary cell.
Meanwhile, the sexual abuse charges against the father was never pursued, the forensics lost, and both the father and his mother attributed my "arrest" somehow to the fact that I tried to bring sexual abuse charge against him (where's the connection??? I really wonder). During the 6 months or so before and after this June'03 incident, my daughter had markedly regressed in her toilet training and was constantly pooping in her pants and wore diapers all day at one point in preschool at almost age 4.
The criminal court's promise of reducing my "crime" to a misdemeanor or expunging never materialized a year later, my probation officer refusing to review my case in over a year. I took out a transcript of the proceedings, and found the version I received was "edited", "expunging" was not even mentioned anywhere. Fall '03, there was constant threats and terrorizing from the father hinting on "re-abduction attempts" on my part anytime I started to complain about his mistreatment of me and my son and he couldn't get me to do everything he wanted. I hid in a domestic violence shelter in Dec'03 hoping to end this all. But it turned out as soon as he found out I filed TRO and request for sole legal and physical custody of my son in the local courts, he was trying to start up yet another family court case against my son this time.
In April '04, when I heard from the father that my daughter got a black eye by "flying into the wall" in his house, I got worried and wanted to see her. I had attempted to serve him with the TRO for months but failed up to then. When I went to see him and our daughter, he never came out of his mother's house and instead, as I was trying to leave with my son in his stroller crossing a major intersection at a pedestrian crosswalk, I was caught by surprise by suddenly being grabbed from behind and my arm was twisted off the stroller while his mother appeared from nowhere and stuck something in my basket. She had "served"me with an OSC for joint custody of our son. Throughout 2004, the father and his lawyer fought about jurisdiction and struck down my restraining order and consolidated the cases with my daughter's existing case since Aug. 2000 in downtown Central court. His mother lied as usual to get off her harassment restraining order (I had also reported her for battery, and I suffered a sprained arm for 6 months). Without the restraining orders, I couldn't stay at the shelter any longer. The father once again had me where he wanted me, in the palm of his hand. Since I had no ability to get a place of my own since my return from Japan in 2002, and especially with a felony having difficulty finding a job (I used to teach children), he paid for our place to stay. He even destroyed my car to make it difficult to get a job and make me more dependent on him, so he can better continue to harass me.
Then this Jan. 2005, on 1-24-05, on the way back from mediation and 2 days before the court date for our custody evaluation, while he drove me back to my place after offering me a ride, he started becoming belligerent inside the car and he slapped me viciously on my wrist, then shoved me backwards in my driveway after I exited his van and I was injured. I reported to the police and got a restraining order the next day from family court. At the hearing on 1-26-05, he told he pays our rent, making himself look like a responsible father to get my son's visits. The court ordered SAFE location exchange and I had been taking out a rent-a-car to meet up with court demands up to then, but in February, 2 weeks into the month, my landlady discovered no rent was coming and had no choice but to evict me, since I was already financially strapped, especially since the injury I also lost my little part time income working as a waitress.
I went into domestic violence shelter again, because I needed much help especially with transportation to the SAFE exchange, but the shelter was already concerned over this jeopardizing the shelter's safety. They determined to exit me because too much court matters are taking place in their city, but couldn't find other emergency shelters that will accommodate visitation exchanges. They left me stranded at a homeless multi-service center with my son a day before the next hearing on 3-9-05. The minor's counsel used this against me to confirm my "instability" of shelter and job, and that the safety of my son with me was questionable. I pled with the judge of my difficulty complying with the court's demand in my immediate crisis situation, about my difficulty with transportation and money. She almost changed the visitation pickup location to something locally like my son's school or the local police station, but the minor's counsel insisted on keeping it at the SAFE location which I already explained was becoming impossible, and all this, despite the restraining order being dissolved for yet another of their lies.
By the second SAFE visitation, I was no longer able to comply physically or financially. I was stranded at a local motel room with my son with no reliable transportation, having to risk driving the car the father mechanically wrecked last fall which often stalled after driving 15 minutes or so. I still took my son to school every day. Being homeless, I only had a cell phone to communicate with, and I was running the bill for calling all sorts of places for help, including looking for permanent shelter. As anticipated, by mid-April, my phone was disconnected from non-payment. I had nobody to help take my son to the exchanges 4 cities away and couldn't pick my daughter up to see her either. At one point I had only a few pennies for over 2 weeks.
Meanwhile, I hadn't forgotten about the threat from the father's lawyer to take me for contempt charge if I didn't show up at SAFE. I told him of my material difficulties and also immediately called several local attorneys to consult and they all assured me they couldn't charge me with contempt in my current condition and that if they did, I will have a right to an attorney in court. I didn't ever expect them to claim that I "disappeared to Japan" once again, with the father himself having passports of both children in his possession and say that my son was in "imminent danger" with me, trying to establish me as a mentally unstable, homeless, violent, child abuser with a felony conviction already for child abduction, which is actually classified as "child threat" in the criminal systems, probably only second worst to being a registered "sex offender".
After learning some of what was taking place behind my back during the emergency crisis situation that the father put me in, I went to court to check my files and (still uncertain as to why the judge went ahead and entered orders to have the DA "retrieve and return" my son to the father on 6-9-05), checked the court date which was 6-22-05, dropped everything I was doing to prepare the legal paperwork to get this motion and order set aside, spending a few days at the law library and filed an Ex Parte emergency request to have the hearing set aside. However, the new and abusive male judge on the bench by the name of Frederick Shaller dismissed my motion, went on with the illegal hearing taking place in front of my eyes, still forcibly ordered the DA to retrieve the child, after I pleaded to have the father come pick up the child, and placed me on 4 hours supervised visits only with my son who I had primary custody of for "violation of court orders" which I couldn't materially comply. Further more, he ordered these supervised visitations to take place AT THE SAME SAFE EXCHANGE AND VISITATION LOCATION WHICH I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET TO SINCE MARCH!!! I don't know how much more abusive a judge can be. After he himself violating so many Family Codes and Codes of Civil Procedures AND also violating the California State Constitution, I am punished by this abusive judge who has aided and abetted the batterers into doing an instant "custody switch" on the basis of fraud and deceitful lies and pure fiction they've presented to court, while claiming that I have "violated" an "illegal" order.
Have I mentioned the fact also that I have been working with the Victim of Crime assistant from the Carson sheriffs station shortly after my exit from shelter, getting the direct services of the DA's office for victims of crime to get relocation funds, which specifically states that their help and funding is contingent upon my agreement NOT to disclose my new location to the perpetrator? What about the fact that the Long Beach police had a warrant for his arrest for the latest spousal abuse on 1-24-05, and the father himself has been concealing himself and dodging the police until 6-21-05, a day before he took my son away through the DA's Child Abduction Unit in family court and my 3-yr old son was abusively dragged away by two sheriffs from his babysitter's house, each holding his hands pulling high above his head towards the squad car, as if HE was being arrested, before I showed up in the nick of time and they brought him back inside so I can say my last goodbye? The father was nowhere to be found to pick up my son despite my pleas to the judge to have him come by to pick up, precisely to avoid my son from suffering this kind of trauma of being hauled away by complete strangers.
How much more systematic injustices can we tolerate??
Cathy Hughes Location:
Children/Birth Date: Richie & Lisa
Date Separated: Nov 2004
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Dear Senator Clinton:
Below are pictures of my two children. The day before Thanksgiving, November 24, 2004, I was visited by the police who proceeded to inform me that my husband had obtained an order of protection against me and that I was to leave my own home. After several attempts at non-violent actions and court appearances, I am now limited to “visit” with my children every other weekend, but only if my family is present as “supervision”. I have not been deemed unfit, nor have I been charged with abuse. The orders were placed by a Family Court judge that allowed my husband’s deceitfulness to influence her to remove my equal rights with my children. I am now fighting an uphill battle just to be heard. And the ones that are suffering the most are my children.
We are parents who love our children and we feel serious reform is necessary. We ask that you take the time to meet with parent hurt by the system. We just want you to be able to hear some real stories from devastated families. We are not the `enemy', we are just parents. Being able to meet with you would send a very positive message to these parents - that their family concerns are important and will be addressed even though we are not well organized or well funded.
Crystal Aldridge Location:
Children/Birth Date: Drew (June 1995)
Date Separated: Sep 2000
I am trying to find a pro bono attorney to help me regain custody of my son.
June 1, 1995 was the happiest day of my life. My son, Drew was born. A day I was told I would probably never see due to infertility problems. He was the joy of my life and I couldn't have been happier. Just a few days after he was born I received a call from his pediatrician to tell me that my son had a rare disorder called PKU. But, with proper diet he would be fine. His diet is one of little or no protein. Unfortunately, Drew's health problems did not end there. He had continuous ear infections (which was treated with tubes in his ears) and continuous throat infections, colds, etc. When he was almost 2 years old he went into the hospital to have his adnoids and tonsils taken out. Soon after this minor surgery, he developed an infection. I told the doctors that they had to find out what was wrong with my son! They protested and in annoyance ran a test that they "were sure would turn out negative".. Surprise to them, it was positive. My son had a rare immune deficeincy.
A year after this happened, I had to leave my husband due to abuse. I literally fled in the middle of the night. He (my ex) confessed to some threats against my life in court, and when asked by the judge he was unable to explain what was wrong with our son which made him a threat to him with his physical health. My ex was given supervised visitation until the divorce was final, then he got regular unsupervised visitation.
Unfortunately, each time my son came home from his father, he was sick and his PKU levels were high, Which meant he was not being fed properly. I complained to social services that they MUST make him take care of his health needs. Each time I complained, the social worker became more agitated with me. Basically, calling me a troublemaker to get back at my ex husband. She informed me that if I ever complained again, I would lose my son and his father would have him. I thought "surely she cannot do this! I have medical proof!"
Then, my son's veins became weak due to monthly infusions for his immune deficiency and a port had to be put in so that he could continue his infusions. The next week he went on a two week vacation to his fathers and went to Disney World. When I picked my son up, his ears were bleeding, his port was infected and his PKU levels had tripled. I called social services to complain, and two days later they had a court order to take my child and give him to his father.
Two days after this happened, they called me to the social services office to tell me that they believed I had Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I was totally horrified! After months of battling, I went to Portland, Oregon to a specialist on MSBP who told me that it was literally the most insane charge he had ever heard of, that I definitely DID NOT have this syndrome and I had been accused unjustly. I thought I was finally through with all of this and would get my son back.. I was wrong. This process had taken a year and the courts decided that my son was "settled" with his father, now the funny thing about that is: his father WASN'T raising him.. he had given our son to his parents. But, the courts ignored this completely saying it was a "babysitting arrangement" even though he never saw his father. (which was fine with me since he is abusive, but his parents weren't much better).
It has now been 4 years. My son desperately wants to come home. He cries, he begs and pleads with me to not make him go back when he is on visitation with me.. but, I have to take him back anyway. When he is with me, I try to fill him with hope and encourage him, but he is such a sad little boy. He told me that all he ever wants is to live with me again.. and goes on to tell me how they mistreat him. Another thing, his PKU levels have been TERRIBLE since he has gone to live with them. The only time they are normal is after he has been with me for an extended time (like spring break). But, the courts continue to ignore this.. they just turn their head. It's as if his health needs do not matter.. or his mental state.. or where he wants to be, which back home with his mom in a nurturing and loving place.
I have friends right now that are so scared that they will lose their children, because they said if I could lose mine, anyone could. Just upset one social worker and your kids are gone.
I want more than anything to give my son his wish and bring him back home to stay.. but, I do not have the money for an attorney and legal aide will not represent me because I do not have custody.
Things need to change.. our kids are not safe even in good, christian homes. If anyone has any ideas that would help me, please let me know! God Bless you all
Katherine Ortell Location:
E. Hampton, MA
Children/Birth Date: Samantha (1997)
Date Separated: Aug 7, 2000
Fighting for custody back I was 17 when I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was living with her father whom I had been with for 2 years. Eventually the stress of work and supporting a newborn caused him to push himself away from us. We decided to end our relationship and the baby and I moved out.
I now see how young and naive I was when it came to being on my own. I had a really hard time holding a job and I ended up getting into trouble with drugs. Samantha's father and I decided it would be best to have him take custody until I got my life straight again.
This August will make 1 year since my daughter has lived with me and it has been the worst one of my life. In the original custody agreement I was granted open and reasonable visitation rights. However her father decided that he didn't feel that I could handle her so even though I had been clean for over 7 months at this point, he still refused to let me see her. So, back to court we went and I was unfairly given supervised visits 3x a week!. A week after we started the visits her father called me and asked me if I would take her overnight unsupervised. Of course I jumped at the chance to see my child and since that one overnight our arrangement has gone from supervised to unsupervised overnight visits from Friday to Wednesday.
This may sound wonderful to any mother who has fought or is fighting for their child back but unfortunately when I tried to inform the courts of how often I now have her and about how he has since lost his job and is unable to care for her I keep getting pushed to the side and i have to keep taking drug tests. I have been clean now for almost a year, I have a full-time job, I'm beginning college in the fall and I want my daughter with me. I will never say her father is a bad father because when she needed him the most he was there but, I truly believe that a little girl needs her mother. Doesn't every child? Please pray for my child that someday she can come home.
Brian Dutcher Location:
Children/Birth Date: Ambra Lynn Dutcher (1997)
Date Separated: Jan 28, 2001
Going to court on 06/04/2001 for violating restraining order -- which I did not do. My wife doesn't want me to see my daughter at all.
On January 28th of this year my wife went out with her boyfriend For about ten hours. When she came home, she picked a fight with me And then went upstairs. When I went up to see why she was so quite I found her sitting on the bed with my gun on her lap. She said she was going to blow my f-----g brains out. As I took the gun away from her I also hung up the phone 911 called right back and then sent the police out. My wife showed them a lump on her head and said I had hit her They never asked me what was going on or if there was any other explanation for the lump (I believe her boyfriend gave so she could get rid of me). They just took me to jail.
I lost my job am about to lose my truck (which I am living in) And did not see my daughter for 30 days. I am now allowed to see her every other weekend. My dear wife is always late in getting her to me. I can't go to the house to pick her up. On 06/04/2001 I go to court because my dear wife say's I have been harassing her. Not true! But I can't prove I haven't been any more than she can prove any of her other lies. But in Georgia her word is all it takes so she wins, I don't see my daughter again (ever) and I go back to jail. I have a lawyer that said I better get use to the idea because in Georgia I don't stand much of a chance. So I do all I can, pray that God will have his way and the truth will be known. All you out there reading this please pray also. That my dear wife will come to her senses and tell the truth And we can work thing out. A small part of me still loves her, and I don't believe in divorce My marriage vows to god said till death do us part. Divorce is to easy these days we all need to turn back to god for guidance and support.
Julia Colloton Location:
Children/Birth Date: Kristin (1990), Natale (1992)
Date Separated: September 26, 2000
We were set for custody trial on May 21, but now there is a delay for the 5th time in 4 years. It was a highly tense day. My beautiful girls had been in protective custody with me for 2 weeks because Natale had divulged to an ER Physician that her father had "touched her privates, and tried to insert a finger" while trying on clothes at Target Department Store on August 28th, 2000. When I took my little girl to the emergency room at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Il., I informed them that I thought that she had a terrible yeast infection that would not respond to medication. Instead, the physician who saw her, Dr. Al Baris, had a different opinion. He diagnosed Natale with, "History of possible sexual abuse" and called the police and our infamous DCFS. My little girl could not walk and for 3 days, had to be carried.
The judge appeared hateful that he had to allow me to have my children. He shook his finger at me and told me not to move them from the jurisdiction of the court or her would issue a federal warrant for my arrest. I thought, "Where in the world does he expect me to go?" He demanded that the DCFS investigation be completed in 10 days (In Illinois, state law states allows them 90 days). I was called into court many times in my two week period, living on edge every moment. I'll never forget the moment my little one climbed into my lap and stated with joy, "It feels like you won custody of us, mom." The older daughter chimed in with the same comment and said that they did not want to go back to their father's duplex, that he was a "queer", that he had uninstalled all the telephone jacks in the house because he was afraid that the girls would "sneak a phone in and call their mommy", places a chair up against the door at night in case I were to break in (I have better things to do). There are many more things and I am asked if these are "normal."
The girls told of stories of physical abuse, fondling, inappropriate washing during bathing, urinating in the presence of the girls, etc. I have photographed all of the abuse marks, welts, handprints whip marks, etc., but our very capable DCFS Supervisor, Artis Cook, states that these "marks" could have been caused by anything. Upon inquiring what could have left existing bruises, she replied, "no comment" took her snickers bar and coke and left the room. The GAL on my case used to work with Artis. Her name is Kathryn Bischoff. Because she had a law degree, some intelligent person made her a supervisor..... this was after some intelligent college gave her a JD degree. Much to my surprise, all of the investigators that I had on my case, used to work with Ms. Bischoff.
Ms. Bischoff has some problems with me. She has not liked me since the onset of our case, she has been completely unilateral and chosen sides, she has listened to the children state that they don't want to live with their father, they want to live with me, but when it comes time for Ms. Bischoff to tell the court what the girls have stated, she lies to the court and states that the girls prefer their father. I can make this accusation because I have witnessed my children speaking with her and her recitation of the conversation to the court. Yet, as an "officer of the court, she is presumed not to lie." What a joke that one is. Currently, anyone involved in our case, has had some involvement working with or for Ms. Bischoff, who has manipulated the case for the past 3 years. Ms. Bischoff has never had any children of her own, does not know what is age appropriate, does not comprehend the intelligence of a 6 month old, much less an older child nor understands the perseverance of an 8-11 year old
She preys on the young and keeps them silent, so that their stories cannot be told. The day came for Natale to be interviewed by the police detective. I was told to prepare the girls for questioning by just telling them to "tell the truth." I took the girls to Carrie Lynn Center (named for a child that DCFS and police ignored and later uncovered her beaten body from a shallow grave) for the questioning. I was told that a forensic questioner, a petite woman, would speak with my girls.
At the last minute, the woman was unavailable and a somewhat Nazi looking male named, Det. Paul Swanbery, interviewed. He towered my children and I by at least 2 feet. My children were intimidated by him. When asked, my girls stated that they were abused physically and Natale told of the incident at Target while the older, Kristin, corroborated the story. They told stories that were years old with details that I do not recall. The girls recalled the night their father called me a "F***** Bitch" and threw me across the kitchen landing on Natale. They remembered, with such clarity, events that I wanted to erase from my memory. Since my girls have near photographic memories (like their older brother and mother) their recollections and succintness of events was under superstition. When I was questioned, I was hit by the question, "We are under the impression that you have told your girls what to say." Instead of taking the defense, I immediately asked the detective, "are you accusing me of telling them to say bad things about their father?" I was confronted with, "When I (Paul Swanberg) looked at Natale, she said, "My mommy did not tell me what to say." That was all the inexperienced detective needed to hear before he wrote, "brainwashed" in his notes.
I wondered and wondered why my daughters would make such a statement and then it dawned on me that the statement came from their anti-therapist....You guessed right, he was employed by DCFS and worked with Kathryn Bischoff. The anti-therapist, Jay (John) Budzynski, used to ask them questions. The girls had openly expressed their hatred at going to sessions, but unsuccessfully, I tried to have things changed. This man also, so aligned with Kathryn Bischoff and my former spouse, became very much so, an advocate for my custodial termination. Kristin used to come home and tell me that "Dad and Jay have a new name for you, mom." I would tell her, "that's nice." "Wanna hear?" she asked. I said, "No." I was told anyway. Kristin told me that they referred to me as, "Your M-U---T-H-E-R." Jay would continually ask the girls, when he considered them to be misbehaving (duh, another intelligent person that had never had children), "Did your M-U----T-H-E-R, make you say that! ! ?" Or, "Did your M-U---T-H-E-R make you do that?" Apparently, Jay's constant questioning of the girls, finally led to just receiving a look with an eye. When Jay would simply raise an eyebrow, which I am suspecting that Paul Swanberg did, the conditioned response from the girls is/was, "No, my mom did not make me say that" (yes, they can be smart alecky).
So the very thing that I am accused of, is actually a statement that was conditioned by the counselor. If I did not know better, I would say that this was done purposely. If that man intentionally played with their minds, I would suspect that forgiveness will never be an issue. Was Paul Swanbery intelligent enough to check into this? No. Should we expect our police department to actually protect and serve us? It seems that in this day an age, where sex hostilites are so high, that accusations are made to any and every extent. There still remained the fact: Who caused the bruises in the photos, who sexually fondled Natale, why couldn't Natale walk and why did a doctor state that there was a history of sexual abuse? Another doctor confirmed the bruising, another daughter confirmed the presence of broken bones...... are my children to be like Carrie Lynn before anyone listens and then the police department and DCFS apologize by naming a children's center after them? Yeah, right.
That doesn't do in America. DCFS released their report to Kathryn Bischoff on September 25th, 2000 (that's the date she wrote but the letter was never actually dated). That they were going to RECOMMEND that the case be unfounded. We went to court in the morning. I had dropped off my children at school, made their lunches, walked them to their classes and kissed them. That was the last day that I saw them in a "normal" way. Judge Stephen Nordquist, at the behest of Kathryn Bischoff and opposing attorney Robert Canfield, took them away from me. He would not allow telephone contact nor visual contact. I lost my teaching position as a result of my former spouse, his atty., and the GAL making a visit to the school district, with a court order against me and suspicions of "brainwashing" my children. At the urging of Kathryn Bischoff, I was court ordered to undergo a series of psychological tests for mom's that brainwash their children.
My only hope of getting them back, was to pass the tests. I did pass the tests, with flying colors. Part of the test even stated that, "Mom did not brainwash the children, and the children have not been brainwashed." This result angered Ms. Bischoff and opposing counsel and the judge. By this time, Ms. Bischoff had asked to leave as GAL. Stephen Nordquist would not allow her leave for 30 days. In that time, Ms. Bischoff did and said anything that she could defamatory toward me. And, you guessed correctly if you asked yourself, "Was the person who did the psychological testing connected with Kathryn Bischoff?" His name is David Jacobsen, psy.d., intern.
His self-centeredness on his profile and credentials is extremely apparent. Word has it that he was insulted by a police officer who pulled him over for a ticket when he was not addressed as, "Doctor." That is indicative of pathology and narcissism, yet this man is studying to do this as a career? Where are the psychology police when you need them? This man is NOT licensed in! ! this state nor any other state to interpret tests and draw conclusions, but the judge and Kathryn Bischoff gave him the power to do so. In the interim of GAL changes, Stephen Nordquist demanded an "addendum" report. He was able to obtain documents that are unattainable via FOIA requests, allowed ILLEGAL wire-tapping to take place, allowed ILLEGAL conversations to be transcribed, gave them to the new GAL who provided that very intelligent intern with false and illegal information to write the "addendum report" to give the Stephen Nordquist enough justification to the Court of Appeals for taking away my children without due process guaranteed under the 5th amendment.
Am I confused, or did someone erase some of the constitution. What happened to the bill of rights? These judges are sworn to protect the constitution, but did anyone ever make them read it? So, I was set up. In the literal sense. I was told by a very introspective news reporter when the divorced commenced that the courts' sole goal would be to annihilate me, strip me of dignity, money, possessions and then take my children from me. That this was the pattern taking place in family court against women that I had been so naively unaware of. I was finally allowed to "visit" my daughters at $40.00 an hour (like they are circus animals or something) for 4 hours per week.
Let me remind you, I have never been accused of anything, and the date that my children were "illegally stolen" from me, no one had ever spoken to the physician OR my daughter. I would think that these would be critical components in any investigation. But, I'm only a mom. What would I know? The first time I saw my girls, Natale crawled into my lap and said, "Mommy, what did I do wrong? Why can't we come home?" I cried and cried. My heart was breaking and her tearful little eyes that expected me to protect her were staring at me for an answer. I could give none. Judge Stephen Nordquist would not let me see my children for my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, My daughter's birthday, New Years, Easter and up until May 17, 2001, I had no contact with them for almost 5 weeks.
While the GAL, Canfield and everyone played games, I couldn't even see my children for Mother's day. This was supposed to be temporary. But in Winnebago County, IL., I am finding out that temporary means "pretty much permanent." I had a man approach me and offer to talk to the State's Attorney for me. I asked him to stay out of my case. He ended up losing his job and I ended up NOT being able to see my children. Then on May 17,2001, I was able to see my children for 2 hours (with a supervisor @ $40/hr) at the local mall. I had gotten some great sale clothes at Old Navy and bought my children summer clothes. Jay Budzynski accused me of "buying my children's love" and told the supervisor that, "If I wanted to see my children, I could do it in a room with 4 walls a window and a door---his office."
When she inquired about taking them to the waterpark, he responded, "No way, absolutely not, she is not taking those children out in public." The supervisor told him that she thought that he was being unreasonable. This was just yesterday, May 18, 2001. I have told my atty to go in on an emergency motion (let's hope) to show this manipulation of the court. All these men against one woman and two little girls. An obsessive/compulsive, anal retentive ex-husband who manipulated those about him. I feel that he is pure evil. Their brother, John, has not been allowed to see his sisters in 5 months at the request of my ex., who said, "I don't want her son around MY daughters." The supervisor even stated to me, "they are really trying to control you, aren't they?" Someone else noticed!!
I should mention, that in addition to all of the abuse allegations, my daughters showed up at a visit with me with severe bruising because my eldest had telephoned my husband to pick her up from school because her father had forgotten. She was severely reprimanded for this act. Upon showing the bruises to the supervisor, who was a mandated reporter, she called Jay Budzynski and the new GAL, Michael Raridon on the night of January 31, 2001. A meeting was promised to view the bruising and hear the girls' testimony. Raridon and Budzynski never showed up. All three of these people are mandated reporters to DCFS, yet none of them reported the incident. In a 1999 incident, Kristin told Jay that her father had just grabbed and twisted her arm (a bruise that resulted in severe ecchymosis and swelling). Budzynski ignored my little girls' pleas for help and when I reported him to the local IDPR (reglatory commission) the complaint was dismissed by John German, Investigator.! ! Another person who refuses to help children. Only recently, have I been taught about the Father's Rights' groups, federal funding and kickbacks to the fathers, attys, judges and GAL's. I can only pray that this is not what has happened, but it fits the pattern. I ask everyone out there to please pray for my daughters, Kristin and Natale as well as their brother, John. Please, don't stop praying to touch the hearts of the evil ones with good.
Regardless of whether you are a hurting mom or dad, the children are hurting more. Please don't use your children to get even with your spouse. These are our children! If there is an active group in your community, help them out, get ready to fight a fight that needs fighting and stand up to change laws and not to let this happen to your family or anyone else's. Please help the children. - Julia
Karen Hogan Location:
Children/Birth Date: Jessica 6/2/85, Teresa 7/3/87, Rachel 5/12/89, & Emily 5/21/90
Date Separated: August 1, 1991
In 1991 my children were taken from me. The dcyf worker that I had accused me of neglect and abuse. She accused me of bringing my child to see dead people in body bags and dropping them off in a jungle and so on. I have no rights to my children. I don't know what to do, it is very painful that I can't see them and watching them grow and calling me mommy. Something most be done so dcyf can't be doing this to people that don't abuse their children and pay more focus to people that do abuse their children.
Kristan Ray Location:
Tipperary Town, Republic of Ireland
Children/Birth Date: Neil Dylan Ray (11/10/94)
Date Separated: July 2000
Adoptive father has full custody, I am only allowed visitation supervised by the adoptive father for two hours every two weeks. I was married in Texas. My ex-husband, who is NOT my son's bio Dad, left me for a 21 year old. I was left with no income (I was a stay at home mom), no transportation, and no support of any kind, and was living in an area with no public transportation. My ex kidnapped my son during our initial separation, forcing me to go to court for a pre-trial hearing, where my son was ordered to a foster home unless my husband and I could come to an agreement. As a result, we agreed to 50% custody each until the final divorce.
Shortly after this pre-trial hearing, I was forced to leave Texas. I had no lawyer and no luck at all finding legal aid, and my ex-husband was harassing me constantly, violating the terms of the agreement, sending CPS to my house on a regular basis on unfounded charges, and subjecting my son to great emotional pain in various ways. I still was unable to find work and my water and electricity were cut off. CPS told me that they could no longer allow my son to stay with me unless I could pay for my utilities.
My ex claimed that he would not be going through with the final divorce because he could not afford it, and he also led me to believe that he would work out a custody agreement that was fair to everyone- even suggesting that my son would be allowed to live with me during the school year. I made the mistake of trusting him.
My divorce was finalized in court on Sept. 28, 2000. I was given NO notification that this hearing was going to take place, even though the court had been informed of my new address. My ex claimed in court that I had said that I planned to kidnap my son, so he was awarded full custody, with me only being allowed supervised visitation on a schedule that was impossible for me because of the distance involved.
I am now only allowed to speak to my son once a week. I am planning to return to Texas in the Autumn of 2000, but even then I will only be allowed to see my son from two hours every two weeks, and the court ordered that this visitation will be supervised by my ex.
Name: Lisa Smith Location:
Children/Birth Date: Ilidia (1989) & Kaitlyn (1990)
Date Separated: March 1993
I left my ex because of physical abuse. I took our 3 children and fled a 30 min. drive away. He showed up the next morning and took 2 of our children. Our third child has multiple disabilities. He then proceeded to Onondaga family court with his sister and the lawyer she worked for. They told Judge Buck I had dropped the children off on a door step.
He was awarded temp. custody on that day. That was the day my heart was torn out. Well actually, it wasn't that day because I was not informed right away. I tried to get the courts, the judge, someone to listen but no luck. To this day-april-13-2001, I still have trouble getting my children, the system let me down.
They took his word, an angry abusive husband, and i had absolutely no say in the matter. Unfortunately, my ex has also chosen not to have a relationship with our son in which means he only gets to see his biological siblings two days a week. The system let me down in this way also. The judge told my ex that he has every right to pick and choose which children he has contact with. That is fine for him, but should my children suffer by not being able to see their brother on a daily basis because it doesn't suit my ex? I thought that the system was here for the children and their best interests. I was wrong.
Name: Richard Eichinger Location:
Fort Wayne, IN
Children/Birth Date: Heidi (1989), Mysti (1993), Hans (1996)
Date Separated: April 2001
Hi, my name is Richard Eichinger and I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I live just 1 block from 2 elementary schools and a middle school where my 2 daughters attend school. Heidi Anne is my favorite oldest child. She's 12, in 6th grade on high honor roll and runs track for her school. Mystrahlen Adel is my favorite baby girl; she's 7. Her nickname is Mysti, she's in 1st grade and she just finished playing her 1st year on the basketball team. Hans Christoffer is my favorite son. If you ask him he'll tell you that I'm his favorite Dad. There is not another man on the planet better suited to be Hans' Dad. Hans is 4 now and he started pre-school this year.
I was separated from my children just one week ago, on April 8th. A judge awarded (his word, not mine) sole custody to Mom; Dad is allowed a standard visitation. Their Mom and I live just 9 miles apart. Our children lived with both of us on an alternating week basis. The kids enjoyed themselves and thrived in that arrangement, it had been in place for just over 2 years. There was only one traumatic event in their lives; it occurred 2 years ago on the day their Mom secretly gathered all our things and moved my children across town. A thoughtful judge acted to correct the situation in only 3 days after the move. Now with this latest judge's order, there are 2 traumatic events in their young lives.
My children and I have been active in the community. We've attended horseback riding lessons and dance school, both ballet and tap. We went to basketball games, volleyball games, and track meets, and played street hockey. There were neighborhood block parties, Girl Scouting events and Parent Teacher Organization sponsored activities that all kept us occupied.
On April 15th, I traveled to Syracuse to join the people at A Kids Right. The reason why I want to get involved is simple. I know the pain. I know what it feels like to lose your babies. I want to do something to help parents like myself that have had their rights denied. And that's not all. My children have suffered irreparable harm. These egregious errors can be stopped; they must be stopped quickly to preserve our civilized society.
What trouble me most are the laws. Prior to my trial (6 days in court over 6 months), I gave this note to my lawyer and he laughed: the experts have told me quite a bit for over a year now. I've been told "You cannot win a custody battle over your children in Indiana because you've got to prove the mother unfit!" Even though I'm a fit father, the experts tell me that Mom should have sole custody. Even the lawyer experts have told me, you cannot win. They say, "lawyers who win custody cases represent mothers". They tell me that all they have to do in court is say "Present - your honor", as well as call Dad seven sorts of beast. It's easy for them; they don't have to prove their case.
Just this week, I was told that I'm not likely to win an appeal because appellate court judges won't change a custody ruling. It's their philosophy that it would be harmful to children to uproot them. I find this stunning. After 2 years of sharing both parents, the circuit court judge uproots the children and the appellate court judge won't overturn this bad decision because it uproots the children. Go figure.
What bothers me more is an Indiana law that states "The court shall not modify a child custody order unless ... there's a substantial change ... ". Well, the judge has a loophole ... yes, a technicality. Even though 2 years have elapsed, during which time my son has aged from 2 to almost 5, the ruling is merely a judgment on a motion that was only delayed. I think the judge broke the law because the "spirit of the law" was not upheld. I can tell you, my spirits are broken.
I wrote this letter to the judge and handed it to his court reporter on April 9th. My attorney said that the judge told him that he got the letter and he was surprised that the letter was so nice. He entered the letter into the court record noting it as a motion to reconsider. I believe that the law says he had 5 days to answer the motion and he hasn't yet (April 25th).
You could have increased my child support payment to $822 per week. This would give Christel every dollar that I currently take home per week (I've added in the tax because support payments are not tax deductible). You could have given Christel all of my property, my 2 automobiles, my entire ITT Savings Plan, and the Honeywell pension (it doesn't matter to me what its value is today). You could have assigned all of the debt that either of us has now to me.
You could do all that, if you had just left the custody the way it was: joint legal and physical custody. My children's rights to their Dad would have been preserved. They would get what they have always wanted since the day they were born, both their Mom and Dad, equally responsible with similar authority to make decisions for their future.
I know that you meant well with your decision. Never the less I still must respectfully disagree with it. I know that you are bound by law to follow the laws of the State of Indiana.
you surf the Internet? I do it
quite often and I found a proposed law. I
think the law is very carefully crafted. It
benefits all parties in separation, divorce, or paternity cases. Would you read
it and let me know what you think of it? I
know this is a lot to ask of you. I
wouldn't even dare ask this of you except that my kids are very, very important
to me. They are equally very, very important to their Mom; and their Mom and Dad
are both very, very important to them all.
You can connect to this web link or take a look at The Family Rights Act of 2000 that I’ve attached to this letter.
Name: Tammy L. Wiggins Location:
Children/Birth Date: Caitlin (1993) & Samuel (1995)
Date Separated: Nov 11, 1999
I am Tammy I live in Texas. I lost physical custody of my 5-year-old son, Sam and 7 year old daughter, Caitlin in November of 1999 to my abuser. I never allowed myself to get close to anyone until I started seeing my first husband. I had known him through high school. It was disastrous relationship. I ended up in the emergency room one night with a broken foot and massive bruises. The police were called and pictures were taken. I was told that if I filed charges, it would only make it worse the next time. The second trip to the emergency room ended with a divorce.
A year later I thought I had met “the one. The verbal and mental abuse was there. I chose to ignore it. I had seen him get into two fistfights and it didn’t occur to me to be concerned for my safety. The first physical abuse started after I got pregnant the first time. He never hit me, but he would have confrontations with me over minor things like a dirty spoon in with the clean ones. During these confrontations, he would stand in front of me and push me with his body. The emotional abuse intensified. I miscarried a week before Christmas. Things seemed to get better for a while, but eventually the emotional and verbal abuse started up again. My friends and family were begging me to leave. I got pregnant the second time 3 years later. As soon as I told him I was pregnant, the physical and verbal abuse started up again.
This time he actually kicked me out of the house. Literally kicking me out the front door. He called his brother to come and get me before he killed me. I miscarried 3 weeks later. I stayed because I believed I wasn’t worthy of anyone else. I moved out but was back in less than three months. Why??? Because I believed that he was the only man who would have me. After I moved back, anything could set him off. One night we were getting ready to go out and I put on a pair of “penny” loafers. He started to strangle me because I wouldn’t change shoes. It was the first time he left bruises. My best friend at work saw the finger marks around my neck and asked me what was going on. I defended him. I got pregnant again.
This time I delayed telling him. When I finally got the courage to tell him, he told me it couldn’t be his baby because he had had a vasectomy while he was out of town. I was devastated. It was not an easy pregnancy. When I was in the hospital, he never held my hand through labor, never acknowledged me. I left him a second time when he kicked me while I was holding our ten - month old daughter. I was out and I let him talk me back. He had started going to church and promised everything would be different. It was different. He didn’t trust me. My family wasn’t allowed in our home. He opened a bank account under his name only so I wouldn’t have access to any money. I was ready to leave until I found out I was pregnant again. I was in shock. My doctor told me that Caitlin would be the only child I would have.
Sam was a true miracle. The abuse started up again. When Sam was nine months old, I had to have a total hysterectomy. Things went downhill quickly. I left him in October of 1996 after he tried to strangle me in front of our two children. Our eleven-year marriage was filled with his physical and emotional abuse and this time I filed charges. I never told the authorities before this because I am a CPA and was afraid it would affect my career. I filed charges and left the county to go stay with my parents. The children and I had no where else to go. I had been off work for two years in order to stay home with my children. I had no access to any money. My friends were afraid to let me stay with them. They were afraid of him. We left with whatever I could throw into the minivan.
I made my first mistake. I was talked out of filing for a protective order because I was leaving the county and wouldn’t need it. During our temporary hearing, the judge refused to listen to my fears of retaliation. I didn’t have a protective order. The judge ordered me to take the children to his parents’ house every weekend for visitation. He based the child support on a fake paycheck and then reduced it because my ex had to travel to see his children. My attorney let it happen. I was also ordered to bring the children back to the county in spite of the fact that I had a very good job in the other county. My attorney told me not to worry about it.
In December, I was thrown in jail for not returning the children to the county my ex lived. The judge refused to hear about my fears of abuse. I was taking the children to him every weekend so how could I be afraid of him? Then he called me an anarchist and gave me 24 hours in jail for contempt. I was also ordered to have the children back in the county within 24 hours. Before the hearing, my attorney notified the bailiff that my ex had a fugitive warrant out on him. The police had not bothered to arrest him for the assault even though they had his work and home address.
We rode to jail together. I could not believe this was happening. I managed to get my ex to let us live outside of the county, but I had to deliver the children to his doorstep for visitation. This meant a six-hour trip each way every other weekend. In February, the divorce was granted. We agreed on a date for me to come and pick up my half of our “marital assets”. I made a list of what we had and what I needed to start a new household. He had agreed to most of it. By this time, he had moved his brother’s soon to be ex-wife in with him. I purchased plane tickets for my step-sister and I to fly down, rented a truck and arranged to meet five members of my old church to help me load the truck.
When we got to the house, no one was home and a pile of broken furniture; my books, my Grandmother’s dishes and a rocking chair were sitting on the driveway covered with a tarp. I made another mistake by letting my emotions take over my judgement. I was still on the lease but He had filed a restraining order against me. I had the court’s permission to be there that day so my sister called the police and told them what we were doing. Then she got into the house and we took the items on the list and left. I was served with contempt and his attorney had written up the paperwork to charge everyone who helped me with felony breaking and entering. I was scared, I had double pneumonia and my attorney urged me to sit down and try to confer. He allowed both my ex and his attorney to verbally assault me.
My ex claimed I had destroyed his property and the damages was about $3500. They said if I paid the damages (that were not caused by my friends or me) and returned everything, they would forget the breaking and entering. I agreed but told them I was agreeing under duress. They also wanted me to drop the criminal charges against him. I went with out child support until the money was paid to him. Returned my furniture and my children’s toys and signed the paperwork stating I did not want to file criminal charges. When the furniture was returned, my attorney dropped it off and supposedly damaged the kitchen floor. I was cited for contempt for that and made to pay an additional $2000. I called the DA and told her what was happening. She told me that no matter what I did, she was going to prosecute but it cost me all of my furniture and belongings.
We had to start over from scratch. I was also ordered to drive the children 6 hours each way every other weekend for HIS visitation. It was very hard on the children and my daughter started to get sick every time she had to go. I could not miss any weekends, even if the children were sick, he insisted on them having to make the trip. I got charged with contempt again for failing to take them 3 times. Once I had a broken wrist and could not drive, once because my son had acute bronchitis, and once because of my job. That time I got 6 months probation, but if I missed any visitation during the 6 months, I would have to go to jail. Two months after I left, my ex-sister-in-law, left my ex-husband's youngest brother and moved in with my ex.
Suddenly "Aunt K" was now daddy's girlfriend. I finally got a new attorney and asked for an increase in child support as my ex's two older children were turning 18 and he no longer had to pay support for them. The children and I were struggling because finances were tight, but we were together and happy. My ex countered with a custody suite. They got the children to tell a licensed counselor that "Mommy" hit them and slapped them. I was turned in to Child Protective Services and investigated.
They found no evidence of any abuse on my part and dropped the investigation. We were ordered to be evaluated by a psychologist for the custody hearing. Four weeks before the trial we got her recommendations. She felt the children would be better off with their father and his new wife (we still are not sure if they are actually married, I mean they have the same last name). Her reasons: She did not believe there was ever any abuse in the marriage. She never talked to any of my witnesses. Our neighbors of ten years, our minister and my best friend had all witnessed his treatment of me and the psychologist never bothered to investigate. I suffer from clinical depression and post traumatic stress disorder because of the years of abuse and the 3-year court battle. She felt the fact that I had isolated myself would be harmful to the children's well being. I was and still am under treatment for this.
She admitted in her report that she had significant concerns regarding the father’s ability to help the children in their educational pursuits and his problem with empathizing and compassion. After reading the report, my attorney requested $20,000 to go to trial knowing full well I couldn't come up with the money. He got a judge to allow him to withdraw from the case 3 weeks before the trial. In the order to withdraw, I was not allowed to get a continuance in The four-year battle has caused me to file bankruptcy.
When I pick my children up for visitation, I get questions like; "Mommy, why don't you believe in Jesus? Mommy, why are you sick in the head?, Mommy, why do you hate my grandmother and granddad?, Don't you love Bruce and Stephanie any more? (My ex's older children) Are you going treat us like them? They are now being forced to call their former aunt, "Mom." I am so heart-broken and frustrated, because I have no legal recourse. I pray that one-day someone will take a stand to change things. Our children's best interests are not the focus in today's courts. It is who has the most money and the better attorney. It is very hard to see my children being used to get back at me. I am not the only mother in this predicament.
There are thousand’s of good mothers who are being punished by our family court systems because we chose to protect our children. Who is going to listen to us? Most of us do not have money to organize. We pay child support and spend our time fighting in the courts or trying to be a parent to our absent children. We live in constant fear that our rights to visitation can be taken away because of a long distance move or a false charge of parent alienation. We live with the stigma that we must have done something horrible to lose custody of our children. We need a fair chance in our family courts. Hardened criminals have more rights than we do for legal representation. I pray that our children will be strong enough to survive it. I pray that we mothers can be strong enough to survive. I pray our country is strong enough to survive. Thank you for your time.
Name: Connie Tschantz Location:
Children/Birth Date: Katelynn (1995) & Tyler (1994)
Date Separated: March, 23 2000
We must find them to start another action story! I am Katelynn and Tylers Grandmother, I am writing this because I am their advocate. Daddy and I work together on this problem. I do a lot of letter writing and things on their behalf, because Daddy works long hours.
Katelynn is now 5 years old and Tyler is 6, when this began were 11/2 and 21/2. Mom left and took the kids, she told daddy that he could only see the kids when she gave him permission. Well there was no custody order at the time, but Ty's atorrney told him he would have to have physical possesion of the kids in order to get custody. So Ty went to see the kids and brought Katelynn home with him. You must understand that at this point Ty was being told that Tyler was not his son, even though he was present at his birth and had been with her through the entire pregnancy and he was the only father the child has ever had, mommy was threatening that if he took him she'd have him arrested for kidnapping, ( Tyler doesn't carry his last name) So he only took Katelynn.
He went to the attorneys office the next day to get the custody action started and was meant at his office by the police and mommy screaming and acting like a mad woman and the police took Katelynn from Ty and gave her back to mommy. She had gotten a restraining order one hour before Ty's custody order went through. Then mommy went to the house they had lived in and proceeded to remove everything she could get her hands on. But the sheriff did stop her and told her only her personal things could be removed.
So she didn't get the bed or the couch or the table and chairs, but everything else. Then she went and put a restraining order on my husband and I But the judge threw both of them out because there was an action already in place in Franklin county and she had lied on the order, she already knew there was a custody action when she signed the paper saying that there was no other action in any other county.
Then she took off with the kids for 7 months, and Ty had to find her. No contact with his kids for 7 months almost killed him. He had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the hospital for a week and almost committed suicide. When he got out of the hospital he found another job, because of all the stress he had lost his other one. Then by accident 7 months later we found out where she was and gave the information to his attorney. Her own attorney had even been calling Ty's Attorney to find out if we had located her yet, because he wasn't being paid.
Well then a month later in March of 1997 they finally went to court (NO JURY ALLOWED) and the custody stayed with mommy, but he did get visitation. Only with Katelynn, because mommy said Tyler was not Ty's child. So the judge refused to allow paternity testing on Tyler, so we still don't know for sure although it doesn't really matter he's still Ty's son no matter what the truth is. Anyway, at first the visitation was 12 days a month. The very first visitation, Ty went to pick up Katelynn and mommy kept him waiting for almost 2 hours before she would let her go. On the third visitation, Katelynn was now 21/2 and being potty trained. Ty took care of her for the most part, but I helped with the things he was real uncomfortable with, like the potty training, Katelynn is a very smart and articulate child for her age and she was sitting on the potty talking to me. She said "Grandma my pepe hurts",I didn't think much about it, but I asked "why Katelynn", and she said very matter of factly, "because my mommy and Daddy Doug bites me there". Well as you can imagine I was in shock, but I asked her again, "what did you say?" And she repeated it word for word.
Well I didn't know what I should do, so I waited about 3 hours until bed time and then I told our son. He just kept saying NO, NO, NO, at first. But he knows that mom doesn't lie but he wanted her to repeat it to him. But Katelynn was really tired, and she would not repeat it to him. Ty and I talked a lot that night about what we should do about it, then he got the idea of asking his sister Jennifer, to come down the next day, so he called her, she agreed to come but kept saying no thats not possible this can't be true. So the next day Katelynn got up and had breakfast and played with dad and Grandpa for a while, no one even spoke a word about what she had said the day before. So when Jenny came down, she asked that we all stay out side and she took Katelynn in the living room and just sat and talked for a while then she asked her, "katelynn did some one hurt you?" and Katelynn said again, very matter of factly, "my mommy bites me on my pepe". Then Aunt Jenny got up and told Ty to call the police. So he did, and they told him he'd have to take her back up to KC where the incident occurred because they didn't have JURISDICTION, (which we found out later was bogus.) But that is what we did. So she was examined by the doctor at Bethany hospital ER but there wasn't any evidence at this time. But we also had to take her to the child sexual abuse clinic at KU MED CENTER. well the cops didn't believe a word of it they thought I was just making it up so they didn't investigate it at all. Well that was in April, and in July, Ty went to pick up Katelynn and Jenny went with him as a witness, when they returned home about an hour 1/2 later, Ty went to change Katelynns pull-up, and she said "ouch" when he took it off. He looked down and saw bite marks on her pepe. He asked me to change her a little while later, and that's when I saw them also.
So after grandpa went to work, we took her to the nearest hospital, which was in Ottawa.( Because the specialist at KU told us to take her to the nearest place if it happened again) The ER Doctor examined her and asked her what happened, she said "my mommy and daddy Doug bites me there". The doctor was very impressed with her, and he was quite convinced that she was telling the truth. They took pictures, and did swabs ect. And then the police again made us take her back up to Bethany, I guess they just don't want to be bothered with all that paper work, I don't know. Then Ty went to his attorneys office with the pictures and medical evidence. It took him (the attorney) 2 days to get up the nerve to go to the judge with the evidence. He was scared to death. But he finally did, and The judge gave Ty temporary custody for 10 days, then they went back to court again for a hearing, This time the judge gave him joint custody, with residential, and her mommy visitation. Sounds great right, well the visitation was still overnight, and by this time mommy had moved again and refused to give Ty her address.
The Judge wouldn't even hear of supervised visitation for mommy, who by the way was still living with the guy Katelynn says is also a perpitrator. Nor would he even think about charging them with molestation, not even abuse. When Ty tried to protest this he was told you should be glad he gave you custody, this judge never does that with dads. So be thankful for what you have. Any way to make a very long story short, mommy ran off again with the kids, this time for 5 days and the police in Missouri brought her back. Then she filed a motion in court to change custody, when our son protested and told the court he didn't even have her address the judge said you have to send the child to mommy's for 30 days of unsupervised visitation and daddy again protested, the judge threatened to put him in jail for contempt of court, and gave him 24 hours to bring her to mommy. (like he didn't have a reason to be concerned).
So TY left with Katelynn, and was gone for 7 months. When they returned, the Sheriff in Coffey county where we live picked him up and put him in jail for 30 days, they also arrested my husband for standing in the door way and trying to get the sheriff to listen to reason. They also sprayed my husband in the face with pepper spray at point blank range. The spray went all over the kitchen, on Katelynn, and me and Katelynns new baby brother who was 2 weeks old, And Tys new wife Mary. Neither of the guys were ever read their rights, neither was told they could talk to an attorney, and Ty was in jail 30 days. They took Katelynn and gave her back to mommy That was 3/28/00, and we have been looking for them ever since. We have tried an Appeal which cost 3000. and did absolutely nothing. We have tried to get this into another court, but the Judge will not recuse himself. He's locked up all the evidence and when Ty got a new attorney for the appeal, the judge refused to let the attorney have any access to the confidential files, until the appeals court ordered him to release them.
The files have been altered, and there is ex parta communications for her attorney in there that no one has ever seen. Well that's about where we are now, Ty cries all the time, but tries hard to keep it together for his new son Blake which Katelynn hasn't seen since he was 2 weeks old, he is now 11/2. this is so unfair to those babies. If the Judge had cared one lick about the best interest of that child or THE CHILDREN, he would never have allowed her to have custody back, especially knowing she had run off with them 3 times before, now all we can do is pray she is ok, and Tyler doesn't hate daddy. Our son never ever wanted to keep those kids from their mommy, he just wanted to protect them while they were with her, and around that boyfriend of hers. Well that's it, any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Thank you for the forum, and God Bless Sincerely Connie Tschantz, J.A.I.L Waverly, KS J.A.I.L. is an ackronym for Judicial Accountablity & Intregrity Legislation J4J E-mail at email@example.com