A RECORD OF U.S. FAMILY COURTS SACRIFICING MOTHERS & CHILDREN
Family Courts Behind an Epidemic of Pedophilia & Judicial Abuse
Posted 23 January 2013 The below-referenced chart lists over 75 family court cases in Connecticut where children’s safety and well being has been jeopardized by unethical and even illegal activities of court professionals who routinely target, extort and exploit Connecticut mothers. In many of these cases, where mothers reported a father’s violent crimes against her family, the mother eventually lost custody to the wealthier father when he — the real perpetrator — accused her of alienation. Violent fathers almost always won sole or joint custody of victims, and in some cases these fathers even went on to become mass murderers.
Insurance companies and the State are being defrauded by medical and mental health professionals who are routinely rewarded handsomely for submitting false claims that misdiagnose fit and loving mothers and their children with mental disorders they do not have; they are also providing diagnosis and treatment plans that are considered illegitimate by the AMA and APA. Meanwhile, the same professionals justify their billing by deliberately recommending to judges the placement of children in the care of violent fathers, even rapists, and by shielding these offenders from criminal prosecution that might otherwise keep children safe. The effect is that the whole family becomes damaged and in need of treatment, and are subsequently required to obtain ongoing court affiliated medical and legal professional services.
The only time children aren’t protected in family court is when no one knows how to protect them and no one wants to talk about it.
Ever since Dr. Richard Gardner started marketing his ideas in lectures, “expert witness” courtroom testimony and self-published books, proverbial elephants in the room have stood in the middle of courtrooms, feeding at the troughs of hundreds of thousands of child custody cases with their backs facing abused children. Those elephants have been in the middle of courtrooms all over the country and all over the world for about the last four decades. They’ve been risking lives, ruining lives and taking lives.
It’s time for the elephants to leave.
Richard Gardner’s elephants are big, but they’re not complicated. In fact, as soon as everyone realized how twisted Richard Gardner’s theories were, the elephants should have been out the door.
Perhaps the first step is to ask this: Since those in authority must have known how disturbed Dr. Gardner was , why were the elephants allowed to stay? Was it because he earned a degree in psychiatry or because he invented a new “syndrome”?
He called the new creation, “The Parental Alienation Syndrome” — except it wasn’t a syndrome. It was a strategy.
PAS is an unproven theory that can threaten the integrity of the criminal justice system and the safety of abused children. Prosecutors should educate themselves about PAS and be prepared to argue against its admission in court. In cases where PAS testimony is admitted, it is a prosecutor’s responsibility to educate the judge and jury about the shortfalls of this theory. As more criminal courts refuse to admit PAS evidence, more protection will be afforded to victims of sexual abuse in our court system.
What have the authorities done since then to protect us from the “PAS” scam?
One way to measure the progress would be to count the cases in which attorneys, Guardians ad litem, Attorneys for Minor Children, custody evaluators, mediators, visit supervisors, parenting coordinators and judges feed the elephants every Monday through Friday.
Another would be to count the cases in the headlines each week about “high-conflict custody battles” ending in tragedy.
Meanwhile, travelling from case to case and show to show all over the country, those peddling Gardner’s theories, his vocabulary and Gardner-like vocabulary, fuel the fires of lucrative “high conflict” custody cases. Long lines of mothers and fathers accompanied by attorneys who have hired evaluators, who recommend mediators and reunifiers to be followed up by social workers, Guardians ad Litem and/or Attorneys for Minor Children who bring with them witnesses and experts – form long lines, walking one by one through courthouse metal detectors, past security guards and into family courtrooms where judges who manage these cases drag entire childhoods into the ground until the children “age out of the system”.
Most everyone working in family court sees what’s happening in case after case — and most pretend they don’t.
It’s that lack of honest discussion for the last four decades which has purchased shiny new things for those who set up and use the PAS scam in family courts. One attorney representing a protective mother in Italyspoke about the use of PAS in the Italian courts, aptly called it GAS:
“NO TO PAS YES TO GAS
I do not maintain that, in the name of the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) supposing that this pathology exists – and I am among those who firmly do not believe in it – that one can take children away from mothers or that it is possible to place children in foster homes for an indeterminate period of time – as happens for those poor mad offenders who violate the law and go to the criminal asylums (which are next to close down).
On the contrary, those who have serious mental problems are treated in a better way. They receive TSO (Involuntary Mental Health Treatment) and after fifteen days they are set free. The disease which surely exists in Italy and which is becoming more and more widespread is the GAS, acronym of the “Sindrome di Alienazione Giudiziaria” (Judiciary Alienation Syndrome).
This is one that actually exists: The citizens’ distrust of the Italian Judicial System is at it’s peak and there is no sign of improvement despite the experts’ government we have.
So I would ask psychologists and social workers to deal with from now on, the GAS instead of the PAS, and we will see who they suggest to be placed in the foster homes instead of the children.”
Rome 17th October 2012
Attorney Giuseppe Lipera
The PAS scam is wherever Gardner’s theories were spread and and wherever family court attorneys, child custody evaluators, parental coordinators and judges don’t talk about or care about whether or not child abuse occurred. Here’s why: According to Dr. Gardner’s theories, “inducing parental alienation in a child” is far worse than emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusing a child.
It should be no surprise to anyone that most child custody cases in which Dr. Gardner’s twisted theories reign drag on for the entire childhood of a child who is the subject of it all. Various attorneys, custody evaluators and parenting coordinators come and go, joining and leaving and joining the same circus year after year. Sometimes three or four elephants are needed to carry them all by the time the children “age out of the system”.
The attorney’s statement above and Gardner’s lecture below show what a nightmare of a spectacle it’s been ever since Dr. Gardner first began to spread his theories throughout the United States and other countries.
Maybe there’s enough of a smoking gun in the following transcript to show those with the power to do something where those elephants are so they can spoken about and removed from every family court.
The transcript is of Gardner’s lecture in The Netherlands in 1999. He’s speaking at a conference called “The Child’s Best Interest Conference”. He tells his audience about the “medical syndrome” he invented and named “The Parental Alienation Syndrome”. He recites his definition of “medical syndrome”. He lists the physiological and psychological symptoms of Down Syndrome and expects his audience will make the leap to believe “The Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) is a “medical syndrome” too. At least one man in the audience who laughs the loudest at Dr. Gardner’s jokes seems happy to make that leap.
One problem that isn’t talked about is that physiological and psychological signs and symptoms found in syndromes like Down Syndrome are not found in Richard Gardner’s “PAS”. There are no outward physical characteristics of “PAS”. No genetic difference, hormonal imbalance or vitamin deficiency. There are no weak or excessive nerve impulse patterns. No abnormal change in any bodily fluid, tissue or function.
Lacking a scientifically definitive list, Dr. Gardner appears confused, interrupting and contradicting himself throughout his lecture. He tells his audience the following:
Mild, Moderate and Severe “PAS” is “a disease” found only in the context of child custody disputes.
Mothers acquire this “disease” from the family court process – fathers, not so much.
There are two components of the “PAS”:
The moth parent brainwashes the child in “a campaign of denigration” against the other parent; and,
The child’s own contributions to the “campaign of denigration”.
Although Dr. Gardner doesn’t mention it during his lecture, one should apparently also look for certain speech patterns in infected mot parents. Specific inflections of a mother’s voice might include: anxious, angry, impatient, flustered, fearful, terrified, inconsiderate, rude, and/or obnoxious.
In addition, the clinician should be able to hear all of the parents’ telephone conversations – which requires certification in Phone Tap 101.
In place of talking about behavioral data showing the difference between symptoms of malicious alienation and symptoms of emotionally, physically and sexually abused children, Dr. Gardner acts out short skits.
Instead of comparing and contrasting reliable and scientifically valid therapeutic responses to malicious alienation with the reliable and scientifically valid therapeutic responses to emotionally, physically and sexually abused children, Dr. Gardner tells jokes.
He displaces actual child abuse statistics and data which provide plausible reasons for paternal abuse and maternal abuse with this theory:
“The women were the primary caretakers primarily, and the children wanted to be bonded more with the mothers because they want the mothers to have more availability, more access and the children wanted to stay with their mothers, they were more strongly bonded with their mothers.”
Using examples of his “own personal experiences” to support his theory, Gardner plays the roles of mothers, fathers and children – mostly anxious, angry, impatient, flustered, fearful, terrified, inconsiderate, rude, and/or obnoxious mothers and children who don’t sound very alienated at all.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Dr. Gardner’s lecture is that the behaviors he describes are common behaviors seen in mothers and children who have actually witnessed and/or endured emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. Each scenario dramatized could easily be a typical day in the life of an abused mother and child. The words are there and the behaviors are there, but Gardner’s mocking impersonation of mothers and children trivializes those same words and behaviors – leading an unsuspecting audience to believe that red flags of possible abuse should instead be automatically suspect. (See FOX NEWS interview: Retired California Family Court Judge DeAnn Salcido , Lost in the System)
Gardner places behaviors actually seen in abused children in his category of: “Absurd Justifications” and speaks the words that would be cries for help in variations of the same mocking voice. He says the cases he dramatizes are cases from his office practice – in which he apparently mocked, challenged and ignored children if they:
– did not immediately disclose abuse
– used multisyllabic words
– became angry and/or emotionally shut down when their disclosures of abuse were challenged, and/or
– if they stopped disclosing abuse after being isolated with their named abuser.
Instead of saying how we can differentiate between symptoms of real abuse and symptoms of “induced” alienation he warns, “…bringing in the child protection people in it can destroy the father’s life in one telephone call.”
He does say in passing: In cases of real abuse, “the PAS diagnosis” doesn’t apply. If you sneeze, you’ll miss that part. If you miss it, you might think alienating a child is worse than any other kind of abuse anyway – because Dr. Gardner says that too. (That part is a “must see” because it’s when he feeds the elephants.)
Playing a teen who says his father “used to beat” his mother and threaten to hit him, Dr. Gardner morphs from the teen to a young child, using a sing-song voice and the term “mommy”. Then he turns himself back into a teen, explaining as Gardner the Teen to Gardner the Clinician that his father threatened to hit him if he didn’t smile for a photo. He says his father makes him watch videos he “hates”. Notice the total lack of follow-up questions to clarify why he “hates” the videos. There is no “What happened before that?” or “What happened next?” Instead, after a question or two, Gardner the Clinician confronts Gardner the Teen with the allegedly abusive father’s denials of abuse – something abusers can usually do for themselves.
He mocks a hypothetical mother who complains of becoming financially destitute after divorce – as though irreparable physical, emotional and financial damage could never leave a single parent – mother or father – without the funds to pay for food, clothes and bills.
That which Gardner says isn’t science, social theory or common sense. It’s entertainment – complete with someone in the audience laughing more loudly than the others like he’s planted in the audience to prompt others to laugh when he laughs.
He tells a joke with a punch line about a mother in labor. He questions a four-year-old girl about her use of the word “penetrated” and sounds like he’s struggling to keep a serious look on his face. Gardner the Clinician doesn’t ask the questions most good clinicians would ask. Instead, he explains to Gardner the Hypothetical Four-Year-Old Girl that the definition of the word “penetrated” is “sexual intercourse”.
Listening to the audio of this lecture and/or reading the transcript, most should wonder how Dr. Gardner’s twisted ways became such an integral part of the family court process.
After his gig in The Netherlands, Gardner toured the world for the next four years – marketing PAS and selling his books until he died from what was said to be a suicide. The FBI should probably investigate that too.
Transcript: June 24 , 1999, Open University, Breda, The Netherlands. A One Day Symposium led by Richard A. Gardner M.D. on The Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Um… When I was a student in high school, and a, my teacher, one of my teachers, was giving me guidelines for writing a… an article, book review, or just any kind of an article. The guideline was this: Tell them what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell ‘em what you’ve said. And that helped increase my grades. It’s a very good principle.
So I’m going to tell you what I’m going to say first. And that is, that the legislators have power to give judges power to cure the disease Parental Alienation Syndrome. I repeat, the ju…the legislators have the power to empower judges, to cure, to prevent The Parental Alienation Syndrome. If the legislators do not give the judges the power to cure this disease, it will continue to grow and (unintelligible) and get worse and worse.
Now, um… You people in Europe have certain advantage over us in the United States, in that you can, you can sometimes learn from the errors that we make.
I have lived in Europe for two years, from 1960 to 1962, when I lived in Germany I was in the, a, military service. And then I’ve been back and forth many times. I’ve lectured in many countries in Europe. And uh, I was a visiting professor for a couple of years at The University of Leuven. I was a visiting professor at the University of St. Petersburg, uh, formerly uh, Leningrad, and I have lectured in various cities throughout uh Europe (unintelligible).
And I have been back and forth and I have seen certain trends. You take on our bad habits and you take on our good habits. Kind of what Oppenheimer once said, uh, “The United States is the greatest country in Europe.”
And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. But, we may be very bright, but we also have made mistakes. And bad habits start and you people pick them up a few years later.
So I’m going to tell you something about what’s going on in the United States and give you some advice, the same advice I’m giving in the United States. You’ll see how this all falls into place as I progress.
Let me first talk about the Parental Alienation Syndrome and elaborate what I mean by it. You have in your handout materials in the doc… this document, which I strongly recommend you look at as I talk. It’s an outline of my presentation. There are two pages. The diagnosis of The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the treatment, oh … I’m very sorry. There’s been an error! The um… this one sheet should have been diagnosis and one sheet should have been treatment. It was reproduced incorrectly.
So I’ll talk about the diagnosis and I’m going to just verbally tell you about the treatment. It’s unfortunate that… that error was made.
Okay let’s talk about the diagnosis. It is a syndrome. What is the definition of a syndrome? A syndrome in medicine is a collection of symptoms that justify being put together because they occur together and they may have a common cause. A good example of a syndrome would be Down Syndrome, uh in which you have a combination of uh mental retardation, um.. you have a uh, a drooping lip. You have a facial expression that is… is similar to Asian people. And it was because of that, that in… in the, in the last century, it was called “Mongolian Idiocy” because the facial expression was similar to Asians and of the mental retardation. Of course today, we would not… we’d find that offensive and we would not name a disorder uh, in that manner. Uh, but that was the original name. In addition, the children had certain uh, abnormal creases of the palms of the hands and uh… uh a shortening of the fifth finger. Now when you look at all those symptoms, why do they fit together? We now know that there’s a certain genetic abnormality that explains that.
And so it’s a cluster of symptoms that appear together in uh, and that warrant a uh, a that cluster is given the name “a syndrome” and… uh… you may or may not know the cause. I observe the syndrome and I will describe it to you and then I will give you some of my ideas as to the cause of this syndrome and um, what can be done about it – going back to the legislators and going back to the judges.
Now I have been involved in doing child psychiatry uh since my training days in the late 1950s, over forty years ago. And I have been involved in… in… in child custody litigation uh since the early 1960s – a period of about thirty-five years and I’ve observed certain… the evolution of certain developments. I did not see the Parental Alienation Syndrome until about 15 years ago. Uh, so from the late 50s and early 60s until the early 1980s I never saw this disorder. And yet I began to see it in the early 1980s, wrote my first article on it in the mid 1980s – 1985 – and it is still growing and uh, increasingly become a problem.
Now, what are the symptoms of this disorder? Let me define it first. The Parental Alienation Syndrome is a disorder that arises almost exclusively, if not completely, in the context of a child custody dispute. I have not yet seen a case in which it was not a child custody dispute. So most often it’s the mother and father. On occasion, I’ve seen it in grandparents and a, and a step-daughter or a step-son or, or some other relatives who are fighting with the parent for the child. But it’s still a child custody dispute.
There are two components. The first is a programming or brainwashing by one parent where they brainwash into the child a campaign of denigration against the other parent. And the second component, and this is most important, is the child’s own contributions. So it’s the two together that are present when one justifies the term, um, Parental Alienation Syndrome. Um, if it were merely a question of programming or brainwashing, I would have called it that. But there was this other ingredient, the element of the child’s own contribution, that led me to the conclusion that I should provide it a… a different name and then to encompass that other component.
Now, it generally does not start until a programming parent uh, decides to program the child in order to strengthen his or her position in a child custody dispute. The hope being that the children, in the context of this campaign of… of… of denigration and hatred will then speak to the court, speak to the judges and… and the lawyers, whomever, and convince them that they should not go with the other parent because they hate him or her because that parent has been so abusive, so neglectful that complete rejection is justified and that any court or any judge that would… would put the children with this other parent would be making a serious error. And so that there is a campaign that goes on every single day in order to keep it going, to keep the… the scenarios in the memory of the children, so that they can, they can uh, give their little speeches, uh to the proper people at the proper time in order to strengthen the programmings [sic] parent’s uh position in the custody lawsuit.
Now, if I will now address myself to the eight major symptoms of The PAS, Parental Alienation Syndrome. And the term PAS is… is… is very common and it is the one that is often referred to. Uh, now the first is the campaign of denigration. The, the other parent who we call “the victimized parent”, “the victim parent”, “the alienated parent”, these are the terms that are… are coming into use uh, in the United States.
Um, it’s usually not a parent who has been an abuser. If the parent has been an abuser, then The Parental Alienation Syndrome diagnosis is not applicable. It’s only in the situation where that parent has been a reasonably good, devoted and loving parent and then suddenly finds himself the, the target, the victim, the word “targeted parent” is also used, “the target parent”, “the victim parent” uh, to be the target of this campaign of hatred.
Uh and it’s a, it… it… it… it’s divided, you’ll see mild, moderate and severe forms. There are three categories, and the categories are very important in deciding what to do. So in the mild category, the campaign is… is a is mild, it may be uh just uh… uh maybe five ten percent of the time. It often, uh in the presence of the programmer, it will be most intense, but once the programmer is not available, not there. It’s at the transition points when the child is being transferred from one parent to the other that a, the children will come forth with these little speeches of hatred in order to demonstrate to the programmer that they are uh, saying these things that they have been programmed and brainwashed to say. Uh, and the children will uh use violent profanities, uh, spit in the face of the uh, victimized parent, uh, the most terrible names that they can think of, uh they will use uh, against their parent. And the programming parent just stands there, says nothing.
Uh, if I were to say, you know, “What do you think about uh, what he’s saying to his father? It’s very disrespectful.”
It’s… (Feminine voice, nonchalantly.) “He’s just expressing himself. I encourage him to say how he feels. It’s important for him to express himself.”
With none of the traditional, “That’s no way to speak to your father.” You know, “If you say that again you’re going to be punished, you’ll go to your room.” No disciplinary measures uh, are uh, are imposed and that’s the way of programming the child and encourage, encouraging the child to uh, continue in this way.
Uh, the next, uh the second, there’s a weak, frivolous or absurd rationalizations for the deprecation.
So uh, you’ll say to the child, um, “Why do you hate your father so much? Why?”
He’ll say. (Voice of older child, hesitating, nervous.) “Uh, well, I,I, I can’t remember now, I’ll tell you next time.”
(Kindly.) “We have time. Please, please tell me, why?”
“Um, well, he used to chew too loud when we eat at the table.” Or, “He chews very loud.”
“Is that a reason never to see him again? “
“Yeah. Yeah. Well uh, that’s a reason.”
You’ll say to the mother, ”What do you think about that?”
(Feminine voice, flippantly.) “Well I respect his feelings and if he thinks it’s a good reason, it’s good enough for me.”
There is that support again. That’s more of the programming process. Um, some of these are very absurd. Every example I give, that I will give you today, and every example that I’ve written in any of my books and articles come from my own personal experience with these… patients. I have created none of them. I don’t have a creative enough mind to think of these things. Every one is a true clinical experience.
“Um, well, uh, why else don’t you want to see him?”
“Um, Well, uh um, he used to belch when he eats.”
“He used to belch.” he says. “Is that the reason not to see him? He used to hiccup, or belch or burp?”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s the reason.”
“Uh, any other reason?”
“He used to hit my mother.”
(In disbelief.) “Did you ever see him hit your mother?”
(Changing his voice to a sing-song younger child’s voice.) “No, but my mommy says he… she… he used to hit her…” >
“Did you ever…”
“…used to beat her.”
“Did you ever hear him beat your mother?”
“No? Well, how do you know? Your father says, he says he never did that. He says that your mother is lying and that he not once in his life has he ever hit her.”
(Deeper voice, talking loudly, sounding agitated .) “He’s a liar!”
(Calmly.) “Your mother [sic]… your father says that your mother is a liar.”
“My mother would never lie to me.”
“My father always lies to me.”
(Calmly). “Wha, wha.. give me another example of the time your father lies.”
“I can’t think of it now. I’ll tell you next time.”
So, it’s… it’s… that the excuses, they have no basis in reality. Um the um…
“I never had a good time with him. I always hated every minute of it.”
“Well. There’s a picture here, and it’s from Disney World, and your mom and your dad and you and your sister. There’s Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse and you have a big smile on your face. You seem to be having a good time.”
“I hated every minute of it.”
“Then why are you smiling?”
“He made me smile, he said if I didn’t smile, he would beat me.”
Or uh, “He said if I didn’t say “Cheese” like this, “Say cheese”, to make believe I was smiling, that he would hit me.”
So you have these absurd justifications for the campaign, uh maybe ludicrous, but uh, the child that doesn’t appreciate how absurd they are but it’s part of the child’s campaign.
Uh, the next is lack of ambivalence. All human relationships have mixed feelings. So you , you say to a child. “Okay, I want to write down the things you like about your… mother, the things you don’t like about your mother, things you like about your father and things you don’t like about your father.”
So when you get to the…preferred parent, everything is positive. Everything is wonderful. Anything negative? Nothing negative. And the opposite with the hated parent. Only negatives. So it, let us say it’s the mother who is the uh the target. And I’m going to come to that later. It’s an important point about the gender differences. There’s been a change, where now it’s shifting where more and more fathers are now becoming programmers and the mothers victims. That’s a recent development in the United States which I’m going to elaborate on a little later.
Um, so um…do…You’ll say, let’s say the father has programmed the child.
“I hate my mother. Uh, I can’t stand her.”
“Something positive. Something good.”
“And in your whole life, she never did one good thing?”
And then a list all of the bad things. “What’s the bad things?”
“She makes me turn off the television and go to sleep. She makes me…she says I can’t even watch television until I finish my homework. Uh, she says uh, uh, I…, I…, I can’t go out and play with my friends until I do my homework.”
Something like that. The opposites – all positives or all negatives – nothing’s a mixture. And you see that in PAS.
Uh, then the next is the “independent thinker” phenomenon where the child claims that all these ideas are his or her own and that it has nothing to do with the influence of the programming parent.
Now, the programming parent wants the child to say that because the programming parent is often accused by the father and by others of being a programmer, of being a brainwasher. So the child says, “It’s all my own ideas and she had nothing to do with it.”
Uh and the that, the programmer says,
(Feminine voice, harshly.) “It’s your opinion, right? It’s your own opinion, right? And it’s nobody elses’ opinion, right?”
(Weakly, resigned.) “That’s my own opinion.”
Uh, and I remember one mother said, “Now you tell him, do you want to see… if you don’t want to see your father, you don’t have to see your father. I respect your right not to see your father. I respect your right. If I have to get a lawyer to protect you from seeing your father, I will do so. If I have to go to the Supreme Court of the United States to protect you from seeing your father, I will do that because I respect your right not to see your father. Now, do you want to see your father?”
(Laughter from some in audience – one laughing louder than others.)
“No, no, no.”
“See Doc? He doesn’t want to see his father.”
And then the child says, “I don’t want to see my father.”
And the (Unintelligible) will say, “It’s my idea.”
“That’s your own opinion, isn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s my opinion.” (Sounding bored, resigned.)
(Seriously at first, Gardner then changes to a lighter tone, sounding like he’s smiling. He provides no background for the case or details of what “danger” prompted the mother to approach the Supreme Court for protection. He elicits more chuckles from a few in the audience.) And you see the programming. There is also the message that he is so dangerous, so dangerous that we’re going to have to get a lawyer to protect the child and that if we have to go the… the Supreme Court of the United States to hear this case, uh, on this child to see his father. Uh, but you see the programming. And you see the child being programmed, brainwashed to profess that these opinions are his own.
Uh, the next is the reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict. Uh, no matter how strong the evidence, that the victimized parent is… is… is in the right, has done nothing, and that the programming parent is being deceitful, the child reflexively supports the position of the programmer.
So uh the mother says, “He’s not giving us any money. He’s not sending us the money. Uh, uh, I don’t know where we’re gonna get food. We may starve. We may have to leave the house, freeze in the winter and things like that. We won’t have enough clothing to buy.”
And, and, and she… she creates in the children the… the idea that they’re going to be naked in the streets in the middle of the winter, frozen in the snow, starving to death, and it’s all because of the father because he’s not paying the money.
And, and, and the father, um says,
(Calmly, authoritatively.) “That’s a lie. That’s not true. I have checks here. Every week I give her this check and s..he shows the child, and she signs her name, that’s her name, and that means that she took that money”.
(Note: This was Gardner’s “therapy” in which the alleged abuser directly – and sometimes forcefully – confronts the child’s allegations with the “therapist” present in the room. Gardner recommended using this same confrontation in cases of child sexual abuse.)
The child looks at him and says, “That’s a forgery. You’re lying. That isn’t her s… that isn’t her signature.”
There’s no way to get the child to be convinced that perhaps that the… the programmer is lying. Uh, and, um, so there’s always support.
Uhm. The next is the absence of guilt.
The child I mentioned will spit in the face of the victimized parent. Uh, use the most vile profanities, the most hateful statements without any guilt, without any feeling of embarrassment, without feeling any… any sense of sympathy or empathy for the victimized parent. (Note to reader: It is important to know that this behavior is frequently seen in children who are forced to visit with a parent who has emotionally, physically or sexually abused them. Later in this lecture, Gardner tells his audience that parental “alienation” is worse for a child than physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. This might be the reason, in all of these scenarios, Gardner dismisses all presented variations of alleged abuse as absurd or irrelevant.)
Uh, so I’ll say to the child, “Now, let me understand this. You say you never want to see your father again in your whole life, even if you live a thousand years.”
“Yeah, that’s right.” (Unconvincing.)
“And, uh, you say you want him to pay for all the expenses from your school, private school and private college uh, no matter how far you want to go.”
“Uh, Yeah, that’s right.” (Again, unconvincing.)
“Do you think that’s fair to him? That you never see him and that all he should do is pay them money?”
“Uh, don’t you feel a little embarrassed with yourself?”
“No, I’m not embarrassed at all. I’m not guilty, no, it’s right.”
“Because of all those things he did.”
“All what things?”
“He’s mean. He’s always very mean to me. He made me go to Disney World. Uh, he, he, he made me uh go to movies I didn’t want to see. He… he got these video tapes that I hated.”
And… and… and all these, all these preposterous reasons.
Uh, but there’s no guilt because the programming parent is not inducing guilt, is not teaching the child good manners, respectful behavior, not reprimanding the child when the child is disrespectful and… and providing a healthy environment which teaches the child respect for the other parent. It’s the healthy parent says, “We’re divorced, I’ve had my problems with him, but he’s your father and you’re not going to speak to him that way. And you’re going to respect him and I want you to apologize to him for using those words. And if you don’t, then you’re gonna, no television.” Something like that.
Um, so you… you don’t get the parent teaching the child proper behavior, proper morals, proper ethics, proper values when it comes to the father… uh… uh… the… the victimized parent.
The next is the borrowed scenarios. The children incorporate into their campaign, words, terms that are not age appropriate.
Uh the… the child could not possibly have that in his or her vocabulary.
A, uh, a…a…a father calls.
(Authoritatively.) “Let me speak to the children.”
(Glibly.) “They just came home from school, and they’re changing their clothes, and they’re ready to go out and play, and they’re too busy to talk to you. Call back later.”
Call back later.
“Uh, uh… oh they’re ready, they’re just ready to have supper. You can’t talk to them now.”
And hangs up and he calls again.
“It they’re they’re just finishing their dessert. You can’t talk. And stop harassing us. Stop this harassment. “
And then uh, calls again.
“They’re doing their homework. They can’t be bothered. Stop harassing us. Stop the harassment.”
“They’re watching television”
“They’re re, they’re reading bedtime stories. Stop this harassment.”
(After somehow listening in on all of the phone conversations, Gardner moves the scene to his office.)
“Why don’t you want to see your father?”
“ He..” A four-year-old… “He harasses us.”
“Harrass? That’s a big word for a child your age. What… what does harassment mean?”
“Ask my mommy, she knows.”
That kind of thing. So you, you see where it came from. Um.
A, a sex abuse accusation is often a spin-off or a derivative in… in maybe 10 or 15 percent of the cases. And bringing in the child protection people in it can destroy the father’s life in one telephone call.
Uh, a four-year-old girl.
Uh, “Why don’t you want to see your father?”
Uh, (Young female voice.) “He penetrated me.”
“Penetrated. That’s a big word for a four-year-old girl. It means se, sexual intercourse…but…”
“He penetrated me.”
Says, “What does that mean, he penetrated you?”
“I don’t know. Ask my mommy. She said he penetrated me.”
So you see the incorporation of… of terminology that could not possibly be uh, appropriate to the child that comes into the scenarios of denigration.
Um, the uh, last is the spread of the animosity to the extended parent… extended family of the alienated parent. Um, the um previously, uh the grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins had good relationship with the child. Now almost overnight, the child doesn’t want to speak to the grandparents or the uncles. The grandmother calls,
“I hate you Grandma. I never want to speak to you again.” Hangs up.
Uh, and uh, the grandmother of course is very pained by this, or the grandfather, uh, uncles aunts, they call up, they send presents for certain uh… events, cards, birthday cards, birthday presents, Christmas cards, Christmas presents, they’re returned, they’re thrown in the basket and there’s a sudden cut-off of all the extended family. And uh, uh… uh… and and these people may be in deep grief and pain over the loss of this child, but the alienating parent um… uh feels no sense of loss.
“I hated to go over there. I only acted as if I wanted to go but I really hated it.”
Now, as you can see from the chart, uh…these symptoms are in three categories uh, mild, moderate, uh and severe. Uh now, um, the differentiation is extremely important. And uh, if we go to the bottom part of this chart where it says “The transitional difficulties uh and the behavior”, that gives you a good idea often uh, as to which category it’s in. And so in uh transitional time, when the child is going from one parent to the other, um, you have limited or minimal problem in the mild. The moderate may be a significant problem. Uh the children refuse to go, uh, the… the father is begging, he’s trying to talk them into it, says to the programming parent, uh,
“Would you please tell them to cooperate?”
(Slightly higher-pitched voice.) “Can’t you see they don’t want to see you? Can’t you see they hate you? Don’t you get the message? What’s wrong with you? Are you blind? They hate you. Can’t you see they hate you? Why are you pushing them? Why don’t you respect their right not to see you if they don’t want to see you. What kind of a father are you?”
Those are the kinds of things which often serve to support… (Interrupting his own sentence.)
“Don’t you respect their wishes? Can’t ya see that they don’t want to go?”
And ah, or “Go to your father, we, I’ll get in trouble with the judge if you don’t go.”
Implication being that there’s no reason to go, but I’ll get in trouble, so go.”
And the children in the moderate, sometimes the visit is possible. Most often it is. Once the children are outside of the view of the programming parent, usually they will quiet down and then they’ll be alright, …but then periodically, they catch themselves and will then start in with the campaign. Um, they um, often an older sibling will be the assistant programmer to the younger one so that you’ll have the ten or eleven-year-old girl uh, you know, who’ll watch the younger ones. And uh, uh intermittently, periodically say,
“I gotta watch, you gotta be careful of him, make sure everything’s alright….watch over you.” And then,
“I’m going to tell mommy you were nice to Daddy.”
“Daddy, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.” And then,
So then child will go back, and go back to the mommy and say, “I told him I hated him.”
It’s traditionally, they only say bad things to the programmer. They say nothing good happened, that they were there for the whole weekend, they hated every minute of it and they couldn’t, kept look, looking at their watches to see when the time would be over and couldn’t wait to get back. The reality being, they had a great time and that periodically, they come forth with these uh, uh angry statements in order to have the material to give back to the programming parent.
In the severe form, visitation is impossible. Impossible. The children refuse to go. The programmer is often paranoid. The children believe they will be murdered, they will be poisoned, they’ll be raped. Uh they will be uh sexually abused, physically abused, neglected, beaten. Uh, uh togetherness in the house, there’s blood-curdling shrieks, they’re trying to jump out of the window, run into the street. Uh, the.. they’re paranoid and they believe that uh… uh they will be subjected to, to terrible punishments, even though they have no evidence for it or even though they’ve never had any personal experiences to suggest that even for one second that such things will happen to them. And so visitation is just about impossible in the severe form.
Now the behavior during visitation I described uh…
The bonding with the alienator: In the mild and moderate cases, the bonding with the alienator is usually good with the exception that the alienator, in, in order to um… strengthen his or her position in the lawsuit will um… uh, will program the children. Um, in the um, severe cases, the bonding with the alienator is usually quite set. Either the m… the uh, the alienating parent is is programming, uh, i… i… is paranoid or is extremely over protective, never trusted the um, the father, even at the very beginning.
Uh, I’ve had cases, uh, one case in which uh the mother uh refused to let the father in the delivery room. Now in recent years, this is much more common. I don’t know in Europe, in… in the US, they come in with the camcorders and they’re taking pictures of the delivery… (Gardner laughs and the audience laughs.) and they show their friends the delivery. (More laughter.)
Uh, anyway, uh…
(Feminine, irritated voice) “I don’t want you to film me. This is a personal matter.”
There was one woman, when the father came into the delivery room she said to the obstetrician… while she’s in labor, delivering,
“If you don’t get him out of here, I’m going to fire you.” (Just a few laughs.)
That’s not usually the time to fire the obstetrician.
But uh… this is the uh, the extent of the, of the uh… uh the re…the rejection. Uh, they don’t trust the father to hold the baby, he’ll drop it. I… I had one father who was a professional football player – uh, not soccer, our American football. Professional football player, and uh, the mother didn’t trust him to hold the baby. Uh, he couldn’t hold the baby, but he…he could hold footballs. And uh, this kind of thing. He would drop the baby. Uh, but these things are ludicrous and absurd, but uh, this is the extent uh to which you have people justifying uh ,the over protectiveness.
The bonding with the alienated parent is usually good. And that, as I said at the outset, if the father is a rejector, is an abandoner, is an abuser, then… uh… the “parental alienation syndrome”… uh… diagnosis is not justified because there has been no… there has been abuse and it’s an entirely different situation and this is a very important point.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about my opinion as to what has happened, why we have this disorder, why it wasn’t until the early 1980s that I saw it and that I was doing uh, child psychiatry for maybe twenty-five years and never saw it, and then suddenly appears in the early 1980s.
I believe that the main reason relates to the uh, the fact that prior to the 1970s, uh mothers were automatically given custody. And that at least in the twentieth century, uh p… prior centuries, it was usually the fathers. That, that’s a different thing.
Um, and that in the 60s and the 70s, with the expansion of the women’s liberation movement, uh women, justifiably uh were given more opportunities for education, equal pay, job opportunities, education opportunities, all of these things which are important and wonderful developments and uh long past due. Men began to say, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Uh the idea that a woman should be given preferential treatment in child… as primary custodial parent sets it’s… it’s… it’s predjudiced, it’s biased against men and we want to have equal opportunity for custody of the children.”
And the legislators, the courts agreed and there became a shift where fathers had equal opportunity for custody. And what happened was that then the custody litigation began to increase uh because now fathers had a chance to be, to get primary custodial status. The… as a result, there was an increase in custody litigation and then the parents began to program the children in order to strengthen their positions in the lawsuits.
Now, up until a couple of years ago, my experience had been that it was primarily the mother who was the programmer and that although the fathers would program, they weren’t as successful and the mothers seemed to prevail. And that uh, so that most of the programmers were mothers. And in my first book on the PAS, uh, my… my first was in 1987, uh the mothers were the primary programmers. The second book in 1992, the mothers were the primary programmers. The third book, which came out in 1998, I started to see a shift. And in the last year or two, the shift has been dramatic, where I’m seeing in the US, many more fathers now who are programmers and it’s almost at the point now where it may be 50/50. And I think what’s happened is, one thing, is that fathers have read my books and are learning the techniques and so can use the same intervention. And another relates to the fact that there’s been increasing time the children have with the fathers with the expansion of father opportunities and father access so that the more time, they have more opportunity to uh, to program the children.
So now it seems… and my own personal experiences are being verified by friends, relatives, colleagues, uh, various parts of the country who are reporting the same thing to me and when I lecture in different parts of the US, I ask my greatest fans, “What’s your experience been?” and that’s usually been uh… uh the um… uh… in… in the last year or two, it seems to be equaling out.
Let me ask this audience, for all of our interest. For those of you in this audience who have familiar with this disorder… who are familiar with the disorder, in how many cases have the mothers been the programmer and the father the victim? By raising hands. Where it’s primarily the mothers as the programmer and the father… uh please raise hands high you should all look and see. It seems about a third of you are raising your hands. Now, how many have seen as the… the father is the programmer and the mother is the victim? Father is the programmer… I see just a few hands. This is why we’re seeing in the U.S. … um… up until two or three years ago and now it’s changing. And if I’m correct, and so many other waves that I’ve seen to come here a few years later, uh, you probably will see more fathers as programmers if that principle continues to hold uh, of… of… of getting our bad habits here in Europe a few years after it they’ve come… they’ve become common in the United States.
Now, um, unfortunately, your uh material does not have information on the treatment. It… it’s uh there was an error, there was another error, all the publications, uh on the PAS in scientific journals have been omitted from this document as well.
You have uh, citations from the uh the legal movements in which testimony of The Parental Alienation Syndrome has been recognized by a court of law but the um, and those are listed in your document here, but all the publications of which, of which there are probably a hundred now, uh some in German literature, uh one in French and the others in English. Um, I, I would assume uh that uh, Mr. van Dijk can probably make those available to you.
Now let me say something about the treatment um and uh emphasize very important points.
(Clears throat.) The Parental Alienation Syndrome has become politicized.It has become adversarial uh… in part because anything that goes into a court of law, almost, almost automatically becomes adversarial as one lawyer supports one parent’s position and one lawyer supports the other. So it behooves one of the lawyers to come up with garbage, with lies, with misrepresentations in order to support that lawyer’s position. Another reason why it’s become politicized, is that, because women were the ones who were more often the programmers up until a couple of years ago, I was criticized as being sexist, as biased against women for claiming that women are more often the programmers.
And my answer was, “That’s the reality. Let’s not deny this reality. To call me names for describing the reality, is it loses sight, what’s the reason for it?”
The reason was that the women were the primary caretakers primarily, and the children wanted to be bonded more with the mothers because they want the mothers to have more availability, more access and the children wanted to stay with their mothers, they were more strongly bonded with their mothers.
Uh, and uh, but with time now fathers are becoming equally bonded and the children now it it’s evening out.
The… the problem that I have found is that the courts have been unreceptive to coming down heavily and being properly restrictive of the programming parent. Um. This is the central problem.
(Lowering voice. Speaking slowly, deliberately.) Um. Inducing The Parental Alienation Syndrome in a child is a form of abuse. In a way, it may even be worse than physical abuse and sexual abuse.
(Speaking more casually.) You see, in physical abuse, there comes a time when the child reaches a point where the child can s…stop the parent. You… you’re twelve you… you’re thirteen, you’re fourteen, you can fight back, you can resist, you can run away. You’re old enough to call the police and you can protect yourself somewhat. And, so it certainly reaches a… a point when it stops. Not that there aren’t ongoing psychological consequences after but it… it can stop.
(Less seriously. Raising the pitch at the end of each statement as in questioning.) Sexual abuse uh, can certainly damage any child, psychologically to varying degrees from very little to very much depending upon the… the… the trauma associated with it. But ultimately the child can… is old enough to stop, to report it and bring about a discontinuation of it.
(Slowly, seriously, emotionally.) In psych… in PAS, you get life-long alienation. The bonding is eroded, it’s corrupted, it’s destroyed and if… if after eight, ten years, you’re strangers. It’s like an alumni meeting. The brain is just filled with hatred in the brain circuitry and all the loving, tender feelings all the… all the positive, loving experiences have evaporated. They’re replaced by the campaign of denigration. And even if there is contact then, it’s a lost. It’s lost. It’s never again the same. And it’s… it’s a… it’s a form of abuse that may not be as easy to detect as physical abuse where you see bones and broken fractures and you see abrasions and you have medical reports or physical abuse, where you s… you may see evidence in… in… in medical examination. Here it’s psychological but it is… it is very detrimental.
Now, the courts have the power to cure the PAS. If a judge were to treat a PAS indoctrinating parent… like, let us say a father who reneges on paying his support or alimony. In the United States, and I’m sure here too, if a father doesn’t come up with his support and alimony payment, they can be taken from his salary or uh automatically or he can be put on notice that if he doesn’t pay, he’s on house arrest for the weekend so that from Friday afternoon to Monday morning he must stay at home and if he’s out of the house, he’s in contempt of court, he can be arrested. They can put shackles on his ankle, electronically communicating with the police department. Uh, random telephone calls 24 hours a day. No answering machine to ensure that he’s there. They do that routinely to fathers who have not properly paid for their uh, their monetary obligations.
If a judge were to say to a mother, “If the children are not… if the children… if the children are not at the father’s house at 5:00 on Friday, the car … there’s a court order here at 5:01, for the police to come and arrest you … for not getting your children there. And you will spend the weekend in jail …to help remind you that those children must be there.”
I haven’t gotten one judge to do that. Not one.
I haven’t even gotten one judge to say to a, such a mother, “I order you to take a tour of the jail just to see what it’s like to give you an idea of where you’re going if those children don’t go.”
I had a child in the early eighties, a seven-year-old boy, who was a PAS victim himself… boy is …the children are victims too. (As afterthought.)
(In the voice of a young adoring child.) “Dr. Gardner, is it true that if I don’t go and see my daddy, uh the judge is going to put my mommy in jail? That’s right, isn’t it true the judge is going to put my mommy in jail?”
Oh my, the kid was begging me. Every cell in his body was begging me to say, “Yes, the judge will put my… your mommy in jail.”
I said, “Well, you know that’s a possibility, he has the power to do that.”
“Okay I’ll see, I’ll see my daddy. Mommy, Dr. Gardner says the judge will put me in jail if I don’t see daddy, my daddy, so I’ll go see my daddy.” (Note: According to Gardner’s categories, such behavior in a child would indicate a total absence of the “Parental Alienation Syndrome”.)
He was begging me for the excuse. I beg the judges, the kids need the excuse. They want to be able to say to the alienator “I hate him. But I’ll go anyway to protect you.”
The judges won’t do it. Because it’s not the politically correct thing to do in the United States in 1999 to put a woman in jail, for not visit… visiting. Put a man in jail for not paying the money, it’s done every minute. Put a woman in jail, politically incorrect…look bad in the papers.
Now that men are starting to induce PASs, it’s easier… it will be easier. There are so many cases all over the United States of PAS… hundreds of thousands. There’s an epidemic, there’s no question. It has to happen. And once it happens, it’ll probably be easier if the man is the first one because then it will be easier for the judges.
So what I’m saying is this, the judges have the power, if anybody is in contempt of court, to put in jail. In other words, if… if… if somebody before a judge in the United States were to not appear … [Audio 45:28 – 45:31 missing]… to work within those guidelines. Contempt of court in general, the judge has power to incarcerate.
There’s only two states in the United States that I know where the judge is empowered to incarcerate up to six months a parent who is in contempt of court for a visitation uh… order. And once that happens, there will be very, there will be a rapid shrinkage of PAS.
So, I started this presentation saying, what I said about the cure of PAS is the legislators empowering the judges to impose penalties, meaningful, humane penalties, on PAS inducing parents – regardless of the gender of the parent. This is the only cure I know of. Psychotherapy will not work. Nothing else I can think of will work and I’ve certainly been giving a lot of thought to this over the last fifteen years. And there’s nothing in my experience to suggest that there’s any other route to cure and my hope is that what I’ve said today will play some role in bringing about this change here.
Congressional Testimony: Dr. Catherine Keske to Bill Windsor of Lawless America.
Lawless America…The Movie is all about exposing the fact that we now live in Lawless America. We no longer have laws that are enforced because judges do whatever they want to do. America has also become lawless because government officials are dishonest and/or corrupt.
The movie will expose corruption in every state. The Movie will focus on victims. Corrupt judges and corrupt government officials will be exposed, and we will confront a number of the crooks.
If anyone has ever questioned the story of a person who has expressed the view that they were a victim of the government or of judges, this movie will prove that the odds are that the corruption report was true. In fact, there are probably tens of millions of victims in the United States who never realized what happened to them.
One feature length documentary movie is being produced. It will be shown in theaters, on Netflix, Blockbuster, and other such video places, and the movie will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals.
In addition, videos will be produced for each state and for each type of corruption. Everyone interviewed for the film recorded a three-minute segment that will be done as testimony before Congress as well as a 30-60 minute on-camera interview with Bill Windsor, founder of LawlessAmerica.com and the Revolutionary Party. The legislators in each state are receiving the testimony from those in their state, and the members of the U.S. House and Senate will receive all of the testimony nationwide.
Over 750 people were scheduled to be interviewed for the movie.
“THE MOST SACRED OF THE DUTIES OF A GOVERNMENT IS TO DO EQUAL AND IMPARTIAL JUSTICE TO ALL ITS CITIZENS” –Thomas Jefferson:On June 13, 2012, at 9 AM, oral argument on the use of Parental Alienation Syndrome,(“PAS”) in child sexual abuse cases will be heard by the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District Court, Division 3, at 300 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, California, in McRoberts v. Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. B234877.
Patricia J. Barry, attorney for Sera McRoberts, will present oral argument on the violations of due process and equal protection Sera McRoberts and her children experienced during the trial on the two daughters’ allegations of sexual abuse against their father Steve Lesserson. Ms. Barry argued and won the first sexual harassment case before the US Supreme Court in Merritor vs. Vinson. The Amicae (several national domestic violence organizations and California Senator Sheila Kuehl having signed on) are represented by Erica Reilley of Jones Day who will present oral argument on the lack of scientific validity and inadmissibility of evidence of PAS.
The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association both have rejected PAS. It is not listed in any of the Diagnostic Statistical Manuals. Yet, Stan Katz, Custody Evaluator and Expert Witness of the infamous McMartin Preschool Trial and both Michael Jackson molestation cases, used PAS against Sera McRoberts to change custody to Mr. Lesserson, despite the fact that one of the two daughters ended up with an STD.
For further information, please contact: Patricia J. Barry, Attorney, office 213 995 0734; fax 213 995 0735; cell 213 247 4902; email email@example.com
Given the mainstream media blackout of the family court crisis, it’s encouraging to read the following article. I’m still looking forward to the day when the mainstream media finally begins to investigate and report the family court crisis in the same way the Catholic Church scandal was investigated and reported.
There were not 58,000 victims of the Catholic Church scandal. In the family court crisis, that’s the estimated number of victims each year.
Daughter Says She’s Prepared to Swap Jail Cell With Mother
Despite a plea to reconsider, First District Court Judge Kevin Eide on Monday morning denied a request to lower a woman’s bail.
In doing so, he had the support of the Carver County Attorney’s Office but left the woman’s daughter in tears.
Caroline Marie Rice, 46, has been held in Carver County Jail since April 4. The Carver County Attorney’s Office has charged her with committing a felony in 2010 of depriving custody/parental rights and causing a child to be a runaway, and the city of Chanhassen has charged her with violating orders for protection in 2009.
The felony offense carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, a $4,000 fine, or both. The misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The county alleges that on Oct. 31, 2010, Caroline, who divorced her husband in Hennepin County in 2004, encouraged their 13-year-old daughter, identified in court documents as “A.C.R.,” to run from Chanhassen to live with her in Michigan.
Carver County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a missing/runaway complaint on Oct. 31. For the next two weeks, law enforcement agencies coordinated their efforts to return the child to Chanhassen. It was “a coordinated investigation with the FBI, the United States Diplomatic Security Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Carver County Sheriff’s Office,” according to court documents. The court document further states A.C.R. “wanted to run away from Minnesota to be with her mother.”
According to the official county complaint, A.C.R. met up with a woman in Excelsior who drove her for two days to Michigan and eventually met up with her mother inside Canada. In November 2010, Caroline and two daughters were apprehended when they crossed the border back into the United States.
The city alleges Rice violated an order for protection that prevented her from contacting her children. The order for protection (OFP) was requested by Caroline’s estranged ex-husband as a means of limiting her interactions with their children, who live with him in Chanhassen. The city alleges that each time Rice violated the OFP, she was ordered to appear in court but failed to show up.
“She appears to be a habitual offender, which is troubling to this office,” said Alina Schwartz, the city’s assistant prosecuting attorney.
Bail for Caroline Rice is set at $15,000.
Eide’s decision on Monday not to lower that amount was nothing new, as this was the fifth time since Rice was taken into custody that the judge declined a similar request by Rice’s pro-bono attorney, Rachel Nelson.
“She is not a threat to public safety. She does not have the money for bail,” Nelson told the judge during Monday’s hearing.
The county’s assistant attorney, Peter Ivy, disagreed.
“I don’t believe she can be trusted,” he said in response.
Several individuals have rallied behind Caroline Rice, alleging she is the victim of a “broken” legal system. Caroline’s most vocal advocate is her own daughter, 19-year-old Lauren, the second-oldest of five children. Lauren vehemently disputes the charges against her mother and claims her younger sister ran away from her father on her own.
Among those who have put themselves in place to help Lauren and Caroline is a man named Dale Nathan, a 77-year-old retired attorney from Eagan. Nathan said it’s his desire to see the state’s legal system reformed, and he wants to see justice served for Lauren.
“Since 2003 I have dedicated myself to trying to fix our legal system,” he said. “I’m involved with other cases, but Lauren is a unique kid. She is for real. She is everything she says she is.”
In an affidavit Nathan helped her write, Lauren offers to take her mother’s place in jail if the judge sets Caroline free on a promise to return for future court dates, and she fails to appear. To bolster her credibility, Lauren included in the affidavit a copy of her certificate of appointment to the class of 2013 at West Point, and a copy of the dean’s list certificate she received during the fall 2009 while studying in North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences.
“I gave it up to help my mom. I believe without her love and support, I would not have had that opportunity in the first place,” she states in the affidavit.
A pre-trial omnibus hearing in State of Minnesota vs. Caroline Marie Rice is on the docket in First District Court for this Friday.
The Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) is the part of the US Justice Department that provides grants for programs designed to reduce and prevent domestic violence. They recently sponsored a forum for their staff and other professionals in various parts of the government to learn about the crisis in the custody court system. They heard from seven protective mothers, one very inspiring Courageous Kid and over a dozen of the leading experts in the country. It was a wonderful discussion based upon current scientific research and actual experiences and everyone seems to get it that the courts are routinely making catastrophic mistakes in failing to protect children and domestic violence survivors. The purpose of the forum was to consider the problem, causes and solutions. It was so wonderful to take part in a reality based discussion about domestic violence custody issues and to do so with people who may have the ability to promote the needed changes. And yet the next day if any of us walked into a custody court, the research and the reality that were an unquestioned part of the discussion at OVW would be missing in the pretend world that is the present custody court system.
Similarly, in December, I had the privilege of participating in a review of grant proposals concerning gender, violence and health. The Canadian Institute of Health brought leading experts in the field together to consider which grant proposals would be most beneficial to fund. This was a high level discussion in which all of the participants were familiar with current scientific research so that we could have a reality based discussion. I found it particularly interesting that the Canadian government could attract knowledgeable experts for $200 a day at the same time the courts pay or require litigants to pay thousands of dollars for a few hours to “experts” completely unfamiliar with up-to-date research who instead provide opinions based on their personal belief system and prejudices.
Our custody courts are a very insular system in which information and ideas that contradict the misinformation routinely relied on by court professionals are unwelcome. Custody courts started relying on mental health professionals at a time when no research about domestic violence was available and many people assumed domestic violence was caused by mental illness, substances abuse and the behavior of the victims. We now know the original assumptions are wrong and mental health professionals rarely have much expertise in domestic violence or child sexual abuse. Nevertheless the courts are so used to relying on professionals with inadequate training that they routinely refuse to hear genuine experts or treat their testimony with tremendous skepticism. Experts, government agencies and academicians relied on to make major decisions in the real world are treated with disrespect by the court system. Repeatedly I have heard judges suggest that when the (inadequately trained) GAL, evaluator and child protective caseworker all agree, it is unreasonable to consider any other view.
Abusers often impose a pretend world on their victims by denying and minimizing their abuse. They often blame their partners by claiming her behavior forced him to abuse her. It is often unsafe for the woman to challenge this pretend existence. Genuine experts agree that dealing with reality is an important part of the healing process after survivors leave their abusers. This makes the common court practice of cooperating with abusers to focus on pretend issues so harmful to battered mothers and their children.
Many years ago I tried to help a teenage girl whose father was sexually abusing her. She finally found a therapist she could trust and the courage to share her secret. He called the child protective agency, but their response was to remove the girl from her home so the father’s life would not be disrupted. They put her in a home for girls that included those there for criminal behavior. While at this home, she was assaulted and robbed. The caseworker refused to permit her to continue working with her therapist just when she needed him most and pressured her to recant her allegations. The caseworker threatened to send her to an even worse facility and she was also concerned about the trouble her father would face. When she recanted her allegations she was sent back to her home and forced to engage in therapy based upon the false assumption her allegations of abuse were wrong. At a time when she needed therapy in response to years of abuse, she was forced to engage in therapy to determine why she made false allegations.
More recently, I worked on a New Jersey case in which a young child reported to her mother that her father and his mother had touched her in the vicinity of her privates. She did not know the words to be more precise. The father immediately denied the allegations and claimed the mother was making deliberate false allegations. The unqualified professionals focused only on whether the child was molested or the mother made false allegations and when they could not find enough evidence of abuse after a flawed investigation assumed the allegations were false. They brought charges against the mother and eventually gave the abusive father custody and the mother supervised visitation. When the court professionals later learned of the father’s history of domestic violence and hired a qualified expert who used current research to recommend custody be restored to the mother, the court professionals ignored the information that undermined their mistaken finding. The mother was forced into therapy in which she had to prove she no longer believed the true allegations if she wanted unsupervised visitation with her daughter. Having escaped the pretend world imposed by her abuser by leaving him, the mother faced another pretend world imposed by the court.
These kinds of mistakes are common in the broken custody court system. Often they are caused by court professionals who use the bogus Parental Alienation Syndrome (sometimes by other names) to give custody to the abuser and deny normal contact with the protective mother. Some courts impose reunification therapy on the children who are taught that their dislike of their father is not because of his history of abusing them and their mother but because of the lies she has told them. Again at a time when they need therapy to heal from their father’s abuse and the separation from their primary attachment figure, they must instead engage in therapy based on pretend alienation issues. These practices work well for the bank accounts of mental health professionals, but poorly for children.
Most court professionals have been trained to view contested custody cases as “high conflict” by which they mean the parents are angry at each other and act out in ways harmful to their children. Current research, however, establishes that most of these cases are actually domestic violence cases. Fathers with a long history of abuse seek custody as a way to gain access to their victim to pressure her to return or punish her for leaving. Court professionals unwittingly assist these tactics by pressuring the mother to interact and cooperate with her abuser instead of pressuring the father to stop his abuse. The normal fear, emotion and reluctance to cooperate with a man they see as dangerous is used to discredit and punish the mother. Using the “high conflict” lens makes it harder for court professionals to recognize the father’s abuse and to take it seriously.
Few court professionals have been taught about the dynamics of domestic violence or how to recognize it. We regularly see court professionals discredit domestic violence complaints for reasons that are not probative such as when women return to their abuser, withdraw protective orders or don’t have police or medical reports. The women do this for safety and other reasons, but if the professionals treat this kind of information as if it were proof of false allegations, they have no chance to recognize valid complaints. At the same time, these professionals are often only looking at incidents of physical abuse. Accordingly they fail to see the patterns of controlling and coercive behavior. They don’t pay attention to economic control, isolating behaviors, emotional abuse, monitoring their partner’s behavior or information about the abusers’ motivation. Once courts determine through these flawed practices that the domestic violence allegations are false, they generally refuse to consider additional evidence or events that support the allegations and severely retaliate against mothers who continue to believe their allegations. Significantly, when courts do recognize the father’s abuse, they rarely if ever penalize him for continuing to deny his abuse.
The pretend world created by the custody courts is supported by the popular myth that women frequently make false allegations of abuse to gain an advantage in the litigation. A new Department of Justice study led by Dan Saunders of the University of Michigan found that court professionals without adequate training in domestic violence are more likely to believe this myth and in turn make recommendations harmful to children. The myth greatly contributes to the frequent mistaken findings we see in custody courts where valid allegations of domestic violence are disbelieved. Widespread gender bias also contributes to the inaccurate decisions.
Custody courts do their worst job in responding to allegations of sexual abuse of children. Although a majority of allegations made by mothers are accurate, 85% of the cases result in custody for the alleged abuser. Even attorneys with little knowledge of domestic violence and child abuse routinely advise clients not to raise sexual abuse allegations, even with strong cases, because the courts are so reluctant to believe a father could commit such a heinous act. Sexual abuse against young children is particularly hard to prove because it is committed in private for obvious reasons and children often do not have the language to describe what their father did to them. Although many court professionals expect physical proof, most assaults do not leave physical evidence and when they do it may be gone by the time the child works up the courage to reveal the abuse. Older children often recant true allegations because the abuser has threatened to hurt them or their mother or because they don’t want someone they still love to get in trouble. Poor investigation methods by often inadequately trained professionals also impede proof of sexual abuse. When allegations are made by mothers the most likely circumstance is the allegations are true. The next most likely is that the accused did not abuse the child but engaged in boundary violations that made the child uncomfortable. Other common possibilities are that the allegations are false, but made in good faith or that the evidence is equivocal, but court professionals routinely focus on deliberately false allegations even though this is the least likely cause for the allegations. The result of these flawed practices is that courts often deny valid allegations of sexual abuse and conduct the rest of the case based upon the fiction that there is something wrong with the mother for trying to protect her child.
These common mistakes in domestic violence and child abuse cases lead to a pretend world promoted by the abuser and supported by the court in which the case is conducted based on the fiction that the mother’s allegations are false. Any attempt by the mother to provide additional information of the father’s abuse is treated as a lack of cooperation for which she is severely punished. Her only hope to have some minimal time with her children is to prove she no longer believes the true allegations she made. In other words she is back in a pretend world that she hoped to escape by leaving her abuser. Even worse, now he has complete control, supported by the court and she is not even near the children to try to protect them when he acts in a dangerous manner.
In the typical contested custody case the mother is the primary attachment figure for the child and complains about the father’s domestic violence and/or child abuse. The father counters with claims of alienation. The primary attachment figure is the parent or other caregiver who provides most of the child care during the first couple of years of a child’s life. When a child is separated from their primary attachment figure, the child is more likely to suffer depression, low self-esteem and to commit suicide when older. Accordingly it makes no sense to do this unless the primary attachment figure is unsafe such as if they were a drug addict or beat the child. At the same time children who witness domestic violence are more likely to engage in a variety of harmful behaviors when they are older and their normal development is impeded which can cause lifetime of harmful effects. Alienation is a nebulous term which is often alleged in a generalized way. The most likely outcome of false negative statements is that it harms the relationship with the parent making the false statements. There is no research that demonstrates long term harm to children from alienating behaviors. Claims of primary attachment are almost always true as in our still sexist society mothers continue to provide most of the child care particularly in the first years of a child’s life. In many cases the father does not contest the issue or the work schedules of the parents make it clear who was the primary attachment figure. Mothers’ allegations of abuse are rarely deliberately false (in cases of child sexual abuse inaccurate complaints could be made based on the behavior of the child), so the complaints tend to be reliable. Alienation claims by fathers in contested custody cases are often part of a standard abuser tactic to deflect claims of abuse. Research such as the study led by Nicholas Bala establishes that fathers in contested custody cases are sixteen times more likely to make deliberately false complaints. The complaints by mothers are more important to the well being of children and far more likely to be true than father’s complaints and yet in contested custody cases fathers receive custody or joint custody between 70 and 83% of the time. Clearly courts are not making decisions based upon the reality experienced by children or approaches that benefit children.
The worst custody decisions provide custody to the alleged abuser and supervised or no visitation to the safe, protective mother who is the primary attachment figure for the child. These decisions are virtually always wrong because they are based on punishing the mother for believing the father is dangerous and not on concerns for the well being of children. The findings are usually wrong because of the flawed practices, but the outcome would be wrong if the findings were correct because courts rarely weigh the harm they are causing with whatever benefit they seek to create. The harm of denying the child their primary attachment figure is far greater than any benefit the court believes it is providing. Significantly, we rarely see evaluation reports or court decisions that weigh the benefits and harm of a decision they are considering. This is the kind of result we see when courts fail to consider current scientific research in their decisions. Judges may believe the mental health professionals involved in the case provide this expertise, but the professionals relied on by the courts are rarely familiar with current scientific research and courts don’t disqualify or even discredit evaluators and other mental health professionals for being unfamiliar with current research.
Mothers partnered with abusive fathers are in an impossible situation. If they fail to protect their children from the dangerous abusers, they can lose custody for failure to protect. The mothers hear repeated messages that they should leave him, but when they do and try to protect their children, they are punished for interfering with the relationship between the children and the abusive father. The result is too many courtrooms in which courts recreate the pretend world the mother sought to escape.
In fairness to the custody courts, they were forced to develop practices to respond to domestic violence cases at a time when no research was available. Many other entities were slow to understand the best ways to respond to domestic violence. Police officers were trained for many years to separate the parties when called to a home and have the abuser walk around the block to calm down. Eventually they switched to a pro-arrest policy after research demonstrated this practice was ineffective. Domestic violence homicides were reduced as communities moved towards practices designed to hold the abuser accountable. Even domestic violence agencies have not always been as supportive of protective mothers as they deserved, but with the increase in Custody-Visitation Scandal Cases and increase in domestic violence homicides as a result of mothers staying with their abusers because of the dangers created by custody courts, the domestic violence community has made child custody an important priority. It has taken a while for academicians to realize the harm in common custody court practices. Initial research supported shared parenting, but more comprehensive research has demonstrated shared parenting is harmful to children even when there is no domestic violence, but too often it is used in domestic violence cases because court professionals have difficulty in recognizing domestic violence. Current scientific research confirms complaints by protective mothers that the custody courts are mistreating them and harming their children. Government agencies now seem to understand the custody courts are harming children. Their understanding is based upon the research now available. The problem is that child custody issues have historically and constitutionally been left to the states and their courts.
Psychologists and other mental health professionals engaged in research have come to understand the harm of the standard practices in domestic violence custody cases. Most mental health professionals are not involved in the custody court system, but have failed to impose ethical standards on mental health professionals involved in questionable practices in the custody courts. The professional associations have permitted ethically challenged psychologists and other professionals to make recommendations unsupported by current scientific research, engage in biased practices that favor abusers and make diagnoses that are not found in the DSM IV because they don’t exist. Although ethical considerations would require the professionals to consult with experts on subjects in which they don’t have expertise, like domestic violence, the professionals in custody courts routinely fail to consult domestic violence experts, wrongly believing they have this expertise. This has led to frequent mistakes in domestic violence custody cases. These unqualified mental health professionals have played an important role in misleading custody courts and creating an illusion that there is a scientific basis for the mistaken practices commonly used in custody courts.
Judge Sol Gothard often trains other judges because of his expertise in domestic violence and child abuse. He was featured in the PBS documentary BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN’S STORIES. He wrote that if the courts had commissioned a study on how the present practices are working, they would have found the research contained in DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. This research demonstrates that the present practices are working poorly for children. The outdated and discredited practices routinely relied on by custody courts lead to the pretend world of custody courts we have discussed in this article. We must encourage judges and other court professionals to be open to the current scientific research and stop closing their eyes and ears to information that undermines their long-held beliefs and assumptions.
Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence expert, speaker, writer and consultant. He is the co-editor with Mo Therese Hannah of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. Barry can be reached by email at their web site www.Domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com
Victims of domestic violence, sex assaults will share in Passover Seder holy dinner in Brooklyn
BY Simone Weichselbaum DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, April 17th 2011
The Passover spirit of freedom has a whole new meaning for crime victims putting together a special Seder where they will share stories about abuse, during the holy dinner.
Survivors of domestic violence, sex assaults and child abuse will pack into the B’nai Israel of Linden Heights synagogue on Ninth Ave. in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn Monday and Tuesday night.
Passover honors the Israelite slaves’ escape from Egypt with a 15-step meal called a Seder where stories of bondage are mixed in with the matzo.
Organizer Annie Kay, 33, spent the past month preparing to feed 500 victims and their families, explaining that the horror of living through a crime is no different than the nightmare of being a slave. “They need a family. The rabbis want to keep it so it looks like crimes in our community don’t happen,” said Kay, a Hasidic Jew who changed her name after launching the Coalition Against Legal Abuse in New York back in February.
The Jewish law of mesira prohibits a Jew from snitching to cops on another Jew but some rabbis give a pass depending on the crime. Still, if a victim comes forward in one of the city’s insular Orthodox Jewish communities, families are usually shunned at schools, synagogues and work.
A Borough Park woman named Chaya, 22, said her dad used to beat her with metal coat hangers when she was a kid. “I have a feeling for people hurt by abuse,” said Chaya, who spent the week peeling potatoes in preparation for the two big meals. “I want to help others have a comfortable life.”
So far, 386 cooked chickens are sitting in fridges along with 14 pounds of coleslaw and 50 pounds of gefilte fish. “It doesn’t matter how many people will come. We will feed everybody,” said Kay. “We want more people to feel empowered to speak out.”
Is it the same thing that happened in Holly’s children’s case?
And in Linda Marie’s children’s case? And in Wendy’s children’s case and in Terry’s case?
Is it the same thing that happened when Karen went to family court to try to protect her children? Did the same thing happen to Katie, Amy, Genia, Lisa, Danielle, Pamela, Nancy, Lorraine, Annie, Claudine, Janice, Maria, Karen, Faith, Heather, Kathy Lee, Cara, Marlene, Rachel, Suzanne, Amanda, Renee, Cindy, Anne, Susan…
Any investigative journalists out there ready to get their feet wet?
[Update April 28, 2012: FOUR investigative journalists are now investigating.]
… and what about Lea, Jeanne, Mia, Gail, June, Elizabeth, Chris, Kim, Sunny, Susan, Sandra, Leslie, Bree, Wilma, Lisa, Cheryl, Bonnie, Judyth, Lea, Lori, Mary, Kathryn, Tina, Nicolette, Martine, Elena, Donna, Kimberly, Kelley, Marla, Mary Jo, Terri, Elizabeth, Alicia, Tiffini, Jennifer Shannon, Ali, Connie, Jan, Maureen, Carol, Leah, Fiona …
Stay strong ladies. We’re almost at the mountaintop!
Please note: If you’d like your name added to this list, feel free to post a comment anonymously here or send your first name to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mother Taking Her Case to United States Supreme Court
In our nation’s family courts, what happens when a parent in good faith presents evidence that the other parent has abused their child?
Ask Linda Marie Sacks, a mother in Florida who lost contact with her children for trying to protect them.
She’s been allowed to see her two daughters for only 79 hours in three years and ten months. With no case plan or reunification plan provided by the family court, this is the longest family law referral in the history of the Daytona Beach supervised visitation center.
A 2008 press release from the Leadership Council says, “According to a conservative estimate by experts at the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (LC), more than 58,000 children a year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States. This is over twice the yearly rate of new cases of childhood cancer. “
On May 6, 2011, the Friday before Mother’s Day, Ms. Sacks will file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in her continuing effort to be re-united with her children. After years of hearings in the Florida state courts, this mother will ask our highest court to consider her obligation to protect her children and her right to unsupervised contact with them.
The U.S. Supreme Court is more likely to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari when multiple Amicus Briefs are filed along with the petition. This is an opportunity for our highest court to establish the parental right to protect children from intrafamilial abuse.
If your organization would like to help write and/or help gather Amicus Briefs for this case, it would be greatly appreciated.
The questions to be presented are:
If a parent makes a good faith allegation of abuse, with documented evidence, in an effort to protect his or her children, should that parent be deprived of physical custody of those children, or have contact with those children supervised indefinitely without a case plan or reunification plan provided by the trial court?
Does a state court violate the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments when it deprives a parent of physical custody and limits that parent’s contact to supervised visitation with children, for taking the reasonable action based upon a belief, supported by facts that children need protection from abuse?
Does a state court’s custody decision that deprives a parent of access to his or her children indefinitely, unless supervised, without a finding of unfitness by clear and convincing evidence, which effectively terminates parental rights, violate the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?
If you would like to receive copies of any/all related documents, contact:
Linda Marie Sacks 386-453-3017 email@example.com
Press please contact:
Kathleen Russell Executive Director Center for Judicial Excellence 495 Miller Avenue, Suite 304 Mill Valley, CA 94941 Main 415.388.9600 Fax 415.388.4610
“Chesler eloquently – and finally – breaks the wall of silence and discrimination surrounding the custody battles that women and their advocates have been facing. This book is a work of art. The combination of scholarship, poetry, politics, history, psychology, and legal analysis is stunning. Mothers on Trial is required reading…”
“There is a widespread belief that when marriages break up and child custody is in dispute, mothers nearly always win, fathers very rarely. And given another popular notion – that of the deeply loving New Father who is willing to take on child rearing and housekeeping responsibilities on his own – this state of affairs has come to be perceived as singularly unfair. Phyllis Chesler’s mammoth new work, Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody, demolishes these claims, demonstrating on the contrary that, when fathers choose to sue for child custody, they very often get it. Due to the epidemic of family abandonment by fathers, judges tend to be impressed by fathers who fight for custody; and the frequent brainwashing of children by fathers is simply considered proof of the father’s wish for intimacy with his children.”
According to Dr. Chesler, the 25th anniversary edition of Mothers on Trial will be published this summer with 8 new chapters. She must know that our family court system hasn’t changed much in the past twenty-five years.
She must also know that “custody disputes” are ending more and more tragically with each new day as dangerous fathers succeed in gaining unsupervised access to their children. Given that hundreds of thousands of cases of child abuse and fatalities could have been avoided over the last twenty-five years, Dr. Chesler must hate to say, “I told you so.”
Like spring bulbs erupting from a cold winter ground, books and articles and lectures surface with each new year as authors, attorneys and advocates herald the need for family court reform. How we respond now to the call for family court audits, oversight and accountability will determine how many more – or how many less – reasons there will be for saying, “I told you so.” twenty-five years from now.
Okay, wait a second. I just read the article. I just saw the comments. They were there a minute ago on my computer screen. I left the Charlotte Observer page to write a few sentences on this post, went back to the Charlotte Observer and the comments were gone. Not just some of them. All of the comments disappeared.
Here’s what it says at the bottom of the article now:
“Comments have been disabled because of repeated violations of site policies.”
I don’t understand. Is that a punitive measure? Does the Charlotte Observer not have the staff available to moderate the comments? Perhaps the topic of a judge ordering someone to change her beliefs isn’t important enough to welcome an open discussion from the readers? The phrase “My way or the highway.” comes to mind, but that’s not what judges are supposed to say and it’s not what newspapers are supposed to tell their readers either.
I’d like to write an open letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer to ask why they don’t just weed out the offensive comments – like all the other news outlets do.
Clickherefor a related article about the Pennington children’s case. Maybe those comments are still below that article there because of that whole “freedom of speech” thing.
Our Supreme Court justices just said something about that today.
Editor’s note: Did you pause for a moment when you read “the Pennington children’s case?” Were you expecting to read, “Lisa Pennington’s case” instead? It will help the children if we can remember that this case is about the children. this case is not a festival of opinions, guesses, slander and libel hurled at a mother who sincerely believes she needed to protect her children from abuse. Focusing on what the mother did or didn’t do instead of focusing on the safety of the children is a tactic some attorneys use in family courts to take abused children from protective mothers.
After careful review, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion when fashioning Dr. Pennington’s therapy. Dr. Pennington is required by the 6 March 2009 order to acknowledge that Dr. Peters did not sexually abuse their children and accept as true the trial court’s conclusion that she harmed her children. Thus, Dr. Pennington must force herself to believe that she implanted false images of sexual abuse in her children. Presumably, she must prove to a medical professional or counselor that she genuinely believes the trial court findings were correct before being certified as rehabilitated, which may be a prerequisite to obtaining significant visitation or any level of custody in the future.6 We hold this is an unwarranted imposition under these facts. Our objection to this requirement is that it mandates Dr. Pennington and the therapist attain a standard based upon Dr. Pennington’s beliefs rather than her behavior. It would have been appropriate to require Dr. Pennington to demonstrate to the court that she would not engage in any behavior that suggests to the children that they were sexually abused. We believe this is best achieved through non-disparagement requirements and prohibitions on discussing these matters with the children, which are enforceable through the contempt powers of the trial court, including incarceration. It was an abuse of discretion to require Dr. Pennington to change her beliefs and prove to a counselor that such a change has in fact occurred. We therefore vacate paragraph 5 of the decretal portion of the 6 March 2009 order (“Decree 5”) and remand the order to the trial court to enter a new order based upon Dr. Pennington’s and her agents’ ability to comply with existing court orders and demonstrate behavior that prevents harm to her children.
Once the mainstream media investigates and reports this scandal the way that it should, court reform will come quickly, our children will be protected and many lives will be saved.
The following video might be difficult to watch. The subject matter might make some squirm. That’s the reason we’re still facing this issue now, in 2011.
Even though it’s too uncomfortable to think about, too overwhelming and too complicated, please help anyway. With the internet, all it takes is one click on a mousepad to help increase the general public’s awareness of this national scandal.
Tweet articles on Twitter, share comments on Facebook, send emails to your state and federal representatives.
If you have more than a few minutes to spare, please get in touch with the wonderful groups already working to fix this and volunteer your time or other resources.
We’ve now got a kind of momentum going that we haven’t seen since this scandal first began in the 1970s. Many are saying that it seems like we’ve reached a “critical mass” and this scandal is about to be exposed in a big way. Please do all you can do to make it happen as soon as possible. The children of America are waiting.
Small Justice, an award-winning, independent documentary, exposes a lurking national scandal.
Contrary to everything you might think, everything that makes sense, men who beat their wives, sexually abuse their children, and then ask the court for custody, usually get it. It is so counterintuitive,
most people simply do not believe it is possible for a judge to hand over custody of children
to men who beat their wives and sexually abuse their children.
But it is something that happens every day in America, in every state, because the system is broken.
Happy Holidays to Federal Investigators and Investigative Journalists!
December 24, 2010
Dear federal investigators and investigative reporters,
Our holiday gift to you is an infomercial for last year’s Parental Alienation Syndrome conference in Toronto, Canada promoting the “parental alienation syndrome” scam in the United States and Canada.
The flashy videos, dramatic music and prepared script are evidence of the intent to encourage family court professionals to generate profit from high-conflict child custody cases. One participant actually says:
“Coming to this conference enables me to get listed in an online referral service for new clients and that’s important to me. This symposium is also focused on high conflict cases that generate big revenue streams to my practice. The little money that I’ll be spending to go to this conference will be the best investment I’ll make in my practice all year long.”
Here is information about J. Michael Bone, one of the participants in the “conference”:
(PCP: Zachary, Shyers, Adejokun-Ojo / Lobnitz, Sherrard, Roberts) Mr. Bone was not present and was not represented by counsel. A four-count administrative complaint filed May 11, 2006 alleged violations of s. 491.009(1)(w), F.S., by violating Rule 64B4-7.006(2)(a), F.A.C., by providing an evaluation of a minor when respondent had a prior relationship with one of the parties; Rule 64B4-7.006(2)(b), F.A.C., by failing to interview minor’s treating mental health professions, family physician, immediate relatives, teachers, and school counselor; Rule 64B4-7.006(2)(b), F.A.C., by failing to use testing methods in data gathering; s. 456.072(1)(j), F.S., by aiding, assisting, or procuring a person not licensed to practice psychology or psychotherapy, to practice psychology or psychotherapy.
A two-count administrative complaint filed on October 2, 2006 alleged violations of s. 491.009(1)(t), F.S., by violating Rule 64B4-7.006(2)(b), F.A.C., of failing to use multiple avenues of data gathering including testing and interviewing all persons central to evaluation of a minor; and s. 491.009(1)(h), F.S.,by failing to perform a legal obligation of including psychological evaluations and substance abuse evaluations of the parties as part of evaluation by order of the Circuit Court.
A voluntary relinquishment of license was submitted to the department in lieu of further administrative/disciplinary action, in which respondent agrees to never reapply for licensure under Chapter 491, Florida Statutes.
Following discussion, the board took the following action:
Motion: by Ms. White to accept the voluntary relinquishment of license. Second: by Dr. Otis. Vote: Unanimous.
Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling February 8-9, 2007.
For those who are investigating the family court crisis, thank you so much for all of your good work.
Readers of this post might be interested to know that many are working to raise public awareness of a syndrome called Family Gathering Deprivation Syndrome. It is a devastating syndrome in which family members have been estranged from each other as a direct result of a lack of quality time spent together. Workshops and books will introduce a particularly effective form of Radio Therapy, a well-known therapy used by millions of individuals since the 1930’s in homes across America to treat this serious and sometimes life-altering condition. In Radio Therapy sessions, individuals affected by Family Gathering Deprivation Syndrome are required to sit together in a comfortable room for increasing periods of time over the course of 8 days. During that time, they listen to a state of the art radio play high quality music, entertaining comedies and variety shows. The cost of the workshop will be approximately $40,000 per person. More information to follow in upcoming posts…
Still No Such Thing As Bad Publicity
By Julia Fletcher
November 28, 2010
Years ago, we’d gather around a radio in our living rooms and our kitchens. Turning the radio dial past the static to listen for the clearest reception, we depended upon the radio to share local and world news with us. Hearing the catchy songs and commercial slogans, we knew which of the best products everyone else used.
In those days, earning a living as an entertainer or an author meant you had to get publicity from somewhere. There was no internet “information super highway”. Reviews of entertainment and the best-selling books travelled a little faster than word of mouth and some could reasonably argue that there was “no such thing as bad publicity”. P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Mae West and W.C. Fields all said, each in their own way: “Say whatever you want about me as long as you spell my name right.”
We’re not gathering around the family radio anymore because we have internet access and Wi-Fi, but if we want to sell a product or service, we still need publicity and consumers to buy our wares. Today, with America’s divorce rate a whopping 50 percent, Americans are interested in the topic of divorce and The Huffington Post knows that.
Richard Warshak knows it too. A few weeks ago, he was allowed to post his article called “Stop Divorce Poison” in Huffington Post’s new Divorce Section. The article was followed by links to the books he wrote on that same subject. After his article was published, most comments in response to his article which didn’t support his theories or practices were removed. Gone. Disappeared. Censored.
I wrote my own comments, posted them after his article and waited to see if I would be censored too. Lo and behold, my comments were posted and, like a few of the proverbial many flung at the wall, they stuck. I thought maybe I should let those who had been censored know that they could try to post their opinions again – this time in response to my comments. I felt they also had a right to be heard and commenting on my comments would be a way that could happen. That gave me some sense of accomplishment until I realized that the more comments I sent to Mr. Warshak’s site, whether or not they were censored, the more “hits” were added to the stats for his article. As long as I partook in that commenting frenzy, encouraging others to try to post a comment about his article, the more I inadvertently increased Mr. Warshak’s ratings.
Imagine that. So much new technology to deliver so much information without any static at lightning speed and there’s still no such thing as bad publicity, just higher ratings for your website. There’s another old saying by P.T. Barnum that says, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Fortunately, that’s still true today too.
By Jan Weir | Publication Date: Monday, 19 April 2010
It can be put no better than the oft-reported quote of Dr. Sol Goldstein, who talked about the “scourge” of parental alienation in Canada.
Some commentators call it the “20/80” of the court, referring to the 20 per cent of the cases that take up 80 per cent of the time. There seems to be no effective solution.
Dr. Richard Gardner, a New York psychiatrist, proposed a theory in the early 1980s that some alienation was irrational in that the accepted parent had brainwashed the children to the extent that the cure was to deprogram them of their rejection of the other parent.
Enter Richard Warshak into the Ontario court system. He’s a psychologist from Texas who claims to have developed a four-day workshop at a cost of up to $20,000 to cure the irrational brainwashing type of alienation.
Only a handful of psychologists have training in the techniques. In some cases, the courts will order children into the custody of the rejected parent, who will then have them take the program. Sometimes, the court suspends contact with the accepted parent for a period of time.
One criticism of this theory is that it gives a tremendous amount of power to the health professional in that a misdiagnosis takes away the children’s right to object to certain parental behaviour and subjects them to an intimidating experience. The risk of that scenario increases when one parent is wealthy and the other is unable to retain an expert.
But how successful is the workshop? While it’s been around for 17 years, there hasn’t been an independent study to decide the criteria for evaluating success, monitor the cases, and compile the data.
The courts have developed rules of evidence on expert opinions because judges are intelligent amateurs who don’t want to pass judgment on the validity of scientific theories. Thus, they are gatekeepers. For the first test of admissibility, they rely on the scientific community to determine whether the theory or technique is generally acceptable. There is no such evidence for the Warshak workshop.
Additionally, because there is a recognition that a novel theory or technique may not have been in existence long enough, the courts have developed four criteria to admit such evidence. The Warshak workshop doesn’t meet the criteria for novelty because it has been around for more than 17 years.
However, even if it were novel, the reliability of the evidence on its validity wouldn’t meet the four-part test. That’s because the first element is that it’s capable of being and in fact has been tested. Here, while the data is available for an independent test, none has taken place according to generally accepted scientific principles.
Warshak has recently published a study he did himself claiming the workshop is highly effective. But this work doesn’t meet generally accepted principles for a valid scientific study.
The guarantee of validity is independent confirmation or repeatability by other scientists. The history of science is replete with examples of very intelligent and respected scientists who have made claims that, after review by other experts, have proven unreliable.
There is enough data for short- and long-term evaluation of the Warshak workshop. One of the concerns is whether, even if the data confirms the claims, the workshop works for the right reasons.
The procedure may be so intimidating that it may frighten the children into submission. Some of them are now old enough to give feedback on such concerns.
I know of the results of just two orders from Ontario judges sending children to the Warshak workshop. One is J.K.L. v. N.C.S. The other is a case widely reported in the media in which an older brother sought to intervene to get custody of his brothers after an associate of Warshak sent them to a hospital psychiatric department alleging they had mental health issues.
The report in The Globe and Mail on the case noted that the psychiatrist at the hospital said there was nothing wrong with the boys.
Judges appear to be ignoring the Mohan general acceptance test out of desperation for a solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem. But will this prove justified?
Given that judges are making these orders and there is now local data, a study could keep track of these cases. It’s an important issue for which a research grant would likely be available.
Warshak may also reach into his altruism to make his techniques known to the health profession at large. Although it would entail a significant financial sacrifice, doing so would bring the benefit of these methods to people of more modest means and permit evaluation of them according to the usual cautionary measures of science.
The idea isn’t to deny that the workshop is effective. Warshak’s claims may in fact be correct. What’s missing is the proper scientific basis to support them and hence their admissibility in court.
There is no doubt in my mind that Warshak believes in his theory and techniques. However, as Ontario’s recent experience has shown, belief in a beneficial theory can be harmful. The only safe control on such good intentions is an independent review by the scientific community.
Jan Weir is a Toronto lawyer who was involved in S.G.B. v. S.J.L., a case in which a judge overturned an arbitrator’s award ordering participation in Warshak’s program. That matter is to go back to court for a new trial.