Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?

Richard Warshak, carrying on Richard Gardner's horrific legacy of making money off parental alienation theories at the expense of abused women and children, has put up an article on the subject at Huffington Post. To compound matters, commenters who post any opposite viewpoints, research or facts have found their writings removed and some have been entirely banned from posting, although screen shots of their writings indicate nothing that violates HuffPo guidelines. The article referenced provides a good summary of the issues.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2 Boys Found Dead; Mom Rips the Courts - March 31, 2009 - Illinois

(Excerpts from the Chicago Tribune article:)

Amy Leichtenberg worried this day would come, and she begged the judicial system to prevent it. In court documents dating back to 2005, she detailed her estranged husband's threats against her family and fought unsuccessfully to keep him from having unsupervised visits with their two sons. Michael Connolly violated the orders of protection against him six times, police records said, and he often vowed to kill himself rather than be separated from the boys.

Connolly, 40, disappeared with Duncan, 9, and Jack, 7, on March 8, prompting a nationwide search. The boys' bodies were found in the back seat of their father's 1991 Dodge Dynasty, while Connolly's body was discovered 60 yards away.

"I feel that the judicial system failed me," Leichtenberg said. "I pray that the courts listen to the warnings from other parents like me."

Court records and police accounts portray Connolly as an abusive husband who tried to force Leichtenberg to stay in their marriage. He threatened to cut open her and her parents and once told Jack that he would find "a younger, prettier, nicer mama," according to court documents.

When Connolly sensed Leichtenberg was about to leave him in 2006, she said he pressured her to sign a paper giving him custody of the boys if they divorced. He also demanded his wife make a videotape in which she claimed to abuse her sons, Leichtenberg said. It's not clear she did either.

Connolly was granted unsupervised visitation rights in December based in part on a psychologists assessment that the father was not a harm to himself or others in spite of the history of behaviors.,0,3316104.story?page=1

I continue to ask the question, how many dead women and children does it take before judges stop placing father's rights to access over moms and kids rights to safety?

Alaska, despite passing one of the best rebuttable presumption statutes in the country and despite having the highest rates of suicide, domestic violence, intimate partner homicide, child abuse and substance abuse, still has a judiciary that will not correctly apply the very laws designed to protect lives. Incest and violence perpetrating fathers are continuing to be granted unsupervised access every day in Alaska's court system while the mothers are labeled as "hysterical", "anxious", "alienating", "enmeshed", "over-reactionary", or any number of false psychological labels that works to blame her for the problems created by the abusing father.

We've had our own share of deaths like these in IL based on bad judgement and rotten, sexist attitudes towards women. I ask again, how many more dead women and children??!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mad Magazine's "Clueless" Game

Here's one I'll pass on this Christmas. At least in the old version Miss Scarlet was a likeable villain. Double click to enlarge so you can read the fine print.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Florida: Family therapist charged with domestic battery

Florida: Miami Beach psychiatrist linked to prostitution bust

Colorado: Psychotherapist lied about qualifications

North Dakota: Former state mental hospital psychologist pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography

Blogger's Note from the article: "Belanger often was asked to testify in court on whether convicted sex offenders were dangerous and should be confined indefinitely for psychiatric treatment. He was an expert witness in hundreds of cases

Washington: Therapist's arrest and later suicide could trigger challenges in legal cases

(Blogger's Note: Greenberg was allowed some limited practice in Alaska as well)

New York: Psychiatrist Gardner's suicide casts doubt on abuse claims

Just some representative samples of the illustrious characters the courts allow to opine about what is best for children in child custody and child abuse cases.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ignoring boy's plight costs Alaska $1.5 million

From the article: "Neighbors, teachers, foster parents, a nurse and others all made reports to the state that the boy was in danger, 37 reports in all, most of them naming his father as a source of abuse and neglect. But an expert hired by the boy's lawyers determined that not a single report was handled properly, according to the state's own minimal standards, Schleuss said. Some weren't investigated at all."

Alaska's mishandling of abuse and neglect doesn't end with Office of Children's Services. The court system is also miserably failing children in divorce and custody litigation.

I've observed numerous cases where mothers spoke out about theirs and their children's abuse at the hands of a father, and all our judges can seem to accomplish, no matter how much evidence there is, is to coerce the mom into the hands of mediators, co-parenting counselors, therapists and psychologists to try to make her shut up, go away and accept 50/50 custody with the abusive father. Yup, divvy those kids up in half, just like the property. And by doing so, you make sure to insure all your cohorts that feed off the divorcing parents have a continued stream of income.

We should pass a law that prevents kids from being placed in the unsupervised care of abusers.

Oh, wait! We have. Several. The judges rarely acknowledge abuse and go happily along ignoring the laws already in place.

I used to laugh when people said they never vote for any judge's retention. I'm starting to think its not so funny. Maybe if we make a statement as voters by cleaning house we'll actually get a legal professional who understands what "best interest of the child" means. The statutes do not say "best interest of the parent", but that is what ends up happening. Divide Johnny in two to make the parents feel "equal".

I dare the judges to pack a backpack every other week and go live with a guy that yells, calls you names, demeans you, doesn't support your work or education, doesn't allow you access to medical and dental care, puts down your relatives, maybe smacks you around once in a while, locks you in a closet maybe if you speak up.... these are the kind of things kids have to live with because some judge thinks kids "need" both parents, even when one is woefully deficient.

What they need is normalcy and safety.

Thank you to the attorneys taking on the state. We need more of you willing to go to bat for kids and a lot less that are afraid to buck the status quo.

Now, when are the rest of the Alaska Family law section going to start really advocating for their clients and their children instead of pressuring them to cave in and accept a fractured, ping-ponging life for their kids.

Australia is getting it right...they have recently concluded that 50/50 custody is failing kids.,23739,24729425-5016679,00.html

Their Attorney-General says some shared-parenting orders that followed relationship breakdowns were "clearly not appropriate and (were) causing extreme distress for children and their parents".

You folks calling yourself custody evaluators? Let me let you in on some basics. Domestic violence perpetrators, incest perpetrators, sexual deviancy, untreated mental disorders, untreated substance abusers--these aren't candidates for father-of-the year. Take a long hard look in the mirror, and ask yourself if it is more important to insure your gravy-train of work by forcing children of hostile, if not one abusive parent, than it is to protect the children you are charged with making lifetime recommendations for.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wooten's Custody Woes Continue

The McCann-Wooten custody case is textbook for what not do in custody litigation, and now Wooten is embroiled in another one. Where does he find the time?

You'd think with the entourage McCann's attorney trots around that he could have practiced some client control on the McCann side. Given the current propensity of Alaska Superior Court judges to give really bad fathers every benefit of the doubt (to the children's detriment), it is a wonder Molly hasn't lost her child in entirety to Wooten. Her family, the Palins and the Heaths, also did just about everything on the "don't" list ( in their involvement with sister Molly's custody litigation. Disclosing abuse and poor parenting is appropriate, but reporting it to every possible entity down to the local dogcatcher in triplicate, throwing political weight around and trying to get the ex huband fired is over the top. Interesting though that when S. Palin witnessed her sister being verbally abused by the dad through a window, she did nothing...did not go inside, did not call the police...just went on to a meeting.

Although I do believe the Trooper dad should not have custody for his apparent poor parenting and abusive behaviors which were reported through numerous sources, I also believe the Heath-Palin family blew things way out of proportion and set about to destroy him, destroy his career and in the course of that damaged McCann's case.

The judge made statements exactly to that extent in the transcripts. He also pointed out, if they destroyed dad's career, Molly's kids would not benefit from child support. The Heath and Palin clan set themselves up to get slapped with a lawsuit from Wooten and Monegan for this vendetta...both appear to have lawyered up.

Cooler heads need to prevail on behalf of the children. Judge's are supposed to be that "cooler head". Judge Suddock was right to set forth some terse warnings for McGann, Wooten, the Heaths and the Palins. Everyone needs to behave, because the kids that are the subject of this circus need some modicum of privacy, a lot of stability and a whole lot more peace.

But Suddock, in his frustration, threatens to order the children into Wooten’s residential custody if the “emotional child abuse” continued. Ah yes, throw Parental Alienation Syndrome, i.e. junk science created to silence abused women and children into the mix, judge. Sudduck makes several mistakes--failing to recognize the necessity of a full analysis of "best interests of the child" (BIOC) is the primary one.

First, you don't punish the child for the parent's behavior. That does not meet the BIOC test. If McCann can't control her family members, you don't take custody away from her. That punishes the child by removing him from his primary caregiver who really can't control others if those others refuse to listen. Third parties are not the subject of this custody litigation and are not under the control of the court. And although Molly should not bad mouth the dad to the child, it is her responsibility to bring up poor parenting and abusive behaviors to the courts attention. She should not be punished for speaking out on those subjects to the court and it is simply bad public policy to allude that she shouldn't. The protection of the kids has to be paramount.

Secondly, Suddock is applying the theories of Parental Alienation Syndrome, whereby you threaten the abused mom with loss of custody if she doesn't stop trying to protect her kids from abuse. Oh judge, check your National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges benchbook. Ya ain't supposed to do that.

And lastly, forcing these warring factions to "share" children under a joint custody arrangement is insane. Let the child have a main home base with mom who has no reported history of violence or substance abuse.

That said, we don't know what the most recent custody modification agreement order was in this case. We also really don't know if it truly was an "agreement" or a coercion. Coercion is more typical of the local process for mothers--a custody evaluator with their hand in the parent's bank accounts pushes for shared custody knowing that will keep the parents embroiled in battle and the children exposed to endless meddling by the system. No normal childhood for children in custody litigation with an abuser. More money for the custody evaluator. The judge, too lazy to do the hard work himself, rubber stamps the custody evaluator's recommendation and threatens the mom that if she doesn't take the agreement she'll lose her kids to the dad. Not much of an agreement, but I'd be willing to bet the agreement was something like that and that McCann was pressured into some sort of shared custody arrangement. I'd like to hope Judge Suddock didn't take that easy way out and truly thought about what was healthy for the child.

Given dad's propensity towards violence, controlling behaviors, misuse of alcohol, and now refusal to return a child to another mother who resides out of state, supervised visitation is probably in order. But sole custody to the primary caregiver doesn't make the system money. Nope, dollars to donuts, I'd bet the judge has these two people, who couldn't agree on the color of the sky sharing custody. And the child will suffer for it.

Common sense, judge, common sense. Children need to heal and that can't be done packing a suitcase every other week between hostile camps.

The mom in Washington state says, "What I can't fathom is why this man is allowed to get away with so much." He gets away with so much because the system keeps placing father's access to their children over the children's mental and physical health, well-being and safety. When and if the system rights itself, we'll once again have stable kids in this country. Until then, we are creating future generations with pretty messed up people.

More bloggers and articles on this subject:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You've got to see it to believe it.

Here's Palin apparently hoping to look Presidential, slathering for more media, yet with absolutely nothing to say.

Palin blathers on and on glancing back every once in a while to smile as the turkeys get beheaded and drained, saying..."at least this was FUN!!!"

Since the election, Palin has done nothing for the state of Alaska, continuing to attempt to advance herself on the state dime. After losing on November 4th, she immediately began conducting self-serving fluffy interviews in the "mainstream media" she loves to put down, attempting to look homey and maternal, yet re-heating the moose chili her dad admitted in an earlier interview he made and brought to her house, which she pretends to cook it in her designer duds. Her grade school daughter admits on camera she missed a lot of school, would have a hard time catching up, didn't like the rallies and missed her friends.

Well I'm not so sure that education and family are really things Sarah bothers with much except when the cameras are on. This same "family values" governor failed to attend or address the Alaska Dropout Prevention Summit convened by the Department of Education & Early Development. Yet Alaska's drop-out rate idouble that of the US average. And Palin seems to place little priority on her own children's education. She now has 2 high school drop outs in the family, all of her school age children's education seems to have taken a back seat to either mom's ambition or religious views, and she'll soon be the mother-in-law to another high school drop out.

But wait, there's more! Veteran's Day came and went without a peep of acknowledgement or thanks from our dear governor, who also has a son serving in Iraq. But boy, she trots out that fact every opportunity she gets when she thinks it plays well for the crowds or the media.

My congratulations and sincerest thanks to Mark Begich for delaying her attempt to weasel her way into the Senate. Hopefully now, this will give more of our responsible and educated citizens time to continue to demand accountability for her actions, for the media to start actually asking follow-up questions when she lies or avoids answers, and for the Alaska legislature to locate their responsibility to the citizens of Alaska to act upon her numerous ethical lapses and misuse of state funds and resources.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Wasilla Hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast."

Temper tantrums at negative press

Charging state of Alaska +/_ $1,000 a day for a staffer to run the State's business while on the campaign trail with her and refusing to turn over the reins to Lt. Gov. Parnell. Fiscal conservative, yeah, right.

Charged state of Alaska for nights staying in her own home when she damned well should have been in know...THE STATE CAPITOL!!!!

Soaking the RNC and campaign donors for shopping sprees of over $150,000 for herself and her family.

Soaking the state of Alaska for unauthorized travel for her children.

Race-baiting at her rallies causing spikes in threats against Obama.

Smearing of respected public servants and legislators.

Repeated lying every time opens mouth

Can't form a complete sentence involving pronouns

Unprofessional winking

Can't name one paper or magazine she reads.

Claims foreign policy experience because of her location near Russia and Canada...repeatedly...even when she's been nationally ridiculed for these statements.

Can't figure out that a call referencing Nailin' Palin is a prank and actually believe it is the President of France.

Gawd. And Alaskan voters voted for this nightmare...58% to 41%. But wait...these are also the group of voters who chose to give roughly 50% of the vote to a convicted felon.

I am mortified for Alaskans.

But please, please keep in mind that there were 41% of here with a brain and a conscience.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Governor Palin, I Don't Like People Who Lie, Cheat and Steal

My mother raised me to be honest and ethical.

I expect the people who run for public office to live by those same standards.

Governor Palin has failed her constituents miserably.

She has a lot of explaining to do to the nation after this campaign is over, but I plan to talk with my legislators about demanding she face some sort of consequences for the lying, cheating and stealing she has done to the people of Alaska and what I consider theft from the State coffers.

No, its not ok to expect the State of Alaska to pay to stay in your own home. Your place of business is Juneau, not Wasilla. You knew that when you took the job and I'm not aware that there were any up-front negotations that would allow you to increase your salary in that manner.

No, its not ok to expect the State of Alaska to pay for your children to travel with you whenever you feel like it. Its fine if you want to take them along, but that comes out of your own pocket, not ours. I'm not buying that it was necessary for our state funds to pay for you and your kids to go watch daddy race a snow machine. I'm not buying it that it was necessary to treat Bristol to a 5 day New York vacation with mom when you were only doing state business for 5 HOURS. And no, Mrs. Fiscal Conservative, I'm not buying that $700 per night for a hotel was the most reasonable accommodations you could find.

No, its not ok to try to deceive your constituents by going back in and changing notations on your travel authorizations to make it look like your KIDS were conducting official state business.

No, Sarah, you were not cleared of all wrongdoing in Troopergate. The report clearly said that you breached state ethics LAWS. That means you were found to be unethical and unlawful in yours and Todd's activities to smear a good man for your own families personal benefit.

No, its not ok to deny my kids the right to medically accurate sex education. I personally don't think your daughter is any kind of a role model for my children. And you especially are not one.

There's so much more...and that's what is so sad. You don't seem to be able to speak in public anymore without lying. The Empress Has No Clothes.

Come on home. There's some folks that want to talk to you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Palin Has Set Women in the Workplace Back 50 Years

It is hard to reconcile in my mind how anyone could conceive that Sarah Palin won the Vice Presidential Debate. In order to "win" a debate, you have to present persuasive and compelling arguments on a given topic. Palin didn't participate in a debate because she was too busy giving a canned speech and reciting catchy phrases she hoped would make the American public believe that she is "just like you"... wink, wink.

Had Ifill actually asked Palin follow-up questions, we would have clearly seen the deer-in-the-headlights look we saw in the Couric interviews again. Palin didn't answer the questions last night, and couldn't answer them for Couric. She had the gall to announce that she was going to refuse to answer the questions the night of the debate and then says she was "annoyed" that Couric wouldn't allow her to derail the interview in the same way. When you are the person being interviewed, or participating in a debate, you don't get to call the shots. You answer the damned questions and no, you don't get to pose your own. What an incredible sense of entitlement this woman has.

Her cutesie-pie act is insulting to women and her constant references to Joe 6-pack, haaackey maaams and saaaacer maaams and middle class America should be insulting to anyone. And make no mistake--it was an act. She used no accent during 75% of her presentation, but it suddenly came out when trying to appeal with all of you she thinks are too stupid to actually learn about issues. Wink-wink, golly-gosh-darn, bless-your-heart,maverick, reform, reform, maverick. She spoke down to Americans and basically said we should vote for her ticket because she's just so darn cute and just like you. Let's look at what the truth is. Her and Taaaaddd make over $250K per year and have $1 mill+ in assets. They are NOT middle class by any stretch of the imagination. Most of the middle class can't afford designers suits and several pairs of $400 eyeglasses. Most of the middle class doesn't have huge stock portfolios. A good portion of us don't have affordable health insurance.

Her winking, flirtatious performance at the vice presidential debate reminds me of the type of woman who sleeps her way to the top in business. Other women have remarked to me that it reminded them of the woman who steals your husband all the while pretending to be your best friend. These are the negative female stereotypes that those of us who have careers fought so hard to overcome. And she dishes it right back to us, claming that she is breaking a glass ceiling for women everywhere. In actuality, she is pressing hard on top of that glass, smothering the women underneath it, and sneering and winking at the Republican, patriarchal and sexist machine cheering behind her as she looks for approval.

If I had been interviewing her for a job I would have tossed her resume into the trash can if she answered my interview questions like she answered Ifill and Couric. And if she had winked at me during an interview, I would have shown her the door faster than it could have hit her in her shiny designer skirt.

The performance was insulting to our intelligence, and demeaning to every woman that has had to make it in educational settings and in the workplace on the strength of her abilities, not on her looks and not on her sexuality.

The Wasilla Rape Kit Issue Definitively Answered

Yes, she did know and she did nothing about it. One unconfirmed anectodal reference reports a victim who said that when she was unable to pay and her insurance wouldn’t pay that Wasilla garnished her Permanent Fund check to pay the fee as well. Could it be that those nasty rape kits included EC (Emergency Contraception?) Oh how naughty of me to suspect that might have been an underlying problem with Sarah's willingness to fund evidence collection. Yes, Sarah, the quote is actually, "there is a special place in hell for women that DO NOT HELP OTHER WOMEN".

Alaska had to ban this practice in order to qualify for funding under the Violence Against Women Act, which was, of course, sponsored by Joe Biden. Governor Knowles attention and special legislation (unanimous, I might add) was required to prohibit by state law Wasilla’s failure to stop this practice. Palin was in office, and she appointed the police chief who maintained this stance. The Wasilla PD was contacted and asked to stop the practice and refused. Palin was given every opportunity as mayor to correct this and did not. The police chief she appointed insisted in the media, even up to the signing of the bill that this practice was far better than "burdening the taxpayers".

This new video produced by a group calling themselves "The Wasilla Project" should put to rest the myth that Sarah Palin did not know of the practice of Wasilla charging sexual assault victims for their own evidence collection (i.e. rape kits).

This is also directly from legistative testimony on the state legislation that was required to correct this disgusting practice:

(Lauree Hugonen, then Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault quoted in the testimony)

"She emphasized that it is incomprehensible that the victim should have to relive the crime upon receiving a bill for the assault exam from his/her insurance company. Just as Mr. Smith had testified, billings have not come from police agencies but have come from hospitals...these charges occur as a result of hospital accounting procedures. The range of costs can be from between $300- $1000 dollars. The direct charges usually result from the accounting procedures at the hospitals and not the law enforcement agencies. She noted that there has been some difficulty in Mat-Su, Anchorage, Kenai and Sitka and possibly in Bethel. She was not aware of other parts of the State where there was a problem. Ms. Hugonin advised that this problem is not on going and pervasive, but that it does occur more than sporadically."

So, the police department instructs the hospitals to bill the victim or their insurance companies directly, under the policies and beliefs of Police Chief Fannon, a Palin appointee, and under Wasilla budget directives that Palin personally signed off on.

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