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.
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??!!