I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nova Scotia Mother guilty in strangling death of 12-year-old daughter

I don't know why the "community" would be so surprised at this but then the main stream press finds it politically incorrect to tell the real truth about mothers, especially single mothers. The most dangerous place for a child is in the care of a lone parent female who has the highest rates of abuse and murder of their children compared to dads. They also, as in this case, combine forces with others, albeit in this case the step father worked indirectly through the offering of an ultimatum. He may not be legally culpable but any woman who hooks up with him again deserves trouble. This is not to categorize all single mothers or all single parents as a bad situation - far from it. There are many examples of the contrary. We are talking about statistical averages only. Often the partner in crime is a step parent but could be a boyfriend to add to the abuse and killing. Family court judges each and every day award sole physical custody to females in a 9-1 ratio as though equal and shared parenting with the biological father was like a life form from mars. Why was he not given a custodial choice? Wouldn't it be ironic if the same judge who awarded this woman sole custody also sentenced her for murder. It is possible! Was he shut out of his child's life by the family court. Was he alienated from his child by this woman. She fits the pattern! Who was the family court judge that gave her custody of this child if it is a typical family law situation. One needs to look at all the antecedents to find accountability and culpability. This kind of tragedy is not new nor should it be shocking to know and understand the most dangerous situations for a child. Well done Police Service Officers. You kept your focus and got the perp despite the political incorrectness of believing a mother could harm her child! For those of you wanting the death penalty - it won't solve this kind of problem but it might assuage your emotions. Instead get on the phone, write a letter, send a fax or email to your MP, MPP and MLA and get equal and shared parenting as a presumption in law upon divorce or separation for fit parents. Keeping both parents in the lives of their children on an equal basis is a far better environment and - guess what - among many other benefits there will be lesser numbers of these tragedies.MJM

Marie Adsett and Mike Barber, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

Penny Boudreau (R) is escorted out of the courthouse in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, June 16, 2008. She pleaded guilty Friday to murdering her 12-year-old daughter Karissa Boudreau. Sandor Fizil/Reuters

BRIDGEWATER, N.S. -- "Mommy, don't," were the last words Karissa Boudreau spoke as her mother strangled her to death with a piece of twine in the woods outside of Hebbville, N.S.

Her words were read in court Friday morning from an agreed upon statement of facts as Penny Boudreau, 34, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of her 12-year-old daughter.

The woman wiped away tears as she was led away from Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, N.S. Boudreau was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years.

Crown attorney Denise Smith said outside court that Boudreau addressed the packed room for a brief moment.

Smith said Boudreau told the judge she was sorrier than anyone would ever know.

Smith said the agreed statement of facts was difficult for some in the courtroom to hear.

"There were sobs and tears as the facts were read," Smith said.

"The vast majority, except for police investigators and family members, were hearing these things for the first time. The facts are shocking and very difficult piece to hear. There were some visceral reactions to that by way of tears."

Paul Boudreau, Penny's ex-husband and Karissa's father, told reporters outside the courtroom, said he was sickened.

"Communities and families have been torn apart by this. I can't call it anything but a senseless act. The options were there, and you know for a parent to make that decision, I still can't comprehend it."

Crown attorney Paul Scovil also called Karissa's death "senseless," a murder the likes of which he had never dealt with in his nearly 30 years as a lawyer.

He said that he was glad Boudreau had decided to enter a guilty plea, which spared the community a trial that could have stretched on for months.

Boudreau was charged in June, 2008, after what is fast becoming a very successful police practice - undercover officers posing as members of a crime syndicate promised to help Boudreau out of her problems with the law if she would tell them that she murdered her daughter and how she did it.

Two days before her June 13, 2008 arrest, she did just that, telling the highest member of the crime syndicate, who was actually a police officer, the details of her crime.

"When she was confronted with the admission she had made to an undercover police officer she provided the police with a ... statement admitting her acts," said Smith - the Crown lawyer.

Boudreau's common-law spouse, Vernon MacCumber, was not present for the plea, Smith said, adding he had no way of knowing Boudreau would take Karissa's life when he told her shortly before the murder that Boudreau had to choose between keeping Karissa or him.

Boudreau reported her daughter Karissa missing Jan. 27, 2008 sparking massive searches across the Bridgewater area.

Boudreau told police she had an argument with her daughter in a grocery store parking lot. She then claimed she left her daughter in the car as she bought some juice and bacon inside. When she returned, Karissa was gone, she said.

Karissa had been living with her mother and MacCumber, in a two-bedroom apartment in Bridgewater, a town of 8,000 some 100 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

Tensions between the mother and daughter had run high ever since Karissa had moved from her father's house in Shelburne County in November, 2007.

MacCumber, according to the statement of facts, had told Boudreau that living in their apartment felt cramped with her daughter around.

Boudreau then decided to kill her daughter, court heard.

She drove her daughter to a Sobey's parking lot and left her in the car while she went in. While inside, she phoned her boyfriend to say Karissa was missing. Boudreau then drove to nearby Hebbville, where she chased her daughter out of the red Dodge Neon, forced her to the ground, and choked her with a piece of twine.

Court heard she could feel her daughter struggling beneath her.

With her daughter's body slumped over in the front seat of her car, Boudreau drove to a Tim Horton's and threw out the twine in a coffee cup. She then drove to the LaHave River and disposed of Karissa's body, court heard.

The search for Karissa sprawled around the region, as RCMP dive teams scoured nearby rivers while a helicopter from the Department of Natural Resources patrolled the air, looking for any sign of the missing sixth-grader.

OnFeb. 9, 2008, a nine-year-old boy travelling with his parents stopped to urinate by the side of a road when he noticed what looked like toes sticking out from the snow along the banks of the LaHave River.

Police were called to the scene, where Karissa was found in a pink T-shirt, her pants and underwear pulled down around her legs. Boudreau said she had tried to make Karissa's death look like a sexual assault.

An autopsy revealed that Karissa had died from asphyxiation, with bruises from the twine around her neck.

On Feb. 14, neighbours heard Boudreau and MacCumber arguing vehemently, with MacCumber repeating "Penn, Penn, c'mon speak Penn. How could you do this, how could you do this? I don't understand, you got me involved."

Following a massive investigation into Karissa's death, police arrested Boudreau in Halifax on June 13, 2008, and charged her with the first-degree murder.

RCMP Sgt. Mark Gallagher said Friday that the success of the case is an example of the co-operation between the Mounties and the Bridgewater police in this murder investigation.

"Of course, first and foremost, our sympathies go out to the families for their loss," he said. "We hope that this will at least help them obtain some closure."

RCMP District Commander Mark Furey called it a "very successful investigation" in which "various covert investigation tactics were applied."

Mark MacLeod, principal at Bridgewater Elementary School, said he found the details surrounding the murder of Karissa, a former student, "gory and disturbing."

"It has been quiet in the community, but it's been on people's minds, of course," he said. "We all wondered, 'Could a mum have done something like that?' Today, we found out that it could happen. It will be disturbing for the community for some time to come."

MacLeod described Karissa as a "great kid." He said he also knew Penny and was shocked with the rest of the community when she was charged four months after her daughter went missing.

"Even though we heard all the details about Karissa's murder today, we didn't want to hear them," MacLeod said. "Bridgewater will never get over it. Closure will eventually come, but in terms of families and mums, it's going to stay awhile."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Barbara Kay ~ The National Post ~ Brainwashing the kids to spite the ex

Barbara Kay

Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=1461e08b-4fa2-49b1-9df2-3d00cda9b9b5

In what has been called a "stunning and unusual family law decision" released Jan. 16, a Toronto father was awarded sole custody of his three daughters, aged nine to 14. The "persistent and overwhelming" campaign by the mother over the course of more than a decade was recognized as emotional abuse by Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt, and the children have been sent to a California therapeutic recovery centre for treatment.

The couple, known as A. L. and K. D., have had a volatile relationship since they met 15 years ago. In spite of K. D. falsely alleging that A. L. sexually abused their first child, the couple had two more children between bouts of disaffection. K. D. -- herself dominated by a vindictive mother who had beaten her in childhood-- repeatedly called police after provoking physical confrontations with A. L., and frequently bad-mouthed him in front of the children.

According to the judgment against K. D., she is denied all contact with the girls, even by telephone or text messages She has been ordered not to come closer to them than 300 metres. A. L. has been given the right to confiscate their computers and cellphones. This is necessary, Justice McWatt said, because the mother had so poisoned her children's feelings toward their father that they had lost their capacity for independent judgment in relating to him.

The father's lawyer, Harold Niman, said the decision is a wake-up call to vengeful parents. The message: They cannot punish their former spouses through their children with impunity. "Maybe if they realize the courts will actually step in and do something and there is a risk of not only losing custody, but having no contact with their children, they'll think twice about it," he said in an interview.

In fact, I don't share Mr. Niman's optimism that this represents a sea change in the fortunes of the legions of alienated partners desperately seeking redress for the baseless loss of their children's affection.

My files bulge with parental alienation stories in which this well-documented form of child abuse is ignored by judges. In this case, even just from media accounts, I note the following disturbing facts that suggest this judgment is an exception, rather than the harbinger of a rule:

-In the case of the eldest child, the mother's obsessive demonization of the father was flagged eight years ago by a Toronto mediator and clinical psychologist who testified the mother would alienate the children from their father: Where was "the court" eight years ago?

-The mother has been flouting the court-ordered visitation rights of the father since their separation, to the point of refusing his court-permitted thrice-weekly telephone calls (desperate for contact, he shouted good-night to the children through the doors): Where were the police who should have enforced access?

-The Office of the Children's Lawyer, which alone decides which children it will assess and/or represent, did not get involved until the process was so far advanced that the damage was already done: Why did it take them so long?

-Even the judge noted that the father's unrelenting determination to see this battle through was unique, and only possible to someone with an unusually high income (A. L. is a vascular surgeon): How are ordinary people without resources supposed to fight on their children's behalf ?

Sadly, what this case tells me is that only Herculean efforts by a well-heeled non-custodial parent can break through the Kafkaesque family law system. But at least it shines some light on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a term describing the often-irreversible damage done to children brainwashed by an alienating parent into groundless hatred of the other parent.

An alienator can be a mother or a father. But, since high-conflict court battles are almost always resolved with the mother having sole custody -- mothers are better placed to indulge this pathology without binding intervention.

Indeed, in a long-term 2007 study published by developmental psychologist and PAS expert Amy Baker on adult survivors of PAS, the mother was the alienator in 36 of 40 cases. Baker's subjects reported that "their alienating parents behaved like cult leaders ... withdrawing love and affection when the child showed any positive feelings for the targeted parent."

PAS is as real a form of child abuse as any other, and one that witnesses should report. The obvious sign is routine flouting of rightful access to the non-custodial parent -- a clear sign of contempt for the other parent's role in the children's lives.

It is a moral scandal that such visitation rights are virtually never enforced, the violators never punished. Unless custodial parents who deny rightful access start going to jail, this exceptional victory will likely be remembered as a one-off before a return to the default "snooze" mode we are accustomed to in Canadian family courts.

bkay@videotron.ca

Freeing 'hostage children'
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Re: Brainwashing The Kids To Spite The Ex, Barbara Kay, Jan. 30.

Barbara Kay's column -- about a Toronto father being awarded sole custody of his three daughters after more than a decade of emotional abuse by the mother -- should be read by every person who interfaces with the family court system, and by every separated parent.

I have been conducting custody-access assessments since 1978 and have seen this phenomenon, which I call "hostage children," many times. Alienating parents learn quickly how to manipulate the system and prevailing social concerns, such as domestic violence, to further their cause. False allegations are the fuel that runs these engines, and many professionals will privately admit that they are afraid of these parents and end up finding some way not to confront them.

Intimidation is a fact of life within the family court system. I have risked complaints on several occasions by identifying what I have come to see as a form of Stockholm Syndrome. I worked on one case in which one parent successfully alienated a child twice, the second time being after a successful seven-year reconciliation in which the child developed a strong bond with the rejected parent.

The power of a vengeful custodial parent, backed up by the courts, the police and the Children's Aid Society, is a virtually unstoppable force. So kudos to Justice Faye McWatt for this decision and to Ms. Kay for making this story public. The interventions need to be sooner, though, before so much psychological damage is done.

Marty McKay, psychologist, Toronto.

Battered Men’s Shelter and Counselling Resources in Canada

The following is part of a dialogue with an individual named Karen Anne Stephenson who believes fervently that tax supported resources are available in Canada for battered men. We wait with bated breath for the information so we men, looking for these services, can get them.

As of February 2/09 she still hasn't got back to me. If you are interested in reading the original article it is here. http://abuse-recovery.suite101.com/article.cfm/husband_abuse_support_and_recovery

She went to the trouble of stating no reproduction without permission. Given it is largely fiction I won't waste space here with it.

From: Mike Murphy [mailto:mike.murphy@nospam.ca] Sent: January 30, 2009 10:00 AM To: 'karenanne24@hotmail.com' Subject: Battered Men's Emergency Shelters

Karen:

I'm not sure who or what your sources are but you do indeed have a very big credibility problem when it comes to identifying real, identifiable, battered men's shelters equivalent to those 557 or so women's emergency shelters across Canada and the concomitant tax supported counselling services available for dad's and their children. I'm not talking soup kitchens or "mission" houses that serve both men and women for emergency shelter.

I live in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and they don't exist here or in our closest community of any size Sudbury. It is 3.5 hours from my community. Not much good even if they did have such a facility, don't you think.

I checked the federal government produced book you referenced in your original article and it must have been a summer/make work project because the references for men's services in my community do not provide help for battered men. As is the case with many federally produced directories of this type no one actually called these places to verify the information. I suspect you are in the same boat but hopefully you can prove me wrong as I have been looking for help for 14 years with no success. The books are a waste of taxpayer's money.

The Algoma Family Services, listed in the directory, provide anger management and supervised access for men (I guess for women too but it would be rare) who have been found in need of this but that is all. They, in fact, appear to be a feminist run organization and my own experience has been they are biased toward women and see men as nothing but a problem. It took me 72 days to get a response about counselling for my children despite it being the law and I had a court order as well. The only way I finally got a response was to threaten the feminist Executive Director with court action. They then saw fit to have their own lawyer give me the information I wanted originally which they could easily have provided, in an attempt to intimidate me. As it turned out they could not provide any counselling for my child for 12 months but had enough money to have a lawyer write a minimum $200.00 letter to me. You can read the correspondence here if you like in Chapter 59 of the raw material on my blog which may someday turn into a book on my journey through the dysfunctional family court system. http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html You are now part of that journey and I would like to quote you accurately in my blog and perhaps in the book. I wait to see your list of equal tax supported counselling and shelter services for men. If you cannot do this then I also expect to see a retraction and given the embarrassment you will suffer perhaps you could join with us as an advocate for equal access to these resources. I may be sending in a human rights complaint very soon to see if that will light a fire under the "gluteus maximi" of the politicians who are nothing more than a festering boil on the ass of progress when it comes to dealing with fathers in many areas of the social functioning of Ontario. That is also true of other provinces in this great nation. Please provide me with the accurate information that a typical Canadian father can easily access with his children, and is equivalent to the current services offered females. I do not want pay as you go. I cannot afford the $150.00 per hour charge of professional counselling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Divorced father seeks equal protection under USA 14th Amendment

More of these kinds of challenges are needed by dads to bring home the point there is something wrong with family law. I'm not aware this has been done under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It has merit in my view and I will see if it should be included in my April/09 trial for custody.MJM

Thursday, January 29, 2009


WorldNetDaily Exclusive Divorced father seeks equal protection Custody challenge cites discriminatory decisions
Posted: January 28, 2009 10:09 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh


WorldNetDaily

A case is developing in a Tennessee divorce dispute that one attorney believes could impact custody decisions nationwide because it calls down the authority of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause to help fathers who are good parents and want to remain involved in their children's lives.

The attorney, Stanley Charles Thorne, told WND the issue in the case at hand will be significant, since there are 3,000 divorce or custody cases in courts across the U.S. daily.

And according to the Children'sJustice.org website, those cases leave nearly 38 percent of the fathers with no access or visitation rights to their children. In addition, four in 10 mothers report they interfered with the father's visitation to punish him at least once, half the mothers see "no value" in the father's continued contact with his children and 70 percent of the fathers wanted more time with their kids.

Thorne told WND he is serving as a consultant in the case of Jeremy Hopkins, a successful lawyer, in his attempts to be treated the same as his daughter's mother, Elisabeth, also a successful lawyer, in their custody of Kate.

Since the mother left the family in Tennessee and took Kate to Pennsylvania about two years ago, Jeremy Hopkins has been allowed only sporadic days with his daughter.

"All I want for my daughter is for her to have mom and a dad," Jeremy Hopkins told WDEF-TV in Chattanooga recently.

Michael McCormick of the Institute for American Families said the system is set up to pit a mother against a father in a marital dispute, when it should be working to accommodate the needs of a child for both a mother and father.

"The courts are going to pick a winner and a loser and when they do that, the child ultimately loses," he told the station at a recent rally regarding the case.

"If we look at what's happening to our society we can trace the social pathologies just as increased rates of incarceration, early sexual activity for girls, truancy issues related to the family breaking down and the social fabric of our society is breaking down in terms of the family breaking down, we are being weaken as a nation and we need to change that," McCormick added.

He estimates 17 million fathers nationwide do not have fair access to their children, and about 3 million mothers have the same problem.

Thorne, who has 25 years experience as a lawyer, most recently has specialized in constitutional issues in family courts, representing parents and children on various issues.

He said the case now is entering the briefing stage, and the next court hearings are expected sometime in April.

The family's life was disrupted by the mother's decision to leave, Thorne said, but the relationship of the father and daughter was aggravated by a "family court system that cares for neither of them while it keeps them mired in a swamp of never-ending legal hassles just to be together."

The case began about Christmas 2006 when Kate was 1. Then the mother, Elisabeth, moved to Pennsylvania with Kate, and since then Jeremy has been away from his daughter 86 percent of the time – 633 of the previous 733 days.

At least four judges have been involved in the case, "but none of those … ever ordered the parenting plan required by the Tennessee Legislature and the Tennessee Supreme Court," Thorne's statement said.

"Many constitutional issues will be decided by Kate Hopkins' case," he continued. "Perhaps the most important is where the Constitution draws the line to protect the relationship between an innocent child and an innocent parent from government interference."

The dispute came to a head just before Christmas 2008, following the expiration of the most recent visitation order. Jeremy Hopkins, on a scheduled visit with his daughter, decided to have her stay in Tennessee until a court hearing on the required court-ordered visitation plan.

Instead, he was arrested for interfering with a custodial plan, "even though there was no court order in force," and his daughter was returned to Pennsylvania. The warrant later was quashed by a judge, who essentially determined it never should have been issued.

Thorne questioned the legal system ordering a child taken from one parent "when the child is in no danger … and the child has never been abused, neglected, or harmed" and given to another parent absent a court order.

The 14th Amendment states: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

"The only way to reconcile the parental rights of each fit parent is to divide the time of the child," Thorne suggested.

"This case affects not just the people of Tennessee," he said. "This is huge."

"In this case … this child now aged 3 over the past two years has been rendered fatherless, not because of anything dad did, but because of the way the system tilts," he told WND.

A WND message left with the attorney for the mother did not generate a response.

But Thorne said the cases of the 17 million people across the U.S. who are noncustodial parents also involve more than 18 million children. Not only are the parents denied access to their children, grandparents, uncles and aunts are cut off as well.

Thorne insisted judges should approach custody issues from a different perspective. They are not, he said, dividing property. Instead, they are making rules that impact the equal and sometimes competing parental relationships and rights of two individuals.

"They are not dividing one set of parental rights," he said. "Each parent has their own parental rights and prerogatives as an outgrowth of that relationship with the child."

Numerous organizations are working for the rights of fathers in disputes like the Tennessee case, including FathersCustody.org, LongDistanceParenting.org, Fathers False Charges Helpline, Fathers National Lawyers Referral, WinningCustody.com and FathersRights.org.

The Children'sJustice.org website noted very few children in divorced families are satisfied with the time they have with their fathers and only 11 percent of the mothers value the father's input regarding issues with their kids, well below the 45 percent who value input from teachers and doctors.

The site reported another national study found that more than three-quarters of non-custodial fathers are not able to visit their children as ordered by court decisions.

The issue of the treatment of fathers in custody disputes was the subject of a commentary in WND before the election.

Mike McCormick of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children and Glenn Sacks, who writes on men's and fathers' issues, said the Democrats' 2008 campaign platform targeted fathers for fault.

"The platform's 'Fatherhood' plank puts all blame for father absence squarely on men and promises to 'crack down' on fathers who are behind on their child support. It also promises to ratchet up draconian domestic violence laws that often victimize innocent men and separate them from their children," McCormick and Sacks found.

"It's doubtful that many dads wake up in the morning and say to themselves, 'My child loves me and needs me; my wife/girlfriend loves me and needs me – I'm outta here.' Research shows that the vast majority of divorces, as well as many break-ups of unmarried couples, are initiated by women, not by men, and that most of these do not involve serious male transgressions," they said.

The result? "The father is generally relegated to visitor status and often can only participate in his children's lives if the mother allows it. Courts tilt heavily towards mothers in awarding custody and enforce fathers' visitation rights indifferently. In most states, mothers are free to move their children hundreds or thousands of miles away from their fathers, often permanently destroying the fathers' bonds with their children."

To view this item online, visit http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=87398


Related special offers:

"Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family"

"The War on Fathers: How the 'feminization of America' destroys boys, men – and women"

"Father and Child Reunion"

"Why a Son Needs a Dad: 100 Reasons"

Courts can rescue kids from an alienating parent ~ Globe and Mail

A presumption of equal shared parenting needs to be the start point in marriage breakdown. Spouses knowing this (mostly female but not always) in advance have less incentive to go after the dad for the wallet based incentives all the feminists and DV Industry proponents indicate are available including child/spousal support and perhaps less incentive to make false allegations of abuse (this needs testing to prove as it could create the opposite effect for a really vindictive ex). There may be less inclination to alienate children although the weakest of parents will still try and create allies where they can and children are vulnerable. There could be a lessening of the divorce rate given the lesser number of incentives. Some divorces are initiated by the female because they perceive greener pastures which usually turn into a disaster for them and the children. Females do initiate the vast majority of divorces. Wouldn't it be productive to have a system in place where upon wanting to divorce couples, as a first step, would need to attend a mandatory counselling session to walk through all the positives/negatives of the ending of their marriage in a problem solving approach. Would this help to put in context the full impacts of their decision at a very early stage including the impact on the children. Somehow we need to define different solutions to the problems faced by families in today's world as families are the bedrock of our civilization but they are now a minority as we have come to know them. MJM

The tide of opinion is turning against those who alienate their children from the other parent. Courts are willing to show tough love, even though they have no proof their intervention will work in the long run

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Judges in Canada are now omniscient parents, willing to practice tough love, even though the plan they rely on to help the children has no longitudinal studies to prove that it works.

In cases of parental alienation, judges are prepared to step in and decide what is right for the children, against their wishes and those of the custodial parent, with whom they may have lived for many years.

That was the upshot of the case reported last week in which an Ontario judge stripped a mother, a 42-year-old chiropodist known in court documents as K.D., of the custody of her three girls, aged 9, 11 and 14.

The news gave hope to many divorced parents, who often give up in the face of their ex-spouses' campaigns to excommunicate them from the lives of their children.

It will still be a long and expensive fight. The father, a vascular surgeon identified as A.L., waged his legal battle for 10 years, and the trial alone would have cost about $250,000 plus $100,000 in expenses, legal experts say.

But the decision points to the severe consequences for the alienating parent.

"There is a greater understanding that the courts really hold the power to rescue the children from the situation of being caught in the middle," says Richard Warshak, a clinical psychologist in Dallas, Tex., and author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex. A leading authority on parental alienation, Dr. Warshak runs a family workshop to help alienated parents reunite with their children. It was cited in the case last week as the resource to be used for helping the children and their warring parents.

"The Canadian courts are in the forefront," Dr. Warshak says.

Toxic exchanges between divorced parents are not uncommon. But the term parental alienation is used when the custodial parent systematically poisons the minds of the children against the other parent.

The language used in the courts highlights how damaging the problem is now considered to be. In the recent judgment, Madam Justice Faye McWatt wrote that the mother's "unrelenting behaviour toward the children is tantamount to emotional abuse."

A clinical child psychologist, Barbara Fidler, who had been involved with the family for several years, testified at the trial.

The judge also severely limited the mother's access to the children. Ordered not to harass them or go within 300 metres of them, she can see them only in the context of counselling. The father was granted the power to confiscate the girls' cellphones and any other communication devices to prevent their mother's interference. He also has the right to whisk them out of the province and the country to get counselling.

The victory comes after much frustration. The courts want to give parents several chances to do the right thing. In the case between A.L. and K.D., who was described in court documents as lacking in credibility, parenting plans and visitation rights had been mandated over the years - with poor results.

Aside from waiting for the slow wheels of justice to turn, parents must also allow child psychologists time to properly assess the situation.

"There are some cases of what we call realistic estrangement," Dr. Fidler explains. "The alienated parent may be abusive, and the child has good reason for not wanting to visit. And then there is true pathological alienation, in which children are refusing contact without good reason. ... It takes time to figure out what kind [of estrangement] it is and how severe it is."

Removal of the children from the custodial home is "the last resort," explains Harold Niman, lead lawyer for the 56-year-old father.Though this is not the first case - judges removed children from the custodial home, citing parental alienation, in a case in Ontario in 1989 and in another in Quebec in 1991 - imposing custody reversal as a way to address parental alienation signals a shift in thinking.

"There was a period of time when people thought that if you did anything to sever that attachment between the child and the favoured parent - that is, the allegedly toxic parent - that could cause more harm than any good," notes Jeffery Wilson, a family lawyer specializing in child advocacy, and founding partner of Wilson Christen. In fact, in this latest case, the lawyer who represented the children, Elizabeth McCarthy, contravened the wishes expressed by her clients, all of whom did not want to live with their father. Instead, Ms. McCarthy, who declined an interview request, acted on the basis of of the children's best interests. It was argued that the children, even the teen, were unable to think clearly about what they wanted because they had been brainwashed by their mother.

"I give little to no weight" to their views and preferences, the judge wrote.

"The pendulum has shifted slightly where the more courageous judges are making these decisions [because] the courts have seen that children can adjust to these changes," Dr. Warshak says.

"In one of the most severe cases I handled ... the child, now 18, was violent and threatened violence against his mother if the judge made him live with her. He now continues to express gratitude that the legal system set firm limits. He says that what he was saying during the trial were not his true feelings and that he had no choice but to say them."

Even so, there are no longitudinal studies about whether radical intervention works, several experts acknowledged. Dr. Warshak, who stands to profit from this court decision (and one in Ontario in 2007 in which his program was also cited), explains that the workshop helps children to "think critically. It is wrong to call it deprogramming."

The severely restricted access of the alienating parent is usually temporary, as the children only benefit from the program when they are free of that parent's influence. The goal is for the children to have a relationship with both parents eventually, say child psychologists familiar with Dr. Warshak's work.

Partly, the justification for custody reversal comes from studies that look at what happens if nothing is done.

"What's new is looking specifically at children who have rejected a parent and seeing what happens when they grow up," Dr. Warshak explains. "They are angry at the parent that they had aligned with for putting them in that position and they feel terribly guilty at mistreating the other parent."

Dr. Warshak's miracle cure seems to have found considerable favour in Canada. The courts are willing to take a risk that in the long run their intervention will work. Like concerned parents everywhere, who want to do the right thing, they can only hope for the best.

shampson@globeandmail.com

Barbara Kay, Nunavut Minister is Stripped by Big Sister of his Cabinet Post for Telling the Truth

My comments to Barbara's column are on the National Post site and below:
MikeMurphy
Jan 29 2009 3:38 PM

The Premiere is playing petty politics over this and ought not to discourage her Ministers from thinking outside the box. Some concerned father's rights activists have called the Premier's office to express their concern.

Having formerly lived in the NWT and the Yukon I have first hand observations that petty politics can sometimes overrule cogent and reasonable discussion. It appears to be the same in this case.

We need to stop treating DV as a single gender issue, in that the female is the victim, and deal with it at a very early stage where the parties can get help at the earliest stage possible. The stats clearly show, as Barbara has indicated, DV is initiated in equal quantities by either gender but there is absolutely no tax supported help for men who are battered and abused. We exist.

In my current province of Ontario alone $208,000,000.00 is spent on women and a large part of that is for the DV Industry yet the problems remain. You've got to ask why? I may do just that in a Human Rights Complaint by early February.

Posted: January 29, 2009, 2:24 PM by Jonathan Kay

Louis Tapardjuk, until a few days ago Justice minister of Nunavut, has just been relocated to a very high-end dog house. His new kennelmates are all male public figures, such as Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University, who dared to utter certain statements that, although true and, to any objective observer, in no way hurtful to anyone, set the tumbrils in motion that would soon carry them off to the political guillotine.

What did Mr Tapardjuk say that cost him his portfolio? Why, Mr Tapardchuk had the temerity to suggest that domestic violence is sometimes initiated by women. He casually remarked in an e-mail - not even meant for anyone's eyes but his senior staff - that women who start domestic disputes should share the blame where violence is involved: "Often the man is charged [with domestic violence] even though the conflict may have been initiated by the female partner."

Aiiiieeee! Heresy! Poor Mr Tapardchuk apparently forgot or may even be ignorant of the fact that no public figure is allowed to suggest that women are ever, ever the initiators of domestic violence. Women are always, always the victims. Of course this credo, that domestic violence is a one-way-street wherein all violence against women is unprovoked, and all violence against men self-defensive, is a complete myth, a myth that has been busted over and over again, most credibly - one would imagine - by our own Statistics Canada, whose findings in their official reports on domestic violence dovetail with all other peer-reviewed studies: Domestic violence is about one-quarter male-initiated, one quarter female-initiated and half reciprocal.

But what has truth got to do with it, when ideology rules the roost, a roost where even the lonely crowing cock of Fact is lost in the angry cackling of a battery of rooster-bashing hens? Mr Tapardchuk fell victim to the cackling hen who runs the Nunavut roost, Premier Eva Aariak, who announced in a news release January 24 that "the comments [Mr Tapardchuk] made about violence or the cause of violence was offensive." She added, rather ominously, "I believe he has learned from his mistake."

You'll note that she didn't say the "mistake" had anything to do with the truth of his remark, only that actually saying it is offensive. Like poor old beleaguered Larry Summers, who was mobbed by Harvard's formidable feminist Furies, and who apologized more abjectly than any Soviet-era show trial victim for suggesting - truthfully - that women's abilities at the high end of maths and sciences are statistically lesser than men's, Mr Tapardchuk's apology wasn't enough. He had to be purged as a warning to other politicians who will now think more than twice about voicing the proven fact that women are as capable of irrational and unprovoked anger as men.

Mr Tapardchuk has accepted his fate stoically and says he will concentrate on other ministerial portfolios. To ensure that such rogue departures from the party line do not happen in future, Ms Aariak announced, "I will be assuming the portfolio of Justice immediately." The portfolio of Injustice is more like it. If feminists want women to be taken seriously in politics, they should be in the front lines in denouncing Ms Aariak's arrogant, baseless ill-treatment of her Justice minister. She may not have struck Mr Tapardchuk physically, but this is certainly one of the most blatant "battered politician" cases I have ever seen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Men Shouldn't Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence

Psychiatric News August 3, 2007 Volume 42, Number 15, page 31 © 2007 American Psychiatric Association

Clinical & Research News

Joan Arehart-Treichel
In addressing intimate partner violence, the focus is usually on women who are physically battered by husbands or boyfriends. However, women sometimes hurt their partners as well.


Women are doing virtually everything these days that men are—working as doctors, lawyers, and rocket scientists; flying helicopters in combat; riding horses in the Kentucky Derby. And physically assaulting their spouses or partners.

In fact, when it comes to nonreciprocal violence between intimate partners, women are more often the perpetrators.

These findings on intimate partner violence come from a study conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The lead investigator was Daniel Whitaker, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and team leader at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (which is part of the CDC). Results were published in the May Journal of Public Health.

In 2001, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health attempted to amass data about the health of a nationally representative sample of 14,322 individuals between the ages of 18 and 28. The study also asked subjects to answer questions about romantic or sexual relationships in which they had engaged during the previous five years and whether those relationships had involved violence.

Of those subjects, 11,370 reported having had heterosexual relationships and also provided answers to the violence-related questions. So Whitaker and his colleagues decided to use the responses from these 11,370 subjects for a study into how much violence is experienced in intimate heterosexual partner relationships, who the instigators are, and whether physical harm accrues from the violence.

The 11,370 subjects, Whitaker and his colleagues found, reported on 18,761 relationships, of which 76 percent had been nonviolent and 24 percent violent. That almost a quarter of the subjects had engaged in violent relationships may seem high to some people, but "the rates we found are similar to those of other studies of late adolescents and young adults, a time period when interpersonal-violence rates are at their highest," Whitaker told Psychiatric News. Also, he added, "these rates demonstrate the magnitude of interpersonal violence as a health and social problem."



Furthermore, Whitaker discovered, of the 24 percent of relationships that had been violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not. Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, more women than men (52 percent versus 47 percent) had taken part in ones involving reciprocal violence.

Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. This finding surprised Whitaker and his colleagues, they admitted in their study report.

As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). "This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious," Whitaker and his group stressed.

Of the study's numerous findings, Whitaker said, "I think the most important is that a great deal of interpersonal violence is reciprocally perpetrated and that when it is reciprocally perpetrated, it is much more likely to result in injury than when perpetrated by only one partner."
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, upon which this investigation was based, was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with co-funding from 17 other federal agencies.

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=111137
An abstract of "Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence" is posted at <www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941>. {blacksquare}

Florida abuse shelter scandal

Given I will likely launch a Human Rights Complaint over discrimination against men in DV shelters in Ontario this kind of article is an important piece of information in how they are run and who they allow in. I don't think these kinds of issues are restricted to just Florida from my own research.MJM Carey Roberts column

January 28, 2009

Carey Roberts "It was really terrible what I went through." These were the first words that Yvonne Scott blurted out, even though the incident happened more than five years ago. One morning a social worker and policeman showed up on the woman's doorstep. "Either you come with us to the abuse shelter or we take away your children," was their grim-faced ultimatum. Scott had been previously involved in an abusive relationship, but there was no current threat to Ms. Scott or any of her three children. One might expect such an encounter to occur in the former Soviet Union or maybe a Latin America banana republic. But in the sunshine-addled state of Florida? Scott had no choice but to hastily strap the kids into her car and follow the Child and Protective Services worker. They ended up at a domestic violence shelter in LaBelle, a few miles east of Fort Meyers in central Florida. The shelter is one of three operated by Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT). According to its website, the organization provides a "circle of support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault." [www.actabuse.com] But instead of a caring circle, Scott found herself confined to the four walls of a house in an isolated part of town. To her dismay, she and her children were the only residents at the facility. The shelter had three staff members, but they were out and about holding consciousness-raising sessions, attending conferences, and the like. "They ignored me and my children," Scott recounts. And when she pleaded to take her kids ages 6, 8, and 9 to a nearby park, the staff berated her. The biggest problem, though, was no one available to mind the place during the night shift. And shelter workers fretted Scott might try to escape. Her gas gauge rested on empty, but still, she might grab her kids and walk away in the dead of night. That wouldn't look good to potential donors. The solution? Lock the house from the outside and activate the alarm. "I felt we were in a prison," Scott's tearfully recalls. Three weeks later her daughter's disability check came in. Yvonne Scott could finally afford gas money to escape her captors. But not so fast, first she had to wash all the linens and blankets. That should teach her a lesson. Six months I ago I began a series of articles detailing the horrific events going on at the abuse shelters in Florida. At the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children, director Kathy Catino was forced out after staff complained she ruled the place with an iron fist and pressured subordinates how to vote. Then a security camera caught her grabbing an employee — that's known as battery. At SafeSpace in Stuart, 16-month-old Myliak Dale was run over in the shelter parking lot and Millie Almore was fatally stabbed by another resident, all within a two week period. An investigation concluded the Almore tragedy was caused by the "egregious failure of the entire agency to satisfactorily assure the health, safety, and welfare of both its clientele and staff. A deranged woman kidnapped a two-month-old baby, hopped in her car, and decided to take refuge — but where? Well, why not at the Hubbard House in Jacksonville? It's the perfect place — they believe anything you say and the police know abuse shelters are a no-man's land. Fortunately, the woman was apprended three weeks later. At Another Way in Lake City, mischief and mahem are the order of the day. There staff with criminal records are hired, shelter assets misappropriated, training documents falsified, drug use condoned, and shelter employees callously mistreated. Most troubling is the child abuse taking place within shelter walls: a 4-year-old girl sexually assaulted by another shelter resident, a boy confined inside a sweltering van, children left to fend for themselves while their moms toke weed, and much more. One Another Way employee recounted, "Around November or December 2007, a man came into the office. He was crying, and his arms were bruised, seeking assistance." The intake worker "took him into her [manager's] office. Then to my amazement I heard her tell him that Another Way doesn't provide services or assistance for men." Twice I have called on readers to alert the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence to this gross violation of the public trust. But the Coalition refuses to acknowledge the problem. Maybe that's because the head of the FCADV Executive Committee is Donna Fagan. Fagan also serves as the director of Another Way. Remember, sisterhood is powerful. Maybe it's time to take this to the top-we all need to bring this travesty to the attention of Florida governor Charlie Crist. His email address is Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com . Gov. Crist needs to know that domestic violence shelters are turning into abuse penitentiaries. Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism. Mr. Roberts' work has been cited on the Rush Limbaugh show. Besides serving as a regular contributor to RenewAmerica.us, he has published in The Washington Times, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, Men's News Daily, eco.freedom.org, The Federal Observer, Opinion Editorials, and The Right Report. Previously, he served on active duty in the Army, was a professor of psychology, and was a citizen-lobbyist in the US Congress. In his spare time he admires Norman Rockwell paintings, collects antiques, and is an avid soccer fan. He now works as an independent researcher and consultant. © Copyright 2009 by Carey Roberts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Victimized Single Mother at York University called Lorna Lately

There is a strike by a Marxist faction of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) at York University that has kept 50,000 students out of classes for months. The McQuinty fiberal government finally woke up to the injustice being perpetrated on these voters and their families and is proposing back to work legislation. In this day and age having a post secondary education or apprenticeship in the skilled trades should be considered essential. Logically the interruption of this education by greedy unions ought to be considered an essential service in need of restoration. If after 1 week of strike action keeping students out of classes this situation should have been referred to mandatory arbitration with guidelines respecting the economic times we live in. One of the strikers made a comment on the Toronto Star site here http://www.thestar.com/article/577751#Comments decrying her victim hood as follows:

You guys don't know what you're talking about!

I belong to this striking union and it makes me mad to read some of your comments. I am a single mother of 2 children. I make only 28K annually teaching 3 hours a day. I also have my hands full at home as my dead beat ex only gives me $2000 per month. WE JUST CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS! My kids and I (not to mention my coleauges) (ed note - this lecturer can't spell) would really appreciate your support instead of your negativity!

Submitted by lorna lately at 8:48 AM Tuesday, January 27 2009

Note the number of above disagreements to her postulations. The comments of this socialist loving victimized single mother are telling. She makes $28K per year for 3 hours work per day and $24K per year from a so called deadbeat ex. That $24K per year is tax free thus making it the equivalent of closer to $30K per year. $30K + $28K = $58K per year for 3 hours work per day. Who is the deadbeat here folks. Who has the entitlements and still doesn't give a rats A$$ about 50,000 students? This is the mentality of CUPE and its Marxist dogma. The Star closed comments on this before mine above were published. I find it interesting how, in some cases like this, they close them so early. I'd be interested in knowing their "play book" respecting comments.

A feminists viewpoint on the recent Parental Alienation case by Justice McWatt

I wrote the following comments in the blog of a feminist trying to pretend she was actually trying to think outside her feminist box. Her scribbles failed although she didn't use the emotional rhetoric most of her kind do. The end result is always the same in the deterministic manner the logic flows from its source. She still shows she believes she is part of a great unwashed victim class and men rule in this patriarchal society. http://alterwords.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/parental-alienation-fathers-rights-womens-inequality/ You are trying so hard to be a level headed equalist but it has failed. Your victimhood shows through as does your bias toward the female of the species. You fall into the group of females that want it both ways despite your alleged academic qualifications. You infer that a man who has a difference of opinion with his female partner is abusive and your logic then goes on to also infer if he is that way with the mother of his children then he has a good chance to be that way with his children. Same old, same old feminist propaganda just repackaged in a more civilized tone. Tell men why is it that this perceived feminist underclass of victims gets physical custody in a 9-1 ratio and its concomitant entitlements such as child support and indeed alimony in some cases. Greed is good, just check the current Montreal case of the uber rich poor transplanted SA mom a victim of Quebec s common law rules. (but that's a whole other story). Why is it that the feminist myth of female victimhood tries to hide the fact that women institute violence against men in almost equal proportions and that the worst possible place to put children is in the custody of a single parent female who has the highest rate of abuse and killing of children. These are based on government produced statistics in Canada and the U.S.A. I see all these feminist blogs and the great consistency amongst them is the sense of victimhood of the scribes producing them. After almost two generations of affirmative action, bra burning and family courts run amok in favour of the female when will you all grow up and understand you will not be equal until you can stand on your owen two feet without all the entitlements and clearly see you are equal. There is a group of women in Canada who understands this. They call themselves Real Women not feminists. They have an annual non-tax supported convention every year. Not once in your scribbles have you made note of the great emotional pain this father suffered at the hands of a dysfunctional mother who could not see the value of the two biological parents in the lives of the children. Not once could you grasp all of the moments he has missed as his children were growing and what they have missed developmentally as a result. Your view appears to support the end justifies the means. I too developed an academic paper on how to win custody and one of the ways is to control and alienate the children against the target parent. The longer you can do this the better are your chances. After a period no court in the land dare change that. Well, guess what, the courts are started to "get it". Abuse is abuse and you seem to support the notion that it is better to have the children stay with the abuser than with the target. I find it to be an appalling point of view. If you do practice law no wonder the system is so dysfunctional. You are unable to think outside the box.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Seattle areas female tries to get hubby dead by a hired killer

Elizabeth "Goody Two Shoes" Beamer of Auburn, WA tries to hire a hit man to kill her ex husband and his parents over a bitter custody dispute. Note her "sadness " having to go to this extreme while talking to the "hitman." Click the link to view the video showing this "oppressed" woman doing a job interview with her potential hitman. http://www.king5.com/video/news-index.html?nvid=318011&shu=1 Our feminazi friends at anonymums and elsewhere would say he must be a major abuser for a lovely "sister" to go to this extreme - right girls!!! I wonder who will get custody after the trial?

Another Paternity Fraud Victim tells his story

Daily Mail - UK
By Alison Smith Squire Last updated at 1:23 AM on 23rd January 2009
Matthew Edwards and baby Sarah
Deceived: Proud Matthew with Sarah shortly after her birth, years later he would learn he was not her real father

For every father, it is the stuff of nightmares - the shattering revelation that your child is not actually yours at all but the progeny of another man.

That was the scenario at the heart of a controversial court case this week about a husband allegedly duped for 17 years by his wife into bringing up her lover's child as his own.

It was the first 'paternity fraud' case to reach the Appeal Court, and was sparked by the man's discovery of the lie after a DNA test showed his then 18-year-old daughter was not his daughter at all.

Though it seems an extreme betrayal by any standards, it's a story which Matthew Edwards can relate to all too well.

For his own dreams of fatherhood were shattered in the same way.

The 33-year-old engineer from Cheshire readily admits he was overwhelmed with tears when the child he thought was his own was placed in his arms ten years ago.

As he held the baby girl, his exhausted partner, Emma, who had endured a horrific two-day labour, looked on with happiness and relief. She nodded as Matthew invited his mother, Patricia, into the room to watch her weeping son with pride.

Patricia - knowing nothing of the grotesque deception - was sure they would make wonderful parents, despite their youth: Matthew was just 23, and Emma a year younger.

But today, it's a scene that Matthew recalls only with anguish and bitterness. He is close to tears again - this time for a very different reason - as he talks about the little girl he adored so much.

'To say I am devastated is an understatement,' he says. 'There are no words to describe adequately the loss I feel. For almost ten years I thought I was a dad to the most perfect child.

'I lived with the pains of Emma's pregnancy, I went to the antenatal classes and was there at the birth.

'Sarah's birth was the most incredible moment of my life. I looked at her tiny face and found myself smiling at a female version of myself. She looked so much like me - the same rounded face and hairline. I simply fell head over heels in love with her.

'That night, I rang friends and relatives to tell them the good news. The next day, I went for a few drinks to wet the baby's head.

'Over the years, I became so proud of my little girl. I loved hearing about how she was doing at school, and was so pleased that she excelled at sports, just like I did at her age. She was a really great sprinter.

'To find out that she is not really mine has been a huge loss. It is akin to a bereavement - only the grief is twisted, even magnified, because she is not dead.

'I am no longer a father. I'm left with not only a bleak chasm of loss but also an enormous sense of betrayal. Emma must have known for all these years that I might not be Sarah's dad.'

'Her birth was the proudest moment of my life'

Today, in the immaculate home he once shared with Emma, there is not a trace of the child who once lived here.

Any physical reminders - Sarah's paints, drawing sets and books - have been thrown away. It is simply too painful for Matthew to remember what they once had when now he has no contact with her whatsoever.

Matthew's story begins in July 1993. Then 17 and a college student, he went to a friend's birthday party and met Emma, a 16-year-old schoolgirl. After a party kiss, the pair began dating.

Matthew says: 'Emma was my first long-term, serious girlfriend. We saw each other virtually every day and I honestly believed I was her only boyfriend.

'I thought I was in love with her, but I was very young and hadn't thought of settling down yet. But after she left school, Emma kept talking about having babies and seemed reluctant to work.

Father, rear view, daughter
Paternity fraud: Matthew loved Sarah as his own until a DNA test revealed the painful truth (picture posed by models)

'She was always talking about settling down, and within a couple of years she found herself pregnant. It was a shock. I have to admit to wondering if she'd done it to trap me - after all, by now I had a good job as an engineer.

'But part of me also felt pleased. Although we were young, we never once considered not having the baby. I remember telling my mum and all my friends I was going to be a dad. I was actually incredibly proud.'

Within days, Matthew had asked Emma to marry him. 'It seemed the right thing to do and we planned to marry after the baby was born,' he says.

Although Matthew was then on a junior engineer's salary, he saved every penny and managed to buy a three-bedroom house in Bredbury, Cheshire.

It needed work, but had the potential to be a beautiful family home. The couple moved in together but - in hindsight - their relationship was already in trouble.

'Emma wasn't looking after herself properly,' recalls Matthew. 'She was pregnant, but not eating properly and while I was working all hours to prepare for our baby's birth, she would go out with her friends.

'I was furious - I was worried about the effects on our unborn baby - and it caused endless rows.'

In November 1996, Emma went into labour. Matthew says: 'The birth experience was worrying because at one point the baby's heart rate dipped. I also felt incredibly worried about Emma.

'But when Sarah was finally born I felt so proud of Emma. I remember looking at mum and daughter and feeling I was the luckiest man alive to have such a beautiful fiancee and baby girl.

'I will never forget opening the delivery room door to my mum, who was waiting outside, and telling her: "I've had a little girl." Sarah was her first grandchild - she was so happy.'

After a couple of days in hospital, Matthew brought Emma and baby Sarah home. But, while he had envisaged them bonding as a new family, Emma had other ideas.

'Within hours, her mum had arrived to help out,' he says. 'Of course, at first I was delighted to have the support. I hadn't been able to afford time off work and I was just relieved Emma had her mother there with her to help.

'But she just took over - and she didn't go. Weeks later she was still staying over. I wanted to be a hands-on dad but I wasn't even allowed to change a nappy.

'The fact that Emma wouldn't let me near Sarah caused more rows. I felt pushed out - I had bought her baby clothes and little toys. But that wasn't enough because I wanted to feed her and care for her as well. Emma just wouldn't let me.

'She was always saying: "Daddy, I love you"'

'One day, when Sarah was just three months old, I gave Emma an ultimatum - I told her it was me or her mum. I thought she'd realise that I was feeling shut-out and how serious it had become.

'And, of course I thought she'd choose me. But she didn't. She said: "I'd choose Mum any day." She went to live with her.'

Matthew put it down to postnatal depression and desperately hoped that after a spell with her mother Emma would come home.

'It was a terrible time,' he says. 'Everyone was upset - especially as Emma wouldn't let me see Sarah. But I hoped it was just because Emma was so young. Certainly, I never thought it might be because she knew Sarah wasn't mine or because she was seeing someone else.

'I had to be content with her coming to see me with Sarah. She would never let me see Sarah on my own - she always had some excuse, such as she had to feed her or she wasn't well and needed her mother.'

However, by the time Sarah was two the couple had come to a mutual arrangement that Sarah would come on her own to stay with her father every Sunday.

Meanwhile, Matthew paid Emma maintenance by standing order every week. 'I lived for those Sundays,' says Matthew. 'Often, I took her to my mum's house and my mum, sister and brothers would all make a huge fuss of her. My mum adored her - as we all did.'

For the next five years, Matthew saw Sarah every Sunday. 'We'd go out to the park and zoos. As she got older, we went to theme parks or the cinema,' he says. 'Sometimes we'd stay in and paint and draw together, or we'd bake cakes to take home to mummy.

'She often brought schoolwork round for me to help her with. I used to get such a buzz when she said that because of me she'd done well in a school test.

'She was always saying: "Daddy, I love you." And I would say back to her: "And Daddy loves you, too."

'Only one thing constantly upset me. As she grew older, she'd ask: "Why can't I see you more, Daddy?"

I used to tell her to ask her mother that. In fact, I'd asked Emma many times for more access to Sarah but Emma always refused.

'I wanted to take her on holidays, have her over to stay for a week during school holidays. Although I always gave her birthday and Christmas presents, I felt upset that I was never allowed to see her on those special days.

'I took legal advice but discovered pursuing it through the courts could cost me thousands. I just couldn't afford it. And Emma couldn't be persuaded.

'We didn't get on at all. When I used to picked Sarah up, I was sometimes just met at the door by Emma's new boyfriend or a relative - we rarely spoke.

'The CSA demanded £5,000 from me'

'And when, in 2001, I met my new partner, Georgina, things got worse. Georgina really got on well with Sarah - she was really like a second mother to her.

'But when Emma discovered we were going out as a family threesome, she stopped me seeing Sarah at all.

'Eventually, after a couple of months, she relented because Sarah was asking why she couldn't see her daddy. I decided I would wait until Sarah was older and then, with pressure from Sarah to see me, I would press to see her more.'

But nearly two years ago, Matthew received a letter from the Child Support Agency (CSA) saying that from now on all maintenance payments had to go through them.

Matthew was told to cancel his monthly standing order paying maintenance to Emma until they had calculated the amount he should pay. But when, finally, after months they came back to him, their calculations took his breath away.

'Not only did they claim I owed Emma more than £5,000 in back payments, but my regular payments had risen by £300 a month,' he says.

It was an amount Matthew could not pay, but even so the CSA began debiting the money directly from his salary paid by his employer.

Seeing her son falling into debt, Matthew's mother Patricia decided to step in. She told him that she had doubts about Sarah's paternity.

'Our family are all petite,' says Matthew. 'But Sarah was very tall. Plus, my mum didn't trust Emma. So she spoke to Georgina about it, and Georgina said to me that in light of the CSA's demands, I should have a DNA test done.

'At first I was horrified and furious. I told both of them they were completely wrong - I had never thought for a moment that Sarah wasn't my child. I wouldn't even consider such a thing.'

But the seed of doubt had been sown, and few weeks later Matthew decided to send off for a £195 DNA testing kit he found on the internet.

Matthew says: 'Sarah thought taking a DNA swab of the inside of her mouth was a game but I felt incredibly guilty, although even as I did so I also had no doubt that she was my daughter.'

So, when the results came back 11 days later saying Matthew could not possibly be Sarah's father, he was stunned.

'Initially, I thought there must be some mistake,' he says. 'I even rang the company and quizzed them because I thought the sample might have been contaminated or swapped for someone else's.

'But when they said they were sure no mistake had been made, it hit home and I began to cry.

'I felt so sick that I could hardly go into work or speak to anyone. I just felt absolutely bereft. I was too upset to see Sarah that weekend - I knew I couldn't lie to her about her parentage, yet I didn't feel it was my place to tell her.'

'I wish I had never found out'

The CSA contacted Emma to arrange a further test. Matthew decided to wait until it was officially corroborated and then try to sort out some continuing contact with Sarah.

But because Emma continually refused to have a test done, months slipped by. 'I was in turmoil wondering about Sarah,' says Matthew. 'Emma's mother even stormed round one day demanding to know what was going on. When we showed her the DNA results she was shocked, too.

'Obviously, Emma had told no one. To this day I have no idea who the father is - I never knew Emma was seeing anyone else when she was with me.

'I feel incredibly betrayed. Now I look back and think she probably knew Sarah wasn't mine, which was why she never let her go on holiday or stay overnight with me.

'Yet, even though I wasn't Sarah's dad, I longed to see her. When I looked into it though, I realised that without Emma's full co-operation it was impossible because now I had no parental rights whatsoever. Now she refuses to let me see her at all.'

Emma, who constantly denied Matthew wasn't the father, finally took an official DNA test in September 2007, which confirmed the original result.

The CSA repaid some £4,000 to Matthew, although he estimates he has lost thousands more in payments. Despite this repayment, he regrets the CSA's involvement.

'Without them I can't help but feel none of this would have happened,' he says. 'I would have continued paying the agreed amount and been none the wiser.

'I don't blame my mum and Georgina for telling me because I was under a lot of stress financially and they felt they had no choice. But I wish I had never found out. I have lost my daughter, Sarah has lost a father and a whole family who loved her.'

Matthew has not seen Sarah for the past 18 months. 'Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and how she is,' he says. 'I wonder how she is getting on at school.

'She must think I'm a monster. Even now it breaks my heart to think of what she has gone through. After all, she is completely innocent in all of this.

'My whole family has been broken. It has had huge ramifications - like a pebble dropped in a pool.

'It has affected my mother, who now feels guilty that she aroused my suspicions, as well as my brothers, sisters and their children, who loved playing with her.

'I still can't believe any of it has happened, and I don't know what to do next. How can it be that I am no longer a dad when there is a little girl out there for whom I care so very much?'