Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Feminist Family Law Movement claims that abusive fathers often employ Parental Alienation as a way to wrest custody from protective mothers in family court. They push for reforms which will make it easier to deny fathers shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. They also push for laws to exclude evidence of Parental Alienation in family law proceedings.
The FFLM has promoted several cause celebre cases in recent years as a way to garner public sympathy and political support for their agenda. I've investigated many of these cases and have found the FFLM's claims about them to be very inaccurate. I detailed several of these, including the high-profile Genia Shockome and Sadia Loeliger cases, in a co-authored column here.
The most recent of the FFLM's cause celebres cases is the Holly Collins case. Collins fled to Holland with her two children in 1993, claiming that her husband had abused the children and that she needed to flee to protect them. Last year I appeared on a Fox national TV show with Geraldo Rivera and Jennifer Collins, Holly's 24-year-old daughter who supports her mother's version of events. Jennifer Collins claims she's a victim of her father's false claims of Parental Alienation.
At the time of the TV show, which can be seen here, I thought it might be another fake case, but I also thought it might well be true. As I've said and written numerous times, I've never doubted that such cases are possible, though they're not very common. For example, in my co-authored column Protect Children from Alienation (Providence Journal, 7/8/06), I wrote:
[T]here are fathers who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who attempt to shift the blame to their children’s mothers by falsely claiming PAS. Yet parental alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon. For example, a longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 "high conflict" divorce cases over a 12 year period and found that elements of PAS were present in the vast majority of the cases studied.
As the Holly Collins case continued to grow in prominence, I asked for a volunteer who would help me investigate it, then I decided to go ahead and investigate it myself.
In January I wrote a detailed, 10,000 word analysis of the case which cited all of the case's key court records, documents, etc. This analysis can be found here.
Upon investigation it became very apparent that what we were told by Holly, Jennifer, and their allies about the Holly Collins case was very inaccurate. Subsequent to my investigation, Holly and Jennifer Collins (pictured above on Inside Edition last year) and their FFLM allies have endlessly vilified me on the Internet. However, despite the fact that Jennifer has repeatedly written that she has all of the court documents from her mother's case in her possession, neither Holly nor Jennifer nor their allies have done the obvious--go through the 30 separate problems I detail with Holly's version of events and attempt to debunk them one by one.
I would add that from the moment I wrote up my analysis of each of these three cases--Loeliger (here), Shockome (here), and Collins (here)--not one of these previously prominent cases has received even a small bit of mainstream media attention.
The new Joyce Murphy case, however, is different. From 10News I-Team Reporter Lauren Reynolds' La Jolla Mom Says She Kidnapped Daughter To Protect Her:
Joyce Murphy...is a 20-year employee of the University of California, San Diego, and was married to Henry Parson when her daughter was born...as their child grew, Murphy said, her husband's behavior became disturbing.
"He would wake me up at two o'clock in the morning, tell me about pornography he'd seen and wanted to reenact, and it was pornography about kids."
She became frightened of his post traumatic stress disorder from his tour in Vietnam, which included a story about raping villagers. She filed for divorce in 2002 when her daughter was 6.
A battle ensued in San Diego County Family Court over custody of the little girl.
Murphy claimed that her daughter was afraid of Parson.
"She would cry if she had to be left with him," said Murphy.
The young girl told a doctor that when Parson was angry he pushed down on her shoulders and injured her. The doctor reported it to Child Protective Service, which Murphy said termed the incident inconclusive...
Parsons was granted immediate overnight visits.
"And I just broke," said Murphy. "I thought, either I go to jail or I protect my child. It was like a primal instinct."
Murphy took her daughter and ran. She was arrested in Florida, brought to San Diego and tossed in jail.
She eventually pleaded no contest to felony kidnapping, accepting the charge without admitting guilt. She was placed on probation...
"And I thought, all I'm trying to do is protect my little girl from someone I know is a danger," said Murphy.
So she waited and worried for six years, until a call last November. Murphy had to pick up her daughter, because another young girl had bravely come forward, accusing Parson of molesting her. Parson was now the one behind bars...
The criminal complaint charges Parson with hurting three girls, two of them younger than 14 years old. The charges include oral sex with a child, molestation, possessing child porn and using a child to make porn.
A report from the District Attorney's Office said, "The defendant's computers and camera were seized ... revealed numerous photographs of young girls."
Using those photographs, an Oceanside police officer was able to identify and speak with one of the girls, which led to more charges against Parson.
Joyce Murphy feels vindicated, but it's bittersweet.
"I blame the entire family court system," she said, "because they are not held accountable"...
Joyce Murphy said Family Court's only good decision in her case was granting her full permanent custody of her daughter after her ex husband was jailed.
Henry Parson's daughter is not one of the victims alleged in the criminal complaint.
One of the organizations which supports Murphy is Stop Family Violence. We have clashed with them repeatedly over the years, including:
During our successful campaign against PBS' anti-father documentary Breaking the Silence, Irene Weiser of Stop Family Violence (along with the National Organization for Women) urged supporters to counter our protest by calling PBS in support of the program.
Weiser and NOW's Marcia Pappas countered my co-authored column NOW at 40: Group's Opposition to Shared Parenting Contradicts Its Goal of Gender Equality (New York Daily News, 7/27/06) with their op-ed Fathers' Responsibilities Before Fathers' Rights.
Stop Family Violence publicly supported Genia Shockome and Holly Collins.
Stop Family Violence, to their credit, did get it right on Joyce Murphy--here's their write-up.
In Murphy's recent testimony to California legislators, she said the problem in her case was her ex-husband's repeated claims of Parental Alienation. The real problem is that, in part because there are so many false accusations and unnecessarily contentious custody cases, courts don't have the time to properly investigate charges of abuse. Often they simply default against the accused (usually the father). At other times, they suspect the mother's allegations but don't thoroughly investigate them, instead defaulting against her claims.
Lorna Alksne, the supervising judge of the San Diego County Family Court, told the reporter writing about the Murphy case that "each judge must juggle between 200 and 300 cases every month. She said the judges read before work, after work and during breaks to be prepared for their full day of hearings."
What's needed is a system which properly and impartially investigates claims, so that children like Murphy's daughter are protected, but women like Shockome and Collins are unable to use false claims to drive their ex-husbands out of their children's lives.
Organizations like Stop Family Violence could play a positive role here by actively counseling women not to make false claims--claims which can lead courts to suspect or not act on the accusations made by legitimately protective mothers like Joyce Murphy. And one way for Stop Family Violence to start would be to publicly disavow false accusers such as Collins, Loeliger, and Shockome.
10News.comWoman Goes To Extremes To Protect Child From Ex-Husband La Jolla Mom Says She Kidnapped Daughter To Protect Her
Woman's Ex-Husband Now Behind Bars
July 28, 2009 12:00am
FATHERS' groups have blasted the Rudd Government's appointment of a retired Family Court judge to examine shared parenting laws he has openly criticised.
There are concerns that Richard Chisholm has already made up his mind to recommend ditching the controversial legislation.
"I believe the Government wants to change the law to satisfy the radical feminists and (other) extreme groups that might want to roll back shared parenting," said Shared Parenting Council federal director Edward Dabrowski.
"And Richard Chisholm has already indicated his reticence for shared parenting. That's why he's been brought in.
"The Government has a preordained agenda. (Chisholm's) is an inappropriate appointment. He will give them the result they want."
In a dire warning, Mr Dabrowski said that if the laws were repealed, suicide rates among divorced dads "will increase, without a doubt."
Professor Chisholm emphasised yesterday that he had been asked to review how the Family Court deals with allegations of violence.
However, the University of Sydney honorary professor in law acknowledged that this issue and the shared parenting laws were linked.
The review, announced last week by Attorney-General Robert McClelland, follows an outcry mostly from women that the prescription of shared parenting has resulted in the Family Court ordering children to spend time with violent parents.
In October 2007, Prof Chisholm and Melbourne child psychologist Jennifer McIntosh co-authored an article cautioning against shared parenting of children for high-conflict separated couples.
The paper, published in Australian Family Lawyer, referred to a study by Dr McIntosh involving a Family Court sample of 77 parents and 111 children, where almost half the children left court in a substantially shared-care arrangement (five nights or more a fortnight with each parent).
Four months later, 73 per cent of the shared-care parents reported "almost never" co-operating with each other.
And 39 per cent of the shared-care parents said they were "never" able to protect their children from their conflict.
The Howard Government introduced the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act in 2006 to rectify perceived unfairness in custody orders and assuage concerns about the impact of absent fathers.
The changes direct trial judges and magistrates in the federal family law courts to "presume" that "equal shared parental responsibility" is in the best interests of children.
This means separating parents are legally bound to attempt to make major decisions on their children's welfare jointly.
It is always nice to get some exposure and it's particularly gratifying to see the excellent effort and work by my friend and colleague Amfortas.. Here is a small update and hopefully when they log the podcast I will be displaying it here.. The podcast referred to are available on this on the right hand side.._________>Dads On The Air Tuesday 28 July 2009 10.30am-12.00 2GLF FM 89.3 and ONLINE The Mandarins and the Masses With Special Guest Amfortas. Over the past week father's activists around Australia have been appalled by announcements from the Australian Labor government that it intends winding back the 2006 reforms to family law which promoted more cooperative arrangements after divorce or separation. The government is conducting three separate inquiries into family law, inappropriately linking the inquiries with domestic violence. Not one of them consults the views of fathers or even the general public. There could be no clearer case of the mandarins regarding the great unwashed with contempt and not trusting their opinions, because after all there is strong public support for shared parenting. Arrogantly, the government is not even pretending to consult dads. One report is by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, often referred to as The Australian Institute of Feminist Studies because of its repeated failure to take men's issues seriously. The next is by the Law Council of Australia, who's feminist stances are also well known. And finally retired Family Court judge Richard Chisholm is conducting another review. His open hostility to shared parenting is well known and he is perceived by many as displaying the worst characteristics of the old style of Family Court, which almost invariably treated fathers with contempt. It was Chisholm who several years ago showed his true stripes by ridiculing separated fathers in a ditty he performed at a family law conference. Thanks to his blatant biases, many see his appointment as entirely inappropriate. A better choice would have been Michael Green QC, author of the book Shared Parenting. That this government is prepared to overthrow the popular reforms to our despised family law system and return the country to the dark ages when the majority of fathers entering the court rarely if ever saw their children again defies belief. The government's kow towing to the wild exaggerations of the taxpayer funded domestic violence industry and the peddling of hysterical hatred against men has sickened many. Against this background, this week we play samples from the compelling podcasts compiled by a private practicing psychologist with 25 years experience who is driven by his own experiences and the experiences of many of his clients. He goes by the handle Amfortas, after the keeper of the Holy Grail. "I am a men's rights activist who is fighting against the excesses of feminism and the deleterious affects they are having on our public policies, particularly as they affect families and children," he says. "I am not at all embarrassed by the use of the term men's rights, even if its unfashionable. Men's rights are part of human rights." The podcasts can be found at http://soundcloud.com In the Stolen Generation podcast he declares: "There is no suggestion that obstructing the child's relationship with the noncustodial parent or undermining his or her parental authority is to be considered abuse or neglect. The sole custody model is first stage parental alienation. Parental alienation is child abuse. It follows that the sole custody model is child abuse." The podcasts provide a professional analysis of the Family Court’s ‘Bible’ - In The Best Interests of Children: The Least Detrimental Alternative - that justifies the ‘ least detrimental alternatives’ to the traditional family. "We have a generation of fathers who are shell-shocked, heartbroken," he says. "It was Adolph Hitler who first said that people will take any reduction to their freedom if you tell them it is in the best interests of the children. Could we not have a non-detrimental alternative?" He argues The Family Court's culture and style of orders bring about the detrimental conditions that lead to a delinquent culture of fatherlessness in children. "The ‘most deserving parent’ is chosen on genitalia," he says. "Professionals make judgements that cause parental alienation syndrome. A juggernaut is driven over Magna Carta. An equal society is replaced by a superior class of people." We close the show listening to his podcast Give a Dog a Bad Name, in which he argues the mass media is anti-male by commercial design. "Comprehensive study data shows the depth of disrespect for men," he says. "Even ‘Old-school’ feminists are appalled at the damage being done to men. The media is wrong, both factually and morally. Government pays for an agitprop war on men’s reputation to frighten women. At what cost?" Next week: DOTA's Canadian Special, with Member of Parliament Roger Galloway, family lawyer Karen Selick and retired professor of Men's Studies, Jeffrey Asher. If you haven't visited us for a while, please check out the wonderful redesign of our website thanks to the superb efforts of our researcher Greg Andresen. It is now less cluttered, more functional and much more stylish.