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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CSM Op-Ed Falls Flat with Claim that Family Courts Routinely Give Custody to Abusive Dads

My letter to the editor of the Christian Science Monitor:

Re: Christian Science Monitor, 10/14/09. Author Kathleen Russell

You allowed this author to publish unsubstantiated claims with respect to cases in Marin County Ca, and offering unsupported and erroneous information relating to a theory of abuse of children called Parental Alienation Syndrome.

I am guessing this was offered to the author as an opinion piece and was published without authentication by your editor. You will escape liability for slander on it because she didn't name names but one of the cases she obliquely refers to is well known involving the kidnapping by a so called protective parent of a child. This parent was subsequently arrested, jailed and tried but found to have personality related issues, which is not uncommon. She got a gender discount.

For future reference moms are the largest cohort of abusers and killers of children in the USA. They are also given sole custody of children in 84% of all cases in the USA. Ms. Russell's opinion which states otherwise is no more than that and is factually incorrect. Allegations of abuse are not proven facts of abuse. If allegations were the only criteria of proof most of the country would be in jail. I can easily cite you any number of allegations that are untrue and ought never be used to obfuscate the truth.

I am disappointed in your publication and frankly will have trouble believing anything that appears in it again.MJM

Contact the Christian Science Monitor here: http://www.csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/contactus.pl

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
By Robert Franklin, Esq.

They're baaaack. As if they'd ever left.

I refer to the anti-dad crowd whose latest shtick is to oppose children's rights to paternal access by claiming, against all the evidence, that fathers pose a unique danger to children. What actual social science shows is that mothers do far more (about twice as much) child injury than do fathers. That comes from the Department of Health and Human Services

Adminstration for Children and Families statistics on child injury and maltreatment, among others.

Still, that's the main thrust of the recent counter-attack on fathers' rights in Australia. This article is a special riff on the theme, though (Christian Science Monitor, 10/14/09). Author Kathleen Russell co-founded an anti-PAS organization in Marin County. Hers is another claim that family courts routinely ignore a parent's claims that the other parent is abusing a child in order to give custody to the abusive parent. But take even a passing whiff of that claim and it doesn't pass the smell test.

Why would a family court judge ignore well-founded evidence of child injury or sexual abuse and grant custody to the abuser? Uh, gee, I can't think of any reason.

The strong impression these people give is that it's pervasive bias against mothers by family courts. They seldom come right out and say it, but with books entitled "Divorced from Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Family Lawyers and Judges," not much is left to the imagination. To suggest that a system that gives custody to mothers 84% of the time and makes little effort to enforce the visitation orders of fathers is biased in favor of fathers, just doesn't cut the butter.

So where do those people get such a bizarre notion?

Well, they usually cite a single source - a study published in the May, 2000 issue of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse by Ann Goetting and Amy Neustein. According to the website Stop Family Violence.com, the authors conclude that,

"In a study of more than 300 custody cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, 70 percent resulted in unsupervised visitation or shared custody with the alleged sexual abuser. And in 20 percent of cases, the nonviolent parent lost custody completely."

Oh. Those would be allegations of sexual abuse. Stated another way, in 70% of cases in which sexual abuse was alleged, family courts found that there was either no evidence thereof or insufficient evidence to deprive the child of its access to the target of the allegations.

But to the anti-dad crowd, all allegations of sexual abuse are true, at least when made against a father. And if they were, the study's findings would indeed be alarming. But neither the Goetting/Neustein study nor its advocates like Kathleen Russell make any effort to sort out whether the allegations were true or not.

The patently false notion that family courts routinely turn over children to sexual abusers, absurd on its face as it is, is rendered all the more so by the fact that its proponents have a hard time coming up with a single case which, on close examination, supports their claim. The Sadie Loeliger case, the Genia Schockome case, the Holly Collins case and others, are all examples, not of abusers getting custody, but of courts taking reams of testimony and concluding that in fact it was the mother claiming paternal abuse who was the dangerous parent. Indeed, study co-author Amy Neustein's is yet another case of exactly that phenomenon. I'll expound on that further in a future post.

If, as the Russell op-ed claims, there are 58,000 examples each and every year of sexual abusers getting custody, shouldn't the anti-father forces be able to come up with one that bears them out?

You'd think so, and to that end, Russell offers for our consideration the case of Jonea Rogers, a Petaluma, California woman who, so her story goes, sought the help of various law enforcement agencies in dealing with her allegedly abusive ex-husband (or maybe his father), only to be rebuffed at every turn. Rogers then fled with their daughter to various foreign countries. Once caught, the child was returned to the father, Ian Stone, and Rogers was jailed for violating the court order setting out the father's rights.

A Marin County jury acquitted Rogers of violating the court's order apparently convinced that she acted without the requisite state of mind necessary for conviction. Astonishingly enough, Russell would have her readers believe that the failure to convict Rogers of the criminal charge means that Stone in fact sexually abused his daughter. Needless to say, the jury found no such thing and their acquittal means no such thing.

And by the way, Stone still has custody.

So far, the nitty-gritty on the Rogers case comes strictly from a few newspaper articles like this one (Marin Independent Journal, 8/10/06) and this one (Marin Independent Journal, 8/8/06). But it's enough to strongly suggest that we can add it to the list of cases in which, contrary to the bleats of the anti-dad crowd, the mother who cries "abuse" and kidnaps the child is in fact just trying to deprive a hated ex of his child.

Consider the ease with which temporary restraining orders are obtained on little or no evidence in custody cases. Did she get one? Did she try? The articles don't say so.

Consider the fact that a variety of law enforcement officials investigated her claims over several months, but found no evidence of abuse.

Consider the fact that Child Protective Services likewise investigated Rogers' claims but found no evidence of abuse.

Consider that what Rogers was doing was so obvious to one of Marin County's sheriff's deputies that he told Ian Stone that Rogers was "setting him up" and that he should hire a lawyer.

Consider that no article makes any mention of medical evidence that the child had been injured or abused.

Consider that Rogers planned the abduction and getaway over the course of many months, secretly selling her house and small business in the process. Are those the actions of a mother who is so panicked about the sexual abuse of her child that she needs to flee immediately?

And finally consider that the child has been living with Ian Stone ever since Rogers was jailed in 2004 and is now at least 12 years old. If he sexually abused her before, he's surely done so since. Where are the charges by enraged law enforcement and prosecutors? Why doesn't Rogers renew her efforts to have him charged and get custody of the girl? And of course, what does the girl herself say?

If Russell and the others who are determined to keep children from their fathers at any cost, even that of the truth, are so sure that Stone is a child sexual abuser, what are there answers to these many questions?

And why was Russell so careful in writing her op-ed as to avoid even naming Ian Stone or making any statement that could be construed as libelous or defamatory?

I think I know. Based on their performance in other cases, their claims in the Rogers case are as threadbare as they've been in countless others. And that pretty much sums up their whole cause against fathers and their children - threadbare.



ƸӜƷ Ƥėąċħē§§ ƸӜƷ said...

OY VEY! This woman gives a black eye to the Women that know depriving children of their parent(s) is harmful! The fact that it is so common for parent(s) to be reduced to being called Custodial Parent/Non-Custodial Parent, Petitioner/Respondent, Plaintiff/Defendant...or any other Legal terms the Courts use is obnoxious! What happened to good ol' Mom & Dad?

I don't have my head in the sand...I know there is fault enough to go around for all involved. Courts, Lawyers, Judges & Parent(s).

I have often wondered if you can use "Alienation of Affection" to dissolve a marriage/partnership...why would it then be ok to use that exact thing as a weapon against a child? After all...isn't that exactly what is being done when one parent withholds a child from the other? Wouldn't it then stand to reason that the offending party be at the very least punished by the Legal System?

No good ever comes from withholding a child from one or the other parent, unless said parent is harmful or dangerous to the child. However, there should always be iron-clad proof that there is a danger to the child...the whim or simple implied statement of such by the withholding parent should never be a given & used to strip a parent from their child, it should be considered & viewed as suspect and a possible tactic of revenge/retaliation without clear cut unquestionalble PROOF!

Shame on you Ms Russell!!!! For not putting the time & energy into keeping parents & children together even if living in different household's, instead you spend your time trying to systematiclly destroying the loving, caring bond that is so greatly needed for children to grow up knowing they are loved by both Mom & Dad, so that those children will then pass those same sustaining values on to their children when they have them.

To MJM, Bless you for fighting the good fight! Not every Woman's thinking is skewed like Ms. Russell's. I'm a single Mom & whole hearted believe it takes the love & support of both Mom & Dad to do what is best for the kids. I hope that you will have continued success with promoting & protecting Father's Rights...in the end that is what will always be best for the children, having both Parents by their side!

CAconservative said...

I discovered that Kathleen Russell and Center for Judicial Excellence is a male-bashing groups with a few token males added to keep their non-profit status. I personally attended one of their meeting in which "non-custodial" parents were invited. It turned out in Marin County, CA many, many women were caught lying about abuse and making false allegations. As a result the false allegations crowd is the use of Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PA since without a doubt all of these women were diagnosed with some sort of Sociopathic Personality Disorder, which makes them not only a danger to ex-spouse but to their child as well. Judges are very much in the right for protecting children from these "protective parents" since that is what they definitely not.

(By the way, my ex-wife, who is a Parental Alienator, who had a restraining order against me was also in attendance at the meeting. Since she was the "custodial" parent, my attorney asked why she was there in first place?)

I suspect that the CJE and Kathleen Russell, (who is not married and not a mother) are using their non-profit status to abuse the legal system in Marin County and use $$$ donated by NOW and other women attorneys to project their anti-PAS message and "coach" women.

In the past 3 years, CJE and Kathleen Russell have suckered one CA Assemblyman or Senator after another to push their anti-children agenda to outlaw PA for use in California but have failed each time. Now, the CA Bar Association, the California APA, and the Judges Association in California is onto them and their strategies.

Mark Godbey