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Failure to Protect: The Crisis in America’s Family Courts

May 6, 2010 05:00:52 am
Comments (114)

When a mother’s bitter custody battle ends with the death of her child, something has gone terribly wrong with the system.

Wyatt Garcia was born in April 2009. Nine months later, he was shot and killed by his father, who then turned the gun on himself.

It might have turned out differently—if a family court judge had listened to Wyatt’s mother.

Stephen Garcia, 25, a Pinon Hills, California contractor, had been allowed unsupervised visits with his son only a few days earlier by San Bernardino County Superior Judge Robert Lemkau, who was adjudicating a bitter custody battle between Garcia and the boy’s mother, Katie Tagle. The judge had refused to take seriously her repeated warnings of her ex-boyfriend’s violent and abusive behavior.

Shortly after Wyatt was born, she left Garcia after he hit her so hard during an argument about his video-game addiction that “he knocked me out” Tagle said. After she moved home to her parents, her ex-boyfriend began harassing her and her family when he learned she was dating again, and he filed a motion for custody of little Wyatt. In turn she filed three motions for an order of protection against Garcia, which were ignored: in the last motion she charged that he had threatened to kill her and their baby.

Judge Lemkau, however, chose to believe her former boyfriend’s denials rather than the evidence she supplied of Garcia’s threats―including e-mails, text messages and voice messages. Although no extenuating circumstances were raised in court transcripts of the case, the judge simply accused Tagle of lying, and ordered that she turn Wyatt over to his father—with fatal results.

Katie and her sons Wyatt and Dakota

Tagle, 23, believes the odds against her and Wyatt were stacked the moment her case entered the emotional, chaotic world of the family court system.

“I was treated like a criminal, like a complaining woman,” she says.

The story of baby Wyatt Garcia is, sadly, not unusual.

In the nine months between June 2009 and April 2010, 75 children have been killed by fathers involved in volatile custody battles with their former partners, according to the Center for Judicial Excellence, a court advocacy organization which has been tracking news articles of such deaths around the U.S. Based in San Rafael, California, the Center focuses on strengthening court integrity as well as improving public accountability of the judiciary.

Some recent examples from the dockets of Family Courts around the country:

  • Teigan Peters Brown (3 years old), shot to death by his father during a court-ordered visit. (Arizona June 2009)

  • Bekm Bacon (8 months), killed by father, who then killed himself during overnight visitation. (Idaho Feb 2010)

  • Janiyah Nicole Hale (1 year), father is charged with her death during an overnight visitation. He is a registered sex offender. (Alabama July 2009)

How did a system set up to protect families and children allow this to happen?

An investigation by The Crime Report shows such tragedies are the consequences of family court procedures that allow abusive spouses to manipulate the system and leave at-risk children at the mercy of prolonged, expensive court battles over custody. These battles end all too often with a parent forced to share unsupervised custody with an abusive spouse.

The problems have been complicated by systemic flaws in the nation’s family courts that have gone unaddressed far too long.

A Broken System

Lawyers, judges, psychologists and representatives of women’s groups interviewed by The Crime Report describe a broken family court system that is already burdened with a heavy caseload and too few judges—many of whom are forced to rotate between cases—and in which serious criminal allegations of domestic or sexual abuse are routinely ignored. The crushing financial costs of pursuing long custody battles is an additional burden on indigent mothers, who get little or no legal support. The odds are particularly stacked against children at risk when the court battle revolves over “he said, she said” arguments.

The system has particularly failed parents―usually mothers―whose efforts to protect their children collide with an approach to custody issues that is based on narrow legal concepts of balance and fair treatment rather than psychological or medical evidence. “Courts assume mothers are orchestrating misinformation, instead of trying to protect their children,” said Kathleen Russell, director of the Center for Judicial Excellence.

The idea of family courts or dockets began with the best of intentions. Established in the early nineteenth century, they were designed to protect the equitable rights of both parents and children and protect the family. Too often, however, that creates a built-in conflict. Judges, as in the case of Katie Tagle, adopt a skeptical attitude towards abuse charges, which most often come from the mother, on the grounds that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction in arguments between quarreling parents.

“The problem is that family court is not set up to protect children,” says Joyanna Silberg, PhD,Executive Vice President of the Leadership Council. “It is set up with the intent of equitable division for families. And this presents an overwhelming paradigm: how can you equitably divide a child?”

And while the deaths of children are the public face of family court tragedies, the daily reality is that thousands of parents are trapped in prolonged court battles where they either lose their children to their alleged abuser, or are forced to share unsupervised custody.

Advocacy groups interviewed for this story reported receiving between 450 and 1,000 requests for help in contested custody battles this year. The National Network to End Domestic Violence, a prominent national not-for-profit, says it is the biggest problem they are now facing. And the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, an independent scientific organization, estimates that each year more than 58,000 children are ordered by family courts into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States

Experts say abusers use the court system to exercise control over their former partner’s lives, manipulating the players and risking the safety and well being of the children’s lives the courts are sworn to protect.

“Family courts are trained to look for cooperative behavior,” says Rob (Roberta) Valente, general counsel for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which is based in Washington D.C. “When someone raises an abuse allegation, the court sees it as uncooperative behavior. The result, advocates say, is that the abuser is able to manipulate the court, while a child’s safety and well-being is placed at risk. Many judges are likely to view abuse complaints as a tactic to win custody battles. What the courts have failed to take into account but research has clearly shown time and time again, is that most of the cases that make it to trial in family court are high-risk abuse cases.

Compounding the problem is that judges, attorneys and custody evaluators have little or no training in detecting signs of abuse.

Just 20 per cent of the almost one million divorces and separations registered every year in the U.S. actually land in court. Most are settled in the pre-trial phase, according to Prof. Janet Johnston of San Jose State University, in research studies written for the journal, The Family Court Review.

But of the few who make it to a judge, over 75 percent of these cases are victims of some form of domestic or sexual abuse, according to a 1995 paper by Prof. Peter Jaffe of the University of Western Ontario, who studies children and violence in U.S. and Canadian court systems.

He Said, She said

Today’s family courts have also been affected by the rise of the Fathers Rights movement. During the 1950s, family courts almost exclusively awarded custody to mothers. But complaints by fathers that their rights were ignored in custody battles led to a shift in the 1970s to awarding shared custody, on the grounds that it was in the best interest of the child to maintain a relationship with both parents.

Nevertheless, only a small percentage of high-conflict cases require judges to act as conciliators between parties locked in otherwise endless litigation. The majority involve mothers and children that are suffering from serious sexual or domestic abuse.

The National Father Resource Center disputes this, claiming that its member organizations report that 80 percent of mothers’ abuse allegations are false. Although Canadian research from the University of Toronto studying false allegations in U.S. and Canadian custody cases has found that between one and two percent of mothers make false allegations, the fathers’ rights argument has had a powerful impact. As shown by the Tagle case, courts don’t want to hear the mothers’ allegations.

“Historically, allegations of abuse and incest are [met] with a great deal of suspicion, and there is a tremendous resistance to hearing these types of allegations,” said Eileen King, director of Justice for Children, a national non-profit that works to protect children involved in contested custody cases.

Deborah Hicks tells her story

Such resistance has already cost Deborah Hicks, 46, a former New York City television editor, six years of pain. In 2003, she filed for sole custody of her son, then three years old, when he came home from a visit to his father with suspicious signs of sexual abuse. There was reason to be worried. Her ex-partner had already been convicted of molesting a two-year old boy in Florida for which he served eight years in prison, and he was a registered sex offender in New York City. Despite her ex-boyfriend’s record, the judges who heard the case (there have been two), decided they had to give a fair hearing to his denials.

She has already spent almost $100,000 on the case, with no end in sight. Nevertheless, she still shares custody with her ex, and says, “I am not about to give up on my child.”

Even for those mothers who can afford it, the battle can take a psychological toll. Even when the evidence of risk to their children seems impossible to deny, the family court system that has proven incapable of treating these high-conflict cases with the serious attention and professionalism they require.

Moreover, courts are now often swayed by a concept called “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS), coined by the late psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Richard A. Gardner in the 1980s to describe situations in which one parent is trying to turn the children against the parent during a divorce process. Dr. Gardner, a former professor of child psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, testified in more than 400 child custody cases about its effect on children.

PAS has been seized by the Fathers Rights movement as a way to defend husbands and other male partners from what they consider unjust accusations, and it has received support from other psychologists, who deny that it allows genuine child abuse to go unpunished. “If attorneys, child care evaluators, and judges were all doing their job, protective mothers wouldn’t have anything to fear,” says psychologist Amy J. Baker, author of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties that Bind.

The concept has made little documented headway in the professional and legal field, and the syndrome has been used very rarely in legal precedent. PAS is not included in the most recent American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, although the association is currently weighing whether to include it in the 2013 issue of the manual.

It may be ironic that efforts to give fathers more rights in custody cases have increased the odds against victimized mothers and children.

“When the pendulum swung to shared custody somewhere in the midst of that (fathers) movement, the safety of children was compromised,” argues Helga Luest, founder of Witness Justice, a group that helps heal victims of violence.

A Complex Web

Amy Leichtenberg and her sons Duncan and Jack

Tears fill Amy Leichtenberg’s voice as she recounts the horrible months before her two young boys, Duncan and Jack Connolly, ages 9 and 7, were killed by their father last March. “I felt like I did everything right, I sat there, I didn’t speak out of turn,” she said of her courtroom experience. After a 20-year abusive relationship with her ex-husband Michael Connolly, she finally gathered the strength to leave him. But he wouldn’t let her go. . Each time she moved her address, he showed up at her house. She got numerous orders of protection; he violated them repeatedly.

Every six or seven weeks, the couple was back in court, following a motion filed by Connolly for one reason or another. Representing himself, he would badger Leichtenberg on the stand. Yet despite his behavior, the court allowed him unsupervised access to his young sons.

“The ball was dropped in so many places,” said Leichtenberg. “Court was just one of them.”

That points to another problem. Once a family enters the family court system, other forms of protection of women and children often fall by the wayside. Typically, law enforcement agencies are reluctant to investigate abuse charges if they learn that the parties are involved in a custody battle, said Karen Borders, a former police officer and victim of a contested abuse case, who now runs an forensic risk assessment company called Borders McLaughlin. Orders of protection that are filed in criminal court often don’t make its way over to the civil system. Child protective services (CPS), which investigate allegations of child abuse, usually close or suspend a case if the child is involved in a custody battle, she said.

In the 450 high-risk custody evaluations her company investigated over the past five years, almost 90 percent of the children were abused.

“One of the things you see very often is when there is a custody case pending, child protection services, prosecutors and law enforcement will not take the charges seriously or be willing to investigate because they think it is about custody instead of a crime,” says Barry Goldstein, co-author of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues.

Decision-making in these highly volatile cases are left to an army of custody evaluators, guardians ad litem (volunteer lawyers who are assigned by the court to represent the child), and other members of the court who may not have experience in domestic violence issues.

Custody evaluators can be assigned by the court or hired by one of the parties. The cost, which can run from $5,000 to $20,000, can be picked up by the parent who hired the evaluator, or it can be split by both parties. The custody system is beset by charges of cronyism―arising from evaluators’ employee relationship with the court―and incompetence. Advocates charge that evaluators are often poorly trained on how to handle or detect an abuser.

There is scant research on decision-making by custody evaluators and how they effect their cases. “Many child custody evaluators are not comprehensive (and ) their work is not buttressed by collateral evidence,” says psychologist Eugenia Patru, who has worked as a custody examiner in Louisiana and Michigan for the past 30 years.

According to Patru, the difficulty of custody cases increases when domestic violence is an issue. “Most (evaluators) are not educated enough and just in for the money,” she says.

In the saddest irony of all, attorneys have learned to caution their clients not to reveal abuse allegations in custody cases since research suggests that such allegations can work against mothers fighting for custody. A National Institute of Justice-funded study found that 35 percent of mothers who alleged abuse got primary custody, while mothers who said nothing got custody 42 percent of the time.

Moreover, when abuse allegations are raised, judges tend to suppress or not enter the abuse into evidence, making it harder to try these cases at the appellate level. “Family courts don’t adequately deal with abuse by refusing to hear the evidence,” charges Joan Meier, director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, which provides legal representation at the appellate level, trains trial lawyers and has represented the domestic violence advocacy community in Supreme Court briefs.

Meier, a professor at George Washington University Law School who has been appealing contested custody cases for the past decade, says such suppression of evidence makes it very hard to overturn bad case precedent on appeal. Additionally, cases tend to be an intense financial and time drain, with the average case running over $100,000 in costs and lasting eight years.

Signs of a Shift?

“There are thousands of good decisions being made by judges each day who err on the side of safety,” says Judge Janice Rosa, who sits on New York Supreme Court in the 8th Judicial District and is chair of the Family Violence Department Advisory Committee for National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judge Rosa points to New York’s practice of appointing a separate attorney for the children as a best practice in sorting out custody cases. Another breakthrough idea has been integrated domestic violence courts. There are approximately 40 such courts in New York State, which has become the trendsetter in this area. These courts, which have civil and criminal jurisdiction, could offer women and children a way to get the protection they need.

In 2002, the Office of Violence Against Women developed and implemented a four-year demonstration initiative to examine promising practices in the field of supervised visitation and safe exchanges called Safe Haven.

Grants were awarded to four demonstration sites: the Bay Area, California; the City of Chicago, Illinois; the City of Kent, Washington; and the State of Michigan for four years. Praxis International, a nonprofit research and training organization that works toward the elimination of violence in the lives of women and children, and oversaw these projects still offers technical assistance and advice for visitation centers.

Praxis International also partnered with The Battered Women’s Justice Project starting a two-year research project to determine a best model and legislation for Family Courts.

But the resources are not in place now for children and mothers who need a way to safety now. One of the more promising projects The ABA Child Custody and Adoption Pro Bono Project ended in August, 2008.

“For the moment, abused mothers who are trying to protect their children through the overworked family court system have the cards stacked against them,” says Silberg of the Leadership Council.

“I did everything right, and my children are in a cemetery now right now,” said Leichtenberg, who founded “In Loving Memory” to in order to lobby for changes in legislation relating to the response of family court and law enforcement to abuse cases. “I have a lot of ‘what could have, what should haves’ every day. But with my last breath, I will make sure they did not die in vain.”

Cara Tabachnick is news editor of The Crime Report. Additional reporting by John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice researcher Daonese Johnson-Colon

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Posted by Maria Lopez
Friday, May 24, 2013 01:36

It is right out of the dictionary….complete with all the words and phrases….

Adversarial legal system
I looked up:
  "adversarial [ad-ver-ser-ee] and it says, "1. a person, group, or force that opposes or attacks; opponent; enemy; foe., 2. a person, group, etc., that is an opponent in a contest; contestant, 3. the adversary, the devil; Satan.

“le-gal” [lee-guhl] 1. permitted by law; lawful, 2. of or pertaining to law; connected with the law or its administration, 3. appointed, established, or authorized by law, 4. recognized by law rather than by equity, 5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers.

sys-tem [sis-tuhm] 1. an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole, 2. any assemblage or set of correlated members, 3. an ordered and comprehensive assemblage of facts, principles, doctrines, or the like in a particular field of knowledge or thought, 4. a coordinated body of methods or a scheme or plan of procedure, 5. any formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure, 6. due method or orderly manner of arrangement or procedure, 7. the world or universe.

So, from what I understand, adversarial legal system means:
 A group or force that opposes or attacks, like Satan, which is permitted by law and connected with the law or its administration whereby has appointed, established, or authorized by law the characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers, in as much, its assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole are correlated members with an ordered and comprehensive assemblage of facts, principles, doctrines, or the like in a particular field of knowledge or thought which implements a coordinated body of methods or a scheme or plan of procedure to rule the world.

Posted by Jane LeMond-Alvarez
Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:57

These children are all memorialized and honored on The Children’s Wall of Tears. The world will know what their fathers did to them. Cowards.

Posted by Hope
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:50

In mi case, the father has been an abusser. After the divorce I has been spending almost 8 years in Court whith false testimonies and allegations. We used to have joint custody with weekly interchange, and abusing of his power as a father he turned the kids againts me until they turn almost 12 and staring to see the true. They are living with me – no interchange- for the last 3 years and after I founded out his current wife abuse and hit my kids leaving brusses, now suddenly he decide manipule the court system again and wants the kids back- never help with child support- heowes over 7,000 in medical expenses, never help with education activity and fees. Every week he calling the policy to acuse me, he park in front of my house for period longer than 20 minutes with the excuse he needs to see the kids – and the point is nobody has been preventing him to see or spend time with the kids. I have 632 pages of policy reports,photos, reports from therapist, unpaid bills, e-mails, mail, text messaging, you named. Now I am the one requesting sold custody, let see how everything goes, this person is an abusser that pretend to use the system to control ex-wife, manipulating the court system as instrument of abuse. He does not care about the kids at all.

Posted by ray allen
Saturday, December 31, 2011 08:43

Anthropologists (including the renowned Margaret Mead) have repeatedly shown that both men and women have the capacity to be violent. It just depends upon how you are socialized.

My son dated a Korean girl, and she told him that in Korea, more often than not, it is the women who initiate domestic violence.

We need to get beyond gender stereotypes and find ways both to protect our children and by holding those who make false accusations accountable.

My ex-wife were talking in 2007 when my son was in the hospital, and she admitted that she filed false domestic violence charges against me on the advice of her lawyer when she filed for divorce as a way to get me out of the house so that she could move her boyfriend in.

Actions and divorce tactics like this are like the old story about the boy who cried wolf – it makes us ignore the real cries for help because we hear so many false ones.

Posted by Judicial Abuse Article MUST READ | How Maryland Family Judicial System Failed Me
Thursday, January 06, 2011 01:12

[…] ended when her estranged husband shot the boy and then turned the gun on himself last year. (See “Failure to Protect“, The Crime Report, May 26, […]

Posted by Mirko Vojnovic
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 01:01

I read the article and I agree with the most of it. However, for me being a father, it is to much “mothers against fathers” for my taste. In my opinion that is an artificial division and it should be “abusers vs. abused” and how system fails to identify them, regardless of sex.

I’d like to see an article that is more focused on the court system that is having tendency to create conflicts rather then to resolve them. We’re both victims of “money making” machinery and professionals that gravitate around it for their own financial gains. That is independent from fathers vs. mothers issue, and I’m afraid if we’re not careful we can lose support of many fathers who are not abusers.

Posted by Bob
Saturday, November 27, 2010 04:50

The failure of so called " Family " courts as they do nothing to help families other than destroy them. Family Court Judges and the very Lawyers that bring the cases are more concerned with their profits than giving a rat’s ass about your children or the parents… The courts are biased towards men in most states.. Too many women filing false allegations of abuse, etc.. to attempt t gain some advantage in divorce or custody of children. The courts do nothing to them for making false claims. This whole abuse thing has run way out of control and the people that truley have a problem can get no help now…. Women have equal rights now… LEAVE if you spouse is abusing you !! Many women are the abusers as much as the men now. It’s a sick system..

Posted by jen
Saturday, November 13, 2010 09:22

I have to agree with James with his posting. Everyone on here is deceived. My Ex is an awesome father even though we have our differences the courts,court appointed lawyers, social workers and staff, theripists and doctors whom are mostly gender bias against the fathers whom are encouraging me that the father should be seen as a second rated citizen and thier relationship is not that important in the childrens lives but to made to look like abusers. Most ex’s here have afiliated with the wrong people thus making all fathers look bad, so wrong (

Posted by Failure to Protect: The Crisis in America’s Family Courts |
Monday, November 01, 2010 05:27

[…] organizations report that 80 percent of mothers’ abuse allegations are false. Although Canadian research from the University of Toronto studying false allegations in U.S. and Canadian custody cases has […]

Posted by Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children « Nikitas Justice's
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 10:40

[…] The Crime Report – Failure To Protect The Crisis in Family Courts […]

Posted by Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children « Battered Mothers-A Human Rights Issue
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 10:26

[…] The Crime Report – Failure To Protect The Crisis in Family Courts […]

Posted by Peter C. Lomtevas
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 03:03

In my practice experience, the one single reason family courts are uniformly bad around the country is that the wrong people are hired to staff them.

The single greatest failure in our legal system is post graduation training and experience building for lawyers. This means a perfectly incompetent family court judge sits on the bench. If coupled with a lack of experience he has his own family issues, then you have a disaster waiting to strike. Some of these judges cannot catch a spouse or keep one long enough to have children.

Added to this is the second factor, the federal policy that drives all family law litigation in the country. CAPTA, CSSA, ASFA, VAWA and a variety of federal legislation is the tail that wags the dog. Federal matching funds are paid to the state to fabricate cases. This is where innocent mothers have their children adopted out from under them (ASFA). Low wage earners have high imputations of income (CSSA). Innocent men lose their kids to false allegations of domestic violence (VAWA).

So an inept judge implementing federal policy for the monetary advantage of the state awaits all Americans entering the courtroom doors. The wrong parent is given credibility, usually via the attorneys representing the parties, and total loss awaits the loser.

Get ready to say goodbye to your kids.

Sunday, August 01, 2010 05:46

[…] ended when her estranged husband shot the boy and then turned the gun on himself last year. (See “Failure to Protect“, The Crime Report, May 26, […]

Posted by James Christianson
Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:01

Everyone on here is deceived.

90% of the time in custody battles, women lie and get false restraining orders and falsely accuse dads of domestic violence or child abuse.

It is extremely easy to do so. An attorney who can’t get a woman a restraining order is as incompetent as a prosecuting attorney in Mississippi in 1950s who can’t get a guilty verdict against a black man.

For every lying statistic out there that says victim women are abused/falsely accused in the system, there’s dozens of stats showing that women repeatedly abuse the system against fathers. How do you think 90% of the time, women get custody.

The outrage here is birthed from the radical feminists who hate men/fathers, who were abused/scorned by a father/man, who seek revenge on all fathers and think no father should ever have custody.

This is written by a father who has been raising a 9-year-old girl alone for 9 years after the mother abandoned her. I’ve ACTUALLY seen 100s of cases and worked with mothers and fathers and 2% of the time the mother gets railroaded in court (1) because she has a proven track record of violence/drug abuse or (2) because father had a big time attorney and mother was unrepresented or incompetent attorney. (The latter usually happens to fathers).

Posted by Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children – This is the Father Rights Movement « Silence Is Oppression (PAS)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 03:52

[…] The Crime Report – Failure To Protect The Crisis in Family Courts […]

Posted by Failure to Protect: The Crisis in America’s Family Courts « DV Resources and News
Thursday, July 08, 2010 09:06

[…] organizations report that 80 percent of mothers’ abuse allegations are false. Although Canadian research from the University of Toronto studying false allegations in U.S. and Canadian custody cases has […]

Posted by Disciplining the Judge « Silence Is Oppression (PAS)
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:32

[…] ended when her estranged husband shot the boy and then turned the gun on himself last year. (See “Failure to Protect“, The Crime Report, May 26, […]

Posted by Disciplining the Judge « Battered Mothers-A Human Rights Issue
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:28

[…] ended when her estranged husband shot the boy and then turned the gun on himself last year. (See “Failure to Protect“, The Crime Report, May 26, […]

Posted by Gypsy
Friday, June 18, 2010 06:53

Judges do not understand domestic violence at all and children are always sent on unsupervised cases even in extremely violent behaviors of the father towards the mother. The child is a mere pawn to be used against the mother and if she seeks an injunction, she is only protected by a piece of paper that is often never enforced and the children are not protected. The father uses the visits to mentally abuse the child via brainwashing the child against the mother and it extreme cases will hurt or kill the child to get back at her for leaving. Abuse is about control over the person and when a woman leaves these relationships they are at the highest risk of being harmed severely or killed by their ex partner. They may even kill the child to hurt her because the majority of mothers love their children more than their own lives. We need to pass a law to prevent abusive men from having unsupervised visits. In Florida in the rural areas, Judges always allow the children to go unsupervised unless child welfare in involved. The children are not safe and it is not in their best interest because they fear the father because the majority of children have viewed the abuse sustained by their mother or heard the violence. More education about batterers is needed in the Judicial System before can can occur but in my area, we are faced with opposition and little support from the majority of Judges. It is sad for the survivors of DV and the children. If you have a child with a batterer, you are stuck dealing with him until the child turns 18 or simply sayd to a Judge they do not want to see their father anymore. That may be too late in many cases.

Posted by Gypsy
Friday, June 18, 2010 06:44

You need to better educate yourself on the issue of domestic violence. It is not as clear cut and and dry as you point out. Abusive men are manipulators and like a chameleon do not show their true colors right away. Do not point the finger at the survivor or victim but ask instead, “Where is the accountability of the batterer?”

Posted by Elizabeth C.
Thursday, June 17, 2010 08:44

What needs to happen is a class action suit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of all the abused women and children who have not been given equal protection under the law, just as the cigarette companies where forced to do the right thing, because of cases brought against them, and by the Federal government stepping in.

The states currently are allowed to interpret what marriage means and what rights men, women and children have very different, for example; In New York there are only 4 reasons divorce is allowed, and only “constructive abandonment” (which means that one party refused to have with the other for at least 1 year), is a non criminal reason, the other 3 reasons require winning a separate criminal trial first, before the parties can go on to a divorce trial. While many other states have no fault divorce laws and divorce is non criminal. This is not equal protection under the law of the land.

The Federal government, should act to clarify the protection of equal rights for all, including children. Children are not just property, they are human beings capable of expressing their feelings, their wishes to be safe should be respected. To treat them other wise is to treat them like chattel or slaves. The Federal Government had to step in during the Civil War to make some states stop the practice of slavery through out America, and to give women the vote. The rights of children need to be protected during divorce by the Federal Government because there is no uniform protection by the states and they cannot even vote. The marriage partnership is more like slavery which changes one’s status, is binding and leaves almost everything up to interpretation, guaranteeing few rights. Victims of domestic violence must contend with an obstacle course restrictions set up by each state to get divorced and then are frequently further abused by the system, as their children are required to visit with their abusers. This must stop.

Posted by BS
Friday, June 11, 2010 12:31

The system always seems to get it wrong…. well not always, but their failure rate is still very alarming. It seems that they (the courts, social workers, etc) for whatever reason routinely fail to protect at risk children. So it’s really not surprising when we here of cases like these. Sadly, instead of looking at the broken process and pushing for true reform, the judges (elected officials) get all gung-ho and institute zero tolerance initiatives and wrongly go after parents who are not abusing or neglecting their children. Either way, homes are destroyed, or children are left in bad situations to suffer or die.

Honestly speaking, I think the system which employs child protective services agencies is now broken beyond repair. Most of the people who are working for CPS are the same people who couldn’t score high enough on the register to get a better job. How do I know this? Because I worked for the agency after college. I got to witness first hand just how much incompetence, politically motivated posturing, etc. that goes on. Most of the people in the system are just doing what it takes to keep their jobs. Others, the politically motivated ones, seem to care less about the lives of the people they handle everyday. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who are passionate and caring, but sadly, their efforts are usually thwarted, or else their so misdirected that end up being a burden themselves.

What will it take to have a fair, level headed system to protect our children?

Posted by aha
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 08:27

hate to say it, women, you MUST stop having kids sired by monsters. don’t you women realize that these sires, the men who use you as thier sperm incubator, a 9 month free rent incubator and FREE babysitter and/or physical/financial/emotional punching bag do NOT want to support you or the kids you break your bodies to give birth to.
These men want money for THEMSELVES, good food for THEMSELVES, new cars for THEMSELVES, new video games for THEMSELVES, new computers for THEMSELVES, new clothes, new vacations, new women for THEMSELVES, savings for THEMSELVES, retirement money for THEMSELVES. These men do not want to feed clothe and/or house you or your kids, it costs them THIER PLEASURES and these men are self seeking out for themselves, NOT for YOU or the kids you birthed.
Kids are used as PAWNS by these men, they torture and deprive the kids to further torture the stupid women who incubated and gave birth to thier semen. Men told me they use career orientated women with paychecks or seek healthy beautiful women as brood mares then take the kids and force the woman thru battery, overbreeding, abuse, lies, misuse of court into poverty and sickness and then force the mothers into working as a free or below minimum wage babysitter for thier kids. The men laugh and brag the woman must get up at 6am to work at a job and then must work as free babysitters for the sperm doners/sires.
these men poison children against the mothers, i have seen it over and over. the kids often become psychopath or sociopath due to the mistreatment, these kids grow up to abuse and ripp off and mistreat thier own mothers.
A man told me all he has to do is LIE to a dopey woman and promise to support her, provide for her and any kids and allmost all women drop thier drawers and have sex with him, he lies to get these stupid women into bed for sex, he abandons them and any kids he leaves behind.

Posted by Sinde
Sunday, May 16, 2010 05:10

angelofthynight you are a pathetic sick bastard. When men stop killing our children and getting away with it like my ex husband did, then maybe things will change. But you are a complete and utter prick.

Posted by Patricia Aust
Saturday, May 15, 2010 01:52

This won’t change until people understand domestic and dating violence in a fuller, more sophisticated way. Schools are starting to provide older kids with “Love is Respect”-type info. It;s a start, but should be part of the curriculum from day one.

The manipulation and lies of abusers often sway well-educated but naiive people who try to make DV black and white. DV is full of gray areas and most lawyers and judges don’t seem to understand this, IMO.

I work with kids and teens in a DV shelter, in small groups where they can talk or not, listen, observe, and, I hope, come away with perspectives different from that of the abuser and the victim. Still, the damage to these kids is astounding. I talk about it in my blog and pray every day for every single one of them.

Posted by kissmymango
Friday, May 14, 2010 01:56

Of course they don’t. What misogynists like to do is pretend that two women who’ve killed their children are totally proof that all women are totally as bad as male abusers, despite, you know, evidence and stuff, because anything misogynists can do to avoid taking responsibility for anything they do is their raison d’etre.

men abuse in vastly higher numbers, men kill in vastly higher numbers The “father’s rights movement” is just a front for such men, and their bitter, angry, likely abusive male supporters who can’t deal with reality.

Posted by angelofthynight
Friday, May 14, 2010 10:10

women need to get over that men are not slaves to the system time for them to pay us child support

Posted by Andrea
Thursday, May 13, 2010 06:12

The best interests of the child!

That’s just what the judge calls whatever her or his decision was.

The best interests of the child is one safe, secure home, no shifts like cattle mid-week or bi-weekly or seasonally, unless all wish them to go. The best father, once divorced, paves the way to his family’s door with good behavior, with kindness, and generosity. Not the good behavior, kindness and generosity mandated by a court—-for that is meaningless. It must come from his own heart. But the court system now encourages him to be as awful as possible and to tear his own family to bits.

The worst litigious father is the one who goes for full custody, beating up his wife again and again in court—-yes, court is the instrument of abuse, and more vicious and horrible than any gripping or slapping hand—-because it slaps both mother and children simultaneously, and he bullies them in front of all, and their degradation is lasting. He then—when she begs for them back, and the children are begging to go home—-tosses them back, if and only if she never tells the judge he has done so. Solved! No child support! He has arrived at the free and clear state of the man who never married. Yet he still has any visitation he pleases; for if she ever complains, or the children do, he can demand them all back at once, with police escort. He has a very expensive piece of paper that tells him he may do so.

This, in response, to the person above who stated let’s face it, any mother who loses custody of her children is just unfit—obviously.

I was not. I was worn down by five years and fifty thousand dollars worth of court appearances and badgering. I began to snap when I was questioned; I insulted the judge. Case closed. She slammed the book shut on me and took my children, to where they did not want to go. Guess how they helped? They began failing in school, the school he had dragged them to. It was this that made him admit they wanted to go home and would not flourish there with him. So he began to hint how he’d thought about bringing them home. I offered to not tell the judge. Just let them come home, no child support to be paid. He let them come home. I was not unfit. I was simply a splendid target, a splendid victim, and he was a monster, and none of us shall ever forgive.

Posted by Hazel
Thursday, May 13, 2010 05:59

From the length and intensity of these replies—-you can see how deep and rotten the infection is in the bone.

I believe these horror stories—-all of the parents who murder each other, or their children, or attack members of the court, even——are response to the horror of the scenario: to pit husband against wife is wrong.

Japan has it right: except in cases of extreme unfitness of the mother, children automatically go the mother. There are no fights, there is no shame about losing, there is only more dedication to making marriage work, on the part of the fathers: for the gift they receive is life with their children and the children’s mother, who will always be close to them.

They say the law is always between twenty to fifty years behind the times. American law still believes that the ones who divorce must be punished, and their children too. This was the code of the 1950s, when divorce was new, and mainly, considered wrong. Divorce courts now still seek to punish and make an example of those who divorce.

The examples now are often the dead.

Posted by darkstar
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:09

So you go and list all these women…. So what?

Do any of these cases have anything to do with contested custody? I would bet not. I would be that many of them have a lot more to do with untreated post partum depression, or other mental health or psychological issues, also totally underaddressed by our current social system, and often severely exacerbated by a difficult or unsupportive home life.

How does your little list compare to the 80 something fathers in the article above, within the space of a few months, who murdered their children well within the context of a custody dispute?

you say: “Again, a house, money and control are at stake in many cases and the fighting can be nasty, for both parties.” and “But there are many fathers whose only sin was dealing with a manipulative spouse who would use their children as ransom for a more favorable divorce settlement.” and I say – why is it always about the money with you guys. I’m really sorry, but for moms its about protecting their kids. For too many of you it seems, its always, always, always about the money. This is very telling for me.

And there’s another huge logical flaw in your argument. You seem to believe that women are putting forth false allegations of abuse in order to gain some advantage in custody. How in the world could this be true, when every woman here knows, that the surest way to lose your kids is to mention abuse issues within the context of a custody dispute? Their own lawyers are telling them to suppress evidence of abuse, as to mention it means they will surely lose their kids. So — this has nothing to do with gender bias, and I’m sorry for your troubles, but your logic just doesn’t add up. And maybe if you thought a little less about your money and a little more about what is best for your kids you might have more success in life.

Posted by Earl Richards
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 03:01

The family should have a choice as to whether the the family court should be open. Personally, I would prefer to be in a family court that is open, so I can have support should the family court turn out to be corrupt or neglient. If the family court were open, then, corruption would not happen in the first place. Family courts are powerful. secret societies.

Posted by Anne
Monday, May 10, 2010 02:57

People just don’t get it. All this joint custody is a result of the United Nations Children’s Charter which dictates that "3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, " It basically takes away all parental rights. Even though the US may not have signed it as long as the majority of countries signed then the US, as a member of the UN, must follow it. This is also where the undefined “Best interest of the child” standard came from.

Posted by A. Brown
Monday, May 10, 2010 10:21

Interesting idea Earl but what about the family’s right to privacy? Family court matters are sensitive issues and I do not believe my local community should know about my custody agreements, real estate lists and values and the amount of funds I receive in alimony and child support every month. Would you?

Posted by David Menchell
Sunday, May 09, 2010 08:24

I think the family court system is seriously flawed for men, women and children, and basically serves to feed the coffers of attorneys and a host of psychologists, accountants and other forensic “specialists” who could care less about the people whose lives they destroy. I am sorry to see so much hatred and distrust on both sides of the gender divide. Granted there are abusive fathers; there are also abusive mothers, abusive boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Yes, there are homicides committed by fathers; there are also many homicides committed by mothers (see below). The intention of VAWA was to protect women and children at risk; to this end I support its original purpose. I think it is naive to believe that there are no women who file false charges of abuse. The stakes in divorce are high, and it is highly advantageous for women to have their spouses ejected from their homes and to position themselves for gaining occupancy and custody, often spurred on by their attorneys. I would think that the charges of most men complaining about custody agreements were exaggerated if the courts awarded shared custody in the majority of divorces, with the balance split between mothers and fathers. Given the vast majority of custody cases end in custody being granted to women, clearly the system is biased. And it is not that there are millions of violent and abusive fathers. It is just that we live in a society where women want equality in education, work and all other aspects of contemporary life, except when it comes to divorce. Then they want to maintain the antiquated notion of the nurturing mother vs. the violent agressive father. Again, a house, money and control are at stake in many cases and the fighting can be nasty, for both parties. I have been involved in my own divorce for over five years, have had two false findings of child abuse thrown out and have spoken to hundreds of men and women, and know injustice affecting both men and women. My own sister lost custody of her children due to a trumped up charge of abuse by her ex, so believe me, I am empathetic to women caught in this evil, destructive system. But I resent those women who would assume that I am a bad person, violent, manipulative, or only interested in revenge or looking to injure my children when I’ve spent five years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours fighting a biased, uncaring and corrupt system just to be able to see my children. And I’m not even talking about shared custody. So I am sorry for those women whose spouses were abusive, violent and harmed their children. But there are many fathers whose only sin was dealing with a manipulative spouse who would use their children as ransom for a more favorable divorce settlement.

The nation is always shocked by criminal cases such as Andrea Yates, a mother of five who methodically drowned all of her children in a bathtub then calmly called police, but mothers killing their children are more common than we might think.
According to the American Anthropological Association, more than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year. Three to five children a day are killed by their parents. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death of children under age four, yet we continue to “persist with the unrealistic view that this is rare behavior,” says Jill Korbin, expert on child abuse, who has studied mothers who killed their children.

We should detach from the idea of universal motherhood as natural and see it as a social response," Nancy Scheper-Hughes, medical anthropologist says. Women in jail reported that no-one believed them when they said they wanted to kill their children. "There’s a collective denial even when mothers come right out and say, “I really shouldn’t be trusted with my kids.”

A look at the rolls of women who are currently on death row, and the crimes that put them there, shows that women who kill their children are indeed not as rare as we would like to believe. Of the 49 women on death row, 11 killed children:

Patricia Blackmon was 29 years old when she killed her 2-year-old adopted daughter in Dothan, AL in May 1999.
Kenisha Berry at age 20, covered her 4-day-old son with duct tape resulting in his death.

Debra Jean Milke was 25 when she killed her 4-year-old son in Arizona in 1989.

Dora Luz Durenrostro killed her two daughters, age 4 and 9, and her son, age 8, when she was 34 years old in San Jacinto, California in 1994.

Caro Socorro was 42 years old when she killed her three sons, ages 5, 8 and 11, in Santa Rosa Valley, California in 1999.

Susan Eubanks murdered her four sons, ages 4, 6, 7 and 14, in San Marcos, California, in 1996 when she was 33.

Caroline Young was 49 in Haywood, California when she killed her 4-year-old granddaughter and 6-year-old grandson.

Robin Lee Row was 35 years old when she killed her husband, her 10-year-old son and her 8-year-old daughter in Boise, Idaho in 1992.

Michelle Sue Tharp was 29 years old in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania when she killed her 7-year-old daughter.

Frances Elaine Newton was 21 when she murdered her husband, 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in Houston, Texas. Update: Frances Elaine Newton was executed on September 14, 2005.

Darlie Lynn Routier was 26 in Rowlett, Texas when she was convicted of killing her 5-year-old son.

Teresa Michelle Lewis killer her 51-year-old husband and 26-year-old step son in Keeling, Virgina when she was 33 years old.

Korbin says there are usually clues that are obvious to those around parents who end up killing their children. “Prior to a homicide, lots of lay people know these men and women are having difficulty parenting. The public has to be better educated in recognizing how to intervene and how to support child abuse prevention,” she said in an AAA press release.

Posted by B
Sunday, May 09, 2010 06:03

Wow, that’s pretty funny. Did anyone else notice that our MRA troll addressed the first person who disagreed with him (EARL Richards) as “Miss Richards” in his response? I don’t know about you, but I have never met a woman named Earl, though I have met plenty of men with that name. That’s really telling of an MRA, though- assume anyone who disagrees is a woman (therefore allowing their dissent to be ignored, since MRAs typically think women are inferior, even if they won’t admit it).

Posted by bee jay
Sunday, May 09, 2010 03:27

I was horrified and disgusted after I read this report,but not surprised , look at Alec Baldwin a typical case, the man is obviously abusive to his child, he is caught on tape calling her a rude and thoughtless pig, yet some how it is her mother’s fault, she tries to avoid him, it is parental alienation syndrome, again her mother’s fault, during a conversation with the same child he threatens to kill himself, she was terrified and called the police, again he claims she was put up to this by her mother, from the man’s behavior he is obviously manipulative and controlling, but like most of these psychos he is so good at manipulating things that somehow the world believes that Kim Basinger is the wack job. My ex-husband has an explosive temper and is bipolar, I left him when I was pregnant with my daughter, he does not pay child support and after the last visit my children had , I am scared that he will hurt them,but I know that I can’t do anything because in a custody battle the married father trumps the single parent mother who works 12 hours a day to keep a roof over the kids heads. I recall the case of the twins that were dragged away from their mother and given to the father because the kids said they did not want to visit and the judge decided that this was the mother’s fault.

Posted by Get Real
Saturday, May 08, 2010 07:30

Domestic Violence Shelters are overflowing with women and children who flea their family homes like refugees to seek safety from battering men and fathers. Statistics can be manufactured to support any argument. GET REAL Women & Children are crying out for protection and justice!

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 02:37

Report this situation to the child protective services.

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:18

Family courts are powerful, secret societies. The Marin and Sacramento famiy courts have to be placed under MARTIAL law, immediately, until the family court personnel are brought to justice.

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:03

Family courts are powerful, secret societies. The Marin and Sacramento family courts have to be placed under MARTIAL law, immediately, until the family court personnel are brought to jistice.

Posted by catherine
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:02

I went through the reporting abuse, filing for divorce and then losing custody of my children. I think of the whole thing as “friendly fire”. First the police actively discouraged me from documenting evidence, from accompanying me home after seeking their help, and from filing an initial protective order. The counselor who had been so assertive when telling me why I needed to take the cycle of abuse seriously abandoned me as soon as the custody abuse started. I was ordered to change counselors to one my spouse wanted and to meet together with him as he completely misrepresented his motives and actions and I received a dressing down for my “lack of cooperation”. A mediator was ordered who told us both to grow up and totally disregarded the my statements that we were not in conflict but that this was a bullying situation. The personnel from the domestic violence shelter where I spent six weeks, told me that legal and custody abuse were rampant among victims and told me that other women at the shelter were getting the same legal papers from the same lawyers (the abusers always know who to go to) to have them removed from their children, but they abandoned me as soon as that part of the journey began. Though I was told on national hotlines to ask for their help to attend meetings with me, etc. they not only refused but began to treat me as if I had done something wrong by asking. My community abandoned me because a mother that loses custody of her children in any way must have something wrong with her, right? My abusive spouse could control everything, use my children as bait, neglect them completely while he had them in his custody, including health issues, and make sure that everyone knew I had to ask him for permission to see them. The courts didn’t worry about the abusive father making visitation unpredictable or his insisting that we meet at my home instead of a public location. My lawyer did not handle the case well as stated in the article, he advised against pursuing any discussion of abuse. This also made the appeal process impossible though I tried, all the way up to the level of the state supreme court. I could find no real advocates in the legal and custody abuse process and that included my own attorneys. Oh I forgot the custody evaluator. He was perhaps the worst. I can tell you he had a very good racket going and was nationally notorious for his protection of “father’s rights”. I tried to file a complaint against him to the American Psychological Association based on their own standards for testimony in abuse allegations. Got no response. I tried to file a formal complaint against the police department. Nothing. This whole discussion is long overdue. It’s a case of making sure that the system doesn’t enable false negatives when it comes to abuse. The father’s rights groups are causing false negatives to be more likely as they fight to insure there are no false positives. The danger of a false negative is potentially so catastrophic that everyone involved should be erring on the side of insuring that that does not occur. I believe the same forensic efforts to prevent false negatives would also insure against false positives but right now family courts are terrible at enlisting those resources. Also mistakes made in family court are almost impossible to reverse. There are not the same checks as criminal court though domestic crimes may be very much a part of the reality for the protective parent and children.

Posted by angelofthynight
Saturday, May 08, 2010 11:49

any woman who loses custody is unfit serious why lie

Posted by When Fathers Kill Their Children [Crime And Punishment] | Top Blogs News
Saturday, May 08, 2010 11:37

[…] from all the sweet Mother’s Day tributes out there, here’s a dispiriting antidote: a story on dads who kill their kids. […]

Posted by Tawny
Saturday, May 08, 2010 09:03

Slightly changing the subject, I’m confused about the Deborah Hicks story. Looking at the time frames, she had a child with a man who had ALREADY been convicted of child rape? Now she’s worried about her child being with him?!
Why on earth would you have a child with a man who was a KNOWN pedophile?

Posted by Gail
Saturday, May 08, 2010 08:56

As I see it, there are a few problems with the courts. Not all victims go through the Family Courts, so this reply applies to all states.

1) The presumption of innocence has put the burden of the crime on the victim. If the perpetrator is innocent, that means the victim is the criminal.

2) Attorneys turn a blind eye, and the dirty ones may actually encourage, the turning of a case into a he said/ she said. As my own attorney told me as he was taking a check from me, it is his job to take advantage of the public, not uphold justice. If the police are the Thin Blue Line, they are the Thin Gray Line. Gray for their suits and Gray for the area they operate in. The State Bars know this happens and refuse to clean up their membership, as members pay dues and dues translate into nice salaries. The more members, the more the salary.

3) Judges are too pallsy wallsy with police. According to Michigan State University, more than 50% of police fall into 2 categories " meat-eaters, who “aggressively misuse their police powers for personal gain,” and grass-eaters, who “simply accept the payoffs that the happenstances of police work throw their way.”

4) The system of payments for “Expert Witnesses” who are “The Thin Black Line” for the selling of their soles. They, the GALs, doctors and all others who know they will never get extra income again if they do not go along with the person who hires them. And who hires them, Defense Lawyers.

5) Judges who give rapists 1 week in jail, child murders, 1 year, but give car thieves 33 years. Yes, that happened this week in the courts in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Posted by Lori Handrahan, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 08, 2010 08:52

Yes. This is true. The “test results” being used against me are not being released to me. Amazing. And the Maine Board of Psychology just dismissed. Here is an edited summary of some my concerns that I submitted to the Board. Apparently, the Maine Board of Psychology thinks this is an entirely appropriate way to practice psychology.

To the Board:

I am requesting a full and complete investigation into Carol Lynn Kabacoff’s body of practice, including most specifically and urgently, her actions taken against me, Lori Handrahan, Ph.D., and my daughter. This is a summary of my concern.

1. I was provided no choice in court-appointed psych—only given two names. The people I asked for, I was told it was not possible. I have been told that the GAL told me, as I gather is often the case, told me Dr. Kabacoff is the best and only person available.

2. Dr. Kabacoff, from day one, ignored documented material and evidence of my former husband’s long record of violence. My lawyer provided a detailed letter along with records from the US Embassy of when he nearly killed a child at 16 years old and police record of domestic assault against me.

3. Dr. Kabacoff’s original report found nothing wrong with my mental health.

4. Dr. Kabacoff refused to release my test results.

5. Dr. Kabacoff said under oath in the December divorce hearing that my test results were too good to be true. No one could be the person I pretends to be.

6. Dr. Kabacoff went on, under oath, to say that I had a narcissistic personality disorder—although she had not diagnosed her with this and had neither test nor behavioral evidence.

7. On the contrary, I have dedicated my life to social change and humanitarian relief. I am a humanitarian who has served the United Nations working with women raped in war in Darfur/Chad, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. I was, until this court case, a successful humanitarian professional with a Ph.D. at The London School of Economics, with a body of well regarded publications and a three inch thick binder of character references from people around the world attesting to my compassion, generosity and kindness and skills as a mother. This binder was admitted as evidence to the court and had been provide to Dr. Kabacoff—which she (and the court) totally ignored.

8. On the other hand, Igor Malenko, my former husband received a psychiatric discharge from The Yugoslav Army and lied about it to Dr. Kabacoff-claiming—as is in her report—that he was depressed and this was during the war of 1991 and he wanted to avoid the war. Senator Collins’ office helped me obtain Mr. Malenko’s military records via the US Embassy (see attached) and his discharge was in 1990-a year before war. Moreover, Dr. Kabacoff refused to ask Mr. Malenko to sign a waiver releasing his full records; why he received the discharge, how long he was in a psychiatric hospital, what was the outcome.

9. Dr. Kabacoff maintained that this was not relevant for a full assessment of Mr. Malenko’s mental health. I am not aware of a mental health professional, anywhere (except in the family court mob) who would argue that a psychiatric military discharge, that a patient had also lied about, would not be off concern and relevant for a full mental health assessment.

10. Court records were obtained, again via the US Embassy, that Mr. Malenko almost killed another child when he was 16 and was placed under three years of psychological surveillance at that point. Dr. Kabacoff said this was not off concern to her.

11. Lesley Devoe, LSCW and Domestic Violence expert on the case, completed an outline of the many lies that Mr. Malenko told the GAL, Liz Stout, in her report, and Dr. Kabacoff in her report. That Mr. Malenko provided both with very different stories of key actions—should have been of great concern to Dr. Kabacoff. She was not concerned. Dr. Kabacoff was ordered by Judge Mary Gay Kennedy to meet with Lesley Devoe. Dr. Kabacoff refused. Judge Mary Gay Kennedy has refused to take Mr. Malenko from supervised visits based on his police record of domestic violence alone. She was suddenly removed from the case—after the GAL tried to lift supervised visits and Judge Kennedy refused. Judge Kennedy was replace with Judge Moskowitz.

12. The country’s number one psychologist on child custody, Dr. Lesley Drozd, Editor of the Journal of Child Custody, issued an assessment of Dr. Kabacoff’s practice and report and found it extremely lacking and without credit or merit. Dr. Jackie Campbell, the number one national expert on domestic violence lethality, also issued a report stating that I am at extreme risk of being killed or attempted to be killed. Not only did Dr. Kabacoff ignore this, under oath she claimed that Dr. Campbell was not qualified to make this assessment. Judge Moskowitz denied Dr. Campbell and Dr. Drozd’s testimony and their reports.

13. In a recent deposition, again under oath, Dr. Kabacoff, a year and half after seeing me (only twice) Dr. Kabacoff declared, basically, that I am the most severely mentally ill person Dr. Kabacoff had ever come into contact with, that her personality disorder was so severe she could never be a parent and therefore my daughter should be removed from my custody.

14. This recent deposition is nothing less than complete fraud.

15. I never even saw a therapist prior to finding herself involved in an abusive, violent relationship with Mr. Malenko, which began right after we filed a green card for him and I was heavily pregnant. I did the responsible thing and sought therapy for both of us; believing he was a good person who bad things had happened to; he had told her he was tortured during the war because he was a pacifist and didn’t want to fight. Which all turned out to be a lie.

16. Dr. Kabacoff, according to family practice lawyers in Portland, has an “infamous” reputation in the family court room as doing what she has done to me to other women. Apparently, she works in conjunction with GAL, Liz Stout to reinforce this fraud and support of the abusers over the abused.

I am requesting a full, complete and serious investigation into Dr. Kabacoff’s actions against me as well as her complete record as a forensic psychologist for the courts with the women she has harmed allowed the opportunity to challenge Dr. Kabacoff’s findings.

Lori Handrahan, Ph.D.

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 06:42

The Marin and Sacramento family courts have to be placed under martail law, immediately, until the family court personnel are brought to justice.

Posted by Lee
Saturday, May 08, 2010 05:05

Judicial immunity inappropriately extended to people who profit and frequently live and prosper with work from the Court is the key. Remove immunity for GAL’s and forensic psychs. See how many of them would say and do what they are saying and doing if they had to stand by what they did. And a task force looking at why the Constitution and due process are left outside family courts would be a wonderful start. Are you aware that women frequently cannot even SEE the reports that are used against them??

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:23

The family courts have to be open to the public, to the press/media, to court watchdog organizations and to the public’s elected representatives to watch how the public taxes are being spent.

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:19

For Paul: I meant that abusive father bribes the judge to get custody, not the child support agency. The granting of custody of children to an abusive father happens all the time to the 3% who are fathers. What I meant by stating that it “happens all the time,” is that it is a regular occurrence, and not the exception.

Posted by Earl Richards
Saturday, May 08, 2010 01:09

The law has to change , battered and beaten victims should be allowed to by-pass family court and go directly to a criminal court. Assault is a crime, it does not matter whether it happens in a household or in a bar.

Posted by eibhear
Saturday, May 08, 2010 12:39

@ Paul M. Clements,
Would you not find it much quicker and more pragmatic if, instead of spouting ludicrous rubbish which you know to be entirely untrue, you were to simply write, “I hate females! They’re not really human and don’t deserve human rights!”. Also, I suggest you consider emmigrating to Saudia Arabia, where they keep those evil, disgusting females in their proper place.

Posted by Loving mother
Friday, May 07, 2010 10:16

The incompetent Marin County court mediator made the custody recommendation that the father has the custody after she failed to follow the laws, local rules, policy and procedure.

Two court transcripts of Court mediator “Dr. Gloria Wu” PSY 16785, on August 17 and 20, 2007 are available upon request.
Attorney: And in that particular case, were you asked to recite the best interest factors in family code section 3011?
Wu: I don’t recall

Attorney: Could you tell me what the best interest factors are in family code section 3011?
Wu: No, I’m unable to do that for you.

Attorney: How about child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Is there any relationship there?
Wu: I—I—I don’t know that so—

Attorney: You haven’t been trained in that?
Wu: I—I am unable to answer that question.

Attorney: Did you read review all of the custody pleadings in the court files?
Wu: I don’t—I don’t know if I reviewed all of them.

Attorney: Have you looked at all of the custody orders in this case?
Wu: Again, I don’t—I don’t know

Attorney: I’m asking you right now, are you aware that a CLETS restraining order was issued in this case?
Wu: I’m unclear if a CLETS restraining order was issued in this case.

Attorney: Could you please identify what Exhibit M for me, that first page?
Wu: It’s CLETS restraining order after hearing

Attorney: ‘James’ interaction with our son very inappropriate. He plays with our son very roughly, roughly that our son, when he was two and a half years gets bruises and often ends up crying. …………….James got angry and slapped him on the face ….. I got very upset at James and told him not to discipline him that way. James then slapped our son twice on the face. Although there was no bruise, you could see finger marks. Does this concern you?
Wu: Yes, that concerns me.

Attorney: It’s document called 2005 rules of court excerpts, 2006 trial excerpts of Dr. Wu filed on March 9th, 2007. Did you ever read that?
Wu: NO

Attorney: So this is a new fact for you, Jonathan telling that his dad hit him?
Wu: Yes

Attorney: 2006, the death threat. Have you reviewed the pleadings in connection with that request for a restraining order?
Wu: NO

Attorney: I’m going to direct you to Section 216 (b)?…………….(a) and (b) “In the absence of a stipulation by the parties to the contrary, there shall be NO EXPARTE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE ATTORNEYS for any party to an action and any COURT APPOINTED OR COURT CONNECTED EVALUATOR OR MEDIATOR, or BETWEEN A COURT APPOINTED ………..”.

Note: Dr. Wu had an exparte communication with the court appointed child attorney in violation of FC 216 (a) and (b). The court appointed child attorney “Scott Lueders” provided several false inaccurate child’s school report cards, allergy condition and covering up the pornography for the abusive father.

Attorney: so you weren’t aware of Section 216?
Wu: Not with regard to minor’s counsel

Attorney: But is there a difference in your mind between glance, peruse and read?
Wu: I don’t know

Attorney: By the way, When you met with Jonathan, did you ask him about whether his dad is still hitting him?
Wu: I don’t recall

Attorney: So you didn’t discuss that with him at all?
Wu: NO

Attorney: Did you ask him about whether or not he had gone see a rated R movie with his dad and about five of his friends?
Wu: NO

August 20, 2007, Dr. Wu’s testimony
Attorney: Did you talk to his teachers?
Wu: No, I did not

Attorney: Did you talk to his doctors?
Wu: No, I did not.

Attorney: Did you talk to child therapist?
Wu: No

Attorney: Okay, so if, in fact, this was a result of dad—this condition—dad not following the doctor’s recommendations, would you consider that a form of abuse?
Wu: I would consider that to be negligence, yes.

Attorney: And you have no doubt that Jonathan is very, very connected to his mother, do you?
Wu: Sure

Attorney: And he loves his mother a lot?
Wu: Yes

Posted by Angelique Nolan
Friday, May 07, 2010 10:13

I don’t know you Paul, but I will say that you are not helping this discussion at all. In fact you sound like an abusive jerk, the very kind that women such as myself are working to keep away from children. It is not anti-male sentiment that is being expressed, it is anti-abuser sentiment. And even if what you say about the courts finding her to be an incredible witness is true, that would support as oppose to negate what this article is about. Since it is about the biased courts ignoring the words of abused women. I hope that you never have children, Paul, because I would hate for there to be little people dependent on you for their lives. I hope you never get married or have a girlfriend either, Paul, because your attitude that men are superior to women and that women should be ignored and allowed to be harmed for the sake of men is what causes people to be abusive.

I love men, but people like you are not men. They are insecure boys that use the fact that they are bigger and have more social power than women to bully them. And boys like that I don’t like.

Posted by Jenn
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:57

My father, too, used the family court system to abuse and harass my mother. Although it never escalated to the point of murder, and my father was not physically abusive, the years of living on hand-outs while my father spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to destroy my mother’s, my brother’s, and my life continues to plague my interactions with him to this day.

My mother was fired from three jobs due to frequent court cases and a nervous breakdown. My father lied to the courts in order for them to decreased his mandated amount of child support by saying he was making less money. It took three years and every cent my mother and grandmother had, and then some, to uncover his earning statements and find out that he had made substantially more. While my mother lived at the poverty line with two small children and my grandmother plundered her retirement to fund the court battle, my father had increased his income from 90K a year to 140K, gotten married, and gone on several luxurious cruises and sailing trips in the Caribbean.

The courts never made him pay back all the child support he stole from my mother. They never compensated all the alimony that he was required to pay to my mother for her to get back on her feet that only went to lawyer after lawyer to make sure that she wasn’t further victimized in court.

Ten years after that awful battle, my father has nothing to do with us unless he’s claiming our successes as his own and blaming our failures on my mother. I’m an adult, looking in grad school, without a cent of his aid. Yet, he wants me to claim him and his ludicrously high income on my FAFSA, which would make it impossible to get financial aid even though he wouldn’t give me a cent. He just wants control, plain and simple, and he doesn’t care how many lives he destroys to get it. My brother tried to commit suicide two years ago, and his response was to move out of state because he couldn’t handle having to co-parent with my mother, who was more interested in looking after the needs of my brother than assuaging my father’s destructive pursuit of control.

The family courts have no accountability. They destroy lives with their archaic misogyny and contempt for mothers. They spin these cases as “he said, she said”, when it should be a criminal matter of harassment and abuse.

Many fathers who find themselves suddenly cut out of their patriarchal role react badly. They resent that mothers have control of what they think is “their money”, even if every penny is spent on their children. They resent that mothers can raise children without their final word. They want control with none of the responsibility. They want to walk away and refuse to take their part of creating a healthy childhood for their kids while still having absolute control over every minute detail of their ex-wives and children’s lives. They see the mothers of their children as defective property, things that think that they have equal rights but don’t know their place. They see their children as badges of honor: things that prove their virility and masculinity, but are tainted by the plague of an independent woman trying to do the best for her children.

For fathers like these, everything to them is evidence of their power and what they own. And when a family court system is structured around the asinine proposition that children are property and families are businesses that must be split evenly down the middle, the people who like this disgusting patriarchy and soulless materialism profit the most: abusive fathers.

This needs to end, now.

Posted by Barry Goldstein
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:37

Mr. Clements has repeated a myth based on flawed research that too often the media accepts without investigation. When you look at these studies you see that they make no distinction about the severity of the assault, the cause (like self-defense or seeking to stop abuse), the context where it is part of a pattern of abusive and controlling behavior and does not include sexual abuse which is almost always committed by men.
This was a wonderful article because the author took the time to look for up-to-date research to understand what is happening in the custody court system instead of using the myths and stereotypes so often used by courts and propagated by male supremacists and their supporters. Thank you for performing a great service with this article. Hopefully it is part of some encouraging signs that the problems in how custody courts respond to domestic violence cases is starting to be exposed and pressure is building for the courts to take a fresh look at outdated and discredited practices adopted 30+ years ago when there was no research available and which are working poorly for children.

Posted by Paul M. Clements
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:18

Miss Richards,
If mothers are awarded custody in 97% of cases, and fathers only 3%, how can you claim that abusive fathers, get custody all the time? In NH, as an example, where the numbers are slightly lower, fathers are less likely to be awarded custody than relatives of the mother or the state itself. THAT’s the bias of the family courts, and that bias extends to all countries which have been poisoned by feminist venom.
 But you’re correct in pointing to bribery. EVERY state is mandated by federal law to have a “cooperative agreement”, or “interagency compact” which permits the child support collection agency to pay the courts for hearing child support cases.
THAT’s the bribery you mention. The family courts in the tiny state of NH get $2.5 MILLION a year from the child support agency. The family courts of MA, slightly more populous, get $5.5 MILLION a year from DOR. That bribery of the courts, by the child support collection agency, means that a father in family court is being paid by the fathers’ adversaries. So, guess who gets custody, and who pays?

Posted by Jack
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:17

“Too bad husband beating isn’t considered a crime. It happens more often than vice-versa. So why don’t we have a VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN ACT?”

“husband beating” would be classed as assault. So it is a crime. Attacks by women on their male partners are not nearly as common as assaults by men on their female partners. And you know it.

You just sound silly Paul. Get your facts straight. Stop lying to push your anti-women agenda.

Posted by Jack
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:15

You picked those stats out of the air – they’re not correct at all. The so-called Father’s Rights movement is just about men wanting to control women. It’s not about the children – it’s about abusers trying to keep their control and keep their families in fear. Men who spout rubbish about feminazis and man haters tend to be men who are weak and terrified of women insisting they will not put up with abuse.

Posted by Paul M. Clements
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:07

Too bad husband beating isn’t considered a crime. It happens more often than vice-versa. So why don’t we have a VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN ACT?
To answer your question, domestic violence cases are FIRST heard in family court, where they can be treated as a civil matter. That allows the judge to forego the inconveniences of due process; the right to confront your accuser, the right to trial by jury, the right to disclosure, the right to subpoena witnesses, and so forth. That aids the prosecution of males, against whom most of the false accusations are made, and makes the issuance of a restraining order easy. THEN, if the specious order is violated, and violations are as simple as driving down a public street when the accusatory wife is driving the other way, the case becomes a criminal matter, allowing the man to be jailed.

Posted by Paul M. Clements
Friday, May 07, 2010 04:54

What about the children of husband-beaters?Since the eighties, as least, legitimate research, not feminist rhetoric, has shown that men are abused in equal, if not slightly higher numbers. And GOVERNMENT research shows that mothers murder children in 55% of cases.

Posted by B
Friday, May 07, 2010 03:26

Your use of the terms “feminazi,” and “man-hating,” along with your assertions that these women are angry “because they were scorned, not abused,” (this seems to be a theme for you, given your reply to Claudine above), show pretty clearly that you are an MRA.

I advise all reading this comment that such people tend to rely on one-sided sources for news, see what they want to see, and then head out into the world to spew their opinions in every forum they can (kind of like people who think Obama is not a U.S. citizen). While MRAs may occasionally happen to say something true, there are much more reliable sources of information out there. The people who run this website, for example…

Posted by Sarah TX
Friday, May 07, 2010 03:23

You are combining the statistics for both disputed custody cases with non-disputed custody cases, of course. Yes, in the majority of custody cases, the mother gains custody – the majority of custody cases are non-disputed and a formality. The problem comes when an abusive parent (usually the father) attempts to use the children as another form of abuse against his or her spouse. Citing misleading statistics is a very common tactic among so-called “men’s rights activists” who don’t actually care about the rights of most men.

Come back here with REAL facts (instead of slander and lies), and we can discuss them.

Posted by HF
Friday, May 07, 2010 01:56

That’s right, she IS spotlighting the crimes that divorced men have committed, because guess what? Men are far, far, FAR more likely to kill their children than women: men are the perpetrators in 90% of divorce cases involving child abuse (2/3rds of the national total for contested custody cases). That figure roughly matches the 93% of all felony murders, also committed by men. Yet, more than likely men—even men with serious, substantive abuse allegations, borne out by the fact that they KILL THEIR CHILDREN and a history of abuse prior to the wife initiating divorce proceedings—are going to gain some form of custody or access.


So, yeah, men really don’t need any more help from the courts. What a lot of them do need is a reality check, and realize that custody cases aren’t about gratifying their own egos, or putting that uppity woman in her place, it’s about doing what’s best for the child. Are there women who are egotistical and want to see their spouse suffer? Yeah, probably, but 9 to 1 she’s not going to kill her children in rage.

Also, neither Susan Smith nor Casey Anthony, as horrific and sad as those cases are, have anything to do with contested custody. So try again.

Posted by Earl Richards
Friday, May 07, 2010 08:10

The granting of custody of children to an abusive father happens all the time, especially if there is a bribe involved.

Posted by mike jeffries
Friday, May 07, 2010 07:47

There is a crisis in family court and thank you for raising the visibility of this issue.

Family court has become the legal profession’s unsupervised playground. Litigants and attorneys exploit every crack and loophole in an antiquated system in an effort to take, or keep, as much as they can from the other party. Sadly, this strategy often applies to their children as well.

Children need healthy, normal, loving relationships with both parents — especially when their parents are going through a divorce or separaton. Do some parents scream abuse when none exists as a custody strategy? Of course they do. Do other parents claim parental alienation when none exists for the same purpose? You bet. Lies, half-truths and insincerities are standard operating procedure in the winner-take-all mentality of family court.

The key is not to ignore claims of abuse or parental alienation — but to train legal and mental health professionals to tell the difference between false allegations of abuse and real alienation and vice versa. If we truly believe the best interests of the child comes first, then we must educate professionals so they can help children maintain normal relationships with both parents when the parents are too busy dealing with their own issues to keep their children’s needs first.


mike jeffries
Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

Posted by Alicia Campos
Friday, May 07, 2010 06:38

The children are dying and when confronted the agencies have answer: we have been doing this for years and what are you going to do about it? This speaks statement alone speaks volumes. So what are we going to do about it? Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer already gave us an example. This is unaceptable and needs to be fix NOW!! lets work together we can do it!!

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 06:32

Your statements make too much sense. Common sense, something the courts do not recognize. And you’re right, it is about control. In fact, I live in such a small community that I have been further targeted by people throughout who know through the local grapevine that I have been abused and have lost my children. Some of these people, educated, professional, see me as controllable, and when that doesn’t work, they target me for emotional retaliation. I am becoming stronger, though, recognizing them for who they are and ignoring their tactics. The fact remains that my children are with a violently explosive man. I have a few traffic violations on my record. I don’t walk on water, but I don’t engage in violence, either.

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:59

that’s exactly what happened to me. My ex also solicited prostitutes, and stole my daughter from me only to put her with a crack addict who had lost her children to social services, not custodially. I hired a private investigator who wound up more interested in getting me into bed than finding my daughter. When he did find her, she was filthy, in a soiled diaper that looked as though it had not been changed in 24 hours, and a rash on her bottom so severe that she was bleeding. This man has her and her sister now. I cannot fathom it

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:53

I can so relate to you, it leaves me speechless. It makes me stutter and my hair stand on end, because when my children have revealed their abuse to me, I wanted to scream. I wanted to kill him, or tell off the so called educated “professionals” who placed them with such a monster. I wanted to hit something. I don’t see them at all, now. He destroys them at will.

And when I see an episode of Oprah, or Dr. Phil, with these celebrity hosts imploring the children to tell someone, as though that means anything at all, I want to scream at my set, “THEY did tell, and they lost their mother, the only person on earth they could count on to protect them!” They did tell, and they learned some very hard lessons, namely, that truth equals failure, that women can’t win, and that children have no value, that THEY have no value. I wonder if the damage can ever be undone.

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:46

Most women suffering abuse must also suffer the emotional and pychological aftermath. Nearly always, it is the fathers. The fact is that perfectly good mothers are losing custody to their abusers. A mother must walk on water before determined fit, while the criminal history of a father is disregarded. This is so ridiculous and outrageous that surely God is shaking His head at the ineptitude of our family courts.

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:41

I would be happy to start a petition. We have to get together. I have sometimes thought I was losing my mind while dealing with our system of injustice. Something must be done!

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:39

I second that! The Father’s rights movement is a joke, and it has served only to further victimize mothers and their children in our courts of law. Don’t fathers have enough rights as it is? They have the right to abuse us and to kill our children. Who do we go to see about that?

Posted by Lori Handrahan, Ph.D.
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:15

In my case—Eve Ensler wrote and called the Gov of Maine followed by about 100 emails and phone calls from people supporting her letter—-all totally ignored.

Could someone please tell me how a Gov ignores a personal plea from Eve Ensler followed by calls and phone calls from around the world?


March 11, 2010

Dear Governor Baldacci;

My name is Eve Ensler and I am the founder and Artistic Director of V-Day, a worldwide movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day Activists in over 130 countries raise awareness and funds about the issue through our model of art and activism. I am writing to you today as a case in your state has come to my attention that is disturbing and I feel needs your attention. If we are ever to end violence against women and girls, it is ALL of our responsibilities to ensure that the judiciary system is held to the highest standards of protecting women and girls from domestic abuse.

The case I am referring to is: Mila Malenko, three-year old daughter of Dr. Lori Handrahan and her former husband Igor Malenko. Attached, in Dr. Handrahan’s words, are her observations about the case.

Dr. Handrahan has asked for our assistance as she attempts to protect her child. It is estimated that 58,000 children are being placed into abusive fathers’ custody and taken away from protective, non-abusive mothers.

As an activist who, for over 20 years, has been committed to ending violence against women and girls, I am asking for your attention. None of us wants to hear of another case of a child that could have been kept from abuse but was not because it “fell through the cracks” of a broken system!

I certainly hope that you will take this letter into serious consideration, upholding your office’s commitment to protecting your constituents and look into the irregularities that seem to be prevalent in this case.

Eve Ensler
Playwright/V-Day Founder and Artistic Director

Posted by Angie
Friday, May 07, 2010 05:14

Exactly! This is court ordered child abuse. My ex has my children for the exact same reasons stated above. It’s sickening. They are slowly but surely being torn apart, their psyche, their emotional development, their functioning. I am helpless to do anything about it. And they are at serious risk of being injured every moment that they remain in his presence.

Posted by Paul M. Clements
Friday, May 07, 2010 04:00

Your secret is out. In information you, yourself posted, we find that the GAL in your case admits that your testimony and accusations against your ex had no merit, that you were not a credible witness. The court found likewise, and awarded custody to the father. That’s an amazing result, given the well known bias of GAL’s and courts in general. Having been thwarted in your attempts to punish an innocent man, you spew your anti-male venom thoughout the internet. It’s true, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Posted by Paul M. Clements
Friday, May 07, 2010 03:54

It’s hard to believe that courts routinely give custody to abusive men,when national studies have shown that mothers get custody in 90 – 97% of cases. PBS ran a documentary on the subject, produced by a feminazi group, called "Breaking the Silence, Childrens’ Stories. They had to retract the film when they found out that most of the claims were outright lies, and in fact, the main protagonist had, herself, been convicted TWICE of abusing the children she claimed to be protecting. Even the words of the children interviewed for that film indicated that the father had never been violent or abusive.
A federal study, done by the Dep’t of Justice, FBI, titled, “MURDER IN THE FAMILY”, showed that mothers were guilty of child murder in 55% of all cases.
What we have there, and here, is a bunch of man-hating women, angry because they were scorned, not abused. They expect the courts to accept their unsupported word at every turn, and punish the man severely. When justice prevails, they get angry and more vindictive, making up more lies in an attempt to punish the man for something he hasn’t done. The problem is, they often get their way. The courts lean over backward, in total disregard for the rights of the father, to placate the mothers. Men know that the courts are biased in women’s favor, and that the fathers are going to lose custody. They are hit with onerous child support payments, evicted from their home, and victimized by false accusations. It’s a miracle that more men don’t snap, and commit atrocious crimes.

Posted by Earl Richards
Friday, May 07, 2010 03:25

Wife-beating is a crime and belongs under the jurisdiction of a criminal court and not the farce and fraud of a family court.

Posted by M Sanderson
Friday, May 07, 2010 02:58

The sad thing is that I know more mothers than fathers that fit this description .

Posted by Kathy Ainsworth
Thursday, May 06, 2010 08:32

Judges, CPS workers, laywers, and law enforcement should be held acounable for our children when child abuse is reported. They should invesagate property. Not every parent is lying about abuse. We are required by law to report child abuse. Then when we do were told were lying. We need judges who will listen and look at all the facts and evidence. In califorina an attorney is requaired by law to report child abuse in one form or another now. My grandsons attorney made the following statement in open court (THERE IS CHILD ABUSE BUT I AM NOT COMFORTABLE.) Then my grandsons attorney left my grandson in the abusive household.The judge pretend not to hear. My ex son in law’s attorney out and out right lyed to the judge about an inview my grandson had with a P. I. I hired to find out the truth about him being abused. We will keep fighting for a better court system. CHILD ABUSE IS A HATE CRIME. Together we can and will fix the broken courts.

Posted by Toni Z
Thursday, May 06, 2010 07:59

So many of these nightmares sound like the one we are living through. My son was molested by his fathers room mate. He told his father he called him a liar, punched him and told him if he ever told bad things would happen. Too many years of domestic abuse and a felony drug conviction lead to our divorce. Many more years of abuse violence and protection orders. The Judge gave temporary custody of my son to his father. We live in a different state my son remained with me. I filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission. That Judge has been removed from the case. The new Judge says he will work with the Judge in our home state under the UCCJEA. We will see what happens. Law enforcement let this child down. CPS in two states let this child down. One Judge in South Dakota let this child down. I will not let this child down. Thank You all for sharing.

Posted by Katie S
Thursday, May 06, 2010 07:32

You sound like the broken record of the Father’s Rights movement, also known as “The Abuser’s Lobby.” How about some real statistics that show consistantly that men commit 90% or more of murders (See the Violence Policy Center as well as FBI stats). You can repeat the names of the few bad mothers with ferver, but they do not represent the overwhelming amount of women and children who are victims of violence perpetrated by men. Try memorizing the name of Stephen Garcia who shot and killed this little boy Wyatt after his mother was accused of lying when trying to protect him. Or how about memorizing the name of Mark Castillo who drowned his 3 children in a bathtub after the judge said the children’s mother Doctor Amy Castillo was not credible. There are plenty more. So many murders that people seem to be apathetic to the problem and delusional in the hatred and blaming of mothers.

Posted by Katie S
Thursday, May 06, 2010 07:21

It’s time we start demanding the use of common sense. It doesn’t cost any money and it is in “the best interest of the child”. Let’s stop going along with innane propaganda shoved down our throats by the Father’s Rights movement.

Posted by Crisitina
Thursday, May 06, 2010 05:54

Judicial immunity has rendered these judges lazy and utterly incompetent. Media silence masks murder – more need to speak out.

We need to do all we can to pressure the media to expose more cases. In mine (Case CDDMO12783) out of Iowa City, Iowa, the judge thought race was more important than the fact that:

1) My NIgerian ex abandoned our family at the three year mark of our marriage (with green card in tow).
2) My ex lived with two other women during our lenghty seperation (and beat one of them, a Univ. of Michigan professor)
3) My ex was banned from the Univ. of MI for threatening male and femal personnel.
4) My ex went to the U.S Capitol dressed-up as a suicide bomber (in the name of “art”)
and so much more….including fraud, provable perjury…..

Posted by vawnews
Thursday, May 06, 2010 05:51

<i>It appears to me the author of the article is a female spotlighting crimes divorcing men have committed. We need to remember the likes of Susan Smith and Casey Anthony to name just a few.</i>

As if those two cases had a damn thing to do with child custody, the family court system, or domestic violence….

Posted by R. Fairbanks
Thursday, May 06, 2010 05:09

The cases reported are tragic and family courts across the country need to be significantly changed. BUT it is not always the father who is the damaging parent or the adult commiting perjury in these cases. It took a member of my family over five years of being in court every three months, and two judges (one for custody issues and one for money issues) before the court was willing to agree the children needed to be with their father. The mother drove even the judges crazy (she started out borderline personality disorder – and got worse)! Eventually, even the judges directed the mother to get psychological counseling, but they never followed through on that order either.

I hope people understand everyone suffers when the court fails to do its job. And part of that failure is because there are too many judges assigned to family court who don’t want to be there and have no background or training for the issues that come before family court.

Posted by Lori Handrahan, Ph.D.
Thursday, May 06, 2010 04:57

It is all too true. I would not have believed it if it wasn’t happening to me. That in the US rule of law, due process, due diligence, accountability and transparency are totally disregarded in the Family Court Mob that is making small fortunes by ensuring children are placed in abuser hands, usually fathers, is beyond shocking.

The impunity must end. The state level will never end it as the State level authorities are all in bed with the groups making the money.

President Obama must create a National Truth Commission on Family Courts and Family Violence now. That is the only way this scandal will be exposed and ended.

Could someone please start a petition to The White House Office on Women & Girls demanding the creation of a National Truth Commission on Family Courts & Family Violence?

Posted by angeline hassell
Thursday, May 06, 2010 04:29

The following case is also a travest of justice and its going on in Queens, NYC right now….www.documentthesilence.wordpress.com

Posted by Dana Siegenthaler
Thursday, May 06, 2010 04:20

The fact is the system is broken. Divorce generally involves a dysfunctional family seeking resolution from a dysfunctional system. Most generally the divorcing couple feels angry and often is less than honest, sometimes with criminal intent in their approach to their soon to be ex-partner. Women AND men will often lie to punish or gain an advantage. It appears to me the author of the article is a female spotlighting crimes divorcing men have committed. We need to remember the likes of Susan Smith and Casey Anthony to name just a few.

Posted by Valette Clark
Thursday, May 06, 2010 04:00

The only way we can stop family courts from using victim families for financial gain is to remove criminal violence from all domesic codes. Forcing criminal divisions to handle PFA’s and acts of violence would force abusers to be governed by laws that apply to criminals and protect victims of crime. These crimes, that are facilitated by family courts are used to extort victim families by forcing un needed court ordered services, legal fees and a host of experts often controlled by the criminal abuser. The laws in family court are not designed to deal with victims of crime. They are there to compromise and be fair to both parties. This approach is an insult to families who have been criminally terrorized and then are forced into a system that tries to be neutral in spite of evidence of criminal abuse.

Posted by Gigi
Thursday, May 06, 2010 03:50

Do you HONESTLY believe a judge/magistrate will just STOP an abusers visits with the children all together?? It will NEVER happen. At least this provides SOME level of protection!!!!

Posted by Gigi
Thursday, May 06, 2010 03:36

I am so glad you pointed that out, and you are 100% correct!! Thank you!!

Posted by The Ruksa
Thursday, May 06, 2010 03:04

Thank you for this reporting. The courts too frequently fail to listen, especially to minorities, to the poor, to children and to the elderly. These travesties of justice continue because too often they are not reported on and brought to public knowledge. Part of the trouble is that real treatments for mental and behavioral difficulties are swept under the cartpet while the bloated pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries rake in billions and completely fail to help society.

If you have a strong enough stomach go to cchr.org and watch the videos.

Posted by Charles Pragnell
Thursday, May 06, 2010 02:36

As Portia has said, this is a worldwide problem, and is occurring in the U.K., Australia, and Canada wherever `Shared Parenting’ laws have been introduced. The Family Courts have become, deeply flawed, erratic, and dysfunctional and are knowingly and deliberately placing children into the hands of known abusers and potential killers. These violent abusers, pedophiles, and potential killers are being supported, advised, and assisted by Father’s Rights groups in all of those countries and their propaganda about them being `Good Dads’ has been swallowed by gullible politicians and lawyers. Of course the Family Courts argue that all of this Court-Ordered abuse is `In the Best Interests of the Child’.
The Needs, Wishes, and Rights of children must be given absolute and paramount importance in Family Laws and must over-ride any rights of parents to have their children divided up between them as their house, cars, furniture etc etc are. Childrern have the tight to be protected from harm and exploitation but daily the Family Courts are violating and breaching this right and are creating a generation of abused children which has become a stain and shame of western societies and destroys any claims that such societies are `civilised’. Two thousand years ago children were given into the hands of pedophiles and child sex abusers – has nothing been learned?.

Posted by Charles Pragnell
Thursday, May 06, 2010 02:21

As Portia has already pointed out, this is a worldwide problem of a deeply flawed, erratic, and dysfunctional Family Law system which has followed from the introduction of the `Shared Parenting’ laws. There are similar examples to those in the U.S.A. occurring in the U.K., Australia, and Canada where children are knowingly A being placed by Family Courts into the hands of abusers and killers,

Posted by Earl Richards
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:55

The public taxpayers are paying for the family courts, so the public should have access to the closed family courts, without delay and at anytime, to weed-out corruption and negligence, in the public interest and in the children’s interest so that the family courts do not become a farce or a fraud. The family courts should be open the public, to the press/media and to court watchdog organizations, especially in the secret courts that deal with children, that have done away with court reporters and the evidence. Family court staff and mediators, et al, need to learn the legal definition of “Obstruction of Process.”

Posted by Claudine Dombrowski
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:54

There ya go- simple solutions-!!! Thank you!

Posted by Claudine Dombrowski
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:49


Mother’s day complaint claims United States courts violate human rights of abused women and children.

NEW YORK, On May 11, just before Mother’s Day weekend, ten mothers, one victimized child, now an adult, leading national and state organizations filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The case claims that U.S. courts, by frequently awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and their children. http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/pages/308

I am a part of this petition and its filing in 20007 here we are Mothers Day again…. another year and it’s NOT getting better only worst.
88 Killer Dads: Fathers who ended their children’s lives in situations involving child custody, visitation, and/or child support (USA) http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2010/04/88-killer-dads-fathers-who-ended-their.html

It is a genocide.

Posted by vawnews
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:36

One PROBLEM= Supervised Visitation Centers

If the father poses a risk to the mother or child, why is he being allowed to visit anywhere? How is this supposedly in the child’s best interest?


Posted by When Fathers Kill Their Kids »h Parenting News Network™
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:33

[…] A longer version of this story can be read at TheCrimeReport.org by clicking here. […]

Posted by Gail L
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:28

I know Katie. As she put it to me when I met her, we are members of a very exclusive club. My son lived, but the entire affair was covered up by the police and the courts. I found out about the shooting by getting the hospital bill. My ex was able to retain custody because I was not told, even of the court date for the “shooter”. The police reports do not jive with what I was told, but the judge, Judge George Fairbanks, Williamsburg, VA. giggled to the Guardian Ad Litem when I mentioned the shooting in court.

Posted by When Fathers Kill Their Kids &laquo; Silence Is Oppression (PAS)
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:26

[…] A longer version of this story can be read at TheCrimeReport.org by clicking here. […]

Posted by Bonnie Russell
Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:09

The police refusing to do their job remains a huge part of the problem. See

The solution is GPS with Victim Notification so at the very least, people who are targeted by those who’ve they’ve obtained restraining orders, can leave the area before the one intending harm gets there.
See www.GPSrestrainingordersolutions.com

Posted by McHenry County Turning Point &raquo; Failure to protect
Thursday, May 06, 2010 10:24

[…] You can read it all here. […]

Posted by Danielle J. Duperret, PhD
Thursday, May 06, 2010 10:22

Although my children are not dead (the father prefers to torture them and me, they suffer from all the mental trauma the court made (and still makes) them go through. I’ve been in court almost every months for the past 10 years, loosing custody on and off. My practice was destroyed 4 times. My 15-year old daughter was put in a psych ward when she had an argument with her father, which he started; she ran away with her siblings and was taken out of her room at gunpoint by US Marshals when they came to arrest my 23-year old daughter and me… and returned the children to their abusive father. I did not see them for almost 2 years. I spent 6 months in maximum security with murderers and drug dealers because my teenagers had ran away from their abusive father for the second time. I was put on 5-year probation after I was deceived into signing a plea bargain (I would not, even though none of my 40 witnesses were allowed to testify, and I was not allowed to speak of domestic violence or child abuse during the trial and they threatened me with 7 years of prison if I did not sign). 4 judges and the DA’s office are implicated into forging fraudulent documents to deceive Governor Schwarzenegger into signing an extradition warrant. My daughter spent 4 days with drug addicts and prostitutes and had the choice of either staying in jail or paying her father’s attorney fees as bail. It ruined both her and my career. My son was forced to have a traumatic and unnecessary surgery… and the father is starting to manipulate the court into ordering another surgery. I could not prove that the father raped me and the first evaluator’s report was a PAS report, based on “documents she received in an unmarked envelope which she thought were from me.” Not one paragraph was true. Parental Alienation Syndrome colored the whole custody, even though some of my children were adults and could testify to the abuse.

Posted by Sue Morris
Thursday, May 06, 2010 10:08

Thank you…from an exhausted, protective, impoverished (by this process) parent. It started with physical abuse by my ex. I was not believed or protected by the Court or our evaluator…I was looked at with suspicion. He knew the buzz words that would work for him to the police and the Court: “highly contested divorce and child custody battle” just say those words and crimes against the weaker party melt away.

He was never interested in our son until the divorce and then my ex decided that he wanted full custody…With the beating I took from him, the lies began about me as mother, and those lies have been compounded from hearing to hearing from Judge to Judge and the our 730 evaluator that he insisted we have. My record as a mother and citizen of this country is clean, he on the other hand, is an ever recovering drug addict and has been arrested for soliciting prostitutes. During the evaluation he tested in the high clinical ranges for mental illness. I tested normal..what ever that means…these were the findings our 730 evaluator and her findings were reported to the Court.. But, she gave our child back to him? Who does this protect? This recommendation, in our case protects the rights of an abusive and manipulative man…not the rights of our child.

Posted by Joyce Murphy
Thursday, May 06, 2010 09:23

I did not divorce my husband because he was a nice person. I divorced him because he was mean and abusive and had threatened both me and our child. After 7 years of San Diego family court employees and their approved evaluators telling me and my child that we were lying or delusional or uncooperative, my now ex-spouse was finally convicted on multiple counts of child molestation. If he had not molested other children who could produce evidence, I would still be fighting for my child in the family court system. No one believed us. When I recently added up the financial costs of the fight for my child, it totaled $263, 473. I had to declare bankruptcy, borrow from my family and friends, and live so basically that at one point living in my car seemed to be my best option. Paying court costs and supervised visitation had drained me. The judges, lawyers, psychologists, doctors, priests, and social workers involved in my (and other) cases currently are not held accountable for either the financial or mental or physical destruction of our lives. I am lucky. MY child is now with me. Slowly, she heals. Slowly, I am able to provide a more stable financial base for us. Slowly, we are reconstructing our lives. The cost has been great. Each time she reveals an abuse enacted on her by a father whom the courts claimed was a loving man who would never hurt his child, I want to scream. Slowly, though, we deal with the pain and scars. We are lucky. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of children currently at risk from their abusers and the courts who protect those abusers. The children must be believed and the courts must be held accountable.

Posted by Angela S.
Thursday, May 06, 2010 09:11

Great aritcle! It is time for the truth to come out about our judical system. My heart breaks for the Mom’s who have lost their children. The Judical system has failed many! When I reported abuse to the Judge his response to me was that I could be sued for slander towards my ex. I have a case manager who believes that it is ok to use physical force on your children when you discipline them and bruises are NOT abuse. These are his words to me. I have 3 letter from him about money. One letter says that if I can’t pay my bill in full I could lose time with my kids and that it reflects badly as a parent. I asked how to get my kids back and his response to me was to pay your bill in full. Payments are not acceptable to him. I also have a Judge who won’t rule against the case manager because they might quit. Who out there can help us? My ex was charged with domestic battery because there was a witness. Thank goodness someone finally saw him hit me. My ex was not punished. The case manager said he took diversion so he was not guilty. I was the one who was punished by the case manager he kicked me out of the girl’s events so the ex could attend because of the restraining order. There are no laws against private case managers. It is evident he is in it for the money. My girls don’t have a voice. He feels that kids should not be heard. He spoke to my daughter 7 years ago one time. I have asked for a gaurdian ad litem so my girls could have a voice and have been turned down by the case manager and the judge for years. I wish someone could help my girls. I left the marriage because of the abuse hopping to protect my daughters. I have not been able to protect them it has only gotten worse!!! I only see my girls everyother weekend. They were taken away from me because I showed bruises on my daughter to the school personal and our case manager said it was ok for her father to use physical force on her.

Posted by Donna Carbone
Thursday, May 06, 2010 09:08

Many years ago I was married to a man who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. The doctor who advised me to get a divorce “quickly” said that his potential to harm/kill any children we might have was great. Even with that statement on record, in the divorce proceedings I was treated like a criminal, forced by the judge to “prove” that I had, indeed, been beaten and abused. I shutter to think what would have happened if children had been involved. Judges who make decisions that end in the death of a wife/children should be held accountable for their actions.

Posted by Amanda Hodge
Thursday, May 06, 2010 09:01

I lost my 2 children 20 months ago after their second report of sexual molestation by their adoptive father; the judge immediately took them from me as their only caretaker for 7 years and placed them with their identified abusor, who has also had a partial brain removal and can barely work. It’s a control issue. The abusors control us through courts and the courts choose the person whom they can more easily control to punish. They see wives and children who “allow” themselves to be abused as controllable. Decisions have nothing to do with what is in the best interest of a child. It doesn’t take a psych degree, medical degree or law degree to look at pictures of naked men with anotomically correct erect body parts drawn by a 4-year old to realize she saw that SOMEWHERE! The solution is in ending judicial immunity and making divorce possible without a court system set up for science and millionaires. It doesn’t take $100,000 and 5 psychologists, 3 pediatricians and 8 lawyers and 6 years to end a marriage and place the wife and kid in protective hands…unless the judge requires it.

Posted by Portia
Thursday, May 06, 2010 08:45

This is what has been happening in Ireland and the UK too for many years.

Lawyers are advising their femal clients not to mention the abuse of the children and themselves to the judges, “as they are sick of it”.

There are thousands of protective mothers on the run worldwide trying to keep the children safe from the abusers and the system, because they learned that once entering the court system, you are trapped and are being abused by the abuser and the system.

Here is article from ireland showing the same scenario and why.


This is from UK showing the judge, barristers, lawyers, social workers etc dancing to the tune of the abuser


So, it is a wold wide problem and together with light on truth like the article above, change comes to be.

Posted by Katie S
Thursday, May 06, 2010 08:42

Great reporting. When will something be done about children be forced to visit abusive dads and moms by threat of jail or loss of custody for the protective parent. Shared parenting does NOT work when forced to do under threat. The human rights violations going on in the United States need to end. Mothers trying to protect their children should NEVER have their children taken from them against their will. Older children who complain of abuse should NEVER be called liars or “brainwashed” for saying what has happened to them. Anyone supporting the fake theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome should have criminal charges against them relating to the Human Rights Violations inflicted by forcing others into maintaining relationships AGAINST THEIR WILL.

Parental Alienation Syndrome or any other of the associated names are all very much the same theory as Female Hysteria, the catchall diagnosis to label and stigmatize women who were noncompliant in any way. It is also similar to Drepetomania that slaves who wanted to be free were accused of having. Only now any woman or child who try to escape from an abusive male guardian (husband/father) is accused of having Parental Alienation. (There are a few men and boys, usually teenage boys who want to hang with dad, who have also been accused of having PAS too-with terrible results like psych hospitals and foster care) What is going to be done to end this?

Posted by Bonnie Russell
Thursday, May 06, 2010 08:28

I spoke with the editor about this at length, detailing how the police are part of the problem and how crime reports are Not constructed in such a way to help the victims. Also, see the “Bad Cops” section of Familylawcourts.com. Yikes.

However, this crucial information was missing from the final product. Exactly why in part, I formed Familylawcourts.com in the first place, in 2001. There is a solution, See ww.GPSmonitoring.com but sadly, that wasn’t the part of the report, either.

Thus media continues to remain a huge part of the problem.

Posted by Earl Richards
Thursday, May 06, 2010 03:06

If judicial immunity is not ended for family court judges, then the family court judges will keep-on breaking the law. Any family court judge who grants of children to a wife-beater, should be charged with child endangerment. If the wife-beater is a danger to his (ex)wife, then he is a danger to her children. One does not need a law degree to know this.

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