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Topics - KellyMB

1
Main / Child abuse and women perpetrators
Jun 10, 2007, 01:10 PM
I posted this under another thread. But I think it is important enough to have a new thread. I have not seen this article before. Hope it is new to you also. It is a total gem. It is a long article but here are some exerpts.

The sexual abuse by women of children and teenagers
A surprising 86% of survivors of sexual abuse were not believed when they said the abuser was a woman.
Many myths were exposed, such as the one that women only sexually abused when coerced by men - they in fact played the lead part. Also the myth that women are incapable of cruelty - what was shown was beyond belief.
Women commit 25% of all child sexual abuse
250,000 children in UK have been sexually abused by women
Women in our society have been portrayed as victims, but somewhere within their victimisation they have learned that to abuse children gave them a sense of power, control, agency, and therefore they use the abuse of children to gain those things.
Jacqui Saradjiam: (clinical psychologist)
I think people find it so difficult to see that women sexually abuse children because the whole view of women is of nurturers, carers, protectors - people who do anything to look after children - and they see the women as victims rather than enemies or perpetrators of any abuse.
Michelle Elliott: (Director - children's charity Kidscape)
I think the issue strikes at the core of what we perceive ourselves as women to be. I think that it's easier to think that it's men - men the enemy, somehow - but it can't be women - it's one thing women can't do. Women can be equal, we can be free, we can be in charge of companies, but we can't sexually abuse children - That's a load of rubbish.



http://www.canadiancrc.com/articles/BBC_Child_sexual_abuse_by_women_06OCT97.htm
2
Main / Speaking of "Pussy pass"
Jun 04, 2007, 11:24 PM
My great grandfathers brother was murdered by his wife in 1917. She got off easy........ "a pussy pass" by denigrating him as a "drunken indian". He was in reality a very rich man, from a good Osage family. I think she killed him for his money. See top link for story on my great uncle. See the link to "Osage Indian Murders" for the background on the money. They are long articles and I felt it would be harder to read here.

http://www.ausbcomp.com/~bbott/cowley/OLDNEWS/WORTMAN/LUELLA.HTM


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osage_Indian_murders
3
Main / Urban dictionary "Pussy pass"
Jun 04, 2007, 11:10 PM
The Urban Dictionary accepted my definition of "pussy pass". Sometimes they get things right. I think you can add examples to the definition..have fun!

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pussypass
4
Main / Amanda quits
Feb 12, 2007, 08:53 PM
Its official. Amanda has tendered her resignation, but not without taking shots as she goes. I thought that she could be interesting to read at times. Her penchant for cussing out and banning anyone with a brain enough to challenger her to a real debate was just plain cowardly.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070213/ap_on_el_pr/edwards2008

"RALEIGH, N.C. - One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate        John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages. Amanda Marcotte posted on her personal blog, Pandagon, that the criticism "was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign." Marcotte said she resigned from her position Monday, and that her resignation was accepted by the campaign.

Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, confirmed that Marcotte was "no longer working for the campaign." She declined additional comment.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded last week that Edwards fire Marcotte and a second blogger, Melissa McEwan, for remarks he deemed anti-Catholic. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, called the messages personally offensive, but decided to keep Marcotte and McEwan on staff.

"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.

Earlier Monday, Marcotte wrote on her personal Web site, "The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal, where ... women are nothing but vessels."

Donohue called both Marcotte and McEwan "foul-mouthed bigots." He did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday night.

McEwan remains on the Edwards campaign staff. She did not return messages left Monday."


To quote The Simpsons"HA HA"


5
Its late so I am not going to cut and paste the whole thing tonight. Same with some comments I will make tomorrow. The only thing that I will say is one of the authors is listed as the chief "scientist" of a womens study program. :laugh2:  

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rivers2oct02,0,5827039.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail
6
Main / MRA..Anyone at the LB Womens Conf
Sep 27, 2006, 10:27 PM
Anybody at the Long Beach Women's Conference this week?
7
Wow, I always thought that a contempt citation such as this could only be enforced as long as there is a realistic expectation that the defendent will comply. One more thing that makes you not want to get married! :(

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/09/15/chadwick.divorce.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest



MEDIA, Pennsylvania (Sept. 16) - Slight, scholarly and enigmatic, H. Beatty Chadwick is doing this day what he has done for the past 4,093: He is sitting in a county jail outside PhiladelphiaIt is a place meant for run-of-the-mill crooks just passing through on their way to comparatively luxurious state prisons. Certainly not for anyone to stay 11 years - not for the central figure in one of the most bizarre divorce battles in American history.

It hinges on a charge of civil contempt designed to force Chadwick to turn over $2.5 million the courts say he hid overseas all those years ago. Except he won't. Or can't, depending on whom you believe.

So Chadwick sits.

"He's an anomaly," says his lawyer, Michael Malloy. "They don't know what to do with him."

The case has produced an Everest of court papers - a dozen pleas to the Delaware County courts, nine to state appeals courts, nine to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 12 to federal courts, two of those to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But before all that, there was a marriage: Chadwick, 39-year-old successful corporate lawyer, to Barbara Jean Crowther, just 22, in 1977. Not surprisingly, they disagree about the very nature of their union.

H. Beatty Chadwick insists the marriage was placid, happy - at least until she became depressed in their later years together. He says he loved her very much. He smiled on her newfound hobby of painting.

But in past interviews, she has described a home life controlled intensely by her husband, with rationed toilet paper (six sheets per bathroom visit) and sex (7:30 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays).

She told Philadelphia magazine in 1994 that he once kicked her and caused her to fall down a flight of stairs and lose a child she had been carrying for 18 weeks.

H. Beatty Chadwick says it is all fiction, much of it dreamed up by his ex-wife's high-powered divorce lawyer, Albert Momjian.

Barbara Jean Crowther Chadwick is now Bobbie Applegate - she made up the last name - and at her home in Maine she politely refuses to discuss the details of the marriage, for fear of being sued by her ex-husband.

But she will talk about the day during a vacation to the south of France when she announced she would leave H. Beatty Chadwick. She says he vowed she would never see a dime. He used a term unfamiliar to her, she says: Scorched earth.

"It sounded so comical to me," she says. "It's when you burn everything so that the enemy gets nothing." She filed for divorce in Delaware County on Nov. 23, 1992.

This much is undisputed by everyone who knows Beatty Chadwick: He is intelligent, precise, careful with words.

Carl Fernandes, a retired North Carolina lawyer who met Chadwick in the Air Force four decades ago, describes Chadwick as an excellent, methodical attorney.

"He was always very well-prepared, no hyperbole," Fernandes said. "He had a very good reputation as a lawyer and as a human being. She has destroyed that."

Chadwick's son Bill, a 38-year-old data manager in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, who dismisses his stepmother's claims, says his father was also a conservative investor, slowly building a personal fortune of several million dollars.

Which is why Chadwick's explanation for what happened to the money seems to strain credulity - and Chadwick himself smiles at the suggestion.

His explanation: He pledged a $5,000 investment in 1990 in a limited partnership called Maison Blanche, designed to invest in the hot European real-estate market and run from the British territory of Gibraltar.

He says the catch was that the investment carried a risk of $2.75 million: Investors like Chadwick would be liable for that much if the Maison Blanche partners issued a capital call.

He says a capital call is exactly what happened - in January 1993, two months after his wife filed for divorce. The obvious question: Why on earth he would put up $5,000 to a partnership that would later call in $2.5 million?

Chadwick first flashes his penchant for precision: It was $2.502 million, he corrects.

"It was $5,000 to play," he says. "And I anticipated there would be more requested, but it was never even in my wildest imaginations what they ultimately wound up asking me for."

In July 1994, the Delaware County courts ordered the $2.5 million sent back, into an court-controlled account, while the divorce played out.

Momjian showed the courts documentation that Chadwick's money wound up in Gibraltar, with some of it briefly returning to accounts in the United States, and eventually to Luxembourg and Panama. But that was 10 years ago. Momjian says the cash could be anywhere by now.

Chadwick insisted he could not pay up because the cash was no longer his. A county judge found him in contempt, and on Nov. 2, 1994, he was ordered imprisoned. The deal from the courts: Give up the money and go free.

Chadwick failed to show up for court. Then, the following April, Mr. Fastidious kept a 7 a.m. dental appointment in Philadelphia.

The hygienist had seen a Philadelphia magazine piece about the marriage, recognized Chadwick and alerted sheriff's deputies. He was arrested in his dentist's office.

More than 4,000 days later, at the Delaware County courthouse, Chadwick's image pops up on a small television screen from the prison nearby. Prison rules prohibit an in-person interview.

Traces of silver hair on either side of his head, his image is wan, his arms thin, but he looks healthy. He is wearing a blue prison-issue shirt, a white bracelet on one arm and a black wristwatch on the other.

He talks about biding his time - he reads The Economist and The Wall Street Journal and just finished a biography of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. A melanoma victim, he frets about rampaging infections in the cells.

He talks about his case. If he is lying, he knows his story by heart.

"It's been written frequently that I could get out of jail if I only told where the this money is," he says. "And that's never really been an issue. Everybody knew where the money went.

"The issue has always been whether I have the power to get it back. I've maintained that they have to prove that I had the power to get it back. I can't prove that I didn't."

Ever the lawyer, Chadwick busies himself with research and brief-writing on his own behalf. Time and again, frustration: He was denied at every turn, or overturned on appeal when he caught a break from lower courts.

And then, a lightning bolt: A. Leo Sereni, a former president judge of Delaware County appointed to follow the money with two accounting firms working for him, said he could find no trace of the money beyond where Bobbie Chadwick's lawyers had traced it - to Maison Blanche, and a small fraction back into some U.S. accounts. But most of it ... nowhere.

Sereni said Chadwick should be set free. But the Delaware County courts ruled this February that Sereni overstepped his bounds, and found that Chadwick had failed to fully cooperate.

Sereni stands by the report. "After 10 years, it's fruitless," he says. "It's 11 years now. My God - if he had stolen $2 million, he would have been out a couple of years ago."

These days Bobbie Chadwick lives with her new husband, a retired mathematician, in a modest home in the fog-shrouded village of Thomaston, Maine. Barefoot and curled up in a chair in her art studio, she discusses the matter over ginger ale.

"I'm totally free," she says. "I was a kept little girl when I left him. Frightened of everything. I have lived through intense fear. I've learned to make a living. I've bought a house. I've given up a major part of my life that was really hurting me."

She says she doubts she will ever see the money - in any case she owes an enormous chunk of it to her lawyers.

Still: Why? Suppose Chadwick does control the money - a sum that, responsibly invested, has probably grown past $8 million (euro6.3 million) by now, the courts estimate. Why not give it up and get out?

His ex-wife likens it to days-long silent treatments she says he would give her during their marriage.

"This is just Beatty to a T," she says. "It's the biggest tantrum you'll ever see anyone throw. And he's real good at throwing tantrums. He can't - just like he couldn't let me go - he can't let a single penny go. It's his."

Her lawyer, Momjian, continues to make hay over a letter sent to Chadwick by Fernandes, his North Carolina friend, which offered help in setting up a numbered account in the Cayman Islands.

Chadwick and Fernandes both now say the account was planned so Chadwick would have a safe place to store his money, Social Security checks and the like, once he leaves prison.

Momjian believes Chadwick is well-connected and steel-willed, and concedes he may never find the money.

"It may be under a mattress in his son's house. We don't know," he says.

Chadwick thinks he might like to work in the legal profession again if he ever gets out. He says he is happy she has settled contentedly in Maine.

"It took me a long time to forgive what she has done," he says. "I still have to work at that. My own religious faith says that if I expect forgiveness from others, I have to forgive."

Told this a few days later in Maine, the former Bobbie Chadwick throws her head back and laughs, long and loud.
8
Main / Excellent PAS Article
Sep 04, 2006, 11:13 PM
I found this article while researching child psychiatric disorders. It is well written, and to the point. Amazingly it was written in 1993. It is long, but I decided to post it full length, as it is a good read.




http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/ward02.htm

NEW HAMPSHIRE BAR JOURNAL, Volume 34, No. 1, March 1993

Family Wars: The Alienation of Children

Peggie Ward, Ph.D. and J. Campbell Harvey, Esquire

COMPOSITE CASE FROM ACTUAL EXAMPLES

The parents of Amy (age 10) and Kevin (age 7) are divorcing after 13 years of marriage. Their father, by temporary stipulation, has moved from the marital home. He is entitled to visit with the children on alternating weekends and one evening during the week. Soon the children begin to refuse to go with him. At first, they do not want to leave Mom; they say that they are afraid to go. When Dad comes to the house, Mom tells him that she will "not force the children to go." "Visitation is up to them." and she will "not interfere in their decision". The children refuse to talk with him on the phone. Mom calls him names when he telephones and complains constantly about her financial situation, blaming him, all within hearing of the children.

Dad attempts to talk with the children about the situation, then to bribe them with movies, shopping trips and toys. They become more and more sullen with him and resistant to coming. Anything, routine doctor visits, invitations from a friend, a visit to Aunt Beth, serves as an excuse to avoid visits.

A court appointed guardian ad litem learns from the children that "Dad is abusive and mean to us." They do not want to go on visits. However, when asked to give specific examples of how he is abusive, their stories ale not convincing. "He yells too loud when we make noise." "He made me climb all the way to the top of a mountain." "He gets mad at me about my homework." "He makes me wear my bike helmet." "He pounds the wall to get us up in the morning and it makes me afraid that he'll hit me." They say that he has never hit them, although they state that they ale very afraid that he will.

These children are in the process of becoming alienated from their father.

An increasing number of children are experiencing the divorce of their parents or litigation over their custody some time during their minority. Some children experience the concerted, albeit often unconscious or unintended, attempt of one parent to alienate them from their other parent. It is the purpose of this article to alert lawyers and judges involved in divorce and custody wars to the serious nature of parental alienation and to provide suggestions for court based intervention.

I. DEFINITIONS

Parental alienation is the creation of a singular relationship between a child and one parent, to the exclusion of the other parent. The fully alienated child is a child who does not wish to have any contact whatsoever with one parent and who expresses only negative feelings for that parent and only positive feelings for the other parent. This child has lost the range of feelings for both parents that is normal for any child.

There are significant disputes between the experts as to the theoretical framework for this phenomenon and as to the appropriate terminology to apply to understand it, which disputes are beyond the scope of this article. We have tried to adopt language with common sense meaning for our discussion and use the term "alienation" in its non-technical sense.

We name the parent who acts to create such a singular relationship between the child and himself the "alienating parent".(l) The parent who is excluded from the singular relationship is "the target parent" We note that alienation can occur both ways, with each parent attempting to alienate the child from the other.

II. HARM TO THE CHILD

There are three underlying premises regarding the development of children that underlie this article. First, all litigation concerning children can affect their healthy growth and development negatively. The greater the acrimony and the greater the part that the children need or are asked to play in the litigation, the greater the potential for harm.(2)

Second, it is psychologically harmful to children to be deprived of a healthy relationship with one parent. There is a substantial body of research that indicates that children need contact with adults of both sexes for balanced development."(3)

Third, with the exception of abuse, there is no good reason why children should not want to spend some time with each of their parents, and, even with abuse, most children still want to maintain some relationship with the abusive parent. It is the job of the parents, the professionals and the courts to see that such contact is possible under safe circumstances.(4)

Alienating messages and behavior, whether intentional or not, place the child in a severe loyalty bind, a position wherein the child believes she must chose which of her two parents she will "love" more. To have to choose between parents is itself damaging to the child, and, if the end result is the exclusion of a parent from the child's life, the injury is irreparable.

There is a continuum of alienating parental behaviors which cause harm to children, and all positions on this continuum need be of concern to the professionals and the courts. Some of the behavior is scarcely detectable with the result that attorneys and the court system gloss over the alienation as a "normal" part of the divorce or litigation process. However, such barely evident alienating behavior marks the beginning of an alienation continuum.

III. THE FAMILY SYSTEMS APPROACH

All families are made up of individuals who live together in relatively stable intimate groups with the ostensible purpose of supporting and caring for each other. Family members develop their own rules and boundaries, spoken and unspoken, about the ways that they will behave with each other, cohabit, be intimate, support and care for each other. Each family's rules and boundaries are unique and change over time to reflect modifications in membership, the evolving needs of its members and the realities the outer world places on the family. Usually, changes in the family system are gradual and evolving, but some events force cataclysmic upheaval in the system. Divorce is usually such an event.

Unless a separating family can change its own rules and boundaries without outside intervention, the divorce process itself may reach an impasse, the term applied when the divorce process itself becomes "stuck," and the family system fails to restructure itself appropriately. When there is an impasse, any move by anyone, family member, attorney, spouse, is met with a counter move resulting in no forward progress.

The impasse creates a system of its own, with its own membership, rules and boundaries. Although little recognized by professionals, membership in the divorce impasse system includes all members of the family living together and all professionals involved in "helping" the family get a divorce, i.e. the lawyers, mediators, therapists and even the judge.

A divorce impasse can occur at three different levels: an internal level (inside an individual); an interactional level (between two individuals); and/or an external level (within the larger social and familial system).(5) An impasse at any one of the levels will affect the entire system, and how each individual member responds will affect all members, especially the child.

The children themselves are members in both the changing family system and in the developing broader divorce impasse system. As a member of the family system, a child is attached legally, emotionally and psychologically to each of his parents. As a member of a divorce impasse system, a child is often asked to ally himself with one parent or the other, a request which clearly places the child in a loyalty bind. All members of the divorce impasse system, including the professionals, are affected by the loyalty struggles and may become polarized.

IV. MOTIVATION FOR ALIENATION

There are many motivational factors that could cause a parent to want to alienate her child from the child's other parent. An alienating parent most likely has strong underlying feelings and emotions left over from earlier, unresolved experiences, which have been resuscitated and compounded by the pain of the divorce. The individual, in attempting to ward off powerful and intensely uncomfortable feelings, develops behavioral strategies that involve the children. The internal world of an alienating parent can have complex and multifarious origins which are beyond the scope of this article.

Alienating parents may not be aware of the emotions described above and quite convincingly may deny to lawyers and judges both motivation and behavior. Other parents may be aware of their angry or hopeless feelings and may consciously attempt to curb these feelings to protect the child. However, despite their best intentions to the contrary, these parents may engage in alienating behavior. Frequently, the unconscious or unintentional alienating behavior results in the milder forms of alienation of the child from the target parent. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the concrete signs of alienating behavior.

The courts should not tolerate alienating behavior simply because the intention to alienate is denied. The disavowal of alienation and active verbal espousal of relationship may be quite convincing and mislead lawyers and judges from the actual truth of the alienation.

V. RECOGNITION OF ALIENATING BEHAVIORS

A. The Continuum: Distinguishing between "Typical" Divorce and "Alienation"

All parties to divorce experience a wide range of intense emotions, including rage, disappointment, hurt and fear. In "cooperative" divorces the parties consciously suppress their own feelings and try not to engage in behavior they understand to be inflammatory to the other side. They work together to restructure their own relationship and their family to allow the children as normalized a relationship with each of them as possible.

However, an angry divorce is not necessarily an alienating one. The focus in determining whether or not there is alienation in an angry divorce must be, not on the degree of rage or loss expressed, but on the behavioral willingness to involve the children. Alienation occurs when a parent uses the child to meet personal emotional needs, as a vehicle to express or carry her own intense emotions or as a pawn to manipulate as a way of inflicting retribution on the other side.

Parental alienation occurs along a broad continuum, based on the level of internal distress of the alienating parent, the vulnerability of the child and the responses of the target parent, as well as on the responses of the external system (family, attorneys, mental health professionals, the legal system). The range may be from children who experience significant discomfort at transition times (mild), through children who feel compelled to keep separate worlds and identities when with each parent (moderate); to children who refuse to have anything to do with the target parent and become obsessed with their hatred (severe).

B. Mild

It is difficult to recognize the mild form of alienating behavior. Not only is the behavior itself often subtle but the alienating parent often will deny both motivation and acts. This parent will make sincere statements to attorneys and the court that reflect a regard for the children's needs for the other parent and a respect for the unique role the other parent has to play in the life and development of the child. Usually, there is little polarization in the larger social and familial system, attorneys and extended family included.

At this stage, despite the seeming sincerity, the alienating parent's view of the other parent is compromised, as indicated by behavior. She is not aware of the beliefs and feelings that motivate her unintentional alienating behavior (internal) or of the effect that statements and behavior can have on the child (interactional).

Because the statements of the alienating parent will not give the lawyers or the courts clues that there is alienation in process, it is important to look at the underlying messages that are given directly to the child. The communications to the child of the regard with which the other parent is held is the key to detecting alienating behavior.

Examples of mild forms of alienating behavior include:

Little regard for the importance of visitation/contact with the other parent:
"You're welcome to visit with Mom; you make the choice; I won't force you."
No encouragement of visits;
No concern over missed visits;
No interest in the child's activities or experiences during visitation (in a positive manner);

Lack of value regarding communication between visits:
No encouragement of communication between visits;
Little awareness of the distress a child may feel if a visit or phone call is missed.

Inability to tolerate the presence of the other parent even at events important to the child;
"I won't go to any soccer games if your mother is there."

Disregard for the importance of the relationship to the child:
Displaying a willingness to apply for and accept a new job away from the other parent, without regard to the child's relationship with that parent.

At this stage alienation is most likely to become obvious during family system transition times, such as when children leave one home and go to another, when one parent remarries or has another child. The knowledge that a child needs the other parent may be present, but this rational belief may become overwhelmed by internal and interactional problems at this phase.

C. Moderate

The alienating parent has some awareness of emotional motivations (fear of loss, rage) and little sense of the value of the target parent. Sometimes, an alienating parent will understand the theoretical importance of the other parent in the life of the child, but believes that in this case, the other parent, due to character deficiencies, cannot be important to the child. Their statements and behaviors are subtle but damaging to the child.

Communication of dislike of visitation:
"You can visit with your Dad, but you know how I feel about it."
"How can you go to see your father when you know... I've been sick; Aunt B is here..."
"Visitation with your Dad is really up to you."

Refusal to hear anything about the other parent (especially if it is good):
"That's between you and your father (regarding reports of visitation; plans for visitation);"
"I don't want to hear about ... (what you did with your father) (especially if it was fun);

Delight in hearing negative news about the other parent;

Refusal to speak directly with the other parent:
When the target parent calls, gives the phone to the child "It's him," in a disgusted tone of voice."
Hangs up the phone on the target parent;
Silently hands the phone to the child when its the target parent calling.

Refusal to allow the target parent physically near:
Target parent not allowed out of the car or even on the property, in the driveway, for pick-up and drop-off for visitations;

Doing and undoing statements: Negative comments about the other parent made and then denied:
"There are things I could tell you about your Dad, but I'm not that kind of person."
"Your Dad is an alcoholic; oh, I shouldn't have said that."

Subtle accusations:
"Your Dad wasn't around a lot when you were little."
"Your Dad abandoned me."

Destruction of memorabilia of the target person.

At this stage alienation continues to occur frequently during transitional times but is present in other circumstances. With moderate forms of alienation, all three divorce impasse systems are involved. The alienating parent is facing an internal conflict; the alienating parent is interacting with the spouse in a manner designed to produce conflict; and the external forces, such as therapists, attorneys and the court, are involved in the polarization, at least to some degree.

D. Overt

When the alienation is overt, the motivation to alienate, the intense hatred of the other, is blatant. The alienating parent is obsessed and sees the target as noxious to self, the children, and even the world. A history of the marriage reflects nothing but the bad times. The target parent was never worthwhile as a spouse or a parent and is not worthwhile today. Such a parent shows little response to logic and little ability to confront reality.

Many alienating parents at this stage entertain the overt belief that the target parent presents an actual danger of harm to the children. They present this belief as concrete knowledge that if the children spend time with the target parent they will be harmed in some manner.

Statements about the target parent are delusional or false:
"Your Mom doesn't pay support" when there is evidence to show payment.
"Your father doesn't love us" (or "you") when there is no evidence to that effect.
"Your mother drinks too much," "uses drugs," "smokes," etc. when there is no evidence to support these statements.
"Your father went out and got the meanest lawyer in town;"

Inclusion of the children as victims of the target parent's bad behavior:
"Your Mom abandoned us;"
"Your Dad doesn't love us (or you) anymore;"

Overt criticism of the target parent:
"Your Mom is a drug addict/alcoholic/violent person...;"
"What's wrong with your Dad; he never/always does...;"
"Your mother endangers your health;"
"Your father doesn't take good care of you / doesn't feed you / take you to the doctor / understand you during visits."

The children are required to keep secrets from the target parent:
"Don't tell your Mom where you've been / who you've seen where you are going/ etc."

Threat of withdrawal of love:
"I won't love you if you...(see your Dad, etc.)"
"I'm the only one who really loves you."

Extreme lack of courtesy to the target parent.

At this stage of alienation, conscious motivation is always present, and the internal, interactional and external systems are fully engaged in supporting the alienation process. These, and the severe cases described below, are the ones that, as an attorney, invade your private life and lead to emotional over-involvement.

E. Severe

By the severe stage, the alienating parent no longer needs to be active. In terms of the motivation, the alienating parent holds no value at all for the other parent; the hatred and disdain are overt. The alienating parent will do anything to keep the children away from the target parent.

At this stage the child is enmeshed with the alienating parent and takes on the alienating parent's desires, emotions and hatreds and verbalizes them to all as his own. The child too believes that the target parent is a villain and the scum of the earth, and sees the history of the target parent and family as all negative. The child is neither able to remember nor express any positive feeling for the target parent.

VI. INTERVENTION IN ALIENATION SYSTEMS

1. Prevention

A. Education

Divorce is an intense change of role, life stage and life style for almost all who go through it. Participants in the divorce process need as much education, support and information as possible to help moderate the harms of divorce for children.

Certain counties, court systems and other governmental entities are requiring all parents of children involved in a divorce to attend an educational program designed to help them understand the impact of the divorce process on themselves and their children and to recognize the value to children of having both parents involved.(6) They learn about the typical stages in divorce and child development and the impact they can anticipate their divorce having on their children. These programs are designed to be preventative of the kinds of problems that commonly arise when parents do not understand the psychological and emotional consequences their divorce has on all concerned.(7)

Other states require mandatory mediation prior to a court trial as a way of avoiding litigation. Mediation advocates believe that mediation is more successful than the courts at avoiding future litigation.(8)

We are hopeful that an educational program could have significant preventative and some ameliorating effect on alienation, depending on the stage of the alienation.

B. Attorneys

Attorneys and therapists are the front line professionals in most custody battles. They, too, have an obligation to educate their clients that divorce involves anger, rage, upset, distress, loyalty binds, and children and parents who manipulate each other in crisis. The clients must be helped to understand the normality of these themes and to learn the strategies for controlling them and outgrowing them. Alternatives to intense battles, vindication or retribution must be explored. Clients must be educated as to the possibilities for "humane divorce" and about the cost to children of warfare and the cost to children if they don't have access to both parents if access is possible.

It is the duty of the attorney to advocate for the client. Good representation will include assessing the family system clearly from the client's point of view, and to advocate for that client's interests zealously. However, we believe that such zealous advocacy must occur in the context of the client's long term interests as a member of a restructuring family system. Whatever the outcome of the immediate litigation, the client will remain in the family system with contact and relationships with all other members of the family system for the rest of the client's life. Long after the lawyers are gone, the client will live with the effects of the positions taken and the statements made in litigation. The client may later regret the vitriol and the permanency of the damage done by a high conflict divorce.

It is the attorney's job to help the client through the immediacy of the pain and the rage and to help the client see the long term view of family relations. Allowing voice to be given to rage, anger, fear and even vengeful fantasy can be helpful so long as it is not acted out in behavior. Attorneys must help clients see both short term and long term interests in terms of family relations and must not themselves confuse their roles as "counsellors" of law who listen and counsel wisely and as champion and advocate for the client.

Attorneys must also be acutely cognizant of the divorce impasse system itself and the important part they play in it. Maligning the other spouse, requiring the client to have no further contact with the spouse, prohibiting any temporary agreements or a temporary separation can interfere with resolution of the real conflict. Zealous advocacy is a poor excuse for actually damaging a client's long term familial relations.

Alienation cases present the greatest difficulty for attorneys who are asked to represent a parent who wishes to eliminate the other parent from the life of a child. In the advocacy role, an attorney is bound to allow the client to define the goal of the representation and to advance that position zealously.(9) An attorney is also bound not to bring or defend frivolous actions.(10) We believe that actions harmful to children could fall under that prohibition.(11)

If alienation is in progress, accepting at face value all derogatory comments about the opposing party will ill serve both the client and the attorney, as the client's judgment is emotionally clouded. It is incumbent on the attorney to sufficiently explore the client's motivation and the reality basis of the client's beliefs before litigation is undertaken. Careful and thoughtful exploration with the client about the good times in the marriage and the positive parenting traits of the other side will give the attorney much information about both parties and will tell the attorney just how balanced a view the client holds.

We believe that under no circumstances should an attorney encourage a client to gain information about the opposing party from a child. Nor should an attorney interview a child even if the child is unrepresented.(12) The willingness of a client to directly involve a child in the litigation should be a red flag that the parents may well be using a child to further their own agenda, even if the child is apparently acquiescent.

It is crucial to note, however, that we are describing cases where alienation exists, and other forms of abuse, such as physical or sexual abuse, do not. If abuse is honestly suspected, safety of the spouse or children becomes paramount and full evaluation by a competent professional is a necessity.

C. Courts

It is important for the courts to recognize and support healthy family systems and not to over-react to the volatile emotions of divorce. At the same time, courts must recognize the initial seeds of alienation and seek information about family structure to examine the degree of risk in the family: Are the adults using or manipulating the children in furtherance of their own emotional needs? Are the children vulnerable to alienation?

All children can be enlisted into the battle, but, generally speaking, the children who are most vulnerable may be overly dependant, fearful and passive. These children may express guilt feelings about their parents' divorce, identify with or play the rescuer of the alienating parent, assume caretaking roles of a parent, and/or feel conditionally loved. The more vulnerable children pick up and resonate with the parental feelings. Generally, the children will have little insight into their situation.

The factors that identify families where alienation is less likely are: abundant positive contact between both parents and the children; sibling groups who all have good relations with both parents; good relations of the children with family and friends of both parents; free communication to the child by others of the good qualities of both parents; lack of defensiveness on the part of each parent as to the emotions, statements and criticisms of the other; ability of each parent to discuss schedules and parenting concerns with the other parent; ability of each parent to accommodate the schedules and desires of the other.

Many high conflict families view the court as determining not only custody and visitation, but also making judgements about right and wrong, good and bad parenting. Court is seen as a place where one person is judged to be fit, and the other unfit. The court can help ameliorate this unfortunate scenario by making explicit the legal and pragmatic grounds for a decision. If appropriate, the court can declare neutrality on personal and moral issues that do not expose a child to harm. Compassionate communication that does not further the anger, loss, shame and humiliation in this public forum can be immensely healing.

2. Mild Alienation Cases

Once an alienation process has been identified, the court must intervene. In mild alienation cases there is usually a healthy psychological bond between each of the parents and the child and at least some recognition on the part of the alienating parent that an estrangement between the child and the target parent is not in the best interests of the child. The alienating parent is frequently willing to participate in a program to change the direction of the case if given the information and the guidance necessary.

The alienation at this stage is often motivated by fear that the impending divorce will cause the child to love the alienating parent less. The finalization of the divorce itself together with specific education and the therapy described below may ameliorate the situation.

At the mild stage, it is imperative that the family be engaged in "family systems" therapy that is focused on changing the behavior of the parties around the child. The traditional individual therapies are not helpful as individual treatment tends to focus only on one side, therefore potentially increasing the alienation by advocacy for a client. If individual therapy is necessary for a child or a parent, it must take place with a therapist who understands the alienation process and who supports the value to a child of having a relationship with each parent.

All therapists engaged with the family must understand family dynamics and parental alienation, have a systems approach and clearly understand that children need two parents. The therapists must be strong and forceful and able to utilize the force of the court through the guardian ad litem. The therapy must be directed at the resolution of the divorce impasse.

The Court ordered divorce impasse therapy must include all the adults directly involved in the custody of the child. This includes both parents and any live-in lovers or current spouses and any other adult who lives in the home of either the alienating parent or the target parent and any other adult who may be involved in the alienation. A court order may be necessary to require the warring adults to sit in the same room together; but, if at all possible, they should actually face each other.

The court order must be forceful and explicit. The rights, responsibilities and duties of each parent must be spelled out explicitly. Attendance in therapy as required by the therapist must be court ordered. The custody and visitation schedule may also need to be explicit, with details of how, when and where pickups and drop-offs are to occur. All parties must understand that a court order cannot be modified unless approved by the court; if modifications can be made by the family with the agreement of the systems therapist, this must be made explicit in the order.

The issue of confidentiality should be addressed by the court, the parties, the lawyers and the therapist. If the parties are able to agree to confidentiality, it should be written into the court order. If the therapy is confidential, it should be confidential to all including the court and the guardian ad litem.

If the parties cannot agree to confidentiality, the court should do what it can to insulate the therapist from legal inquiry with due regard for the parties constitutional rights (13). The court can order the attorneys not to speak with the therapist (except for the Guardian ad Litem) during the therapeutic process, order complete confidentiality for the therapist's working notes, delay all depositions until further court order, or otherwise limit the therapist's involvement in the litigation process.

There must be a mechanism for enforcement of the court order. The court should appoint a guardian ad litem who will have the authority, independent of further court order, to require a complete family system evaluation if the above treatment is not successful. The order at this stage should include the mechanism for the payment of both the Guardian ad Litem and the court ordered evaluation.

The order must allow for rapid and complete intervention should the parties fail to ameliorate the situation. The court should schedule a review hearing at the time it issues the therapy order and allow only the guardian ad litem to cancel it.

In most cases, the possibility of a court ordered, expensive evaluation should be sufficient sanction to motivate the parents to participate genuinely in treatment, but the parties must be made to feel the strength of the court behind the order. Sanctions for failure to comply must be explicit. The court should spell out the next stage of intervention (described below) and mandate the next stage of sanctions that can be expected,

3. Moderate

Education and brief family therapy are not useful in cases of' moderate alienation because, at this stage, the alienating parent's judgment is seriously impaired, and reason alone will not change irrational behavior. The alienating parent's interactions with and about the target parent are based on inner fears, not on observed behavior, and serve to reaffirm the belief that the target parent is bad. Additionally, external forces (individual therapists, attorneys, extended family) have become polarized on behalf of one party and serve to perpetuate the alienation.

The family system must be thoroughly evaluated by a professional, or a team of professionals, competent in the "family systems" approach. The evaluation must be of the entire system, including all adults directly involved in the life of the child, as described above. The evaluation must be generated by a single source or team; multiple individual psychological evaluations will not be able to advise the court as to the inter-relational issues that are affecting the functioning of the family.

The purpose of the evaluation is to 1.) identify the specific motivations and behaviors that are causing the divorce impasse or subsequent alienation; 2.) assess whether or not individual therapy might be beneficial for any party to help resolve intrapsychic issues; and 3.) develop a complete behavioral plan to intervene in the alienation process.

The assessment must be very specific as to motivation, beliefs and behaviors that are causing the alienation because once they are identified, the evaluator can make recommendations as to specific behavioral measures to counter the alienation. The recommendations must be sufficiently detailed and specific to be quantifiable.

Individual psychological evaluations and therapies, or "talking" group or family therapies are of minimal value in these situations, as they may only serve to perpetuate the alienation process. The goal of appropriate treatment is not only to understand and resolve the divorce impasse but also to behaviorally reduce or eliminate alienation within the system.

We suggest the Individual Educational Plan (the IEP) as a model(14) and name it the Family Interaction Plan or the FIP. The Recommendations must be quantifiable and as specific and goal oriented as the IEP, and compliance must be targeted in much the same manner.(15) Compliance should be 70% in the first two months; 80% the third and fourth months; 90% thereafter. For example:

The child will see target parent X times per week without parental conflict at times of transition.

The alienating parent will encourage the child to telephone target parent X times per week and talk about positive things for a minute or two, depending on the age of the child and upon whether telephone calls to a hostile environment would be beneficial or not to the child.

During a visit, the alienating parent may not call or may call only "x" number of times.

The alienating parent will enable the child to send to target Parent a picture or painting in the mail once per week, with a positive note attached.

The child will bring home from visits a project done or a note to alienating parent about what was enjoyed during each visit.

The target parent will provide a photograph of himself to the child, and the alienating parent shall encourage the child to display it.

While the internal and the interactional issues which created the divorce impasse must be concurrently addressed in therapy, the court must focus on mandating specific behaviors to counteract the battle forces. The court must make the parents demonstrate that they can follow a plan whose ultimate goal is the mutuality of interest, even if the parents do not feel it. The alienating parent must become the welcoming parent, in deed, if not in thought.

Finally, the FIP must cover a specific and lengthy period of time during which the behavioral requirements of the parties and the child are explicitly laid out. This will provide the parties sufficient predictability to calm the system down and to allow each person to get used to the idea that different relationships between all the members are going to be established in a predictable manner. We suggest that the FIP cover approximately six months with an automatic court review at that time.

Procedurally, as noted above, at the first stage of intervention the guardian ad litem should be authorized by order of the court to require an evaluation. When the evaluation is commenced, the guardian ad litem simultaneously should request the court to schedule a court hearing to be held when the evaluation is complete. At the hearing, all parties could present to the court proposed remedial measures; the guardian ad litem would present the evaluators' reports and recommendations which will likely include individual therapy to address the impasse and an FIP. The court should then issue a detailed, quantifiable, specific order with sanctions enumerated, as to the behavioral changes necessary to ameliorate the alienation and order the parties into therapy, if recommended.

At this stage of alienation and court intervention, there must be full and complete exchange of information. The court must be able to monitor the progress of the family through the behavior management therapy, and the behavioral management therapist will need to be able to communicate with any individual therapists involved with family members.

Creative sanctions must stand behind the court order as compliance at this stage will be motivated only by fear. The ultimate sanction is a change of custody, but there are many others to suggest. Obviously, an award of attorney's fees, the threat of weekend jail time, threats of transferring or assigning responsibility for the guardian ad litem's fees, the cost of the evaluation, the costs of the child's therapy or even therapy for the other parent can all be used to motivate compliance in this early stage of intervention, subject always to the best interests of the child.

The court could shift both time (expand visitation or award cherished holidays and birthdays to the complying parent) and function (assign areas of traditionally joint parental authority such as medical care, education) in favor of the target parent, both as an appropriate sanction, and as possible preparation for the ultimate sanction, a change in custody.

The careful monitoring of such a detailed court order is an essential piece of this intervention, and we suggest that there be a monitoring team to do it. The guardian ad litem and a therapist, most likely the evaluator or the original post-divorce counsellor, should work together monitoring compliance. Such monitoring perforce will be largely through reports of the principles involved, the parents and the child, but can also be done by teachers, individual therapists, friends, etc. through reports to the guardian ad litem.

Teachers and babysitters can be asked to report on the emotional condition of a child before and after visits or to report on any information the child offers in school. A child can be asked where he keeps the photograph of the target parent as an indicator of the degree of comfort the child has in the display in the allegedly hostile environment.

The team approach is necessary to lessen the danger of the professionals becoming caught in the polarization of the family system. In extreme cases, the monitoring team may even want to have a third consultant monitor available to them to oversee the case as a more distant figure, not caught up in the everyday details these kinds of cases chronically present.

If the parties fail to comply with the court orders there needs to be swift access to the courts and a serious second look at the custody situation.

4. The Parent Evaluation

If the above described interventions fail and the child remains virtually without relationship to the target parent, a different level of intervention is warranted. If the alienating behavior continues despite the education, the post divorce counseling, impasse resolution therapy; and the specific behavior management intervention, the court can conclude that the alienating parent does not have the capacity to foster a relationship with the other parent. It is an essential premise of this article that this is inherently harmful to the child when the affect is to alienate the child from one parent.

There is a considerable body of research which specifically examines the effects on children of single parent homes. A full review of this literature is beyond the scope of this paper; but, in general, the evidence is overwhelming that in father-absent homes, boys have lower self esteem, are more likely to be rejected by peers and may experience deficits in cognitive functioning. Girls may be less affected than boys in father-absent homes, but the research does show negative effects on girls' social and cognitive development.(16)

There is an additional body of research on reactions of children to high conflict divorce.(17) Children who experience a high degree of conflict between parents during divorce "are more likely to feel caught, and children who feel caught are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and, to a lesser degree, participate in deviant behavior."(18)

The deliberate alienation by one parent of the other, unmodified by the numerous interventions described above, is psychologically harmful to the child within the meaning and intent of the Perreault(19) standard of a "strong possibility of harm" .

It is important... to appreciate that a parent who inculcates a parental alienation syndrome in a child is indeed perpetrating a form of emotional abuse in that such programming may not only produce lifelong alienation from a loving parent, but lifelong psychiatric disturbance in the child.(20)

A change of custody must be contemplated as the Perreault standard has been met. The court must determine what custody location would be the most beneficial to the child, although in many of these cases the courts actually have to decide which placement is the least damaging to the child. A comparative determination of the custodial capacity of each parent must be done. The court or the parties may well have sufficient information at this point to litigate the issue of the best interests of the child. If not, parenting evaluations are recommended.

Knowing that the alienating parent does not have the ability to foster a relationship between the child and the target parent, the issue before the court will be, does the target parent offer the child sufficient parenting capacity to outweigh that very serious harm?(21)

If the target parent shows an adequate parenting ability as defined in the research which fits the needs of the child; and, if there is a reasonable likelihood that the target parent will foster the relationship of the child with the alienating parent, the court should seriously consider modifying custody. If the target parent is not adequate, it becomes incumbent on the court to see if there are other family members or foster care available to take the child, someone to help the child create and maintain a relationship with each of his or her parents.

5. Severe: The Fully Enmeshed Child

Very few children, between 1% and 5% of alienation cases,(22) become fully "enmeshed" with the alienating parent, where a child has incorporated as his or her own, the extremely hostile feelings of the alienating parent for the target parent. Once this happens, it is impossible to encourage or even force the child to be with the target parent; and no amount of evidence disproving the stated reasons for the hatred will serve to abate it. In some of these cases, the child's sense of self is dependent on the relationship with the alienating parent so that separation would cause the child to suffer an emotional breakdown of devastating proportions, if custody were awarded to the hated target parent. Attempts to switch custody would be fought against and undermined by the child to the child's maximum ability.

In these rare cases, the child must stay with the alienating parent, as it is not proper to use a child to punish a parent for misbehavior.(23) For whatever solace it is, the target parent must be assured that at some point children do seek out the other parent, and the relationship is not lost forever.

VII. WEAPONS

"Weapons" are the false allegations by the alienating parent of behavior on the part of the target parent inimicable to the welfare of a child. The most commonly used weapons are false allegations of:

threats of or actual domestic violence;
sexual abuse of the child;
physical abuse of the child;
emotional abuse of the child;
mental illness on the part of the target parent;
alcoholism/drug abuse/homosexuality on the part of the target parent; or
threats of moving or flight by the alienating parent.

Even when such an allegation is made in the context of high conflict litigation, it must be taken very seriously on its face and fully investigated to determine its validity. Each allegation accuses the target parent of behavior harmful to the child, and safety of the child is paramount. Neither the courts, lawyers, therapists or, perhaps, the parents, want to risk the welfare of a child when it is possible that the accusations might be true.

By their very nature, the allegations shift the emphasis of investigation onto the accused, the target parent. Several of the accusations are of very private behavior, which behaviors are difficult to prove and/or disprove.

Most domestic violence remains invisible despite the increase in awareness of the problem, and accusations of domestic violence or threats of domestic violence must be dealt with very seriously. However, under procedures outlined in NH RSA 173-B, an ex parte complaint of domestic violence taken to court together with a request for exclusive custody can give the complainant a considerable advantage in the legal system.

Attorneys are bound by their own ethical rules not to knowingly mislead a tribunal,(24) and advising a client to gain a tactical advantage by using the emergency procedures afforded under NH RSA 173-B may violate the Code of Professional Conduct even if the attorney is not involved in the presentation of the case to the court.(25)

Allegations of abuse of a child (physical and/or sexual) may arise from impaired parental judgment and are powerful weapons because of the intensity of feelings that arise from such allegations. However, the allegations may also be accurate. In all instances, but especially in the context of a custody battle, such allegations must be dealt with immediately by a competent professional who fully understands: 1.) sexual and/or physical abuse of children; 2.) family systems; 3.) divorce and custody litigation and the impact of lawyers and the legal system. If allegations of physical abuse arise and are sufficiently established to cause concern, the court or the parties involved must refer the case to the Division for Children and Youth Services under NH RSA 169-C.

If it is unclear that there is in fact abuse (sexual or physical), then the allegations may have been produced by the intensity of feelings about the divorce, fear of abuse and a misreading of particular situation. However muddled the waters are, the court must establish a factual basis upon which to proceed legally (either abuse did or did not occur) or the system will be paralyzed to the advantage of the alienating parent. Unless disproven, the allegations will cast a pall of potential harm to the child that no one person, institution or agency will be able to ignore, and an accused will always be treated as guilty unless proven innocent with regards to contact with the children.(26)

Accusations of alcoholism, mental illness or homosexuality also place a burden on the target parent to prove fitness to be with the child, and must be investigated as to their veracity and as to the effect or lack thereof on parenting capacity. Another weapon is the threat of moving, or the actual flight of the alienating parent. The court must immediately look to the motive, spoken or unspoken, for the move; if the motivation is to keep the target parent away, this is a clear red flag that the alienating parent will stop at nothing to achieve an exclusive relationship with the child.

No matter when a "weapon'' shows up in the course of the litigation, the fact of an allegation must lead directly to a full systems evaluation by a qualified, competent professional. It serves as an indication that the alienating parent knows no bounds and that education, information and behavior management are insufficient interventions. The courts must look to the long term best interests of the child in terms of custody because the alienation process will continue. The use of a weapon should catalyze the court to order an evaluation of the custodial capacity of each parent. An expert must look at the entire system, assess the truth and veracity of the allegations, assess the motivation for the allegations, assess the safety and welfare of the child and make recommendations as to the best placement and visitation arrangements for the child.

CONCLUSION:

A partnership of judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals is critical in high conflict alienation cases. The judge has the power but is not readily available. Lawyers are available and have access to the legal process, but do not have a systems understanding. Attorneys easily can become part of a divorce impasse system, aggravating an already inflamed system. Mental health professionals must have a systems understanding and are available but do not have the power of the court or ready access to the legal process. A partnership is essential.

Attorneys must help their clients discern their long term interests as to their children and the emotional meaning behind a custody battle (hurt, revenge, fears).

Attorneys must hold the knowledge that they may be the sanest, most objective voice the client may hear in a divorce, and offer education about the long term importance of co-parenting and moving beyond the battleground. Attorneys must treat with caution and trepidation a client who sees a divorcing spouse as all bad and must avoid joining with the client in further escalating this belief. When necessary and appropriate, attorneys must refer clients to a mental health professional who is trained in family systems. Attorneys must recognize when they have been enlisted as active parties in the polarization alienation conflict and seek consultation so as not to further escalate the already inflamed process.

The courts must act decisively and explicitly in cases of high conflict divorce and alienation. The orders must be pragmatic and the grounds for decisions must be explained in terms that make it less likely that one party can claim a moral victory and the other feel the shame of defeat. The courts must use their knowledge and power to understand the family system, to recognize high conflict alienation cases and to make appropriate, timely and specific referrals and recommendations. By recognizing alienation in its early form, prevention of future harm to the child and family may well be possible. Intervention at any point along the continuum of harm is crucial to prevent further harm.

ENDNOTES

1. Most of the research to date has shown that the mother is significantly more likely to be the alienating parent and the father the target parent. However, we note that there is a fair amount of controversy in the field regarding the conclusion that more mothers alienate than fathers, and wish to emphasize that in many cases we personally have seen, it is the father who alienates and the mother who is the target.

Because of the gender bias implied from using he and him to denote both sexes, the cumbersome nature of the him/her, he/she or s/he pronouns, and the grammatical errors in transforming he/she to they and his/her to their, this Article will simply alternate paragraphs, using the feminine in one paragraph and the masculine in the next when referring to a parent. If a child is referred to in the same paragraph, the child will be referred to by the other gender pronouns.

2. "[T]he persistent quality of the conflict combined with its enduring nature seriously endangers the mental health of the parents and the psychological development of the children. Under the guise of fighting for the child, the parents may succeed in inflicting severe emotional suffering on the very person whose protection and well-being is the presumed rationale for the battle." (emphasis added). Johnston, J.R. B Campbell, L.E.G., Impasses of Divorce "Forward" by J. Wallerstein, p.ix (1988).

See also, Lamb, M.E.(ed.); In Non-Traditional Families, "Effects of Divorce on Parents & Children" by Hetherington, E.M.; Cox. M.; Cox, R. (1982); Wallerstein. J. & Kelly, J.S., Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce, (1980); J. Wallerstein & S. Blakesiee, Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade after Divorce: Who Wins, Who Loses and Why (1989)

3. Hodges, William F. Interventions for Children of Divorce at 151 (1986).

4. Gardner, Richard, The Parental Alienation Syndrome (1992).

5. Johnston, Impasses of Divorce see Endnote 2.

6. "Families First" is a program currently mandated in several cities/counties in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, and Louisiana, among other states.

7. While there have been no studies as to the effectiveness of these programs in ameliorating or preventing alienation, in one such program, the participants themselves have reported high satisfaction with the program and have recommended that it be expanded. Zirps, Fotena A., Ph.D. Children Cope with Divorce - Follow-up Study, Cobb County, Families First, Atlanta, Georgia (1992).

8. The following states require mediation for custody cases: California (The Family Act, Sec. 4607, The Civil Code); Maine (19 MRS 214.4); North Carolina (7A NCRS 494); and, Wisconsin (767.001 WRS).

9. Code of Professional Conduct Rule 2.1.

10. Code of Professional Conduct Rule 3.1.

11. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Standards of Conduct Rule 2.25 An attorney should not contest child custody or visitation for either financial leverage or vindictiveness.
Comment: ..."Proper consideration of the welfare of the children requires that they not be used as pawns in the adversary process. If, despite the attorney's advice the client persists, the attorney should seek to withdraw."

Rule 2.27 An attorney should refuse to assist in vindictive conduct toward a spouse or third party and should not do anything to increase the emotional level of the dispute.
Comment ... "If...the client...asks the attorney to engage in conduct the attorney believes to be imprudent or repugnant, the attorney should attempt to convince the client to work toward family harmony or in the interests of the children. Conduct in the interests of the children or the family will almost always be in the client's long term interests."

12. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Standards of Conduct Rule 2.24 When issues in a representation affect the welfare of a child, an attorney should not initiate communication with the child, except in the presence of the child's lawyer or guardian ad litem with court permission, or as necessary to verify facts in motions and pleadings.

13. Ross v. Gadwah, 131 N.H. 391 (1988).

14. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. s.1400, et seq.

15. See N.H. Standards for the Education of Handicapped Students, Chapt. Ed. s.1109(1988)

16. Hedges, Intervention for Children of Divorce, see Endnote #3. There is not enough research on mother absence to reach conclusions at this point in time as the frequency of mother absence is so low that obtaining generalizable samples is virtually impossible.

17. Wallerstein, Second Chances, see Endnote #1.

18. Buchanan, C. & Maccoby, E., "Variation in Adjustment to Divorce: The Role of Feeling Caught Between Parents" April, 1991. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting for the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle Washington, April 18-20, 1991.

19. Perreault v. Cook, 114 N.H. 440 (1974); Howard v. Howard, 124 N.H. 267(1983).

20. Gardner, The Parent Alienation Syndrome at viii. See Endnote #4.

21. There is substantial research on adequate or "good-enough" parenting: Hedges, see Endnote #3; Shutz, B.M., Dixon, E.B., Lindenbergen, J.C., Ruther, N.J., Solomon's Sword (1989)

22. Clawar & Rivlin, page 142. Children Held Hostage: Dealing with programmed and brainwashed children. American Bar Association (1991).

23. Webb v. Knudson, 133 NH 665, 673 (1990). "Children are not chargeable with the misconduct of their parents and should not be uprooted from their home in order to discipline a recalcitrant parent." See also, Houde v. Beckmeyer, 116 NH 719 (1976).

24. Code of Professional Conduct Rule 3.3 A lawyer shall not knowingly mislead the court or use illegal or false evidence.

25. District Court Judges report an increasing number of custody cases being litigated in their courts under the guise of domestic violence proceedings. Domestic Violence Training for District Court Judges, January, 1990, personal conversation.

26. Because of the emotionally charged atmosphere sexual and physical abuse charges generate, we suggest that no one person be responsible for establishing the facts. Therefore, we suggest that advisory juries be empaneled to aid the judge in his findings regarding the allegations of abuse. NH RSA 519:23; NH RSA 491:16. This suggestion has been made by Judge Linda Dalianis of the New Hampshire Superior Court. See, Bonser v. Courtney, 124 N.H. 796 ( 1984). Only a Judge, not a Marital Master, could empanel an advisory jury.

asks the attorne€ 
9
This one really pissed me off. It shows the ignorance, and all out feminist prejudice that social workers have against dads.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-foster17jul17,0,1034758.story?coll=la-home-local

Quote
Long-Separated Father, Daughter Sue L.A. County Foster Care Agency
After the mother lost custody, the girl spent 10 years in foster homes before L.A. County acted to contact her dad.
By Sandy Banks, Times Staff Writer
July 17, 2006


There were plaudits all around last fall when a troubled teenager who spent 10 years in foster care was reunited with the father she had hardly known, thanks to what Los Angeles County supervisors described as a "groundbreaking effort" at family unification.

But the genesis of that heartwarming story is now the basis of a lawsuit alleging that Los Angeles County officials condemned Melinda Smith, now 17, to a decade of foster homes and institutions by failing to take the most basic steps to find her father.

Melinda's parents were not married when she was born in 1988, but her father, Thomas Marion Smith, agreed to pay child support in 1989. He saw Melinda often, he said, but when she was about 4, her mother moved and left no forwarding address. Two years later, in 1995, after the county had received two complaints of suspected child abuse, Melinda's mother turned the girl over to foster care officials.

Meanwhile, Thomas Smith continued to receive monthly bills and make support payments to the county for several years, while Melinda was -- unbeknownst to him -- being shuffled through a series of institutions and foster homes.

The Department of Children and Family Services -- required by law to use "due diligence" to locate a foster child's noncustodial parent -- never notified Smith that Melinda was in foster care and never gave him a chance to claim her, the lawsuit alleges.

The department listed Smith's whereabouts as unknown in court documents filed a decade ago, even though department records indicate that Melinda's caseworker knew that Smith was paying child support through a separate county agency and his address was on file there.

"He's a registered voter with a valid driver's license and an open child support case," said his attorney, L. Wallace Pate. "All they had to do, at any time during those 10 years, was pick up the phone and ask the L.A. County Child Support Services Department, 'Do you have a contact on this man?' "

Ultimately, Smith was located last spring by retired social worker Peggy Crist, who was brought in to help the Department of Children and Family Services launch a program to find permanent placements for teenagers who had spent years in foster care.

After meeting Melinda -- who told Crist "the most important thing she could think of ... was that she wanted to find her father" -- it took the social worker one day to find Thomas Smith, who was living with his wife in a comfortable two-bedroom home in Pine Valley, east of San Diego.

Last July, the father and daughter saw each other for the first time in more than 10 years. In November, Melinda left foster care and moved into her father's home.

Their reunion was celebrated at a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Sept. 13, when board Chairman Mike Antonovich praised Crist for saving a child from graduating from foster care at 18 with no support system in place.

"Now that child will have an opportunity for education, a loving family environment and will become a productive citizen," Antonovich said.

But the promise of a new family cannot undo the damage of 10 years in foster care, said Pate, who filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking unspecified damages against Los Angeles County, the social workers who handled Melinda's case and the private agency that provides attorneys for children in foster care.

If proper procedures had been followed, the lawsuit contends, Melinda would have been placed in her father's custody after her mother relinquished her, rather than languishing in foster care.

Instead, social workers misled Melinda and family court officials by portraying Smith as a "deadbeat dad," the lawsuit said, even though they knew he was paying child support and had received "no notice that his daughter was being detained."

Melinda grew up in seven different foster care placements. For five years, beginning at the age of 7, she lived in a residential treatment center alongside older children convicted of criminal activity because social workers decided her emotional issues ruled out placement with foster parents.

Agency records cited in the lawsuit detail a litany of behavior problems: She threw toys, punched windows and walls, and was frequently restrained by staff members when her tantrums escalated into kicking and biting attacks.

When Melinda was 8, her social worker reported that she refused to speak, suffered from extreme depression and was so "oppositional and defiant" that she was "not appropriate for adoptive placement."

"She feels hopeless and helpless, as if the world is against her," the social worker noted. She was ordered to take Prozac and remained on the medication -- at steadily increasing doses -- for more than seven years.

The lawsuit says social workers knew that Melinda was deteriorating in the county's custody, care and supervision, yet insisted that her father be stricken from Melinda's case plan.

The father and daughter were deprived of their constitutional rights by county officials' deception, incompetence and flagrant disregard of laws intended to safeguard family ties, Pate said.

Melinda "remained warehoused in defendant's custody against her will, in a restrictive environment on trumped-up grounds and suffered severe deterioration, isolation, depression and loss of ... her father's care, nurture and companionship," the lawsuit contends.

"What would Melinda's life have been like if she'd had the chance to know her father, who looked for her, loves her and wanted to know her?" Pate asked. "For the county to pat itself on the back for finally getting them together after all these years ... that's like freeing the slaves, then saying 'Oh, well.' "

Pate would not allow the father or daughter to be interviewed. Nor would county officials comment on the case because litigation is pending.

But Louise Grasmehr, director of public affairs for the Department of Children and Family Services, praised the program that reunited Melinda and her father, saying that it has the potential to free hundreds of children from foster care. In the year the program has been in place, 50 children have been reunited with their parents, 80 more are in the process of being adopted by relatives and almost 100 have acquired legal guardians.

Child welfare consultant Kevin Campbell, who trained Crist for the program last summer, said Los Angeles came late to the "family finding" movement but has recently demonstrated a strong commitment to connecting foster children with missing family members.

Until recently, little was done to find relatives of unclaimed foster children because the search process was difficult and tedious, social workers were untrained and overworked, and there was an inherent bias against family members of children in foster care.

There was a presumption that the father was probably unsuitable or uninterested, Campbell said. "The attitude has been 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.' If one parent has problems, the other relatives are probably not worth searching for."

But research shows that children almost always fare better with relatives than in long-term foster care. And technological advances now make locating missing family members easy and inexpensive, he said.

Even children who remain in foster care benefit from contact with family members, Campbell said. Residential mental health therapy often fails if "while they are in that institution, children are not feeling love and affection from somebody out of that institution," said Campbell, who is familiar with Melinda's case. "What may have happened with [Melinda], she may have gone a decade without feeling that."

Campbell, who works with child welfare agencies around the country, said homes with willing relatives have been found for more than three-quarters of the children whose cases he has reviewed. The average successful search takes less than six hours.

Crist initiated her search May 16, 2005. By May 17, she had Thomas Smith's current address, along with his addresses for the last 15 years, the lawsuit said.

She enlisted a San Diego social worker to visit Smith, who called Crist and said that he had tried unsuccessfully to find his daughter for years. All that time, he said, he thought she was living with her mother.







10
I found this article in the local paper. I found it quite amusing.

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/news/god-shes-hot/25434/

Quote
God, She's Hot

If there was no Goddess Temple of Orange County, someone would have to invent one

Goddesses are so hot right now.

Conservators at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta are in the process of reuniting a Roman marble statue of "Goddess of Love" Venus (or Aphrodite, to you Greeks) with--for possibly the first time in 170 years--her head. The High Court in the East Indian city of Calcutta has quashed a case against leading Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay for allegedly defiling a Hindu goddess, Saraswati. Gangopadhyay testified that he was joking when he said he kissed an idol of the "Goddess of Learning" to satisfy his desire. An Ipswich, Massachusetts, toymaker has released The Goddess Dolls, which "symbolize the positive and empowering aspects of the Goddess tradition, such as love, wisdom and compassion."

There's more: Jim Eagles penned a loving piece in a recent New Zealand Herald about his relationship with Konohana Sakuya Hime, the goddess of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji. Closer to home, the 20th annual Long Beach WomanSpirit Summer Solstice Fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church June 10 drew, as its co-founder recently told Long Beach's Beachcomber newspaper, vendors and people "who are supportive of the feminine and goddess movement."

And then there is this: Mariah Carey has earned the Gillette Venus Award, not for her latest album, which has gone platinum six times, but for her shapely legs.

With apologies to Jan Brady: Goddess, Goddess, Goddess!

All this goddess palaver naturally forces one to turn inward, to his/Her own place of being, in this case Orange County, in this case the Goddess Temple of Orange County. But this intrepid reporter cannot attend holy services on these holy grounds--inside a nondescript Irvine business park--because my penis keeps getting in the way. Except during certain gatherings, the Goddess Temple of Orange County is for ladies only.

Fortunately, the temple's Reverend Ava--who longtime readers will remember as Ava Park, former head of Orange County People for Animals who was deemed Orange County Citizen of the Year by this very publication--did agree to share why goddesses are all the rage. Turns out they have been for tens of thousands of years.

"Thirty thousand years ago, pretty much everyone on the planet had the idea that God was female, and women everywhere were the natural spiritual authority, serving as shamans and spiritual leaders of tribes and clans," the Rev. Ava explained. "Five, six, seven thousand years ago, patriarchy or 'rule of the father' arose and demoted women, throwing them out of positions of power in religious institutions, turning them into chattel, and, on top of that, blaming them for all the bad stuff! Think Eve in the Garden of Eden."

She and her followers believe that the world has suffered terribly in the ensuing years because the balance of women's spirituality is out of whack.

"When our only God is a scary, punitive, remote Father in the Sky, it's hard for people to feel the nurturing, protective, compassionate aspect of the divine, and to show that loving face to one another. Even though the more recent New Testament/Christian God is often referred to as compassionate and loving, the actual underpinning of our overall societal beliefs about God seems still to be the Old Testament God of punishment, wrath and fear. And he's way up there in the sky somehow, far away, transcendent, not inside, not part of us."

The notion of God as male, as the He/Him of the Bible and elsewhere, naturally makes females feel as if they are "the other," and that impedes them from feeling holy and sacred, the Rev. Ava maintained.

"In our church, everything is holy and sacred, every aspect of reality, every woman, every man, every child, every animal, every plant, every bug--yes, bugs!--everything. And when we know ourselves as holy and sacred, we act like it. . . . When women don't feel holy and sacred, their self-esteem is shot and they start to allow all sorts of bad things to be done to them. They accept abuse, oppression and mistreatment as their natural due. It is not."

But she also contends "this Judeo-Christian Father God is also ultimately very hard on men." Patriarchy operates under the dominator model, setting itself up as being strong and all followers as weak. According to the Rev. Ava, "This model of behavior sets the stage for everything that is wrong with our world: wars, aggression, violence, trashing Mother Earth, child abuse, sex slavery, racism, classism, factory farming, puppy mills, global warming, high gas prices, Humvees, homophobia, bad plastic surgery and the common cold--okay, well, maybe not that last one."

Further, she says men actually want women who are goddesses--"The Real Goddess. Not those fake, impossible, air-brushed, implanted Barbie-doll goddesses," the Rev. said.

"Men are constantly looking for The Goddess in all the ways they know how, some of them fumbling and funny. Every day, wary-looking men from 20 to 80 step hesitantly through the temple doors. They look around at the beautiful altars lit with candles and, dazed and confused, they bravely forge ahead in their search. 'Ummm . . . can I get a . . . a massage?' Yes, they are looking for The Goddess! Or at least, a goddess. Online earlier that day, they Googled 'goddess temple' and guess what? Up popped 1,000 porn sites and massage parlors. No wonder they see our sign, 'The Goddess Temple of Orange County,' on Red Hill in Irvine and think what they think. How sad that this is what the world thinks a goddess is. Men are indeed looking for The Goddess . . . just not in quite the way we'd prefer."

Rather than immediately shooing these poor souls away or calling the cops, the temple's priestesses inform them that they are in a place of worship for women, that they should feel free to send their wives, sisters and girlfriends, and that men are welcomed to special events.

"We love the men," the Rev. said. "They, too, are part of all that is divine."

The Goddess Temple was founded in 32,002.

"No, that's not a typo," she said. "We date not from Christianity, but from the Paleolithic when The Goddess was first honored."

Orange County women have learned of the temple's existence by word of mouth. The curious generally check out a Sunday service--women only, of course--before becoming hooked.

"During services, we do magic, allow sacred energies to move through our bodies, fill ourselves up with these and then send out the extra to those who need it in the world," the Rev. said. "We hold the vision for a new way of being in the world: peaceful, powerful, abundant, joyful. These are our natural rights as humans, but in order to own them, we must claim them. And we do."

Most newbies find this refreshing, having previously only been exposed to churches where one person--usually a man--tells them how things are, what they should think and how they should act.

"In our church, we do indeed have a facilitating woman who guides the transitions from the singing to the drumming to the sharing to the praying to the libations, but we all contribute equally to the energy of what is happening in the room," said the Rev. "It's much more alive and real and immediate and fulfilling."

She insisted that women can only "remember and personally re-experience our ancient spiritual power" without the distraction of men present, "wonderful as they are."

And as all that unrelated goddess talk at the top of this story illustrates, women seem to be craving faiths like hers these days.

"People are realizing that the prevailing Big Five--Judeo, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu--Patriarchy has shown us all it can. The dominator model has run its course."

The Rev. Ava turned Cheney-esque.

"It's still very much operating in the world, but it is definitely in its death throes--it's all but done. We're all becoming very sick of wars and mistreating each other. We're seeing new paradigms of creation."

Then she turned Gore-esque.

"Something is shifting. It started in the 1970s when we saw our home planet from space for the first time, and with temples such as ours arising, the shift is starting to gain momentum. It will take time certainly--those in power don't give it up easily--but people are starting to get the inconvenient truth, as Al Gore--a true, powerful goddess man--says, we can no longer afford to disrespect and abuse our first mother, the Earth."

The Goddess Temple will continue its goal of "bringing a balance" to the women of Orange County in the meantime. But, hey, Rev. Ava: What about the dudes?

"The Women of the Sacred Feminine are already including them! The men are an absolutely integral part of the whole process. We pray for and affirm their peace, true power--not force, as in David Hawkins' Power vs. Force, [a] fabulous explanation of the critical difference--and fulfillment right along with our own. It's all tied together in one great web."



WORSHIP SERVICES FOR WOMEN AT THE GODDESS TEMPLE OF ORANGE COUNTY, 17905 SKY PARK CIRCLE, STE. A, IRVINE, (877) 683-6753; WWW.GODDESSTEMPLEOFORANGECOUNTY.COM. SUN. GUIDED MEDITATION, 9 A.M.; MAIN SERVICE WITH DRUMMING, DANCING, RITUAL AND GUEST SPEAKERS, 11 A.M.

11
Main / Dr Phil vs National Center for Men
Jul 02, 2006, 11:26 AM
I found this in a Dr. Phil newsletter. The show will be on this week.

Quote
Thursday

Baby Wars

Being a parent is hard enough, but what happens when Mom and Dad can't agree on how many kids to have, how to raise 'em and how to get 'em to sleep? Sometimes, it can lead to an all-out baby war! Matt's baby battle ended up in front of a judge and made headlines. He was ordered to pay child support for the baby he had with his ex-girlfriend, but he says he shouldn't have to cough up the money. He, his attorney, and the director of the National Center for Men discuss the lawsuit they filed, known as "Roe v. Wade for Men," arguing that men should have a constitutional right to avoid fatherhood. Next, Dan says even though he and his wife, Lisa, already have four children, he wants just one more. Lisa has been pregnant on and off for 11 years and says she's closed for baby business. Will Dr. Phil help Dan see Lisa's point that four is enough? Then, a frustrated husband is camping out on the roof of his house and living in a tent. He refuses to go back to his bedroom until his wife moves their kids out of their bed and starts paying more attention to him. Can Dr. Phil get him to come down the ladder? Plus, a sleep expert has a simple method for getting your child to sleep through the night. See the plan in action!
(Original air date: April 21, 2006)
12
I saw a link on AOL that said something about Super Dad's. Instead of a loving and respectful tribute to fathers, I got another dad is a clueless dumbass, and mom knows best article. Sexists, pandering, insulting drivel. Parenting Magazine is clueless.

Quote

Parenting Magazine
MOM GUIDE
What Was Dad Thinking?
Why he can't multitask, and other mysteries solved
He expects a medal for doing once what you do every day
You say: "Could you please help with the kids this afternoon?"
You mean: Like I should even have to ask. And why "help"? They're your kids, too.
What happens: He watches the kids, then talks about it as if he'd just scaled Mount Everest. You fume silently.
How to deal: Rarely is everything divided fifty-fifty between spouses. Certain duties fall more to one person than the other. Over the long-term, though, things balance out. So instead of focusing on what your husband isn't doing, think of an area in which he carries more than his share: Does he balance the checkbook? Clean up after the dog? Wash the dishes without comment? If he really isn't doing enough at home, sit him down and give clear instructions of what needs to be done.

He fails to follow the schedule
You say: "Have a great time! I'll be home by five o'clock. Remember, we're supposed to go to your mom's for dinner."
You mean: Lunch is at noon, naptime's at 2:00, and snack follows nap...just like always.
What happens: You walk in the door at 5 p.m. to find a houseful of starving, exhausted, hyperactive kids who are bound to misbehave at Grandma's.
How to deal: While you may have perfected a certain routine, don't assume he'll know exactly when you think it's prudent to settle down with a story or break out a snack. It's best to be very specific when explaining your routine. If he chafes at your instructions, bite your tongue and see what happens. After a hellish evening with whiny kids, he may very well follow your plan next time. Or his plan may actually work! Sometimes it's better to relax and roll with your mate's approach.
He's not sufficiently vigilant
You say: "Why don't you take the baby to the park?"
You mean: But not on the jungle gym, it's too high. And watch out for big kids who throw sand. And remember her sun hat!
What happens: Your child comes home with scraped knees and a sunburn.. "I go jungle gym by self!" she crows.
How to deal: Different styles of play are beneficial to a child. Barring real danger (and remember, a skinned knee is not an emergency) it's great that your mate lets your child take risks you'd shy away from. However, you want to avoid becoming the parent who does all the worrying. If your husband is the easygoing one, tell him, "I'm going to be anxious unless I know you'll pay attention to these three things" -- then list your main concerns. Asking him to change out of love and respect for you is more effective than nagging.

He won't multitask
You say: "I have to run errands. I'll be back in two hours."
You mean: Hold down the fort in general, and consider making yourself useful: There's a load of laundry with your name on it.
What happens: When you get back, it looks as if a tornado hit. He claims he didn't have time to eat lunch, let alone answer the phone (there are seven messages on the machine!).
How to deal: Watching the kids, to a man, often means just that. His excuse? Unlike a woman, who can chat with a friend while folding laundry with one hand and feeding the baby with the other, he says he's just no good at domestic multitasking. But that shouldn't constitute a get-out-of-chores-free card. Remind him that he's Mr. Efficient at work; this might ramp up his enthusiasm for household management. Or give examples of how he multitasks at home (taking the dog out when he goes running, say) and suggest how he can do the same type of thing with the kids. Professing faith in his competence is key.

He plays too rough
You say: "Almost bedtime! Daddy will help you get ready."
You mean: Daddy will read you a story in a calm, soothing voice...and sing a nice relaxing song or two.
What happens: Daddy improvises a chapter of The Ferocious Tyrannosaurus and His Pajama-Clad Prey, and chaos ensues. The story's hero gets completely overstimulated and can't fall asleep until 11:00, then awakens 17 times with nightmares.
How to deal: From a kid's perspective, playing with Dad at day's end is much more important than getting to sleep right on time. And the roughhousing can be just fine, provided Mom doesn't get stuck picking up the pieces when playtime is over. If Dad riles the kids up, it's Dad who puts them to sleep. A few evenings spent wrestling hyper kids into bed will prompt your husband to reconsider the wisdom of nighttime pillow fights much more quickly than reminders from you.
--Fernanda Moore




13
Main / Legalized Summary Execution
Jun 05, 2006, 07:58 PM
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is caused mainly by drug and alcohol abuse, and mental problems. Both are diseases with chartable clinical symptons and a known progression. If you unempower women by telling them that they are trapped, helpless, and can only be free by committing cold blooded murder, you are not doing them a favor. This law allows the summary execution of alcoholics and the mentally ill. A great leap forward, not.





http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/14718354.htm

Abused woman acquitted of murdering husband after second trial
JULIANA BARBASSA
Associated Press
MODESTO, Calif. - Surrounded by family members wearing bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with her picture, Cheryl Orange was teary-eyed and beaming Thursday, talking about the joy of holding the 10 grandchildren born during the 21 years she spent in jail for killing her abusive husband.

She walked out of Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on Thursday, a day after she was acquitted by a jury that was able to rehear her murder case under a law that grants new trials to battered women.

"I'm finally truly free," Orange said, adding that one of the first things she was looking forward to was a big French toast breakfast. "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus."

Orange, 52, was the first woman to receive an acquittal during a second trial granted by the 2001 law, which allows victims of domestic violence who kill their partners to present evidence of the abuse in court, lawyers said.

"It was certainly disappointing," said prosecutor Carol Shipley. "It was very emotional. What she went through was detailed graphically. Anyone listening to that would've been upset by it. ... We presented evidence that she was as violent as he was, but the jury felt she should be acquitted."

In 1985, Orange was charged with murdering her husband, Frank Orange. She shot him six times with a stolen rifle, but claimed she'd been acting in self-defense. When the jury couldn't reach a verdict, she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 17 years to life.

At the time, her lawyer couldn't introduce evidence that she was in a dangerous relationship with a man whose beatings had landed her in the hospital twice, Orange said.

He locked her repeatedly in the trunk of his car, raped her, threatened her with a knife, smothered her and even trained his pit bull to watch her every move, she said.

One month before the murder, she went to the district attorney's office after a beating, and they documented her injuries, but back then, it was simply her word against his, said her lawyer, Kellee Malone.

Two of the original trial jurors were contacted for the appeal, Malone said. They said the jury had been divided, and if they'd known about the abuse, they might have acquitted her. Those statements were included as part of the new trial, which began May 9.

"This time, everything came out, everything was aired," Malone said. "I'm ecstatic."

Andrea Bible, co-coordinator of the California Habeas Project, which has gone to prisons to explain the 2001 law, identify candidates for release and connect them with pro bono lawyers called Orange's case "an incredibly important victory."

"I hope it'll have an impact on similar cases," she said.

In addition to Orange, 16 women have been released under the law by filing petitions to the judge who convicted them or by becoming eligible through the parole process. Twenty other cases are pending.

In 2004, the Legislature expanded the reach of that law to include victims of domestic violence convicted of other felonies in which the abuse was relevant.

Now, Orange is back at her mother's place, a small home with a lush garden and walls papered with family portraits. She has 11 grandchildren - the oldest is 22, the youngest is 2. Ten of those children were born while she was incarcerated.

She said she plans to take things slowly, first applying for a new identification card, then contacting an organization that helps inmates adjust to life outside and connecting with a support group for battered women.

She said she also has big plans. In prison, she received counseling and became a mentor to other inmates. Now she wants to go to college, and become a counselor herself, helping other battered women break out of violent relationships.

She has the support of the family who waited for her outside, wondering sometimes if she'd ever get out, but never doubting she deserved to be free.

"It's not going to be easy for her," said her mother, Evelyn Johnwell. "She'll have to adjust. But she can stay here as long as she needs to. Now she has all the time in the world."
14
The usual garbage. Unappreciative controlling men, violent controlling men, false statistics, man bashing. Catering to his core audience as usual. I used to respect this man, he had good advice. Now in the chase for the almighty dollar, he is starting to remind me of Jerry Springer. Here are two of the shows this week.


Tuesday

The Divorce Experiment

Are you married to a man who doesn't know how good he has it? You do the cooking, the cleaning, take care of the kids, and he still takes you for granted? After seven years, Amy finds herself in a marriage where she is expected to wait on her husband hand and foot, and never voice her opinion. Her husband, Greg, is a self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig and says his wife's job is to take care of the family without questioning his role as "king" of the house. Amy says if Greg doesn't learn to treat her like his equal and not his servant, she's going to divorce him. Dr. Phil sends in a Relationship Rescue team of strong women to teach Greg a lesson! While Amy is sent off on a special trip to build her self-esteem, Greg gets three new "wives" who give him a dose of his own medicine as they put him through all that he demands of his wife on a daily basis. Will he finally see Amy as his equal and become a better spouse in the process?


Friday Prime Time

A Dr. Phil Prime Time Special: Escaping Danger

The statistics are staggering. One in three women will become the victim of domestic violence. She could be your next door neighbor, your friend, your coworker.  To the outside world their lives seem normal but behind closed doors they live a nightmare full of intimidation and violence. For one woman, years of violence have brought her to a point of no return. Throughout her marriage, Kerry suffered physical and emotional torture at the hands of her husband. Like many women, she lived in fear, isolated from any help or support, until now.  In this important Dr. Phil Prime Time Special, Kerry will attempt to escape the abuse. She has only a narrow window in time to make her move.  And what she does in those few hours could be the difference between life and death. Kerry's dramatic story is an inspiration for the hundreds of thousands of women who wake terrified in their own homes. Airs at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) only on CBS.
15
We can win,..... we did win! This is the second time in a row we have won a battle over this same topic. I hope this is the last time, but I would not bet on it.

http://www.glennsacks.com/enewsletters/enews_5_9_06.htm


Victory! Anti-Father CA Bill Pulled
in Face of Huge Opposition  

May 9, 2006

 
Anti-Father CA Bill Pulled in Face of Huge Opposition

In the face of over 4,000 opposition calls, letters and faxes, California Senator Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) has decided to withdraw a bill which would have granted custodial parents an almost unlimited right to move children far way from their noncustodial parents. Romero pulled SB 1482 just before today's scheduled hearing on the bill.

SB 1482 would have weakened if not abrogated the California Supreme Court's 2004 LaMusga move-away decision, which affirmed that courts have the power to restrain moves which run counter to children's best interests.

The bill was supported by a wide array of feminist groups and state-funded pro-feminist organizations, including the California National Organization for Women, the California Commission on the Status of Women, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Coalition for Family Equity, Haven Hills, Inc., Marin Abused Women's Services, Business and Professional Women/USA, the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles, the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium, and others.


Opposition to the bill and unrestricted move-aways was led by the Alliance for Children Concerned About Move-Aways, an advocacy group endorsed by over 50 mental health and family law professionals, and Mike Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children. Several organizations of family law and mental health professionals also opposed SB 1482,  including the California Judge's Association, the California Psychological Association, and the State Bar of California's Family Law Section.

This is the second time an attempt by misguided feminists to abrogate LaMusga has been defeated. From 1996 to 2004 move-away determinations were based on the Burgess decision, which was interpreted by California courts as conferring unlimited move-away privileges. Under Burgess the bonds between tens of thousands of children and their noncustodial parents were needlessly ruptured.

The California Supreme Court addressed the problem in the LaMusga decision in April, 2004 by making it clear that courts can prevent children from being moved when it is detrimental to their interests. Among the factors deemed important were the relationship between the child and the nonmoving parent.

In the summer of 2004 then Senate President John Burton, one of the most powerful people in California, introduced SB 730, a bill which would have granted custodial parents an almost unlimited right to move children far way from their noncustodial parents.

We organized opposition to SB 730, and thousands of you wrote and called Sacramento to oppose the bill. Our campaign gained widespread media attention and was endorsed by numerous mental health and family law professionals. Burton surprised Sacramento insiders by withdrawing the bill a few weeks later.

When SB 1482 was originally introduced in February, its language was innocuous. The bill's backers then made a sweeping, last minute amendment to the bill in order to slip it through committee on April 25 before opponents had a chance to organize. We quickly organized a deluge of calls and letters in opposition. The hearing on the bill was postponed to May 9 and then the bill was pulled.

As the Alliance for Children Concerned About Move-Aways noted in its position letter:

"SB 1482 will make it more difficult for children of divorce to retain the loving bonds they share with both parents.

"SB 1482 specifically prohibits a parent seeking to prevent his or her children from being moved far away from citing most of the evidence that could provide a basis for restraining the move. Under this bill, nonmoving parents are prevented from citing the move's impact on their children's relationships with them or the effects on the children of losing their schools and friends. This directly abrogates current California case law, which says that the children's relationship with their nonmoving parent must be considered when deciding a relocation case."

"The LaMusga move-away case, decided by the California Supreme Court in 2004, is a good example of the way [under Burgess] custodial parents were permitted to move children far away without justification. In that case the mother sought to move her two boys from the Bay Area to Ohio because, she claimed, she wanted to attend a law school there. Apparently none of the multitude of law schools in the Bay Area sufficed. Later she moved to Arizona because, she explained, her new husband needed work. His job? Selling cars...

"Part of the problem is that current policies provide strong financial incentives for moving. California has a high child support guideline, a high cost of living, and high wages. Thus custodial parents can often live better by moving to states which have a lower cost of living, because they will still collect child support awards based on California wages and support guidelines. This is a terrible injustice to noncustodial parents, who often must stay behind to work to pay child support for children who have been moved out of their lives."

Thanks again to the thousands of you who wrote or called Sacramento in opposition to SB 1482.


Victories Cost Money

The defeat of SB 1482 once again shows that shared parenting and fatherhood advocates can win victories if we are properly organized and funded. To donate to help our campaign via PayPal or check, http://accama.org/donate.php

Victories cost money. In these battles we are going up against large, well-funded organizations like the National Organization for Women and numerous government-funded domestic violence coalitions. Too often the people on our side kid ourselves that we can compete against these organizations without funding. Again, to donate to help our campaign via PayPal or check, click here.http://accama.org/donate.php
All donations--large or small--help.
16
Main / 13 years-Father finally finds daughter
Apr 15, 2006, 03:33 PM
The mom abducted the daughter 13 years ago. The US Marshal Service finally found her. What a terrible loss for both father and daughter. I went on the AOL boards associated with the story. The usual feminist types were saying "he must have done something", "women never abduct children for bad reasons, always with a pure heart",  "Women are nuturers and protectors". In other words, bullshit. Thank god, many women were speaking up and saying "bull, she should go to prison", that helped, but it goes to show the insane, sexist attitudes of many feminists

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/LegalCenter/story?id=1844217&page=1
17
Main / Murder!......DV defense? Bets on!
Mar 24, 2006, 08:58 AM
I wonder if the "Domestic Violence Defense" will pop up on this one? Maybe I am being a cynic, but after reading about the woman in Australia going hunting for her husband....well what can I say..sigh...  :?  



Matthew Winkler, a 32-year-old minister at Selmer's Church of Christ, was found dead in the parsonage Wednesday after he missed an evening service and church members went searching for him.

Police said the home didn't appear to have been broken into, but Winkler's wife and children -- Breanna, 1; Mary Alice, 6; and Patricia, 8 -- were gone.

The TBI issued an Amber Alert for the children, who had last been seen on Tuesday when their mother picked them up from school.

Orange Beach Police Chief Billy Wilkins said Friday that Mary Winkler had rented a condo on the beach but that she hadn't stayed there. She was being held pending charges from Tennessee, and the children's grandparents were headed to the area to ask a judge for at least temporary custody, he said.

The news of the minister's death and missing family shocked those who knew him in Selmer, a town of about 4,600 in western Tennessee.

Winkler was hired at the Fourth Street Church in February 2005, said Wilburn Ash, an elder at the church. The congregation quickly came to love his straight-by-the-Bible sermons. Church members also took to his wife, who they described as a quiet, unassuming woman who was a substitute teacher at the elementary school.

"They were a nice family," said former Selmer Mayor Jimmy Whittington, who worked with the minister collecting donations for hurricane victims last year. "They just blended in."

Mary and Matthew Winkler met at the Church of Christ-affiliated Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, where his father, also a minister, is an adjunct professor. Matthew Winkler later transferred and graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville.

On Thursday, members of the Selmer congregation gathered inside the one-story brick church.

"I can't believe this would happen," said Pam Killingsworth, a church member and assistant principal at Selmer Elementary.

"The kids are just precious, and she was precious," Killingsworth said. "He was the one of the best ministers we've ever had -- just super charisma."

[url]" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060324/ap_on_re_us/pastor_slain[url]

Slain Tenn. Minister's Wife to Be Charged

By WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer
4 minutes ago



SELMER, Tenn. - Tennessee authorities said they would charge a minister's wife with first-degree murder Friday, two days after he was found shot to death in a bedroom of the church parsonage.

Mary Winkler was found with the couple's three young daughters late Thursday in Orange Beach, Ala., 340 miles south of their home in Selmer.

"We've known from the beginning that she was either a suspect or a victim," said Jennifer Johnson, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Matthew Winkler, a 32-year-old minister at Selmer's Church of Christ, was found dead in the parsonage Wednesday after he missed an evening service and church members went searching for him.

Police said the home didn't appear to have been broken into, but Winkler's wife and children -- Breanna, 1; Mary Alice, 6; and Patricia, 8 -- were gone.

The TBI issued an Amber Alert for the children, who had last been seen on Tuesday when their mother picked them up from school.

Orange Beach Police Chief Billy Wilkins said Friday that Mary Winkler had rented a condo on the beach but that she hadn't stayed there. She was being held pending charges from Tennessee, and the children's grandparents were headed to the area to ask a judge for at least temporary custody, he said.

The news of the minister's death and missing family shocked those who knew him in Selmer, a town of about 4,600 in western Tennessee.

Winkler was hired at the Fourth Street Church in February 2005, said Wilburn Ash, an elder at the church. The congregation quickly came to love his straight-by-the-Bible sermons. Church members also took to his wife, who they described as a quiet, unassuming woman who was a substitute teacher at the elementary school.

"They were a nice family," said former Selmer Mayor Jimmy Whittington, who worked with the minister collecting donations for hurricane victims last year. "They just blended in."

Mary and Matthew Winkler met at the Church of Christ-affiliated Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, where his father, also a minister, is an adjunct professor. Matthew Winkler later transferred and graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville.

On Thursday, members of the Selmer congregation gathered inside the one-story brick church.

"I can't believe this would happen," said Pam Killingsworth, a church member and assistant principal at Selmer Elementary.

"The kids are just precious, and she was precious," Killingsworth said. "He was the one of the best ministers we've ever had -- just super charisma."

[url]
18
Main / Ginmar and todays news
Mar 14, 2006, 10:00 PM
After hearing Ginmar rant about women not commiting rape, the article below came as such a shock!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2006/03/13/state/n162232S19.DTL

"Authorities called it one of the worst rape cases they could recall.


Seven gang members and three female associates were charged Monday with raping a woman as the mother of one suspect allegedly watched and encouraged the assault, authorities said."


I think she also said that women do not lie about rape, the article below also came a such a shock! Maybe Ginmar is actually wrong about something.....

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20060313-1842-ca-girlrecants.html

BUENA PARK - A 12-year-old girl whose report of being sexually assaulted by a stranger in a school bathroom prompted a weekend manhunt admitted Monday that she made up the story, police said.

What is a simple guy like me to think?
19
Main / LA Times, Mother kidnaps kids
Mar 13, 2006, 05:37 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-abduct13mar13,1,4289726.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

The LA Times today had a major article about a father whose ex-wife kidnapped his kids and fled to the Phillipines. Very sad. And of course, the ex wifes court papers makes the usual quotes, "child abuse", "anger issues" blah, blah, blah.  Seeing him in his kids empty room, now devoid of the laughter and love by her criminal act, breaks my heart.



Father Tries to Get Sons Back From the Philippines
The San Diego boys were taken by their mother to a country that views kidnapping by a parent as a custody dispute, not a crime.
By Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
March 13, 2006


John Lee Smith keeps a bag ready, just in case.

It's packed with Spiderman watches, a dinosaur hairbrush, new clothes and action figures -- everything his three sons would need on a trip back home.
Smith hasn't seen or heard from the boys in more than a year, since, he said, their mother, Francina Fernandez, abducted them and fled to the Philippines.

Since then, his life has been frozen in place, his San Diego apartment a monument to their memory. Photographs of Keoni, 5, and twins Lance and Mason, 4, fill the rooms. Their stuffed animals sit on his bed. Their art projects -- snowmen and spiders -- cover his bedroom walls.

"There is not even a word to describe the anguish I feel," Smith said. "When am I going to see my boys again? Is it going to be five years? Is it going to be five months?"

Hundreds of American parents face a similar plight, fighting from within the United States to bring home children they say were kidnapped and taken abroad by the other parent. The U.S. State Department is handling roughly 1,000 international parental kidnapping cases, including seven that involve children taken to the Philippines.

Many parents left behind face linguistic, cultural, geographical and legal barriers. Often, the spouse is a citizen, or can become a citizen, of the country to which he or she has fled and is entitled to that country's protection.

In the United States, Fernandez faces federal charges of international parental kidnapping that could land her behind bars for up to three years.

But FBI agents in Manila do not know exactly where she is. And even if they locate her, agents lack the authority to arrest her or take the boys. Fernandez has reclaimed her Philippine citizenship.

The Philippines sees parental kidnapping as a custody dispute, not a crime. And the country isn't party to the international treaty that created a process for resolving such disputes.

"Where does that country get the right to make decisions regarding my three little boys, who are U.S. citizens?" Smith asked. "The message they are sending out is, 'Kidnap your child and come to the Philippines' .... It's basically a safe haven."

The Philippine government says it cooperates with U.S. law enforcement and consular officials to locate children alleged to have been abducted and check on their welfare. The officials also can help negotiate a return. But in many cases, the decision on whether the children should be sent back to the parent in the United States falls to the courts.

"It's irresponsible to paint the Philippine government as ... a coddler of criminals," said Patricia Paez, spokeswoman for the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. "A parent could accuse the other parent of kidnapping, but that's for the courts to determine."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The last time Smith saw his sons was Oct. 28, 2004, his 47th birthday.

A week later, Fernandez, who was living with her parents in nearby Chula Vista, told him over the phone that she planned to take the boys on vacation to New Zealand. Smith called his attorney, who went to court to object to the trip.

It was one of many conflicts between the couple, who had joint custody of the boys. They split up when the twins were a year old, and the acrimony had been growing ever since, with arguments over child support, visitation and day care.

Smith blamed cultural differences -- and her parents -- for the breakup and later disputes.

"I knew she was going to abduct the boys," Smith said. "There was not one ounce of doubt in my mind."

A judge ordered Fernandez not to take the children out of the state. He also ordered her to surrender their passports within 24 hours. She didn't.

A few days later, Fernandez's mother reported to police that her daughter and grandsons had disappeared.
Smith learned through the FBI that Fernandez had flown to Manila with the boys Nov. 8. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

Reached by telephone, Fernandez's mother, Sonia, said she believes her daughter left the country to "protect the boys." Francina Fernandez had accused Smith of abusing his sons but, according to court documents, the Juvenile Court dismissed the allegations.

In the court papers, Fernandez also said Smith had "anger-management issues" and that his parental judgment was "highly questionable."

Francina Fernandez's family law attorney, Marilyn Bierer, said she was surprised to learn that her client had left the country with her sons. "There is no justification for what she did," she said. "There are always two sides to every story, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle."

A tall, muscular surfer and self-described "perpetual bachelor," Smith had never expected to become a father. He was middle-aged when his sons were born. Soon, he said, he was changing diapers and rocking them to sleep.

"My life was my boys," he said. "They loved being with me, and I loved being with them."

As his sons grew older, they all rode bikes and skipped rocks together; they visited Chuck E. Cheese's and SeaWorld.

"When I heard them call, 'Daddy!' it was better than any wave I have ever surfed," he said.

After his sons were taken, Smith rarely left the house. He took a leave from his job as a contractor.

"I kept praying ... the phone would ring," he said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Trying to recover a child kidnapped by a parent to another country is arduous -- and sometimes futile, advocates and attorneys said.

U.S. custody orders frequently are not honored overseas. And like the Philippines, many nations consider parental kidnapping a civil matter. In addition, the abducting parents are usually at an advantage, because they often have a network of relatives or friends who can support them or help them hide.

The cases can last for years, said Julia Alanen, director of the international division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "It's an uphill battle," Alanen said. "But we keep trying and eventually, in a good number of these cases, we find a solution."

For the parents left behind, the struggle to get their children back is overwhelming, both emotionally and financially.

"It's absolutely the worst nightmare you can experience," said Georgia Hilgeman-Hammond, executive director of Vanished Children's Alliance, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that helps parents through the process.

Even if parents get their children back, it's not always as they had imagined, Hilgeman-Hammond said. Often, the children have been told that the parent left behind died or didn't want to see them anymore.

Despite good intentions, U.S. law enforcement authorities sometimes have little to offer. Even if they are able to issue a warrant for the abducting parent's arrest, executing it often depends on whether the foreign country is willing to cooperate and has an extradition treaty with the United States.

U.S. parents have more success if their children are taken to countries that have signed the Hague Convention treaty on international child abductions. The treaty says that custody cases generally should be decided in the child's country of "habitual residence" -- generally where the child has been living and has a social network.

Seventy-six countries have signed the convention, but some do not abide by it, the State Department said.

"There are some cases that are very difficult," said Catherine Barry, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department. "And despite a lot of effort, there is no resolution to the satisfaction of the U.S. parent."

Nearly a year after his sons disappeared, Smith decided he couldn't wait anymore.

He had heard stories of other parents who successfully re-abducted their children. He made reservations for a flight to the Philippines, thinking he'd give it a try.

But an FBI agent talked Smith out of it, saying he would jeopardize the agency's efforts to recover the boys.

"As much as I want to be this bravado father, I also have to be smart," he said.

Smith has tried nearly everything else. He has called the police, FBI, Department of State, media, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Philippine Embassy. He has offered a $10,000 reward for his sons' safe return.

Smith contacted Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who wrote letters to the Philippine ambassador and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Just before Christmas, Fernandez contacted Philippine authorities and began negotiations about a possible return, according to the FBI. Smith went out to buy his boys Spiderman shoes as presents. It's mysterious to him, and the bureau, why it fell through. Fernandez stopped negotiating and his boys never arrived. "I was crushed," he said.

Then Smith's case hit yet another hurdle. Fernandez has obtained Philippine citizenship for her sons, according to the FBI. That rules out her deportation from the Philippines and can make it harder to negotiate the children's return.

Smith is convinced a custody case in the Philippines wouldn't go his way. He has gained full custody in the U.S. but knows that probably doesn't matter in the Philippines. His wife was born there and speaks the language. In addition, Philippine law favors the mother if the children are under 7 years old.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out," he said. "Who is going to get the better shake over there?"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Smith said he will never stop searching for his sons. He feels some comfort knowing that the boys are together -- and that they were not kidnapped by a stranger.

"At least I know Francina loves the boys and isn't going to hurt them," he said.

With his sons gone, Smith throws himself into work. He also takes solace in the ocean. Often, he goes to the beach to watch the sunset and think about his sons waking up in the Philippines about the same time.

Occasionally, he pulls out the family videos. On a recent afternoon, he sat on the floor in front of the television. As his boys appeared on the screen, he wiped his eyes without looking away.

Wearing life jackets, Mason and Keoni smile as they each plunge into a swimming pool.

"Batman jump!" Mason yells.

"Superman jump!" Keoni yells.

"Look at your brothers," Smith says from behind the camera, as he pans over to Lance, standing on the other side of the pool. "You don't want to jump in?"

"No," Lance responds, prompting Smith to chuckle at his son's independence.

A few seconds later, the video shows Keoni, lying face-down on his towel.

He turns his head toward the camera and says, "I love you, Daddy."
20
Main / LA Times, Mother kidnaps kids
Mar 13, 2006, 05:35 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-abduct13mar13,1,4289726.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

The LA Times today had a major article about a father whose ex-wife kidnapped his kids and fled to the Phillipines. Very sad. And of course, the ex wifes court papers makes the usual quotes, "child abuse", "anger issues" blah, blah, blah.  Seeing him in his kids empty room, now devoid of the laughter and love by her criminal act, breaks my heart.



Father Tries to Get Sons Back From the Philippines
The San Diego boys were taken by their mother to a country that views kidnapping by a parent as a custody dispute, not a crime.
By Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
March 13, 2006


John Lee Smith keeps a bag ready, just in case.

It's packed with Spiderman watches, a dinosaur hairbrush, new clothes and action figures -- everything his three sons would need on a trip back home.
Smith hasn't seen or heard from the boys in more than a year, since, he said, their mother, Francina Fernandez, abducted them and fled to the Philippines.

Since then, his life has been frozen in place, his San Diego apartment a monument to their memory. Photographs of Keoni, 5, and twins Lance and Mason, 4, fill the rooms. Their stuffed animals sit on his bed. Their art projects -- snowmen and spiders -- cover his bedroom walls.

"There is not even a word to describe the anguish I feel," Smith said. "When am I going to see my boys again? Is it going to be five years? Is it going to be five months?"

Hundreds of American parents face a similar plight, fighting from within the United States to bring home children they say were kidnapped and taken abroad by the other parent. The U.S. State Department is handling roughly 1,000 international parental kidnapping cases, including seven that involve children taken to the Philippines.

Many parents left behind face linguistic, cultural, geographical and legal barriers. Often, the spouse is a citizen, or can become a citizen, of the country to which he or she has fled and is entitled to that country's protection.

In the United States, Fernandez faces federal charges of international parental kidnapping that could land her behind bars for up to three years.

But FBI agents in Manila do not know exactly where she is. And even if they locate her, agents lack the authority to arrest her or take the boys. Fernandez has reclaimed her Philippine citizenship.

The Philippines sees parental kidnapping as a custody dispute, not a crime. And the country isn't party to the international treaty that created a process for resolving such disputes.

"Where does that country get the right to make decisions regarding my three little boys, who are U.S. citizens?" Smith asked. "The message they are sending out is, 'Kidnap your child and come to the Philippines' .... It's basically a safe haven."

The Philippine government says it cooperates with U.S. law enforcement and consular officials to locate children alleged to have been abducted and check on their welfare. The officials also can help negotiate a return. But in many cases, the decision on whether the children should be sent back to the parent in the United States falls to the courts.

"It's irresponsible to paint the Philippine government as ... a coddler of criminals," said Patricia Paez, spokeswoman for the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. "A parent could accuse the other parent of kidnapping, but that's for the courts to determine."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The last time Smith saw his sons was Oct. 28, 2004, his 47th birthday.

A week later, Fernandez, who was living with her parents in nearby Chula Vista, told him over the phone that she planned to take the boys on vacation to New Zealand. Smith called his attorney, who went to court to object to the trip.

It was one of many conflicts between the couple, who had joint custody of the boys. They split up when the twins were a year old, and the acrimony had been growing ever since, with arguments over child support, visitation and day care.

Smith blamed cultural differences -- and her parents -- for the breakup and later disputes.

"I knew she was going to abduct the boys," Smith said. "There was not one ounce of doubt in my mind."

A judge ordered Fernandez not to take the children out of the state. He also ordered her to surrender their passports within 24 hours. She didn't.

A few days later, Fernandez's mother reported to police that her daughter and grandsons had disappeared.
Smith learned through the FBI that Fernandez had flown to Manila with the boys Nov. 8. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

Reached by telephone, Fernandez's mother, Sonia, said she believes her daughter left the country to "protect the boys." Francina Fernandez had accused Smith of abusing his sons but, according to court documents, the Juvenile Court dismissed the allegations.

In the court papers, Fernandez also said Smith had "anger-management issues" and that his parental judgment was "highly questionable."

Francina Fernandez's family law attorney, Marilyn Bierer, said she was surprised to learn that her client had left the country with her sons. "There is no justification for what she did," she said. "There are always two sides to every story, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle."

A tall, muscular surfer and self-described "perpetual bachelor," Smith had never expected to become a father. He was middle-aged when his sons were born. Soon, he said, he was changing diapers and rocking them to sleep.

"My life was my boys," he said. "They loved being with me, and I loved being with them."

As his sons grew older, they all rode bikes and skipped rocks together; they visited Chuck E. Cheese's and SeaWorld.

"When I heard them call, 'Daddy!' it was better than any wave I have ever surfed," he said.

After his sons were taken, Smith rarely left the house. He took a leave from his job as a contractor.

"I kept praying ... the phone would ring," he said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Trying to recover a child kidnapped by a parent to another country is arduous -- and sometimes futile, advocates and attorneys said.

U.S. custody orders frequently are not honored overseas. And like the Philippines, many nations consider parental kidnapping a civil matter. In addition, the abducting parents are usually at an advantage, because they often have a network of relatives or friends who can support them or help them hide.

The cases can last for years, said Julia Alanen, director of the international division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "It's an uphill battle," Alanen said. "But we keep trying and eventually, in a good number of these cases, we find a solution."

For the parents left behind, the struggle to get their children back is overwhelming, both emotionally and financially.

"It's absolutely the worst nightmare you can experience," said Georgia Hilgeman-Hammond, executive director of Vanished Children's Alliance, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that helps parents through the process.

Even if parents get their children back, it's not always as they had imagined, Hilgeman-Hammond said. Often, the children have been told that the parent left behind died or didn't want to see them anymore.

Despite good intentions, U.S. law enforcement authorities sometimes have little to offer. Even if they are able to issue a warrant for the abducting parent's arrest, executing it often depends on whether the foreign country is willing to cooperate and has an extradition treaty with the United States.

U.S. parents have more success if their children are taken to countries that have signed the Hague Convention treaty on international child abductions. The treaty says that custody cases generally should be decided in the child's country of "habitual residence" -- generally where the child has been living and has a social network.

Seventy-six countries have signed the convention, but some do not abide by it, the State Department said.

"There are some cases that are very difficult," said Catherine Barry, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department. "And despite a lot of effort, there is no resolution to the satisfaction of the U.S. parent."

Nearly a year after his sons disappeared, Smith decided he couldn't wait anymore.

He had heard stories of other parents who successfully re-abducted their children. He made reservations for a flight to the Philippines, thinking he'd give it a try.

But an FBI agent talked Smith out of it, saying he would jeopardize the agency's efforts to recover the boys.

"As much as I want to be this bravado father, I also have to be smart," he said.

Smith has tried nearly everything else. He has called the police, FBI, Department of State, media, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Philippine Embassy. He has offered a $10,000 reward for his sons' safe return.

Smith contacted Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who wrote letters to the Philippine ambassador and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Just before Christmas, Fernandez contacted Philippine authorities and began negotiations about a possible return, according to the FBI. Smith went out to buy his boys Spiderman shoes as presents. It's mysterious to him, and the bureau, why it fell through. Fernandez stopped negotiating and his boys never arrived. "I was crushed," he said.

Then Smith's case hit yet another hurdle. Fernandez has obtained Philippine citizenship for her sons, according to the FBI. That rules out her deportation from the Philippines and can make it harder to negotiate the children's return.

Smith is convinced a custody case in the Philippines wouldn't go his way. He has gained full custody in the U.S. but knows that probably doesn't matter in the Philippines. His wife was born there and speaks the language. In addition, Philippine law favors the mother if the children are under 7 years old.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out," he said. "Who is going to get the better shake over there?"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Smith said he will never stop searching for his sons. He feels some comfort knowing that the boys are together -- and that they were not kidnapped by a stranger.

"At least I know Francina loves the boys and isn't going to hurt them," he said.

With his sons gone, Smith throws himself into work. He also takes solace in the ocean. Often, he goes to the beach to watch the sunset and think about his sons waking up in the Philippines about the same time.

Occasionally, he pulls out the family videos. On a recent afternoon, he sat on the floor in front of the television. As his boys appeared on the screen, he wiped his eyes without looking away.

Wearing life jackets, Mason and Keoni smile as they each plunge into a swimming pool.

"Batman jump!" Mason yells.

"Superman jump!" Keoni yells.

"Look at your brothers," Smith says from behind the camera, as he pans over to Lance, standing on the other side of the pool. "You don't want to jump in?"

"No," Lance responds, prompting Smith to chuckle at his son's independence.

A few seconds later, the video shows Keoni, lying face-down on his towel.

He turns his head toward the camera and says, "I love you, Daddy."