U.S. FAMILY COURTS SACRIFICING MOTHERS & CHILDREN
Family Courts Behind an Epidemic of Pedophilia & Judicial Abuse
keith harmon snow
1 May 2012
A five month investigation reveals an epidemic of violence and corruption facilitated by Family Courts in the United States. Children all over the United States are being taken from their protective mothers and delivered to abusers. Behind this epidemic of judicial abuse are organized networks involved in racketeering and corruption, channeling and disappearing billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers money every year. Insurance companies are being defrauded by medical and mental health professionals rewarded handsomely for producing quack studies that criminalize loving mothers and protect abusive fathers. With clear evidence of racketeering and corruption, high court judges and insider lawyers use and abuse the Family Courts system destroy protective mothers and deliver life sentences of suffering to innocent children. Rich, poor, middle-class… No child in America is safe.
Little did they know, the worst was yet to come. Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan are just two mothers in two states in the country whose cases provide irrefutable evidence of judicial abuse and pedophile trafficking through Family Courts. Their court cases went straight from horrible to hell.
Despite solid documentation of judicial corruption, cronyism, state social service agency abuse, misconduct or dismissal by police, and massive profiteering by officials who are preying on families and children, even the Federal Bureau of Investigation is mute.
Just when Sunny and Lori thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.
Swearing in of Attorney Maureen Murphy at nomination confirmation hearings before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee February 22, 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
As I write this story, the family court system has already delivered Sunny Kelley’s son and Lori Handrahan’s daughter to alleged sex abusers who appear to be part of sex crime networks. Both mothers are fighting for their children’s lives, at the expense of their own. They have been slandered, abused, ridiculed, harassed, ignored, humiliated, threatened and attacked. They have been financially devastated.
With the incredible love of a protective mother for her baby they have fought back fiercely, but the more they have fought the more the system has restricted, hammered and punished them. Every move they made has brought further retaliation upon them. And they are not alone.
Like other mothers persecuted by the Family Court system, Sunny and Lori have been psychologically and emotionally tortured, and it’s still happening. It is the same story for Susan Skipp (Tittle v. Tittle) and Sandra MacVicar (Buggy v. Buggy) and Marlene Debek (Bhatia v. Debek) and Lisa Foley (Foley v. Foley) and many more.
Some of the protective mothers I have talked to tell stories of their children sleeping terrified in the same bed, living in constant fear of their father sexually abusing them. They talk about their child and their neighbor’s child being dressed and undressed in costumes and made to touch each other for the baby-sitting father’s pleasure. Evidence has been provided to the authorities, and nothing is done.
Unlike some mothers who have been forced to live on the streets or in their cars or those committed to mental health asylums as a result of fraudulent court psychological evaluations, protective mothers like Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan have not succumbed to the institutionalized corruption and criminality served on them in an effort to silence them, destroy them and deliver their children to the abusers. They are broke. They are exhausted. They are depressed and disillusioned. They are still fighting. And they are courageous beyond belief.
How can our society have let them down so badly?
The legal systems in Maine and Connecticut have given Lori and Sunny and mothers like them the proverbial bitch-slap unceremoniously reserved for any mother in America who stands up for her children and herself against a misogynist and patriarchal culture dominated by shrill demagogues. Worst of all, Sunny and Lori’s pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears: when they tell their stories no one believes them.
THEY TRAFFICKED MY CHILD
Hell for Lori Handrahan came in the form of her daughter Mila being raped by her husband. Like most mothers entrapped in the family court system, Lori Handrahan never technically lost custody of her daughter. “In June 2009 my daughter Mila came home with a shredded vagina and Igor [husband] was substantiated with raping her,” says Lori Handrahan. “The courts did nothing. Mila was 2 years old at the time.”
Examining the records, documents, statements, affidavits and testimonies for the cases of Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan and others herein, it is clear that Family Courts involve incestuous judicial and financial relationships that dictate profits over child protections.
And there is much more to the story than financial kickbacks.
“The state of Maine has trafficked my child Mila,” Lori Handrahan told me, in January, right before the court forced a gag order upon her and shut down her web site. “There’s a massive cognitive dissonance and denial about child trafficking by the U.S. public. This happens in India and Africa but it can’t be happening here. The cover in America is child custody.”
Dr. Lori Handrahan is a professor at the School of International Service at American University in Washington D.C. Dr. Handrahan’s credentials are impeccable, with over 20 years of work in international development and human rights all over the world. She was a guest on CNN and her op-eds about human rights and sex trafficking were often published in the New York Times. “Now that my child’s life is on the line I can’t get any news coverage at all. Every single media outlet I’ve gotten interested has killed the story at the last minute.”
Lori and Mila’s case also involves corruption within the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including the illegal naturalization of Ukrainian and Russian nationals who have stolen Mila away from her loving mother.
While available to discuss her case in early January, Lori Handrahan was later served with a gag order, intimidated into silence out of fear for her daughter’s life, and possibly her own. Sometime in late January or early February of this year, the web site created to help them — “Saving Mila” — went dead.
Meanwhile, all efforts to get media exposure for these two women’s stories–whether through the New York Times or Nightline or the Associated Press, or CBS-affiliated local TV stations like WABI in Portland, or regional papers like the Portland Herald Press or the Hartford Courant — were initially met with great interest as journalists and bureau chiefs recognized ‘hot’ stories. After a short time one promise of imminent and certain publication after another turned into refusals to return phone calls or emails. Threatened or silenced by someone, the “hot” stories went cold.
While Sunny Kelley and most other protective parent’s stories of judicial abuse and destruction remain disbelieved, unheard and unknown, Lori Handrahan’s efforts to Save Mila have resulted in a very high-profile case garnering national attention — thanks to the Internet and the outrage of thousands of people across the country.
Major social networking media–Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and others–have, one way or another, helped to censor Lori and Mila’s story. The organization Change.org — reputed to be a socially conscious networking entity — still carries a petition created by Michael Waxman, the criminal father’s criminal lawyer in Maine, intended to further censor and punish Lori Handrahan.
Lori and Sunny’s stories are rivaled only by the 1990s horror story of Linda Wiegand–another egregious case in which the mother Linda Wiegand was persecuted by an unjust system now deeply linked to organized sex trafficking and pedophile rings. Investigations have uncovered a web of corruption involving state agencies from Connecticut to Maine, from Georgia to California.
“The trouble is they have never gone after a mother like me,” Lori Handrahan said. She is appropriately furious. “Most mothers don’t have a PhD, they don’t know how to research and they haven’t spent the past 20 years of their life fighting for women’s rights in places like Uganda, Darfur and central Asia.”
“I spent two years in Maine, from 2008 to 2010, where by court order I was forced to traffic my daughter and deliver her to her father.” Lori breaks down and sobs over the phone. “They made me traffic my daughter or go to jail.”
For women and men of higher economic classes, the courts have been turned into a profit-based system of extortion and criminal racketeering that enriches lawyers, judges, doctors and psychologists. Financial benefits drive lawyers and judges to create war in divorce court. The system promotes separating children from parents and forcing them into foster care. In the end, children are being trafficked to their abusers with the sanction of the court and, as I will show, with the participation of legal professionals set up as gatekeepers.
For women and men of the lower economic classes, the system is unbeatable: children are taken away and handed over to foster parents. There is no one to fight for them, and no money to be made from the parents. Meanwhile, every kid that is placed in a foster home in CT amounts to thousands of dollars of federal funds — disappearing into someone’s pockets.
The laws that have been enacted originally sought to gut and abolish the welfare system, with an extreme bias against people of color — including Native Americans on reservations like Pine Ridge, SD, where children are routinely removed from Lakota parents and placed with white families off the reservation. The courts use destructive laws differently against different economic classes.
IT AIN’T SUNNY WHEN HE’S GONE
By February 15, 2011, the behavior of then seven year-old Max Liberti had become so extreme that his mother Sunny Kelley (Liberti) had become desperate. All the evidence suggested that Max was being raped and tortured. Instead of helping his mother, the Connecticut Family Court system had persecuted her and protected the abuser. While Sunny Kelley desperately explored every avenue to get the courts and their experts to acknowledge that little Max was being hurt, the judges, lawyers and other experts were conspiring against her. Law enforcement evaded responsibility and frequently insinuated that Sunny Kelley was the problem.
“This is the time when Max had suicidal thoughts,” said Dr. Eli Newberger M.D., an expert who has supported Sunny Kelley’s case. A pediatrician and nationally renowned expert on child abuse, Dr. Eli Newberger teaches at Harvard Medical School and founded the Child Protection Team and the Family Development Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston. “I was seriously concerned for his life.”
Max Liberti had become increasingly psychotic and uncontrollable, running around groping adults’ privates, singing songs about killing himself, or dissociating, staring off, lost in space, unreachable by his mother or the other women trying to protect and care for him. Max was hitting himself in the face, and talking about death.
As evidence of Max’s abuse and torture mounted, his mother Sunny Kelley took every reasonable step to protect him. The abuse against Max escalated in direct proportion to Sunny’s efforts to separate herself and her son from her abusive husband. It is the same for at least ten other protective moms who I have interviewed in detail for this story.
“It was a process,” says Sunny Kelley, a white, middle class, affluent, 38 year-old year old professional sound engineer living in southern Connecticut. “There were a lot of things I didn’t understand. I was naïve. But I was very, very, very careful never to accuse Max’s father of anything. With every professional, with every visit to the hospital or therapists or pediatrician, all I did was to repeat what my son had told me. But no matter what I did, it was always turned around on me that I was the guilty one, that I was making false accusations about my husband.”
The details of what happened to Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti belie belief. The personal details of Sunny Kelley’s relationship, her marriage, her sex life, her personal history with sexual abuse, the toileting of her child — the details of her imperfection as a parent and her emotional response to this judicial abuse — everything has been scrutinized and used against her.
Although there were at least six years of abuse that Sunny struggled to endure, as is common in many families, her relationship with her new baby carried her through. Even after she told her abusive husband she wanted a divorce, still it took Sunny nine months to get him out of her bed into a separate bedroom. From that moment on, the violence against Max escalated with every step she took to protect herself and her son. As Sunny pressed for her rights, the court increasingly punished her.
Prior to February 15, 2011, Sunny was communicating regularly with Dr. Eli Newberger and Dr. Joyanna Silberg, nationally renowned child abuse experts alarmed by the failure of professionals in the Connecticut Family Court system to protect this child. These experts were brought into the case after it became clear that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families was not going to protect Max, and neither was anyone else. Also, over the previous year, Sunny and Max had become very familiar with the Yale Children’s Hospital and Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic.
The divorce trial was held over fourteen days in August 2011 with four additional days in October. On January 3, 2012, in anticipation of the imminent divorce and custody trial decision, Connecticut’s Chief Administrative Judge of Family Matters Judge Lynda Munro ordered that pseudonyms must be used on court documents and public references to the case. To protect the privacy and rights of the parents — and the dignity of the child Max — in case of media attention or legal scrutiny, the Liberti v. Liberti case would be known as ‘Jane Doe v. John Roe’ with the child being known as ‘Peter’.
“I think this [change of names] was done to protect the court from being exposed and also to protect the judges whose actions are damnable,” said Dr. Eli Newberger. “This is like Soviet Russia, but it’s happening in the United States, and people’s rights are being trampled on by people in power who can only maintain their power through the conventions of secrecy.”
The claims that the court is looking out for the safety and dignity of the child are contradicted by the court’s entire course of action, by the timing of events, manipulations of facts, and by the choice of professionals assigned or ordered to intervene in Sunny Kelley’s life. The final indignities and injustice may be yet to come. While the child’s life remained at risk as the October 2011 hearing adjourned, Judge Lynda Munro delayed her decision until February 2, 2012. And then she delivered Max Liberti to his father on a silver platter.
The stories of Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan are very personal, and they have become personal to me. In 2009 I began to hear pieces of Sunny’s story through one of Max’s caregivers. I didn’t believe it. I hesitated to get involved because the story was at first so unbelievable and, later, so frightening to me, personally, that I dismissed and ignored it. Then, just before Christmas 2011, I heard that one of the supervisors appointed by the court had told Sunny “You probably won’t be seeing me, because I am in this business to protect children, and that’s not what’s happening here.”
After five months of research into Sunny Kelley’s case, after interviews with mother after mother whose life has been destroyed by the racket of Connecticut Family Courts, after attending Connecticut state hearings and meetings and combing piles of documents, I will now show you how it came to pass that Max Liberti is no longer able to see or visit with his mother Sunny Kelley and is in full custody of the abusive father. As the time of the publication of this story, Max Liberti has not seen his mother Sunny for over two months.
This is how abusive and narcissistic men work the family court system to destroy the lives of their ex-partners and their children. The documentary film No Way Out But One tells the story of Holly Collins — a woman just like Lori Handrahan and Sunny Kelley–a protective mother persecuted by the family court system in Minnesota for trying to protect her children. A family court in that state had ignored Holly Collin’s complaints of domestic violence, and the physical evidence of serious child abuse, and had given full custody of the children to the abusive ex-partner. Holly Collins became an international fugitive when she grabbed her children and went on the run. Collins fled the United States in 1994, and she became the first U.S. citizen to gain asylum in the Netherlands. The FBI tracked Collins down. The now grown children confirmed that their mother was not their kidnapper, but their savior.
Another ‘celebrated’ case of the mid-1990’s in which the mother saw no way out but one was the Thomas Wilkinson v. Linda Wiegand case in Connecticut. Linda Wiegand was a protective mother forced to flee the state of Connecticut with her two children. She was also eventually hunted down by the FBI, extradited back to Connecticut and thrown in jail.
In January 1993, Linda Wiegand’s two children (the oldest boy was then about seven and a half years old) disclosed that the father of one boy, Thomas Wilkinson, had sexually abused them. Even while the evidence of sexual abuse continued to mount–disclosures by the children, forensic evidence, and multiple findings of sexual abuse by police, state social services professionals, and courts in both Vermont and New York–it was not enough evidence for the Connecticut courts. In 1993, Connecticut court Judge Herbert Barall appointed Dr. Kenneth Robson to evaluate mother Linda Wiegand and her ex-partner Thomas Wilkinson — he wasn’t even the father of one of the abused boys! — and the two children.
After five months of evaluations, including many meetings with the two boys, Dr. Robson identified a number of factors that he conceded “appear[ed] to support the credibility of the allegations of sexual abuse against the minor children by Thomas Wilkinson.” For example, the children’s allegations were “specific and consistent,” their drawings were “explicit,” and their allegations were at least “apparently” spontaneous. Nonetheless, Dr. Robson delivered his report to the court concluding that the “reported sexual abuse was unlikely.”
It gets worse, however, making it clear that it was not a matter of the court making a wrong finding but of Dr. Kenneth Robson supporting pedophilia. In fact, the problem goes much deeper than either of these problems.
Dr. Kenneth Robson and Bonnie Robson’s offices in West Hartford, Connecticut.
(c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
In January of 1994, Linda Wiegand disappeared with her children. Judge Herbert Barall proceeded with a hearing, awarding custody to Wilkinson and denying Wiegand visitation rights. In July 1996, Wiegand was arrested in Las Vegas, and both children were delivered to the abuser, Thomas Wilkinson.
What was the magical recipe used by Dr. Kenneth Robson to get the two Wiegand boys to spill their guts to him and disclose sexual abuse that Robson later conspired to hide? “The farther you get away from spontaneous comments the less likely you are to discover the truth,” Dr. Robson told me. “That was certainly the case in the Wiegand case. There had been so many people that had questioned those kids that by the time I got to them. I got the most by playing dumb. Letting them talk. I didn’t say anything. Or I said, ‘I’m confused, I don’t know’.”
So why, then, did Dr. Robson help to protect Thomas Wilkinson later? When I asked Dr. Kenneth Robson a specific question about the Wiegand case in February 2012, Dr. Robson refused to discuss it further. “I don’t think I should comment on the case. I think the boys are beyond the age of litigation and I don’t know all that has happened. My participation is well known. My studies and reports are discoverable.”
In subsequent hearings, Linda Wiegand’s lawyers issued a subpoena to produce any and all copies of audiotaped interviews that Dr. Robson conducted with her children in 1993 and 1994. On April 18, 1997, lawyers representing Dr. Kenneth Robson and the Institute of Living Medical Group, where Robson worked, prevented the release of these tapes. Dr. Robson argued that the tapes should not be released because “Sessions with the minor children involved discussions of very sensitive issues, including grave allegations of sexual abuse by their father, Thomas Wilkinson.”
Judge Herbert Barall then sealed the evidence that concretely substantiated the sexual abuse of Linda Wiegand’s two children — subjecting the boys to continued harm and abuse and possible death — and protecting Dr. Kenneth Robson and others.
“Apparently, all of the professionals in Vermont… found [Linda] Wiegand to be sincere, reliable, and genuinely concerned about the welfare of her children,” wrote CT investigator John Massameno after a detailed 18-month investigation in three states. “There is no question that Wiegand became desperate after the Connecticut family court afforded her no hope of proving Dr. Robson wrong, appeared poised to follow Robson’s recommendation of joint custody, and at a later, secret, ex parte meeting with Wilkinson’s counsel, actually awarded physical and legal custody of both boys to Wilkinson’s sister…”
The Massameno Report was also ordered sealed, courtesy of Judge Herbert Barall, and in February 2000 Enfield Superior Court Judge Nicola E. Rubinow issued gag orders forbidding anyone from publicly revealing information in the sealed report. Many of the protective mothers in these cases suffer under similar gag orders, and reports and cases have been sealed to protect the interests of the professional involved in the judicial abuse.
Judge Herbert Barall also destroyed Linda Wiegand financially. Besides taking Linda Wiegand’s house, she was also was ordered to pay Wilkinson’s counsel fees of $50,000.00 and a lump sum alimony of $500,000. The family court considered such an award appropriate given Linda Wiegand’s ‘intolerable cruelty’ in “subjecting [Wilkinson] to false allegations of sexual abuse.” The courts ‘finding’ of no abuse was apparently based wholly on the opinion and report of Dr. Kenneth Robson.
Holly Collins and Linda Wiegand came to believe they had to take their children and run. A ‘fugitive from justice’ wanted by the FBI, Linda Wiegand is actually a fugitive from the injustice of Family Courts in Connecticut. The psychologist and custody evaluator in the Wiegand case, Dr. Kenneth Robson, is the one who helped take Max Liberti from Sunny Kelley and deliver him to the abusive father, just as he has done in unknown numbers of other cases.
This is the story of Sunny Kelley and Holly Collins and Linda Wiegand and Lori Handrahan and Susan Skipp and so many others — unnamed for fear of retaliation — whose details will pepper this story.
THE BLACK HOLE OF PEDOPHILIA IN AMERICA
Most mothers heading down the divorce and custody road have no idea that they are destined for judicial entrapment, extortion, exploitation, and total loss. They don’t want to upset the apple cart, appear to be contentious, or be judged guilty by association, as they follow well-meaning advice about going through a divorce in the family court system. Who wants to piss off the judge? Mothers convince themselves that it can’t happen to them. Worse, no one believes a protective mother who says the court is not protecting her child
“The courts would never do that,” everyone says.
“Fathers are the ones being discriminated against, not mothers,” say many. “Fathers have a right to see their children too. I’m sure you don’t have all the facts.”
“Report it to the Department of Children and Families,” some complain. “The state agencies will stop it immediately. You are mandated by law to report it and they are mandated by law to stop it!”
“The mother must be the problem,” still others argue. “You know how these divorce cases go. People tell all kinds of lies to get custody of their children.”
Protective mothers rationalize it this way: “These must be ‘bad’ mothers. You know, difficult women. I’m a good mother. It won’t happen to me. My lawyer will handle it.”
Fighting their own private battles, with their private lawyers, no one wants to get involved in someone else’s problems, and no one wants their dirty laundry aired for the world to see. Mum’s the word.
The problem is, what we are talking about here is a massive national and global epidemic in sex slavery and pedophilia that makes the Penn State University pedophile scandal look like a bonafidé success story. In that case, someone caught the thief with his hands in the cookie jar — or the kiddie’s nightie. Penn State was the tip of the top of the peak of the iceberg of sexual horrors that children are experiencing and mothers are fighting against. There is an ocean of evidence for any clear thinking person to see.
But who is watching?
There is little or no U.S. Department of Justice oversight of the billions of dollars in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services monies that are funding the black holes of Family Courts. The mass media is almost completely silent.
On March 2, 2011, journalist Peter Jamison published an article in the San Francisco Weekly News that might be a blueprint for similar cases across North America. Otherwise, and virtually all across the country, local to national newspapers, major media outlets, syndicated news reporters and TV stations have gone silent in the face of the evidence.
In Peter Jamison’s “California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody” blueprint, the story goes like this: mother suspects father of sexual abuse against child; mother asks Family Court to investigate; court assigns psychologist to evaluate parents; psychologist declares that mother invented charges against father; mother is labeled with psychopathology based on discredited psychological theories; Family Court judge delivers child to abusive father.
The father (Rex Anderson) in one of Peter Jamison’s blueprint cases is today serving a 23-year sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in California. In 2003 he plead no contest to 25 counts of sex crimes against his daughter, including child molestation, sexual penetration of a child with a foreign object, and use of a minor to create pornography. When she turned 18, his daughter left his care and reported years of abuse to police.
“Seldom are a parent’s allegations against an estranged former spouse rejected out of hand, only to be vindicated so completely,” wrote Jamison. “Yet observers say the Anderson case represents just one unfortunate outcome of systemic problems in the Family Courts’ methods for investigating accusations of abuse.”
In another case examined by Jamison, the judge — no longer on the bench — looked back on her decision with woe. “[The mother] was right to be crying, and hysterical, because no one would believe her. I signed a court order handing a kid over to someone who turned out to be a pedophile.”
Jamison notes that looking out for the children who find themselves in the middle of bitter divorces is the most important function of the state’s Family Courts, and arguably one of the most significant duties of the judiciary as a whole. “Yet evidence has mounted in recent years that it is a responsibility in which Family Court officials are sometimes failing dramatically.”
However, child sexual abuse and organized crime like this is not a matter of ‘sometimes’ failing dramatically. When even one child is taken away from his or her loving mother and delivered to a sex abuser it is a matter of ruining — and sometimes ending — a life.
The problems with Family Courts pervade all levels of the federal and state systems, and no United States citizens are immune: rich and poor are exploited, only differently. At the root of the problem are these central truths:
• The five billion dollar a year budget of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides a black hole of funding that filters millions of dollars down to ‘gatekeepers’ posted to key positions in Family Courts, state agencies, law-enforcement, and affiliated non-profit organizations that have learned how to milk the system;
• Over the past 50 years, a destructive Father’s Manifesto movement–falsely billing itself as a ‘father’s rights’ movement–has evolved into a hydra that has virtually overtaken judicial systems and social services, and it now uses them to persecute mothers and destroy families according to the otherwise reasonable dictate that access and visitation with both parents is in ‘the best interest of the child’.
• The United States is both a domestic and an international hub for a trillion dollars a year sex industry in trafficking in women and children.
Why are Family Courts manhandling good mothers?
Pretending to assist men to become responsible parents, federal programs operating under the banners of ‘Responsible Fatherhood’, ‘Access to Visitation Enforcement’ (supervised visitation for noncustodial parents), and ‘Child Support Enforcement’ have perpetuated abuse of women and children through the family court system. These government programs are not producing responsible fathers, but motherless children, in order to advance the agenda of the so-called ‘fathers’ rights’ movement.
“Father’s Manifesto Groups differ from Father’s Rights Groups,” wrote someone on the Carver Country Corruption blog dealing with identical issues in Michigan that are herein exposed for Connecticut. “There are many honest and wonderful Father’s Rights Groups that uphold standards of protecting children and forming equality among fathers and mothers. Father’s Manifesto Groups are corrupt groups that sell children into the hands of sexual abuse and severe traumatic situations for monetary gain and feelings of superiority over helpless persons… such as the parent fighting for the rights of their child and them as a parent. Make yourself aware and get educated on this epidemic in so you are not made a victim.”
“‘Father’s rights’ as a political agenda, has nothing to do with actual parenting rights or responsibilities,” the gag-ordered Carver County Blog continues. “These Father’s Manifesto organizations are misogynist anarchy and militia groups that define fatherhood in terms of male ownership of children in male-headed households. In order to maintain control over ‘families’, father’s groups promote violence, advocating the use of ‘domestic discipline’. Their membership is comprised of virulent men ‘fighting feminism’ and affirmative action, establishing ‘patriarchy under God’ and even trying to repeal the 19th Amendment.”
Of course, it is not only women and children who are abused–across the nation good men and good fathers are waking up to the national epidemic of pedophilia and sex trafficking involving federal and state governments and officials, and the horrors of ‘Family Courts’.
Based on laws enacted by the Clinton Administration in the mid-1990’s — under the lobbying of the ‘Contract on America’ — problems originate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and programs like the Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Based on the financial and economic ‘incentives’, and with zero oversight or regulation, the system uses Family Courts and state agencies to destroy families.
AN ORDINARY MARRIAGE IN AMERICA
Sunny Kelley had what might be called ‘an ordinary marriage in America’. After a few years together the abuse by her husband became more and more severe. The new baby offered an avenue of focused attention and love for Sunny, who really wanted to make the marriage work.
Like many women — and all of us in relationships we want to believe in — Sunny Kelley was, for a long time, in denial. She kept trying to make it work. She suffered physical abuse and mental anguish — an endless torrent of psychological abuse backed up by violence. She did the lion’s share of caretaking and homemaking, while also directing smart investments for her family. Her husband immersed himself in martial arts. Slowly but surely Sunny Kelley came to the painful realization that she needed to end the marriage.
The first red flags of sexual abuse for Sunny Kelley appeared in November 2009. Max was just five years old. Robert Liberti, the father, was regularly sleeping in Max’s room with the door closed. Robert Liberti had forced Max to sleep with him naked — claiming that he was allergic to the new cat Max had asked for and Sunny Kelley had gotten. One day Max came down the stairs glassy-eyed and dissociative. Over the next year and a half, the problems with husband, court and state agencies escalated.
“Some of these professionals have an agenda to protect these abusers and pedophiles.” Dr. Joyanna Silberg has testified about child sexual abuse in 26 states. “There are many points where choices can be made, and somehow, no matter where the choice point is, the outcome is not to protect the child.”
Dr. Silberg explains the spectrum of reactions to charges of sexual abuse. She says that many professionals in the social services, mental health and judicial sectors are in denial about sexual abuse due to simple ignorance of how it occurs. Others are afraid to buck the system or are psychically terrified of admitting and dealing with sexual abuse issues. Dr. Silberg notes that it is also very difficult to obtain conclusive forensic determinations that sexual abuse has occurred. At the extreme end of the spectrum from those who close their eyes or deny or condone sexual and domestic abuse are the pedophiles involved in organized trafficking.
“Some professionals are extremely organized,” says Dr. Silberg. “They use the book Screw the Bitch! Divorce Tactics for Men to get custody of their kids. There is a huge movement to manipulate and fool the court so that people who have an agenda to abuse children can keep their networks working.”
By February 15, 2011 Sunny Kelley had tried everything possible to protect her son from alleged sexual abuse and torture, possibly involving a child-trafficking ring. She did everything she could short of fleeing the state and running for their lives, or something worse. The court eventually took her passport to prevent flight. Instead of helping Sunny Kelley, and protecting her son Max, the CT Family Court system punished them. But, actually, it’s even worse: The court system used them for someone’s personal financial profit.
The Connecticut courts blamed Sunny Kelley for her son Max’s rising preoccupation with death. They blamed Sunny Kelley for her preoccupation with the abrasions, bruises, tearing and infections that appeared on Max’s body after time spent with his father. The court ignored all the physical evidence, and they blamed Sunny Kelley for believing that abuse had occurred. The more Sunny Kelley documented the signs and symptoms of Max’s abuse, the more the system turned against her and restricted her options.
They even blamed Sunny when people began to question her husband Robert Liberti’s curious obsession with massaging Max’s thighs, even when he did this in public and it was witnessed by the N. J. Sarno supervisors: first on December 5, 2010 at the Yale Children’s Hospital Emergency Room (ER); second was at Max’s birthday party at the YMCA in December 2010; third was on December 15, 2010 at Roberti Liberti’s house; fourth was on February 15, 2011 at the Yale Children’s Hospital ER; fifth was in April 2011 at Robert Liberti’s house.
The more the system dismissed or denied the evidence of abuse, the more frustrated and desperate Sunny Kelley became. Instead of helping her protect her son, everyone blamed Sunny Kelley for inventing charges of sexual abuse. They called her crazy. GAL Maureen Murphy and attorney Noah Eisenhandler and father Roberti Liberti blamed Sunny Kelley for Max’s problems at school, even while they remained adamant that Max had no problems at school. Max had problems at school. The teachers at the Montessori school witnessed Max’s deteriorating behavior and records show they denied it and covered for Robert Liberti.
It was the same for Lori Handrahan. Search on-line and you will find countless references to Lori Handrahan as an abusive, narcissistic, mentally ill mother out to harass her ex-partner Igor Malenko and his criminal attorney, Michael Waxman, who has invented and dispersed the false stories about Lori Handrahan.
Connecticut and Maine court documents–depositions, emails between parties, summary statements by lawyers, court decisions–show a clear pattern of judicial corruption. The corruption and the individuals behind it are not unique to Sunny Kelley or Lori Handrahan’s cases. Other mothers echo similar trends, and the problem is not restricted to mothers, and it is not restricted to Connecticut. The shaky terrain of ‘he said, she said’ is fraught with landmines due to false accusations from ex-partners involved in a contentious divorce. However, such realities have also been twisted and turned upside down and are now used against loving and honest parents by manipulative and dishonest spouses. Enter the experts: psychologists, custody evaluators, visitation supervisors, lawyers, judges — behind the judicial abuse is a stogy bureaucracy of highly paid ‘professionals’ whose profits accrue in direct proportion to the level and duration of conflict they can create and maintain between the parents.
Suddenly, there are no signs of abuse. Doctors pronounce the most obtuse diagnoses, or sometimes they show concern, begin to take appropriate steps, and then suddenly reverse themselves. Delays and more delays are used to stall. Experts shuffle the kid and mother from one agency to the next, until the court slowly but surely criminalizes the mother for her increasingly desperate attempts to get support, prevent abuse, and get treatment. The truth is obscured as more and more professionals interview and evaluate the child, and further traumatize the child, meanwhile adding layer after layer of professional misrepresentation. There is always the fear of retaliation by the court, and the threat of having one’s children taken away, with the children used as pawns and hostages against protective mothers.
For Lori Handrahan and Sunny Kelley and thousands of protective mothers in America, such threats have turned into realities.
In Connecticut, the same judges and psychologists keep coming up. Every disabused mother — and the less common disabused father — has their own uniquely personal horror story involving the state and its ‘experts’. Mothers like Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan are painted as crazy and, worse, labeled with invented psychiatric disorders and assaulted with discredited psychiatric theories. As I will show through additional cases below, the more a mother stands up for her rights the more she is hammered down, and cornered. For 90% of these mothers, there is no way out.
THE CRIME OF DOCUMENTING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
On December 1, 2009, Robert Liberti and Sunny Kelley had shared custody of their son Max Liberti; visitation was equal, and there were no supervisors involved. Max was grabbing his mother’s crotch — as he had increasingly done. Sunny Kelley asked Max if he plays that way with friends and if that gave him the idea it was O.K. to play like that. Max replied, “No, not friends. Daddy plays like that with me.”
Sunny Kelley called Kathryn Templeton, who had been Max’s regular therapist, and Kathleen Boudreau, his new therapist, and the two therapists soon told her they were conferring about involving the Department of Children and Families, Connecticut’s primary protective agency. On the therapist’s recommendation, Sunny Kelley also called Max’s pediatrician on December 2, 2009.
On December 3, 2009, the parents were in court for a previously scheduled child custody motion. This is the first time Robert Liberti learned that Max had disclosed that his father had touched his genitals and that Sunny Kelley was contacting DCF. Deb Kern, an agent from the court’s family relations negotiations department, set up a limited visitation schedule loosely requiring Robert Liberti to be supervised by the paternal grandmother. But Kern immediately suggested that Sunny was lying. “She said that I couldn’t really believe that Rob was abusing Max,” said Sunny Kelley, “or she would have to hold me down from jumping across her desk to kill him.”
On December 4, 2009, Sunny made her first report to DCF.
On December 16, 2009, Max jumped under the table and hid when Dr. Richard Whelan, his pediatrician, asked Max to examine him with his clothes on. Expressing concern at the child’s odd behavior, Dr. Whelan referred Sunny to the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic for a forensic evaluation. Within a few days Dr. Whelan informed Sunny that he had conferred with Dr. Janet Murphy, the clinic’s Associate Medical Director, and that she would soon contact Sunny for an appointment. After three weeks of delay and excuses, Dr. Whelan told Sunny that Yale was not going to evaluate Max because DCF had declined the case.
The court and their chosen experts blamed Sunny for taking Max to his pediatrician Dr. Whelan, and then they blamed her when the pediatrician referred Sunny (and Max) to the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic.
Over the next seven months Sunny, her mother, and her friend Ada Shaw documented Max’s increasingly erratic behaviors. The scatological references and sexualized behaviors only got worse. Max’s symptomatic behaviors increased, and although Sunny took Max to therapists and doctors and clinics, the true source of the problem remained obscure — but only to those who did not wish to see.
Sometime in January Max disclosed that his father had been playing a game with him called ‘Tickle the weenie’, and these ‘tickle the weenie’ disclosures occurred several more times. On February 24, 2010, Max was naked while changing into his pajamas when out of the blue he said, “…that’s like when Daddy and I play ‘tickle the weenie’. And weenie doesn’t mean hotdog, it means penis.” When Sunny Kelley asked if his father was tickling the top of his leg, Max pointed to his scrotum. “No, right here on my weenie,” Max said.
Sunny Kelley kept in regular contact with Kathryn Templeton and Kathleen Boudreau. When nothing was done to intervene or investigate, Sunny Kelley began recording conversations with Max when he brought these issues up.
On Sunday, March 28, 2010 Sunny observed excessive anal bleeding after Max called her to help him clean himself up. Max had just returned from his father’s home. Sunny called Dr. Whelan, Max’s pediatrician, who directed Sunny straight to the emergency room at Yale Children’s Hospital. After observing the anal tearing, the ER doctor called a social worker who in turn called the New Haven Police Department, who in turn called the West Haven Police Department, who dispatched Officer Perez, who eventually called Detective Howard of the West Haven P.D. Officer Perez, who witnessed future reports of sexual abuse against Max, took no action at this time or at any time.
The doctors at the Yale Children’s Hospital ER agreed with Detective Howard and an ER social worker that Max should be taken to the Yale Sex Abuse Clinic the next day. Detective Howard gave his card to Sunny and told her to call the next day to receive instructions on when to take Max to the Yale Sex Abuse Clinic.
When she called on Monday morning, March 29, Sunny was given the run around by Detective Howard. He claimed he had nothing to tell her, and he eventually referred Sunny to detective Mary Canfield of the Special Victims Unit of West Haven P.D. Canfield was working closely with CT Department of Children and Families caseworker Maya Parsons, her partner for forensic investigations of sexual abuse, and Canfield informed Sunny that she would let Sunny know when the Yale Sex Abuse Clinic would be ready for Max.
On the phone, Maya Parsons told Sunny not to let Max have any contact with the father who was suspected of abuse and to bring Max to the Yale Sex Abuse Clinic on Thursday. Max was scheduled for a visitation with his father that day. When Sunny asked for some kind of formal court order or protection, the Parsons-Canfield investigators said they could not do anything to override the visitation order, no matter that there was a suspicion of abuse. Maya Parsons said: “You’re the mother, we’re sure you’ll do whatever you have to, to protect your son.”
“They used the language that businessmen use when they don’t want to be held accountable,” says Sunny Kelley. “Max was also pissing all over the furniture, all over my mother’s house. So to keep Max away from his father I kept him out of school from Monday to Thursday, so that he wouldn’t be able to see his father on the Monday and Wednesday visitation days. I was supposed to take Max to the Yale Sex Abuse Clinic on Thursday.”
Because she kept Max out of school, Sunny Kelley was soon after this charged by DCF with educational neglect — a formal charge of child abuse. She was not directly informed of this charge against her, she did not have an opportunity for a defense or a hearing, and the charge was ‘substantiated’ by DCF before Sunny knew what hit her.
The Yale Sex Abuse Clinic evaluation of April 1, 2010 was deemed ‘inconclusive’, but it was also very inadequate. Yale Sex Abuse clinician Theresa Montelli recommended that Max be kept away from his father until a determination about abuse could be made. No further efforts to make such a determination were made. DCF soon closed the case. Meanwhile, Robert Liberti was ratcheting up the case against Sunny and the court was taking his side.
While initially bureaucratic, at least, the police and DCF investigators — Canfield and Parsons — eventually hardened against charges of sexual abuse lodged by Sunny Kelley, and instead they began to harass Sunny Kelley claiming that she was tampering with an investigation and withholding evidence. However, there was no investigation, and they insinuated that they were looking for reasons to arrest Sunny Kelley.
On June 4, 2011, a little over a year after the first major signs of sexual abuse appeared, with no one taking the sexual abuse seriously, Sunny Kelley’s friend Ada Shaw filed a formal complaint with the West Haven Police in person after Max drew another alarming picture. Police officers Beutel and Perez were present, and while Officer Perez remembered the complaint from the year before, the West Haven P.D. could not find any record of the previous complaint filed with Detective Mary Canfield. Officer Beutel then referred Ada Shaw’s compliant to DCF, who stonewalled her, and did nothing.
“They [DCF] looked at the case and the ongoing litigation and they refused to do anything,” says Shaw. “This was an emergency situation. Max was clutching his penis, rubbing his butt, walking with his legs wide apart — like it was really painful — and his eyes were vacant. DCF refused to deal with this, and when I persisted they became hostile to me. The main reason I called DCF was because of the incredibly violent picture Max had drawn – -until they saw the picture, a full report of the incident had not been made. I finally went to their offices in person, but they refused to meet with me or have anyone look at the picture. They suddenly claimed that they couldn’t even confirm that there was a case open [for Max Liberti], and so of course they could not let me talk to the person in charge of the case. Eventually [DCF investigator] Kristen Shepherd called me after Sunny’s lawyers called DCF. She returned my call a month later, on July 12, exactly one week before, by law, she had to close the case. Kristen told me that she had received a copy of the picture from the West Haven Police. But she dismissed all evidence of abuse.”
In April 2010, Sunny and Max’s maternal grandmother, a Registered Nurse, took one photograph to document the anal tearing and fissures on Max. This action by Max’s primary caregivers was later used to blame Sunny Kelley for sexually stimulating Max and thus ‘eroticizing’ his behavior. The court made a big deal about the taking of this single photograph — and ignored the evidence the photo revealed — claiming that Sunny Kelley had massively violated Max by photographing the anal fissures. In fact, Sunny Kelley had regularly been putting antiseptic cream on Max’s anus following the instructions of the Yale ER doctors. The photo was taken because Max’s anus was not healing. It didn’t take long until everyone was parroting the charge that Sunny Kelley was the reason for Max’s over-stimulated sexual preoccupations and behaviors. The ‘experts’ began frowning at her, treating her like a crazy woman, abusing and slandering and harassing her.
The case for Sunny Kelley being the parent responsible for Max Liberti’s sexualized behavior was built by Dr. Kenneth Robson, the same court-appointed custody evaluator that has helped many other pedophiles gain control of their victims, but Dr. Robson was not involved in Liberti v. Liberti until after the fateful February 15, 2011 visit to the Yale Children’s Hospital ER. In fact, Sunny Kelley was punished for taking Max to the Yale ER, and the court used her attempt to get help for Max as justification to force Sunny Kelley into an additional custody study, this time involving Dr. Kenneth Robson.
However, everything suggests that Dr. Robson was brought into the case with the premeditated intention of clearing the father of sexual abuse charges and framing the mother with PAS. It was a repeat of what has apparently happened in case after case. Indeed, as previously stated, Dr. Kenneth Robson was pivotal to the egregious 1990’s case of judicial abuse where the two boys of Linda Wiegand were delivered back to the sexually abusive ex-partner Thomas Wilkinson — and his sister and their friends.
In Liberti v. Liberti, Dr. Kenneth Robson made remarks hinting at his own sexual deviance that go well beyond what anyone could say about Sunny Kelley. In a conversation with the court-appointed visitation supervisors Allison Chiodo and Nicholas Sarno, for example, Robson stated: “It’s obvious that Sunny enjoys Max’s sexualized behavior like a French whore.”
In Dr. Robson’s trial testimony of August 26, 2011, he admitted to Sunny Kelley’s attorney Jim Smith and the court that he compared Sunny Kelley to a French whore during a conference call with Nick Sarno and Allison Chiodo. “I made a comment to Mr. Sarno when I was discussing the sexualized nature of the interaction between mother and son that–used that in a metaphoric way.”
Robert LaMontagne, another evaluator, perpetuated the charge by Dr. Robson that “Sunny is gratified by (Max’s) sexualized behaviors…”
Dr. Robson obtusely skirted certain important questions posed by attorney Jim Smith, or he played dumb and refused on the grounds that the questions were ‘redundant’ or ‘unanswerable’.
For example, “[I]f a child Max’s age was sexually abused but was not protected, what effect do you think that would have on the child’s mother, who is trying to protect him?” At Dr. Robson’s request, attorney Jim Smith read this question three times. It is a simple question seeking to determine Dr. Robson’s professional opinion about the effects of trauma caused to a mother who is witnessing her child being tortured. “It’s a redundant question,” Dr. Robson declared. “I can’t answer that. It’s a — I can’t understand the question.”
In July 2010, Sunny picked Max up from his father’s house. While bathing Max she discovered welts and abrasions on Max’s arms and legs, across his back and on his toes. Sunny photographed what she considered to be ‘substantial injuries’ to her son. The next day she brought Max to the office of Dr. Whelan, Max’s pediatrician, where Dr. Maley, the attendant physician, asked if lemonade or orange juice had been spilled on Max’s toes. Dr. Maley contacted experts at Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic, who told her: “citrus burns often mimic abuse.” Dr. Whelan later furthered the ‘citrus burns’ explanation as completely normal and attributed the welts to Max scratching himself (across his back).
Judge Lynda Munro and Judge Elaine Gordon both overruled Sunny Kelley’s requests to allow child sex abuse expert Dr. Eli Newberger to interview or examine Max directly. After seeing the pictures of the physical bruises on Max, Dr. Newberger opined that Max had likely been restrained and tortured, maybe dragged across a carpet on his stomach.
“These appear to be classic abrasions, where scraping against a rough surface disrupts the integrity of the skin,” Dr. Newberger wrote, in a November 29, 2011 affidavit to the court. “I have seen such injuries when children are held face-down and are dragged across a concrete or carpeted floor. When, as here, children as verbal as Max cannot or will not describe what happened, it is far more likely that the injuries were inflicted than that they were accidental. I found Mr. Liberti’s explanation in his deposition testimony that these injuries derived from ‘mulch scratches’ to be quite unconvincing. Other explanations of the toe injuries, including that the injuries came from Max’s not wearing socks or from spilled orange juice are likewise unconvincing.”
The professional diagnoses of other court appointed experts were equally obtuse, arrogant, dismissive and ignorant. Records show that most of the professionals at the pivotal positions in the CT Family Court network became increasingly abusive against Sunny Kelley on one hand, and dismissive of Sunny’s concerns on the other. Some were openly hostile. For example, after repeated attempts by Sunny to address recurring infections in Max’s genitals throughout the summer, fall and winter of 2010, Max’s pediatrician Dr. Whelan turned against her: the infections were never resolved and have not been resolved to this day.
What was worse, unfounded accusations–and outright lies–leveled against the mother were repeated and perpetuated by other professionals, from Dr. Whelan to Dr. Robson, from Dr. Robson to Robert LaMontagne, from LaMontagne to Dr. Linda Smith, from Dr. Smith to Dr. John Collins, from Dr. Collins back to Dr. Robson — on and on–until the original false accusations took on lives of their own. Dr. Whelan, her child’s pediatrician, accused Sunny Kelley of having a vendetta against the father, and he eventually demanded she stop trying to use his office to prove that sexual abuse had occurred.
One expert, Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, sidestepped her responsibility to diagnose Max on the sexual abuse question by deferring to the expertise of pediatrician Dr. John Collins. “If Dr. Collins, who sees this child regularly, isn’t going to weigh in on the sexual abuse diagnosis, I’m not, either.” Dr. Carlson’s findings included something that would slightly disturb the status quo, but her report was produced after the February 2011 visit to the Yale Emergency Room. Dr. Carlson was called in specifically by Dr. Kenneth Robson to see if Max’s behaviors were being caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain or by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Documents are packed with aberrant ‘facts’ fabricated by court-appointed professionals, twisted to fit the aberrant diagnoses that these court professionals relied on to perpetuate uncertainty, prolong their ‘professional’ client-patient relationships, by court order, enabling them to bill Sunny Kelley hundreds of thousands of dollars. Repeated over and over, the myths, distortions and outright lies made their way into the court’s final decision, at the expense of Max Liberti and his mother Sunny Kelley. But no one used such baseless myths and outrageous fabrications against Sunny Kelley so damnably as attorney Maureen Murphy and her close confidante Dr. Kenneth Robson.
COURT APPOINTS GUARDIAN AD LITEM
In the spring of 2010, CT Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone appointed CT attorney Maureen Murphy as guardian ad litem to the Liberti v. Liberti case. Documents filed with the court by Sunny Kelley’s lawyer, Jim Smith, indicate that attorney Maureen Murphy was appointed on February 25, 2010, but the actual date appears to be sometime in April.
Jim Smith was one of Sunny Kelley’s nine lawyers, including those who made appearances and those whom she only consulted, whose collective fees amounted to more than $300,000. From April 2010, GAL Maureen Murphy began billing Sunny Kelley at the rate of $300 an hour and, as time went on, Murphy became more and more enmeshed in the day-to-day business of ‘parenting’ Max. In February 2012, Maureen Murphy’s law partner Helen Murphy (coincidentally of the same last name) took over the lucrative assignment that would effectively protect Robert Liberti’s interests and criminalize Sunny Kelley. However, between April 2010 and Maureen Murphy’s termination as GAL, Sunny Kelley was billed $83,100 for 277 hours of what amounts purely to interference and harassment by Maureen Murphy.
Attorney Maureen Murphy testifies at her nomination confirmation hearing before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee on February 22, 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
As GAL, attorney Maureen Murphy was tasked to effectively be the court’s eyes and ears and Max’s defender against harm from any and all parties. According to the court’s final decision, delivered by Judge Lynda B. Munro: “[t]he interests of the minor child were protected by an experienced guardian ad litem.”
In fact, the decision delivered by Judge Munro reads like GAL Maureen Murphy wrote it.
“Maureen Murphy is the primary person responsible for the harm that has been done to Max,” says Ada Shaw, a close friend of Sunny Kelley who moved out from Los Angeles to help provide emotional and logistical support for the past two years. “Maureen Murphy was the person appointed to look out for Max’s best interests and one word from her at any time would have stopped the abuse.”
The Connecticut Probate Practice Book, Rule 1.1.09, spells out the role of the guardian ad litem as a neutral person tasked to protect the child and the child’s interests:
“The term guardian ad litem (GAL) shall mean a person appointed by the court during any proceeding in which a minor child, undetermined or unborn or class of such person, or a person whose identity or address is unknown, or an incompetent person is a party, to represent and protect the interests of such parties.”
And according to the American Bar Association:
“A lawyer appointed as ‘guardian ad litem’ for a child is an officer of the court appointed to protect the child’s interests without being bound by the child’s expressed preferences.”
However, from the very beginning to the bitter final decision, attorney Maureen Murphy took the father’s side. Maureen Murphy also appears in several other cases where protective mothers in Connecticut have been slammed. In one, Murphy appears as the lawyer representing the guardian ad litem, which is representing the interests of the child. Why are lawyers who serve as guardians ad litem also representing guardians ad litem?
The guardian ad litem serves a gatekeeper function placing lawyers in positions of power, manipulation and coercive control and this is not in the best interests of the child they are supposed to protect. The corruption and judicial abuse being perpetrated through GAL systems in Pennsylvania has provoked federal lawsuits. On March 16, 2012, a lawsuit was filed seeking to dismantle the GAL system in Lakawanna County, PA.
As it is in Pennsylvania, so it is in Connecticut, where the CT courts conspire to assist GALs like Maureen Murphy (Liberti v. Liberti) and Mary Brigham (Tittle v. Tittle) in abusing and denying the constitutional and human rights of protective mothers like Sunny Kelley and Susan Skipp (Tittle v. Tittle). GALs have quasi-judicial powers allowing them to commit procedural crimes and threaten protective parents — it’s not just moms — with sanctions that include reductions in visitation rights with their children. The decisions by these GALS have been rubber-stamped by the CT courts.
In February 2012, Susan Skipp (Tittle v. Tittle), was hauled into Waterbury court and forced by Judge Robert Resha to sign over her $41,000 State of Connecticut Teachers’ retirement account, an account legally protected from garnishment. “The judge and the self-appointed guardian ad litem, Mary Brigham, had a Connecticut State marshal sitting there with shackles to take me to Niantic women’s prison [state penitentiary] if I didn’t sign it over,” says Susan Skipp. Mary Brigham billed Susan Skipp over $85,000 for Brigham’s GAL fees since September 2010.
Susan Skipp is another mother accused of alienating her children from their father and inventing charges of abuse. “When I couldn’t pay the $5700 in GAL fees to Mary Brigham they told me I was going to jail. I signed. Mary Brigham was neither appointed nor appointed by agreement after March 28, 2011, the conclusion of the legal proceeding for which she represented the children. The court had already taken everything I had. My daughter (23 years old) was buying our groceries and paying my car insurance. I didn’t have anything left. I paid my ex-husband’s back child support and alimony for his first wife, his student loans — a conservative estimate of $246,000 — plus all the education and career advancement I put off to enable my former husband to pursue his own.”
To bolster her own position in Liberti v. Liberti, attorney Maureen Murphy used her court position to favor contacts who would punish Sunny Kelley equally harshly for trying to protect her son. Most of the professionals that Murphy brought onto the case were court-appointed custody evaluators, and willing adversaries against her.
In the Connecticut Court system the biggest offenders–showing up in one judicial abuse case after another — are Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Brodlie, Dr. Bruce Freedman, Dr. Donald J. Hiebel and Dr. Keith Roeder (Hiebel and Roeder) Dr. Sidney Horowitz and Dr. Howard Krieger (Connecticut Resource Group), Dr. James Black, Dr. Kenneth Robson and Dr. Donald Tolles. There are more, who appear less often, but the rotten core of the problem revolves around these above, where Dr. Kenneth Robson deserves special focus.
The case of Sandra MacVicar (Sandra Buggy nka MacVicar v. Glenn Buggy), whose October 25, 2010 trial document is available online offers another example. But these cases are almost a dime a dozen.
In Watson v. Watson, for example, Judge Marylouise Black (in 2008 became Marylouise Schofield) cites the work of Dr. Kenneth Robson from some workshop or course, clearly indicating the extent to which courts rely on the expertise of ‘experts’ like Dr. Robson and Dr. Horowitz.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND FRAUD (DCF)
The problem of violence and judicial abuse in Family Courts would not be possible without the support of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The DCF is deeply enmeshed in corrupt and abusive practices, and DCF provides one of the portals through which massive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding is going. Like the judicial abuse, there are no serious checks and balances on the DCF system and abuses are rampant.
Consider the case of Kimberley Wigglesworth, a young mother whose boyfriend savagely beat her newborn six-week old son in 2009. “When I came home from work that day my son was crying differently. When I picked him up I knew something was wrong. His arms went limp to the side. No bruises, no marks, no nothing. I took him to the hospital.”
While the boyfriend eventually confessed to police to punching and throwing the infant, DCF began a process of criminalizing the mother. “When I told the hospital that I don’t want the father near my baby they said ‘he’s got rights — you need to contact DCF or the police.” The DCF began probing Kimberley Wigglesworth’s history, and before long they had scheduled her for a drug test and a visitation with her child, who remained in intensive care, on the same day.”
“I have never used drugs in my life,” said Kimberley Wigglesworth, who was traumatized by the events that soon unfolded. “But because they learned that I was sexually assaulted as a child suddenly I was an unfit parent. They dragged me into court saying I have PTSD and severe mental illness. I realized the first Friday I was in court that DCF had taken my baby and they did not intend to give him back. Even the baby’s attorney stood up in court and said “This is a good mom and she deserves to have her son back.”
DCF harassed and punished Kimberley Wigglesworth, and her story is only unique because she is a middle class mother who fought to get her son back and won. The odds and prejudices are so heavily stacked against low-income families that trafficking children into foster homes is a multi-billion dollar business.
Some of the same people who violated the rights of Sunny Kelley also violated the rights of ‘Mrs. Wilson’, a protective mother whose two daughters were allegedly being physically and emotionally abused by the father. Here the court empowered the guardian ad litem — from the high-profile firm Cohen & Wolf — and silenced the mother with a gag order based on the extortionary threat of taking away a protective mother’s children.
“Neither parent will report allegations of physical or sexual abuse to the police, DCF, or the pediatrician,” ordered Judge Richard E. Burke in Mrs. Wilson’s case, “the court will direct such allegations to the guardian ad litem who will review them (with Dr. Robson if necessary) for their merit before they are passed on to any or all of those agencies. A parent who violates that pathway through the Guardian ad Litem invites an immediate review of the parenting plan and alteration in access to the minor children.”
Attorney Jocelyn Hurwitz was the guardian ad litem in Mrs. Wilson’s case. Jocelyn Hurwitz was cross-examined by attorney Anne Dranginis on the last day of trial. One of the last things that Burke heard was that GAL Hurwitz discovered evidence that confirmed Mr. Wilson’s rage and his impulsive and unstable behavior. Meanwhile, GAL Hurwitz did not present the evidence of Mr. Wilson’s destructive behavior to Dr. Robson or to the court, but instead kept it buried in her file. Hurwitz also did not correct Dr. Robson’s testimony or his report. The evidence supported the complaints that Mrs. Wilson’s two girls had made against their father. It was exactly the same with GAL Maureen Murphy in Liberti v. Liberti.
The decision by Judge Richard Burke is fraught with irregularities. Mr. Wilson, the alleged abusive husband in the case, apparently received a copy of the decision in secret on or before October 22, 2011, at least three days before its formal release by the court on October 25. To cover their tracks, Judge Richard Burke backdated the decision to October 22. Meanwhile, GAL Jocelyn Hurwitz violated CT state laws by faxing a copy of the full custody decision to the officials at the school attended by the two children in Darien CT, prior to it being a final decision.
Mrs. Wilson’s case also involved the notorious Dr. Kenneth Robson–the pivotal agent of the court historically used to protect pedophiles — who fraudulently diagnosed Mrs. Wilson with multiple mental illnesses. Dr. Robson and Judge Richard Burke are both on record documenting that father Mr. Wilson hit, yelled and swore at his two children–even knowing how much this scares them.
When Mrs. Wilson’s babysitter took the two girls for a scheduled appointment with Dr. Robson and Mr. Wilson, the girls refused to go into the office. In front of the babysitter, Dr. Robson said angrily to the eldest daughter: “God dammit! This is not how the game is played!” Dr. Robson then held the meeting in his waiting room in violation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service HIPPA Privacy rules — conducting meetings in front of Dr. Robson’s secretary and a pizza deliveryman. The babysitter — a very stable 30 year-old teacher — was traumatized.” After this traumatic experience, Mrs. Wilson’s younger daughter refused to sleep alone for months.
In the now-sealed custody study, Dr. Robson confirmed that Mr. Wilson admitted that mother Mrs. Wilson did none of the things he noted about Mr. Wilson (hitting, yelling, and swearing at his children). Even with Dr. Robson’s documentation, Kathy Bella at the Stamford Office of DCF closed the case against Mr. Wilson — claiming it was ‘unsubstantiated’ — in September 2011. The DCF shows a consistent pattern of closing cases involving serious.
The court awarded custody to the abusive father Mr. Wilson. Making matters worse, Mr. Wilson couldn’t care for the two girls, and he didn’t want to. After dragging the family through a $300,000 custody battle, Mr. Wilson attempted to bully the two girls into signing themselves into foster care in August 2011. When that didn’t work he dumped the kids back with their mother on August 10, 2011. While Judge Richard Burke, the Stamford Family Court, the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters and the CT Appellate Court are all aware of the current custody realities, no court will hold a hearing to transfer custody back to Mrs. Wilson.
In some fifteen or twenty cases of judicial abuse reviewed for this story, the same names keep coming up as custody evaluators, psychologists and psychiatrists. The relationship between the GAL and custody evaluators is similar to the relationships between judges and attorneys. No attorney wants to anger or alienate a judge, because they want to win cases, and so, generally, they do not challenge court rulings, stand up to judges or defend their clients too vigorously. Custody evaluators rely on guardians ad litem for recommendations and court appointments, and so they don’t in any way discourage or alienate these GAL lawyers. One hand washes the other, and lucrative contracts are awarded to the custody evaluators. The children do not matter.
PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME JUNK SCIENCE
Further, many of these professionals openly adhere to the now discredited theories of Columbia University affiliated child psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner. Amongst his many elaborate theories supporting pedophilia, Gardner developed a theory of a non-existent psychiatric disorder — almost universally applied to silence protective mothers complaining about domestic or child sexual abuse — called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). click here for the rest of the article