Over the years, hundreds of women have contacted National Organization for Women chapters looking for assistance in their efforts to protect minor children in family court custody proceedings. Often these women have been accused of a phony psychiatric condition, termed Parental Alienation Disorder (PAD). The “disorder” has been proposed by so-called father’s rights (men’s custody) activists to be added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostics and Statistics Manual – V to give it more legitimacy than it currently has — or should have — in court.
This accusation is made by abusive ex-husbands and is intended to cause the courts to disregard mothers’ claims of fathers’ physical or sexual abuse in an effort to gain the fathers’ full or joint custody. NOW Foundation is concerned that because of the alienation accusation known batterers and child abusers have been awarded custody; the numbers of cases involving dads in custody disputes abusing and murdering children is appalling. (See link below)
The notion of a parental alienation in custody disputes was advanced by the late Dr. Richard Gardner who committed suicide in 2003. The alienation accusation has been embraced by men’s custody activists as an effective weapon to undermine mothers’ bid for legal custody of minor children. Many advocates on behalf of mothers believe that batterers, child abusers and pedophiles populate these men’s custody networks. There have been numerous instances of documented batterers and child abusers being awarded custody by biased family court judges.
NOW Foundation has sent a letter recently to the American Psychiatric Association noting that publications by the American Bar Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges have concluded proposed “alienation disorder” is inadmissible in court and has been discredited by the scientific community. Accordingly, family court judges, lawyers and other court personnel should take action against the use of the alienation accusation in cases before them. Read NOW Foundation’s letter (PDF) and for more information on family court issues, go to the family law website.
More information on fathers and ex-partners involved in child custody or child support matters who have killed children, murdered mothers and/or committed suicide, please visit this website.
From the NOW Foundation
Linda Marie Sacks of Volusia County was denied a fair hearing and was not allowed to have an expert witness testify again on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. This is one more example of how women and children are treated in family court. Mothers are repeatedly denied due process when trying to submit evidence of abuse. Wealthy fathers use aggressive attorneys who do mostly whatever they want in court and often get away with it. One of this father’s lawyers is such good friends with Judge Shawn Briese that one time years ago Judge Briese said that he needed to recuse himself due to the relationship. When the mother’s legal representation accepted the recusal, Judge Briese then unrecused himself.
Besides his lawyers, this father had involved some of the most powerful psychologists in Florida to also repeat his version of events and use the old victim blaming scam. Psychologist Deborah Day had her own business associate Dr. Alan Grieco do the evaluation to claim that this father’s sexual behavior was within “normal limits” as if a paper and pencil test can tell whether or not sexual abuse actually occurred. No paper and pencil test can give this information. The only use that these psychologists have is to obscure the evidence that the children have made vivid disclosures as well as the father’s own admission to certain inappropriate behaviors such as wiping down the vaginas of school age girls.
From the website of Psychological Affiliates, a group of mental health professionals established by Deborah O. Day, Psy.D.
Dr. Grieco conducts psychological and psychosexual evaluations (See Services For More Information), often at the request of a defense attorney whose client has been accused of a sexual offense. He is also available for courtroom testimony.
Since when would a psychologist who advertises excusing away sexual abuse be appropriate to have opining regarding the well-being of children? The psychologists that the father wanted are allowed submit opinions, but an expert trying to present actual evidence is not allowed to speak in Judge Shawn Briese’s courtroom. Where is the concern for these “MOTHERLESS” children?
PRESS RELEASE April 21, 2010
Daytona Beach – Despite a state law requiring judges to hear any evidence of child abuse, a Volusia County Judge refused to allow the testimony of a Melbourne psychologist ready to tell the court that she believes two Ormond Beach teens are victims of child sexual abuse.
Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kathy Pearce was subpoenaed to court yesterday for a scheduled custody hearing concerning the teens before Volusia County Judge Shawn L. Briese. But the hearing, which began Monday, was again postponed after Briese ruled the mother must first submit to a deposition by opposing council. “This is the third time I’ve tried to testify before this judge and he does not let me,” said Pearce, who has often been an expert witness in child sexual abuse cases.
The mother, pro se litigant Linda Marie Sacks, subpoenaed Pearce for a hearing, scheduled six months ago, to reunite with her children. But Judge Briese changed his mind Monday morning about allowing the hearing and instead ruled the mother must first submit to a deposition by the father’s attorneys. For the past three years Sacks has had only two hours a month of supervised visitations with her daughters.
Sacks filed for a divorce in 2004 after her daughters began acting out sexually. The eldest daughter, at age 8, drew a picture of the father as an erect penis during a therapy session and made an outcry during Sunday School that she had performed a sex act on her father. Sacks has spent six years in the family court trying unsuccessfully to protect to her daughters.
On Tuesday 4/20/10, Sacks filed a pro se emergency motion requesting the judge listen to Pearce’s testimony concerning the children’s safety during her originally scheduled hearing time.
Pearce planned to testify about case notes from the children’s therapist’s file that Pearce reviewed for the first time Monday. “I had seen the summary of her (the therapist’s) files but I had never seen her actual notes,” Pearce said. “There was much more there than I ever knew.”
Pearce said she immediately called Florida’s sexual abuse hotline.”I’m required to by law,” said Pearce, noting that the state officials accepted the report. “She told me a DCF investigation would begin immediately.”
About four years ago, Pearce said she heard Briese say from the bench that the sexual abuse against Sacks children must not be true because none of the professionals reported the abuse. “I thought gee, he’s misinformed,” Pearce said. “I’ve been trying to set the record straight with this judge ever since without success.”
Florida Custody Laws 61.13 (2)(b)1. states that all judges “shall consider evidence of domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child” and 61.13 (3) “the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child including, but not limited to: (1) evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
But, during the 7-minute hearing, Briese refused to hear the testimony, refused the mother’s emergency motion to allow the witness to testify or to allow the scheduled hearing on the mother’s motion for unsupervised visitation and total contact to minor children to take place.
Judge Briese told the mother until she is deposed, she will not be allowed to present her case on being reunited with her daughters or have any witness testify regarding documented abuse regarding her daughters and their safety. The next scheduled hearing is to continue at 8:30 a.m. April 27, 2010 and Sacks plans to in the courtroom and wonders when will she ever have a fair hearing and will justice ever prevail for children.
For more information please contact:
KATHLEEN RUSSELL CONSULTING
1346 4th Street San Rafael, CA 94901
Telling Stories, Moving Mountains
Center for Judicial Excellence
1206 3rd Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Linda Marie Sacks, an Ormond Beach mother, arrived this morning at the City Island Courthouse in Daytona Beach for a scheduled hearing (Case 2004-30312 FMCI) asking for unsupervised visitations and total contact with her daughters, ages 13 and 15. But Volusia County Family Court Judge Shawn L. Briese declined to hold the hearing, which had been on the trial court schedule for six months, and demanded instead that Sacks submit to a deposition by the opposing counsel during the scheduled hearing time.
Sacks filed for divorce in 2004 after her daughters began acting out sexually. The eldest daughter, at age 8, drew a picture of the father as an erect penis during a therapy session and made a disclosure during Sunday School that she had performed a sex act on her father. Sacks has spent six years in the family court trying unsuccessfully to protect her daughters.
Justice for Children, a Houston-based national child advocacy organization, has written a letter to Volusia County law enforcement authorities, including Department of Children and Family Administrator Reggie Williams, expressing concern that the allegations of sexual and physical abuse of Sacks’ daughters was never properly investigated.
In April 2007 Judge Briese (Case 2004-30312-FMCI) ruled that the child lied, gave the father sole physical custody of the daughters and placed the mother on supervised visitation. In the last three years, Sacks has had only 63 hours with her daughters at the The Family Tree House Visitation Center in Daytona Beach.
In 2008 the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach reversed that decision,(Case 5D07-1682) and ruled that Judge Briese had abused his trial court discretion, violated the mother’s due process rights and ordered the custody case be retried in the lower court. Despite the appeals court ruling and numerous motions to have him removed from the case, Judge Briese has continued to deny Sacks full-contact with her children.
Instead, just a few months after the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruling, Judge Briese quickly set another custody hearing, denied to admit any of the mother’s evidence or witnesses and again ruled that Sacks be allowed only supervised visits with her daughters.
Sacks, this time as a pro se litigant, has again filed an appeal with the Fifth District Court (Case 5D09-3752). Recently, the appeals court denied the father’s attorney’s motion to strike the mother’s appeal brief. Within days the father’s attorneys, James L. Rose and Leonard R. Ross of Daytona Beach, filed a subpoena in the lower court demanding Sacks appear for a lengthy deposition and filed a motion to end the mother’s two-hour a month supervised visit with her children.
Florida Rules of Civil Procedures Rule 1.310 (d) dictates that a deposition being used to harass a party can be terminated. Rule 1.290 (2) also states that a party cannot be forced into a deposition 20 days before a hearing.
Sacks was found to be in contempt of court after she refused to take part in the deposition and only asked that she be able to have her hearing time.
During the hearing today, Judge Briese at first agreed with the mother’s filed objection to the deposition saying the Ross has had years to take the deposition. But when the Ross complained that the mother is speaking to national organizations about the case, Judge Briese changed his mind and demanded Sacks submit to the deposition.
Judge Briese said today that the mother will not be heard about being reunited with her children until she does submit. The hearing to see her children was scheduled for three days.
The mother will be back at the courthouse at 1:00 P.M. in hopes that hearing will be allowed to begin, but has already been told by the trial court judge, if you don’t allow the deposition, you will not get your scheduled hearing time.
Today Sacks filed an emergency motion to request a hearing before the Seventh Judicial Circuit Chief Judge J. David Walsh to ask that Judge Briese be disqualified from the case but was denied by Judge Briese.
Read more about Sacks’ battle to protect her children in the January 2010 MomLogic magazine article.
Is Judge Briese trying to violate this mother’s right to free speech and punish her for speaking to national organizations?
For more on the cover up of child abuse read about the long history of this denial of reality in the meticulously detailed book by Lynn Sacco called Unspeakable.
The next Supreme Court nominee should be a woman. Agree or disagree?
Agreed! And not just any woman — we need a justice who understands that women’s rights are human rights, and that our fundamental freedoms cannot legitimately be taken away by any legislature. While both men and women should have equal respect, women and men do not have the same bodies. We are different genders that need to be represented as such while respecting our human rights to be free to make our own decisions, live without a guardian, and more.
Out of 111 Supreme Court justices in history, only three have been women. Today, only two of the nine Supreme Court justices are women! In fact, women make up less than one-quarter of federal and well under one-third of state-level judgeships — despite the fact that nationally, women make up 48 percent of law school graduates.
At 17 percent of Congress, less than 20 percent of state governorships, and two out of nine Supreme Court justices, women are nowhere near to equal representation. How long will it take for women to see themselves represented in equitable proportion on our nation’s highest court?
We need equal for all women everywhere - in Congress, state governorships and legislatures and on the Supreme Court — where we belong. What we really need is to have government fully be equal by having one male and one female senator from each state and each district should have one man and one women as a representative. Only then can women have any chance of having their rights both represented and protected.
President Obama has advocated for women to have reservation in India so that women’s rights can be represented in Parliament there. What about representation for women here in the United States? Only two women on the Supreme Court does not represent that about half of the population of the United States are women. Contact President Obama and tell him that the United States has both men and women, and women need to be represented as such in judicial, legislative and executive positions.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum walked through the streets of Orlando on Saturday with abuse survivor Laura Book-Lim as part of a campaign called “Walk in My Shoes.” The walk started on April 2, 2010, in Aventura, Florida and will cover approximately 500 miles to Tallahassee. The walk will end with a welcoming rally at the state Capitol on April 20th. “That last day, anyone we can have come out, they can meet us at 11:30 at the Governor’s Square Mall, and do that last leg with us,” said Book-Lim. The final leg of the trip will be a one-mile walk from Governor’s Square Mall to the front steps of the Capitol.
Laura Book-Lim was abused by her nanny for over 6 years. Lauren’s ‘Walk in My Shoes’ campaign will bring awareness to the issue of sexual abuse and encourage victims to speak out about their experiences. According to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, one in four women and one in six men will be the victim of sexual violence in their lifetime. According the the Department of Health and Human Services, “At least 85 percent of the child sexual abuse is perpetrated by relatives, or by individuals who are known — but not related — to the child.”
There seems to be support and concern for abuse victims when it is a non-relative committing the crime, but what about support for incest victims? When Mackenzie Phillips disclosed incest with her father even members of her own family refused to acknowledge it. RAINN has posted on it’s website that accurate statistics involving incest are not available due to lack of reporting on the problem. What about these victims? What could be more degrading than being preyed upon by your own parent?
Florida is notorious for its failure to protect victims abused by family members. A recent case in Miami has many questioning children protection policies in Florida that keep children with abusive parents in the name of family preservation. When child welfare investigator Simon Roberts went to the home of a 39-year-old Miami man accused of having sex with his own teenage daughter, he found the man locked in a bedroom with the girl — both of them undressed. CPS investigator Roberts only action was to order the man to sleep in a separate bedroom. Two days later, another investigator took the girl into state custody after — acting on another call to the state’s abuse hot line — she found the man, once again, naked with his daughter, this time in a Biscayne Boulevard motel. DCF workers frequently leave children with families disregarding the fact that children are being abused. They turn a blind eye and do nothing. (Read more: Incest case raises questions about child welfare policy)
In family court cases, women are losing custody of their children when there is disclosure of sexual abuse (or any kind of abuse for that matter). There are even professional training seminars based on the teachings of abuse denier Richard Gardner for judges, lawyers, and psychologists aimed at accusing protective parents of having mental disorders or lying if they dare raise abuse allegations. This is SO WRONG that there needs to be a full investigation into those people who aid in the cover up of sexual abuse and add to the re-victimization of children and protective parents.
In one case, mother Linda Marie Sacks did nothing more than repeat what she saw with her own eyes – her husband in the bathroom with her young daughters with their legs up and crotches exposed to their father. The girls were grade school age and this action would certainly be questionable by any mother walking in on such a scene. A disclosure at Sunday school by her 7 year daughter where she said “I suck my daddy’s penis” raised concerns by mom for the girls’ well-being. Despite there being some admission of events, such as that the dad wiped down the daughters’ vaginas before school, the father has custody and the mother is only allowed 2 hours of supervised visitation a month. The case was reversed and remanded on appeal. The mother had to go back in front of Judge Shawn Briese, the same judge who took away her daughters, so he made no different decision the second time around even though she had won her appeal. The psychologist, Deborah Day, who was the evaluator, appeared a second time on behalf of the father. This would really seem to be questionable ethics appearing as an evaluator who is supposed to be unbiased, and also acting on the father’s behalf as his expert. But Florida allows these very highly paid psychologists to malign mothers and protect fathers. Custody seems to be for sale in Florida.
On the website for Laura’s Kids, the message is “Because It’s OK to Tell.” This is very true, it should be OK to tell and the victims should be protected. So the question to Bill McCollum is: You walked in the shoes of the victims for a short time to make a statement, but can you really “Walk the Walk” and actually start seeing that victims of sexual abuse are protected?
The Dr. Phil Show worked with Kathleen Russell on behalf of the Center for Judicial Excellence to develop a compelling show that exposes the systemic breakdown of our nation’s family courts. The tragic story of a young mother named Katie Tagle sets the stage for a deeper conversation about the divorce courts’ routine failures to protect children. Kathleen Russell and Marin family law attorney Barbara Kauffman appear as experts in the 2nd half of the show.
The taping of this show represents an amazing turn of events in the media’s coverage of this growing national crisis. Don’t miss it!
Parental Alienation Awareness Day represents the epitome of disease mongering and propaganda. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the faux mental illness created by abuse denier and pedophile sympathizer Richard Gardner. The promoters of Parental Alienation Awareness Day might as well be promoting “Family Sex Day” as the pedophile communities love this fake mental illness for pathologizing and criminalizing anyone who dares to protect a child from any type of abuse. Claiming a child has Parental Alienation patholizes children for disclosing abuse implying that the victim is a mentally ill and/or a liar. The sexual abusers benefit the most as sexual abuse is so difficult to prove as there is frequently no physical evidence and it is embarrassing for the victims to disclose. The Australian Shared Parenting Debate has published an article listing known pedophile organizations who support Parental Alienation theories:
- Reform Sex Offender Laws Campaign
- SOhopeful International
From Australian Shared Parenting Law Debate – Thursday, April 8, 2010
If a group of pedophiles and abusers named their cause, “Abusers Awareness Day,” no one would help champion their goals.
There needs to be a little bit of propaganda to blanket their true goals.
Richard Gardner gave them that blanket by promoting ideas that society should punish those to speak against abuse as, “sick” and “requiring therapy”. He coined the term, “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. Appalled by the pro-pedophile material that was circulated on a large scale, researchers on child abuse and family violence worked even harder to debunk this content and for many years it has been frequently rejected by the American Psychology Association as a Syndrome. Regardless of the theory being discredited, it has still been used on court cases all over the world including a case where it was a defense for a brutal murder of a mother. Some backyard psychologists have even held workshops about, “Maternal Gate-keeping” and others have promoted theories such as, “Malicious Mother Syndrome.”
Whilst in most debates, we all amicably prefer to keep things gender neutral apart from where one gender is being targeted in a way no different to the apartheid in Africa, the slavery towards African Americans and of course the stolen generation of aboriginal children. Whilst the use of parental alienation syndrome appears to be one of those gender neutral terms, the literature and statistics of court cases where the reversal of custody cases involving abuse allegations suggests that the number one target is the mother. Enmeshed with child abuse cases are often intimate partner terrorism, mostly perpetrated by fathers and a deep lack of community support towards mothers who try against many odds to protect their children from further abuse and exposure to violence. The superficial surface of parent alienation suggests that their goal is to stop “false accusers” despite statistics stating over and over again that false accusers are a minority of cases and in fact most of the false allegations are use by fathers. Empirical research has defined this as part of a series of behaviors that follow the intervention of a intimate partner terrorism relationship. This is where the real problem lies, with little support thanks to the erosion of domestic violence and child protection services, mothers experiencing false accusations towards them have drifted unknowingly towards the movement that is solely there to continue these abuses against her and the children.
Supporters of this theory have even gone as far as promoting it as a form of child abuse and sadly many court cases involving child abuse and intimate partner terrorism with evidence are treated as alienation resulting with the child being transferred to the abuser. The influence of this theory has been so great that other aspects of the system where the perpetrator could be convicted are thwarted.
Whilst Parental Alienation attracts pedophile lobbyists, batterers and abusers, they also attract mistaken victims. These victims are in turn used to become the front of the organisations eliminating the promotion of any true need for children and victims of violence and appear as though they are gender inclusive. The laws, case statistics and culture of the courts are a true reflection of the backyard psych therapists and abuse excuser’s causes. Some organisations are obvious in their agenda, whilst others confuse the situation.
Given the clusters of abusers that are attracted to the cause, it is important to encourage police abuse units to investigate the members of these groups as they do with pedophile rings. This could help stop abuse occurring. Other things that can be done is reporting professionals who use the theory as a form of diagnosis to psychologist registers, law bars and social worker accreditation organisations. The use of junk science destroys the credibility of professionals who do not practice backyard therapies and such reports are welcomed to peak bodies. By alerting other parents of the dangers of these organisations, parents can then become aware of the potential risks they could expose the children to by engaging with potential abusers activities and prevent abuse from occurring.
Here is a list of links from confirmed pedophile organisations that promote Parent Alienation: