A LIFE SENTENCE * U.S. FAMILY COURTS SACRIFICING MOTHERS & CHILDREN – Family Courts Behind an Epidemic of Pedophilia & Judicial Abuse
Another excellent article that exposes the Family Court Mafia aka GAL’s, Case Managers, Parenting Coordinators, Judges, Custody Evaluators, Access Visitation Centers, Social Workers, Federally and locally funded Fathers Rights groups, Fatherhood Initiatives and other 3rd party deniers to Access to Justice – Court Whores who interfere and profit from the sexual abuse and Domestic Violence Industry.
The Genocide of Battered Mothers, Battered Children and the System that promotes and encourages the rape of women and children before during and after — The literal Court approved and court sanctioned rape and destruction of Mothers and their children.
A LIFE SENTENCE * U.S. FAMILY COURTS SACRIFICING MOTHERS & CHILDREN – Family Courts Behind an Epidemic of Pedophilia & Judicial Abuse
keith harmon snowFirst publication: 01 May 2012 Edits & Revision: 03 May 2012
( * The article’s original title "SCREW THE BITCH" — based on a book designed to destroy protective mothers — was unacceptably offensive to the author.)
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 to 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.
The cover of the woman-hating "Father’s Manifesto" book Screw the Bitch.
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 orNightline 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 parents’ 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 father’s 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’.
Max Liberti in 2010, soon after he began talking about electrocution.
"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 F. 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.
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 F. 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 F. 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 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 Minnesota 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 abusive 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 land mines 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.
Swearing in of Attorney Maureen Murphy at nomination confirmation hearings before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee February 22, 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
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.
Dr. Kenneth Robson and Bonnie Robson’s offices in West Hartford, Connecticut.
(c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
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.
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 waits to testify at her nomination hearing before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee 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, alawsuit 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 abuse allegations.
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).
The National Council for Children’s Rights is a pro-pedophile organization
that advanced the junk science theories of Dr. Richard Gardner
and other misogynist individuals and organizations.
"Once upon a time a handful of judges and other evil doers figured they could make a ton of money by selling children to their parents," says protective mother Anne D’Angelo, who a few years ago suffered the very same horrors that Sunny Kelley is suffering now. "Some children would be kidnapped. In the event of divorce the children would be held hostage, a carrot so to speak, for the parents to fight over. Unfortunately, it was mainly abusive men who were willing to fight the mother for custody, and even they would not fight and spend if they weren’t pretty sure they would win. So in order to justify giving an abuser custody they came up with a theory call parental alienation syndrome, PAS. Much like its predecessor false memory syndrome, which blames the therapist for implanting memories of abuse in their adult clients minds, parental alienation blames the mother for implanting false memories of abuse in her child’s mind."
The PAS advocates found that not only could they clean both parents out financially, they could rake in millions in grant money to solve the problems they created. This scheme was so lucrative they decided to franchise. They formed an association known as the Association of Family Conciliation Councils (AFCC) to train other evil legal and psychological professionals to use their methods and PAS. Then they founded a father’s rights group known today as Children’s Rights Council to teach the abusive litigants to use PAS and win custody. Like most cancer given time, this has metastasized to the point where no child in America is safe.
Gardner’s PAS theory described what he believed was one parent brainwashing the child, at the expense of the other, in contentious divorce proceedings. Gardner claimed the condition arose when a mother ‘programmed’ a child to hold delusions of sexual abuse by the father. Gardner peddled his theory far and wide, appearing as an expert witness in Family Courts across the country, universally supporting men seeking to discredit sex-abuse allegations.
PAS was never accepted into the psychiatrist’s essential handbook of known conditions, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family denounced PAS as a ploy used to confuse and obscure legal cases involving allegations of child abuse. Prior to his suicide — stabbing himself to death with a steak knife in 2003 — Gardner trained psychologists and family court officials in California and other states.
"PAS’s twenty-year run in American courts is an embarrassing chapter in the history of evidentiary law," wrote legal expert Jennifer Hoult ("The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Science, Law, and Policy,"Children’s Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, Spring 2006). "It reflects the wholesale failure of legal professionals entrusted with evidentiary gate-keeping intended to guard legal processes from the taint of pseudo-science… As a legal matter, PAS’s inadmissibility is appropriate given its lack of scientific validity and reliability. As a policy matter, its inadmissibility is appropriate given its structural roots in an unsubstantiated patriarchical [sic] theory that advocates for child sex offenders’ access to their victims."
On the one hand, protective mothers are fraudulently declared to be mentally ill, based on discredited theories and the private profit motives of quack professionals, and on the other it is illegal to use Parental Alienation Syndrome in CT courts. Also, according to the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, one cannot have his/her children removed due to a mental illness.
"So, women like Sunny and I have had our federal civil rights massively violated by labeling us with mental illnesses then taking our kids away," says Mrs. Wilson. Dr. Kenneth Robson, Dr. Sidney Horowitz and Dr. Bruce Freedman were the custody evaluators who persecuted this mother, and the Judge in her case was Lynda B. Munro.
"My daughter’s father was arrested for molesting her," said Mrs. Donovan. "The jury was a hung jury and the state prosecutor told me the hung jury would protect her in the custody case. I am sure that would have been the case if the custody evaluators had not involved themselves in her case. My daughter’s father’s attorney arranged for Sidney Horowitz to do a custody evaluation, and all of the unethical things Horowitz did to my daughter are documented. Dr. Horowitz eventually said he didn’t know whether or not my daughter’s father molested her–and that he also ‘understood’ why her father would rage at her for 45 minutes in his office. He then told Judge Munro during the custody trial that since my daughter believed the abuse happened and because I believed it happened — and even though Horowitz didn’t know whether or not it happened — my daughter should be taken from me and hospitalized and be given psychotropic medication if she continued to resist visiting with her [sexually abusive] father unsupervised. The state of Connecticut spent at least a million dollars on my daughter’s case."
Susan (Tittle) Skipp is just over half way through the process that Sunny Kelley and Linda Wiegand suffered, and she can see what is coming based on what happened to these others. Susan Skipp was assigned two of the most unscrupulous court-appointed custody evaluators, Dr. Sidney Horowitz and Dr. Howard Krieger, both from the Connecticut Resource Group, both adherents and advocates of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Distressed and outraged by their maliciousness, and slightly attuned to the fact that she is another candidate ‘bitch’ the system is out to screw, Susan Skipp requested that these ‘experts’ provide her with all billing and other records; soon after this the two PAS psychologists withdrew from her case.
Liberti v. Liberti and Tittle v. Tittle and Buggy v. Buggy are textbook cases where the now discredited PAS theory of Richard Gardner has been used as one of the tools of judicial abuse to persecute Sunny Kelley and Susan Skipp and Sandra MacVicar. The other cases (where pseudonyms are used) herein — Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Jones, Ms. Donovan — are all active and ongoing cases where nearly identical blueprints were used to destroy the mother’s and children’s lives and reward their abusers.
Two highly contentious and disturbing cases that originated in the 1990’s, Thomas Wilkinson v. Linda Wiegand and Grace Elizabeth (Lisa) Foley v. Thomas C. Foley, are also very notable for the kinds, scale and nature of judicial abuse and corruption that occurred. These cases are not exceptions to the rule; rather they are examples of the misrule.
THE TICKLE THE WEENIE GAME
"Recognizing the seriousness of the stakes for the child," wrote Noah Eisenhandler, defendant Robert Liberti’s attorney in Liberti v. Liberti, "and mindful that the defendant’s [father's] massaging of the child’s thighs to alleviate his tight hamstrings was out of the ordinary, the guardian ad litem conducted a very thorough and detailed investigation, scrupulously inquiring as to whether there had been any allegations of physical or sexual abuse raised by the plaintiff historically. She [Maureen Murphy] conducted home visits with both parties on multiple occasions to observe the parent child interactions."
"Long before the question of sexual abuse got to judges Munro and Gordon, guardian ad litem Maureen Murphy refused to allow Max to be seen by anyone but his pediatrician Dr. Whelan," says Sunny Kelley. "Dr. Whelan failed to treat Max according to the American Pediatric Association Standards of Care."
Attorney Noah Eisenhandler’s "Proposed Finding of Fact" of October 14, 2011, is a litany of falsehoods that perpetuates the lies and distortions fabricated by GAL Maureen Murphy and colleagues. On page 10 of his 57-page statement, Eisenhandler casually dismisses his client Robert Liberti’s preoccupation with massaging Max’s thighs and groin and instead argues why this inappropriate touch was supposedly necessary. This argument sets the stage to negate all other evidence of sexual abuse. Like so many other professionals in this and similar cases, Eisenhandler conveniently forgets that the law mandates him to report sexual abuse of a minor.
"There is no dispute that the defendant [Robert Liberti] would massage the child on a regular basis to relieve the tightness in his hamstrings," attorney Eisenhandler wrote. Here we have even the defendant’s lawyer validating the many reports of Robert Liberti massaging Max’s body, and subsequently making excuses for the sexual abuse. "The defendant has consistently, and very literally, described the massage that he would administer to his son for a tight hamstring. He explained that the muscle originates in the crotch area. Because at times the massage would tickle Max, the defendant and his son developed a code for ‘no for teasing and no for real’. The child subsequently dubbed this the ‘tickle my weenie game’."
"Said massaging had a calming effect on the child," attorney Eisenhandler continued, dismissing the sexual preoccupation with Max’s body as innocent caregiving. This is criminal. Quoting Dr. Whelan’s notes about anal fissures and blood in Max’s stool, Eisenhandler parrots Dr. Whelan’s conclusion: "No evidence of trauma." Eisenhandler also dismissed the abrasions and welts on Max’s body and toes stating: "The pediatrician had no concerns that abuse was occurring."
Evidence provided from Sunny Kelley’s logs of Max’s day to day behavior — and even the reports of visitation supervisor Allison Chiodo — were discounted by application of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Mother is making it up, mother is preoccupied with proving sexual abuse, mother will do anything to alienate father, mother is evil.
"The plaintiff [Sunny Kelley] wields her own log and that of Ms. Shaw as a weapon that proves conclusively that the defendant sexually abused his son," wrote attorney Noah Eisenhandler. "Careful examination of these logs however reveals a much darker picture, where the plaintiff’s preoccupation with recording the child’s aberrant actions and statements for litigation purposes reigns supreme over helping the child moderate his behavior appropriately with intervention."
In fact, the logs do not once assert that Robert Liberti was abusing his son. Instead, they carefully document physical evidence discovered on Max, coupled with Max’s increasingly aberrant behavior, and Sunny Kelley and Ada Shaw’s attempts to get that evidence and behavior evaluated. Instead of validating Sunny Kelley’s concerns, the logs were seen by Eisenhandler, by GAL Maureen Murphy, and by the court as evidence that Sunny Kelley was a bad mother who did not appropriately intervene to stop her child from peeing on her, or his complaining about someone pooping in his mouth, or his singing songs about electrocution.
Attorney Noah Eisenhandler asserted that Sunny Kelley’s claims of sexual abuse were not credible, and the expert opinions provided by Dr. Joyanna Silberg and Dr. Eli Newberger were also not credible. While attorney Eisenhandler’s Proposed Finding of Fact does not indicate that he and GAL Maureen Murphy conspired to deny Sunny Kelley’s requests to allow Dr. Eli Newberger and/or Dr. Joyanna Silberg the opportunity to examine Max in person, Eisenhandler then goes on to dismiss these experts’ assessments of Max’s physical and behavioral symptoms — evidence of trauma — claiming that they did not examine the child. Eisenhandler openly lies when he writes that Dr. Newberger did not speak to any of the collateral contacts used by the court.
"Dr. Newberger, the forensic pediatrician who is consulting on this case, has requested permission through Ms. Murphy to speak with you to discuss with him your findings and opinions of Max’s status," Sunny Kelley wrote, in a February 2011 email to Dr. John Collins. "He is very concerned, as I am, about Max’s deteriorating psychological state, based on his review of all medical records, court materials, and mine and others’ observations of Max’s actions. Please contact Ms. Murphy as soon as possible about his request."
Sunny Kelley and her lawyers tried to get both Dr. Joyanna Silberg and Dr. Eli Newberger permission to evaluate Max Liberti for sexual abuse. Sunny Kelley pleaded that he be taken for an in-treatment evaluation. GAL Maureen Murphy blocked every attempt, until finally Judge Elaine Gordon blocked the motion completely. Both Gerald Kahn and Jim Smith, two of Sunny Kelley’s nine lawyers, filed motions requesting that both parents be thoroughly evaluated and that there be a formal sex abuse evaluation for Max and the whole family. Motions denied, GAL Murphy and father Robert Liberti later accused Sunny Kelley of trying to use experts that would not consider the father’s point of view, but they outright lied about this. In other words, the court and its experts would not allow Sunny Kelley’s national experts access to all parties to make an equitable assessment of father, mother and child. When she tried, they blamed her for trying to bring in experts. Adding insult to injury, they lied.
"I testified [in November 2011] about the need for a structured and comprehensive assessment of the kind developed by expert committees of the American Psychological Association and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children," says Dr. Newberger. "These are widely accepted in the professional community concerned with validating disclosures or allegations of child sexual victimization. There were multiple, costly evaluations of Max Liberti by experts hand-picked by the court, but Judge Gordon and the GAL denied every attempt to get a full sexual abuse evaluation. Max Liberti never had, and still has not had, a full sexual abuse evaluation."
Later, describing GAL Maureen Murphy’s report from a home visit with Sunny Kelley and Max, attorney Eisenhandler notes that GAL Murphy found Sunny Kelley’s holding Max and stroking his hair while watching a movie as ‘inappropriate behavior’. Max had a fever that day, but Maureen Murphy made Sunny’s normal motherly attention to her sick child sound like the mother was a monster.
"Considering the circumstances of this case, the guardian ad litem testified that she thought this was inappropriate on the part of the plaintiff," Eisenhandler opined. "This is in contrast to the [GAL's] observation made at the home of the defendant [father]. At such home visit, the guardian ad litem reported that Max behaved appropriately at all times, took part in conversations without interruption and appeared to be very comfortable and relaxed with father."
"Maureen Murphy also testified that when Max saw her enter Rob’s house he threw something at her and huffed off," said Sunny Kelley. "Of course, she further testified that even though I wasn’t even present, Max’s actions were my fault. He always behaved appropriately when he was not with me, she said, except when he does act out, and then it’s still my fault."
In the face of a constant stream of falsifications, both Ada Shaw and Diane Kelley, Sunny Kelley’s R.N. mom, had become indispensable witnesses to protect Sunny and Max against the outrageous lies and distortions, and sometimes open verbal abuse, that Sunny was encountering at every turn, particularly from the GAL Maureen Murphy. As Sunny’s friend and Max’s grandmother, the two women also acted as safe and consistent caretakers for Max. There is nothing inappropriate about a loving mother loving her son, and this includes appropriate touch. Yet attorney Eisenhandler egregiously whitewashed every instance of serious sexualized behavior by Max Liberti, acting out in his little boy attempt to make sense of what he was going through, crying for help in the presence of his primary caretakers, no matter that court-appointed supervisors also witnessed and recorded these behaviors.
What is most interesting is that all the attention paid to the language Robert Liberti used (and taught Max) to cover-up the alleged sexual abuse remained encapsulated in the concept of a game called ‘tickle the weenie’.
"People who want to engage children in sexual activities usually begin with a process called ‘grooming’," says Dr. Joyanna Silberg. "This process involves slowly getting a child accustomed to more and more invasive touch so that by the time it has progressed to penetration of some kind they resist less, and do not tell because they believe they have themselves been ‘going along’ with it. A game called ‘tickle the weenie’ is a perfect example of how this kind of grooming behavior begins. By giving the game a name, and making it sound fun and harmless, the perpetrator introduces the child to sexual touch in a way that they do not protest. It also provides a seemingly ‘innocent-sounding’ cover if the child does talk about it. For anyone with any knowledge of sexual abuse this report from a child is a huge red flag that more serious abuse has happened as well or will happen. In my clinical experience, parents know that private areas are not for tickling or touching and do not make a game out of it."
But what was really going on? Was Robert Liberti masturbating Max? No one ever broke down the euphemism, and no one explained what is actually happening between father and son when they ‘play’ the ‘game’ called ‘tickle the weenie.’ By always using the euphemism ‘tickle the weenie game’ the lawyers and judges worked to further evade their responsibility to protect Max Liberti — and all society — from an alleged violent crime. This is the worst of it: Sunny Kelley’s own lawyers participated in the charade.
Sunny Kelley’s lawyers never deposed GAL Maureen Murphy, and this was deemed a critical necessity to expose the lies, fraud and double-standards. Indeed, Sunny Kelley’s lawyers did not get to the root of the issues. For example, their questions during depositions often lead to critical junctures where the next logical question for the deposee was almost always missed. Is this accident? Stupidity? Incompetence? A function of the dynamic between attorney versus judge versus opposing attorney? Have the laws and restrictions become so obtuse, and the participants so utterly immoral and corrupted, that no reasonable discovery is possible? Is it because lawyers know that will have to appear before these very same judges, and fight these same lawyers, or other lawyers again?
The problem with Family Courts is that financial interests outweigh the judicial issues, and the entire legal system has been geared to support the financial plunder of clients. This is most evident by examination of the behavior of lawyers who take cases for both perpetrators of abuse and protective parents (not only, but usually, the mothers).
"A lot of these women in family court cases get taken advantage of by unethical and unscrupulous lawyers because they are in a depressed state," says attorney Susan Mende, a protective mother whose own divorce and custody nightmare began in 1987 and continues today. "Many of these women and their children have suffered serious abuse from the controlling and abusive men in their lives. Many of the lawyers who specialize in family law know that the women who come to them for help are desperate and vulnerable, and these lawyers (frequently men) also abuse them."
THE SHIELD OF THERAPEUTIC PRIVILEGE
In August 2010, the court-appointed therapist Dr. John Collins was handpicked by GAL Maureen Murphy to treat Max Liberti. Hoping and praying that Dr. John Collins would finally provide the relief she was looking for and support a professional investigation into the sexual abuse, Sunny Kelley emailed Dr. Collins her then current logs about Max’s behavior.
"He did nothing," says Kelley. "Starting in November 2010, Dr. Collins received all the supervisor reports corroborating my logs. He continued to do nothing. In December  I emailed him the very concerning pictures that Max drew in the presence of the supervisor, of erect penis squirting on a girl’s face, a gun that was a huge penis, and his heart being hammered. There was no response."
"I can’t talk to you about that case," Dr. Collins told me, on February 17, 2012, "there are confidentiality issues. You can ask me ten times but I cannot even admit that I know the case. It’s a confidentiality issue. In fact, I don’t even know the case. If there is such a case, I don’t know anything about it."
Sunny Kelley scoffs at Dr. Collins’ sudden concerns about confidentiality, noting that the court litigants and GAL Maureen Murphy used and abused the therapeutic privilege argument with whim and caprice in open court.
"Maureen Murphy [GAL] waived the therapeutic privilege in order to get Dr. Collin’s letter before the Judge," says Sunny Kelley. This was the letter Dr. Collins wrote after the February 15, 2011 Yale Children’s Hospital ER visit by Sunny Kelley. "Later we tried to depose Dr. Collins and Maureen Murphy said ‘no, he has therapeutic privilege’. But Connecticut law says that if you waive therapeutic privilege it is waived for all things unless specifically noted that it was waived in a limited way. It wasn’t."
The assertion of therapeutic privilege is another means whereby the truth is ignored, and the conflicts-of-interest, and questionable or deeply immoral behaviors of individuals, are shielded from scrutiny. In reality, Maureen Murphy was in close communication with father Robert Liberti, with Judge Lynda Munro, and with Dr. Kenneth Robson – -all in cahoots in buddy-buddy-behind-the-chambers and back door private meetings.
"On the first day of my trial Judge Lynda Munro used the privilege argument to shut down my testimony about Max talking about someone putting feces in his mouth and making him gag," said Sunny Kelley. "This is how they silenced me."
Meeting with Dr. John Collins at his office on 19 April 2011, Sunny Kelley and Max were having a discussion that turned to Max’s alarming statements about cutting off people’s heads and about pooping in people’s mouths.
One of the disturbing pictures that Max Liberti drew suggesting sexual violence.
"At this point you asked if it was really possible to poop in someone’s mouth," reads an email documenting the session sent by Sunny Kelley to GAL Maureen Murphy and Dr. John Collins, later the same day, "and [Max] initially said no, you would just close your mouth. Then he changed from conditional tense (‘would’ or ‘could’) to simple present tense, and began saying, ‘well, they tape your mouth open with tape’ and ‘they cut holes in it where the poop goes in but you can’t close your mouth because of the tape’. [Max] then described something that goes in the mouth that ‘keeps your mouth open’."
Max immediately began to complain about a stomachache. A few minutes later Max went to the bathroom and started gagging. When he came back he was still gagging and he threw up on Dr. Collins’ carpet on his way back from the bathroom. Max was fine for the rest of the day, and he was fine immediately after he vomited. After this, Dr. Collins explained it away by asking Max a series of leading questions about eating McDonald’s for lunch just a few hours previous to the meeting, and getting Max to say and believe that Chicken McNuggets were the cause of his vomiting episode.
"Aside from Maureen Murphy lying and perjuring herself about the medical findings," said Sunny Kelley, "John Collins was concurrently telling me that if Max tried to insert things in the cat’s anus, or tried to act out any sexualized behaviors, to take away his video games until he learns to be respectful. It was ridiculous and evidence of malpractice."
When GAL Maureen Murphy brought in therapists like Dr. John Collins and custody evaluators like Dr. Kenneth Robson she brought in the big money and institutionalized corruption. This is where protective mothers like Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan are persecuted for the kind of behaviors any mother faced with the abuse and loss of her child would exhibit. It is also the way that different officials and experts cover and protect each other. At Sunny Kelley’s divorce trial, for example, Maureen Murphy asserted that Max was safe and couldn’t fall through the cracks because Dr. John Collins was on the case.
THE CIRCULAR EVASION OF RESPONSIBILITY
Dr. Harry Adamakos is another court-appointed custody evaluator who profited handsomely from Liberti v. Liberti. Appointed in August 2010, Dr. Adamakos was tasked with performing complete psychological evaluations of Sunny Kelley and Robert Liberti. He was further tasked with determining whether ‘either parent has or is engaged in behaviors that negatively affect the child, or are likely to affect the child in the future’.
While court documents and court sanctioned ‘experts’ continued to proclaim that Sunny Kelley was the problem — the bitch filling everyone’s heads with false claims about Max being sexually abused — some or all of the same court-appointed professionals were unable to confirm Sunny Kelley with a single diagnosis of psychopathology. The most they could say about the mother was that she was suffering depression and anxiety, with mild symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"It is understandable that there would be concern that she [Sunny Kelley] may be suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," concluded Dr. Harry Adamakos, a psychologist brought in as custody evaluator by Maureen Murphy in August 2010. "While there are ongoing, lingering elements to her personality that are likely based in her history of abuse, this examiner does not believe she qualifies for such a diagnosis presently."
Meanwhile, Dr. Adamakos diagnosed father Robert Liberti with three personality disorders whose symptomologies present as pathological lying and coercive control. Roberti Liberti disclosed to Dr. Adamakos that Max had been telling people at his Montessori school that Max and his father played ‘tickle the weenie’ and that Robert Liberti had coached Max to stop saying so and that Max’s interpretation of ‘weenie’ meant his entire crotch area, according to Robert Liberti. The father’s voluntary discussion of a distinction between Max’s understanding of ‘weenie’ versus ‘crotch’ should have raised alarms, but Dr. Adamakos apparently took everything Robert Liberti said at face value, and his report demonstrates no examples where Liberti was challenged in any way.
Roberti Liberti even disclosed to Dr. Adamakos that he was aggressive, and obsessive, that he ‘lost his temper" and ‘mishandled Sunny’, and that one of his martial arts teachers ‘helped him see’ that he is a ‘control freak’. Contrary to claims that he was the primary caregiver for Max and his wife was absent and careless, he substantiates Sunny Kelley’s claim that he was the one who was absent, that he was doing martial arts every day — "I recognized I was doing it to an addiction" — and that his martial arts practice created conflict in the marriage. He confirmed that he yelled at Sunny causing a spiral of alienation that only heightened his attempts to control, provoking more aggression, more yelling, more critical abuse, precisely as described by Sunny Kelley.
It is a textbook case of domestic violence, right down to Robert Liberti’s refusal to take responsibility for his physical assault of Sunny Kelley’s stepfather Richard Kelley, who was a severely handicapped stroke patient. On two separate occasions, Roberti Liberti furiously struck Richard Kelley some ten to twelve times with Kelley’s own cane. Another time, Liberti punched Richard Kelley repeatedly while the handicapped man was using the toilet. Liberti also confirmed Sunny Kelley’s claims that he had aggressively sought out the best lawyers that Sunny Kelley might be able to use, before she got to them, thus disqualifying these lawyers from the pool of prospective lawyers she might use. "He justified his actions," Dr. Adamakos wrote, "by saying, ’so she wouldn’t get sharks… I wanted to settle this all and move on."
"While likely only of a milder form," Dr. Adamakos concluded, "it is the undersigned’s impression that [Robert Liberti] presents with a Mixed Personality Disorder that includes histrionic, compulsive and narcissistic qualities."
In fact, it was a substantial determination. Similarly, Dr. Adamakos concluded that Robert Liberti "may appear to be charming and clever to more casual acquaintances, but his testy, demanding side is likely to be seen by those who have more enduring relationships with him." In fact, this is a classic character trait of people with narcissistic personality disorder — one of the three disorders identified by Dr. Adamakos and one of the most serious impediments to a normal personal or family relationship.
Dr. Adamakos nonetheless provided a report slightly more damning of Sunny Kelley’s ability to parent than of Robert Liberti’s. All in all, the father was presumed to be imperfect, but sweet, willing to take responsibility for his part in the failed marriage, understanding of his wife’s shortcomings, but capable of working things out if necessary, and certainly both repentant and reformed. This is not the man that Sunny Kelley, her parents and Ada Shaw know. Despite the raw data damning the abuser the psychologists who draft these reports flip them in a way that thoroughly compromises the victims. It is usually the mother and her children that suffer.
Even though Maureen Murphy specifically selected Dr. Harry Adamakos as an evaluator, GAL Maureen Murphy suppressed Dr. Adamakos’ findings because they did not satisfy her interest in persecuting Sunny Kelley and exonerating Robert Liberti. Murphy received the report prior to the emergency custody hearing of November 8, 2010, but she hid the report from Sunny Kelley and counselor Gerald Kahn until after Max was taken away from Sunny Kelley and the court had ordered supervised visitations for the few times she was going to be allowed to see her son.
The ‘Adamakos Report’ cost Sunny Kelley $12,000 and, like the GAL fees billed by Maureen Murphy, the money came from Judge James Kenefick hostile liquidation of Sunny Kelley’s marital assets (real estate) in collaboration with Roberti Liberti and his attorney Noah Eisenhandler. Despite Sunny Kelley’s objections, Noah Eisenhandler somehow became the account manager for a common escrow account held for Sunny Kelley and Robert Liberti: Eisenhandler was the only person allowed to write checks on the account — paying off all the evaluators, Robson, Smith, Carlson, Adamakos and GAL Maureen Murphy — and he liquidated approximately $100,000 without Sunny Kelley’s permission.
"Max was not the focus of analysis for this evaluation," Dr. Adamakos wrote, in his conclusions, "and specifically, the examiner was not asked to assess the validity of concerns he has been abused. Indeed, a proper sexual abuse evaluation would require a direct examination of Max. Indeed, there is no way that a professional who has not extensively examined Max could credibly comment upon the question, ‘was Max abused’."
Dr. Adamakos focused the court’s attention more on his perception of Sunny Kelley’s preoccupation with the inability to get confirmation that Max was being sexually abused — in alignment with Parental Alienation Syndrome, though he never comes out and says this — than he did on the question of whether Max was being abused. Dr. Adamakos based his report on the assessment of others, including reports from DCF investigator Maya Parsons, from Max’s therapists Kathleen Boudreau and Kathryn Templeton, documents from Dr. Richard Whelan and Robert LaMontagne, from Max’s Montessori teachers and from the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic. Dr. Adamakos treats Sunny Kelley’s concerns of losing her child as if these are pathological, rather than investigating the source of Sunny’s anxieties, which was the evidence of sexual abuse by the father. When she complains about not being able to seek medical care, Dr. Adamakos characterizes this as ‘her sense’ that she cannot get help, rather than exploring the realities of her ever increasingly limited options, and the fact that she has been left with no way out.
"Further upsetting to Ms. Kelley is her sense [emphasis added] that she has been instructed to not pursue (unneeded) medical care for Max because it would lead to recommendations that she lose custody. She expressed frustration with this, because in recent months, Max has had marks on his body, an infection of his penis, and cuts on his penis. Regarding the later [sic] situation, Max reportedly was talking about a ‘mad man slicing his weenie’."
Even while Dr. Adamakos confirms that physical evidence of a disturbing nature was discovered on Max’s body — he didn’t write that Sunny Kelley was inventing Max’s injuries, or that these were claims made by Sunny Kelley — he appears to opine that Sunny Kelley was seeking medical care for Max where it wasn’t needed, which suggests that he completely dismissed her concerns over sexual abuse. The report is obtuse, adding layer upon layer of lies and obfuscation over lengthy periods of time, another financial windfall for an unsavory professional blinded by private profit, and another tool used by the courts in the unraveling of Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti’s lives.
WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM
One protective mother starts sobbing every time she talks about the calculated program used by courts and lawyers to abuse and destroy families — and how they attacked and abused her and her prepubescent daughter.
"I found my husband’s lawyer’s strategy when my husband left his notebook and I read it," says ‘Mrs. Wilson’. "It said: 1. Figure Out How to Shut the Bitch Up; 2. Bleed the Bitch Dry Legally; 3. Reunification Therapy; 4. Trial."
On June 10, 2008, Mrs. Wilson’s ex-husband told her: "[My attorney] has assured me, assured me, that with his connections in Middletown and Stamford, things are going to go exactly the way I want them to go!" And, they did. One look at the court file on Buggy v. Buggy shows the clear favoritism for the father’s attorney.
It is the same with Father’s Manifesto attorney Noah Eisenhandler in Liberti v. Liberti.
The divorce trial for Liberti v. Liberti was originally scheduled for October 2010, but then rescheduled to November 15. Attorney Gerald Kahn charged Sunny Kelley $80,000 for work between April, when he took the case, and November 8, the day he appeared before the court and asked to be removed from Sunny Kelley’s case. Attorney Gerald Kahn had cancer, he didn’t review or prepare the case and he didn’t argue properly to protect Sunny Kelley’s interests on November 8, 2010. In a Motion to Withdraw Appearance and Continue Trial filed on her behalf on November 4, Sunny requested an appearance before Judge Lynda Munro because her lawyer was not working on her behalf.
Minutes before the court appearance on November 8, Robert Liberti’s lawyer Noah Eisenhandler filed an emergency motion for Robert to have temporary sole custody of Max. Eisenhandler argued that Sunny Kelley cooked up fresh allegations each time they were about to appear in court, and that Sunny had caused the bruises on Max that she photographed and reported to Dr. Whelan, Max’s pediatrician, in July.
"Max’s symptoms would escalate around court dates," says Sunny Kelley, "but Max’s injuries always appeared during his time with his father."
On November 8, 2010, in a slam-dunk court session, Sunny Kelley was bounced back and forth between Judge Lynda Munro and Judge Elaine Gordon.
In order to make a decision, Judge Lynda Munro teased information about the likely strategy and approach out of Sunny Kelley’s lawyer until he revealed his doubts and concerns about the veracity of his client. In fact, attorney Gerald Kahn stood up and informed the judge that he had no confidence in his client, that he could not represent her to the best of her needs because he had no faith in her position.
"…I’ll do the best I can, and that will be pretty good," Kahn said. "I’ve been doing this for a while, and I don’t want to say my heart won’t be in it because that’s not right, but if I were Ms. Kelley, I wouldn’t want to be represented by me, a week from now, given her view of the case and mine. I wouldn’t want that."
The opposing lawyer stood up and warned the judge that she wasn’t going to like what she was going to hear. Both attorneys predisposed the judge to harbor a major bias against Sunny Kelley in keeping with the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). That is, Sunny Kelley was inventing the charges — and presumably the evidence — of sexual abuse of Max.
"Here’s my concern, Your Honor," said Noah Eisenhandler, facilitating yet another routine denial of Sunny Kelley’s due process rights. "I’m not a lawyer that cries wolf, but this Court or any other Court who hears this case, is not going to convince Ms. Kelley that Mr. Liberti is not sexually abusing his child. She is convinced of that and nothing’s going to change that."
GAL Maureen Murphy also appeared before both Judge Lynda Munro and Judge Elaine Gordon on November 8, 2010, and her behavior showed that some of the details about the decisions rendered on November 8 had been pre-arranged prior to Sunny Kelley’s unexpected appearance in court.
Judge Munro sought Murphy’s opinion about the likely direction of the future but impending divorce and custody case, and Murphy stated: "…there are grave concerns about the nature of the allegations and the reliance upon those allegations as if they were true." (Emphasis added.)
Without even holding a trial, Judge Lynda Munro was strongly influenced by BOTH attorneys and the guardian ad litem to believe or anticipate that the allegations of sexual abuse being waged by Sunny Kelley against Robert Liberti were a fiction of Sunny Kelley’s mind meant only to wrest control of her son from her husband.
Notwithstanding his vote of no confidence, attorney Gerald Kahn appropriately objected to attorney Eisenhandler’s introduction of affidavits and attachments to his motion for sole custody for Robert Liberti: "Your Honor, there are attachments to the motion, which I object to coming before the Court, affidavits of documents and so forth that are offered as sort of a bootleg evidence, and I don’t think it’s proper."
Judge Lynda Munro ignored attorney Kahn’s objections and she proceeded to read the attachments and affidavits provided by Robert Liberti and his lawyer, in violation of Sunny Kelley’s Due Process. "We could probably spend two days contesting that affidavit," said attorney Gerald Kahn, after Judge Munro had already read it. "Some of it is true. Some of it is slightly true. And some of it is not true at all."
After a few instructions and warnings, Judge Lynda Munro bounced Sunny Kelley across the hall to Judge Elaine Gordon, who was tasked with ruling on attorney Noah Eisenhandler’s motion for sole custody before Judge Munro would rule on the motion to Withdraw Appearance and Continue Trial (so that Sunny Kelley could get a new lawyer).
Across the hall, Judge Gordon behaved like the Hollywood TV celebrity, the shrill Judge Judy, spewing venom and criticizing Sunny Kelley for photographing the anal tearing and anal fissures discovered on Max’s body. The documentary evidence taken in April 2010 by Sunny and her mom was not disclosed to the opposing counsel until Noah Eisenhandler deposed Sunny Kelley the previous week. Suddenly a key piece of evidence of the sexual abuse by Robert Liberti was being used to punish Sunny Kelley even before it was presented in trial. This was the ’shocking’ information that Noah Eisenhandler warned Judge Lynda Munro about.
"During the trial, Judge Gordon had resigned from the bench but she was going in and out of Judge Lynda Munro’s chambers and she was frequently in the courtroom," says Dr. Eli Newberger. "Judge Gordon and the GAL Maureen Murphy have many close and inappropriate relationships. Maureen Murphy made substantial money on this case and presumably on others: she is an outrageous, reprehensible character and she has no business as a judge or guardian ad litem. "
"Maureen Murphy is a star," Dr. Kenneth Robson told me in February 2012. "She’s wonderful. She’s a rare human being and she stands for the best in humanity. I congratulated her on her nomination to become a judge myself. The State of Connecticut is blessed to have her skills. She’s a wonderful human being. Deeply moral, very skilled, she is beyond reproach in terms of integrity and she has a great sense of humor. She’s a fabulous choice."
Max Liberti in 2009.
In the end, November 2010, Sunny Kelley’s rights to due process were egregiously violated. Her rights to present evidence as regards the supposed abuse she committed — by taking photographs documenting abuses against Max — were ignored. Judge Elaine Gordon gave sole custody of Max to Robert Liberti. While Judge Gordon was delivering her custody decision she repeatedly toggled her head in the direction of GAL Maureen Murphy as if to indicate to GAL Maureen Murphy that this problem mother had been taken care of.
"The judge’s facial gestures, voice inflections and [her] glancing over at the GAL were quite concerning to me," says registered nurse Diane Carole Kelley, Sunny’s mother. "[Judge] Elaine Gordon rolled her eyes, scrunched up her face, twisted and tightened her lips and proclaimed it was abuse of the child to take the picture we took. Then she looked to the GAL with an expression of satisfaction raising her eyebrows as though to say… well I took care of that! It didn’t matter that my six year-old grandchild had had rectal bleeding and had inappropriate acting out behavior of a sexual nature way beyond his years."
Judge Lynda Munro entered Judge Gordon’s court after custody of Max had been wrested from his mother by Judge Gordon. Assuming the bench, Judge Munro then granted the motion for Withdrawal of Gerald Kahn and she granted the motion for Continuance, moving the start of the trial to December 15, 2010. So began a long process of scheduling and rescheduling the case, a few weeks delay each time, a process that would continue until the trial finally began in August 2011, eating up the resources of Sunny Kelley and her parents.
Limited to supervised visitations a few times a week, with no overnights with her son, Sunny Kelley was forced to pay for the services of an agency chosen by the court for visitation supervision. Sunny was not allowed to do anything with her son Max without the direct supervision by this court-appointed agency.
The trial’s final decision, supposedly written by Judge Lynda Munro, reads: "Mother retained the services of N. J. Sarno and Company, a visitation service enterprise." This statement suggests that Sunny Kelley had some agency or choice in the matter. She did not, and at this writing she still does not.
How did the Nicholas J. Sarno and Company come to be the agency of choice designated to supervise Sunny Kelley for all visitations with her son after November 8, 2010?
GAL Maureen Murphy produced the name of the supervising agency N. J. Sarno and Company, whom she highly recommended, for Judge Elaine Gordon. Maureen Murphy even provided the name of Allison Chiodo, the first visitation supervisor from that company assigned to Sunny Kelley, who was, Murphy assured the court, available to begin work immediately. While the events in the two separate courts, with two separate judges, had the appearance of chaos and uncertainty, everything was arranged in advance, everything was known, and the GAL secured a very lucrative contract for Nicholas J. Sarno & Company.
Thus, since November 8, 2010, Max has spent all his overnights at his father’s house — or allegedly being taken by the father to others who may have participated in rape and torture and defecation crimes. As bad as things were, no one imagined they could get worse.
THE RACKET OF SUPERVISED VISITATION
Who is Nicholas J. Sarno? How did Nicholas J. Sarno get involved in the millions of dollars business of supervising the visits between parents and children involved in highly contentious custody battles in Connecticut Family Courts? Why does Nicholas Sicinolfi alias Nick Sarno have at least five aliases and six names?
For six days in December 2011, alone, Sunny Kelley was billed $3910.00 for 46 hours of supervision (@ $85 an hour) from the Nicholas J. Sarno & Company of Trumbull CT, one of the select agencies used by the CT Family Court system for mandated supervised visitations, but an agency with a very interesting history and questionable ties to court officials.
The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch and Department of Social Services defines visitation supervisors as ’supportive community-based service providers’. Supervised visitation programs provide services to courts in visitation and custody disputes where a parent alleges physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, or other harmful behaviors against a spouse or partner. Hailed as a welcome tool in the judicial management of high-conflict family court cases, such programs are garnering increased attention from legislatures, judges, and lawyers nationwide.
It’s not clear exactly when Nicholas J. Sarno appeared on the highly profitable Connecticut court scene, but one of the earliest records of court-appointed supervision is in Olexovitch v. Carralero. As with Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan, the mother was forced to participate in making her daughter interact with her abusive ex-partner.
According to public documents, in 1999, Rose Olexovitch and her six year-old girl were forced to undergo supervised visitation with Nicholas Sarno, then the ‘director of operations of the Children’s Center for Supervised Visitation’, in Fairfield CT. On April 2, 2000, after numerous visits with Sarno and her father, the girl clung to her mother, stating that that she was afraid of her father and Nick Sarno and that she hated them.
On September 20, 2000 Nick Sarno drove to mother Rose Olexovitch’s home with the father’s adult daughter accompanying him in the car. When Nick Sarno arrived, Rose told him that the child was refusing to go on a supervised visit. The girl screamed that she was not going, and she wrapped her arms around her mother. When Nick Sarno touched the child she repeatedly kicked him and spat at him. The Bridgeport court blamed the mother for ‘alienation behavior’ against the abusive father.
Nicholas Sarno’s business office was originally located at the Fairfield, CT law offices of attorneys Sandra Lax and Louise Truax. Attorney Louise Truax registered the Children’s Center for Supervised Visitation LLC (limited liability corporation) in 1999, at 1275 Post Road, Fairfield CT. On April 24, 2012, Lax and Truax secretary Christine Herman said that Sarno moved out about 10 years ago, but the law firm still uses Nick Sarno’s company for supervised visitations. There is no record of the Children’s Center for Supervised Visitation with the CT Secretary of State Commercial Records Division.
In 2008, Attorney Louise Truax was one of the ‘faculty’ members for a one-day conference on Psychological, Psychiatric, and Custody Evaluations sponsored by the CT LAw Association Family Law Section. (KHS note 3 May 2012: the previous link was working when this story was published May 1; several online links to this seminar have now been disabled.) Not coincidentally, amongst the other faculty members are the three most critical players who persecuted Sunny Kelley and trafficked her son Max to his abusive father in Liberti v. Liberti: Dr. Kenneth Robson, Judge Lynda Munro and Dr. John Collins. Attorney Gaetano Ferro also participated in the seminar, which is listed in his biography.
The course materials are available on line for Connecticut Bar Association members ($172) and non-members ($262) and the description makes it clear that the foxes are guarding the henhouse. "This intermediate program will explore the considerations that counsel for the parents, the child’s representative, the evaluator, and the court should make concerning the role of evaluations in a custody case. Learn when to get evaluations, who should do them, what their scope should be, and why parts should not go into evidence. This program’s morning session will include a lecture component from the vantage point of counsel for the parents, counsel/guardian for the child, the mental health professional/evaluator, and the trial court on how to develop and use evaluations in a custody case."
Faculty members also included attorneys Gaetano Ferro and Thomas Colin from the marathon trial of Tauck v. Tauck — where the custody of the four children was awarded to a father cleared of abuse by Dr. Kenneth Robson. Gaetano Ferro was the attorney for the four minor children, and Thomas Colin, Cynthia George and John Eckberg were the attorneys for the father accused of sexually assaulting two of the four children.
Faculty member Michael Perzin is another lawyer that Sunny Kelley interviewed after she had lost custody and was without attorney late in 2010. "He immediately told me I should settle this case and try not to lose Max entirely. He said he could possibly negotiate it back to a shared custody arrangement and I should try not to go to trial and just share parenting and forget about the abuse. I didn’t call him again because that’s an insane position."
Just as Nick Sarno would support Robert Liberti against Sunny Kelley — nine years later — Nick Sarno took the father’s side in Bhatia v. Debek, testifying against the mother who was claiming sexual abuse of her daughters. Like all these cases, Bhatia v. Debek was fraught with court-sanctioned and court-facilitated incidents that qualify as extortion, entrapment and exploitation of mother and child.
According to public records, one mother — call her Ms. Donovan for her protection — moved from Florida to Connecticut, seeking relief from her ex-partner’s frequent rage and threats of violence when her daughter Sally was four months old. Four years later, her abusive ex-partner ‘Frank’ followed her to Connecticut and petitioned the court for joint custody and visitation of his daughter. After several hearings, Judge Howard Owens appointed Nicholas Sarno as visitation supervisor for ‘Frank’s’ visits. Attorney Karen Reynolds was also appointed as the child’s guardian ad litem. For some mysterious reason, Judge Owens changed his mind a week later — and outside of court — and ordered Karen Reynolds to be the attorney for the minor child instead of GAL.
After a few weeks of supervised visits, Nicholas Sarno testified in court that everything was going ‘well’ between father and daughter. Nick Sarno and attorney Karen Reynolds both testified as witnesses for the father, giving him a clean bill of health, but everyone disregarded some 50 police reports from St. Petersburg, Florida documenting ‘Frank’s’ threats to his neighbors and his delusional disorder.
Nearly a year later, the father ‘Frank’ was arrested for molesting his child and another GAL, attorney Gerard Adelman, was soon ordered into the case. Curiously, attorney Maureen Murphy, the future GAL for Max Liberti, represented attorney Aldeman in his GAL capacity.
Appearing before Judge Lynda Munro on March 2, 2005, in Ms. Donovan’s case, attorney Maureen Murphy questioned Dr. Sidney Horowitz about his experience, to which Dr. Horowitz indicated that during his practice in CT he had done "in the couple of hundreds" of custody evaluations and "that there were at least a couple hundred times that [I] was involved in sexual [abuse] matters that ended up in court."
Judge Lynda Munro qualified Dr. Horowitz based on Maureen Murphy’s insistence and Dr. Horowitz proceeded to testify as an expert witness. In her first meeting with him, the little girl, Sally Donovan, disclosed that her father ‘Frank’ had sexually abused her. During the next visit to Dr. Horowitz’s his office, when it was time for the reunification ‘therapy’ with the father and the eight year-old girl, the girl clung to her mother in his waiting room: Sally said she didn’t want to go, and they could not make her go.
Earlier that day, Dr. Horowitz had informed Ms. Donovan that she needed to force her unwilling daughter to meet with Dr. Horowitz and her father ‘Frank’. Testifying in court, Dr. Horowitz told attorney Maureen Murphy the mother should have forced her frightened little girl to enter his office — where two grown men stood waiting for her. One was her father, who the girl said had abused her ‘millions of times’, and the other was Dr. Horowitz, a virtual stranger. The record is a cold and clinical read from a cold-hearted clinician.
"And so the bond was not just an emotional bond," Dr. Horowitz told Maureen Murphy and Judge Lynda Munro, "but there was a… there was a terror in [Sally], sitting there [on her mother's lap] and [Ms. Donovan] saying I believe you, I believe you. So there was a lack of encouragement for separation."
"Whether or not the girl has… had been abused or not," Dr. Horowitz later told Ms. Donovan "that these are issues that she needs to work through, and that I would be willing to assist as best I could to do that."
Dr. Horowitz then read the court a letter he had written to GAL Adelman. He explained that the abusive and threatening father terrorized the eight-year-old in his office on September 23, 2004.
"[The child] was quite upset. She was sitting on a chair. She was crawling up the chair. She was crying. She was shaking." Dr. Horowitz allowed the father to scream and berate the girl. Through sobs and bursts of fury, Sally stood up for herself and her mother. This went on and on, for 45 minutes. According to his self-serving and dishonest testimony, Dr. Horowitz said he "eventually asked the angry father to leave" because "in my mind, that was emotional abuse, and I could not, as an adult, tolerate observing any more of that."
After meeting with Ms. Donovan for an hour, Dr. Sidney Horowitz described Ms. Donovan as someone "unable to see the forest for the trees" in the best interests of her child. Dr. Horowitz recommended the child be removed to a ‘therapeutic’ foster care home. Regarding the serious emotional trauma that the girl would suffer on being removed from her loving mother, Dr. Horowitz replied, "…sometimes one needs to re-break the bone to allow it to set better."
Dr. Horowitz testified under a subpoena from Maureen Murphy at the rate of $250 an hour — clocked from the moment he left his home to the moment he returned to it.
Records show that Ms. Donovan’s attorney, David Welch-Rubin, is a 1977 magna cum laude graduate from Yale University. Now divorced, this attorney’s former partner, Lori Welch-Rubin, is known to be friendly with Lisa Faccadio, the father ‘Frank’s’ attorney in the Donovan case. The attorney for the plaintiff (father) was Lisa Faccadio.
The GAL in Sunny Kelley’s case, Maureen Murphy, told Ms. Donovan that attorney Lisa Faccadio ‘owns’ Middletown and thus attorney Lisa Faccadio would be a good choice for this mother to engage as counsel. However, the abusive father ended up with attorney Lisa Faccadio and this increased his advantage.
Indeed, something went terribly awry. Both Ms. Donovan’s attorney David Welch-Rubin and opposing counsel Lisa Faccadio recommended both PAS ‘experts’ used in the case — Dr. Sidney Horowitz and Dr. Keith Roeder — and they also brought attorney Gerald Adelman into the case. All three men minimized the abuse by the father and tried to take the mother’s child from her.
The custody evaluators were also against this protective mother Ms. Donovan. "Dr. Keith Roeder was my daughter’s father’s ‘therapist’," says Ms. Donovan. "My attorney, David Welch-Rubin assured me that Dr. Donald Hiebel and Dr. Keith Roeder ‘wrote the book about child custody’ and were the ‘go to’ evaluators in Middletown. He was right."
However, attorney David Welch-Rubin’s role in creating confusion went even deeper. Under the direction of Dr. John Leventhal, Lisa Radigan at the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic performed the forensic evaluation of sexual abuse of Ms. Donovan’s child Sally. The interview was watched through a two-way mirrored window by police officer Andy Mancini and DCF worker Aimee Bloch. David Welch-Rubin refused to call either Lisa Radigan or Aimee Bloch for the custody trial, no matter that they were the most important eye-witnesses to the child’s sexual abuse disclosures. Ms. Donovan herself had to call them to testify at the custody trial.
"Judge Munro took my daughter from me and ordered me to see a therapist. She was forcing me to change my beliefs about what my daughter’s father did to her," says Ms. Donovan. "Judge Munro also transferred the case to juvenile court. According to state law, I am not allowed to speak about my experiences in juvenile court. After a year in court-ordered foster care, my daughter was allowed to live with me again and her father terminated his parental rights. Her father then proceeded to sue me for reporting to the authorities what my daughter told me. He then sued me again for telling a reporter that I believe my daughter."
Judge Aurigemma ordered Ms. Donovan to pay her child’s father over $3.5 million dollars because she reported the child’s disclosures of her father’s abuse. Judge Aurigemma’s opinion cites Dr. Bruce Freedman’s ‘custody evaluation’, where Dr. Freedman diagnosed the child as having been ‘brainwashed’. Dr. Freedman never met the child and he never spoke with any of the many professionals who documented and substantiated the child’s disclosures of abuse.
Attorney Lisa Faccadio has been involved with Judges Lynda Munro and Marylouise Schofield in formulating policy and decisions about the judicial branch and family court matters. For example, Munro, Schofield and Faccadio are members of the committee for ‘Uniformity of Court Procedures’ under the ‘Public Service and Trust Commission’ of the Judicial Branch, which first met on November 18, 2008. Judge Lynda Munro and DCF Commissioner Joette Katz are also on the Public Service and Trust Commission’s committee for ‘Problem Solving in Family Matters’.
Attorney Lisa Faccadio was meeting regularly for special committee meetings with Judge Lynda Munro, even while she had (has) active ongoing cases before Judge Munro. Some of these meetings were very small and informal, such as the luncheon meeting held on May 8, 2009 at the First and Last Tavern in Middletown. This was a ‘Family Subcommittee Work Group on Trial Management Orders/Pretrial’ and there were only five people in attendance: Judge Munro and attorneys Leo Diana, Thomas Esposito, Lisa Faccadio and Michael Fasano.
To maintain a productive and efficacious relationship on these committees that deal with how courts will operate, lawyers and judges have to remain amicable at the very least. Lawyers want their cases to succeed, and rapport with judges is critical. While maintaining friendly relations out of court, Lisa Faccadio is appearing before Judge Lynda Munro and/or Judge Elaine Gordon in major recent or ongoing cases like Carrie Alberti v. Michael Alberti or Nancy Bailey v. Josh Bailey. In 2009, in particular, while the Family Subcommittee Work Group on Trial Management Orders/Pretrial was meeting, Judge Lynda Munro was hearing Lisa Faccadio’s cases, including Brian Bardelli v. Trisha Bardelli, where Faccadio was before Munro in October 2009, and Michael Anderson v. Anne M. Anderson, which began in 2009 but concluded with Lynda Munro in 2012.
Soon after Sunny Kelley’s rights were trampled on in the November 2010 ping-pong match between judges Lynda Munro and Elaine Gordon, Nick Sarno recommended that Sunny Kelley seek representation from the firm Lax & Truax. Sunny Kelley then met with attorney Mary Surette, a law partner at Lax & Truax.
After a two-hour meeting at the offices of Lax & Truax, where Sunny Kelley explained her case in detail, attorney Mary Surette vilified Sunny Kelley. She closed her argument for not taking the case by stating that it was impossible. After the meeting was over, attorney Mary Surette concluded that she could never take the case anyway, because she was conflicted out: Surette said she teaches together with Judge Lynda Munro at Quinnipiac Law School. A week later, Sunny Kelley received a bill for $250. Sunny Kelley wrote a letter complaining about being charged a consultation fee, without her preliminary agreement, when attorney Mary Surette knew from the get-go that she a conflict of interest ruled her out as a possible attorney for Sunny Kelly.
THE NICHOLAS-JAMES COMPANY
By 2001, at least, the mysterious Nick Sarno had created his own supervised visitation business, the Nicholas-James Company. Nick Sarno considered this a private investigation firm, and apparently bragged about being a former police officer.
Nick Sarno also had a habit of hanging around the Trumbull CT Police Department (TPD). Indeed, Nick Sarno conducted court-appointed supervised visitations with moms and children in a parking lot, at $85 an hour. The TPD parking lot was his rendezvous site for meeting parents in years around 1999 to 2001, and this habit very soon got him into trouble with the Trumbull CT police. In 2001, the Nicholas-James Company was found to be illegally engaged in supervised visitations in the state of CT. The N. J. Sarno Company began supervised visitations after the Nicholas-James Company alleged ceased to do so.
In August 2001, two TPD officers (Richard Bernaud and Christopher Paoletti) detained a man named Nicholas Sicinolfi. Apparently, it was not an arrest, or maybe it was, because the incident became the basis for a 2003 lawsuit filed by Nicholas Sicinolfi, alias Nick Sarno, against Town of Trumbull police officers (Bernaud and Paoletti), TPD chief Marlin Lively, and a town clerk. On the day Sicinolfi claims he was arrested by the TPD, he left the police station without being given permission to leave by the officers who allegedly arrested him. No charges were ever filed against him by TPD. He then sued the Town and TPD for improper arrest and other charges, based on the lack of any warrant.
According to the documents for Sicinolfi v. Town of Trumbull et al:
"The undisputed material facts of this case are as follows. Plaintiff Nicholas J. Sicinolfi is also known by the name ‘Nick Sarno’. Nicholas J. Sicinolfi and Detective James DeSanty of the Trumbull Police Department were co-owners of Plaintiff’s Nicholas-James Company, LLC since its organization in February 1999. On or about February 20, 1999, Sicinolfi submitted an application for a license to carry pistols or revolvers to the Town of Trumbull and this was processed by his business partner James DeSanty."
"The Plaintiffs’ business is self-described as ‘providing supervised visitation services’. The Plaintiffs allege that their task is ‘to assure that no harm comes to children or other parties in domestic cases during visitation’. The Plaintiffs’ business has also been described more directly as providing ‘protection’ to children in such situations."
A routine investigation by TPD chief Marlin Lively raised questions about the legality of Sicinolfi’s pistol permit application and the business activities of the Nicholas-James Company. Information on the pistol permit application was ‘incomplete or deliberately false’. For example, Sicinolfi did not list his alias ‘Nick Sarno’ in his application when asked to ‘List all other names by which you have been known.’
Nick Sarno’s pistol permit application also stated that he had served in the Armed Forces, where he purportedly gained experience with pistols and revolvers, but TPD Christopher Paoletti determined that the Department of Defense had no record of the Plaintiff serving in the military. It was later determined that Nicholas Sicinolfi spent only 29 days in the U.S. Army before his discharge on medical grounds, and that he did not receive training in weapons use.
Nick Sarno’s business partner, TPD detective James DeSanty, told Chief Marlin Lively that the Nicholas-James Company LLC employed him, and that this business involved working as a ‘Personal Security Consultant’. Nicholas Sicinolfi failed to include any reference to his business relationship with DeSanty in his pistol permit application. Sicinolfi and DeSanty were the only employees of the Nicholas-James Company, and Sarno had previously worked as a watchman with DeSanty.
Chief Lively contacted the Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit to inquire as to the legality of Sicinolfi’s business activities, especially the legality of providing the self-described ’supervised visitation services.’ In reply, Lively received a letter, dated June 28, 2001, stating the Plaintiffs were violating Connecticut law by providing such security services without a license.
When TPD chief Marlin Lively noticed Sicinolfi in the parking lot of the Trumbull Police Department on August 2, 2001 — where Sarno apparently conducted ’supervised visitation services’ with court-mandated clients in cases like Bhatia v. Debek — Chief Lively ordered officers Paoletti and Bernaud to seize Nick Sicinolfi’s pistol permit, to determine if he was carrying any firearms, and to investigate his presence in the parking lot, all of which the two officers did.
The defendants in Sicinolfi v. the Town of Trumbull et al asserted that Sicinolfi’s amended compliant against them was a clear admission of the Nicholas-James Company’s violation of Connecticut law, and that Sicinolfi and DeSanty were not entitled to continue providing ’supervised visitation services’ in the guise of the unlicensed and unqualified plaintiff Nick Sicinolfi.
Nicholas Sicinolfi’s legal memorandum of January 2005 stated that Sicinolfi "is an experienced visitation supervisor. He has been appointed by the Superior Court to supervise visitation in dozens of cases. [Sicinolfi] has been recognized by the Superior Court as an expert in visitation."
Nicholas J. Sicinolfi’s lawsuits against TPD officers Bernaud and Paoletti dragged on to at least 2008, where an apparent settlement required the two officers to each pay Sicinolfi $2500 on the basis of improper arrest without warrant. The settlement document for the two officers indicated that Sicinolfi’s charges against Lively had been dismissed.
Former Trumbull police chief Marlin Lively was contacted about Nicholas Sicinolfi. Responding to emails seeking to discuss Nicholas J. Sicinolfi, Marlin Lively’s initial comment (email) was ‘that name says a lot’. Lively agreed to talk in a few days but failed to respond to all future communications. Officers Bernaud and Paoletti did not return phone calls.
Unspecified in the court documents involving Nicholas J. Sicinolfi and the Trumbull Police Department is that Nicholas Sicinolfi alias ‘Nick Sarno’ may also have at least five other aliases. In a search on the names Nicholas J. Sarno a.k.a. Nicholas Sicinolfi, a law enforcement agent also discovered the associated names Siconolki, Siconolti, Siconolti, Siconoffi, and, last but certainly not least, Nicholas J. Siconolfi. "These names could come up for all sorts of reasons," says the detective, even due to simple misspellings accidentally entered into the system."
While Trumbull police learned about the ‘Nick Sarno’ alias through business partner TPD officer James DeSanty, none of the additional names — possible aliases — were discovered and none were listed as additional aliases on Nicholas Sicinolfi’s pistol permit application. It seems that Nicholas. J. Siconolfi — with an ‘o’, not an ‘i’ — is the original name given to Nicholas Sarno at birth. What is the reason for all these aliases?
THE N. J. SARNO & COMPANY
The extraordinary sums of money involved in supervised visitation are mind-boggling. Between November 2010 and February 2, 2012, when Judge Lynda Munro delivered the divorce and custody decision in Liberti v. Liberti, the N. J. Sarno & Company earned $123,511.52 in forced visitation fees from Sunny Kelley. Because Sunny Kelley was forced to pay exorbitant fees or not be able to see and visit with her son, the N. J. Sarno & Company access and visitation orders against Sunny Kelley by the CT courts and GAL Maureen Murphy likely amount to racketeering, possibly in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Contacted by one protective mother on February 28, 2012, Joseph DiTunno at the Access and Visitation Office of the CT Judicial Branch Court Services Division, indicated that the N. J. Sarno & Company LLC is definitely not on their list of supervisory companies. He also said that no company would bill $10,000 a month for supervised visitation and that Sunny Kelley could not possibly have paid $123,000 for supervised visitation because they had very limited funding for what they do. He said that they had 4 supervised visitation companies in the state and that the N. J. Sarno & Company was not one of them.
On April 23, 2012, Mr. DiTunno would not answer any questions, and referred me to Connecticut’s Judicial Branch Office of External Affairs.
Nicholas J. Siconolfi — with an ‘o’ — appears as a young man in a 1967 photo taken of the senior class of cadets at the Carson Long Military Academy in Bloomfield PA, the oldest boarding school in the United States that has military training, a very expensive boys-only boarding school featuring grades 6-12.
Also, the obituary of 84 year-old Margaret Siconolfi (d. 2012) of Stratford and formerly of Fairfield listed her loving family, including three children: Josephine (Siconolfi) Chiodo; Anthony Siconolfi; and Nicholas J. Sarno of Trumbull; and six grandchildren: Chuck Chiodo; Angela (Chiodo) Leonzi; Allison Chiodo… and etc. It is curious that Nicholas J. Sarno uses the name Sarno in an obituary for the Siconolfi family.
There is also a Thomas A. Siconolfi who is a member of the Court Security Committee, Public Service and Trust Commission, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut. He is also the Executive Director of Administrative Services under the Office of the Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn, Deputy Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III and Joseph D’Alesio. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, all four Administrative Division executives were on the Public Service and Trust Commission, along with Judge Joette Katz, who later became the DCF commissioner. Quinn and Carroll also served on the Judges Advisory Committee on E-Filing, along with Lynda B. Munro.
Judge Elaine Gordon worked with Judge Lynda Munro and Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn, along with Judicial Branch video coordinators, to produce the DVD, "Putting Children First: Minimizing Conflict in Custody Disputes." This is yet another example where the criminal behavior, judicial abuse and private profits are masked with a public rhetoric and good face public relations strategy of ‘putting children first’.
On April 24, 2012, Rhonda Stearley-Hebert at the Judicial Branch Office of External Affairs indicated the following: neither the Administrative Division nor Quinn, Carroll, D’Alesio or Thomas Siconolfi have any dealings with hiring or firing or appointment of supervised visitation companies used by the Judicial Branch; the Judicial Branch is involved only with visitation centers, not with supervised private visitation; that N.J. Sarno is not involved with the Judicial Branch regarding supervised visitation, they may or may not be involved with another state agency; that "our understanding is that DCF may be involved with private visitation companies involving child protection cases. We would suggest you contact DCF for any information along those lines."
Q: "What is the relationship between N. J. Sarno and Thomas A. Siconolfi?"
A: "There is no known family connection between Nicholas J. Sarno and Thomas A. Siconolfi."
Q: "How did you determine this? Your reply is insufficient. Please call me about this question."
A: "I spoke with Mr. Siconolfi and he has no knowledge of anyone associated with N.J. Sarno."
Q: "How did you determine this? Please call me back about this question."
Rhonda Stearley-Hebert refused to respond to numerous email requests and did not call. In a subsequent phone call she insisted: "You have the answer to your question." Rhonda Stearley-Hebert hung up after repeated requests, with increasing impatience, to investigate the matter more deeply. A petition for further clarification made to the offices of Thomas A. Siconolfi (through one Tina James) went nowhere.
Business as usual, the bureaucracy uses public relations and communications experts to shield public officials from any scrutiny and support organized crime. Maybe there is no realtion between Nicholas J. Siconolfi and Thomas A. Siconolfi. However, Thomas A. Siconolfi merely has to tell his front people "I don’t know any Nicholas J. Sarno" and that’s the end of that. Official immunity from scrutiny maintained by public relations experts.
The N. J. Sarno Company is not currently listed on a national directory for Supervised Visitation Providers for Connecticut. It is however listed as a private investigation firm with the State of Connecticut. In at least one of the N. J. Sarno & Company’s supervisory roles — the 2008 case of Watson v. Watson — Nick Sarno was also appointed by the court to monitor and randomly test a parent for alcohol use, which he did. There would seem to be some conflict of motivation or principle of having a private investigation firm perform drug testing on any parent under these conditions, but this does not seem to matter to the CT courts.
Both the Nicholas-James Company, filing initiated 1999, and the N. J. Sarno Company, filing initiated April 6, 2005 are currently listed on the CT Secretary of State’s Commercial Recording Division. Both are registered under the ‘agent name’ of Nicholas J. Siconolfi, the first at 1275 Post Road, Suite 200C, Fairfield, CT, 06430, the second at 89 West Lake Road, Trumbull, CT, 06611, both with the latter as ‘agent residence address’ of 89 West Lake Road, Trumbull CT. The ‘Business Status’ for both entities is listed as ‘ACTIVE’.
According to a public records search, the N. J. Sarno & Company is also a Florida Limited Liability company based in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County. The company was registered with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations on Oct 17, 2007, through one Larry E. Schner, P.A. 750 South Dixie Highway, Boca Raton, mailing address: 4 Daniels Farm Road, Trumbull CT.
The principals of the N. J. Sarno & Company in Boca Raton are listed as Susan Leach (3 Summit Court, Woodbury CT); Anthony Puccio (131 Corn Tassel Road, Bridgeport CT and 8477 Indian Wells Way, Naples FL and P.O. Box 162322, Altamonte Springs, FL 32716) and Nicholas Sarno (2567 Broadbridge Avenue, Stratford CT).
Public records also indicate that Nicholas Sicinolfi and James DeSanty purchased a condominium in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, real estate in Florida, on April 7, 2011.
Detective James DeSanty has been an investigator with the Bridgeport office of the CT Department of Criminal Justice since 17 October 2003. In an April 24, 2012 phone conversation with James DeSanty, who was at the CT States Attorney’s Office of Superior Court in Bridgeport, Mr. DeSanty indicated that the Nicholas-James Company no longer exists. When referred to the CT Secretary of State’s Commercial Recording Division Listing, James DeSanty said no, the company was disbanded around 2001-2002. Asked about his connection to Nicholas Sarno he said he has no connection with N.J. Sarno.
When pressed about his ties to Nick Sarno, James DeSanty said, "I have had no communication with Nick Sarno." Asked why he left the Trumbull Police Department Mr. DeSanty said: "I was retired in 2001." Asked about "the situation that happened involving him and Trumbull Police and Nick Sarno" he said: "What’s the situation that happened there?" The situation "where you were investigated by the Trumbull Police Chief Marlin Lively for allegedly providing a pistol permit to Nick Sarno illegally…"
"Look, I don’t know who you are or what you want and I am not going to answer any more questions over the phone," James DeSanty replied angrily. "If you want to come down here and meet me in person I would be happy to talk to you. But I don’t feel comfortable talking about something that happened more than 10 years ago."
When asked where to meet with him, James DeSanty said to come to his home address and he’d be happy to talk to me. When asked for the address and an appointment to meet at the State’s Attorneys Office in Bridgeport, Mr. DeSanty refused to agree to meet at his offices. I told him I am uncomfortable meeting him at his home, and to please transfer me back to the State’s Attorney phone line. He directed me to his boss, Joe Marelo.
When I called back to the State’s Attorney’s at Bridgeport Superior Court Office the person who answered the phone said that I can find the location of their office on line and can certainly come in. "Detective DeSanty can choose to meet with you if he wants to or not."
It appears that Nick Sarno, Mike Bauco and James DeSanty are all members of the Germania Swaben Society of Bridgeport CT. According to the Germania Schwaben Society web site: "[T]he Club would like a special thank you to Nick Sarno and crew, Ernie Fisher, Mike Bauco, Jim DeSanty for cooking delicious Pasta Night meals."
According to people at the Germania Schwaben Society, Nick Sarno and James DeSanty worked together to put out the 2012 Pasta Night meals on January 30 and February 27, but the two were reportedly in Florida when the next Pasta Night occurred on April 23, 2012.
THE RACKET OF SUPERVISED VISITATION
At least five different N. J. Sarno & Company employees have worked as visitation supervisors between Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti since GAL Maureen Murphy assisted the court in selecting N. J. Sarno & Company in November 2010.
The primary supervisor of Sunny Kelley’s visitations with her son Max was Allison Chiodo, an N. J. Sarno Company employee who has worked with Nick Sarno since 2004. Prior to 2004 Chiodo worked for a credit card company while attending college, and she was still pursuing her bachelor’s degree in 2011. Nick Sarno personally trained Allison Chiodo to be a visitation supervisor. Allison Chiodo supervised from November 2010 until November 2011.
In her court deposition of July 19, 2011, Allison Chiodo related a phone conversation of June 2011 where Dr. Kenneth Robson told her and her boss Nick Sarno that "Sunny Kelley stops Max Liberti in the way like a French whore, something like that…" Sneering at Sunny Kelley, this was Dr. Robson’s perverse way of advancing his invented premise that Sunny Kelley was sexually licentious and that she, and not Robert Liberti, was responsible for Max’s response to sexual abuse. "I took that to mean that Sunny doesn’t push Max away in the circumstances [of sexualized behavior] that Dr. Robson was talking about," Allison Chiodo concluded.
"I’m concerned," Allison Chiodo stated, "I don’t know what has happened to the child, my concern is that [sexual abuse] may have happened." Ms. Chiodo’s dated visitation reports validate Sunny Kelley’s logs and Ada Shaw’s logs about sexualized behavior by Max. Allison Chiodo rejected Dr. Kenneth Robson’s perverse determination that Sunny Kelley was sexually gratified by Max’s behavior, and Allison Chiodo flatly denied that supervision was needed between Sunny Kelley and her son.
Asked who she thought might have sexually abused Max, Ms. Chiodo replied, "His father, his uncles, other children’s fathers, perhaps other children at the school." She also testified to witnessing Robert Liberti massaging Max’s body parts, and to feeling uncomfortable watching this. "It’s intimate in a way that I do not normally act with children of Max’s age," she said.
Allison Chiodo also told Dr. John Collins and GAL Maureen Murphy and DCF agent Kristen Shepherd about her concerns about Max’s strange behavior, singing songs about hurting himself, slapping himself in the face, talking about pee and poop. She said the same thing in a conference call between herself, Nick Sarno and Dr. Kenneth Robson. However, Nick Sarno forbade his employee Allison Chiodo from contacting DCF or police to report the evidence of sexual abuse of Max Liberti.
"I’m afraid that someone is hurting [Max], and that it will never come to the surface and he won’t be helped, whether being that the hurting has stopped or that no one will help him deal with what has happened," Ms. Chiodo concluded. "I’m scared that perhaps someone is exposing him to extremely adult material and he has no idea what he’s looking at and that is causing these behaviors, which will also cause problems for him later. I’m scared that whatever has happened to him, if anything, will affect his development as a human being in the negative, something that he may not be able to help. I’m afraid of that for him, yes."
GAL Maureen Murphy worked to prejudice the N. J. Sarno supervisors against Sunny Kelley. "I just heard that yesterday Maureen [Murphy] told Allison [Chiodo] in their meeting that she [Maureen] HAS to take action to get Max away from me," said Sunny Kelley on May 21, 2011, "because ‘all these reports are coming in saying the same thing’. She tried to get Allison to say that Max and I are not bonded and that it’s not a close relationship. Allison said that she told her that is not her opinion, and that rather she believes that I’m a good mother and we are bonded closely."
At the deposition of Allison Chiodo, GAL Maureen Murphy said that Allison Chiodo was clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome — where the kidnapped person starts identifying with their kidnapper — because Chiodo refused to lie about Sunny Kelley’s positive relationship with her son or her concerns about sexual abuse having occurred. This was despite the fact that Maureen Murphy had several times already met with Nick Sarno and Allison Chiodo in April and May of 2011, to try to persuade Chiodo to say that Sunny Kelley was an ‘uninvolved and otherwise terrible mother’.
After Allison Chiodo showed some courage about speaking the truth, as she knew it, and after she stood up to Maureen Murphy and maintained her position in the divorce trial, she was removed from the visitations on Liberti v. Liberti, reassigned to other cases by Nick Sarno. Sunny Kelley, her mother, and Ada Shaw all believed that Allison was very frightened.
When reached by phone, Allison Chiodo denied that she was Allison Chiodo and she indicated that I must have the wrong number. Allison Chiodo is Nick Sarno’s niece, and her father, Chuck Chiodo, also works for N. J. Sarno & Company.
Heather Goulet was another untrained N. J. Sarno visitation supervisor who very sporadically worked in Allison Chiodo’s absence. During one supervised visit where Heather Goulet was driving Sunny Kelley’s car — because Sunny Kelley was not allowed to drive in any car with Max — she launched into an inappropriate story about her fight with her ex-partner’s new girlfriend. Sunny Kelley, her mother, Ada Shaw and Max Liberti were all in the car.
"Heather talked about attacking her with her high heel boot," says Sunny Kelley. "She described ‘titty twisters’ and ‘grabbing the bitch’s hair and wrapping it around her fist to get a better hold for punching her face…’"
Heather Goulet was a young ‘party girl’ with no training (and possibly no college degree) who invited Sunny Kelley to a party to indulge in intoxicating substances. She also purchased a chair from Sunny Kelley, but aggressively negotiated the price with Max Liberti. When Ada Shaw complained to Heather Goulet about the impropriety of Heather’s bargaining with Max, and threatened her with small claims court for non-payment, Heather Goulet vanished. Soon after, Nick Sarno settled the bill, and they never saw Heather Goulet again.
"I couldn’t ever complain about supervisors," says Sunny Kelley, "I was already being treated like a criminal. When you are in prison, you can’t complain about the warden without retaliation. Under normal circumstances, I would have stopped the car and told Heather to get out when she started talking about ‘titty twisters’ in front of Max."
After Allison Chiodo was reassigned in November 2011, Nick Sarno assigned former Iraq and/or Afghanistan war veteran Richie Porto. Curiously, Sergeant Richie Porto had nominated the N. J. Sarno & Company for some sort of special ‘Patriot Award’ later acknowledged by town of Trumbull officials in July 2010. (Remember, Nick Sarno alias Sicinolfi had sued the town of Trumbull.) When Porto got involved in visitation with Max Liberti he had just returned from a second tour of duty in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and he reportedly was disabled with some kind of brain injury.
In December 2011, N. J. Sarno visitation supervisor Richie Porto told Sunny Kelley that she probably would not be seeing him anymore. "Richie Porto supervised [for Max] a couple of times last year, and a couple of times this year," Sunny Kelley told me, December 15, 2011. "He said to me that it’s so wrong that he has to be there, and so his visitations were very unobtrusive. He’s very appropriate, and thoughtful, and he’s good with Max. He knows what’s going on. When I told him some updates of the facts in the case, he was clearly very physically uncomfortable. That’s when he said not to be surprised if he’s not on the case anymore — that he is supposed to protect children and it’s clear that in this case he can’t do that."
Reached by phone on April 26, 2012, Richie Porto said he was not working on the case, and he was not allowed to speak to anyone about the case. He said he is not working for N. J. Sarno, but that he is not supposed to divulge anything about the case. Asked if he was concerned about Roberti Liberti having complete custody of Max Liberti, given the allegations of abuse, Mr. Porto said: "No." He immediately added: "I’m not even sure what you are talking about."
Mike Bauco is a business partner and manager for the N. J. Sarno & Company who filled the supervisory role vacated after Richie Porto refused to work on Liberti v. Liberti. He also apparently claimed to be a former cop. "Mike Bauco also talked about how wrong he thinks it is that I’m being supervised," said Sunny Kelley.
Reached by phone about the Liberti case, N. J. Sarno & Company supervisor Mike Bauco said: "We’re still involved in it. I really can’t say anything. It’s, you know, a client lawyer kind of relationship, and [Sunny Kelley] is still involved in the case." Asked about the Sarno/Sicinolfi connections in Florida, Mike Bauco said: "I’m not privy to anything about his business in Florida."
"When I met Mike Bauco he told me ‘What’s going on here is not right’," said Ada Shaw. "’I don’t know why I am here’, he said, ‘but what can you do’?"
Nick Sarno’s brother-in-law Chuck Chiodo began supervised visitations between Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti in December 2011. Chuck Chiodo had no training and was formerly employed as a garbage man.
The Hall of Power & Corruption in Hartford Connecticut. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
Numerous messages asking Nick Sarno to return phone calls, over a period of months, were ignored.
None of these supervisors employed by the N. J. Sarno & Company on the Liberti v. Liberti case had appropriate training for the positions they were in. This included Nicholas J. Siconolfi alias Nick Sarno. None of these visitation supervisors have training in dealing with sexual abuse or domestic violence, and none have social work degrees. Instead, they are family members, a disabled war veteran, a garbage man, and a crass, uneducated and classless young woman.
"These supervisor’s [credentials] raise questions of competency and in the case of Sarno’s family, conflict of interest, given his attitude about mandated reporting of suspected abuse," says Dr. Eli Newberger. "Allison Chiodo, whom I met, seemed capable, caring, and helpfully attuned to Max’s vulnerability, but as I understand it from Sunny, not having been at an visitations myself, was disempowered by Nick Sarno from acting adroitly in conformance with the child abuse reporting statute when she witnessed inappropriate behavior by Rob toward Max. So it’s not just a question of qualifications but also of the values of the umbrella organization. To stipulate that someone must have a social work degree as a minimum for nonprofessional supervision would almost certainly drive up the costs to a level that wouldn’t be tolerated by the courts and the parties."
BLAME THE VICTIM
Watching their situations deteriorate and their children suffer, protective mothers go through stages of emotional distress. For Sunny Kelley it began with denial, avoidance, much benefit of the doubt, and there have been periods of appropriate outrage, but she has always kept her sanity. According to the experts who supported Sunny Kelley’s evidence of child sexual abuse, by December 2010, it was a life and death situation for seven year-old Max.
On December 5, 2010 Max clutched his crotch, screaming in pain. When asked, Max said it was not pain but fear. Sunny took Max to the Yale ER, where the doctors found nothing and suggested a ’stomach bug’. The ER staff called Robert Liberti since Max was due for a visit at his father’s house. When Liberti showed up he sat down and began massaging Max’s thighs.
"Max was scratching his crotch because he had a raging untreated infection that Maureen Murphy [GAL] helped keep hidden from the record," says Sunny Kelley. "They painted Max’s scratching of his crotch as ’sexualized behavior’, though he always tried to hide it. Of course, that was my fault for somehow not ’setting boundaries’, or disciplining Max ‘consistently’."
"Let me make something clear," Sunny Kelley is adamant. "My son was in need of inpatient psychiatric care. They blocked me from every possible avenue of getting him the care he needed — care that he still needs. They not only blamed me for seeking care, but then also blamed me for the symptoms my son was exhibiting that warranted the care they were denying him in the first place."
On December 7, 2010, Max sang a cheery holiday song: "We wish you a merry Christmas… and an electric shock." The references to electrocution became more frequent over the next month. Max’s treating therapist, Dr. John Collins, ignored Sunny Kelley’s calls.
On December 9, 2010 Noah Eisenhandler, Robert Liberti’s attorney, filed contempt of court charges against Sunny Kelley after she attended Max’s birthday celebration at the Montessori school. Two days later, at a YMCA birthday party, Sunny and the N. J. Sarno agency supervisor, Richie Porto, both witnessed the father massaging Max’s thighs again.
On February 13, 2011, in a supervised visit at Sunny Kelley’s house, Max declared: "Electric shock is what they do to you to make you forget the bad things they do to you." Dr. John Collins continued to ignore Sunny Kelley’s calls for help.
And so on February 15, 2011, accompanied by Allison Chiodo, the N. J. Sarno agency supervisor, Sunny picked up her son Max from the New England School of Montessori and then detoured away from the usual route to her home. In the car was also her friend Ada Shaw, who had arranged to have Diane Kelley, Sunny’s mother, an R.N., meet them at their destination.
When Allison Chiodo asked where they were going, Sunny told her they were dropping off some paperwork at the Yale Children’s Hospital. Sunny lied by omission: knowing that the abusive father would be called and warned and then he would show up, which he did.
"Eli Newberger called me and told me to take my logs of Max’s behavior and take Ada Shaw and Max and go to the ER," says Sunny Kelley. Dr. Newberger had contacted the medical director of the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic, Dr. John Levanthal, and the second in charge, Dr. Andrea Asnes, and he told Sunny that Leventhal and Asnes would be expecting her. "Max was closer to a psychotic breakdown than ever. He was talking about hurting himself. He tried to cut his face with broken plastic. He was talking about being electrocuted."
The ER nurse noticed that Max behaved as if there was something wrong with his scrotum. Several witnesses noted the nurse’s observation, and Allison Chiodo also documented it. The detail was not recorded in the Yale medical record.
On that fateful February day in 2011 — pivotal to future decisions by the court — visitation supervisor Allison Chiodo called her boss, Nicholas Sarno, to report the mother’s unplanned detour to the Yale Children’s Hospital emergency room. A few hours into the ER visit, the father stormed in and began complaining, but he quickly sat down and began massaging Max’s thighs and hips, and then he massaged Max’s lower legs, and then he turned Max over on his lap and massaged Max’s buttocks. Meanwhile, one of the ER nurses on duty capriciously and without merit labeled Sunny Kelley with a disorder called Munchhausen By Proxy Syndrome (MBPS), a relatively uncommon condition where a primary caretaker exaggerates or fabricates illnesses or symptoms in a child. However, it was impossible for Sunny Kelley to fabricate the evidence that even the Yale ER doctors documented.
One of the most harmful forms of child abuse, MBPS was named after Baron von Munchhausen, an 18th-century German dignitary known for telling outlandish stories. The label stuck: from February 2011 the court experts continued to bandy about the charge that a vindictive and sexually licentious and mentally ill Sunny Kelley was injuring her own child and blaming it on the innocent father — who just happened to have this supposedly healthy and loving tendency of massaging Max’s thighs no matter where he was.
Lori Handrahan was also falsely labeled with pathological behavior — she was a narcissistic, manipulative and violent mother, and again the charge of narcissistic personality disorder stuck and was perpetuated in official documents spread over the Internet.
Talking to Sunny Kelley and Lori Handrahan and other mothers quickly leads to an assessment that these mothers are normal, healthy individuals confronted with abnormal and unfathomable circumstances. Yet, for their normal reactions to an unjust system perpetuating abuse against their children, protective mothers are labeled with personality disorders by professional psychiatrists and psychologists who amount to nothing more than professional and institutionalized quacks. These quacks — highly recommended and coming with the most excellent credentials — serve a powerful purpose in the national arena of judicial abuse, where violence against women and children is the order of the day.
After February 15, 2011, things went downhill even faster for Sunny Kelley. On February 22, 2011 the lawyers for father Robert Liberti petitioned the court to sever all contact between Max and Sunny Kelley "because of that stunt she pulled" when she took Max to the Yale Emergency Room. Dr. John Collins and GAL Maureen Murphy conspired with Robert Liberti to frame Sunny Kelley as an irate bitch merely out to destroy her husband.
The court ordered that Sunny Kelley’s already supervised visitations be severely curtailed — restrictions on whom she could see, where she could take Max, and who could be around during visits with Max. Now she couldn’t drive anywhere with her son Max unless she was in the front passenger seat, the supervisor was driving, and Max was in the back. She couldn’t seek medical care, and she couldn’t take Max to the Emergency Room or any other doctors, even if he was in trouble. Most critical to the ongoing separation of mother and child, the court ordered psychiatric evaluations with Dr. Kenneth Robson, one of the most notorious custody evaluators used by the system to ’screw the bitch’. Of course, Sunny Kelley had no idea who she was up against.
"I heard Judge Elaine Gordon in court say that the Yale Child Abuse Clinic team had found that Max was not sexually abused," said Dr. Eli Newberger. "I was dubious that John Leventhal had ever said such a thing. They [Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic] had made a determination based on a single assessment. If you look at the video [taped] interview, the kid is extremely anxious. But they did not have a disclosure by Max, and all [Dr.] Leventhal had said was that ‘we didn’t find evidence’ of sexual abuse."
Advocates for Sunny Kelley believe that many people involved in her case have been threatened or coerced into silence. For example, supervisor Allison Chiodo apparently lives in fear of someone, and there was no accounting for the change in behavior of some of the first family therapists Kathleen Boudreau or Kathryn Templeton. Professionals like the pediatrician Dr. Whelan and Dr. John Collins probably understand all too well which way the wind was blowing in the case, and so they supported the prevailing opinions, no matter the criminality of their failure in mandatory reporting.
Dr. Eli Newberger contacted many of the professionals involved with Max Liberti. In some cases he politely prodded them to consider the evidence, and in others he politely challenged their findings or assertions. For example, on May 4, 2010 Dr. Newberger had a "lively and somewhat contentious interview" with Robert LaMontagne. "He is clearly inexperienced in dealing with child sexual abuse," said Dr. Newberger the day of the interview, "and [LaMontagne] professed bewilderment that after so many people had conducted so many examinations of Max and that there was still no clarity on whether he was at risk for sexual abuse. He let go early on a slip of the tongue on his understanding of his role, to determine what needed to be done to assure Max’s safety in this father’s care[emphasis in original].
Dr. Newberger explained the necessity and importance of performing a systematic adult offender assessment given that "such repeated, habitual, and obsessive behavior as Rob’s massaging of Max’s calves, thighs, and abdomen was noted by many witnesses, and associated with a child’s repeated disclosures of anal and penile intrusions."
Dr. Newberger had also contacted Dr. John Leventhal and Dr. Andrea Asnes at the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic and he clarified their findings for Robert LaMontagne. "Mr. LaMontagne said that he believed that it was I, not Drs. Leventhal and Asnes at Yale, who arranged Max’s ER visit. I set him straight on this and took the opportunity to emphasize Leventhal and Asnes’s emphatic statements that they did not find that Max was not sexually abused."
Robert LaMontagne wouldn’t hear of it. "I made every effort to be polite," Dr. Newberger wrote, "but found it necessary occasionally to interrupt his whirlwind, free-associating, broad-brush descriptions of his rough impressions and all the many confusing professional formulations that he had to deal with. I do not think he enjoyed the conversation and would not expect much improvement over his previous submission."
In Bhatia v. Debek, Dr. John Leventhal testified in both the father’s criminal trial and the family’s custody trial that he believed the seven year-old child when she first disclosed the sexual abuse by her father, and he still believed her three years after he first saw her and after the criminal trial ended in hung jury. However, there is no accounting for the lack of rigor or concern shown by Dr. John Leventhal and Dr. Andrea Asnes in Liberti v. Liberti, prior to or after the February 15, 2011 Yale Children’s Hospital ER visit.
Dr. Eli Newberger’s testimony was not only ignored by the CT Superior Court Judge Lynda Munro, but evidence suggests that Sunny Kelley was further retaliated against for bringing Dr. Eli Newberger and Dr. Joy Silberg, national experts on child sexual abuse, to her defense. Here was another example of GAL Maureen Murphy and Judge Lynda Munro’s capricious behavior: It was Maureen Murphy who told Sunny Kelley to bring in an outside consultant, and Sunny Kelley brought in Dr. Joyanna Silberg. Then Maureen Murphy accused Sunny Kelley of shopping for agreement.
"Dr. John Collins ignored my calls and emails asking for immediate help in the days leading up to the ER visit on February 15, 2011," says Sunny Kelley. "Dr. Collins was called by the Yale ER staff and Max was released to his father because Dr. Collins said he felt he could handle the situation to ensure Max’s safety."
Dr. John Collins had been a problem for Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti all along. After the February 15, 2011 visit to the Yale Children’s Hospital ER, Dr. Collins sent a three page letter to GAL Maureen Murphy and Judge Elaine Gordon seeking to end all contact between Max and his mother. The Yale ER fell back on the expertise of Dr. Collins, who deferred to the court on all matters regarding the appropriate sex abuse evaluation, and the circular evasion of responsibility and lack of accountability deepened.
Dr. Collins became more and more capricious and difficult, intentionally scheduling meetings that he never told Sunny Kelley about, and then blaming her for ‘not participating in his therapy’, or his refusing to respond to her phone calls. In short, Dr. Collins engaged in all kinds of unprofessional and unethical behavior.
"Dr. Collin’s letter was three-pages long and with the exception of about a paragraph mentioning [father's] documented problems it was wild with speculation about what I was doing to cause Max’s behavior. It was in this letter that Collins suggested an evaluation by Dr. Robson, specifically, who is a known pro-pedophile crony of Dr. Richard Gardner. Dr. Collins was escalating the matter to another goon to discredit me and save his own liability."
THE INSTITUTE OF LIVING
"Dr. Kenneth Robson is one of the go-to guys they go to when they need a sociopath rehabilitated or given a new life," says one protective mother whose bully husband was protected by the custody evaluations of Dr. Kenneth Robson.
"It’s the same formula for judicial abuse in states all over the U.S.," says this protective mother, who has been issued a gag order and is terrified of retaliation against her. "First they diagnose the protective mother with Parental Alienation Syndrome; then they get the GAL involved and she picks and chooses the evidence she wants to report and support the PAS diagnosis; then the court appoints custody evaluators like Dr. Kenneth Robson or Dr. Sidney Horowitz; then the custody evaluators provide a bogus custody study; then the custody study is used as absolute truth to further isolate the mother; then the state agency like the CT Department of Children and Families is brought in and they charge the mother with emotional neglect or educational neglect or medical neglect."
Dr. Kenneth Robson works out of a small office in West Hartford but for many years he worked at the Institute of Living, an elite psychiatric ‘resort’ in West Hartford. The Institute of Living (IOL), it turns out, has a long and sordid history of ‘treating’ and ‘rehabilitating’ pedophiles. Currently owned by the Hartford HealthCare Corporation, the IOL has been a psychiatric retreat center since the late 1800’s.
Around 2002, as the pedophile priests scandals erupted into public awareness, the Institute of Living came under some mild scrutiny for its role in rehabilitating pedophile priests sent by the Roman Catholic archdioceses of Boston and Hartford and the dioceses of Bridgeport, Norwich, and others. "The IOL was never held to account for its crucial role in returning pedophile priests back to Catholic parishes where they immediately turned around and struck again," says Elizabeth Richter, "even after highly expensive ‘treatment’ by IOL doctors."
The New Yorker magazine carried an article that outlined the history of the IOL and the transition to treating pedophile priests. "By 1970, the Institute of Living had become the nation’s largest private psychiatric hospital, with four hundred beds," wrote Barry Werth. "In the early nineteen-eighties, the institute started admitting priests who had been sent by their archdioceses in the hope that they would be cured of one or more disorders, including the sexual molestation of minors."
"IOL was a fine institution besieged by the financial realities of the health care system," Dr. Kenneth Robson told me at his office in West Hartford on February 22, 2012.
In the late 1980s and 1990s the Institute of Living profited handsomely by ‘rehabilitating’ and recycling pedophile priests who often went back to work and continued sexually molesting and abusing children in their parishes. The business of ‘treating’ pedophile priests was big money for the IOL, and when the scandals hit newspapers like theBoston Globe and Hartford Courant and New York Times in 2003, the high officials of the church were quoted blaming the psychiatrists at the IOL for giving priests a clean bill of health, while the psychiatrists at the IOL blamed the high officials of the church. Doctors at Hartford’s Institute of Living said the Roman Catholic Church deceived them into providing reports that the church used to keep abusive priests in the ministry.
"Myths, Minds and Medicine" at the Hartford Hospital Institute of Living.
(c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
Someone had to take the fall, and the church was the easy target. More concerned about advertising revenues and relationships with powerful institutions, corporations like the Hartford Courant protected the powerful interests of the Hartford Hospital and the reputations of its doctors. IOL officials like Dr. Harold Schwartz, the current director and Dr. Kenneth Robson’s affiliate for more than a decade, were slamming the clergy for supposedly leaving them in the dark.
"These were the old spas of psychiatry," Dr. Robson said. "It was a fine program [IOL], as fine as any in the country." Asked about his role at IOL during the pedophile priests scandals, Dr. Robson refused to comment. "I really don’t want to comment. It was very difficult. As you know, there are active lawsuits going on all over the country, and in this city in particular. Some of these are still focused on IOL from eleven years ago."
In reality, IOL turned the business of rehabbing pedophile priests into an industry, and to keep their clients — the high priests of the archdioceses — happy, they acted like a laundromat, rather than a correctional facility. Evidence suggests that the IOL protected the priests and shielded them from scrutiny and sent them back — thus facilitating more sexual predation – -and made tons of money doing it.
"Bishops would send priests to the IOL and when they came back the bishop would say, ‘Oh, you have a clean bill of health’," says Dr. Richard Sipe, who performed a groundbreaking study on sexuality and the Catholic Church in the 1980’s. "I think bishops should have treated this as a criminal process, rather than special ‘treatment’. The bishops tried to fly under the radar with these cases over and over again. But I did not ever get the impression that the IOL was just making business out of the priests sex abuse and treatment cases."
Dr. Leslie Lothstein, the IOL Director of Psychology for 16 years, estimated that he and his colleagues ‘treated’ over 600 Catholic priests during that time; many had sexual problems, including abuse of minors. One of those priests was the super predator John Georgian, whom Dr. Lothstein ‘treated’.
"Officials of three of the four leading centers that treat priest sex offenders," wrote the Boston Globe in a 1992 article, naming the IOL as one of the four, "said in interviews last week that improved treatment yields great success, with as little as a 10 percent recidivism rate." The Boston Globe cited an unnamed ‘director of psychological services’ at the IOL, almost certainly Dr. Leslie Lothstein, who downplayed the nature and scale of the pedophile priests problem.
"Dr. Lothstein’s notion of ‘treatment’ appears antiquated," says Dr. Eli Newberger. "My view is that unless these offenders are duly reported (as the law requires) and that the offenders and the higher-ups know that the hammer is going to come down if there is any reoffending, ‘treatment’ will be insufficient at best, and in the case where the institution has an intention of cover-up, totally ineffective."
Dr. Kenneth Robson joined the IOL in 1987 and stayed until around 2000. "I still teach there, administratively," said Dr. Robson. "I came down from Boston in 1987 to direct child and adolescent psychiatry. I did that for about 10 years, or 15 years, and then I stayed on clinically teaching for another five years or so. I’ve been out [from there] about 12, 13 years. I still teach there a lot. I direct a seminar in forensic psychiatry and we did a mock trial in forensic psychiatry with Judge Lynda Munro."
Dr. Robson’s bio states that he spent a decade as Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. Bonnie Robson’s bio indicates that she was Co-Director (with husband Kenneth Robson) of the Family Law Mediation Center located at the Institute of Living from 1992 to 1999. Dr. Robson departed IOL, in some limited capacity, soon after the release of CT Senior Assistant State Attorney John Massameno’s report concerning allegations of child abuse against the two children of Linda Wiegand.
Dr. Robson was also appointed Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University and University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. Perhaps the latter affiliation explains why Dr. Robson had so much clout with the doctors at the different Yale institutions that could have evaluated and protected Max Liberti. But the connections to Yale go far beyond Dr. Kenneth Robson.
Dr. Howard Krieger received his post-doctoral training in neuropsychology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Attorney David Welch-Rubin attended Yale. In fact, there are Yale connections all over the place.
"Dr. Kenneth Robson is a grotesque menace to society and has been for the last fifteen years in all family court appointments he has made," said Michael Nowacki, another victim of an unscrupulous Dr. Kenneth Robson custody evaluation in the CT family court system. Like protective mothers, Michael Nowacki suffered the injustice of seeing his life unravel before his eyes and he has been fighting back. "It is believed that Dr. Robson lost his title of training director at IOL in 1999 based upon his fraudulent evaluation of Tom Wilkinson revealed by [John] Massameno and former FBI Special Agent Ted Gunderson who filed a sworn affidavit blasting Robson."
One case of documented pedophilia involving the IOL was Dr. George Reardon. "During the same stretch of time that Dr. George Reardon was allegedly fondling youngsters in his office at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford," wrote the Hartford Courant, in 2008, "a psychologist across town at the Institute of Living reached this conclusion: ‘Dr. Reardon is not a pedophile’."
Dr. Robson has maintained an uncertain relationship to the IOL. In the Hartford Hospital’s 2010 Annual Report, Dr. Robson is listed with Dr. Sidney Horowitz under the heading "IOL Psychiatrists Listed in Hartford Magazine’s "Top-Ranked Doctors in Hartford 2009." However, following a two-year investigation and the publication of the Massameno Report in October 1998, the IOL apparently sought to at least create the appearance of some distance from Dr. Robson.
"The IOL’s refusal to acknowledge its failures when confronted and its pathetic, feeble excuses for its failure to protect children while providing treatment for pedophile priests says everything about the incapacity of the psychiatrists at the IOL to grasp the seriousness of the tragedy of sexual abuse," says protective mother Elizabeth Richter. "Why is this significant? Because Dr. Kenneth Robson, the psychiatrist who did the evaluation of the Wiegand boys and denied that the two boys were sexually abused, and who denied that Max Liberti was sexually abused, was affiliated with the Institute of Living."
Elizabeth Richter suffered due to the psychological abuse of Dr. James Black. A victim who was herself misdiagnosed with a psychological disorder, her claims about what as happening in her marriage were dismissed. She was turned into the problem, just as Sunny Kelley was. In the early years of the divorce, Dr. James Black and the GAL and the attorneys treated her as if her mental health was compromised, and did not consult or listen to her. When her ex-husband smeared feces on the walls, urinated on the furniture, stole all the belongings from her house, switched off the ventilating system of the house so methane gas came into her bedroom, put nails in the tires and insect repellant in the ventilating system of the car, and more, everyone thought she was delusional.
"I did a review of the Linda Wiegand case," says Elizabeth Richter, "and also Fish v. Fish. I can understand situations of confusion, where it’s ‘he said, she said’, but these are cases where psychologists or psychiatrists have concrete evidence of sexual abuse. I had the same judge as the Wiegand case, Judge Herbert Barall. He completely disregards the law. He told me from the bench, "I really don’t care what the law says" and he doesn’t. My children are legally blind, and he declared from the bench that they are not legally blind, and even the GAL said that on the stand."
The Hartford Hospital Institute of Living, February 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
"What I particularly noted in regard to my case was the denial of due process," says Elizabeth Richter, "the blatant disregard for the rules, the readiness to conceal documents, the denial of diligent legal representation, the manipulation of information so I was unable to make informed decisions, the atmosphere of disrespect, harassment and bullying that dominated the trial court proceedings that I have been a part of. I lost $200,000 in legal fees and face possible foreclosure of my home."
THE LEGENDARY DOCTOR KENNETH ROBSON
A court-appointed custody evaluator in Wilkinson v. Wiegand, Dr. Robson declared that the abuse allegations by Wiegand and the boys were ‘highly unlikely’. Dr. Robson also ruthlessly assaulted the character of Linda Wiegand, and praised the character of Thomas Wilkinson. CT inspector John Massameno provided a very detailed and chilling analysis of Dr. Robson’s report.
"Inasmuch as the Family Court appears to have relied fully upon the report of Dr. Kenneth Robson of the Institute of Living in reaching its conclusion that the reports of abuse were false and were maliciously generated by [Linda] Wiegand," John Massameno wrote, "I thought it appropriate to set out and explain my conclusion that the Robson report is professionally insupportable."
John Massameno’s assessment of Dr. Robson’s professionally insupportable report in Wilkinson v. Wiegand might as well have been written about Dr. Robson’s report denying the alleged sexual abuse against Max Liberti and assaulting the character of Sunny Kelley in Liberti v. Liberti. In fact, we can often simply substitute names: Liberti for Wilkinson, Kelley for Wiegand, Max for the Wiegand boys, etc.
For a few examples:
His numerous claims to the contrary notwithstanding, Dr. Robson betrays a clear bias in favor of Thomas Wilkinson [Robert Liberti ] and against Linda Wiegand [Sunny Kelley] in his report. For example, he draws many favorable conclusions from Thomas Wilkinson’s [Robert Liberti's] stable and engaging play with the children and contrasts it with Wiegand’s [Kelley's] apparent lesser ability to discipline and limit them…
Perhaps of greatest significance, Dr. Kenneth Robson never provided any reasonable explanation for (a) the two Wiegand boys’ [Maxs'] graphic descriptions of sexual abuse; (b) the two boys’ [Maxs'] knowledge of unusual, but professionally recognized sexual conduct; (c) the two boys’ [Maxs'] description of pain and/or pleasure associated with the abuse; (d) the boys’ [Maxs'] statements of idiosyncratic detail; (e) the two boys’ [Maxs'] behavioral symptoms, including suicidal and homicidal ideation…
Dr. Kenneth Robson frequently substantiates Linda Wiegand’s [Sunny Kelley's] statements through contact with third parties, while apparently accepting Thomas Wilkinson’s [Robert Liberti's] statements at face value, even when doing so is unjustified. When he addresses Robert Liberti it is always ‘Mr. Liberti’, but with Sunny Kelley it is ‘Sunny’ this and ‘Sunny’ that.
Dr. Robson frequently concludes that the abuse reports were false when there is absolutely no evidence to support the suggestion or the evidence actually negates it. Pick your case: Wilkinson v. Wiegand; Liberti v. Liberti, Zeffiro v. Zeffiro, Tauck v. Tauck; Buggy v. Buggy; Watson v. Watson; Digiovanna v. St. George; Nowacki v. Nowacki; Woods v. Berrittieri; Hammersly v. Hammersly.
Significantly, Dr. Robson’s conclusion, in Wilkinson v. Wiegand, that it is ‘extremely unlikely’ that a three-year-old child could be repeatedly anally penetrated by an erect male penis without resulting sub-scarring in the anus was professionally in error. In Liberti v, Liberti, Dr. Robson provides the most obtuse and circular arguments dismissing the evidence of anal sexual assault perpetrated on Max Liberti. In both cases, even when Dr. Robson has the clear evidence of sexual abuse he disregards it.
Dr. Robson’s response to the photograph showing anal fissures on Max Liberti was to blame Sunny Kelley for documenting them. On the basis of her attempts to deal with Max’s increasingly alarming sexualized behavior, Dr. Robson publicly equated Sunny Kelley to a French whore. He also blamed Sunny Kelley for coaching Max, when the examples or evidence of her coaching Max were scant or unsupportable, while evidence of Robert Liberti’s coaching was clear and unequivocal.
"Throughout his testimony, Robson tells Judge Munro that everything is an indication that everything I did was wrong," says Sunny Kelley, "and everything is an indication that everything Rob did was either right, should be understood, should be tolerated or should be excused."
During his trial testimony of August 26, 2011, Dr. Robson confirmed that Dr. Linda Smith had concluded that Robert Liberti had touched Max’s penis, but Dr. Robson writes this off with obtuse and circular dismissals. "She concluded, but we don’t know," he said. In her deposition of May 24, 2011, Dr. Linda Smith was asked by attorney Jim Smith if she could say to the court that Max had not been sexually abused by his father, and Dr. Smith said: "I wouldn’t make that statement."
Attorney Jim Smith also confronted Dr. Robson with Max’s disclosure, gleaned during the custody evaluation with Dr. Linda Smith, of his father Robert Liberti’s massaging his genitals and thighs, and with the very clear disclosure from Max that his father was coaching him not to talk about the sexual abuse at school, or at all.
"Max went on to demonstrate to the evaluator how massages would occur, which included his thigh and genital area. Max explained his memory was not the same as his father’s about this, and how he now believes his father’s memory. This evaluator encouraged Max to use his own memory, what he remembers in his brain, rather than his father’s memory. Max went on to explain how his father told him he didn’t touch his penis but how Max remembers he did."
In his testimony, Dr. Robson confirmed the evidence that Max reported that this ‘tickle the weenie’ game occurred a lot and that Max liked it. But the significance was dismissed, in the effort to criminalize the caring mother and protect the abusive father.
Dr. Robson also fabricated ‘facts’ out of thin air and these ‘facts’ appeared in the reports of other custody evaluators. For example, in the family relations report of Robert LaMontagne, Dr. Robson was attributed with the lie that Sunny Kelley and Roberti Liberti "engaged in sexual relations while the child was witness to the interaction."
"Dr. Robson pointed out that the mother gets gratification from the child’s sexualized behaviors," Robert LaMontagne’s incredible [read: not credible] report continued, "and suggested that she sees her son as another rapist in her bed. Dr. Robson suggested that he is unable to say the mother has fully developed issues with Munchhausen by Proxy. He suggested that she shows signs of the disorder with issues of malingering." (Malingering is a medical term that refers to fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms of mental or physical disorders for a variety of ’secondary gain’ motives.)
Robert LaMontagne’s report also cites Dr. Robson saying "the child was chronically overstimulated". Max was overstimulated, but it was symptomatic of the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by Robert Liberti, not Sunny Kelley’s response to Max’s behavioral abnormalities. Dr. Robson blamed Sunny Kelley saying "including how his mother played with the child’s tight foreskin" and "[how she] still wipes him". The accusation that Sunny Kelley played with Max’s foreskin was a complete lie, and her attention to Max’s bottom was in keeping with normal motherly attention to hygiene: Max at this point was coming back from his father’s with unaccountable hygienic problems, and was exhibiting peeing and pooping problems.
Dr. Robson made these accusations about Sunny Kelley to Robert LaMontagne, and the latter didn’t ask where they came from or evaluate them for their veracity. This is quack science. It is irresponsible, and a clear case of malpractice. Worse, it is part of the destruction of a life — two lives: the life of Sunny Kelley and the life of Max Liberti. Robert LaMontagne’s feeble answers to attorney Jim Smith’s probing questions about the statements LaMontagne attributes to Dr. Robson were: "I don’t recall… I don’t recall."
"There was somewhere in [the report] where Dr. Robson states that specific incidents of sexual abuse are less traumatic than the orgiastic, toxic environment that I purportedly provide," says Sunny Kelley. "Not one single instance could he point to in two days on the witness stand where I harmed or violated my child in any way, or even where I exhibited poor judgment with Max. And this is after nearly a year of every moment I spend with Max documented in full. Not one instance could he provide to back up the claim that I harmed Max."
Dr. Robson’s notoriety and status are almost identical to a nationally renowned forensic psychologist from the west coast. "Stuart Greenberg was at the top of his profession," wrote Ken Armstrong and Maureen O’Hagan in a special Seattle Times report titled ‘Twisted ethics of an expert witness’, "a renowned forensic psychologist who in court could determine which parent got custody of a child, or whether a jury believed a claim of sexual assault. Trouble is, he built his career on hypocrisy and lies, and as a result, he destroyed lives, including his own."
Dr. Greenberg was also the ‘go-to guy’ for the Archdiocese of Seattle, and for the Jesuits, when it came to evaluating and laundering priests.
Like Dr. Stuart Greenberg, as described in the Seattle Times article, Dr. Kenneth Robson has worked to eviscerate protective mothers before courts of law. By the time Dr. Robson finishes with them, mothers like Sunny Kelley have been stripped of all defenses — and often are left baffled about what has just happened to them. If the mother appears normal — well, Dr. Robson said she would. If she denies hurting her son — taking the pictures of Max’s lacerated anus or taking him to the Yale Children’s Hospital ER — that’s part of her disorder. If Sunny Kelley challenged Dr. Robson’s work or Maureen Murphy’s motives — she was paranoid, or vindictive.
At the end of the hearing, Dr. Robson and his cronies have convinced the court, and sole custody is awarded to the abusive parent. However, in Sunny Kelley’s case, the court was apparently convinced even before the hearing started.
In Liberti v. Liberti, Dr. Robson’s report was used to generate all kinds of specious documentation of the problems of Sunny Kelley and these were repeated over and over in reports and testimonies of the other custody evaluators as if they were facts.
In the case of Zeffiro v. Zeffiro, Judge Herbert Barall in August 2011 ordered sealed the custody evaluation report of Dr. Kenneth Robson, who on October 14, 2009 was court-appointed to examine the parents and two minor children in, where there were allegations of sexual abuse alleged against the father.
However, as in Liberti v. Liberti, the 34-page Dr. Robson report in Zeffiro v. Zeffiro will remain available for study and reference by other professionals, effectively spawning an inescapable cycle of violence against the protective mother with every review and repetition of the quack conclusions and perverted thinking of Dr. Kenneth Robson.
"Dr. Robson’s report will be taken from the evidence file and placed in the Zeffiro case file under seal" Judge Herbert Barall opined. "That report may be opened by any judge in the event this case comes back to court for any matters or hearings and a copy of Dr. Robson’s report will be available to all therapists, present and future, who are involved with either child or parent in the Zeffiro family in accordance with this court’s order."
How does Dr. Kenneth Robson assess the people he is court-appointed to evaluate? Surely, after close to 50 years of professional experience working at the highest caliber psychiatric and psychological institutions in the United States, with our country’s most astute medical and psychiatric professional, Dr. Kenneth Robson must use a very sophisticated and practiced methodology to come to the conclusions about people that he comes to, right?
"And in the particular, in terms of the process that you go through," Sunny Kelley’s attorney Jim Smith asked Dr. Robson under oath at the trial, "is there some kind of methodology that you have in your office to form a diagnosis of a patient in the half hour or one hour period?"
"It varies some. But I initially want to get a sense — I start my diagnosis when I meet the patient in my waiting room. I make certain assumptions or raise questions in my own mind simply by looking at them, where they sit, how they move, how they talk, how they greet me, how they’re dressed, the condition of their personal hygiene, whether they’re a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan, which I determine quickly, their age, who’s with them, how they relate to that person, how they enter the space in my office, what they tell me initially because I want to establish contact with them which I try and do in the first minutes. At some point in that half hour or hour, I ask systematic questions about mental status but not presented as such. For example, I ask about the details of sleep, the details of energy, the details of mental process if I’m concerned it’s off base. You can tell a lot of things without needing to ask any questions, just from listening to somebody talk. I trust the turgor of their skin in their face, the color of their skin in their face, the speed with which they speak, their affective emotional tone, their cognitive intactness. And then I ask a number of specific questions about unusual sensitivities in childhood, drinking, drugs, sexuality, family structure and function and history. And then I’m done."
And there you have it: a complete in-person psychological evaluation for a DSM diagnosis by Dr. Kenneth Robson. Does this mean that if you arrive with a sunburn, one day, or you are extremely pale because you have not eaten, another day, then you are subject to certain assumptions or questions raised in the not-so-beautiful and not-so-perfect mind of Dr. Kenneth Robson? "Oh my God," says Elizabeth Richter, "what about my two daughters with Albinism?"
How does Dr. Robson determine the turgidity or pallor of a black person? Or are brown and black people subject to very unique assumptions and analyses formulated by Dr. Robson? Or maybe Dr. Robson never sees brown or black people, only white and pink people. It is all so confusing that we mere mortals lacking Dr. Robson’s intellectual fortitude cannot get our simple minds around it! According to this methodology, you might want to reconsider whether you have a cup of coffee before you arrive at Dr. Robson’s office, should you be lucky enough to have the court appoint this specialist to your custody evaluation, because you will get a different diagnosis if you are quiet and introspective than if you are a chatterbox.
But wait, there’s more. No DSM diagnosis would be possible without establishing a good rapport with your client/patient/subject.
Q: "And in an hour or half hour you get all the info and the form of DSM diagnosis?" asked Jim Smith.
A: "I do. Once in a while, I don’t. But for the most part, I do," answered Dr. Robson.
Q: "Okay. And there doesn’t have to be a rapport developed or some…"
A: "Yes, there does."
Q: "…in a psychiatric process?"
A: "Oh, yes."
Q: "Does this take place in a half hour or an hour?"
A: "It takes place in three minutes."
Q: "Three minutes. And in three minutes, your patients open up to you, right, to the deepest parts of themselves?
A: "Not all of them, but most of them."
"This is astoundingly casual, uninformed, and arrogant," says Dr. Eli Newberger. "From a medical point of view, although I’m not a psychiatrist, I think that this is beneath the standard of care, because clinical diagnosis cannot be formed in such a superficial and unsystematic manner. In cases like this, with explicit referral concerns about abuse and trauma suffered by both a mother and child (an area in which I do have expertise, based on years of experience and research on interviewing and diagnosis) it’s not only superficial with regard to what he must miss, but harmful because adults and children must sense his inability to listen and precipitous formation of conclusions about them."
Sunny Kelley’s consulting attorney Richard Ducote declared that the Dr. Robson’s report was sheer nonsense. Pennsylvania lawyer Richard Ducote specializes in child sex abuse and cases where abusers use custody trials to exert control. Richard Ducote consulted on Sunny Kelley’s case in collaboration with attorney Jim Smith. She also hired as consultant attorney Cynthia Cheatham from Tennessee, but Judge Elaine Gordon denied attorney Cheatham’s (pro hac vice) involvement. Experts such as Richard Ducote, who has tried such cases in over forty states, say that the culprit is a bogus theory, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).
"[Robson] has all of the right data," attorney Richard Ducote said, "but his conclusions and analysis are absolutely bogus and unsupportable… I have seen few cases where there is so much evidence of abuse as this one. If this evaluation is not taken apart it will be a train wreck."
Sunny Kelley’s trial was a train wreck, but it was a planned, organized, premeditated train wreck, and it had a long history of train wrecks behind it. This is the mafia of Family Courts.
Dr. Kenneth Robson displays his children’s book in West Hartford Offices February 2012.
(c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
The walls of Dr. Kenneth Robson’s quaint little office are decorated with his Certificates of Certification from medical and psychological institutions. There is also one plaque that reads: ‘World’s Finest Shrink’ that was given to Dr. Robson by the child of one of Connecticut’s finest judges. Which judge? Dr. Robson won’t say.
"You know, this is an ugly business," Dr. Kenneth Robson told me, patting himself on the back. "You have to go with the heat in the kitchen if you want to do this work. It doesn’t have to be done at the expense of people’s souls."
IT’S A ‘FAMILY AFFAIR’
CT Governor John G. Rowland established the Commission on Custody, Divorce, and Children by Executive Order No. 22 on December 5, 2001 "to examine ways that the divorce and custody determination process might be improved for children, their parents, and other significant caregivers." According to the final report released December 2002, "[T]he Commission interpreted the Governor’s charge to emphasize the effect of parental conflict and the divorce process on children and undertook that as its primary focus."
The Commission co-chairs appointed by Rowland were Judge Anne Dranginis and Thomas C. Foley. Anne Dranginis was appointed in 1985 to the Connecticut Superior Court, and in 2000, she was elevated to the Appellate Court. In 1994, she was appointed the Chief Administrative Judge for Family Matters for the Connecticut Superior Court, a position that Judge F. Herbert Gruendel would fill in 2001, and Judge Lynda Munro would fill in 2008. Curiously, Anne Dranginis retired as an Associate Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court in 2006, this was apparently very soon after a major judicial appointment she desired was denied her.
Other Commission members represented mental health providers, both public and private, attorneys, parents, and judges, most notable of which were: Judge F. Herbert Gruendel and Judge Lynda Munro, and custody evaluators Dr. Jerry Brodlie, Dr. Kenneth Robson, Dr. Sidney Horowitz. Judge F. Herbert Gruendel is married to Dr. Janice Gruendel, a three-term representative with the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF). Dr. Janice Gruendel is today Deputy Commissioner of DCF and Senior Advisor on Early Childhood to CT Governor Dannel Malloy.
Another Commission member who appears to be pivotal to entrenching the virulent and destructive Father’s Manifesto agenda in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and nationally, was psychologist Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, who joined the Smith College School for Social Work from the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. Her husband is Dr. Kyle Pruett, a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine — ‘an internationally known expert and forensic consultant’ — e.g. another expert on child sexual abuse affiliated with Yale.
"One current area of research and intervention concentrates on increasing father involvement with their children," reads Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett’s Smith College biography. "The Supporting Father Involvement project aims to reduce child abuse and neglect and enhance family well-being through an intervention that encourages father involvement and couple co-parenting (among married and unmarried parents) in family resource centers."
Anne Dranginis was one of the attorneys in Buggy v. Buggy, opposing counsel to attorney Mark Henderson, who represented Glenn Buggy. Attorney Dranginis also represented Victoria Secret model Stephanie Seymour against her estranged billionaire husband Peter Brant in their 2009 divorce filing.
Attorney Anne Dranginis brought Dr. Kenneth Robson into Seymour v. Brant, where millions of dollars were spent on lawyers and evaluators. In 2010 Seymour and Brant reconciled — they appeared before Judge Lynda Munro at the Middletown Superior Court in Connecticut holding hands.
Debra Ruel was the attorney for the minor child in the case of Hammick v. Hammick, a 2002 case where mother Elizabeth Hammick was subject to irregularities and violations of her constitutional rights very similar to what happened to Sunny Kelley. The court relied again on the reports and findings of Dr. Kenneth Robson and two other court-appointed custody evaluators who all appear to have claimed the mother was alienating the father.
Other notable panelists on the ‘Dealing With Alienation in Custody Cases’ panel on PAS were the custody evaluators Dr. Donald Hiebel, attorney Louis Kiefer, and Dr. Kenneth Robson, all adherents to Parental Alienation Syndrome. Many of the Parental Alienation Syndrome doctors who have ruined the lives of these protective mothers, especially Dr. Robson, Dr. Sidney Horowitz, Dr. Donald Hiebel and Dr. Krieger, are also listed as executive members of the CT Council for Divorce Mediation & Collaborative Practice. Dr. Kenneth Robson’s wife Bonnie Robson is also a member of the CT Council for Divorce Mediation & Collaborative Practice.
Upon her appointment as Commissioner of DCF, Joette Katz immediately convened a special DCF Transition Team under the leadership of Judge F. Herbert Gruendel. At the initial meeting, convened on January 14, 2011, the Transition Team was given handouts and a presentation created by Dr. Janice Gruendel. Members of the team included the notorious Dr. Kenneth Robson, Judge Lynda Munro and Dr. Sidney Horowitz. In February 2011, Judge F. Herbert Gruendel and Judge Lubbie Harper stepped down as members of transition team because it was a direct conflict of interest for high judges to be sitting on a commission tasked with DCF oversight and (presumably) reform when cases involving DCF were coming before them on the bench.
Given the complete failure of the CT courts, the insider trading and double-dealing that occurs behind closed doors, in judge’s chambers, at the coffee station, and at restaurants, the above connections are very substantial. CT Governor John G. Rowland resigned in 2004 and later served 10 months in prison on convictions for corruption. Many of his friends continue to maneuver and safeguard the powerful interests in the CT state house, the judiciary, and the Department of Children and Families. Governor John G. Rowland was probably the fall guy.
THE CONNECTICUT PRACTICE BOOK RULES
Widespread corruption in CT Family Courts would not be possible without the pivotal involvement of a few key judges. If Governor John G. Rowland was the tip of the iceberg of corruption during his term, conveniently disposed of to provide the appearance of judicial and executive oversight, thus to insure and build the public trust, current Superior Court Judge Lynda B. Munro is the iceberg from which many of the most egregious and chilling family court injustices are calved.
Judge Lynda B. Munro was appointed Chief Administrative Judge for Family Matters in 2008. Judge Lynda Munro is a senior member of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Family Commission, formerly the Workgroup on Family Rules Committee. Also seated on this commission are Judge Elaine Gordon, Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone, attorney and retired Judge Anne Dranginis, attorney Gaetano Ferro, attorney Thomas Parrino, and other judges and attorneys. Sunny Kelley’s former GAL attorney, now Judge Maureen Murphy was also on the commission, but resigned unexpectedly on April 11, 2012.
The Connecticut Practice Book governs and dictates the laws of jurisprudence and practice in the state of Connecticut. As a member of the practice Book Rules Committee, Judge Lynda Munro has been a key figure in a clear conspiracy to rewrite and reformulate changes that enable Family Courts, judges, lawyers and custody evaluators to make their own rules and violate laws with impunity. Rules Committee meetings have taken place in secret, while the public record that has being presented afterwards has been adjusted to obscure the actual discussions and decisions. Any changes to Practice Book Rules should be subject to public hearings. Further, the state’s Executive Branch — rulemaking and lawmaking — should be separated from the Judicial Branch.
For example, in a CT Practice Book Rules Committee meeting of March 22, 2012, Judge Lynda Munro proposed to amend Section 25-61 concerning evaluations by the Family Division of parties or children in family proceedings. This is a rule change on custody evaluations, one of the central problems underpinning illegality and violence in Family Courts today. There is no public record of the proposed change, and determining any actual changes are difficult.
In 2006, the special Committee on Judicial Information Policy (formerly the Identity Theft Committee) convened a special Family Subcommittee, chaired by the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel, to review Judicial Branch forms and rules that require the inclusion of personal identifying information. The committee and its subcommittees met a total of nine times between November 8, 2006 and February 5, 2009. The committee dealt with how information is shared or protected, including issues of redaction of documents and public disclosure, and the policy of judges sealing files. These methods are used to shield judges, lawyers and custody evaluators, under the guise of ‘protecting the privacy’ or ‘protecting the rights’ of parents and children. Governor M. Jodi Rell, with whom he was once close, appointed Judge Gruendel to this committee, but he resigned when it became known that he was ‘a bit of a file sealer himself’.
"These abusive fathers are all Wall Street Banker types," says one protective mother, call her Mrs. Jones, whose case was not previously mentioned in this story. "No, you cannot use my name. I am under attack. It has taken three and a half years and 1.5 million dollars to get where we are today. I lost everything. I had three cars and a $4 million dollar home that I invested in and they forced me to sell it in a fire sale. They invaded my son’s trust fund. The court did this and it’s completely illegal. They went after my family and my parents’ property, much of it held in trusts, and they want to take my kids. I have a transcript showing where my ex-husband and his attorney struck a deal with DCF to hide the sexual abuse."
After she was appointed to the Practice Book Rules Commission, Judge Lynda Munro brought several lawyers onto the commission. One of these was Thomas Parrino, the opposing counsel in Mrs. Jones’ case. Attorney Parrino charged Mr. Jones $850,000 in legal fees for 15 months of work and in the process Parrino and Mr. Jones went after Mrs. Jones and her family’s assets and properties to pay Mr. Jones’s bill. In the end Mr. Jones sued attorney Parrino and Parrino sued Mr. Jones and, in order to win, Parrino exposed the fraudulent property conveyances that he and Mr. Jones had previously conspired in, with the court’s help.
The arbitration resulted in a reduction of Parrino’s unreasonable fees. Mrs. Jones’s ex received a credit towards his bills but Mrs. Jones received no compensation for the pensions (which as property may not be distributed until dissolution) the court had liquidated, without a proper hearing, to address the unreasonable fees a year earlier.
When Thomas Parrino quit the Jones case on July 19, 2008 he was immediately appointed to Judge Lynda Munro’s Family Rules Commission. During 2007 and 2008, Parrino had been a member of Judge Munro’s Stamford Court Family Rules Committee, while she was presiding judge in Stamford, although neither disclosed this potential conflict during his involvement in the case. During July 2008, while he was still involved in the Jones’s case, Thom Parrino was by email invited to sit on Judge Munro’s new Workgroup on Family Rules (which was soon changed to "Family Rules Commission") in anticipation of her soon-to-be announced promotion. When the Family Rules Commission was established in the fall of 2008, it did not include attorneys.
When Michael Nowacki attended an August 2010 meeting of the Family Rules Commission, the committee was talking about Mrs. Jones’s case. According to Michael Nowacki and documents obtained through a FOIA, attorney Thomas Parrino suggested a rule change that would allow the court to invade children’s ‘custodial accounts’ to pay the costs of the [fraudulent] psychological evaluations. Judge Munro enthusiastically agreed, and she assigned attorney Parrino the task of drafting a CT Practice Book Rule change to enable courts to invade children’s custodial accounts.
Attorney Parrino had been the attorney responsible for previously securing improper court invasions of Mrs. Jones’s children’s accounts in 2008. Judge Lynda Munro had been the jurist responsible for ordering those improper invasions in 2008, without a hearing, while the children were neither party to the proceedings nor represented by counsel, against the trustees objections, and without proper jurisdiction (probate court has jurisdiction over children’s estates and trust funds). In 2010, the very people responsible for 2008 violations of laws that protect trust funds and UGMA accounts redrafted the court rules in an attempt to justify their previous actions.
Although required by law, these communications and rules change proposals related to invasions of children’s accounts were not included in the Commission minutes that are posted on the judicial website. However, Michael Nowacki obtained emails from Lynda Munro’s secretary showing that the Family Rules Committee was trying to pass new rules to invade children’s accounts and trust funds. Judge Lynda Munro learned that incriminating emails had been released and she ordered that no one should further release any documents to Michael Nowacki under FOIA — saying that these documents are not subject to FOIA (which they are).
"When Judge Lynda Munro was appointed on September 1, 2008 to be the Chief Administrative Judge of Family Matters she became the chair of the Workgroup on Family Rules," says Michael Nowacki. "Under a FOIA request I received thousands of emails which show the paper trail of who was on the Workgroup on Family Rules when it became the Family Commission in November 2008. Hundreds of emails were provided to me that show the manner in which Judge Lynda Munro changed the agenda for these meetings and turned the Family Commission into a body of volunteers who commenced by writing legislative proposals for submission. The membership on the Family Commission included a bunch of lawyers who then argued cases in front of Judge Munro. One of them was my former divorce attorney Thomas Parrino."
The story of Mr. and Mrs. Jones’s divorce and custody trial is a tale of woe and ruination involving fraudulent mortgages and plundering of federally protected funds. Judge Lynda Munro and Judge Marylouise Schofield presided and the records from two highly irregular hearings were sealed. Attorney Parrino participated in criminal actions to secure payment for his fees. Mrs. Jones and her parents had all the money, and the Father’s Manifesto movement teamed up with attorney Parrino and Judge Munro and custody evaluator Sidney Horowitz to persecute and defraud Mrs. Jones and her children.
Judicial fraud. Mortgage fraud. Guardian ad litem fraud. Medical fraud. Protective mothers have seen it all.
The court professionals made deals with DCF to make charges of incest with a minor and sexual abuse with a minor go away. When Mrs. Jones tried to protect her eldest son, the court ordered reunification therapy with the sex abuser and the boy became suicidal and had to be medicated. The abusive father refused to allow the child appropriate mental healthcare and medication, and refused to pay one penny of financial support. DCF had ordered Mrs. Jones to provide appropriate medical care, yet the Family Court would not empower Mrs. Jones to access funds to provide that necessary medical care. DCF had ordered Mrs. Jones to protect the child from unwanted contact with the father, yet the Family Court ordered reunification therapy and unsupervised visits which caused the child trauma and exacerbated his mental and emotional decline.
In 2009, after enduring two years with virtually no financial support from her husband (the court ordered support in 2007 and had passed on 15 consecutive months of contempt motions), DCF charged Mrs. Jones with medical neglect for failing to bring the child to reunification therapy, although Mrs. Jones had followed DCF’s directive when she supported her son in his refusal to participate. Mr. Jones was not charged with medical neglect for refusing his child already prescribed psychotropic medication and necessary mental healthcare. Although Mr. Jones’s obstructionist behavior resulted in the child missing three months of school, Mr. Jones was not charged with educational neglect either. DCF told Mrs. Jones they could not charge Mr. Jones with neglect because he had no access to the child, as she is the custodial parent. Mrs. Jones is the custodial parent because Mr. Jones abused his child, yet the court and DCF assisted Mr. Jones in furthering the abuse.
"There is something very wrong with DCF," says Mrs. Jones. "They never helped. They are only harming people. DCF initiated the sexual abuse charges in my case. Stamford police, Darien police, a sexual abuse team… DCF substantiated the sexual abuse. Then they walked away. DCF passed the case to Darien police and Darien police closed the case. They claimed I made these charges up. I did not claim sexual abuse. However, I am sure, after reading the DCF reports, that sexual abuse really happened."
Mrs. Jones’ first attorneys were John Ekberg and Cynthia George and the GAL was Lacey Bernier. "They sold me up the river. Cynthia George would not even meet with me for a year. At the time of my case they were also involved in representing Peter Tauck — in the most expensive divorce case in Connecticut history. The Tauck’s got 82 consecutive days of trial ending in August 2007 denying the rest of Connecticut divorce cases our trials. Lynda Munro was the head judge for Stamford Family Court at the time. The Tauck trial began in Stamford and ended in Middletown — where all the most highly contested custody trials go. Once your case is scheduled for Middletown you can’t go back, it’s a huge punishment. I think my [first] attorneys made a deal and they traded my case for favors with their judges and lawyers in the Tauck case."
Mrs. Jones’ trial never made it to Middletown, because she never even got a trial. "I got nothing. The court refused to give me a trial because they would have to address the financials, but every penny of my case was liquidated beforehand. No trial. No alimony. No child support. Now my ex-husband is threatening me with a $3.5 million libel suit. They took all my money and my children’s money and then they said ‘Now you can’t afford to go to trial’."
Mrs. Jones has documents showing that Lynda Munro’s Practice Book Rules Committee was changing court rules based on what was happening in her case. During the time her case was active, proposed rule changes were being applied as though the higher court had already passed them, and some never were passed. According to Mrs. Jones, Kevin Collins, her husband’s second attorney — also the attorney who opposed Michael Nowacki in Nowacki v. Nowacki — warned Judge Malone not to let the case go to trial because ‘there are a lot of firsts in this case’ and ‘all the professionals are at risk for exposure’ of illegalities and corruption. When Mrs. Jones last appeared before the court, Judge Marylouise Schofield looked at the financial papers and said: "You have nothing. How are you going to survive?"
On or around April 1, 2012, Mr. Jones fled the state of Connecticut to evade responsibility for child support or caring for the two children. "I don’t want to be involved in court any more," says Mrs. Jones on April 21, 2012. "I can’t afford it. I feel beaten. Worst of all is the sense of betrayal. Now my ex-husband has abandoned his children and moved to Miami."
These judges like Munro, Gruendel, Abery-Wetstone and Gordon, and attorneys like Louis Kiefer, Lisa Faccadio and Thomas Parrino — and all these other ‘professionals’ that appear again and again — are some of the most pivotal agents responsible for framing protective mothers, ripping apart their lives, robbing them of their rightful assets and bankrupting them. They do it through the ruse of bogus custody evaluations and the threats of sanctions, imprisonment, and the kidnapping and trafficking of children.
They are the gatekeepers — they are guarding all the doors and they are holding all the keys, which means that sooner or later someone is going to have to fight them. That time is now. The simplest way to solve problems in family court matters is to indict and prosecute these criminal gatekeepers whose absolute power has corrupted them absolutely.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
There were two other very interesting appointments to CT Governor John G. Rowland’s Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children. One of these was Thomas C. Foley, a member of the elite upper class in America. At the time of his appointment to co-chair the Commission, Thomas Foley was himself involved in a very contentious divorce.
Thomas C. Foley has deep political connections. According to his biography posted on the web pages of Foley’s investment bank, NTC Group: From August, 2003 through March, 2004, Thomas C. Foley served in Iraq as the Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Thomas C. Foley’s responsibilities included overseeing most of Iraq’s 192 state-owned enterprises, stimulating private sector growth, developing foreign trade and investment, and overseeing three state Ministries. Thomas C. Foley received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award in June 2004 for his service in Iraq.
However, the CPA granted total immunity from law to private military and security companies (PMSCs) in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. Despite the CPA’s Memorandum No. 17 — requiring that all PMSCs must register with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior — the number of PMSCs deployed in Iraq was unknown, and the U.S. Department of Defense and CPA estimated some 60 PMSCs employing between 20,000 and 25,000 mercenaries in 2004 and 2005. CPA Memorandum No. 17 also protected private military companies from all prosecution. Thus, the CPA is responsible for mass war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.
The CPA also organized the destruction and plunder of Iraq — what Vanity Fair magazine called ‘a sump for American and Iraqi money as it disappeared into the hands of Iraqi ministries and American contractors’. One of three top CPA executives, Thomas C. Foley described Iraq as a modern ‘California gold rush’. The CPA was dissolved in June 2004, leaving at least $10 billion in U.S. taxpayers money unaccounted for, and billions more siphoned off through fraudulent contracts to GOP and Bush family favored companies. (See: The Privatization of Warfare, Violence and Private Military & Security Companies: A factual and legal approach to human rights abuses by PMSCs in Iraq, 2011.)
From 2006 to 2009, Thomas C. Foley was the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, appointed by President George W. Bush as a reward for backing the election of President George W. Bush. In June 2010, Thomas C. Foley was the GOP-endorsed candidate for governor against now-seated democrat Governor Dannel Malloy, a campaign he spent $10 million on, and lost.
Thomas C. Foley graduated from Harvard Business School, and before long he was making his fortune as an investment banker on Wall Street. Thomas C. Foley managed the mid-1990s leveraged buyout and bankrupting of the Bibb Corporation of Macon GA. After this killing his reported worth was about $200 million. He reportedly has an $8,000,000 estate in Greenwich CT. He funded CT Governor Rowland’s campaign, and was therefore a shoe-in for placement on the Rowland Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children.
Thomas C. Foley’s bio indicates that he served "in two Connecticut State Commissions involving education and children’s rights."
However, Thomas C. Foley’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign was marred by the sudden appearance of reports revealing his unethical behavior and the impropriety of his position on former governor Rowland’s Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children.
"It was late 2001, and Thomas C. Foley, a Greenwich investor and a major Republican Party fundraiser, was immersed in a contentious and protracted battle with his ex-wife for custody of their 11-year-old son," wrote Ken Dixon in the CT Post. "When he heard that Gov. John G. Rowland was setting up a task force to examine the state’s divorce and child custody laws, Foley asked to be on the panel. Later, Rowland also would appoint to the panel a Greenwich psychologist [Dr. Jerry Brodlie] who had sided with Foley in his legal fight to obtain sole custody of his son."
"Thomas [Jr.] was exactly a year old when Tom walked out on us," says Lisa Foley. "I received alimony of $25,000 a year per our pre nuptial agreement, so he wanted to leave on the anniversary of our 2nd year so I would only get $50,000 a year which is what I got. He left the exact day before it would have forced a third year of alimony. He left a note saying he was leaving and then sent roses saying happy anniversary. I sent them back with the delivery guy."
Lisa Foley filed for divorce in 1991, when their son Thomas C. Foley Jr. was one year old. The divorce was concluded in 1994, but the custody battle dragged on to 2006. Custody evaluators included Dr. Jerry Brodlie, Dr. Donald Tolles and Dr. Albert Solnit (d. 2002), a former psychologist at the Yale Child Study Center.
"Tom’s ability to be a better parent because of his money and desire to raise [our son] Thomas in a completely white moneyed private school environment in Greenwich versus my desire to raise him in a multicultural environment at a public school was used against me," says Lisa Foley. "To do so, without seeming prejudiced, they insinuated that I was emotionally unstable and a borderline personality — which was a grave diagnosis. We were told to visit therapists, which I did and I shared who I am and Tom refused. Thus, I was sick. I noticed this is similar with the other moms [like Sunny Kelley]. Sharing ourselves was used against us."
A few years after he served as the Foley’s family therapist, Dr. Jerry Brodlie was appointed to sit on Governor Rowland’s special Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children, co-chaired by Thomas Foley. Dr. Brodlie is today head of the psychology department at Greenwich Hospital.
"I was being unreasonable asking for joint custody, but my husband was asking for sole custody," says Lisa Foley. "Our court-appointed psychologist was Dr. Jerry Brodlie and we saw him for a year. I paid $20,000 to Brodlie and Tom paid another $20,000 and then Brodlie was appointed by Tom to be his right hand man on the [Rowland] Commission. It was a huge conflict of interest while we were appearing in family court."
Meanwhile, Lisa Foley was volunteering as a family counselor to help women with domestic violence in court, but she was ‘fired’ because it was a ‘conflict of interest’ to be working in the courts, even as a volunteer, when her custody case was ongoing.
Another court-appointed evaluator was Dr. Albert Solnit, the co-author of the groundbreaking 1970’s book, The Best Interests of the Child: The Least Detrimental Alternative. This book set the stage for many of the Father’s Manifesto movement theories like PAS and the concomitant judicial abuses that now permeate Family Courts. The 1979 film ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ provided another popular vehicle to help advance the Father’s Manifesto movement. The language "In the Best Interests of the Child" was codified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified November 1989.
Both Dr. Jerry Brodlie and Dr. Albert Solnit also favored sole custody by Thomas C. Foley against his wife Grace Elizabeth (Lisa) McCowan Foley. During their trial, Lisa Foley was further humiliated by the appearance in court of Dr. Solnit and his students — a real life demonstration of how his (quack) psychological theories were put into in practice to appropriately (sic) dispense with a difficult mother.
The custody evaluation of Dr. Donald Tolles was based in part on the previous custody evaluation of Dr. Brodlie, with attention to the claim that Lisa Foley "exhibits the signs and symptoms of a borderline personality, becoming irrational at times."
"Ms. Foley has a warm, loving relationship with [her son] Thomas," Dr. Donald Tolles wrote in his custody study of June 5, 1992. "Ms. Foley’s values are different from Mr. Foley’s, especially as it concerns education. She wants [son] Thomas to be raised in a heterogeneous community… and to attend public schools. She explains that if [son] Thomas resides primarily with her, he will be exposed to people from different cultures and ethnic groups. She is concerned that if Thomas lives in Greenwich and attends private schools, he will become an elitist like his father."
Dr. Donald Tolles recommended that custody of [son] Thomas be granted to his father, and that the mother be granted liberal and flexible access.
When Lisa Foley learned that her ex-husband had been appointed to co-chair Governor Rowland’s Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children she met with Ann George, Rowland’s Hartford attorney, and hand-delivered a large file of documents. Included in these were documents claiming that Thomas Foley was controlling and abusive.
"She promised to return [it] to me, but she never did, even after repeated calls. It was obviously buried somewhere and then unearthed by a reporter during the campaign. Tom accused me of giving the file to the reporter, which I did not. He also told our son that and this caused problems. Tom accused me of being the reason he lost the election."
The file delivered by Lisa Foley to contest Foley’s appointment on the Rowland Commission for Custody, Divorce and Children surfaced in 2010, and this generated negative publicity that hurt Foley’s gubernatorial bid. Thomas Foley then produced a letter signed by Lisa Foley in 2006, claiming that there had never been any domestic violence in their relationship.
"My former husband is a control freak. As soon as we got married he started posting rules about how I was supposed to behave. It was awful. It was hell. We lived together for five years but our marriage only lasted two years. I had my son at 38, and then after my son was born the rules were impossible…. He felt that if he was paying the bills, I should behave the way he wanted me to behave. And he was righteous."
Lisa Foley describes Thomas Foley as a violent, narcissistic egomaniac. In the file delivered to Rowland’s attorney was a newspaper clipping about Tom Foley, long before he was married. In 1981, twenty-nine year old Thomas C. Foley was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted assault after he allegedly rammed a vehicle and terrorized its occupants.
"This clipping was sent to me anonymously when Tom ran me and my one year-old son off the road in Greenwich. Tom was in a fury because we were going to NYC to visit my best friend without his permission. This was his controlling personality. A passing car saw me yelling for help from my window and called the police at which point Tom returned home. I had to go to the police station and file a report and then we continued to the city. Early the next morning the police called to demand my return saying Mr. Foley had filed a report [charging that] I had tried to run him over in his driveway and that is why he chased me. This is a total lie. I was taken to criminal court to be put in jail for attempted grave bodily harm to him. Fortunately the Judge believed me and released me. Tom was never charged with anything. But the report of domestic violence was put in the paper and the former victim obviously saw it and sent me the clipping."
According to CT Post writer Ken Dixon, Samuel V. Schoonmaker III, Lisa Foley’s attorney during a child-support hearing from December of 1991, described the protracted divorce litigation as a power game. "She’s got $60,000 to her name and he’s got $39 million by his own admission and this fellow gets up there and he adopts the self-righteous, arrogant, dictatorial attitude, which is the only way I can characterize it," Ken Dixon reported attorney Schoonmaker to say. "This whole hearing has nothing to do with money. This hearing has to do with control."
The Judge in the case of Grace (Lisa) Foley v. Thomas Foley in June 1992, was Anne Dranginis, the future co-chairperson of the Rowland Commission on Custody, Divorce and Children, a position she shared with Thomas Foley.
"The court ordered us to see Jerry Brodlie to decide custody," says Lisa Foley. "I told him everything — I’m a very forthright person. Basically, I should have gone in there and said I was great, no problems, but I was sad about the dissolution of our marriage. My reality and emotional distress was used to say that I had a borderline personality disorder."
Thomas Foley’s second marriage was to Leslie Fahrenkopf, the daughter of Frank Fahrenkopf, former Republican National Committee chairman. From 2003 to 2008 Leslie Fahrenkopf was an associate counsel to President George W. Bush in the Office of White House Counsel. Prior to the Fahrenkopf marriage, Thomas Foley lived together for five years with CT Judiciary Committee member Themis Klarides.
In February 2012, the CT Judiciary Committee held public hearings on the confirmation of nominees for new or returning judges. One of the newly confirmed judges is Maureen Murphy, former GAL in Liberti v. Liberti. While the Judiciary Committee heard ample public testimony about the judicial abuse involving Murphy, her appointment was confirmed with very little resistance.
Attorney Maureen Murphy testifies at her nomination confirmation hearing before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee on February 22, 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
Thomas Foley financially supports the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, and he runs it. He reportedly plans to run for governor of CT again in 2014.
"He was always verbally abusive," says Lisa Foley. "I was red neck white trash. I didn’t want any servants. I didn’t want the mansion. The one thing that money did for me was to make me hate it. It doesn’t make you happy."
The other very interesting appointment to Governor Rowland’s special Commission on Divorce, Custody and Children, a friend of Thomas C. Foley, was Pat (Patsy) D’Angelo, one of the original members of an organization called Divorced Men of Connecticut, the state chapter of the national Children’s Rights Council, an umbrella organization for Father’s Manifesto groups that protect abusive men and punish good mothers. Attorney Louis Kiefer was one of the founders.
DIVORCED MEN’S RIGHTS WRONGS
Anne D’Angelo’s marriage to Pat D’Angelo began with a one year-old son from her first marriage, whom her husband legally adopted. Three years later they had a second son. The verbal abuse was increasingly directed toward the first child, and this, combined with the poverty (despite her husband’s substantial salary), led to a divorce filing in 1983. Pat D’Angelo tried to get the CT Department of Children and Youth Services to investigate Anne D’Angelo for neglect but got nowhere. Next Pat D’Angelo suggested to the pediatrician that the two and a half year-old child may have been sexually abused. An examination showed numerous indicators of sexual abuse, which Pat D’Angelo blamed on the older boy, who was six. Pat D’Angelo sought custody claiming he needed to protect the younger boy from the older boy, who was not his son.
"The child pointed to his father as the perpetrator," wrote Talia Carner in Responding to A Higher Calling. "[A] therapist on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families supported the pediatrician’s conclusion and determined that the boy’s father was raping both him and his older brother."
The judge awarded joint custody with plenty of time spent with the father, and the father asserted so much control that Anne D’Angelo could not care for her sons. The father prohibited them from attending therapy to deal with the sexual abuse, which he continued to perpetrate along with constant harassment and stalking of Anne D’Angelo. Seeing no way out, Anne D’Angelo fled with her children. She lived with her children for five years in Virginia and Washington, until the boys were captured and returned to Connecticut to live with their father.
Dr. James Black did a custody study in 1991, and then he testified that Pat D’Angelo should get custody. Dr. Black billed Anne D’Angelo thousands of dollars for a fraudulent custody study based on Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Black also fraudulently billed Anne D’Angelo’s insurance company for ‘therapy’ — because insurance companies don’t pay for custody studies. But Dr. Black refused to let Anne D’Angelo see the actual custody study until she paid the $1500 balance that the insurance company would not cover. She didn’t have any money: No money, no study. Not only did they frame her, but they also defrauded the insurance company and then they withheld their incriminating report pending payment of money she didn’t have. In a subsequent custody hearing — and despite the evidence collected before Anne’s hiding of that the older child had disclosed the sexual abuse to a therapist — the judge declared that the father’s sexual abuse of the younger boy was ‘uncorroborated’.
Around 1999, Pat D’Angelo was a Children’s Rights Council official and a member of a four-person panel set up to ‘Redesign Divorce in Connecticut.’ Judge Anne Dranginis chaired the panel, and she did nothing to help Anne D’Angelo or her two boys after she was made aware of the rape evidence against the father Pat D’Angelo. Also on the panel was Marsha Kline Pruett, who was trained under Judith Wallerstein one of the early Fathers’ Manifesto founders — and one of Richard Gardner’s teachers. This panel was preceded by a study done by Marsha Kline Pruett under the direction of Judge Anne Dranginis.
In 2002 Pat D’Angelo was appointed to the Rowland Commission on Divorce, Custody and Children alongside Thomas Foley, Judge Anne Dranginis, Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, Judge Lynda Munro and all the others.
Former CT Judge Anne Dranginis has also been a member of the board of directors (1997) of the Association of Family Conciliation Councils (AFCC), and while AFCC officials were also Children’s Rights Council officials, the AFCC and CRC are essentially interlocking organizations which collaborate closely together in passing laws, manipulating and exploiting court policies and procedures, and winning U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants.
AFCC affiliated experts who have established federal ‘model custody’ programs using PAS methodology, include Joan Kelly, a founding official of CRC, and Judith Wallerstein of the Center for the Family in Transition. Richard Gardner originally based his PAS theory on Judith Wallerstein’s and Joan Kelly’s research.
"The AFCC started the industry in the early 1960’s and the same founders started the Children’s Rights Counsel about a year later," says Anne D’Angelo. "They clean out the litigants financially, but their main purpose is to rake in millions and millions in grant money."
In 1999, Judge Anne Dranginis was also a member of the Advisory Group for the abusive Father’s Manifesto oriented ‘Collaborative Divorce Project’. The fifteen member group also included Pat D’Angelo, who was then the President of the Divorced Men’s Association of CT, and Marsha Kline Pruett.
The Divorced Men’s Association of CT Incorporated was registered with the CT Secretary of State’s Commercial Recording Division on December 19, 1975. Pat D’Angelo is currently listed as the president and vice-president. One of principal member — apparently involved since 1982 — is attorney Louis Kiefer, who is also an attorney for the abusive Father’s Manifesto and who represented VOCAL, Victims of Child Abuse Laws, in a USA Supreme Court lawsuit..
As early as 1989, at least, attorney Louis Kiefer was winning cases for abusive men and pedophiles. In a 1989 journal article for the Institute for Psychological Therapies, Louis Kiefer described the ‘war’ to win over a judge or jury in child sexual abuse cases. The entire process revolves around the pivotal point of departure that says that the allegations of sexual abuse are false to begin with — the pivotal assumption of fact in Liberti v. Liberti and Wilkinson v. Wiegand and all the others that rely on the false theories of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).
"Although the false allegation of child sexual abuse does not always start with a child, the child becomes the key to unlocking the mystery of why the allegations are made, and what validity, if any, should be given to the statements made by a young child," attorney Louis Kiefer wrote, in a long article "Defense Considerations in the Child as Witness in Allegations of Sexual Abuse".
"The defense of a false allegation of sexual abuse is unlike anything either you or your attorney has ever seen," Louis Kiefer wrote. "It is not a battle, it is a war, and as a war it needs money, soldiers, a will to fight, and strategic and tactical planning."
"Men are different from women," says Anne D’Angelo. "A mother will do anything she needs to do to protect her child. In order to get the custody battle going, men have to understand up front that they will likely win, else they wouldn’t play the custody game."
Anne D’Angelo lost her little boy. The father didn’t want the boy who was not his son, so he sent the 13 year-old boy back to her. But from the age of nine onward, Anne’s youngest son lived with his father, who physically, sexually, and psychologically abused him. "They took this nice, wonderful little boy and tortured him," Anne D’Angelo says of her son. It is the heartbreak of her life.
There was no way out from the abuse of the Connecticut courts for Jennifer (Hudson) Grande either. The judge in Grande vs. Grande was F. Herbert Gruendel and the GAL was Emily Moskowitz. When she started Jennifer had $2.5 million dollars, and she lost everything. She fled with her two children and was caught. She was arrested and tried, but in the end, and against the tide of Father’s Manifesto abuses, she was acquitted. It was a big story in the newspapers about 20 years ago. This mother’s life was ruined.
THE WAR OF ABUSE, CONTROL AND PROFITS
Dr. Kenneth Robson also made a ton of money as court-appointed custody evaluator in Connecticut’s longest running divorce and custody trial, Tauck v. Tauck. In this case, the father Peter Tauck was accused of having child pornography on his laptop computer, molesting two of the Tauck’s four children, and raping his wife. Nancy Tauck was accused of severe alcohol abuse and being a neglectful mother.
Dr. Kenneth Robson apparently billed 121 hours on the case, at $400 an hour, and he produced a 91-page report for the 2007 trial that lasted 83 days and cost over $11 million.
While it was believed at the time that Nancy Tauck set her husband up by downloading pornographic images onto his computer when he was in Tahiti, Nancy Tauck adamantly denied it. Dr. Robson’s evaluation concluded as all his psych evaluations do: the allegations of sexual abuse against the husband were unsubstantiated. The Hartford Courant and its staff writer Lynne Touhy never questioned the credibility of Dr. Kenneth Robson, even though they knew very well about the Linda Wiegand case, and the Massameno Report, where Dr. Kenneth Robson was roundly shown to support sex abuse against the Wiegand boys.
The Hartford Courant not only published prolifically about the high-profile Wilkinson v. Wiegand case, they also took legal action to protect their interests in the case.
There are more than sixty Hartford Courant articles on the trials and tribulations of Linda Wiegand and Thomas Wilkinson, and on the involvement of decorated U.S. Special Forces veteran Bo Gritz, who was charging with attempted kidnapping when he was driving somewhere near the children’s school, when the Thomas Wilkinson was holding the boys.
"The lawyers representing Linda Wiegand’s children and ex-husband want the public, including the media, shut out of the courtroom during family proceedings," wrote Courant writer Dana Tofig in June 1997. But contrary to Tofig’s opening paragraph, Diane Polin, the attorney for Linda Wiegand, and Kevin Murphy, a Hartford lawyer representingThe Hartford Courant, objected to the motion that would close all hearings and all files pertaining to Wiegand’s divorce and custody proceedings with Thomas Wilkinson, her ex-husband.
Arguing that they needed to protect the two Wiegand children, Louis Kiefer, the abusive father’s lawyer, and Judith Benedict, the attorney for the minor children of Linda Wiegand, filed motions seeking sealed files, closed courtrooms and other gag orders. On November 20, 1996, Hartford Superior Court Judge George Levine presiding with Judith Benedict as the Wiegand children’s ‘attorney’ ignored the Affidavit of Gordon K. Ahlers, MD testifying to ‘Children’s Condition of Immediate Danger’.
When John Massameno threatened to call a press conference in February 2000, unless CT state prosecutor John Malone released his report to the defense attorneys, it was released to Bo Gritz’s attorney, and sealed again by Judge Nicola Rubinow to continue the criminal cover-up of the children’s allegations against Thomas Wilkinson.
Linda Wiegand claimed there is a payoff network between judges, lawyers, clients accused of sexual abuse, and court appointed psychiatrists in Connecticut to cover up this pedophile network. The similarities between the cases of Linda Wiegand and Sunny Kelley are astonishing, and would lead to the same conclusion that Linda Wiegand came to. Of course, when the court officials like Judge Lynda Munro and attorney Maureen Murphy — or one of the custody evaluators like Dr. Kenneth Robson or Dr. James Black — decides that a mother is at risk of fleeing with her child, then all kinds of further sanctions and penalties are applied, and these orders are rarely vacated, even when circumstances change substantially.
Custody evaluators in the Wiegand case were Dr. Kenneth Robson, Dr. James Black, and Dr. David Mantell. At a 1994 hearing, Doctor James Black was ordered to be the therapist for one of the Wiegand boys based on the fraudulent and jurisdictionally defective actions of the GAL and/or Attorney for the Minor Child Judith Benedict. It was later learned that Doctor Black had been a client of Judge Herbert Barall and that he is a friend of attorney Louis Kiefer, Thomas Wilkinson’s attorney.
CT Senior Assistant State Attorney John Massameno established that Dr. Kenneth Robson "recommended his colleague Dr. James Black as the [Wiegand] children’s therapist. Robson and Black are friends with prior professional relationships in child sexual abuse cases. Dr. Black is well known as a heavily Freudian-laden child psychiatrist who is capable of ascribing to an ‘overheated imagination’ the most graphic reports of sexual activity made by young children. Black also has engaged in what he describes as ‘confrontational therapy’, in which he confronts a young child with his own opinion that the child’s prior reports of sexual abuse were false in the hopes of ‘aiding’ the child to recognize their falsity."
Dr. Robson, Dr. Horowitz, Dr. Hiebel, Dr. Black, Dr. Freedman and other pro-PAS custody evaluators use the same ‘confrontational therapy’ tactics to confuse children of abusive parents, and to ‘persuade’ children they don’t think what they think, and haven’t suffered what they have suffered. Dr. Robson also confirmed that Max Liberti’s father employed this tactic to confuse Max about the ‘tickle the weenie’ game.
"Attorney Louis Kiefer, the former DCF court clerk representing Thomas Wilkinson, sues any person, entity, media or government official who probes his client," Bo Gritz wrote in a statement published the Winstead CT Voice News in March 2000. "Kiefer sued and lost his case, including an appeal, in Federal District Court against the State of Vermont for arresting Thomas Wilkinson. Others (including the Hartford Advocate) have settled out of court for large sums of money (approx. $300,000). He manipulated an outrageous ex parte award of $500,000 for Wilkinson, plus $50,000 in fees for himself, and more than $3,000/month in alimony and child support-all at 8 percent interest compounded, while Linda Wiegand was underground. Kiefer blocks any custody challenge by Wiegand through contempt motions for her non-payment of what now amounts to more than $800,000!"
"Given the apparent connection between [Thomas] Wilkinson’s extremely aggressive attorney, Louis Kiefer, Esq., and Detective Warren Hansen of the Simsbury Police Department," wrote John Massameno, "the complexity of the case, and its interstate aspects, I recommend that the State Police Major Crime Squad, central district, be requested to conduct the investigation. By so doing, you and the Simsbury Police Department will avoid the appearance of partiality."
Louis Kiefer was also the attorney for the father in Janik v. Janik, a 1990s divorce and custody case where Kiefer and the court used Dr. Kenneth Robson and other court-appointed custody evaluators to relentlessly harass the mother and, over the period of five or six years, transfer sole physical custody from the mother to the father on the basis of ‘parental alienation’.
Judge Herbert Barall, Judge F. Herbert Gruendel and attorney Louis Kiefer also appear to have railroaded and robbed plaintiff Karyn Gil in extended legal harassment, 2002-2009, in Gil v. Gil. For example, on March 8, 2007, Judge Barall ordered Karyn Gil to pay $11,107.44 in court costs for her failed appeal, and $19,552.10 in attorney’s fees for her ex-husband John Gil’s attorney Louis Kiefer. Karyn Gil had argued that Kiefer and John Gil violated the Rules of Professional Conduct, and the court provided a whimsical circular argument to quash her appeal, claiming that Louis Kiefer "did not have a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the dissolution action [appeal]." Of course, the magnanimous Louis Kiefer apparently took John Gil’s case out of the goodness of his heart.
Similarly, Nancy Tauck, of course, was accused of ‘coaching’ the children against their father — another signature conclusion of Dr. Kenneth Robson in evaluations that frame protective mothers using the hoax of Parental Alienation Syndrome. The court-appointed visitation supervisors cost the Taucks some $10,920 a week. As previously noted, the attorney for the four minor children was Gaetano Ferro, who at the time (2007) was also the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Middletown Superior Court Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone presided over Tauck v. Tauck, often chastising lawyers for unprofessional conduct. (Like many judges discussed herein, Judge Abery-Wetstone has presided over different courts, e.g. Middletown and New Haven.)
According to the Hartford Courant, Attorney Wayne Effron slammed Judge Abery-Wetstone for bias and said that Dr. Robson ‘was hoodwinked by Peter Tauck’ and ‘all but accused [Nancy] of eating her young’. Faced with the judicial abuses of family court, it is not surprising that Nancy Tauck relapsed into alcoholism ‘at the worst possible time’. All the signature elements appear to exist to conclude that Tauck v. Tauck was a trial where the outcome was purchased with the help of custody evaluators, lawyers and judges who have conspired to extort, entrap and exploit parents caught up in family court.
Nancy Tauck had the highest-paid lawyer in the case, an out-of-state attorney who was barred by Judge Abery-Wetstone from actually appearing. New York lawyer Judd Burstein served as a consultant to Nancy Tauck at $850 an hour. Nancy Tauck’s principal trial lawyer Wayne D. Effron billed at an hourly rate of $525.
New Haven Judge Abery-Wetstone has presided over some of the most egregious cases where protective mothers have been framed, including Liberti v. Liberti. On August 3, 2010, Judge Abery-Wetstone ordered that a special mediation scheduled for August 4th go forward against the recommendations of attorneys Noah Eisenhandler (Robert Liberti) and Gerald Kahn (Sunny Kelley). Even GAL Maureen Murphy declared that the mediation was a waste of time.
While in court on August 3, 2010, attorney Noah Eisenhandler presented an emergency motion for Robert Liberti to get temporary sole custody, claiming that Sunny Kelley was a danger to Max. Eisenhandler attached photographs of the welts on Max’s arms, back and toes — photos taken by Sunny Kelley after Max returned from his father’s house on July 28, 2010 — saying Sunny had ’savagely beaten’ Max just to ‘frame [his] client’. It was a classic twisted accusation of Parental Alienation Syndrome against Sunny.
"At that hearing, Sunny’s husband said that there had been no marks on Max when he came home from school," says Ada Shaw. "However, Sunny and I read the transcript of this hearing and Sunny’s husband’s testimony has been changed to coincide with what he said in his deposition: that Max did have marks on his toes when he came home from school and that it was probably because he had wood chips in his sandals. I am one-hundred percent certain that the transcript was changed."
Liberti v. Liberti is not the only case where transcripts have been changed to protect someone’s interests, disappear incriminating evidence, sanitize court records, or falsify statements. The claim is widely repeated, both in CT court cases discussed herein and in cases in California and Georgia explored for this story.
Judge Abery-Wetstone refused to officially enter the pictures into the record. Sunny Kelley and Ada Shaw claim Judge Abery-Wetstone, indignant and condescending, kept repeating "Toes, we’re talking about marks on toes?" as if it were utterly ridiculous. When Judge Abery-Wetstone asked Gerald Kahn if he wanted the photos entered into the record he declined, saying it was not a formal hearing. Judge Abery-Wetstone ignored the clear evidence of abuse and sent the parents off to the special mediation the next day.
On March 15, 2012 some of the same players seen over and over in cases of judicial abuse held a one-day seminar titled "Family Violence in Connecticut: Trauma, Trends and Triage. Co-sponsored with the Connecticut Judicial Branch and Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the CT Bar Institute program included a presentation by Dr. Sidney Horrowitz on ‘Understanding Domestic Violence’ — this by a man who is allegedly deeply complicit in perpetuating domestic violence. There was also a ‘Criminal and Family Roundtable’ titled ‘A View from the Bench and the Bar, with Questions and Answers’ involving Judge Lynda Judge Munro, attorney Thomas Colin, and other judges and lawyers.
It must be a very interesting view, from the bench, indeed.
THE SILENCE OF THE MASS MEDIA
In testament to the profits and power-based mass media — and the outrageous extortion racket by litigious lawyers using lawsuits to silence and control the private profit press — not a single media outlet has objectively reported Lori and Mila’s story, and not a single media outlet has objectively reported on Sunny Kelley’s story. The CT media has never heard of Susan Skipp, and if she called them and told them her story they would politely reassure her of their concern and imminent attention, and just as quickly ignore her, as has happened to so many other mothers who called before.
In January 2011, AP reporter Mike Melia wrote to Dr. Eli Newberger asking about George Reardon, recently deceased, who was one of the pedophiles cleared by the Hartford Hospital Institute of Living during the era that Dr. Robson was a director there. Of course, there was no mention of either Dr. Kenneth Robson or the Institute of Living in the March 2011 story that eventually appeared.
"I’m a reporter with the Associated Press, based in Connecticut, and I’m hoping to get in touch with you for a story on the late Hartford pedophile George Reardon. As more of his victims have come forward in recent years, some now say he had at least as many as 700 victims. I’m trying to get a sense for where he might fall on a list of the country’s worst pedophiles."
"He’s up there, Mike!" replied Dr. Eli Newberger. "Surely the number of his victims, many of them pediatric patients, exceeds the pedophile pediatricians whose cases I’ve followed. This, of course, speaks to the institutional denial, or facilitation of his offending."
"I’ve been thinking more about the problems you mentioned with the Family Courts." Mike Melia emailed Dr. Eli Newberger January 20. "Do you know of recent examples in Conn. or western Mass. — my territory as Hartford correspondent, in other words — where courts returned children to the custody of known abusers?"
Mike Melia published at least one article in March 2011 about the imminent trial by some 90 Reardon victims who sued the institution where Reardon practiced medicine for 30 years, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, arguing that it failed to protect them.
Dr. Eli Newberger sent Mike Melia’s contact notes to Sunny Kelley on September 19, 2011, and she immediately contacted Michael Melia. "I am in the throes of a terrible case that is exactly what you describe you are looking for," Sunny Kelley wrote. "The evidence not only includes clear abuse of my child, but now also shocking testimony from court-appointed evaluators. Thanks in advance for your attention."
"I will let you know in case you’re interested in attending," Sunny Kelley followed up, after a short reply from Mike Melia indicating he would contact her soon, "that tomorrow morning is that last day of trial (day 13) scheduled in my divorce, and it should be interesting testimony from a very corrupt guardian ad litem. I look forward to speaking with you."
Subsequent to the September 19, 2011 contact, Mike Melia and Sunny Kelley had at least one phone conversation. On September 20, Ada Shaw also called Mike Melia and she also had at least one long conversation with him, followed up with an email to him on October 12 describing the egregious judicial abuse and her concerns for Max Liberti’s life.
"We had one long conversation, it was over an hour, where I gave him a good map of the case," says Sunny Kelley. "Certainly, not all the details in that amount of time but a good solid entry into the case. I think I also sent him some transcripts and maybe one of the reports. I was focusing his attention on Robson first, as he has the clearest lies and the easiest rhetoric to blast through."
Mike Melia dropped the story without a single publication. Amongst his regular AP byline stories published in both Connecticut newspapers (e.g. Hartford Courant) and national publications (e.g. Newsday) from the fall of 2011, there doesn’t appear to be a single story about sex abuse or judicial abuse in CT courts.
When I contacted Mike Melia on April 20, 2012, he was busy with a ‘breaking news’ story, and he took my name and number. When he called a few hours later, I told him I was working on a story about Family Courts in CT and, in particular, the Sunny Kelley story. I wanted to find out why he dropped the story. He remembered it, that he made clear.
"Have you followed Sunny Kelley’s case?" I asked.
"No. What are you preparing the story for?" he replied. Michael Melia behaved as most journalists behave when questioned with any rigor. First, he wanted to know who I was, although I had already told him my name twice, and given him the opportunity to search me on line after the first phone call.
I told him I was preparing the story for publication and then I asked him why he dropped the Sunny Kelley story. "I don’t think that is something that I want to talk about for publication," he replied.
I asked if he knew the current Susan Skipp case and if he has followed Sunny Kelley’s ongoing struggle. I asked why he hasn’t written anything about any of these many cases of judicial abuse like Sunny Kelley’s case or Susan Skipp’s case. I told him I was aware that Sunny Kelley contacted him last. "Did you know that her boy has been delivered to the alleged sex abuser?" I asked.
"No, but it’s a topic that is of interest to me," Michael Melia said. "I’ve got to clear my desk of other stories. We just don’t comment on stories we are working on."
"Are you working on a story about this," I asked?
"Can you agree that you won’t quote me for publication?" he again said.
"No, I would like to know why you dropped the Sunny Kelley story when it was such a clear case of sexual violence."
"I can’t continue this conversation." Michael Melia hung up.
The stories that needed to be cleared off Michael Melia’s desk after the phone calls from Sunny Kelley and Ada Shaw about Max Liberti being trafficked by CT Family Courts in September 2011 included a 1425 word story about the snow storm that interrupted Halloween. On September 12 and 13 and again on October 23, Michael Melia published some handy Pentagon propaganda pieces about how ROTC has been reintroduced at Yale and other ivy-league colleges. And, of course, there is no risk involved in writing about dead pedophiles like George Reardon.
"Nothing is more frustrating for police than not having Reardon here to sit in the dock," wrote Michael Melia, who finishes with a quote from West Hartford Police Capt. Donald Melanson, oddly ironic given the never ending examples of malpractice in support of pedophilia that can be found in the actions of the aged and senile Dr. Kenneth Robson. "He got away with it. He went to his grave with it. There isn’t any justice that can be served."
Of course, the TimesMirror Corporation owns the Hartford Courant and Hartford Advocate, and the members of the board of directors of the Associated Press Corporation are all executives from the major media corporations in the United States. Many of the George Reardon lawsuits were settled in 2011, but some 60 lawsuits remained, attended by scores of lawyers making sizeable profits on the settlements.
While major mass media corporations ignore the abuses against protective mothers — or slam them — they are simultaneously providing platforms for the abusive Father’s Manifesto movement. For example, attorneys with The Father’s Rights Foundation — which advertises their ability to ‘influence the judge in your case’ — have appeared onMSNBC, ABC.com and The O’Reilly Factor. Their entire web site spells out the program for fathers to destroy the children and their mothers. "Many Judges are not familiar with the legal field of fathers rights. They are bombarded however, with literature from feminist groups brainwashing Judges with false and misleading information about domestic violence and about the needs for issuing protective orders ex-parte, without the male being present. Seminars are held teaching Judges about domestic violence. They are invariably led by feminist man haters."
In fact, no one has ever reported on Sunny Kelley’s story. The closest anyone came to doing so was after Sunny Kelley’s former GAL Maureen Murphy appeared before the CT Judiciary Committee hearings on her nomination as a judge on February 22, 2012. Murphy was mildly questioned about several letters of compliant — one from Dr. Eli Newberger and one from Ada Shaw — slamming her for not protecting Max Liberti. During the public comment period afterwards, Ada Shaw and I provided public testimony about Maureen Murphy and Liberti v. Liberti.
Michael Nowacki also challenged the Committee on practice rules violations and illegal process, and he was escorted out of the courtroom by CT state police marshals for refusing to conclude his statement. In fact, the Judiciary Committee was silencing Nowacki, another traumatized victim of egregious judicial abuse in the Family Courts and of psychological abuse from Dr. Kenneth Robson.
"Attorney Maureen Murphy had delivered testimony as part of her sworn statement on the morning of February 22, 2012," Michael Nowacki wrote later, "indicating that she was one of three members of the Family Commission who participated in the structuring of Guardian Ad Litem and Attorney for the Minor Children training conducted in March 2011, which was conducted in advance of the adoption of Practice Book Rule 25-60a by the Rules Committee of the Judiciary."
Michael Nowacki has been illuminating the illegal behind-the-scenes activities of various commissions, individuals and government bodies, showing how the laws governing family court matters are being illegally and extra-judicially re-written to serve money and power interests.
That night the CT Mirror ran a story by Mark Pazniokas that at least reported the public criticisms against Maureen Murphy, and a letter sent by Dr. Eli Newberger, but basically backed up the Judiciary Committee nomination.
Attorney Maureen Murphy testifies at her nomination confirmation hearing before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee on February 22, 2012. (c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
The CT Mirror then cleared GAL Maureen Murphy in a subsequent story on February 23, 2012. "A friend of the boy’s mother and a pediatrician hired by the boy’s mother claimed that Murphy ignored evidence that the boy had been sexually abused," wrote Mark Pazniokas, in a triumph of investigative journalism that paid lip service to the courts. "But court records provided before the vote showed that Murphy was among a number of professionals involved in the case who saw no evidence of abuse. According to the record, the pediatrician never examined the boy."
Of course, the CT Mirror is a for-profit corporation with corporate and political motivations and interests, and these largely determine the focus, slant, timing and presentation of stories, along with the selection of experts and the exclusivity of their messages.
For example, the board of directors of the CT Mirror includes attorney Shelley Geballe, JD, MPH, the founding President of CT Voices for Children and now its Distinguished Senior Fellow. Curiously, Connecticut Voices for Children, a nationally recognized children’s advocacy organization, was co-founded by Janice Gruendel — Judge F. Herbert Gruendel’s wife and a tier one executive at the CT Department of Children and Families — who from 2004 to 2006 also served as co-president. Janice Gruendel is also one of the CT Mirror’s many individual sponsors.
Boardmember and attorney Stanley A. Twardy, Jr., JD, LLM, is a partner at the Day Pitney LLP law firm. He served as United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut (1985-1991) and Chief of Staff for Connecticut Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (1991-1993).
Former CT Mirror board member Jeannette B. Dejesus joined the cabinet of Governor Dannel P. Malloy in January 2011. She also served on the boards of Hartford Hospital, Hartford Health Care Corporation, Connecticut Voices for Children, and the Public Health Foundation of Connecticut. Please recall that the Institute of Living is owned by the Hartford Hospital/Hartford Health Care Corporation.
It’s clear that any coverage of family court issues by the CT Mirror would seek not to offend the good name and interests of someone like Janice Gruendel, an official with the CT Department of Children and Families. Said differently, Max Liberti can’t have been so egregiously violated as the public commenters charged, because that would suggest that the CT Department of Children and Families has ‘dropped the ball’ in Liberti v. Liberti and that judges like F. Herbert Gruendel and his wife Janice Gruendel would be implicated in wrongdoing.
Judges don’t do wrong, and neither do psychologists, and good reporters from an honest and unbiased media system would cover their momentary lapses in judgment if they did.
In May 2011 the CT Department of Children and Families brought false charges against ‘Mrs. Wilson’. Her ex-husband had already wrested full custody of the two children from her, but DCF harassed Mrs. Wilson for months. After nationally recognized protective mother’s advocate Dr. Karin Huffer sent a letter advising the court on Mrs. Wilson’s behalf, DCF suddenly dropped all charges. The courts were massively violating Mrs. Wilson’s Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) rights, and the letter said so.
When Mrs. Wilson appeared before Judge F. Herbert Gruendel at the Appellate court on March 21, 2012, Judge Gruendel should have recused himself: his wife Janice Gruendel was Deputy Commissioner of DCF and hearing Mrs. Wilson’s case was a conflict of interest given the DCF attack against Mrs. Wilson. Judge Gruendel was openly hostile and derisive and did not recuse himself. Again Judge Gruendel did not recuse himself after Mrs. Wilson filed a motion for him to do so before the April 17, 2012 hearing. Finally, on April 20, 2012, Judge Gruendel recused himself ’sua sponte’ — meaning: ‘I recused myself by my choice, not by your motion’. This was, at last, Judge Gruendel’s de facto admission of the conflict of interest.
Mrs. Wilson lost her case, and her assets were liquidated. Over time, with one problem after another, eight lawyers represented — or misrepresented — Mrs. Wilson, there were two GALs on the case, and two attorneys against DCF, costing well over $300,000. Attorney Debra Ruel was also a member of an October 2009 panel on Parental Alienation Syndrome sponsored by the Hartford County Bar Association’s Family Law Committee titled ‘Dealing With Alienation in Custody Cases’.
It’s not too late for a little girl name ‘Mary Hewlett’, but time is running out. ‘Grace Hewlett’ is another protective mother currently subject to the terrorism of the Connecticut family court system — she is terrified about retaliation for speaking with me and is unwilling to use her real name. Like Sunny Kelley, Grace Hewlett is a thirty-something mom who cannot stop the sexual abuses against her child ‘Mary’, by her former partner, who now has control of everything.
Grace Hewlett cannot make medical decisions. She cannot take six year-old ‘Mary’ to the doctor or to a therapist. "I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones," she says, comparing notes with other protective mothers. "I don’t feel so lucky, having to send my child to her abuser several times a week. The court took away all potential avenues of seeking help for my daughter. I had sole custody prior to a court decision that is jam-packed with inaccuracies and falsehoods."
Judge Lynda Munro was the final judge who delivered the decision. Grace Hewlett separated from her husband about five years ago, after he beat her while she was holding her six week-old girl, ‘Mary’. As the divorce moved forward the Father’s Manifesto thugs cranked into gear. Since then, the father has repeatedly assaulted little ‘Mary’. Grace Hewlett went through three lawyers, and in the end she got an order requiring her to deliver her daughter to a pedophile.
The custody evaluator was Dr. Sidney Horowitz. "He was rude and unprofessional and he scared my little girl," Grace Hewlett says. The GAL was attorney Rebecca Mayo-Goodrich, who refuses to communicate with mother Grace Hewlett but keeps regular contact with her ex-husband, even advising him about how to get the mother falsely arrested and falsely charged.
"I don’t know where my ex lives, other than he resides in Westchester, NY," says Grace Hewlett. "Recently my daughter told me that her father ‘babysits’ for his girlfriend’s ten year-old daughter. She said he plays ‘model’ with them and they pose in various states of undress as he takes photos. She says it’s not very fun when he makes them touch each other. I want to save her from whatever comes next. I’m sure this is just the beginning of the horror. She says that he puts his hands in her vagina and that he shows her his ’sausage’ and how it grows."
In fact, DCF investigated and did not substantiate the abuse against Mary Hewlett. Despite physical evidence, the abusive father turned the sexual abuse charge into a ‘he said, she said’ where DCF took the word of the father against a four year-old. "When he said that he put his hand in our daughter’s vagina to look for bug bites the DCF took him at his word," says Grace Hewlett. "Can I please wake up from my nightmare, NOW?"
THE ONGOING SAGA OF SUFFERING AND ABUSE
On February 2, 2012, Judge Lynda B. Munro stripped Sunny Kelley of virtually every last hope she had to protect her child from the man who is abusing him, and more. In the case of Liberti v. Liberti, sole custody of Max Liberti was awarded to his father, and Sunny Kelley’s visitation with her son Max was reduced to two and a half hours once a week, and an additional five hours every other week, and only then in the presence of a court appointed supervisor costing Sunny Kelley approximately $100 an hour. (The court actually awarded visitation for Sunny Kelley on Tuesday from 2:00-6:00 but Sunny was not allowed to pull Max out of school, and school doesn’t end until 3:30, and the court knew this.)
On February 2, Sunny Kelley was also ordered to surrender her passport to Nick Sarno before she could see her son Max. No passport, no child. Period. Sunny Kelley had already been forced to pay over $10,000 to the N. J. Sarno & Company to see her son Max. The latter situation constitutes extortion, and the order to surrender her passport to Sarno is in violation of federal law.
Sunny Kelley was also ordered to attend therapy sessions with her son Max and his therapist for an hour each week, at her own expense. During one of these last scheduled therapy sessions with her son, in February 2012, soon after Judge Lynda B. Munroe released the Liberti v. Liberti decision, Nick Sarno encouraged Sunny Kelley to take Max and a supervisor outside of her court-appointed time. This would have been in violation of court orders. Nick Sarno said that he would ‘take the heat’ in case anyone complained. Sunny Kelley declined, and she followed the court orders, recognizing later that Nick Sarno had attempted to entrap her.
As of March 6, 2012, Nick Sarno had eliminated all visitations between Sunny Kelley and her son Max pending his demands that she pay an outstanding balance of $10,880.
After the trial decision was released, Dr. John Collins squirmed his way off the Liberti case, and a therapist named Barbara Nordhaus was appointed for court mandated ‘therapeutic visitation’ between Sunny Kelley and Max. These sessions were intended for the therapist to report back to the court on Sunny Kelley’s progress in moving on — getting over and getting past her belief that her son Max has been abused. However, Robert Liberti convinced the new therapist Barbara Nordhaus that the outstanding balance of $10,880 had to be paid to Nick Sarno before she could meet with Sunny Kelley and Max. Apparently, there was no moral or ethical struggle on Barbara Nordhaus’ part. Nordhaus was also, it seems, taking her marching orders from Robert Liberti.
"I understand from Mr. Liberti that there is a financial problem and that has to be resolved before things can move forward," Barbara Nordhaus stated in a voicemail message left on Sunny Kelley’s phone on March 20, 2012. "I think it has to do with a bill that needs to be paid to the supervisory staff [N. J. Sarno & Company] or something. It is my understanding you will be paying for visits here. Also, my fee is $185 an hour. Please let me know."
Barbara Nordhaus never returned Sunny Kelley’s subsequent phone calls, and Sunny Kelley never got to see Max again through this therapist, or at all.
Contacted by phone on April 9, 2012, Barbara Nordhaus said she had never had any contact of any kind with Sunny Kelley or any other members of the family. Questioned about her participation in conspiring to force Sunny Kelley to pay Nick Sarno’s bill, Nordhaus denied everything. Challenged to take ethical responsibility, she fell back on ‘therapeutic privilege’ and indicated that she couldn’t talk about the case, and that she couldn’t even confirm that there was such a case.
Not only was she exercising improper protocols and demonstrating a conflict of interest, but when questioned on the phone about statements she had made, Barbara Nordhaus flagrantly lied. There was no concern for the child, only concern for her exorbitant fees. The denial of visitation between Sunny Kelley and Max Liberti based on payment owed to Nicholas Sarno amounts to extortion and racketeering.
Within minutes after receiving a phone call from me, Barbara Nordhaus was on the phone to Sunny Kelley, the first phone call she returned after three weeks of solicitations by Sunny Kelley. "My schedule at this time — so much time has passed and there’s so much confusion — I don’t think I’m going to be able to help you. I was extremely turned off by the call I received from the purported journalist. I regret it very much! I suggest you contact Dr. Collins and see what kinds of things can be done."
Susan Skipp (Tittle v. Tittle) had a similar experience in March 2012 when she requested all the records of her billings and case files from the custody evaluators Dr. Sidney Horowitz and Dr. Howard Krieger. First one then the other custody expert withdrew from Susan Skipp’s case, and not without further bullying or further billing. In October 2011, through a common third party acquaintance, a lawyer who met with Susan Skipp and expressed ‘interest’ in taking on Susan Skipp’s case propositioned her for sex in exchange for legal representation.
Torrington attorney Ira Mayo has already been twice sanctioned for soliciting legal representation in exchange for sex. In 2005, Mayo’s license was suspended for 15 months for soliciting sex from women referred to him by the Susan B. Anthony Project for Abused Women. His license was returned only on condition that he agreed not to be alone with women in his office. In 2010, Mayo’s unwanted sexual advances triggered a second investigation that brought his case before Middletown Superior Court Judge Robert L. Holzberg.
"This was another turning point for my psyche," said Susan Skipp on April 19, 2012. "Fucking my way out of getting fucked seems like ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’."
GAL Mary Brigham had taken no action to protect Susan Skipp’s eleven year-old daughter, who recently reported having suicidal thoughts, or her nine year-old son, who reported that his father was pulling him around by the hair on February 10, 2012. Instead, the GAL was reporting their complaints to their father, further terrorizing them. The judge did not recognize this as abuse on February 23, 2012 when Susan Skipp motioned for an attorney, someone to speak up for the children.
Shawn Tittle is a thoracic surgeon at Danbury Hospital with a long history of domestic violence and substance abuse problems in at least two states. On May 9, 2011, Shawn Tittle crashed his car into the Taco Bell in Danbury, CT. Arrested for driving under the influence, a reckless driving charge was later added. On April 18, 2012, following a full year of court dates, Shawn Tittle pled guilty to driving under the influence; he starts probation on May 9. At no time did the court consider the D.U.I. or the two open DCF investigations on Dr. Tittle into account when deciding the custody of the children and the elimination of their mother. Susan Skipp has no arrest record, no history of violence or substance abuse.
"I was railroaded again by an abuser and his hired guns," said Susan Skipp after another day up against the mafia of Connecticut courts on April 20, 2012. "The GAL is supposed to protect my kids, but she is clearly working as my ex-husband’s attorney. The judge ordered me to complete the custody evaluation right after court, flummoxed and all. I am just tired right now, physically and emotionally drained. They drag me back into court Monday to face five more motions from my ex-husband’s lawyer, including one forcing me into supervised visitation. I feel minimized. My children are dehumanized and sad that they are so truly invisible in this process. They are only visible as numbers with dollar signs to the industry."
Susan Skipp is about eight months behind Sunny Kelley in the process to destroy her. She has documented a horror story of abuse and criminality at every stage of her involvement with the CT courts and their cabal of professional experts. Her documentation is beyond belief or description, and it is so clearly verifiable: a testimonial to fraud, manipulation, criminality and injustice.
On April 26, 2012, the GAL Mary Brigham recommended Susan Skipp be forced into supervised visitation after receiving Drs. Horowitz and Krieger’s complaints that she was asking for her records. The ruse used against Susan Skipp was that she ‘threatened’ Drs. Horowitz and Krieger by requesting her billing records. The court also ordered that Susan Skipp — a perfectly healthy, reasonable, loving mother — must be subjected to a "Family Relations Report" — another tool used (like a ‘custody evaluation’ by one of the professional court-appointed quacks) to frame a protective mother. Given the patterns of judicial abuse she has witnessed, Susan Skipp is certain that the Family Relations Report will favor her former husband and further distance her from her children. The writing is all over the wall.
On April 26, 2012, after a long process of taking away Susan Skipp’s shared custody of her children, the court recommended sole physical and legal custody for Shawn Tittle, with supervised visitation at her own expense. Since then, the unofficial guardian ad litem, Mary Brigham, involved in terrorizing the children in Tittle v. Tittle, was bullying Susan Skipp daily.
Dr. Howard Krieger required a retainer of $2500.00 and $250 per session from Susan Skipp, and he billed her insurance. However, Dr. Krieger committed insurance fraud by using the bill codes for domestic violence. Dr. Horowitz also committed insurance fraud and malpractice: he saw two of Susan Skipp’s children, and made recommendations to the court on both of them, but he kept only one client chart. Moreover, for 19 months he diagnosed Susan Skipp’s daughter with a severe depressive mood disorder. Susan Skipp has not received any medical record and she does not have legal ability to change her daughter’s record. This diagnosis against the girl child is an example of the ritual pathologizing of women.
"I lost custody of my eleven year-old daughter and nine year-old boy to a man who was physically and emotionally abusive to his first wife and kid in Michigan and to me and our kids here in Connecticut." A strong and courageous woman, Susan Skipp weeps when she recounts her ordeal. "This man has written illegal prescriptions, taken illegal prescriptions, driven under the influence and plead guilty to it, and he has a lot of weapons, both legal and illegal, which my children have access to."
NO CHILD IN AMERICA IS SAFE
Supervised visitation is a racket. In Connecticut it is criminal racketeering, and it amounts to trafficking children like Max Liberti and the D’Angelo children and the Wiegand children and the Tittle children straight to their abusers. Abusive men put in a supervisory situation with the child are not likely to show up. It is financially beneficial to force the supervision on the mother, because there is no money to be made on supervised visitations with abusive men in a corrupt system.
Susan Skipp knows what’s coming, because her case is following the blueprint of the standard family court train wreck, with all the obvious warning signs, where she is but a passenger who in the end will be thrown down on the tracks and run over — her kids whistling by on a fast moving train with a criminal crew taking them somewhere they don’t want to go, ruining their lives in the process.
Another young woman caught up in the mafia of family court has quickly figured out the game plan of those out to get her. In April 2011, protective mother Bree Lebel initiated child support proceedings in CT Family Courts due to the hostility and belligerence from her child’s father. Bree Lebel is 31 years old and her child is only eighteen months. She’s concerned about retaliation, but she can see what has happened to other protective mothers and her case is following the same ugly Father’s Manifesto blueprint. She sees the train wreck, the train is out of her control, and she can’t get off it.
Her ex-partner’s lawyer is Donald Cantor (Hyman & Cantor), one of the many Connecticut ‘Super Lawyers’ mentioned herein who is involved in facilitating judicial abuse in family court. Donald Cantor bills at the rate of $375 per hour, and in custody cases he generally requests a retainer in the $5000 to $10,000 range. However, Bree Lebel’s ex-partner is a professional carpenter who is indigent and severely in debt, she says, and there is no way he could afford Donald Cantor without help from somewhere.
"Donald Cantor is a covert manipulative lazy greedy bum lawyer," says one protective mother, confirming the experience of others. "Attorney Cantor condones controlling and abusive behavior that causes more heartache and stress within the already broken family, all in the name of more money. I believe he encourages his clients to lie their way to win and to go as far as bribery."
"The story is that my ex-partner’s mother is financing this," said Bree Lebel. "My ex is very professional. I don’t have any money, I’m just getting back on my feet after the problem I had with this guy. He was not paying any bills. He’s trying to hide his long history of domestic violence including an arrest and the family courts are using parental alienation syndrome against me."
Early in 2011 Bree Lebel hired attorney Patricia O’Neill and soon enough the court had saddled her with attorney Kerry Tarpey as guardian ad litem. Bree Lebel fired attorney O’Neill after attorney O’Neill betrayed her interests. She later learned that attorney O’Neill supports the Father’s Manifesto agenda. But the worst development was when they started talking ‘Dr. Kenneth Robson’.
"We tried to mediate with my ex-partner," Bree Lebel says, "but all he could say was ‘No. I want Dr. Robson. I want Dr. Robson.’ There was no reasoning with him. His attorney Donald Cantor was the one who first brought Dr. Robson’s name to the table. Cantor and my ex- submitted the motion to get Dr. Robson in December."
In a pro se appearance before Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone, Bree Lebel bravely stood alone in the court and stated that she was concerned about Dr. Kenneth Robson.
"I couldn’t afford to hire another lawyer," says Bree Lebel. "I said, ‘Is it true that Dr. Robson overlooked evidence in the Wilkinson vs. Wiegand case?’ Judge Abery-Wetstone made a face as if I was crazy. She said that she presided over one of Linda Wiegand’s divorce proceedings. She rambled on and on, but she dodged the question. She made a comment that Linda Wiegand ran off with the two boys, and then she didn’t say anything more. The GAL stated that she did not see anything on the Internet about Dr. Robson. How can someone not see anything about Robson and the Wiegand case when it is plastered all over the Internet? Judge Abery-Wetstone paused for a minute, and then she said, ‘Dr. Robson it is’."
CT State Troopers escort Michael Nowacki out of the confirmation hearings for Attorney Maureen Murphy an others held before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee February 22, 2012. In his public statement, Michael Nowacki continued to challenge members of the Judiciary Committee for their sanction and participation in judicial abuse.
(c. keith harmon snow, 2012)
Attorney Donald Cantor’s history of involvement in very abusive cases goes as far back as Dr. Kenneth Robson’s history at the Institute of Living and attorney Louis Kiefer’s ties to the abusive Father’s Manifesto movement. The case here is Mende v. Collins, and the divorce process lasted from 1987 to 1991. At the time, Susan Mende was awaiting a social security determination for disability. Her husband, the defendant Frank Collins, owned and ran two huge car dealerships.
It’s the usual CT judicial abuse story, with a horrible twist or two. The husband was physically abusive against mother and sexually abusive against their daughter. The husband had a history of inappropriately touching his oldest daughter from a prior marriage. In 1988, Susan Mende filed an ex parte motion for a restraining order, complaining that her husband was sexually abusing their daughter and seeking to terminate visitation. On February 4, 1987 Susan Mende took her daughter to psychologist Dr. Donald Hiebel who testified in court in August 1990 that he had seen the child in some 90 sessions. Soon after he moved out of the home, the husband got a woman 28 years younger than him pregnant, in 1988, and this brought a third female child into the picture.
Dr. Donald Hiebel told Susan Mende that when he went into court he was going to say that at first he did not believe the sexual abuse charges involving their then three year-old child, but that she had convinced him. This was a strange position to take, Susan Mende thought. "He said he felt it would be more credible if he didn’t immediately accept what I said. He then presented in court that he felt that there had definitely been abuse."
The fallout from the divorce continued after her husband died in 2004, and it continues to this day. Frank Collins left $10,000,000 to be distributed equally among the three daughters: one daughter from his first marriage, one from the marriage with Susan Mende and the third from her husband’s affair with the younger woman. Unfortunately for Susan Mende’s daughter, the executor for the father’s estate, Joseph Broder, was also the lawyer who represented Frank Collin’s in his divorce from mother Susan Mende. This conflict of interest was ignored by the probate judge, and although Frank Collins died in 2004, to this day his daughter has not received the full distribution from the estate, despite the will stipulating that she receive her due on her 26 year-old birthday (two years ago).
While he was alive, Frank Collins was paying for their daughter’s Yale education. Upon his death, attorney Broder refused to pay for this daughter’s education anywhere, as stipulated in Frank Collins’ will. Susan Mende’s daughter — a brilliant linguist and talented singer — could not complete college. However, attorney Broder did pay for the Frank Collins’ youngest daughter’s education, at a school of her choice. Susan Mende speculates that attorney Broder’s discrimination against her daughter may have been due to the charges of sexual abuse. Attorney Broder was known to be openly hostile to Susan Mende, and he frequently slandered her, in court and throughout the town of Colchester where she lives.
Donald Cantor (Cantor and Klau) was Susan Mende’s lawyer for most of the trial. While meeting in his office, she was seriously injured when one of the chairs collapsed and ruptured two of her spinal discs. When she tried to recover from injuries sustained in Donald Cantor’s office, Cantor became adversarial, forcing her to change attorneys.
"I was unemployed, I was disabled, and destitute. I had given Donald Cantor $35,000 in fees, and then he sued me for an additional $100,000. His goal was to take possession of my home, a practice which he and his partner Arnold Klau had developed a reputation for — taking clients homes when they ran out of money due to his charging unjustifiable and excessive fees."
Since 2004, the money left to Susan Mende’s daughter has been denied her in one flagrant violation of the child’s rights, and her ex-husband’s will, after another. Susan Mende has recently learned that her daughter will only be getting something less than $300,000. Meanwhile, attorney Joseph Broder has turned his executor position into a profitmaking venture from which he has paid himself and his associated accountants upwards of $945,000.
"I believe the judge in my divorce case was paid by my husband and Joseph Broder to influence the outcome of my divorce. Despite my disability and a stipulated value of $2,350,000 for our joint property, the judge threw out the stipulation and declared my husband’s two phenomenally lucrative businesses worthless. I was awarded only the residence with liens equaling more than $100,000, four years of non-modifiable alimony, and a nominal child support award."
In order to get any support from her trust, Susan Mende’s daughter has had to hire her own lawyer to fight the executor Joseph Broder for access to the funds allocated to her by her father’s will. Meanwhile, attorney Joseph Broder has been spending her trust money to pay himself for withholding her own funds from her. In addition to paying attorney Broder’s fees against her, Susan Mende’s daughter has spent over $50,000 of her own money, fighting Joseph Broder for the past eight years. The fight continues.
Susan Mende’s 28 year-old daughter has been on social security disability since she was 18 years old. While her father was still alive, the court ordered the daughter’s file to be sealed. Since his death, the file has become public, removing any protection that Susan Mende’s daughter would have had.
"My first attorney Donald Cantor had my case from July 2006 until I fired him at the end of March 2007," says protective mother Elizabeth Richter. "Cantor appointed Dr. James C. Black as my custody evaluator. He did immense harm and damage to my case, setting a precedent and making deals in those early months that I was unable to break. The opposing attorney in my case, Attorney Edith McClure, apparently had Attorney Cantor advise her in her own divorce. So the relationships were all very incestuous. Attorney Cantor charged me $60,000 and I still can’t figure out what he is supposed to have done for it."
A LIFE SENTENCE OF SUFFERING
Half a million dollars of Sunny Kelley’s investments, seeded from pre-marital assets disappeared into thin air. Somewhere around $500,000 of her mother and father-in-law’s assets also disappeared into thin air. Robert Liberti and his lawyer Noah Eisenhandler captured and disbursed over $1,000,000 of the Kelley family’s money. The entire process was designed at the outset to break and destroy Sunny Kelley and deliver Max over to his alleged abuser.
Sunny Kelley has not seen or heard a word from her son Max since the last week of February, and that was a supervised visitation run by Nick Sarno. In reality, it was a hostage situation, where Sunny and her son were the hostages.
Judge Maureen Murphy is also part of the lucrative training program for CT guardians ad litem. In fact, the state of CT guardian ad litem training programs also rely on the ‘expertise’ of Dr. Kenneth Robson. In these expensive training programs Maureen Murphy and Dr. Robson claim over and over that it is ‘in the best interests of the child’ to keep families together and maintain joint custody, at least. In practice, they do exactly the opposite: Dr. Kenneth Robson and Dr. Sidney Horowitz almost always recommend sole custody, and most often it is with the abusive father.
"We are planning on challenging Judge Lynda Munro’s GAL training curriculum," says one advocate working inside the CT legal system to expose the judicial abuses against mothers and children. "All of these cases begin with domestic violence. Statistics show that a batterer is very likely to also abuse the children. Batterers have proven to be manipulative to the point of gathering many supporters by convincing them that he is a good guy and the mother is just crazy. The dynamics of domestic violence and batterer’s tactics to gain control are very complicated and most people don’t understand them. So how can you assign someone with only a couple of hours of training on domestic violence to assess parenting at the same level, making her part of the problem, unless you had a specific outcome in mind, i.e. making sure that the father gets access."
And Lori Handrahan: did you miss her? With all the cases and all the names I have thrown at you, the reader, did you begin to wonder if you would hear more about the case of Lori Handrahan and the trafficking of her daughter Mila in Maine? Like Lori Handrahan, and little Mila, these mothers and their stories risk slipping off into oblivion, something that a few people talked about, once upon a time, and caused a few others to shake their heads, stories that will be all but forgotten, unless people take action to help them.
All over the United States people are waking up to the madness and injustices of Family Courts. What are needed in Connecticut and Maine are grand juries and indictments against the top players in this dark alliance of abuse, power and private profit. At the federal level there needs to be a special investigation into the black hole of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding and allocations.
The questions are, for example, how much have custody evaluators, guardians ad litem and lawyers, double or triple billed through corrupt systems coordinated by the court? How are insurance companies involved, either in defrauding parents going through divorce and custody proceedings, or in themselves being defrauded by custody evaluators or other gatekeepers involved in the racketeering and child trafficking?
And what happens to the children who live through the trauma and abuse? One survivor of sexual, abuse authorized and facilitated by the Connecticut courts, grew into a beautiful young woman of superior intelligence, a genius. She is in her late twenties, and life is a series of trials and tribulations, but it is also one long episode of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. At enormous personal sacrifice, her mother did everything she could to protect her. She has a boyfriend but they do not have sex and she has never kissed a man. She has three sleep disorders. She is brilliant, and she is courageous, but she was first abused, and then violated, by a system that was supposed to protect her.
We don’t want and we don’t need any more secretive investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, or the Attorney General of the United States; we need transparency and citizen involvement alongside these special investigators who must be empowered to pry open the closets of judicial abuse, unseal the ‘confidential’ files packed with juicy evidence of corruption, and bring about immediate relief to these mothers. Lawyers need to be debarred and judges arrested.
Dr. Kenneth Robson and his PAS colleagues should be prosecuted for very real crimes, along with Judge Lynda Munro and attorney Louis Kiefer, and others. Dr. Robson belongs in a psychiatric evaluation, in a psych ward, not as doctor, but as patient — where he can no longer hatch his nasty little theories about the sexual licentiousness of honest and caring mothers, and where he will be the only victim caught in his viscous little webs of perversion spun to support pedophiles and prey on innocent children. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and in this case, insanity breeds insanity.
"The solution to this mess as I see it is to bring all contested custody cases before a jury," says Anne D’Angelo, the Connecticut mother whose only way out was to flee with her kids. "Custody juries would save parents and taxpayers money by eliminating many court run programs while safeguarding parental rights. Our forefathers devised jury trials to avoid tyranny and corruption. They thought a man’s freedom was important enough to warrant a jury of his peers. This decision usually involves a few years of his life. A custody decision is always a life sentence. A child’s view of the world and behavior in it, how happy and how successful he becomes is determined by his upbringing. I think a person about to receive a life sentence deserves as much consideration as a person with a few years on the line."
Other experts like Cynthia Cheatham and Joyanna Silberg say jury trials do not solve the problem. They have these in many states and the same patterns exist, regardless of whether the decision is made by the judge or by a jury.
On May 11, 2007, ten mothers, one victimized child, now an adult, and leading national and state organizations filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Their petition claimed that U.S. courts, by frequently awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and their children.
On August 17, 2011, the IACHR released recommendations on the case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. the United States. The IACHR found that the United States is committing human rights violations against battered mothers and children. Their recommendations are to give restitution to Jessica for her tragic loss and to develop laws and policy that protect battered mothers and children.
Of course, it is not only mothers and children who are suffering. There are good men who are also being destroyed by judicial abuse in Family Courts, though the percentages are far fewer. Even those who are sick, mentally and psychologically distraught, and angry, are victims, because we live in a permanent warfare economy where men and boys everywhere receive socially coded and overt messages encouraging them to commit violence, from football, or pornography, or the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. We are all the victims of such injustices, and the silence and complicity in supporting violent abusers only creates more violence and more abuse and more violent abusers.
Lori Handrahan is counting on our help. Sunny Kelley is unsure what to do next, but she is counting on your help. Elizabeth Richter is desperate for relief. Ms. Donovan and Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Wilson and Grace Hewlett and so many of these protective mothers are quite literally praying out loud to God that someone will stand up for them and overturn their cases and right these injustices. Susan Skipp — well, her train is about to crash. Bree Lebel’s train is roaring down the tracks. Linda Wiegand remains a fugitive from judicial injustice as you read these words. These women and their children are at the mercy of our compassion. ~