Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children.
On February 21, 1992, Rhode Island Family Court's Chief Judge Jeremiah Jeremiah gave this two-year-old to the sole custody and possession of her father despite his history of domestic violence and failure to pay child support. The father, a police officer, brought false charges against his ex-wife, first saying she was a drug addict. (Nineteen random tests proved she was not.) Then he had her arrested for bank fraud, then for sexual abuse, then for kidnapping. None of his charges stuck.
Despite all these false accusations against the mother, she never accused the father of sexually abusing their child, for there was no such evidence. Good parents do not subject their children to the ordeal of an investigation unless the children themselves show signs they are being sexually abused.
The child remained with her father and stepmother until 2003, when she was 14 years old. Having realized during a visit that her mother was not a drug addict, the teenager persuaded another judge to let her live with her mother. There she began working on the painful issues of lifelong coercion and emotional abuse. Most painful has been her father’s continuing refusal to let her visit two dearly loved half-sisters, whom she has not seen since 2003.
She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court. After she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
In August 2007, Family Court and DCYF separated two sisters from each other more than five hundred days after taking them from an excellent home. They placed the sisters first in foster care, then in a state shelter. Finally they gave the younger one to the very person she had identified as sexually abusing her--their father. State officials sent the older sister to yet another foster home.
For a while the sisters saw each other and their mother for two hours a week in an office of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). For the past three Mother's Days, the State has forbidden them to see the mother that both girls adore.
In July 2007, we had mounted the Custody Scam blog to alert and inform Rhode Island legislators about this case. We documented the ways in which the supposedly unbiased guardian ad litem was working with the father's defense attorneys, clinicians and DCYF lawyers. Together, they succeeded in removing these girls on April 7th, 2006, from an outstanding mother and the only home they had ever known. They were 5 and 9 years old. (Ironically, the judge's name means "Mother" in German, and the judge has forbidden the girls to speak Swiss-German for fear their mother will use it to "alienate" them against their father. Meanwhile, the father has insisted that his younger daughter learn French and go to France with him.)
DCYF lawyers also worked through Judge John Mutter at the Rhode Island Family Court to suppress this blog even though that court has no authority over the Parenting Project. More about that history is reported here:
Since then, a new blog appears under the name Rhode Island's Little Hostages:
Posted by Parenting Project at Thursday, May 15, 2008
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About the Author and the Cause
Parenting Project is a volunteer community service provided since 1996 by Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. The coordinator, Rev. Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter for battered women and their children, researches and writes about official actions that endanger children and parents trying to protect them. The goal is to create an effective child protective system. Comments and corrections may be sent in an email with no attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org