FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contacts: Connie Valentine 916-233-8381
May 3, 2010 Kathleen Russell 415-250-1180
MOTHERS OF LOST CHILDREN TO GATHER FOR
WHITE HOUSE VIGIL ON MOTHERS DAY
12 Noon Press Conference with Grieving Moms from Across America
Mothers from across America who have lost their children because family courts ordered them into full custody or unsupervised visitation with their alleged abusers will gather for their first silent vigil at 11:00 am on Mothers’ Day, May 9, 2010 in front of the White House.
"We decided that Mother’s Day was the perfect time to stand vigil in front of the White House with mothers from all over America whose children are either dead or living in harm’s way because of the broken family court system," said Connie Valentine, the vigil organizer and Co-founder of the California Protective Parents Association.
Experts at the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence estimate that more than 58,000 children each year are either placed into dangerous homes or forced to go on unsupervised visits with their alleged abusers by divorce courts that simultaneously deny the children’s safe, protective parents access to their sexually and physically abused children.
The 11am silent vigil and 12noon press conference will take place in front of Lafayette Square, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of the Beltway Sniper, will join grieving mothers who recently appeared on the Dr. Phil Show’s Crisis in the Family Courts. California mother Katie Tagle, whose nine-month old baby Wyatt was murdered by his father, and Illinois mother Amy Leichtenberg, whose two school-aged children Duncan and Jack were murdered by their father, will share their tragic stories of desperately trying to keep their children alive. Advocates Kathleen Russell from the Center for Judicial Excellence and Eileen King from Justice for Children, who have been closely monitoring this escalating crisis for years, will discuss their work to expose and remedy the most under-reported human rights scandal in the United States.
These mothers of lost children are soccer moms, kindergarten teachers, physicians, flight attendants, dentists and homemakers. Most of them are middle class, educated and ordinary. They are safe, loving mothers (not addicts or abusers) who have been rendered powerless to protect their children from court-ordered child abuse. Most are battered women who tried to flee domestic abuse to save their children, only to end up mired in our nation’s family courts, unable to protect them at all.
"America’s Moms are coming to the President and First Lady to request a federal investigation into these horrific civil and human rights abuses. I need to make sure that that no parent has to ever go through this incredible pain again, and that my Duncan and Jack’s deaths mean something, " said Amy Leichtenberg.
A cottage industry of mental health professionals and attorneys with cozy relationships with family court judges routinely bankrupt families with enormous court-ordered fees and often recommend that children be placed with their sexually or physically abusive fathers. Family court judges frequently ignore evidence of abuse, refuse to hear direct testimony from the children, and rubberstamp their cronies’ recommendations.
Nurturing mothers are forced to pay costly fees to attend supervised visits with the children they raised, watching helplessly as their children continue to report abuse by their abusers to uncaring visitation monitors. Mothers who speak out about system failure often face judicial retaliation and lose what little time they have with their children. The unregulated cottage industry churns away, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to experts, while some of the worst cases settle only when the children turn 18. This is a national epidemic that is destroying families across America.
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