Another Abusive “Domestic Violence” Shelter/ Alleged “Non-for-Profit” Referral Factory for Social Services and Fraudulent Family and Juvenile Courts Sells Out
This story is about grave injustices that endanger millions of children around the world. There is an epidemic of family court judges deliberately disregarding and covering up physical violence and sexual abuse and granting custody to abusive fathers. Meanwhile good, protective mothers and children are being torn apart, deprived of any meaningful, sometimes any, relationship with each other.
Following is my own story, one of thousands. Despite my abusive “ex” admitting that he went after the boys to hurt me, the judge disregarded all the evidence of his violence and gave him custody. My children are now not only being abused, but also being lied to, manipulated and turned against me. I have been rendered powerless in a system that appears to be designed to prioritize fathers’ rights over children’s safety. I would never have believed this could happen in the United States in the third millennium.
October 2009 I left my abuser, Stan. My sons (David 9 and Connor 9 at the time) and I moved to our own home in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Stan escalated so much that I frequently needed police assistance. He harassed us and continued to hit the children. Department of Children and Families became involved January 2009 when the first filing of abuse was filed and substantiated. At the advice of the police, I secured a restraining order in December. It was a temporary order and I went back to court December 30 to have it extended. I told the judge he did everything to me but hit me and he hit my sons. She scared me and my ex glared at me; judge did not extend it.
In retaliation (during restraining order) Stan filed for custody and used the courts to intimidate and control. Lawyers were assigned to my sons who became manipulated by Stan. I filed for divorce June 2010 and the case was transferred to a divorce track. Stan’s abuse continued and he escalated more by August. DCF sent me to probate court to talk with a domestic violence advocate who helped me file for a restraining order. Judge would not give it consideration; it was a waste of her time.
September 13, 2011 we divorced by agreement; I had full physical custody of children and we had shared custody. He held me hostage by demanding a detailed visitation schedule. November 1 my sons and I went to a domestic violence shelter in the Boston, Massachusetts area 90 miles away from West Springfield. November 3 my friend Helen called me to report that Stan was looking for us: called her reportedly and showed up at her workplace. She secured a prevention of harassment from him (judge has a copy). The same day I called the social worker to inform her that we were out of the area in a safe house in the eastern part of the state; she called Stan the same day and gave him the information.
Stan filed an emergency Habeas Corpus claiming “[I] was distraught since the death of my dad and that my sons were not safe with me.” My dad died October 15 and I was affected very little for I had very little to do with him. Stan gave false information reporting that he showed up at the school November 7 to pick up boys for his visit per court order and that “he did not know we were out of the area.”
Despite Stan’s lies the judge ordered my sons handed over to him (while in the court room) for an extended visit. She vacated our divorce and gave him temporary custody. Her reason: claiming I needed permission of court to move (only needed if move out of state), that only West Springfield could administer Connor’s IEP (by law all school systems must administer an IEP), and that he needed to be near his therapist (that I took him to and Stan did not). My sons and I were shattered. They did not want to live with Stan.
By law the judge is to conduct an evaluation at 90 days when there is a change of custody; judge never did one. Within 3 weeks Stan assaulted Connor and a filing of abuse was filed. Connor filed his own police report. Connor’s attorney withheld the report and Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) refused to look at it.
December 3, 2012 was a divorce trial. I was pro se and did not know what I was doing. Legal Aide would not take the case and did not tell me until 3 weeks before the trial. The legal advocate at the “domestic violence” shelter did not meet with me until a week before the trial. Advantage I had was that I knew what to ask Stan since I know him so well. At the trial, Stan, my “ex” testified to being abusive and neglectful, showing up at the DV shelter so I would lose my housing and more. I testified of assault by Stan to my sons and me. I reminded the court that I have always been primary care giver of boys. Court ordered evaluation states that Stan is abusive and cannot parent for more than a few days at a time and that there should not be a change in custody (boys were in my custody at the time).
Divorce judgment gave Stan full custody of boys, able to claim both boys on taxes. I have to pay child support. Communication is to be primarily by email (only thing I got). Division of pensions did not equally divide assets. Judge’s reason: that I was erratic (going to a DV shelter and judge cited a case where a mother kidnapped her kids and fled to Lebanon). I filed an appeal and it went before the panel October 6, 2014 and they affirmed judge’s decision. October 20 I submitted a letter requesting a hearing.
October 2013 I filed three contempt charges against Stan: withholding information about service providers for boys, not communicating primarily by email but harassing me on the phone instead and for not completing the DRO. He admitted to being guilty to all charges. Judge’s response to the first: you got information eventually, didn’t you? Response to the second: do you have proof? (Never mind he admitted to the contempt.) The third: he was found guilty but he was not given a consequence. The percentage in the divorce judgment did not equally distribute his pension and I reported this. Judge’s response, “You are doing an appeal, include it.”
January 2014 DCF placed David in a residential program that day after Stan assaulted him. Forty-five (45) days later David was placed back with Stan. June Stan filed a CRA against David in juvenile court when there are no grounds for it. David is not a behavior problem. Police Sargeant even states that Stan is a bully who hates anyone who stands up to him. I have raised my sons to be confident. Stan gave DCF temporary custody of David in June when he extended the CRA (out of spite). As long as I don’t have custody Stan wins and I lose. He admitted he went after the boys to hurt me.
Connor is morbidly obese, at risk of being over medicated and at a special school for his intense individualized education plan, or, “IEP” pursuant to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, revised as ADAA. Both boys have symptoms of “PTSD” and depression. They are over serviced. Judge ignores these facts. She only focuses on Stan’s parental rights and ignores mine and the safety of my sons.
June I filed an emergency modification for custody of my sons due to continued abuse and David being placed in four foster homes and a residential program in the course of five days in June. David was at the residential program for another three (3) months. Modification went before judge July 10th. I had in hand evidence of the abuse and professionals stating that boys cannot thrive in his custody. Judge wouldn’t listen to it. She scheduled a pretrial for October 22. Last week she scheduled another pretrial for February.
While Stan has had custody of David and Connor he has continued to abuse them. They are now afraid to speak up and Stan has alienated me from my sons, doing his best to destroy our relationship. It is baffling to me that DCF, screens out all filings of abuse against Stan, especially when there is evidence. I have become vilified and I do not know why. I have not been found to be abusive.
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