Background: I reported numerous times to the Guardian ad Litem “JM”, the custody evaluator and included in my affidavits the long history of physical and emotional abuse Mr. X perpetrated on my son. No one listened, or I got in trouble for reporting… here is just one of many examples of how the abuse of my children continued AFTER Hennepin County family court awarded custody to the alleged abuser.
My son DJ received most of the physical abuse because he fought back against his father, he also has behavioral and emotional issues that put him at a higher risk for abuse. The GAL, “JM”, told me that I need to stop reporting abuse because “I am just making Mr. X look bad.” Mr. X has a very close relationship with JM, he has her cell phone number programmed into his phone. Once he got mad at me, and I witnessed Mr. X push a button on his phone, dialing JM, to complain to–and this was outside of normal business hours. When we go to court- ALWAYS–JM sits in the private room with Mr. X and his allegedly sleazy attorney Peter Banning (like the attorney from the movie “Hook” with that name).
Last summer, JM was dismissed as GAL from our case, and when Mr. X got arrested for his 3 open warrants, JM personally made an effort to help him, even though she had no legal justification to do so. JM refuses to return my phone calls (even when it is an urgent matter), will not talk to witnesses with important information, and finds every ridiculous, even delusional excuse, to sabotage my relationship with my children by unfairly denying my parenting time and custodial rights. It is obvious she has a bias towards Mr. X, and is totally incapable of representing my children’s “best interests”.
March 2010: I picked my children up for a visit, and my son DJ was tearful and very sensitive–he got upset easily. DJ said his dad was “crabby” the night before, and when he was doing homework, they got into a verbal argument with some shouting involved. At bedtime, the fighting escalated, and Mr. X pushed DJ onto the bed. In the morning, Mr. X still was crabby. DJ was afraid and hid in the corner (of the bed), Mr. X. got angry and pulled him by the legs off the bed. No words to describe what it is like to be a parent forced to return your child to an abusive or unsafe situation-and then, with the forced separation, your children begin to slip away and identify with the abuser…horrific beyond comprehension.
Later that night, DJ went to his children’s support group for kids dealing with divorce, and told his counselor about the incident. The counselor spoke to a supervisor, who then called CPS. CPS decided not to take action.
When I put DJ to bed, he showed me his legs, which had several bruises up an down his legs. And told me “Dad tackled me”. I believed what DJ said because it is consistent with behavior I had seen previously. I was concerned so I took photographs of both legs, there were bruises up and down each leg.
I reported the incident to the school counselor, because my son feels comfortable talking with her, and I thought because of the contentious history in family court, and my sensitivity to the abuse we suffered, it would be good to get a second opinion on the issue from someone who is unbiased, and has experience and knowledge working with kids. The school counselor talked to my son, saw the bruises then called the police. I was called at work by the police, and asked to come into the station for an interview–which I did.
The police also interviewed my daughter, JJ, who said:
- Her brother and father got into an argument two nights ago
-(At the time of the argument) Her brother was lying by her, and being nice to her, and her dad yelled at him
-She did not know what her brother did wrong
-They were supposed to go to bed and then her dad pushed her brother down
-He pushed her brother onto the bed, DJ did not seem hurt
-She went to bed and did not see anything else
My son also was interviewed, he was reported as being “calm and collected and playing with Legos”. The officer probably was not aware of DJ’s psychological issues, that DJ is reported to become dissociated at times. Therapists also report that DJ has an ability to completely suppress his thoughts and feelings, he can mimic what he feels an adult expects of him, and hide his true thoughts and feelings. Since DJ was a toddler, Mr. X would not allow him to show his true feelings or emotions, he was yelled at, hit, called names, pinned to the floor, hogtied and more…DJ learned to hide his emotions at a young age, holding things in until he explodes. That DJ appeared calm does not mean he is calm.
DJ said this, in a separate interview where his sister was not present:
-He was lying on the bed petting his sister’s hair
-They were getting along and playing nice
-His dad came in and started yelling at him
-He does not remember what was said (common when DJ dissociates, usually out of fear)
-His dad “tackled” him onto the bed
-He was not hurt
-He does not know why his dad tackled him
-In the morning he got out of bed and ate breakfast
-His dad yelled at him
-He did not remember what his dad said
-His dad grabbed him by the leg and pulled him out of bed
-He does not know why his dad did that
During the conversation, DJ did not show any emotion and continued to play with his Legos. The officer looked at the bruises, determined they are light in color and not consistent with being grabbed on the legs. The officer thought DJ injured himself while playing.
Mr. X was also interviewed by police and reports the following:
-Mr. X had the children up later than usual (at the time he was supposedly in college, fulfilling a lifelong dream and taking classes to be a radio deejay; why a man in his late 40’s who does not even listen to popular music, and has two children to support, wants to be a deejay is beyond me…must be a manifestation of his personality disorder, diagnosed by the court psych eval)
-Mr. X allowed the children some playtime before bed then sent them both to their beds
-Mr. X heard some giggling and saw that JJ was in DJ’s room
-He told the kids in a stern voice that it was bedtime
-DJ would not let JJ go (this directly contradicts what both children reported to two separate adults, at two different times. DJ repeated his story a total of 3 times, all with no variation)
-He had to put his hand on DJ’s chest and said,”Let JJ go now”. (Does that make sense? Allegedly, my son is holding onto his sister, and will not let go. How does my son position his body, while holding onto his sister, in such a way that Mr. X can put his hand on his chest? And why would you push on his chest and not try to separate the children in any other way–such as giving a warning or using a distraction method? Pushing on DJ’s chest or using force could also potentially hurt my daughter, especially if she were being held onto like Mr. X reports; doesn’t make sense. Kids play around, they get silly–what made Mr. X rise to the level of pushing on DJ’s chest?)
-DJ fell back on the bed and was screaming and crying in a usual tantrum way (If Mr. X did not threaten or hurt DJ why is he screaming and crying, and showing distress?)
-He did not strike DJ in the chest or tackle him (BOTH kids are liars. Such good liars their story does not change, even when interviewed separately so one child does not know what the other is saying!?! My son DJ made the report the night prior, talking to me privately then to his counselor. My daughter JJ made her report the following day…what a remarkable coincidence that both children’s stories match each other, but somehow don’t add up with what their father is reporting!)
-He was trying to hold DJ back to get him to let go of his sister (Again, contradicts what the children report and does not make sense. If Mr. X pushed DJ on the chest, and DJ did not let go, his sister would also be pushed onto the bed. And why would you push a child in the chest to tell him to let go of his sister? Why not offer a bedtime story instead? Or bedtime music, which is known to soothe my son. Why not use distraction–like first person to stop playing around can chose the bedtime story, or sleep in an extra 5 minutes in the morning? Why not give a warning first, with a consequence? Why not just laugh, and say something like ‘Ok kids, time for bed.’ Why this extreme response? It does not make sense.)
-He did not have any problems getting DJ ready that morning
-There were some issues the previous morning
-He did not remember an incident where he grabbed DJ by the legs and dragged him out of bed
-He generally punishes the children with time out or loss of privileges (Mr. X recently admitted he thinks it’s okay to use force on DJ, even to cause physical injury, in order to gain control of him.)
-He is working on getting further help and treatment for DJ (Mr. X terminated DJ’s psychiatric care, and abruptly stopped all medications. When an assessment was recommended for Aspberger’s, Mr. X also refused that. He also refused to get DJ a psychological assessment for over 2 years until finally the school stepped in to intervened.)
-Mr. X thinks DJ has Aspberger’s (Then why did you terminate his psychiatric care and stop his medications? Why do you refuse to allow the therapist conducting the assessment to have full access to all of DJ’s medical records? Why do you lie about DJ’s behaviors? Why do you lie to therapists and make false allegations about me? Why do you refuse to allow me to talk to the therapists or participate in the assessment process? How is this “helping” DJ?)
I also find it strange that since this incident happened, Mr. X began to sleep in the bed with both children–these children are around 8 and 10 years old. I don’t know what happened but my son, who was at one time sleeping successfully in his own bed, but became scared to sleep in his own bed. Suddenly, and without warning, my son developed such strong nighttime fears, and attachment to his father, that he could no longer cope staying over night at my house. Mr. X then went to Court and used this to justify taking away my parenting time. I gave both children an air mattress, sleeping bags, a portable mattress, soft blankets and stuffed animals to encourage them to sleep in their own beds. Most of the stuff I gave them wound up in a garbage pile in the garage or went missing.
I hope my kids, who are nearly teenagers, are sleeping in their own beds now. The kids report their new house has a master bedroom for Mr. X with his own bath. Mr. X will not use his bathroom and insists on going down the hall, and using the children’s bathroom. The kids are grossed out, and state he leaves the bathroom a mess. My children are pre-teens, they deserve their privacy!
Mr. X denies that DJ has any problems in his home, and says instead that all of DJ’s psychological problems are caused by visiting me, which cannot be true because now I only get 1 visit a month. I just received a school report noting that DJ is having severe problems in school….and I wonder how bad it really is in Mr. X’s home. Since the Guardian JM refuses to investigate, and refuses to interview witnesses or collect documentation, I doubt I will ever know the full truth. I just know this is not normal, and I fear for the safety and well-being of my children.
– Emily Court, August 2014