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In a very sad saga, a woman named Katie Marie Tagle dated a man named Stephen Garcia and had a baby with him. Katie Marie has said that he abused her throughout their entire relationship.

She broke up with him, became involved with another man, and had to go to family court over custody and visitation of their infant son, Wyatt.

Stephen, enraged over Katie leaving him, began making multiple threats to take Katie’s life and the baby’s life and continued to be violent toward Katie, at one point proposing to her and then physically knocking her down during a child exchange.

Upon receiving these threats, Katie went to court to seek restraining orders, each of which the judges denied indicating that they believed Katie was lying to gain advantage in the pending custody proceedings.

The day after the third courtroom denial, Stephen sent Katie an e-mail containing a story called “Necessary Evil.”

The story describes in detail Katie’s and Stephen’s relationship, and in the end, the story has two endings. In “Happy Ending,” the female character returns to the man. In “Tragic Ending,” the character takes his son to a lake, puts him to sleep with Benadryl and the baby dies. “He will have a better life with you then (sic) we can give him here,” the man tells God before taking his own life.

Katie called 9-1-1 after reading the story, and the responding deputy immediately went to the courthouse and obtained an emergency restraining order for her.

However, in Victorville court Jan. 14, Judge Robert Lemkau would not uphold the restraining order and ordered Katie to immediately give Wyatt to Stephen, as it was the day his scheduled visitation was to begin.

The judge made it clear that he believed Katie was lying to gain an unfair advantage in custody proceedings. Then, instead of ensuring the child’s safety in the event the mother might be right, the judge decided to err on the side of endangering the child by ordering that the baby immediately be handed over unsupervised to the man who repeatedly threatened to take the child’s and the mother’s lives in writing.

Here is the incredible transcript to that hearing.

http://photos.vvdailypress.com/files/multimedia/soundslides/Court.pdf

This is nothing unusual. This goes on in courts all the time. In the presence of a custody dispute, judges routinely believe that anyone claiming abuse is doing so to gain unfair advantage in cutody proceedings, and routinely order the child then placed with the abuser, regularly going so far as to completely deny custody or visitation to the reporting parent.

What is unusual in this case is that within 10 days of that hearing, Stephen took Wyatt up into the mountains and killed the baby and himself, just as he had repeatedly warned.

Here is a detailed version of this story:

http://www.mountain-news.com/articles/2010/02/04/news/news1.txt

Murder-Suicide Note by CA Man Was Posted on Net

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A judge in Wisconsin has ordered a mother jailed because her daughter will not comply with a court order to live every other week with an abusive father. The mother was ordered jailed 30 days or until the daughter complies and taken into custody immediately after the last court hearing where she presented evidence that the daughter is “terrified of going; she has night terrors and severe anxiety.”

Can this really be permitted to occur, using our nation’s judiciary power? Shouldn’t we have oversight procedures to ensure children are safe, rather than permitting court power to be used in such gruesome ways? Why would anyone believe that forcing a child to spend time alone with a parent with a history of abuse is a good thing to do? So many unanswered questions. Obviously, a child’s safety should always take precedence over a parent’s “rights”.

Further, how shocking is it that a court would threaten a child with the jailing of her own mother. The sort of guilt and shame the girl must feel must be unbelievable.

Judge Jails Mother Over Daughter’s Refusal To Visit Father, Now Public Crowd Powered Media, November 13, 2009.

Well, the story get even more shocking. Here is the next installment. Really just too much to believe: http://refusesvisitpressrelease.blogspot.com/2009/11/father-refuses-visitation.html#comments

The fact that horrible things are taking place in family courts all over America is no secret. Judges and other court officials are enabling child abuse and destroying children’s bond with protective parents!

Public protest over this despicable situation is growing.

http://capitalnews9.com/capital-region-news-12-content/your_news/capital_region/492704/hundreds-attend-battered-mothers-custody-conference

But we need more widespread awareness.

This is the result of unsupervised overnight visitation with his toddler given to a man with a history of violence:

Father indicted in scalding that led to amputation of son’s toes, Chicago Breaking News Center, December 9, 2009.

“Men’s rights” groups are growing in power. As the feminist movement has made some strides in issues of women’s rights, a powerful backlash has gathered momentum. Certain men have a drive to keep women in positions of pain and mistreatment. These groups label women fighting for freedom and equal rights as feminist extremists whose goal is make men’s lives difficult, claim that domestic violence laws are unfairly applied against innocent men when women are in fact equal abusers, and argue that women falsely cry abuse during custody cases, thus punishing men by refusing them custody.  The facts actually show that the percentage of domestic violence cases in which women are truly physically abusive against their husbands is close to 3%, that in fact the new stricter domestic violence laws are being applied against women who have used low levels of violence in self-defense, and that male abusers are in fact being routinely given custody while the women who report the abuse are losing custody under the guise of the supposed “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. In fact, a number of men are using these groups as a cover for continuing abusive behaviors against women and children. Please read this article publiched this week which has a well-written thorough overview of these issues: “Men’s Rights” Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective, by Katherine Joyce, Double X, November 5, 2009.

Really. In modern day United States. Family courts are routinely supporting abusers in continuing to hurt innocent children. The system is broken to such a degree that the United States has a modern day Underground Railroad!

Is there a reason this has not been front page news?

Please take a look at this detailed, sad and informative article from 1989: Running for Their Lives, by Jane Sims Podesta, David Van Biema, and Paula Chin, People, Jan. 23, 1989.

It may be from 20 years ago, yet this has continued to go on in family courts throughout the United States to this day.

Here is an highly important and informative article published in the Spring 1998 issue of Court Review, Myth of False Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Divorce Cases, by Merrilyn McDonald, M.S.W. Here, Merrilyn McDonald sets forth the facts about the widely held “false allegations” belief. Somehow, the system appears to align with abusers and become their enabling mechanism. Many continue to battle these issues with the family court system every day. We should support and protect, not further punish, innocent victims of abuse.

Here is her summary:

False allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are a rare occurrence. False allegations of sexual abuse in general are rare. Unsubstantiated is not the same as false. Child sexual abuse is a common experience. Child sexual abuse is grossly underreported. There is a belief that allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are epidemic because a number of anecdotal reports of allegations of sexual abuse were repeatedly referenced by various authors without listing the limitations of such reports, creating an image of “hard science” that did not exist. Allegations of sexual abuse are more likely to occur in divorce situations and must be taken just as seriously as allegations that arise at any other time. Sexually abused children behave in a manner that is hard for most of us to understand. It is extremely hard for a child to disclose sexual abuse and any child who does so must be seen as extremely brave. Children recant because of pressure or a desire to get their family back. Mothers of sexually abused children experience many conflicts and difficulties in our present system.

This is a very common and very sad scenario in family courts across the country.

Consider the information in this article by Kathleen Russell, a woman working very hard to help ease the suffering of innocent children and prevent their regular placement with abusers. Thank goodness for the hard work of those selflessly toiling for justice on behalf of abused children.

Child abuse: when family courts get it wrong, The Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 2009.