The story behind the scenes
Jennifer Dulos, a beautiful, intelligent, privileged, and well-educated woman, at 50 years old had many years to look forward to enjoying her five children.
Then, on May 24, 2019, she disappeared.
Every disappearance is an unspeakable tragedy. But this disappearance carried an especially dirty secret.
Evidence allegedly indicates that Jennifer’s children were being sexually abused, while sources indicate that it was well known that she was the victim of domestic violence and coercive control. When she filed for divorce, she spoke of fearing for her life.
Many people knew this, allegedly including experts in the family court case, but none of them took steps to protect Jennifer or her children.
Aware of facts that experts surely should have known posed a risk to Jennifer’s life, these experts—including MD psychiatrists and those who treated the children—allegedly took no steps to secure protective orders or any sort of personal protection for Jennifer and her children.
There is another dirty secret.
The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos was fully investigated only because her family contacted the prominent forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone to investigate the work of other forensic psychiatrists who allegedly had proprietary information. That information would provide probable cause that she had been murdered.
Dr. Stone’s investigation pressed those other experts to give their information to the police. As soon as the police had that information, within 24 hours they uncovered evidence of foul play related to the destruction of Jennifer’s body in a cruel and brutal manner.
What can we learn from this tragic case?
The Jennifer Dulos case serves as a tragic example of how the voices of women within the family court system are not heard:
- A misogynist dismissal of violence against women.
- An acceptance of men’s capacity to dominate, batter, and abuse women as a God-given right.
- A sanctioning of this violence by men in authority and women who compete with men in their capacity for cruelty.
- The perpetuation of an increasingly dangerous society.
Perhaps Jennifer’s tragic death may have contributed to greater understanding of the inner workings of domestic violence, aspects such as gaslighting, intimidation, and other forms of coercive control.
But there is no excuse for ignoring such behaviors in the court system. For refusing to treat them as criminal behavior, for refusing to severely punish them.
How are we to apply our learning to other cases?
In the well-greased machine of the family court system, “parental alienation” is embraced by all the court actors: judges, guardians ad litem, lawyers, and experts. And let’s not forget those who pander to perpetrators of terrible crimes as “reunification therapists.”
Children who have suffered horrendous abuse in many cases are accused of lying or being mentally ill. They are told to pretend that nothing happened to them and keep themselves from complaining.
Judges and other court actors who behave with arrogance and depraved indifference, assuming they will not be held accountable for the consequences of their rulings—these judges must indeed be held accountable, both in writing and in public sanctioning.
Mandated reporters and experts who know what crimes have been committed are fully responsible for allowing judges and court actors to commit crimes that are reprehensible and despicable as per the subjects before them.
What is the remedy?
What is the remedy for professional malpractice, judicial fraud, and the incompetence of “experts”?
It is the vigilance afforded by investigation and the rigors of depositions and discovery.
It is the willingness to bring lawsuits and malpractice actions against these court actors under color of law, filed in personal and professional capacities.
It is the outspokenness to bring malpractice actions and discuss them in public forums.
It is the fearlessness that will make cases like the Dulos case the subject of investigative journalism and documentary film—before the mother or children disappear.
The bad acts of those who do harm will be recorded, remembered, and recompensed.