The FCVFC was born out of an act of engagement with a family we now understand to have been part of a history of generations of uninterrupted domestic violence.
A tragic family story
A woman had grown up observing her own mother’s humiliating, degrading abuse at the hands of her father. She thought she had moved far away from the life she knew in Kansas, only to find herself directly enmeshed in the heart of darkness of the US courts on the east coast.
Her initial engagement with the family court in the NY vicinity allowed her to become separated from and divorce her well-documented abuser, who brutally beat and abused her and the children.
However, those same courts forced her to consent to joint custody with this man, who also happened to be a respected pediatrician. The courts forced her to agree to unsupervised visitation with a documented violent abuser.
Following separation and movement toward divorce, the process of addressing violence toward the children began.
As soon as the issue of violent child abuse was addressed, the court approved a protective order for the children, as well as resettlement for the mother and children to return to Kansas. But days before the family was to leave for Kansas they were stopped by a court order, mandating a family forensic evaluation by a court-appointed forensic evaluator, Paul Dasher, PhD.
The abusive father was represented by three family court attorneys, who openly threatened witnesses in the hallways of the court. Witnesses to the acts of violence against the children by the father, with their sworn affidavits, were discouraged from giving evidence at the trial.
Testimony scheduled, was repeatedly adjourned. Each time a date and time for the presentation was scheduled, witnesses appeared, waited through the day, but were never called.
Judge Margaret Mary McVeig, who presided over initial hearings, subpoenaed perjury, committed perjury herself. Complaints against her resulted in her departure from Family Court to richer killing fields in the area of Probate Court.
The judges who followed Margaret Mary McVeig were no less catastrophic in their rulings. Custody of the three children was transferred from the mother, not given to the father, but given to DCF with the proviso that the children would adhere to a visitation schedule with the father.
The mother never interfered with visitation with the father. The children, however, refused visitation and ran from their father. They were ages 5, 7, and 8.
The Family Court issued orders, written by attorney Richard Gruber, directing police to use “all necessary force” to secure the compliance of little children with visitation with the father they hated and feared because they witnessed their mother’s abuse and experienced their own savage abuse.
Witnesses to the enforcement described “sumo wrestler” police, dispatched to run after little boys running through the streets in all directions to evade police, first on foot, then in police cars, stating to witnesses, “You should be videotaping this scene and calling the press.”
Richard Gruber, the attorney whose penthouse office overlooked skyline and waterfront, was known for wearing diamond cufflinks the size of large ice cubes, who was well known for viciously verbally abusing his secretarial pool staff in the midst of his office, assisted in developing the story that the mother was “alienating the children against the father.” The children were brainwashed, he said. The mother was coaching, and they were lying. He shepherded the paternal demand that the children be placed in “treatment,” and he cleared orders for the use of psychotropic /black-box-warning medication.
The oldest son, age seven when we first met, offered the most violent and voluble resistance to any contact with his father. His resistance met with greater resistance in the form of hospitalization, and time passed in the “quiet room,” where his screams and laments could be clearly heard through the halls and even through phone lines as staff were on calls.
As psychiatric directors, clinicians, and experts, placed in writing their statements that this child should not be forced to see his father, the court-appointed forensic pressed for his directed diagnosis of “parental alienation,” demanding complete separation from this child’s mother, the only source of comfort for him.
On Oct. 25th, 2005, when this boy was twelve, he committed suicide.
But his last act of deliberate defiance against the father he hated and feared was muted by the judges presiding over the case. The judges allowed the father to share time at the boy’s funeral, by allowing services of equal time to both parents.
The court then retaliated against the mother by removing her two younger surviving sons to foster care. Her youngest son, a toddler, a baby born of a second marriage, was placed for adoption by DCF. The child was not even allowed to be given to his father, an artist, an individual of impeccable character and decency.
The birth of FCVFC
As of February 2008, the FCVFC was recognized as a nonprofit organization, a 501(c)(3), dedicated to advancing the cause of child protection through research, education, publishing, and speaking about what we’ve learned as the result of our work throughout the US.
The areas of intervention developed by the FCVFC have grown over the years from analysis and evaluation to
- Forensic analysis
- Analytic evaluation
- Strategic intervention
- Litigation support and
- Financial forensics
. . . and more.
Our goal is to properly prepare for—and when possible, avoid—high-conflict custody litigation.
Never again do we want to see a tragic nightmare such as the one inflicted on this precious family by members of a corrupt court system.