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Showing posts with label CORRUPTION. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CORRUPTION. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2017


By Doreen Ludwig,
Author of "Motherless America: Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program"

Does Family Court offer protection to mothers and children who are victims of domestic violence? Many believe that the answer is no because father's rights extremists have been able to establish government programs which keep women and children vulnerable to ongoing abuse from violent men.

One such program is the Fathering After Violence Initiative.

Based upon this Initiative, instead of protecting women and children who have been abused, the Family Court System has a government mandate to foster and encourage the violent father's relationship with the children he has abused, regardless of the damaging consequences. Thus, in cases of domestic violence, the primary Family Court service offered to women and children who have suffered from a father's physical violence is supervised visits with the primary end goal of reuniting the father and children, even when these fathers will very likely continue to be violent and abusive.

In other words, according to an assessment prepared by Dr. Jessica Pearson, the Co-Director of the Center For Policy Research, (a part of the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network - FRPN), and the California Access and Visitation report to legislators, violent dads are given “step” visitation, i.e. supervised visits leading to unsupervised custody in as little as ten visits.

Based upon an article on high-conflict parent education written by Peter Salem, Executive Director of the AFCC, we know that the overarching intent of Family Court Services is to change the behavior of violent fathers and promote shared parenting, not to protect mothers and children from abuse and negative behaviors. While doing so, Family Court Services do not assess the ability abusers have to change, i.e. whether they are indeed capable of it, and furthermore there is no vehicle for assessing whether such change has occurred. This leaves victims vulnerable to ongoing abuse.

Meanwhile, supervised visitation, which was originally intended to protect victims of domestic violence is being turned on its head and directed as a weapon against mothers rather than being used for its intended purpose, which is to protect victims. In 2007, Juan Carlos Arean wrote a pamphlet, “Fathering After Violence: Working With Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation” using a OVA Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) grant. Arean provides guidelines to supervised visitation centers on how to heal violent dads. What is interesting about this report is page 6 where it states “in some centers mothers make up almost half of the (supervised) visit caseload, yet this document was designed to target in particular visiting fathers who have been violent with their intimate partners.” 

What can explain this conundrum of supervised visitation centers intended to be used with violent fathers ending up providing services to mothers instead, and then being used as a means to deny them custody?

To informed mothers and advocates, this is not a mystery. The data Arean reports makes sense when you realize that any mothers who have merely attempted to protect their children are being ordered to supervised visits, often under claims of Parental Alienation. This seems like an incredible betrayal, to learn that OVW is funding help for violent dads while ignoring the plight of abused mothers for which they are partially responsible. In this regard, the bolded and blocked statement on that same page gives a clue to the policy all government agencies, including OVW, are being strong armed into endorsing, policies of supporting fathers regardless of the harmful consequences to abused mothers and children.

Thus, it seems safe to conclude that the Family Violence Prevention Fund and OVW are promoting patriarchy. They certainly are not helping battered mothers and children to leave abuse. Instead, they are using their resources to encourage and force victims into long-term shared parenting situations with abusers that ignore their unrelieved potential for violence, and the vast array of non-physical, psychologically coercive assaults of which they are capable. Mothers who resist will eventually find themselves court-ordered to supervised visits where their presence will be ignored by OVW grant funding. Their failure to cooperate with fathers will be documented and they will lose custody, if not all access to their children. 

The majority of battered mothers involved in contested custody cases have reached out to their local and national domestic violence group and been turned away. Why? After examining the literature from the Fathering After Violence programs, it appears that OVW and FVPN collude to get abusive men custody by using supervised visits to create a specious record of healing and changed behavior. Subsequently, when women refuse to go along with such farcical records, they are accused of parental alienation, or parental alienation syndrome, custody is switched to the abusive father, and such mothers are cut off from meaningful contact with their children.

“Fathering After Violence” is a national initiative whose stated aim is to help end violence against women by motivating men to renounce their abuse and become better fathers (or father figures) and more supportive parenting partners using fatherhood (custody) as a leading approach. Typical of the thinking behind such programs is the following statement from Juan Carlos Arean's document: “Men who use violence can be held accountable for their behavior and simultaneously be encouraged to change it; and women and children can benefit from this approach.” Once again, two recurring themes are highlighted. First, the unfounded claim that men will change and, second, that mothers and children benefit from contact with these abusive men. Such programs have been implemented without any adequate research to be sure that such policies will work or that they will be beneficial to mothers and children.

The philosophy behind "Fathering After Violence" programs is an unthinking endorsement of the patriarchy. The message it conveys is that fatherhood is the vehicle for creating behavior change and that women must sacrifice their safety in order to make it possible. According to this reasoning, the goal of having men be fathers is so vitally important, that it is more important than the safety and wellbeing of abused mothers and children. In the entire report, in the rush to endorse violent men as fathers, there is no acknowledgement that abusive men have a higher probability of abusing their children, including sexual abuse. Further, we can only assume these programs do not assess whether or not father uses multiple tactics to control, intimidate, isolate and subjugate because it is not held to be a priority. 

In assessing the history of supervised visit centers, Mr. Juan Carlos Arean notes that the amount of supervised visit centers grew in the 1990’s “due in large part to custody and visitation between separated parents.” On the other hand, the report does not acknowledge early father’s rights connections to creating supervised visit centers. Yet it does acknowledge that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2000) funded OVW to establish the Safe Havens grant program.

The report tells centers to treat the violent father in a manner that does not dehumanize him. It does not acknowledge that abusers dehumanize the targets of their abuse. 

The YWCA in Springfield, Massachusetts is listed as one contributing center. This is the center that Kathy Jones, mother of John, was ordered to supervised visits for “alienation” due to her refusal to ignore the father's sexual abuse of their very young son. During each visit, John would disclose dads’ repeated sexual abuse, including anal penetration, in front of center staff who never filed as a mandated reporter. John, now 14, still lives with his sexually abusive father and has no contact with his mother and grandmother. 

Fathering after violence programs and policies endorse the following slogans without any basis in the facts:

“Giving abusive fathers (and all men) more opportunities for change and healing is an essential component of ending violence against women and children.”

“Abuse is a learned behavior and deliberate choice and therefore can be unlearned.”

Policies based upon such flawed and unsubstantiated concepts are bound to cause harm and damage to women and children. For instance, we know that pedophiles do not change. Why are we to believe it is any more likely that batterers will change their engrained behaviors? Even if we grant such unverified ideas, at the very least, change is going a require a little more than ten supervised visits.

Fathering After Violence confirms that for some years FVPN has been exploring the concept of using fatherhood programs as the leading approach to engage abusive men in renouncing their violence. In other words, “Centers show fathers the effects of witnessing and experiencing violence on children, and therefore create an impact that might persuade them to renounce their violence. Fathers are more likely to develop empathy towards their children than their partners (mothers) and this pathway to empathy can help some men reflect upon and change abusive and violent conduct."

Nonetheless, this report lists key characteristics of abusers including intimidation, psychological abuse, an inflated sense of self-entitlement, physical abuse, control, selfishness, superiority, possessiveness, confusion of love and abuse, externalization of responsibility, denial, minimization and victim blaming, and serial battering, visitation staff are advised not to stereotype and over-generalize by assigning these characteristics to batterers under supervision. Typical traits identified by Bancroft and Silverman, experts in working with battering men, such as authoritarianism, under-involvement, neglect and irresponsibility, undermining of the mother’s parenting and authority, self-centeredness, manipulativeness and ability to perform under observation are also discounted in their importance to assessing an abuser’s potential for changed behavior. 

Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe claims such as that despite these damning characteristics, mothers still want such men to participate in the lives of their children. For instance, Fathering After Violence claims women want the abuse to end but not necessarily the relationship, i.e. “Some mothers who have experienced violence still want their ex-partners to change and become better fathers for their children.” Along these lines, Tubbs and Williams conducted a focus group with 43 African American women and concluded their work “indicated shared parenting was perceived as a necessary obligation of parenting even with safety concerns for self and child.” These conclusions appear so unlikely, I can't help but consider them a clear cut example of observer bias in research. It appears that this research team was going to wring out father positive conclusions from those focus groups no matter what the mothers said.

Advocates are well aware of the phenomenon of batterers going to diversionary programs where the staff is predisposed to exonerate them quickly. Such behavior is so widespread that even Mr. Arean's pamphlet mentions the possibility that staff could collude with male batterers, and, that male staff tended to collude more than women staff, both consciously and unconsciously. The thrust of such programs appears to be to reward staff who ignore and discount the wide array of batterer characteristics and traits, and who collude to “cure” the abuser and document him as fit for custody regardless of whether he is or not. In assessing his danger and risk, staff are coached to merely look at levels of violence, incident-specific abuse, and his behavior during supervised visits, not his attitudes, motivations and character traits that would predict potential for continued abuse and future attacks or the potential of his abusing his child(ren) once he graduates from the program.

As with Pearson, Mr. Arean's pamphlet states that poverty corresponds to higher levels of violence, yet it does not explain why poor men appear to have higher levels of violence. This author, Doreen Ludwig, proposes that women in relationships with higher incomes have more to lose: social status and income. Public shame is greater in higher income communities. Wealthy men receive greater amounts of political protection, including local police force; police are less likely to process charges against higher income males. Thus, while there appears to be lip service to the idea that domestic violence cuts across all racial and economic divides, the reality is that policy makers and experts in the field of Domestic Violence continue assume that only the underprivileged are affected or need to be provided with services. This leaves the needs of higher income victims unattended to.

Often, Visitation Centers act as conduits to assisting abusive fathers to obtain custody from their victims. For instance, many Visitation Centers are advised to establish a relationship with fatherhood programs (page 35). Some centers have fatherhood programs on-site. Curiously, the report states “these programs are different from so-called “father’s rights” groups and can offer expertise and materials on positive father engagement.” Yet the report goes on to state “most of these programs could also clearly benefit from receiving training to advance their understanding of domestic violence dynamics.” The Office of Violence Against Women is telling supervised visit centers to refer violent men to fatherhood programs whose chief partnership is with courts to get men custody, all the while acknowledging that fatherhood programs know nothing about abuse and claiming those programs are not agents of male supremacy! 

What the Juan Carlos Arean report highlights is the shameful fact that OVW and VAWA have not protected women and child victims of abuse and instead have bought into unfounded theories that abusers can change their behavior. When discussing conducting orientation sessions, even the report itself acknowledges the reality of these custody switching policies in favor of men stating, “in most centers some (if not many parents ordered to visits) are mothers, some of whom might be in fact victims, rather than perpetrators of domestic violence (page 45).”

Fathering After Violence advises staff to tell dads to show respect to their children’s mother regardless of his feelings about her. Not seeing lack of empathy as a precursor to future episodes of abuse, the report states men are “more empathetic as fathers than as intimate partners or ex-partners.” It is not assessed if Dad's empathy is an “act” meant to gain custody in order to direct his abuse toward his child, an unprotected person, since mother has chosen to end their intimate relationship. We also have no idea how the report measured father's empathy in connection to their children, and would suspect that is is merely a fabricated assessment created for the purpose of justifying a policy that has long caused harm and damage to numerous protective mothers and their children.

Mary Jane King’s son, Thomas was horribly sexually violated by his father. Mary Jane worked diligently to document the abuse and she attempted to get him treatment at the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic. All the while family court blocked Thomas from getting treatment, hid the abuse while calling mother an alienator, and eventually cut off her contact with Thomas. 

Mary Jane posted on facebook “In CT all DV funding is "partnered" with fatherhood initiative legislation, so increasing access of abusive males to victims is the controlling law of DV funding.” Thus, the most popular private program funded by the State of Connecticut is David Mandel's Safe & Together Institute which provides lip service to DV mandates while essentially advocating to have violent fathers in the lives of their children. This is done in conferences held in sought after vacation resorts all over the world--Florida, Australia etc. etc.

In CT and across the United States, as a victim of domestic violence, you have a great deal to fear as you approach the Family Court System. The father's rights movement has subverted approaches that were put into place to protect women, and they are now being used against victims. Domestic Violence Centers, from which you expect support, will not assist you in protecting your children from the abuser because they receive government fatherhood funding that motivates them to place the rights and the needs of fathers first. Even worse, the OVA and others in the Domestic Violence industry have abandoned battered mothers and accepted millions of dollars in fatherhood funding to pay their salaries and to increase their profiles which has meant they have had to buy into father friendly, perpetrator blind policies. As a result, the battered, protective mother of today is a mother betrayed.

For more information on this subject, please click on the link below:

Friday, July 21, 2017


Three or four months into what I now routinely call "the divorce from hell" I woke up and said, "What happened to Everyone!!!" I mean, what happened to my family, my friends, and all the other people I used to know, because suddenly they weren't there any more. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


For some time now, I have been trying to wrap my head around the involvement of Attorney Bradford Barneys as Attorney for the Minor Child (AMC) in the Stvan v. Stvan case.   As you all may recall, I had written an extensive series of articles about the Stvan case which are located at the following link:  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


In a recent inquiry, one reader asked the following question, "Elizabeth, why do you promote an anti-semite like Paul Boyne? Your father was a Holocaust survivor. Shame doesn't begin to describe what you should feel." That is a good question for Elizabeth, although Cathy will be the person on behalf of the "Divorce in Connecticut" blog to respond, particularly since she formulated the "bigotry free" policy that is fundamental to this blog. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017


It was tough to read the May 12, 2017 "CT Law Tribune" article in connection to the Dianne Hart-D'Amato case, particularly as a person who has walked in Dianne's shoes and experienced what she has experienced.  It was angering to read Dianne, and by inference all self represented parties in family court, spoken of as "a disgruntled litigant."  

I wonder how attorneys and judges would feel if I spoke of them automatically as crooked attorneys or crooked judges simply by virtue of the fact that I do not agree with them.  It is not often a bully pulpit such as "The CT Law Tribune" exists as a means to tongue lash the people a particular profession does not like.   

Friday, April 28, 2017


Today, I was at Barnes and Noble ordering my usual cup of tea when I noticed that the two female baristas serving me both wore fit bits. When I commented on the fit bits and made a link from the high tech gadgets to the Connie Dabate case, each one flashed their fit bit at me and announced, "best investment I ever made."  

In a sense now, wearing a fit bit is becoming somewhat of a radical statement, i.e. One: I'm going to be the fittest woman out there, just watch me with my fitbit, and Two: If you try and kill me and lie afterwards, you're going to be in a whole heck of a lot of trouble.  

This is, I guess, what Richard Dabate should have thought of before he killed his wife.  

Seriously, guys, what was he thinking of?

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Many of us have come to believe that our own attorney was working for the other side. However, when we confronted our attorneys about our suspicions or brought the issue up before the Court, we have been scoffed at and mocked.  

In the letter below, you will see how one litigant, Roisin Cassidy, actually caught out two of her attorneys working in coordination together and with the opposing attorney so that she would lose custody through a scheme that revolved around court rules in regard to discovery.  What the attorneys did was collude with each other in a post judgment custody switching scheme to allow the abusive father discovery, while Ms. Cassidy was prohibited from doing so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


By Email

January 18, 2017 
9:16 PM

Rep. Tong:

Today, your suggestion and that of Rep. Rebimbas will be challenged through a media strategy to indicate that the Chairs have engaged, personally, in aiding and abetting false testimony‎ to be delivered in your self described "rigorous" review of those re-nominated for judicial reappointments.

I have confirmed by performing due diligence on the Chairs that the six page form of the Judicial Selection Commission have never been secured and distributed to the membership of the entire Judiciary Committee.

While we would agree that it would be important to redact telephone numbers and addresses for judges to ensure you, as attorneys, do not abuse your position to talk to judges on matters under current litigation including appeal.

There is a legitimate and well grounded concern about a far too "cozy" relationship between the Chairs of the Judiciary Committee and ranking members who are attorneys.

We noted the Chief Justice, in the offices of the Judiciary Committee where the Chairs have an office, meeting prior to the start of the re-confirmation process which began on January 11, 2017.

Do you really believe that members of the United States Congress meet to discuss cases which are controversial decisions?

It may be time for the citizens of this State to initiate a change in the State Constitution to change the Connecticut judiciary to an elected---not an appointment position inasmuch as lawyers, as legislators, have consistently voted favorably on all judicial re-appointments.

Your refusal and failure to provide for public inspection copies of the Judicial Selection Commission forms sworn as "truthful" and not distributing that redacted document to the members of your OWN committee raises serious issues of your self-proclaimed "due dilligence" today.

The decision of the Chairs to limit public posting of transcripts to refute testimony of judges is another example of creating a system where "perjured" testimony is not only tolerated but condoned by the chairs who are definitely more interested in coddling judges than "professional skepticism" which is the hallmark of many professions.

The Judicial Review Council needs to be revised so that all complaints, dismissed or not, are a matter of public record.

The comments on "sealing cases" by Judge Buzzuto for judges who go through a divorce is inconsistent with open disclosure of records to ensure that "addresses are redacted" but the decisions an open public record---just as you make our decisions a matter of an "open public record" which is used to humiliate the citizens while protecting the privacy rights of public officials.

Recent surveys done on the judiciary ranks Connecticut as one of the least transparent of any state in the country.

The fact that the judiciary cut $60 million from its budget because it was bloated without services being decreased should be a clear sign that the legislators, in general, don't have the same "access issues" to the courts that the general public has to endure.

The fact that Rep. Rebimbas refused to disclose on her "stump speech" on Judge Adelman that she received appointments by Judge Adelman smacks of an undisclosed conflict of interest.

As you know, the lack of disclosure of the answers to the 32 questions by your Committee Chairs is a clear sign that what you don't know can hurt the citizens you claim to serve.

There will be letters sent to those who you serve who will be randomly selected off the voter roles to expose the failure of the Chairs to have properly investigated allegations of misconduct reported to you by "railroading" controversial candidates within a week of the controversy involving allegations of perjury to be investigated by a select subcommittee which is balanced with lawyers and non-lawyers to review transcripts which the Chairs refuse to post and share with the colleagues on the committee as "equals".

The lack of "professional skepticism" by lawyers serving as legislators is demonstrated by your consistent voting and "unchallenged" public comments by Rep. Tong and Rep. Rembimas.

The Chairs of the Judiciary Committee asked no tough questions about the "Hightower" matter raised by Rep. Tong---who never even asked a question about it to Judge Adelman today.

There is only ONE representative of the people on your committee who asks tough questions and that is Minnie Gonzalez.

I watched all but one interview conducted by your committee on Wednesday and Friday and I am one of five individuals who will have filed by tomorrow complaints with the Chief State Attorney on five judges who meet the standard of probable cause for arrest for perjury defined in C.G.S. 53a-156 (a).

If the Chief State Attorney Office had a grand jury system in place, then judges would be far less likely to deliver material and false testimony and in written statements provided to the Judicial Selection Commission is provided with a General Release Form.

Until the Chairs take corrective actions to rebuild the trust that only you can restore, the public will exercise our rights to expose "corrupt practices" which the Chairs seem to support.

Have any of you ever sat in a Monday short calendar in family court and watched the meter running?

Have any of you visited a courthouse in Virginia where a help desk directs clients to "calendered" matters in which Connecticut has to run a "pilot program".

The "cattle calls in family courts" is the single, most inefficient way to conduct the public's access to justice.

Despite Rep. Tong's statements that you take these comments seriously, all we need to do is review the voting records of the 19 lawyers on the judiciary committee (if we include one member who had a direct relative on the Supreme Court) and your attempts to deliver Judge Fuger's head on a platter today to show how "tough you are".

At no point in time, since Judge Frazzini sent a "letter of retraction" after I filed a criminal complaint alleging perjury to the Chief's State Attorney's Office has any judge been subject to a delayed vote until a full investigation of allegations of perjury occurs.

There is a section of the Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits a Judge from making a knowingly false statement to a legislative committee.

Until there is either legislative reforms to clean up this system of inefficiencies in due process and remove judges from sitting on administrative committee meetings which take them away from their duties "in court", we will continue to challenge publicly and privately, whether you approve or not, our "professional skepticism" that the lawyers in the legislature are engaging and abetting perjury by refusing to table the vote on any judge who is alleged to have committed perjury under oath.

We will be unrelenting because this "tyranny" creates through the empowerment of "judicial discretion" to rape and pillage the financial resources of parents via a reallocation of our lifetime savings to support your "system of racketeering" by having lawyers sitting in a courtroom for hours and then billing their clients for accomplishing nothing and being paid for it.

I would be happy to sit down with you to discuss with a group of litigants to show us the evidence of perjury---which are now on their way ‎for review by the "probable cause" standards which apply to criminal arrests of those judges who made knowingly false material statements to a committee.

For Rep. Rebimbas to have made a claim that "she has some sort of access to transcripts" to the 3,850 pages of transcripts, is nothing less than balderdash.

We are tired of the "obstruction" by the Chairs to a proper review of evidence by limiting the posting of transcripts on the judiciary committee website.

In the movie "A Few Good Men", Jack Nicholson's line seems appropriate to close this email:

"You can't handle the truth."

Michael Nowacki,
Public Advocate



January 18, 2017 
1:55 PM

Rep. Remimbas:

You lied to the public today on CT-N when you said you have the ability to review public records on-line about a judge to evaluate the authenticity of testimony.

Transcripts of court proceedings are not readily available on line and your comments were disingenuous.

You and your colleagues as lawyers have ZERO credibility in the fawning which I am watching on CT-N today regarding judges re-confirmation hearings today in the House.

When my house sells in Connecticut, I may need to reside somewhere for two years and will expose you by taking residence in your district to reveal your conflicts of interest in having been appointed by Judge Bozzuto as a GAL when she was first appointed to the bench.

We will continue to expose you and the other lawyers on the judiciary who don't allow transcripts to be shared on line on the judiciary website to refute the sworn testimony of judges at public hearings.

I have a bag of marshmellows here in my home for a reason today---to toss them at the screen when legislators like Labriola and you stand up and lie to protect  judges who deliver knowingly false testimony under oath.

There is a reason why we call Connecticut--Corrupticut--to honor your personal enduring legacy which is causing people to leave the State---30,000 of them last year.

In your entire time of voting on judicial confirmations which I have observed for the last sic years, I am still waiting for you to oppose an re-nomination---even on Judge Parker.

We have no respect for you and your legal colleagues on the judiciary committee who you allow to perjure themselves under oath without consequence.

It is time for citizens to expose you for your undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Look for my LTE in your weekly newspaper exposing your mis-statements about "your access" to public records to review "difficult cases".


Michael Nowacki
New Canaan, CT

Monday, October 24, 2016


What we have here is a tragic situation where a mother has been separated from the child she raised for 12 years based upon unsubstantiated and untrue representations of mental illness.  Meanwhile, questions regarding her ex-husband's bipolar disorder remain unaddressed.  

Subsequently, Judge Adelman acknowledged that the representations regarding Ms. Paige Stvan's mental health weren't sufficient to justify keeping Paige away from her daughter.  At that juncture, he then claimed that there were other serious allegations that her child had raised which now justified separating Paige Stvan from her daughter. What were those serious allegations?  To be honest, I couldn't see anything in the many documents I reviewed that would explain it.

The allegation the child made that the judge cited in his memorandum as a basis to stop all visits was that Mom was making visits with her uncomfortable.  As Ms. Paige Stvan explained it, she was allowed visits with her daughter once a week for an hour standing in the corridor of a local mall.  To start with, that's a pretty difficult way to conduct a visit.  Next, Ms. Stvan stated that during these visits the father would remain in the sidelines monitoring the entire visit and at the least sign of trouble advise his daughter to simply leave.  As a result, under the pressure of essentially being put between two parents, the child would terminate the visit within ten minutes.  To Paige Stvan, this was simply a situation where the father was using the visits to drive a wedge between herself and her daughter.

Attorney Rosa Rebimbas, the GAL in the case, reported the situation somewhat differently.  She alleged that Paige Stvan insisted upon talking to her daughter about the case during the visit.  But what does that mean "talking about the case?"  Does that mean Paige tried to explain to her daughter what was going on and why she couldn't come home to her Mom?  Was it something else? Attorney Rebimbas didn't specify; she just used trigger words with the judge which she knew would elicit a negative reaction.  Keep in mind, we are getting this testimony from the ex-husband and a biased GAL who appear to be willing to do anything they can to justify a complete no contact order. I also think it makes no sense to have visitation with a child standing up in a crowded corridor in a mall.  What's that all about?

Repeatedly, the opposing attorney in this case, Attorney Nancy Aldrich insisted that Paige Stvan's daughter didn't want to see her Mom, so therefore she shouldn't have to. Attorney Rosa Rebimbas emphasized that the daughter didn't want to see her mother and indicated her belief that the daughter had the right to refuse to see her mother.  Judge Gerald Adelman reported in his Memorandum of January 8, 2016 that "the child was extremely resistant to any contact with her mother" and implied that this justified denying Ms.  Stvan access to her daughter.  However, this is not how state law works. According to Connecticut law, at any age, a child's preference is never the only criterion for making a custody decision in a custody proceeding.  What counts is what is in the best interests of the child.

Further, I am wondering how a 12 year old child who had never before reported being unhappy with her mother, all of a sudden, within two months of being totally cut off from all access to her mother, becomes extremely resistant to seeing her mother.  Keep in mind, these words never came out of the child's mouth directly, and were simply what biased individuals with ulterior motives chose to report. I am also wondering why a 12 year old child has the authority, not only to choose the time and place of the visits, but whether they take place at all.  I don't know of any other case where a pre-teen was given such extraordinary power.  

Perhaps the answer to this lies in observations that Dr. Linda Gunsberg reported on at the time these events were taking place.  In a letter to the court dated January 26, 2016,  Dr. Linda Gunsberg described hearing a conversation that Page Stvan had with her daughter over the phone.  She described this conversation, which took place on November 2, 2015, in the following terms: 

"The most incredible phone conversation occurred when Ms. [Stvan] called [her child] during the court ordered parent telephone access to speak with her.  I asked Ms. [Stvan] to put [the child] on speaker phone so that I could listen.  [The child] was very warm towards her mother, was eager to share with her mother information about projects she was working on for school, and actually wanted to remain on the telephone longer than Ms. [Stvan] could...It was a normal parent-child conversation."

However, Dr. Gunsberg reported that "By December 31, 2015, [the child] was telling her mother either in a telephone message or text that she never wanted to speak to her mother again."  Dr. Gunsberg attributed this dramatic change in the child's attitude towards her mother to father's campaign of parental alienation.  Keep in mind that by December 31, 2015, the child had been separated from her mother and her hometown and friends for three months.  

Again, it is remarkable that Judge Gerald Adelman supported this 12 year old child in making the decision not to see her mother again. A 12 year old child doesn't have sufficient cognitive ability to make such important life decisions.  In fact, you would hardly believe that this Judge Adelman is the very same Judge who, in the Sorentino case, put a mother in jail to force a 15 year old boy to live with the father he adamantly didn't want to live with.  Yet, in the Stvan case, when a 12 year old girl refused to see her mother, that very same Judge Adelman appointed two attorneys to defend her right to exclude her mother from her life?  

How is that OK?  

How come  Judge Gerald Adelman found a 12 year old's decision more credible than that of a 15 year old? 

Do any of you recall how, when Kathi Sorrentino cried at the thought of having to go to jail, Judge Gerald Adelman derided her and made fun of her, calling her tears "crocodile tears"? Why do judges in the State of Connecticut, such as Judge Adelman, only use PAS to deny mothers their parenting rights while excusing fathers who are equally culpable?  Protective mothers in the State of Connecticut would really like to know!  We need a new campaign in this State with the slogan:  A mother's tears matter!


On September 25, 2015, Paige Stvan was hospitalized for a few days to address negative side effects she had to a new medication she had been taking. Meanwhile, since she was dealing with these medical problems, in a very responsible way, Ms. Stvan asked her ex husband, Thomas Stvan, to care for their 12 year old daughter temporarily. He agreed to do so. However, instead of just taking care of the child as agreed, Thomas Stvan used the incident as a excuse to file an emergency ex parte motion in court granting him full custody.  That motion was granted.  As a result, since that time, except for a few brief encounters at a local mall, Paige Stvan has not been allowed to see her daughter.  


Paige Stvan had been taking care of her child for 12 years, and the child was happy and healthy, well fed and with a roof over her head, as well as successful in school. Nonetheless, family court, in a series of dirty tricks and maneuvers, effectively assisted her ex husband in excising the child from her mother's life with the collusion of a CT State representative, Rep. Rosa Rebimbas.  

Now remember, this is the same judicial system which gave career criminal Joshua Komisarjevsky full custody of his 5 year old daughter just weeks before Mr. Komisarjevky participated in the triple slaying of the Petit family.  In Paige Stvan's case, this was a woman who had done nothing other than be an excellent mother to her daughter for twelve years. Still, the Court saw fit to cut her off entirely from the child she had been bringing up so successfully.  

We all want the reason for that, don't we?  Just so you know, you would have no basis for knowing the reason had Ms. Paige Stvan not requested one because, unlike in every other custody case I've ever seen, originally the Court didn't bother to provide a memorandum of decision stating the legal basis for its decision.  

But here we go, I have before me a January 8, 2016 Memorandum provided by Judge Gerald Adelman explaining his decision.  This is what he says.  

The ex parte was granted (see p. 3 of the memorandum) because "it was represented to the court that the defendant had a history of mental health issues which had previously required the plaintiff to temporarily assume primary or sole custody of the minor child, due to the  defendant's inability to care for said child."  Yes, but these, to my knowledge are and were simply representations without evidence.  To this day, I not seen any documents that can back up these claims.  

Not only that, in these documents there was no mention of the fact that the Plaintiff, Tom Stvan, was represented to have a bipolar disorder.  Why?  Because the ex parte hearing only heard one side of the story at that time. That is why the law requires another hearing 14 days later--so that before anything is finalized, you have a fair hearing where both sides have the opportunity to present their arguments.  Mysteriously, in Paige Stvan's case, although such a hearing is required by law, it never occurred.  This is just the first of the kinds of procedural flaws that have plagued this case from the beginning.  

It is also important to note regarding the term "it was represented" that anyone can "represent" anything to anyone in this world. Eventually, in a court of law, you have to come up with proof.  At no time that I have observed during the many hearings that were held in this case was there any kind of legitimate evidentiary hearing in which allegations of this nature regarding Paige Stvan could be either confirmed or denied.  Futhermore, from all the information I have in front of me, there is no evidence at all that Ms. Stvan had any such history.

How can any judge possibly justify removing a child completely from a mother's life based upon "representations."?  

Meanwhile, I have in front of me a letter that Dr. Linda Gunsberg, Paige Stvan's psychotherapist, wrote to the court.  In this letter, Dr. Gunsberg stated that Ms. Stvan has "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of domestic violence within the marriage, after the marriage, and as a result of constant, continuous litigation brought against her by Mr. Thomas Stvan, her ex-husband."  

Dr. Gunsberg also stressed that Paige Stvan is a competent primary caretaker and mother to her child and that the child flourished under her care.  She also stated that the father's behavior of cutting Ms. Stvan off from all access to her daughter constituted parental alienation.  Of course, everyone knows I'm not a fan of PAS theory, but I just point it out for what it's worth. Again, as I've said before, when a mother points out PAS or PA whatever you want it call it, judges couldn't care less.  PAS only matters if a man complains about it.

I also have a letter from a social worker who also provided treatment for Paige Stvan in which she stated, "I can confidently state is apparent that Ms. [Stvan] does not present with psychological deficits that would compromise her ability to care for her child. Furthermore, Ms. [Stvan] has been highly motivated to take advantage of the services that have helped her to gain an understanding of her current circumstances, while seeking a path towards betterment as an individual, as well as a mother."  In addition, on Paige Stvan's behalf, LMFT Linda J. Gottlieb took the time to provide an extensive explanation to the Court regarding the phenomenon of parental alienation and how to identify it.  I think it says a lot for Paige Stvan that three well qualified mental health professionals took the time to speak up on her behalf.

I would also like to point out that Paige Stvan has always been honest and straightforward to her ex husband about any medical issues she has and has always taken responsible steps to address them.  The result has been successful, and it appears as though she is being punished for that very success.

I understand that two sides in a legal case can end up interpreting data differently which is why you end up in Court anyway.  That is the reason why a case like this would end up in family relations for a custody evaluation to determine whether testimony one way or another is credible.  What is striking about this case is that despite the dire consequence where a Mother has been entirely cut off from any communication with the daughter she raised for 12 years, there was no family relations report, no custody evaluation whatsoever, indeed, no investigation whatsoever.

How is that possible?  I have no idea.  

Next, if you have serious allegations regarding a parent's mental health status--i.e. as in this case, that father has bipolar and mother has depression--the most logical and just outcome would be a psychological evaluation conducted by a court approved psychologist qualified to do the job.  Remarkably, there was absolutely no psychological evaluation, no psychological assessment by a legitimate professional in any way whatsoever.  

I just do not understand that.  

When issues were raised in my case regarding my mental health, I ended up having two psychiatric evaluations and one psychological evaluation.  What happened to me was pretty excessive and is testimony to the extremely damaging impact accusations regarding mental health status can have.  Still, the idea that you could cut a mother off from her child based upon allegations regarding her mental health status that have yet to be proved, and, as you have seen from the testimony I provided, have actually been soundly refuted, appears absolutely outrageous and represents a tragic miscarriage of justice for this mother and her child.  

You cannot simply point at people, call them crazy, and use such unfounded and unproven claims as the basis for denying them their parental rights.  

As the General Statutes Section 46b-46(c), which is the basis for all custody decisions, state, the mental and physical health of the parents involved is a factor in custody decisions, however, the "disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of custody."  Furthermore, under Title II of federal ADA law, disability based discrimination is against the law in this country.  Certainly, the issue of disability should not be determinative without a fair and just evidentiary hearing where there is an equal playing field.  

However, what it looks like is that the judge and the attorneys in this case think that they can deny Paige Stvan her legal rights by nodding and winking and sweeping everything under the rug, simply by virtue of the fact that they think she has a mental health disability.  Likewise, they think they can smooth over and ignore father's possible bipolar disorder.  Trust me--that's not happening.

More on this case in Part II.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Josh Kovner of "The Hartford Courant" reports as follows:

"A scathing review by the child advocate of the near-starvation of a baby placed with relatives in Groton reveals "staggering failures and omissions" on the part of the Department of Children and Families, and raises doubts about DCF's decisions on child placements beyond this case.

A DCF social worker visited the boy, identified as Dallas C., on at least five occasions over 102 days between late July and late October 2015, but managed never to see Dallas awake, never roused him and never assessed what others who had contact with the family were calling the child's rapidly deteriorating health, according to the advocate's report, released Tuesday morning.

At one point, the social worker reported that he was "able to confirm that [the child] was indeed breathing," according to state Child Advocate Sarah Eagan's report..."


Tuesday, September 13, 2016



"Longtime attorney Thomas M. Murtha has resigned from the bar amid a state disciplinary action alleging he misappropriated clients' funds.

In one case, a client claims to be owed $100,000. Murtha submitted his resignation and waived his right to apply for readmission to the bar in Superior Court in Bridgeport on Sept. 8.

The state Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel had submitted an application for order of interim suspension against Murtha on Aug. 18..."


Sunday, July 24, 2016


The 7 suggested reforms in Swift's article are as follows:

"1. Limit the power of legislative leaders. 

Connecticut’s speaker of the House and president of the Senate have close to absolute power in deciding what pieces of legislation make it to the floor for a vote in the General Assembly. For a variety of reasons, they can and do kill bills that would pass, sometimes by wide margins, if a vote was actually allowed. Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s bill to bring more transparency to state tax breaks (see No. 4) died in the Senate this year because it was never called for a vote despite widespread support. Last year, former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan blocked a bipartisan jobs bill from making it to the floor in retaliation for the Senate’s opposition to a minimum wage bill he was championing. When “roll-your-own” tobacco shop owners funneled illegal campaign cash into Donovan’s bid for U.S. Congress, they did so based on assurances from his staff that the speaker’s office could block legislation that would have increased taxes on their product..."