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Showing posts with label FAMILY COURT VICTIMS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAMILY COURT VICTIMS. Show all posts

Friday, December 1, 2017


In the wake of all these sex scandals including Bill O'Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Roy Moore, etc. there has been increased scrutiny surrounding powerful men who exploit their positions in order to sexually abuse or assault vulnerable women.

Often, people have asked how come no one spoke up about what was going on even though everyone knew what was happening. One of the reasons why so many men have gotten away with this kind of abusive behavior for years is because some women accepted settlements, signed confidentiality agreements, and simply faded away. This meant the perpetrators were free to abuse other women who were drawn into their orbit.  In connection to Family Court, we may have exactly that kind of situation in connection to well known Family Court psychologist, Dr. Donald Hiebel.

Over two years ago, on November 3, 2014, Attorney Leslie Gold McFadden filed a complaint against psychologist Dr. Donald Hiebel, a major proponent of a quack theory known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). In this complaint, he was accused of conducting an affair with a female client 30 years his junior, and receiving massages from another female client in exchange for favors in her custody case.

Given the recent allegations in the news about these other powerful men, I asked a colleague, who is also a family court activist, what has been going on with Dr. Donald Hiebel's case. Apparently, the case has entirely gone away, Dr. Donald Hiebel has retained his license despite his blatant sexual abuse of two former clients who were under his care, and he remains in practice as a consultant for family court cases in the State of Connecticut. This colleague stated that he knew of a specific family court case to which Dr. Donald Hiebel had been assigned. 

I was absolutely appalled to hear of this situation and so I immediately looked up Dr. Hiebel on the Connecticut Judicial Branch website. When I looked up his name, the November 3, 2014 case didn't appear. It had been erased from the record. I also looked up the divorce case that his wife filed against him and later withdrew. That also had been erased from the record. How does this happen that while the cases of family court litigants get placed on the internet via FindLaw where the public all over the world can read them. But whenever there is attorney wrongdoing, it simply disappears. I think we'd all like to know!

In addition to looking up the case on the CT Judicial website in regard to the Dr. Donald Hiebel sexual abuse case, I also contacted the lawyer for the victims, i.e. Attorney Leslie Gold McPadden. She refused to comment on the case stating tersely in a November 18, 2016 email, "Result was confidential." What this essentially means is that Dr. Donald Heibel, after having faced zero consequences for his abusive and unethical behavior, is free to go out and do it all over again. Dr. Donald Heibel's actions were broadly reported on this website and elsewhere and it is highly improbable that the majority of judges and attorneys are unaware of his unprofessional behavior. Yet he is being recruited on an ongoing basis to take on cases? He is allowed to aquire additional individual patients? How grossly irresponsible is that? 

If anyone was wondering what family court reformers are complaining about, this is what we are complaining about. We are complaining about a CT Judicial Branch full of employees who have no problem putting professionals in charge of sensitive family court cases whose moral fiber and criminal behavior is indistinguishable from the Harvey Weinsteins of this world. I also want to point out that I suspect the situation is much worse. I only met with Dr. Donald Hiebel for one session in his West Hartford office and that meeting was sufficient for me to file a complaint that filled an entire one inch notebook. This is the kind of fool who is now working in family court and destroying lives and our Department of Public Health that knows full well about this situation and our legislators who also know since so many people have come to the LOB and testified about what is going on, and yet they sit around on their hands and do nothing.

I do not want to hear any further the boo hoo about sexual assault and sexual abuse from CT Judicial Branch employees, members of the State Legislature and CT State Agencies such as the Department of Public Health when they are so blatantly complicit in allowing it to happen.

For those who are interested, from this part of the article forward I have included the details of Dr. Donald Heibel's offenses from my prior article on the subject which was published when the news became public in November 2014. See below:

At the time the alleged assaults occurred, Dr. Donald Hiebel was affiliated with Roeder and Polansky Family and Child Associates located in Middletown, CT and he also had a private office in West Hartford. The first client, designated as "Jane Doe" received psychotherapy from Dr. Donald Hiebel from January 21, 2013 until approximately July 9, 2013.

According to the Complaint, from January to July 2013, Dr. Donald Hiebel provided psychotherapy for Jane Doe in order to assist her in obtaining shared custody of her minor son and to help her with emotional and psychological problems. Then in the summer and fall of 2013, Dr. Hiebel and his patient, Jane Doe, began to spend a considerable amount of time together. Allegedly, Dr. Hiebel told Jane Doe that he intended to divorce his wife so he and the client could be together. Allegedly, during that time they had several sexual encounters in Dr. Hiebel's West Hartford office, at Heibel's homes and also other locations.

Further, according to the complaint, Dr. Donald Hiebel advised Jane Doe to break up with her boyfriend at the time who was paying for her apartment, her mental health fees, as well as her attorney fees. Then Dr. Hiebel borrowed $5,000.00 from a friend and used that money to pay all of Jane Doe's living expenses. According to the allegations, this money was funneled through his company, Roeder and Polansky Family and Child Associates checking account and corporate credit card. When Jane Doe considered having therapy with another mental health professional, Dr. Hiebel advised against it.

As a consequence of this alleged inappropriate sexual relationship, Jane Doe claimed in her complaint that she suffered various damages including "shock, mistrust of medical professionals, extreme emotional disturbance, hospitalizations, instability, humiliation, emotional devastations, and extreme emotional disturbance." She also ended up losing custody of her son. As a result, she complained that she would be "forced to expend sums of money for additional custody litigation and medical care."

The allegations against Dr. Hiebel continued on and even more shocking is that Dr. Donald Hiebel's business partner, Dr. Keith Roeder, was alleged to be aware of this relationship and advised Jane Doe to hide relationship from the father of her child. The Complaint alleged further that Dr. Keith Roeder "advised Doe to show the child's father a former apartment rather than her current apartment that she shared with Hiebel." Eventually, in January 2014, when Dr. Hiebel decided to return to his wife, the complaint stated that Jane Doe became extremely upset and was eventually hospitalized. 

Dr. Donald Hiebel's wife, Navarre Hiebel, apparently filed for divorce in May 2014, but withdrew the complaint, possibly when it became clear that the affair was truly over.

The Complaint continued on to state that a consultant was hired to evaluate the case records regarding Dr. Donald Hiebel and Jane Doe. This consultant allegedly provided an initial opinion that there "appeared to be multiple gross lapses of professional judgment and standards of care on the part of Dr. Donald Hiebel and his associate, Dr. Keith Roeder" in the conduct of psychotherapy with Jane Doe. This included on Dr. Hiebel's part a lack of proper documentation of Jane Doe's record, concealing the fact that Jane Doe had a history of substance abuse, as well as possibly filing fraudulent reports to the Court in regard to her custody matter.

Another troubling aspect of the relationship Jane Doe reportedly had with Dr. Donald Hiebel is that apparently Jane Doe assisted Dr. Hiebel in his practice typing his reports on other patients, noting down his voicemail messages, as well as other tasks. In fact, during her meeting with the consultant, Jane Doe stated that "she still had a box of records from [Dr. Hiebel's] office in the trunk of her car--including the records of an individual who had sued Dr. Hiebel..."

The Complaint also details a relationship Dr. Donald Hiebel maintained with a second woman, a friend of Jane Doe's, and a former patient of Dr. Hiebel, who provided massages to Dr. Hiebel in exchange for coaching assistance in her custody matter. The consultant report states that Dr. Donald Hiebel and this friend "vacationed together and spent some holidays together as well (Christmas)."

Prior to these offenses, Dr. Donald Hiebel was one of the most beloved, trusted, and highly respected psychologists in family court today. In fact, when Jane Doe was advised to work with Dr. Hiebel, she was told that he "is like a God before the Court." Judges and attorneys have regularly requested Dr. Hiebel's services for co-parenting management as well as custody related mental health treatments and evaluations. They have done this despite the fact that multiple family court litigants over the years have complained vociferously about his unprofessional behavior and incompetent treatment. I would suspect that Dr. Donald Hiebel's behavior with these two women is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is worth noting that despite the fact that previously litigants have submitted formal complaints to the Department of Public Health against Dr. Donald Hiebel, these complaints have been consistently ignored and summarily dismissed. One can only speculate what harm and damage might be avoided for many current and former clients of Dr. Hiebel if the Department of Public Health would take these complaints seriously.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I was driving around my neighborhood, and I happened to see the truck you see above in this blog. I immediately jumped out of my car to take a few pictures.  

You may think what you want about Linda Wiegand, but the fact is that no matter what has been said about her, she has left behind a legacy of giving that says volumes about the kind of person that she was.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I obtained the following list of facts from an anonymous mother on the internet.  I don't know who originated the information, but it is all profoundly true. See below:

1. Women do not have an advantage in court. That is a lie. Long ago yes - now NOT AT ALL. 

*Quit the lie. Statistics show in cases tried in court, women lose 82 percent of the time.

2. Don't leave an abusive marriage if you have children. I'm serious. Don't. Until there are changes in DV, society, etc it is too great of a risk.

3. If a parent - man or woman has stayed home for years - giving up careers etc to raise the kids- then damn right they should get alimony. I suggest NEVER give up your career. Too great of a risk.

4. The truth is NEVER told in court and no one is punished for lies and NO ONE cares. Colleagues, friends, everyone will let you down in court because suddenly they don't want to be involved. Promise. You remind them of incidences and they are afraid. Don't expect help from your church either. They will probably suggest you pray more as though you haven't been doing that for years.

5. People don't care about your struggle. They don't really believe the system is crooked and assume you did something really wrong.....promise.

6. Lawyers do NOT care about you. They instigate and they are friends with opposing counsel and the judge. They talk about your case outside of the court. Promise. They are friends in Facebook, instagram.

7. A settlement, divorce agreement - its merely paper."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


It is with sadness that I have to report the death of Jonathan P. Wiegand who died suddenly on Friday August 11, 2017.  See link:

During the 1990s, as a child of 4, Jonathan was in the center of an extremely controversial custody case in which his mother, Linda Wiegand, accused the stepfather, Thomas Wilkinson, of sexually abusing his stepson, Jonathan, and their younger son, Ben (3).  At one point, Ms. Wiegand fled to Las Vegas and two years later was discovered and charged with custodial interference.  

Jonathan P. Wiegand
This case set the stage for future custody switching schemes in which protective mothers in the State of Connecticut have lost custody, and indeed, all access to their children who are then transferred into the sole custody of the fathers who abused them.  The players in her case subsequently went on to become involved in other cases where good parents lost custody of their children.  This includes Judge Herbert Barall, Dr. Kenneth Robson, Attorney Louis Kiefer, and Dr. James C. Black.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


For many years now, there have been many complaints from protective mothers in regard to custody evaluator Dr. James Connolly.  Are you one such victim?  If so, this website would be interested in hearing from you.   

If you believe that Dr. Connolly invented the information he placed in your custody evaluation, if he misrepresented the facts in your case, if you discovered he deceived you into believing you had his support when you did not, if he charged you large sums of money for his work and did not deliver, if he failed to adhere to the APA standards for custody evaluations, if he inserted quack science such as parental alienation syndrome (PAS) or its equivalent in your evaluation, if he allowed your ex to put your children at risk of injury and did nothing about it, or committed any other malfeasance of this kind, please let us know.  

We can be contacted at the following email address:

All communications will be held strictly confidential. 

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. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


On March 16, 2017, Ms. Jane Doe, the mother of five children, was sentenced to 1 year in jail, execution suspended after 30 days, plus 3 years probation in addition to $1,500.00 in fines.  Her crime? Custodial Interference.  Yesterday, she was again on trial for another charge of custodial interference. I am not sure what the outcome of that trial has been.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Victoria Law of TRUTHOUT explains as follows:

"When Kate finally escaped her abusive husband, she thought that the violence and terror were over. What she learned instead is that, when children are involved, escape and safety become even more difficult as abusive ex-partners use child custody and the family court system to continue their harassment and abuse.

The first time her husband hit her, Kate was pregnant with their first child. He had forgotten his fanny pack at the drug store, Kate recalled. Once at home, she told Truthout, "he smashed me hard on the back of the head and said, 'How could you be so stupid?'"

It was the first time he had struck her, but her husband had emotionally and verbally abused her for years. "I felt like I was walking on eggshells and was nervous all the time," she explained. "All I could do was grovel and then go back to the drug store to get it..."


Monday, July 25, 2016


Here is a comment I made elsewhere on the blog which I think would benefit from wider coverage.  It responds to the question of why CT family court has high numbers of legal abuse cases.  See below:

I think to put some perspective on this. Up until around 2000, based upon statistics provided by the CT Judicial Branch, each year there were approximately 30 or so high conflict custody cases. 

Around 2000-2001 the Governor's Commission on Custody, Divorce, and Children was established and went around the State holding hearings in regard to custody and financial issues in CT's family courts. The Commission consisted of some of the currently most notorious names in the corrupt CT family court system. 

After the Commission had completed its mission and published its report, high conflict custody cases steadily rose to the numbers we have today which are at approximately 3,600 or so each year. 

I would suggest that family court conflict, at least in the State of CT--I can't speak for elsewhere--is a family court industry generated problem. 

As always, there is a solid group that simply works out its differences with or without support as you mention. But the remainder, and the stats back this up, are victims of a family court professionals' scheme to defraud and exploit vulnerable family court litigants who rely upon them for support and guidance. 

These family court professionals deliberately generate conflict and legal difficulties for money. It is as simple as that. 

The mental health professionals, of course, are trained at manipulation and psychological torture, and so they are particularly at fault here, which is why they are often called "Whores of the Court". But blaming the victims here, by calling them litigious or saying they just don't know how to resolve problems by negotiating in a reasonable way, is uncalled for when it comes to family court. In my case, for instance, attorneys never let my ex and I stay in the same room because they knew that we'd resolve matters quickly if we did.

The family court professionals who are involved in this scheme are highly trained, very intelligent, well connected individuals who have translated their exploitative schemes into a fine art that few are capable of even beginning to understand or resist.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Family Courts Exposed

By Barry Goldstein

I have long believed that whoever exposed the custody court scandal would be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. Today, Boston Globe reporters Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen produced a well documented story showing the pattern of ignorance, bias and harmful practices by the custody courts and child protective agencies in their response to child sexual abuse and domestic violence. The custody courts should never be the same and considering the enormous harm they have caused the needed reforms must take place immediately.

The reporters focused on the story of a now eight-year-old girl who suffered five years of sexual abuse and systemic failure despite her repeated reports about her father’s abuse. The reporters interviewed national experts to demonstrate that the mistakes made in this case are part of a larger pattern of custody courts and child protective agencies mishandling child custody cases involving abuse. Especially revealing was their comparison of the flawed practices used by court professionals and child protective caseworkers with the best practices described in the Saunders’ Study from the US Department of Justice.

The failure to believe the child’s reports of her father’s betrayal were based not on the circumstances in the case but the mistaken assumption by the professionals that false reports are common. One of the most important findings in the Saunders’ Study is that court professionals without the needed training and expertise tend to focus on the myth that mothers and children frequently make false reports. This is an important factor that results in the alleged offender winning custody in 85% of child sexual abuse cases. Near the end of the article, the child is quoted as saying, ” I think my mom believes me.” Her mother did believe her, but the authorities who could have saved her from further torture failed to believe her. They work in a system that routinely errs on the side of risking children. Needless to say the failures of the custody court and child protective agency have left the child severely traumatized.

Why Is This Article So Important?

Professor Garland Waller wrote a prophetic chapter in the first volume of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody that I co-edited with Dr. Mo Therese Hannah. The chapter explained the various factors including fear of lawsuits, lack of resources and difficulty in putting these kind of stories together that discouraged the media from exposing the scandal. Garland discussed the “Tipping Point” and predicted when enough people became aware of the scandal it could no longer be hidden and would have to be corrected. This story will either take us to the tipping point or bring us very close.

The Boston Globe reporters produced a powerful story. I believe it will encourage other journalists to cover an important topic they had previously avoided. The story should also encourage court and child protective administrators to consider needed reforms. They have been very defensive and routinely blame victims, but they will want to avoid further stories that would make them look bad and harm their careers. Legislators will want to show they are doing something to protect children. This should come in the form of more resources to improve the system and reforms that I hope will include the Safe Child Act.

Dr. Dianne Bartlow wrote an important chapter in the second volume of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody concerning the 175 children murdered in a two-year period by fathers involved in contested custody. She interviewed many of the best judges who have the most training and expertise about domestic violence. One of the points they made is that courts need to err on the side of safety which is the opposite of what the reporters found. The Safe Child Act specifically requires courts to make the health and safety of children the first priority. It requires an evidence based approach by integrating important scientific research into court practices. The legislation promotes a more multi-disciplinary approach as supported by the Saunders’ Study. And our proposal requires a trauma-informed response based on the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Research that found exposure to domestic violence and child abuse is far more harmful than previously understood.

Moving Forward

The only thing worse than the torture the court made the little girl suffer and the murders of the 175 children and the millions of children who have been forced to live with abusers is if society fails to learn from these tragedies. What frustrates me more than anything is that we now have the knowledge and practices that could save most of these children. The judge who made so many decisions to place the child in jeopardy surely did not want to hurt the girl. But the professionals in the broken system cannot prevent these frequent tragedies using the outdated and discredited practices that were developed in the 1970s. They are afraid of bad publicity which is why they use gag orders and retaliation in an attempt to silence anyone who would criticize their mistakes. The professionals who failed this child would like the story to go away, but our job is to make sure this girl is remembered. It is painful and traumatic to think about all these horrific stories, but we must remember our pain is nothing compared to what this little girl and so many other children are forced to suffer every day until we make it stop.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



"Criminal sentencings are a decidedly dismal affair, but rarely do they frighten me. The sentencing of Edward "Ted" Taupier in Middletown the other day did scare me. I had the sense that the center really did not hold any longer, and that warring worlds had converged without hope of doing anything other than colliding.

I attended the sentencing because I have been retained to take an appeal in Taupier's case. After a court trial, he was convicted of threatening and related offenses.

The underlying facts were essentially undisputed: Taupier sent an email to several others in which he described the physical layout of a judge's home, the distance from her bedroom window to a vantage point from which a sniper's shot could be fired, the type of weapon and ammunition it would take to penetrate the bedroom window, and the fact that he possessed such a weapon..."

Read more: