Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children. (More about this child and the mother who tried to protect her appears below.)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
When judges don't believe the violence
Deadly consequences: Judges rejected mom's bid for restraining order
by Beatriz Valenzuela
VICTORVILLE • A woman whose ex-boyfriend murdered their infant son and then killed himself had sought a restraining order from two San Bernardino County judges only days before the murder-suicide, according to court records (click here to view records) obtained by the Daily Press.
Katie Tagle petitioned two San Bernardino County court judges for a restraining order only days before her former boyfriend, Stephen Garcia, killed himself and their 9-month-old son, Wyatt. Both requests were denied — in spite of Tagle telling a local judge that Garcia had threatened to kill their son.
“My suspicion is you’re lying,” Judge Robert Lemkau said, according to transcripts from a Jan. 21 hearing in Victorville court, “but I’m keeping the custody orders in full force and effect.”
Wyatt was then turned over to Garcia that day. Both Garcia and the child were found dead 10 days later on a Twin Peaks dirt road, after Garcia took Wyatt during a court-ordered visitation.
“Having that restraining order really could’ve helped this situation and possibly may have swayed a judge to grant supervised visitations,” said Anita Gomez, case manager for A Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter.
Lemkau, who couldn’t be reached for comment, denied to make permanent a temporary restraining order signed by another judge — who at first denied Tagle’s original restraining order request.
Family members said when Tagle went in front of Judge David Mazurek in a Joshua Tree courtroom on Jan. 12, Mazurek denied the permanent restraining order despite the 23-year-old reporting Garcia had recently been abusive to her.
Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at (760) 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.
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About the mother and child pictured at the top
She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court when it helps abusive parents to maintain control over their families after divorce. When she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.
About the Author and the Cause