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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, May 13, 2010

Why we need independent investigation units to inform custody and visitation decisions


Police: Utah man beat, disfigured slain boy
Prosecutors expect to file charges against mom, stepfather on Friday


By JENNIFER DOBNER, PAUL FOY
Associated Press Writers
The Associated Press
updated 9:15 p.m. ET, Wed., May 12, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah stepfather held in the slaying of a 4-year-old child beat him for days before the boy died, then used a hammer to disfigure his face and teeth before burying the body in the mountains, according to police records released late Wednesday.

The body of Ethan Stacy, wrapped in plastic, was unearthed by police on Tuesday.

Interview summaries filed by Layton police detectives documented a pattern of increasingly harsh treatment of the boy, who was sent by a Virginia judge to Utah for a summer visit with his mother.

Investigators said they obtained photographs and video images of the boy's progressively worse condition from the mother's cell phone, starting more than a week ago.

Parents went off to get married
The stepfather, Nathanael Sloop, 31, acknowledged hitting the boy, which caused his face to swell, and leaving him in a locked bedroom on May 6 while the couple went off to get married, according to the probable cause statements.

For the rest of this report, see:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37120003/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/


About the mother and child pictured at the top

On February 21, 1992, Rhode Island Family Court's Chief Judge Jeremiah Jeremiah gave this two-year-old to the sole custody and possession of her father despite his history of domestic violence and failure to pay child support. The father, a police officer, brought false charges against his ex-wife, first saying she was a drug addict. (Twenty-two random tests proved she was not.) Then he had her arrested for bank fraud, then for filing a false report, then for sexual abuse, then for kidnapping. None of his charges stuck.

The child remained with her father and stepmother until 2003, when, at 14, she finally realized that her mother had not been a drug addict. The teenager persuaded Judge Stephen Capineri to let her return to her mother. There she began working on the painful issues of lifelong coercion and deception--a tangled knot of guilt and rage. Most painful has been her father’s continuing refusal to let her visit two dearly loved half-sisters, whom she has not seen since 2003.

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.

We are using this blog to provide links to stories that will help concerned people, including government officials, become aware of this form of child abuse and legal abuse. We must work together to improve the courts' ability to recognize the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of domestic abuse who are trying to protect their children.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking for the story of the removal of "Molly and Sara," please visit http://LittleHostages.blogspot.com


About the Author and the Cause

Parenting Project is a volunteer community service begun in 1996 at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. Our goal is to make Rhode Island's child protective system more effective, transparent, and accountable.

The Parenting Project coordinator, Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter for battered women and their children, researches and writes about official actions that endanger children and the parents who try to protect them. She wrote a chapter on Rhode Island in Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues, ed. Mo Therese Hannah, PhD, and Barry Goldstein, JD (Civic Research Institute, 2010).

Comments and corrections on anything written here may be sent in an email with no attachments to parentingproject@verizon.net

Find out more about the crisis in custody courts here:

www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org/PhotoExhibit.htm
www.child-justice.org
www.leadershipcouncil.org
www.evawintl.org provides forensic resources to end violence against women

about domestic violence in hague custody cases:
www.haguedv.org

more about domestic violence in law enforcement:
http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/



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