Japan may succumb to pressure to join the Hague Treaty despite evidence that women often abduct children to protect them

Sometimes public opinion (or outdated research) holds more weight than facts. Too bad Japan is now considering joining a treaty that should be rehauled.

Cabinet to OK on May 20 preparations for joining child custody pact 

Japan has been under international pressure to join the child custody treaty, which would help resolve cases in which foreign parents are prevented from seeing their children in Japan after their marriages with Japanese nationals fail.

Protecting abducted kids: Rethinking the Hague Convention

In 1980, an international treaty was designed to return children who had been abducted by a parent who moved to another country. Back then, the people drafting the treaty thought the typical abductor would be a noncustodial father skipping town with the kids, leaving mom with little recourse to try to get her children back. So what happens, three decades later, when research indicates that 68% of the abducting parents in cases under this treaty are mothers — and that many of them are fleeing abusive spouses?

The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, dubbed the Hague Convention after the place where it was finalized, has been adopted by 82 countries, which are expected to help return abducted children to their habitual residence within six weeks of a parent filing a petition. But Jeffrey Edleson and Taryn Lindhorst, lead researchers on a new study of Hague Convention cases, argue that the treaty is often used against women seeking safety for themselves — and for their children — from violent husbands. “We always thought that child abduction is a bad thing,” says Edleson, a professor of social work at the University of Minnesota. “But in some cases, mothers are taking children to protect them from greater harm.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2036246,00.html#ixzz1MB51Qs6o

Consider writing a letter to the editor at the Japan Times – they’ve covered this issue

The Today Show again misses the boat on domestic violence

The Today Show played a 911 call from Paula Abdul, who plead to be let out of a car this past Valentine’s Day. The driver was, allegedly, her boyfriend. On the call, Abdul sounds panicky, perhaps afraid, until finally, the driver comes to a stop. And, somehow, the Today Show thinks this call will “tarnish her reputation.” They talk about her “antics” in the past — so, apparently, they think her plea was just another crazy “antic” and not really a call for help. I realize Abdul has had controversial behavior in the past, but comparing this 911 call to an “antic” was troublesome. 

The Today Show has also disregarded domestic violence allegations in international child custody cases (despite evidence indicating many of these cases do involve domestic violence) and has offered a lot of sympathy to misogynist Charlie Sheen. 

Not a very good record at all, I’d say.    

Here’s a video clip: Today Show

Today Show shows bias towards mothers and ignores domestic violence claims

The Today Show has featured several fathers who’ve had their kids “abducted.” Today they had Michael McCarty on. There was an allegation of domestic violence, but the Today Show blew right by it. Meanwhile, recent research shows most of these abductions DO involve domestic violence.

Here’s a Time Magazine article on it: Protecting kids: Rethinking the Hague convention 

Notice the comments by Christopher Savoie on the Time piece. (I think he was on the Today Show too). He keeps ranting about the “women are just as agressive as men” crap that the Men’s Rights Advocates and misogynist Fathers Rights guys use to paint women as violent and evil. They’re using cherry-picked data, of course, that even the researcher who finds mutual violence –  Gelles – warns against doing because it doesn’t represent the whole picture or the fact that women suffer the most.  A lot of these guys in the Fathers Rights movement have had charges/convictions against them (see XY Online; the Liz Library).

These guys are portraying themselves as innocent victims and the media is believing them, without question. Ignoring domestic violence claims is despicable. Please write to the Today Show 

Important links

Here are a few articles that make some important links in domestic violence cases.

Domestic violence victim, Maria Garcia, “feared” getting help

She said Maria went to the police station more than once, but never filed a report. She said her friend feared talking to police would make the situation more dangerous for her four children.

Fear – not stupidity – is what often keeps women from leaving their abuser. They may be fearful for their lives, their children, or even their pets. It’s important that the media communicate this.

Dad charged with stalking daughter

Dennis Hobbs, 59, is barred by a restraining order from going near his 19-year-old daughter now.

 Police said they found a loaded gun, a video camera, a wig and a notebook detailing his daughter’s whereabouts in Hobbs’ car.

 Hobbs was dressed in black and had painted his face black, police said.

 He was arrested after being spotted driving slowly around a women’s shelter where his daughter told police she had taken refuge out of fear of an overly protective and religious father who disapproved of her relationship with her boyfriend.

 Hobbs’ attorney called it a case of a concerned father worried about his daughter living in a high-crime neighborhood.

 According to the police report, Hobbs sent his daughter several e-mails prior to his arrest.

 One read, “I love you, but there is no loving way to do what I must.”

 When he was arrested, Hobbs told police, “You just signed her death certificate.”

This is what women fear – retaliation for seeking help.

 And here’s an important link:  child custody

Lake Havasu man kills 5, then himself Suspect in custody dispute with mother of children, police say

Police said Sunday that the alleged gunman, 26-year-old Brian Diez, had fathered 4-year-old Kaia Diez and 1-year-old Cole Diez with Langstaff.

 Lake Havasu City police Sgt. Joe Harrold says Diez was arrested Aug. 13 for violating a protection order Langstaff had against him.

 When police responded to the home, they discovered four people dead at the scene and two others — 20-year-old Brock Kelson and 44-year-old Deborah Nyland — needing medical attention. Police said Sunday that the alleged gunman, 26-year-old Brian Diez, had fathered 4-year-old Kaia Diez and 1-year-old Cole Diez with Langstaff.

Lake Havasu City police Sgt. Joe Harrold says Diez was arrested Aug. 13 for violating a protection order Langstaff had against him.

When police responded to the home, they discovered four people dead at the scene and two others — 20-year-old Brock Kelson and 44-year-old Deborah Nyland — needing medical attention.

Believe women

Another women who is not believed. Another child who is dead.

I’m posting the entire article. See: Family:  System failed to protect boy, 2

Family: System failed to protect boy, 2

  Download story podcast

06:53 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

PDF: Read transcripts of the custody hearing for Isaac Gallegos

The family of a 2-year-old Inland boy who died in his father’s care has filed a complaint asking that a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge be disbarred for granting visitation to the boy’s father.

Seven months after the judge’s order, in which court records show he chastised the mother for overreacting to injuries, Isaac Gallegos was dead and his Moreno Valley father was charged with murder.

The state Commission on Judicial Performance would not confirm whether it had received the family’s complaint against Superior Court Judge John M. Pacheco. It said the proceedings are confidential and the judge had not been disciplined.

Story continues below

Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise
Reflected in a portrait of Isaac Gallegos are, from left, his grandmother Grace Lester, his mother, Andrea Gallegos, his aunt Jessica Gallegos, and grandfather Mike Lester, all of Ontario. The boy died in April while visiting his father — visits the boy’s mother had asked a judge to prohibit.

San Bernardino County Presiding Judge Douglas Elwell said Pacheco could not comment directly since it was part of an ongoing criminal case. He said the family court always considers a child’s safety in its rulings.

“In doing so, it’s not only based on the credibility of those testifying, but family service reports and trying to weigh all of that with an appropriate decision under the law,” Elwell said.

During a Sept. 4 custody hearing, Isaac’s mother, Andrea Gallegos, 22, of Ontario, told the court that her son came home with bruises on his buttocks and scratches on his back after a visit in Moreno Valley with his father, Alex Baeza, 23, of Moreno Valley. Isaac was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital where police and Child Protective Services were notified, Gallegos said.

Baeza told the judge Isaac had slipped and fallen on the edge of a hot tub.

A Riverside police report was inconclusive about whether child abuse had occurred, and the case was deferred to CPS, Sgt. Wayne Ramaekers said.

“Your honor, I fear for my son, he came back with all the bruising,” Gallegos said, according to court transcripts, not finishing her sentence.

“I already made my order OK?” Pacheco said. “I talked to the detective; the detective talked to the doctor. I’ve done my investigation, I feel very confident this man did not hurt his son all right? …

“I think you’re overreacting all right? Now, if you continue to act this way… I’ll have to take custody away from you and… I will give custody to the person that is most willing to cooperate with the other parent, and giving them custody OK?” Pacheco said, according to court transcripts.

“I understand you want to protect your child, and that’s fine. That’s the way moms are, and dads too. But I don’t see anything here to stop him from letting him see his son OK? I really don’t.”

Pacheco ordered the mother to continue allowing overnight weekend visits between the toddler and his father and threatened to take away custody if she made additional allegations against the father.

multiple failures

Andrea Gallegos said the child welfare system failed her at every turn.

“My boy’s dead because of that judge’s failure,” Gallegos said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought we would go to court and they were going to help us.”

Isaac died in April of a head injury that Riverside County sheriff’s homicide detectives said was inflicted by his father.

Riverside County Regional Medical Center officials summoned police after the boy was brought to the emergency room with a severe head injury. He was declared brain dead and was kept on life support so his organs could be donated to another child.

Baeza’s family previously said Isaac was sick when he arrived at their home and that he fell off a bed while in Baeza’s care shortly before he died, but he was not abused. The family said Baeza had also filed CPS complaints against Gallegos for bruising in April.

Homicide detectives said the injuries were consistent with abuse and not with a fall. Baeza was identified as a suspect because he was the only person in a bedroom with Isaac when the injuries occurred, authorities said.

Baeza was charged with murder and assault on a child. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for this month. His attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

Gallegos moved in to her parents’ house in Ontario when she became pregnant with Isaac. She said her relationship with Baeza was distant.

After Isaac was born, Baeza wanted to become part of his life. The couple agreed to share custody, but she didn’t know where he lived. During the Sept. 4 hearing, the judge ordered them to hand off Isaac for visits at a Rubidoux sheriff’s station.

She believes Isaac had been abused at least three times before the fatal injury.

After she was unsuccessful in September at stopping the court-ordered visits, Gallegos said Isaac came back from a visit with his father with bruising on his ears. Fearful of returning to court, the family took him to a pediatrician and called Ontario police, which opened a CPS case.

A third CPS case was opened in Fontana shortly before Isaac died for other bruising, said Isaac’s grandfather Mike Lester.

In each case, CPS and authorities found insufficient evidence of child abuse, Lester said.

San Bernardino County officials said they could not confirm or deny a CPS history without a public records request because Isaac died in another county. A records request is still pending.

Riverside County CPS officials said Isaac’s only history with their office was filed April 11, the injury that caused his death.

“The whole system failed us from start to finish. All we wanted was for someone to help us,” Lester said. “This is their job. They have to investigate in order to save these kids. I don’t want this to happen to another child.”

why no investigation?

University of San Diego professor Robert Fellmeth said the case points to not just the court’s failure but to a larger indictment on the system in place to protect children from abuse. At the very least, an investigation should have been opened, said Fellmeth, who founded the Child Advocacy Institute and co-wrote the state’s CPS open record law.

“If it comes up, they’re supposed to do something. The court is tasked with protecting children with abuse,” Fellmeth said. “The mom is doing the right thing in raising the issue. To imply the mom did anything wrong, and if she did it again would lose custody, is outrageous.”

Family courts can often overlook signs of abuse because false allegations are frequent in embattled custody cases, Fellmeth said. But the courts should not deem an allegation false, solely based on whether a detective planned to file a case, he said.

“Obviously there was a failure,” Fellmeth said. “The family court judge made an imprudent remark, but the larger failure is not his. Where was CPS and the juvenile dependency court? Why wasn’t there a further investigation?”

DeAnna Avey-Motikeit, director of San Bernardino County Children and Family Services, said legislation is being proposed to remove some of the confidential barriers that surround child cases.

“We definitely need a better communication system between family court, CPS and law enforcement,” Motikeit said. “This is an issue people are becoming acutely aware of and shows the need of greater communication in a lot of the battles between the parents.”

Reach John Asbury at 951-763-3451 or jasbury@PE.com

For the record, false allegations are NOT frequent. Research finds most allegations of abuse are made in good faith and rates of false allegations in family court are not higher than other cases.  The American Bar Association and the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence both have research citations regarding this.

Custody catastrophes

In the Custody Catastrophes department, we have a father convicted of child sexual abuse. I’m sure if this story involved a mother, it would have made national news. The father got visitation rights (which indicates the mother must have made allegations if he didn’t get shared parenting). He sexually abused the baby girl the first visitation he got. He dumped the baby in the woods and reported that she was snatched while he wasn’t looking. Luckily, she was found and taken to a hospital. This story could have had a worse ending – and all because women’s claims are not taken seriously – and abuse could have been prevented in the first place – if she was believed and he was given supervised visitation.  

Clark gets 50 years to life for attempted murder, sexual assault on his child
Cory Clarke was sentenced to 50 years to life Friday for sexually abusing his 7-month old daughter and then leaving her in the woods to die on July 4.

Clark was convicted in March of attempted murder, first-degree predatory sexual abuse on a child, incest and other first-degree felony sex crimes.

Clarke reported the baby missing to a Walmart employee. He maintained that the baby was snatched while he was changing her brother in a bathroom.

In Australia, they’re having the same problems in their Family Court system. Women’s claims of abuse go unheeded. Here is an article about a recent study from Sydney University called “No way to Live.” The study interviews 22 women.

Act aids abusive fathers, imperils children

Here’s the report, No Way to Live

And to give you an example of the misogynist Fathers Righters, here’s a link I got when I searched for the report. I’m unable to open it though.

Malicious mothers demanding changes to Australia’s Shared

Jun 24, 2010 The study, No Way to Live, will add pressure to the federal Attorney-General, Blog Directory for Sydney, New South Wales

Children as property?

Whew, this headline is straight out 0f the 1800s when children were considered property of their father:

Mom Who Took Dad’s 2 Kids to S. Korea Jailed in NJ

She gave birth to them. Furthermore, both Mom & Dad agreed to move to South Korea – she didn’t take them anywhere by herself. He then moved back to NJ voluntarily – to make more money, he alleges. She alleges HE sexually abused their child  – yet SHE is in jail. Another he said/she said situation where he is believed and she is not – without even investigating the charges.

On second thought…

Okay, on Feb. 6 I blogged about domestic homicides that target females.  Now, in the past week, we’ve come across three cases that involved boys. There is research that finds violent men seek custody of boys more often than girls. (When I find it, I’ll post it.)

Garcia/Tagle case

Nicholas Bacon

Jesus Roman Fuentes

Also, over at Dastardly Dads, they’ve posted a summary of the Dads that have had visitation or custody and have killed their kids **this year alone.***

Dastardly Dads

Custody catastrophes

Great article on MomLogic: