When a parent harms his or her own child, family courts are
supposed to step in and safeguard the victim.
Can you imagine what a tragedy it would be if courts awarded
custody to the wrong parent - the abuser?
Actually, according to one conservative estimate, more than
58,000 children per year are ordered by family courts into
unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents
following divorce in the United States.
The fact that this type of scandal is taking place in the
American justice system defies the imagination. Not since the Roman
Catholic Church pedophile scandal has the US seen this level of
institutional harm inflicted on innocent children.
Consider the case of Jonea Rogers, a hairstylist from Marin
County, Calif. During her costly divorce, she sought help from
numerous law enforcement, child protection, and family court
authorities to protect her daughter from what medical evidence and
reports by the child and her baby sitter suggested could be ongoing
neglect or sexual abuse or both by the girl's father or grandfather.
None of the authorities she approached would effectively
intervene to protect her daughter. So in 2000, Ms. Rogers eventually
felt that she had no choice but to flee with her child to protect
More than three years later, this protective mother was caught
and jailed for five months, while her daughter was immediately
handed over to her alleged abusers. Rogers faced criminal charges
for violating a court order by fleeing with her child. After
considering the evidence in her case, a jury of her peers completely
exonerated her of all wrongdoing.
The very same evidence that exonerated her in the criminal court
had been called "frivolous" by the family court judge and
disregarded. Despite her acquittal, Rogers was never granted custody
of her daughter, who lives with her alleged abusers to this day. She
is now forced to pay a fee to visit with her daughter a few times a
month in a supervised visitation facility.
As we see in many cases across the country, even when physical or
sexual abuse of children is alleged during a divorce, American
family courts routinely award custody to the parent with an
established record of domestic violence restraining orders, child
abuse, neglect, alcoholism, addiction, dangerous mental illness, or
Meanwhile, the child's other parent, commonly referred to as the
"protective parent," is typically demonized by court professionals
as an "alienator" for bringing evidence of child abuse to the
This happens because the reigning paradigm in family courts
across the country is an unscientific, discredited theory known as
"Parental Alienation Syndrome," or PAS.
PAS and its many derivatives suggest that the parent who asks the
court to protect his or her child by limiting the alleged abuser's
access to that child is "alienating" the child from the other
The theory suggests that a parent "coaches" a son or daughter to
fabricate false abuse allegations, and the court's attention
immediately shifts away from investigating an alleged crime and
instead focuses on the "uncooperative parent" who refuses to share
custody of the child with the alleged abuser or molester. …