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Family Court Corruption: An Exploding Global Problem That Profits Off the Misery of Children and Families

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Sky News just dropped an article blasting the UK family court system for giving children to abusers. It reads like the multi-part series on family court corruption in Missouri that PJ Media has been reporting on all year. The systemic problems in the U.S courts appear to be the same in many countries including England, Australia, Spain, Israel, and more. Why are family courts giving kids to abusers, sometimes leading to murders? That question may never be answered, but it’s heartening that news organizations around the world appear to be getting interested in asking the questions. Sky News reported:

The situation is so bad, the domestic abuse commissioner says lawyers often advise clients not to tell the court they have been victims of domestic violence in case it is used against them.

Nicole Jacobs told Sky News that solicitors tell them: “The judge doesn’t like it, it complicates things.”

Barrister and advisor to the government on domestic abuse, Usha Sood, has described the situation as “scandalous”, and is among many calling for greater transparency in the family courts.

One leading campaigner on child sexual exploitation (CSE), Sammy Woodhouse, says that victims of CSE who become mothers are facing similar problems with “hundreds of women” contacting her to say: “I wish I’d never come forward because now they’re going to take my kids.”

This sounds identical to what happened in St. Louis County to countless parents who reported child sexual abuse during their custody battles. In Haynes v. Haynes, 14-year-old Mikaela Haynes was given to the man she said abused her repeatedly. She later hung herself out of desperation. Social workers are on tape acknowledging they knew he was abusing her. Christian Fergusen was given to his abuser, who is now on trial for his murder after his mother reported abuse concerns to the court. Angela Freiner was arrested when she tried to report her daughter’s claims of sexual abuse that went ignored by Judge Nicole Zellweger, even though the judge heard the child tell her directly in court that her father abused her. One of the most egregious cases in Missouri included more than eleven hotline calls and substantiated reports of child sexual abuse that guardian ad litem Elaine Pudlowski simply ignored and covered up, resulting in the child being sent back to her abuser.

In one case, three court-appointed therapists informed guardian ad litem (GAL) Elaine Pudlowski in writing that a child should never have unsupervised visits with her father because of multiple disclosures of sexual abuse, including sodomy. It began with the Missouri Children’s Division substantiating the abuse in November of 2016…In October, therapist Salicia Mazero wrote in an email to Pudlowski and others, “I do not believe that [redacted] should have unsupervised visits with her father until we can continue to investigate.”

Pudlowski would not allow an investigation. Instead, she complained that the therapist was someone the mother chose and so Mazero should be ignored.

Pudlowski fought off hotline call after hotline call as is evidenced by the piles of her emails that PJ Media has received. On September 21, 2017, Pudlowski admits she prevented a hotline call from being investigated. The call was made by the mother after a supervised visit with the child’s father went awry and the child used a “safe word,” alarming the mandated reporter. The child then made more disclosures to her mother about genital touching. Pudlowski’s response was exasperation and deflection and what looks like interference in the hotline process. “I spoke with the Children’s Division. Per the worker, he spoke with his supervisor, and the Children’s Division will be closing the hotline as incident already investigated. The visits need to resume,” wrote Pudlowski.

RELATED: Missouri Judge Sends 14-Year-Old Girl to Live With Allegedly Abusive Dad While Jailing Her Mom

The UK has the same problems, according to Sky News.

Ms Woodhouse added: “The man who raped me, he was offered to apply to courts not just for contact but for full custody.

“He’s sat in prison for 35 years for being, you know, one of the worst sex offenders in the country.

“Unfortunately, lessons aren’t being learnt.

“I’ve been contacted by hundreds of women around the country – so this isn’t just a Rotherham problem – saying ‘Sammy, I wish I’d never come forward. You know, I wish I’d have just kept my mouth shut and not told anyone because now they’re going to take my kids.'”

Another alleged victim of child abuse, “Kelly”, was groomed by a man from the age of 15. By 16 she had a baby.

She says she was made to have a Muslim marriage ceremony and was virtually imprisoned in the house, suffering regular domestic violence.

She told Sky News: “He was pulling me around by my hair, slapping me, dragging me about, kicking me, punching me, ripped my clothes, you know I had bald patches in my head from where he’d dragged me about by my hair.”

The father was even convicted of abuse against Kelly, but won custody partly because the boy said he wanted to be with his father.

Kelly says the boy was coerced. “He’d say to my son, you know, ‘Your mum’s a dirty white w****. She’s a dirty prostitute. You know, when you get older, when you get to 16, beat her up, kick her in the head, spit on her, come and live with me, she’s just a tramp.'”

On my livestream weekly show on YouTube about family court corruption, I interviewed Grant Wyeth, an Australian journalist who has found similar issues there. Wyeth says he got interested in this topic when he started to see articles about abusers getting custody. “I started thinking, ‘why is this happening?’ he said. “So I started digging and the more you dig the more absurd it becomes and the more you realize that something incredibly wrong is going wrong with the system and it’s a global problem.”

Wyeth went on to describe similar atrocities going on in Australia, including a scathing review of “parental alienation” policies that are used by abusers to take control of their victims. “My theory at the moment is that children aren’t reluctant to engage with a parent for no reason at all,” he said. Most likely, the simplest answer is the right one and the child is reacting to abuse. “But if you’re a court psychologist or any kind of therapist, your power in the system is related to how complicated you can make things, so if you say, ‘No, that obvious reason is not the reason. What’s going on is far more complicated,’ then you have all the power in the system, don’t you?”

One thing journalists across the world agree on is that the corruption stems from the money-making boondoggle that is the family court system. The higher the conflict, the larger the bill. Dangerous and bad decisions involving giving children to abusers increase the motions and filings and court dates with the protective parent having to fight longer and harder and spend more money in the process.

RELATED: Family Court Debate: Is ‘Parental Alienation’ Destroying Kids? Do We Need Shared Parenting Laws?

Even the Ministry of Justice in the UK seems to get it, according to Sky News. But will anything be done about it? When billions of dollars are being made every year based on this model, it’s unlikely.

A Ministry of Justice report last year also criticised the balance given to abusers in private law children cases.

It said: “Submissions highlighted a feeling that abuse is systematically minimised, ranging from children’s voices not being heard, allegations being ignored, dismissed or disbelieved, to inadequate assessment of risk, traumatic court processes, perceived unsafe child arrangements, and abusers exercising continued control through repeat litigation.”

Click here for a complete catalog of PJ Media’s exclusive reporting on family court corruption in America.