Never Forget: Judge Knutson – Stayed Sentence for Child Rapist

Never forget… Judge David L. Knutson let a child rapist, with a lengthy criminal history, walk free after he pleaded guilty to a brutal assault on a child. 

Child Rapist Gets Stayed Prison Term, 20 Years Probationed-prison-term-20-years-probation

Dakota County, Minnesota, May 7, 2013: Dennis Michael Roy, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct after raping and repeatedly assaulting a 5-year old girl, a relative, from Eagan (Case No. 19HA-CR-12-495).

Roy faced a maximum of 30 years in prison and $40,000 in fines…but instead he walked free. Roy appeared before Judge David L. Knutson, who handed down his sentence on March 22, 2013. Judge Knutson sentenced Roy to a 16-year stayed prison term and 20 years of probation.

In September 2014, Roy was found guilty of a probation violation for loitering in public with an open bottle of alcohol. He served 45 days in jail.

Roy has 18 prior convictions, including second-degree burglary, multiple motor-vehicle thefts, multiple DUIs, trespassing, disorderly conduct and multiple domestic assaults.

The girl involved continues to struggle with the assault, and suffers from the effects of trauma.

Will Judge Knutson ever be held accountable? Unlikely because Judge Knutson is now a member of the Board of Judicial Standards that responds to complaints about Minnesota state court judges for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Members Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards

Justice has not been served; the community remains at risk.


Judge Karen Asphaug: 6 Years for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, 60 Days for MMA Fighter Who Brutally Beat Wife

Dakota Co. Courthouse

Dakota County Judge Karen Asphaug, along with County Attorney Jim Backstrom, endorsed a much harsher sentence for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, a domestic violence survivor who assisted her children from running away from an environment they felt was unsafe, than a sentence (previously) issued to Brett Rogers, a MMA Fighter who brutally beat his wife in front of their two terrified children.


Cruel & Unusual Punishment: Grazzini-Rucki Case

Ironically, the escalation of the Grazzini-Rucki divorce, and the Brett Rogers assault both occurred in June 2011. However, the way these two cases were handled by Judge Asphaug, and Jim Backstrom couldn’t be more different.

County Attorney James Backstrom

County Attorney James Backstrom

In 2011, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki divorced an abusive husband, David Rucki, and sought to rebuild her life, and that of her children. In family court, she entered a legal minefield that would leave her homeless, without children, and financially devastated. Even worse, Judge David Knutson, and the court professionals, refused to listen to abuse allegations raised by Sandra and the children; even as Rucki continued to stalk and terrorize the family.  The failures of the court system, Judge Knutson specifically, and the mishandling of abuse allegations created a crisis that resulted in Sandra being in jail today, convicted of felony deprivation of parental rights.

By all counts, the interventions of Judge Knutson, and the family court professionals, had a traumatic and disastrous effect on the Grazzini-Rucki family, especially the children. Judge Knutson dismissed concerns of abuse and pushed for reunification even as David Rucki was violating protective orders, and his children expressed fear of him due to his violent behavior. It was the opinion of court-appointed therapist Dr. Gilbertson that the children needed to be “desensitized” to the “object of their fear, father” and that by forcing a face-to-face visit, and forcing the children to sit in during court hearings would facilitate a better relationship with their father. Instead, the Court’s actions increased the children’s fear, especially when Rucki was not held accountable for his abuse – such as violating a no-contact order with the children, and chasing one of the children (and her friends) down the street.In September 2012, Sandra was forcibly removed from her home, and from her children’s lives – the children begged to live with their mother, their cries went unheard.

In April 2o13, the situation had escalated to a crisis, when Judge Knutson ruled that the children would be placed in the temporary custody of David Rucki’s sister (and by extension, the children would be under his control, as the aunt maintained frequent contact, and followed his direction). The children expressed they did not feel safe with the aunt, and raised allegations that she mistreated them. In April 2013; after the courts failed to protect them from abuse, two of the Rucki girls ran away. In a panic, the girls called Sandra, begging for help. Sandra admits to helping them, stating, “I did what any parent would do… protect them from harm“. The runaway Rucki girls went missing for two years before being found in November 2015, living on a therapeutic horse ranch with a couple who specializes in working with vulnerable, at-risk children.  Criminal charges against those involved in their disappearance, including Sandra, followed.

In July 2016, Sandra’s criminal trial was held before Judge Asphaug at the Dakota County Judicial Center.  During trial, Sandra raised the affirmative defense, meaning her actions were taken to protect her children from physical or substantial emotional harm. Judge Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence, meaning the jury did not hear a majority of evidence proving abuse, and did not hear from several witnesses, and a domestic violence expert who would have been called.  Further, to raise the affirmative defense, Sandra had to prove, “the person reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the child from physical or sexual assault or substantial emotional harm..” Withholding evidence, and limiting what the defense could present, did not allow the Defense to present context in which Sandra acted, and her state of mind or “reasonable belief” could  to the jury.  Allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have also been raised as contributing to Sandra’s conviction. Critics argue Sandra’s trial was “rigged” and set up to fail.

Subsequently, Sandra was found guilty on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights, and sentenced in September 2016.  With time served, Sandra was expected to serve no more than one year and one day in jail.

However, Prosecutor Kathryn M. Keena wanted to give Sandra an aggravated sentence, meaning harsher than the law allowed. Aggravated sentences are usually reserved for the most severe crimes – drug smuggling, repeat offenders, serial killers etc. Since Sandra’s case did not meet the standards necessary to impose an aggravated sentence, Judge Asphaug manipulated the legal system to stretch out the sentence to involve short jail stays stretching over 6 years. The sentence also includes yearly stints in sentence to serve and 6 years of probation as well as hefty fines. Failure to meet the conditions of probation could result in additional jail time. Sandra filed a motion to execute her sentence, meaning spend all of her time in jail up front, and avoid probation. That motion was denied by Judge Asphaug in October 2016.  What is being done to Sandra is clearly is cruel and unusual punishment – the punishment is more severe than the crime merits, and will cause undue hardship that will challenge Sandra’s ability to re-enter society (for example – it is difficult enough for a felon to gain employment, let alone a person with 6 felonies, and who is required to return to jail every year AND if she fails to perform sentence to serve, additional jail time will be issued).

The unusual harshness of Sandra’s punishment, is more clearly seen when comparing this case to another criminal case, involving domestic violence, that was also presided over by Judge Asphaug. This case differs in that it involves a perpetrator, found guilty of a violent crime, who received a plea deal and even after re-offending, avoided the wrath Judge Asphaug has inflicted on Sandra.

Public Domain:

Public Domain:

Brett Rogers: “Night of Horror”

Compare  Judge Asphaug’s harsh treatment of Sandra Grazini-Rucki to the sentence imposed on Brett Rogers for domestic assault, and you will see a man who brutally beat his wife was given a more lenient sentence than a mother who sought to protect her children from abuse.

In November 2011, Brett “Da Grim” Rogers, a heavyweight mixed martial artist, was sentenced to 60 days in jail after brutally beating his wife, T.R., in front of his two daughters. Judge Asphaug described the incident as a “night of horror“. With time served, Rogers would serve no more than 2 weeks in jail.

Brett Rogers Booking Photo

Brett Rogers Booking Photo – 2011

The incident happened on June 28th, a neighbor called police after witnessing Rogers punch his wife, T.R., as she lay on the ground outside their house. The neighbor noticed blood was streaming down her face. During the attack, T.R.  lost consciousness. T.R. sustained multiple injuries including a broken jaw, a tooth was knocked out, a “golf ball size lump” above her eyebrow, among other injuries. Rogers said the assault was just a “misunderstanding“.

The two children reported that they were afraid to go home, and that their father had previously choked them. One of the children attempted to intervene, but was helpless to save her mother. The children spent the night at a neighbor’s home while their mother was rushed to the hospital.

Rogers plead guilty to felony third-degree assault. As part of a plea deal, two felonies of domestic assault by strangulation and stalking were dismissed, as well as a gross misdemeanor charge of endangering a child. Rogers was also ordered to 3 years probation, and to complete a domestic abuse program. Jim Backstrom was instrumental in the deal offered to Rogers.

Rogers violated the conditions of his probation just a few weeks after release by contacting T.R., and by pushing a man at a local restaurant. Several other charges were to follow over the following years… probation violations, violations to a no-contact order, felony domestic assault and DWI. Rogers has struggled to rebuild his life, though he claims he will be a better man.


Judge Karen Asphaug

Both of these cases were presided by  Judge Asphaug, and both involve incidents related to domestic violence. Domestic violence has significantly affected both families, and their children in different ways. The resulting criminal charges against is indicative of Judge Asphaug’s personal views of their circumstances (including her knowledge or understanding of domestic violence), and perception of the offender – and suggests her sentencing of Sandra may be motivated by a political agenda, because it is so radically beyond the usual sentence imposed. And so beyond even the sentence given to a domestic abuse offender.

After convicted of a violent assault, even after re-offending, and continued legal troubles, Brett Rogers has served minimal jail time. He continues to fight professionally. And is allowed to have contact with his children. He is moving on with his life.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has no previous criminal history, and was given extensive jail time and probation (with no possibility of early release) though her crime was not violent in nature, and she poses no harm to anyone. What makes the jail time extensive, and the punishment unusual is that Judge Asphaug has manipulated the legal system to extend the sentence far beyond what the law normally allows.  Some speculate that Judge Asphaug, and Dakota County, will continue to find ways to punish Sandra, even find reasons to jail her long after her time has been served.

Brett Rogers, found guilty of felony assault, who is alleged to have abused his own children, and has a lengthy criminal history has been given a lesser sentence, even after re-offending than Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, an abuse victim who fought to protect her children legally. When the court system failed, Sandra was forced to make an agonizing choice that ultimately resulted in complete estrangement from her children, and now a felony conviction resulting in jail time.

How is this justice?


Brett Rogers –

Brett Rogers Hit With Restraining Order After Menacing St Paul Neighbor

MMA fighter Brett Rogers gets 60 days in jail for beating wife at Apple Valley home

MMA fighter sentenced to 60 days after beating wife in Apple Valley home

MMA fighter Brett Rogers again arrested for violating parole


Sandra Grazzini-Rucki-


Pressured, Threatened S Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced in Domestic Case

Did Detective Dronen Use Coercion, Fraud to Elicit A Statement in Grazzini-Rucki Case?

Public Domain:

Public Domain:

Small town, Lakeville police, traveled an estimated 191 miles one chilly day, November 18, 2015, to a horse ranch in a quiet corner of Minnesota. Greeting them in the gravel driveway were Star Tribune reporters, who had been waiting 3 hours to break the biggest story their podunk paper had seen since the 1991 Halloween Blizzard covered trick-or-treaters in 8.2 inches of ghostly white snow. Star Tribune cameras were on the scene to catch every dramatic minute as the runaway Rucki sisters were discovered after a multi-agency search warrant.

Even outside their jurisdiction, Detective Jim Dronen and Kelli Coughlin were territorial over this case – that of the runaway Rucki sisters, who went missing in April 2013 to escape an abusive home that family court would not protect them from. These two detectives would accomplish what Judge Knutson could not do despite 3,400 court orders issued against the mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, who was left homeless, destitute and torn from the children who were “my world” after the court’s illegal actions. What reunification therapist James Gilbertson tried but failed at, as he recommended “unconventional” methods of therapy such as forcing the children to sit in at court hearings, and forcing the children to have a face-to-face visit with their father the day he was due in court for violating a no contact order (no contact meaning with the children). What Guardian ad Litems Julie Friedrich and Laura Miles attempted by denying the abuse and shoving the truth down their throats, as they gagged – these children were going back into the care of their abusive father.

Was the interrogation method used on Doug Dahlen coercive, fraudulent? And were coercive methods used on the teenage Rucki sisters? A new video from Lion News offer a glimpse into the interrogation of Doug Dahlen.

Police can use a variety of methods to get information or elicit a confession – they can lie, exaggerate and even use some forms of trickery to obtain information from a subject, to get a confession. The one thing police can not do is coerce a confession. Coercion is defined as physical or psychological force, threats or intimidation. Similarly, trickery that results in a false confession is not allowed.

The Lion News Video (below) offers excerpts of the police interviews from the Rucki investigation, as well as an excerpt of a police interview between Detective Dronen (#4816) and Doug Dahlen that occurred on November 18, 2015.

Doug is one of the defendants in the high-profile Grazzini-Rucki case, who, along with his wife, sheltered the runaway Rucki girls at his therapeutic horse ranch for over 2 years.

This interview occurred AFTER the Rucki girls were found living at the Ranch.


Doug and Gina Dahlen

(4:11) Doug Dahlen calls wife, Gina, “Hello… Hey.. Did you get my message? Can you come home? Um police are here and they’re talking about what they’re going to do with the Girls. They can stay here ’til get this sorted out or whether they have to go and stay somewhere else or what. They um the mom’s in jail and they’re saying if the Girls go in and take care of this, that they can get their mother out of jail and uh hopefully get this straightened out. As of now I don’t really think they know what they’re going to do with them…

COERCION: A person who has power over another compels someone to act or make a choice by force, threat or overcoming their own individual will. Coercion can involve fraud to compel someone to do something they would not ordinarily do.

It is coercive to tell Doug Dahlen, and the Girls (if they were given a similar message) that if they “straighten this out” i.e. talk to police, and tell police what they want to hear, that their mother (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) can get out of jail. Another implied threat is the unanswered question on where the Girls will go – that cooperation may result in the Girls being able to stay at the Ranch. Notice also that Doug is talking to police without the benefit of an attorney.

Both of the Rucki sisters were minors at the time they were found, and were in a vulnerable state. For the last 2 years, the Girls considered the Dahlens as family, and grew accustomed to their life on the Ranch. The Girls had ample opportunity to leave, and return to their father, but chose to stay. Now these Girls were losing their home – for a second time in their life, a traumatic upheaval (the first when Sandra was forced out of the home, and their lives in Sept. 2012). Where were the Girls going – they could not stay with the Dahlens, and threatened to run away if returned to father, David Rucki, That is what makes this coercive – applying pressure, and compelling testimony under duress; especially on vulnerable teen girls. The fraud is stating that testimony could get Sandra Grazzini-Rucki out of jail, that simply would not happen, and police knew it.

NO child should be placed in this type of situation by police. There are organizations that specialize in conducting forensic interviews with children and vulnerable adults that could have been utilized. These organizations typically offer family counseling and community resources as well. An age appropriate, trauma informed approach could have assisted the police investigation in a way that would minimize stress on the Girls, and allow them to be heard. But that never happened. Instead the Lakeville police pushed their agenda… and silenced the Girls as so many in Dakota County had done before.

Detective Dronen. Source:,

Detective Dronen. Source:,

Another element of psychological coercion… and testimony from Doug that supports the Girls were abuse victims.

(5:58) Detective Dronnen states, “You said when the girls first got here, they were afraid?”

Doug, “Beyond afraid. They were terrified. I’ve never seen a kid so scared. I can’t emphasize that to you… I’ve seen kids in pretty rough shape, I’ve never seen one that was truly afraid for their life until I saw them.”

Detective Dronnen, “Did they ever tell you why they were afraid?”

Doug, “No, one time I went in and S.R. was curled up in the bathroom, in a fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably. ” <– This is called REGRESSION, and is a sign of severe trauma or abuse. Regression is the act of returning to an earlier stage of behavioral or physical development; this can occur because trauma not only affects the mind and emotion, but is also stored in the body, at a cellular level. Trauma also affects body chemistry.

Detective Dronnen, “Did she ever talk about anything that happened at home?”

Doug, “Just how terrible it was. Never gave much for details… ” Doug goes on to say S.R. did not like “being touched by a man”, even in common social interactions. <– Note S.R. may have found someone else to confide in; if she had an aversion to men it makes sense that she would not trust or open up to a man, even Doug.

In the next excerpt, Detective Dronen gives Doug Dahlen his version of what happened with the Grazzini-Rucki divorce and custody case, and omits all mention of domestic abuse and child abuse allegations or David Rucki’s criminal history. This is done intentionally! Detective Dronen is controlling the interview, and feeding information to Doug with the intent of changing his perspective, and ultimately changing testimony that may support that abuse happened to the Rucki girls.

Keep in mind Detective Dronen previously dismissed an OFP violation against David Rucki wiped it completely from MNCIS. Dronen personally knew about the abuse allegations, and purposely withheld this information when giving his version of the Grazzini-Rucki divorce and child custody dispute to Doug.

Det. Dronnen dismisses OFP against David Rucki, wipes from MNCIS. Source:

Det. Dronen deletes OFP violation against David Rucki, wipes from MNCIS. Source:

Doug sounds incredulous as he is listening, and relies on past experience to weigh Detective Dronen’s words. When Doug brings up his own experiences with a stressful divorce, Detective Dronen adapts Doug’s comments to supportive the narrative he is pushing.This means Dronen is shaping Doug’s perspective, and changing his recollection on a past event. This type of questioning is extremely damaging because Detective Dronen is feeding information, ideas and emotions into Doug that were not previously there. Doug has no one else to offer additional information, he is reliant solely on Dronen.

Detective Dronen tries to sell Doug his version of events – that parental alienation had occurred, that Sandra is mentally ill and completely withholds any information about the allegations of abuse. If this sounds plausible, you too maybe a victim of psychological coercion.

Key elements of psychological coercion involve

  1. Rejecting alternate information and individual opinions.Communication is controlled, permissible subjects and thoughts are directed. Alternate ideas or free thought is shut down or guided back into desired parameters.
  2. Forcing the victim to re-evaluate what has happened, their experience in a negative way. The victim is made to feel like a “bad” person or alternately, is made to feel bad about their experience and made to feel that adopting the chose perspective is redemptive or “good”.
  3. Controlled communication produces efforts are  to destabilize and undermine the subject’s consciousness, sense of reality, sense of self, emotions and defense mechanisms. The subject wrestles with internal questions, doubts, and then reinterprets their experience to  adopts the perspective given to them.
  4. Creating triggers in the subject by eliciting strong emotional reactions by manipulating their perspectives, and what is important to them i.e. home, family, ethical values, past experiences, past hurts, guilt, anxiety etc

Psychological coercion does not leave a bruise or a mark but it’s impact can not be underestimated.The intense pressure of psychological coercion can and does weaken a person’s will power and limit their ability to make free choices. The victim is unable to use discernment, judgement or call on help as they normally would had they not been manipulated.  According to one expert, The Neurotypical Suite, “The cumulative effect of psychological coercion can be an even more effective form of undue influence than pain, torture, drugs or the use of physical force or threats.

Police need to use the power invested in them carefully and avoid any actions or behavior that is or  could be interpreted as coercive.

Statements that are made under coercion are not made through an exercise of free will.  If Doug Dahlen – or the Rucki girls – were told by Detective Dronen, or any member of the Lakeville police, that if they “straightened things out” and gave a statement to police, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki could “get out of jail”  that is coercion. It is eliciting a statement based on fraud, and is applying duress with the underlying message of if you do not comply, she will remain in jail. To excuse this behavior as being part of the job, as policeman, opens the door to abuses of power –  abuses of power have destroyed the Grazzini-Rucki family, and if not exposed and stopped, anyone of us could become a victim next.

Note: This video include slides that are somewhat editorialized, the audio content is what applies to this article, plz use discernment.



Also Read:

Media Mayhem: Has Stahl and Brodkorb Gone Too Far Reporting on the Grazzini-Rucki Case??

Lying: A Weapon in the Grazzini-Rucki Case – Do Comments from Son Reveal Alienation or Abuse?

Are remarks Nico Rucki wrote on a facebook post evidence of parental alienation, as father David Rucki claims, or further evidence of abuse??

David Rucki read a victim impact statement at the sentencing of ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki that read, in part, Nico was forced by Sandy to write a false statement on Facebook. They were not the truth they were his mother’s words....”

The statement in question included remarks from son, Nico, that stated Rucki is abusive towards him. It has since been removed from Facebook.  20/20 included a screen shot of that Facebook post in their coverage of the case in the episode “Footprints in the Snow”. What can be read on the screenshot includes: “My dad is a bad person, he is abusive, verbally and physically…” and “Has hit all of his children...” and “He doesn’t care for any of his children...” and “He’s a thief, a male (blurred out) and an unfit father.” and “He is currently fighting for rights of me and my (unclear)..” The screenshot featured on 20/20 has no date to indicate when it originated.

Screenshot ABC 20/20

Screenshot ABC 20/20

Rucki is pushing the narrative that Sandra forced her son to write this post doesn’t offer fact or evidence needed to determine its authenticity. It would be easy to claim this one Facebook post is a sign of “parental alienation” but looking deeper into the circumstances of the Grazzini-Rucki case, and Nico’s own history suggests this Facebook post may actually validate that abuse has occurred.

Some additional information –

Parental Alienation or Abuse Excuse?

Dr. Paul Reitmann’s Faulty Diagnosis Does Not Meet

APA Practice Guidelines in Grazzini-Rucki Case

In August 2012, Judge Knutson ordered Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children to meet with Dr. Paul Reitman, a White Bear Lake psychologist specializing in parental alienation. Judge Knutson determined that Dr. Reitman was needed because supervised visitation between Rucki and the children failed, and that reunification therapy had not begun. There are allegations that emotional abuse and threatening behavior occurred in supervised visitation, and the reason it failed was because of Rucki’s abusive behavior towards the children.

Dr. Paul Reitman (Source:

Dr. Paul Reitman (Source:

Dr. Reitman met with Sandra and the children for less than 30 minutes when he determined that the children were in need of “deprogramming”. That means Reitman gave 5 minutes or less to each member of the family, when coming to the conclusion that would ultimately destroy this family. Dr. Reitman conducted no tests, analysis or evaluation. He did not consider the evidence of abuse, the police reports, the OFP violations, Rucki’s criminal record and other evidence available. The way in which Dr. Reitman diagnosed the alleged “parental alienation” does not meet  APA established practice guidelines; it is not credible. American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines

There was no hearing, no findings, and no complaints that Sandra had ever harmed her children. In fact, the children have consistently begged to return to the care of their mother, the response from the Court and from their father, was anger, dismissal and forced reunification therapy. The cure for “parental alienation” in this case has been to induce alienation in the Rucki children against mother their under the guise of “therapy”.


Media descriptions about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki reiterate negative messages given to the children, these messages all originate back to David Rucki. The children are being forced to accept abuse, and told the mother who sought to protect them is mentally ill, unemotional, has abandoned them, and is a criminal. At the same time the media is refusing to present evidence suggesting that abuse has occurred, and has largely excluded Sandra’s side of the story from its coverage.

Negative messages given to the children were also revealed by S. Rucki who said in an audio message from April 2013 that Dr. Gilbertson, the Guardian ad Litem, and others made false statements on why she could not see her mother. The children were told that their mother went to Philadelphia, that she signed over her rights, and that she was committed to a mental health facility. S. Rucki says she did not believe them because “their lies would overlap“.

It is in this environment, under these pressures, that Nico Rucki has recanted abuse and then spoke against his mother and the “drama” he claims she brought to his life. 


Statements from Dr. Gilbertson
Validate Abuse Allegations
Statements made on the Facebook post are similar to findings made by Dr. James Gilbertson, a court ordered therapist.
Dr. Gilbertson was appointed by Judge Knuston. This is an important point to make, and an issue being brought up by those seeking reform in the family court system – family court judges, and Guardian ad Litems are personally choosing therapists and professionals to provide services to families. Often these professionals share social and professional relationships with the judge, and court players – they come onto these cases with bias, and profit when repeatedly appointed to family court cases.  Parents are being excluded from the decision making process, and these professionals hold massive power over their families, and their lives.
Parents who do not comply with the court’s directive, and who appear to resist therapy (or raise concerns), are often threatened with sanctions, loss of parenting time or loss of custody. Parents comply under duress, there is no therapeutic value in a forced relationship, that is based on the appearance of meeting the court’s demand.
Sandra found herself in a similar situation, when you hear attorney Lisa Elliott say things like “she did not want to go to therapy” or “she didn’t comply” or “she didn’t do what was needed to see her children”, those remarks are coming from this environment of coercion, where the therapists are working for the courts and not for the well-being of the family.
Dr. Gilbertson supported findings of alienation, and supported deprogramming, but statements he made in a February 2013 letter to Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich suggests abuse did occur. Statements Dr. Gilbertson made in this letter mirror statements made on Nico’s Facebook post.
Gilbertson wrote a letter from Feb. 6, 2013 that states, in part,  “At this time, it is my opinion that we need an assertive stance from the court to order these children to order these children to attend face-to-face sessions with their father. The children are of the belief and will state it openly that no one can force them to see their father if that is their choice.

There are two prevailing emotional themes that these children speak to: One is fear of being in the presence of their father given what they allege to he being an angry and violent person. A second theme is the anger they have over his alleged mistreatment and a corollary of this, a belief that their father is morally flawed, i.e. womanizer, drinks too much, and is hiding money.


Dr. Gilbertson’s “assertive stance” involved forcing the Rucki children to attend family court hearings, and listen to testimony and evidence as their parents battled in court. Certainly this information would provide the children with knowledge about the details of the custody dispute, and may shape their perspectives as well.   

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Rucki’s Threatening Voicemail Messages:
Documented Emotional, Psychological Abuse
Transcripts of voice mail messages that David Rucki left for his son in 2011 demonstrate emotional, psychological abuse. In addition, the messages prove that Rucki was providing negative messages about Sandra to the children.

You can read transcripts of the voicemail messages by clicking on this link: recorded voice mail messages

Excerpts from the transcript include the following statements (not in order) that David Rucki made to his son:

“What the f- is wrong with you? You know what?” (Disconnects)

Six Similar Non Verbal Sounds (The children were in fear for their life because they believed the six gun shots were meant one shot for each member of family.)

Why are you dropping out of hockey? What is it proving to anything that you’re dropping out? You’re not hurting me. You’re going to regret it for the rest of your G–d damn f– life….

So good luck to you kid because um keep going down the route you’re going and you’ve got nothing going. And your mother is going to be be the blame for this. And unfortunately for you, you’re going to have so much regret in your life from what she did to you, that you will never look at things the same. I wish you would pull your head out of your ass and you’d call and talk because you need some stabilization in you…

And when we talk soon, you’re going to be accountable for how you’re acting. And I will not let this fly. I am your father. You will respect me.

Did Rucki exert similar pressure, threats on his son to get him to recant abuse allegations?

Consider this – in a June 30, 2016, interview with S. Rucki and the Lakeville police, the teen tells Officer Kelli Coughlin that her father “guilted” and “pressured” her to recant abuse allegations. 

Reporter Michael Volpe writes about the interview, “Initially, the younger Rucki told the Detective that her father attempted to threaten her ahead of the interview, “They (her father and his sister) basically said I have to (go to the interview) and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and it’s going and that’s the way it’s gonna be- and they made me feel guilty about it and I started to cry.” Explosive Rucki police interview adds new wrinkle to story


Lying as a Weapon


Nico Rucki has admitted, in his own words, that he lies and “lying is the best weapon”. Is this why he currently  is recanting previous abuse allegations, and speaking out against his mother?

Truth Will Prevail

Of all the allegations raised, that is not disputed – lying has been used as a weapon in the Grazzini-Rucki case.

The divorce began with the lies of David Rucki and his “paper divorce” scheme. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was removed from the only home she knew, where she resided as the primary caregiver of her children, based on lies. The children were forcibly taken from their mother, based on lies. The children were told they could not return to their mother’s care, based a lie. The children have been told their mother abandoned them, a lie. Lies have pervaded the current child support hearings. Sandra was convicted and sent to jail based on suppression of truth.  And if she prevails on appeal, it will be because the truth set her free.

In her efforts to protect her children from abuse, and to continue to fight in a court that has violated every law and every constitutional right, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has shown that she is a fighter. No mother would make such great sacrifices, and risk her own freedom, if she did not truly love her children. Sandra is even fighting for the child who has rejected her, that is love. That is the truth.

For Additional Information: 

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced After Judge Asphaug Disallows Nearly All of Defense Evidence

As reported by Michael Volpe, CDN News. Read full story at: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sentenced in domestic case by Michael Volpe, CDN News
HASTINGS, Minnesota, September 23, 2016- “Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been sentenced to six years’ probation and an extra one hundred and eight days in jail for her role in her two daughters’ running away.

Judge Asphaug imposed the unusual sentence after disallowing nearly all of the evidence Grazzini-Rucki intended to use in support of her affirmative defense. Grazzini-Rucki argued that she hid her daughters to protect them from an unsafe environment.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

The criminal record of Grazzini-Rucki’s ex-husband, David Rucki including a bar fight, road rage incident, numerous incidents of stalking and numerous violations of orders for protection, were all disallowed.

Child Protection reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head, were also disallowed.…”

This article by Michael Volpe discusses the allegations of abuse raised by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children, and describes the dramatic events leading up to the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.  It also includes Sandra’s full statement, to be read by her family law attorney, after sentencing.

Volpe attempted to contact numerous sources for comment including Judge Asphaug, Beau Berentson public affairs officer for the Minnesota courts, the Lakeville police, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s office, attorney Lisa Elliott and others, who did not respond.

Volpe also attempted to contact reporter Brandon Stahl to ask several questions about the case – including asking Stahl why he has declined to write about Rucki’s extensive criminal history, and declined to write about S. Rucki’s June 30, 2016 interview with police.

Volpe reports: “In that interview Samantha Rucki said she was pressured into recanting by her father, running away was her idea, and she reiterated her father was an abuser .

She recanted when called as a witness saying she ran away to get away from the divorce but Judge Asphaug refused to allow her June 30 interview into evidence at Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial.” In the June 30 interview with police, S. Rucki said she was pressured and “guilted” into recanting by Rucki and Tammy Jo Love.

During the criminal trial, Judge Asphaug took the unusual move to have S. Rucki testify by Skype, and out of view of the jury. David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love, grandmother Vicki Rucki, and attorney Lisa Elliott, were all in the room but remained out of view of the jury.  Judge Asphaug also limited the questions the Defense was allowed to ask, thereby making their defense ineffective.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center


Why Hasn’t L.M. Been Charged for her Role in Assisting Runaway Rucki Sisters?


Dakota County, Minn: A repost from Red Herring Alert raises questions as to why self proclaimed “advocate” and “investigator” Lori Musolf has NEVER been charged for her role in assisting the runaway Rucki sisters. WITH ADVOCATES LIKE THESE. . .

During David Rucki’s victim impact statement at the sentencing of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki he stated (paraphrase) that if “Sandy” had just made a call or done something right away, the Girls could have been returned right away, avoiding years of suffering. The same could be said for Lori Musolf who had extensive conversations with the runaway Rucki sisters in the days after their disappearance. Musolf also arranged the interview, and acted as a go between, for the Rucki sisters to appear on Fox 9 with Trish van Pilsum.

Judge Karen Asphaug, Prosecutor Kathryn Keena and the Lakeville police have all taken a tough stance on Sandra as well as Dede Evavold and the Dahlens – why, then, are they allowing Lori Musolf to go free with no punishment?

609.26 Depriving Another of Custodial or Parental Rights Subdivision 1. Prohibited acts. Whoever intentionally does any of the following acts may be charged with a felony and, upon conviction, may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 6:

… 8) causes or contributes to a child being a runaway as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 28, and is at least 18 years old and more than 24 months older than the child…

Has Dakota County made a deal with Lori Musolf or what ??? How can Dakota County justify letting Lori Musolf go free after being so moved by David Rucki’s victim impact statement that Judge Asphaug actually quoted it in her written remarks, prepared for the sentencing? The public deserves to know what Dakota County’s rationale is behind this. 

The Justice blog is NOT suggesting that anyone be arrested but rather is illustrating the hypocrisy and secrecy prevalent in Dakota County.

Excerpts from interview with Detective Dronen and Lori Musolf: 

Detective Dronen:  Let me ask you something along those lines when the girls first went missing on the 19th of April.

Lori: I think I’ve got the timelines figured out when we interviewed (referring to Fox9 interview of the girls). I believe I had gotten a call that night that they were gone and I believe that was a Friday night. Things have just been triggering memories for me when I read stuff like, you know I’ll read through these stories and everything else and I actually talked to Trish and I think I’ve got the timeline figured out. So they went missing Friday night they called me on Saturday the next day because we tried to set up the interview for Saturday but we could not find a photographer that would work the weekend. We didn’t interview them till Monday morning, my husband was home during that time too and we are trying to get everything figured out. So I figure it was between Saturday and Sunday that we talked on the phone and it was either Sunday or Monday we did the interview. (Reports show that Musolf had numerous conversations with the Rucki sisters in the days after they ran away, a direct result of Judge Knutson awarding temporary custody to an aunt who the sisters claim is abusive, under her care the sisters knew their abusive father would have access to them).


Lori: (After the interview with sisters, S and G Rucki) “I left and went straight to St. Cloud and Dede and Sam were already there so I knew they didn’t have those girls. They were already at the hotel when we got there, they were waiting in the parking lot.”

Also interesting – Lori Musolf is NOT a supporter of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, in fact, she openly criticizes her. Musolf has no reason and no agenda to say or do anything that would support Sandra, Which makes Musolf even more credible when she states that she believes that domestic violence occurred in the Rucki, believes that the Girls were abused and that she herself is afraid of David. 

Statements from Musolf about the #grazzinirucki case:

I have no doubt that the judge (Knutson) is corrupt as the day is long, that’s why I got involved. There’s no denying the shit she had to go through in the courtroom…”

“She felt like he would kill her if he had the chance.”

“I don’t trust David and I do think the man is dangerous…”


Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced – Kathryn Keena Breaks Promise to Runaway Teen


Sept. 21, 2016 – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki prepared this statement to be read by her family law attorney after sentencing.

Sept. 21, 2016, Dakota County, Minnesota: A sign posted outside the courthouse by a religious group read. “When will the suffering end?

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was sentenced today for her role in assisting her teenage daughters, who ran away from their paternal aunt, and the influence of their abusive father, in April 2013. A jury found Sandra guilty of 6 charges of felony deprivation of parental rights after Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence. Sandra raised the affirmative defense, meaning her actions were taken to protect her children from imminent harm. The evidence suppressed supported claims of abuse. Other evidence was withheld from Sandra and her attorney by the State. Many claim this was a “rigged trial”.

Prosecuting Attorney Kathryn M. Keena sought an aggravated sentence against Sandra, which meant she would be given a much harsher sentence than what guidelines allow. Aggravated sentences are usually reserved for severe crimes like deviant sexual crimes, terrorism and repeat offenders. Keena had to drop her motion for aggravated sentencing because the charges did not meet the legal standards. Sandra has no prior criminal history and has complied with all the terms of her release while out on bond. She also has credit for 133 days spent in jail. Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

However, Judge Asphaug found a way to manipulate the legal system in order to give Sandra a much harsher sentence. The sentence includes 6 years of probation, double the usual sentence – Judge Asphaug ruled that paternal aunt Tammy Love is also a “victim” in this crime. In addition, Judge Asphaug stretched out the sentence over 6 years to include a 15 day sentence every year, commencing on November 19th when the runaway Rucki girls were found. Guidelines say the most time a defendant can serve for what Sandra is charged with is one year and one day but Judge Asphaug found a way to lengthen the sentence for 6 years. Taxpayers will bear the financial burden of this unnecessary expense; and a bed in jail will be taken by Sandra who poses no risk to society, while a more serious offender is denied what they deserve.

Judge Asphaug also ruled that Sandra must pay several heavy fines. The law states that if the fines are not paid the judge can order additional penalty, which may include jail time. The fines include: $10,000 restitution to the Crime Board to cover costs for reunification therapy with an abusive father (reunification therapy is controversial, and not widely approved of by psychologists), undetermined costs to pay for therapy for the children, and two $944 dollar fines plus $80 court fees. Not to mention the costs for probation. Court records indicate that Sandra is currently receiving state aid, she was formerly employed as a flight attendant until jailed and extradited to Minnesota. With 6 felonies on her record, Sandra will certainly have difficulty finding employment, and have difficulty maintaining employment if forced to go to jail for 15 days every year plus other restrictions imposed by the terms of release. That being said, it would be very unlikely that Sandra could afford the fines, which may result in further jail time beyond her sentence. Judge Asphaug also ordered Sandra to sentence to serve, and if she does not comply, she would face additional jail time beyond her sentence. In effect, an aggravated sentence was imposed on Sandra by Judge Asphaug and Prosecutor Keena, who found a way to manipulate the legal system to exact a punishment that goes well beyond the guidelines for this crime.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Kathryn Keena admitted in court that she “made a promise” to S. Rucki and said to the teen that she “will not request any additional jail time and will keep that request”.  Judge Asphaug interrupted and said the “Court did not engage in promises” and she is “learning of it for the first time today“.  Making a “promise” with a vulnerable, traumatized teen is unethical and an abuse of power. It also gives the appearance that Keen bribed S. Rucki to testify – meaning she told S. Rucki that if you testify against your mother, I “promise” not to seek any additional jail time for her. Kathryn Keena unapologetically broke her promise to S. Rucki today. Keena has taken her place in the long line of Dakota County court officials who have violated the trust, and exploited the Rucki children.

Another interesting moment at sentencing was the lengthy “victim impact” statement read by David Rucki that included, “the woman in court today is not the woman I married 25 years ago – the woman I married suddenly became who she is now, a convicted felon“. Rucki elaborated about the pain he experienced in the 944 days his teen daughters went missing.

The police reports, CPS reports, witness statements, need for repeated reunification therapy because the children showed signs of fear towards Rucki (and raised abuse allegations) and even a letter from Dr. Gilbertson to the Court all illustrate the pain, terror and abuse Rucki inflicted on Sandra and the children. To believe that Sandra alienated not only her children but alienated so many people to turn against David Rucki is not only improbable but ridiculous.

When David is talking about his pain, and eliciting public sympathy, consider this…

G was interviewed on 11/23/15. She reports dad was always screaming at mom. Neighbors called the house the ‘Scream House’. She thought her home situation was normal as she didn’t know any different… Her dad would stalk the house when they were with mom.  He showed anger like ‘I’m gonna kill you’. She got no hugs growing up…”   Rucki CPS Reports

There are two prevailing emotional themes that these children speak to: One is fear of being in the presence of their father  given what they allege to he being an angry and violent person. A second theme is anger over his alleged mistreatment...It is my opinion that the children’s fear issue needs to be addressed directly, and that can happen when there is exposure to the specifically feared object, situation, or person, i.e.  father…

I would work with Mr. Rucki to have him present a certain structure and accounting of his own behavior while the family was intact that would acknowledge the volatile family history and express his empathy for the children’s painful memories..” Dr. Gilbertson Letter to GAL Julie Friedrich – Feb. 6, 2013

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Q (Kelli Coughlin): So how has it been since you’ve been back home?

A. (S. Rucki) I work 40 hours a week.

Q. Ok

A. Otherwise I am in my room or I am out.

Q. Do you feel secluded?

A. I am going to move out as soon as I can start driving and get money saved up. I can’t be around this anymore.” Kelli Coughlin, Lakeville PD, interview with S. Rucki

Dakota County and the State of Minnesota has not only sentenced Sandra but their ruling has condemned every abused woman, and every abused child in family court. A clear message is being sent – if you talk about abuse, you will not be believed and you may lose custody, lose your home, lose your career and your freedom. This tragedy could have been prevented had Judge Knutson and the family court system appropriately responded to the concerns of abuse, and intervened early on. Instead the court’s actions enabled abuse to continue to the point where the home was so unsafe that 4 out of 5 children threatened to run away and two succeeded in running away. 

After sentencing, attorney Michelle MacDonald (Sandra’s family law attorney) read a statement that Sandra had prepared ahead of time. The statement said, in part, “For the last 5 years, I have had to endure the loss of my children (all 5 are named). They alone are my world…And now I’m paying the price for what any parent would do for their children – protect them from harm.”

Sandra is now in custody; ironically it is only behind bars that she is truly safe from David Rucki. Sandra is expected to appeal.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center