Dakota County, Minn: A shocking piece of evidence suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug during the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is being publicly posted – see for yourself what the jury was not allowed to consider.
Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial and refused to allow several witnesses to testify, including a witness to David Rucki’s violent behavior and another witness who is an expert on domestic violence. Grazzini-Rucki raised the affirmative defense, meaning her involvement in the disappearance of her two teenage daughters resulted not from criminal intent but because she had a reasonable belief that the present environment posed imminent harm to her children. Grazzini-Rucki’s defense depended on showing the reasons why she feared for the safety of her children – which was contained in the exhibits jurors were not allowed to see.
Under these unjust circumstances, Grazzini-Rucki was convicted on 6 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights after the defense was limited in what it could present to the jury, and otherwise constrained. Grazzini-Rucki has appealed the conviction.
There will be no appeal for the five Rucki children – who have been sentenced to live with their abusive father, David Rucki (who was on probation for a violation of a protective order when granted custody). The Rucki children have raised allegations of abuse, and asked to live with their mother only to be ignored by the family court, Guardian ad Litem and professionals, charged with protecting them. The evidence is overwhelming that Dakota County has conspired to take custody from a fit, loving parent and place these children in an abusive, dysfunctional environment.
A social media post, of what appears to be a diary, written by one of the Rucki children, and posted on May 13, 2013, offers a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of a child living in an unimaginable nightmare.
This child attempted to run away, along with 4 siblings after Judge David L. Knutson forced Grazzini-Rucki out of her home on September 7, 2012, and temporarily transferred custody to paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love (who never filed a motion for custody). Incredibly, all 4 children attempted to run away upon hearing the news – and the older children were not in the same location as the younger ones, meaning there was no planning, but rather a reaction based on fear alone.
The child was later found wandering down a busy street, more than 2 miles away from home, crying for mother. The child told police that Love had been abusive, and that if returned to her care, would run away again. Though a mandated reporter, the police never filed a report with CPS. Due to safety concerns, temporary custody of the Rucki children was instead transferred to a maternal aunt.
Seven months later, Judge Knutson again attempted to transfer the Rucki children into Love’s care. The only reason the two younger Rucki children did not succeed in running away was because they were detained at school, and physically prevented. The older two sisters, S.R. and G.R. did succeed in running away, and remained in hiding for 2 years; although the sisters had every opportunity to go home they chose not to, believing they would not be safe in the care of Love, or their father, David Rucki.
The author of this social media post describes their feelings in the months before – and after – older sisters S.R. and G.R. ran away on April 19, 2013. The diary was written on what appears to be a dry erase board and includes one word statements with a date to indicate when they were written. Many of the statements include what you would expect from a pre-teen, but there are also troubling statements that show signs of fear, and indicate a problem. The words: “Scared”, “Killed” “Miserable”, “Creeped” and “Escaping” are included along with drawings, that include faces with wide eyes and gaping mouths.
The importance of this diary is that it is the only publicly available record that offers a first-hand account from one of the Rucki children – in their own words, without being altered or manipulated. Each entry is dated, which provides a picture of the mental and emotional state of this child in the crucial months involving court hearings (the children were present in court at some of the hearings the request of Dr. Gilbertson, and also spoke with judge David L. Knutson) that ultimately lead up to a transfer of custody, and then sisters S.R. and G.R. running away on April 19, 2013 in fear for their lives.
In an interview with Yahya McClain (12/28/16), Sandra Grazzini-Rucki said her children wanted to speak to the court, and wanted to be heard, but the court would not allow them to provide input, and instead worked to silence them. In fact, Judge David L. Knutson spoke to the Rucki children in chambers on Feb 26th 2013, and sealed the transcript after the children spoke about abuse; thereby blocking the abuse allegations from being entered into the record. An entry from the former Carver County Corruption blog have preserved what S.R. and G.R. wanted to tell Judge Knutson, Dr. Gilbertson and GAL Julie Friedrich, their personal note along with a cover letter were sent to 150 Representatives and Senators in Minnesota shortly before S.R. and G.R. ran away (below). The highest levels of government in Minnesota have been made aware of the egregious abuses of power and violations of law happening in the Grazzini-Rucki case.. and so far have not responded. How many more families need to be victimized, and how many children more need to be abused before the State of Minnesota will do something to hold out of control judges, and related family court professionals, accountable?
Another way the Rucki children have been silenced, and their testimony altered, is by unethical treatment from court-appointed therapist Dr. James Gilbertson, who conducted“reunification therapy” on the Rucki children. Some of the sessions with Dr. Gilbertson included forcing the Rucki children to attend court hearings where they were forced to listen to painful details of the family’s troubles. Judge Knutson and Dr. Gilbertson used mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, as an example to demonstrate his power over their lives and send an intimidating message to the children. Grazzini-Rucki was the primary caregiver, and shared a close loving relationship with her children. There were times she shielded her children from Rucki’s rage by putting her body in front of his fists. Imagine then, the horror the Rucki children must have felt watching their mother, their protector being humiliated and re-abused in the family court; laws easily broken with just the wave of a gavel.
On February 6, 2013, Dr. Gilbertson wrote a letter to Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich (link below) that the court needed to take an “assertive stance” with the children and stated,“The presence of the court, a bailiff nearby, my own presence, and then meeting with father, in my opinion, would deal with the fears they experience, either real or imagined.”
And,”I understand this may represent a somewhat unorthodox recommendation, but I do not believe there could be a bridging of the gap between the children and their father, at this point in time, unless all are physically present under the authoritative and safe umbrella of the court.”
These are children we are talking about – frightened, vulnerable children who are being treated by Judge Knutson, and the players in this family court case, like prisoners of war.
During one of these hearings, the Rucki children sat in a conference room for several hours before being addressed by the court – during that time Dr. Gilbertson witnessed that the children were “anxious” and “apprehensive”. Dr. Gilbertson also noted that the Rucki children wanted – of their own free will – to have a say in what happens to them. In response, Dr. Gilbertson admitted to giving the children “factual knowledge” about the case – i.e. feeding information to influence them. Dr. Gilbertson also noted that he children make requests to see their mother, but not their father.
The child who authored this diary entry was subjected to reunification therapy which involved breaking down the child’s will in order to suppress memories of abuse, so with a “blank slate” the child could be programmed to accept a relationship with an identified abuser. This is why reunification therapy is also referred to as “de-programming” – the child is actually being told what to think, believe and feel.
S.R. has made various statements indicating this has happened – stating the therapist and the Guardian ad Litem gave her false information, and specifically made negative comments about her mother in an attempt to influence her. S.R. also says that when she spoke about abuse she was called a liar and told that she needed “de-programming”. Dr. Gilbertson has admitted that “therapy” also included explaining to the Rucki children why they could not see their mother.
Instead of identifying the cause of that fear, Dr. Gilbertson’s treatment involved “exposing them to the object they fear” i.e. father, in order to “desensitize” them.Dr. Gilbertson asked that GAL Julie Friedrich clear her schedule to plan for a 2 hour session to “desensitize” the Rucki children. Dr. Gilbertson is talking about holding 5 frightened children in a room inside the courthouse with a bailiff guarding the door, and using the authority of the court to force these children to recant abuse allegations, and develop a bond with an identified abuser who they are terrified of. Let’s be clear – this is not “therapy”, it is psychological torture. The methods Dr. Gilbertson used on the Rucki children do not meet the standards of trauma based therapy, and certainly no credible psychologist would attempt “therapy” on 5 children all at one time, failing to address or consider the individual needs of each child.
After S.R. and G.R. ran away, reunification therapy continued with the 2 younger children. Reports written AFTER the events of April 19, 2013, indicate the child who authored this post continued in reunification therapy and continued to showed fear of Rucki. The child also would leave the room when Rucki entered and avoided physical contact with him. Similarly, investigative reports showed similar behaviors present in S.R. and G.R. Witnesses who interacted with the sisters during the time they stayed on the Ranch, recalled they were fearful, avoided physical contact, and spoke about abuse (see Dahlen investigative report below). These types of emotional and behavioral reactions are common with children who have experienced abuse and trauma; yet Dr. Gilbertson completely ignored all evidence and information suggesting abuse had occurred, and worked to intimidate the Rucki children even as they are crying out for help.
The diary entry you are about to read is the voice of a child who may not even exist anymore – reunification therapy forces a child to suppress who they really are, and become a child the court approves of. There is no success in treatments like these, the relationship that results is not one of love or trust, but instead a relationship based on trauma bonding.
Despite all this child has had to endure, they also show incredible courage in posting a family photo taken with Sandra. A playful image shows laughter, and demonstrates the closeness once shared….
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children continue to be estranged due to the forcible actions of the court, and due the actions of a dangerous abuser. Photographs and perhaps a few stubborn memories that have resisted “de-programming”, are all they have to hold onto each other.
Diary, Posted 5/13/2013 by Rucki Child Include the Following:
4/6/13 Woe (means sorry, grief or misery)
POSTED MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013 AT 8:36 pm
2(?)/12/13 Creeped written in black next to the word Miserable
2/23/13 Dent (?) Pho next to it is a picture that could be a bowl of noodles. The word Bic and what could be a pen.
2/27/13 Goofy – Next to this picture is the word “Pain” and then a picture of an eye, a hand on a book, an unknown shape and a face with large eyes and a mouth, wide open showing scared
2/28/13 Colored in block letters that read Freake! Next to this in blue, date unknown, is the word Fall
3/3/13, 3 pm Worried (includes a face)
3/9/13 Creeped includes a face drawn in black with two eyes peering out
3/12/13 Gleeful next to a pair of pom-poms and a smiling face
3/14/13 Nervous – a face is drawn next to the words with eyebrows, cartoonish black eyes and a face that appears to be smiling
3/17/13 Green St Patty’s Day
3/21/13 Escaping – Underneath, date unknown, Bored written in black and red
3/21/13 Screwed picture of a screw drawn underneath – Next to it is some words scribbled in orange
3/28/13 Palmed – Underneath, not dated, Silly
4/6/13 Woe (means sorry, grief or misery)
5/4/13 Annoyed – includes a frowning face
(The Justice blog has tried to provide a complete record as possible, these notes are based on what can be visually seen in the diary entry)
FROM THE CARVER COUNTY CORRUPTION BLOG:
For More Information: