Family crisis is the main reason kids runaway- escaping to the streets to avoid chaos, abuse in their homes… (2015 report, National Runaway Safeline)
Studies reveal that family crisis is the main reason why many kids run away from home. 47% of runaway / homeless youth indicated that conflict between them and their parent or guardian was a major problem. (Westat, Inc. 1997: National Runaway Safeline: Statistics )
Further, a majority of runaways are victims of child abuse. According to another study, “80% of runaway and homeless girls reported having been sexually or physically abused.” (Molnar, et al, 1998: National Runaway Safeline: Statistics)
Findings validate claims raised by the 4 defendants in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial, who raised the affirmative defense stating their actions to help two troubled teen sisters was not criminal, but rather an effort to keep them safe. The Rucki sisters, S.R. and G.R., ran away after learning of a court order that they felt would endanger their lives, on two separate occasions in September 2012 and again in April 2013. Both sisters have asserted, on numerous occasions, that they feared their father and ran away to escape his violence.Rucki social service records
* Four of the Rucki children attempted to run away after their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was forcibly removed from the home by an unjust family court order, on Sept 7, 2012.
*At the time of the “emergency” court order that September, Judge David L. Knutson acknowledged the sisters had raised allegations of sexual abuse but chose to ignore safety concerns. Judge Knuston determined a mother attempting to protect the children from harm was more of a danger to the children than actual abuse.
* The Rucki children were then placed into the custody of a paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love, whom they feared. Love had previously lost custody of her own children due to drug problems. The court never conducted a study to determine her fitness to care for children, nor was any motion filed to petition for custody.
* Love went to the elementary school of the youngest children (ages 8 and 10 years old) to inform them of the order, and then left the traumatized children to take the bus home, alone. The two youngest children immediately ran away. The children were found an hour later, having walked over 2 miles alongside a busy road.
* The police report says one of the children asked to see her mom – but was refused due to the court order. The report also said both children indicated that if they go back home, they are “just going to run away,” and said they did not feel safe with Love. After the incident, the children were placed in the care of another relative. http://sunthisweek.com/2015/11/18/son-mom-of-missing-girls-told-kids-to-run-in-2012/
*Just seven months later, this after Judge Knutson personally spoke to the Rucki children and ignored their cries for help, he again court ordered the children into Love’s custody on April 19, 2013.
*This time, the two oldest girls S.R. and G.R. succeeded in running away, and remained in hiding for the next two years. When given opportunities to return home, the terrified teens refused, citing fear of their father.
* The youngest children did not run away because the court recognized the risk, and detained them at school to prevent escape. The court then forced the youngest children into reunification therapy with Rucki even though the GAL noted that they expressed fear, and avoided physical contact with him.
*That the Rucki children currently remain in the custody of David Rucki is no indication of their well-being or safety, especially considering how the family court system has colluded in the abuse of these children and greatly contributed to their suffering.
Among the tragic stories of 1.6-2.8 million American youth who runaway every year, are the 5 Rucki children whose cries for help have been lost in a purposeful cover up orchestrated by Judge David L. Knutson, former family court judge in Dakota County, and assisted by corrupt officials working at every level of government in the State of Minnesota.
When children do not feel safe, and have witnessed domestic violence or been victims to abuse, they are at a much higher risk of running away. Especially when those charged with protecting them, social services and family court, fail to do so.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that 21% of runaway youth have a history of physical or sexual abuse, or were afraid abuse would continue if they returned to their home. (Source: Safe Place: Running Away)
Shrieking winds sweep across the prairie, beating against the the luxurious Rucki house, situated at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a rural suburb. In the dying light of a sun that never seems to shine over this corner of hell, the door remains firmly shut, the blinds drawn …the house remains unusually quiet and shuttered tight, with no sign of life inside.
Carefully choreographed footage from ABC 20/20 shot over Christmas with David Rucki and children offers a rare glimpse inside… it is an awkward scene with blurred faces and forced cheer.
It is painfully obvious that mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, is absent from the festivities. Sandra has been forcibly removed from the lives of her children by abusive ex-husband, David Rucki, and by an unjust court order that prohibits her from having any contact with her children for the rest of their lives. Once a stay at home mother, and primary caregiver, Sandra is now alienated from her children and has not had any contact with them in over 5 years. Sandra spent Christmas grieving for her children. She clings to the precious memories .. and is haunted by thoughts of who they are today.
Elizabeth Vargas and ABC 20/20 portray David Rucki as a whimpering father who says he is victimized by an angry ex-wife who brainwashed the children to wage abuse allegations against him. The truth is more sinister.. it takes just a click of a mouse to reveal what 20/20 failed to report as much of the documentation has been made publicly available on the internet. Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse? (Michael Volpe, CDN)
A long history of police reports documents Rucki’s explosive anger, and propensity towards violence. druckipolicereports
The violence continued after David and Sandra divorced, with stalking, threats, and eruptions of Rucki’s rage – that often spilled onto the streets of this otherwise quiet neighborhood.
After the divorce was finalized, Sandra says Rucki terrorized the family, and in one incident, threatened to kill all of them. Soon after that threat, one of the children received a voice mail with the sound of six bullets being fired in quick succession – one bullet for Sandra and each of the children. recorded voice mail messages
The Rucki children bravely came forward to report abuse to many officials who should have protected them but failed to do so – the court appointed Guardian ad Litem, police, therapists, the family doctor, social workers, the family court judge and others.
The court appointed psychologist Gilbertson wrote a letter from Feb. 6, 2013 that stated, “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.”
Yet time and time again the Rucki children were not protected but rather, sent back into the abuse; and their mother, and only protector, Sandra, was forcibly removed from their lives.
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and three other co-defendants were criminally charged and convicted for their role for assisting S.R. and G.R. after they ran away in April 2013. This, despite the fact that in Minnesota it is an affirmative defense (subd. 2) to take action to protect a child from imminent emotional or physical harm. Sandra continues to fight for justice, and to clear her name. She is actively appealing her conviction.
Co-defendant, Dede Evavold is actively appealing her case, and has argued (Evavold Appeal 2017) that she was wrongfully charged and convicted of parental deprivation because (p.5), “The affirmative defense did not need to be raised as there was substantial evidence supporting the affirmative defense. The state had all evidence that no crime was committed and that the girls ran away because of abuse...”
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