The Dahlens Plead Guilty – But Only After Attorney Argues Witness Tampering, 5th Amendment Violations (Michael Volpe, repost)

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A recent article by journalist Michael Volpe, who has been extensively covering the Grazzini-Rucki case, chronicles the criminal charges filed against Doug and Gina Dahlen for their role in the disappearance of the Rucki teens, and the resulting guilty plea.

5th Amendment violations, witness tampering, alleged in Rucki case by Michael Volpe (CDN News)

 

On November 18, 2015, a swarm of police and federal marshals descended on the small town of Herman, Minnesota. The rumble of trucks and men disturbed the quiet countryside, kicking up dust along dirt roads. The frantic chatter of radio announced the breaking news – the two missing Rucki sisters had been found on the Ranch of Doug and Gina Dahlen. The sisters, S.R. and G.R. were not happy to have been “found” and over the next few weeks, would bravely come forward to describe the nightmare that caused them to run away – physical and mental abuse at the hands of their father, David Rucki, and an uncaring family court system led by Judge David L. Knutson ignored their cries for help and worked to place them back into the care and custody of a dangerous abuser.

Doug and Gina Dahlen

Doug and Gina are an exceptional couple who has dedicated their lives to helping abused and traumatized children, and supporting families in need. They reside in the small town of Herman, Minnesota, which boasts that it is a “small town with BIG values!”; and holds true to that promise with a population just below 500 souls. The Dahlens are an all-American family, working hard to establish a non-profit therapeutic horse ranch on land Doug purchased from his grandparents that would be named White Horse Ranch. The Ranch also operates as an animal rescue and has taken in at-risk horses, and even dogs. The October 2014 WHR newsletter demonstrates the success of the program, and generosity of the Dahlens,”To date this season we have had 130 youth visit the ranch; and of these we worked with 44 of them one-on-one. Our youngest visitor was five months old, and our oldest was 85.”

Doug and Gina risked it all to shelter S.R. and G.R. – providing safety, nurturing and a second chance to experience their childhood that had been long denied. The Dahlens believed the teen girls truly had been abused – the girls not only spoke about abuse but their physical and mental state also indicated abuse and trauma had occurred. Investigative Report Dahlen, Witness Statements

The Dahlens offered their home, and their heart, to protect S.R. and G.R. from imminent physical or emotional harm. Now the Dakota County court system that worked against the Grazzini-Rucki family, would wage its legal guns at the Dahlens, and ruthlessly work to destroy the very family that had saved the lives of these terrified teens.

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Doug and Gina plead guilty to felony charges in January 2017 but their attorney argues the Dahlens were basically bullied into accepting the plea under circumstances that involved witness tampering and Constitutional violations.

Doug and Gina have no previous criminal record. They are not dangerous; and in fact are described as being “kind and generous“. Doug and Gina did not act with malice or criminal intent, but instead, chose to help the Rucki girls because they were truly concerned for their well-being.

Both S.R. and G.R. have expressed their experience at the Ranch was positive, and they stayed based on their free will choice. S.R. said about the Ranch,”It was so great up there! They were given hugs and love. She loves Doug and Gina and states Gina was like a mom to her.” G.R. says she does not feel that she needs therapy because after her stay at the Ranch “she has it figured out” and remarks made to a social worker indicate that G.R. felt at peace – her only fear was returning to the care of her father, David Rucki. Rucki Social Service Records, Abuse Allegations

If anyone should be criminally charged, it should be Judge David Knutson, the Guardian ad Litem, court appointed therapists and others involved in the case who failed to protect the 5 Rucki children from abuse, and instead forced these children to live with the identified, and proven, abuser, David Rucki. David Rucki Police Reports, Documented History of Violence

When questioned about abuse allegations, and irregularities in the handling of the Grazzini-Rucki case, Dakota County, the Lakeville Police and Dr. Rebecca Bailey have all avoided questions raised by Volpe and CDN News.

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

What is Dakota County hiding? And why are so many refusing to answer basic questions about the Grazzini-Rucki case?

Uncover the truth, read Michael Volpe’s article in full: 5th Amendment violations, witness tampering, alleged in Rucki case by Michael Volpe (CDN News)

 

Additional Information on Doug and Gina Dahlen:

Couple who cared for missing teens on their ranch for two years say that runaway sisters would be better off with them…

IGC: GINA DAHLEN’S VISION QUEST

Riding with Faith, Spirit and Vision

 

 

Grazzini-Rucki Case Suggests Witness Tampering, Continued Abuse of Runaway Rucki Girl

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Because the witness told investigators that her father made her change her story and her story did in fact change from previous statements, it is apparent that witness tampering occurred.” – Motion filed by the Dahlens 12/23/2016

(Dakota County, Minn): More evidence supporting that David Rucki has abused his children in the past, and continues to emotionally and psychologically abuse S.R. emerges from the criminal trial of Doug and Gina Dahlen…

Doug and Gina Dahlen, the couple who sheltered S.R. and G.R. on their therapeutic horse ranch for 2 1/2 years, filed a motion to request an evidentiary hearing regarding witness tampering on 12/23/2016 in Dakota County. (The Dahlens have since plead “guilty” for felony charges of parental deprivation under questionable circumstances).

Read the motion in it’s entirety: Dakota County accused of witness tampering in Doug and Gina Dahlen case

Doug and Gina Dahlen

Doug and Gina Dahlen

The motion was filed to request a hearing to determine whether witness tampering has occurred. The alleged witness tampering is based on David Rucki, the Lakeville P.D. and Dakota County’s treatment towards S.R. – one of the teen girls who fled after Judge David L. Knutson placed her in an unsafe environment.

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

THE DAHLENS: RUCKI SISTERS DISCLOSE ABUSE

The motion details the heart wrenching day that S.R. and G.R. came to the Dahlen family. In late April of 2013, both girls came to the ranch, and according to the motion,”When the girls arrived, both were very emotional, crying and appeared scared. Both girls appeared extremely fearful to the Dahlens. In fact, the Dahlens had never seen two girls so visibly and physically frightened. In essence, they were scared for their lives.

S.R. and G.R. had good reason to be afraid of David Rucki. When the girls became more comfortable with the Dahlens, they shared their fears, and painful memories. According to the motion, the girls told the Dahlens that Rucki made threats, displayed sexually inappropriate behavior, and police were called a number of times after he violated restraining orders.

frisked

According to the Dahlens, the girls reported that they were scared of Rucki and he “had a habit of peeking in outside windows..” The Dahlens said talking about their home life, and the thought of returning to the care of their father (Rucki) made S.R. and G.R. so upset that they would shake and become physically sick “with fear and panic“.

It should be noted that S.R. exhibited the same emotional and physical symptoms as to what the Dahlens observed when she was questioned by social workers and police after she had been recovered; when making statements regarding her home life prior to the divorce, abuse and the events leading up to when she ran away. The difference is that the Dahlens correctly identified S.R.’s reaction as a traumatic response, but when S.R. was put back under the control of Dakota County the abuse cover up continued and S.R. was labelled “fragile” and in need of de-programming.

The motion states that Dahlens permitted S.R. and G.R. to stay at their Ranch because they reasonably believed that the girls were at risk for physical, sexual or emotional harm if they returned.

S.R. and her sister G.R. went into hiding, living with the Dahlens for 2 1/2 years. In an interview with ABC 20/20, Gina Dahlen says the teen girls “made a new life” for themselves on the Ranch, and they were free to leave anytime they wanted but chose to stay. While staying on the Ranch, S.R. and G.R. were home schooled. The girls did chores on the Ranch, and helped with the website – but never used the internet to contact their father or make an effort to return to Lakeville, where they lived. Dahlen says there was no effort to conceal the girls, they used their real names and went into town, socializing with others.

This is also confirmed in social worker notes, taken from an interview conducted after the S.R. and G.R. were discovered living on the Ranch in November 2015, (Social Service Records – Rucki ) “The girls appeared well cared for and like it at the (redacted).”

The social worker reports that S.R. told her,”It was so great up there.” And,”They were given hugs and love. She loves Doug and Gina and says Gina was like a mom to her.

S.R. also told the social worker about the abusive, dysfunctional home environment created by her father, David Rucki, and warned that she would run if placed back into his custody.

G.R. says this about the Dahlens,”She feels Doug and Gina gave up their lives for them. She feels at peace there, they talked about God and read the Bible. They taught her to forgive.

When asked about her father, G.R. told the social worker, “She still feels fear of dad… She does not want to live with him and she feels he still has control over her. She does not feel mom played role in her thoughts or feelings about her dad.” G.R. also stated that she will run if made to return to dad.

TRANSITIONING FAMILIES INVOLVED IN WITNESS TAMPERING?

(Note: Inquiry by Justice blog.. these comments are NOT part of the Dahlen’s motion)

It is unknown if S.R. or G.R. have attempted to run away again but it is known that the sisters were put through intensive de-programming (aka mind control) and reunification therapy at Transitioning Families, a  ranch  situated in a remote location in California. It could be argued that David Rucki’s efforts to put S.R. and G.R. in the program at Transitioning Families is a form of witness tampering.

Transitioning Families was chosen because if the girls did attempt to run away they would have no place to go. Court records state that S.R. and G.R. were both willing to attend therapy in Minnesota, and promised not to run if placed in a foster home. There was no need to send the sisters to California because they could undergo therapy in Minnesota, where they live, and where they would receive ongoing treatment (if needed). There would be no risk of running if the girls were placed in a foster home, and allowed to transition back into their lives at their own pace and comfort level.  But that didn’t happen.

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Therapist Dr. Rebecca Bailey, of Transitioning Families, facilitated reunification between David Rucki and the girls. At the time of reunification, Rucki was on probation after being convicted of a violent road rage incident. Yet Bailey showed no concern for the safety of the girls, despite Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, that included being referred to anger management and psychological testing as part of probation. In an interview with a local paper, Rucki says Dr. Bailey determined that he does not pose a danger to anyone after an incident where he was kicked in the privates by a pony, and did not show signs of violence. However, that incident does not qualify as a valid psychological assessment, or involve the use of acceptable medical practices. Evidence suggests that Dr. Bailey ignored and/or dismissed abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children, as well as evidence supporting that abuse did occur. Dr. Bailey also failed to consider Rucki’s history or do a risk assessment when forcing the S.R. and G.R. (and their siblings) into reunification. The end result of the Transitioning Families program was that adults who are skilled in psychology used isolation and programming tactics to get two vulnerable, frightened teenage girls to recant abuse allegations. From the motion filed by the Dahlens (p. 5) “Intimidate can simply mean to make timidIn the Eighth Circuit, exhortations to remain loyal to one’s people or family is sufficient to support a conviction for witness tampering...”

The way testimony was taken from S.R. during the criminal trial of her mother could also be considered witness tampering. During her criminal trial, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki attempted to subpoena S.R. (who had turned 18) and G.R. to appear and testify. Grazzini-Rucki’s efforts were challenged by both David Rucki and his attorney, Lisa Elliott, and by Prosecutor Kathryn Keena. Their arguments were supported by Dr. Bailey, who wrote a letter to the Court, stating she did not feel the girls were capable of testifying and recommended that if S.R.. were to testify it should be by video only. Dr. Bailey’s letter was submitted to Judge Karen Asphaug for review. Grazzini-Rucki and her attorney were not given a copy, nor allowed to read it. Judge Asphaug agreed with the recommendation, G.R. was not allowed to testify and S.R. could testify by video only.

S.R. testified by video conferencing under extremely unusual circumstances. S.R. was out of view of the jury and present with her in the room was father, David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love (her fear of Love caused S.R. to run away), and both paternal grandparents and an armed bailiff. The defense attorney was limited in the questions he could ask and evidence of abuse was suppressed.

According to the motion (p. 5),”Witness tampering can be overt or subtle and includes emotional manipulation…The Minnesota Supreme Court has recognized that even ‘general or specific threats of reprisal’ would constitute witness intimidation…The Court has also acknowledged that  the mere presence of spectators in the courtroom can result in witness intimidation.

BASIS FOR THE WITNESS TAMPERING MOTION

Doug and Gina Dahlen raise a compelling, and legally sound, argument that witness tampering involving S.R. did occur.

From the time S.R. and G.R. stayed at the Ranch until their tearful good-bye, the girls have consistently told the same story about the abuse they have endured at the hands of their father, and the failure of the family court to protect them, is the reason why they ran away, to seek safety. Upon return to Rucki’s care, S.R. told law enforcement that she was  pressured and guilted to recant by her father and Tammy Love. S.R. also stated that court paperwork was “all over the house“, that the issue was constantly raised, and she could not get away from it.  When S.R. did give a statement to police, it was Rucki who drove her to the police station.

Journalist Michael Volpe has extensively researched the Grazzini-Rucki case, and has uncovered another aspect of possible witness tampering involving the same incident: David Rucki claims indigence, hires two private lawyers This article offers additional insight on the questionable interview with S.R. and police, conducted on June 30, 2016. During the interview, S.R. reveals that she had been reading about her family’s involvement with the court system on the Carver County Corruption blog. S.R. said she discovered the site after going to the library, logging onto a computer, and doing an internet search on her name.

At the time of the interview the Carver County Corruption blog had been permanently shut down. Another blogger writing about the Grazzini-Rucki case had removed articles she had written from her blog, and stopped covering the case altogether. These events happened in response to a June 7, 2016 letter written to the blog owners from a law firm employed by David Rucki. The letter implied the bloggers could face “various civil claims” against them and “litigation seeking substantial damages“. As a result, the blog articles were taken down, and S.R. was no longer able to freely access information offering another perspective on the case. It should also be noted that the Carver County Corruption blog gave S.R. a voice because it posted letters and comments she provided to the courts. In a broader perspective, shutting down the blogs has also limited the public’s access to information and documentation regarding the Grazzini-Rucki case; and attempted to make one viewpoint – that of David Rucki – the dominant source of information.

LAKEVILLE POLICE IMPLICATED IN WITNESS TAMPERING

The Dahlen motion also implicates Lakeville police in witness tampering, stating that (p. 8), “Law enforcement investigators in this case apparently avoided asking SVR questions which would develop responses favoring the affirmative defense. Anytime the possibility arose that David Rucki would be portrayed in a negative light, Detective Coughlin backed off.

During the June 30th interview, S.R. told Det. Coughlin that she was brought to the interview against her free will, and pressured and guilted into recanting abuse allegations by Rucki and Love. The pressure was so intense that S.R. began to cry.

The motion states that Det. Coughlin never asked S.R. to elaborate when speaking about issues related to abuse. And that S.R.’s statement to police shows change from the story she has consistently told prior to being recovered. S.R.’s testimony takes yet another turn in court, where claims to not have seen or remembered abuse, and stated that she was not in her right mind when speaking to police.

Perhaps the impact of reunification therapy at Transitioning Families has taken its toll? Perhaps Rucki and Love have finally crushed her spirit? What has not changed is that S.R. remains tearful, emotional and her body language indicates trauma – she shakes or curls up into a ball when questioned. And that is the tragedy of the Grazzini-Rucki case, that the court system has completely failed to protect the Rucki children from the abuse they endured and witnessed, and instead protected the abuser, to the detriment of the children.

The Dahlen motion has not only raised concerns about witness tampering but at its core, it is a statement that raises serious concerns that S.R. (and the other Rucki children) is being emotionally and psychologically abused and continue to be at risk in the care of David Rucki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

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.

dougginadahlen

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: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com, sunthisweek

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: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com

Det. Dronen deletes OFP violation against David Rucki, wipes from MNCIS. Source: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com

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??

Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Breaking News: At the very last minute, as the jury is deliberating on charges against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki for felony parental deprivation, Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena drops her motion to impose an aggravated sentence against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, admitting the charges do not meet the guidelines.

An aggravated sentence is usually reserved for the most heinous crimes. Keena has not given a public statement but previously wrote a notice to the court that she was seeking an aggravated sentence because it was “cruel” to deprive David Rucki of his two daughters, and that he has “suffered extreme emotional pain beyond what is normal for this crime”.

This article will take a closer look at Keena’s motion, and offer additional information on the charges against Sandra.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center

 

Was David Rucki “Deprived” of his Daughters?

Or Did the Girls Run Away For Safety Reasons?

Keena argued that it was “cruel” to deprive David Rucki of his two daughters, and an aggravated sentence was warranted. Let’s take a closer look at the alleged “cruelty” and charges that Sandra “deprived” David of his two daughters.

Sandra has been charged felony parental deprivation for her role in the disappearance of her two teenage daughters. Sandra is arguing the “affirmative defense” meaning her actions were taken to protect her daughters from an unsafe environment, where they faced imminent physical or sexual harm.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

It is important to note that when the Rucki girls ran away, their father, David, did not have custody, their mother, Sandra did not have custody of the children. Judge Knutson took custody away from both parents (Sept. 2012) and placed the children in the temporary care of their aunt, and issued a no contact order against both parents, who could now only communicate to their children through the court-appointed reunification therapist, Dr. Gilbertson. All of the Rucki children struggled to reunite with David, and showed a fear of him, and reported allegations of abuse. Dr. Gilbertson did not address the children’s fear and resulting emotional and behavioral symptoms; the focus on therapy was forcing reunification with David. Under these conditions, David won sole custody of the children in November 2013.When awarded custody of the children, David was on probation for a domestic violence charge with an OFP violation.

ViolateOFP2

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

In April 2013, the two teenage Rucki sisters ran away after Judge Knuston placed them in the temporary custody of paternal aunt, Tammy Love, where they would live under their father’s influence. The Girls made allegations they were being abused by their father, and were afraid for their lives. Before running away, the Girls made multiple attempts to seek help, and were denied the protection they deserved by Judge Knutson, and the family court system.

Laura Miles wrote in her report to the Court dated 6/3/2013 that she spoke to Michelle Roberts, police officer with Lakeville P.D. and ,”Ms. Roberts indicated that at this time, they have an open investigation regarding S and G, but they are considered to be “runaways” at this point. Ms. Roberts states that since they “left of their own free will”, “there is not much to be done as far as active efforts.”

 

The evidence is clear in showing that if the Rucki girls wanted to return to their father, David, they would have done so. The Rucki girls had ample opportunity to make contact with David if that was what they wanted. The girls were found at a therapeutic horse ranch in November 2015. Reports state that the girls both had access to cell phones, computers, had access to a car yet never made any attempt to contact David and never made any effort to return to his home. The girls used their legal names, and never made any attempt to conceal their identity; they lived in the open. The girls had also made contact with other adults, made friends with other teenagers, who they could have turned to for help, or asked for assistance in returning back to their father. They never made any of these gestures and said they were afraid of their father and not ready to see him.

The Girls chose to stay at the Ranch, and had adjusted well to their new life. They considered Gina Dahlen to be a “second mother”. 

After being found, the Girls continued to raise allegations of abuse, and begged to be in foster care rather than return to father David. The social worker assigned to the Rucki girls believed the abuse allegations, and petitioned the Court to keep the girls in foster care, and to allow only supervised visits with David until it was determined unsupervised visits were safe. The Girls spoke personally to Judge Michael Mayer, who assigned to their case, begging him for help. Judge Mayer refused to listen and told the Girls that if they ran away again, he would send the police to pursue them. Judge Mayer then returned the Girls to the custody of David. The Girl were then set to California, escorted by a security guard, to reunification therapy.

 

Severe Emotional Pain” is

NOT an Aggravating Circumstance

Kathryn Keena

Kathryn Keena

Keena said David has “suffered extreme emotional pain beyond what is normal for this crime”and an aggravated sentence is warranted.

To compare Sandra to a terrorist or a drug dealer, who would qualify for an aggravated sentence, is ridiculous. Keena should have been aware in November 2015, when filing the motion to the court, that an aggravated sentence was not applicable. An aggravated sentence is requested in special circumstances where the nature of the crime or the the impact the crime has had on the victim is especially severe. The prosecuting attorney may then ask for an aggravated sentence, meaning the sentence imposed goes above the usual guidelines. “Emotional pain” is NOT a circumstance that qualifies for an aggravated sentence under Minnesota law.

 

Further, Sandra is not a danger to anyone. She has no prior criminal history. In her job as a flight attendant, Sandra works with the public, and has consistently demonstrated safe, and appropriate behavior when interacting with others. Sandra was once the primary caregiver to her children. By all accounts, she had a close, loving relationship with her children until being forcibly separated by an unjust court order imposed by Judge David Knutson. To ask for an aggravated sentence against Sandra is extreme.

 

Emotional Pain?

David Rucki Making Jokes in a Public Statement

Regarding the Return of his Daughters

David Rucki statement 4/14/2106

David Rucki statement 4/14/2106

In a Facebook post dated April 14, 2016 – dated just days before the anniversary the Rucki girls ran away, on April 19, 2013, David writes about his gratitude to all those who supported him while his daughters were missing. The post was written on the page of Dr. Rebecca Bailey of Transitioning Families, who facilitated the reunification between David and his daughters.

A black and white picture accompanies the post, in it David Rucki poses in a Grouch Marx style costume with thick, bushy eyebrows, thick black glasses and a comical extra large fake nose.

In between David’s statements about how he has struggled with the disappearance of his daughters, are several jokes (Grouch Marx was a comedian, afterall ??) ….

To his friend, Tony Canney, David promises to buy a round of drinks the next time they go out, I’m not going to lie to you I put this guy threw the ringer listening to my crap, I guess I will be buying this weekend!

To attorney, Lisa Elliott, David jokes about the turmoil of ongoing litigation,Lisa Elliot and her staff at Elliot Law, when I walked into her office 5 years ago I told her that “This will be the craziest case she will ever have to deal with” she smirked at me and said ” I’ve seen it all” If you asked her today I know she would say ” This case has re wrote the book on crazy!

David jokes about his experience with the horses at Transitioning Families,”I love you guys, even though because of you I no longer have a fondness towards miniature horses! “Ouch!”

Are these the words of someone experiencing severe and debilitating emotional pain?

 

What’s Next?

Keena brought the motion for an aggravated sentence to make Sandra’s case appear more severe, and to impose a more harsh sentence than the law allows. Keena kept up this charade for 8 months, allowing the charges to be widely circulated in the media, knowing this case did not meet the guidelines. Only at the last possible minute did Keena rescind her motion. 

The merits of the Grazzini-Rucki case, and criminal charges against Sandra, continue to be debated. Perhaps this is why Keena held the motion for aggravated sentencing against Sandra for 8 long months, knowing it would not apply…. to manipulate the public perception of the case, and of Sandra.

Jury deliberations have begun, and will continue tomorrow.

Additional Reading:

Jury Selection Proves Difficult in Rucki Case by Michael Volpe

2015 MN Statutes: 244.10 SENTENCING HEARING; DEVIATION FROM GUIDELINES

Potential State Witness Wrote Letter to Judge Knutson – Criticizing Court’s Failure to Protect Rucki Children from Abuse

Lori Musolf, potential witness to be called by the State in the parental deprivation case against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki wrote a letter to Judge Knutson in May 2013, asserting her belief that the Rucki children were abused by their father, David Rucki, and were “terrified” of him. Lori criticizes Judge Knutson’s handling of the case and desperately prays “that the MN Appellant Court will put a stop to this insanity”.

With such strong beliefs, how did Lori become a potential witness for the State? And with such a drastic change in her story, does she have any credibility?

 

Lori Twit

       Lori Musolf: “I hate corrupt

judicial and social services

may they rot in hell.”

 

Lori describes herself as an “investigator”, “advocate” and “child advocate”. She also claims to have worked with Fox 9 news. Through the Carver County Corruption blog, she began to network with and offer her support to parents involved in family court proceedings. Lori explains in a Twitter post, “Sometimes people have to stand up to corrupt government.”

Lori’s main interest was in exposing perceived corruption in Meeker County. She worked with a group of citizens in these efforts and with the help of Trish van Pilsum from Fox 9, garnered publicity when van Pilsum covered two separate stories based on the Meeker citizen group’s efforts.

Below is a video of Lori hard at work in “exposing corruption” in Meeker County.

 

Lori’s Letter to Judge David Knuston –

You Have Sentenced the Rucki Children       

to a Life of Pure Hell and Danger

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

 

Lori’s letter to Judge Knutson was published on the Carver County Corruption blog in May 2013. Though the blog has been taken down, we were able to get a copy, with screenshots to validate its existence.

 

In the letter, Lori says about the Rucki girls “these young girls are obviously terrified of David Rucki. For these two teenagers to be on the run, obviously they are scared for their lives.”

 

Lori also criticizes Judge Knutson and says that he has made some “huge mistakes”. Lori writes to Judge Knutson “ I sincerely hope that you can look at ALL of the facts of this case, realize that you have made some huge mistakes, allowed other huge mistakes to be made and that you will  someday allow these children to live their lives in the home where they feel protected.

Lori also warns Judge Knutson, “In my opinion David Rucki is a loose cannon and you are playing right into his hands.”

 

Lori Musolf Responds to a Cry for Help

From the Missing Rucki Girls

After the Rucki girls ran away from the (temporary) custody of paternal aunt, Tammy Love, on April 19, 2013, they reached out to Lori for help (from the police report generated by Det. Dronen on 8/6/2015), Musolf told me that a day or two after S and G ran away from home, one of them had called her but she didn’t know which one. The girls told her that they wanted to tell their story to the media, and her to try to use her connections to get their story on the news. Musolf stated that the girls would not tell her were they were or give them a phone number to call them back but told her they would call her every half an hour or so to try and arrange an interview.”

 

The Rucki girls did call as promised, and each time they made contact Lori had an opportunity to call the police or notify the authorities on the whereabouts of these two missing children. She could have even made an anonymous report if she had any fear or concern. Lori consciously, and intentionally, chose NOT to make that call, as her phone rang every half hour, she spoke to the Rucki girls, and offered her support.

In May 2013, Lori arranged an interview between the Rucki girls and Trish van Pilsum of Fox 9, (police report),”She was present when the interview was conducted, and has asked the girls when it was over if they were safe, and they told her they were. She saw S and G walking to a fast food restaurant to get picked up when Musolf and van Pilsum left Sauk Center to interview Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.After the interview aired, Musolf assisted the girls by actively promoting their story, sharing web links and speaking out against what she viewed a “corrupt court system” that was responsible for their suffering. As time passed, Lori remained silent on what she knew about the missing girls, protecting them still.

Lori’s Story Changes… with a Little Help from Michael Brodkorb

With such strong beliefs, how did Lori become a potential witness for the State? This means Lori is defending the “corrupt” family court system she once opposed. Why??

According to the police report, on July 24, 2015 Brandon Stahl called Det. Dronen to inquire about updates on the case and discuss a tip that he had received. That tip led police to speak to a witness who then mentioned Lori Musolf by name, and made this statement, “..if Sandra knew where the girls were, Musolf would know as well.” The witness then provided Det. Dronen with Lori’s contact information. But before Det. Dronen could find Lori, Michael Brodkorb had already located her and spoken to her. This is clearly interference in an open police investigation.

Officer Dronen. Source: sunthisweek.com

Lori says in her August 6, 2015 police interview with Officer Dronen that she was once a strong supporter of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki until she started reading articles written in the Star Tribune, and began to doubt the abuse allegations she once defended, “She began to take notice of the case when Brandon Stahl and Michael Brodkorb’s articles began appearing in the Star Tribune.”

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Lori’s doubts were reinforced when she spoke to Brodkorb, what information he shared with her is unknown, (from the police report) “She also stated that she had been contacted by Michael Brodkorb on 8/2/15. While she told me she didn’t tell Brodkorb anything, she stated that it really made her start digging into the case.” 

Lori must have known that her involvement with the Rucki girls could lead to criminal charges. From the police report, ”Musolf told me that she thought the friends (name omitted to protect their privacy) given Brodkorb her number, and she believed they were trying to pin things on her.” Friends gave Lori’s phone number to Brodkorb… keep in mind the lead that led police to these “friends” came from Brandon Stahl.

 

Has Lori made a deal at the expense of the Rucki girls?

Lori has never been criminally charged with her involvement in the case, though she clearly has aided and abetted two runaway teens. 

Edited versions of Musolf’s statement were included in criminal complaints against the Dahlens and were also included in the search warrant application for Dede Evavold. Lori may also be called as a witness to testify against Sandra. Did Lori make a deal to avoid charges?

Lori wrote to Judge Knutson, “David Rucki has a history of domestic abuse witnessed by these same children. How can you possibly think that putting these children’s lives in danger is ok?” Answer that Lori.

Given that the State’s case has largely relied on suppressing  evidence and witness testimony of abuse, stalking and violent behavior from David Rucki, if Lori is called to the witness stand, and this letter is introduced, it may be one of few allegations of abuse, and related documentation, brought to the jury.

That is, if court does not interfere with Lori’s vacation.

Vacation2

http://carvercountycorruption.com/2013/05/20/letter-from-child-advocate-to-judge-david-l-knutson/

 

Letter From Child Advocate To Judge David L. Knutson

Posted on May 20, 2013

 

Dear Judge David L. Knutson,

 

As an advocate I am appalled at your court orders involving the Rucki case. I cannot fathom why you think teenagers have no choices in their lives, especially children who believe their lives are in danger. I hope you watched the Fox9 report on the Rucki case. I would like to point out a few things that I believe you may want to think about.

 

First, these young girls are obviously terrified of David Rucki. For these two teenagers to be on the run, obviously they are scared for their lives.

 

Did you notice how obvious it was that David Rucki knew exactly what conversation the girls talked about concerning the threats of him shooting them?

Quotes from the fox9 story “The Rucki girls told FOX 9 their father sat them down at the kitchen table and threatened to shoot them and their mother.” David states, “What I think I said is, ‘What do you want me to do? Put a bullet in my head so you don’t have to deal with this?’”

Think? He obviously was in a rage during this conversation.

 

David Rucki has a history of domestic abuse witnessed by these same children. How can you possibly think that putting these children’s lives in danger is ok? What could you possibly be thinking?

 

David Rucki said the Rucki case file is the biggest in Dakota County Family Court. Is he proud of this? Why would he even elaborate on that if he didn’t take some pride in it? Former owner of Rucki trucking? I hope his employees found this amusing and come forward.

 

Second, David Rucki’s attorney Ms. Elliot claims, and I quote from the Fox9 story, “He probably did have a short temper. There were five kids. Things get crazy. Did he ever harm them? No,” said Elliot. “Maybe he didn’t try hard enough to stay in contact with them when this was going on thinking if things would calm down, it would go back to the way it was — but it went in the other direction.” He probably did have a short temper. Obviously he did if he is talking about shooting himself in the head. “There were five kids. Things get crazy.” Wow, really? I have five children and four grandchildren and nothing in my home has been crazy enough to allow me to be violent or threaten my children. Ms. Elliot also stated, “Did he ever harm them… No” How could Ms. Elliot possibly know this? Was she there? Unbelievable that someone in the field of law could make such ridiculous statements as if they were facts. I believe Ms. Elliot has done this repeatedly throughout this case. Such a sad case when a judge allows someone like Ms. Elliot to conduct herself in this manner. Is Ms. Elliot the person running the show making you look like a fool?

 

Ms. Elliot goes on to state, “”They tried three different therapists or professionals in the Twin Cities to try reunification while the children were still living with their mom and it just didn’t work,” Do you really think that reunification with a threatening abusive person should work? These children are terrified of this man and they know that neither you or the therapists on this case will listen and have sentenced them to a life of pure hell and danger. This is absolutely appalling. How can you sentence these children to this life?

 

Third, Mr. Reitman reeks bias in this case. How can he even consider the fact that only the mother has created parental alienation? Have you heard the audio’s of David Rucki’s messages to his children blaming their mom for everything? What is even more appalling is the fact that what I would refer to as a “hired gun”, Mr. Reitman, believes that children should be forced to visit with a father, even if sexual abuse is an issue, because of lack of evidence. Are children supposed to say, “Hold on dad, I have to get the video camera to record this as evidence?” I can only hope the sexual abuse advocates go after any license this monster holds. I would say this story exposed Mr. Reitman for what he is……a monster!

 

Last but not least…. Shame on you for allowing this family to be torn apart by your orders. Shame on you for forcing children into a relationship with a father they are terrified of. Shame on you for forcing these children to make the drastic decision to go on the run in order to protect themselves. Shame on David Rucki for threatening these children and helping to destroy their lives with his continuing insane actions. Shame on Ms. Elliot for allowing any of this and defending this father. Shame on Dr Reitman for his sadistic beliefs. Shame on our judicial system for not making all of you accountable for your actions.

 

In cases like this I have to wonder how our system got to the point that destroying families in today’s society is ok. I think of all of the children that have been murdered by their parents in disputes and I have to wonder how you could put those children in this position. How will you feel if the next time David Rucki loses control, one of these children are severely injured or worse yet dead. In my opinion David Rucki is a loose cannon and you are playing right into his hands.

 

I sincerely hope that you can look at ALL of the facts of this case, realize that you have made some huge mistakes, allowed other huge mistakes to be made and that you will  someday allow these children to live their lives in the home where they feel protected. How can you possibly think that putting children in danger is the thing to do? I can’t even begin to wrap my head around your reasoning. I can only pray that the MN Appellant Court puts a stop to this insanity.

Sincerely,

 

Lori Musolf

Child Advocate

(Screen Shots of Letter Below)

LettertoKnutson1

 

LettertoKnutson2

LettertoKnutson3

Multiple Witness Reports: Rucki Sisters Fearful of Father, Felt Safe at Ranch

Multiple witnesses confirm that sisters Samantha and Gianna Rucki were afraid of their father, David Rucki, and both described various incidents of physical and emotional abuse at his hands. The sisters said they felt safe at the White Horse Ranch, and did not want to leave. These statements were revealed in a recent report from an investigator with over 10 years experience in the criminal justice field, who interviewed the witnesses. 

Read the report in its entirety here: Witness Statements – Rucki Sisters at White Horse Ranch

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com

Findings include the following:

  • Samantha and Gianna Rucki did not conceal their identity while staying at White Horse Ranch, and “stayed openly” using their legal names. The sisters frequently went shopping in town, and had their hair done at a local salon. They went to eat at nearby restaurants, attended church and on birthdays, people would come to the Ranch to celebrate with the girls.
    • Samantha and Gianna were free to leave the Ranch at any time, and both had access to phones and computers. Keys were also left in vehicles that the sisters had access to. The sisters were told they could leave at any time. The sisters reported that they stayed at the Ranch because they felt safe, and were being cared for. Samantha and Gianna also stated that they did not want to return to the home of their father, David Rucki, due to his violent and abusive behavior and would run away if returned his care. 
    • Samantha and Gianna had emotional and behavioral symptoms suggestive of abuse including: nightmares, afraid to be touched, were quiet and guarded, would cry when talking about their father or his abusive behavior, and their facial expressions and body language conveyed fear to those who saw them.
    • Specific instances of abuse were also mentioned including: They saw their father (David Rucki) choke their mother (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki), and he threatened to kill their mother. In another allegation, David Rucki threatened to kill their mother and them himself. The girls also said their father had physically and emotionally abused them, and showed a gun to them, inflicting fear. The girls reportedly said they “can’t live with him” meaning their father.
    • By all accounts, Doug and Gina Dahlen (White Horse Ranch) provided a safe, nurturing environment for Samantha and Gianna Rucki. One witnessed described White Horse Ranch as “a ‘safe place’ for children (and others needing help) where they can be open, listened to, encouraged to be themselves, grow in their faith, learn new skills, and find therapeutic relief in interacting with the animals”. 

It should be noted that the reports made by Samantha and Giana Rucki to these witnesses are consistent with other reports the girls made to therapists. police, CPS, close friends and court professionals in the past – and matches also reports made recently after being “recovered”. The Rucki sisters have not changed their story in all the years they have cried out for help.

(Bing) The entrance to White Horse Ranch

 

“He’s lost it on us kids a number of times..” Listen here to testimony from 14 year old Samantha Grazzini-Rucki describing the physical and mental abuse she has experienced from father, David Rucki, and the beatings she witnessed her mother endure.

Samantha also talks about the unprofessional conduct of the professionals involved in her family court case, and how she was “threatened with juvenile detention centers” if she did not comply with their demands . Samantha says the family court is not respecting her wishes, and not listening to her concerns of abuse, but instead has called her a “liar” and traumatized her.

Samantha also talks about the pain she has felt being separated from her mother “for absolutely no reason“. Samantha says “all I want is to live with my Mom” and “she is nothing but our rock…” and begs “Please let us live with our Mom and be happy…