Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Case Reaches Appellate Court

Our child support system was not intended to allow wealthy parents to go after poor parents or to allow the County to facilitate such a action. Also the System requires no showing that the children are not being supported with a home, the basic necessities of life, education, health care… what our System does basically is deprive children of the love and companionship of parents which is vital support for children” Attorney Michelle MacDonald, Oral Arguements: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Child Court Case before the Court of Appeals

(5/24/2017, Minnesota) Oral Arguements in the Child Support Appeal of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki reveal the cruelty and vindictiveness of ex-husband, David Rucki (via attorney Lisa Elliott) and Dakota County (via James Donehower), who demand nearly $1,000 a month in payment from Sandra, who is lives in unimaginable poverty and does not even have the resources needed to secure her own survival.

According to Minnesota law Statute 518A.42 (2016) Subd1a.,”It is a rebuttable presumption that a child support order should not exceed the obligor’s ability to pay….

And Subd2.,”If the court finds the obligor receives no income and completely lacks the ability to earn income, the minimum basic support amount under this subdivision does not apply.” In cases where a parent lacks ability to pay child support is put on “reserve” and no amount is due until there is a change of circumstance. Minn. Stat. 518A.42 ABILITY TO PAY; SELF-SUPPORT ADJUSTMENT

Though Sandra is currently homeless and destitute, and currently unemployed, which is well documented, she has been court ordered by Magistrate Maria K. Pastoor to pay $975 per month in child support to ex-husband, David Rucki. The amount of child support ordered is based on an imputed amount, meaning Dakota County has made up a figure they feel Sandra should pay.

The facts of the case clearly show that Sandra is struggling to survive and cannot afford to pay child support, while Rucki enjoys a luxury lifestyle and is more than able to pay for the care of the children without child support or any government aid.

Rucki’s Lakeville property (Zillow.com)

Magistrate Pastoor has taken great efforts to be placed onto the Grazzini-Rucki child support case. By “coincidence” Magistrate Pastoor shares a previous professional relationship with Judge David Knutson, who previously presided over the Grazzini-Rucki child support and divorce.

Sandra became homeless after Dakota County Judge Knutson issued an order on September 7, 2012 that forced her to vacate her home of 15 years. She was denied any due process when forced to leave all of her possessions, and forcibly separated from her five children as well. Judge Knutson told Sandra that she would be arrested and jailed if she refused to follow his orders. Judge Knutson then issued a succession of court orders that seized Sandra’s income, assets, savings and even retirement fund and handed them over to Rucki – which she has never been able to recover.

Sandra has also had to witness continued physical and mental abuse inflicted on her children by David Rucki. The children were further traumatized by a family court system that has enabled the abuse to continue and punished Sandra for trying to keep them safe. In April 2013, two of Sandra’s daughters were forced to go on the run to protect their own lives. Sandra has since been charged, and convicted, with 6 felony counts of parental deprivation for her role in assisting her daughters. The circumstances surrounding Sandra’s trial and conviction involved a multitude of illegal and unethical actions from Dakota County, and Judge Karen Asphaug. Critics have called the proceedings a “rigged trial”. It is unlikely that Sandra will be allowed to return to work as a flight attendant with 6 felony convictions on her record. She has not been working for almost two years and is considered unemployable. A spotless, 30+ year career as a flight attendant is now in ruins and with it, Sandra has been grounded with no relief in sight.

For a few months in 2016, after being released from jail and anticipating a lengthy probation, the State of Minnesota offered Sandra food support and a small amount of general assistance. Assistance was then abruptly terminated, leaving Sandra without the ability to obtain food or the ability secure the basics: soap, toothbrush, shampoo now are all “luxuries” beyond reach.

Sandra also lacks medical and dental care. She continues to suffer from the effects of a broken nose and fractured skull that happened in an incident while she was held as a prisoner at the Ramsey County Workhouse in November 2015. Sandra cannot remember what happened to her because the severity of the injury resulted in her becoming unconscious. Sandra woke up lying on the floor in a pool of blood, moaning for help. The incident has never been investigated, nor explained by the jail or by Ramsey County, it has become another of the many abuses inflicted on her. And still Sandra is breathing, and with every breath, fighting back.

This child support case is also ridiculous considering David Rucki, ex-husband, claims poverty even though he is a multi-millionaire who owns 3 houses (one home Rucki claims is a rental property so it generates income), owns several vehicles, retains all of the marital property, is the beneficiary of the Rucki family trust and was enriched after a court awarded all of his ex-wife’s financial assets to him, which he has never paid taxes on. Court records also indicate that Rucki is paying attorney’s fees in an estimated amount of $800 per hour…how can he afford this lifestyle if he is truly impoverished?

David Rucki’s property in Farmington, MN

Rucki has more than enough money and resources to care for the children on his own and does not need child support or welfare. And yet that is not enough for Rucki.. as long as Sandra is alive he will continue to retaliate against her… though he can not beat Sandra with his fists, he uses the legal system to wield a blow.

(Video published 5/28/2017 by Tim Kinley, host and producer of “Speechless Minnesota”)

 

For More Information:

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki ordered to pay $1K monthly child support 

Radio: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the Child Support Hustle with Guests Michael Volpe and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (Marcus Echols). 5/9/2017.

 

REPOST CDN NEWS: Does a Recent Police Report Exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki?

Does a recently found police report exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki? <– READ FULL ARTICLE! 

Michael Volpe, of CDN News, reports on a newly released police report from the Lakeville P.D. that reveals that runaway teens, Samantha and Gianna Rucki, fought against returning to their father after being discovered living on a therapeutic horse ranch after going into hiding for more than 2 years. The girls decided to run away after the family court system failed to protect them from an abusive father and placed them into a custody situation they felt was unsafe.

That Samantha and Gianna threatened to run away from their father’s care AFTER being discovered by police the supports defense raised by mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, that she hid them for their safety (which is an affirmative defense). The girls demonstrated palpable fear of their father, David Rucki. It also validates the defense of Doug and Gina Dahlen who claimed both girls repeatedly threatened to run away if returned to their father, and they allowed the girls to stay on the ranch for their own safety, and that the girls were free to leave at any time but chose to stay of their own free will.

The police report, from November 21, 2015, was never seen before by Sandra who was charged with parental deprivation for her efforts to protect her daughters. As part of the discovery process, this police report should have been turned over to Grazzini-Rucki, and the 3 other defendants charged in this case.

According to Volpe: “If the Dakota County Prosecutor, whose office prosecuted the case, failed to provide this police report, this would be a “Brady violation” named after the U.S. Supreme Court Case Brady V Maryland, in which a conviction was overturned after prosecutors failed to provide exculpatory evidence, meaning, in this case, evidence favorable to the defense. In order for a legal proceeding to be just, all evidence must be shared with both sides…Ignoring Brady is not only an egregious violation of prosecutorial ethics…

Volpe goes on to say: “Given this issue, under normal circumstances, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s conviction would have been thrown out. But nothing has been normal in this case.

READ the police report for yourself –  Lakeville P.D. Supplement Report Grazzini-Rucki 11/21/2015

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom

Upon being found at a therapeutic horse ranch belonging to Doug and Gina Dahlen on 11/18/2015, the Rucki sisters told police they would run away again if returned to the care of their father, David Rucki.

According to the police report: “Samantha and Gianna came down, and immediately told us that they would not go back to their father. We told them that our first concern was their safety. I did ask them about the last time that they had heard from their mother, and they told me that they would not say anything without a lawyer.The report also indicated that Samantha has quote “issues with males”.

Arriving on scene was Detective Kelli Coughlin from the Lakeville police, who previously responded to an incident where Rucki swore and threatened a member of ex wife, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family. The previous police report shows Rucki’s propensity towards violence, and the very real fear other people have of him. It also shows that Coughlin had knowledge of Rucki’s abuse violent behavior towards his family, and when the Lakeville P.D. pushed to return to the Rucki girls to a home they felt was unsafe, the Lakeville P.D. did so with full knowledge of the case, including abuse allegations.

The police report indicates the victim is fearful for his family and feels Rucki will follow through on his threats that include “I‘m coming after you and you won’t see me coming” and “It probably won’t be me (that will get you).” At the time of the incident, Sandra’s mother died the night before after an agonizing battle with cancer. While the family was still grieving Rucki fought to gain control of the family trust, and threatened and intimidated family members to stake a claim on something that was not legally or rightfully his. Rucki Police Report

Samantha and Gianna were assigned a social worker and also given a lawyer, both argued in court on behalf of the sisters that they their father and did not want to be placed in his care. The sisters stated they would attend therapy and not attempt to run away again if they were able to stay in foster care. Judge Michael Mayer of Dakota County denied the request, the sisters were sent to reunification therapy in rural California and then were placed backed into the custody of David Rucki, father, against their will.

Battered from the Bench: Magistrate Pastoor Advocates for Legal Protection of Abused Women, Does Opposite in Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Case

Battered from the Bench: Magistrate Pastoor Advocates for Legal Protection of Abused Women, Does Opposite in Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Case

Public Domain Images: Architecture – http://wallpaperswide.com, Lady Justice – http://www.picswalls.com. Edited by Justice Blog.

Child Support Magistrate Maria K. Pastoor claims to be a feminist and defender of battered women. She wrote in a widely publicized paper Police Training and the Effectiveness of Minnesota Domestic Abuse Laws (1984) that (p.9) “Prosecutors and judges, in particular, often ignore or trivialize the harm battered women suffer….At best, legal officers are consistent, at worst, criminal. If Pastoor really holds these beliefs, how can she justify the extreme rulings she has issued in the Grazzini-Rucki child support case?

The actions of the corrupt courts in Dakota County have hit Sandra Grazzini-Rucki like a massive earthquake, her life has been shaken to the core, causing devastation on every level. Sandra has been forcibly estranged from the five children she loves. Her 30+ year career as a flight attendant is in ruins and she is currently unemployed. All of her personal belongings have been seized by order of Judge David L. Knutson and turned over to abusive ex husband, David Rucki. In addition, any potential future income Sandra earns will be seized immediately handed to Rucki. Should Sandra become disabled or unable to work, even social security payments will be given to Rucki. Sandra now lives homeless, destitute and afraid for her life.

Just as earthquakes happen along the cracks in the surface of the earth, Sandra’s life has been cracked due to injustices of the court, and along those fault lines she would be struck again, this time in child support proceedings. Magistrate Pastoor, who once said, “The husband reasons that if his wife is bad, he is justified in hitting her. Because he is a man, he has the power to destroy what he does not like.”(p. 24) is now presiding over the Grazzini-Rucki child support case. Contrary to those remarks, Magistrate Pastoor has given David Rucki the power to destroy what he does not like – ex-wife, Sandra. Enabled by “injustice system”, Rucki has been given the tools to abuse, harass and stalk his ex-wife, Sandra, through the court system.

Magistrate Pastoor Has Connection to Judge Knuston, Asked to Be Appointed to Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Case

Magistrate Pastoor made great efforts to be put on the Grazzini-Rucki child support case. Throughout her appointment, Magistrate Pastoor has extended special treatment to David Rucki, and taken a radical departure from the law in doing so.

Are Magistrate Pastoor’s actions being influenced by her prior connection to Judge David L. Knutson? Magistrate Pastoor has previously worked side by side on the Parental Cooperation Taskforce with Judge Knutson, their professional relationship has spanned for years.

Consider this: An article written by journalist Michael Volpe Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases? exposes the unusual actions and rulings issued by Judge David Knutson in the Grazzini-Rucki case resulting in ex-husband David Rucki getting preferential treatment in court proceedings. In this article, Volpe raises the question – did Judge Knutson work to get himself onto the Grazzini-Rucki case and then fix cases in Rucki’s favor?

Here, again David Rucki is receiving special treatment in the court, in a similar pattern where the law is circumvented by the extreme and unusual actions of a judge and the other party, Sandra, is victimized when the legal system is used as a weapon rather than to dispense justice.

Pastoor Inflates Income of Homeless, Destitute Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Magistrate Pastoor says that “police must be trained to see a battered woman’s problems and take immediate steps to stop the violence against her...” Shouldn’t a judge or magistrate do the same?

Quoting Pastoor, “The primary problems should be self-evident in most cases–the man subjects the woman to physical and psychological torture. Police must be trained to see a battered woman’s problems and to take immediate steps to stop the violence against her. They should not provide an abusive man with an opportunity to discuss the woman’s supposedly provocative behavior.” (p. 35)

Throughout the Grazzini-Rucki legal proceedings, including child support, it is clear that financial abuse as well as what Magistrate Pastoor calls “physical and psychological torture” is occurring. Sandra’s very existence has been challenged by Rucki, who has enlisted the legal system to make her life as miserable as possible. The comforts most take for granted have been stripped from Sandra’s life – each day she faces the unknown of where she will sleep and if she will eat, haunted by the possibility of further court action against her. Her dreams at night are filled with images of her children, whom she has been prohibited from any contact with…only in dreams that she can see their precious faces again.

As a Magistrate, and as one who advocated for better legal protections for battered women, Pastoor should have been aware of tactics abusers use in legal proceedins and taken care that the court was not being used as a weapon. That is NOT what happened here.

Magistrate Pastoor also says a police officer “should not provide an abusive man with an opportunity to discuss the woman’s supposedly provocative behavior” yet in the Grazzini-Rucki child support case, she gives Rucki and his attorney, Lisa Elliot, not only a stage but a standing ovation to engage in victim blaming against Sandra. Magistrate Pastoor’s rulings are not based on fact or evidence but rely solely on the word of an abuser bent on destroying the victim.

What Rucki is really saying is that Sandra should be worked like a slave and then forced to turn over all of her income to him – this is abusive. Magistrate Pastoor says about the mentality of an abuser, ”In marriage relationships many men regard “their” women as property, with which they can do as they please. The man has the right to control the woman “by virtue of having penetrated her with his penis.” (p. 28) Once again Magistrate Pastoor says one thing and does another – her rulings only reinforce Rucki’s control over Sandra, and place her in a position of poverty and desperation where she cannot assert her rights, and has been deprived of basic human dignity.

Sandra has been chronically homeless since being illegally removed from her home by Judge Knutson on September 7, 2012. Judge Knutson then ordered that Sandra’s pay be garnished, which caused further financial hardship, and made it impossible for her to recover. In December 2015, the Red Herring Alert blog reported: Her wages are garnished 25% for payment of past marital taxes even though mother has been left destitute with prior use of MN Care Insurance and food stamps after the divorce. Her ex-husband’s income is in excess of $200,000 per month and he retains all of the marital property.” Red Herring Alert posted a picture of Sandra’s paycheck showing that after deductions, the net pay is negative – $2.49. How is Sandra supposed to survive..what the court system is doing to her amounts to attempted murder.

Despite the evidence showing Sandra’s poverty, and that she currently has NO income, Magistrate Pastoor imputed Sandra’s income at a whopping $4,143 a month! In the revised child support order, from October 13, 2016,Sandra Grazzini-Rucki ordered to pay $1K monthly child support  The order reflects Sandra has a monthly income of $0 zero dollars then includes an imaginary number in a “potential income” of $4143 a month. Child support is based on the “potential income” rather than the facts of the case.

The conditions of release, and complications of the criminal case, make it impossible for Sandra to work as a flight attendant. And with 6 felonies on her record, it has been impossible to obtain  employment. 

The State of Minnesota has since denied general assistance and food support to Sandra, she lives day to day in an unimaginable fight for survival. Sandra is living in truly desperate circumstances… child support should have been put on reserve.

Sandra has since filed an appeal in both her criminal court case, and filed an appeal on the child support case…she will continue to fight for justice.

 

Ways YOU Can Show Support:

Please like and comment on the Sandra “Sam” Grazzini-Rucki Facebook Page

Tune into Sandra’s weekly show Fighting B.A.C.K. on “Future of Our Children” radio from 6-8 pm EST/5-7 pm Central: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/futureofourchildren

Please like, comment and repost articles from the Justice Blog and from journalist Michael Volpe posting at CDN News: http://www.commdiginews.com/?s=grazzini-rucki

Use hashtag #grazzinirucki #riggedtrial and #evavold when posting

ABC 20/20 Tweet About Abuse of Rucki Teen Exposed As Misleading

“Footprints in the Snow” or Skating on Thin Ice??

Shocking development from journalist Michael Volpe, who has been covering the Grazzini-Rucki caseABC’s ’20/20′ tweets misleading information on Rucki story (CDN News)

A recent social media post from ABC 20/20 raises more questions about their portrayal of the Grazzini-Rucki case, which was featured in the episode “Footprints in the Snow”. 20/20 has been criticized for ignoring critical facts, and refusing to include evidence of abuse.

20/20 recently updated, and re-aired “Footprints” at the end of March 2017. By then ABC had ample time to further investigate the Grazzini-Rucki case, and include any information that was omitted in the original episode. They refused to do so. In addition, ABC had been the target of an onslaught of public complaint from viewers who were familiar with the case and recognized critical information was missing or inaccurately portrayed. There have also been news reports published with new information on the case. ABC 20/20 selected information from news sources, such as Sandra’s sentencing, to include in the updated episode of “Footprints” while continuing to ignore evidence of abuse.

In a post dated March 26, 2017, made when 20/20 updated their story, claims “Samantha denies that her father ever hit her.” However, in a police interview from June 2016, she said the OPPOSITE of what the post suggested and “The ABC tweet is even more misleading, given that Samantha Rucki also told Detective Coughlin that her father was pressuring her into recanting prior allegations of abuse…

This article uncovers evidence and documentation regarding domestic violence, child abuse, and David Rucki’s extensive criminal history that ABC 20/20 failed to include  in “Footprints”. You will also hear reports from witnesses who had experienced Rucki’s frightening and violent behavior.
None of this was included in the “Footprints” episode.

E-mail complaints, thoughts and feedback about “Footprints in the Snow” to ABC 20/20 at:

elizabeth.a.vargas@abc.com  and  sean.dooley@abc.com

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Sean Dooley, Producer, ABC 20/20 (Twitter)

Sean Dooley, Producer, ABC 20/20 (Twitter)

 

 

 

David Rucki Stalking Incident, July 2013 – Making Good on Threat to “Hunt” Ex-Wife “Like a Dog”

The article “What’s Fair is Fair“, previously posted on Red Herring Alert, documents an incident where David Rucki stalked ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki in July 2013. Sandra continues to live in fear of Rucki, who once made a threat to her that “I will hunt you like a dog for the rest of your life.” To this day, Rucki continues to stalk and harass Sandra, and anyone associated with her, and has even gone so far as to hire a private investigator and retain an attorney in his efforts.

On July 27, 2013, police responded to a call in a suburban neighborhood regarding a suspicious vehicle and a possible stalker – David Rucki. The menacing black Cadillac roared as it passed the house, made a U-turn, and passed again. From behind the windshield, Rucki turned his hand sideways and pointed one finger, his hand formed a gun aimed straight for his ex wife, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

The police report indicates that Rucki had been seen on numerous occasions driving up and down a street where a friend of  Grazzini-Rucki lives; and that a police report was filed on this day because video tape footage had been taken, and could verify his presence. The still pictures of the stalking incident included in this article came from the actual video footage taken that day. The police report notes that the officer responding at the scene had viewed the video footage, and reported,”I watched the video that showed the suspect vehicle drive up and down — Street and also sitting on — Street.

David Rucki had absolutely no reason to be driving on this residential street, which in fact is located in a different city than where he lived, and would require Rucki to drive out of his way to make an appearance in a neighborhood where he did not belong. What is important to note is that David Rucki is targeting friends and supporters of Sandra in his abusive, criminal behavior – that he would go to such extreme lengths in order to gain power and control over Sandra shows how dangerous he is.

Considering the fear  Sandra had expressed, and prior protective orders filed against him, Rucki should have known to stay away. Instead he continues to pursue Sandra. A statement taken  at the scene says,Grazzini-Rucki says she was afraid of David as he had been abusive to her and their kids. She said that Rucki had also violated no contact orders in the past.“At the time of this incident, a protective order was not in place against Rucki. – However, Sandra had previously filed for, and received, a protective order that recently expired. Rucki was not deterred by any of the protective orders and continued to harass Sandra. The police officer advised Sandra of her options, including filing for a harassment restraining order, and said the police would do extra patrols in the area. None if that has seemed to stop Rucki, who is even adept at manipulating and using other people to participate in his abuse of Sandra (and even attempting to intimidate or retaliate against friends and associates of Sandra in order to hurt her).

Years later, at the criminal trial of Sandra, presided by Judge Karen Asphaug, evidence of stalking to include videos, still pictures, police reports and witness reports was offered up to support the affirmative defense she raised. Judge Asphaug suppressed the evidence of stalking, and would not allow the jury to see it… what you are reading here is some of the evidence that was kept from the jury.

What’s Fair is FairPosted on October 26, 2015 by Dede Evavold

We’ve seen and heard a lot about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. . . But what about David Rucki?

 Let’s take a looksie!

 

Name: Rucki, David Victor     DOB: 02/03/1963     Address: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Lakeville, MN 55044 Secondary Address: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Farmington, MN 55024 Age: 52  Business information Rucki Trucking (Shop) Farmington, MN 55024

Vehicle Information: 2005 Maroon Chev Suburban, (MN Lic#SPZ533); 1990 Silver Mercedes Benz SL500  Convertible coupe, (MN Lic#); 1965 Black Cadillac Coupe Convertible (MN Lic#914HRA); 1965 Dark Blue/Black Chevelle

Pictures above were taken by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s friend M.R. on July 27, 2013 outside of his then residence. M.R. filed a police report for MN Statute 609.749 STALKING.

Stalking – David Rucki

Subdivision 1. Definition. As used in this section, “stalking” means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim.

The Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) was denied. Which has become a pattern in Dakota County, Rucki seems to evade criminal charges he deserves.

NOTE:

After the denial of the HRO, David Rucki’s stalking and harassment escalated.

Available records indicate two additional police calls were made complaining that Rucki continued to drive by the residence of Sandra’s friend.  Rucki was also seen parking his vehicle on a nearby street and watching the residence.

One of the police calls was made on December 27, 2013 to say that David Rucki’s maroon truck was seen driving past the house. Rucki was yelling at witnesses to the incident and seen taking pictures. 

On May 31, 2014, a GPS tracking device was found on a vehicle belonging to M.R. There is overwhelming evidence that Rucki is responsible for purchasing the GPS tracking device and placing it on the vehicle. A police investigation into the planting of the GPS produced enough evidence to criminally charge Rucki yet, the investigation was closed without explanation – and no charges resulted.

When the GPS was purchased, an e-mail address was connected to the account with an IP address that traced back to Rucki’s home on Ireland Place.

The GPS tracking device was first activated at Rucki’s home on Ireland Place in Lakeville. The police were able to look at a spreadsheet that tracked the locations of the GPS when it was active – the first sign of activity was on December 28, 2013. The signal starts at Rucki’s residence then can be traced moving down the street, until arriving at M.R.’s residence and being placed on his own vehicle. It is no coincidence that Rucki was appearing at the residence the day before, and taking pictures.

For more info on these incidents plz see pages 79-92: druckipolicereports

SECOND – The infamous Black Cadillac pictured above is now owned by friend, Tony and Joni Canney.

The Canneys were involved in the Lakeville Hockey scandal with David Rucki, and resigned from the Board in disgrace (2011). Rear more here: 2011 Lakeville Hockey Scandals Lands David Rucki in the Penalty Box

 

Stay Tuned for More Updates!

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

Public Domain: http://tinypic.com

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

gavel

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.