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.com

Detective Dronen. Source: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com, sunthisweek.com

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??

Shocking Interview from Grazzini-Rucki Case – Brodkorb Goes Rogue, Dronen Wants to Make Rucki Girls Wards of the State, More…

I honestly believe Judge Knutson is psychotic, that I have no doubt. I’ve sat in his courtroom, the guy is absolutely crazy. I believe there needs to be a lot of changes in family court as well….

If David Rucki is as crazy as these Girls say he is, then I don’t know what he is capable of...” ~ Lori Musolf, prosecution witness

Lawless Lakeville, Dakota County, Minn:  Lion News has released a shocking audio of the Lakeville police interview between Detective Dronen and Lori Musolf, witness for the Prosecution in the Grazzini-Rucki case. This interview covers a variety of subjects including abuse allegations, family court failures, and interference in the investigation of the runaway Rucki girls by Michael Brodkorb.

During the interview Detective Dronen admits that confidential information about the open investigation into the disappearance of the Rucki girls had been obtained by Brodkorb. Dronen was concerned because Brodkorb was contacting witnesses without the knowledge or consent of the Lakeville police, who were handling the investigation. Lakeville’s investigation into the missing Rucki girls became contaminated as Brodkorb contacted witnesses before the police could secure the information and then leaked sensitive details in his articles, which were widely distributed. 

musolf2

Additional testimony from Doug Dahlen reveals that the Star Tribune reporters, Brandon Stahl and Michael Brodkorb, knew ahead of time that police would raid the ranch to take the Girls. Dahlen states that reporters from the Star Tribune were calling the Grant County Courthouse a day ahead of time, and were asking when a warrant would be served.  This leak of information, and the inappropriate involvement of the Star Tribune has created an unsafe environment for the Rucki girls, whose safety and well-being came second to the media sensation their “recovery” would generate.

Doug and Gina Dahlen cared for the runaway Rucki sisters, who refused to return to father David Rucki because he abused them. Source, ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sisters-missing-years-lived-plain-sight-time/story?id=38190862

Doug and Gina Dahlen cared for the runaway Rucki sisters, who refused to return to father David Rucki because he abused them. Source, ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sisters-missing-years-lived-plain-sight-time/story?id=38190862

Ironically, Brodkorb blasted all the adults who “did nothing” while the Rucki girls were missing – and now he qualifies as one of those adults, seeing that he had knowledge of where the Girls were staying for at least 24 hours and did nothing to notify local police or intervene. This happening while Brodkorb admits father, David Rucki, was an emotional wreck over the disappearance of his daughters. So Brodkorb also lied to Rucki and did not disclose to him that he knew where the Girls were, and let him suffer. All of this so Brodkorb could break the the story that would make his comeback after an adulterous affair, and a drinking problem destroyed his political career and nearly ended his life.

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Also in the interview, Musolf discloses that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was afraid of ex-husband David Rucki, and specifically stated “she acted like she was terrified of this man” and “she thought he would kill her if he had the chance. Musolf comments that Sandra used burner phones because she was afraid Rucki would track her down (a tracking device was placed in the wheel well of a friend’s vehicle. Police traced that device back to Rucki’s house). The behaviors Musolf describe in Sandra are common in women who have suffered abuse. In the criminal trial, it was portrayed that Sandra used burner phones to avoid arrest for the disappearance of her daughters. Evidence suggests otherwise, yet Prosecuting Attorney Kathryn M. Keena  promotes a lie. This is prosecutorial misconduct.

Musolf candidly expressed fear of Rucki and stated she “did not trust David Rucki” and was concerned that he would harm her because she assisted his daughters in running away, and was a friend of Sandra. This is coming from a prosecution witness who testified against Sandra, yet is also building her case. Sandra plead the affirmative defense in charges that she hid her daughters from Rucki, meaning she took action to protect her children from imminent harm or abuse. Sandra was found guilty of felony deprivation of parental rights; critics argue she could not prove abuse happened yet evidence that abuse did happen continues to mount even after Sandra’s conviction.

David Rucki

David Rucki

In a bizarre twist. Musolf tells Detective Dronen that she believes that the Rucki girls have “alot of psychological” and should not be placed with either parent when they are found. What is so unbelievable is that Musolf is a self-proclaimed victim advocate. Musolf’s attitude and actions could pose a risk of harm to an abuse victim or other vulnerable person because she shows no understanding about abuse, and its effects on children. Also troubling is that Musolf is basically stating that Sandra, the victim, has said or done something that is comparable to the horrific abuse Rucki inflicted on his family. NO victim of abuse could ever do anything to justify the abuse inflicted on them. If a so-called “advocate” does not understand that, what is she really advocating for? Detective Dronen agrees with Musolf, and says he thinks the Rucki girls should become wards of the state to get the help they need. 

Wards of the state? The “help” the county offered has done nothing but bring pain and upheaval to the Grazzini-Rucki family. How much more damage will Dakota County inflict on Sandra and her children? .

Help raise awareness, and fight for a worthy cause – please comment, like, repost and share.

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

 

Note: Musolf is the only person who has not been criminally charged for her role in assisting the runaway Rucki girls. Musolf remained in contact with the Rucki girls in the days after they ran away and arranged their interview with Fox 9. During the Fox 9 interview, both Girls disclosed allegations of abuse committed by their father and expressed fear of him. Musolf was listed as a witness for the Prosecution in the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial but did not testify in court.

Special thanks to Lion News for posting this video 🙂