Minnesota Attorney General’s Office Defends Corrupt Judge, Refuses to Intervene in Grazzini-Rucki Case

Is the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office participating in a cover up of corruption happening in Dakota County? 

The current Attorney General in Minnesota is Laurie Swanson, who was elected in 2006, and reelected in 2010 and 2014. The Attorney General’s Office has been receiving documentation concerning the Grazzini-Rucki case for over 5 years and has refused to investigate or take any action in the face of serious allegations, and evidence, showing corruption in local government and law enforcement. However, when opposing President Trump’s immigrant order, Lori Swanson said “It does not pass constitutional muster, is inconsistent with our history as a nation, and undermines our national security. The same can be said for Dakota County; yet instead of taking a public stance on a very real concern that affects not only the Grazzini-Rucki family but the entire state of Minnesota, and possibly tens of thousands of families victimized by an out of control court system, Swanson remains silent. Now is a time for leadership, not silence.

Minn. Attorney General Lori Swanson (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

The ONLY action the Attorney General’s Office has taken in the Grazzini-Rucki case is to vigorously defend the law-breaking, corrupt family law judge, David L. Knuston… this flies in the face of a recent letter issued by the Attorney General’s office stating they have no authority over “investigating and prosecuting criminal matters”.

An article, and letter recently published by journalist Michael Volpe of CDN News Minnesota Attorney General’s office adds to confusion in Rucki case shows that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has recently been made aware of possible violations of the law in the Grazzini-Rucki case committed by various officials in Dakota County who are involved with the case. The Attorney General’s office acknowledges that they have received a letter from Volpe but has declined to take any action. Even if the Attorney General felt they had “no authority” they could at least refer to the complaint to an agency who could investigate or intervene. Instead the Attorney General’s Office refers Volpe to Dakota County, back to the people directly involved in potentially illegal acts, and corruption. The Attorney General is effectively enabling, and empowering those already breaking the law, and violating the Constitutional rights of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and the five Rucki children.

Judge David L Knutson

The Attorney General’s office has been receiving documentation regarding the Grazzini-Rucki case since 2011; with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald, both contacting the Attorney General’s office. In 2013, Sandra Grazzini and Ms. MacDonald requested a meeting a with the Attorney General’s Office regarding a complaint against Dr. James Gilbertson. A meeting was held in which the Assistant Attorney General and an attorney appeared on behalf of Lori Swanson. During the meeting, the Attorney General’s Office was made aware of the abuse of the Rucki children by father David Rucki, and made aware of inappropriate behavior from therapist Dr. James Gilbertson, who was working with the children. Affidavits from S.R. and G.R. detailing abuse, court failures and allegations against Dr. Gilbertson, as well as their audio testimony, was provided to the Attorney General’s Office, among other substantial evidence of abuse. At the time of the meeting S.R. and G.R. had run away, and were still missing. During the meeting, the Attorney General’s Office promised they would protect the Rucki children from their father, David Rucki, and protect them from therapist, Dr. James Gilbertson, if they came into the office. For the Attorney General’s Office to now say that they will not get involved in the Grazzini-Rucki case contradicts their statement from 2013 stating they would protect the children.

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

The Minnesota Attorney General’s office has failed to protect the Rucki children as promised and instead has protected those who have placed the children in the abusive situation. In 2013/2014 Attorney General’s Office defended family law judge David L. Knutson, in a federal civil rights case involving Sandra and her children (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki v. Judge David Knutson, No. 13-cv-02477). In this matter, Alethea M Huyser represented the Attorney General’s Office. The cost of this defense was raised with tax payer dollars, and the expense of individual liberties. In Minnesota, an untold number of tax payer dollars, an estimated tens of thousands of dollars, was used to argue that Judge Knutson is immune for any consequence including a suit for damages regardless of what he did – even if he violated basic civil rights.

An online comments says about the lawsuit“…what Judge David Knutson has done to this woman and her family is diabolical. There is no possible way ANY rational human being could look at the file of this case and not have it be abundantly clear how out of control the “system” is when a judge can get away with what this man has done. This is not about a divorce, or a couple arguing over custody of their children…….that had already been settled long before Judge Knutson became involved in this case. This is about a judge acting completely outside the confines of the law, which is why he is being sued as an individual.

As the CHIEF legal officer of the State of Minnesota, the Attorney General should be active in preventing corruption from happening within local government and state law enforcement agencies, should be defending citizens from Constitutional violations committed by judges and public officials, and should investigate – or refer the complaint to an authority who can investigate. Lori Swanson has the guts to stand up to the President of the United States – then why can’t she stand up to Judge David L. Knutson, and Dakota County?

And that is the great travesty of justice that has occurred in Grazzini-Rucki case, and is abundantly evident in the response from the Attorney General’s office – that when confronted with real substantial showing corruption is occurring in government offices, that the power entrusted to elected officials is being abused, that lives are being destroyed and laws being broken by judges, state officials, law enforcement (etc) that have violated their mandated duties – the Attorney General, like so many others in the State of Minnesota, has chosen to ignore, deny, shift blame or engage in victim blaming. Ultimately refusal to act equates that of being an enabler to injustice.

ALSO READ Archived Articles from the Carver County Corruption Blog:

“Minnesota Tax Payers To Pay Tens of Thousands of Dollars for Judge’s Legal Defense”. Posted 12/11/2013.

Minnesota’s Attorney General Lori Swanson announced in a letter dated October 10, 2013 that her office will defend Judge David Knutson in a federal civil rights case. The cost of this defense will be tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Damages owed by Minnesota taxpayer will be tens of millions of dollars if the plaintiff wins her case.

The plaintiff in the case alleges that Judge Knutson, a former republican state senator appointed to be a judge by former governor Tim Pawlenty, violated the plaintiff’s civil rights and the rights of her five children ages 10, 12, 13, 15 and 17 in a Dakota County divorce and custody proceeding. Judge Knutson deprived the plaintiff of her home of seventeen years, her automobile, all of her other assets and possessions, leaving her homeless and penniless. Worse, Judge Knutson declared the plaintiff had Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a completely discredited theory. The PAS theory is that if children hate their father, it’s the mother’s fault, even if the father is an abuser. The father, David Rucki, has a long history of domestic abuse and also a history of sexual abusing his own daughters. Records show that he failed to report or pay taxes on millions of dollars of income. All of plaintiff’s children were taken from her. She has had less than four hours of contact with her children this past year. Two of her children, teenage girls, ran from their father’s and his sister’s abuse of them in April, 2013, six months ago. They still are on the run and not even in school. Judge Knutson is a participant in the abuse of these girls. This is domestic violence in Minnesota’s courts in the very month that is domestic violence awareness month.

The complaint asks for tens of millions of dollars as damages. If the federal court that hears the case and the jury that decides it rules in plaintiff’s favor, Minnesota taxpayers will have to pay the damages.”

Also from the Carver County Corruption Blog:

“Legislative Oversight of the Judiciary”. Posted 1/11/2014.

“Now Is The Time

Judges can do anything they want – violate constitutions, ignore enacted laws, disregard court rules of procedure, refuse to follow appellate court precedent – with no consequence or penalty at all. They have unlimited power. They are not accountable to anyone. Not even if they hurt children, destroy families, or alienate children from their parents. This was vividly illustrated at a hearing in Minnesota’s federal district court on January 10, 2014 in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki v. Judge David Knutson, No. 13-cv-02477 (SRN/JSM). Lori Swanson, the Minnesota Attorney General, vigorously defended Judge Knutson in this case without charge, i.e., at public expense. Her deputy argued that Judge Knutson was immune from any consequence including a suit for damages regardless of what he did – even if he violated basic civil rights.

In other words, according to Attorney General Swanson, judges are God. They are infallible. Like kings, they can do no wrong. But, is this the way it should be? Does Minnesota’s constitution fail to address this? The answer to both questions is “no.” Judges should be required to follow the Minnesota and U.S. constitutions, enacted laws, court rules of procedure, appellate precedent, and do what is right and just. They should not be allowed to ignore these standards. Legislative oversight, similar to executive oversight provided by the Legislative Auditor, will accomplish this. This should be because it will curb domestic violence, child abuse, repair our family court system, and because it is what is best for our society.

The book, Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody, edited by Barry Goldstein and Mo Hannah, states in the book’s introduction, “As one would expect of a diverse group of experts coming from many different disciplinary and practice fields, our contributors do not agree on every issue or approach. Nevertheless, they show an overwhelming consensus that the custody court system as presently constituted is broken and that the court’s failure to apply current research findings to court practices has placed the lives and well-being of thousands of children and protective mothers in jeopardy.” Thirty-two nationally recognized scholars contributed chapters to this book. One of these contributors, Erika A. Sussman, a nationally recognized attorney, wrote, “While legislatures and the general public have come to recognize domestic violence (DV) as a private and public wrong, family courts throughout the nation continue to inflict enormous injustices upon battered women and their children. In the name of ‘gender equity’ and ‘fatherhood rights’, custody courts often render decisions that ignore the substantial risks posed by battering parents, thereby jeopardizing the physical safety of survivors and their children.” Thousands, probably tens of thousands, of children and protective parents are victims of a severely dysfunctional judicial system, including many guardians ad litem (GAL), custody evaluators, and other court “experts.” Thousands of children are badly hurt and damaged by domestic violence and abusive parents, mostly fathers. These children become hurt and damaged adults. Many turn to alcohol and drugs. Some become violent resulting in massacres and murders. Our society is being poisoned by our dysfunctional judiciary. Judge accountability is the obvious solution. As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, and as history has shown many, many times, power corrupts, especially unlimited power.

Please introduce a bill – already prepared – that implements Minnesota Constitution Article VI, Section 9, which provides; ‘The legislature may also provide for the retirement, removal, or other discipline of any judge who is disabled, incompetent or guilty of conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.’

Posted Online in Reference to the Minn. Attorney General’s Office:

In excess of 7 YEARS of CORRUPTION in the MN. Attorney Generals Office (archives of  corruption)

ACORN, Payola and Color of Law

Two new issues surface involving attorney general’s office

Attorney General Complaint Letter Capital One

Did Hatch divert money to allies and ACORN in 2006?

Minnesota AG office accused of fraud, politicization, abuse

U.S. House Committee to Investigate MN Attorney General Lori Swanson

 

Interview with Jill Jones Soderman: Sandra Grazzini Rucki is the Victim of Two Predators In Possession

Inside the home was pure hell, me and my children, we suffered a lot…

When David finally said, yes I’ll give you a divorce, this was finally my one chance to get out. He had been threatening us for so long through the marriage, over the years.

Everyone thinks you can get out. I can’t get out. I was too afraid for the children… He (Rucki) would threaten us with our lives, ‘I will kill you if you leave me’, ‘I will kill the children if you try to break up this little home’..” ~ Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

destroyed3

 In this episode of “Predator in Possesion”, host Jill Jones Soderman, Director of the Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts, interviews Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

The interview focuses on the Grazzini-Rucki case with an emphasis on predatory judges who abuse the power entrusted in them. Sandra Grazzini Rucki is the victim of two predators in possession – both judges. Occurring in the Grazzini-Rucki case is an abuse of judicial discretion and over-reaching of the court in by two specific judges, Judge Knutson and Judge Asphaug, in “a way that can only be described as depraved and indifferent”.

asphaug-1

“Judges David L. Knutson and Karen Asphaug have stripped Grazzini-Rucki of all rights to access to legal representation, her children, property, the right to work, to speak, to socialize with family and friends acting on judicial discretion in violation of all due process, procedural and legal protections assigned as rights to citizens of the United States.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

When control of media, access to legal representation, conflict of interest in legal representation, undue influence in legal representation, judicial bias/corruption are allowed to derail a litigation process for suppression of evidence, perversion of the procedural process, the rights of citizens can be completely undermined.

The case being presented represents in the most thoroughly, dramatically documented wholeness, a pattern of corruption and subversion of justice seen by the FCVFC to date.

The connection between fraudulent expert witness testimony, police enforcement as a standing army for the courts, along with judicial manipulation evidence, application of law, legal representation undermined, leading to the clear and convincing attempt at devastating a Protective Parent threatening to reveal family secrets is thoroughly documented and to be presented today.

Ms. Sandra Grazzini Rucki will be appearing by telephone as she in hiding in a undisclosed location.”

Listen to Predator in Possession: PREDATOR IN POSSESSION – A CCN MEDIA PRODUCTION 1/21/17

 

PLEASE Like, Share, Repost!

Show your support, use hashtags #grazzinirucki #riggedtrial

 

 

Rucki Child Speaks Out – Social Media Post Offers Glimpse From Months Leading Up to Disappearance of Sisters

May 13, 2013 - Diary posted by Rucki child online

May 13, 2013 – Diary posted by Rucki child online

Dakota County, Minn: A shocking piece of evidence suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug during the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is being publicly posted – see for yourself what the jury was not allowed to consider.

Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial and refused to allow several witnesses to testify, including a witness to David Rucki’s violent behavior and another witness who is an expert on domestic violence. Grazzini-Rucki raised the affirmative defense, meaning her involvement in the disappearance of her two teenage daughters resulted not from criminal intent but because she had a reasonable belief that the present environment posed imminent harm to her children. Grazzini-Rucki’s defense depended on showing the reasons why she feared for the safety of her children – which was contained in the exhibits jurors were not allowed to see.

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Under these unjust circumstances, Grazzini-Rucki was convicted on 6 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights after the defense was limited in what it could present to the jury, and otherwise constrained. Grazzini-Rucki has appealed the conviction. 

There will be no appeal for the five Rucki children – who have been sentenced to live with their abusive father, David Rucki (who was on probation for a violation of a protective order when granted custody). The Rucki children have raised allegations of abuse, and asked to live with their mother only to be ignored by the family court, Guardian ad Litem and professionals, charged with protecting them. The evidence is overwhelming that Dakota County has conspired to take custody from a fit, loving parent and place these children in an abusive, dysfunctional environment.

A social media post, of what appears to be a diary, written by one of the Rucki children, and posted on May 13, 2013, offers a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of a child living in an unimaginable nightmare.

Screenshot Rucki Child Diary

Screenshot Rucki Child Diary

This child attempted to run away, along with 4 siblings after Judge David L. Knutson forced Grazzini-Rucki out of her home on September 7, 2012, and temporarily transferred custody to paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love (who never filed a motion for custody). Incredibly, all 4 children attempted to run away upon hearing the news – and the older children were not in the same location as the younger ones, meaning there was no planning, but rather a reaction based on fear alone. 

4bebc-brodkorb_rucki_love_elliot_donehower_19av-fa-11-1273_012616

The child was later found wandering down a busy street, more than 2 miles away from home, crying for mother. The child told police that Love had been abusive, and that if returned to her care, would run away again. Though a mandated reporter, the police never filed a report with CPS. Due to safety concerns, temporary custody of the Rucki children was instead transferred to a maternal aunt.

Seven months later, Judge Knutson again attempted to transfer the Rucki children into Love’s care. The only reason the two younger Rucki children did not succeed in running away was because they were detained at school, and physically prevented. The older two sisters, S.R. and G.R. did succeed in running away, and remained in hiding for 2 years; although the sisters had every opportunity to go home they chose not to, believing they would not be safe in the care of Love, or their father, David Rucki.

The  author of this social media post describes their feelings in the months before – and after – older sisters S.R. and G.R. ran away on April 19, 2013. The diary was written on what appears to be a dry erase board and includes one word statements with a date to indicate when they were written. Many of the statements include what you would expect from a pre-teen, but there are also troubling statements that show signs of fear, and indicate a problem. The words: “Scared”, “Killed” “Miserable”, “Creeped” and “Escaping” are included along with drawings, that include faces with wide eyes and gaping mouths.

The importance of this diary is that it is the only publicly available record that offers a first-hand account from one of the Rucki children – in their own words, without being altered or manipulated. Each entry is dated, which provides a picture of the mental and emotional state of this child in the crucial months involving court hearings (the children were present in court at some of the hearings the request of Dr. Gilbertson, and also spoke with judge David L. Knutson) that ultimately lead up to a transfer of custody, and then sisters S.R. and G.R. running away on April 19, 2013 in fear for their lives.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

In an interview with Yahya McClain (12/28/16), Sandra Grazzini-Rucki said her children wanted to speak to the court, and wanted to be heard, but the court would not allow them to provide input, and instead worked to silence them. In fact, Judge David L. Knutson spoke to the Rucki children in chambers on Feb 26th 2013, and sealed the transcript after the children spoke about abuse; thereby blocking the abuse allegations from being entered into the record. An entry from the former Carver County Corruption blog have preserved what S.R. and G.R. wanted to tell Judge Knutson, Dr. Gilbertson and GAL Julie Friedrich, their personal note along with a cover letter were sent to 150 Representatives and Senators in Minnesota shortly before S.R. and G.R. ran away (below). The highest levels of government in Minnesota have been made aware of the egregious abuses of power and violations of law happening in the Grazzini-Rucki case.. and so far have not responded. How many more families need to be victimized, and how many children more need to be abused before the State of Minnesota will do something to hold out of control judges, and related family court professionals, accountable?

Another way the Rucki children have been silenced, and their testimony altered, is by unethical treatment from court-appointed therapist Dr. James Gilbertson, who conducted“reunification therapy” on the Rucki children. Some of the sessions with Dr. Gilbertson included forcing the Rucki children to attend court hearings where they were forced to listen to painful details of the family’s troubles. Judge Knutson and Dr. Gilbertson used mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, as an example to demonstrate his power over their lives and send an intimidating message to the children. Grazzini-Rucki was the primary caregiver, and shared a close loving relationship with her children. There were times she shielded her children from Rucki’s rage by putting her body in front of his fists. Imagine then, the horror the Rucki children must have felt watching their mother, their protector being humiliated and re-abused in the family court; laws easily broken with just the wave of a gavel.

On February 6, 2013, Dr. Gilbertson wrote a letter to Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich (link below) that the court needed to take an “assertive stance” with the children and stated,The presence of the court, a bailiff nearby, my own presence, and then meeting with father, in my opinion, would deal with the fears they experience, either real or imagined.”

And,”I understand this may represent a somewhat unorthodox recommendation, but I do not believe there could be a bridging of the gap between the children and their father, at this point in time, unless all are physically present under the authoritative and safe umbrella of the court.”

These are children we are talking about – frightened, vulnerable children who are being treated by Judge Knutson, and the players in this family court case, like prisoners of war.

rucki-children2

During one of these hearings, the Rucki children sat in a conference room for several hours before being addressed by the court – during that time Dr. Gilbertson witnessed that the children were “anxious” and “apprehensive”. Dr. Gilbertson also noted that the Rucki children wanted – of their own free will – to have a say in what happens to them. In response, Dr. Gilbertson admitted to giving the children “factual knowledge” about the case – i.e. feeding information to influence them. Dr. Gilbertson also noted that he children make requests to see their mother, but not their father.

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

The child who authored this diary entry was subjected to reunification therapy which involved breaking down the child’s will in order to suppress memories of abuse, so with a “blank slate” the child could be programmed to accept a relationship with an identified abuser. This is why reunification therapy is also referred to as “de-programming” – the child is actually being told what to think, believe and feel.

S.R. has made various statements indicating this has happened – stating the therapist and the Guardian ad Litem gave her false information, and specifically made negative comments about her mother in an attempt to influence her. S.R. also says that when she spoke about abuse she was called a liar and told that she needed “de-programming”. Dr. Gilbertson has admitted that “therapy” also included explaining to the Rucki children why they could not see their mother.

Instead of identifying the cause of that fear, Dr. Gilbertson’s treatment involved “exposing them to the object they fear” i.e. father, in order to “desensitize” them.Dr. Gilbertson asked that GAL Julie Friedrich clear her schedule to plan for a 2 hour session to “desensitize” the Rucki children. Dr. Gilbertson is talking about holding 5 frightened children in a room inside the courthouse with a bailiff guarding the door, and using the authority of the court to force these children to recant abuse allegations, and develop a bond with an identified abuser who they are terrified of. Let’s be clear – this is not “therapy”, it is psychological torture. The methods Dr. Gilbertson used on the Rucki children do not meet the standards of trauma based therapy, and certainly no credible psychologist would attempt “therapy” on 5 children all at one time, failing to address or consider the individual needs of each child.

After S.R. and G.R. ran away, reunification therapy continued with the 2 younger children. Reports written AFTER the events of April 19, 2013, indicate the child who authored this post continued in reunification therapy and continued to showed fear of Rucki. The child also would leave the room when Rucki entered and avoided physical contact with him. Similarly,  investigative reports showed similar behaviors present in S.R. and G.R. Witnesses who interacted with the sisters during the time they stayed on the Ranch, recalled they were fearful, avoided physical contact, and spoke about abuse (see Dahlen investigative report below). These types of emotional and behavioral reactions are common with children who have experienced abuse and trauma; yet Dr. Gilbertson completely ignored all evidence and information suggesting abuse had occurred, and worked to intimidate the Rucki children even as they are crying out for help. 

The diary entry you are about to read is the voice of a child who may not even exist anymore – reunification therapy forces a child to suppress who they really are, and become a child the court approves of. There is no success in treatments like these, the relationship that results is not one of love or trust, but instead a relationship based on trauma bonding.

Despite all this child has had to endure, they also show incredible courage in posting a family photo taken with Sandra. A playful image shows laughter, and demonstrates the closeness once shared….

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children continue to be estranged due to the forcible actions of the court, and due the actions of a dangerous abuser. Photographs and perhaps a few stubborn memories that have resisted “de-programming”, are all they have to hold onto each other.

Diary, Posted 5/13/2013 by Rucki Child Include the Following:

4/2/13 Sick

4/4/13 Headache

4/6/13 Woe (means sorry, grief or misery)

4/8/13 Killed

4/11/13 Scared

4/12/13 Wow

4/21/13 Crappy

4/22/13 612-308-0512

POSTED MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013 AT 8:36 pm

2/2/13 Silly

2/7/13 Drained

2/12/13 Lazy

2(?)/12/13 Creeped written in black next to the word Miserable

2/23/13 Dent (?) Pho next to it is a picture that could be a bowl of noodles. The word Bic and what could be a pen.

2/27/13 Goofy – Next to this picture is the word “Pain” and then a picture of an eye, a hand on a book, an unknown shape and a face with large eyes and a mouth, wide open showing scared

2/28/13 Colored in block letters that read Freake! Next to this in blue, date unknown, is the word Fall

3/2/13 Worried

3/3/13, 3 pm Worried (includes a face)

3/5/13 Stupid

3/8/13 Animal

3/9/13 Creeped includes a face drawn in black with two eyes peering out

3/11/13 Prankster

3/12/13 Gleeful next to a pair of pom-poms and a smiling face

3/13/13 Gleek

3/14/13 Nervous – a face is drawn next to the words with eyebrows, cartoonish black eyes and a face that appears to be smiling

3/16/13 Rainbowed

3/17/13 Green St Patty’s Day

3/19/13 Ignored

3/20/13 Awful

3/21/13 Escaping – Underneath, date unknown, Bored written in black and red

3/21/13 Screwed picture of a screw drawn underneath – Next to it is some words scribbled in orange

3/28/13 Palmed – Underneath, not dated, Silly

4/2/13 Sick

4/4/13 Headache

4/6/13 Woe (means sorry, grief or misery)

4/8/13 Killed

4/11/13 Scared

4/12/13 Wow

4/21/13 Crappy

4/22/13 612-308-0512

4/28/13 Funky

5/4/13 Annoyed – includes a frowning face

(The Justice blog has tried to provide a complete record as possible, these notes are based on what can be visually seen in the diary entry)

 

FROM THE CARVER COUNTY CORRUPTION BLOG:

On September 7, 2012, Judge Knutson said an emergency required him to remove the five children from their mother’s care. He said mother had the condition of Parental Alienation syndrome (PAS). That condition is based on the theory that if a child dislikes a parent, the cause is the other parent.
He appointed a therapist, Dr. James Gilbertson, to “re-program” the children to like their father. The children say their father has abused them and their mother.
At a conference on February 26, 2013, two of the children told the judge the following:
14 year old girl
“I am 14 and in June I will be 15.I am here today to say a few thing to not only you but Ms. Friedrich and Dr. Gilbertson.
“I would first like to say I am appalled by the way this court has treated me and my brothers and sisters.
I have not only been called fat a number of times by Julie Friedrich but have been ask if I was pregnant and been called a down right liar by not only Ms. Friedrich but also Dr. Gilbertson. I’m not only disgusted be the way they talk to me, my brothers and sister, but pissed at the way this court has accuse me of being a liar. I’m 14 and in a couple of months I will be 15. I know the difference between a lie and the truth.
I stand here today to tell you the truth about my father. To begin with, he has not only told my family that he is homicidal, but sat us down at kitchen table and yelled at us saying that he was not only going to kill me but my brothers, sister and mom. Not even a week later I received a horrifying voicemail of 6 gunshots. He has also choked, slapped, and hit and verbally abused my mother repeatedly throughout their. marriage. He also has lost it on us kids more than a number of time physically and verbally. Also he has made sexual comments to me over the year about my boobs look bigger and so forth and over the year many of my friends could not hang out with me because of my father. The day my father officially moved out of the Ireland place home was not only a day of peace and happiness but safety in the household.
“And second I would like to say it was absolutely absurd of you to remove us from our mom’s care. She has been nothing but loving and our rock and you not only removing us from us from her but not letting have contact with her for 6 months, 19 days except for the one 3 hour meeting on January 11. It is down right cruel, ruthless of this court. I ask you to let me live with my mom, let me be happy because all this courtroom has done has cause misery and heartache. Thank you for your time.”
13 year old girl
“Your Honor,
I am 13 years old. I am here to speak my voice because I have never been given the opportunity to do so.
My father has frightened and hurt my family. After the divorce was final, my father kept repeatedly threatening and shocking myself and my bothers and sister and my mother. I have been called a liar and have not been able to say what I believe without a court member discriminating me.
I wish to be with my mother, because my father has brought nothing but pure torture to my family.”
Julie Friedrich is the court appointed guardian ad litem. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki filed a complaint against the Guardian ad Litem, the Minnesota State Guardian ad Litem Board has never formally investigated her complaint or taken any action against either GAL involved – Julie Friedrich, and Laura Miles.
Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

 

For More Information:

Casualities of W.A.R. Radio – “Beauty and the Basketball Player” Yahya McClain Interviews Former NBA Star Joe Smith, and Minnesota Mom Sandra Grazzini-Rucki 

Investigative Report Dahlen/Rucki

Letter from Dr. James Gilbertson to Julie Friedrich about Rucki children

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki convicted of hiding daughters (CDN)

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

horrendousfamilycourt2

Lakeville, Minnesota: Lion News released an emotional video excerpt of the June 30, 2016 interview between Samantha Rucki and Detective Kelli Coughlin. LION NEWS: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF SAMANTHA RUCKI CALLING DAKOTA CO. JUDGE KNUTSON A “DICK”

The shocking video begins with Samantha tearfully crying, “It never should of happened, I just want to be with my Mom.” At another point in the interview, Samantha says, “I just wanted to be with her (Sandra) and no one would let us…

Samantha was questioned about her two-year long disappearance following a family court order that temporarily granted custody to paternal aunt, Tammy Jo  Love, and placed the Rucki children within the control of abusive father, David Rucki. The Rucki children raised numerous allegations of abuse against their father and also stated that they did not feel safe in the care of Tammy Jo Love.

Samantha admits she was “guilted” by her father, David Rucki, to do an interview with police and told to “recant”.

Earlier this week, journalist Michael Volpe reported on the same interview: Explosive Rucki police interview adds new wrinkle to story

Volpe elaborates on the interview, offering additional details, including, “Initially, the younger Rucki told the Detective that her father attempted to threaten her ahead of the interview, “They (her father and his sister) basically said I have to (go to the interview) and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and it’s going and that’s the way it’s gonna be- and they made me feel guilty about it and I started to cry.”

This tampering takes on extra meaning because when Samantha testified in her mother’s trial, the court took the unusual step of allowing Samantha to testify by Skype and out of the view of the jury. Her father, his sister, her grandmother, and attorney were all in the room all out of the view of the jury.

At least one child did recant his story – Nico Rucki previously disclosed physical and mental abuse from his father, has now changed his story and says it was Sandra who pressured him to make those claims. Was Nico subjected to the same treatment as Samantha had described?

Comments made in the police interview suggest that Rucki terrorized his family. Samantha states she felt “frightened”, and witnessed escalating violence in the home, “It was constantly screaming, and he (David Rucki) was getting to the point where he was starting to get physical.”

Samantha admits she ran away because she was in a “panic” and says the failures of the Dakota County Family Court -specifically  Judge David L. Knutson, Julie Friedrich (Guardian ad Litem), Dr. Gilbertson (a therapist) – contributed to her decision.

Sandra’s criminal trial was presided by Judge Karen Asphaug, who refused to allow the transcript or audio of this interview to be entered as evidence. Judge Asphaug also refused to allow a domestic violence expert to testify on Sandra’s behalf; 75% of evidence submitted was withheld from the jury.

Sandra is due to be sentenced September 21st – she has been charged with 6 felony counts of depriving custodial rights. The circumstances surrounding her conviction raise concerns that she did not receive a fair trial.

Also concerning is the safety and well-being of the Rucki children. David Rucki went to great lengths in an attempt to silence Samantha…what has he got to hide, and what lengths will he go to bury the truth?

 

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

 

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

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

Speechless Discusses Abuse Allegations in Grazzini-Rucki Case, Court’s Response

The July 7th episode of Speechless (starting at 21 minutes) takes an in-depth look at the allegations of abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki case, and discusses how the family court handled those concerns.

Highlights include:

Sandra was not present at the September 2012 emergency court hearing that ordered her out of the home, and prohibited any contact with her children. This means Sandra is not allowed to see her children based on information she did not hear, she did not see, and that she could not rebut. To this day she remains forcibly estranged from her children due to an unjust court order.

The April 2013 incident were Samantha and Gianna Rucki ran away from home was not the first attempt for the Rucki children to try to run away in order to escape the abuse and dysfunction they were living in. In September 2012, after the emergency hearing, four of the Rucki children attempted to run away from home; which is why the children were placed into the care of a maternal aunt.

A letter from Dr. James Gilbertson, the court appointed psychologist treating the children indicates the children were afraid of their father, David Rucki, and suggests abuse did occur. The letter also indicates that the focus of therapy was not related to anything Sandra did but rather, dealt with the fear the children had of their father, whom they described as “an angry and violent person”.

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

 

Judge Knutson pushed for reunification therapy after the Rucki children had disclosed allegations of abuse to him, and even after David violated the no contact order with the children.

-David was charged with disorderly conducted in a road rage incident, and on probation, when the run away Rucki girls were returned to his care. The girls had raised concerns about their father’s violent behavior, and expressed fear of him after being “recovered”. The road rage incident proves the violence that David is capable of – and validates the concerns the girls had. The system should have worked to protect the girls, but instead branded them with parental alienation and pushed for reunification, which has endangered their safety.

Please see full the episode and join the discussion in the comments section. The letter from Dr. Gilbertson is posted below.

“It is my opinion that the children’s fear issue needs to be addressed directly, and that can only happen when there is exposure to the specifically feared object, situation or person, i.e. father…

“I would work with Mr. Rucki to have him present a certain structure and accounting of his own behavior while the family was intact that would acknowledge the volatile family history and express his empathy for the children’s painful memories…” – Letter from Dr. James Gilbertson, Feb 6, 2013.

Gilbertson2013a

Gilbertson2013b

Gilbertson2013c

 

Additional Sources:

Chaos and Horror After Courts Step in For Rucki Family by Michael Volpe, CDN