Letter in Support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki: Hundreds of Crimes Committed by “Minnesota’s Case Fixers”

“Rach Courtroom – BlackSite: Area 51”. Source: http://bestgamewallpapers.com

A letter in support of fit, loving mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki who has been unjustly targeted by Dakota County, and the State of Minnesota, in a family and criminal court case that has completely destroyed her life and caused her not only to become homeless, but to go into hiding for fear of her safety. Please read below for more information on how you can contribute your own letter. Or leave a comment to this blog. Thank-you!


Like Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, I have 5 children, my children and I are victims of state-sponsored ‘case fixing’ and racketeering and an unbelievable level of oppression and terror, we have been separated for many years, and we face never-ending tyranny by the criminal elements in our government, due in large part to inaccurate news stories like your ‘Footprints in the Snow‘.

Here is a recent comment I made on YouTube videos in my ongoing effort to set the record straight here in Minnesota:


Don’t be fooled.

“Parental Alienation” definitely exists and is definitely child abuse, but in this case it was used by David Rucki, his attorney Lisa Elliot, and especially by judge David Knutson and many other officers of the Dakota County courts as a smokescreen to dupe the public and hide their “case fixing” and racketeering and money laundering; nearly every case in Minnesota’s First Judicial District — family law, criminal, probate, etc. — has been “fixed” over the past few decades to maximize profits and federal funding. Billions of dollars have been extorted from Minnesotans and tens-of-billions of dollars have been stolen from American taxpayers. And Minnesota’s highest-authorities know all about it and look the other way because of all the money coming in to the state.

Do your own research. Look below the surface in the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case. Find out what Knutson and the other “case fixing criminals” did to Sandra and her attorney, Michelle MacDonald — then you will know why they are falsely accusing Sandra of “parental alienation.”

It’s a total farce. And the farce is on you, Minnesotans.

When I sent a one-page summary of my family’s ordeal, and 9 criminal complaints that I sent to Minnesota’s highest-authorities in a final attempt to stop the crime spree against my family, not knowing at the time that they are all involved in the treason. Needless to say, I received no responses or help for my suffering family, just like Sandra.

As stated in my complaints, I have evidence to prove hundreds of crimes by hundreds of officials. I was victimized in the same judicial district as Sandra. I have a growing list of other victims in this district who can attest to the crime sprees against Sandra, and me, and them, and many others who have been ripped off by “Minnesota’s case fixers.”

Please do a follow up show to correct your errors and expose the truth. I, and many others, would be happy to contribute.

A response to this email would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

John Mark Hentges
Founder of Pro Se Alliance and The People’s Branch

Read More:

Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse?

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? Did ABC 20/20 Edit Audio Recordings to Suppress Evidence of Abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki Case? Pt. 1


Asking everyone to send  emails to express your thoughts, and demand answers, in regards to injustices, and numerous violations of state law, and Constitutional rights committed in the family and criminal case of Sandra Grazzini Rucki.

Learn More On How You Can Help Here,with Tips in How to Write Your Own Letter: A Call to Action: You Can Help Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Fight for Justice


Be Part of this Epic Fight for Justice, Send E-mails to (Plz cc to Brian4Justice@yahoo.com):

Elizabeth Vargas-20/20 host elizabeth.a.vargas@abc.com

Sean Dooley- producer 20/20 sean.dooley@abc.com

Beth Mullen- 20.20 producer beth.a.mullen@abc.com

Beau Berentson, public affairs officer for the Minnesota Courts: beau.berentson@courts.state.mn.us

James Backstrom, Dakota County Prosecutor: attorney@co.dakota.mn.us

Monica Jenson, public affairs officer for the Dakota County Prosecutor: monica.jensen@co.dakota.mn.us

Marybeth Schubert, public affair officer for Dakota County: marybeth.schubert@co.dakota.mn.us

Attorney General for Minnesota: attorney.general@ag.state.mn.us

Dave Oney, public affairs officer for the US Marshals Minnesota: dave.oney@usdoj.gov

Dakota County Judicial Center


Judge Karen Asphaug: 6 Years for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, 60 Days for MMA Fighter Who Brutally Beat Wife

Dakota Co. Courthouse

Dakota County Judge Karen Asphaug, along with County Attorney Jim Backstrom, endorsed a much harsher sentence for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, a domestic violence survivor who assisted her children from running away from an environment they felt was unsafe, than a sentence (previously) issued to Brett Rogers, a MMA Fighter who brutally beat his wife in front of their two terrified children.


Cruel & Unusual Punishment: Grazzini-Rucki Case

Ironically, the escalation of the Grazzini-Rucki divorce, and the Brett Rogers assault both occurred in June 2011. However, the way these two cases were handled by Judge Asphaug, and Jim Backstrom couldn’t be more different.

County Attorney James Backstrom

County Attorney James Backstrom

In 2011, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki divorced an abusive husband, David Rucki, and sought to rebuild her life, and that of her children. In family court, she entered a legal minefield that would leave her homeless, without children, and financially devastated. Even worse, Judge David Knutson, and the court professionals, refused to listen to abuse allegations raised by Sandra and the children; even as Rucki continued to stalk and terrorize the family.  The failures of the court system, Judge Knutson specifically, and the mishandling of abuse allegations created a crisis that resulted in Sandra being in jail today, convicted of felony deprivation of parental rights.

By all counts, the interventions of Judge Knutson, and the family court professionals, had a traumatic and disastrous effect on the Grazzini-Rucki family, especially the children. Judge Knutson dismissed concerns of abuse and pushed for reunification even as David Rucki was violating protective orders, and his children expressed fear of him due to his violent behavior. It was the opinion of court-appointed therapist Dr. Gilbertson that the children needed to be “desensitized” to the “object of their fear, father” and that by forcing a face-to-face visit, and forcing the children to sit in during court hearings would facilitate a better relationship with their father. Instead, the Court’s actions increased the children’s fear, especially when Rucki was not held accountable for his abuse – such as violating a no-contact order with the children, and chasing one of the children (and her friends) down the street.In September 2012, Sandra was forcibly removed from her home, and from her children’s lives – the children begged to live with their mother, their cries went unheard.

In April 2o13, the situation had escalated to a crisis, when Judge Knutson ruled that the children would be placed in the temporary custody of David Rucki’s sister (and by extension, the children would be under his control, as the aunt maintained frequent contact, and followed his direction). The children expressed they did not feel safe with the aunt, and raised allegations that she mistreated them. In April 2013; after the courts failed to protect them from abuse, two of the Rucki girls ran away. In a panic, the girls called Sandra, begging for help. Sandra admits to helping them, stating, “I did what any parent would do… protect them from harm“. The runaway Rucki girls went missing for two years before being found in November 2015, living on a therapeutic horse ranch with a couple who specializes in working with vulnerable, at-risk children.  Criminal charges against those involved in their disappearance, including Sandra, followed.

In July 2016, Sandra’s criminal trial was held before Judge Asphaug at the Dakota County Judicial Center.  During trial, Sandra raised the affirmative defense, meaning her actions were taken to protect her children from physical or substantial emotional harm. Judge Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence, meaning the jury did not hear a majority of evidence proving abuse, and did not hear from several witnesses, and a domestic violence expert who would have been called.  Further, to raise the affirmative defense, Sandra had to prove, “the person reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the child from physical or sexual assault or substantial emotional harm..” Withholding evidence, and limiting what the defense could present, did not allow the Defense to present context in which Sandra acted, and her state of mind or “reasonable belief” could  to the jury.  Allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have also been raised as contributing to Sandra’s conviction. Critics argue Sandra’s trial was “rigged” and set up to fail.

Subsequently, Sandra was found guilty on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights, and sentenced in September 2016.  With time served, Sandra was expected to serve no more than one year and one day in jail.

However, Prosecutor Kathryn M. Keena wanted to give Sandra an aggravated sentence, meaning harsher than the law allowed. Aggravated sentences are usually reserved for the most severe crimes – drug smuggling, repeat offenders, serial killers etc. Since Sandra’s case did not meet the standards necessary to impose an aggravated sentence, Judge Asphaug manipulated the legal system to stretch out the sentence to involve short jail stays stretching over 6 years. The sentence also includes yearly stints in sentence to serve and 6 years of probation as well as hefty fines. Failure to meet the conditions of probation could result in additional jail time. Sandra filed a motion to execute her sentence, meaning spend all of her time in jail up front, and avoid probation. That motion was denied by Judge Asphaug in October 2016.  What is being done to Sandra is clearly is cruel and unusual punishment – the punishment is more severe than the crime merits, and will cause undue hardship that will challenge Sandra’s ability to re-enter society (for example – it is difficult enough for a felon to gain employment, let alone a person with 6 felonies, and who is required to return to jail every year AND if she fails to perform sentence to serve, additional jail time will be issued).

The unusual harshness of Sandra’s punishment, is more clearly seen when comparing this case to another criminal case, involving domestic violence, that was also presided over by Judge Asphaug. This case differs in that it involves a perpetrator, found guilty of a violent crime, who received a plea deal and even after re-offending, avoided the wrath Judge Asphaug has inflicted on Sandra.

Public Domain: https://pixabay.com

Public Domain: https://pixabay.com

Brett Rogers: “Night of Horror”

Compare  Judge Asphaug’s harsh treatment of Sandra Grazini-Rucki to the sentence imposed on Brett Rogers for domestic assault, and you will see a man who brutally beat his wife was given a more lenient sentence than a mother who sought to protect her children from abuse.

In November 2011, Brett “Da Grim” Rogers, a heavyweight mixed martial artist, was sentenced to 60 days in jail after brutally beating his wife, T.R., in front of his two daughters. Judge Asphaug described the incident as a “night of horror“. With time served, Rogers would serve no more than 2 weeks in jail.

Brett Rogers Booking Photo

Brett Rogers Booking Photo – 2011

The incident happened on June 28th, a neighbor called police after witnessing Rogers punch his wife, T.R., as she lay on the ground outside their house. The neighbor noticed blood was streaming down her face. During the attack, T.R.  lost consciousness. T.R. sustained multiple injuries including a broken jaw, a tooth was knocked out, a “golf ball size lump” above her eyebrow, among other injuries. Rogers said the assault was just a “misunderstanding“.

The two children reported that they were afraid to go home, and that their father had previously choked them. One of the children attempted to intervene, but was helpless to save her mother. The children spent the night at a neighbor’s home while their mother was rushed to the hospital.

Rogers plead guilty to felony third-degree assault. As part of a plea deal, two felonies of domestic assault by strangulation and stalking were dismissed, as well as a gross misdemeanor charge of endangering a child. Rogers was also ordered to 3 years probation, and to complete a domestic abuse program. Jim Backstrom was instrumental in the deal offered to Rogers.

Rogers violated the conditions of his probation just a few weeks after release by contacting T.R., and by pushing a man at a local restaurant. Several other charges were to follow over the following years… probation violations, violations to a no-contact order, felony domestic assault and DWI. Rogers has struggled to rebuild his life, though he claims he will be a better man.


Judge Karen Asphaug

Both of these cases were presided by  Judge Asphaug, and both involve incidents related to domestic violence. Domestic violence has significantly affected both families, and their children in different ways. The resulting criminal charges against is indicative of Judge Asphaug’s personal views of their circumstances (including her knowledge or understanding of domestic violence), and perception of the offender – and suggests her sentencing of Sandra may be motivated by a political agenda, because it is so radically beyond the usual sentence imposed. And so beyond even the sentence given to a domestic abuse offender.

After convicted of a violent assault, even after re-offending, and continued legal troubles, Brett Rogers has served minimal jail time. He continues to fight professionally. And is allowed to have contact with his children. He is moving on with his life.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has no previous criminal history, and was given extensive jail time and probation (with no possibility of early release) though her crime was not violent in nature, and she poses no harm to anyone. What makes the jail time extensive, and the punishment unusual is that Judge Asphaug has manipulated the legal system to extend the sentence far beyond what the law normally allows.  Some speculate that Judge Asphaug, and Dakota County, will continue to find ways to punish Sandra, even find reasons to jail her long after her time has been served.

Brett Rogers, found guilty of felony assault, who is alleged to have abused his own children, and has a lengthy criminal history has been given a lesser sentence, even after re-offending than Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, an abuse victim who fought to protect her children legally. When the court system failed, Sandra was forced to make an agonizing choice that ultimately resulted in complete estrangement from her children, and now a felony conviction resulting in jail time.

How is this justice?


Brett Rogers –

Brett Rogers Hit With Restraining Order After Menacing St Paul Neighbor

MMA fighter Brett Rogers gets 60 days in jail for beating wife at Apple Valley home

MMA fighter sentenced to 60 days after beating wife in Apple Valley home

MMA fighter Brett Rogers again arrested for violating parole


Sandra Grazzini-Rucki-


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

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced in Domestic Case

Backlash Against Backstrom in the Aftermath of Grazzini-Rucki Verdict


Local Citizens Rally Support for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Express Disgust with Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom…

(July 28, 2016) Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty of six counts of felony deprivation of parental rights. This occurred after substantial amounts of evidence were suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug, and withheld from the jury.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

After the verdict was read, Sandra was taken into custody. A strange move considering that Sandra had been released on her own recognizance (Feb. 24th) after the original $1 million bail was dropped. Sandra  poses no threat to society, and there are no indications that she is a flight risk. She has no prior criminal history, has remained law abiding, and has attended all court dates. Despite this, bail was set at $100,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions. Attorney Stephen Grigsby said it is “incomprehensible” how the court could increase her bail.

Citizens from Dakota County and surrounding areas expressed disgust at County Attorney James Backstrom and his mishandling of the case. The citizens showed up at the courthouse in a strong show of solidarity to give donations to contribute towards Sandra’s bond, so that she would be released from jail.

There were comments heard among the crowd – they were upset with James Backstrom that he exploited Grazzini-Rucki case for political reasons and that the children were subjected to unnecessary trauma. One anonymous comment, “The county used this case to try to make a point, and exploited the children.Another concern was that Dakota County exaggerated the Grazzini-Rucki case, and incurred unnecessary expense with tax payer dollars.

County Attorney James Backstrom

County Attorney James Backstrom

Due to their efforts, and support, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was released on bond. Sentencing is scheduled for September 21st.

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? Did ABC 20/20 Edit Audio Recordings to Suppress Evidence of Abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki Case? Pt. 2

Did ABC 20/20 edit audio recordings of David Rucki verbally abusing his young son, to portray David in a more sympathetic light? And what message does their reporting send to abuse victims, to child abuse victims?

Part One of this Series: http://wp.me/p7FXmj-2F

Attacking Zone: Clues in the Hockey References?

The next scene shows a lone David, standing in the snow, looking towards his house.

Vargas says, “He left this message after finding out his son, Nico, dropped out of hockey, his favorite long time sport.” The message from David says, “Do yourself a favor, get your ass back in hockey!”

ABC 20/20 and Vargas had obviously listened to the voicemail messages, a transcript of the messages was also available. Vargas implied that something was wrong for Nico to drop out of “his favorite long time sport.” The truth is that Nico wasn’t all that interested in hockey, and wanted to pursue acting.

David wanted Nico to continue with hockey, and hated the thought of his son becoming an actor. One voicemail David left to Nico says, “You’re making the biggest mistake of your life. You’ve got nothing other than school and sports. You can have acting, you can do all that shit, but the bottom line is Nico, you fuck this up, you never get it back.” recorded voice mail messages

Why was David so intent on having Nico participate in hockey. In my **opinion** there are two reasons. 1) David was serving as President to the local hockey association and needed to have his own children playing hockey in order to be eligible for the position. 2) David enjoyed the social aspects of hanging out at the hockey rink, drinking, and having fun. If his children were not enrolled in hockey, he would not have access to that social group.

In July 2011, David resigned from his position as President of the hockey association for “personal reasons”.  Controversy followed – there was talk that David was mismanaging the finances and abusing his position as President. In the same month that David resigned three other Board members resigned, including David’s best friend and his wife, who also served on the Board. Another Board member was removed for his role in the controversy.

Locals discuss the controversy regarding the hockey association, and David’s role in it, at this discussion board: http://www.ushsho.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=515265&sid=10e573ea5427f01484d303ab387bafe9

In my **opinion** it does not make sense that on one hand David is claiming that he is being alienated from his children, and yet his focus in the voicemails is only about hockey. You do not hear David say things like ‘I love you’ or ‘I miss you’ or ‘I can’t wait to see you again’ or even asking his son how he is doing. Instead you hear threats, shaming, guilt, and coercion – which are all tactics abusers use to gain power and control over victims.

And then to have David pressure Nico to participate in hockey also does not make sense. If Nico were to join hockey he’d spend most of his time practicing and playing games – which would taken even more time away from spending time with his father, David. Why would David encourage Nico to spend LESS time with him??

What Voicemail Transcripts Submitted in Court as Evidence Reveal

The short excerpts played on “Footprints” in the snow omitted 99% of the entire recordings. The viewers did not get to hear much of anything. Supplemented by the heavy editing was Vargas pushing her own narrative, almost as if she was drowning out the rest of the voicemail messages from being heard.

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Vargas also failed to ask Nico about the voicemail messages because she was focused on questioning Nico about whether his mother put him up to inventing abuse allegations. Vargas must have heard the voicemail messages but she does not question Nico about them, and how it made him feel? Why?

These same voice mail messages, and others, were submitted to the family court, presided by Judge David Knutson,  in 2011 as evidence. The evidence included audio recordings, and included a written transcript of the messages as well. The voice mail messages were used to confirm that abuse was occurring, and that David’s behavior posed a danger to the children. The messages were just one piece of a much larger body of evidence suggesting abuse had occurred. Judge Knutson dismissed ALL credible evidence of abuse, without merit or legal justification.

The message Vargas refers to is titled “Message Six” and begins with, “If you have the balls to listen to this message, you’re going to find out that you’re going to regret every stupid decision you have made this summer listening to your mother…” David goes on to berate Nico, make negative and insulting comments about Sandra and uses guilt and shame tactics to manipulate Nico to do what he (David) wants.

The same message ends with this statement from David, “Your mother is holding me out with the court. There’s nothing I can do until I get through the court. Do yourself a favor and get your ass back into hockey. Don’t screw this up for yourself. You’ll regret it your whole life. And you’re going to regret it when you find out that it was your mother who lied to you.”’

For more info about the voicemail messages, plz read: Rucki Enraged: Voicemail Transcripts Reveal Threats, Emotional Abuse Against Son

In my **opinion**, if you carefully listen to what David is saying in his voicemail messages – he is telling Nico that once he gets through the court, he will have access to him, he will deal with Nico’s refusal to comply. David makes statements in his voicemail recordings that imply threats, that imply punishment and state that the only way to please his father is to do what he wants.

Statements tainclude:

I’m waiting, um, I’m still your dad, and that isn’t going to change, and we will be together soon. And I’m basically going to tell you I’m going to hold you accountable and you will have to deal with me because, you know, the way you’re treating me is wrong.

Nico, it’s your dad, still wondering why you are not going to captain’s practice. Why are you dropping out of hockey? You’re not hurting me. You’re going to regret it for the rest of your g—d damn f—ing life and I’m trying to prevent that.

What the f– is wrong with you? You know what? You f– don’t understand.

I’m just calling to remind you that you will regret this your whole life by not following through with what you started. Secondly, I am your father and I guarantee, Nico, that we will be talking soon. And when we talk, you’re going to be held accountable for how you’re acting. And I wil not let this fly. I am your father. And you will respect me.

Um, you know, I wish you would pull your head out your a– and you’d call me back and talk because you need to get some stabilization in you, because what you’re doing is self-destructive and it’s not good, it’s not healthy. A

I’m waiting, um, I’m still your dad, and that isn’t going to change, and we will be together soon. And I’m basically going to tell you I’m going to hold you accountable and you will have to deal with me because, you know, the way you’re treating me is wrong.

Nico, it’s your dad, still wondering why you are not going to captain’s practice. Why are you dropping out of hockey? You’re not hurting me. You’re going to regret it for the rest of your g—d damn f—ing life and I’m trying to prevent that.

What the f– is wrong with you? You know what? You f– don’t understand.

I’m just calling to remind you that you will regret this your whole life by not following through with what you started. Secondly, I am your father and I guarantee, Nico, that we will be talking soon. And when we talk, you’re going to be held accountable for how you’re acting. And I wil not let this fly. I am your father. And you will respect me.

Um, you know, I wish you would pull your head out your a– and you’d call me back and talk because you need to get some stabilization in you, because what you’re doing is self-destructive and it’s not good, it’s not healthy. And you know, eventually, we will be together here talking soon. Um, so you can run and hide all you want, but the sooner you confront this, the better off you’ll be.

Here’s one thing you need to think about: You’ve got one shot at life. One. And if you’re not guided properly, Nico, you will piss that away because you’re 15 years old and you don’t know your head from your a–. You’ve got a lot to learn in life. You make a mistake now, you’ll never get it back. Because you are being emotional like your mother, you will never get it back. I’m tired of all this crap I’ve been put through…

This is very extreme language, that is NOT an appropriate way to communicate to a child. It is abusive.

Why did ABC 20/20 and Elizabeth Vargas suppress these voicemail recordings? The viewers should have been allowed to hear for themselves, and come to their own conclusions. Instead the viewers were given a nicely packaged story concocted by ABC 20/20, and dramatically narrated by Vargas. The irony in all of this, is that these invented stories are no different than the alienation that Sandra is accused of.

“When someone hears about child abuse, it’s easy to assume the abuse is physical, but child abuse can also come in the emotional form. Child emotional abuse includes but isn’t limited to verbal assaults, constant belittling, making threats, ignoring the child, providing no love and exposing the child to constant family conflict.” Source: Moody Air Force Base. http://media.defense.gov

Fact or Pigeon?

The next scene from  “Footprints in the Snow” shows a courtroom and Vargas delves into a narrative of how Judge David Knutson appointed therapist to try to facilitate a relationship between David Rucki and his children.

A picture of a smiling David composed next to an order for reunification therapy, the courts suggesting Moxie, fills the screen. The court appoints an advocate, and special therapists to facilitate a relationship with their father, “the children say they don’t want one”.

Only now does Vargas mention abuse – but note the context she uses. “Nico takes to facebook, he writes my dad is a bad person, he abusive, verbally and physically…”

Didn’t the producers at ABC 20/20 and Vargas overhear some of the verbal abuse in the voicemail messages? Yet they failed to ask David about that. And failed to draw the connection between what Nico reported and what actually happened – that these recordings were in David’s own words!

Vargas goes to on talk about abuse of the runaway Rucki sisters in this way, “Gianna and Samantha make audio recordings to support what their mother says…”

Samantha’s recording is obviously emotional, her voice is choked with tears as she recounts physical abuse at the hands of her father. Vargas seems unsympathetic. 

Vargas goes on to report that Judge David Knutson found there is no proof of abuse, and the expert he appointed found “evidence of parental alienation”.  Judge Knutson decides that Sandra is the problem, and takes drastic measures.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

The message being sent to victims of domestic violence, and child abuse, by ABC 20/20 and Vargas is harmful – it says if you disclose abuse, you will not be believed. Even worse, it casts suspicion on the children who bravely come forward – accusing the child victim that something is wrong with them, that they are “brainwashed”. All of this without investigation. Or if there is a report or investigation, claims of abuse are dismissed.

Abuse involves a pattern of threatening and harmful behavior inflicted on another person. When the relationship ends, the abusive behavior does not merely go away but continues in another form. There is also a term called Domestic Violence by Proxy which means that when an abusive partner no longer has access to a victim, he will try to regain control by using the children as a weapon. DV by Proxy describes abusive behavior that continues post separation – controlling behavior, stalking, harassment, legal abuse, turning a child against a parent – are all ways children are used by an abusive ex partner to regain control or inflict harm on a former partner. When court professionals fail to recognize the abuse, and how it manifests after separation, their actions and court rulings result in further harm to abuse victims, and their children. Misinformation about abuse, in turn, affects every level of society, including media outlets because there is a common presumption that judges never do wrong, that courts are always right. This is difficult for a victim of abuse to overcome; and it prevents our community from understanding abuse, and its effects, in a way that could promote ending the cycle of violence, and could assist in offering better protections to victims. 

Footprints on My Heart

An emotional Sandra, on the verge of tears, tells Vargas, “I’ve never done anything but be there for my children… my children are my life.

If anything positive is to come out of “Footprints in the Snow” I hope it is this… that wherever Sandra’s children are now, that they remember the memories shown in the home movies where mom is loving on them, and they are enjoying time spent together.

I hope her children know what Sandra has said, that the hurt and lies and forcible separation will not erase this truth: “my children are my life.” 

I hope the Rucki children know how much they are deeply loved by a mother who grieves the loss of them everyday, and who has never stopped fighting to protect them from harm and be involved in their lives. 

Because that is what I saw, as a viewer, watching “Footprints in the Snow”. And the outrage of this story is that a mother’s love and efforts to protect her children, resulted in punishment and forcible separation from those very children.