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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

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

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

 

 

 

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

I asked Santa for everything to be normal, just like it used to…” ~ 7-year old child, with grandparent, calls in to share experiences with family court

Casualities of W.A.R. Radio with Host Yahya McClain

Episode: Beauty and the Basketball PlayerFormer NBA Star Joe Smith, and Minnesota Mom (Former Mrs. Lakeville 2010) Sandra Grazzini-Rucki discuss their nightmare family court cases, and forcible estrangement from their children. Aired 12/28/2016.

Listen Online: Casualties Of War Radio with Yahya McClain Episode 1

Yahya McClain is creating a documentary called Casualties of W.A.R. that will include real-life stories of parents involved in family court litigation to raise awareness about unjust family court rulings, and parental alienation. McClain believes the family court is run like a business that benefits by continued litigation; and that causing estrangement between parents and children is one way to keep parents fighting in court (and thereby keep the business going, generate revenue).

Former NBA Star Joe Smith

Former NBA Star Joe Smith

Former professional NBA Star and 1995 1st round draft pick Joe Smith shares his story of how the family court system has been misused against him, and has caused him to become estranged from his two children who he has not had contact with for 3 years. Smith continues to fight in court for custody, and to maintain visitation with his children.

Smith says that it hurts him that the heavy financial toll that legal action has cost him, has prevented him from doing all that he wants to do for his children… and the pain inflicted on children by family court is often lost in the midst of proceedings. Smith believes his children are being turned against him, as they do not return his calls or respond to his efforts to communicate. Smith also says his ex-wife would not show up with the children during the set visitation times. Smith says it “crushes him” that he is missing so much of his children’s lives.

Ex-wife, Yolanda Smith, called in to the radio show and refuted the allegations raised against her. Smith was not on air to respond, and so the discussion was continued to another time. Yolanda Smith did say, on the air. that ex-husband Joe is welcome to call, contact or visit the children at any time.

Smith formerly played for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1998-2003; the same state as where the next guest, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been involved in a lengthy family court case, and now involved in an additional criminal case. Sandra has also felt the devastating impact of unjust family court actions.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (Mrs. Lakeville, 2010)

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (Mrs. Lakeville, 2010)

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was interviewed by Yahya McClain to show the other side of alienation.. how women are also effected by unjust family court rulings, and to demonstrate a pattern of how family court profits from ongoing litigation at the expense of family, even risking the lives of children.

Grazzini-Rucki talks with McClain about her horrific divorce with abusive ex-husband, David Rucki and the injustices she experienced in the court system from Judge David L. Knutson, and Dakota County. Grazzini-Rucki also speaks about how ABC 20/20 was given evidence of abuse and instead of portraying the facts, created a story that is highly editorialized, and not based on fact or evidence (that 20/20 has possession of).

Grazzini-Rucki said her children begged and pleaded to kept safe from the father who abused them, and that the courts refused to help and instead, worked to give custody to the identified abuser, David Rucki.

Grazzini-Rucki says about her case, “The children need to be listened to… and look at the evidence. My case is backed up with so much evidence and proof. That if the courts had done the right thing, we would not be in the position where we are today.

And, “I’m out for the fight to protect my children, and to stop this from happening to any other family, to the best that I can….

McClain says that once the “masses” or the public is aware of what is going on, that is when we can begin fighting for needed changes in family court.

You can hear this compelling interview in full here: Casualties Of War Radio with Yahya McClain Episode 1

Lying: A Weapon in the Grazzini-Rucki Case – Do Comments from Son Reveal Alienation or Abuse?

Are remarks Nico Rucki wrote on a facebook post evidence of parental alienation, as father David Rucki claims, or further evidence of abuse??

David Rucki read a victim impact statement at the sentencing of ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki that read, in part, Nico was forced by Sandy to write a false statement on Facebook. They were not the truth they were his mother’s words....”

The statement in question included remarks from son, Nico, that stated Rucki is abusive towards him. It has since been removed from Facebook.  20/20 included a screen shot of that Facebook post in their coverage of the case in the episode “Footprints in the Snow”. What can be read on the screenshot includes: “My dad is a bad person, he is abusive, verbally and physically…” and “Has hit all of his children...” and “He doesn’t care for any of his children...” and “He’s a thief, a male (blurred out) and an unfit father.” and “He is currently fighting for rights of me and my (unclear)..” The screenshot featured on 20/20 has no date to indicate when it originated.

Screenshot ABC 20/20

Screenshot ABC 20/20

Rucki is pushing the narrative that Sandra forced her son to write this post doesn’t offer fact or evidence needed to determine its authenticity. It would be easy to claim this one Facebook post is a sign of “parental alienation” but looking deeper into the circumstances of the Grazzini-Rucki case, and Nico’s own history suggests this Facebook post may actually validate that abuse has occurred.

Some additional information –

Parental Alienation or Abuse Excuse?

Dr. Paul Reitmann’s Faulty Diagnosis Does Not Meet

APA Practice Guidelines in Grazzini-Rucki Case

In August 2012, Judge Knutson ordered Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children to meet with Dr. Paul Reitman, a White Bear Lake psychologist specializing in parental alienation. Judge Knutson determined that Dr. Reitman was needed because supervised visitation between Rucki and the children failed, and that reunification therapy had not begun. There are allegations that emotional abuse and threatening behavior occurred in supervised visitation, and the reason it failed was because of Rucki’s abusive behavior towards the children.

Dr. Paul Reitman (Source: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com)

Dr. Paul Reitman (Source: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com)

Dr. Reitman met with Sandra and the children for less than 30 minutes when he determined that the children were in need of “deprogramming”. That means Reitman gave 5 minutes or less to each member of the family, when coming to the conclusion that would ultimately destroy this family. Dr. Reitman conducted no tests, analysis or evaluation. He did not consider the evidence of abuse, the police reports, the OFP violations, Rucki’s criminal record and other evidence available. The way in which Dr. Reitman diagnosed the alleged “parental alienation” does not meet  APA established practice guidelines; it is not credible. American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines

There was no hearing, no findings, and no complaints that Sandra had ever harmed her children. In fact, the children have consistently begged to return to the care of their mother, the response from the Court and from their father, was anger, dismissal and forced reunification therapy. The cure for “parental alienation” in this case has been to induce alienation in the Rucki children against mother their under the guise of “therapy”.

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Media descriptions about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki reiterate negative messages given to the children, these messages all originate back to David Rucki. The children are being forced to accept abuse, and told the mother who sought to protect them is mentally ill, unemotional, has abandoned them, and is a criminal. At the same time the media is refusing to present evidence suggesting that abuse has occurred, and has largely excluded Sandra’s side of the story from its coverage.

Negative messages given to the children were also revealed by S. Rucki who said in an audio message from April 2013 that Dr. Gilbertson, the Guardian ad Litem, and others made false statements on why she could not see her mother. The children were told that their mother went to Philadelphia, that she signed over her rights, and that she was committed to a mental health facility. S. Rucki says she did not believe them because “their lies would overlap“.

It is in this environment, under these pressures, that Nico Rucki has recanted abuse and then spoke against his mother and the “drama” he claims she brought to his life. 

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Statements from Dr. Gilbertson
Validate Abuse Allegations
Statements made on the Facebook post are similar to findings made by Dr. James Gilbertson, a court ordered therapist.
Dr. Gilbertson was appointed by Judge Knuston. This is an important point to make, and an issue being brought up by those seeking reform in the family court system – family court judges, and Guardian ad Litems are personally choosing therapists and professionals to provide services to families. Often these professionals share social and professional relationships with the judge, and court players – they come onto these cases with bias, and profit when repeatedly appointed to family court cases.  Parents are being excluded from the decision making process, and these professionals hold massive power over their families, and their lives.
Parents who do not comply with the court’s directive, and who appear to resist therapy (or raise concerns), are often threatened with sanctions, loss of parenting time or loss of custody. Parents comply under duress, there is no therapeutic value in a forced relationship, that is based on the appearance of meeting the court’s demand.
Sandra found herself in a similar situation, when you hear attorney Lisa Elliott say things like “she did not want to go to therapy” or “she didn’t comply” or “she didn’t do what was needed to see her children”, those remarks are coming from this environment of coercion, where the therapists are working for the courts and not for the well-being of the family.
Dr. Gilbertson supported findings of alienation, and supported deprogramming, but statements he made in a February 2013 letter to Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich suggests abuse did occur. Statements Dr. Gilbertson made in this letter mirror statements made on Nico’s Facebook post.
Gilbertson wrote a letter from Feb. 6, 2013 that states, in part,  “At this time, it is my opinion that we need an assertive stance from the court to order these children to order these children to attend face-to-face sessions with their father. The children are of the belief and will state it openly that no one can force them to see their father if that is their choice.

There are two prevailing emotional themes that these children speak to: One is fear of being in the presence of their father given what they allege to he being an angry and violent person. A second theme is the anger they have over his alleged mistreatment and a corollary of this, a belief that their father is morally flawed, i.e. womanizer, drinks too much, and is hiding money.

 

Dr. Gilbertson’s “assertive stance” involved forcing the Rucki children to attend family court hearings, and listen to testimony and evidence as their parents battled in court. Certainly this information would provide the children with knowledge about the details of the custody dispute, and may shape their perspectives as well.   

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Rucki’s Threatening Voicemail Messages:
Documented Emotional, Psychological Abuse
davidraging2
Transcripts of voice mail messages that David Rucki left for his son in 2011 demonstrate emotional, psychological abuse. In addition, the messages prove that Rucki was providing negative messages about Sandra to the children.

You can read transcripts of the voicemail messages by clicking on this link: recorded voice mail messages

Excerpts from the transcript include the following statements (not in order) that David Rucki made to his son:

“What the f- is wrong with you? You know what?” (Disconnects)

Six Similar Non Verbal Sounds (The children were in fear for their life because they believed the six gun shots were meant one shot for each member of family.)

Why are you dropping out of hockey? What is it proving to anything that you’re dropping out? You’re not hurting me. You’re going to regret it for the rest of your G–d damn f– life….

So good luck to you kid because um keep going down the route you’re going and you’ve got nothing going. And your mother is going to be be the blame for this. And unfortunately for you, you’re going to have so much regret in your life from what she did to you, that you will never look at things the same. I wish you would pull your head out of your ass and you’d call and talk because you need some stabilization in you…

And when we talk soon, you’re going to be accountable for how you’re acting. And I will not let this fly. I am your father. You will respect me.

Did Rucki exert similar pressure, threats on his son to get him to recant abuse allegations?

Consider this – in a June 30, 2016, interview with S. Rucki and the Lakeville police, the teen tells Officer Kelli Coughlin that her father “guilted” and “pressured” her to recant abuse allegations. 

Reporter Michael Volpe writes about the interview, “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.” Explosive Rucki police interview adds new wrinkle to story

 

Lying as a Weapon

nicolyingbestweapon

Nico Rucki has admitted, in his own words, that he lies and “lying is the best weapon”. Is this why he currently  is recanting previous abuse allegations, and speaking out against his mother?

Truth Will Prevail

Of all the allegations raised, that is not disputed – lying has been used as a weapon in the Grazzini-Rucki case.

The divorce began with the lies of David Rucki and his “paper divorce” scheme. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was removed from the only home she knew, where she resided as the primary caregiver of her children, based on lies. The children were forcibly taken from their mother, based on lies. The children were told they could not return to their mother’s care, based a lie. The children have been told their mother abandoned them, a lie. Lies have pervaded the current child support hearings. Sandra was convicted and sent to jail based on suppression of truth.  And if she prevails on appeal, it will be because the truth set her free.

In her efforts to protect her children from abuse, and to continue to fight in a court that has violated every law and every constitutional right, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has shown that she is a fighter. No mother would make such great sacrifices, and risk her own freedom, if she did not truly love her children. Sandra is even fighting for the child who has rejected her, that is love. That is the truth.

For Additional Information: 

Multi-Millionaire David Rucki claims pauper status in MN court (Michael Volpe)

There’s another twist in the contentious Rucki divorce and child custody case. Father David Rucki who’d said he was a millionaire on ABC’s 20/20, now claims indigence.

Lady Justice. (Image via Wikipedia)
Lady Justice. (Image via Wikipedia)

LAKEVILLE, Minnesota, August 29, 2016 – The high profile and contentious Rucki divorce and child custody case experienced another twist recently, when father David Rucki claimed indigence. This latest claim counters his previous assertions, which aired on ABC’s 20/20, that he is a multi-millionaire.

While portraying himself as a wealthy man on “20/20,” Rucki now presents himself as a pauper in need of public assistance in court. Rucki owns 3 homes and is a principle in multiple businesses.

His lawyer, Lisa Elliott, recently argued in court that Rucki’s minor children, of which he has sole custody and his ex-wife has not been allowed to see since early 2013, would starve and not be able to get medical care without child support from their mother.

David Rucki presented a wholly different picture when he testified at his ex-wife’s criminal trial. During that trial, he claimed he had taken his five kids on three vacations-two to California and one to Florida- in the year since his two daughters returned.
A picture of the Rucki family on a  Disney World vacation was featured in ABC 20/20 “Footprints in the Snow” and also mentioned in a Star Tribune article. The Star Tribune also says that Rucki is employed as a trucking contractor.

 

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

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Source: http://www.photos-public-domain.com. This picture is free for any use.

 

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

Footage from “Footprints in the Snow” suggests that ABC 20/20 and reporter Elizabeth Vargas drastically edited a recording of David Rucki leaving an angry voicemail message to his teenage son, and omitted the rest of the recording that would show that David was emotionally abusive, denigrating the mother. The recordings are part of a series of voicemail messages, one message included the sound of 6 gun shots (one for each family member).

The Justice Blog will present you with 20/20’s coverage and additional information that was not included in the episode.

Investigative journalist Michael Volpe, of Communities Digital News, has also written an article that will provide additional information, and insight: Did 20/20 Manipulate the Rucki Story to Hide Abuse? Michael Volpe (CDN)

 

Where Footprints Lead

The sequence of events in “Footrprints in the Snow” begins with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki describing to Elizabeth Vargas an incident when David Rucki violently assaulted her. Sandra says that David broke into the house, jumped on the bed and started choking her. He also tried to suffocate her with a pillow.

What 20/20 does not say is that Sandra was so afraid of David that she later installed security cameras around her home because of his violence. Security cameras captured David stalking her on numerous occasions. Neighbors were also afraid of David due to his violent behavior, and has also installed security cameras around their own home, and filed a harassment restraining order against him.

David Rucki Stalking Photos, Police Report

Information about HRO filed against David Rucki by a neighbor

 

elizabeth-vargas-618x400

Elizabeth Vargas, ABC 20/20 Anchor, Journalist. Source: http://88-celebrity.blogspot.com

 

The next scene is an image of five smiling Rucki children, taken at Christmas, posing with Santa. Sandra is standing at the left side of the picture. David is absent. The photo is not dated, nor is any context given.

 

Vargas says, “The children now ages 8-14 now remain in Sandra’s custody and refuse to even see David; rebuffing all of his attempts to connect.” Note” Vargas is reporting ONLY David’s perspective, that of Sandra and the children is excluded.
The next scene begins with the image of a telephone key pad, you hear the ping of numbers being dialed. Viewers are given just tiny bits of audio of David saying, “This is your Dad, call me. I would like you to call me back.” These two lines are a tiny piece of a larger body of recorded voicemail messages, and a transcript of those messages that David left for his son, Nico. The tone of these messages is clearly threatening, hostile and verbally abusive. Yet you’d never know that if you solely relied on ABC 20/20 and Vargas’ reports.: recorded voice mail messages
Vargas says in a dramatic tone, “With his children ignoring him, his frustration mounts…”
Note: Vargas adopts David’s term “frustration”. David uses this term frequently to describe his angry and abusive behavior.

Keep in mind these are children who has witnessed their father violently assault their mother and had reported numerous acts of emotional and physical abuse – leaving comments on social media, making reports to therapists, GALs, Judge Knutson, police, social workers, CPS, friends. The story that Samantha and Gianna Rucki have recounted about the abuse has not changed – those they encountered after they ran away recall that the girls appeared frightened of their father, spoke of abuse, and their behavior itself indicated abuse occurredMultiple Witness Reports: Rucki Sisters Fearful of Father, Felt Safe at Ranch/

In another report involving abuse, CPS reports from the Rucki girls indicate they were victims of abuse from their father. And had witnessed various forms of physical and emotional abuse inflicted on their mother, and saw visible bruises. Nico also reports to CPS that his father put a gun to his head.The CPS system also failed the Rucki children by screening out multiple reports of abuse.: https://www.scribd.com/doc/316692570/SamiRucki

CPS screened out many of the reports of abuse. Other professionals ignored or minimized the children’s cries for help. And then Sandra became the target – instead of investigating the abuse, Sandra was wrongly accused of brainwashing her children so they would invent allegations of abuse against their father. The message in this – the children are being told their concerns are not valid, and that something is wrong with them for reporting abuse.

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