Family Crisis Main Reason Children Run Away – Studies Validate Arguments Raised in Grazzini-Rucki Defense

Family crisis is the main reason kids runaway- escaping to the streets to avoid chaos, abuse in their homes… (2015 report, National Runaway Safeline)

Studies reveal that family crisis is the main reason why many kids run away from home.  47% of runaway / homeless youth indicated that conflict between them and their parent or guardian was a major problem. (Westat, Inc. 1997: National Runaway Safeline: Statistics ) 

 Further, a majority of runaways are victims of child abuse. According to another study, “80% of runaway and homeless girls reported having been sexually or physically abused. (Molnar, et al, 1998: National Runaway Safeline: Statistics)

Findings validate claims raised by the 4 defendants in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial, who raised the affirmative defense stating their actions to help two troubled teen sisters was not criminal, but rather an effort to keep them safe. The Rucki sisters, S.R. and G.R., ran away after learning of a court order that they felt would endanger their lives, on two separate occasions in September 2012 and again in April 2013. Both sisters have asserted, on numerous occasions, that they feared their father and ran away to escape his violence.Rucki social service records

 

Background:

* Four of the Rucki children attempted to run away after their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was forcibly removed from the home by an unjust family court order, on Sept 7, 2012.

*At the time of the “emergency” court order that September, Judge David L. Knutson acknowledged the sisters had raised allegations of sexual abuse but chose to ignore safety concerns. Judge Knuston determined a mother attempting to protect the children from harm was more of a danger to the children than actual abuse.

* The Rucki children were then placed into the custody of a paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love, whom they feared. Love had previously lost custody of her own children due to drug problems. The court never conducted a study to determine her fitness to care for children, nor was any motion filed to petition for custody.

* Love went to the elementary school of the youngest children (ages 8 and 10 years old) to inform them of the order, and then left the traumatized children to take the bus home, alone. The two youngest children immediately ran away. The children were found an hour later, having walked over 2 miles alongside a busy road.

* The police report says one of the children asked to see her mom – but was refused due to the court order. The report also said both children indicated that if they go back home, they are “just going to run away,” and said they did not feel safe with Love. After the incident, the children were placed in the care of another relative. http://sunthisweek.com/2015/11/18/son-mom-of-missing-girls-told-kids-to-run-in-2012/

*Just seven months later, this after Judge Knutson personally spoke to the Rucki children and ignored their cries for help, he again court ordered the children into Love’s custody on April 19, 2013.

*This time, the two oldest girls S.R. and G.R. succeeded in running away, and remained in hiding for the next two years. When given opportunities to return home, the terrified teens refused, citing fear of their father.

* The youngest children did not run away because the court recognized the risk, and detained them at school to prevent escape. The court then forced the youngest children into reunification therapy with Rucki even though the GAL noted that they expressed fear, and avoided physical contact with him.

*That the Rucki children currently remain in the custody of David Rucki is no indication of their well-being or safety, especially considering how the family court system has colluded in the abuse of these children and greatly contributed to their suffering.

Among the tragic stories of 1.6-2.8 million American youth who runaway every year, are the 5 Rucki children whose cries for help have been lost in a purposeful cover up orchestrated by Judge David L. Knutson, former family court judge in Dakota County, and assisted by corrupt officials working at every level of government in the State of Minnesota.

Judge David L Knutson

When children do not feel safe, and have witnessed domestic violence or been victims to abuse, they are at a much higher risk of running away. Especially when those charged with protecting them, social services and family court, fail to do so.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that 21% of runaway youth have a history of physical or sexual abuse, or were afraid abuse would continue if they returned to their home. (Source: Safe Place: Running Away)

Shrieking winds sweep across the prairie, beating against the the luxurious Rucki house, situated at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a rural suburb. In the dying light of a sun that never seems to shine over this corner of hell, the door remains firmly shut, the blinds drawn …the house remains unusually quiet and shuttered tight, with no sign of life inside.

Carefully choreographed footage from ABC 20/20 shot over Christmas with David Rucki and children offers a rare glimpse inside… it is an awkward scene with blurred faces and forced cheer.

It is painfully obvious that mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, is absent from the festivities. Sandra has been forcibly removed from the lives of her children by abusive ex-husband, David Rucki, and by an unjust court order that prohibits her from having any contact with her children for the rest of their lives. Once a stay at home mother, and primary caregiver, Sandra is now alienated from her children and has not had any contact with them in over 5 years. Sandra spent Christmas grieving for her children. She clings to the precious memories .. and is haunted by thoughts of who they are today.

Elizabeth Vargas and ABC 20/20 portray David Rucki as a whimpering father who says he is victimized by an angry ex-wife who brainwashed the children to wage abuse allegations against him. The truth is more sinister.. it takes just a click of a mouse to reveal what 20/20 failed to report as much of the documentation has been made publicly available on the internet. Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse? (Michael Volpe, CDN)

A long history of police reports documents Rucki’s explosive anger, and propensity towards violence. druckipolicereports

The violence continued after David and Sandra divorced, with stalking, threats, and eruptions of Rucki’s rage – that often spilled onto the streets of this otherwise quiet neighborhood.

After the divorce was finalized, Sandra says Rucki terrorized the family, and in one incident, threatened to kill all of them. Soon after that threat, one of the children received a voice mail with the sound of six bullets being fired in quick succession – one bullet for Sandra and each of the children. recorded voice mail messages

The Rucki children bravely came forward to report abuse to many officials who should have protected them but failed to do so – the court appointed Guardian ad Litem, police, therapists, the family doctor, social workers, the family court judge and others.

The court appointed psychologist Gilbertson wrote a letter from Feb. 6, 2013 that stated, “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. James Gilbertson, PhD

Yet time and time again the Rucki children were not protected but rather, sent back into the abuse; and their mother, and only protector, Sandra, was forcibly removed from their lives.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and three other co-defendants were criminally charged and convicted for their role for assisting S.R. and G.R. after they ran away in April 2013. This, despite the fact that in Minnesota it is an affirmative defense (subd. 2) to take action to protect a child from imminent emotional or physical harm. Sandra continues to fight for justice, and to clear her name. She is actively appealing her conviction.

Co-defendant, Dede Evavold is actively appealing her case, and has argued (Evavold Appeal 2017) that she was wrongfully charged and convicted of parental deprivation because (p.5), The affirmative defense did not need to be raised as there was substantial evidence supporting the affirmative defense. The state had all evidence that no crime was committed and that the girls ran away because of abuse...”

 

 

For More Info:

Birthday Blow Up: David Rucki Chased Terrified Teens Down Street

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

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki convicted of hiding daughters (Michael Volpe, CDN)

Beware! Blog Post May Be A Threat: Michael Volpe On HRO Filed Against Dede Evavold

Beware, the next blog post may be a threat to someone’s safety by Michael Volpe

All rights reserved under the 1st Amendment regarding free speech

Beware, the next blog post may be a threat to someone’s safety.

That’s the allegation made in an ex-parte restraining order filed by David Rucki against Dede Evavold.

Respondent (Evavold) continues to post information about my family, photos of my family, myself and other members of my family,” Rucki said in his ex-parte harassment restraining order application, “Respondent also continues to make allegations which are false but may incite others against me. My children are frightened for their safety and feel their privacy has been violated.

The application continued, “This is a proven pattern that has been going on for years.”

Rucki does not specify what Evavold has said which is harassing or threatening; an email to Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliot, was left unreturned.

Evavold has a blog called Red Herring Alert, where she writes about the Rucki case among other blog posts.

This is not the first time David Rucki has used the legal system to try and shut Evavold’s blogging down. In the Summer 2016, his then attorney, Marshall Tannick, sent Evavold a letter threatening a lawsuit if she didn’t remove her blog immediately.

I am writing to you on behalf of David Rucki,” began a letter from Tanick to Evavold from June 7, 2016, “and his daughters, Samantha and Gianna, with regard to the matter relating to the removal and concealment of the girls and related incidents that have occurred during that episode and thereafter.

There are various civil claims arising from your involvement in this matter.”

Tannick did not respond to an email for comment and it’s not clear if he is representing him regarding the restraining order.

Evavold did not respond to the letter at the time and continued blogging.

On April 18, 2013, Rucki’s two oldest daughters- Samantha and Gianna- ran away from home and stayed for approximately two and half years with strangers- Doug and Gina Dahlen- after a judge- David Knutson forced them to live with Rucki’s sister- Tammy Love; even though all five Rucki children complained vociferously at the time that David Rucki and his family were violent.

Rucki has lived in the Minneapolis suburb of Lakeville throughout the process.

Evavold was one of four people convicted in relation to this disappearance after she recommended to the girls’ mother- Sandra Grazzini-Rucki- that she take her two daughters to live with the Dahlen’s; the Dahlen’s pled guilty for their role in hiding the two girls earlier in 2017.

Ironically, David Rucki is no stranger to restraining orders as nine people- his five children, his ex-wife, two neighbors, and an in-law- all successfully took out a restraining order against him after threatening and stalking behavior.

This case has been covered internationally and Rucki has conducted hundreds of interviews, making his pleas for privacy curious.

Rucki has a long history of violence including: includes: a bar fighta road rage incidentincidents of stalkingmultiple violations of restraining orders, and choking his wife with an organ leg.

The trial judge- Karen Asphaug- disallowed any mention of his criminal history; when his ex-wife testified at her trial she wasn’t even allowed to allude to the restraining order she and her children took out against him.

The four defendants argued they hid the girls because they feared for their safety in Rucki’s care; Rucki once chased after his daughter on her birthday, according to a police report and stuck a gun in his son’s head according to a Child Protective Services report.

Not surprisingly, Asphaug also granted him this restraining order ex-parte, which means without the other parties- in this case Evavold- knowledge.

Normally, an ex-parte restraining order is only granted in cases where someone is under immediate threat of physical danger and the granting of a restraining order based on blog posts should raise first amendment issues.

I contacted Brandon Stahl (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Laura Adelmann (Sun-Current), Michael Brodkorb, Elizabeth Vargas, Sean Dooley, and Beth Mullins (the last three the team behind the controversial 20/20 broadcast on this case which ignored Rucki’s documented history of abuse)- but none provided a response.

Adelmann, it was recently revealed, approached the jury during Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial and asked if any would like to be interviewed after the trial was over; her behavior is now the subject of a jury tampering allegation.

Asphaug appears to be David Rucki’s personal judge. She presided over each of the four criminal trials in this case- Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold, Dough Dahlen, and Gina Dahlen.

Asphaug ruled to disallow nearly all of David Rucki’s criminal history and forced Gina Dahlen to testify in multiple trials even though she was a defendant still awaiting her trial.

The 1st Judicial District, where Asphaug sits, would only say that judges are chosen to a case “by statute” but would not explain how Asphaug wound up repeatedly on Rucki’s cases.

A phone call and email to Lissa Linne, a public affairs officer for Minnesota Courts, was left unreturned.

A call to Asphaug’s law clerk, Jennifer Williams, was also left unreturned.

Asphaug taking over legal proceedings related to Rucki continues a pattern.

Judge David Knutson placed himself on every legal case related to the Rucki’s when he took over their divorce in 2011.

The above referenced matter has been assigned to the Honorable Judge David Knutson,” a letter written by Knustson’s clerk in August 2011 stated, “all future matters shall be scheduled in front of Judge David Knutson.”

Knustson proceeded to issue approximately 4,000 orders, almost all regulating Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s behavior; he gave 100% of a multi-million estate to David Rucki and forcibly- under the threat of jail- removed Sandra Grazzini-Rucki from her home, and awarded David Rucki sole custody of his children, despite his documented history of violence.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has not seen any of her five children since early 2013.

Evavold has twenty days to challenge the restraining order.

The terms of the restraining order forbid Evavold from speaking about the Rucki family in public or approaching the family; the restraining order appears to be overkill as the terms of Evavold’s probation already forbid all this.

Evavold’s probation is overseen by Judge Asphaug, though she’s yet to violate her probation.

Evavold has four months left to serve on her prison term, but like Grazzini-Rucki, Asphaug has ordered her to serve it over the next six years.

 

Judge Asphaug: Blogging More of a Safety Threat Than Frightening Neighbors, Intimidating Police

In yet another bizarre development of the Grazzini-Rucki case, David Rucki claims that blogging is a threat to his safety, and that of his minor children and filed for a restraining order against Dede Evavold, co-defendant in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial. It should be noted that Rucki’s petition for a harassment order (HRO) did not actually name or specify what blog had allegedly harassed or threatened him. The HRO did not provide any evidence that Evavold was responsible for owning any blog or that she had posted anything about Rucki on social media that constitutes the legal definition of harassment (per 609.748 Harassment Restraining Order).

Without proving actual harassment occurred, and in violation of Evavold’s freedom of speech, Judge Karen Asphaug granted a HRO against her that is effective for 2 years. Ex Parte HRO

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

There are numerous problems with the HRO granted … including Judge Asphaug’s prior role on a criminal case involving David Rucki, where she was instrumental in dismissing charges that involved physical threats and harassment that he committed against the neighbors. 

Another connection is that Judge Asphaug’s husband, David Warg, shares a close professional and social relationship with Judge Tim Wermager, the first judge to preside over the Grazzini-Rucki divorce. A local newspaper article covering the swearing in of Judge Wermager alludes to political alliance, and deals made on the golf course that influence the court system, and judiciary, in Dakota County. Are these forces also at play in the Grazzini-Rucki case?

Judge Asphaug Dismissed Prior Criminal Charge Against David Rucki Despite Overwhelming Evidence of Threats, Harassment

That Judge Karen Asphaug quickly issued a HRO against Dede Evavold with absolutely no evidence to support any of the claims made is a sharp contrast to the role she played in dismissing a serious charge of disorderly conduct against Rucki, that involved harassment and threats. Many of Rucki’s acts were targeted against children. The police report filed from this incident includes remarks from Rucki that suggest he knew that if criminal charges were filed, the court would rule in his favor.

On September 8, 2009, Rucki was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after threatening and harassing his neighbor and swearing at and threatening their children. Police responding to the complaint noted in their report that Rucki tried to intimidate them and referred to the neighbor as a “bitch”. Explosive Expose by Michael Volpe: Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases?

Officer Michelle Roberts writes in her report,”Suspect (Rucki) told me that he didn’t have to listen to me. I advised him that if he would not allow me to question him regarding the specifics, I would have no choice but to charge him with disorderly conduct based on their allegations.

He stated,’Go ahead, it’s their word against mine and you can’t prove anything.’

I told him I would mail him a citation for disorderly conduct and he would have the opportunity to give his side in court. He responded,’I’m not going to show up for court, this is bullshit.’  He then said,’You guys can get the fuck off my property.’ Suspect approached us two additional times, each time arguing that we couldn’t take their word over his.

In a supplemental report written by Officer Barb Maxwell, she took a complaint from the neighbor regarding Rucki’s frightening behavior towards his family. Officer Maxwell notes that when she attempted to speak to Rucki, he “..tried to intimidate me. I introduced myself and stated,’I am here because of a complaint on your dogs.’ Rucki got very close to me and said,’There is NO complaint on my dogs‘, and from that point on I was unable to say another word.”  Rucki Incident Report 9/8/2009

Public Domain Image

Judge Karen Asphaug presided over the criminal trial against Rucki and dismissed all charges under unusual circumstances. Journalist Michael Volpe has extensively investigated the Grazzini-Rucki case and writes about these charges against Rucki, and the resulting hearing: “The case came in front of Judge Karen Asphaug and on December 31, 2009 a preliminary hearing was held.

As a result of the hearing, a trial was scheduled for February 8, 2010. But, on the eve of the trial, the defense filed a motion to dismiss for “lack of probable cause.” That motion was granted without a hearing by Judge Asphaug and the case was thrown out.

This is unusual and inexplicable. A motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause is supposed to be heard during the pre-trial hearing. If a trial date is set, that normally means the probable cause standard has been met. Furthermore, given the number of witnesses to the altercation, dismissing for lack of probable cause is even less appropriate.”  Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases?

That Judge Asphaug presided over this prior disorderly conduct case  against Rucki should have disqualified her from later presiding over the criminal case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold and the other 2 co-defendants. That Judge Asphaug had knowledge of an incident involving a criminal charge against Rucki, where he was accused of violent behavior, creates a conflict of interest.

Further, this incident with the neighbor should have been allowed as evidence at Sandra’s criminal trial but Judge Asphaug would not allow it in. The neighbor had also written letter to describe his experiences with Rucki,”In our near decade of living next to him I have found him to be a very angry individual rages at anyone who has contention or confronts him. It got so severe against our family that the court awarded us a restraining order in September 2009….

As police reports can verify, he has boldly cursed profanely at, and tried to intimidate Lakeville’s female animal control officer. It is logical to conclude he is capable  of more towards those more vulnerable, such as his wife and children.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Judge Asphaug’s Husband Connected to First Judge Who Presided Over Grazzini-Rucki Divorce

Judge Karen Asphaug is also married to attorney David Warg, who was once a partner in a law firm with Judge Tim Wermager. Judge Wermager was the first judge to preside over the Grazzini-Rucki divorce.

A news article on the swearing in of Tim Wermager suggests that a good ‘ole boys club exists in Dakota County. The article hints that Wermager became a judge because of his political connections. (2008) Wermager sworn in as judge

Notable excerpts from the article include:

(Judge William) Thuet, also a Hastings resident, is a former attorney from the same law firm that Wermager practiced with for many years. In his remarks, he mentioned the connection.

“What do Rex Stacy, Tom Bibus, me, and now Tim Wermager, have in common?” he asked. “We all were in law practice with Jim O’Connell. He’s the judge maker.”

…Thuet was sworn in as judge in 1983 and remembers being told to “do what is right.” He urged Wermager to do the same.

In his remarks, Wermager thanked everyone, including his law partners O’Connell and David Warg, his family, and friends.

“One of the reasons I wanted to have this ceremony here is because of the history here,” Wermager said. “This is where we all started. (Community Room, Hastings City Hall

Wermager said Dakota County is held in high regard for its judicial practices.

“Attorneys like to practice here,” he said. “They are treated fairly and with respect.”

That pattern was begun by Judges Breunig (Robert), Mansur (Martin), and Hoey (George), Wermager noted. It continues today.

In this environment of cronyism and backroom deals how could Sandra Grazzini-Rucki or an of the co-defendants in the criminal trial, including Dede Evavold, ever receive a fair trial? When justice is offered for sale, it ceases to exist as justice and instead sows the seeds of corruption, greed and abuse of power at every level of the system.

HRO: Who is Harassing Who?

Rucki’s filing of a HRO against Dede Evavold seems well timed to silence Evavold from speaking out about her case, and to make an example of her to intimidate anyone else who is posting on social media, or other news outlets, about the Grazzini-Rucki case. There is only one narrative on this case that Rucki endorses – his own.

Second, Evavold has recently filed an appeal on her conviction of felony parental deprivation charges. Evavold Response Brief: Deceptive Dakota County If Evavold’s case is overturned on appeal, she could still be subject to this HRO, which would become another way for Judge Asphaug to throw her in jail for any social media posting… As this HRO has established there doesn’t need to be evidence that Evavold did anything wrong to punish her. The basis of the HRO is quote “blog” posting with no blog named, no threatening statements listed, no acts of harassment cited,no proof Evavold posted anything that constitutes harassment or threats as defined by law. Judge Asphaug has created a situation where she can blame Evavold for any “blog” and charge her with an HRO violation; this is a clear abuse of judicial discretion.

Stay tuned as the Justice Blog continues to expose this harassment order, and other developments in the #grazzinirucki case!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Let’s take a looksie!

 

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

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

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

Stalking – David Rucki

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

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

NOTE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stay Tuned for More Updates!

Grazzini-Rucki Case Suggests Witness Tampering, Continued Abuse of Runaway Rucki Girl

gavel

Because the witness told investigators that her father made her change her story and her story did in fact change from previous statements, it is apparent that witness tampering occurred.” – Motion filed by the Dahlens 12/23/2016

(Dakota County, Minn): More evidence supporting that David Rucki has abused his children in the past, and continues to emotionally and psychologically abuse S.R. emerges from the criminal trial of Doug and Gina Dahlen…

Doug and Gina Dahlen, the couple who sheltered S.R. and G.R. on their therapeutic horse ranch for 2 1/2 years, filed a motion to request an evidentiary hearing regarding witness tampering on 12/23/2016 in Dakota County. (The Dahlens have since plead “guilty” for felony charges of parental deprivation under questionable circumstances).

Read the motion in it’s entirety: Dakota County accused of witness tampering in Doug and Gina Dahlen case

Doug and Gina Dahlen

Doug and Gina Dahlen

The motion was filed to request a hearing to determine whether witness tampering has occurred. The alleged witness tampering is based on David Rucki, the Lakeville P.D. and Dakota County’s treatment towards S.R. – one of the teen girls who fled after Judge David L. Knutson placed her in an unsafe environment.

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

THE DAHLENS: RUCKI SISTERS DISCLOSE ABUSE

The motion details the heart wrenching day that S.R. and G.R. came to the Dahlen family. In late April of 2013, both girls came to the ranch, and according to the motion,”When the girls arrived, both were very emotional, crying and appeared scared. Both girls appeared extremely fearful to the Dahlens. In fact, the Dahlens had never seen two girls so visibly and physically frightened. In essence, they were scared for their lives.

S.R. and G.R. had good reason to be afraid of David Rucki. When the girls became more comfortable with the Dahlens, they shared their fears, and painful memories. According to the motion, the girls told the Dahlens that Rucki made threats, displayed sexually inappropriate behavior, and police were called a number of times after he violated restraining orders.

frisked

According to the Dahlens, the girls reported that they were scared of Rucki and he “had a habit of peeking in outside windows..” The Dahlens said talking about their home life, and the thought of returning to the care of their father (Rucki) made S.R. and G.R. so upset that they would shake and become physically sick “with fear and panic“.

It should be noted that S.R. exhibited the same emotional and physical symptoms as to what the Dahlens observed when she was questioned by social workers and police after she had been recovered; when making statements regarding her home life prior to the divorce, abuse and the events leading up to when she ran away. The difference is that the Dahlens correctly identified S.R.’s reaction as a traumatic response, but when S.R. was put back under the control of Dakota County the abuse cover up continued and S.R. was labelled “fragile” and in need of de-programming.

The motion states that Dahlens permitted S.R. and G.R. to stay at their Ranch because they reasonably believed that the girls were at risk for physical, sexual or emotional harm if they returned.

S.R. and her sister G.R. went into hiding, living with the Dahlens for 2 1/2 years. In an interview with ABC 20/20, Gina Dahlen says the teen girls “made a new life” for themselves on the Ranch, and they were free to leave anytime they wanted but chose to stay. While staying on the Ranch, S.R. and G.R. were home schooled. The girls did chores on the Ranch, and helped with the website – but never used the internet to contact their father or make an effort to return to Lakeville, where they lived. Dahlen says there was no effort to conceal the girls, they used their real names and went into town, socializing with others.

This is also confirmed in social worker notes, taken from an interview conducted after the S.R. and G.R. were discovered living on the Ranch in November 2015, (Social Service Records – Rucki ) “The girls appeared well cared for and like it at the (redacted).”

The social worker reports that S.R. told her,”It was so great up there.” And,”They were given hugs and love. She loves Doug and Gina and says Gina was like a mom to her.

S.R. also told the social worker about the abusive, dysfunctional home environment created by her father, David Rucki, and warned that she would run if placed back into his custody.

G.R. says this about the Dahlens,”She feels Doug and Gina gave up their lives for them. She feels at peace there, they talked about God and read the Bible. They taught her to forgive.

When asked about her father, G.R. told the social worker, “She still feels fear of dad… She does not want to live with him and she feels he still has control over her. She does not feel mom played role in her thoughts or feelings about her dad.” G.R. also stated that she will run if made to return to dad.

TRANSITIONING FAMILIES INVOLVED IN WITNESS TAMPERING?

(Note: Inquiry by Justice blog.. these comments are NOT part of the Dahlen’s motion)

It is unknown if S.R. or G.R. have attempted to run away again but it is known that the sisters were put through intensive de-programming (aka mind control) and reunification therapy at Transitioning Families, a  ranch  situated in a remote location in California. It could be argued that David Rucki’s efforts to put S.R. and G.R. in the program at Transitioning Families is a form of witness tampering.

Transitioning Families was chosen because if the girls did attempt to run away they would have no place to go. Court records state that S.R. and G.R. were both willing to attend therapy in Minnesota, and promised not to run if placed in a foster home. There was no need to send the sisters to California because they could undergo therapy in Minnesota, where they live, and where they would receive ongoing treatment (if needed). There would be no risk of running if the girls were placed in a foster home, and allowed to transition back into their lives at their own pace and comfort level.  But that didn’t happen.

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Therapist Dr. Rebecca Bailey, of Transitioning Families, facilitated reunification between David Rucki and the girls. At the time of reunification, Rucki was on probation after being convicted of a violent road rage incident. Yet Bailey showed no concern for the safety of the girls, despite Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, that included being referred to anger management and psychological testing as part of probation. In an interview with a local paper, Rucki says Dr. Bailey determined that he does not pose a danger to anyone after an incident where he was kicked in the privates by a pony, and did not show signs of violence. However, that incident does not qualify as a valid psychological assessment, or involve the use of acceptable medical practices. Evidence suggests that Dr. Bailey ignored and/or dismissed abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children, as well as evidence supporting that abuse did occur. Dr. Bailey also failed to consider Rucki’s history or do a risk assessment when forcing the S.R. and G.R. (and their siblings) into reunification. The end result of the Transitioning Families program was that adults who are skilled in psychology used isolation and programming tactics to get two vulnerable, frightened teenage girls to recant abuse allegations. From the motion filed by the Dahlens (p. 5) “Intimidate can simply mean to make timidIn the Eighth Circuit, exhortations to remain loyal to one’s people or family is sufficient to support a conviction for witness tampering...”

The way testimony was taken from S.R. during the criminal trial of her mother could also be considered witness tampering. During her criminal trial, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki attempted to subpoena S.R. (who had turned 18) and G.R. to appear and testify. Grazzini-Rucki’s efforts were challenged by both David Rucki and his attorney, Lisa Elliott, and by Prosecutor Kathryn Keena. Their arguments were supported by Dr. Bailey, who wrote a letter to the Court, stating she did not feel the girls were capable of testifying and recommended that if S.R.. were to testify it should be by video only. Dr. Bailey’s letter was submitted to Judge Karen Asphaug for review. Grazzini-Rucki and her attorney were not given a copy, nor allowed to read it. Judge Asphaug agreed with the recommendation, G.R. was not allowed to testify and S.R. could testify by video only.

S.R. testified by video conferencing under extremely unusual circumstances. S.R. was out of view of the jury and present with her in the room was father, David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love (her fear of Love caused S.R. to run away), and both paternal grandparents and an armed bailiff. The defense attorney was limited in the questions he could ask and evidence of abuse was suppressed.

According to the motion (p. 5),”Witness tampering can be overt or subtle and includes emotional manipulation…The Minnesota Supreme Court has recognized that even ‘general or specific threats of reprisal’ would constitute witness intimidation…The Court has also acknowledged that  the mere presence of spectators in the courtroom can result in witness intimidation.

BASIS FOR THE WITNESS TAMPERING MOTION

Doug and Gina Dahlen raise a compelling, and legally sound, argument that witness tampering involving S.R. did occur.

From the time S.R. and G.R. stayed at the Ranch until their tearful good-bye, the girls have consistently told the same story about the abuse they have endured at the hands of their father, and the failure of the family court to protect them, is the reason why they ran away, to seek safety. Upon return to Rucki’s care, S.R. told law enforcement that she was  pressured and guilted to recant by her father and Tammy Love. S.R. also stated that court paperwork was “all over the house“, that the issue was constantly raised, and she could not get away from it.  When S.R. did give a statement to police, it was Rucki who drove her to the police station.

Journalist Michael Volpe has extensively researched the Grazzini-Rucki case, and has uncovered another aspect of possible witness tampering involving the same incident: David Rucki claims indigence, hires two private lawyers This article offers additional insight on the questionable interview with S.R. and police, conducted on June 30, 2016. During the interview, S.R. reveals that she had been reading about her family’s involvement with the court system on the Carver County Corruption blog. S.R. said she discovered the site after going to the library, logging onto a computer, and doing an internet search on her name.

At the time of the interview the Carver County Corruption blog had been permanently shut down. Another blogger writing about the Grazzini-Rucki case had removed articles she had written from her blog, and stopped covering the case altogether. These events happened in response to a June 7, 2016 letter written to the blog owners from a law firm employed by David Rucki. The letter implied the bloggers could face “various civil claims” against them and “litigation seeking substantial damages“. As a result, the blog articles were taken down, and S.R. was no longer able to freely access information offering another perspective on the case. It should also be noted that the Carver County Corruption blog gave S.R. a voice because it posted letters and comments she provided to the courts. In a broader perspective, shutting down the blogs has also limited the public’s access to information and documentation regarding the Grazzini-Rucki case; and attempted to make one viewpoint – that of David Rucki – the dominant source of information.

LAKEVILLE POLICE IMPLICATED IN WITNESS TAMPERING

The Dahlen motion also implicates Lakeville police in witness tampering, stating that (p. 8), “Law enforcement investigators in this case apparently avoided asking SVR questions which would develop responses favoring the affirmative defense. Anytime the possibility arose that David Rucki would be portrayed in a negative light, Detective Coughlin backed off.

During the June 30th interview, S.R. told Det. Coughlin that she was brought to the interview against her free will, and pressured and guilted into recanting abuse allegations by Rucki and Love. The pressure was so intense that S.R. began to cry.

The motion states that Det. Coughlin never asked S.R. to elaborate when speaking about issues related to abuse. And that S.R.’s statement to police shows change from the story she has consistently told prior to being recovered. S.R.’s testimony takes yet another turn in court, where claims to not have seen or remembered abuse, and stated that she was not in her right mind when speaking to police.

Perhaps the impact of reunification therapy at Transitioning Families has taken its toll? Perhaps Rucki and Love have finally crushed her spirit? What has not changed is that S.R. remains tearful, emotional and her body language indicates trauma – she shakes or curls up into a ball when questioned. And that is the tragedy of the Grazzini-Rucki case, that the court system has completely failed to protect the Rucki children from the abuse they endured and witnessed, and instead protected the abuser, to the detriment of the children.

The Dahlen motion has not only raised concerns about witness tampering but at its core, it is a statement that raises serious concerns that S.R. (and the other Rucki children) is being emotionally and psychologically abused and continue to be at risk in the care of David Rucki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Blow Up: David Rucki Chased Terrified Teens Down Street

policecake

I am asking the Court for this additional relief to clarify and extend the Order (the existing OFP) to keep the children and I safe. David has already plead guilty to violating the Order, and has engaged in criminal conduct that may well result in another criminal charge for an additional violation. He believes he is above the law and no one can stop him. I am pleading for the Court to send a strong message that this behavior has to stop, and that the Order for Protection has meaning and should be taken seriously.” – Amended Petition for Order for Protection, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, November 2011

To better understand the devastating effects of the abuse David Rucki inflicted on his children, this article will share a police report from June 24, 2011 from a first person perspective. The “perspective” is based on the actual police report as well as other publicly available documents that disclose abuse, and record allegations of abuse made by the Rucki children in their own words.

A police report from June 24, 2011 details an incident where David Rucki yelled at, and chased his teenage daughter S.R. and her friends down the street on her birthday. (see page 60) druckipolicereports

See here more evidence suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug at the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki:

*Police reports made against David Rucki for violating protective order, and other criminal behavior

*Surveillance photos documenting David Rucki stalking Sandra and children

*Suppressed CPS reports, social service records documenting abuse https://www.scribd.com/doc/316692570/SamiRucki

*Judge Asphaug also suppressed was witness testimony from an individual present at this incident, and who had observed other abuse Rucki inflicted on his family

asphaug-1

75% of defense evidence was withheld during the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial. The jury was never allowed to consider evidence raised by the Defense, supporting the affirmative defense: It is an affirmative defense if a person charged under subdivision 1 proves that:

(1) the person reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the child from physical or sexual assault or substantial emotional harm…. https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.26

Without evidence to support a “reasonable belief”, and given instructions from Judge Asphaug that were both misleading, and manipulative, the jury found Sandra Grazzini-Rucki guilty on 6 counts of deprivation of parental rights. If the jury knew of this incident, and made aware of other evidence, would the outcome have been different? And would the outcome had been different had the jury know that Judge Asphaug presided over a previous domestic violence complaint against Rucki, and dismissed it?

Lakeville, Dakota County, Minnesota (6/24/2011):

Happy Birthday! S.R. walked down the cul-de-sac at Ireland Way with a group of giggling, excited teenage girls looking forward to a slumber party, and a night of fun. The house was decorated with banners and balloons, gifts were beautifully wrapped for her special day. The deep rumble of a motor followed by a harsh voice yelling her name tore through the warm summer day like a thunderbolt. She turned her head to see her father pulling up alongside the girls, yelling and swearing at her.

Her heartbeat hammered in her chest so fast she feared it would take off, seeking escape from her father’s anger. Since the divorce, things were so much calmer at home, she actually enjoyed being there… without having to deal with his rage, his flying fists, the ugly words he screamed at them…he hurt her mother and made her cry. But he didn’t stay away. After the divorce, in May, he tore through the house, and refused to leave when asked. He was yelling and screaming, threatening, ripping pictures off the wall. He drove up and down the street all hours of the day at night. He watched the house. He left angry voice mail messages. Just a few days ago, he was at the house again, stealing mail from the mailbox.

Ignoring him didn’t help. She told her father that she did not want to see him. He would not listen. You couldn’t pretend that everything was fine when it felt like your heart was breaking into a million pieces. When you were trying to hide the secret that made you so different from your friends. When you couldn’t hold up the fake smile anymore because the tears kept falling. Ignoring him just made him madder – and now he was here, on her birthday, without a present or a card, instead yelling – swearing – scaring her friends – ruining everything.

Giggles gave way to shrill, girlish screams. The word “run!” was a collective cry, one voice could not be distinguished from another. Run but where? The cul-de-sac had one way in and one way out. Only one way.

She remembered dressing up for her party, pulling her hair back in a pony, wondering if Mom would let her wear make up… now her feet slapped against the pavement, mud staining her sneakers. Her hair tore loose, and tangled at her shoulders. The girls grabbed at each other as they ran, tumbling into the nearest house. Her pretty outfit was ruined. Her friends were scared. And everyone was looking at her like they knew, all along, the ugly secret she tried to keep. As if windows could shut in the the threats, the yelling, the crashing sounds coming from the “Scream House” night after night. Her friends knew, and they were terrified. The door rattled as her father came up to the house, slamming the screen door open and pounding his fists on the door. He shook the door handle, trying to pry it open. Someone called the police. Someone hid. Someone called Mom. She ran into the pantry, sobbing. It was all happening so fast.

screaming

She wanted Mom to hug her and tell her everything would be okay. But she knew that wasn’t true. Lakeville Police had arrived, they looked over the court order that was supposed to protect them from her father… and said it did not cover her, a child. The judge had crossed the names of the children out on the OFP application. Mom said the order for protection meant that Dad could not be so close to the house, he was in violation. She wanted to press charges but the police officer told her to go back to court, he couldn’t do anything. No charges would be filed. And the officer certainly could not fix her birthday party – and now her friend’s parents now said they didn’t feel it was a good idea to have a slumber party. The parents didn’t feel safe that their children were at her house, the “Scream House”. Mom begged until they agreed to come over for cake. All she saw when the candles were lit was the flashing blue and red of police lights. By then the cake had melted, the pink frosting felt too sticky and choked in her throat.

One of the victims involved in this incident declined to file a police report, stating they are afraid David Rucki will retaliate against them.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s application for an Order for Protection for her 5 minor children was denied on June 30, 2011. David Rucki continued to violate the OFP, and continued to harass, intimidate and stalk his family.

frisked

David Rucki violated the Order for Protection granted to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on June 22, 2011 on two separate  instances, and plead guilty to one incident on September 19, 2011.

Family court Judge David L. Knutson awarded David Rucki sole custody of the 5 children despite overwhelming evidence of his abusive, and violent behavior. The children’s fear of Rucki is directly related to his behavior towards them. When awarded custody, Rucki was probation for a charge that resulted after he violated an OFP. Judge Knutson has actively worked to cover up the abuse allegations in the Grazzini-Rucki case, and has even dismissed criminal charges against Rucki.

Sandra continued to petition the Court for help, and raised abuse allegations in the custody trial – at every level, those who had the power to protect the Rucki children failed, and enabled the abuse to continue.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

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.

asphaug-1

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?

Sources:

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-

Minnesota: 609.26 DEPRIVING ANOTHER OF CUSTODIAL OR PARENTAL RIGHTS.

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

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced in Domestic Case