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)

Police Report, HRO: David Rucki is Dangerous, Not Safe Around Children

inflamedrucki

In 2011, Judge David L. Knutson ordered the five Rucki children into reunification therapy and supervised visits with father, David Rucki, while two separate harassment orders were in place against him (one harassment order filed by Sandra, the other filed by a neighbor).

The danger Rucki poses to children is noted in a police report filed against Rucki prior to obtaining the HRO which states,”he and his wife run a daycare at their home and are very concerned for the children they care for (due to Rucki’s threats and aggressive behavior).

Along with the HRO, Rucki has a long history of violent behavior that manifests in both his criminal record, and in the abuse allegations raised by ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children. druckipolicereports (See page 11-21 for information related to this article) Court documents also indicate that Rucki was ordered in anger management classes on 3 separate occasions, and during the divorce was ordered into domestic abuse counseling.

Despite overwhelming evidence, Judge David L. Knutson refused to acknowledge the abuse, and has put the lives of the Rucki children at risk by first by court-ordering the “de-programming” the children to recant abuse allegations and then by giving sole custody to Rucki – after proven to be dangerous, emotionally unstable, and not safe around children.

NOTE: This article contains some of the defense evidence suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug during the rigged trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

screaming

The harassment order was filed by a neighbor R.M. (issued on September 15, 2009) and barred Rucki from having any contact with his wife R.R.M., their two children and even the children enrolled in the daycare they operated. HRO Filed Against Rucki 2009

According to the HRO David Rucki terrorized the family in the following ways:

Made Threats:He said he would unleash holy hell if we ever turned him in again”. “He also did a threat later in the street. He’s mad we called animal control over his dogs.”

Exhibited Frightening Behavior: Loud, Cursing, Coming in Close proximity to their house and mailbox.

Called the Victim(s) Abusive Names: Called my wife a “bitch” and my son a “son of a bitch” and called us “assholes”. Cursing at us while daycare kids present.

While the HRO was in place, Rucki violated the order numerous times. The neighbors were so frightened that they placed security cameras around their home.

The HRO remained in place for 2 years – the reason the neighbors did not renew the HRO was because Sandra had a protective order in place that prohibited David from coming near the cul-de-sac, where the neighbors also lived, so they felt that restraining order would also protect their family. This proved to be false – Rucki has stalked Sandra, and violated protective orders she filed against him. Sandra’s protective order was later dismissed by Judge David L. Knutson.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

*** IMPORTANT UPDATE ***

Journalist Michael Volpe, covering the Grazzini-Rucki case, just released a police report filed by R.M on September 8, 2009 . The police report documents the terrifying incident that led up to the HRO: David Rucki thinks “asshole” is an appropriate term for a three year old.

The police report demonstrates abusive behavior, and an abusive mentality through Rucki’s own words and actions. A pattern also emerges from the police report that corroborates abuse allegations raised by Sandra.

Domestic violence is defined by a pattern of abusive behavior that is used to gain power and control over another person through threat, force, violence or intimidation. Domestic Violence – US DOJ

What is particularly dangerous about Rucki is that he attempts to exert power and control over anyone close to him -beyond his family. Rucki literally prowls the neighborhood, and by extension Lakeville, as his own territory much like an alpha wolf.

davidraging2

A Few Examples of David Rucki’s Pattern of Abuse:

The police report describes Rucki threatening and swearing at the neighbor’s children and also swearing at the children in the daycare.

Rucki threatened and swore at the neighbor’s wife, R.R.M.; including incidents where children were present. Rucki is so brazen that he referred to R.R.M. as a “bitch” while police were present!

The threats and profanity are the same as what Rucki has said to Sandra, and his own children. The viciousness of Rucki’s words were captured in a series of voice mail messages left for his teenage son (Comments taken from picture above. Also read transcripts recorded voice mail messages)

Rucki refers to R.R.M. as a “crazy lady“. Rucki also accuses ex-wife Sandra as “crazy”. Sandra has never been diagnosed with mental illness. Rucki continues to avoid questions about his own mental health, and the results of his psych evals.

Rucki admits in the police report that he called Child Protective Services on the neighborsdue to safety concerns for the children“. Reading the police report it is obvious the only safety concern that exists is David Rucki. It is clear Rucki made a false report to CPS because he was angry at the neighbors, and was carrying out on threats he made against them.

Rucki made false reports against Sandra to the family court professionals and during the criminal trial, claiming she is a danger to the children. There have never been any findings of abuse against Sandra. Just the opposite – when court proceedings began, the Rucki children  expressed they shared a loving relationship with their mother and wanted to live with her. It is only through forcible separation, and under the threat of de-programming that has Sandra become estranged from her children.The allegations Rucki raised against Sandra are not motivated by genuine concern but rather, are a form of abuse.

Another example – while the police officer was interviewing R.M. (quote),”he informed me that suspect (Rucki) drove by as we were speaking and put up the middle finger of his left hand at him…” Rucki later admits to police that he did make a gesture but says, “I only waved at them, they can see it however they want.

A similar gesture made by Rucki with his middle finger was captured in a still photo taken on July 27, 2013, in a stalking incident: What’s Fair is Fair

Finally, when the police interview Rucki he is angry and refusing to cooperate. The officer informs Rucki that they will have to charge him with disorderly conduct, Rucki replies, “Go ahead it’s their word against mine and you can’t prove anything.” Rucki approached police two additional times stating “that we couldn’t take their word over his“. Rucki attempts to intimidate police to get them to drop charges against him.

In another section, Rucki basically says the laws do not apply to him. He attempts to intimidate another police officer into dropping a complaint against him.

This is similar behavior as what was reported by S.R. (one of the teens who ran away due to Rucki’s abuse) – that she was pressured and guilted into recanting abuse allegations by Rucki: Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

You can’t prove anything” could also explain what has happened to Sandra throughout all of the legal proceedings from 2011 to the present – Dakota County, has taken the word of David Rucki as fact and completely violated the law, and dismissed significant evidence and documentation in doing so.

Why does Dakota County protect David Rucki?

 

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For More Information:

(2011) Judge Knutson Orders Reunification Therapy with David Rucki and Children, while HRO in place

Michael Volpe’s articles on the #grazzinirucki case can be found Communities Digital News: Grazzini-Rucki Articles on CDN

 

 

“I Will Not Be Silenced…” Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on “J.A.M. In Your Face” with Brian Kinter

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J.A.M. (Judicial Accountability Movement) in Your Face with Brian Kinter and Guest Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Date:  Jan 4, 2017

Listen In: J.A.M. in Your Face with Brian Kinter and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Subject: Brian Kinter has been to the SUPREME COURT more times than most of have been to the movies.

Brian was wrongfully deprived of access to his child due to systemic failures, and corruption, occurring in an Ohio family court. Eventually, Brian sued the judges and the court in March 2012. Brian currently has won custody of his young daughter.

Brian Kinter (Source: YouTube)

Brian Kinter (Source: YouTube)

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki joins Brian to discuss the nightmare of family court. Sandra is famous for being the subject the ABC 20/20 episode “Footprints in the Snow”.

Sandra shares her story of survival against a corrupt family court system, headed by out of control judge, David L. Knutson. She describes the devastating effects on her life and that of her children; and offers an encouraging message for parents involved in family court.

 

For More Info on Brian Kinter: 

The Brian Kinter Story

Brian Kinter & the little shop of horrors called Ohio Domestic Relations Court (T.S. Radio)

 

For More Info on Sandra Grazzini-Rucki: 

2013 Complaint Against Judge David L. Knutson Alleges Misconduct, Malice

David Rucki-Judge Knutson-Criminal Defense Matters

David Rucki ‘Paper Divorce’ Scam

TS Radio: Mike Volpe reports on the Rucki divorce/custody case

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

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced – Kathryn Keena Breaks Promise to Runaway Teen

sentencingsgr

Sept. 21, 2016 – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki prepared this statement to be read by her family law attorney after sentencing.

Sept. 21, 2016, Dakota County, Minnesota: A sign posted outside the courthouse by a religious group read. “When will the suffering end?

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was sentenced today for her role in assisting her teenage daughters, who ran away from their paternal aunt, and the influence of their abusive father, in April 2013. A jury found Sandra guilty of 6 charges of felony deprivation of parental rights after Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence. Sandra raised the affirmative defense, meaning her actions were taken to protect her children from imminent harm. The evidence suppressed supported claims of abuse. Other evidence was withheld from Sandra and her attorney by the State. Many claim this was a “rigged trial”.

Prosecuting Attorney Kathryn M. Keena sought an aggravated sentence against Sandra, which meant she would be given a much harsher sentence than what guidelines allow. Aggravated sentences are usually reserved for severe crimes like deviant sexual crimes, terrorism and repeat offenders. Keena had to drop her motion for aggravated sentencing because the charges did not meet the legal standards. Sandra has no prior criminal history and has complied with all the terms of her release while out on bond. She also has credit for 133 days spent in jail. Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

However, Judge Asphaug found a way to manipulate the legal system in order to give Sandra a much harsher sentence. The sentence includes 6 years of probation, double the usual sentence – Judge Asphaug ruled that paternal aunt Tammy Love is also a “victim” in this crime. In addition, Judge Asphaug stretched out the sentence over 6 years to include a 15 day sentence every year, commencing on November 19th when the runaway Rucki girls were found. Guidelines say the most time a defendant can serve for what Sandra is charged with is one year and one day but Judge Asphaug found a way to lengthen the sentence for 6 years. Taxpayers will bear the financial burden of this unnecessary expense; and a bed in jail will be taken by Sandra who poses no risk to society, while a more serious offender is denied what they deserve.

Judge Asphaug also ruled that Sandra must pay several heavy fines. The law states that if the fines are not paid the judge can order additional penalty, which may include jail time. The fines include: $10,000 restitution to the Crime Board to cover costs for reunification therapy with an abusive father (reunification therapy is controversial, and not widely approved of by psychologists), undetermined costs to pay for therapy for the children, and two $944 dollar fines plus $80 court fees. Not to mention the costs for probation. Court records indicate that Sandra is currently receiving state aid, she was formerly employed as a flight attendant until jailed and extradited to Minnesota. With 6 felonies on her record, Sandra will certainly have difficulty finding employment, and have difficulty maintaining employment if forced to go to jail for 15 days every year plus other restrictions imposed by the terms of release. That being said, it would be very unlikely that Sandra could afford the fines, which may result in further jail time beyond her sentence. Judge Asphaug also ordered Sandra to sentence to serve, and if she does not comply, she would face additional jail time beyond her sentence. In effect, an aggravated sentence was imposed on Sandra by Judge Asphaug and Prosecutor Keena, who found a way to manipulate the legal system to exact a punishment that goes well beyond the guidelines for this crime.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Kathryn Keena admitted in court that she “made a promise” to S. Rucki and said to the teen that she “will not request any additional jail time and will keep that request”.  Judge Asphaug interrupted and said the “Court did not engage in promises” and she is “learning of it for the first time today“.  Making a “promise” with a vulnerable, traumatized teen is unethical and an abuse of power. It also gives the appearance that Keen bribed S. Rucki to testify – meaning she told S. Rucki that if you testify against your mother, I “promise” not to seek any additional jail time for her. Kathryn Keena unapologetically broke her promise to S. Rucki today. Keena has taken her place in the long line of Dakota County court officials who have violated the trust, and exploited the Rucki children.

Another interesting moment at sentencing was the lengthy “victim impact” statement read by David Rucki that included, “the woman in court today is not the woman I married 25 years ago – the woman I married suddenly became who she is now, a convicted felon“. Rucki elaborated about the pain he experienced in the 944 days his teen daughters went missing.

The police reports, CPS reports, witness statements, need for repeated reunification therapy because the children showed signs of fear towards Rucki (and raised abuse allegations) and even a letter from Dr. Gilbertson to the Court all illustrate the pain, terror and abuse Rucki inflicted on Sandra and the children. To believe that Sandra alienated not only her children but alienated so many people to turn against David Rucki is not only improbable but ridiculous.

When David is talking about his pain, and eliciting public sympathy, consider this…

G was interviewed on 11/23/15. She reports dad was always screaming at mom. Neighbors called the house the ‘Scream House’. She thought her home situation was normal as she didn’t know any different… Her dad would stalk the house when they were with mom.  He showed anger like ‘I’m gonna kill you’. She got no hugs growing up…”   Rucki CPS Reports

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

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

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Q (Kelli Coughlin): So how has it been since you’ve been back home?

A. (S. Rucki) I work 40 hours a week.

Q. Ok

A. Otherwise I am in my room or I am out.

Q. Do you feel secluded?

A. I am going to move out as soon as I can start driving and get money saved up. I can’t be around this anymore.” Kelli Coughlin, Lakeville PD, interview with S. Rucki

Dakota County and the State of Minnesota has not only sentenced Sandra but their ruling has condemned every abused woman, and every abused child in family court. A clear message is being sent – if you talk about abuse, you will not be believed and you may lose custody, lose your home, lose your career and your freedom. This tragedy could have been prevented had Judge Knutson and the family court system appropriately responded to the concerns of abuse, and intervened early on. Instead the court’s actions enabled abuse to continue to the point where the home was so unsafe that 4 out of 5 children threatened to run away and two succeeded in running away. 

After sentencing, attorney Michelle MacDonald (Sandra’s family law attorney) read a statement that Sandra had prepared ahead of time. The statement said, in part, “For the last 5 years, I have had to endure the loss of my children (all 5 are named). They alone are my world…And now I’m paying the price for what any parent would do for their children – protect them from harm.”

Sandra is now in custody; ironically it is only behind bars that she is truly safe from David Rucki. Sandra is expected to appeal.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center

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

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

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

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

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

musolf2

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

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

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

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

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

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

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

David Rucki

David Rucki

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

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

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

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

 

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

Special thanks to Lion News for posting this video 🙂

Continuing Coverage from Lion News: S. Rucki Tells Police, “I Have to Be Here and I Have to Recant Everything…”

barbwireheart

Q. (Kelli Coughlin) Are you forced to be here?

A. (S. Rucki) No, but it’s definitely not on free will choice…

Q. (Kelli Coughlin) What do you mean by that?

A. (S. Rucki) They basically said I have to, and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and that’s the way it’s gonna have to be and they made me feel really guilty and I started crying.

Q. (Kelli Coughlin) Ok, who is they?

A. (S. Rucki) My Dad and Tammy (paternal aunt)

Lion News has obtained video footage of a police interview with S. Rucki conducted at the Lakeville Police Department on June 30, 2016, with Kelli Coughlin.

During the interview, S.R. admits her father, David Rucki, “guilted” her into attending the interview and attempted to get her to “recant”. Paternal aunt, Tammy Love is also mentioned as pressuring S.R. In April 2013, after Judge David L. Knutson gave temporary sole custody to Love, S.R. and her sister, G.R. ran away. The Girls said they did not feel safe with Tammy – remarks S.R. made in this interview validate those concerns.

This is not the first interview S.R. has had with the Lakeville Police. — An interview was also conducted in November 2015, after the runaway sisters were found. Laura Adelmann, Sun This Week, wrote this after speaking to Rucki, “When the call came from Lakeville police stating they had been found, Rucki’s relief was immediately followed by the urgency of a plan for where they should go.

Rucki said the girls were uncooperative and fearful with police, and he knew the family needed counseling.

They eventually entered a family counseling clinic in California (Transitioning Families)….”Finding normal by Laura Adelmann 8/18/2016

Uncooperative? Fearful? Both S.R. and her sister G.R. were talking – just not saying what their father wanted to hear. I suppose that is what makes them “uncooperative. According to records, the Girls were talking with their foster parents, talking with a social worker appointed to their case, and had been appointed an attorney. The Girls also spoke to Judge Michael J. Mayer, who was appointed to their case to decide if a child protection issue existed, and who would ultimately decide where the Girls were placed. The Girls were very clear in stating they are afraid of Rucki and they have concerns for their safety if placed in his care. The girls agreed to participate in therapy if allowed to stay in foster care, and agreed not to run away again. They even agreed to return to school. What child begs to be placed in foster care? Obviously these children were desperately seeking help and at every level, the system that was supposed to protect them, instead failed.

Judge Mayer determined that reunification is best and warned the Girls that if they attempt to run away again, law enforcement will pursue them. A security guard then escorted the Girls on an airplane, headed for a reunification program located in an isolated part of California. The Girls were taken from their only source of support – their attorney, social worker, foster parents – and headed into the unknown. Transitioning Families was chosen especially for its remote location, because if they ran, there would be no place to go. Survival depended on going along with the program. The report of their father, David Rucki, was more important than their own wishes, feelings or needs because his word alone determined their fate. When they left reunification, the Girls would return to his care. The pressures upon these Girls must have been tremendous, facing not only their father but a punitive court system as well.

Only AFTER attending reunification therapy, months later, did Rucki take S.R. to the police to be interviewed for her mother’s impending criminal trial. Rucki has clearly attempted to get S.R. to not only recant but has also attempted to use “reunification” as a tool to do so.  In doing so, he has interfered with an ongoing police investigation. What has been done to S.R. is abusive- not reunification, and certainly not therapy.