REPOST CDN NEWS: Does a Recent Police Report Exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki?

Does a recently found police report exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki? <– READ FULL ARTICLE! 

Michael Volpe, of CDN News, reports on a newly released police report from the Lakeville P.D. that reveals that runaway teens, Samantha and Gianna Rucki, fought against returning to their father after being discovered living on a therapeutic horse ranch after going into hiding for more than 2 years. The girls decided to run away after the family court system failed to protect them from an abusive father and placed them into a custody situation they felt was unsafe.

That Samantha and Gianna threatened to run away from their father’s care AFTER being discovered by police the supports defense raised by mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, that she hid them for their safety (which is an affirmative defense). The girls demonstrated palpable fear of their father, David Rucki. It also validates the defense of Doug and Gina Dahlen who claimed both girls repeatedly threatened to run away if returned to their father, and they allowed the girls to stay on the ranch for their own safety, and that the girls were free to leave at any time but chose to stay of their own free will.

The police report, from November 21, 2015, was never seen before by Sandra who was charged with parental deprivation for her efforts to protect her daughters. As part of the discovery process, this police report should have been turned over to Grazzini-Rucki, and the 3 other defendants charged in this case.

According to Volpe: “If the Dakota County Prosecutor, whose office prosecuted the case, failed to provide this police report, this would be a “Brady violation” named after the U.S. Supreme Court Case Brady V Maryland, in which a conviction was overturned after prosecutors failed to provide exculpatory evidence, meaning, in this case, evidence favorable to the defense. In order for a legal proceeding to be just, all evidence must be shared with both sides…Ignoring Brady is not only an egregious violation of prosecutorial ethics…

Volpe goes on to say: “Given this issue, under normal circumstances, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s conviction would have been thrown out. But nothing has been normal in this case.

READ the police report for yourself –  Lakeville P.D. Supplement Report Grazzini-Rucki 11/21/2015

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom

Upon being found at a therapeutic horse ranch belonging to Doug and Gina Dahlen on 11/18/2015, the Rucki sisters told police they would run away again if returned to the care of their father, David Rucki.

According to the police report: “Samantha and Gianna came down, and immediately told us that they would not go back to their father. We told them that our first concern was their safety. I did ask them about the last time that they had heard from their mother, and they told me that they would not say anything without a lawyer.The report also indicated that Samantha has quote “issues with males”.

Arriving on scene was Detective Kelli Coughlin from the Lakeville police, who previously responded to an incident where Rucki swore and threatened a member of ex wife, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family. The previous police report shows Rucki’s propensity towards violence, and the very real fear other people have of him. It also shows that Coughlin had knowledge of Rucki’s abuse violent behavior towards his family, and when the Lakeville P.D. pushed to return to the Rucki girls to a home they felt was unsafe, the Lakeville P.D. did so with full knowledge of the case, including abuse allegations.

The police report indicates the victim is fearful for his family and feels Rucki will follow through on his threats that include “I‘m coming after you and you won’t see me coming” and “It probably won’t be me (that will get you).” At the time of the incident, Sandra’s mother died the night before after an agonizing battle with cancer. While the family was still grieving Rucki fought to gain control of the family trust, and threatened and intimidated family members to stake a claim on something that was not legally or rightfully his. Rucki Police Report

Samantha and Gianna were assigned a social worker and also given a lawyer, both argued in court on behalf of the sisters that they their father and did not want to be placed in his care. The sisters stated they would attend therapy and not attempt to run away again if they were able to stay in foster care. Judge Michael Mayer of Dakota County denied the request, the sisters were sent to reunification therapy in rural California and then were placed backed into the custody of David Rucki, father, against their will.

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Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki feat. Angela Ehlers: Military Injustice

Wedding Angela Ehlers and Sgt. Edwin Ehlers II

Listen Online: Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki feat. Angela Ehlers: Military Injustice

Original Air Date: Monday March 27th 6-8 pm E.S.T.

Angela Ehlers joins Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on Fighting B.A.C.K. to talk about the wrongful conviction of Sgt Edwin Ehlers II, her husband, by the United States Marine Corps.

In August 2007, decorated Marine Sgt Edwin Ehlers was convicted of sexual assault. This story happened amid scandals that the military is mishandling allegations of sexual abuse, and an alarming number of military members are coming forward to say that they have been falsely accused of crimes. Angela says her husband was not given a fair trial within the military justice system, as required by law, and was the victim of a kangaroo court. Angela has ample evidence to prove that NCIS agents admitted to tampering with “evidence” used at trial, and there was no physical evidence to support any of the allegations raised. The alleged victim has also come forward to say that she has been coached, and then recanted abuse allegations at trial. 

 Join Fighting B.A.C.K. as we uncover shocking details about this case, and receive updates from Angela in her fight for justice.

I have worked tirelessly since August 21, 2007, when I was suddenly thrust into single motherhood with 2 small children and no job, to gain Edwin’s freedom.  I have done the many things in the pursuit to set to rights what has happened by writing to the very people who are able to correct their own mistakes and to that of others.  These people, who have the power and ability to release Edwin, refuse to even acknowledge they have done anything wrong.

These are the same people who run our Government offices and take our tax-payer dollars for funding.  They have sworn an oath to uphold the laws which ensure our freedom, but they have done nothing but show their incompetence and disregard for the “rules” and laws which govern all of us.  Most, if not all, lack the backbone to stand up for what is right by correcting this injustice.

No one can ever give Edwin and our children back what has been taken from them because when he comes home, I can’t make our children go back to being the 19 month and 7 month old babies they were when he was wrongfully convicted.

But I can do everything in my power to give them all one thing, his freedom.” ~ Angela Ehlers, 3/30/2012

Read More About Angela Ehlers, the fight for Justice for Sgt. Edwin Ehlers II and review docs at: Military Injustice Blog

Also Read:

A Travesty Of Justice: Collateral Charges In Military Sexual Assault Cases (Daily Caller)

Falsely Accused Military Service Members Share their Stories on Capitol Hill (Save Our Heroes Project)

False reports outpace sex assaults in the military (Washington Times)

Military’s newly aggressive rape prosecution has pitfalls (McClatchy DC Bureau)

Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki now airs Monday night 6-8 pm EST/ 5-7 pm Central on Future of Our Children Radio (BlogTalk).

Listen Online: Fighting B.A.C.K with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Episode 7

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

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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

David Rucki “Paper Divorce” Scam

Dakota County, Minn, August 2016: Trucking contractor, David Rucki’s false statements and refusal to provide information about his finances in legal proceedings suggest an ongoing pattern of  fraud and financial abuse.

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David Rucki (Fox 9)

False statements include: Rucki lied during the criminal trial of ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki when making claims that he was duped into signing a divorce settlement in 2011, claiming that he had no knowledge of what was happening. In truth, Rucki signed over a dozen documents, in front of numerous witnesses, and willingly entered into the original divorce settlement.

Rucki lied when stating that Sandra masterminded a “paper divorce” scam that stripped him of everything he owned. What did Rucki lose? He retained a multi-million dollar company and its assets, retained numerous vehicles and property and eventually won sole custody of all five children. The truth is that Sandra was forcibly separated from her children, left homeless and destitute, and stripped of her portion of the family trust (a non-marital asset) as a result of an unjust family court order. The entire proceeds of Sandra’s portion of the trust were turned over to Rucki. Rucki is also the beneficiary of his own, separate family trust; which has remained intact.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

During the criminal trial, Rucki’s lies about the financial aspects of the divorce were repeated by Prosecuting Attorney, Kathryn M. Keena. Keena had possession of the Grazzini-Rucki family court file, and either ignored or suppressed evidence to endorse Rucki’s sob story. Rucki’s lies about the “paper divorce” were used by Keena to discredit Sandra during the criminal trial. Keena portrayed Sandra as a vindictive ex-wife who would do anything to destroy poor Rucki, including financially wipe him out. Rucki is now claiming he suffered extreme emotional distress, and that Sandra should be given the harshest penalty possible. Keena attempted to impose an aggravated sentence against Sandra but was unsuccessful because the case does not meet the legal standard for aggravating circumstances. Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki/

Claims of Rucki’s victimization are not supported by fact. Court documents, and testimony from Rucki himself, reveal a much different story that what he has recently portrayed to the jury, and to the public about the “paper divorce”. Unmasked, Rucki’s claims are that of an abuser projecting his own heinous deeds onto a victim. David Rucki is a man who is willing to destroy his own family, and put his children through the pain of divorce, in order to benefit financially from a scam he alone concocted. Rucki calls this scam the “paper divorce”.

Rucki’s Sob Story: Fact or Fiction?

Prevailing themes in the Grazzini-Rucki divorce and custody dispute, and its aftermath, involve allegations of domestic violence, and financial fraud. What is lost in the court, and following media controversy is that abuse has impacted the Grazzini-Rucki family at every level, even financially.

David Rucki’s divorce sob story, and alleged financial ruin, was prominently featured in an article published by Laura Adelmann, reporter with the Sun This Week at the end of July 2016: Revealing testimony highlights Grazzini-Rucki trial  Adelmann offered “revealing testimony” from Sandra’s criminal trial, including testimony from Rucki who claimed he was victimized in divorce proceedings.

Testifying in the criminal trial, Rucki accuses Sandra of pushing for an “on paper only” divorce. However, in family court, Rucki admits the “on paper only” divorce was his idea. Rucki stated during a deposition on August 8, 2011 that a “paper divorce” was needed “to get the business going” and he “didn’t think it would be the end of his marriage (abuse involves the exploitation of the victim). Findings from Judge Knutson (Re-Opening of the Judgement and Decree) also state that Sandra did not know about the “on paper” divorce and there was “no meeting of the minds”. In other words, Rucki conned Sandra during divorce proceedings.

Rucki lied during the criminal trial when testifying about the “paper only divorce” and assigned blame to Sandra. Rucki’s comments are significant because these false statements were used to paint Sandra as a vindictive ex-wife, which contributed to her being charged with 6 felonies. Prosecuting Attorney Keena had the Grazzini-Rucki family court file available to her, and referred to it during trial. Instead of presenting facts, Keena chose to present a lie in order to build her case and secure a win.

The Paper Divorce Scam

spam clip art

The “Paper Divorce” began with a mutually agreed upon divorce settlement and resulted in Rucki successfully contesting the divorce, claiming he did not read or see the documents and was tricked into signing by Sandra. At the same time as he claiming to be a victim, Rucki admits divorce had financial advantages for him, that it would benefit his business.

According to court documents, “Respondent (Rucki) alleged that the parties agreed to a ‘paper divorce’, which would allow Petitioner (Sandra) to access some funds from a trust while parties continued living as husband and wife.” Sandra’s portion of the family trust is a non-marital asset, Rucki is not entitled to it – there is not any stipulation in the trust documents that would allow Rucki to access funds as he described. Rucki not only felt entitled to the trust, but ruthlessly pursued it.

Is it plausible that David had no idea what was going on with the divorce, as he claims? Laura Adelmann reports: “Rucki also testified that he arrived home one day in 2011 to discover he was divorced, and Grazzini-Rucki called police who removed him from their Lakeville home. I never went to a court proceeding or saw anything,’ David Rucki said. ‘I couldn’t figure it out.’ Adelmann also reports: “David Rucki testified he returned later that night and took photos of the divorce decree that awarded sole custody of their children to Grazzini-Rucki and severed his rights to the house, property and everything they owned.”  Rucki, a successful businessman and trucking contractor, has signed countless contracts and other legal documents throughout his career, and now is unable to understand his own divorce settlement? 

Source: Movato.com – David Rucki retained ownership of this home after the original divorce settlement. He has claimed the divorce left him with nothing – yet retained ownership of a business, and other assets.

A paper trail of court documents, and other evidence, indicate that Rucki was aware, and actively participating in the divorce proceedings that he now claims he knew nothing about. Rucki met with Sandra to discuss the terms of the divorce, he signed multiple documents and agreed to settlement on April 19, 2011. Rucki also signed a waiver of counsel and declined his right to legal representation. Dissolution was granted on May 12, 2011, Judge Wermager approved of the settlement.

Further, Rucki admits in court proceedings that he wanted the divorce to provide additional revenue for his business: “Respondent (Rucki) testified that Petitioner and Respondent had discussed getting a divorce ‘in paper only’ for financial purposes…” 

While Rucki’s story has changed numerous times about the “paper divorce”, Sandra’s has remained the same, “Petitioner (Sandra) testified that she did not know what Respondent was talking about when he referred to an ‘in paper only’ divorce.”(Findings of Fact, Order Dated 9/21/2011, Judge Knutson). Adelmann reports the same, “In court, Grazzini-Rucki denied she suggested getting a divorce on paper so she could access the trust funds.

The only person who benefited from the “paper divorce” is Rucki. When it was no longer beneficial to be associated with this scam, he shifted the blame onto the victim, Sandra.

Adelmann reports: “The order also required David Rucki to pay $3,673 per month in child support and $10,000 per month in spousal maintenance, according to court documents.It left me with zero,’ Rucki said. He said Grazzini-Rucki had earlier proposed they divorce ‘on paper only’  so she could access $1.5 million from a family trust.” Question – how does Rucki go from not knowing anything about the divorce, to reciting specific details that indicate he is aware of the terms of settlement? Once again, Rucki cannot keep his story straight!

Also notice that Rucki’s focus during his testimony about the “paper divorce”is on himself, and completely ignores the impact this would have on the children. In another example, taken from the August 8, 2011 deposition, Rucki says the fair way to handle the property division after the divorce is to “sell it all”. When asked where the children would live (if the house were sold), Rucki replies, “That is something we will have to figure out when the courts figure it out.” Rucki is totally unconcerned that his actions could cause the children to become homeless, and yet he portrays himself as the victim.

Rucki bankrolled his business on Sandra’s misfortune. Rucki’s own words, recorded in a transcript from August 8, 2011  “In order for me to get working again and to get a credit line back, right, was to get rid of the existing credit line that was there two hundred some – I don’t remember what the exact number is – hundred dollars, I don’t know what… She (Sandra) told me she can get the money, and I kept asking where; she never told me, and that she would pay off the credit line. Now that allows me to work and go after re-establishing getting a new credit line okay?

The kicker to this story was, she didn’t tell me that she was going to take the house (Ireland Place) that we used as collateral against the loan; so on May 12 that whole thing unraveled for me. Now she pays off, she is my godsend and paying off this terrible loan, and all of a sudden, she pulls the carpet from under me and takes the house; now I have nothing to back the loan, okay? That’s one of the problems I have with the bank right now, I have no collateralization.”. Rucki states later in the same transcript that Rucki Trucking “is almost defunct”.  Adelmann reports, He also stated Grazzini-Rucki told him the trust has a provision that if she or other siblings were divorced and struggling financially, they could access some of its money and get some financial relief.” There is no provision in the trust documents that states what Rucki claims. Rucki was scrambling to establish another credit line, and preyed upon Sandra to do it. The same house, Ireland Place, is also connected to allegations of mortgage fraud.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

Also concerning, is the response of the court. In the Re-Opening of the Judgement and Decree Judge Knutson found that: “Even if Respondent (Rucki) did have the opportunity to review the Judgement and Decree, Respondent (Rucki) testified that he thought parties were agreeing to a ‘paper divorce’. The mismatch between the parties’ intentions provides sufficient evidence of mistake to vacate the Judgement and Decree on these grounds alone. clearly, there was no meeting of the minds with respect to the Stipulated Judgement and Decree.” In his own words, and in front of Judge Knutson, Rucki admits he devised the “paper divorce” scam and used the courts to swindle Sandra out of her portion of the family trust. Rucki’s “intention” clearly involved fraud, and manipulaton. Judge Knutson ignores that a criminal act is taking place right under his nose, and then extends preferential treatment towards Rucki. The result has been disastrous for Sandra, the children, and now even the public is at risk. The term “the Rucki Divorce” is now being used to describe the legal precedent this case has created. 

Aftermath

Rucki is expected to make a victim impact statement at Sandra’s sentencing on September 21st – his words will weigh heavily on the sentence imposed against Sandra. Prosecuting Attorney Keena has already attempted to give Sandra an aggravated sentence, imposing a harsh penalty because, she claims, Rucki has suffered so much. Will society be safer with Sandra in prison? Or does the true danger exist in a court system that is willing to put an abuse victim, who sought to protect her children, in jail in order to protect a dangerous abuser?

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