(Hasting, Dakota County, Minn): Court records reveal that a Dakota County social worker, believed abuse allegations raised by S.R. and G.R. and fought to keep them in foster care in order to protect them from their father, David Rucki.
EPC Hearing Transcript Nov 30, 2015 (See page 23 for social worker’s recommendations)
During an Emergency Protective Care (EPC) hearing held on November 30, 2015, a Dakota County social worker recommended the Rucki sisters, S.R. and G.R., remain in protective care (for placement in foster care), and that “visitation between the parent and children would remain supervised, the extent and duration of which shall be determined by Social Services”. Parent meaning David Rucki, who petitioned the court that S.R. and G.R. be returned to his care.
The social worker made these recommendation after S.R. and G.R. (p.2-8) recounted allegations of abuse, and described fear of their father, David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki Social Services File, CPS Records
Reports from the social worker include the following statements shared by S.R. that her father is violent and that “home life was awful prior to the divorce“. Both sisters also reported that Rucki abused alcohol and was often drunk.
“Interviewed S.R. at the foster home on 11/23/2015. S.R. went through the family history with the worker. She was 12 when her parents divorced. Home life was awful prior to the divorce. They tip-toed around dad and he was physically abusive to her mom. Dad ripped off the leg of the organ and ran after her mom. She would have bruises here and there. Dad was rough with S.R. on occasion where he would grab her a few times and shook her. He was mostly emotionally abusive…He drank a lot and was often at bars. Once when they were not living with dad (and were living with mom) there was no more tip-toeing and no more yelling. S.R. said it felt good and she felt free in her own house.” S.R. also added that although people said she was being brain washed and needed de-programming, she never felt that way. S.R. said she would run away if returned to father (David Rucki’s) care.
G.R. shared with the social worker that Rucki took her to bars and threatened to kill the family,”She reports that dad was always screaming at mom. Neighbors called their home the ‘Scream House’. She thought the home situation was normal as she did not know any different. She never had a strong relationship with her dad. He would take her to the bar after dance or hockey. She states a big weight was lifted off her shoulders after the divorce. Mom would have bruises from dad, she would never see this occur but knew it had. She has seen him shove her. She feels her dad was mentally abusive, he was always yelling and ‘it took a toll on all of us’. She states they lived a dysfunctional life.”
G.R. also stated,”Her dad would stalk the house when they were with mom. He showed anger like, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ “ G.R. said she was not being influenced by her mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Just the opposite – she expressed feeling controlled by her father, and that she is afraid of him. G.R. also said that she will run if returned to father (David Rucki’s) care.
S.R. and G.R. told the social worker that they would not run if they were allowed to remain in foster care, and also agreed to attend school and to go to counseling.
The recommendations of the social worker were supported by both sisters, who were represented by an attorney. The attorney requested that the child protection case proceed, and that safety issues would exist if they were returned to the care of David Rucki. The attorney also argued that sending the sisters to a program out of state is not in the best interest of S.R. and G.R., because there is a risk that they could run away again. The attorney requested on behalf of S.R. and G.R. that they remain in foster care.
What teenager begs to be put in foster care? Clearly S.R. and G.R. were greatly afraid of Rucki. That they would go to such great lengths to be away from him demonstrates the panic and fear that lead them to run away on two separate occasions, going into hiding after running away for the second time on April 19, 2013.
It should be noted that the abuse allegations made by S.R. and G.R. have not changed in all the years of they have asked for help. The consistency of their statements shows they are credible, and not being influenced. In addition there are multiple sources of evidence that support their statements. For example, when G.R. says that her father was “stalking the house” those remarks are validated by an OFP and numerous police reports filed by mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Video surveillance has also documented the stalking, and recorded David Rucki’s shadowy form appearing at the home Sandra and the children lived in, night after night. In another police report filed in June 2011, Rucki chased S.R. and a group of friends down the street on her birthday. The terrified teenagers ran into a neighbor’s house in fear of their safety. Rucki chased the girls into the house, and was witnessed banging on the door and yelling. Police were called on that occasion and despite Sandra’s pleas to file charges for an OFP violation, police declined stating the children are not covered by the protective order. Even if that were true, Rucki had violated the OFP by coming within 350 feet of the home, and should have been charged.
In addition, David Rucki has a long criminal history that attests to his propensity towards violence. In fact, at the time of the November 2015 hearing, Rucki was on probation for a road rage incident where he followed then brutally beat a fellow motorist, punching him the face and mouth with such force that the victim was knocked to his knees. After pounding the motorist with his fists, Rucki walked away as if nothing had happened and went into a grocery store to do some shopping. Some of Rucki’s criminal records can be viewed here: http://theeprovocateur.blogspot.com/2016/05/david-ruckis-greatest-hits.html
Judge Michael Mayer, who presided over the EPC hearing, ignored the recommendations of the social worker, as well as the history of abuse. Judge Mayer also ignored the requests of the S.R. and G.R., who were represented by an attorney. Instead of getting the protection and care they so desperately needed, the sisters were shipped out of state to “reunification therapy” under the escort of a security guard. In “reunification therapy” S.R. and G.R. were forced to recant abuse allegations and made to accept being under the control of Rucki, as part of their “treatment”. Judge Mayer acknowledged that the S.R. and G.R. were “angry” with him and would not happy with his ruling. What Judge Mayer could not understand is that the sisters were not angry – they were in a desperate fight for their lives, and their future.
At every level, those who were responsible to ensure the well-being of the five Rucki children (police, court appointed reunification therapist, Guardian ad Litem, judges etc) not only failed to protect them but have created an environment that allows corruption, and judicial misconduct to thrive in Dakota County, setting a dangerous precedent should other courts follow this path of lawlessness.
Note: The surveillance photos documenting the stalking, previous police reports and Rucki’s criminal history were suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug in the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and not allowed to be submitted as evidence, or presented to the jury. Suppression of evidence made it impossible for Sandra to prove the affirmative defense she raised, and with no other choice, the jury found her guilty of 6 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights.
For more information on Sandra’s conviction, please read: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki convicted of hiding daughters – The decision came after the judge disallowed the majority of defense evidence