Unedited Footage from ABC 20/20 – Reveals How Far ABC Will Go to Suppress Abuse in Grazzini-Rucki Case

Behind the scenes footage from the 2016 taping of ABC’s “Footprints in the Snow” suggests that ABC 20/20 suppressed evidence of abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki case, and slanted the story, in order to portray mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and friend, Dede Evavold, as “vigilante parents” and “family court critics” who participated in a child-kidnapping network operating in a “hidden world”. In pushing this false story, ABC 20/20 covered up domestic abuse, and encouraged viewers to disregard cries for help from children who courageously spoke up to disclose the physical and mental abuse they endured at the hands of a violent father.

 

The video “ABC’s 20/20 Producer Sean Dooley interviews Dede Evavold for Footprints in the Snow April 2016 Broadcast” shows raw footage of producer Sean Dooley interviewing Dede Evavold. Dede is a friend of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki who became involved in the Grazzini-Rucki case by helping Sandra’s teen daughters S.R. and G.R. find a place to stay after they ran away when the family court failed to protect them from their abusive father, David Rucki. The behind the scenes footage offers Dede’s side of the story, in her own words. Comparing this raw footage to the finished product, it is clear “Footprints” is highly editorialized by ABC 20/20 and its portrayal of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and “supporters” does not accurately reflect their story or experiences.

Dede Evavold (Source: Linked In)

During the interview, ABC producer Sean Dooley admits that he is aware of allegations that runaway sisters, S.R. and G.R., were being abused by their father and if returned to his care they could potentially be abused again. This is a side of the Grazzini-Rucki case never presented in “Footprints”. When asking Dede about the role of the Dahlens (who sheltered the girls on a therapeutic horse ranch), Dooley says, (24:11),”You knew they were safe.. what I guess I’m ..the point I’m trying to get at is you know is this a situation where you felt like what was most important was to ensure that these two teenage girls were in a safe environment and so what you knew about the Dahlens, you felt comfortable saying you knew that they were safe. So that they weren’t going to be with their father, they weren’t going to be put back into a situation where they were potentially at risk of being abused…”

The importance of this remark is that it shows that Dooley clearly understood Dede’s reasons for getting involved after S.R. and G.R. ran away were to protect the children from abuse – yet when “Footprints” aired, ABC 20/20 pushed a completely false narrative and mischaracterized Sandra and “supporters” as radical “activists”.

Sean Dooley wrote a response to journalist Michael Volpe stating ABC stands by their report, and did not suppress information about abuse. Read the response here: ABC Response – Footprints

Sean Dooley (Source: Linked In)

During the interview, Dede repeatedly asks Dooley to “dig deeper” and investigate how the failures of the court to keep the Rucki children safe from abuse caused teen sisters S.R. and G.R. to run away in April 2013.

Dede says, “There shouldn’t have to be a time where children have to runaway because they are fearful. If the system was in place, and it was set up on how it’s supposed to function, they (S.R. and G.R.) would have never had to run. And you hear a lot that the family courts are broken.. they are not broken, they are well designed, there’s a well-designed operation..the court system really functions on conflict for profit.”

 

Dede remains calm throughout the interview, stating everything she has done was to protect S.R. and G.R. from being further harmed. While the sisters remained in hiding, Dede says, she worked to find a solution to keep the girls safe, and return them home. Dede said several times during the interview that she was not fearful. – It is obvious that Dede placed concern for S.R. and G.R. above her own situation, even when she was facing jail for efforts to protect them. Dede said she was hopeful that when “Footprints” aired that the allegations of abuse would be revealed and that someone, finally, would help the Rucki children.

 

Just the opposite happened – Dooley and ABC 20/20 not only suppressed information about abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki case but sympathized with Rucki, who is portrayed in “Footprints” as a victim of an “epic divorce”. Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, and propensity towards violence is also suppressed.

Elizabeth Vargas, former journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Although Dooley was informed of, and provided with evidence, of abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki case, ” the Rucki children were labeled as “brainwashed” and victims of “parental alienation”. ABC 20/20 encouraged viewers not to listen to, or believe, the children’s allegations of abuse or cries for help.

Both S.R. and G.R. have been very vocal in stating they are not “brainwashed” and were not coached by their mother, and that the abuse did, in fact, happen.

As noted in social service records from November 2015, recorded after the sisters were discovered living on the Dahlen’s ranch, S.R. says,”They were told by so many people that they were brainwashed and needed to be de-programmed. She never felt they were brainwashed.”

 

As for G.R., the social worker says, “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. One time after a hockey game her dad rubbed her inner thigh. Dad shoved her mom often…She still feels fear of her dad, she does not know what he is like today… She does not feel her mother played a role in her thoughts or feelings about her dad.https://www.scribd.com/doc/316692570/SamiRucki

It should be noted that this Dakota County social worker believed that S.R. and G.R. were victims of abuse, and needed to be protected from Rucki. The social worker advocated in court for the girls during the November 2015 hearing, advising they be placed in foster care and that Rucki only be allowed supervised visits. (Nov 2015) Social Worker Recommended – Protective Care for Rucki Girls, Supervised Visits With Father Due to Safety Concerns/

S.R. and G.R. were also appointed a lawyer, who fought to keep the girls in foster care for safety reasons. ABC 20/20 failed to mention any of this in “Footprints”.

Juvenile Court judge, Michael Mayer, disagreed and placed S.R. and G.R. back into the custody of Rucki. S.R. and G.R. were escorted from the courtroom by a guard who transported them to California to participate in a reunification therapy program. 20/20 portrays the program as successful, citing the girls didn’t run away. However, social service records note that the girls promised the social worker they would not run if sent to California. – It wasn’t the program that prevented S.R. and G.R. from attempting to run away, it was a promise made to a social worker, the only person in the system that believed them and tried to help. EPC Hearing Transcript Nov 30, 2015

 

At the time S.R. and G.R. were placed back into his custody, Rucki was on probation for a road rage incident where he followed a motorist, and ambushed him in a parking lot, beating the victim until he was bloodied and bruised. ABC 20/20 fails to mention this in “Footprints”; even as this behavior shows Rucki’s propensity towards violence.druckipolicereports

 

Despite overwhelming evidence of his abuse, reporter Elizabeth Vargas remains a strong supporter of David Rucki. During “Footprints”, Vargas says it is quote “total vindication” that Dakota County family court judge, David L. Knutson, denied any abuse had occurred then awarded sole custody to Rucki. At the time of the 2012 custody order, Rucki was on probation for a violation of a protective order against Sandra. Vargas goes on to say that “David works to mend his fractured relationship with them..” ignoring  records that reveal all five of the Rucki children had disclosed that Rucki had physically and mentally abused them, and had threatened their lives. The response of the family court was NOT to protect the children, but, instead order them into “deprogramming” and “reunification therapy” to force them to recant abuse allegations, and accept a relationship with Rucki. Court records document the visible fear the children felt towards their father, including one of the children becoming physically ill and having to leave the room after being forced into a session with Rucki.

 

S.R. and G.R. have consistently stated they ran away for one reason, and one reason only – and that is because they were being abused by their father, and feared for their lives because the court was working to place them into his custody. The system, at every level, failed to protect them.

 

Consider this note from the social worker who interviewed S.R. in November 2015, “The police told them not to call unless someone was being killed…

 

When ABC, a major news organization, sympathizes with a violent abuser, and uses its broadcast as a smear campaign against the victims it sends a dangerous message … Does someone really need to be killed before the cries for help from an abused child are taken seriously?

 

Source: More Unedited 20/20 Footage

 

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Letter in Support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki: Hundreds of Crimes Committed by “Minnesota’s Case Fixers”

“Rach Courtroom – BlackSite: Area 51”. Source: http://bestgamewallpapers.com

A letter in support of fit, loving mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki who has been unjustly targeted by Dakota County, and the State of Minnesota, in a family and criminal court case that has completely destroyed her life and caused her not only to become homeless, but to go into hiding for fear of her safety. Please read below for more information on how you can contribute your own letter. Or leave a comment to this blog. Thank-you!

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Like Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, I have 5 children, my children and I are victims of state-sponsored ‘case fixing’ and racketeering and an unbelievable level of oppression and terror, we have been separated for many years, and we face never-ending tyranny by the criminal elements in our government, due in large part to inaccurate news stories like your ‘Footprints in the Snow‘.

Here is a recent comment I made on YouTube videos in my ongoing effort to set the record straight here in Minnesota:

“DEAR MINNESOTANS:

Don’t be fooled.

“Parental Alienation” definitely exists and is definitely child abuse, but in this case it was used by David Rucki, his attorney Lisa Elliot, and especially by judge David Knutson and many other officers of the Dakota County courts as a smokescreen to dupe the public and hide their “case fixing” and racketeering and money laundering; nearly every case in Minnesota’s First Judicial District — family law, criminal, probate, etc. — has been “fixed” over the past few decades to maximize profits and federal funding. Billions of dollars have been extorted from Minnesotans and tens-of-billions of dollars have been stolen from American taxpayers. And Minnesota’s highest-authorities know all about it and look the other way because of all the money coming in to the state.

Do your own research. Look below the surface in the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case. Find out what Knutson and the other “case fixing criminals” did to Sandra and her attorney, Michelle MacDonald — then you will know why they are falsely accusing Sandra of “parental alienation.”

It’s a total farce. And the farce is on you, Minnesotans.

When I sent a one-page summary of my family’s ordeal, and 9 criminal complaints that I sent to Minnesota’s highest-authorities in a final attempt to stop the crime spree against my family, not knowing at the time that they are all involved in the treason. Needless to say, I received no responses or help for my suffering family, just like Sandra.

As stated in my complaints, I have evidence to prove hundreds of crimes by hundreds of officials. I was victimized in the same judicial district as Sandra. I have a growing list of other victims in this district who can attest to the crime sprees against Sandra, and me, and them, and many others who have been ripped off by “Minnesota’s case fixers.”

Please do a follow up show to correct your errors and expose the truth. I, and many others, would be happy to contribute.

A response to this email would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

John Mark Hentges
Founder of Pro Se Alliance and The People’s Branch

Read More:

Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse?

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? Did ABC 20/20 Edit Audio Recordings to Suppress Evidence of Abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki Case? Pt. 1

___________

Asking everyone to send  emails to express your thoughts, and demand answers, in regards to injustices, and numerous violations of state law, and Constitutional rights committed in the family and criminal case of Sandra Grazzini Rucki.

Learn More On How You Can Help Here,with Tips in How to Write Your Own Letter: A Call to Action: You Can Help Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Fight for Justice

 

Be Part of this Epic Fight for Justice, Send E-mails to (Plz cc to Brian4Justice@yahoo.com):

Elizabeth Vargas-20/20 host elizabeth.a.vargas@abc.com

Sean Dooley- producer 20/20 sean.dooley@abc.com

Beth Mullen- 20.20 producer beth.a.mullen@abc.com

Beau Berentson, public affairs officer for the Minnesota Courts: beau.berentson@courts.state.mn.us


James Backstrom, Dakota County Prosecutor: attorney@co.dakota.mn.us


Monica Jenson, public affairs officer for the Dakota County Prosecutor: monica.jensen@co.dakota.mn.us


Marybeth Schubert, public affair officer for Dakota County: marybeth.schubert@co.dakota.mn.us


Attorney General for Minnesota: attorney.general@ag.state.mn.us

Dave Oney, public affairs officer for the US Marshals Minnesota: dave.oney@usdoj.gov

Dakota County Judicial Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

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

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

 

 

 

Commentary: “Children and domestic violence victims die in this country every week by order of the family law courts…”

Public Domain: http://www.pd4pic.com

Public Domain: http://www.pd4pic.com

After reading this blog, Malinda left the following comment to share her thoughts regarding ABC 20/20’s coverage of the Grazzini-Rucki case, and how they have, in her opinion, “aided and abetted an abuser“.

Malinda also offers insight into how the family court system fails to protect abuse victims and their children from harm, and instead misuses its power and authority to wrongfully take custody and place the children into the care of identified abusers; at great risk to the lives of the children involved.

Malinda warns that family court failures, and the attitudes of professionals who do not protect children from abuse, will cause devastation of families, significantly hurt children and may even contribute to murder. To offer an example, Malinda discusses the horrific murders committed by Nicholas Holzer, a dangerous abuser who was given custody by a family court and went on to murder his two children, parents as well as the family pet.

Malinda says in response to Casualities of W.A.R. Radio – “Beauty and the Basketball Player” Yahya McClain Interviews Former NBA Star Joe Smith, and Minnesota Mom Sandra Grazzini-Rucki :

All parties to the case of Sandra Grazzini Rucki treated Sandra exactly the same as Juana Holzer a divorcing mother of two young boys.

Sandra and her children were clearly victims of domestic violence. David Rucki is a named identified abuser by his wife, children, restraining orders filed by neighbors and the police…all 20/20 needed to do was scratch the surface to find the truth of what David Rucki did, what he is and what he has gotten away with.

20/20 is FAKE NEW ORGANIZATION and has aided and abetted an abuser!

Read how children and domestic violence victims die in this country every week by order of the family law courts…

CASE IN POINT Juana Holzer warned Judge Thomas Anderle of Santa Barbara, CA that her ex husband Nicolas Holzer was violent with her and her boys. She said, Nicholas Holzer was a batterer. Juana stated that Nicolas Holzer had raped her and molested their young sons Sebastian and Vincent. Juana feared for the safety of her boys in the care of their father…BUT as a result, Juana lost custody of her boys to their abusive father.

Nicholas Holzer (Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office)

Nicolas Holzer (Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office)

This frightened mother reached out with the same disclosures to CASA, Child Abuse Advocates in Santa Barbara, Catholic Charities, and to a Therapy Center also in the Santa Barbara area…with no results or support. A court appointed evaluator, Dr. Gary Rick examined/investigated the parents. Dr. Rick did not heed Juana’s warnings or give any weight to her disclosures regarding her violent ex husband and the fear the boys expressed to their mother as they were forced by the court to be alone with their father.

In his findings and report to Judge Anderle, Dr. Rick named Nicolas Holzer as the better parent(!)..and Juana as a paternal “alienator.” Bingo! As thousands of safe, fit, loving parents…Juana was placed on supervised visitation, she was ordered under guard when she visited her sons because of her expressed concerns of abuse against her and her children. Juana could not afford to pay for monitored visitation, so she was cut off from her children. The court and it’s appointees interfered with and destroyed her relationship with with her sons!

In August of 2014 Nicolas Holzer, Dr. Rick’s favored parent… murdered his own parents and Juana’s sons. The sons, she could not protect. Nicholas Holzer knifed his parents and his sons to death in their beds while they slept… not even the family dog could survive Nicolas Holzer. He butchered the beloved family pet, an Australian Shepard.

All parties to the case were against the mother.. from the very beginning, the attitudes were similar to that of Ms. Elliot, Mr. Rucki’s attorney and 20/20.

 

NOTE: Juana Holzer is now suing ex-husband Nicholas Holzer, and the family trust, for wrongful death for the brutal murder of her two children.

 

For More Information on the Holzer Case:

Ex-Wife Sues Nicolas Holzer in Children’s Murders (The Independent)

Man indicted in fatal stabbing of parents, two sons and pet dog (Los Angeles Times)

Nicholas Holzer Murders (The Independent)

 

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

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

 

Read More from Michael Volpe’s investigation into the Grazzini-Rucki case: Did 20/20 Manipulate the Rucki Story to Hide Abuse? (CDN, Michael Volpe)

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? Did ABC 20/20 Edit Audio Recordings to Suppress Evidence of Abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki Case? Pt. 1

Is ABC 20/20 Covering Up Their Own ‘Footprints in the Snow’?

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? ABC 20/20's reporting on Grazzini-Rucki case raises questions about journalistic integrity (Public Domain: http://www.photos-public-domain.com)

Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? ABC 20/20’s reporting on Grazzini-Rucki case raises questions about their journalistic integrity (Public Domain Photo: http://www.photos-public-domain.com)

The thing that’s been inhibiting long-form investigative reporting is fear – fear of being sued, of being unpopular, of being criticized by very powerful groups...” –  Eric Schlosser, investigative journalist

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As the end of 2016 approaches, and a new year begins, ABC 20/20 makes one last desperate attempt to redeem themselves after host Elizabeth Vargas, and producer Sean Dooley were caught suppressing evidence of abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki case, and portraying the identified abuser, David Rucki, in a sympathetic light at the expense of the true victims – ex-wife, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and children.

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and anchor, ABC 20/20

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

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

ABC 20/20 is scheduled to re-broadcast it’s episode about the Grazzini-Rucki case, “Footprints in the Snow” (originally aired 4/8/2016) to include another interview with David Rucki, and to include updated information on the criminal trial of Sandra. Can we trust the reporting of the Grazzini-Rucki case by ABC 20/20 a second time around with so many errors in the original version of the story?

Let’s examine some additional information that may offer some clues about ABC 20/20, Vargas and Dooley in their reporting of the Grazzini-Rucki case…

#1 Making a Comeback

After Vargas hit rock bottom in her struggle with alcoholism, she needed a comeback to revive her career, and her tarnished reputation. The Grazzini-Rucki story was just that for her.

In January 2014, Vargas was forced to go public with her alcoholism after it was leaked to press. That same year, her husband asked for a divorce, without informing her prior to filing. ABC also put Vargas on notice to stay sober or lose her job. In all, Vargas had entered rehab on 3 separate occasions.

A revealing article by People magazine, published just prior to “Footprints in the Snow” describes Vargas’ struggle with alcohol and includes a statement suggesting that 20/20 had given her “another chance”. Vargas said to People, “I am really lucky, and every day I realize that more because I see so many people who don’t have family and friends who stood by them, or employers that gave them another chance..

What was that “chance”? In the very next paragraph, Vargas tells People about her upcoming story about the Grazzini-Rucki case, “Vargas’ next 20/20 special about a secret network of people who take the law into their own hands and hide children that they believe have been wronged by the family-court system airs April 8 on ABC. ‘I’ve been working on it for months’, she says…‘” Elizabeth Vargas Opens Up About Her Alcoholism (People.com)

The Grazzini-Rucki story has not even been aired yet and Vargas is already spinning the story, and promoting false and misleading information about the the case!  It was not until April 8, 2016 that Vargas interviewed Sandra and David for “Footprints”.

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Secret network? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest a “secret network” was involved in the Grazzini-Rucki case or involved in the disappearance of the eldest two daughters. In fact, both S.R. and G.R. openly admit they ran away due to safety concerns, and raised numerous abuse allegations prior to running away and after being found 2 years later. During all this time, their story is consistent, and does not change.

In November 2015, after being found living on a therapeutic horse ranch, the teens told a Dakota County social worker they would not run away again, and would even go to counseling if needed, so long as they were kept protected from their father, and allowed to stay in foster care. Once again, S.R. and G.R. were desperately seeking a way to be protected from an abusive, and dysfunctional home life with their father. The sisters asked their mother for help in the same way they asked the social worker for help.

An overwhelming body of evidence shows very clearly that abuse, and the belief they would be in imminent danger, IS what caused S.R. and G.R. to run away. Both teens said very strongly that they are not brainwashed, and have asked that their voices be heard and respected.

False allegations like these raised by 20/20 send the message that if you speak up about abuse you will not be believed. Does the public really want to see another episode of ABC 20/20 promoting this dangerous message? A louder message will be sent by those who simply refuse to watch when “Footprints in the Snow” is re-aired.

No criminal charges have been brought against a “secret network” involved in the Grazzini-Rucki case. There is also zero evidence connecting the Grazzini-Rucki case, and those charged in connection with the disappearance of the two eldest daughters, to any other case of missing children. Vargas is inventing a story, which is simply not supported by fact or evidence. Vargas has had over a year to gather this evidence, and still she comes up empty.

#2 Personal Problems

Vargas publicly admits that she suffers from “crushing” anxiety and insecurity that existed since childhood.

Is it possible that Vargas would go to great lengths to please Sean Dooley, and 20/20 because of her own insecurities, and need for acceptance and approval? Did the need to regain acceptance and revive her career cause Vargas to craft this false narrative about the Grazzini-Rucki case?

#3 Projection

Is it a coincidence that in “Footprints in the Snow” that Vargas identifies with David Rucki, a man who has also been accused of having an alcohol problem, and who has hurt his own children due to his drinking, when Vargas publicly admits to the exact same experiences?

somethingshady

David Rucki

Rucki’s criminal history is extensive, and includes being arrested for disorderly conduct back in December 1994. The significance of this arrest is that it shows a long-term problem with alcohol. The police report says Rucki was “heard shouting and screaming“, that he broke a beer bottle and was “asked to leave by staff for his excessive drinking and not having control“. In the personal description of the report police note the following: Appearance – drunk/drugged, Appearance – violent, Speech – foul, Speech – slurred. David Rucki’s Greatest Hits (Criminal Records)

Other records (numerous sources) show that all 5 of the Rucki children also have witnessed their father drunk many occasions. Social service records note that after being discovered living on a horse ranch, S.R. and G.R. were interviewed by a social worker and state that, “both girls talk about dad being drunk at times in the past...” G.R. says her father “would take her to the bar after dance or hockey…Rucki Social Service/CPS Records

In a February 2013 letter from court appointed therapist Dr. James Gilbertson to Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich, allegations the Rucki children raised about their father’s abusive behavior and drinking problem is also noted, “There are two prevailing emotional themes these children speak to: One is fear 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 that – a belief that their father is morally flawed i.e. womanizer, drinks too much…Letter from Dr. James Gilbertson to Julie Friedrich about Rucki children

Why did Vargas fail to confront Rucki with documentation proving abuse and safety concerns did exist? NONE of this documentation is discussed in “Footprints in the Snow”; yet it is publicly available and easily accessible.

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

In a parallel story, Elizabeth Vargas has publicly admitted to her own short comings as a mother when she was abusing alcohol and expressed guilt over her behavior. Did Vargas own troubled past cause her to feel sympathy for Rucki, and impair her judgment of the Grazzini-Rucki case? 

In one interview, Vargas said, “her son called her nightly glass of wine ‘Mommy’s juice’.http://people.com/tv/elizabeth-vargas-returns-to-tv-after-rehab-stint/

In another interview, Vargas admits her actions have harmed her children,Vargas doesn’t believe she ever physically endangered her children because she never drove under the influence or behaved recklessly around them. But she said her drinking may have damaged them emotionally.”

Because I didn’t physically endanger my children, doesn’t mean I didn’t devastate them or put them in danger emotionally or psychologically,” Vargas said.https://www.drugrehab.com/2016/09/09/elizabeth-vargas-talks-alcoholism-on-20-20/

Vargas also admits her alcohol problem hurt her children in another interview,”But I couldn’t stop drinking for my children. I don’t know if I will ever forgive myself for hurting my children through drinking — ever. http://www.kare11.com/entertainment/entertainment-tonight/elizabeth-vargas-opens-up-about-intense-struggle-with-alcoholism-and-anxiety-i-was-in-a-death-spin/315652736

#4 Professional Benefits

Another factor that may be influencing 20/20’s coverage of the Grazzini-Rucki case is that the news outlet has a close relationship with the therapist who conducted reunification therapy on the runaway Rucki teens.

Rebecca Bailey, Director of “Transitioning Families”, the organization that facilitated the “reunification therapy” on S.R. and G.R., is a frequent guest and commentator on 20/20. So much so that it is mentioned in her own bio: Transitioning Families – Team

For 20/20 and Vargas to admit that evidence suggests abuse may have occurred or even to raise that possibility would directly contradict the work of Bailey in the Grazzini-Rucki case. It also could undermine the cases where 20/20 had used her expertise.

ladyjusticeb

No matter what the motivations or agenda behind ABC 20/20’s outrageous coverage of the Grazzini-Rucki case are, the impact of the reckless disregard for the truth 20/20 has shown in their reporting has a far-reaching impact.

Corrupt judges and unethical family court professionals should be sent the message that when their actions hurt or endanger children and families, and when their actions overstep their professional mandates, they will be held fully accountable and face reprisal under the law. Instead, 20/20, a major news outlet, in their mishandling of the Grazzini-Rucki case, has worked to justify, and thereby embolden, the pervasive corruption and abuses of judicial power happening widely in the family court system across the U.S.

Those parents, professionals and supporters who raise concerns about what is happening in the family court system are courageous whistle blowers who often take great risks in speaking out.

That ABC 20/20 would falsely label those who raise concerns about the failures of the family court system as extremists, and exploit the tragedy of the Grazzini-Rucki case, is not only wrong but defies the purpose of investigative journalism itself.

 

UPDATE: ABC 20/20 delayed “Footprints in the Snow” and not announced when it will be re-aired. The public has flooded 20/20 with criticism for its biased reporting on the Grazzini-Rucki case, and its suppression of evidence that proves abuse has happened.

Other feedback included first-hand accounts from parents who have been involved in family court proceedings, and shared their own heart-breaking stories.

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

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

Read More from Michael Volpe’s investigation into the Grazzini-Rucki case: Did 20/20 Manipulate the Rucki Story to Hide Abuse? (CDN, Michael Volpe)