Cobb County: Need for Green to Protect Children

Can you imagine finding out that you and your children were secretly filmed because some sick person decided to use your family for entertainment?

This is what is happening to parents and children in Cobb County and in Florida:

This story is terrible enough…but can you also imagine that the COURT and Guardian Ad Litem in Cobb County would disregard this evidence in deciding whether or not to protect children?

This is why we have Court Watch invitations on these cases.  Just  recently the Court was going to consider giving un-supervised visitation to this father out on bond in Georgia, and wanted in FL on 4 counts.

Thankfully CBS and the FL news media covered this story.    

Cobb County is waking up to the fact that children are being left unprotected even in light of clear evidence and substantiated reports of abuse.  WHY?

Cobb County is waking up to the fact that children are being left unprotected even in light of clear evidence and substantiated reports of abuse. WHY?

 

The same GAL in another Cobb County case is revealing his alignment with the alleged molester, positioning himself to make more money off this case by helping to cover up crimes against children.  This is in spite of DFCS substantiating the abuse and putting a safety plan in place for the children.  This is in spite of the fact that police are currently investigating this case.  

Based on this GALs recommendation, the court may remove the protective order now keeping the children safe.  Can you guess who the GAL used to excuse the fact that he had not done his own due diligence on this child abuse case?  Dr. Howard Drutman and his often quoted “custody evaluation” that ignores all evidence of abuse.  This is the “doctor” who has no expertise in child sexual abuse and who conducted no thorough review of the facts on the case related to the abuse.  Sound familiar?

Why would these professionals do this?

Watch and learn.  Let us know how you can help, or if you have more data / cases related to this story.

This story and what the highly paid court professionals are doing here MUST count!
Why do we need your help?

If THIS evidence can be ignored in the above story, then you can see how easily perpetrators can get away with silencing their victims.  

Help Break the Silence that certain court professionals are working to ensure - - by suppressing evidence needed to Protect Children.

Help Break the Silence that certain court professionals are working to ensure – – by suppressing evidence needed to Protect Children.

 

 

Please support My Advocate Center and the Georgia Center for Children’s Advocacy by learning about the intervention needed.  

“It is believed that less than 10% of those victimized by child sexual abuse will ever tell anyone of their abuse. The result will be issues that last a lifetime.
It is imperative that we break the silence of abuse, whether it is sexual or physical, and that children are protected. If you believe that a child is being abused, or if you are a child that is being abused, please contact your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. We believe that getting this secret out into the open is the first step towards healing.”

 

Testimonials from Supporters on Facebook

A friend knows you are going through a divorce and that you’ve been displaced from your home.

But you keep to yourself the gory details, as much of it as you can handle.  Suddenly he reads something online that helps him understand what you’re dealing with.  Betrayal and shame take on new meaning, but in a way that makes him reach out to offer support.   He gets it now.  This is not your issue that you created, and he sees that you had no way to know the trap you were walking into with this “family law” situation.

You were trying to make the best of things, trying to do right by your children, while actually being guided in a way that didn’t make a ton of sense… But who are you supposed to ask?   Now it appears you are being penalized for being honest, and for NOT trying to punish your spouse for leaving you.  What gives?

Thanks to news media and social media, people like this friend are saying, “Wow, what if that had been me?  Could I have seen a way to react differently?”  And, “That guy is one of the smartest and most well connected people I know…if this can happen to HIM, then it can happen to anyone!”

Social Media is allowing us to “change the game” being played at your expense.  This friend of a Buckhead business owner is a great example of how people are opening their eyes, and placing the judgment where it really belongs.

People around you likely think there must be something wrong with you based on the look on your face, or how you sound…or maybe because of your silence.  They have no way to know the shame, the fear, the uncertainty…or that dishonest professionals may be adding to what was a tough situation to begin with.

So if you share a post about our work to help promote awareness, do not be surprised if you see something like what this person wrote to a friend in this situation:

“…why on earth should a lawyer be allowed to strip a percentage of a family’s wealth and drag out a lawsuit simply to rob a family blind when they are already in distress. It is sickening.”

Because healthcare providers and media personalities like Dr. Drew are validating the impact – and that it is NOT just “something that poor guy brought on himself” – more people are willing to learn and to support parents and children caught in unnecessary litigation.

What can you do or how can you use your voice?

Stand by people caught in a legal conflict.  You may be the only one to speak the truth, or who can make sense of what they are dealing with.

Stand by people caught in a legal conflict. You may be the only one to speak the truth, or who can make sense of what they are dealing with.

Fulton County: Pay to Play (Part Two)

 

Why raise the issue of “Pay to Play” on these child custody cases?

It’s a simple matter of the public wanting to know why the damages to good parents and to so many children are what they are during and following a legal conflict:

Some of the questions the public is asking include, “How many high-paid attorneys and custody experts does it take to influence a judge to ignore evidence and the wishes of a child?”  This is a fair question raised in Fulton, Cobb, Forsyth and Dekalb counties in similar cases involving child abuse.  It is fair to ask also, “Should this influence be allowed to stay hidden?”

It is a bigger question because many of these cases had possible outcomes that were faster, less traumatizing and expensive for the parents and children.

But the damages are not just happening to children, or around cases involving abuse.

Evidence of addiction and other misconduct / foul play is being ignored where it will allow a healthy and innocent parent to protect themselves. This is while certain professionals on those cases earn higher fees from that keeping that parent caught in the process.  It just takes lying to the innocent parent in saying “Oh, that evidence doesn’t count, or that misconduct won’t matter to the Court,” then creating more uncertainty by faulting the innocent parent instead of using available evidence, and the perfect storm is ripe for increased professional gain.

Parents are being told that the “trends” in family law mean that leaving out evidence is appropriate, and that means the financial losses & physical / emotional harm to good parents and children…is all fine, too. So we invite the press to ask, are these “trends” in line with our laws?  We know for sure they are not in line with common sense or with what our children need to be healthy and supported.

So this question on this Fulton case becomes fair game:

Does it really make sense that a GAL on a case like this one is billing over $133,000.00?    Wouldn’t the evidence on its face suffice to provide the right answers to the court?  How is this “trend” good for our children or our state?

Because of this coverage on these unusually high custody expert bills, many more cases have surfaced revealing that “things just don’t make sense” around amounts billed and by whom, and when compared to the evidence and facts of the case – and when seeing the damaging outcomes for children.

See the story posted below for the reason reporter Jeff Chirico did a follow up story on billing records and money.  Note that we have not seen one case with an innocent parent where these same professionals worked this hard to use their influence over a judge.  If they have such a case, our analysts would welcome the chance to compare billing records and the advocacy involved.

There is nothing wrong with making  a great living, or with paying experts when you need and can afford them.

The issue we are raising is that “neutral”  or “child-focused” professionals and their billing practices are doing harm in ignoring evidence that would end litigation and provide protections.

The results are reflecting that more innocent parents are being damaged in spite of evidence that supports them, while the actual perpetrators are able to get evidence ignored.  Either way the children are harmed.

Based on what we’ve seen in this case and in others, if you are guilty of something, then you have a clear path to follow in how to avoid losing in court.  Our point here is that the evidence of this case is impossible to argue with; and certain professionals are working hard to keep out the evidence, even those whose job it is to be “neutral” and to protect the child. (This statement is true and is based on the analysis of dozens of local cases, so we are not amending this statement until we see evidence to the contrary – which we hope will be the case in this next trial.)

If you are a good, innocent parent working to protect a child and to protect your rights, then hiring is a very different matter.  Having significant financial resources and connections as this father does, does not guarantee that the professionals you hire will advocate as needed on your case.  Money does not buy loyalty, but apparently it can buy a cover-up.  The cover-up can work in favor of a parent who is guilty of abuse, but in a number of cases brought to us the cover-up is done to protect a parent and professionals who have lied to police in bringing false allegations.

This means that in other cases, the professionals hired by affluent fathers are allowing their innocent clients to be set up to fail around false allegations.  So, if you are a father who has been falsely accused and lost big, do not make the mistake of thinking that this case may be like yours.  It simply doesn’t work that way – not based on a large number of case evaluations done over a period of several years.

So here is a tough question that is asked of us repeatedly:

Why is it that fathers who have been arrested in different jurisdictions, with reports of abuse substantiated, can use these professionals to hold a child hostage and harm an innocent, nurturing mother?  Then on the flip side, why are fathers who have done nothing wrong and have supported the mother and children (even in the face of adultery and addiction), being condemned and destroyed?

This is happening because it is profitable, and because there is no transparency on these cases.  The next question obviously is “where is the accountability” – does it exist?  The recording and reporting of these hearings is critical for both the public safety – especially that of children who barely have a voice to be able to ask for help – and also for the sake of the public trust in our legal system and judiciary.

If you are a professional who wants to see these cases adjudicated according to evidence and laws, and to ensure the safety of children and the rights of good parents, please look into this case and attend the hearing if possible.

If you are a parent who is uncertain about where to turn to safely navigate situations involving real or false allegations, contact us first.

* This post and this story are posted here together so that following the outcome of this case is easier.  CBS Atlanta did a thorough job investigating and reporting, and was threatened by Dr. Howard Drutman.

 

This is an excerpt from CBS Atlanta’s coverage on this story:

FULTON COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) –

CBS Atlanta News has learned attorney James Holmes is revising his $133,000 bill in a custody case, in which he served as a guardian ad litem, after reporter Jeff Chirico questioned his fees and his recommendation.

As a guardian ad litem, Holmes is responsible for advocating for the best interest of a 10-year-old girl whose identity CBS Atlanta News is withholding.

Last month, Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger ordered the girl live with her father despite allegations he had sexually abused her. Holmes and a court-appointed custody evaluator, Howard Drutman, recommended that the girl’s father receive primary custody of his daughter.

CBS Atlanta News obtained an e-mail Holmes sent to the parties, indicating his fees for working on the case from Spring 2012 through April 22, 2013 totaled $133,000.89.

Fulton County Follow Up: Pay to Play (Part One)

Update on Fulton County CourtWatch:

Please learn more about what parents go through when trying to support children who report abuse.  This article is helpful, so please click here to read.

Judge Goger allowed a hearing this past week on whether or not he will allow press to record an upcoming trial.  Good arguments were made about the potential risk of the “digital footprint” that video and audio recordings present, but risk to whom?

Is the risk greater for the experts ignoring evidence, or is it greater that the child will not get the protection and freedom deserved?   It might be worth comparing this case to others to see what these same experts are doing, and what the fallout is for the children involved.

The risk that press coverage presents is that whistle blowers might be validated, and those involved in “pay to play” might not get as much bang for their buck.

The whistle blowers around this case were certainly attacked, and even accused of conspiring with each other.   That was as interesting as claiming that “recording this hearing reduces the dignity of the court.” Opponents of the press recording said a “digital footprint equals digital ranting” and “this case already has too much attention, and too many blogs.”

The conclusion of that hearing: Judge Goger chose to use GAL Jim Holmes’ version of the Order, which said press could record the trial but only if Jim Holmes received the full recording from the station.  We are not sure how this protects the girl’s interests…or what caused Mr. Holmes to add that strange condition to the order.  To help balance out this issue, large numbers of concerned citizens will be in the courtroom recording notes on what is said and done by this GAL and other experts who are clearly not interested in supporting the evidence presented by this child and her therapists who reported abuse to the police.

Attorney Jeff Bogart is the father’s attorney.  Custody expert Carol Webb is advising the father along with his attorney.  Jim Holmes is the GAL, Dr. Howard Drutman is the custody evaluator and therapist supporting the father is Danielle Levy.  This is why recording this trial is important: What Matters is whether the judge hears an unbiased presentation of the evidence and whether the experts represent accurately what has transpired on this case.

The hearing transcript around the question of allowing press to record the trial will reflect that the father’s attorney made a clear misstatement of the facts of the case.  But his concern for the child’s future and current well-being is to be commended.  Our position is that if you are truly concerned for the child’s health, then do not misrepresent the facts, as these facts serve to ensure protection of the child.  If you mean it when you say, “She deserves a clean shot at a healthy life,” then allow her to get the right treatment and to have access to her mother and to safety.

“This is far greater than a custody case,” was another true statement made.  Where this child lives is important, and for her to be able to have her health and mother back as her caregiver are critical.  But what is being revealed in this case is more than about custody.  It raises many questions that will only get bigger throughout this trial.  When Jeff Bogart claimed in frustration, “This case has already been a CIRCUS” and “the previous press coverage was unnecessary,” he invited even more answers to the foregoing questions.

Thank you to all the professionals present who made solid arguments, and by doing so help make us better advocates here as well.  With each case that we observe and report on, we learn more and do better for both the public and for your profession.  Our collective goal should be to better support children, help parents give children their best – the best of BOTH parents – and in doing so we can help to restore the public trust.  Currently that trust has been destroyed by the professional misconduct in so many of these cases.

My Advocate Center is here to help encourage transparency, and not to incite anger or disrespect for the Court.  We do not promote rantings. Other blogs that incite negative emotion are not associated with My Advocate Center, as our focus is on solutions and clear, positive answers.  We check facts and consult with court staff, law enforcement, healthcare providers and policy makers to ensure the right perspective is presented. Our purpose is not to promote one side or the other, or to be antagonistic; it is to be thoughtful and constructive.

The point is that children deserve the truth to be heard and to receive protections where called for, regardless of who the “protective” parent is or who the alleged perpetrator is.  The family’s resources should also be preserved for the benefit of the children as well, rather than drained away and withheld from parents working to care for these children.

Where “Pay to Play” is enabled and encouraged using these custody experts and “reunification” experts, this is a problem requiring our community and state help to find solutions.

Note to good fathers: what applies here can be said for your cases. You and your kids are being hurt by the same issues.  Children are being given to unhealthy parents while good parents are being cut out of their lives.  That is a BIG problem.  Please watch our Court of Appeals and Supreme Court dockets for more on these cases.

 

Study highlights Issues that overlap Child Custody & Family Violence

An author we follow participated in this study – on a topic that does not cross your mind unless you have experienced a loss in Family Court.   The study is long but worth reading if you are concerned about how the legal process often does more harm than good where there are issues overlapping between family violence and child custody.

We are working on responses to this study, as well as additional research and case studies, and including other reports such as the study done by the CDC that reveals how far reaching these issues are in our community – not somewhere far away, but right here.  These issues are affecting your neighbors, the people in line with you at the grocery store… regardless of what part of town you live in, and possibly even in your own family.   It is uncomfortable for most of us to face, but we must if anything is going to improve for our children.  It is not some disease that we can avoid by staying close to home.

The issue is that in many cases where one party to a divorce is more vulnerable – physically, emotionally or financially – than the other party, and they are focused more on protecting themselves and their children than on understanding the dynamics of the Court system and the interactions between the “handlers” of their case, they are ripe to experience further damage.

This vulnerable party is destabilized by the other party’s ability to use influence and money – and to use their children as pawns or as a tool for control and punishment – so they fall into the trap of relying strictly on what they are told by the Legal Professionals.  Unfortunately, not all professionals who govern these cases – such as the attorneys, the Judge and the custody experts – are created equal when it comes to devotion, integrity, talent or intelligence.   It pays to do your research and not rely on advertising or appearances.

Read more here about this U.S. based study revealing facts from cases involving both family violence and child custody disputes, and then check back for more of our posts about how this issue affects the health and development of children in our society.

Here is the location of the pdf for this study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448371/pdf/0940951.pdf

To learn more about how this subject relates to a situation you or someone you know may be facing, please contact us immediately.