Exploitation: Is it Ever Acceptable?

It seems a ridiculous question to ask but when you’ve studied behavior over years and collected enough data to reveal that with certain professionals, it is acceptable to exploit a situation, a family and even a child, this question should be front and center.

We now know, thanks to law enforcement, non-profit organizations, agencies, legislators and news media, that human trafficking is a major problem. Visit here and watch this video to learn more.

The Blue Campaign video says it like it is; this is about exploitation of those who are vulnerable, and it is never acceptable, and we are all needed to stop this curse in its tracks.

How Do You Tell This Story?

There is no one way or no best way to tell the story of a man driven by others to take his life. I know, because I have been trying to explain to state leaders, media, and professionals how this is happening to good people who trust our legal system to work to protect them and their children. Challenging doesn’t even touch it.

Author Mike Volpe deserves credit for coming as close to perfect – or as close to doing justice – as one can when speaking of Chris Mackney’s early death by suicide, and how this relates to family court.

Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce

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Why should you read this book?

Because our nation is in crisis and we are losing parents and children by the thousands each year, and because the cause of loss and suffering is strange to us, hard to fathom, hard to explain…unless you experience it, or take a closer look at the numbers and the patterns behind the number.

Volpe tells this story while also providing enough detail from other cases, involving similar losses to families in several states, to open up this discussion in a way that can lead to action.

 

 

How Reading Bullied to Death by Michael Volpe Helps Us Solve a National Crisis

  by Deb Beacham

If I had not experienced myself what happened that caused a grown man, an intelligent, beloved man, to take his own life, I might respond to this tragedy by saying, “Well, there must have been something terribly wrong with him, that poor father, that caused him to do this.”

This story is shocking, outrageous and hard to believe at times, but journalist Michael Volpe does this tragedy justice in also revealing it as a very important playbook – a must read for our leaders, law enforcement, healthcare and legal professionals, and especially for an unsuspecting public. That is, for those wishing to avoid the death trap that took Chris Mackney’s life. His death and his children’s losses could have been avoided, and Volpe’s work is helping us learn from this tragic lesson.

Author Michael VolpeAdrenaline junkies will be satisfied by the intense murder mystery plot, conspiracy theorists will find new rabbit holes to plunder while others will draw hope and feel relief from having the dangers of family court spelled out as Volpe has done here.

Advocates, ethical professionals, parents and grandparents around the globe cheer, some loudly and some through tears, when investigative reporters and journalists get it right about suffering and loss being forced upon them. That is what Volpe has done in his book Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce.

The loss and suffering caused to families and children by dishonest, biased and punitive family court professionals has been described in the Huffington Post by Anne Stevenson, Tina Swithin, Randy Burton and other writers, but there has been little done to develop and leverage solutions, mostly because it is a highly controlled, convoluted and profitable system designed to prevent exposure and accountability.

Burton is correct that crimes are being committed and with no chance for accountability or recovery, but we need more than that because to stop there may leave us hopeless.

What Volpe has outlined in this book may well give us what we need to start turning the tables on those causing the damages, and that is how we are responding to his work by leveraging it along with our research at My Advocate Center in Atlanta.

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Why is it so difficult to focus on these issues, this attack on parents and children? Correct, there is nothing light, funny or charming about it, and the bad actors do not look like the mob characters we see in the movies or on television.

The lack of inaction until now may also be due to the fact that many people see this crisis as just a family problem, a divorce problem, a mental health problem, a crime problem (in another jurisdiction).  Authorities manage to in some way compartmentalize the issues into existing only under someone else’s list of issues to address. “Someone else will have to deal with this,” and, “it’s just too bad” that this goes on.

Well, that’s just not good enough, and what we now have is a runaway collection of professionals across our nation (and beyond) who put their own profits ahead of the safety and wellbeing of our families and children. The damages stretch across every social or socio-economic barrier we’ve erected and the only thing holding us back is the notion that it is someone else’s problem. We have the data, and we have Volpe’s work in this book and his series of articles that break down who is doing what, how they’re doing it as well as how they’re getting away with it.

We must accept as a society that this problem belongs to and impacts all of us, and we are all a part of the solution – we all have the ability to help turn the tables on predators who profit from undermining families and the legal system, with the worst of it being the damages to children and their parents. Everything fails and suffers from there. Just ask actor Jason Patric or actress Kelly Rutherford. Lives are being turned upside down, and simply for profit and a failure of ethics, and an abandonment of laws and duty.

The state of Connecticut at least recognized that a response was needed so it will be interesting to understand what has taken place since this public forum laid out the facts. The CT Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care & Custody of Minor Children opened up dialogue to invite “constructive suggestions about how to improve a process we all know can be made better.” That is putting it mildly but we’re grateful state leaders even opened the door and allowed public discussion on the issues. We were glad to hear that law enforcement as well decided to investigate, but the rest of us need to have staying power and need to support the authorities in continuing and expanding on this work. The predators expect us to get worn out, busy or to assume someone else has it covered.

I believe that this type of public hearing done in CT, combined with media coverage and these hard-hitting articles, are two parts of the overall solution as awareness must come first, but until now we’ve been a long way off from having enough data clearly laid out to know what should be a next step.

When Michael Volpe entered the scene and began digging into these issues, I was another person who breathed a sigh of relief, dared to hope and committed to doing what I could to empower his work. One way I could do this was to introduce him to investigative TV-reporter Nick Lulli and to help both Volpe and Lulli draw clear comparisons between cases until the specific fact patterns of fraud emerged.

Screenshot 2014-12-02 10.09.57As one reporter to another, Volpe and Lulli could dissect and debate the issues that cause most people to lose their ability to communicate effectively, let alone be able to ask for help. Lulli, during his time in Augusta, Georgia, was able to piece together several compelling reports about damages caused by outrageous and unethical professional conduct.

Volpe included some of Lulli’s work in his book, including a story about a father believed, even by the judge, to have attempted the murder of the mother and his own son by arson. By shutting down the fire investigation this abusive, wealthy doctor was able to take custody and move the children away while doing everything to prevent the mother from maintaining a bond with her children. The children disappeared from Georgia before the mother could learn they were gone, and only found out when they did not come off the school bus as expected.

What has not yet been reported on is that the mother’s attorney, who billed her close to $200,000.00 in fees, has a pattern of allowing this kind of loss and trauma to happen to her own clients, especially to women when there is violence, child abuse and/or fraud involved in the case.

This is not an isolated bad act and the damaging, fraud-related conduct continues, which is one of the key points Volpe’s book drives home.

Should plaintiff’s lawyers develop a strong stomach for seeking damages on these cases, all they have to do is ask as the claims and evidence exist in volumes large enough to put many trial attorneys to work for the next decade. Funding is being sought to cover expenses of litigation; and, this may be the only hope for these parents and children to recover.

In other cases, Nick Lulli reported about a guardian named Doug Nelson who helped attorneys throw cases whichever way was most profitable, ensuring ongoing damages, which meant more litigation and increased fees for the professionals. It is known to Georgia’s legal community that Nelson was sexually assaulting women, recommending custody for them when they complied and tearing children from them when they rejected his advances.

To date nothing has been done about the crimes of sexual assault or about the fraud committed, or about the fact that children are damaged along with both mothers and fathers, while other professionals knew about it but did nothing.

Nelson resigned as a magistrate judge but is rumored to be re-applying for similar positions.

Questions still hang in the air in Georgia, including, why are the other professionals not acting to restore parents wrongfully cut off from children who need them, and why has no action been taken to hold anyone accountable? Again, the claims for damages, the evidence and opportunity to help targeted parents and children recover are plenty; please contact MyAdvocateCenter.com if you are an interested trial lawyer or want to help see this litigation proceed.

How many more lives do we need to lose before we take action? Our answer is none. I invite you to read Bullied to Death and to contact me or reach out to author Michael Volpe, and share your response and answer to this question.

 

These journalists deserve credit for taking risk and for the positive impact they are having on people who need a reason to believe something might change for the better. This book may well save a number of lives, and it could be someone in your own circles.

It needs to be stated firmly that this story about an unnecessary and intentionally inflicted loss of life is accurate, and is best told by this journalist who is not a victim of the type of fraud seen in this case. The factors leading to Chris Mackney’s death are intertwined with crimes committed by family members, but also by crimes committed by people sworn to uphold the laws of our country. Volpe masterfully handles the critical task of dealing with both sets of crimes, while setting us up to learn from this chain of events and to hopefully empower professionals and others to prevent more tragedy.

One of my recommendations as a reporter, advocate and parent is that more news media pursue these issues, reveal the evidence and report on the foul play and professional misconduct occurring in every state and in virtually every jurisdiction.

Michael Volpe has now given you a road map and a solid starting block. So, yes, I consider this a must read, especially if you care about the impact of crime on families, children, our education system and our communities in general. This is one set of issues we can do something about in our lifetime, and we now have the blueprint for how it works.

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Why is Volpe’s book so useful for those of us driven to make a positive impact? As a journalist he puts everything into a balanced perspective and relays details of cases and the public reactions in a way that others can understand, so they can pick up the thread and run with a story should they be inclined to do so.

Since I’m both a reporter and an advocate for change, I’ll say my favorite part of the book is Chapter 12, which deals with the question Chris Mackney raised in his search for a way out – what he believed was his salvation in the child custody matter. The question: would having a Guardian ad Litem appointed to help protect his children in the court case have made a difference, as he was fighting for?

Chris Mackney died from trauma caused in family court_loss of children and rightsIn Chapter 12 of Bullied to Death, Volpe asks, “Would a Guardian have saved Chris Mackney?” If you have a family court story to tell, the answer would be a resounding “No,” unless you are one of the rare few to have a true advocate for your children.

We know it’s possible thanks to Georgia’s now retired Guardian ad Litem Julia Bloodsworth from Augusta and a small handful of her peers; it’s just unlikely that without some serious and savvy sleuth work that you’ll wind up with someone who speaks for children and for safe parents as she has done in that jurisdiction. We need more like her, and we need more trained advocates in this arena like we have in the CASA program.

 

But it is still a myth spread around to those who have not taken off the filtered lens; and some professionals will say to someone who lost a child custody dispute and can’t understand why, “Oh, you did not have a guardian? Oh my…” as if that is your answer to why you have no parenting rights or your children were left unprotected.

Attorney Randy Kessler said this to me during a post-divorce consult, and he is a nationally recognized family law attorney who caters to celebrities and is seen on Nancy Grace, so naturally I believed him at the time. It was interesting that he had his younger, junior associates in his office during my consult, so they were listening to the hard-to-digest story I told about being set up to fail, being played and manipulated by my own counsel, so that my children could be taken away and leveraged against a large financial estate. I later realized that none of the associates in the room were surprised by what happened to me in losing custody; the poor outcome was just blamed on the fact that I had only a custody evaluator and not a guardian ad litem.

It’s ok, you can laugh, as we all now know this is a just a game. A traumatic, expensive, deceptive and avoidable one, but the good news is that I was allowed to purchase my children in the process, and not only are they now doing well, they are doing well because their parents work together in spite of what happened, in spite of what the professionals did to worsen and prolong our case, increasing the expense and their profits. Compare these cases to Tammy & Tony’s story on Pro Advocate Radio about how they realized they were both being lied to by the attorneys on either side of the case in order to drive up fees by guiding the parents to destroy each other, creating an unnecessary custody fight.

Kessler blamed my attorneys Kathy Portnoy and Charla Strawser for the damages in my case because the “expert” they chose to evaluate our situation was not a Guardian ad Litem.  He said, “They should have put a Guardian on your case; I don’t understand why they did not…” He was glad to throw them and the custody evaluator Sarah Brogdon under the bus to me in person, saying Brogdon wasn’t the right expert to use on this case. “She’s not a Guardian.” And, I was told, “Everyone knows Sarah doesn’t get domestic violence,” and doesn’t care unless you are missing teeth.

However, Kessler used Guardian/Attorney Susan Hurst in another case to gather the facts and to weigh in as GALs are often judge and jury; and he allowed this guardian to suppress evidence that would have and should have ended the case long ago, without charging the family hundreds of thousands in legal fees and setting the parents up to have property liens for those fees on both of their pre-marital homes. This was a clear-cut case with the mother making false claims to police, so that they would fault the father while covering up the mother’s financial fraud and addiction-related neglect of the children.

It seems in investigating these cases that violence DOES matter to these professionals, but only when false claims can be made and leveraged to increase the expenses on the case; reports about violence are not used to protect actual victims and their children. We’ll visit more on this soon, but please keep in mind we are focused on certain professionals, select child custody experts, and because of clear patterns of wrong-doing and the fallout for families and children.

Back to the issue of what is going on that causes trauma to parents like Chris Mackney:

One question we have is whether this mother decided on her own to stage a fake domestic violence scene or if it was suggested to her, with guidance on how to go about getting a police report that they could leverage in court to destabilize the father. This happens so often and with ease due to the help provided by certain law firms, that it’s time we ask those tough questions in actual investigations with law enforcement. Women are also falsely accused of violence, of child abuse and neglect, of being “off” because of having PTSD and more.

Innocent parents should not be cut off from children, incarcerated and losing jobs and reputations, all so attorneys can maneuver to increase their fees as they complicate and prolong cases.

My opinion on that Fulton County case Kessler participated in is that the court professionals should have sought help for the mother as you would in any other situation. They had what they needed in evidence to hold her accountable, and they had a duty to protect the father from the false claims while addressing the financial fraud involved. They should have protected the children and the mother from herself, and the mother actually would have done better financially if she had taken the father’s offer in the beginning of the case. So many questions, so little time…

My Advocate Center_Book Review CThe outcome is that this mother who worked with GAL Susan Hurst as her child’s advocate wound up owing to her attorneys most of what she was awarded at the end of the case. So who wins in this one?

No one wins, except the guardian and the attorneys who guided the parents into this position. Similarly, Hurst acted as attorney for a father twice arrested for child molestation and found to have large volumes of child pornography in his possession, but Hurst’s argument to the court was not to help her client heal from sickness or to protect the child, but rather to block the testimony of police, the forensic expert & to deny the existence of the evidence, saying, this information is not relevant to this case.

Something has to give here, and it’s not the parents being tormented this way in these cases. They have given enough.

Chris Mackney, the father bullied to death in this ugly process, was much like the innocent father in Fulton County, Georgia, and like so many other fathers and mothers. He just could not know what he didn’t know, and could not understand the scope of the game being played on him or the fact that this is a creative but bold form of racketeering, which we are seeing and experiencing, but without the means to disrupt. If he had known Hurst was aggressively protecting a child molester while at the same time setting innocent parents up to fail – leaving children in harm’s way – would he have agreed to put her in a position of authority on his case?

Both fathers, one alive and one deceased, believed a guardian ad litem and the attorneys and judge would help them because that is what our laws and rules dictate. He believed in duty of professionals to advocate ethically and honestly.

Other fathers like Chris Mackney have taken their lives, including two or more in the Atlanta area, following similarly abusive child custody disputes, including one controlled by Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” King and the GAL Susan Hurst. Both mothers and fathers will tell you they have contemplated suicide, as the abuse, trauma and suffering are so severe. It is beyond difficult to explain what is happening to you, let alone ask for help when your time, your financial resources and your credibility are all being destroyed.

The worst is the grief you experience when your children are ripped from you, especially when you are the loving, nurturing, available and safe parent. The parent the children need most is often the one taken from them. This cruel activity is causing post-traumatic stress symptoms in parents and children, and most are not getting the treatment and support they need to recover. When doctors involved in these cases, like Dr. King and her partner Dr. Carol Webb, or their peer Dr. Nancy McGarrah, actively help cause this trauma and injury as we are seeing, the question is asked about whether other claims for malpractice should be considered. It is no surprise that parents are becoming reluctant to sign contracts with these doctors when the contract demands full immunity from any wrongdoing.

Yet, we see claims filed by doctors (along with Guardians) asking courts to hold parents in contempt for being unable to pay large bills, especially when that doctor or guardian helped to suppress evidence and to destroy an innocent parent.  Parents who are otherwise safe and available for the children are being pushed out, so when you see Court Watch news on social media, you’ll understand why.

Cartoonist Rick McKee of The Augusta Chronicle captures the right look on certain Guardian ad Litem faces as they over charge and under serve parents and children.

Cartoonist Rick McKee of The Augusta Chronicle captures the right look on certain Guardian ad Litem faces as they over charge and under serve parents and children.

Knowing the tactics used on parents and knowing these cases as I do, I can understand why Mackney felt his only way out was through death. Rather than leave it there, I challenge you to use what you have available whether it is intellect, your voice, talent, courage, financial strength, time, or whatever it may be to help prevent more tragedies like this one.

I am using what I have had available to me, including large volumes of evidence gathered – – and it is about the data as a shrewd legislator said to me not long ago. Standing up to bullies like you’ll read about in Volpe’s book about Chris Mackney’s experience has brought me unwanted attention, and I’ve been pulled into court to answer, “What are you doing, and why are you doing this?”  But standing up and speaking out has also opened doors.

Please join me if you have something to contribute, can spare the time and have the courage or desire to see more good people fight back against these bad acts – crimes in many situations.

The public is not allowed to know the rules of the game before becoming trapped, so at the very least we can change that. If you’ve watched the Hunger Games movie series or read the books, you’ve surely thought, “If I could just jump into the story and tell them how the game works, that they are not meant to survive…” Well, in Georgia at least, we have the evidence and the data to show that what happens on cases like these is pre-determined, intentional, but that – with help – the damages are avoidable. When you have this kind of data and proof, then you can create the opportunity to do something about it.

 

So, now that we know, let’s answer this man’s question about what would have saved him.

If Chris Mackney had seen what the cast-of-characters in Georgia have been doing, like Guardians (GALs) Janet Weinberger, Susan Hurst, Larry Yarbrough, Jim Holmes, Diane Woods, Carol Orleck, Lisa Harwell, Doug Nelson and others, to intentionally damage children and push parents over the edge, it might have saved his life. The data we have is actionable, and tragedies like his can be prevented. Worth investing in, don’t you think?

My Advocate Center_Book Review BThere is hope when strong people or media are paying attention, as Mike Volpe, Nick Lulli and The Augusta Chronicle have done. The same goes for people who invested as Joe Sorge has done with his documentary and book Divorce Corp, and the many other men and women who have investigated, reported, written books, blogs and used their voices at state Capitol buildings lobbying for protection and transparency.

Another book written to describe what mothers were being put through in Houston, Texas, is available online, called The Women of Court Watch; so this problem is decades old, and it is getting worse each year. No one is immune as we are seeing here in Georgia on these cases, and even well known, savvy attorneys on being damaged by their peers.

As it’s time we step up and address this crisis, my review of Bullied to Death is an invitation to law enforcement, professional associations – including State Bar Associations and the ABA, psychological and medical licensing boards – to sit down with those of us who have collected and organized the data to reveal actionable steps, and to start allowing our country to heal from the crimes being committed.

There are enough outraged people, there are too many torn from children, who have lost their homes, careers, health and even their lives. It is time for those of us who are capable of following through and acting on the data to do so.

Jason Patric said it perfectly when interviewed on national television about his story and case, “The family court system is broken and in my journey I have learned of so many other stories where children have lost their parents.” “I want to use my story and my name to give a voice to those who do not have one.”

Please read Bullied to Death by Michael Volpe and decide what your role or contribution can be in saving lives and turning the tables on bad actors.

Deb Beacham of My Advocate CenterDeb Beacham is an entrepreneur who specializes in problem solving for families and professionals dealing with high-conflict disputes, including divorce, child custody cases and financial matters. One of the best ways we can assist others is by uplifting ethical, talented professionals and by making sure the public knows how to find them.

Beacham founded My Advocate Center in Fall 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia, to connect a variety of community resources necessary to ensure the best outcome for children who often become pawns in divorce and child custody cases. The mission is to provide parents, professionals and policymakers clear, actionable insight that will aid the dispute resolution process to serve the best interest of the child.

Pro Advocate Radio is sponsored as a platform to keep the conversation going and to empower our community to solve the problems before us, including those presented in Bullied to Death by Michael Volpe.

Broadcasts include topics like family court conflict, domestic violence, child trafficking, unraveling financial fraud, and interviews with law enforcement and legislators on needed policy changes. As funding for solutions becomes available and as more news media pick up these stories, this will become an easier conversation!

Pro Advocate Radio: A Father’s Mission

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Court Watch: Do Georgia Predators Have It Easy?

Is being a sexual predator in Georgia just entertainment, or are we ready to call it a crime to sexually assault someone or to secretly videotape children and adults during private moments?

Three fathers in Georgia have so far avoided conviction and real consequences for alleged sexual misconduct, as has former magistrate judge and Guardian ad Litem Doug Nelson in the Augusta Judicial District.

Before we get into the specifics of these cases, we want to make sure you are aware of this video and the related document. The Georgia Domestic Violence Bench Book exists to help guide professionals in family law and child custody cases involving violence and various forms of abuse.

In the Atlanta area we are asking the question, “Should this man, William Randolph Cushen, be considered as safe for any child?” Would you leave him unsupervised with your own child or anyone else’s child?
CBS46 News

This post covers the issue of protection being avoided intentionally by certain professionals, and avoided consistently across Georgia counties in family law, child custody, family violence and child abuse cases. It touches on our analysis and reporting from the Atlanta area counties, including Cobb and Fulton counties, to the Augusta circuit including Richmond and Columbia counties. The more you learn about what it takes to prosecute offenders and to protect victims, the more you realize we clearly need more help in Georgia on abuse cases. We hear and read a lot about DFCS being blamed for situations involving harm to children due to a shortfall on caseworkers, negligence or lack of oversight, but what about cases where DFCS and law enforcement are kept out, and family court professionals are to blame?

Comparisons: Some crimes are committed and recorded – literally – which show that assault is a crime. (See Turnage and Cushen, as examples.) Others are clear as well in that ethical, credible professionals have substantiated claims of abuse, only to be blocked from testifying or ignored by the courts.

Turnage: This past year we learned this older GOP official, also a predator, was foolish enough to “play” around in front of Skype getting himself caught in the act of attempted rape.  Billy Joe Turnage, chairman of the Union County Republican Party in northern Georgia, was arrested after police responded to an ongoing rape that had been seen on Skype. (Photo removed March 2015)

Georgia just can’t help it, it seems, when it comes to sexual predators and wanting to be seen in the news.   This official and GAL Doug Nelson were caught in the act, but only one was arrested.   The one responsible for helping to commit fraud during litigation and causing damages to innocent parents – and to their children – has not been arrested, and the family court judge close to this situation said “sexual harassment is not a crime in Georgia.”  Judge Roper, what was done in Augusta is not mere harassment; it was assault and it was done in the context of coercing victims using their children as leverage.

Other judges in that area knew the Guardian ad Litem Doug Nelson was a predator, sexually assaulting mothers, throwing cases based on whether they complied or not, but they did nothing to intervene. Nothing has been done yet to correct the situation. This damaged both good mothers and good fathers. The toll on the children is still rising, but Georgia officials have done nothing so far. Some of these family court cases involve DFCS investigations, but we can show that the injury to children and parents is not related to any alleged DFCS failures. It is the family court professionals who are blocking protections.

How is it that sexual predators just have an easier time with help in avoiding prosecution? Either way this news coverage of sexual misconduct and attempted assault or actual assault is critical.  

What is hard to believe is that the Cobb County, Georgia, man – William Randolph Cushen – who secretly videotaped adults and children using the bathroom in two states is still able to avoid consequences in Cobb County Family Court while his victims await justice in the criminal court. He was able to plead out in Florida on similar charges after avoiding arrest in Georgia to be extradited to Florida, but family court professionals like Guardian ad Litem Larry Yarbrough do not appear interested in using the evidence on this case to protect the children. Certain court professionals have held the mother hostage in the legal process while waiting to see if the father Randy Cushen was indicted. They stalled decisions and protections in this case, even though there is no question that he committed these crimes, including secretly filming other adults and children.

Update: now that Randy Cushen has been indicted, we will get to see if the Child Custody expert, GAL (guardian ad litem) Larry Yarbrough and the Superior Court judge give this man free reign to continue abusing, or if they protect the children and hold him accountable. In addition to the damages caused to the victims of his crimes, and the risk to his own children, the father’s attorney and other court professionals appear to want the mother to lose her business and to be unable to provide for their children. There is still much here to investigate. One question parents and counsel might consider is whether or not to allow a criminal defense attorney who is positioned to defend alleged perpetrators (as opposed to protecting children) to be assigned as guardian, especially in cases where child abuse or violence may exist.

Case history:

MARIETTA, Ga. – November, 2013. A Cobb County man is accused of secretly photographing and recording both children and adults at a pool and in restrooms.   Investigators say William Randolph Cushen, III of Kennesaw set up hidden cameras at both a neighborhood pool and his own home. According to an arrest warrant, Cushen secretly photographed women at the pool at the Overlook at Marietta Country Club, and in a bathroom at his home on Grey Point Court.  The warrant says Cushen secretly videotaped women, men and children in the bathroom. Cobb County police would not comment about the case, citing its nature and an ongoing investigation. …Talk about being caught in the act!  

We want to bring your attention quickly to a major problem for victims and for our State leadership:  

Victims often do not get the support or protection they need, or the crime isn’t called a crime apparently until the victim is nearly dead, or deceased. This is not just because victims are afraid to speak up, and it’s not just that the evidence does not exist or hold up. This may be over-simplifying the answer, but it seems that the core issue is that it is more profitable to avoid protecting victims and to let true offenders off the hook. This is what we refer to as putting profit over protection.

Maybe the assault in front of Skype referred to here will make a difference even though police say the victim was “not physically injured,” or will this be forgotten? Thanks to this assault being seen, Billy Joe Turnage was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery and criminal attempt to commit rape.

But what about Randy Cushen’s victims? Child abuse can be prevented_My Advocate Center

When is it their turn to have justice?

Perpetrators of sexual assault, even those careless enough to leave evidence on text (Doug Nelson, GAL), on their computers (Cushen), or on Skype (Billy Joe Turnage), and even those exposed in the news media, often do not get prosecuted, and in some cases they do not face the consequences that early reporting suggests they will receive.

Two other cases we follow, one in Fulton County and another one in Cobb County, both involved investigations that led to substantiated abuse reports (one by DFCS), but the alleged perpetrators are still given either primary custody or visitation rights without any regard for the protection needed by the children.

It does seem that Georgia has a problem with tolerating sexual assault and abuse, even when the crimes and evidence are clearly identified and the victims are begging for justice (Cobb County let father John Kristofak out of jail knowing he was mentally unstable and committed to murdering his former wife).  

These are not isolated incidents and much of the injury is predictable, and avoidable.

If national news media is what is needed to make a difference, then we hope this SKYPE spotlight will serve us well!

In the meantime, please keep asking this question: is it all of Georgia leadership and all courts or agencies, or is it mostly family court professionals who put profit over protection?

Either way, KEEP THE PRESSURE ON to have predators and those who cover for them held accountable, while ensuring protections and treatment for victims.

Union County Sheriff Investigator Staff Sgt. Darren Osborn told the paper that 911 dispatchers received a report of an ongoing “assault and rape” of a 39-year-old female at Turnage’s residence last week. Osborn said that investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted two days of interviews before bringing criminal attempt to commit rape charges against Turnage.  

 

This is KEY: the GBI only needed two days to decide to bring criminal charges for the attempt to commit rape.

But in the Fulton County Superior Court case, the GBI did not follow through on twice-confirmed evidence of child pornography, and both police and forensic experts were not allowed to testify for the protection of this child. Now the alleged perpetrator is getting away with making false allegations against the abused child’s mother, and she has been run into the ground from trying through the court system to defend herself and to protect her child. 

Why should the public follow up on this particular story about the rape assault on Skype? Because other sexual assault victims in Georgia, and victims of other types of assault or exploitation, are not getting justice or any kind of protection in many cases.  If we lose interest in these stories everyone loses, especially victims of crimes. In other cases the perpetrators do not have the political pull and connections this man apparently has. So if those other offenders are never convicted and their victims do not get justice, what do you think might happen here?

In the Augusta area, mothers who were sexually assaulted by the GAL Doug Nelson during their child custody cases cannot get law enforcement to take action against this predator. This is in spite of his text messages revealing his actions and their video testimony, and in spite of the fact that there are multiple victims and clear damages.  

There is even proof that judges knew this was going on and did not intervene, ignoring the damages to both parents and to their children. Good mothers lost custody of their children when they did not comply with his demands for sex, while at least two good fathers lost their rights – and a lot of money – when the mothers on those cases allegedly complied with Nelson’s advances.  

What in the world is going on outside the gates of the peaceful and austere grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course, home to the Masters Tournament?  This can’t possible be the same place the world sees as a golfers paradise?

Back to other news: The New York Daily News and other major media outlets spent time to learn whether this is the norm in Georgia, or was this aging now-former official just that stupid on top of being willing to commit the criminal act of raping a woman?

“A Georgia Republican official is facing criminal rape charges after he broadcast on Skype an alleged sexual assault attempt, according to a bombshell report.

Billy Joe Turnage, the 76-year-old GOP chairman in Union County in northern Georgia, allegedly tried to rape a 39-year-old woman in her house — and he televised the disgusting act on the Internet, according to the North Georgia News.”

 On this AJC page covering the Georgia election updates, more is explained about how this went down – or actually went UP, as in on the air: “Oct. 22, dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 4 p.m. of what was believed to be an assault and rape,” Sgt. Osborn said. “It was being viewed via Skype. Deputies responded and I responded as well.”

Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the state GOP, said state party officials have received no communication regarding Turnage’s status. Any effort to remove him would require action at the local level, Mahoney said. A picture of Turnage and David Perdue, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, is on the Union County GOP Facebook page. It’s not likely to be there long. (If you follow up on this story, please let us know if this offender was held accountable.)

Correction: the Union County GOP Facebook page is GONE.  So apparently that is one way to rid yourself of pesky photos of predatory pals.

 

 

For now we’ll leave you with these questions:

Do victims of assault experience real damages even if they are not physically injured or if the injuries do not include physical bruising or tearing?

Do we expect our Courts and Law Enforcement to prosecute crimes and protect victims even when news media is not applying pressure?

If this kind of abuse is being reported on by news media, and victims are still not receiving any help from the courts or from state agencies, then what hope is there for other victims?