Emotional Abuse


refuseintimidated

It is important to refuse to be intimidated. That refusal must not be based simply on a calculation of the odds of succeeding.

At times, in my case, multiple lawsuits and an ethics charge seemed overwhelming, and the fact that I knew my work to be accurate and responsible was only partial solace. l was well aware that court, like the National Football League, is an arena in which, on any given Sunday, anybody can win.

The refusal to be intimidated must come, in the end, not from a sureness of succeeding but from a knowledge of the cost of scurrying for shelter through fake retractions and disowned truths. It is a question, in the end of self-respect.

Who among us could, in good faith, ever face a survivor of childhood abuse again were we to run for cover when pressed ourselves? Children are not permitted that choice, and the adults who choose to work with them and with the survivors they become cannot afford to make it. It would be a choice to become. Through betrayal and deceit, that to which we object. Our alternative, then, is not to hide. not to refuse to treat adult survivors, not to refuse to go to court in their defense, not to apologize and retract statements we know are true, but to cultivate endurance and tenacity as carefully as we read the research.”

“Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned by Dr. Anna C. Salter. Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998” https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/confessions-of-a-whistle-blower-lessons-learned/

I highly recommend “Confessions of a Whistleblower”: In 1988 Dr. Salter began a report on the accuracy of expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases utilizing experts Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield as a case study. In response, Underwager and Wakefield began a campaign of harassment and intimidation, which included multiple lawsuits; an ethics charge; phony (and secretly taped) phone calls; and ad hominem attacks, including one that Dr, Salter was laundering federal grant monies. The harassment and intimidation failed as the Dr. Salter refused demands to retract. In addition, the lawsuits and ethics charges were dismissed. Lessons learned from the experience are discussed.

About: Dr. Salter received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University and obtained a Masters Degree in Child Study from Tufts. She was a Teaching Fellow at both Universities. Dr. Salter has lived in Madison Wisconsin since 1996 and consults half time to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. In addition, she lectures and consults on sex offenders and victims throughout the United States and abroad. She has keynoted conferences on sexual abuse in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and England. In all, she has conducted trainings in 50 states and 10 countries. Dr. Salter also evaluates sex offenders for civil commitment proceedings and other purposes.

http://www.annasalter.com/annasalter/Welcome.html

(Jan 22, 2015, North Dakota) In a rare and extraordinary move, the North Dakota Supreme Court removed district court judge, Cynthia Feland, from a child custody case after it was determined her custody order was not in the best interest of the child, and that she ignored significant evidence of domestic violence.

In their Jan. 22, decision, the justices, ordered that Judge Cynthia Feland be removed from the custody and child support case of Nicholas Law and Danielle Whittet. The unanimous opinion signed by Justice Daniel Crothers read, in part, “A change of judge is ordered upon remand because of Judge Feland’s inability or unwillingness to follow our mandate, and out of concern for the tumult from and cost of litigation.”

Nicholas Law and Danielle Whittet began dating in 2010, they were never married. Ms. Whittet also has two older children from a previous relationship. In 2011 Ms. Whittet gave birth to their child. Mr. Law was proven to be the father through a DNA test.

In July 2012, Mr. Law filed a motion for custody and requested primary custody of the child. Mr. Law requested primary custody citing the Best Interest standards favored him, and a number of factors endangered the child if put in the care of Ms. Whittet.

Following a trial, Judge Feland granted joint custody to the couple and “ordered the parties equal residential responsibility for the child, each having the child on alternating weeks with exchanges taking place on Sunday”. (I will go into the evidence and arguments cited at trial, further in this article).

After the trial, in Nov 2012, Ms. Whittet plead guilty to disorderly conduct, assault and escape. The assault charge was later dismissed. The incident happened in September 2012. At 3 am, officers were dispatched to Ms. Whittet’s home because she was “very intoxicated” and was outside yelling and screaming at her boyfriend. When Ms. Whittet refused to stop screaming, the officers gave her the choice of going into detox or staying with a friend or family member. Ms. Whittet chose to go to her mother’s home for the night, where her 3 children were staying. At 4:30 am, officers were dispatched to the mother’s home. Ms. Whittet was screaming, throwing objects around the house, and had woken the children, who were witnessed to be crying. The screaming was so loud that a neighbor came to the home to investigate. The mother suffered an injury to her arm after Ms. Whittet pushed her against a bed. The mother requested that the officers take Ms. Whittet, and she was arrested.

Mr. Law then filed a motion based on the new evidence of the Sept. 2012 incident and conviction, requesting primary custody. Judge Feland denied Mr. Law’s motion and instead entered a permanent joint custody judgment.

Mr. Law appealed Judge Feland’s custody order to the Supreme Court, and won (Law v. Whittet, 2014 ND 69, 844 N.W.2d 885, filed 4/7/2014). The Supreme Court found that Judge Feland, “simply ignored the significant evidence that was favorable to Law and detrimental to Whittet” and “The district court in this case, without explanation, failed to acknowledge or address evidence which clearly indicated several of the best interest factors favored Law.”

The Supreme Court made its decision based on factors NOT considered in Judge Feland’s custody order, that were entered into evidence. Evidence included the following: Ms. Whittet lived in 10 different residences in the past 4 years, and was living with various men, at different times, who provided financial support. One of these men had physically abused Ms. Whittet’s older child. Ms. Whittet did not have stable employment.Ms. Whittet comes from a dysfunctional family background, and was found to have gotten into physical fights with her mother on several occasions; many of these fights happened in front of the children. In contrast, Mr. Law was found to have a stable job, owns his own home, and is soon to be married. Mr. Law was also has a supportive family and his parents share a close relationship with the child.

The Supreme Court struggled to understand how Judge Feland found these parents to provide an equal quality of care to the child, and struggled to understand how Judge Feland dismissed the Best Interest factors, “We are at a loss to understand or explain the court’s finding. On the basis of this record, Law has demonstrated a markedly stable home life and an extended family which has had a demonstrably positive impact on the child. Whittet’s home environment, however, demonstrates remarkable instability, averaging a move every few months, and has subjected the child to constant change and inconsistency. In addition, Whittet’s home environment subjected the child to a live-in boyfriend who physically assaulted one of Whittet’s other children, and her extended family life subjected the child to a physical altercation between Whittet and her mother requiring intervention by law enforcement and Whittet’s arrest. On the basis of the entire record, we conclude the district court’s finding that factor (d) was equal was clearly erroneous, and factor (d) favored Law.”

The Supreme Court was also troubled that Judge Feland ignored domestic violence happening in Ms. Whittet’s family, meaning the ongoing fights with her mother that the children were a witness to. (The record does not show, but evidence suggests, the children may have witnessed fights between the mother and her various live-in boyfriends).

Judge Feland found that neither party engaged in domestic violence and ignored Ms. Whittet’s troubled history with her mother. The Supreme Court argued that domestic violence statutes (N.D.C.C. § 14-09-06.2) require the Court to consider violence on a family or household member and that “the legislature intended the factor to apply whenever violence is directed at any member of the household or family, and domestic violence is not confined to instances in which the child or one of the parties is the direct victim of the violence.” Further, “A trial court cannot simply ignore evidence of family abuse, but must make specific findings on evidence of domestic violence in making its decision on primary residential responsibility.” Which means that even if the statute did not apply, Judge Feland should have considered the violent altercations between Ms. Whittet and her mother when making a custody determination. Also supporting this argument, is that the children were being cared for by their maternal grandmother at different times, and Ms. Feland’s acts of violence directly impacted the well-being of the children. Clearly, the children were put in the middle of these disputes, and had suffered emotional distress–and were at risk for real physical harm. (Just my thoughts–if the mother has this chaotic of a lifestyle, she should be required to sober up, and demonstrate stability before having any extended visitation with the child. This is clearly a case where supervise visitation is warranted).

The Supreme Court found that Judge Feland’s ruling was “clearly erroneous” and remanded with instructions that Ms. Law be “given primary residential responsibility of the minor child and to consider limited parenting time for Whittet”. The safety of the child was a major factor in the ruling, the Supreme Court writes, “In determining a parenting time schedule for Whittet, the court must bear in mind the presumption that any domestic violence, even if not directed at the child, negatively affects the best interests of the child. Accordingly, the court should consider limited parenting time for Whittet.”

Instead, Judge Feland drafted an order that required Mr. Law to pay child support, and gave Ms. Whittet parenting time with the child every other week. “Primary custody” means one parent has custody of the child more than 50% of the time. Further, Judge Feland issued an award of child support, with Mr. Law paying the majority of support, which did not support the fact that he has been awarded primary custody. The Supreme Court found that, “The child support was not calculated in proper consideration of the primary residential responsibility award to Law. The district court did not carry out the terms of this Court’s mandate.” In essence, Judge Feland’s custody order did not truly reflect primary custody, and continued to put the child at risk.

Mr. Law then went back to the Supreme Court, seeking relief because Judge Feland had not followed the ruling (Law v. Whittet, No. 20140268, filed 1/22/2015). The Supreme Court sided with Mr. Law, and ordered the removal of Judge Feland from the case, “A district court amended judgment will be reversed and remanded for failure to follow the mandate of the Supreme Court. A change of judge may be ordered on remand when a judge is unable or unwilling to follow the mandate of the Supreme Court.”

Ms. Whittet has two older children, it has not been made public if those children remain in her care.

About Judge Feland: Cynthia Feland is a judge for the North Dakota South Central Judicial District seat 5. Her current term will end on January 1, 2017. Prior to her election to the court in 2010, Judge Feland was an assistant state’s attorney for Burleigh County for 11 years. She was the Grant County State’s Attorney from 1992-1998, also worked in private legal practice in Mandan.

Prior Misconduct: November 2011- The disciplinary board of the Supreme Court investigated Judge. Feland and determined misconduct for an incident that happened when she was as an assistant state’s attorney. Judge Feland did not reveal a document during the prosecution of the director of the North Dakota’s Workforce Safety and Insurance agency, Sandy Blunt, who was accused of misspending funds. Blunt was convicted of a felony which was upheld by the North Dakota Supreme Court. Blunt says that Judge Feland withholding the document contributed to his conviction.

The North Dakota Supreme Court ordered that Judge Feland be admonished and that pay half of the expenses of the disciplinary investigation (about $5.600). Judge Feland denies any wrongdoing.

Sources: Law v. Whittet, North Dakota Supreme Court Opinions, No. 20140268, 1/22/2015 : http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20140268.htm

Law v. Whittet, North Dakota Supreme Court Opinions, No. 20130241, 4/7/2014 : http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20130241.htm

Judgepedia: Cynthia Feland: http://judgepedia.org/Cynthia_Feland

“N.D. Supreme Court removes judge from custody case” by Andrew Sheeler, 2/3/2015, The Bismark Tribune: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/n-d-supreme-court-removes-judge-from-custody-case/article_1e441522-d7d4-503c-a399-fa1adf646c54.html

Covert manipulation is a tactic used in corrupt family courts…

Are you involved in a family custody issue, and it seems your divorce or child custody issue got ten times worse since the litigation began? Do you feel that you aren’t being heard, perhaps your words are being twisted and used against you? Has a Guardian ad Litem, Mediator, Evaluator, Judge or other court personnel taken sides and seems biased against you, that no matter what you do or say, they always side against you? As a result of the court proceedings do you feel overwhelmed, yet unable to talk about what is happening in fear that what you say may be used against you in court, that you may lose custody or parenting time with your children? Do you feel abused, have high levels of anxiety, fear for the safety and well-being of your children?

So what is happening? Are these thoughts and feelings all in your head OR is something more going on…

Covert means secret, a hidden agenda. Manipulation is using words, gestures, behavior to provoke a reaction, get a particular response or send a message (usually a threatening message). Covert Manipulation is using and taking advantage of people through deceptive, implied or subtle methods; the perpetrator is usually in a position of power over the victim. Covert manipulation is a direct attack against your judgement, thoughts and personal identity.The intent of covert manipulation is to gain power and control over a targeted person, and to get that person to do things they would normally object to by breaking down their will. Covert Manipulation is so underhanded that the victim may not initially detect that they are being played, and may feel they are the cause of the problems–or may even feel that they are going crazy! According to Dr. Simon, “Covert-aggression is at the heart of most interpersonal manipulation. What the artful, subtle fighter knows is that if they can get you to doubt yourself, feel like you have to explain yourself, and question your perceptions and judgment, there’s a good chance they can get you to back down, back-off, or better still, cave-in…”

Used in family court, covert manipulation can be used to force the targeted parent to agree to a custody or legal issue they would not normally agree to (which happens under extreme duress or pressure). Covert manipulation may be used to threaten a person into silence–to back down from filing complaints against court officers, to remain silent about abuse, to stop questioning the actions of the court. Covert manipulation may be used to influence rulings. Or gain the sympathy or support of professionals and experts involved in your case so they take one side or play into the agenda of the manipulator. Covert manipulation may even be used to turn your children against you.

Common Tactics of Manipulators in Family Court Include:

#1 Turn on the Charm aka “Love Bombing”
How this works: At your first meeting with the Manipulator, they appear to be extremely pleasant, sympathetic, interested in what you have to say, encouraging you to come forward with information. They work to get you talking, and take notes on everything you say. They show fake sympathy for you and your children. They may try to impress you talking about their professional experience or background.
The Intent: To win your trust, and get you to divulge information. Sociopathic manipulators enjoy the “hunt” — preying on people to win their trust, and having the power to destroy their victims by using their trust against them.
How You Can Protect Yourself: Understand that anything you say or do to Court Personnel can be used against you. Consult with a legal professional, advocate or other professional to prepare for any meeting with a family court officer. If you don’t have a lawyer, speak with someone you trust. Prepare an outline or notes of what you plan to discuss, and possible responses to tough questions. Remain neutral, as the Manipulator may use emotion against you. Do not disparage your ex, and if you have concerns, try to get as much evidence or proof as possible to validate your concerns, reference that evidence or collateral contact in your comments. You may also consider have a witness come with you to any meeting.
Important** You are the best advocate for your family–you may also consider sharing brief information about the strengths of your family, the things you enjoy, and other positive attributes.
As human beings, we have a natural need to talk about our feelings, and the issues affecting our lives. I cannot state strongly enough– DO NOT vent, confide or seek the confidence of anyone in family court working on your case! You must remain professional at ALL times. If you need to talk, seek the counsel of someone you trust–friend, family, religious support, support group etc. Also discuss confidentiality with your counselor, and how your records are protected from family court litigation, what would be released and why etc.

#2 Lying, Manipulating or Twisting Evidence to Make You Look Unfit, Crazy, Like an Abuser or to Portray You as Being the Sole Source of ALL the Problems in the Family (Which justifies the actions later taken against you.. this is commonly done when a parent is labelled with Parental Alienation Syndrome, a Malicious Mom etc)

How this works:After the target parent has confided in the Manipulator or shared sensitive information, they will be ambushed when the Manipulator twists the information in such a way that the targeted parent did not intend. The parent becomes the target–falsely accused of being mentally ill, an unfit parent, making up abuse allegations, etc The Manipulator may used information shared to shock or silence a parent so they can be easily controlled. The trust you had in this person is totally shattered as their agenda begins to unfold and they work against you–inventing evidence, violating the law, refusing to communicate, and other actions where their sole pursuit and interest is about their own agenda, not the well-being of your child or your family.
The Intent: Manipulators fight dirty. They will break the law and ethical rules of their profession. They will lie. Accept bribes. Use political connections against you. Threaten you. Impose financial sanctions. Impose gag orders. Force you into mental health treatment you do not need.
How You Can Protect Yourself: There is nothing you alone can do to appease the corrupt Court Officer. You cannot fix things. You cannot impose justice in the Court. It does no good to play their games. It is better to detach, and focus on your goals and stay true to what you are fighting for.

#3 Provoke a Reaction, Provoke Strong Emotions then use those reactions against you
How this works: These expert manipulators use the appearance of power over you to push buttons, provoke a reaction and even use your children as pawns in an attempt to get you to lose control. If you are emotional and unguarded, you are not only vulnerable to their manipulation but unable to protect yourself (those without legal representation are especially vulnerable). Threats are common–including threats of loss of custody, threats to limit access to the children, threats to send your children into state care. Other times, the Court will not allow you to speak or allow you to present evidence.
The Intent: If the Manipulator cannot prove their false allegations against you, or is called to produce evidence, and none exists their only hope is to make you look bad so you give them the material they need. Others enjoy watching people suffer. Prejudice and bias may also shape their behaviors.
How You Can Protect Yourself: Document everything, and keep your paperwork organized so it is easy to refer to. Bring witnesses to meetings or court appearances if possible. Bring comfort items to court to help you deal with stressors. Comfort items should be routine items, not detectable, but whose significance is known to you. Examples: a photo of your children taped to a folder, essential oils dabbed on the wrists, wearing religious or spiritual jewelry, taking a deep breath as needed, saying a Bible verse or positive afir
Trust your instincts. Take the time to repair your self-confidence, and participate in activities or surround yourself with people that boost your self-esteem. These are important to developing your instincts, and developing a strong resistance–both need to protect yourself from Manipulators.

#4 Controlling How You Think and Feel
How this works: The Manipulator is hypersensitive to everything you say and do, followed by an implied threat or real harm if you do not comply or meet their expectations. Harm can take many forms– financial sanctions, loss of custody, loss of visitation with children, jail time, loss of your reputation..not to mention the emotional battering, trauma, and real injustice/violation of the law that also occurs. Abuse victims forced to interact with their abusers often suffer further abuse, some are even murdered. In turn, you become hypervigilant, anxious, self-critical and unable to think without judging yourself against their standard; your thoughts and emotions are being controlled.

Another tactic: A seemingly innocent action or word will be exaggerated or result in harsh consequences so, to protect yourself, you avoid that action, thought, behavior or others like it. Example: A parent is told their religious or cultural beliefs are evidence that they are “crazy” so that person stops participating or avoids normal activities for their religion or culture.
The Intent: To gain control. To break down your resistance. To normalize, and get you to accept the abuse and injustice perpetrated against you. To avoid responsibility, and trick you into thinking you actually did or said something wrong.
How You Can Protect Yourself: Stop blaming yourself! When you feel guilty, overwhelmed, anxious or want to blame yourself…STOP. First, take a moment to ground yourself--go for a walk, call a friend, exercise, listen to music, read a book, etc. This will move you from hypervigilant to a calmer, more rational state of mind. Then ask yourself what are you blaming yourself for–does it make sense? Are these actions a normal human being could accomplish? What were your intentions? How did the other person make you feel? Was the other person treating you fairly, with respect? Asking questions generates critical thinking, it sparks judgment. With judgment, you will be better equipped to see the manipulation, and protect yourself from it. If there is something you did, of course deal with that. But if you are blaming yourself for irrational things, totally out of control, or things based on lies–recognize the manipulation for what it is, and put the blame where it belongs–on the abuser. If you find yourself going into self protection mode, or retreating to tactics you used while in an abusive relationship, that is a huge red flag that you are being mistreated.

FOR MORE INFO:

“Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics” by ‘Psychopaths and Love’: http://psychopathsandlove.com/covert-emotional-manipulation-tactics/

“Eight Easy Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator” by Fiona McColl & Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com): http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/eighteasyways.shtml

“Throwing You on the Defensive: The Covert Art of Coercive Manipulation” by Dr. George Simon, Jan 24, 2014:

“23 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics” by Psychopaths & Love: http://psychopathsandlove.com/covert-emotional-manipulation-tactics/

As many as 10 million children per year witness or are caught in the middle of domestic violence. Domestic violence, and the resulting trauma, has a profound effect on a child’s physical, emotional, behavioral and social health. Children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence commonly suffer from: anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of guilt/remorse.

A relationship with a stable, caring adult is one of the most important factors in a child’s recovery from abuse or trauma, and can help to break the cycle of violence.

Some tips on how you can best support an abused child, and be a positive role model :

*** If you are working as a mentor, “Big Brother/Sister”, peer support, spiritual support, advocate or family/friend to this child, be consistent in scheduling regular visits. Don’t over commit your time then miss a visit. Don’t schedule a large number of visits then decrease the visits unexpectedly. Consistency is crucial to a child’s sense of safety—so schedule visits on a regular basis that is realistic to what you can offer, and what your time/energy allows for. Then put those visits on a calendar so the child knows what to expect, and can plan for your visit.

*** Working with an abused child can be triggering, exhausting or very emotional for the support person—so make sure you are caring for your own physical and emotional needs. This may involve a “check-in” with your supervisor. Or taking classes or attending support groups with the organization you are working for. Or it may involve self-care such as taking a walk/exercise, listening to music, reading, enjoying a hobby etc. If you feel the need to talk about your day, keep the privacy of those you are working with—do not reveal their real name or sensitive personal information about their case or family situation. If there is an urgent issue, go to a supervisor for help, if there is no supervisor you may consider calling a domestic violence shelter for advice or calling 911 in an emergency or if you feel the child’s life is in danger.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline for victims is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or http://www.thehotline.org. Information about local is also available through the hotline.
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Crisis Counselors Available 24/7 or http://www.childhelp.org/

*** Use community resources as needed, this may include children’s support groups for victims of abuse, parenting classes, religious/spiritual support, food shelves, housing support, case management etc.
A good place to find resources is United Way 211: http://www.211.org/

*** Creating a welcoming, child-friendly environment will reduce anxiety and help foster trust. This may include offering toys, books or games (that are non-violent). Opening a window to allow sunlight in the room. Including pets in the visit. Greeting the child in a way that is comfortable to them—soft voice, smile, avoiding direct eye contact, calling them by a preferred nickname etc (you will learn these over time, as your relationship grows). Or being sensitive to cultural needs. Be consistent in your routine. Allow the child choices. And be open to trying new things, in a creative way.

*** Listen with an open, neutral ear. Refrain from judgment, shame or blame. Be open to hearing the child’s unique way of expressing themselves– their voice may not come out in a direct conversation but may be revealed in a game, in playing with toys, relating to a song or art/drawing a picture etc.

*** Domestic violence and trauma can affect a child’s mood, behavior and ability to socialize. If needed, develop a “safety plan” with the child, their parent(s) and therapist to address behavioral problems if they arise. Work with parent(s) and care providers to become aware of the child’s emotional or behavioral issues, their triggers so you can better meet the child’s needs.

*** “Kids Helping Kids: A Guide for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence” by Mental Health Programs, BC Children’s Hospital is a valuable resource and support for kids, parent(s) and caregivers.
“Kids Helping Kids” offers testimonies about domestic violence told by children in stories and pictures, which validates to children that they are not alone, and the feelings they have are okay.
“Kids Helping Kids” offers tips on how to support abused children, and gives general advise on commonly available community resources. It also offers child-friendly tips on how to talk to children about their feelings and the changes happening in their family.
I highly recommend “Kids Helping Kids” – it’s written in child-friendly manner to educate children about abuse and help prepare them to cope with the trauma, and the changes occurring in their family (which may include out of home placement or court involvement).

Any more tips? Please share your thoughts, resources or links in the comments box!

For More Information and Tips:

“Helping Children Exposed to Domestic Violence”. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “Facts for Families Pages”, #109, April 2013: http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Helping_Children_Exposed_to_Domestic_Violence_109.aspx

“Honor Our Voices: A for Practice When Responding to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.” Presented by MINCAVA, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare and Avon Foundation for Women: http://www.honorourvoices.org/docs/GuideforPractice.pdf

“How Can I Help a Child Exposed to Domestic Violence?”. National Online Resources Center on Violence Against Women, Casey Keene, 1/2/2013: http://www.vawnet.org/news/2013/01/child_exposed/

“Kids Helping Kids: A Guide for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence” by Mental Health Programs, BC Children’s Hospital:
http://bcsth.ca/sites/default/files/Kids%20Helping%20Kids.pdf

Talking to a “Protective Mother” Who Lost Custody of Children
Due to an Unjust Court Ruling: 10 Comments to Avoid & Why

PART TWO COMMENTS #5-1

These tips are for family, friends, community supports, professionals and others who are in a position to help or support a “Protective Mother”. It is devastating for a Mother to lose custody of her children—especially in a family court proceeding where she may feel victimized, violated and abused (and there no recourse for justice). Those closest to the Mother often struggle with what to say or how to help. Sometimes comments made to help actually hurt the Mother. Other times, those making comments struggle with their own emotions and/or grief and their actions and behavior causes hurt or harm because they are also struggling or don’t know what to say. Some just don’t believe that a court of law would make a mistake, and believe the Mother must have done something wrong to lose custody. These 10 Comments are commonly reported among Protective Mothers to be hurtful, and traumatic. I am sharing these comments to raise awareness, and offer tips on how to better offer emotional support to Protective Mothers.

grief

5. Don’t tell a Mother how you want to hurt or get revenge on the ex. And don’t vent or dump anger, hatred or plotting revenge onto the Mother. This happens when a Mother tells her story and there is a strong reaction that involves harming the ex or fantasies of getting back at him.
The Reality: Holding in hurt, anger, hopelessness and other feelings intensifies those feels, and will ultimately cause more hurt and pain in your life—or that of someone else if you lash out. Words and actions to hurt or get revenge on an ex will negatively impact the custody case of the Protective Mother, and may cause her to be punished by the Court—even if she did not commit any crime or wrongdoing.
I heard a lot of anger towards my ex after I lost custody of my children; it made me afraid of talking about my situation because I felt I had to take care of and protect my friends and family members from the bad news. As a result I felt alone. Or hearing intense anger about the abuser intensified my own feelings or triggered memories of abuse.
If you are a friend or family member of a Protective Mother, and witnessed her being abused or losing custody, it is normal to feel empathy—to feel hurt, anger or frustration but don’t dump or project those feelings onto the Mother of the ex. Recognize that in your role as a support, at times, you will need support or rest—the loss of the child and trauma of family court will affect you as well.
Another tip: Take time for hobbies, recreation, social activities and other activities that are important to you, don’t withdraw or isolate. It is important to have an outlet, and to keep a connection to the things that bare a positive for you. When you can use your energy in activities or ways that make you feel good about yourself, or offer a way to vent frustrations in a safe, healthy way—that will help you work through the pain and hurt, and lead to healing. It may also be something you can enjoy together with the Protective Mom, and be another way of offering support.

4. Don’t completely Ignore the Situation and Act Like Everything is Fine.
The Reality: Acting like everything is fine, and ignoring the most traumatic loss a Mother can experience—her children—IS NOT HELPFUL! This will make a Mother feel alone, isolated and that she has no one to turn to for comfort or support. It is better to be honest and up front about your own feelings and limitations, so the Mother knows what to expect.
Then again, if the family or friends are acting like the loss of your children is no big deal, and seem unable to empathize with you, this may indicate an unhealthy relationship. You may have to reconsider this relationship and what your role in it.

3. Should’s… Don’t tell a Mother what they “should” have done differently in Court or in their marriage/divorce. Or criticize the mom’s lifestyle, appearance, employment, religion, etc. to excuse/blame/justify what happened.
The Reality: See #6. Similarly, don’t give a Mom “shoulds” if her appearance, demeanor, habits etc change after losing her children. Be understanding the loss of a child is incredibly painful and traumatic
—it feels like a death even though your children are alive, especially when you cannot have contact with those children. So be sensitive and understanding to the needs of the Mother, and allow her time to grieve and process. If you see the Mother is struggling, gently ask to help or offer support but also respect her answer, don’t force yourself onto her. I remember that after I lost my kids, my church sent me a postcard that said “We prayed for you” and the prayer team signed their names to it—that meant so much to me. Simple gestures go a long way, and one of the most profound gestures is loving acceptance. Give the Mother your love and acceptance—not your “should’s”,

2. Comments that you must have done something to make the Court take your kids/Good moms don’t lose custody of their children. Comments that Insist a Mother must “prove” her case. Examples: I don’t believe you//Judges would never award custody an abuser/Courts are always fair etc …

The Reality: Fit, loving Mothers who are primary caregivers lose custody at alarming rates—this is happen across the US, and all over the world. Your initial reaction may be disbelief, and for good reason, but don’t project that disbelief onto the Mother—take some time to process your own feelings before approaching the Mother or take time to educate yourself on the issues. The Mother will be hurting, and will need your support. The questions you have are probably are ones running through the Mother’s mind over and over. And are questions family court reformers are struggling with now. Even if you don’t have the answers for what happened in court or in her custody situation, focus on what you do have control of and ways you can offer support or help—make a cup of hot chocolate, suggest a support group or day at the spa, lead a prayer, bring her a meal, offer to help with housework.. etc When the Mother is ready, she may open up and talk more about her situation, for her to do that she must have trust in you, and feel safe. That process begins with offering support, and being present with her in her pain—not questioning, just being available.

1. Don’t say or do things that jeopardize the current custody case, custody situation or the Mother’s relationship to her child(ren).
This may include: Social media posts that threaten, criticize or harass the ex. Contacting the ex or making deals in order to see the children (or for other reasons). Publicly criticizing the Mother or showing a lack or support. Not respecting the Mother’s wishes or requests regarding her children or need for privacy. Breaking court orders. Talking negatively about either parent in front of the children. Putting the child in the middle of the custody dispute. Attending court hearings and showing emotional displays or outbursts in court, threatening either party, being disruptive or dressing provocatively in court. Publicly criticizing, harassing or naming the judge, attorneys, or other involved parties. Publicly naming the children, and revealing sensitive information about abuse allegations or information that should be private (legal name, address, date of birth, where they live, etc). Getting revenge on either party.

The Reality: DO NOT take the law into your own hands! Even though the Court situation can seem hopeless or that there is no justice, do not make it worse with aggressive, hostile or crazy behavior and actions that may cause the Court to further punish the Mother or restrict her parenting time—this is NOT helpful.

Consider seeking support and finding a safe outlet instead. Support may come from friends, family, community. Church, Professional help (lawyers, support group, counseling, religious support, classes, grief group etc).

Lisa Copen Quote

Talking to a “Protective Mother” Who Lost Custody of Children
Due to an Unjust Court Ruling: 10 Comments to Avoid & Why

PART ONE: COMMENTS 10-6

These tips are for family, friends, community supports, professionals and others who are in a position to help or support a “Protective Mother”. It is devastating for a Mother to lose custody of her children—especially in a family court proceeding where she may feel victimized, violated and abused (and there no recourse for justice). Those closest to the Mother often struggle with what to say or how to help. Sometimes comments made to help actually hurt the Mother. Other times, those making comments struggle with their own emotions and/or grief and their actions and behavior causes hurt or harm because they are also struggling or don’t know what to say. Some just don’t believe that a court of law would make a mistake, and believe the Mother must have done something wrong to lose custody. These 10 Comments are commonly reported among Protective Mothers to be hurtful, and traumatic. I am sharing these comments to raise awareness, and offer tips on how to better offer emotional support to Protective Mothers.

What is a “Protective Mom”?: A Protective Mother fights to protect her child(ren) from domestic abuse that occurred in their relationship with an ex spouse/partner. After the Mother escapes the abuse, an abusive ex often uses legal proceedings to intimidate, control, or retaliate against her. Protective Mothers raise concerns about abuse in family court only to lose custody, parenting time and/or rights to her child(ren) due to corruption and systematic failures in family court. Children are then vulnerable to further abuse, and forcibly separated from a fit, loving mother.

These comments are not meant to generalize all custody situations but to explore how domestic violence and controlling behavior does not simply end with the relationship but continues, and even escalates, after the victim has left—and how family members and friends struggle with how to best support the Mother, who is further devastated when an abusive ex gains custody of her children.

10 Comments to Avoid & Why

10. Do Not make a “deal with the devil” to gain access to or contact with the children, who are now in the custody and control of the ex.

An abusive ex may engage the support of a concerned friend or family member—he may lie, manipulate or use the children as pawns to win their trust and gain an “ally”. Why? Once the abuser has won the support of someone closest to the Mother, he will use that person for his own reasons—which may include isolating the mother, gaining an “ally” to fight against the mother, getting information about the mother or otherwise escalating the control and abuse. An abuser will never see these people as a friend or family member, they are just serving his own needs.

Do NOT negotiate with an abuser to gain access or visitation with the children; this may pose a safety risk to both Mother and Child, and may damage her custody case/situation. This includes: Giving emotional, financial or other support to the ex to gain access or visitation with the children. Testifying in court or providing statements to professionals on behalf of the ex. Violating court orders (which often jeopardizes the Mother’s case and/or custody arrangement). Not respecting the wishes or preferences of the Mother. Criticizing, bullying or pressuring the Mother into unsafe situations so you can gain access to the children. Offering support or help to the Mother than taking it away in order to compel her to do what you want. Not being understanding or supportive of a Mother’s custody arrangement or time with her children (putting your needs and wants first). Etc

The Reality: You may feel justified to take these actions because you want to continue your relationship with the children but what you are doing is causing more harm to the family, and showing the children that abuse is acceptable. A child who has been a victim of domestic violence or witnessed it, knows something is not right in the home. A child also knows something is wrong when their Mother is taken away, suddenly and without explanation. To see a loved one make deals and become allies with an abuser enforces to that child that they cannot trust adults, and that coping with abuse involves appeasing the abuser. This will only cause more pain and hurt in the child’s life. Especially if your actions contribute to the child becoming alienated from their Mother, or result in the Court restricting her parenting time.

Instead, take a stand against abuse. Model healthy, appropriate behavior in your words and actions. Be a source of support to Mother and Child. A safe haven. Someone they can trust or rely on.

If you are a friend or family member who is hurting or grieving because an unjust court order forcibly took a child from your life, and gave custody to an abuser, the answer is NOT seeking an alliance with the abuser. There are other ways to maintain the bond that has been broken (although that will be different from the relationship you once shared), and also receive the support you may need. Ideas include: come together as a family, as a community to seek support or comfort in each other. To share special memories. To grieve, and heal. Go to court with the Mother to offer support. Start a fundraiser to help with legal costs. Pray. Seek a support group. Volunteer to fill the void, and use those same energies in a positive way. Find ways within the Court order to maintain contact with the child (regular phone calls, e-mail, letters, spending holidays together, etc.) Most important- do not accept, appease or tolerate abuse.

9. Comments that the Mother just needs to “move on with your life”, “get over it” or “forgive/make peace” etc
The Reality: For a Mother, her children are an inseparable part of who she is, what her life is—she carried them in your body for nine months and nurtured their life. She nursed them through sickness. Prayed over them. Poured her love, energy and soul into her children. A child can never truly be separated from their mother—she will always carry a part of her children with her. A Mother does not move on, or forget or make peace after the loss of a child. Her world is totally shattered, never to be put together in the same way again. The Mother may experience nightmares, fits of crying, depression, anxiety and physical illness and other physical or emotional symptoms because of the loss and grief. The loss of children due to an unjust court situation is made even worse when the Mother believes her children are not safe, when a dangerous abuser wins custody.

To tell a Mother to just “move on” or “get over it” implies that she needs to accept the abuse and injustice and just go back to life as normal; this is extremely damaging. It is better to just to be honest about what you are thinking and feeling. If you hear a Mother’s story and just don’t know what to say or how to comfort her, admit that you don’t have the answers or you don’t understand or you don’t know what to say; that is understandable.

If you struggle with what to say to a grieving Mother, try another approach. After I lost my children, I had a friend who never had children, and didn’t really know what to say or how to approach the subject of abuse with my ex, and losing custody of my children. He would offer to take me to a coffee shop, where we would hang out playing checkers, or sometimes we just sat at a park, in silence. Knowing I had a friend to just be there gave so much comfort. It was nice to have the presence of a caring friend who didn’t judge or ask questions or pressure me to do anything. When I felt comfortable I would talk. Other times I just needed a distraction.

Just being present, offering a shoulder to cry on, or welcoming a Mother into your are good ways to show support—open displays of support and affection can are as important as words. If you don’t have the words, try giving your support with loving actions or demonstrations of care (and respect her choice whether to participate or not).

8. Comments that it must be nice having “a break from your kids”.
The Reality: See #9. Protective Mothers who are forcibly separated from children due to unjust family court rulings experience considerable trauma and grief—they may not see their children for weeks, months, years and some lose all contact with their children. Other Mothers are subjected to further abuse, intimidation, humiliation and controlling behavior from their abusive ex partner when attempting to see or contact children. It is important to offer emotional support to a Mother based on where she is, do not project your own feelings or ideas onto her—and do not vent your own frustrations about your children onto her. Be there to listen, offer a hug, pray or whatever else the Mother is comfortable with. Let the Mother express what is needed, and respect her boundaries. Most important, understand this is a significant loss, very painful to endure.

7. Comments that involve spiritual or religious advice based on opinion, judgment or assumption. Examples: This is “God’s will”, “If God wants you to have your kids back, He will make a way”, You are being “punished” for a sin or other wrong, “God hates divorce”, and “You are being tested” etc.

It is normal to question why bad things happen in this world—why there is abuse or injustice, why bad things happen to good people. It is normal to wrestle with faith at times, to struggle with thoughts or emotions; especially at times you are struggling with or dealing with situations beyond your control. But it is not okay to vent your frustrations, emotions, or other personal issues onto another person—especially some who is vulnerable, and struggling, like a Protective Mother. When someone is struggling or hurting, they need compassion not judgment, shame or religious clichés. If you cannot offer that support, it is better to be honest, and set a boundary rather than say or do something that will negatively impact someone else. Seek help from a church leader or other community resource as an alternative but be open to what you can help with, or how you are able to give.

Similarly, churches and congregations are supposed to be places of refuge and support for needy people. If you find someone hurting, crying, or reacting poorly to advise you have given, it may be time to examine your message, and what you are offering. If you cannot offer the support that is needed, be honest, and help find another resource. And be open to growth in yourself, and in your church as a whole—which may involve further education, support from another church/organization or working together as a whole to meet a need. You also may want to work with a faith based organization that is working with abuse victims.

6. Comments that, “I knew all along”…Remarks that you knew the relationship was troubled or you could foresee problems, or you would have done things differently. Those who make these remarks usually stayed silent during the course of the relationship and then pounce with comments when it is over, the comments often sound harsh, critical or judgmental.
The Reality: Abusers are often charming and/or manipulative, they know how to win people to their side, it is difficult to predict the outcome. Even after a woman has left the abuse, there may still be a lot of unanswered questions—she may never have the answers.

Part of healing is letting go of “should’s” and being able to feel empowered over your life, your body, your choices in the present. Healing also includes finding healthy ways to deal with mistakes without living in regret or dwelling on the past—which will only make you feel victimized. Domestic Violence agencies and organizations may offer help in the way of classes/education, support groups, family support, counseling and advocacy services to help process what has happened, receive support from professionals, and receive feedback from other woman who have also survived abuse. You are not alone!

HOPE

Another story of family court injustice.. abusive drug addicted father gains sole custody of infant twin children, who are forcibly separated from their mother, and forced to endure 10 years of horrific abuse and neglect.

Twin siblings Georgia and Walker “Patterson” Inman III, heirs to a multi-million dollar estate, survived a horrific life of abuse at the hands of their father, Walker Inman Jr. Georgia stated she didn’t think she would survive the abuse. The family court ruling did not serve the best interest of the Inman children and in fact, endangered their lives and subjected them to 10 years of abuse.

Walker is accused of squandering their fortune and inflicting brutal mental and physical abuse on the children. His fifth wife, Daralee Inman, was also accused of abuse–and found to have committed physical abuse on the children by the South Carolina Department of Social Services (in 2011). Friends and associates connected to Walker are also accused of abuse and stealing from the estate. The children were also subjected to severe parental alienation, and led to believe their mother abandoned them–and made to fear Daisha Inamn. After the death of Walker, Daisha, was finally able to regain custody of her children. Freed from years of abuse, the children have been reunited with their mother and are working to rebuild their lives as a family, together.

Marriage Ending in Custody Nightmare

In 1996, Walker married his 4th wife, model Daisha Lorraine Williams, the twins were born a year later. The marriage was troubled, and didn’t last long. Daisha claims that Walker took off the children in 1999, while they were on vacation, leaving Daisha behind, then went into hiding. Daisha did not her children for several months then was served with a notice to appear in family court–Walker was seeking a divorce and sole custody of the twins. In 2000, the Court awarded sole custody of the twins to Walker, both were just 2 years old. Daisha alleges that Walker bribed court officials to get a favorable custody ruling. In the heated custody battle Walker claims that Daisha was a mentally unstable topless dancer unfit for custody. Walker was found, with evidence, to be a heroin addict who went through women like kleenex, marrying and divorcing a total of 5 women. With a record like that, you have to wonder how anyone would take seriously Walker’s judgment of women??

According to the Post & Courier, “A court-appointed guardian in Platte County, Wyo., concluded that the children would be better off with Inman despite his history of “multiple marriages for short durations; his drug, alcohol and cigarette use; limited parenting experience and prior parenting mistakes; and his unusual, perhaps dysfunctional, upbringing,” court records show.

Note all of these risk factors mentioned by the Guardian (multiple marriages, substance abuse, lack of parenting experience, parenting mistakes, history of family dysfunction) would and should justify no custody, and supervised visitation, until Walker could prove that he is drug free and could provide a safe, and stable environment for the children. There are laws a court has to follow to protect children from abuse, and parents who may endanger them. When a parent is found to be that dysfunctional, and poses a safety risk to the children, the Court usually recommends a course of action for the parent, and there is usually some monitoring by an involved professionals. In those cases, parents are referred to supervised visitation in a safety center. The court can revisit custody at a later time by issuing a temporary order, or may order sole custody to the other parent. This court ruling does not make sense–unless you assume that the court is corrupt, and not acting on the best interest of the children.

Daisha continued to battle for custody and visitation time with her children, in 2009, her case reached the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Allegations of Abuse Walker Inman Jr.

Walker Inman Jr. was an eccentric figure–he was gourmet chef, a world traveller and collector of weapons (knives, guns, grenades–many are highly collectible and valuable). Walker was also an expert in explosives. In happier memories, Walker enjoyed showing his son how to blow things up (cars, trailers, fireworks etc.), this became a hobby for them. Walker was also said to have brought grenades and guns to school, to show the other children in “show and tell”. The family also enjoyed exotic pets (a lion, an alligator, a camel), and going on luxury vacations. But the good times were few and far between.

Supporters of Walker and Daralee Inman claim abuse never happened, and that the children were well cared for.

Walker was known to be heavy into drugs–heroin, methadone and strong narcotic pain pills were favorites.

After Walker won sole custody, there were several calls to the police and social services on behalf of the battered twins but the system failed to take any real action to protect the children from their abusive father and stepmother–who were never brought up on charges.

The Department of Social Service (DSS) in South Carolina had 3 separate complaints about Walker’s abusive treatment towards his children, and they also failed to take any actions to keep these children safe. In the summer of 2008, the manager of the Greenfield Plantation, Mike Todd called DSS because he felt the children were not being properly supervised, and were playing in an area home to a 12 foot alligator.Todd said he saw nothing to indicate that DSS investigated the case. The children claim they saw their father paying off officials to close the case, to not investigate.

Later that summer, police were called when a woman reported that she saw Walker screaming at his daughter and hitting her in the head. Walker admitted to hitting his daughter to the police. The police were called but there was no investigation, no intervene, nothing to assure the safety of the children.

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The State of Wyoming also failed to investigate or file charges on behalf of the children. Their home life was so terrible that the children considered suicide as a way to escape.

The children grew up in luxurious plantation estates, but spent time locked in a dark basement covered in feces and filth. Alternately, the children were locked into their rooms with a deadbolt. With no access to a bathroom, the children were forced to relieve themselves in the corner, and the room reeked of excrement. At times the children were starved. Nannies in charge of their care came and went–an estimated 57 nannies were hired to care for the children, some could not stand the conditions in the home and left as little as a day later. Other nannies were accused of abusing the children, including one who is alleged to have forced the children to play a game of Russian Roulette with a loaded weapon.

The daughter also recalled being dunked in a bath of boiling hot water by her father, and feeling her “skin melting away”.

In another incident, Walker set off a teargas grenade in his house to teach his frightened children a “safety lesson”. “I never asked to be born into any of this,” Georgia said during an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, “Sometimes I wish I was never born.”

These children should have been protected by the Court, Police, or Social Services and placed into a safe home environment. In separate statements, both Daisha and the twins claim that Walker paid these people to look the other way to the abuse that was happening to the children. Indeed, you have to wonder why so many failed to intervene, and rescue these children.

Allegations of Abuse: Daralee Inman

Walker married a 5th wife, Daralee in 2001. Daralee has been convicted of felony drug charges in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. In June 2007, Daralee was pulled over by a state trooper in Wyoming for driving erratically, both children were in the car with her. Daralee told the trooper she had smoked marijuana; the trooper found pot, crystal meth and hash in the car. Daralee pled guilty to drug possession and was ordered into drug treatment.It is unclear why child protective services did not intervene and investigate.

Daralee is also accused of abusing the twins. In April 2011, the South Carolina Department of Social Services found that Daralee had physically abused her step-children.

After Walker died in 2010, Daralee petitioned the court to become guardians of the twins. Her petition was denied and in August 2010, Daisha finally won custody of her children.

Daralee has refused to publicly comment on these allegations but has said she thinks Daisha is coercing the children to make up stories about the abuse. She did file a slander lawsuit against Daisha due to her allegations that Daralee abused her children, that suit was withdrawn.

The twins are looking into the possibility of criminally prosecuting Daralee for the abuse they endured at her hand. Complaints were filed with the police but as of yet, there has not been enough evidence to move forward with charges. However, DSS is investigating the claims.

Just a Thought: When a parent is alleged to be negligent in the care of the children, to be abusive or to provide an unsafe home environment,the court would and should intervene to protect the children. Daisha was already involved in the court process–once she alleges there is abuse in the home, a drug addicted parent or any other risk of physical or mental harm to the children, the court has an obligation to remove the children from the home, changing custody if necessary. Child protective services should also have been involved. So what happened? I believe an investigation on the Inman case is necessary to examine the records and allegations to determine if how the court (and child protective services) responded was appropriate, and legal. Even though the children are now with their mother–if this court acted improperly, if officials were bribed, if there was injustice present that means other children and families are at risk. This should not be allowed to continue.

The Death of Walker Inman Jr.

Walker was found dead of a methadone overdose on Feb. 24, 2010, in a Colorado hotel (no one knows why he was in Colorado). Daralee fought to obtain guardianship of the the twins and lost. In August 2010, Daisha finally won custody.

Daisha went to rescue her children, sending ambulances to the home, because they were so resistant to her yet desperately in need of help. The children were deeply affected by parental alienation, and had to be hospitalized for 3 months in the Wyoming Behavioral Institute to re-stabilize them from years of abuse and neglect, and work on healing their relationship with their mother. The children were told by Walker that their mother abandoned them for the street life–that was was a druggie and a prostitute. Upon reunification, the children were extremely hostile towards Daisha–at times aggressive or swearing at her. Daisha worked to regain their trust through therapy and slow, gradual visits. Daisha says that when her daughter saw that she keeps pictures of the children in her purse, from the time they were babies, it helped break the walls keeping them apart–her daughter say her mother’s love and became less resistant. A social worker stays with the family 10 days a month to continue the therapy. The family has participated in counseling to cope with the abuse the children have experienced, and to help transition into home life with their mother.

The Struggle to Rebuild

Certainly, Daisha has struggled in the past. If she worked as a stripper in the past, that should not be used against her because Walker married her anyways, and chose to make a family with her. The Guardian’s report from her court cases states (South Strand News) concerns that Daisha was paranoid and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress. Put that in context–most women involved in an abusive relationship, whose husband has run off with the children and she has not been able to see them, will present with emotional distress. These types of symptoms do not mean a mother should lose custody, and in fact signal that the home environment should be further investigated for evidence of abuse or other risk factors that could harm the children.

There are more recent allegations, that Daisha has left the children at home alone for days while she went on trips with a “friend”. Daisha is said to have married a convicted sex offender named Randy Williams in 2003, and although they divorced, they allegedly remain romantically involved. Williams was convicted of sexually abusing his step daughters from a previous marriage. Williams is also prohibited from having any contact with his son, who he was found to have sexually abused.

According to DNAinfo New York: “JPMorgan also claims a court recently entered a restraining order barring Williams from communicating with the Duke heirs — Walker Patterson Inman III and Georgia Inman — because of the threat he poses to them. The filing doesn’t specify where and when the restraining order was filed, or if it has been lifted…”

In another incident, Daisha was been charged with public drunkeness in May 2012, she claims her water was poisoned. The judge deferred sentencing for 6 months and likely will not convict Daisha if she stays out of trouble. Daisha is seeking therapy for the family, and stated she has a social service working living at her home for 10 days a month. This is a positive indicator that she is seeking help, and seeking to improve her situation. Clearly, someone needs to investigate the truthfulness of these claims (especially if there is a sex offender in the home), and if there is a safety risk to the children– but that does not take away from the suffering this family endured. The family court ruling did not serve the best interest of the Inman children and in fact, endangered their lives and subjected them to 10 years of abuse.

Certainly, Daisha has endured a struggle–surviving an abusive marriage that robbed her of her children, the grief of being separated from your children, and spending years fighting for custody in a system that seemed unresponsive, and enabled the abuse of her children to continue. I sincerely hope she gets support, and can heal from past so she can move forward to a positive, healthy relationship with her children–a happy future for herself.

The twins report that they now share a good relationship with their mother, and feel a close, loving bond with her. They are adjusting to a new private school and optimistic about the future.

Parenting Abused Children wishes the best for the twins, we are sorry to hear of your ordeal–and hope and pray you are safe, loved and able to have a fresh start at life. You have our love and support. xoxo
Hope
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NOTE: My emphasis on this article is family court failures, I did not want to take attention away from the abuse or suffering of these children by talking about their inheritance, but as it is an important part of the story, that information is included below.

The Inheritance:

Daisha claims Walker fought so hard for custody because he needed an heir to his estate. As wealthy as the children are, they hardly realized it–and were severely deprived due to the abuse, neglect and forcible separation from their mother they found little joy in the rare comforts they were offered. A legal battled has ensued over this inheritance, and use of the trust fund, and is currently ongoing.

Twin siblings Georgia and Walker “Patterson” Inman III are surviving heirs to an inheritance connected to the tobacco fortune of American Tobacco Co., whose proceeding heir was Doris Duke. Their grandfather Walker P. Inman aka “Skippy” came from a family of successful Atlanta cotton merchants.

James B. Duke aka “Buck” was the founder and president of American Tobacco Co., makers of Lucky Strikes cigarettes. Buck married the paternal great-grandmother of the twins, Nanaline Holt Inman Duke, but they did not have children together. Buck’s only heir, was daughter Doris Duke, who inherited part of the fortune at age 13, when her father died. Though Doris Duke was next in line to receive the inheritance of her father, Buck, he did not trust women to run the business. Doris did receive a sizeable inheritance but the bulk of the estate was passed onto professional managers.

Buck’s second wife was Nanaline Holt Inman Duke, she came into the marriage with a son named Walker P. Inman. Buck never accepted Walker P. Inman as a legitimate heir but did pass on some money to Nanaline Duke, who then passed her inheritance onto her son. Walker bought a plantation in South Carolina, complete with a 10,000 square foot house. His heir was Walker Inman Jr. aka “Skippy”. In her will, Doris Duke set aside $7 million for a trustee to invest, with 5% of the balance going to Walker every year. After Walker died, the trust ended and is co-mingled in some charitable trusts Doris Duke established before her death.

Reports vary on the worth of the inheritance or trust fund that will passed to the Inman twins, its estimated worth is in the millions. Some reports say that the twins could inherit $14.5 million, each, when they turn 21. Others say the inheritance is worth $60 million. Still, others says the fortune is as high as a billion dollars. The bulk of the trust fund money is tied up in two properties, some valuables (jewelry, guns, antiques), sacks of hold and bars of silver. One of the properties is being used to host weddings as a way to generate funds for its upkeep.

Money Mayhem:

After the death of Walker, am intense legal battle ensued over the remaining estate, and the handling of the twin’s trust fund; this battle is ongoing.

Everyone involved in this case from the trust managers, to Daralee, to Daisha, to the attorneys and others has a vested interest–and has accused someone else of mishandling the estate.

Daisha has been accused of wasting away the trust, and spending money on excessive luxuries. Daisha vehemently denies these allegations, and claims she is keeping receipts to prove how every penny has been spent. Daisha is currently involved in a legal battle with JP Morgan Chase over the administration of the twins’ trust fund.

Randy Williams, convicted child molester and alleged romantic interest of Daisha, has also been accused of trying to get money from the trust fund. JP Morgan said it was so concerned about account activity, and how close Williams was getting to the twins that it placed funds in a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account, which offers court oversight. JP Morgan also filed a motion with the court in 2013 asking that the court bar Williams from benefiting from the trust, and ban him from being able to access or manage funds.

There are allegations that people close to Walker are raiding the trust and stealing the inheritance of the twins. Daralee is accused of selling off valuable items belonging to the estate, and pocketing the proceeds.

There is also a battle over how the twins are being represented in court, with allegations that they are not receiving proper legal representation.

As of yet, these disputes have not been settled.

For More Info:

“Billionaire Twins Abused Like Slaves by Dad”, by Susan Donaldson James, Good Morning America. August 5, 2013. : http://abcnews.go.com/Health/billionaire-twins-abused-slaves-doris-duke-heir-father/story?id=19853671&singlePage=true

“Dr. Phil.com – Shows – The Darkness of Riches: From Victims to Victors”. Aired Jan 30 & Jan 31, 2014: http://drphil.com/shows/show/2160/

“Duke heirs claim stepmom sold off family heirlooms”, by Julia Marsh, New York Post. Sept. 27, 2013. : http://nypost.com/2013/09/27/duke-heirs-claim-stepmom-sold-off-family-heirlooms/

“Locked in feces-smeared basement, eating scraps and given scalding baths: Twins set to inherit billion-dollar Doris Duke fortune tell of their horrific childhood abuse”, by Daily Mail Reporter. August 2, 2013. : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2383194/Doris-Duke-descendants-Treated-worse-dogs-Twins-set-inherit-fortune-tell-child-abuse.html

“Mother of Doris Duke’s twin heirs, 15, used ‘SWAT team’ and bodyguards to stop bank from serving her with legal papers demanding to know how she is spending their $30million trust fund” by Daily Mail Reporter. July 9, 2013: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2359120/Doris-Duke-heirs-Mother-Daisha-Inman-used-SWAT-team-prevent-served-legal-papers.html

“Mother of twins, 16, set to inherit billion dollar Doris Duke estate insists she needs their money to pay for their mental health care after ‘they suffered years of abuse at the hands of drug-addicted father'” by Daily Mail Reporter. Jan, 31, 2014: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549832/Mother-twins-16-set-inherit-billion-dollar-Doris-Duke-fortune-insists-needs-money-pay-mental-health-care-suffered-years-abuse-hands-drug-addict-father.html

“Sex Offender May Be Trying to Get Doris Duke Heirs’ Cash, Court Doc Says” by James Fanelli, DNAinfo New York. April 9, 2013: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130409/new-york-city/child-molester-may-be-trying-get-doris-duke-heirs-cash-court-doc-says#ixzz2QrFbFzoq

“The story of 15 year old twins, a big trust fund from Mrs. Duke, and a squabble between her grandson’s 4th and 5th wives” by Duke Check. March 7, 2013: http://dukecheck.com/?p=11645

“Trouble in paradise: Death of heir to Duke fortune ignites flames of already heated family discord” by Glen Smith, The Post & Courier. August 19, 2012:
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120819/PC16/120819047

“Video: Duke heirs talk about years of abuse, Charlotte Observer.http://dukecheck.com/?p=11645 : http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/29/4648978/video-duke-heirs-talk-about-years.html#.UulJiPZRaYc

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