• In the Spotlight:

Mother of 6 sits in jail while 2 small children are awarded to an abuser and the other kids go to the mothers family members who sent her to jail... and the media condemns her as a kidnapper...

But wait... you say... this is 2010 and we live in the United States...  True on both counts, but the reality is that abusers are into power, control and manipulation, and one of the places they like to manipulate is the court system.  Because the laws do not acknowledge the realities of domestic violence and those working for the courts are frequently not educated, they are as pliable as putty when the abusers big bucks attorney  comes in acting like he knows it all. 

That is what happened in Mels case.  She had been granted Sole Custody by the court but her abuser didn't like what they had to say.  Even though the felony assault case against him was dropped because  of his "right to a speedy trial"...  that wasn't good enough.  He wanted revenge and he and his new wife had lots of money to exact their pound of flesh.  Although it is illegal to do what he did, going from one court to another when he didn't get what he wanted, that didn't matter.  Mel did everything she could to protect her kids and still comply with the laws.  She even sent the kids on vistation with him when they were just 2 and 4 years old.  After two weeks with "daddy," the kids came home with dog bites on their little bodies and hair that had been cut despite Mel's  request that they leave it alone.  That was small potatoes, though, by comparison with what the older boy had to say about what happened at the pool.  "Daddy" and his new wife (who cannot have kids of her own) have a 1.5 million dollar home on the waterfront in Florida.  Seems that while the adults were inside, otherwise occupied (not paying any attention to the kids) the younger boy tottered out to the pool and fell in.  If the four year old hadn't gotten the attention of his daddy, they would have been planning a funeral.  As it was, by the time he got outside, the youngest son was in the bottom of the pool.  "Daddy" had to go for a swim to get him out.  Thankfully (though no fault of "daddy") the little boy survived.  But that was not the only event to scare the kids so badly they begged not to go with their father ever again.  The younger one is a special needs child, and was on medication.  Mel had just renewed the prescription for his meds before sending him on visitation.  "Daddy's" new wife purposely overmedicated him... and every time the victim called to check on the boys, she talked to the older one but the younger one was sleeping.  When she finally got the boys back, with them came an empty med bottle.  She used an entire month's worth of medication on him in two weeks.  It is a miracle that there was not a tragic result from that as well.

All of this was documented and reported to CPS, who quashed the reports, did nothing, and the courts continued to order visitation.  The court also ordered that he call the kids weekly, and Mel provided a cell number for him to call.  The phone didn't ring...for months.  Meanwhile, he was busy in court, making sure Mel was never served with notice of any of the proceedings.  The right to be heard?  Who needs that???  Certainly not domestic violence victims (heavy scarcasm, just in case you didn't know).   This travesty of "justice" went on for years... leading ultimately to police brutality and further traumatization of six children who had only their mother to depend on. 

Mel knew she was all those kids had, and she all -but gave her life to keep them safe. When she did know of court proceedings, she found a way to get there as often as she could, representing herself in court since she couldn't afford a lawyer... It sould be noted that when she was through in the courtroom, she asked the deputies to hold him there so she could get away, after he attempted to stalk her.  When she couldn't make it to court for financial reasons, she petitioned the court to appear by phone... amd the courts ignored her request.  (In many courts you can appear by phone IF you pay the requisite fees... meaning you can once again get a shot at justice, if you have the money.)

Meanwhile the abuser begrudged her the $165. a month per child for the two kids... and eventually got  a judge to set aside the child support order.  Mel got nothing to take care of the boys and keep a roof over their head and food in their little tummies. Mel did everything she could to keep the kids safe, educate them (she is an incredible homeschooling mom!) and be sure they had what they needed.

The one thing she didn't do was to get an attorney when she found out that he was accusing her of custodial interference (kidnapping).  She reasoned that she had documentation proving she had legal custody, and the courts wouldn't believe him.  And then I got the phone call that the boys pictures were up on the missing and exploited children's webpage, with her photo as "abductor".   After more than 4 years of harrassment and abuse, she froze like a deer caught in the headlights.  We urged her to find an attorney... but attorneys cost money and she didn't have any money.  It was all going to keep a roof over their heads.  Her own family turned against her.  About then, 9 deputies showed up at her brothers home, looking for Mel.  The closest we can tell, he (or her mother, who had told her daughter she belonged in jail--talk about toxic!!!) turned her in.  You can say how she got there is immaterial now, (after all, the result was the same...she ended up behind bars, right where the abuser wanted her.) but the reality is that in over fifty percent of cases of domestic violence,it is a multi-generational issue.

Children raised in abusive homes are like little sponges, soaking up the atmosphere, regardless of abuse and growing up to repeat the pattern.  That is where Mels boys are today... sitting in their oppulent prison, wanting their mommy, not understanding why the U.S. Marshal's broke down their door and took her from them... pried their fingers from their older sister...and gave them to the man who had abused them. 

So now an innocent victim, who did all she could to keep her kids safe and do the right thing, sits in jail...incarcerated because she didn't have the money to fight any more.

We are doing all we can to help Mel to get an attorney, but the chances of her getting her kids back soon are NOT good. Equally scary is the simple reality that it could happen to any of us. 

Take care of yourself and Be Safe,

Arisa

Add A Comment

Comments:

Lb128f
Nov. 19, 2010 at 7:57 AM

I'm sorry. :( I  hope she can get the help she needs.

Message Friend Invite

andre...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 8:08 AM

OMG that's awful! I'm going to read the whole story later when I get home, but is there anything we can do to help??  I can't even imagine what I would do if I couldn't be with my kids.  I am praying for her and her kids!

Message Friend Invite

harle...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 1:15 PM

That sounds like my soon to be ex hubby. He will be damned that he pay me another bloody red cent of HIS money for child support, seems how I stole his money for 9yrs. ALL of our vehicle were in HIS name at HIS insistance so that way when we or HE could get a house loan then it would look good.

HE found out something and would CONSTANTLY call the sheriffs department and tell them my where abouts etc. ONE day he went as far and MY MOM, told the sheriffs department that I had a warrant for my arrest and told them exactly where i was and how long i was going to be there for. THAT I stole HIS van. SO the cops came whilei had my youngest and they arrested me. WHEN I BEGGED the deputy to call another sheriffs department about said suppsed stolen vehicle they said YES I had persmission to have that vehicle because they had documentation of him saying it. YET that said department wouldnt press domestic violence charges on him when he did beat the crap out of me...why? Cuz he just got home from overseas and do you blame him for lashing out like he did?

He figured and his lawyer figures that the more they try to BUST me for stupid little crap the worse it will look onto me in court. DHS or CPS depends on the state you are in, was constantly at my house for stupid crap. One day it was for having 100 cats living in my house and my kids covered in flea bites...um they were mosquito bites and i dont have animals. The said BITES were gotten while they were in HIS care. Just like our son broke his collar bone in HIS care and he felt he didnt need to tell me that he did. My 10yr old told me about it. DHS/CPS said it wasnt worth checkimng out because at least he got them to the ER to be checked.

I will agree with you on the abusers, my ex is like him. He hates the fact that the more he does to try and prove things to his favor, it is just being banked for a rainy day. As for MY family? yep sounds like your friends family. Its awesome that she has people in her life like you that are willing to help her fight. Has she tried legal aide? or even maybe a probono lawyer that could also sue for mental anguish and other things? I would check it out and call around, pull out the stops give the full detail story. Heck, even get media attention on the subject. more people hear and see it, the more support you will be surprised.

As for me being arrested, my warrant was for unfulfilled community service and i missed a court date....the clerk of court screwed up and i was told SORRY and let go. I talked to the sheriff of the county and told him the full story and he was totally appalled. He even offered to drive me the hour home. Oh the community service and original charge was for a bad check that HE filled out and MADE me sign. Since I signed it, of course it was my responsibility....

Yet, its all my fault for what has happened to me. I was suppose to keep quiet and play the game. People wander why when a man/woman who are in abusive relationships dont just "get out".

Message Friend Invite

xMs.B...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Situations are slightly different but here is another family going through something similar you may want to check it out.....http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-life-Megan-Roland-Haleigh/109108355784928

Message Friend Invite

mmtos...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 10:45 AM

hugs so sorry that sounds like something im waitig for my ex to do hje ot the effin charges dropped unbeknownst to me for dv but im waiting for him to say something about me "mistreating" sam who he doesnt call or see

Message Friend Invite

Want to leave a comment and join the discussion?

Sign up for CafeMom!

Already a member? Click here to log in