Below are more stories of families unjustly separated by the “system” without representation of counsel and/or a Jury of their peers (our goals for reform). The starting page, with an index, is here. These people have volunteered their stories so that everyone can understand the true damage being done, and also, so those who may be experiencing your own personal “nightmare” may realize — you are not alone! We want you to hear them in their own words. We can’t vouch for the accuracy of these tales and we hope you’ll understand the bitterness and frustration you’ll read. The anger is directed at people involved, but the real source of all these issues is a system that has failed to recognize and protect fundamental Family Rights. Many times it encourages & rewards needless conflict between parents.
Name: Renee Marie Laplume Location: Wooburn, MA
Email Addr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children/Birth Date: Danielle Olivia LaPlume Duke 4/12/03, and my twins 8/19/04, August Calvin LaPlume Duke (renamed Robert by Foster Parents with DSS knowledge and consent before my trial even began)
Date Separated: 4/14/03 & 8/19/04
Possibly some action in the USSC story. I have posted my story online already where you can comment here: http://chainofconfidence.com/cs/forums/t/54.aspx
My children were all taken immediately upon their birth, there was never any abuse whatsoever, even according to them.
Here is the text which I have posted elsewhere online:
I was labeled with a mental illness many, many years ago. I grew to believe through observation and interaction that I did not feel that doctors could be entrusted to give me good advice and properly support me. I spent many years of my life studying their perspective as well as alternatives. I put many things to work and experienced significant, possibly full recovery in my life. My friends were a big part of that healing journey. I have not been sick for more than 10 years now, and even before that my issues were not that significant or debilitating.
In my late 30’s I became pregnant out of wedlock but decided to keep my child and planned for her through prenatal care and education of all kinds. I was very open about the labels and mental illness or psychiatric issues which I had formerly experienced with the hospital where I had initiated my prenatal care. However I did move on to plan a home birth with a midwife because I desired to have a water birth which the hospital could not provide. Because my labor had lasted too many days I ended up back at that hospital where I had received care the first few months of my pregnancy.
Monday morning when the regular staff came in for their shifts just a day and a half after my daughter was born and seemingly as a preplanned course of action the hospital came to my room and removed my daughter from my side, then called the state social service agency based on my former disclosures of having had a label of a mental illness which I shared with them so many months earlier and their knowledge that I did not take medications for such a thing, therefore for their personally imposed, uneducated, uninformed and bigoted belief that I was somehow being “irresponsible” for myself for not taking medications and thus was being so to my child, this without any sign of current mental illness at all and none in recent history including during my daughter’s birth.
My daughter was taken from my breastfeeding body and from our room where I was lovingly taking care of her by the hospital staff and this was backed up by the social service agency who told me to go to the court to meet them the next day and thus to basically address their action there. Well, I am still fighting to get her back now, more than four years later, and her two twin siblings who were born and taken in an identical manner at their births while I have been in an ongoing fight for them since becoming a mother in April of 2003.
There are such extreme opinions in the world about mental illness and mental health. The court clinicians had no respect for my opinions, through my observation and careful study, nor from my personal experience and personal sense of my own self. I became a non important party to their consult and their conclusions. I was stigmatized and reduced. My humanity set aside. My children have been suffering the separation from me from the first days of their birth because of the disrespect aimed at people with labels, or people open about once having carried them. I was open, as a means to educate, and I was attacked as somehow what I was teaching threatened those who do not believe in my message. That medications are a personal thing, that all those labeled with mental illness might not actually suffer it, that there are errors made all the time, and that even in the case of true mental illness, if it exists, one can recover from it, one can be healed, and in the arena of “treatment” it is and must always be, a personal choice.
My story is about my lawyers and my friends whom have loved me and supported me so that I can still see this matter plainly for what it is. I still reach out everyday to share my story further and to hopefully join hands with others who might experience similar harms or even perhaps who might be in a position to lend a hand to help.
I saw Brooke Shields on The View today and I longed to be able to describe the relationship between my three wonderful children, but I can’t, since I have been fighting for them since birth and they live in two separate homes separated from each other and separated from me indefinitely.
I am reaching out to you Ms. Shields, and recalling the issue with psychiatric medications discussed so emotionally between you and Mr. Cruise. I personally do not use psychotropic medications but I have been separated from my family as a result of that choice for years, separated from my own children, and many years previously separated from my parents and my siblings because of their inability to respect my choices and to be respectful to me despite that I had had the misfortune of being (at one point) “labeled” with a mental illness. I have consulted with world class experts since who agree that I do not suffer a mental illness, but still the social service agency in our state will not return my children, they will not even return my calls, nor that of my doctors or any requests for a meeting to resolve their wrongful actions in our lives.
Taking medication or not taking medication is a personal choice, no one should try to say that their answer is right for everyone. It is a crime what took place in my life in this regard, and it is crime when people’s rights to raise their families are interrupted for such ignorance and imposition from the outside. It takes all kinds. My friends and physicians know me for what I can do, and never lost confidence in me this entire time.
I reach out to this online group asking for support, for prayers, for love, for your stories to be told as well, can you share, can you help? I would love to build a support group on this important issue, raising your children is a constitutional right and no one should be denied this because of the ignorance or imposition of a non-involved person’s mind. I need love and support from a bigger circle than my small family and friends, as wonderful as they are, because I have been the sad recipient of so much hate and destruction from people I do not even know. People who think they can read the DSM-IV for or the DSM-V or whatever, as a replacement for knowing me and then make life changing decisions about my family and my life on nothing more than that, forcing me to fight their whole lives so far for what God had already given to me through the precious gift of their lives.
I believe that God gave me my children for a reason and that no power in the state has a right to enforce their debates about health and disease, and medications or alternatives, into the matter of my right to raise my children from the time that they were born as they have been doing. I have a right to raise my children, and to raise them in ways that are appropriate and that I see fit, and sadly though, I am not the only one in the world whom this has happened to, I am told that there are many.. . I hope that Ms. Shields and Mr. Cruise would read my issue and consider contacting me to learn about another way that these particular philosophical issues can become life changing and horribly disruptive, when we are out here living them in a world where notoriety is not always there for us as an available spotlight for resolve.
Thank you for hearing my story. I want to invite communication on it from anyone. Thank you. This is a matter that needs healing for everyone, family is the most meaningful fabric of our personal and communal lives. Renee Marie LaPlume, check my blog on this subject on myspace at : MySpace URL: http://www.myspace.com/reneelaplume (never mind, myspace just deleted my profile today ??? I don’t know why. I think perhaps we have serious censorship in this country, people do not want me telling my story. I will have to buy internet space myself, please google my name, i will find a way to be heard or call 781 932 0565, or email@example.com )
>From the beginning of the book HypnoBirthing – A Celebration of Life by Marie F. Mongan “If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing” Agnes Sallet von Tannenberg
Name: Angeline Ottinger Location: Big Lake, MN
Email Addr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children/Birth Date: Preston, 1999 & Aareona, 2003
Date Separated: 4/18/2006
Parental rights were terminated – see full story at http://www.theaareona.org/
Name: Thomas McCormick Location: Lee’s Summit, MO
Email Addr: theHorsemen1@yahoo.com
Children/Birth Date: SENJAY D.T. WILLIAMS Jan 2000, BRENNDON I. VINSON Feb 2000
Date Separated: 03/18/03 AND 03/12/05 respectively
Both cases are being pursued in court. Senjay’s case has been pushed back until 2/13/08. Brenndon’s case is pending because his mother can’t be found to be served.
I am the father of two boys. I was never married to their mothers. with Senjay’s mother, the fight was about sex. I wanted a relationship independent from her, but any time I came to see him, she would pressure me for sex, claiming I didn’t care about him because i wouldn’t sleep with her. After a while of this, she stopped letting me see him.
With Brenndon’s mother, it was all about finding her. she moved from her father’s house to somewhere else, with a new boyfriend that she has my son calling “daddy.” I tried to handle both cases alone, because hiring a lawyer would be expensive and child support was taking more of my money than allowed by law. it wasn’t until I sought counseling for depression and suicidal thoughts that I was able to get a lawyer to work with me. I’ve done mediation with both.
Senjay’s mom never followed the rules ( missing meetings, showing up late with her sister wanting to be in the meetings, leaving early.) Brenndon’s mom complained and stopped coming. as of right now, Senjay’s mom has lawyered up after 4 years and several continuances. Brenndon’s mom is MIA, and no one can find here to serve her. her lawyer had the case dismissed while i was in the army doing training, and this was after several continuances. this is my case, and my life.
The only way to change the system is to address the governments directly.
Name: Jeff Milton Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Email Addr: email@example.com
Children/Birth Date: Connor Milton, 1989; Ian Milton, 1990; Fiona Milton 1992
Date Separated: 2000
I am about to become a fugitive from ‘justice’. I am living in Argentina, I can’t renew my passport and shortly, if and when I come back to the US I will be thrown in jail. Like most stories of this type, it’s long, ugly and complicated. Here are the highlights of the past seven years: After years of irreconcilable differences I moved out of the house where my three children and their mother lived.
I voluntarily agreed to pay $5,000 a month and signed such an agreement in family court. I got laid off, and had only unemployment insurance as income. The court refused to lower my $5,000/mo payments for nine months, at which time they ‘allowed’ me to take a lower paying job of $60,000 and lower my payments to $350/wk. During the 8 months of unemployment they garnished 100% of my unemployment check and put me into arrears at approx. $700/wk. By the time they lowered my child support, I was $25,000 in arrears The state put a lien on my bank account, taking every last penny I had.
Admittedly it was not a lot, around $1,800, but it was all I had to live on. For the previous two years I had not missed a single CS payment, but now, with no money, I could not pay the weekly CS due. The state had long ago taken any and all assets I had, and suspended my driving license, which meant I could not see my children as I lived and worked in New York City and they lived in the Catskill mountains. My ex refused to drive them to the city, or even half way, as order by the judge, or even to the bus stop in their town, as also ordered by the judge.
The Ulster Count Family Court Judge (Hon. Marianne Mizel) ordered that my CS be raised from $350/wk to $870/wk because of imputed income. I started the websitehttp://StopFamilyCourtTyranny.com (which now only resides, unmaintained, athttp://waena.edu/fathersfight/html/my_case.html) and received dozens of phone calls from other parents, mothers and fathers, who were in ever more dire straits than I was. it was absolutely heartbreaking.
I had been going into arrears at approx $500/wk since the order was raised, and an now in arrears of about $60,000. I was found ‘willful’ for the four weeks I could not pay CS after the state seized by bank account, even though for that same year I not only paid every payment, plus paid back the four weeks, plus paid down previous arrears form when I was unemployed.
As a result, in October I was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended on the contidion that I pay my $50,000 in arrears within two weeks and stay current on my $870/wk and not be late for more than two weeks. Neither condition was possible to meet. I had a massive mycardial infarction (heart attack) that was stress related, and the hospital bill came to over $200,000. I had no health insurance and was recently unemployed again as the company I worked for was going out of business. I petitioned for a CS modification, but was denied on the grounds that I would first have to get a job that equated to $820/wk CS payment (about $120,000 yr) and then get a doctors ‘note’ saying that the job in question was too stressful given my health.
But I could not request a downward mod of my existing CS based on failing health alone. Faced with six months jail, increased financial stress from the courts demanding I get a job with a salary that I could not possibly get (because the DotCom days are long gone), and the need for major heart surgery in the next few months but with no health insurance… I simply could not see any solution in sight. It came down to a) dieing in jail or b) trying to survive and make some money to send to my children.
I choose B and moved to Argentina. I call my kids (now ages 18,16,14) every other day. They know I am here, why I am here, and how I am trying to make things better. They are angry at the situation, and their mother, but they have told me they would rather see me here than in jail. My passport expires in a year, and it is not renewable, so very soon a whole new chapter of drama will start. At this point, my only hope of ever coming back to the U.S. is (in order of likelihood) I strike it rich down here, the Court of Appeals reviews my case (I filed just before I left), or my ex decides to make a deal.
Name: Robert Littlejohn Location: Chicago, IL
Email Addr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children/Birth Date: Diane 1988, Charles 1990
Date Separated: 12/12/2001
Parental Rights were Terminated on 12/12/2001 I was alleged of molesting my then six year old daughter on 03/31/1994 by the LaSalle County, IL DCFS without any hard corroborating evidence to support it.
I then moved in with my nephew, his wife, and three year old son Justin. My wife then found out where I was living and called the DCFS in DeKalb County. After they came out, they talked to my nephew, his wife, and their son. After determining that no abuse occurred, they strongly suggested that I leave and move in or out of state and live there while appealing the DCFS decisions.
My wife and I divorce, and not long afterwards she remarries. They move to Paducah, KY where nine months after her marriage she loses the children to the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Families Department of Community Based Services due to molestation of both children by the stepfather and due to the mother’s indiscretion with her daughter. On 12/12/2001 my rights were terminated along with their mother’s by the McCracken County Family Court Judge Cynthia Sanderson.
To read the story more in-depth, feel free to visit http://thefightagainstcps.tripod.com
Name: Leighann King Location: Peal, MS
Email Addr: email@example.com
Children/Birth Date: Devin Nobles 1996
Date Separated: April 2004
Still fighting in court against ex-husband and his family for full custody. I was married to a Chase William Smith at the time and were living in Indenpence, Ky. We had 3 children, all through our 2nd marriage. He had 2 and I had 1. Devin, my life and reason for living.
My parents went to the hospital with Devin before speaking to me about anything and had a report filed that Chase and I abused him. He did in fact have bruises but they were from his night terrors, all doct. in his medial reports. Devin was having a really hard time adjusting to the move from Ms to Ky, so he acted out a lot. Anyways, this whole time I’m in Ky, devins father, a Grover Nobles, not once called to speak to Devin nor had had much to do with Devin at this point. No child support or anything.
I had been raising Devin on my own. I am not going to call names or anything but it hurt me and Devin both. He was more worried about losing his $200 a month in child support, when all this happened and CPS took Devin, Grover aka Pe-pe was already behind $2,500…its sad. The thing that took me out was he is a Marine and has child abuse on his new step children. They lost the case and yet the judge didn’t listen to me or speak to me. I have never been in trouble before and this is the 1st time I’ve ever had this problem.
Chase and I were given a choose, 90 days in jail or face a jury. By this time, Chase made a deal with the DA behind my back and told the state, he did in fact hurt my son. I came unglued at this point. I too, took the deal but refused to say I was guilty. I was told, take the 90 days and be home with Devin or face a jury and the jury is going to look at me and ask why I didn’t see or do anything to help my son. I was alone and did what I thought I should and took the 90 days.
The state of ky was great to me while I did my time in jail. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I was treated because when poeple hear my story, they see I got railroaded. I have never been questioned by a police officer, the state or anyone. I was arrested and told when I did but NOT once has anyone spoken or asked my son. Last week, I guess this is the reason I am now coming out of my shell. My son told me he lied about most of it all. He was 6 yrs old at the time. I am not angry at him more hurt that the state just took his side without speaking to me.
This whole thing has cost me more money then anyone could make in a life time and I not only lost my son in this but myself and still trying to figure out how to find me again. I want to get back to helping other families in the same problem that I’ve gone through and so, if telling my story helps, then I will tell everyone and anyone how the State of Ky torn me and my family apart. I have forgiven my parents and speak to them daily and have joint custody of my son but only get him every other weekend and the things he’s told by the Nobles family is just wrong and something should be done but again the courts wash their hands of this matter , more important things I guess.
Name: Tracie Fugate Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Email Addr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children/Birth Date: Tanner (Dec 96), Tyler (Sep 98)
Date Separated: March 27, 2003
Hi there I’m Tracie Fugate and I’m the mother of 3 great kids. The situation that I’m currently dealing with is that my parental rights to my kids has been terminated which is in the appeal process. I was found guilty of physical and emotional neglect along with lack of supervision to my sons who are now 8 and 6 years of age.
For the last 2 years I have been trying to get them return to me. I have follow the Virginia beach foster care plan that was prepared for me but still hasn’t received what I didn’t comply with to have my rights terminated. in that time one of my sons has been hospitalized in 3 physic wards and has been diagnosed as bi polar, adhd, and ptsd but i had already had him tested and he was diagnosed as adhd. last i heard and read was that he was having “difficulties” being separated from me. my other son has been diagnosed as adhd which we had him tested before which stated that he wasn’t but he had security difficulties. I myself have been diagnosed with bipolar and alcoholism which I was being tested before the vbss got involved.
I’m not saying that our family didn’t have its problems but not enough to have my children taken away from me and their family forever. to talk about being separated, my sons have been apart for these 2 years except for 6 weeks and having documents from Virginia beach social services stating that each foster family wants to adopt them. i have been what i call blacklisted which is understandable when dealing with the welfare of our children but when you have professionals who has their own personal feelings/agenda than what is fact it became tragic for all involved. i have been fighting for my sons to the point where i had to talk to the director of the family/child therapist that vbss sent my kids and later myself. i had to discuss how she tried to alienate my sons from me and confuse what she wanted from the sessions. as a result she started stating that my sons were in fear of me and that i was telling them to be “difficult” when they return to their foster families.
I am on my fourth court appointed attorney who has not giving any answers to my case. He was appointed on March 24, 2005, and as of today has not received my court files. i have completed a parenting capacity evaluation that was set up by the vbss which stated that i should not have my sons. this is after the test results stated that i tested in the “norm” of the average American. they stated during the test that they were not bias and didn’t get any info on my case before the test. but as i read their final paper everything that was told to them by vbss was fact and everything that I stated was written as “alleged,” they had the nerve to use that word because everything i was asked I could back it with documents. They didn’t believe anything from me as fact nor did they ask me for some. on the day that my parental rights were taken from me i was in a courtroom where the CASA worker told one of the foster parents lets pray that they kids will not return. where i had to hear a social worker state that my youngest son was terrified of me which came to be unfounded when i completed the parenting capacity evaluation which stated that my neither sons were not.
I had the children’s therapist who i had to reported to her director earlier state that my oldest son and I had a parent-child role reversal which was the first I heard of that day. I tried to recall what the fostercare plan wanted me to do. It stated that I must have a job, housing, stability, comply with anything that they said for to do. I could not hear all who testified that I didn’t do any of those.
I went back to my personal files and discovered that I did not comply to one thing. I read a letter from the agency that stated that I had completed but I did it “too concrete.” who in this world loses their children because the complied and that the only thing the agency could say to keep my children was to list their allege reactions towards me. I say allege because I don’t know. I had not been taken from my parents. I have not had to deal with emotions that at age 6 and 4 that I could probably not deal with at age 34.
My case has so many mental and emotional loops that I don’t know if I did them all or some agency had some part in it. I’m writing you for help because no one will listen to my children. Labeling and re-labeling them over and over. medicating them and myself in order to stabilize as they call it. All that are involved are all paid by the state in some way. I think that my children if this nightmare continue will not be what one may call normal.
I had read in an article that children in fostercare are more likely to be criminals, dropout, and people who are “lost.” My children deserve more than that and I have worked hard to not to write this kind of script for them. we need help I have nothing to pay for those big lawyers and doctors to prove that we need each other but the other side does which makes this an uneven advantage when fighting for our lives.
Please if you could help or know someone who could help pro bono it will be appreciated. I’m not trying to get a hand out believe me I will work for it.
tracie fugate 4121 macarthur road Virginia beach, Virginia 23453 7576858889 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
my kids need you help
after begging for months to have a written letter on why the department file for termination of my parental rights i finally received it. it states that i haven’t taken responsibility in this 845 days for what has brought my children into foster care which is not true. i know what i have done to put their lives into such a chaotic situation. also, they stated that i have the inability to “parent effectively” without giving me list or facts on what areas I’m lacking on.
I have taken about 10 parenting classes and read many books on the subject on parenting and parenting “my” children. my children have been gone for 845 days as of July 22, 2005 but how could i or others lost their children because a court decides that you have done everything that is needed to regain your children but now “effective parenting” is in question. I have spoken to many social workers who have train me in parenting and different styles of parenting and they keep asking “how are you and your boys?” meaning that they had expected me to get my sons back and are surprise when I answer them that my rights have been terminated.
There are so many elements in my case that not person especially a women a mother such have to go through when they know that they have done everything to fight for their kids.
Name: Don McPhail Location: Roseville, MN
Email Addr: email@example.com
Children/Birth Date: Don McPhail 1997
Date Separated: From birth.
I have lost at the trial court and appellate court. This due to the common false allegations and perjury and fraud committed on the system. I am now writing a book. Here is the outline from my book that is titled “A Fathers Cry” My Kids, My Life which is soon to be completed and published through Author House.
Premise: A father, who deeply loves his children, fights for his parental rights within a tragically flawed system.
This section focuses on two major elements: the terrible and disturbing facts about children who grow up without a father and an introduction to the prejudicial and systemically flawed child custody system of Minnesota. The father, Don McPhail, tells it in the First Person narrative. This is the story of a man of conscience, of a father with undying love for his children, and of a man caught in a court and legal system that seems to have to regard for the individual rights of children.
CHAPTER 1: Chance Meeting? Don catches Jasmine’s eye at a bar and lounge he has bought. Once she has him in her sites she slowly works her way into his life. Don doesn’t realize it but Jasmine is interested in having children. They hang out off and on in a totally Platonic relationship.
CHAPTER 2: Life Before Jasmine The fact is before Don got involved with Jasmine, he had a fairly normal life. He served in the Air Force, earned a Business Degree graduating with a 3.88 GPA, and started to create a stable life by buying and remodeling a bar and lounge. Don’s family life was fairly normal and included some important lessons about parenting. Don’s generous and caring nature makes him a prime target for someone who has no scruples.
CHAPTER 3: Intimacy, Kids, and Fatherhood For close to a year Don carries on a non-sexual relationship with Jasmine. Then one night he sleeps with her. She goes off and, it turns out, is immediately intimate with someone else. Jasmine contacts Don months later telling him she’s pregnant and the baby is his. Although he is stunned, Don agrees that if the babies, it’s twins, are his he will support them and be a part of their life. The twins, boys, are born and Don is their father. He plans to care for the boys, Wyatt and Kolton.
CHAPTER 4: Tests I Should Have Done Slowly it becomes apparent to Don that Jasmine is, to put it nicely, unstable. She takes total control of the boys, begs and extorts money from Don, and is involved with various unsavory characters. Thus begins an eight-year odyssey of lies, threats, and psychological abuse delivered by Jasmine to Don. As Don gets to know Jasmine’s family, he realizes that the apple does not fall far from the tree. With family and friends that seem to be right out of the most outrageous Springer Show ever, Jasmine is clearly bad news. However, she is also the mother of his children. For Don this is a double-edged sword: Jasmine is obviously a disturbed individual capable of violent outbursts, but she is also the mother of his children, which means she has control of the two boys he loves.
CHAPTER 5: Head, Heart and Soul The ultimate question for Don is, “Can I make this work?” Jasmine refuses to let him into the lives of his boys, creating an untenable and also impossible situation for Don. His head tells him to so one thing—run; his heart says he should do something else—stay. His soul says that he has an inherent duty as a father. Over the next few years he tries to make the situation work,
CHAPTER 6: Jessie the “Team” Player Don has suspected that Jasmine is not the truest of women. In fact he’s pretty much known that. But her escalating strange behavior flavored with lies about men, commitment, and sex start to take their toll on him. He sees her latching onto her next meal ticket while she’s draining the last out of her latest man. She’s the mother of his children but also one mother of a rip-off artist.
CHAPTER 7: Battle Ground Don decides to do whatever he has to in order to see his boys. Actually, now there’s also a girl– Addison. Again at first there is doubt as to Addison’s paternity but tests show Don is thee father. He sees Jasmine through labor but also discovers, once again, she’s been deceitful. As Jasmine calls on him for money, cars, and living quarters, Don does what he can to make sure his children and their mother are able to have what they need and want.
But the fact is Jasmine is mirroring the behavior of her mother, who’d been married four times, divorced four times, and now married for a fifth time. Jasmine also becomes involved with Steve—a male version of herself. Together the couple abuses Don’s good nature and love for his children.
CHAPTER 8: You Can Give Too Much Don may want what is best for his children, but he’s unable to provide in the manner he’d like to because Jasmine won’t let him be with the kids. Although Don has been more than generous with his financial support, Jasmine has not allowed him to see the boys on a regular basis. Jasmine will say one thing to Don in order to get money or to have him call off his lawyer, and then she’ll do exactly what she claimed she would not do.
CHAPTER 9: Lawyers and Scruples = Oil and Vinegar Jasmine, after being dropped by her attorney, finds a new lawyer named Elizabeth Shading. Liz is a bitter divorced mom who relishes winning at any cost and in any manner. She’s Jasmine’s kind of person– her dream attorney.
The fight escalates, the lies grow, and the legal system is unwilling, unable and/or uninterested in the truth or in what exactly is best for Don’s children. More than ever he is caught in the Minnesota money machine that gives mom’s their children and cash by asking question but not caring if the answers are correct or truthful.
With all of the fights, lies, and legal fees, Don starts to neglect his business and falls into a deep depression. Suicide starts to look like an option. In trying to do what’s right for his kids, Don constantly hits a brick wall. And, unbelievably, it’s going to get worse.
CHAPTER 10: Judge Hayes in a Haze Don gets his day in court as he struggles to get visitation rights and a reduction of a ridiculously high child support payment. For Don his court date is a nightmare as the judge decides to not follow the law, make rulings without consideration of the evidence or the truth, and closes his mind to the fact that fathers are more than ATM machines. There’s something good that comes out of this.
He attempts an appeal of the judge’s rulings, but he loses it. He tries to work with a family mediator and parenting consultant, but Jasmine won’t cooperate. He’s losing everything: court cases, money, and sanity. He decides to take action himself. CHAPTER 11: December 30th, Happy New Year! After all the times Don has cancelled court dates because he believed Jasmine would cooperate, after all the missed visitation days with his sons, and after all the horribly harassing phone calls from Jasmine, he decided to take legal action against Jasmine on his own. He builds an impressive, well-documented case against Jasmine and he sends the evidence to Liz while he asks for a court date.
In the documentation is evidence regarding Jasmine’s perjury, falsification of working hours, unknown name change, and contradictory statements. There’s also reference to some very questionable, perhaps illegal, behavior and actions by Liz. Liz calls Don. She’s willing to have Jasmine agree to a reduction in child support and specific visitation periods if he’ll drop the case.
At first Don is unwilling to do so. But when Liz finally comes through on getting Jasmine’s commitment to the changes, Don drops the suit. CHAPTER 12: Fathers for Justice Don fights for reform, monitors Judge Hayes, works to get the word out on the insane nature if Minnesota’s family court system and laws. Although it’s never easy to arrange to see his two boys (his little girl barely knows him due to Jasmine’s manipulation), Don savors the time with them. He sees each visitation as a minor victory for a father’s rights.
But it’s time for social advocacy and Don is determined to make sure other dads never go through the nightmare he’s experienced.
Epilogue: My Kids, My Life Don spends important time with the boys and continues to fight for his rights. We get a sense of what he sees in the future and understand what he has learned from his journey.
CHAPTER ONE: A Chance Meeting?
On February 2, 1994, I bought an establishment known as Mr Day’s Restaurant and Lounge. Located in my hometown, at 482 114th Ave. NW, Coon Rapids, MN, it was a throwback to the 70s. When Betty and Tom Daher created the business it was a happening place. But in 1994 the nicotine stained walls, the traffic worn carpet, and the smoke encrusted lounge lights signaled the passing of an era. The fact was Tom was afflicted with emphysema and the couple wanted to be free of what had once been their favorite place on the earth. Although Mr. Day’s like Tom himself suffered from ill health, I felt a new name, look, and theme would revive the fading establishment. A quarter of a century earlier the bar and lounge attracted men and women between the ages of 21 and 45. In fact my mom’s bowling banquets were held there when I was a kid. The time was ripe to make a place for the next generation. As I was in the process of purchasing Mr. Day’s I’d been in there scouting it out. I wanted to know who worked hard, who had their hand in the till, who had some smarts, and who just didn’t give a damn. I came in there numerous times as a paying customer. It was no secret that I was “interested” in buying the place but no one knew it was pretty much a done deal. Like any establishment that serves adult beverages Mr. Day’s had its array of regulars. Just prior to closing the deal on the bar and lounge I met Jessica (aka Jessie) and a guy named Tim who Jessica said was “just a friend.” Angie, another friend of Jessie’s, was also usually on the scene. Jesse was sweet, good-looking, and energetic. She had a way of making contact, getting you interested in her. She had a vulnerability that made me care about her. But there was something else. Maybe it was her exuberance or honesty or intensity. Whatever it was Jesse certainly caught my attention and held it. Not as a potential lover or someone to put the moves on. She captured my interest as a person who needed protection. Protection? From what? Early on, after introducing me to Tim, Jessie confided that her “friend” beat her. Please realize that in the beginning I believed just about everything she told me. Like I said, she had this way about her that confirmed that every word out of her mouth was gospel. She still maintained that although she and Tim lived together they were not lovers but merely very good friends. I believed that she was a mixed up, good kid. I was about seven years her senior and feeling that she needed someone to lean on as she sorted out her life; I let her lean on me. She seemed so na�ve. (Later I would discover that “seemed” was the operative word in that sentence.) At the same time when we’re having these intense conversations about her life with the dangerous Tim, Jesse is trying to connect me with Angie. She thought we’d make a good couple and that Angie could use a stable guy like me. Angie was always in tow when Jessica made her entrance. Although I didn’t think of her negatively, I didn’t connect with Angie as a girlfriend. There was even a time, six or seven months later, when Angie and I spent a lot of time together. Her parents, who she still lived with, moved to Louisiana and Angie wanted to stay in the area. I had a big condo at a local golf course and I offered to let her stay there for a while. We hung out, talked and got to know each other. She was a good kid. Starting in March 1994, just after I bought the place, Mr. Day’s Bar and Lounge was slowly being converted into the First Draft Choice Sports Bar. The work was done at odd hours, when we were closed. That allowed me to stay open during business hours providing a steady cash flow. I changed everything not just the paint, rugs, and lighting. The layout, the look, the feel were all new and different. The banquet room was gone. Pool tables, dartboards, foosball tables, pinball machines and video games were all added in multiples. Along with the sports bar prerequisite—lots and lots of televisions—I put in a dance floor and booked in rock, pop, and country bands. It was a total transformation. One reviewer put it this way, “This joint definitely has everything you look for in a bar.” The bar and lounge menu was gone too. At the First Draft Choice Sports Bar I created a variety of burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads and pasta dishes. The appetizers were hearty—wings, poppers, and more. And of course there were all types of drinks. Inside and out it looked great. Was it a lot of work? It was. But I’ve never shied away from a challenging situation or long hours. Later I would discover that my tenacity—my willingness to put myself on the line—would serve me well in my relationship with Jesse. For me the bar was something that started to define who I was and what I could do. Here I was back in my hometown, after moving away; after six years in the Air Force; and studying business and health sciences at college, I was making something happen. It was a special time. A busy as all hell special time, but special nonetheless. Although I was constantly involved in remodeling and redefining Mr. Day’s that didn’t stop me from always finding time to sit down and talk with Jessie. Jesse, who said Tim continued to beat her, certainly needed my ear and my shoulder. Jesse and Tim had what can be best described as a volatile situation. Throughout 1994 and into 1995 Jessie would show up at the bar, revealing bruises and cuts that her “friend” had inflicted on her. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months she became more distraught, and I started to worry about her wellbeing. Like many women in her situation she kept going back because where else could she go? It was clear that things were not getting better at Jesse and Tim’s and one night in late 1995 when she came in battered, bruised and bawling, I calmed her down and told her she could stay at my place. I had a good-sized house on Coon Lake in East Bethel, MN. East Bethel boasts over 100 lakes, with Coon Lake being the biggest. It’s 1,709 square acres with a depth of 27 feet and it has a lot of fishing, boating, and swimming. The whole area is a big recreation and tourist Mecca where families can have a lot of fun. At the time I figured Jesse needed distance, protection, and perspective. About a year later I’d realize that it was I who actually needed distance, protection, and perspective. Not in relationship to Tim, but in connection to Jessie. But you can only live in the moment, and I was acting in good faith based on what I perceived to be honest communication. Jesse took me up on my offer and moved into my place, putting about sixty miles between her and Tim. Although Jesse and I would sleep in the same bed we did not have sex. It may seem strange, but it is true. Sex was not on the agenda, although protection from Tim was. I had found the Jessica/Tim soap opera to be interesting, at times even intriguing, from afar. I was a smart guy so of course getting involved in Jessica’s life meant I could have a positive effect on her. I mean I’d done well for myself. I’d studied business and health sciences at South West Texas University, received an honorable discharge from the Air Force, and created a thriving business. She was talking to me for a reason—she knew I could and would help her. I was correct—I could and would help her. At that time I did not realize how Jesse actually wanted me to help her. I tend to believe that people are overall good. I can’t say I see the world through rose colored glasses and, no, I’ve never been in the market to buy the Brooklyn Bridge, but I do give people the benefit of the doubt. As I got more and more involved as a caring advisor, apparent savior, and eventual enabler in Jesse’s tangled life, I found I couldn’t disconnect from her. I tried but like the Mob with Michael Corleone in The Godfather, she kept pulling me back in. I was unaware of the fact that while I was attempting to help her, she had cast me in the lead role of a drama directed by her. My life was about to become more theatre than anything else, and it would be emotionally entangling and physically exhausting. What started as friendly heart-felt advice became a twisted tale of torment and deceit. Am I being melodramatic? You can be the judge of that. Am I being unfair in my analysis of Jessie and our relationship? You can be the judge of that also. Let’s simply say that my connection to Jesse would, as time passed, serve to illustrate the cynical observation that “no good deed goes unpunished.” Staying at my house seemed to have a good effect on Jessie. Being apart from Tim, she started to relax and to heal physically and emotionally. That’s what I observed. After hours of intimate, truthful dialogue we genuinely bonded as friends, I thought. One night, with Jessica secure in the safety of my house, Tim showed up. (All right, maybe “secure” and “safety” is not the correct words to use here.) It was 3:30 AM. He didn’t knock, ring the bell or call. He just showed up in my bedroom of my house, at my bedroom door. Jessica and I were both asleep in my bed fully clothed. (Please remember we had not had sex; we were apparently like she and Tim good friends.) Suddenly, as we’re sleeping, my bedroom lights pop on. My eyes dart open and I look over to the threshold of the bedroom. I see Tim. “Pop!” The lights are off again. My eyes are struggling to focus, and I’m attempting to figure out if my bedroom lights actually went on, if I saw Tim, and if the lights clicked off or if I’d just dreamt the whole thing? I’m looking around the room trying to see in the darkness. Then I think I see someone standing in my bedroom doorway–silhouetted by the dim hallway light. The lights pop back on. It’s Tim. Tim starts ranting and screaming at Jesse. “Get up! You’re coming back with me! Get going!” he’s raging. “What the hell are you doing here?” I’m asking. Tim says he’s come to get Jesse and he wants her up and out now. She wakes up with a “what the hell’s going on” look on her face. I’m none too happy that my house has been broken into by this guy who apparently knows how to break into homes, who’s been known to carry a gun, sell cocaine, and who likes beating on people. It was lucky for Tim that I was sleeping on the right side of my bed that night. I’m usually lying on the left where I keep a fully loaded 12-gauge shotgun. I truly believe Tim would have had all 12-gauge in his gut if I’d had the shotgun at a ready distance. As he continues to yell and I start telling him to get out, Jesse’s looking about as confused as a person who-just-got-scared-from-a-sound-sleep can. He keeps insisting to Jesse that she’s going home with him. I’m wondering does this guy know he broke the law? Does he realize he’s in someone else’s home at 3:30 in the morning uninvited? Does any of this even matter to him? I surmise—probably not. The guy’s acting like a lunatic, and I decide it’s best to let him wear himself out. Looking over at Jesse, I’m thinking she can’t be very happy to see this punk. I’m getting more steamed because the SOB not only broke into my place, but he shows no signs of going away. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s not going to wear himself out. Maybe I’m going to have to throw the jerk out on his butt. He’s yelling, she’s yelling back, and I’m yelling. This is really a “Good Morning America” moment. Adrenalin, testosterone, estrogen, I’d say just about anything that can rage in the human body was raging in all three of us at that time. It felt like I was in some sort of Cohen Brother’s movie, which is not a good feeling to have. He keeps ordering her to come back home. It’s clear he’s not leaving on his own. I’m not a violent guy; I’m not a crazy guy; and I’m not an antisocial guy. These are probably three good reasons why I kept my perspective and cool during this bizarre episode. (I didn’t know it, but it was only the first of many to come.) I’m getting ready to kick this loser out the door, when Jessica gets up, gets dressed, and goes with him. Three- thirty in the morning, he gives her an order and there she is traipsing behind him. After she’s gone, I’m back into the “maybe I’m in a dream” state of mind, a totally screwed up dream. I know that Jesse saw the potential for some first-class violence and police activity that night or at least for a rambling and escalating argument that’d leave three people sleepless and ornery. I didn’t think she should go, and she knew that. But what was I supposed to do? I’m in the center of a situation that could have gone south at any time. Would Tim turn violent? Should I throw him out? Call the cops? How was that going to help Jesse? When you own a bar there’s certain guys you can instantly analyze as dangerous personalities. They’ve got an attitude, a way carrying themselves, a look in their eyes, and a certain way of talking. To survive in the business you have to be able to quickly assess a situation and how to handle it. My immediate understanding of Tim and the incursion into my house was, despite my gut reaction of wanting to fight, it was better to wait and see. You can’t go back to sleep after something like that. Actually you can’t sleep for days after something like that. I was shaking with rage and fear. The entryway to my home had been compromised in the middle of the night. My home had become a temporary battleground. My bedroom, the place where I was supposed to be able to sleep safe and secure, was violated. Someone could have been killed. A few days later Jesse tried to move back in with me. There was a lot going through my head at that moment. I cared about her. I hadn’t been able to sleep since the break-in. I didn’t want to become a crime statistic because of someone’s violently jealous whim. I liked my life a little less dramatic. I looked at Jesse and I told her, “No, I’m sorry. You can’t be here. I’m not going to be in danger.” And with that I figured my life with Jessie was over. For the next few months I was consumed with my bar business. The First Draft Choice Sports Bar was booming. We had thriving pool and dart leagues, popular local bands playing and filling the dance floor, and creative Karaoke crooners stretching their vocal chords. There was a lot going on in what used to be a lazy, dark lounge. If you know anything about the restaurant and bar scene, you know it’s a 24/7 job. When you’re the boss you’ve got to be on site constantly because if you’re not the service, the product, and the honesty of your workers can all be compromised. When you own any business it’s your name and reputation on the line. Nobody else, no other worker, has that investment that you have in your own place. I was the engine that drove that sports bar, and the fact that I wasn’t distracted by outside events made it run smoothly. The First Draft Choice… had quickly become a favorite area nightspot. However, distractions were just around the corner. Actually they were right outside the door of my bar. They walked through that door and into the bar when Jesse started coming in again during the start of 1996. I had misjudged her persistence. In many ways it was the same Jesse. She was still pretty and still intense. She was often bruised and shaken. Once again she wasn’t doing well. As time went on she seemed to understand that she had to do something to change her situation. It was apparent to everyone that I really did like Jesse. When I say “everyone,” I mean even her, especially her. And she continued to come into the bar and seemed charmed with me. There was a lot of flirtation on both sides of the bar. But I was not about to go any further than that. I kept seeing Tim in my bedroom. What a nightmare. In April Jesse called me at the bar. She had some exciting news. Okay, I thought, I’m listening. “I moved out,” she told me. “You did?” I asked. Did I believe her? “I’ve got my own apartment.” “Great for you!” “I’m on my own,” she said. She told me how Tim was out of her life. I could tell she wanted to see me. She knew I wanted to see her. There was a lot between us at that point. She told me she wanted to go out. And so we went out the next Friday and Saturday, and I stayed at her place. For the first time that Saturday night we slept together. It was my thirtieth birthday. It was a great birthday. The next morning wasn’t so great. When I went out to my car Tim had come by some time during the night and written all over it. All of sudden Jesse is back on the phone with Tim. Wednesday I went on a business trip to Phoenix for the week. When I came back I wasn’t interested in seeing Jessie. The whole situation reeked of emotional tumult, physical danger, and potential heartbreak. I’m a pretty smart guy. I attained a 3.68 GPA in business and health sciences. I understood percentages and statistics and from all the crap that had already been dealt to me in this relationship I knew it was definitely time to fold the cards. I had also discovered some information about Jesse that, because I did really care for her, was disturbing. At first these were rumors but I later found out that they were true. I can’t say if I ever really believed that Jesse and Tim did not sleep together. It was too weird and too strange, but then again so was the rest of Jesse’s turbulent life. Since I’d known her she continued to insist that she wasn’t sleeping with anyone. The week after I slept with her and traveled to Phoenix a regular came into my bar and asked one of the managers if I was still seeing “that crazy woman, Jesse.” My manager said no, that it was all over. The guy said, “Well that’s good because she was just sleeping with my friend last week.” I wonder if it was his birthday too? Jesse was a dental assistant. I had heard talk that she was sleeping with the dentist who employed her. I found out many years later that she was definitely having a fling with the good doctor. She claimed, however, that the “good” did not refer to his proficiency in the sack. Jesse started the affair at her job interview and continued it for almost three years. Although she found his sexual performance to be totally inadequate the perks included four extra weeks of vacation, a higher than usual pay rate, and letting Jessie keep her job even though she never passed the State Boards as required by law. Then there was Tim. Oh yeah, she was sleeping with him too. She had to be. Maybe I doubted all this information, logical though it was, because we weren’t having sex. I don’t know. It’s tough to say how your mind works when the heart’s involved. After I got back from Phoenix I didn’t hear from Jesse for over a month. Then in June I got a call. It was Jessie. “I’ve got to talk with you,” she informed me. “Really?” I answered. “Can you come over to my apartment?” I decided to go. She sounded like she really did need to talk to me. I just didn’t want a scene with anyone like Tim. I was in no way prepared for the news she was about to give me. When I arrived at her apartment, Jessie looked very serious and worried. Then she talked. She told me she was pregnant and expected me to support her and the baby. And with those two revelations my entire life changed forever.
Chapter Two: Research and Tests I Should Have Done
When Jesse first told me she was pregnant, she then went into a soliloquy saying she could no longer keep her job as a dental assistant because of the danger it posed to the unborn child. The X-rays, exposure to germs, and other factors would compromise her pregnancy. She said she needed $500 a week from me to make up for the lost wages and to keep her on her feet. I said, “Now wait a minute, how do I know the baby is mine?” She insisted it was mine; that it had to be mine. I told her if tests proved I was the father, that as the father I would provide for my child. Of course I’m thinking, “I sleep with her once and now I’m a dad? That doesn’t even happen in the movies! Unbelievable.” Did I want the child to be mine? No and yes. Having a child and being a father were the furthest things from my mind since we’d slept together on my birthday. First of all Jesse had told me she was on the pill. I believed her, like I did so many other things. That was my fault; I should have taken precautions. I had some information on other guys with whom she’d recently slept. So I was curious as to how she decided that I was the father of the baby she was carrying. I mean there were at least three other candidates. At least, I thought there were. Eventually I discovered that even though she’d be with three other men, there actually weren’t three other likely choices in the Daddy Sweepstakes. I was the Grand Prize Winner, specially selected by Jesse. You see it turned out that two of the guys had had vasectomies and the other was incapable of fathering a child. That’s right everyone else was shooting blanks while I had a fully loaded pistol. I think Jesse knew all of this. And later, I would conclude, it’s why she decided to have sex with me. You see, for Jesse having a child was power. In a bizarre manner, it was a way of controlling and using people, society, and life. I realized, first of all, that I should have done a background check on Jesse and her entire family. Information gathered on Jesse and her kin would have created a portrait of a life in which she was taught to live by manipulation, deceit, and power plays. It started with her parents (it always does) and the patterns that became her life were reinforced by the existence her mother led. Even simply checking out Jesse’s recent past would have given me plenty of reasons to run from her. The latest items on her revolving bed resume included her fiery relationship with Tim and her fling with another fellow just before she and I slept together. I really should have figured the Tim situation out myself. I mean that was right in front of me. Then again, the iceberg the Titanic hit was right in front of it. It was too late for the ship’s crew to steer around that disaster in the making, just like it became too late for me to duck out of the way of Jesse. I guess I did know what was going on to some degree. But I had a tendency to believe Jessie when she told me things had changed—when she said she was going to get away from Tim or when she explained that it was all over with him. Sometimes there’s just no explaining how a normally logical mind gets detoured by illogic and emotion. My other basic fault, if you want to call it that, is that I believe people are most often motivated to do and will usually do the right thing. This belief would later lead me into a series of disastrous encounters with the family court system in Minnesota. It is a court system driven much like Jesse herself—by money. It’s not about the kids or being a good father or mother or about family in anyway. In Minnesota the family court system is about a bureaucracy feeding itself by pigeonholing fathers and mothers with little concern or thought for the children. This is not always the case; there are pockets of people working against all odds to do what is best for the children of couples who are not together. However those people get burned out spinning their wheels in a systemically flawed and faulty state government mandated court operation. There will be much more on this subject in later chapters with documented horror stories of a court run amuck. Jesse and I both had one very telling thing in common. We both came from “broken” homes. That’s where the similarities between our families begin and end. The break up of my parents was like something you might see on The Brady Bunch whereas the dissolution of Jesse’s mother’s marriages (all four of them) was akin to a Jerry Springer Best of/Worst of Special. Although my dad and mom’s marriage ended in separation and eventually divorce, they were always amicable. There weren’t any big arguments or devious, underhanded plots. When my mom left in 1980 she took virtually nothing with her. I think she took, with dad’s permission, a couch. My mom, Dorothy, and my dad, George, never used their kids against one another. The fact is my father waited sixteen years before he finalized the divorce. When the judge suggested he take a thirty-day “cooling down period” to make sure he had made the correct choice, he answered, “Your Honor, today I lose a wife, but I gain a friend.” The judge concluded no “cooling down period” was necessary. My mom had already been through one marriage before she and my dad met and said, “I do.” My mother met and married her first husband when she was a young woman in North Dakota. At that time she was an up and coming country singer with a beautiful, soulful voice. Her first husband also physically abused her. After having two girls and a boy she got out of that house of horrors. She met my dad in North Dakota. Mom’s accompanist Frank Scott was the same piano player who performed with Lawrence Welk. My mother sang on a local radio show and when a country band heading back to Nashville heard her, they invited her to go with them to the city known for wailing guitars and the Grand Ol’ Oprey. But mom chose dad over Nashville and kids over career. Lucky for us; Nashville’s loss. As kids we grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota. Eventually dad settled the family in the northern Minneapolis suburbs. My hometown became Coon Rapids, a middle-class town about twenty minutes from the metropolitan area. Although my mother didn’t pursue singing professionally, she continued to croon. At times the entire family would sing with her at special events, such as the show held at the Minneapolis Auditorium for charity. Mom worked at K-Mart and eventually retired from there. George McPhail had three careers. Initially he worked for UPS. After retiring early from there, he became a real estate agent. My dad loved moving from house to house, seeing new potential in each new home he bought. We lived in quite a few homes in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis. Dad’s interest in real estate and business rubbed off on me and had its practical application during my military years and studying business than buying the bar. After spending many successful and hectic years in real estate, dad decided to work for the US Postal Service. Eventually he also retired from the Post Office. He and my mom always had strong work ethics, which they passed onto their kids. The other thing they both gave us was the idea that your kids are important; that they are a parent’s primary responsibility. These proved to be important life lessons that we would apply as adults and parents. Growing up our family consisted of three girls and two boys. We went to school in Coon Rapids. Because we had a lot of family in North Dakota we often spent summers there. When my parents separated in 1980 I was sixteen years old and the youngest of the siblings. I’m not sure when mom and dad started having problems with their marriage, which means they did a good job keeping any disharmony they might have had away from us, but the fact that we had a stable family until all of us were pretty much grown up illustrates my parents’ priorities. I firmly believe the atmosphere of care and love they created subliminally influenced all of us in developing our priorities. All three of my sisters—Bonnie, Brenda, and Carla– have been married at least once. Bonnie, my oldest sister, left home when she was around sixteen. She married a guy from an affluent family in California. Despite the fact that his family had money, Bonnie’s husband did not. He was a hanger on and had been disowned by his family. Bonnie was being a rebel or maybe just wanting her independence by running off with him, not going to or even caring about college, and just sort of putting herself out there to live. Eventually her hanger on of a husband was gone and that left Bonnie to care for her young daughter, Chris. Bonnie got remarried to a fellow named Gregg. They moved to Missouri where she worked as a financial manager. She had a second girl, Leah. Gregg got very ill and passed-on at a much-too-young age from complications associated with diabetes. Bonnie persevered. Although she never went to college, she became very successful. She got a job as a office manager of the Minneapolis financial company. Working hard and learning as much as she could, she parlayed her experience, knowledge, and intellect into an upper level job at Merrill Lynch. At Merrill Lynch she displayed an unsurpassed work ethic that earned her an executive position. Bonnie moved onto ING. She lives in Ohio and covers a five-state area for the company. My sister Brenda has two children. Her husband found the love of his life, which he discovered was not my sister, and moved to Michigan to be with his newfound love. He worked for his love’s dad but told my sister he could not make both the alimony and child support payments. He wanted to come and see the kids, he noted, but economically that was difficult too. He just wasn’t making enough money. If he couldn’t make his payments, it meant he wouldn’t be allowed to see his kids. At that time Brenda was working for me at the sports bar. She told me about the situation. I was concerned. I thought it would be bad if the kids never saw their dad. So I made a deal with her—I would pay the alimony, leaving him only the child support payments. I did that and although he came to see his children occasionally, it wasn’t very often or on a consistent schedule. Then his perfect relationship with his new love ended and so too did his job. This made it even tougher for him to be with his kids. My plan, well intentioned—never really worked. Unfortunately, the kids don’t have their dad in their lives. That’s the role model they have—an absent father who doesn’t make the effort to see them. What kind of lesson is that teaching them? My brother John is not married. Years ago he was seeing a woman who got pregnant. However, they were no longer together and when he asked her about the baby, she told him it was not his. He believed her and he also believed her when she made is very clear that she did not want him in her life anymore. John, who now lives in Colorado, didn’t think much more about it. Then about 16 years later in the late 90s a young man named Shane starts coming into the bar asking about John McPhail. He says his mother was always badmouthing John, who she said was Shane’s dad. Shane wanted to know the family and his dad. His mom’s constant negativity about John had rubbed him the wrong way. He got to know his dad and the rest of the relatives, changed his name to McPhail, and has become a part of his long-lost family. Finally, there is my sister Carla who has one child, owns two bars, and is also married for a second time to Larry. She works hard (what else is new?) and is very successful. She’s got a fine business and parenting sense. You pretty much know what I’ve done. As kids we were loved and raised to be honest, good citizens. We’re in no way perfect, but I think, through example, we learned how important it is to raise your kids in a nurturing, honest, and secure environment.
On the other hand Jesse came from a very different family. Her mother is married now for the fifth time, and as Jesse’s sister says “my mom manipulated her way out of her four marriages”. Now one daughter has bilked the government, another has continuously cheated on her husband and Jessica has done all of that and more. The fact is you are formed by what you’ve learned, seen, and experienced as a child. Jesse never had a stable family. Plus, she observed her mother first-hand as she manipulated and used her children, the court system, and her husbands to get everything she wanted. Here are a few incidents that shaped Jesse’s views and life. According to her when she was 12 one of her stepfathers sexually molested her. She was of course threatened by him and told to not say a word. Eventually she did tell her mom about the abuse. Her mother turned around and, instead of blaming her husband, blamed Jesse. Okay, there’s a few important lessons taught right there. Lesson 1: Telling the truth can get you in trouble. When Jesse told her mother what happened, Jesse (the truth) was the problem and not the abuser. Lesson 2: People who do bad things, who break the law, who use people are not punished. They get away with things. Jesse’s stepfather wasn’t punished. Lesson 3: Do anything to keep your meal ticket. If Lynn, Jesse’s mom, had blamed her husband then that would have threatened her financial survival. That was important than the truth, her daughter’s safety, and the law. When Jesse was a teenager she says her sister Kris found her mother in the shower with one of her seventeen year old boyfriends. Her mother was doing more with the young man than coming clean. Her mom blamed Kris I guess. Of course, Kris wasn’t taking care of her boyfriend’s needs so Lynn had to. What’s a child being told by their parent when something like that happens? The child’s learning that there are no boundaries to behavior; that you cannot trust the one person you should always be able to trust, and that sex is a tool you can use to control people and gain power. There’s a lot of other wonderful life examples to be gleaned from Lynn’s inexcusable behavior, including with the right wrong-headed logic you can justify anything. Throughout her life Jesse saw her mother marry men, discard them, and then collect large sums of money from them. She used this by abusing the truth and constantly using Jesse and her two sisters as pawns. This behavior repeated over and over again and again during their formative years certainly affected the sisters in how they viewed men, children, money and much more. Throughout her life Jesse learned that saying something is true basically made it true. If you deny something, then it didn’t happen. If you claim something did occur, then it did. The fact was in Jesse’s life the truth didn’t matter, the result from what you said did. In my eyes in no way does this upbringing excuse Jesse’s behavior as an adult. The fact is many adults suffer through terrible childhoods and manage to rise above the events that helped define their lives. Jesse certainly had the deck stacked against her. But what happened to her as a child and teen helps explain her behavior, it in no way excuses it. What type of life has Jesse led? It’s the type of life where it’s difficult to discern what the truth is and what has actually happened. Here’s a simple example. Remember, Jesse used to come into my bar all the time claiming that Tim beat her? She had clear evidence—the bruises on her arms. I have never raised my hand to Jesse (or to any other woman). However, she has hit and shoved me and even attempted to strike me with a 15 pound twelve volt battery. I in no way even thought of striking back. Yet, she’s charged that I have hit her. I never have. It is not in my makeup. Sometimes I wonder—did the same thing happen between Jesse and Tim? Tim was not the most upstanding citizen in the world but it doesn’t mean he ever hit her. My point is when someone starts inventing a majority of the incidents in their life, denying things that did happen, and become so good at lying that they actually convince themselves they’re telling the truth, is there anyway you can believe anything that they say? A prime example of how Jesse works people and the system follows. Angie and Jesse worked at Menard’s hardware store. Over the course of numerous months the two stole $10,000 from the store. Angie was the register supervisor and Jesse was a cashier. Jesse would ring purchases through and then Angie would void certain purchases and take the cash. It’s a simple poncy scheme with Menard’s being the poncy. It can work if you don’t get too greedy. They got way too greedy. After getting caught, Angie pled guilty. Jesse pled not guilty and through her lawyer got the case delayed numerous times over a period of a couple years. Finally the court just threw out the charges because Jesse managed to drag the process out forever. The list of schemes, lies, and manipulations is endless. When you read about them please remember they are documented. I’ve included some of the many pages of evidence regarding her behavior in this book. The most important question for me when I became a father was what are my kids learning from their mom? Did you notice I said, “kids?” That’s right; Jessica and I had twin boys—Wyatt and Kolton. >From the moment they were born they were the dearest and most important people in my life. They became my priority. They were also Jessica’s priority but for a very different reason. She would use them to get money, cars, homes and more from me. Jesse had learned her lessons well from her mom. Due to the way the family court system in Minnesota is set up, she had custody of my two boys because she is the mother. In Minnesota the mother has the kids and the power. Jessica knew how to use and wield her power. That had been her life-long lesson from her mom. Jesse also knew how I felt. I was passionate about my belief that my two boys needed their dad. No matter what, I wanted to be there for them. Being there for them meant that I would have to give up more than I ever dreamed. Why? Jesse would make me pay in every way she could. Tests I should have done? Maybe I should have had my head examined? But when you see your child, or in my case—children—and you know they need your guidance, love, and support nothing else really matters. I wanted to be the best dad I could be and as my father once said to me, “You don’t have to be married to be a good father.” I believe I may represent that remark.
CHAPTER THREE: Kids and Fatherhood After Jesse told me she was pregnant and needed money, I didn’t hear from her for about two months. In August she called and asked me to meet her outside the dental clinic. I figured it was about money, and I figured right. But there was a surprise waiting for me too. When I arrived she immediately started talking cash. Of course it was in relationship to the safety of the baby. Then she pulled out some pictures and when she showed them to me she revealed that she was carrying twins. Yes, two for the price of one. There they were captured for the first time by ultrasound. It was a heady experience to think they might be mine. They were hands, fingers, feet, toes. Two heads—could they be mine? They could be. For a moment, I thought I was in a dream. It was a sublime moment looking at these two perfect children and considering the possibilities. But Jesse pulled me back to reality by saying, “The doctor told me, I can’t work. I’ve got to get off me feet.” My dream bubble popped and I said the same thing I’d said in June, “Jess, I’m sorry; but if there’s a paternity test and they’re mine, then we can discuss it.” Silence once again for months. Of course there are times I wondered are they my kids? Other times I would realize, Jesse may have told a whole lot of guys that they’re the father. How many $500 checks is she collecting? Then in October 1996, when Jesse was in her sixth month, she called me again. It was the same litany. “The doctor told me I can’t work,” she claimed, “I’ve got to get off my feet. I can’t make it. I need money.” I said, again, “If they are mine, we can discuss it.” Once again I heard nothing from Jesse. Then in January I was told that the twin boys had been born on January 8, 1997. Tim’s brother and his brother’s girlfriend, who often drank at my bar, came with news about the boys, saying that they looked just like me. My sister, Brenda, then went to visit the twins– Wyatt and Kolton. She too confirmed that there was a resemblance. I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand various people, including my sister who I totally trusted, were informing me that the babies looked like me. On the other hand people can get oogly-googly with babies and think they see something that’s not there. I wanted to be sure. I didn’t want to get attached and then find out that I wasn’t their father. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone. I’ve known men who were told that they were the father and truly thought they were. They wanted to be the dad. Later, some of those guys discovered that it wasn’t case. I could see that it hurt and caused confusion. I’d already been through a lot with Jesse. I didn’t want to be dragged through a false paternity drama. Then there was the question– what if I started to support Jesse and the boys and later it was determined that I was not the father? What would happen then? There were plenty of cases in Minnesota where this had occurred. The result was the man who was not the dad was ordered by the court to continue to pay child support. So with all of this logic backing me up, what did I do? I started giving Jesse money to help with the kids before any paternity test had been done. Maybe it was a sense that they were mine. You know, that it was fate, just a matter of time before we all knew the truth, and in my heart I already knew what the truth was. I think the fact that my parents didn’t separate until I was fifteen or sixteen had a big impact on me. At times I’d think “what if I didn’t have a dad”? How tough would that have been? I also had seen what my sister, Brenda, went through when she and her husband separated. Both of her children, her son especially, had a lot of trouble with the fact that their dad not only wasn’t there but also didn’t really make in effort to be there. When kids come into this world they deserve to have as positive a situation as they can. Kids are innocent. I didn’t think a lot about this until I saw the possibility and then the probability that I was going to be a father. Then I started to understand something I knew inside all the time. That when I did have kids, no matter what the circumstances, I was going to be an important part of their lives just like my dad was in mine. I wanted to be there for them and give them things. But I was going to have to deal with a system that stacked the deck against me. So many guys have ditched and run from their responsibility as parents, the name Deadbeat Dad (“DD”) has become a stereotype. That “DD:” what’d he do? Well here’s a few common observations made about the “DD.” He ran off with his girlfriend, or has a drug or alcohol problem, or he’s got a lot of money and living it up while mom and the kids suffer. Or maybe he’s a guy who’s a “Player” and has spread his seed and given rise to countless kids by multiple mothers? He’s a guy who hates kids and beats women. He doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. I’m not saying these men don’t exist. They’re all too plentiful. There are many, many guys who don’t get it. Who don’t try to be there for their little ones. Who, somehow, don’t realize how important they are. They need to live up to their responsibility and, when laws have been broken, they need to be punished. But all those types of “DDs” I just mentioned, aren’t those the things everyone thinks of when the father’s not around? The father is not in his kids’ lives therefore he’s got to be a “DD.” There’s another type of father who is not in his children’s lives. He’s the guy who wants to be and who tries to be but finally gives up because the court system is prejudice against him. It’s a court that’s constantly ruling against him no matter what the evidence says and always giving the mother the benefit of the doubt even if she’s a deficient mom and derelict in her duties. There are fathers whose love is held hostage by mothers who want money and nothing else. These are mothers who will manipulate visitation and custody to get more income. These are moms who use their children as pawns in one of the most heartless games of chess you’ll ever see, because this chess match pits father against kids. Sometimes bitter dads walk away. I didn’t walk away when my boys arrived, and I still haven’t given up in my quest to be a positive force in the lives of my kids. Just after Jesse gave birth to Wyatt and Kolton, Brenda had established a relationship with my sons. She continued seeing the boys while I stayed in the background. It was through Brenda that I started to give Jessie $350 a week for the kids. And although I wanted to be with my kids, I couldn’t be around Jessie. That meant I couldn’t be around my kids. The problem was one of safety. After she gave birth, Jessie went back with Tim. You remember Tim, right? Tim was the guy who broke into my house at 3 AM. He was the one who wrote all over my car and threatened me when he found out Jesse and I were together. Tim had guns. Tim had a temper. Tim, to me, seemed kind of unpredictable. His track record and his dislike of me made it difficult for me to feel comfortable in being around Jessie. Of course the question is why would Jesse go back to Tim? In the past she said he’d beat her, threw five guns down on the bed and told her to pick the one she wanted to die with. Tim promised to kill her, and constantly belittled her. Sure, I’d go back to Tim if I was her, wouldn’t you? Especially when you have a couple of babies! Doesn’t Tim sound just like the sort of guy you want around infants? What was the attraction? Tim had ways of making money and Jesse was definitely drawn to that aspect of just about any man. Abusive relationships seemed to be a part of her upbringing, which meant they were virtually normal to her. Also, having numerous guys and using them was something she certainly saw her mother do. Remember she was one of her mother’s pawns? I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Brenda had been seeing my sons quite a bit. My sister has a heart of gold; she is the kindest person I know and she loves children. By this time I had paid for and gone through the paternity test. Although it hadn’t come back yet, I wanted to make sure that everything was set if Kolton and Wyatt were mine. With this in mind, I decided to go the County Child Support Office to formally establish support for my kids. Coon Rapids is located in Anoka County. I met with Susan Drake, a County employee, and told her I’d decided to initiate the action to begin formally paying child support if it was determined the boys were mine. Susan suggested that I save twenty dollars and have Jesse start the action. Twenty dollars wasn’t a whole lot to me and besides I had made the effort to start the official process and felt I should follow through. Despite Susan’s continued insistence that I should let Jessie fill out the forms, I stuck to my guns. I told Susan, “Whatever I’m supposed to be doing, I want to be doing it. I want everything ready to go.” She seemed to understand my feelings and so I filled out the papers, paid the twenty dollars, and left. Then Mrs.Drake called Jesse and had her come in and fill out the paperwork. Why did they do that after I had already filed? When the County starts the bureaucratic slaughter of the thousands of trees that are needed to sustain the endless paper trail related to children and parents, they are compensated for acting first. That’s right, Susan didn’t want to save me two sawbucks; she wanted to make sure her department got credit and money for making things happen. (And I ask you, in what way does this benefit children?) You see if the county files the paperwork in court it becomes The State of Minnesota, County of Anoka and Jessica Jacobson Vs Don McPhail, rather than The State of Minnesota, County of Anoka Vs Jessica Jacobson and Don McPhail. In the latter case, I look like a good citizen, while in the former situation I appear to be a “DD” who the county had to track down. You’ve got to understand that the county is vying for Federal Incentive Dollars, which are based on the way support obligations are initiated and collected. If it looks like a county worker hunted me down and started litigation, it means their department receives a larger incentive payment. What’s that old joke? When someone says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” run for the hills. On paper awarding Federal Incentive Dollars to local governments for tracking down negligent fathers looks like a good idea. The spirit of the law is about protecting children and insuring that fathers meet their monetary obligations. But then people in the system learn to manipulate the law and suddenly you have the tail wagging the dog! The system is no longer about the well fare of kids. It’s about bringing more money into the system by setting up the ultimate bad guy—the Deadbeat Dad. It was August 1997 that I went to court with my lawyer, Rick Eskola. Jesse was there with her court appointed and paid for lawyer. We were there to formalize child support and, at my request, to establish a visitation schedule. In the hearing it was acknowledged that Brenda had been seeing the boys virtually since they were born and now had a good relationship with them. The court decided that after a few more meetings between Brenda and the boys that she could bring them to my house, giving the boys and me the opportunity to start to get to know one another. The court also granted Jessie a temporary support order of $867 a month. That’s correct– $867 a month. This was $533 less a month than I had been paying Jesse on my own. You see prior to going to court I had offered to continue paying Jesse $1,400 per month for 18 more months. I figured that would give her some time to be with the boys, find some part-time employment, and create a stable environment. After 18 months, she would receive $1,000 each month and I would put the other $400 in an account for the boys. I thought we could handle everything without going through all the hoops and tricks demanded by the beast of a legal system that defines the Minnesota courts. “No, no, no,” she said, “my lawyer said I don’t have to take any less than you’re giving me now.” It was unfortunate for her that she found my offer to be less than generous and that she believed the court would be much more charitable. Jesse didn’t mind confrontation. Creating ugly scenes and winning at any price was a family tradition amongst the Jacobson women. So she was armed for bear when she went to court. Jesse denied that I had paid anything up to that point. She thought by telling that lie she could garner more child support. However, I was able to produce the checks I had written and she had cashed. Back-support denied. Needless to say the mother of my two boys was none to happy after she left the county courthouse that day. In less time than it takes to write a check for $533, she has lost $533. Her solution was to use the boys to hurt me. Brenda called Jessie, as the court had ordered. Jesse never picked up the phone. Brenda left messages. No calls were returned. I tried to contact her. Nothing. If she wasn’t going to get the money she thought she deserved, then surely she wasn’t going to let me see my kids. That was her power. Even though Brenda continued to call again and again and again, Jesse would not respond. We were about to head back to court when Jesse’s lawyer called Lee and said that, “Ms. McPhail has never called to set up visitation and your client expects to have visitation rights?” The day of the hearing who shows up in court but Ms. Brenda McPhail? The very person who called Jesse so many times she lost count and also that same person who Jessie claimed had never called. When Jesse saw Brenda her entire story changed. It’s funny but when Jesse gets caught in a lie—I mean in an absolutely boldfaced falsehood—she starts throwing out as many stories and excuses and defenses as she can muster. It’s like her brain is boiling and all these fabrications start steaming from her mouth. The court decided we should go to Parenting Services and attend parenting classes designed to help us mediate our issues. We both agreed to do that. Just before we were scheduled to attend the classes Jesse called me. She said she thought we didn’t need the parenting sessions and that we could work things out ourselves. She made a convincing argument by noting that we could use the time much better and save the money for more important things. Jesse assured me that all I had to do was call her and I could see the boys whenever I wanted. According to her, it was all worked out so it didn’t make sense to go through all of the sessions. I agreed and told her I’d call Parenting Services and let them know. The classes were something we agreed to do, and we still had appointment with the county so they needed to be informed. I contacted a worker at Parenting Services and explained that Jesse and I had decided that we could work things out ourselves and we no longer needed the mediation appointments. I was told that that was fine. Then shortly thereafter I received a letter from Anoka County Services notifying me that Ms. Jacobson had shown up for the parenting session but that I had not. It did confirm that she said we agreed that we did not need the services. This, of course, was true. But by going to the session at the appointed time and canceling it, Jesse cleverly set up a paper trail that confirmed she was present for and I was absent from the first scheduled session. In the future when she wanted something from me, she would bring up the fact that it was documented that I “never showed up for the parenting session” and that meant no judge would ever grant me visitation rights. This was the way she operated. My problem was I had a commitment to my sons. The commitment was more than just providing for them monetarily. It had to do with loving, guiding, and protecting them. But how could I do that if she refused to let me see them? Then one day Jesse relented. She told me she would bring the boys over to see me. They were nine months old. I thought, “Great, I can actually have some time with them!” We set it up. Kolton and Wyatt and their dad—talk about a dream? It was going to be just my boys and me. Jesse dropped them off and left. It was nothing like I expected. They were extremely attached to her. When she left all they did was scream. It made sense. She was breastfeeding and she was also the parent they both knew. Even though I was their dad, they’d spent close to no time with me and I’d never been alone with them. Man, nothing like thinking you’re Mr. Rodgers only to find out you’re perceived as Count Oloff! I called Jesse and asked her to pick them up early. After that fiasco, I had an idea. I thought it might be a way to fix a few problems. Jesse was no longer with Tim. (Yes, once again they had parted ways.) She had called me complaining about having to stay with her mom. They weren’t getting along— no news flash there—and with the kids tensions were even higher than usual. Calling her, I said, “Why don’t you and the boys come and live with me? I have a big house, so there’s plenty of privacy for you. I can get to know the boys and you’ll get a break from your mother.” The next day I got a message from her. She didn’t need my help. She had found a place. Can you guess with whom? You’ve got it—she decided to live in a cabin right next to Tim. That was in October 1997. One of the many problems with this new situation was that Tim lived in Clear Lake, Minnesota. That was a good sixty miles north of Coon Rapids. Another problem was Tim’s lifestyle. Up there in Clear Lake he had a house, a cabin, and a garage for his truck. Besides his truck, Tim also kept the drugs he sold in the garage. Yep, this gun toting, violent, jealous, alleged maniac sold coke. The other problem was a basic lack of communication. In Clear Lake Jesse did not have a telephone. The next time I saw Kolton and Wyatt was Christmas. Brenda and I went over to Jesse’s mother’s house. It was wonderful and sad to see them. For most people Christmas brings back a lot of memories and rekindles deep feelings. Some are good and some are bad. I knew after that Christmas there was one feeling I didn’t want to have again. Hopelessness. Hopelessness? Christmas is about hope but I had very little hope of getting to know my children, of making a better life for them, of insuring they’d be loved by their dad. My sons were almost a year old and I had missed most of those 365 days. I felt beaten. The next year I tried to work it out with Jesse. But with my business, the physical distance between us, and the fact that she still had no phone, it was a hopeless situation. As Christmas approached again, I didn’t want to have that same desperate and desolate feeling. I decided I’d put my best foot forward. Maybe if I set things up to make communicating and life easier for her, she’d make an effort to follow through on letting me spend time with my kids. In December I bought a phone for Jesse and set up service for her in Clear Lake. Brenda drove north and delivered the phone. I agreed to pay for the whole thing, including the phone bills. December, January, February—I was calling her but she never answered and she never returned my calls. And the phone bills? Six hundred dollars a month, but virtually less than a dollar’s worth of rings to me. Then in March Jesse finally called me. This was going to make my day, until it became clear that she needed a car. Her vehicle was DOA and she didn’t have the money to buy another one. Of course how would she get the boys to the doctor or go grocery shopping or do all those other important things mothers have to do if she doesn’t have a car? I bought her a blue Dodge sedan that had rolled about 50,000 miles down the road. I forget the model, but it was only four years old, in great shape, and loaded. Of course when I delivered the car, I got to see Wyatt and Kolton and they saw that their dad was helping them out with a new car. The next month Jesse called me with another problem. There was something wrong with the car. She wanted to know if I could take care of it? Why not? I picked up the car and drove it to the dealer. Just as I was about to turn into the lot a kid in a Ford Mustang raced down the breakdown lane and totaled Jessie’s car. I had a concussion and was pretty shaken up. It was like the whole vehicle just wrapped around me. My insurance paid for a loaner, and that was great because it meant Jesse and the boys were still mobile. It was turning out that I was in touch with her and with them more often. Slowly, my plan seemed to be working. During the time that she had the rental car, Jesse was driving back and forth to Michigan on the weekends to be with her sister, Chris. She’d had the loaner a month when I’d secured a new car for her. She called me a few days before I was supposed to get the rental back. Jesse asked if she could keep the vehicle one more week. She wanted to take the kids to her sister’s where they were having a special spring festival with sleigh rides, cider, and the whole nine yards. The thirty-day free rental period was up, so I was going to have to pay for the extra week. I figured the boys would have a lot of fun and so I told her to go for it. Well she did. After she came back from the trip to her “sisters,” Jesse called me and said, “We have to talk.” “Okay,” I said, “What do we have to talk about? What is it?” She then proceeded to inform me that she was getting married to this guy named Charlie and moving to Antigo, Wisconsin. Excuse me? What did I just hear? “Jesse,” I said, “you can’t just move out of state with the boys.” “Oh, no,” she started talking loudly, “my lawyer says I can take the kids out of the state and you can’t do anything about it!” “I don’t think so—“ And then she cuts me off with, “And what do you care? You didn’t even care enough to show up for the parenting meeting!” I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve got a new spin to an old joke. What’s the difference between Jesse and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.” I called my lawyer and he informed me that I could fight it, but if she claimed she’s in love they would probably let her go. He said what the court would do is deduct any travel expenses I’d have to pay in going to visit my kids. They’d take that right off the top of the child support payment. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t want my kids to lose that money. But I told her that she was going to have to bring the kids to Coon Rapids to see me. I gave her my Dodge Ram truck and told her I would pay for the gas as well as the vehicle as long as she would drive the kids back and forth so I could see the boys. She went off with Charlie. The first time I met Charlie she was driving his car and he was sitting in the passenger seat. I was dropping off the Dodge Ram. Charlie had a shaved head—Jessie has a “thing” for guys with shaved heads—and he looked older. When Jessie came over to get the keys I asked, “Is that your grandpa?” She looked at me and said, “That’s Charlie!” “Jeeze,” I said, “he looks kind of old. I thought it was your Grandpa!” She didn’t appreciate the joke, but I did. In May Jesse moved into his house in Antigo Wisconsin. By June Jesse was calling me a lot with some very strange stories. She claimed that Charlie was beating her, that he was forcing her to have sex in front of the boys, he was stealing her child support money, and that he was a drug addict. In second to the last call Jesse was very worried and upset. She said she’d been cited for child neglect when the Antigo police found the two boys running around naked outside the house. (Looking back much later I realized that’s when I should have gotten my sons. The neglect citation would have given me custody.) Then just before July 4, 1999 at AM my phone rang. It was Jesse. She’d locked herself in the bathroom, Charlie had beaten her up, and she wanted out. I got the name of a hotel in Antigo, called it, and booked her a room. She got to the hotel with the boys and I drove through the night to meet her. There was a lot in my head during that three-and-a-half hour drive. Most of it was about the safety of my kids. But Jesse’s safety was of concern also. Along with firmly believing Kolton and Wyatt needed their dad, I also believed they needed their mother. The next morning I took Jesse to the police station and she filed a report. Was her report about Charlie’s abuse the truth? Who knows? At the time I thought it was. After the police station, I took her and the boys back to the house so they could get their stuff. Jessie was about to pocket a huge wedding ring when I stopped her. “What’re you doing?” I asked. “He was giving me this for the wedding!” “You can’t take now, you’re not getting married.” “But he owes me money,” she said. “How much? A couple of hundred dollars?” “A thousand,” she claimed. “Look,” I said, “that ring’s huge and it was his mother’s. It’s worth a lot more than he owes you.” I’m glad to say I convinced her to leave it. Everyone knows—Jesse likes money. When she met Charlie, Jesse understood that he had inherited $400,000 and owned a potato farm. Charlie had a house directly in town. For a farmer in a town the size of Antigo (population is about 8,500) it’s not unusual for someone to own a farm but to live in the town. In the morning a farmer would go out and work, and in the evening he’d come back home. That was exactly what Charlie did. The fact was Jessie found out after she got to Antigo that Charlie did not inherit $400,000, he had inherited $40,000 and he did not own a potato farm, he only worked on one and was making a whopping and Jesse deflating $8.50 and hour. Was that the “beating” he gave her? Was that why she had to get out of there? I had no idea. All I knew was that I had my two boys and their mom back in Coon Rapids. I was hoping to provide some stability for them.
Chapter 8: Proof is in the Pudding “Fraud Gone WILD”
“This chapter is oh so important not to just me, but more importantly, to a system and it’s never ending failures and inadequacies”. Even more importantly to the complete failure that it has forever bestowed upon my children and me. Time and memories stolen from my childen and I that can never be replaced. With every page I will be showing the complete disregard that both Jessica and her lawyer had for the truth and rule of law, even when most say “It’s family law, people never tell the truth”. Well it’s not just family law, it’s about my children and they mean much more to me than oh well it’s just the way it is. In this chapter I am laying out documents that will prove the assertions that I have made so far and those that will follow this chapter. In these documents fraud and perjury on the court will be more than evident and proven beyond any doubt. Along with the document I will include a paragraph or so following the document and explaining it’s impact on this case and again more importantly my children.