Crisis In The Family Courts

Who does Parental Alienation (PAS) Protect?

Parental Alienation (PAS)

An abuser- even a CONVICTED Abusers-CRIMES-Parental Alienation is used in Family Court to Give the children to the Abusers.

I was ‘alienating” because HE beat the hell out of me- convicted in criminal court 8 times!! …and the Courts actually set it up in CO-PARENTING for him to CONTINUE for years to Assault.

PAS is a Defense to Batterers. It is ONLY used with abusers and ONLY in CASES of Abuse to SILENCE the victims.

It calls all allegations of abuse as false- Even when proven Abuse- and Convictions-

It is used Against the victim and every Battered Mothers WILL and DO loose their Children because of the Parental Alienation Theories-

I urge all who are middle line on this to please use common sense before more are killed and suffer irreparable harm as a result of the use of PAS.

I am a PAS casualty – even with Criminal Convictions of Violence the response was- "we don’t want the daughter to KNOW what the Father did to the mother"

Parental Alienation- and my daughter went to the abuser I have barely seen her in over a decade.

This is what Parental Alienation does.. the truth- is to protect from allegations of ALL Abuse- and Defends the Abusers. period.


Claudine Dombrowski Photos of Abuse | Stop Family Violence

There is a crisis in our nation’s family courts. Judges are awarding child custody to abusers and pedophiles and punishing the safe parent who tries to protect the children from harm. In this section you …


Claudine Dombrowski Photos of Abuse

As you view these photos keep in mind that the court awarded FULL CUSTODY of their daughter to the "man" who did this to Claudine.

To read Claudine’s history that was submitted to the IACHR, click here

If you want to know some of the many reasons women stay in abusive relationships, click here


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Domestic Violence (DV) by Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed by Batterers Are Not "PAS"

Posted in Amy Castillo, Maryland legislatures Kill Domestic Violence Bill,, Angry fathers, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, Breaking The Silence; Children's Stories, Child Custody, Child found, Childrens Rights, Collin Lee Momany, Collin Momany, corrupt bastards, Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George's), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank, Custody Hell, Darcey Freeman's, domestic law, Domestic Violence on the rise in shawnee county, Domestic Violence,Domestic Violence,Domestic Violence,Domestic Violence,, don hoffman jill dykes judge david debenham Dr. rodeheffer, family court corruption, Fathers & Families, Glenn Sacks, ACFC, RADAR, ANCPR, fathers murdering, Fathers Rights, Getting screwed by the Family Courts, Getting screwed by the politicians, Jessica Gonzales- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, JUDGE KEVIN CRONIN, Karin Huffer"Legal Abuse Syndrome" FAMILY LAW JUDGE SENTENCES DISABLED MOTHER TO 21 DAYS IN JAIL, Maria's ex-husband broke her back during a rage of anger. Maria Mel, Judge Richard Anderson Shawnee County Courts Topeka Kansas, Judge Robert Lemkau Katie Tagle Wyatt Garcia Stephen Garcia Victorville CA., Kansas Joint Committee on Children’s Issues on Nov 30, 2009 in Topeka, Kansas Legislature, Covenant Marriages, Domestic Violence, BULLSHIT LAWS, Katie Tagle, Dr. Phill, Steven Garcia, Pinnion Hills, CA,, Maryland Legislature Frank Conway Jr, BATTERER Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City, Message to My Child . ., Motherhood, Mothers Rights, Murder-Suicide, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Speak Out by abatteredmother on April 1, 2010

Parental Alienation (PAS)

September 16, 2009

As more and more abused women lose custody to batterers in family courts, they are wrongly embracing the very ideas that enabled their abusers to gain custody in the first place. False accusations of “parental alienation" are often used by batterers to gain custody and to defend against accusations of abuse.

Some unfortunate women after years of enduring domestic violence have lost custody to the batterers who abused them. In these cases, batterers have made good on their threat to attack their ex-partner in the place she is the most vulnerable—by taking her children away from her. After separation, these batterers continue to wage their campaign of manipulation and abuse by attempting to convince involved children that their mothers never loved them. Looking for a way to describe their batterers’ behavior, some mothers have called what their batterer is doing "parental alienation syndrome."

In reality, what these women are describing from their ex-partners is better termed Domestic Violence by Proxy (DV by Proxy), a term first used by Alina Patterson, author of Health and Healing. DV by Proxy refers to a pattern of behavior which is a parent with a history of using domestic violence or intimidation, uses a child as a substitute when he no longer has access to his former partner. Calling this behavior “parental alienation” is not strong enough to convey the criminal pattern of terroristic behaviors employed by batterers.

When his victim leaves him, batterers often recognize that the most expedient way to continue to hurt his partner is to assert his legal rights to control her access to their children. By gaining control of the children, an abusive male now has a powerful tool which allows him to continue to stalk, harass and batter an ex-partner even when he has no direct access to her. Moreover, by emotionally torturing the child and severing the bond between children and their mother, he is able to hurt his intended victim — the mother — in a way she cannot resist.

DV by Proxy includes tactics such as: threats of harm to children if they display a positive bond to the mother, destroying favored possessions given by the mother, and emotional torture (for example, telling the child the mother hates them, wanted an abortion, and is not coming to get them because they are unloved).

DV by Proxy may also include coaching the child to make false allegations regarding their mother’s behavior and harming or punishing the child for not complying. DV by Proxy perpetrators may also create fraudulent documents to defraud the court in order to prevent the mother from gaining custody. Whether or not the child is biologically related to them is irrelevant to perpetrators of DV by Proxy. The perpetrator’s main motivation is to hurt his ex; whether or not his own child is harmed in the process is irrelevant to him.

This is very different from "parental alienation syndrome" as described by the late Richard A. Gardner. Dr. Gardner described PAS as an internal process by which a child aligns themselves with a preferred parent to protect themselves from the divorce conflict. “PAS” is conceptualized as a psychological process of identification with a parent who, according to the theory, encourages this identification at the expense of the other parent.

PAS inducing parents, according to Gardner, are often unconscious of what they are doing to encourage the identification. In contrast, perpetrators of DV by Proxy are very conscious of what they are doing. Controlling, coercive, illegal acts often done by abusive and controlling people, usually men, are not subtle, and do not encourage an identification with a parent. Criminal, fraudulent, coercive acts are visible and obvious. These behaviors encourage compliance by threats and fear. Behaviors involved in DV by Proxy are deliberate and often illegal. These behaviors include: battery, destruction of property, locking children in rooms to prevent them from calling parents, falsifying documents, along with other similar overt behaviors.

The most dangerous aspect of Gardner’s PAS theory is that that the alienating parent’s behavior is theorized to be so subtle as to be unobservable. In other words, the behaviors that are supposed to cause the alienation are assumed to be happening without any proof that they have actually occured. As many women have discovered this makes a charge of "alienation" almost impossible to defend against.

While Gardner’s theories regarding PAS have been shown to be overly general and have not been supported by careful research, behaviors seen in DV by Proxy can be readily observed. Behaviors involved in DV by Proxy are deliberate and planned; many are illegal, and if the child is given the freedom to talk, will be described in great detail by the child.

If the child’s formerly favorable view of the victimized parent changes when exposed to tactics like this over time then it is more likely a form of "Stockholm Syndrome" or traumatic attachment to the abuser, rather than the alignment with one parent and negative reaction to the other that Gardner described as "alienation".

A recent and comprehensive article on PAS and its use in the court system, by Jennifer Hoult can be downloaded here.

For further information:

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Huntington Township man was arrested Sunday for allegedly killing his wife and son in their home.


Man kills wife, son

Richard Lehman allegedly admitted to police Sunday that he shot and killed his wife and son in this Huntington Township home, where the three lived.


Times Night Editor

Published: Monday, March 22, 2010 7:15 AM EDT

A Huntington Township man was arrested Sunday for allegedly killing his wife and son in their home.

Richard Lehman, 68, shot and killed his wife, 62-year-old Linda Lehman, and his 33-year-old son Travis shortly after midnight at their 6909 Old Harrisburg Road home, state police announced at press conference Sunday afternoon.

Richard Lehman, according to police, called 911 to report the crime and admit his part in it.

State police arrived within 15 minutes and told the desk officer who was still on the phone with Richard Lehman to instruct him to go outside, according to the affidavit of probable cause. He complied and when police asked if anyone else was inside he reportedly said “No, just two dead bodies,” and “kill me.”

When police entered the home, they found Linda Lehman’s body with a gunshot wound to the head. Wagner said she was several feet from a phone.

“It appears the wife observed the son being shot,” Wagner said.

“The defendant related that he shot his wife because she was screaming and hollering and said that she was going to call the cops,” the affidavit reads.

Travis Lehman was found in the kitchen, according to the affidavit, with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Wagner said Richard Lehman appeared to be “coherent” and police do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

Wagner would not discuss any possible motive for the murders or if Richard Lehman had any prior criminal record.

Fire crews responded to the residence at 1 p.m., Saturday for what was originally described as a shed fire but classified by Adams County Control as a brush fire. Wagner would not comment as to whether the two incidences were at all related.

A search for Richard Lehman on Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System’s web portal, which contains criminal docket sheets dating back to 2000, did not yield any results.

He was charged with two counts of criminal homicide, according to Wagner. He is in Adams County Prison without bail and a preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 31.

Autopsies on the bodies of Travis and Linda Lehman are scheduled for Tuesday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Chad Whittington, who is formerly of Biglerville and currently lives in Ozark, Montana, said Sunday he was Travis’ “best friend” as a child but he has not had contact with the family in 15 years. He vividly remembers Richard Lehman, but not in a good way.

“When we were kids he was very angry all the time, not much love in the house,” Whittington said. “I don’t recall him being very loving at all. I can remember him yelling at Mrs. Lehman to the point where we would be scared as kids.”

However, his memories of Mrs. Lehman are much more pleasant.

“Mrs. Lehman was an incredibly sweet lady,” he said.

Wagner said this is the first double homicide in Adams County since he took office in 2003.

Contact Alex at

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Dr. Phil & Action Alert! Kathleen Russel with Katie Tagle The Crisis in Family Courts

Lets hope dr fool dont f^&*  this one up-

CJE Web Header 600


CJE’s own Kathleen Russell has been invited to appear on the Dr. Phil Show!
She will be speaking about the growing crisis in our family courts, and will appear alongside Katie Tagle and others. Tagle’s 9-month-old child was killed by his father after three judges denied the boy protection, even after the dad threatened in writing to kill their son.
This is a great opportunity to make sure Dr. Phil takes the crisis in our family courts seriously!
We encourage anyone who can make it to LA this Wednesday to COME TO THE DR. PHIL SHOW TAPING & SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
To RSVP and claim your FREE admission, call either: Elaine at 323-956-3334 or Jason at 323-956-8497 this Monday between 10AM – 4PM. Be sure to tell them that you heard about the taping from CJE!
DATE OF TAPING: Wednesday, March 24
LOCATION: Provided Upon RSVP (Hollywood)
TIME: Arrive at the studio no later than 8:00AM — taping will begin at 9:30AM and you will be free to leave by around 11:00AM.
Check the

CJE website for more information – we’ll keep you updated as we firm up the details.


Nearly 100 people gather to protest Judge Lemkau
– Victorville Daily Press 3/8/10
Rebellion in the California Court System
– ABC7 News 2/25/10
For more information, contact CJE at 415-256-9606, or at


Please plan to join us in Sacramento to support Whistleblower Protection in the California Courts.
Hearing Date TBD – likely early April
Assembly Judiciary Committee Hearing – AB 1749 (Whistleblower Protection)
Since 2001, court employees in the state of California have been exempt from Whistleblower Protection — meaning they could lose their jobs if they report wrongdoing. AB 1749 — authored by Assemblymembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Audra Strickland — proposes to expand Whistleblower Protection to judicial employees.

Remember to check CJE’s website often for updates about this hearing and other great opportunities to get involved!


California Protective Parents Association
and Incest Survivors Speakers’ Bureau invite you to the

16th Annual Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference

What Happens When Children Report Sex Abuse 

April 9-10, 2010

Friday, April 9th (Film Festival

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Oh Okay, We Get It Now (Wink Wink)


Dump Frank M. Conaway Jr.

Delegate Frank M. Conaway Jr.: "Things happen between man and woman and the rearing of children"
Things like smashing your wife’s face through a window.
Now we get why the Maryland House Judiciary Committee soundly defeated it. They have a batterer among them.
From the City Paper:

By Van Smith | Posted 10/25/2006

State delegate candidate Frank Melvin Conaway Jr., who with 5,889 votes was the top vote-getter in the 40th District Democratic primary in September, doesn’t want this story published. His father, Baltimore City Clerk of the Circuit Court Frank M. Conaway Sr., doesn’t either. In separate interviews, both used the same, emphatic words: "You don’t have to write the story."

(…and it continues…)

Conaway Jr.’s longtime wife, Latesa Elaine Thomas, 44, has had a Baltimore County domestic-violence protective order against her husband for more than three years. The order, dated Aug. 25, 2003, states that Conaway Jr. "threatened to kill" Thomas, placing her "in fear of imminent serious bodily harm," and that "one year ago [he] pushed her face through back door window." Thomas also convinced the court that Conaway Jr., 43, was a threat to himself and others as a diagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder who had stopped taking his prescribed medications, so the court ordered police escorts to deliver Conaway Jr. to two emergency hospital evaluations in the summer of 2003. Thomas is in the process of divorcing Conaway Jr.

"We knew this day would come," Conaway Jr. says. It’s an unseasonably warm early-October afternoon, and he’s standing at the foot of the Battle Monument, in the middle of Calvert Street between the two circuit courthouses. "Somebody’s going to ask that question," he remarks, "and it’s none of your business." At the time, City Paper did not know what had happened to prompt the protection order.

We know the Father’s Rights folks love Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons also. Does he have many of them as clients (he does practice in "family law")? Is he working for their interests? This is from a website recently:

So we really are starting to get it. Let’s hope the voters do too. It’s all about the committee members…

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UPDATE: Maryland's House Judiciary Committee — re-abusing victims who testify before it, prejudiced in favor of those who do wrong, biased against women, ignorant of reality, and snookering the dv activists

justice’s posterous

In an editorial published by the Washington Post, Eileen King writes: "[A] bill, sponsored by Del. Sue Hecht (D-Frederick) and Sen. Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery), would have changed the burden of proof from "clear and convincing evidence" to "preponderance of the evidence" for final orders of protection, the same standard in place for the vast majority of other civil actions in Maryland, including tort actions for large damage awards, child abuse determinations and custody decisions. Maryland hangs on obstinately as the only state to adhere to this high standard of proof… Amy Castillo came to Annapolis to tell the members of the committee about her unsuccessful attempts to get a final protective order against Mark Castillo…

"Referring to a transcript of the final hearing on her request for an order of protection, Del.Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) attacked the rationale for the bill, stating that Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr. had substantial problems with Amy Castillo’s credibility. In tones that were anything but kind, Simmons declared that he wouldn’t read verbatim what the judge said because he didn’t want to "embarrass" Castillo. The exact nature of this "embarrassing" information — presumably the fact that she submitted to her estranged husband’s demand for sex, something not uncommon in such cases — was left to the imagination of those present.

"In his zeal to discredit the mother of three murdered children, Simmons seemed to forget that Dugan had been tragically wrong…"

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Battered Mothers Custody Conference Interviews

[IMPORTANT: The following audiovisual piece includes real-life interviews featuring disturbing verbal content and statements on child abuse and domestic violence. Viewer discretion is advised.]
Prof. Garland Waller produced "Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts" which is an independent documentary that explores the relationship between domestic violence, child sexual abuse and custody laws in America. To learn more about the stories of the women seen in this 10 minute clip, please go to http://batteredmotherscustodyconferen…
Jessie Beers Altman, a graduate student in the College of Communication, was in charge of editing this video.
For more information of Boston University’s Department of Film and Television at the College of Communication, visit:

Category:  Education


Boston University College Communication Education Film Television school battered mothers custody interview

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Maryland's roadblock to helping victims of abuse

Maryland’s roadblock to helping victims of abuse

By Eileen King
Silver Spring
Sunday, March 14, 2010; C05

The Maryland House Judiciary Committee has a reputation for being not only a place where good bills go to die but also where witnesses can expect little sympathy for having suffered from violent or sexual crimes. The committee’s worst tendencies were in evidence once again during a Feb. 25 hearing on a bill to help keep victims of domestic abuse safe from their abusers.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Sue Hecht (D-Frederick) and Sen. Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery), would have changed the burden of proof from "clear and convincing evidence" to "preponderance of the evidence" for final orders of protection, the same standard in place for the vast majority of other civil actions in Maryland, including tort actions for large damage awards, child abuse determinations and custody decisions. Maryland hangs on obstinately as the only state to adhere to this high standard of proof.

Predictably, the bill was killed by the committee.

Our witness was Amy Castillo, a Montgomery pediatrician who did everything she could to protect her three children, including getting a temporary protective order on Christmas 2006 after her husband, Mark, told her that "the worst thing he could do to me would be to kill the children and not me." On March 29, 2008, Mark Castillo followed through on this threat, drowning Anthony Castillo, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2, in a hotel bathtub.

Amy Castillo came to Annapolis to tell the members of the committee about her unsuccessful attempts to get a final protective order against Mark Castillo. She told them about his behaviors, threats, mental health problems and refusal to get the help he needed, and about her grave fears for her and her children’s safety.

This testimony was met with something worse than indifference. Referring to a transcript of the final hearing on her request for an order of protection, Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) attacked the rationale for the bill, stating that Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr. had substantial problems with Amy Castillo’s credibility. In tones that were anything but kind, Simmons declared that he wouldn’t read verbatim what the judge said because he didn’t want to "embarrass" Castillo. The exact nature of this "embarrassing" information — presumably the fact that she submitted to her estranged husband’s demand for sex, something not uncommon in such cases — was left to the imagination of those present.

In his zeal to discredit the mother of three murdered children, Simmons seemed to forget that Dugan had been tragically wrong when he disregarded Amy Castillo’s fears for her children’s safety and bought the arguments made by Mark Castillo and his lawyer. Simmons’s flawed logic: The judge found reason to question Amy Castillo’s credibility, so it was her fault that she didn’t get the protective order. Simmons expressed doubt that Castillo could have met even the preponderance standard, suggesting that changing the legal threshold wouldn’t have helped save her children. And this is why other at-risk or abused children should be denied protective orders?

Amy Castillo’s case illustrates a point made by Joan S. Meier of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project at George Washington University Law School: "The higher the burden, the more the risk of error is placed on the alleged victim or protective parent. The burden is a direct reflection of whether you believe the majority of petitioners are lying, or not. If you don’t, this burden is inappropriate because it privileges abusers over victims."

Feeling they have nowhere to turn, parents are condemned to wait helplessly for the next violent or abusive act. Try this thought experiment: Imagine that your child has met the preponderance standard for abuse but a judge says that is not enough for a protective order to keep the child from the abuser. Imagine what it would be like to live knowing that you or your children are at lethal risk but that you can get help only if you or the children are hurt badly enough.

This is not the first time that a House Judiciary Committee witness was treated in a manner that many observers found offensive. It is also not the first time the committee killed a bill that would have increased protection for victims of family violence and abused or at-risk children. From the questions they ask, the anti-victim positions they take and the bills they kill, it appears obvious that the committee’s most outspoken members are aligned with the defense bar.

It is high time for some review and oversight of this committee, its leadership and composition and its commitment to the public welfare of Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens: victims of crime and our children.

Eileen King is regional director of Justice for Children’s Washington office.

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How to make abusive custodial fathers disappear in one easy lesson

by DatardlyDads

How to make abusive custodial fathers disappear in one easy lesson

So how do you make the growing problem of child abuse in custodial father households disappear from public policy discussions and awareness?

It’s easy! And here’s how you do it.

Just stop reporting it! No information on father-headed households for us, please. Just lump the data in another category and make all those potentially unpleasant and politically embarassing statistics on child abuse in father-headed households go way. Flush all those numbers on abusive daddies down the toilet of data oblivion where no numbers can possibly be retrieved, at least not without a major (and rather messy and difficult) endeavor. Yes, invisibility rules!

This is exactly what has happened with the new Fourth National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4), which was released last month (January 2010).

Link is here:

After slowly scrolling through the new NIS-4, I noticed that the household categories under which they report abuse are as follows:

Married, Both Biological (this reflects the new cultural obsession with parents who are not only married, but share DNA with the child)

Other Married Parents (presumably targets families with stepparents)

Unmarried Parents (presumably co-habitating parents, where both parents are biologically related to the child)

Single Parent with Partner (apparently includes both single fathers AND single mothers with unmarried partners who are not biologically related to the child in one humongous category)

Single parent, No Partner (Self-Explanatory–Both custodial fathers AND mothers)

Neither parent (foster care, grandparents, and the like)

Well, we can’t track any differences between custodial father and custodial mother households with these data classifications, can we? I’m sure the enemies of single mothers with use the inflated child abuse statistics on "single parent with partner" (there’s that nasty boyfriend!) or "single parent, no partner" to mean MOTHERS even though it doesn’t say mothers. But we’ll just assume it means mothers, shall we?

These new categories are BRAND NEW and reflect a radical shift in the preferred "prisms" for viewing household data, though I didn’t see this acknowledged anywhere.

Note that the 2000 US Census used the following categories for reporting data on families with children:

Married couple

Female householder

Male householder

Of course, the old Census categories don’t reflect the new cultural obsession with married couples where both parents are biologically related to the child. And, admittedly, the Census categories were sloppy about parents that lived together and where they were classified. Or who had a partner in the home, unrelated to the child, and how that affected the family dynamic, as opposed to the truly "single." But at least the old categories recognized that children are generally in the custody of a parent, and if those parents are not "together," they are usually with with a father or a mother. Now this fact has vanished like so much smoke.

The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3), which was released in September 1996, reported household data for married couples (no real interest here in distinguishing between parents and stepparent households), father-only households, and mother-only households.

And what did NIS-3 say? In their on-line Executive Summary, they tersely acknowledge the following, but with little elaboration:

"Among children in single-parent households, those living with only their fathers were approximately one and two-thirds times more likely to be physically abused than those living with only their mothers."

You can find the quote here:

Well even back in 1996, we didn’t like to talk about it much, so that’s about all we had to say about the matter in the Executive Summary. If you wanted to know more, you had to get a hard copy of the report, which, of course, hardly anybody in the general public had access to. But I got a copy of it last fall, and reported the results here:

Needless to say, father households had significantly worse abuse outcomes than married couple households and mother households. But you had to get your hands on the actual paper to find this out. Couldn’t find it out on-line. Nope, too easy for the information to fall into the "wrong hands," you know.

So congratulations, NIS-4. No abusive custodial dads here. We don’t count ’em. They don’t exist. Now move along, please. There’s nothing to see.

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Jessica Gonzales- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights


This is the first case from the U.S. involving violence against women to ever be heard before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and people can actually watch it live over the Internet.

Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) sadly lost her case against the Castle Rock [Colorado] police in the U.S. Supreme Court.  They held the police had no duty to protect her children by enforcing her order of protection, despite clear law in Colorado mandating that police arrest  anyone in violation of an order of protection.  The failure resulted in her ex-husband killing all three of their children.  Her case, now reframed as a violation of her human rights by the U.S. government, will be presented before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this coming Wednesday (Oct. 22nd).

It is officially scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 pm (Eastern Time)in Washington, DC at 1889 F St., NW  at the corner of 19th St.  Her information will be posted on the ACLU’s web site.  For those who can’t attend in person (most readers, I suspect), but would like to hear the arguments, read the draft of what she plans to post on the ACLU web site, which ends with how to access the court’s hearing on-line.  (And one can listen in on about 5 languages, including English.) 

Note that she will testify herself, as well as be represented.  Please feel free to pass this on to others likely to be interested in seeing this case.  It is an amazing opportunity.  The IACHR court grants only a few hearings even when it takes cases.  Previously it heard issues around standing and exhaustion of remedies in this case. Feel free to pass this on to others who might want to watch this case.

All my best, Joan Zorza
Editor, Domestic Violence Report


*Jessica (Gonzales) Lenahan blog post *

Jessica and her three murdered daughters

My name is Jessica Lenahan and I am a survivor of domestic violence.  On Wednesday I will make my second appearance before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC.  The IACHR is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights throughout the Americas.  I turned to the IACHR three years ago because the justice system in the United States abandoned me.

In June 1999, my estranged husband, Simon Gonzales, abducted my three young daughters in violation of a domestic violence restraining order I had obtained against him three weeks before.  I repeatedly contacted and pleaded with the Castle Rock Police for assistance, but they refused to act.  Late that night, Simon arrived at the police station and opened fire.  He was killed and the bodies of my three girls were found murdered in the cab of his truck.

I sued the town of Castle Rock, Colorado for failing to enforce the restraining order I had against my husband at the time. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, but they ruled that the enforcement of a restraining order wasn’t mandatory under Colorado law.  I felt utterly abandoned: the police had failed in their duty to protect me and my girls, and the government told me there was nothing wrong with that.  I was sure that I would never have my day in court or a proper investigation of what happened.  I nearly gave up at that point – I had gone all the way to the Supreme Court, and I thought that was the end of the line.

But in December 2005, with the help of the ACLU and the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, I filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  In March 2007, I testified before the IACHR – the first time I was allowed to tell my story in a legal forum.  Before this case, I never knew this regional system existed and never thought of my private issues as human rights violations.  I am the first survivor of domestic violence to bring an individual complaint against the United States for international human rights violations.

I want other people like me out there to know that this system exists to protect all of us, and that our government cannot just turn its back on us and get away with it.  Although the U.S. is always pointing its finger at other countries for their human rights violations, there are plenty of violations occurring right here at home.  International human rights bodies like the IACHR give U.S. citizens the opportunity to have a voice, particularly those who have lost everything.

It is fitting that my hearing is being held in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an important marker of what continues to be one of the most dangerous issues facing women today.

To watch a webcast of the hearing on Wednesday go to:

For more information, contact:
*Selene Kaye, Advocacy Coordinator*
Women’s Rights Project | American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004
T: 212.549.2645 | F: 212.549.2580 |

See previous post about Jessica’s case.