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On June 25, 1996, noting that “criminals have more rights than
victims,” Bill Clinton called for a “Victim’s Right’s Amendment” to the
U.S. Constitution. Fifteen years prior, Ronald Reagan prefaced the 1981
California DoJ Crime Victims Handbook saying, “For most of the past
thirty years … justice has been unreasonably tilted in favor of
criminals and against their innocent victims … a tragic era … when
victims were forgotten and crimes were ignored.”

This “tragic era” of U.S. justice was working overtime March 1, at 8
p.m., at the Texas Senate, where Bill 208 was on the fast track for
passage. The bill, purported as a tool to further protect battered women
and children, would actually permit criminal abusers — yes, violent
offenders and incest abusers — to receive sole legal custody of the
children they desert, batter and sexually violate. Elizabeth Richards,
director of the National Alliance for Family Court Justice, believes
this bill is circulating nationwide. She explains: “The divorce data
show that most normal, loving, dads want to share their children, with
mom the main caregiver. But, especially once the state began attaching
the incomes of ‘deadbeat dads’ for child support, many such deserters,
even convicted child abusers, took revenge by demanding, and getting,
sole custody. The jurisdiction of irresponsible judges is now being
extended into legislation.”

Jan Barstow, director of the Texas Women’s and Children’s Coalition
asked that I appear as an expert witness, testifying against “Family
Violence Bill No. 208,” sponsored by Sen. Mike Moncrief (D-Dallas-Ft.
Worth). Reviewing the bill, it seemed impossible for children to be so
brazenly harmed by the American justice system. But, you decide. Read
the contested section of Bill No. 208. Then, I will discuss several
words which turn a purportedly child-friendly law into a child-abusers
law. The relevant portion of the bill addresses: “past or present child
neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the
other parent, a spouse or a child.”

    (c) The court shall not appoint as sole managing conservator a
    party who has a history of committing family violence as defined by
    Section 71.004 unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence
    that:

    (1) the party has successfully completed a battering intervention and
    prevention program as provided by Section 85.022 or, if such a program
    is not available, has successfully completed a course of treatment
    pursuant to Section 153.010;

    (2) the party is not currently abusing alcohol or a controlled
    substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; and

    (3) appointing the other party as sole managing conservator would
    endanger the physical or emotional welfare of the child.

First, note the term “party” equalizes victim and abuser as mere

parties in a controversy, rather than a parent protecting a child from
one with a “history” of sexual or physical violence against the “parent,
a spouse or a child” victims. “Party” annuls decades of effort by
Victims’ Rights advocates to standardize terms in the family violence
literature which establish “fault” in domestic crimes. For example, the
seminal 128 page Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence, Final
Report (September 1984) describes “victims” and “abusers,” not the
parties in family violence crimes.

Next, look at other key words and phrases. The bill says “sole” child
custody will be denied an abuser with a “history of committing family
violence … unless” the “preponderance of evidence” finds an abuser
“successfully completed a course of treatment,” and is not “currently
abusing” drugs and alcohol (what of “joint” custody?).

The “unless” disclaimer grants abusers with a history of “physical or
sexual abuse” sole child custody if abusers (a) pass a violence course
(b) appear “currently” to not be “abusing” alcohol and/or illicit drugs,
if (c) the protecting parent “would endanger the physical or emotional
welfare of the child.” The first problem: no credible data exist showing
a “course of treatment” (allegedly six to twelve weeks) succeeds in
permanently pacifying violent abusers, while the professional literature
on child molestation confirms there is no known cure for pedophiles.

On point, Jan Barstow, testifying on the bill said, “Wording about
abusers attending court-assigned classes doesn’t consider the extreme
denial and need for control that is part of an abuser’s character. This
becomes a revolving door in which the offender abuses, submits to a
protective order including assignment to classes, and is legally
eligible for sole custody six weeks later.”

The second problem: the bill says abusers cannot be “currently
abusing” alcohol and drugs, later adding they should “abstain” from
consumption. However, Moncrief should know, as a practical matter, that
incest commonly takes place while the offender is “under the influence”
and the data also confirm that drug and alcohol abuse are commonly
addictive behaviors unresponsive to cures. Alcohol use is verified too
late as it is rapidly excreted in urine and it is impossible to prove
the use of many addictive chemicals without court-ordered daily testing
and monitoring.

Finally, if a judge decides the protective parent might “endanger the
physical or emotional welfare of the child,” the bill grants sole child
custody, not joint custody, to the criminal abuser. The bill does not
require that the protecting parent be similarly convicted of endangering
the child, “child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse,” no evidential
requirements, no trial, no confessions of abuse are mandatory before
wresting child from the protecting parent and awarding sole custody to
the child’s abuser. At best, the bill assumes endangering children at
the hands of a proven abuser is a better plan than placing such betrayed
children in a carefully monitored orphanage. Protecting parents would
best be tried in a court of law, since the justice system is awarding
their battered and abused children to convicted child molesters.

Barstow adds “current and proposed wording enables defense attorneys
to accuse parents of emotional abuse when they seek protection for an
abused child. The very act of seeking a protective order or raising
concerns about abuse exposes the protective parent to charges of
‘alienating the child from the father’ (emotional abuse) and ‘false
allegations’ (emotional abuse), removing the child from the protective
parent and placing them in the sole care of the offender. The penalty
for emotional abuse in the Texas family code is losing custody or total
parenting rights.”

Barstow cites judicial training as misguided, commonly “relying upon
such child custody experts” as Dr. Richard Gardner, whose “Parental
Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) trivializes pedophilia and incest. Gardner
writes, “If the mother has reacted to the [incestuous] abuse in a
hysterical fashion, or used it as an excuse for a campaign of
denigration of the father, then the therapist does well to ‘sober her
up.’” Barstow asserts that under threat of PAS mothers are indeed being
“sobered up.” Mothers reporting incest become “guilty” of PAS
(denigrating and alienating the father). That is, “emotional abuse” of
the child.

Thus, women nationwide who follow the law and seek protective custody
orders from the state after battery or child sexual abuse, are
increasingly labeled the “emotionally” harmful “party.” One such PAS mom
writes, “I am only allowed to see her 4 hours a month, I am being
charged $100.00 an hour to visit my own daughter … and I pay $600.00 a
month child support [to the incest offender]. I cannot believe that this
can happen in America.”

Richards also claims to have fully documented the fact that such
fathers have organized “fathers groups such as Children’s Rights
Council, National Congress for Fathers and Children, and Fathers for
Equal Rights, who carry out “covert” federal custody programs
intentionally designed to give them litigation advantages against
mothers, eliminating most or all visitation contact between the mother
and the children.” In “the best interests of the child” a full federal
inquiry is required to establish the truth of falsity of such serious
charges.

She and other women have testified under oath to the forced removal
of their babies and children, based on the bogus PAS, suggesting few
judges have read the report of the Attorney General’s Task Force on
Family Violence: “Judges should treat incest and molestation as serious
criminal offenses. … Incarceration, whether in hospitals, treatment
centers or prisons, is absolutely essential to the protection of the
nation’s children. The only true protection for children from a
pedophile is incapacitation of the offender.” Yet, this bill would grant
sole custody, sole power over their vulnerable children to criminals who
take a class and say they don’t use drugs.

It should be mentioned that the Attorney General’s Task Force on
Family Violence found pornography involved in battery as well as a
common stimulant for incest and child sex abuse. While Bill 208 would
allow sole child custody to incest offenders, pornography users are not
(like batterers) required to attend courses to stop them from “currently
abusing” pornography. Yet, the Task Force State Legislative
Recommendation 5 requires that “States should enact legislation to
enable … access to sexual assault, child molestation or pornography
arrest or conviction records” in order to remove all such persons from
“contact with children.”

Senate Bill No. 208 would create a kind of “no fault” battery and “no
fault” child sex abuse, akin to the judicially enacted “no fault
divorce” laws which have driven hundreds of thousands of full-time
homemakers and their children into poverty. Indeed, the justice system
has been stripping away protections for law abiding American citizens
since the early 1950s, when Alfred Kinsey’s fraudulent Sexual Behavior
in the Human Male (1948) changed what has been called “the stream of
law.”

Although Sen. Moncreif temporarily withdrew his bill following the
March 1 public testimonies, it appears it has been brushed off and is
ready to sail through, looking like a national “model” for all the
world. Ever since Indiana University’s zoologist, Kinsey, compromised
our child protection laws by classifying children as the “partners” of
their rapists in his phony sex studies, attempts at leveling abusers and
victims via language has been a common ploy in shifting laws to favor
criminals. The malevolent turn of events in current child custody courts
and legislation is one more disgraceful consequence of a corrupted
science swaying law and public policy.

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