Monday, October 3, 2011


Most Americans receive their impressions of what goes on in court from courtroom dramas in the movies or on TV, or from serving on juries – in other words, law as it is practiced in criminal proceedings or in lawsuits. In such cases, there are extensive rules of procedure and evidence that judges are required to follow. Not only that, but the judge is not the one making the decision; the jury is.

Few people realize that family law cases don’t look anything like this. There are almost no rules of procedure or evidence that the judge has to follow, and the judge is the lone decision-maker. In this context the potential is overwhelming for unfairness in the procedure and bias in the ruling. Family law judges are free to do almost anything they choose (short of sleeping with one of the parties, which did finally get a judge in Massachusetts in trouble in a case that I followed). They can choose to listen to a party or to refuse to let him or her speak. They can examine certain evidence or refuse to hear it. They can allow certain witnesses to testify and refuse to hear from others, or refuse to let the parties have a hearing to put on witnesses at all. Most people would be stunned to observe what happens in family law; it’s kangaroo court.

Which brings us to the latest news in the Wendi G. case. For the second time a judge has declared that he won’t look at the evidence of child sexual abuse and yet is going to punish Wendi as if she’s making her children’s disclosures up. This time it’s Judge Jon Hulsing of Ottawa County (MI) Circuit Court. (Last time it was Judge Thomas Kane in Colorado; you can read my blog entry from August 25th.)

Here’s what happened: On this past Tuesday, September 27, Wendi had to go to court because her ex-husband, Mr. C., filed a motion to terminate all contact between Wendi and her children, meaning no phone calls and no visits even with supervision, and to suspend all parental rights for Wendi – meaning she couldn’t even speak with school personnel. The hearing began with testimony from Mr. C. which took up the morning session. After lunch Judge Hulsing asked for a meeting with the attorneys in his chambers. He then returned to open court and presented his ruling. Yes, you read it correctly; the judge ruled before the mother’s case was ever presented, having heard only from the father.

During the meeting that had happened in the judge’s chambers, Wendi’s attorney, a national voice for abused children named Alan Rosenfeld, requested an evidentiary hearing where Wendi would be able to present witnesses and other evidence. Such a hearing is crucial to fairness and safety; Mr. C. is claiming that Wendi should be cut off the children because she had no reason to take the children into hiding, and Wendi can’t defend herself against this charge if she can’t present the evidence of sexual abuse. But Judge Hulsing stated that he would not grant an evidentiary hearing until after Wendi’s criminal trial on kidnapping charges, which is still more than a month away.

Judge Hulsing further stated that even at that time he will not allow the videotape of the forensic interviews with Wendi’s children to be introduced into evidence. The highly-trained forensic interviewer team, which included a police detective and three human service professionals, did not find any evidence of the children’s statements having been pressured or coached and elicited detailed and credible descriptions of multiple incidents of sexual touching by the father of the daughter, some of which the boy reported having witnessed. (I have read the full report of the forensic interview team.)

Wouldn’t the judge be eager to see this evidence, so that he could decide for himself whether there was adequate reason to cut a mother off from her children? And wouldn’t he want to know whether there’s reason to be concerned for the children’s safety, since they are currently living with their father? Objective observers are forced to conclude that the judge has already decided that no significant evidence exists -- without looking at it. But what if Wendi and her daughter are telling the truth? Then the children would be currently at risk, and they would be suffering serious punishment – being isolated completely from their loving mother – for the offense of disclosing what was happening to them.

Judge Hulsing then came out into the court room and ruled that Wendi cannot have any contact with her children for the next five weeks because he doesn’t want her to “sandpaper” the case. He did not explain why he is concerned that Wendi would influence the children’s statements but not concerned that Mr. C. might do so. And not only has no one presented any evidence yet that the children’s statements to the forensic interviewers were coached or pressured, the children expressed in those interviews being afraid of their father but not their mother; the risk of “sandpapering” would thus appear to be more serious in the paternal home. Ah yes, but the judge refuses to read the reports of those interviews, or watch the tapes.

Judge Hulsing stated that Wendi can put in a new request for an evidentiary hearing once her criminal trial is over, and at that point the judge will be willing to consider whether she may have “supervised phone contact” with her children. It would appear, thus, that he has already decided that no outcome could persuade him to resume the children’s normal relationship with their mother. Our society is educating children that if someone touches them sexually they should “tell someone,” but these children appear to have paid the highest price imaginable for having done so.


1) Write to the Judicial Tenure Commission and protest Judge Hulsing’s refusal to allow Wendi G. to present her evidence. Refer to Wendi's case number which is 2009-063448-DC.
Judicial Tenure Commission
3034 West Grand Boulevard, Suite 8-450
Detroit, MI. 48202

Letters can be anonymous if you aren't comfortable giving your name.

2) File a formal complaint (anyone can do so, but you will have to give your name) with the Judicial Tenure Commission by going to the website at This process requires the extra step of filling out a form and taking it to be notarized, but there would potentially be a significant impact if large numbers of people filed formal complaints, so I’m hoping that you will. Again, use the case number shown above.

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  1. Wow, what a sick and crippled world we live in- Wendi, I'm so sorry, I will write and keep praying! Stay strong! Kelli

  2. It has taken me over a week to really ponder what I wanted to write. I was there at the hearing and I am appalled to say that everything that is written in this blog is accurate. I will add a few other things that occurred that were significant. One being the judge called Mr. C (Wendi's ex) by his first name. That level of familiarity, seems out of place in a courtroom. One other item I will address here is Mr.C's attorney referred to him as Reverend C., she did this throughout the hearing. Growing up in a community where the RCA is strong, I have not heard the term Reverend used to describe a Pastor in a long time. "Pastor" is a term of endearment and respect, "Reverend" is aloof and seems to put the person referred to at a higher level than the rest of us. I am so grateful that Gods Word tells us He is not a partial God. He loves each one of us the same and no title or position makes anyone of greater importance.
    “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” (Acts 10:34)
    “… God shows no personal favoritism to no man ….” (Galatians 2:6)
    “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.” (Deuteronomy 10:17)

  3. Please also note this case where another RCA member had this sexual charge reduced by none other than Jon Hulsing. Again, same church affiliation.

    Nov 7, 2009 – Carl Gabrielse, 30, was terminated Friday from the Holland law firm, ... He also is a leader at Providence Christian Reformed Church.

    Judge Jon Hulsing agreed to dismiss the charge but, as per the plea agreement set last April, Gabrielse instead pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of gross indecency between a male and female.

    A plea to this charge does not require Gabrielse to register as a sex offender, unlike the criminal-sexual conduct charge.

  4. Please also check into the RCA affiliations of Gov. Granholm who appointed Hulsing.

  5. The father's attorney Susan Vroegop, is with the firm Cunningham and Dalman in Holland.

    This is the SAME LAW FIRM where Susan's PARTNER AND SEX OFFENDER Carl Gabrielse was at before he was fired.

    They both attended the SAME CHURCH as well.

  6. Lundy, have you checked this blog where Judge Thomas Kane (among others) was sued for doing similar things? Violating the civil rights of parents and children, along with, The malicious and deliberate placing of minor children into child abuse with no provision to provide for their health or safety was cited.

    Don't know if it is helpful, but thought I would share just in case. Hope others are doing research on these judges and their associates to see what is really going on here with a judge who will refuse to hear the evidence thumbing their nose at the law?

    I think this was a class action suit, and they had more links available regarding these judges.

  7. On this day in court, Alan, Wendi's lawyer, asked Mr. C if he would be open to having a psychological and forensic assessment with Dr. Fawler at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fawler is a forensic psychologist who specializes in sexual abuse and assess whether children have been abused or have been coached.
    He asked him if he would make himself and the children available for a psychological and forensic assessments with Dr. Fawler and he said NO! then after the lunch recess, Mr.C's lawyer asked him again if he would be willing to take the psychological assessment and he said he would but not bring the children or put them through it.
    Then, after Wendi's lawyer requested that Wendi, Mr. C and the children have the psych assessments with Dr. Fawler, the judge denied the request and ordered that there would be no psychological assessments of anyone.
    Very interesting to me that he changed his mind after the lunch break when he was asked this same question by his lawyer. HUMMMMM!!!! Also, very strange that the phone went dead after Wendi's lawyer asked this question to Mr.C. The phone did not connect again until after lunch when Mr. C's lawyer asked him the first question.

  8. Unrelated to this post but it seems the only way to say thank you to you for your book (Why does he do that). I have left my abusive husband 6 months ago for the 2nd and last time, after 21 years of increasing misery. I never knew about your book, but found it on the Internet a few weeks ago and thought I should read it. Your book hits so many raw nerves but I'm so glad I am persisting, another confirmation I am doing the right thing. Thank you so much for your kind and considerate words in your book. And it clarified so many things for me about his behaviour.

  9. I am so sorry for Wendi - we need to change the legal system so people can find justice. I had an abysmal experience in court trying to win an anti-harassment order. When I read the first two paragraphs of this blog, I felt like it was describing what I had gone through. Thank you, Lundy Bancroft, for confirming what I had felt all along - the system is a mess. I hope that Wendi will be able to keep fighting for her rights and come out okay.

  10. I thought that Judge Hulsing was not a family court judge any more!? How can he be hearing this case if he is not a part of that court any more?!

  11. Yet another outrageous example. Please look at this Minnesota mother's blog (which by the way the judge has ordered her to pay $50 for every day her blog remains up). Her 11-week old daughter, 5 year old son & 7 year old daughter were taken from her almost 18 months ago w/severely limited visitation. Now it has been 4 months since any contact. She is accused of no crimes or negligence but has a very wealthy, influential, abusive ex-husband:

    Prayers for her court hearing tomorrow, this judge has completely ignored both past domestic violence and child abuse.

  12. Hi Lundy,

    I am not sure if you check comments on this blog, but I would really appreciate your assistance. Due to an unfair ruling by Judge Hulsing, my mother-in-law is currently a 10 day sentence in jail for a very similar situation. I am currently trying to create awareness about this situation. Here is a link to my facebook page that talks more about my family's situation: (I think this link will work). I have left a message on your voicemail as well.

    -Heather Maguire

  13. Here is the message that I have posted on my wall on FB:

    Friends and Family Members: Please take a few minutes to read this post. Right now our family is trying to raise awareness about laws and a court system that protects the rights of parents before it protects the safety and well being of children. Currently, my mother-in-law is serving a 10-day sentence in jail because she didn’t force her 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son to see their father. In the past, my father-in-law has been verbally and physically abusive to his children and my mother-in-law. Some of his crimes include pushing his son down the stairs, pulling his daughter off the counter by her foot, and placing his hands around his daughter’s throat as if he was going to choke her. Although he has had several personal protection orders (PPO's) placed against him and has been arrested twice, he has never spent a day in jail. How is it just that he has never gone to jail, but she is currently sitting in jail?! If you think this is not fair, please like this post and comment on it. Also, if you have any ideas about how we can get this out to the local media in Holland, Michigan please contact us.

    My email is

  14. @ anonymous. The Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church of America are two different denominations.

  15. Judge Hulsing ruled to allow my ex- to relocate 2000mi away with 2 of our 4 children, cutting me off from their lives and the siblings from each other. My ex- has a mechanical engineering degree and Judge Hulsing allowed him to leave his engineering career to clean houses for a living, cutting his income by 50%, though they now live in a $300,000 home! Family court is so corrupt it makes me ill. Judge Hulsing helped to finish shredding what was left of my family!

    1. Judge Hulsing also let my ex-wife move 1700 miles away with our child with a felon out of prison on parole /gang member who she planned on marrying. They both had backgrounds and were unfit. I myself am a Army Veteran who has a clean background who went against the move but ended up with my rights of my own child being stripped away from the judges decision to allow the move based on I have no idea? If you get this I would really like to have justice served.