[Here is an amazing update on Ann M.'s case, written by Ann herself. The names of all of the children have been altered, but the names of professionals have not been changed.]
I want to thank you again for blogging about my case earlier this year.
Here are the latest events: My ex took me to court saying he should have full custody of the last minor child, Emma, age 16. Ezra and Will are at college and the three oldest are out of the house. Five days before the trial my attorney told me he would need an additional fifteen thousand dollars to represent me in court saying he had already used up the other five thousand I gave him just reading up on my case.
So I represented myself, knowing God would be my defense! We did great! My ex's first witness was Dr. Douglas Darnall, a "Parental Alienation Syndrome" expert from Ohio. He made lots of outrageous statements about my alleged alienating behavior but stated that the "Parent Alienation" conclusion doesn't "work" if there was domestic violence. So when I cross-examined my ex I went through more than 20 incidents on the restraining orders and police reports, asking him if on such and such a date he remembers picking me up and throwing me out of the bedroom and locking the door, etc., etc. He admitted to some of the violence and the suicide threats. He admitted knowing the 15 and 17 year-olds were afraid to drive with him because of a previous incident that happened while we were still married. He also admitted to texting Will, who was 17 at the time, from the scene of two accidents (six months and three months prior to when I was put in jail) telling them he had just totaled his vehicle. Then he admitted insisting later that they drive with him to parenting time.
(I was put in jail because the kids refused to drive with him to his house. They wanted to drive their own car. When I got out of jail they were told by their father's attorney that they could now drive themselves to parenting time.)
I also had an opportunity to cross examine Ben Burgess, the Friend of the Court investigator who wrote in the investigative report that it appears that domestic violence did occur in the home, but that he believed from his investigation that there was severe parent alienation going on by Ann M.. On that basis, he had recommended that parenting time for the father start, progressing over time to unsupervised overnights at their father's house. When I asked him who were the "experts" that he said he had interviewed during his investigation, he said that was confidential information. When I pressed him, Judge Hulsing asked him who it was. Hulsing said, "Who was it?" three times before Mr. Burgess said, "Mariel Silverman." Mariel is my daughter, which means that he had lied the last time he was on the stand, saying he had interviewed "experts" to confirm the parental alienation conclusion.
Mr. Burgess admitted on the stand that my kids had all said there should be no parenting time. Then he admitted that once supervised parenting time with their father began, he was only present the first two sessions. (Ezra and Emma were to meet their father once a week at a restaurant.) Then he admitted never contacting them after that to see how it was going. He admitted that he didn't know it had stopped after 8 weeks. He admitted that four months went by and he still did not know the parenting time had stopped even though he was the supervisor. Then he admitted to texting their older sister Mariel, age 27, to see how parenting time was going. She told him that the kids were doing great now with their father out of their lives.
Then I asked him why he was texting Mariel pictures of his kids fishing. He said he only sent one. (That's not what Mariel told me. She felt like he was "hitting" on her.) Then I asked Mr. Burgess why he texted Mariel last week asking her to find out about some letter "this Wendi person" mailed. I asked him what was that all about and why was he asking Mariel to find out about some other case. I said, "Mariel feels like you are hitting on her!" At that point, Judge Hulsing interrupted and changed the subject.
All in all, these witnesses had revealed that Judge Hulsing falsely put me in jail and that it wasn't parental alienation, it was domestic violence. Mariel told me later that Ben Burgess texted her ten times from the courtroom saying negative things about how I was doing. She said she responded a couple of times to try to get information on how it was going. Then he texted her, "Do you really think I'm hitting on you?"
Judge Hulsing gave me full legal and physical custody of Emma. God delivered me of my fear of my ex and Judge Hulsing that day. I am still rejoicing!