Have You Seen Marissa Ann Benson? SUSAN MURPHY MILANO'S JOURNAL

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.


Have You Seen Marissa Ann Benson?

Earlier today I received a comment on yet another missing person case where a child is likely not receiving attention since she disappeared on October 7, 2009. It was as a result of my post yesterday on Jahmeshia Connor, age 12, whose body was found in an alley on Monday. "There is a girl missing right now in Aurora and I watched her parents put up a flyer at the dollar store in the ghetto. (I work about 3 blocks away and went there on lunch). I don't think she is getting much attention either. She is mexican."

I am hoping by posting the information on Marissa Ann Benson, someone will come forward with information that could help with this case. The parents are doing everything to find their child. Please take a moment and pass this information along in your community or on your websites.

Missing Date: Wednesday 07th October 2009

Missing From: Aurora Illinois

Missing Country: USA

Sex: Female

DOB: 01/Feb/1994

Age Now: 15

Specific Details:Hair: Brown/Black Eye Color: Brown

Height: 5'3" Weight: 160lbs

Race: White language: Unknown

Distinctive Marks: Her hair is dyed black

Centro Nacional para Menores Desaparecidos y Explotados (USA)

Ver el Cartel

El Caso lo maneja



Centro Nacional para Menores Desaparecidos y Explotados (USA)

1-800-843-5678(USA) o 001-703-522-9320

Known Circumstances: Marissa was last seen on October 7, 2009.


Aurora Police Department (Illinois) 1-630-859-1700 or

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)



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Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.



Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.


"Alarming Discovery"

Fifteen days after Jahmeshia Connor, age 12 was reported missing, the police discovered her lifeless body in an alley.

Site's around the Internet sent out a bulletin for Jahmeshia as an "endangered runnaway " I wondered why there was no amber alertissued for this child. She was an excellent student, responsible in her actions and never got into trouble. The family realized Jahmeshia was missing when the following day when she did not return home from school. A relative thought she was staying over someplace else the night before. And no one seemed to take responsibility in checking on her destination or having her call home once she arrived to make sure she got there safely. Which in my opinion is a crime in and of itself. In this climate of predatorsand criminals parents must know where their kids are at all times, period.

Also why didn't Chicago police issue an amber alert for this child? If herbody was found this morning it is likely that whom ever abducted her kept the girl alive for a period of time. An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine her cause of death.

The most attention this case received appears to be today, after the discovery of her body. Guidelines must be established for all children from all neighborhoods regardless of a family's economic status in the community. At schools, libraries and in faith based organizations when a child is missing from a community and they are aware, access to mainstreamcommunication is limited, they too, should pitch in to spread the word.

Perhaps in Mayor Daley's new budget he could provide funds to faith based organizations in the community for awareness and safety training.



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WIBW News13 Video KS State Joint Committee Children's Issues Hearings

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] KS-Family Court Reform Coalition.


http://www.wibw.com/localnews/headlines/78281962.htmlState Joint Committee on Children's Issues Discusses Foster Care System

The State Joint Committee on Children’s issues finished the second day of its two-day hearings on foster care and adoption Tuesday.

Posted: 8:32 PM Dec 1, 2009
Reporter: Sylvia Petty
Email Address: sylvia.petty@wibw.com


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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The State Joint Committee on Children’s issues finished the second day of its two-day hearings on foster care and adoption Tuesday.

The committee heard testimonies from families whose children were taken and placed in foster homes on Monday.

The families spoke of abuse by law enforcement and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) when their children were taken from their homes; and some of the families spoke of abuse afflicted on their children while in foster care.

Claudine Dombrowski, with the Kansas Family Court Reform Coalition, was at the session, alongside families whose children were taken, and said there needs to be more done for parents’ rights in keeping their children

“Somebody could make a phone call to you, or call social services, or to anybody and say, ‘Guess what? You’re not watching your kid.’ All of a sudden your kid’s gone.”

State Senator David Haley (D), said that yes there are issues and concerns to be worked out with the foster care system, but that the focus is on the well being of the children.

“Sometimes children need to be protected from their own families,” he said.

Tuesday, an audit was presented and discussed, regarding to the financial side of foster care. The committee discussed the state’s contracts in the matter, as well as abuses associated with the money foster parents receive.

“As much as we appreciate [foster parents’] services, also that they’re not overly compensated for providing service to children who are in need of care,” Sen. Haley said.

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Press Conference Monday- DV, Family Court,and Bribe-taking ex-Judge Garson

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Family 'Lawless' Court Whores.



Garson PC flier

Please attend to support the work of VOW and forward widely!

Bribe-taking Ex-Judge Garson to be released Early

Reflects the kinds of barriers to justice survivors of Domestic Violence face in custody disputes everyday

Press Conference

Monday, December 7th, 2009


Across the Street from

Brooklyn Family Court

330 Jay Street

2,3,4,5,A,C,F to Borough Hall

Voices of Women Organizing Project will join other domestic violence and court reform advocates to denounce the early release of Ex-Judge Garson and call for reforms in the Family Court System. Though this particular case of corruption was investigated and convicted, thousands of survivors of domestic violence still report feeling as though the system is stacked against them.  VOW members, survivors of abuse themselves, will offer recommendations to make the courts a place where survivors can receive justice.  

Please attend to make this a powerful event. Wear purple to support survivors!

For more information call VOW at 212-696-1481 or email BMJC@vowbwrc.org

Natalie Chap

Organizer, Battered Mothers Justice Campaign

Voices of Women Organizing Project

Ph: 212-696-1481 x106

Fax: 212-696-1482


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Kansas Joint Committee Hearings reveal the Courts/CPS taking Battered Mothers Children and Giving to the Batterer and other Child Abusers and Pedophiles-Subcontractors through the State

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.



Compelling stories from parents and grandparents about problems with placement and removal of children

By Earl Glynn On December 4, 2009


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State Rep Mike Kiegerl (R-Olathe), Chair, Joint Committee on Children's Issues

State Rep Mike Kiegerl, Chair, Joint Committee on Children's Issues

Compelling stories told by parents and grandparents in Topeka on Monday need to be heard outside the hearing room of the Joint Committee on Children’s Issues.   Kansas has some serious problems with the placement and removal of children from homes, and the legislature needs to fix the problems.

Listen to the audio clips of these parents and grandparents below.  Read through the selected quotations if listening takes too much time for you.  In some of the cases, the prepared statements are also included below, if you want even more details.

Earlier this week the Kansas Watchdog reported about parents and grandparents asking why children were removed from homes and this blog posting extends that coverage. 

Listen to opening remarks by State Rep Mike Kiegerl (R-Olathe), Chair of the Joint Committee :http://bit.ly/4w0APy

SRS Secretary Don Jordan explains policies

SRS Secretary Don Jordan explains policies

Kiegerl asked SRS Secretary Don Jordan to describe policies, procedures, practices that deal with foster care placement, child removal, adoption and family restoration. 

“This is by far … the most sensitive and emotional area in which we deal.”

Jordan’s comments here are limited to what he said about the removal of children from the home (his full comments were about an hour long):

Kiegerl gave this introduction for the remaining speakers:

“The Committee has been contacted by about 60 individuals, parents, grandparents, foster care givers, and guardians ad litem, who experienced substantial problems in how children were removed, placed, and handled. Some of these people will testify today, and some of their assertions will be troublesome and critical. They will be highly critical of the delivery system as it is currently in place. Indeed, some of these stories are hard to believe.”   …

“The stories we are going to hear today that are troubling — there’s always two sides to each story.”

Chair Kiegerl asked SRS Secretary Jordan to look one more time at these cases and respond to the committee so both sides of the story may be known.

Chair Kiegerl asked those testifying to stay with factual information and avoid opinions not supported by facts:

“Explain your experience. Tell us what happened. And what response you got to your inquiries. Or, whether you did get a response. Do not mention case workers’ names, do not mention supervisors’ names, do not mention SRS employee names, … do not mention the contractors’ name. … This is a fact finding mission, where we need to find out what has gone wrong in these particular cases and to prevent that type of situation to recur for the children’s sake. for the sake of the Agency, for the sake of society as a whole.”

The entries below are listed in chronological order from the presentations on Monday

Valorie Rosproy

Valorie Rosproy:

Valorie Rosproy: "because I reported the abuse I got my children taken from me and they were sent back to their abuser"

Read details in written statement.

I went to file for a divorce to get out of a domestic violence situation … to get me and my kids out of a domestic violence situation … “

“… because I reported the abuse — I didn’t report it my son did — I got my children taken from me and they were sent back to their abuser … Now they’re in SRS custody …”

Chair Kiegerl:  “What went wrong?”

Rosproy:  “I think it began with the case manager having too much authority in this case. She was able to write court orders … There was never a 72-hour hearing. “

Kiegerl: “… If I understand you correctly, the breakdown occurred mainly in the judicial administration…?”

Licensed Master Social Worker Debbie Wilson testifed in support of Valorie Rosproy

Licensed Master Social Worker, Debbie Wilson, testifed in support of Valorie Rosproy

Debbie Wilson:  “… It’s almost as if they want to brush everything under the rug …”

“… All I know is what didn’t happen…”

Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita): “It says that Valorie could not report abuse or neglect of the boys to the school. What was the reason … ?

Wilson: “I think at that point they felt she was leading the boys, but I don’t know how the case manger came to that conclusion. It wasn’t just Valorie making those reports. It was an independent therapist …”

“You’re talking about two little boys who have told and told and told … and no one has done anything about it.”

Kiegerl: “… The system has broken down and really hurt these little boys. It’s something we just need to make sure never happens again.”

Listen to Valorie Rosproy:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Listen to Debbie Wilson:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Marilyn Dilley

Read details in written statement.

“A three year old boy was placed in our home …”

“In the winter of 2009, our agency lost the contract with the state of Kansas to provide foster care services.”

“A case worker at the new agency was assigned ….”

“… we realized that … [the] caseworker lied to the judge …”

“She lied to us & she lied to this 4 year old boy.”

“We still want to adopt him”

Listen to Marilyn Dilley:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Amanda Coppenbarger

Kids of abused mom Amanda Coppenbarger are now in foster care

Kids of abused mom Amanda Coppenbarger are now in foster care

“My daughter [said] my stepfather had sexually molested her”

“My husband choked me … I told him to leave and filed for divorce”

“I kept in contact with Child Protection Services and followed their recommendations”

“My kids were taken into protective custody based on a report … that my ex-husband and two stepsons made allegations that I coached them about the sexual abuse”

“I have not received a 30 day deposition hearing and reintegration plan”

My 11 year old daughter “asked to talk to the judge when she was 10 and she was denied”

Chair Kiegerl: “Was he [your husband] arrested as a consequence of his actions?”

Coppenbarger: “I didn’t file a police report — I was scared.”

Earlier “I did file a police report, it was dropped. Regardless of the bruises on my back, the scar on my leg, they dropped it.”

Vice Chair Sen. Julia Lynn (R-Olathe): “You believe the ball was dropped by the DA’s office?”

Coppenbarger: “It was”

Kiegerl: “Where are your children now?”

Coppenbarger: “They’re in foster care”

Listen to Amanda Coppenbarger:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Clarence Wonsetler

Clarence Wonsetler spent $10,000 on legal bills to get his granddaughter back

Clarence Wonsetler spent $10,000 on legal bills to get his granddaughter back

Read details in written statement.

“We believe SRS and CPS Private Contractor have violated our civil and constitutional rights”

“Even though my wife and I were approved for placement of my granddaughter, agencies in Kansas place her in approximately 8 different foster homes”

“We were told that we could not have our granddaughter because we were too old”

“We were finally able to get [her] back into the home but only after having to payout approximately $10,000 in legal fees”

“These are crimes against humanity and should be stopped and changed so it never happens to another family”

“Our case is no longer in court, but we … are here to bear witness to the atrocities that continue to occur to thousands of children in the state of Kansas”

Listen to Clarence Wonsetler:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Cecillia Arnold

Cecillia Arnold lost her parental rights.  Wants her kids back.

Abused mom Cecillia Arnold lost her parental rights. She wants her kids back.

“I did all court orders and my girls were placed back home with me”

“The case workers changed many times. I couldn’t get through to them sometimes.”

“The reintegration itself … was going well”

“I had stability. I had a home. I had a job. I had everything that they would ask someone to do for reintegration to occur.”

“My abuser … was going to jail at the time at the time the girls were removed from home. He was incarcerated for, I think, it was two years for the crime he committed against me.”

“The girls were removed from home for the second time.”

“The assistant [Sedgwick County] DA … filed a petition for termination [of parental rights], and after … the trial termination was granted.”

“As of now I have not seen my children since March of this year”

“During the trial I had testimony from different people — the foster care parents … — their testimony was overlooked.”

“… bad experiences with DCCA …”

“They said the reason for termination was … me not following the reintegration plan. That was not true.”

“… the ball got dropped on me from the Agency that was contracted through the courts … They didn’t do the job that they were supposed to do, which resulted in my girls being removed from home”

Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau: “Her parents are in the audience … They have been denied custody of their grandchildren, too, and told there were too old; they were too sick.”

State Rep Bill Otto (R-LeRoy): “Your rights are severed?”

Arnold: “My rights have been terminated … I have no rights to my children. I have not seen them since March. I filed an appeal that didn’t go anywhere. I’m here today because I want my children back.” …

Otto: “Where was your lawyer?” …

Arnold: “I had court-appointed attorneys … I feel I could have done a better job representing myself” ..

Otto: “This should not happen to anybody … I’m so sorry.” …

Chair Kiegerl: “Your problem mainly is with the courts, although, I’m sure, the agency’s testimony was instrumental in the decision. … My heart goes out to you …I wish there were a magic wand that … we could use to solve your problem.”

Arnold left in tears.

Listen to Cecillia Arnold:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Watch this Kansas Watchdog YouTube Video of Arnold explaining her case.

Sadie Carpenter
Read details in written statement.

“Our great granddaughter …”

“Her mother was arrested for prostitution and child abandonment and put in jail. [She] was turned over to SRS, who placed her into foster care.”

“Facts about the foster woman:
* She is in her late sixties
* She has no visible means of support, other than caring for foster children
* She is a long time smoker, and is an oxygen user”

[She] is being denied the right to grow up with her blood relatives.”

Senator Roger Reitz (R-Manhattan): “This one should not be here. The others were so complicated.”

Secretary Don Jordan: “We’ll look at it right away.”

Listen to Sadie Carpenter:http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Claudine Dombrowski

Claudine Dombrowski:  An abused mom victimized again by the Kansas Courts

Claudine Dombrowski: An abused mom victimized again by the Kansas Courts

Read details in written statement.

This is an truly incredible story that should never have happened in America. 

Parts of the Kansas Judicial system should be disciplined for how it has victimized Ms. Dombrowski, who was an abused mom.

Instead of quotes from the audio, please consult these pages that document Dombrowski’s long and difficult battle to protect her daughter:

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.

State Rep Bill Otto: “No crime? You haven’t been guilty of anything? This is a court order that says you can’t go to any school functions?”

“I was under court order till 2004 to not even call the police after I was being beaten because … I was not ‘co-parenting’”

Dombrowski: “These friends of the court make recommendations to the judge. The parents … don’t have a right to see these documents. They do this behind closed doors.”

Otto: (To Secretary Jordan): “You have no rights as a parent …?”

Secretary Don Jordan: “This would be something extreme … I’m not familiar with the situation.”

Otto: “Can a judge do that? … Is that legal… ?”

Jordan: “Under the right circumstances … I hesitate to speculate.”

Sen. Roger Reitz: “This is something that only … the judicial system can really answer … It would be helpful … to have someone … representing the judicial system … to give us some ideas how this could happen.”

Dombrowski: “When you are a victim of domestic violence, and suddenly there’s a child involved, the typical …. power of control is that ‘I’ll take your children from you’. They will and they can the way the laws are setup.” …

“I was told that I’m not to talk to my daughter about the violence. That’s why I don’t see her. That’s why I see her supervised. He was criminally convicted. “

“When women try to get away from people who hurt them … I heard somebody say it’s really hard to believe you won’t call the police … I tell people not to contact the police, because as soon as you walk into court with a DV (domestic violence) and children, you’re already cutting your throat. You will lose your children. That’s the way it is right now.”

“… on the 16th of this month I’ll probably go to jail for breaking the gag order and talking about [being the victim of] violence as it relates to my case.”

Reitz: “… someone ought to be able to deal with this in a way that would address her problem. It doesn’t seem like we’ve done the right thing with regards to this little niche of the law.”

Dombrowski: “The criminal convictions are completely tossed aside and they don’t have any bearing on the family court … The eight criminal convictions that my ex had before getting custody of my daughter were completely dropped [in family court]“

Chair Kiegerl: “I cannot believe that abuse is totally ignored. I cannot believe you can prohibit a person from speaking about their own case.”

“The one thing [where] … I disagree with you is abuse should always be reported.”

State Rep Peggy Mast (R-Emporia): “Domestic violence is a control issue. Sexual abuse is a control issue. Is there any correlation between domestic violence and sexual abuse? Why is that not something that is considered when we take someone to [family] court that has a history of domestic violence?”

Dombrowski: “Yes. That is something I’ve asked myself for 16 years. … It comes back to the family court that has a veil of immunity. … They don’t fully understand the impact of the violence. What battered women have … if they report the abuse, then they’re failing to protect their child … if they don’t report the abuse, they’re still failing to protect their child. So, both ways, they’re going to lose their children …”

For anybody who abuses their wife … [from] a 1996 presidential task force … there is a 70% increase that those children will be abused and/or sexually abused after there’s been battery with the mother.

Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudea: “In 2004 …. I talked with the homicide department in Sedgwick County…. During that time there had been 21 homicides in Sedgwick County and 18 were due to domestic violence …”

“A lot of women do make those phone calls and unfortunately, sometimes it ends in their death.” …

“I want to apologize to you for being treated like a pedophile … not being able to go to a music concert.”

“I commend you for what you’re doing.”

Dombrowski: “I have not talked to my daughter in 10 years [except] for the confines of supervised visits. I’m not allowed to talk to her about anything. All she knows is what her dad has told her.”

Listen to Claudine Dombrowski:


Larry Sneary

“There is significant evidence that my daughter has been abused. This has been downplayed by the courts.”

“Professionals in this case … have used hearsay of one side”

“I feel the main reason my daughter was taken from me was because I reported abuse, my wife reported abuse. My daughter herself reported abuse.”

“My wife and I had to complete psychological evaluations … these evaluations proved my wife and I have no mental illness precluding us from being fit parents.”

“The courts determined that my psychological issues make me an unfit parent and granted guardianship to the maternal grandmother.”

“The grandmother will not allow any type of visitation, not even professionally supervised visitation. ”

“As a father, who previously took care of her from birth, this is pure agony.”

“I will keep fighting for her”

“please pass the protective parent reform bill into law”

Sen Oletha Faust-Goudeau: “There needs to be something presented … to tell him the definite factual reason why he can’t have his wonderful daughter.”

Secretary Don Jordan: “…I believe the petitions that are filed, the orders by the court, are about as specific as you can get…”

Faust-Goudeau: “Excuse me, Secretary. Seriously, I hear that the judge, and the case workers, everyone’s passing the buck.”

Jordan: “The parents should get a very clear reason ….”

Sneary’s wife, Annette: “The only reason the judge determined … because he had a couple of angry incidents. … Everyone has psychological issues. We are not mentally unfit. We are angry. We are emotional. Would you be? …”

Sneary: “No judge in his right mind is going to give custody to a drunken, drug addict. But little did I know what grandma had up her sleeve.”

Listen to Larry Sneary: http://bit.ly/4w0APy

Kathy Winters

Grandmoth Kathy Winters fights for custody of her grandchildren

Grandmother Kathy Winters fights system for custody of her grandchildren

“… daughter’s oldest child, her father wanted custody”

“He gave information to CPS. They admitted, a supervisor admitted to me, that they had helped him financially for this information. We found it was all unsubstantiated.”

“The case worker … filed charges, and took my daughter’s children away.”

“We asked them to look at my daughter’s evidence but they never did. They said they didn’t have to.”

“Two court appointed attorneys … said the judge has already made a decision. She has read the reports, which we are not allowed to see. … The GAL (guardian ad litem) had never talked to me or my daughter about her case. He had never investigated on his own.”

“The attorneys told us that she needed to plead ‘no contest’. If she pleaded ‘no contest’ she would get reunification with her children immediately.”

“My daughter plead ‘no contest’, that was three years ago, … and they have severed her rights. She never got her children back.”

“At the first of the case … the CPS worker told me I [the grandmother] would get the three youngest ones — they were involved in the same case.”

“She asked my background. She got all my information. She said we would go to court. The children would be brought to my house. If my house checked out, I would get those children.”

“The little girl … was given to a dad who was on probation for domestic violence. They didn’t even check him out.”

“And even though I was approved for placement for the two boys … they were placed in two separate foster homes. “

“I went back to court and asked for placement of those children …. I got the children out of foster homes … They were in foster care for a week.”

“I had the children for 15 months … “

“In Jan 2008 the case worker told me they were thinking about severing my daughter’s rights.”

“In two meetings the contractors stated the only reason …. was they would lose their grant. “

“To the case worker outside the court room, I said then I want to adopt my … grandsons.”

“They said you can’t because of your age and disability.”

At a mall “the authorized baby sitter had gone to the bathroom and left the two little boys with the 12 year old sister.” …

“When SRS came out to my house they said ‘no problem’”

“My dad became ill. I had to go to Arizona, so the little boys went to their aunt’s … and stayed for a week.”

“My father passed away. The day I cam back from my dad’s funeral, the contractor called me and said ‘I have bad news. We’re severing your daughter’s rights, and we’re removing the boys from your home’.”

“I said, ‘why?’”

“They said, ‘because of the mall.’”

“I said, ‘I didn’t break that safety plan.’”

“She said, ‘it’s not up for discussion. The decision has been made, we’re removing the boys.’”

Winters says she has 11 instances of mistruths under oath in the hearing.

“They took the boys”

“I have made complaints with Don Jordan’s office.”

“I have made complaints about the perjury … with supervisors, contractors, Behavior Sciences Regulatory Board, the FBI …, Office of Civil Rights …, Kansas Attorney General …, Don Jordan’s office …, Johnson County DA’s office … “

“The children have been placed in four different homes.”

Chair Kiergerl explains that Winters is one of his constituents, and he has been to her home, and does not understand why the boys were removed, and not returned, even after his investigation. “Even I couldn’t get a straight answer from the contractor, and frankly I’m disgusted with them. …. I have no reason to believe that Ms. Winters is misstating the case.”

Winters (in response to question from State Rep Bill Otto): “You’ve got to understand: With me the contractors make $0 from the federal government. From foster parents they got $2000/month.”

Sen. Julia Lynn: “This has been going on for …. years. I believe that if we didn’t push this issue, and keep pushing it and pushing it, on behalf of all the people who are here, we would still have business as usual. … I’m hoping we can find some things to solve some of these problems.”

Listen to  Kathy Winters: 




Posted under Accountability, Blog, Children, Kansas Government, Legislature.
Tags: Battered women, Bill Otto, Child Protective Services, Domestic violence, Don Jordan, foster care, Julia Lynn, Kansas Joint Committee on Children's Issues, Mike Kiegerl, Oletha Faust-Goudeau, parental rights,Peggy Mast, Roger Reitz, Social and Rehabilitation Services

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Request from Phyllis Chesler author of “Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody.”

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.



email from Phyllis Chesler – please contact her if you’re willing to be in her book.  Thanks!

Greetings! I am updating my 1986 book, “Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody.”   Your name will remain anonymous and confidential.

If so, here is what I need:

* Your year of birth
* Year of marriage
* Date of birth of your child or children
* State in which you now reside
* Geographical state where your marriage and divorce and custody battles took place
* Issues that led to divorce e.g. cruelty, domestic violence, abandonment, parasitic behavior, flagrant infidelity, child abuse, etc.
* Outcome legally, physically, psychologically
* What have you learned about the court system?
* About lawyers?
* Judges?
* Mental health professionals?
* Who supported you in your struggles?

I do not need more than five pages.

Thank you VERY much.
All best,

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Urge Key Senators to Support Increased Funding for Domestic Violence Services!

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.


sfv header


Here's an important action alert from our colleagues at National Network to End Domestic Violence

Urge Key Senators to Support Increased Funding for Domestic Violence Services!

Congress is finalizing the funding bills for fiscal year 2010. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have passed separate funding bills and now must reconcile their bills into one before sending it to the President.  The House passed a higher funding amount for Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) - which is the only federal funding dedicated to domestic violence services and shelters.  

Act now to preserve the higher funding amount in the final bill!

FVPSA is at the heart of our nation's response to domestic violence, providing emergency, lifesaving services to victims and their children. When victims who face life-threatening abuse reach out for help, we must make sure they have the resources and support they need to be safe and secure.  Yet, during the economic downturn many domestic violence programs are struggling to meet the increased demand for life-saving services as their budgets are shrinking.  FVPSA funding is needed now more than ever!

Take Action Now!

Call these key Senators today and urge them to allocate at least $133.7 million (the funding level passed by the House) for FVPSA.  These Senators have leadership roles on the Appropriations Committee and play a vital role in determining funding levels. 

Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) - 202.224.3934

Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) - 202.224.3254

Chairman of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) - 202.224.5054

Ranking Member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

Never called a Member of Congress before? Don't worry, it's easy!

Your call will be answered by a receptionist.  Tell her or him:

"Hello, my name is _____."

"I strongly urge Senator [last name] to fund the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) at $133.7 million, the funding level passed by the House.

"FVPSA is the only dedicated source of federal funding for vital lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence and their children and needs to be increased to meet the growing demand for services."

"Thank you."

If you have time, also share a story about how domestic violence services have positively impacted your community. 

After you've made the call, please send us a quick note to let us know you've made the call and tell us how it went!  We'd especially like to hear from you if this is your first time making a call to Congress - let us know what that was like for you - you words will inspire others!  Send your follow up email to actnow@stopfamilyviolence.org

Thank you for being a voice for survivors of domestic violence.


Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have included funding for FVPSA in their Appropriations (funding) bills and now these two bills need to be combined into one bill for the President to sign.  The House has requested more funding than the Senate and it is vital we secure the House's funding amount in the final bill!

Earlier this year the House and Senate both passed separate Appropriations bills.  Critical decisions are being made now as the two bills are being combined into the final bill for the President to sign.

  • FVPSA is currently authorized at $175 million but only received $127.7 million in fiscal year 2009.
  • For fiscal year 2010, the Senate requested $127.7 million in funding for FVPSA, (the same level as fiscal year 2009) while the House of Representatives requested an increased level of $133.7 million!
  • Recognizing the need for specific services for children, Congress determined that once FVPSA funding reached $130 million, a portion of funding over $130 million will be dedicated to programs serving children.
  • Since the existing funding does not meet the need for emergency services and does not provide specific support resources for specialized children's services, it is critical that the Senate agree to the House approved funding of $133.7 million.

Facts on FVPSA

  • To respond to the needs of victims of domestic violence, there are approximately 2,000 community based domestic violence programs serving approximately 300,000 victims and their children every year.
  • FVPSA is effective - the domestic violence shelters and programs it funds address both the urgent and long-term needs of victims of violence and help victims protect themselves and their children.
  • Despite FVPSA's successes there is still a large gap between demand for services and adequate resources - on just one day in 2008, 60,799 victims received services from domestic violence programs while 8,927 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of resources.

Thanks for your quick action on this.

Together, we can www.stopfamilyviolence.org

Irene Weiser



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Topeka KS- Four Dead; a mother, grandmother and two daughters- JUST another Domestic Violence

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.



I have waited on blogging this- too close to home- to much like my own.. in so many ways. Please Kansas, stop persecuting the victims of violence start persecuting the perpetrators…

so many dead, so needlessly…here are more ongoing articles:  Dear Kansas please step up for those who can no longer stand no talk we need action… please….

Fourth person dies in Burlingame homicide

Kansas City Star - ‎Dec 2, 2009‎

This is the case from Osage County, where James Kahler, a former city official from Columbia, Mo., allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife and two ...

Kan. woman dies after shootings, raising toll to 4

The Associated Press - ‎Dec 2, 2009‎

TOPEKA, Kan. — An elderly woman has died from injuries suffered in a weekend shooting in northeast Kansas that also left her granddaughter and two ...

Kansas Grandmother Dies of Injuries Suffered in Shooting

FOXNews - ‎Dec 2, 2009‎

TOPEKA, Kan. — An elderly northeast Kansas woman has died from injuries in a weekend shooting that also claimed her daughter and two granddaughters. ...

Kansas shooting victims remembered in Missouri

The Associated Press - Alan Scher Zagier - ‎Dec 1, 2009‎

COLUMBIA, Mo. — After dropping out of college to marry the man who would later be charged with killing her, Karen Kahler had finally returned to school to ...

Former Weatherford official arrested in Kansas slayings of wife, daughters

Dallas Morning News - ‎Dec 1, 2009‎

A former city administrator in Weatherford has been arrested in the Kansas slayings of his estranged wife and their two teenage daughters. ...

All 945 related articles »

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Police responded to multiple shootings Saturday evening at the home of Dorothy Wight, 905 S. Topeka, Burlingame. The incident resulted in the death of three visiting relatives. Investigation at the scene continued this week.

Family murdered in Burlingame home

Update: Fourth shooting victim dies

Updated 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2

Wayne White & Gabe Faimon

BURLINGAME—A former Columbia, Mo., city official is being held in the Osage County Jail on $10 million cash bond after being charged with killing his estranged wife and two teenage daughters in Burlingame.

James Kraig Kahler, 46, of Columbia, was arrested Sunday morning following an almost 12-hour manhunt in the area of Auburn Road on both sides of the Osage and Shawnee county line.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office began the search after responding to a call at 6:11 p.m. Saturday at 905 S. Topeka Ave. in Burlingame, where four people were found shot. The sheriff’s office reported that one person was found dead at the scene, while three others were transported to Stormont-Vail in Topeka. Two of the victims died at the hospital and the third was in critical condition.

Sunday, a press release from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office said the victims who died were Karen Kahler, 44, and her daughters, Emily, 18, and Lauren, 16. Dorothy Wight, 89, of Burlingame, remained in critical condition as of Tuesday. Wight is Karen Kahler’s grandmother, said Ashley Anstaett, spokesperson for the attorney general’s office.

“It was my understanding they were visiting for the holiday,” Anstaett said Monday. She confirmed the Kahler’s son, Sean, 10, was also at Wight’s home at the time of the shootings.

“Sean was in the house and escaped safely,” Anstaett said.

Anstaett said a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle first came in, with a neighbor providing a vehicle license tag number. The suspicious vehicle call was updated after another call about the shooting was received.

“The follow up call came from a neighbor when the son ran to the house,” Anstaett said.

Law enforcement from across the area converged on an area along Auburn Road in southern Shawnee County, where a vehicle the suspect was driving was located at a farmstead. Roadblocks were set up on Auburn Road at 109th Street and 103rd Street, detouring traffic from the area.

Contacted Monday, Jim Barnes, whose residence is in southern Shawnee County, said at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 28, he noticed a red vehicle slowing in front of his residence, turning into the driveway of a neighbor across Auburn Road.

He said his neighbors had been away, but the car headed down the driveway and parked where the neighbors often parked.

“I never thought anything about it,” Barnes said. “A little later, I noticed that another car turned into the driveway and shut off its lights.”

Throughout the night, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office issued several press releases about the shooting, requesting the public’s assistance in locating Kahler.

“Kahler should be considered armed and dangerous,” the release said. “If located, contact 911 immediately.”

Monday, Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn referred all questions about the incident and search to the attorney general’s office.

Anstaett said Shawnee County residents in the area where the vehicle was found were notified of the search by that county’s automatic calling system.

In Osage County, sheriff’s deputies notified some residents by going to their homes, Anstaett said.

Shirley Barnes said about 30 minutes after her husband saw the car pull into the neighbor’s driveway, a call came from the Shawnee County Sheriff’s office and the caller asked to confirm the couple’s address.

“A guy that’s armed and dangerous is out of the vehicle across from where you live. Lock your doors and stay inside,” the caller said, according to Shirley Barnes.

Barnes said the caller also warned that a roadblock had been set up on 103rd Street and Auburn Road.

Several residents on the Osage County side of the county line complained Monday that they were not notified of the reasons for the search activity in their area.

Less than an hour after the first call, Jim Barnes said another call was received from the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, advising that a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team would be arriving shortly to search Barnes’ outbuildings. Soon after, five SWAT team officers and an armored vehicle arrived to conduct the search.

The manhunt continued through the night with assistance from numerous law enforcement agencies, a law enforcement helicopter, and dogs.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Kahler was located in a ditch beside Auburn Road, between 109th Street and 117th Street. Anstaett declined to comment on Kahler’s capture, saying only he was caught without incident.

“The first person to spot him was an off-duty Shawnee County deputy, who called 911,” Anstaett said.

Shawnee County deputies then arrived and arrested Kahler at gunpoint, according to Auburn Road resident Ray Winrick, who witnessed the arrest.

“We were up early Sunday morning, for the kids were planning to leave,” Winrick said Monday. “I noticed an object near our property, down in the road ditch. It looked like a big dog curled up. In a few moments, a deputy came by, with gun drawn. He circled what I thought was a dog. Quickly, several more deputies arrived. A man stood up. It looked like he was being searched. The deputies led him to a vehicle.”

Later Sunday, Winrick approached a deputy who appeared to be searching for something in the ditch. Winrick said the deputy told him footprints had been found under the bridge approximately one-fourth mile north of Winrick’s residence, “along with an indication that someone had sat there.”

Anstaett declined to comment on the suspected murder weapon, and would not say whether Kahler was armed when found and whether a weapon had been recovered.

Monday, several Auburn Road residents said deputies had notified them of a continued search for weapons. Monday and Tuesday, law enforcement officers could be seen walking and searching in the area.

Kahler was booked into the Osage County Jail Sunday, where he remains on $10 million cash bond. He was formally charged in Osage County District Court Monday with capital murder for the killings of his wife and daughters. See related story, Page 1.

Kahler had recently resigned from his position as director of Columbia Water and Light. In a press release issued in September, Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins said he had asked for Kahler’s resignation due to “some difficult family issues” that had “affected his focus on the department.”

Fourth shooting victim dies

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday morning that Dorothy Wight, one of the victims of the Saturday shooting at Burlingame, died at 4:13 p.m. Tuesday. The Attorney General’s Office is quoted in other media as saying the charges against James Kraig Kahler would be amended to charge

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.