A guest view by Evelyn Hartley,’ someone who knows quite a bit about the case of David Rucki v Sandra ‘Sam’ Grazzini-Rucki, adds some details and opinion to Michael Volpe’s story Parental Alienation Scandal: From Affluent Family to Felon: The Tragic Tale of Sandra ‘Sam’ Grazzini
By ‘Evelyn Hartley’
Minnesota has a long and tragic history of corruption failures in its family court, guardian ad litem [GAL] program, and child protection system.
Thank you, Michael Volpe, for reporting where ‘lamestream’ media fails to go – the truth.
The records and documentation Volpe has publicly posted from the actual Rucki court record, social services, David Rucki’s criminal cases/harassment orders, etc., clearly show that the Dakota County Minnesota family court system not only failed to protect the Rucki children from abuse but also colluded with a dangerous abuser in doing so.
There were so many disturbing things I read in the records.
The Rucki Children’s Desperate Bid for Safety from an Abusive Father
At one time, all five Rucki children attempted to run away after they learned that the family court planned to put them in the custody of the abusive father they feared.
Rucki Children Labeled Liars, Coerced into Traumatic Reunification Therapy
Instead of taking action to hold David Rucki accountable, the family court, the GAL Julie Friedrich, and hand-selected professionals called the children liars and forced them into reunification therapy.
The GAL Julie Friedrich called the shots on the fate of five children.
The Rucki children resisted reunification therapy, and one became physically ill after being forced into court-ordered “therapy” with their father, David. Bailiffs were used to intimidate the children and guard the door so they could not leave the sessions.
Rucki Sisters Cry for Help Ignored, Mislabelled, and Betrayed by the System
The two Rucki sisters, Samantha and Gianna, who ran away, consistently reported their father’s drinking problems, physical violence, threats, and abuse of their mother, Sam.
Dakota County CPS, Dr. James Gilbertson, the GAL, and other professionals noted this in the reports, which Judge David L. Knutson ignored.
Judge Knutson and GAL Friedrich also ignored reports of sexual abuse. Behaviors consistent with trauma and exposure to domestic violence in the Rucki children were mislabeled as though they suffered from “parental alienation.”
Michelle MacDonald is handcuffed literally to a wheelchair while she represents her client — and Michelle is not disabled!
Michelle MacDonald and Sandra ‘Sam’ Grazzini-Rucki
Judge Knutson conducted his version of a kangaroo trial by handcuffing Sam’s attorney Michelle MacDonald to a wheelchair because she took legal photos to prove the court’s curious deceptions to quell public attendance of the trial. Yes, you read that right the attorney for Sam was handcuffed to a wheelchair on the judge’s orders while he conducted his fair and impartial trial – wherein he ruled the father got everything. When does Judge Knutson get defrocked?
Rucki Sisters’ Cry for Safety Falls on Deaf Ears, Despite Social Worker’s Concerns
After being discovered in Nov. 2015, Samantha and Gianna Rucki again raised allegations of their father’s abuse, hoping someone would help them.
A Dakota County social worker believed the abuse happened and fought to limit physical contact with their father, David, to supervised visits only.
The social worker also thought the girls would be safest in foster care. Samantha and Gianna were represented by an attorney who also fought to keep them in foster care rather than with their father.
The abuse, personal statements of both Rucki sisters, the professional recommendation from a Dakota County social worker, and evidence of abuse in the record were not enough to convince Judge Karen Asphaug, who is close friends with Judge Knuston.
Rucki Sisters’ Reunification Therapy Reveals Isolation, Coercion and Fear
A guard escorted the Rucki sisters from the courtroom to their transportation, where they were shipped out of state to enter into reunification therapy with their father, David Rucki.
The reunification therapy was conducted in a remote location, where both girls were isolated from any human contact except their father and the “therapist.” They were dependent on the therapist for shelter, food, clothing, and survival. There was no place to run for help. No sign of civilization. No access to phones or electronics. They did not have free movement.
By this time, the girls had seen every possibility of getting help turn against them, and the system had jailed their protector, their mother, Sam.
It was under these circumstances that the Rucki children recanted their father’s abuse.
Dark and Troubling Origins of Reunification Therapy
Pro-pedophilia psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner developed reunification therapy. Gardner made his living as a court witness and testified in custody trials. He died of “suicide” by overdosing on pills and slashing himself in the neck and chest. Reunification therapy has been called “junk science,” and its use is controversial.
From Road Rage to Reunification: Rucki’s Troubling Pattern of Violence and Control
David Rucki’s abusive behavior continued. At the time that reunification therapy began with Samantha and Gianna, David was on probation for a road rage incident where he brutally beat, with his bare fists, a motorist in the parking lot of a local grocery store.
Judge Asphaug seemed to have had one-pointed determination to convict Sam and exonerate David, and if that pleased Judge Knutson – isn’t that what this was all about? The lives of children and their happiness rank a far distant third to the happiness of those who really matter – first the powerful judge, and second the paying, pretending-to-be-poor, psycho father who wets the beaks of all the conspirators. The Rucki case is just a microcosm of the system
Witness Tampering: Rucki Girls Forced into Reunification Therapy Amidst Criminal Investigation
While the Rucki girls attended reunification therapy, their mother’s criminal investigation and trial regarding their disappearance was underway. Both girls were material witnesses and would be called to court to testify. So ordering the girls into reunification therapy first and coercing them to recant abuse allegations and sympathize with the identified perpetrator is witness tampering. It is also abusive.
David Rucki played poor and got rich.
Rucki’s Dubious Financial Maneuvers Raise Eyebrows
David Rucki was awarded 100% of the marital property in the divorce – the business, multiple houses, multiple vehicles, bank accounts, personal property, and even Sam’s inheritance.
Yet Rucki claims he is living in poverty and collected welfare benefits and government assistance while living a life of luxury.
While Sam was incarcerated for charges related to parental deprivation, with no income and no chance of employment, David sought to collect child support. David remained in the family home and kept Sam’s name attached to the property to further his financial schemes.
Collusion and Complicity: Dakota County and Minnesota’s Role in the Rucki Case
Dakota County and the State of Minnesota have been willing accomplices throughout the Rucki case – colluding with David despite concerns raised, complaints filed, and documentation of violations of the law, violations of human rights, suspected financial fraud, and court failures to protect children from abuse.
Homelessness is probably the safest place for Sam because she is clearly unsafe in Minnesota.