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Thursday, October 06, 2005


ITEM 1: Boston Herald Item on Paternity Fraud—Senator Nuciforo quoted


ITEM 2: VAWA passes senate—from Dan Grubb

ITEM 3: PBS Show on Domestic Violence Set for Thursday, October 20th, from Dan Grubbs

ITEM 1: Pop?' The question
Click here to see original article
(Rinaldo's Notes: This story contains quotes from our excellent State Senator--Andrea Nuciforo.)

Dr. Ned Holstein is president of Fathers and Families, based in Boston. (Staff photo by Patrick Whittemore)

Dr. Ned Holstein is president of Fathers and Families, based in Boston. (Staff photo by Patrick Whittemore
By Laurel J. Sweet
Sunday, October 2, 2005 - Updated: 09:35 AM EST

To the age-old question, ``Who's your daddy?'' more and more Bay State men can honestly say, ``Not me!'' And many are now mounting a challenge to change state law governing child support.

Of the 1,838 children genetically tested in paternity cases before 14 Probate and Family courts involving the state Department of Revenue during fiscal year 2005, 17 percent of men were ruled out as fathers of the children in question.

     ``I call it young and dumb,'' Mibsam Wiggins, 41, of Roxbury said of the drug-and-drink-fueled roller-coaster ride with his ex-wife that blessed him with two children - a daughter, now 20, and a son, 16.

Wiggins may not be Roxbury's father of the year, but neither did he aspire to become a poster child for paternity fraud.

      Well into the kids' formative years, while he was locked behind bars, Wiggins said the missus dropped not one bomb, but two. Neither child was his, she allegedly said. 

     Wiggins' story isn't unique. 

     Nationally, the American Association of Blood Banks reports a paternity exclusion rate of more than 28 percent among its 44 accredited labs nationwide.

     ``I had my doubts,'' says Wiggins, an unemployed chef paying $50 a week for child support. ``They were conceived years before the marriage. We were running the streets. I was working a lot.''

     For the past 11 years, Wiggins has been in and out of Suffolk Probate and Family Court trying to persuade a judge to order a genetic-marker test - a simple cheek swab that would prove once and for all if he is or isn't the father.

    The children's mother, however, won't give her consent.

    ``I'm not a bad man,'' Wiggins said. ``You make a baby, you pay for the baby. I still, to this day, love them. I just want to know.''

    Wiggins may never know. And under state law, it doesn't matter. 

      ``We want people to take the test if they have any doubt,'' said Marilyn Ray Smith, deputy commissioner of DOR's Child Support Enforcement. ``But at some point, it's too late to go down that path.''

    According to Smith, 22,000 children are born out of wedlock each year in Massachusetts. In roughly 75 percent of those cases, the presumed father's name is on the baby's birth certificate, which means both parents attest to paternity.  

 The father then has 60 days to go to court and request a genetic-marker test. But if either parent believes he or she was deceived or under duress, they have a year to mount a challenge.

     Smith said DOR will even pick up the $131 cost of the DNA test.

     Dr. Ned Holstein, president of the 2,200-member, Boston-based organization Fathers and Families, says a lot of heartache could be avoided if the law simply required a DNA test proving paternity at birth - a step the government is unlikely to take, Smith said.

     Paternity fraud, said Holstein, ``is probably the only scam in our society in which the scam artist gets rewarded with 18 years of revenue. Let's not only be fair and just, let's be fair to the child.''

      State Sen. Andrea Nuciforo Jr. (D-Pittsfield) is trying. For four years he's been pushing a bill that would mandate genetic-marker testing of anyone before Probate and Family Court or require them to sign a document saying they refuse. If they do refuse, they would then have five years to challenge a judge's order to pay child support.

``A bill like this raises issues that legislators find difficult to wrestle with,'' Nuciforo said. ``I hope we have better luck this year.'' 


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

VAWA Passes Senate

The United States senate has reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The legislation, unpopular among men's groups, was passed by the Senate by Unanimous Consent on October 4, 2005.

Men's Rights Activist Glenn Sacks was sanguine: "It says a great deal about the balance of power between the genders that a piece of legislation like VAWA--which has so many problems and is in such need of a close examination--could pass the Senate on unanimous consent."

The noted Men's Rights Advocacy group Media Radar had expressed hope that the Senate would include "clear and explicit language" entitling men to the same level of Domestic Violence services as women, and to re-write the legislation to make it less hostile to male victims of domestic violence.

Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (Reported in Senate)

Folks, we have to do something about this...

Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories

New PBS Documentary Reveals Surprising Information about Child Abuse and the
Shocking Inadequacies of Family Courts across the Country

Premieres Thursday, October 20 at 10 pm ET on most PBS stations (check local listings)

    (Hartford, CT) – It is no secret that domestic violence has devastating, long-term effects on children. For the past two decades, the evidence has been mounting in psychological studies and academic journals. What is lesser known is that many domestic batterers are successfully using custody and visitation litigation to abuse their families further.
    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories — premiering Thursday, October 20 at 10 pm ET on most PBS stations (check local listings) — is a powerful new PBS documentary that chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. Co-produced by Tatge-Lasseur Productions and Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), this one-hour special also features interviews with domestic violence experts, attorneys and judges who reveal the disturbing frequency in which
abusers are winning custody of their children and why these miscarriages of justice continue to occur.

his program is made possible by funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation.
 One of the most effective ways an abusive father can inflict pain and declare his domination is to take custody of his children away from their mother. As Joan Meier, an attorney and professor of clinical law, explains, “To win custody of the kids over and against the mother’s will is the ultimate victory…short of killing the kids.” While there may be a perception in society that the family court system has a maternaL preference, statistics show that, in the past twenty years, fathers are more often being awarded custody. Furthermore, in family court cases where mothers allege battery, fathers are given custody two-thirds of the time.


{Rinaldo Notes: Furthermore, the author is case study in pathological lying.}

    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories also explores a controversial theory called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), which has been used in countless cases by abusive fathers to gain custody of their children. The theory states that the custodial parent (most often the mother) is alienating the child against the father by raising false allegations against him. Despite being discredited by the American Psychological Association and similar organizations, PAS continues to be used in family courts as a defense for why a child is rejecting the father.
    The documentary profiles several shocking stories of abuse further complicated by the courts, including the story of Karen and her three children. Karen’s suspicions of her husband’s sexually abusive behavior were confirmed through a medical exam. However, when the custody case came to trial, a court-appointed psychologist, or evaluator, testified that Karen was using Parental Alienation Syndrome to turn her children
against their father. The psychologist never read the medical and police reports of the case and never interviewed the children. All three children were awarded custody to their dad.
    Karen’s son Jeff, who left his father’s custody when he turned eighteen, now serves as an advocate for children in similar abusive situations as a member of the Courageous Kids Network. His two younger sisters still live with their father.
    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories also features interviews with New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre, who dealt with domestic violence as a child, and in 2003, started the Safe-at-Home Foundation to help educate people about the issue; and Walter Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Parade magazine,who recounts the emotional and physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father.
    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories is a follow-up to the acclaimed 2001 PBS documentary,Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope, which focused on women and domestic abuse. “Journeys of Hope documented how much we, as a society, made progress to combat domestic violence and serve its victims,” explains producer Dominique Lasseur. “Children Stories reminds us that a lot needs to be done to better protect our children from the long term effects of living with violent abusers.” Both documentaries
were funded by the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation,
    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories is made possible by the generous support of the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation. Started in 1996, the mission of the foundation is two-fold: eliminating cancers affecting women by supporting top medical scientists who are searching for a cure for breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers; and ending the epidemic of violence against women by providing grants to women’s shelters and supporting community outreach programs. The Foundation wholeheartedly supports education and awareness on the issue of domestic violence.

    Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories is co-produced by Tatge/Lasseur Productions, and its principals, Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur. Tatge/Lasseur have a long and successful history of producing programs for PBS, including The Question of God: C.S. Lewis & Sigmund Freud, Dances of Life, Holo Mai Pele, CeCe Winans: A Gospel Celebration and Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope. Tatge/Lasseur have had close association with Bill Moyers on several projects. With Moyers, they co-produced Genesis: A
Living Conversation and Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, the latter of which earned Tatge anEmmy Award.
    The documentary is co-produced by Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), a nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including Barney & Friends™, Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers, Bob the Builder™, and Wounded in Action. Entering its 43rd year, CPTV remains committed to bringing the best in educational programming and services to Connecticut and the nation.
Co-Producers: Tatge/Lasseur Productions and Connecticut Public Television.
Underwriter: The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation.
Producer: Dominique Lasseur. Director: Catherine Tatge.
Executive-in-Charge (CPTV): Larry Rifkin.
Format: Closed captioned
Publicity contacts:
PBS stations: Lee Newton, Connecticut Public Television, 860-275-7285; email: lnewton@cptv.org
National Press: Sharron McDevitt, Hill and Knowlton, (212) 885-0393 email: sharron.mcdevitt@hillandknowlton.com