By | April 14, 2010 28 Comments

Dr. Phil: Crisis in the Family Courts

The Dr. Phil show today covered the sad story of Katie:

Two months ago, Katie found herself pleading with a judge to order supervised visits for her ex, Stephen, and their 9-month-old son, Wyatt. When Stephen threatened to kill their son and himself, Katie tried multiple times to get a restraining order. After Katie’s five attempts to get protection from the court, Stephen did exactly as he threatened.

and Stephanie:

“Stephanie,” 17, wanted to speak out on behalf of the kids in the middle of custody battles and court rulings. She says because courts have ignored cries of abuse, some kids are left in the hands of their abusive parent. Stephanie fears this is happening with her younger sister. And, meet another mom who says the court failed her and her two boys.

I intend to order the video and hope you will all show your support by watching and commenting. Crisis in the Family Courts

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Ox Drover

Dear Liane,

Not being a fan of Dr. Phil, I have not watched his show and didn’t get to today because by the time I read this it was over. Thanks for posting it though.

I so agree with the parts of this I was able to see (small segments) and that there IS A CRISIS in family courts. Dr. Amy Castillo’s plight, which was similar to Katie’s in which Dr. Castillo’s husband killed her 3 chikldren after she had warned the court which gave him unsuperivised visits.

I hope that judge is disbarred, but I doubt it will happen, but in my opinion it NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

While I think that many of the “professionals”–lawyers and counselors, appointed by the courts and paid for by the families to protect the child’s interest are over paid and not of great value, I don’t know what else to do.

I am familiar with the CASA program (Court appointed special advocates for foster kids) and do educational programs for the volunteeers, but there are so many cases and so few advocates. So many of the foster kids are also very disturbed or conduct disordered.

Thank you for posting this link, while I am not a fan of Dr. Phil, anything that gets the message out about the break down of the family court system is a positive for everyone!


Sorry…I JUST posted this on another thread….
ErinBrock says:
On the broken family court system… story was
on a judge in San Bernadino Co. in Ca. who denied a woman 4 attempts at a restaining order”..she was lying, he said!
She had proof of threats and his hacking into her phone/text/computers and an email he sent her threatening to kill thier baby along with himself”..
Guess where the baby is now—.DEAD!

There is a DA in SBCounty running against this judge Robert Lemkau”.DA’s name is James Hosking.
I say we all send his campaign an email providing info on Cluster B personality disorders”.Sociopaths etc”.and how he can effectively deal with perps from the bench!!
He’s got some passion folks”..check out the below website.

GO to FEB 12, 2010 posting.

I am shocked Dr. Phil did this show…..and he ‘vowed’ to do more….and KEEP TALKING ABOUT THIS TOPIC!

We’ll see……



Threatening e-mails and text messages from her son’s father. Police reports that told of danger brewing for Wyatt and his mother. And frightening postings on the social network Facebook… the 23-year-old Yucca Valley mother sought an emergency restraining order against the boy’s father, Stephen Garcia. Judge Robert Lemkau denied Tagle’s request at a Jan. 21 hearing… he accused her several times of lying and threatened her with adverse consequences…”

Too little too late. Lemkau, appointed by Gov. Schwartzenegger, actually decided to run for election just days after little Wyatt’s death. He also pulls an obscene amount of money from the taxpayers of California, including a prosecutor’s pension as well as a judge’s salary. In excess of $350,000 a year. It is long past the time Lemkau should be put out to pasture.

Message from Judicial Candidate James Hosking: “I am a Deputy District Attorney in San Bernardino County, and am now running for Superior Court Judge against Judge Bob Lemkau based in part upon being outraged by his ruling that allowed this baby to be murdered by his psychotic father.”


James Hosking website:
This guy cares about US!
I’m not from this area, so I can’t vote for him…..but I see him as an avenue for CHANGE from the BENCH!!!

I do think it would make a difference if we contacted him about SO MANY of our injustices and further victimizations from the courts…..
Write him about it……He’ll listen!!!!!


Maybe……a march needs to be organized. You know, like the breast cancer awareness events. Flood the media with complaints, fears, truths…….just a thought…


Buttons. I like your idea. I think an online campaign may be the best begining, but I really like that idea.



where……….am I? where……can I find a cannoli in rural PA at 9:30? or, WHERE should this take place?

I wouldn’t know how to even begin to organize an online campaign….Facebook page? Good golly, I wouldn’t even know where/how to start something like that.

But, it DOES have to happen. For crying out loud, how HARD can this BE for the legal system, law enforcement, educators, and the rest to grasp? One doesn’t have to have intimate contact with an spath to get the gist that there are people out there who lack a conscience and that a good number of them are dangerous.

Dateline, 20/20, my gosh……Discover Channel?


THE BEST THING we can all do RIGHT NOW….RIGHT NOW….is to contact OUR sitting judges running for RE-ELECTION and the persons RUNNING for election.
Contact them by phone and have a discussion on CLUSTER B PERSONALITY DISORDERS…..guarentee not many will know what a Cluster B is….and THEY WILL ASK
“what is a cluster B”…….
BEEF up on your information on Cluster B’s, so you give accurate info…..and then follow up your phone conversation with an EMAIL with links to PROFESSIONAL websites. Not gossip ones.

We gotta KNOW what we are talking about….and NOT just our experiences to be heard….

Ask your judicial candidate HOW he/she plans on handling these cases from THEIR BENCH….In THEIR courtroom to STOP the further vicitmization from the perps.
When judges offer ‘chances’….it’s another chance to victimize and the CLUSTER B personality WILL victimize further.
Express that THEY DO NOT CHANGE…..they only learn the ropes and lingo from counceling etc…..

BUT NOT if we remain silent!


Go online in your particular county.

This is easy….
you can also attend Candidate nights….and speak up in front of a crowd….the public….and be heard by MANY!!!


(i like canolli’s)


EB, what a great idea. I don’t know if we elect our judges or if they’re appointed, but I’ll find out and start right here from my home. What an excellent idea.


Once again, thank you, everyone, for sharing and encouraging. Good night and rest well, everyone.



Not sure what to say. Can we get an article thread here to use as a script tool for those calls and then post the results?




I think a large part of the problem with this issue is on the other side. As a victim of false accusations I can tell you that there is probably much more over-reaction in these cases than there is under-reaction unfortunately the latter can produce much more devastating and measurable damage. I only know a small part of the pain that parents on the latter side feel in dealing with the system. But addressing the false allegation side of the issue would certainly benefit both sides. I read that the San Diego Grand Jury did an investigation and determined that WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF A DIVORCE OR CUSTODY BATTLE they found that between 66-80% of accusations were false allegations. And why not especially when you have no conscience and the worst legal ramifications you may face is a misdemeanor, IF ANY (as in my case and most). Until there is some accountability for using children and allegations for an upper hand or other ulterior motive in a custody or divorce action, it’s easy to understand the frustration and exasperation people in the positions such as judges must go through. USING A CHILD IS JUST WRONG NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON.


I agree….using children is inexcusable!!!!

What I stressed to the judges I spoke with was documentation and behaviors in court, or docuented behaviors.
These judges are NOT stupid and these Sociopaths DON”T pave new ground.
It takes a few key questions and cross referenced documentation to back up claims.
Sociopaths are famous for muddying waters…..this is their approach.
Turn it into a he said she said.
We can’t get caught up in defending non substantiated arguments…..
If we rise above the riff raff……we do ourselves MUCH justice.

So YES, there will always be false acusations….
And it’s up to US to educate the judiciary on spotting the problem with further education….the problem of CLUSTER B’s from the bench.
I believe it CAN be done!!! It is being done….


If only it were a perfect world- Spotting is dependent on education/awareness. If they don’t know, a glib one will get by

and the right answers might get overlooked.


I agree that education would do wonders to help.But punitive measures I feel would do as much if not more. “Erin Brock” You would hope that documentation and all other evid. you mentioned would be enough but, I had an audio recording of my ex stating she would make false accustations as well as documentation of fake cancer, pregnancy, impersonation of a police officer as well as conviction of the same. And it still didn’t keep me from being charged, arrested and costing tens of thousands of dollars for bail, and attorneys fees as well as my job. There absolutely has to be some type of punishment for people who abuse children in THIS manner. I came up with a pop quiz analogy that demonstrated the problem. “I WALK UP TO YOU, TELL YOU, “I’VE JUST DESTROYED THE WORLD” THEN CUT OFF YOUR PINKY TOE. WHICH IS THE GREATER CRIME???” A minimum of 80% of people believe its a greater crime to hear me lying about destroying the world than cutting off their toe. I’m sure LF readers would score better but we’ve already paid. Point is abuse of a child is abuse. Even if it is only “cutting off their toes”. My daughter and I both lost our toes while the police and D.A were looking for the “destroyed world”. Bottom line the only crime that truly happened went unpunished.The innocents paid while the perpetrator played.

Elizabeth Conley

People who lie make all our lives difficult. Sadly, a lot of lying goes on in custody disputes. There aren’t any criminal repercussions for all this lying, and there needs to be.

If you ex is a danger to your children, and you have reams of evidence to prove it, laying your case before a judge should be no problem. No problem that is, unless countless liars have been before the judge before you, putting on histrionic shows to convince him/her to deny innocent fathers contact with their children.

In my opinion, judges try to punish the parents they believe are lying through indirect means, like adverse custody decisions. I think this is wrong.

People who lie under oath, falsify documents and commit slander should be prosecuted directly for their crimes. I know, I know, “It’s too much trouble. There are two many off them.”

There are two many of them because no one is being prosecuted for the behavior. Prosecute a few of these liars. Hang ’em out to dry. Use them as examples to other would-be liars.

Because the liars are the real problem. The liars are the reason why a mother who is genuinely terrified for the safety of her child cannot get a fair hearing. This has been going on for decades, and it needs to stop.

Women should not have to take their children on the lam until said children reach their majority in order to keep them safe from social services and crazy ex-husbands.

Elizabeth Conley

Two=too this AM. I guess I’m not as awake as I thought!

Elizabeth Conley

More about crazy custody decisions and the havoc the create:

There are so many women and children on the run right now it’s ridiculous. What women like Wendy Hill sacrifice to keep their children safe is incalculable, and all because judges don’t listen. Judges assume they’re being lied to when women express concerns for the safety of their kids.

I think we should explore the root causes of divorce more fully. We need to figure out who gets divorced, and why. What percentage of divorces involve at least one partner with a cluster B personality disorder? What percentage of acrimonious, bitter child custody disputes involve an ex-partner with a personality disorder? Maybe it’s time these questions were explored scientifically.

Maybe sorting fact from fiction would be easier in a custody dispute if more light was being shed on the underlying causes of the couple’s basic conflict. Right now the “no fault” divorce is being used almost universally, because it seems easier. Problem is, if the fault is abuse or moral insanity, it would be easier in the long run to document this early in the divorce process.

I think judges don’t want to look at the root causes, because currently the root causes seem to be “irrational, irreconcilable loathing”. Who doesn’t get impatient with that? I know I do. I figure people in the throes of “irrational, irreconcilable loathing” are drama queens.

I’ve got a few drama queens in the periphery of my life, and I don’t believe them – ever. They’re an anathema to me. If it was my job to listen to their bat-stuff crazy rants, I’d treat them with the same disdain Lemkau treated Katie. He was wrong, I would be wrong, but I’m telling you that I understand where he was coming from.


Elizabeth, you’ve made some excellent points. And, it’s vital that “court-appointed” psychiatrists be well-versed in Cluster B Traits.

When I was doing the custody dance, the spath and I were ordered to attend a psychiatric assessment. I told the psych about the abuse, and then completed the tedious tests that were mandated for the assessment. It lasted for about 2 hours, and that was the one-and-only time that this man ever saw me. I had driven from the Philadelphia area to Roanoke, VA the day before, and would be visiting with my sons that afternoon, and returning either that night or the following morning.

The report came back that “Mr. Jergoff vehemently denies abuse, of any kind…” and that I was, “…so self-absorbed as to be an unintentional danger to (my) children…” Spaths can fool the professionals, without a doubt, and I’m living proof.

Self absorbed? LMAO!!!!! Of course, I was self absorbed! I had to drive 500 mile round trips to attend court-ordered this and that, fruitless hearings, begging for visitations, etc. on an average of one trip every 2 weeks in an 18-month span. My resources were drained from attorney fees and travel expenses. You bet I was self-absorbed, and I don’t apologize for it, either.


Buttons and everyone else.
First, does anyone know if Dr.Phil used the word sociopath. To me it is so important to call it what it is, the word sociopath sounds horrible compared to cluster B.
Second,Buttons, what you said above is exactly what I am afraid of and exactly why I don’t just change the locks on him.

Dani S

We had a case in Australia last year where a father on a custody visit. Place his 3 children in the car and took them for a drive. He drove to the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne and threw his daughter, little Dracy Freeman aged 4 over the bridge whilst her 2 helpless brother watched on.
The father then drove to the Family Law Courts, sat out the front and waited to be arrested, all the while he threatened his little boys he was going to do the same to them as they sat paralysed with fear in the back of the car.

The shocking part of this is the mother had been in contact with DOCS ( department of children’s services) many times with her concerns that she believed the children were not safe in the fathers care. The mother had built up a large file with the department and for what????
Little Darcy had gone and the boys had witnessed something so horrible that they have to live with for the rest of there lives. The man, there father, the person that is supposed to love them, discarded her like an old rag doll to her death.

Strangely after the event of Little Darcy’s
horrible murder, the lawyer appointed to the case had all the documents from DOCS stolen from there un locked car ??????

This is a problem world wide. And like I have said I will never understand my ex s abandoning all his children (3 to three different women), but it is the best thing he done for us all.

I would have been beside myself or on the run if I was forced to hand over my baby to a man that after I left did everything he could to hurt and torment me. I would not have coped under the same situation some of these women are in.
My heart bleeds for these women that cannot protect there babies 🙁


{{{{{{{{{Justus5}}}}}}} bear hugs, girl. Please, please, PLEASE to not let fear determine the course of your actions. I allowed fear to rule my life for over 15 years, and it only fed the spath monkey what it wanted.

The point of my references to the court systems, attorneys, and the like are, perhaps, to give others a frame of reference with which to work, plan, and document. At some point, spaths will trip on the enormity of their own arrogance, whether it’s in court, or elsewhere. The most important thing that I (and, probably everyone else here) can encourage is to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. The documentation should be free of all judgement or “feelings” and contain only absolute, irrefutable facts: dates, times, subject matter, actions, precise quotes, precise threats (especially, veiled threats), children’s quotes, etc. The next most important thing is to seek an attorney AND therapist/counselor that are familiar with socipathy.

If the severance doesn’t involve divorce and/or children, there is absolutely NO REASON to maintain an open line/vector of communication with the spath – none, not one, not for any reason. The “I wish…” texting ploy was a blatant dropping of the lure for her to text back, “What?” Then, the door to dialogue is opened. Block their numbers, emails, IP addresses, and any other technological vectors that the spath uses. Unfriend, delete, remove, EXCISE them, completely.

Dani, my court experiences were ones of helplessness, frustration, fear, rage, anger, and complete impotence. I lost both of my sons because I “Left (my) man” in the rampant Bible Belt of Southwestern VA. I was a “bad woman” and I was treated as such. Took a long time for me to get past that. I’m okay, today, though! All things happen for A Reason, even if I can’t see or accept the reason.

Dani S

Wow Buttons! I am so so sorry you lost your sons! But what choice did you have.. I know what it is like to be tainted as someone you are not and trying to fight the devil that just keeps getting stronger everytime you try in vindicate yourself. I know all those feeling you had.
My legal team didn’t believe a word I was saying for a very long time, but I had so much documentation. I had many affidavits from people that had worked with my husband, dated my husband and people who knew my husband personally. All detailing his lying, stealing and cheating that they had witness. I also had affidavits of him quoting to many that his intentions were to kill me.
I had phone records, court papers of applications to the courts for restraining orders. All this was to fight for our baby. He ended up retreating and the dissapearing, I put up a hell of a battle and mind you at a hell of a cost. Of course my husband had crippled us with debt but my parents took on the financial battle, they said ” for once this man will be accountable”.

It is so hard Buttons to put one foot in front of the other when dealing with these people and especially one that has a community behind him like the sounds of yours. Your boys will come back when the time is right and I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to loose your boys but keep soldiering on! This is your life to live, the rest will fall into place just keep looking after and nurturing yourself…
much lv 2 u
Everyone on here inspires me, our stories are different but the same and it’s nice to know we all have somewhere to go. We mighten have all the answers but we all the understanding 🙂


Thank you so much, Dani. One may seek me out, but the other is a full-blown, diagnosed Cluster B, and I cannot allow him back into my life, ever. Of course, I still struggle with this issue, and it will likely be something that I have to manage for the rest of my life. I’m getting better and this site has, as God is my Witness, been more helpful to me in the short time that I’ve been a member than all of the hours of counseling/therapy over the past 25 years.

Dani S

Yes I too get a lot more out of here than on the couch, gave up on the counseling couch and its much cheaper here lol
Atleast with one of your sons you know what you are dealing with. My mother inlaw died never knowing the answers to why her son treated her so badly. She always thought if she did more, gave him more he would love her more. I am sure he sent her to an early grave, she was so sad and I truly believe its because she had no understanding of her son.
Education sets us free and makes us stronger. You are brave and strong, be proud of taking back your life. big hugs back to you! its late here time for bed for me…thanks for the chats! Nite!

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