March 31 2008 - Holly Collins, How Many Beatings Are Okay?

March 31 2008

Hello Everyone,

This is my latest family update current as of March 31st 2008.

I have sent out over 600 emails now: to every member of the Minnesota House and senate. I was disappointed that I received only five responses. (Rep Julie Bunn, Rep Margaret Keliher, Rep Mike Jaros, Rep Timothy Waltz, Senator Lawrence Pogemiller.) Can you believe it? - Only 5 from over 200? I also wrote to every US Senator and most of the responses I received told me to contact the US Senators from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman. I have on (written them) numerous times they won’t even answer any of my mails.

I was most impressed with the response from Marlene Kaufmann the General Counsel Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the former Chief of staff for congressman, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives. They have been a great support! Congressman Hoyer really seems to understand our case and is actively trying to help any way he can. I am so grateful!

I have written to every single domestic violence organization I can find, even to all 50 state coalitions for battered women. I was touched by the overwhelming support we received and saddened by case after case of supporting examples they gave us to demonstrate that we are not alone. I thought that our case was an isolated incident and that we must have done something wrong. (That is absurd because I was only a child, but it is still the feeling of guilt that I grew up under, thinking that somehow it was all my fault.)

We have secured a wonderful attorney, Alan D. Rosenfeld, J.D. a national trial lawyer specializing in child advocacy and domestic violence cases. He is amazing. My mother can’t believe how patient he is with her fears and insecurities and how receptive he has been to my determination to help my mother. We still don’t know how we are going to cover his legal expenses, but he is the best and we need to start thinking about a fundraising.

We were informed by the Minnesota Federal Public Defender, Lyonel Norris, that as of now there are no Federal Charges pending against my mother which means that at least there is only the Minnesota State Court prosecution to worry about. The Hennepin County Attorney, Liz Cutter, still seems determined to prosecute my mother. My mother feels that the time might finally be right for her to return and speak out about what happened to us and is no doubt still happening to countless other families.

We are beginning to discuss arrangements for my mother to turn herself in and stand trial for parental kidnapping, when all she did was try to protect us. It is really a travesty of justice! My father was the one who hurt us and he never was held responsible for his violence. Don’t they care what he did to us?

My mother has finally agreed to let me read the court documents. I am disgusted.
Do you know what the judge ordered?

“Although the court found that domestic violence had occurred during the parties’ marriage the court did not find that the abuse was as extensive as alleged by {the mother.}”

I want to know…. How many beatings are okay?

Do you know what the Family Court Services testified?

“The mother’s fear of the father causes her to maintain a climate of fear in her children and this interferes in his parental relationship.”

Isn’t it obvious that my father’s violence towards us and our mother was what was interfering in his parental relationship?

Do you know what the Hennepin County Custody Evaluator said?

“The father’s abuse was not the issue, even if he was abusive it was irrelevant to the custody evaluation… allegations of child abuse are handled by child protection and not family court services.”Can someone please explain to me how this happened?

My brother Zachary is still a bit cross with my mother that she didn’t rescue us sooner. I still remember that a few weeks after we were reunited with my mother she asked Zachary why was he so mad at her. He replied “Because you lied to us. You told us that if we just told the truth everything would be alright.” I also believed that for a long time.

After viewing the court documents I am more confused than ever. It’s not like they didn’t know. They knew! They knew he was abusing us and they tried to cover it up. How can this happen?
I have summarized our story in 3 short video clips which I have posted on YouTube. Please check them out (it is most beneficial to view them in order.)

1.) Child Abuse - Family Court Fails Children

2.) Parental Alienation Syndrome - Fact or Fiction?

3.) Battered Woman Receives Asylum in Europe

I don’t know what else to do right now. I have just started to contact the media and I will wait to see if someone is interested in performing and investigation and doing an honest report over this case.

I am so sad! I can’t believe everything that went wrong, not just with the case, but with our lives.

We were children! We were being abused! My mother tried to protect us. The court tried to silence her. The court knew that we were being abuse! And they didn’t protect us. In fact there is enough evidence to prove that they even tried to cover it up.

My poor mother! Us poor kids! How many more children are suffering right now?
It’s not right! Something has to be done about it.

As I mentioned above, we are going to need help from all of you who support this cause, so please start thinking about who you can personally reach out to on our behalf when the details of my mother's scheduled return to the United States are confirmed. We are one family who was abused and neglected by the judicial system's failures, but we hope to let our story begin to give voice to the countless others who need protection.


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