HISTORY OFTEN SHOWS WHAT HASN'T WORKED,
JUDGES MUST THEN BE INNOVATIVE
By Robert G. Leclair
In my July 27 article, I asked the readers to look at Bill Laitner's Detroit Free Press article reporting on Oakland
County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca''s decision in the case of a mother brainwashing her three children and
poisoning their attitude and relationship with the father. The judge's rare and unusual decision sparked a
controversy that will be debated in legal and psychiatric circles; condemned if it doesn't work and deemed suspect
even if it works.
My request for evaluation and opinions seemingly fell on deaf ears. As promised, here is my evaluation of the
judge and reasons why she should be commended. For decades judges have handled cases where mothers have
denied visitation of the children to fathers and poisoned the relationship.
Normally, unconscious brainwashing occurs during divorce simply because of the adversarial nature of the
process. This type of brainwashing is normally part of the trauma associated with divorce and ends when the
divorce is final. Its effect on the children is short lived and most often ignored or overlooked by judges.
The more serious cases where conscious brainwashing and denial of relationship and visitation occurred, judges
first determined whether or not the reason for the mother's action was justifiable and then reacted accordingly.
Conscious brainwashing must be considered a child abuse. Most of the time judges simply threatened a change
in custody or jail time to stop what some judges called "inexcusable nonsense". In those rare cases when the
judges followed through with the threats, the situation deteriorated and never was resolved successfully as anticipated.
Another article by Gina Damron of the Detroit Free Press quoted several professionals who were highly critical of
Judge Gorcyca''s decision and judgement. This is what they said:
"The judge's order seems to be an unusual way to support the principle that the family law court should
always act in the best interest of the children" and that if any one of the parents was alienating the children
from the other parent "any remedy fashioned should be against the offending parent of the court order
rather than the three children". And, "Appropriate remedies could include changes to custody or citing the
parent for contempt, rather than insulting young children on the record and sending them off to,
essentially, be incarcerated and separated from their family".
Larry Dubin (law professor at the university of Detroit Mercy)
" The judge has taken a bad situation and made it 10 times worse" and "The ones who are the most
vulnerable are being treated the worst...Why should the children have to suffer this way?" The article
states that Burdick said she agrees that the children need to be encouraged to have a healthy connection with
both parents, but that sometimes that can be "impossible when the primary parent is at tremendous odds
with the other". She also stated "an alternative might be to send the family to court-mandated
counseling" Judith Burdick (licensed psychotherapist)
The quotes by these two experts are standard sound bites that show the mindset of most judges. More
importantly it shows lack of knowledge and understanding of the past history of such cases. According to
my research and vicarious experiences with divorce cases involving alienation of fathers and brainwashing,the
courts have not had much success in restoring relationships with fathers regardless of the attempted remedy such
as changing custody, filing contempt charges or ordering court-mandated counseling.
I believe Judge Gorcyca was well aware of all the remedies as indicated in the transcripts. Faced with the realities
of the case in her court she probably knew that the standard court solutions would not work to restore the
relationship, considering the horrific brainwashing results that she witnessed. Evidently psychotherapists don't
believe in "tough love"nor do they acknowledge that court-mandated counseling has often failed.
Judge Gorcyca is to be commended for recognizing the brainwashing effects of a mother attempting break the
relationship of the father with his children. Whether you agree or not with her method , it is not as horrible or
ridiculous as the so called experts make it sound nor does her approach warrant insults or derision. It may be law
professor Larry Dubin's opinion that the judge insulted the children on the record; however, it was nothing but a
cheap shot,totally unprofessional and shows a lack of understanding of the issues with parental alienation.
Her approach may fall short of its goal; however, it could be the only approach that stands a chance of success,
given the historical failure rate of the standard advice by the experts. I for one hope and pray that Judge Gorcyca
succeeds in reestablishing the relationship between the father and the three children. For decades many fathers
have been deprived of visitation rights with no means of redress except filing contempt charges against the
custodial spouse. This process has normally resulted in further deterioration of relationships and only increased
tension and hostilities.
The failure of the court system to resolve the issue of brainwashing and denying visitation has created a national
problem whereby statistically 81% of fathers after two or three years abandon the relationship with their children.
Because of the associated emotional trauma or problems with jobs and earnings many fathers stop supporting
them. The latter action is often perceived by the courts as a ploy by the father to shirk his responsibilities.
Sometimes it's true and often it is not factual. Unfortunately, the courts rarely bother to determine whether it is
true or just a fictitious ploy.
Women can also suffer from similar circumstances when partners brainwash the children. I was privy to a case in
Connecticut that showed a prominent business man accused by his wife of brainwashing his two daughters into
saying that they did not want to live with her. The mother spent a year in court trying to regain custody, to no
avail. The judge went along with the wishes of the daughters and gave the father custody and visitation rights to
the mother. The relationship with the mother deteriorated rapidly. The young mother fell into a deep depression
after the breakup of the relationship with the young daughters and died within weeks. The result of the autopsy
was "died of natural causes". I would venture to say if you believe like I do, she died of a broken heart, given the
emotional situational stress of the alienation of her daughters. If it happens t fathers, it can happen to mothers.
The reason the issue of brainwashing/child abuse has been a problem for decades is that the courts have never
been able to resolve the situation using the standard court strategies of changing custody, filing contempt
charges or threatening the accused with either sanction. This flawed process has been a cop out for years and
most judges would agree with Judith Burdick's statement " a healthy connection with both parents,
sometimes can be impossible when the primary parent is at tremendous odds with the other".
OVW and affiliated non profit organizations are never asked by the press to comment on any case of
brainwashing used to breakup a father's relationship with his children. Their answer,if not ignored, would be quite
revealing of what is going on in the domestic violence arena.
POSSIBLE SOLUTION IGNORED AND REJECTED BY THE JUDICIARY AND POLITICIANS FOR
A "Shared Custody" law has been proposed in America from 1970 to the present. Such a law could have
prevented many cases of brainwashing and associated child abuse over the years as well as other ills plaguing
divorce and domestic violence. Not only has the judicial system and politicians rejected this law as a viable
concept, VAWA/OVW have attempted to obstruct its passage and implementation based on the false assumption
that judges would indiscriminately grant shared custody to violent and abusive fathers. I don't know any judge that
would knowingly grant shared custody to an abuser!
Many types of shared custody laws have been proposed. Most try to cover all the bases including domestic
violence and numerous stipulations as to the best interest of the child. That type of law would definitely be
counterproductive or a least maintain the status quo of the court system. There is only one type of shared
custody law that would address and minimize many of the ills and flaws of the present system; a simple law that
would make Shared Custody a presumption of the court, barring certain conditions.
If you are fed up with what is happening in this country with divorce and domestic violence, evaluate the merits of
making shared custody the norm rather than the exception and the reasons it would protect more women against
violence. The reason why Judge Gorcyca's courageous attempt to restore a broken relationship caused by
brainwashing was highly criticized by experts will become very apparent once you understand judicial history,
wade through all the legal mumbo-jumbo and clearly see why a fair shared custody law has been rejected for over
A shared custody law should be looked at and enacted as a long-term solution and judged as such. Had this
law been enacted decades ago, Judge Gorcyca would not have been forced into making those hard decisions in
an attempt to mend the father's broken relationship.
SHARED CUSTODY OPPONENTS...ILLOGICAL AND EMBOLDENED
Who are the opponents of shared custody and what kind of foes have they become? Those forces are
formidable foes working in high levels of the federal government and supported with millions of our tax dollars that
oppose willy-nilly any program that doesn't accept their radical ideology or approach. Further more, their
approach is not held to any measure of accountability nor responsible for failures; however, the foes are slowly
and methodically eliminating shared custody from contention.
And, Public Enemy No 1 of shared custody is.......Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Office on violence
Against Women (OVW). Again, the public has been duped into thinking that the excellent goal of eliminating
violence against women is succeeding. The facts in my book "Autopsy of domestic violence and divorce" clearly
show that it is more of a sham and not really a success.
A 1998 OVW funded study was a harbinger of its continuing and future efforts to oppose shared custody laws.
“ A friendly parent provisions or joint custody presumptions laws place battered women at risk of
losing custody altogether or sharing custody with a batterer” is a typical statement in the study. Obviously
this is a myth because I don’t know of any judge in his right mind that would let a convicted abuser share custody.
And, the typical statement in the study is the ill-conceived reason why OVW is actively fighting so hard to stop shared
custody from becoming a law in all states.
OVW is also fighting to embed domestic violence and restraining order statements in all divorce custody laws:
*Requiring courts to make a finding of domestic violence when protective orders are issued, so this
finding can be used in future custody litigation. *Requiring evaluators to present their findings to
the court instead of making recommendations. and *When rendering their decisions, judges should be
required to make explicit findings of fact to support their decisions. This would be a ridiculous if not
impossible requirement, given the way judicial courts now handle restraining orders... just ask any judge.
And, Public Enemy No 2 of shared custody is...Lawyers who have a financial vested interest in maintaining the
status quo. Domestic Violence and Divorce are big businesses, comparable to the automotive industry as
reported in the press.
And, Public Enemy No 3 of shared custody is...Judges who want to retain their discretionary powers and base
their decisions on a "better safe than sorry approach" rather than getting at the truth with due process and rules
All the foes have an inordinate amount of power, money and time to challenge all and any proponents such as
"LW4SP" and numerous public organizations and individuals like myself who dare fight for shared custody. The
huge financial business industries and government bureaucracies spawned by domestic violence and divorce are
documented in my book. There is no doubt that the combined finances of the proponents of shared custody pales
in comparison to those of the opponents. The far reaching tentacles of the hundreds of non profit organizations
throughout the country affiliated with OVW and supported by billions of VAWA dollars make it almost impossible to
counteract and speak out against any systemic flaws. Fair and rational voices are quickly silenced.
CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCE OF ADOPTING THE WRONG SHARED CUSTODY LAW
My next article in November will cover the serious issue of what kind of shared custody law should the states enact
and will reveal the reasons to resist any custody law that OVW proposes, including myriads of stipulations
associated with domestic violence. The adversarial nature of the divorce process is bad enough without further
increasing hostilities, increasing attorney fees and making a big business bigger.
Remember that in divorce and domestic violence, a bad law is worse than no law! Stay tuned for more articles.
All written material, graphic images and Original art work copyrighted 2020 by Robert G. Leclair