The below is a chronicled account of what one mom and daughter have went through in the Family Court System; and what has happened thus far in regards to the daughters well being. I initially was going to write a much longer introduction that this, wanting to give this family the respect of caring enough to do so. I decided to let their story speak for itself. The below was written by the mother and permission was given to post it. You may also find it on several other blogs as well.
In 2003 my abuser forged my signature and had it notarized on a court stipulation giving him "50/50" custody and all back child support dropped, this is a paternity case. The notary was his real estate/insurance agent. The only reason I found out about the forgery is that he tried to remove our daughter, Michaela from daycare and they contacted me immediately.
I filed a police report regarding the forgery, the DA, Jay Conley, he said that "even though we know who the likely suspect is there was no proof that my abuser, Craig Hensberger, did this". Even though no one else would benefit from such an arrangement but the "likely suspect". I got a handwriting analysis done on my own and presented that evidence to the DA, he stated that only "proved it was not my signature", he refused to do anything.
I went to court in front of Family Court Commissioner, Frank Calvert, of Oconto County, who just happened to be the GAL on my divorce/custody proceedings in 1997 who recommended custody to my ex abusive husband, John Fetterly. It was also Mr. Calvert who made sure that in his recommendations that in order for me to have primary placement with my older three daughters I was to have a "stable living environment away from Craig Hensberger". In 2003 Mr. Calvert moved up in ranks from lowly GAL to Family Court Commissioner and even with me expressing to him my concerns of his ability to be impartial I was ignored, chastised and intimidated by him. He refused to hear or see any evidence regarding the forgery and kept it as is, "50/50" custody and ordered child support in the amount of $25 per week based on 50/50 custody even though the father had placement every other weekend.
The weekend of Fathers Day in June 2005 my daughter was in the custody and care of her father. On Saturday of that weekend he was arrested for his second DUI in less than a year with our daughter as a passenger in the middle of the day. At this time I had decided to move out of the state and per the county rules sent a certified letter to my former abuser to notify him of our move. He refused the certified letter and it was returned to me, although he was alerted that I was planning on moving and then filed an objection to my move. We again went in front of Frank Calvert who appointed GAL, Aaron Krzewinski. They ordered that my child stay in her current school but that Craig’s mother was to do all the transportation and supervision of placement. This was when my former abuser anger began to escalate and he vandalized three vehicles of mine which rendered them useless as well as loosening all the lug nuts on my tires which could of killed me as the tire fell off while traveling to work one morning.
Finally in October 2005, I moved in with my mother who lived well within the 150 mile radius I was allowed to move without notifying him. In December he served 20 days in jail for his DUI w/our daughter (the minimum is 30 days) and he also was allowed out on "Huber" so that he only had to report to jail at night when he was done working or not working. After he did his time he filed a motion to enforce placement when he was in jail for most of December. Again FCC Frank Calvert chastised me in court for not have legal representation and stated that if he could make me move back he would. He then gave my former abuser every weekend custody and ordered that I drive roundtrip every weekend because my abusers license was suspended. He stated that it wasn’t “his fault I moved, it was mine”. He also refused to review child support and the $25 weekly was upheld.
In August 2006 I moved back to Oconto County with my then fiancé’ soon to be husband, Chad Tipton. It was the Labor Day weekend and we were set to drive her for visitation with her father. My daughter stated that she was scared to go because her father was putting his finger in her “butt crack” down her pants, she made a motion of up and down. She made this revelation and stated how uncomfortable it was to her. I immediately contacted Marathon County CPS who interviewed my daughter. They did make a TPR and advised that Oconto would then handle it when we moved there after that weekend.
During the first weeks of September 2006 my daughter was met at her school by Oconto County CPS worker Carrie Silbernagel. After not hearing from Ms. Silbernagel I contacted her and she was very volatile towards me. Stating that she didn’t believe my daughter, that she believed she was “coached” and that she had children younger than my daughter who could provide specific details such as smells, times of days, etc. but my daughter did not. She stated that she knew of my “history with CPS” and reporting false allegations of sexual abuse. I asked her to explain as I had never made any other report to CPS regarding sexual abuse. She referred to another CPS worker that I had allegedly spoke to in 2004 regarding my older daughter. She made comments that she “knew ALL about me” etc. When I pointed out that my daughter is in danger as her fathers history of driving drunk. She then stated that “driving drunk with his child didn’t make him a bad father, he made a bad choice”. She refused to take any action and the matter was closed.
In May 2007 my former abuser decided to file for sole custody of our daughter as his behavior was to the point of madness since I was getting married on July 7, 2007. It was during this time that FCC Frank Calvert recused himself finally after I had filed a complaint against him with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission regarding his impartiality and biasness. By this time he was already facing charges of endangering safety with a dangerous weapon as he tried to run my then fiancé’ and 13 yo daughter in a grocery store parking lot one night as he waited outside for us. During that summer he was given every other week custody and they kept it that way until school started. Every bad behavior he gained more and more custody as the GAL was continually getting more money.
By January 2008, last minute he agreed to joint custody and dropped his sole custody claim. In February 2008 my daughter came home and said that her grandmother had forced fed her soup and then her vomit while threatening to beat “her ass” with a wooden spoon if she didn’t eat it. I contacted CPS and was told that the same CPS worker Carrie Silbernagel whose last name was now Burke as she married would contact me. After I told her of the force feeding incident she stated that she wanted to get down to the bottom of this “once and for all”. She suggested to take my daughter to a neutral third party who would interview her, I agreed. Although she only needed one parents permission she made the appointment at the Child Advocacy Center when it was the fathers placement time to avoid any of my ‘coaching’ etc.
On February 25 my daughter was picked up by Carrie Silbernagel Burke and had my child interviewed by Sara Schumacher who was a forensic interviewer for child abuse victims. The interview was recorded and transcribed. During the interview not only did my daughter tell of the soup incident but once again how her father sexually abused her. She told both Sara Schumacher and Carrie Silbernagel Burke that he father had instructed her to lie that day to them. By that afternoon I received a call from Carrie telling me that they were substantiating the abuse and placing my daughter with me. I thought that the nightmare was finally over. The CPS worker advised my husband and I that it would be a good idea if we left town for the night, get a hotel room as when she contact Craig he was extremely upset. She also advised that we should immediately file a child abuse restraining order for the TPR would not help protect my daughter very long. She explained that they would be filing a CHIPS (child in need of protection) petition and she would be in contact with us.
The next day I filed child abuse restraining orders against Craig and Betty Hensberger and it was granted by Oconto County Richard Delforge for 30 day pending the CHIPS petition. By March CPS was already back pedaling and we were advised by Carrie Burke that Corporation Counsel, Robert Mraz, stated that I was already “protecting my daughter in Family Court” when in fact there was no such order but only the one in which she was to go every other week. Then CPS offered for both parties to sign a stipulation agreement for “co-parenting” classes for both parents. They never even ordered any alcohol or drug assessment for Craig whose history of alcohol abuse was severe. My attorney at the time, Michael Perry, advised me not to agree to the stipulation and also my former abuser refused to sign.
Also in March he was acquitted of his charge of endangering safety with a dangerous weapon. Somehow my former abuser contacted my ex husband and had my older daughters recant their statements. When this was brought forward to the DA, Jay Conley of possible witness tampering, he stated it wasn’t because Craig only talked with my ex husband.
On May 21, 2008, my daughters 10th birthday, an Administrative Appeal was held by recused FCC Frank M. Calvert. My lawyer and I were not privy to this hearing in which my former abuser, his attorney, Corporation Counsel, Deputy Director of Oconto County CPS Greg Benesh and Carrie Burke were a part of. The only reason my attorney learned of this hearing was due to my abusers attorney, John D’Angelo, sending a copy of the hearing in which Mr. Calvert unsubstantiated the sexual abuse allegations. My attorney advised me to get the recording from the hearing and I did. What I heard was chilling as my character and credibility was more of an issue than the actual abuse. Especially in which Mr. Calvert snickers and makes fun of me that he’s “well aware of the difficulties with Ms. Fetterly-Tipton”. My lawyer instructs me to file a complaint with the judicial commission as Mr. Calvert had recused himself and he had no right to hear that case. When I requested the CD recording of the hearing Mr. Calvert’s assistant Julie Depouw stated that perhaps Calvert “forgot” he recused himself. A complaint was filed with the judicial commission regarding the ongoing bias and unethical practices of Frank M. Calvert.
In July 2008 my former abuser wanted his placement times back. We went to court and after my two witnesses testified, Sara Schumacher and Greg Benesh, Judge David Miron ordered a recess. My lawyer, my former abuser’s lawyer, GAL Krzewinski met in chambers. My lawyer returned to say that the judge was not going to hear any more testimony because so far we had not proven that there was any substantial change in circumstances for change in placement. He also stated that due to her father subpoenaing my daughters counselor, Jennifer Werner, her supervisor wrote to the judge to tell of his disdain that she was being ‘used’ as a pawn in this proceeding and she had no knowledge of the ongoing custody dispute (her counseling records do not reflect that). My lawyer stated I had to agree to two supervised visits, one overnight unsupervised, one weekend unsupervised then back to week on week off, providing that GAL Krzewinski and newly appointed counselor, Mike Mervilde, found no reason for that schedule, and they didn’t.
When I had tried to make further appointments with Mike Mervilde I was thwarted by saying that he was only court ordered to see her twice. When I requested copies of her counseling records I was told that my daughter wasn’t the patient, her father was.
By the very first unsupervised visit my daughter came back stating her father was drinking and driving with her. Every other week she was coming home from his home with lice. CPS said that wasn’t neglect. My daughter refused to go for visitation and in October her father filed his first of three contempt motions on me. I was found in contempt by Judge Miron and it was ordered that my daughter be forced to live with her abuser for five weeks straight, I was not allowed visitation. This was when I was first accused of PAS, a.k.a. ’brainwashing’ her. The judge stated that he believed that I had “poisoned” my daughter against her father. When I shook my head slightly the judge yelled at me to not shake my head at him.
She left on 10/31/09 and returned on 12/05/09. During that time she was tormented and tortured by her father and grandmother. My daughter still says that was the worst time of her life.
In February my daughter came home and said her father caught a 8lb Walleye and kept it alive in his 100 gallon fish tank for two weeks. He then proceeded to use her and sign her up for three different fishing derbies in one weekend with the same fish. He told my daughter if she told no one she would receive an ipod. The total of $150 of prize money that was won in my daughters name she never saw one penny or an ipod.
Her father was caught in his lying, cheating and stealing but blamed her for “ratting him out”. This was the turning point that my daughter lost any last respect for her father, she would ask me, “why would he do this to me?”, I had no answer, I still don’t.
She missed a weekend visit in March, by Monday he went to her school with the police to pick her up. She refused and the Gillett police officer, Gary Pemmrich, threatened my daughter that he would take her down to juvenile hall, she would be placed in foster care, she would never see me again and that she would have to go to a new school.
It was after this hat my former abuser brought me to court again for contempt, the judge did not find me in contempt and dismissed it. This was when Judge Miron made a threat that perhaps neither parent was fit and maybe he would put her in foster care.
He then changed the order that each parent could pick up the child directly from school rather than the police station as the drop off.
Shortly after she returned from her week placement stating how cold she was at her fathers, stating his electricity was “broken”. The next week it was the same, finally CPS was alerted that there was no electricity, running water/plumbing, refrigeration for food etc. They then began staying at his mothers small two bedroom home, my daughter was given a choice of either sleeping on the living room floor or the unfinished basement. By August my daughter had been frightened several times by her grandmother driving her drunk, specifically one occasion where they took her out with them to the bar and as the grandmother stumbled out of the bar she proceeded to get into the wrong vehicle and then drove them home, drunk.
My daughter asked to stay at my home on his weekend 8/7/09 due to her older sisters coming for a visit. She kept saying how relaxed she was, how well she slept in an actual bed in her own room. She called him and told him she would not return to his mothers house because she had no bed or bedroom there. By 8/12/09 he filed a motion of contempt on me but waited until last minute 9/18/09 to have me served. Due to the untimely notice it was dismissed, He soon filed another contempt. At no time after school started did he ever go to school to retrieve his daughter. In court on 10/14/09 he and his mother perjured themselves that she has her own room, I’m brainwashing her, they don’t drink. When asked why he didn’t go pick her up he would say he was “working” or he was “busy” but I was being held accountable. On 9/4/09 we drove up to the grandmothers house for my daughter to retrieve her clarinet. We requested the assistance of Oconto County Sheriffs Deputy Ryan Zahn, who happens to be the nephew of Craig Hensberger, grandson of Betty Hensberger. At no time did the grandmother attempt to keep my daughter at her residence, her father according to his testimony was working.
Judge Miron found me in contempt and ordered me 30 days in county jail, with it stayed and ordered that my daughter be picked up by her father on 10/16/09 after school. I was also found in contempt and ordered 30 days in county jail for claiming my daughter on my taxes even though he has an order to do so the IRS will not allow him to since he unlawfully claimed her from 1999-2007. Also because she lived with me exclusively from Feb 2008-August 2008 which the federal government agreed I could claim her. Judge Miron also made his threats again that maybe he would “contact CPS because neither one of us is a fit parent and maybe he should take he away from both of us”. He stated that maybe foster care was the best place for her.
Since the contempt motion being served on 9/18/09 my child has began sleep walking, having night terrors, and was placed on Xanax for her sleep disturbances and anxiety issues brought on by her father. She has stated she is not going with her father ever again, she can’t and won’t. She won’t be in school tomorrow due to her flu and is adamant that nobody can make her go, not even me.