A Lesson on Parenting Kidnapping and Family Law

Below is a post that we are re-publishing from the Comments section of our website regarding the Dorothy Lee Barnett / Alexandra Geldenhuys Parental Kidnaping Case. Parental Kidnapping is Chid AbuseIt appears that many in this World are not familiar with this subject matter.

“Vitriol and impotent frustration aside Neha, the family court system bases its decisions on facts, evidence and in the best interests of the children of the marriage. As well, it also measures against a plethora of other criteria, one such criterion being especially in embittered and protracted custody battles: which parent, if awarded custody, would be more willing to share the children from the marriage with the other parent.

Family court judges have difficult decisions to make. Parties in dispute may not always agree with family court decisions, but there is a legal requirement to abide by the court’s decision until it is successfully appealed. Court decisions are legally challenged on a daily basis. When one legal door closes, people look for other legal doors to open, or avenues that eventually lead to those legal doors. Kidnapping and hiding the children of the marriage because one party does not agree with the court’s decisions is a serious criminal offence in most countries around the globe.

The US played an active role in the drafting of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and that legislation translated into US law in 1988. It is a serious criminal offence to internationally parental kidnap children from the US, as it is with all Hague signatory countries.

Entering other countries on false statements and on passports that cannot be evidenced back to a person’s birth name is also a serious criminal offence in, I would say, all countries around the globe.

I would also think that changing the name and citizenship of a minor without the appropriate permission is also a criminal offence.

Gaining citizenship of other another country on false statements isn’t always palatable to that country, or to those whose citizenship applications were denied.

Being able to country hop because of citizenship of another country gained from false statements is a criminal offence, and is unfair to all of those, whose desire it is to live in that country, are rejected for similar offences.

Neha, perhaps you can help me out here. Did this woman receive any money from the Australian Government in the way of family payments, schoolkids bonus, teenage financial support or any other form of child support/child assistance to help this woman raise her children in Australia? I ask, Neha, because it is an offence (even jailable) in Australia to acquire taxpayer-funded assistance falsely.

Would this woman have been granted entry into New Zealand or NZ citizenship, or entry into or permanent residence in Australia, had it be revealed on any piece of paperwork that she and her daughter travelled on false names and false passports, and she was wanted on parental child abduction in another country?

Why should this woman be given any preferential treatment for her choice of not looking for legal pathways to challenge court decisions?”



Comments from January 30, 2014


4 Responses to A Lesson on Parenting Kidnapping and Family Law

  1. forthelost says:

    Let me also quote the article written in 97.

    “The most public of those underground leaders, Faye Yager, says she will only hide mothers who have extensive documentation of sexual abuse – medical reports, psychological evaluations, police statements.

    But no such papers existed in Todd’s case. Barnett never made any sexual abuse allegations during the long, nasty court battle for custody of Savanna. She called Harris Todd lots of names, but “child molester” wasn’t one of them.

    So why, then, did Yager, an Atlanta doctor’s wife, help Todd’s ex-wife and daughter disappear into the underground?

    “Well, that’s an exceptional case. I don’t think that’s typical of my cases,” says Yager, frowning.

    Could it be, perhaps, that she, or other underground leaders, just made a mistake with Todd?

    Yager doesn’t answer the question directly.

    “Well, we offered him a chance to get his child back and he wouldn’t agree to the conditions – which were just to leave this lady be and not try to take her child from her or put her in jail – and he wouldn’t agree to that.”‘

    • underwatch says:

      To ForTheLost,

      “Well, we offered him a chance to get his child back and he wouldn’t agree to the conditions – which were just to leave this lady be and not try to take her child from her or put her in jail – and he wouldn’t agree to that.”

      I recollect that Dorothy Barnett’s supporters have said this before and that statement seems to indicate that Dorothy Barnett was willing to come back to Charleston if Harris would agree to let her have custody. That would mean that she was admitting that any allegations that Harris was not a good father were 100 percent false. Dorothy wanted to save herself from going to prison and was willing to share custody. Now that doesn’t seem like a parent that “feared for her life” or “feared for her child’s life”.

      I remember another underground case where the underground mom appeared on a National TV Show in the U.S. There was every single horrible allegation you could think of in that case. When a civil war broke out in that country, the underground mom called her former spouse and told him to come get his son. That father supervised visitations from that point forward. I understand that the now adult son is a very articulate and successful young adult today. I am intentionally not mentioning any names here because I am sure this former “underground child” doesn’t want to be labeled as such. He was certainly never a “poster child” for this cause.

      There’s always the debate in these cases if the mother believed that she and her child’s life were in jeopardy and was that a “reasonable belief”. I would think that all of Dorthy Lee Barnett’s family members and her best friend in Charleston know that Dorthy’s belief wasn’t reasonable. I am hoping that at some point, the Barnett family re-think’s their strategy here.

      The Editor

      • forthelost says:

        I’m in contact with three different former underground children. Two’ve been disowned by their mother; the other one never mentions his mother at all.

  2. Judith says:

    Understanding the law isn’t for everyone. This is why when you have a legal matter to resolve, it’s always best to invest in a good lawyer, and to shut your mouth and let him or her do all the work.

    But not everyone understands this. And sometimes it’s actually more amusing to simply let them go and see just how well their knowledge stands up in a court.

    **** I want to inform you all that once I get 1000 members I will contact the relevant local member of Parliament in the area where she is held in Qld and use this as a petition to show our support and put pressure on the Government to let her remain here rather than being extradited to America. I rely on your support so please share this page. *****
    Source: “Free Savannah Todd’s Mum” Facebook page

    The above quote was made by one of the leaders of the support group to free Dorothy/Alex.

    In Queensland, legal issues obviously must be determined by popular ballot. Therefore if you can get a large portion of the population to agree with your version of events, then due to popular pressure, the ruling will be forced to go in favour of what the petitioners demand. Not only that, but matters involving a foreign jurisdiction are able to be heard and resolved using Queensland State law.

    I think the lady running the campaign probably wouldn’t know whether to give the petition to the State member or the Federal member. To her, there probably isn’t any difference. From briefly reading their postings and opinions, I think most of them believe the up and coming extradition hearing is actually more of a continuation of the 1994 divorce and custody dispute.

    You could try to explain the differences between Australian jurisdiction and US jurisdiction, and they would think you are trying to personally attack them.

    This is the quality of support that a “Today Tonight” episode and a one-sided media campaign is able to garner. This is the “outraged mob” that you would get.

    Oh. Did people think that the people who would emotionally respond to these media stories would consist of wealthy businessmen, socialites, lawyers, doctors, movie stars, successful people, tradesmen, academics etc etc?

    No!!! The vast majority of newly outraged supporters of these sorts of cases will be jaded middle-aged women, incest survivors, rape victims and women who came from broken families themselves, who can’t move forward and are still trying heal themselves.

    This is what would form up the vast majority of the Dorothy/Alex support base, outside of the existing circle of her close friends and family.

    Their contributions won’t be useful legal advice or money or anything that would help mitigate the problems ahead. No. They’ll see their own experiences and worldly knowledge as being the “asset” they can offer. Many of them will attempt to counsel Samantha/Savannah whether she invites it or not. The “counselling” would be rather intense and fanatical, and even somewhat kooky. There will be lots of warnings about the evils of males, and all sorts of warped strategies on how to succeed, coloured by their own twisted childhood experiences. They’ll be trying to live through Savannah’s youth, attempting to help her become whatever they themselves hoped and dreamed of becoming when they were young. This is what it’s all about, as far as they are concerned.

    As we await the up and coming extradition hearing, they won’t be sitting idle. They’ll be petitioning the Queensland justice department, the local member of parliament and maybe even the South Carolina justice department. They’ll do so by spamming their inbox. Some of the letters sent will be typed all in uppercase and will not have a single full stop, comma or paragraph break.

    I’ve actually seen all of this in action with other high profile cases involving these types of family disputes. I’m not making jokes.

    But as for the publicity on this case. I posed this question a few days ago. This is a high profile, highly public legal case. Academic and legal professionals would take an interest in it. If there is a legal flaw or miscarriage of justice, as alleged by the Dorothy/Alex support group, has any legal, academic or family professional written an article, journal, media or blog piece to support the claims of a flawed justice system in regards to this case?

    Bruce? Cliff? Neya?

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