Gina & Scott Dahlen Plead Guilty

Gina Dahlen and Scott Dahlen, the owners of White Horse Ranch in Hermann, Minnesota plead guilty to one count of depravation of parental rights for their role in the Teenager Family Abduction of the Rucki girls

Both of the Dahlens admitted in court that they knew the teenagers’ father had been awarded custody of all five of his children in November 2013. The girls were held for 942 days. The Dahlens admitted they knew he had custody and failed to contact the father or law enforcement. The Dahlens had been charged with six felony counts.

It is unclear of the Dahlens were charged with a Felony. They testified against both Sandra Rucki and Dede Evavold.

Gina and Doug Dahlen will be sentenced on April 3, 2017 at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

The horse did not plead guilty.



6 Responses to Gina & Scott Dahlen Plead Guilty

  1. TJ says:

    I can’t be sure of your attitude towards this situation, yet it’s evident that you believe the Dahlen’s are guilty of a serious crime. But have you ever been involved in a family court dispute? I have been, and I know many others who have been; and the case of the Rucki girls has all the outward signs of what I have seen time and again: an abusive father benefits from the apparent collusion of court officials and gets off the hook by denigrating the frantic mother who is desperate to protect her kids, while the kids end up with their abusive father and are horribly scarred for life. There has to be money in it somewhere (trafficking of some sort?) though few have been able to bring it to light – that’s tough when the law enforcers are the ones committing the crimes.

    Google “protective parents” and you’ll get some glimpse at how pervasive this has been over the last few decades.

    You too readily believe the government and dismiss the protective instincts of decent healthy people…..

    • underwatch says:

      Hi TJ. In our experience reporting on these cases in the past 20 years, in custody cases you have two parents that said they loved each other and got married and mutually decided to have a child (or just had the child). That said, the decision to have the child was still “mutual”. In the case you mentioned, they didn’t just bring one child into the World but several. The parents could not mutually decide on custody so they asked the Family Law Court to decide for them. These days, the court favors joint custody or coparenting. Many, many parents accept this and simply move along and share custody. But some parents are not able to do so and in those cases the Family Law Court typically orders a Custody Evaluation by an independent party agreed or stipulated to by both parties.

      The “protective parent” movement or cause is one where usually the mother decides she is going to commit an act of civil disobedience to get custody. This might including false allegations, fraud, deception, and kidnapping. Possibly the parent might believe in maternal custody only. That parent is usually not so cooperative during the evaluation because a good evaluator will be able to determine this. Those parents are sometimes diagnosed as narcisissistic, borderline and antisocial. For some unknown reason, these protective parents can only conclude because the evaluator or judge didn’t recommend or give them sole custody and deny all visitation to their former spouse — that the system must be rigged and the judges paid off. It’s that thought process that might be the reason you see individuals like Sandra Grazzini and Dede Evavold having spent time in jail.

      Again, if any parents tells a custody evaluator or judge that there is trafficking and law enforcement/judges are being paid off, you might lose some credibility with that evaluator. But you might still get joint custody of your child. However, if you commit an act of civil disobedience like kidnapping a child, then you should and will go to jail.

      The Editor

  2. TJ says:

    Additionally, I fully realize many cases of purported abuse are indeed spurious. But what I’m telling you is I have seen with my own eyes situations where real abuse was obfuscated and buried by dishonest attorneys and guardians and judges, and the children put in the custody of their abuser. It really happens, and you should dig into that.

  3. Margo/Mom says:

    TJ–I have followed several recent cases that were considered newsworthy, which is how I first became cognizant of this “protective parents” movement. However, I also have a good many years of experience around the protection of so-called dependent children, courts, social workers and custody determinations. The view put forward by so-called protective parents, and the view you yourself put forward, relies heavily on the assumption that family courts are inherently corrupt, routinely rule “against” mothers in favor of fathers and that any testimony from witnesses who are professionals charged with evaluating situations is nothing more than clap-trap coming from idiots who are either too dumb to see the corruption that you suggest, or they are part of the conspiracy.

    In my experience none of this is the case.

    What IS the case, in my experience, is that there are very few “winners” in family court. Decisions to place or remove children are incredibly serious matters. If anything the various professionals involved have become jaded by having seen some really ugly stuff over the years and know what even apparently loving and stable parents can sometimes carry out. Every decision made in a family court–even those happy, joyous occasions when an infant is adopted by a forever family–is accompanied by a loss. That infant placed in the arms of a caring (frequently two-parent) family that has longed for this day is also losing a piece of his/her heritage.

    And those are the easy decisions. Far more difficult to face two parents so enmeshed in the relationship that they are dissolving or have already dissolved that they are using their children to batter one another (or for one to do so while the other moves on). Charges of abuse must be taken seriously–but not necessarily at face value. Important to ask questions about whether there were injuries, if law enforcement was contacted, if their are reliable witnesses. Looks pretty suspicious if no such evidence exists and the very first claim is made in the context of a custody hearing. But judges still have to make decisions about who to believe.

    Throw on top of this that there are some folks in the “protective parents movement” who pass around highly questionable data (from non-peer-reviewed studies, using easily discreditable methodology, and circular patterns of citations), or justify lawbreaking in the name of “protection.”

    So, TJ, long story short, I feel your pain. It is very difficult to see families broken and children placed with someone you don’t like very well. But, at the end of the day, courts are human institutions with human limitations. They cannot bring about the resolution that I think most of us long for, which is a return to the status of two parents who loved one another and loved their kids.

    • TJ says:

      Thanks Margo/Mom for the thoughtful reply – your last paragraph sums it all up well. While I know for a fact that sometimes real abuse gets covered up, ultimately the societal forces that lead to broken families to begin with are the deeper problems….

      • Hi TJ,

        I have seen cases of several so called “protective” mothers and the measures they go through just to keep the other parent out of their children’s lives.
        The case of SR and GR is a particularly sad one because their mother chose to hide the girls and play dumb as to where they were hiding rather than share custody with David Rucki their father.
        Many of the left behind parents are victims too of parental alienation syndrome where the one parent brainwashes the children into believing that the other parent is a threat.
        SR and GR now don’t believe that they were ever harmed by their father.

        As for the Dalhens they were charged with being accomplaces after the fact and keeping the girls in view on their ranch for several years after the fact. Dede Evafold was also charged with being an accomplice after the fact and the “mother”, and I use that term loosely, Sandra Rucki was charged with kidnapping and lying to the police.

        The long and the short of the story is that there are always better choices than to take your kids and run if you don’t like the outcome of the a family court decision.

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