Most District Attorneys in the United States have never prosecuted a Parental Kidnapping or Family Abduction Case. In 2016-17, Dakota County Minnesota Prosecutor Kathryn Keena prosecuted Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold, Gina Dahlen and Doug Dahlen for Felony Deprivation of Child Custody. All four were found guilty and received jail sentences. Judge Karen Asphaug also sentenced Sandra Rucki and the Dahlens to jail time in day increments over a range of years. If there is any punishment that would be more appropriate for this type of crime is this form of sentencing. It allows the local Probation Department to more closely monitor the defendant after they are released from jail and results in protecting the victims of this crime.
In Parental Kidnapping cases, after the kidnapper is released from jail, in a number of cases the convicted protective parent attempted to snatch-back the child or commit the crime again. Since the convicted parental kidnapper normally goes back to Family Court to re-start the custody litigation, it provides the best possible scenario for the protective parent de-escalating the conflict. Although we have not yet seen that with Sandra Grazzini — we have seen it with other convicted protective moms. They eventually abide by the Custody Orders and make the most of their custody time with their children.
This type of sentencing should also help to motivate a recovered adult-child kidnapped to reunify with the left-behind parent. Although no court could order a reunification — all of us in the Family Abduction Community believe that Judges, Probation Officers, Parole Officers, Child Psychiatrists, Child Psychologists should encourage the convicted protective parent to support the reunification in these cases. We’ve seen in some cases the adult-child that was kidnapped is concealed even after the protective parent was arrested and convicted. The left-behind parent is never reunified with their kidnapped child.
Eventually, we would like to see harsher Family Abduction Laws in both America and other Countries. Until that time, any prosecutor that is assigned a Family Abduction Case should review this case.
Congrats to Dakota County Prosecutor Kathryn Keena and Dakota County for their efforts and results in this case!