The Sacramento News & Review, a prominent California weekly, labeled Parental Alienation a “discredited, pseudoscientific malady” in its recent article Down by law (2/5/09). Write a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on the article here.
The article concerns several people who feel they were mistreated by Judge Peter J. McBrien, a Sacramento-area family law judge, including Mary Kravtiz, a woman who claims she lost custody of her kids due to misuse of/false claims of Parental Alienation. The author of the article, R.V. Scheide, probably means well but sympathizes with Mary Kravitz and doesn’t know any better–write him (politely) here.
Kravitz says she lost custody of her two sons to their father after their divorce in 1993 and blames Judge McBrien and Parental Alienation. A few thoughts:
1) What Kravitz says is possible–I’ve never denied the possibility that fathers can use false claims of Parental Alienation as a custody tactic against decent, loving mothers. I have no personal knowledge of Kravitz’s case and won’t judge it either way.
2) Kravitz is on the Board of Directors of the California Protective Parents Association, which lobbies the state Legislature and Congress on family-law issues. The CPPA believes that courts are awarding custody of children to abusers against protective mothers partly because of claims of Parental Alienation. The CPPA is not a credible group–they have repeatedly made media cause celebres out of custody cases by dramatically misrepresenting them. These include:
Sadia Loeliger, who was one of the heroes of PBS’s Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories. The film’s producers portrayed her as a heroic mom who had lost custody of her daughter due to her ex-husband’s family court machinations. In reality, Sadia Loeliger’s loss of custody had nothing to do with her ex-husband–a California Juvenile Court had concluded that she had committed multiple acts of child abuse. The court moved to protect Sadia’s then eight-year-old daughter Fatima by declaring her a dependent of the Juvenile Court and placing her with her father, physician Scott Loeliger, against whom there has never been any finding of wrongdoing. To learn more, click here.
Holly Collins, who kidnapped her young children in 1994 and has gone on national television portraying herself as a battered mother who fled with her children in order to save them from their father. Collins’ claims about her case are disputed by practically everyone involved, including her own mother, grandmother, sister, brother, former in-laws, her ex-husband and his wife, numerous doctors, Guardians ad Litem, social workers, mental health professionals and all seven judges who have heard this case. To learn more, click here.