December 12, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The anti-father/pro-mother bias of the press has rarely been clearer than it is here (Boston Globe, 12/10/14). Just from looking at the photos, you’d never guess that the mother depicted, lovingly caring for her young son, was on trial for abducting her daughter, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Fear for one child’s welfare drove Genevieve Kelley into hiding, she says. Fear for another child’s health drew her out.
Yes, according to the article, Kelley’s just a heroic mom willing to do anything to keep her kids safe, even if it means going to prison. How touching. Or it would be were the real facts of the case not utterly at odds with the tenor of the Globe piece.
Perhaps a fairer way of describing the facts would look something like this: Ten years ago, Kelley was embroiled in a nasty custody battle with her ex-husband, Mark Nunes, when she played the abuse card. Kelley claimed that Nunes had sexually abused their daughter Mary who was then eight. The police and a court-appointed child advocate for Mary investigated the claims and found them to be unsubstantiated. Moreover, they found what seemed like parental alienation on Kelley’s part.
Her ploy looked like it was backfiring. So, having lost in court, Kelley took the law into her own hands. With her new husband, Scott Kelley, she snatched Mary and ran, first to Central America and then to parts unknown. She’d never been located until she turned herself in. It seems her son with Kelley has cystic fibrosis and needs medical care. Nunes was given sole custody of Mary, but hasn’t seen the girl in over ten years. She’s an adult now and beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
In short, the woman the Boston Globe all but sanctifies is in fact a child abuser. She’s a child abuser because multiple authorities describe parental alienation as exactly that. Other authorities say the same about child abduction. Parental alienation abuses the child because it seeks to remove a loving parent from the child’s life, a parent to whom the child has emotionally attached and on whom the child has come to depend for love, protection, mentoring, etc. Child abduction is much the same, but, into the bargain involves removing the child from safe, familiar environments, friends, extended families, schools, etc., in short, everything known. In their place the abductor offers the strange and unfamiliar, a life on the run, of hiding out, changed names, different schools, temporary friendships. Quickly, the abducting parent becomes the child’s only touchstone, the only person to whom the child can turn, the only person who can satisfy the child’s needs.
And that, as authorities on parental child abduction have found, is often exactly the way the parent wants it. Abducting parents often have the need to be everything to the child, to be the sole source of comfort, love, food, shelter. Many abducting parents come to look like narcissists.
Whatever the case with Genevieve Kelley, it’s a picture you won’t find in the Boston Globe. The writer’s not interested in the dark side of what Kelley did. He’s not interested in the realities of parental alienation and child abduction. He’s not interested in what the police and the court-appointed attorney found out about Kelley ten years ago. He doesn’t want readers to know just why Kelley resorted first to false allegations of abuse and then to abduction to have Mary all to herself. A telephone call or two would have provided much information on those topics, but the writer, Nestor Ramos opted for ignorance.
While he was at it, Ramos could have noticed another little detail. Kelley’s son John is now nine and, as mentioned before, has CF. Kelley is a physician. CF is a serious and usually eventually fatal condition of the lungs. In the past few years, treatment for CF has improved and enabled sufferers to live much more normal lives and importantly, longer ones, than ever before. But CF usually shows up very early, often within the first couple of years of life. But Kelley waited until John was nine to get him the medical help she now says he very much needs. Why’d she wait so long? Apparently because Mary turned 18 this year and is now an adult, so no court can order Kelley to turn her over to Nunes, her custodial parent. Looked at that way, Kelley’s return looks a lot less altruistic; indeed, it looks cold and calculating. From here it looks like she sacrificed her son’s medical care to her selfish desire to keep Mary from her father.
This type of biased reporting does no one any good. Countless mothers, like countless fathers, are fine, loving, effective parents. We should honor them and most people do. But parental alienation and child abduction aren’t the actions of loving parents; they’re the actions of parents who care far less about their children than they do about their own needs. Whether mother or father, we should call them what they are. We should drop the pretense once and for all that, just because most mothers are excellent parents, they all are. We’ll never get to equality with this type of reporting.
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