Debate Rages in SF Weekly Comments Section

F & F is quoted in this front page San Francisco Weekly article.

Earlier this week we brought your attention to the front page San Francisco Weekly story California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody (3/2/11).

Though (to their credit) they did include some of Fathers and Families’ perspective in the piece, as a whole the article is a one-sided attack on the legitimacy of Parental Alienation. Moreover, it  dismisses the widespread problem of false accusations of domestic violence and child abuse in family court proceedings.

We analyzed the piece extensively piece here.

We suggested that our members and supporters write a Letter to the Editor of the SF Weekly by clicking here and also that they comment on the piece on the SF Weekly website by clicking here.

After our announcement, the # of comments quickly swelled from a couple dozen to 1,000. Fathers and Families’ political opponents have pushed back.

I normally don’t post in the comment sections of websites but did so this time. Yet many of my comments–all of which were polite, respectful, and of moderate size, which is more than one can say for many of our opponents’ comments–did not appear on the SF Weekly website. (Update: Peter Jamison, to his credit, contacted me, said the problems with my posts not appearing were technical in nature, and that the problem has been fixed.–GS)

I’ve posted some of the comments below.

Fathers and Families’ Response to Comment from Kathleen Russell, Executive Director of the Center for Judicial Excellence

Russell writes: “We are a tiny, understaffed operation, with 1.5 employees and an insanely small budget…Glenn Sacks and court officials LOVE to throw around misinformation about how ‘well-funded’ the Center is.”

Well, Ms. Russell, apparently you and I have a different definition of “insanely small budget.” Your last two IRS 990s (publicly available on show a combined revenue of roughly $450,000. Your firm’s compensation, according to your 990s, is close to $200,000 a year.

Your organization has a right to raise money and you have a right to a decent salary. However, given that you’re a one-state organization with a fairly narrow mission (as opposed to a national organization with a broader mission, like Fathers and Families), I think my description “well-funded” is apt.

Regarding your claim that “The Center does in fact do thorough research into cases that are brought to us,” I hope that’s true, but you missed one in the case you took to Dr. Phil last year. In the case you presented, Dana A, the minor”s counsel in the case, told the court that the mother:

“[H]as made repeated sexual abuse allegations against father [Sheldon Creek], which to date, after numerous investigations by CPS, UC Davis Medical Center, the FBI, the emergency room physician at Sutter hospital and the police, have been unsubstantiated…[6 year-old Sylvia Creek] has endured five Sexual Assault Response Team [SART] exams…None of the allegations made by [mother Sarah Creek] were substantiated at ANY time…’ [emphasis in original].”

Fathers and Families’ Response to Comments on Our Sources of Funding, Tynia Canada Case

Fathertism wrote “Fathers and Families is a business…who gets paid with ‘Responsible Fatherhood’ grants, which they use to fund litigation against mothers in the family courts.”

WakeUpDads wrote “You awakened a group of fathers who are…making a tidy profit in the father’s rights nonprofit litigation industry,”

DCSSareUNCERTIFIEDmediators wrote “Ask Fathers and Families if they are making money training the DCSS staff. Because Responsible Fatherhood grants from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services are being diverted…how much $$$ the father’s rights groups make off these court scams exploiting—-FATHERS.”

All of these statements about Fathers and Families are factually incorrect:

1) Fathers and Families is a national 501c3 organization which makes no “profits” off of any litigation, nor does it receive any government or corporate funding, nor does it receive “Responsible Fatherhood” grants, nor does it receive money to “train” DCSS or anybody else for that matter. Our money comes entirely from private contributors interested in family court reform.

2) The salaries of our employees are well within established norms for nonprofit organizations. Like other reputable nonprofits, our IRS 990 forms, which contain all of our revenue and salary information, are publicly available via

Fathertism wrote “[Fathers and Families] supported Tania (sic) Canada’s ex too.”

Re: Tynia Canada, in two separate custody cases against two different fathers, two courts found that Canada had tried to alienate her children from their fathers and drive the fathers out of their children”s lives. In one case, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children “strongly recommended’ that the father have sole custody, as did Susan Friedberg, ACSW, the court-appointed forensic expert.

Fathers and Families’ Response to False Claims about the Holly Collins Case

Re: previous comments, it is true that Holly Collins has repeatedly accused Mark Collins of fracturing their son Zachary”s skull in a violent rage. At the Battered Mothers Custody Conference in January, 2011 she said that Zachary got the skull fracture while trying to protect her from Mark Collins” attacks.

These claims are fictitious. The principal skull injury sustained by Zachary was when he fell forward on a ride in an amusement park. Holly Collins took legal action against the amusement park for the injury and obtained a $50,000 settlement from the park on Zachary”s behalf.

The following year Zachary re-injured his head when he fell out of a shopping cart, as documented by the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology. In a September 9, 1987 letter, Reno E. Backus, M.D. of the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology explains “the present complaints relate to the accident that occurred…at Canobe Lake Park, rather than the head injury that occurred in July, 1987, when he fell from a shopping cart, even though he apparently suffered a skull fracture with this secondary injury.’

The “skull fracture’claims against Mark are a relatively recent invention–Holly did not make this accusation of abuse in her court filings during the custody dispute in 1991 & 1992, several years after the alleged incident.

All of the pertinent documents are available on the Fathers and Families’ website here. The page examines the Collins case in detail and provides links to all of the case’s relevant original documents.

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