March 28, 2005
Fathers' Rights Lies
Rad Geek had the displeasure of hearing from Walter Schneider, now of Fathers For Life. Rad Geek points out how fathers' rights activists resort to lies when they misrepresent feminism. Schneider is a mens' and fathers' rights activist I've known about since my Usenet days nearly a decade ago. I recall Schneider giving his opinion about the Darrin White suicide. Fathers' rights activists claimed that White was driven to suicide by the court system that refused him access to his kids. They also blamed his suicide on his ex-wife who supposedly filed false allegations of abuse claims against him. They saw White as a poster boy victim of "the system," and poured out all kinds of mawkish, hand-wringing writings about him on their web sites and on Usenet. Here is one of Schneider's Usenet posts about White. It was written in 2000.
Walter Schneider's comments....
My heart is heavy as I'm writing this.
According to Todd Eckert, a fathers' advocate who had been involved with helping Darren White (Darren couldn't afford a lawyer), the total amount of alimony/support Darren White had been ordered to pay was $2,070.
Just a few days ago I received a call from Todd Eckert. He was concerned that Darren White, a father of three children who was being destroyed by his ex and the judicial system had disappeared and was feared to have done away with himself. Todd said that the RCMP was trying to find out what happened to him.
What worried Todd was that Darren White had written his will and had bought a lottery ticket with other people in the group home where he resided after he had been forced from his home. Darren White had scratched out his name on the lottery ticket and written in the name of his brother.
Three days ago a public service announcement to draw people's attention to the disappearance of the man was broadcast during the evening news. As you know from Dennis Wilsher's message, Darren White has been found, dead.
Darren White was facing three separate domestic violence allegations, all apparently false, had to appear in eight different court hearings during the space of last week (Family Court, Court of Queens Bench and B.C. Superior Court), was ordered to pay $2,070 in child support (half of that is alimony to his ex who had left him, took the children and denied him child visitations), and was given two days to vacate his home. He had $130 per month left to live on.
Why should he have bothered? How was he supposed to manage? Do you realize that he didn't even qualify for welfare? But while he was still alive he was a deadbeat dad, wasn't he? Deadbolted and beaten dead -- by the enormous anti-male bias in our courts, in the bureaucracy and in our society -- is a more fitting description, and Darren White is only one in millions.
When you cut a man's skin, he bleeds too, but when you destroy him and rob him of everything he lived for, his spirit dies. In the case of Darren White, a father and a man died, murdered by the system. Darren White became a victim of the planned destruction of our families. His children pay the price.
The truth about White was actually much more insidious than what they claimed.
Former Toronto Star reporter Michelle Landsberg had the goods on White. I had corresponded with Landsberg on several occasions. She had often gone after fathers' rights activists and they had tried to get her fired from her job. She retired several years ago due to illness. I was sorry to see her go. Fathers' rights activists think they succeeded in getting her fired, but that was not the case.
Landsberg looked into Darrin White's story, and it turns out, not unexpectedly, that what fathers' rights activists had to say about him was not accurate. Here is her Toronto Star article on White.
There's more behind father's 'martyrdom'
By Michelle Landsberg
DARRIN WHITE of Prince George, B.C., who committed suicide last month at the age of 34, is the new martyr of the fathers' rights movement.
White's death was seized upon by the National Post as a symbol of the "anguish" suffered by men in Canada's divorce courts. "Anti-male bias in family courts blamed for man's suicide," read the Post headline.
The story claimed that White, a railway engineer, was involved in "a custody battle" and hanged himself "after the court ordered him to pay $2,070 a month in family support" even though "he told the court he was on stress leave and had a take-home pay of $1,000 a month."
On top of that, The Post quoted a fathers' rights activist who said White "was thrown out of his house on two days' notice with nowhere to live."
Furthermore, White was so "concerned" about a 14-year-old daughter from a previous relationship that he had arranged to pay her $439 a month.
Homeless, broke, out of work, forced by the court to pay money he didn't have - who wouldn't feel pity, even anger, for this man's plight?
It's sad enough when someone kills himself, leaving behind four children - the 14-year-old, and the three others, ages 5, 9 and 10, from his 12-year marriage to Madeleine White. But to be hounded to death by a ruthless court and an implacable wife, a wife who is also a railway engineer but hasn't worked in five years? That's deplorable.
Except that's not what happened. The tone and content of the story change completely on a careful reading of Master Doug Baker's reasons for judgment in the B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 21.
Here's what emerges from the court records: Madeleine White was not working because, five years ago, the family abruptly moved from Ontario to British Columbia to accommodate Darrin's job, according to the judge's summary of the evidence:
"She says she was required, in short order, to cease her employment." Since that time, she was unable to find more than casual employment. When she left the family home with the three children in January, police charged Darrin with wife assault. The children stayed with Madeleine.
(Note: the Supreme Court appearance was not about a "custody battle" but merely and routinely to determine interim support).
Far from being "thrown out" of his home unexpectedly, Darrin remained in the family home - after, the judge noted, having quickly cleaned out most of the couple's joint account and deposited the money under his own name.
It was Madeleine who was homeless and penniless, according to an interview with her lawyer Darren Lindsay. She went on welfare while staying with the three children in a single room in a friend's apartment. During that time, Darrin gave her a total of $20, a sum dryly recorded by Master Baker. Nor did Darrin keep up the mortgage payments on the family home. Madeleine, fearing a default, arranged to pay the mortgage out of their joint line of credit, as noted by Baker.
Perhaps Darrin White's biggest mistake was to get caught up in the fathers' rights movement and to go to court, not with a lawyer, but with Todd Eckert, president of the Parent-Child Advocacy Coalition. After the outcry was raised about White's suicide, the Law Society of British Columbia issued an unusual "warning" to the public not to rely on untrained advocates, pointing out that in White's case "it appears . . . that the standard evidentiary procedures were not followed."
In court on Feb. 10, for example, White and Eckert insisted that White was on stress leave at $400 a week, and they themselves said this leave would be for a maximum of eight weeks. But they provided no evidence of the temporary reduction in pay - no cheque stubs, doctor's certificates or employment contracts, in the judge's words, to support the claim.
Indeed, you would have to be a clairvoyant to make sense of White's financial statements to the court. His records showed that he earned an average of $67,500 annually over the previous three years. He told the court (without corroboration) that he earned $60,000 in 1999 and expected to earn $51,000 in the year 2000.
Furthermore, in what the judge dubbed "an amazing coincidence," White flourished an agreement dated just three days before the court process began, in which he suddenly undertook to pay $439 a month to 14-year-old Ashlee, who lives with her mother in Saskatchewan. Even by his own accounting, White had never sent this daughter anything more than an erratic $150 a month. The judge concluded that the belated arrangement for Ashlee's welfare was "an agreement purely of convenience'' in order to show that it would be a hardship for White to support his wife and three younger children.
Even more preposterously, White insisted that his living expenses amounted to $71,000 a year - this at a time when he was pleading hardship and poverty. The judge found Darrin's description of his expenses "unreliable" and several of them "if not fanciful, at the very least speculative." He questioned Eckert's "curious logic" in insisting that White's income would now be a mere $20,000 while his expenses would be more than triple that sum.
The judge found it "problematic" to estimate White's true income. Finally, he scrupulously subtracted the maximum of eight weeks of reduced pay for the undocumented stress leave. That left an estimated $60,300 to be divided.
Having given Madeleine and the children exclusive occupancy of the house, with a non-entry order against Darrin White, Master Baker then awarded Madeleine $1,000 a month interim spousal maintenance (she would pay taxes and the mortgage) and $1,071 to the children, according to the federal child support guidelines.
No balanced observer could conclude that Darrin White hanged himself because of this court order alone. That the roots of suicide are deep and complex should be obvious to anyone - as the Law Society stressed in its strong defence of the judge's ruling.
But in the current atmosphere of the fathers' rights movement - a loose coalition of small, vociferous groups - the decibel level of complaint, grievance, rage and emotional intensity almost matches that of the Cuban exiles in Miami, those who are so determined to save Elian Gonzalez from communism.
The "martyrdom" of Darrin White has now been enshrined by the right-wing press and held up as an inflammatory symbol. The fathers' rights movement might have learned a sobering lesson from White's experience - that it's folly to go to court without a lawyer, without documents, without evidence, and with highly questionable claims. But, thanks to the version offered them by The Post, they've probably learned only more grievance, more hate and more unreason.
I've already written a post that questions the notion from mens' and fathers' rights activists that "The System" drives fathers to suicide. As I said in my post, you need to look at the state of these men while the relationship was intact to see what is really going on. "The system" does not drive fathers to suicide. Plus, when fathers murder their ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, and children, fathers' rights activists aren't so eager to blame "The System" because they know they will not get as much sympathy as they would with a man who had committed suicide. It's not right that mens' and fathers' rights activists use these suicides as a means to promote their political agenda. Walter Schneider is no different.
Rad Geek, you should know that Walter Schneider and other fathers' rights activists have been lying about how the courts treat men for many, many years. This post just shows how long they've been doing it.
Posted on March 28, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink
Good post. I agree with your conclusions for the most part. However, I do think that custody and/or spousal support orders are sometimes over the top.
Doing some quick, basic math, and assuming a roughly comparable level of taxation in Canada... I subtracted 25% from the gross, $60k per year breaks down to rougly $3750 per month. Of which he was ordered to pay $2071... leaving him with $1679. That seems excessive to me. Here in Oregon I don't believe that guidelines allow more than half to be paid out in support.
Now... obviously this man wasn't left penniless. And it seems reasonable that he could at least get by on $1679 per month. Clearly his side deal with his oldest daughter was intended to circumvent the system and he likely had no intention of actually following thru with it. I don'twant to be misunderstood as supporting this particular guy. I just think that over all there are times when judgements are excessive and unfair because the man is viewed as a convenient source of funds to tap.
Posted by: Kevin at Mar 28, 2005 11:20:51 AM
Don't forget that he cleaned out the joint account and deposited the money in his name. He hadn't paid support at all until the court ordered it, so he already owed his ex-wife money. He also hadn't been paying the house mortgage, and his ex-wife started to do it to prevent the house from being seized in foreclosure. He had also paid sporatic, low support to his eldest daughter from a previous relationship, but then began paying $439 per month to make it look as if he couldn't pay for his other three children. He was trying to avoid paying child support. He wasn't as broke as fathers' rights activists claim he was. The payments he was ordered to pay were not excessive.
Posted by: Trish Wilson at Mar 28, 2005 11:51:00 AM
Note that this scumbag dad who tortured this three-year-old to death had full custody. So much for the lie that dads kill themselves or their kids because they are frustrated with the "system" for shutting them out.
Father first told police boy, 3, fell off dresser
Blow to stomach caused his death
By VANESSA THOMAS
News Staff Reporter
First, James E. Kent told police that his 3-year-old son Joshua injured himself accidentally when he fell off the dresser, police said.
Then, police say, he said the dresser fell on his son in their Eller Street home. Police said he later admitted to hitting the child as a form of discipline.
Buffalo homicide investigators said Kent, 39, used a plastic cutting board with a handle to strike his son repeatedly in the stomach - blows so fierce that they sent the boy into cardiac arrest and eventually led to his death.
Doctors said that if Joshua had survived, he would never would have walked again, police reported.
Kent is in Erie County Holding Center on a charge of second-degree murder. He was arrested Monday.
Joshua died in Sunday night Women and Children's Hospital. Autopsy results showed that he died of blunt force trauma.
"This was his idea of corporal punishment," said Anthony J. Barba, the Buffalo Police Department's chief of investigative services. "He was reportedly spanking him because he didn't go fast enough to bed. He said he hit him just once, but it had to be more than that. His story was inconsistent from the very beginning."
"We don't think this is the first time that he has beaten this child," he added. "I believe this father was abusing his child before this, but he didn't think it was abuse. A lot of times, discipline crosses over into abuse."
Barba said Kent had beaten his son with the cutting board on several occasions. Police said Child Protective Services workers visited the Eller Street home at least twice to investigate child abuse complaints.
Joshua is the second such case this month. On March 18, 6-month-old Marreon Smith suffered an apparent fractured skull, allegedly when assaulted by his father, Marquel Smith, 26, in the family's Leslie Street home. Smith also is in the holding center on a charge of second-degree murder.
Kent, his fiancee, whom police declined to name, and his twin sons from another relationship - Joshua and James Jr. - lived at 105 Eller, a single-family home near Genesee Street.
Kent had full custody of his twins (my emphasis) Since his father's arrest, James Jr. has been living with family members, authorities said.
Police said both children were born premature and were developmentally delayed. Family members told police the children were receiving treatment at the Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center at Women and Children's Hospital.
Just after 9 p.m. last Wednesday, homicide investigators said Kent's fiancee called 911, reporting that a child was unresponsive and limp.
When paramedics arrived at the home, the boy had no pulse and was rushed to Women and Children's, where doctors revived him, and he underwent surgery.
After four days of treatment in the pediatric critical care unit, doctors deemed his condition so dire that life support was discontinued, homicide investigators said. Joshua died Sunday night. During a brief arraignment before Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas P. Amodeo, bail was denied and Kent was assigned a court-appointed attorney. He is scheduled to appear at a felony hearing Friday.
On Tuesday, residents on Eller said they were surprised. Several neighbors said they recall Kent cleaning his yard, waving to neighbors and dutifully escorting his twins to the school bus when it arrived on weekdays.
"I'm shocked," said one woman who has lived on the street for 25 years. "The way he used to take care of those kids, I thought he was a very nice guy."
Posted by: silverside at Mar 31, 2005 9:05:13 AM
Although there are always circumstances and every rule is broken from time to time, the general 'rule of the thumb' in courts is to make the man pay through his nose, give custody to the female, disregard any evidence to suggest child may be better looked after by the father etc. etc
generally - men do get a raw deal in family courts... you know it, they know it, we all know it. no lies are needed.
when i was with my ex, she was the one having an affair. within two hours she was in her mothers' car and taking my daughters with her. you tell me, what would have happened if i had tried to stop her taking "our" children? You know the answer... and so does anyone with an ounce of common sense.
she took my children to a legal kidnap center for women only (aka women's refuge - though there was no violence). there she received advice and help from the workers in the house, who "accompanied" her to a solicitors office - as they had made arrangements for - and cutting it short, she got no end of help.
when she returned she told me about how they'd been coaching her on building up our argument into a claim of d/v... how they'd given her ideas on how to blame me for her having an affair... how they forced her to get legal advice... and so on - you get the idea i'm sure.
men, on the other hand, get nothing like the above - ever.
so you can pretend it's all lies that father's groups are telling, if that's what you want to pretend. but i've lived the reality. and yes, i can tell you - i was driven to contemplate suicide.
many other men live this reality too.. and they got together, and talked, and like me - realised they were not alone in being bullied out of their children's lives, supported by the lies of feminism, and so formed their own groups.
and hence we have - father's rights groups.
Posted by: karl at Jun 13, 2005 10:03:42 PM
It's interesting how quickly you dismiss the agony and death of a man, just because it might threaten your privilege. The poor schmoe lost his home and children,and was ordered to pay over half his income to a lazy slug who mooched off of him for over 5 years. He's not the only man who has taken his own life after being victimized by a greedy woman and the family court system. It must drive you crazy that he is beyond the reach of your torment.
Posted by: Batroc Leaper at Jun 14, 2005 10:04:49 PM
THE LAST CASE IN OUR CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS AGAINST 40 STATE GOVERNMENTS WAS DISMISSED RECENTLY. WE ARE NOW SEAKING NEW MEMBERS TO A NEW CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT. WE WILL BE SUING COUNTY BY COUNTY, STATE BY STATE IN A FEDERAL CLASS ACTON LAWSUIT. JOIN ONE JOIN ALL TO GET YOUR RIGHT TO EQUAL PARENTING PROTECTED SO THAT YOU CAN ENJOY LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS WITH YOUR FAMILY, WITHOUT GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERANCE! CONTACT THE INDIANA CIVIL RIGHTS COUNCIL OR CHILDRENSRIGHTSOKLAHOMA@YAHOOGROUPS.COM TO JOIN IN THIS HISTORIC AND MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMNET. PEACE !
Posted by: hans a pasco at Apr 17, 2006 2:44:01 PM
First, turn off your caps lock. There is no need to shout.
Second, learn to spell. Learn proper English grammar while you're at it.
Third, I knew before those class action suits were filed that they would be thrown out. You guys don't have a leg to stand on. No one has violated your rights. Indiana CRC is wasting everyone's time with these stupid lawsuits. All your actions prove is that you are a bunch of angry men who have temper tantrums when you don't get your way. Give it up already.
Posted by: The Countess at Apr 17, 2006 2:49:52 PM
Countess, you are truely a deprived feminazi that has infested society. The cancer your type spreads does nothing more than destroy lives. How ashamed you should feel.
It is true that dads are blatantly discriminated against in family court. I have done law for quite a while now and have witnessed this countless times.
Your feminist agenda will no longer be tolerated and we have chosen to fight which evidently frightens your kind.
Get used to it girl. This is war.
Posted by: Greg at May 28, 2006 7:15:33 PM