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Watershed CT Family Court Parental Alienation Decision By Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher
But Will It Help Pierre de St. Croix, Karen Riordan, Luigi DiRubba, Parents, Children, or the CT System?
NOTE: This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the Family Courts. For background, you may also wish to consult the extensive work of investigative journalists Frank Parlato and Michael Volpe on this topic.
TIPS OR COMMENTS: Contact Richard Luthmann at 239-631-5957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher is a man of many parts. A thinker, activist, and writer, he graduated from The Citadel and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He served as a law clerk to the storied William A. O’Neill, the state’s longest-serving Governor in more than 200 years, before embarking on a career in the practice of law and service to the public.
After serving in local government and then the General Assembly, Attorney Moukawsher spent a decade and a half balancing his role as counselor to some of the most influential politicians in the state while helming a nationally recognized law firm focused on complex labor law issues.
Thomas Moukawsher is a preeminent ERISA and employee benefits litigation expert, having personally litigated cases before thirteen U.S. District Courts and seven United States Courts of Appeals. He was co-counsel in the landmark ruling from the United States Supreme Court in 2011 in CIGNA v. Amara, a win for workers granting District Court Judges greater authority to award equitable relief in recovery-of-benefits-due cases.
On March 6, 2013, Judge Moukawsher took the bench, having been nominated by Governor Dannel P. Malloy earlier that year. Since assuming office, Judge Moukawsher has presided over criminal, civil, housing, and family matters, particularly complex litigation cases.
With his roots in the political chambers of government, having learned at the knee of the “common man’s Governor,” and spending a legal career in the service of the protection of worker’s rights, Judge Moukawsher’s judicial work has shown a commitment to seeing that Connecticut’s legal machinery is primed correctly to deliver a just result for all its citizenry, without respect to power or privilege, one that is respected in all chambers of power in the state.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Moukawsher decided the 2021 case of CT Freedom Alliance v. Lamont, a constitutional challenge to Governor Ned Lamont’s assumption of emergency powers. The Court held that the executive branch’s power was not absolute and without legislative review. The doctrine of separation of powers required limits on the Governor’s exercise of emergency powers, including timing, compliance with established law, and a process for the General Assembly to overturn gubernatorial decrees, Judge Moukawsher reasoned.
On appeal, the case was later dismissed as moot. But following the Court’s ruling, the Connecticut General Assembly adopted provisions remedying the significant points of tension Judge Moukawsher identified in his decision.
The Crisis in Family Court
Judge Moukawsher critiques modern litigation and judicial practices that bring greater inefficiency to court proceedings and greater public disdain for the courts and the legal process. He has not shied away from the issues in Connecticut Family Court:
“There are those who say the Family Division of [the Connecticut Superior Court] currently isn’t serving the public interest very well. The undersigned is one of them. Indeed, the undersigned is not alone in hoping for a better system. The leadership of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch has been giving the Family Division special attention precisely because it has openly declared that our system can better serve the public.”
- Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher
At the end of the month, Brandeis University Press will release a book by Judge Moukawsher entitled The Common Flaw: Needless Complexity in the Courts and 50 Ways to Reduce It.
In The Common Flaw, as he has consistently done in other places, Judge Moukawsher argues that Americans are losing faith in the courts and the legal system. After long delays, cases are often tossed for technical reasons, or litigants are forced to settle them rather than deciding on their merits. And even when cases are decided, more often than not, the parties can’t understand why.
On his website, Judge Moukawsher reveals what he believes must be done:
“The book proposes fifty changes from the filing of a complaint in court to the drafting of appellate decisions to replace the formalism that prevails in court with a kind of humanism—that decides cases promptly—more on the facts than the law—more for the parties than the lawyers—more for the consequences to the people and the public—and in words we can all understand.”
Humanism - a revolutionary concept in the legal system. We can all understand cases decided promptly based on facts and real-world consequences, explained in plain English.
These concepts appear to have been put to work by the Judge in a recent Family Court case causing shockwaves in Connecticut.
De St. Croix v. De St. Croix: A New Paradigm or a Factual Outlier?
In August, Judge Moukawsher issued a Memorandum of Decision in the complex Family Court case of De St. Croix v. De St. Croix, sending shockwaves on several hot-button legal issues, including parental alienation.
Parental alienation occurs when a child refuses to have a relationship with a parent due to manipulation, such as conveying exaggerated or false information by the other parent. The situation most often arises during a divorce or custody battle.
Parents can fight alienation in court but must provide rigorous proof, often through costly attorneys and experts.
A court may then mandate a reunification program where the child spends time with the alienated parent under supervision to rebuild the relationship.
Treatment is almost always needed to address the child’s trauma. Many relationships fractured by parental alienation can be repaired with time and effort, but some never heal.
Parental Alienation Syndrome
Parental alienation should not be confused with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a theory first coined in the 1980s by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner. The syndrome element went on to be largely rejected. But the idea of alienation in the family courts has gained traction in all fifty states and many countries, including Brazil, Spain, Italy, England, Ireland, Australia, and Croatia, where PAS backlash is now in full force.
PAS is pseudo-science and has been debunked in the clinical literature. However, proponents of Dr. Gardner’s “psychological invention” pushed to have it included in the DSM-V and recognized as a “clinical condition.” Why? A recent Slate article sums it up best:
“[PAS] only shows up in a very specific setting, and is usually only alleged in families where parents have a lot of money, because the cottage industry to treat parental alienation is extremely expensive and paid for personally. The courts do not pay for forced reunification therapy…
And it’s not being diagnosed by clinicians. It’s being diagnosed by lawyers and judges who are leveraging it more as an argument in court. Frequently—not always, but frequently—the people who diagnose it don’t have any psychological training. If a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court and says, “These kids are being alienated,” what psychological training do you have to diagnose this condition and recommend that a court treat it with any sort of psychological therapeutic program? A lot of the people who are the biggest defenders of parental alienation themselves are not licensed therapists.”
PAS is a billion-dollar cottage industry. The diagnosis “magically” appears only in cases where the parents (most usually the husband) can pay for the associated tab for guardians ad litem, psychiatrists, psychologists, reunification therapists, and related personnel. The pseudo-science is tolerated, even promoted, by lawyers and the courts because it’s a money-maker.
But PAS has a fundamental flaw: kids have a mind of their own. The “syndrome” presupposes one parent will effectively succeed in brainwashing a child to think something. What says they will necessarily cooperate? Ask any parent who has teenagers.
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As we see below, using PAS-type mechanics, it takes a special kind of manipulative animal to completely gaslight the system (Christopher Ambrose) or the children (Anna Maria Mongillo). And it takes morally bankrupt attorneys to aid and abet what can only be termed legally sanctioned psychopathy.
And the United Nations agrees. The use of PAS tactics in custody cases is under investigation. The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls fears the increase in allegations, particularly against mothers, of deliberately alienating a child against the other parent in domestic abuse cases may put victims at further risk.
The UN claims emerging patterns across various jurisdictions indicate that courts worldwide use PAS as a litigation tool despite lacking “a universal clinical or scientific definition.”
In 2022, the UN Office on the High Commissioner of Human Rights condemned a decision by a Spanish court to grant full custody of a seven-year-old girl to her father despite allegations he had sexually abused her.
The court argued that the mother maintaining custody would risk further damaging the relationship between daughter and father, as the mother would be “inducing in the child the belief that her father is evil.”
The UN claimed children in Spain are exposed to the risk of violence and sexual abuse by a “judicial system that appears to favor male parents in custody cases, even in cases where there is a history of domestic violence or evidence of abuse against children and their mothers.”
The UN Special Rapporteur hasn’t been to Connecticut.
The Facts of the de St. Croix Case
Judge Moukawsher considered a post-divorce motion to modify custody and parenting time concerning twelve-year-old Owyn de St. Croix. His parents, Yvonne and Pierre de St. Croix, divorced in December of 2021, leaving behind a shadow of what once was.
The divorce decree was an agreement carved with hope for young Owyn, their boy, to reconnect with his father. But despite the court’s best intentions, things took a turn.
Yvonne, or as she insists, “Dr. Yvonne-Nicole Maisel de St. Croix,” came armed with her Ph.D. from “Concordia University,” (no, not the one in Montréal). She wielded the custody of Owyn while Pierre, a middle school teacher and avid mountain climber, remained on the sidelines.
With every ounce of professional dedication, the therapist tried to mend the rift between father and son. But the gulf only widened like an old wound refusing to heal. Pierre would climb mountains with Owyn on his back. But now the two were estranged, and “Dr.” Yvonne supplied all the reasons why.
Yvonne painted a bleak portrait of Pierre. Accusations flew—abuse, infidelity, addiction. Small truths stretched beyond their limits. Pierre had smoked marijuana, but after a painful accident, it became medicinal.
While he struggled with his marriage’s dissolution, he turned briefly to drugs but sought redemption soon after, partly through his climbing. Still, in Yvonne’s eyes, he remained an addict.
The courtroom echoed with Yvonne’s “fairy tales” of Pierre’s supposed violence. A dish towel thrown in frustration became the symbol of his rage.
Of course, Pierre was the worst of the worst in Yvonne’s narrative: he had ruined her perfect suburban Connecticut life because he would no longer dare to climb the mountains of her “crazy.”
But every inquiry, every inspection by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), painted another story: unsubstantiated claims.
Restraining Orders became weapons in a war, with minor incidents inflated into tragedies. A simple birthday greeting from a father to his son was weaponized, costing Pierre over $250,000 in legal defense fees.
Yet, the most damning claims came from young Owyn’s own voice—notes and declarations of abuse at the hands of his father.
But experts, therapists with years under their belts, and guardians with decades of discernment disagreed. They saw a different tale, a child influenced, molded, perhaps even brainwashed. The reality was clear: a deliberate attempt by “Dr.” Yvonne de St. Croix to sever the bond between Owyn and Pierre.
The raw wounds of this battle hinted at a more profound truth—a boy caught in the crossfire, manipulated and torn between two worlds. The therapist, the guardian, and the observations all pointed toward a heartbreaking reality: Owyn was being distanced and alienated from his father.
“Dr.” de St. Croix had planted a belief in her son’s mind: that his father was a monster. Because what kind of heel wouldn’t treat Yvonne as the perfect queen she was? The good “Dr.” was entitled to be the star of her own fairy-tale life.
She then stood as a barrier between the father and son reunion. In those sessions with Dr. Israel, the boy’s eyes often wandered, finding something or someone just off-camera. His pauses, abrupt disconnections—they spoke of a silent guidance.
She often canceled sessions, offering no replacements. Once, after an email confirmed a digital meet, she played a trick. Arriving at Dr. Israel’s place, she snapped a photo of the boy at the door, making it seem as though the doctor had failed them.
Then came the bodyguard—nameless, silent, imposing. Twice, he went with the boy, and twice he overstepped. The second time, it required a call to the police. To top it off, a baseless complaint was launched against Dr. Israel, dismissed as quickly as it came.
“Dr. Yvonne-Nicole Maisel de St. Croix” is as batshit crazy as they come. Her actions tell the whole tale. And her “act” could not pull the wool over the eyes of Judge Moukawsher:
Dr. de St. Croix also tried anonymously to destroy Mr. de St. Croix's career by telephoning officials connected with the middle school where he worked and telling them falsehoods, including that Mr. de St. Croix was a child abuser with a criminal record, an abuser of women, and the subject of a DCF file. Her anonymity was pierced when her telephone number was traced and, while quibbling over the wording, she admitted at trial that she made these calls. Fortunately, these efforts failed and, luckily, she also did not deter Mr. de St. Croix from his quest to reunite with his son by stealing and reading in court reflections he wrote many years ago as therapy during an addiction program or by her stealing and wiping clean his information on his laptop with the thin excuse that Owyn had also used the laptop.
The parental alienation going on here might appear less obvious if we were to consider only the words Dr. de St. Croix has used at various points in this dispute. While indoctrinating her child against his father, while filing repeated baseless claims against him, while interfering with the reunification therapy and trying to get Mr. de St. Croix fired from his job, Dr. de St. Croix has repeatedly said that she wants Owyn reunited with his father.
And it's not just that Dr. de St. Croix's actions contradict these words. To an unusual degree, Dr. de St. Croix's demeanor added weight to the impression that, because she unquestioningly believes she is right, she is unshakably opposed to healing the rift she created between Owyn and his father.
She appeared unphased by the universal consensus against her actions. It is as though she didn't hear it.
She smiled. She wondered why Mr. de St. Croix wasn't more involved in her son's life, ignoring his testimony that she had him arrested every time he tried. She thanked people when they sharply disagreed with her as though they had just handed her a bouquet of flowers. She thanked Dr. Israel and the GAL in a saccharine and supercilious way that suggested she felt sorry for their ignorance. Her voice and eyes appeared as though she heard the music of some hidden universe that none of us could hope to understand but in which she reigned with benevolence and perfect virtue. It was unsettling.
From what it knows of Dr. de St. Croix, the court is convinced that this reality hasn't a ghost of a chance of reaching her. She is prepared to continue giving lip service to reunification—her only proposal is firing Dr. Israel— while making certain that it fails.
Bat. Shit. Crazy.
Judge Moukawsher is too classy and honorable of a man to cut to the bone with a blunt instrument. Enlisting the aid of the GAL and Dr. Israel, the Court ordered “an interlude of separation from his mother, therapy with his father, and close monitoring by all.” It was a “human” decision, keeping its eye on the best interests of young Owyn.
But the good “Dr.” deserves far worse. Judge Moukawsher recognized that absent immediate and intensive legal and therapeutic intervention, Yvonne’s insane vitriol “is likely to transform into lava that will suffocate [Owyn’s] chances of ever knowing his father as he really is.”
The Toughest Question
What is the father’s recourse? It is not Pierre’s love for his son that has cost him years of agony and a small fortune. It was his insane and probably “psychopathic” ex-wife’s intentional activity motivated by pure spite and malice.
Where does Pierre go to get back his time, money, and reputation?
Who can Pierre go to get back the relationship with the son that was wrongfully taken from him?
Sadly, no one and nowhere in the legal system will provide him with an avenue for recourse in its current formulation, which makes Judge Moukawsher’s recommendations all the more compelling.
But the de St. Croix case raises a chilling philosophical question: knowing what he knows now, does Pierre take the same path? Does he make the same decisions? Akin to the man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and walked out of prison a decade later, the harm has already been done. The agony has already been experienced.
The agony continues in Pierre de St. Croix’s case and the cases of so many others (including Karen Riordan and Giuseppe DiRubba, discussed below). The damage done to their children is probably irreparable.
If offered a Faustian choice to go back and make the “problem” disappear using an “alternative system,” would a parent in Pierre’s shoes have that deal? And would that choice be morally wrong?
We see this in history, religion, and popular culture. There is no greater, more natural love than that of a parent for their children. And there is nothing a parent would not do to keep their children safe from harm and abuse, both physical and psychological.
The basis of faith in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam presupposes this fundamental precept of natural law. God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable - to offer his beloved son on the altar of sacrifice. His faith was tested against the most fundamental human commandment - protect thy children.
A central tenet of the Christian religion includes the same paradox of natural law: God’s willingness to offer “His only begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
The stories we tell and watch with our children reinforce this narrative. Out of love for his daughter, King Triton agrees to take Ariel’s place as the witch, Ursula’s prisoner, giving up his body, trident, and kingdom in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
The greatest and most powerful wizard the world has ever known, the evil Lord Voldemort, was defeated by an even more ancient and powerful magic: love. Namely, it was Lily’s parental love for her son, Harry Potter, sacrificing her own life for his, protecting him, and defeating the dark wizard - for a time.
Liam Neeson’s character in Taken shows us that there are virtually no lengths a parent cannot go to that are not morally justified in the protection of their children:
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you."
The list of examples goes on and on in our cultural consciousness.
The significance of the de St. Croix case lies in whether it is a factual outlier or the next step toward a new paradigm.
Judge Moukawsher’s critique of the crisis in the courts reveals essential tensions. But it also raises the fundamental question: Has the legal basis for the Family Court’s legitimacy decoupled from natural law?
I argue that the de St. Croix is not a factual outlier, at least in Connecticut. The system enables the “bat-shit-crazy” litigant because the money generated from the ginned-up disputes will always trump a therapeutic result.
Additionally, I contend the underlying authority of this legal system is irreconcilable with conventional morality or natural law. The system has no legitimate basis and dispenses with “truth” only because it exists to do so. At least in Connecticut, the Family Court system appears to have no independent moral authority as its basis. This vacuum is no secret and threatens to degrade the rule of law and the hegemony of the courts.
I present two recent Connecticut Family Court cases as evidence.
Ambrose v. Riordan: How a Pedophile Prevails When DCF Doesn’t Do Its Job
The Ambrose v. Riordan matter and the plight of teenagers Mia, Matthew, and Sawyer Ambrose, judicially rendered homeless runaways by the Connecticut Superior Court, has been extensively covered by investigative journalist Frank Parlato of the Frank Report.
After a bitter and contentious divorce, Judge Gerard I. Adelman awarded custody of the Ambrose children to their “psychopath” father, Christopher Ambrose, a wealthy Connecticut elite, former DNC lawyer, and disgraced Hollywood plagiarist.
The ruling remains on appeal because, among other things, Riordan claims Judge Adelman was biased by his status as a victim of anti-semitic blogger Paul Boyne, who wrote about the Ambrose v. Riordan case on his website and was arrested earlier this year on criminal charges of stalking and Internet threats. Boyne awaits extradition from Virginia to Connecticut in what will certainly become a flashpoint First Amendment case in light of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in Counterman v. Colorado.
Riordan claims Judge Adelman’s victim trauma was dripping from the Memorandum of Decision he issued, biasing her position:
This [Family Court Circus] blog, produced by an unnamed person, is filled with anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist rants of the worst kind. It is based on the belief that the entire family law bench and bar in Connecticut and other states are being controlled by a mysterious Jewish cabal in order to steal children away from loving parents and give them to rapists and pedophiles.
Judge Adelman glossed over the “rapists and pedophiles” portion of his inquiry in the 2022 decision, perhaps (and understandably) because it was connected to the “third rail” of anti-semitism and the nasty claims made by Boyne.
Rapists and Pedophiles?
But “rapists and pedophiles” rarely stop. Child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders overall are far more likely than non-sex offenders to re-offend with a sexual crime. The highest recidivism rates have been found among child molesters who offend against boys, according to the US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. Researchers widely agree that observed recidivism rates underestimate the true reoffense rates of sex offenders.
Over the summer, Mia (16), Matthew (16), and Sawyer (13) fled their father’s home and sought safe haven with their mother, Riordan. The children have made multiple allegations of continuing abuse by Ambrose, including sexual penetration, the first claims being reported as early as 2020. These allegations have not only been ignored by Connecticut DCF; apparently, DCF is on Ambrose’s payroll.
The Ambrose children have fled the State of Connecticut, first to Rhode Island and now to New York, to avoid being returned to their father’s custody or a juvenile “lock-up” because a Connecticut Judge has ruled that their mother, Riordan, is responsible for these “non-credible” allegations.
Decide for yourself what to think.
Sixteen-year-old Mia Ambrose filed a petition in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court. Contained in the petition were serious abuse allegations, including allegations of sexual penetration perpetrated by Christopher Ambrose against his minor children.
Mia was appointed counsel. His name is Attorney Michael G. Curley of Mutha Cullina, LLP.
In investigating the matter, Attorney Curley emailed the CT DCF about “allegations against [Christopher Ambrose], including a new allegation of sexual penetration.”
Good afternoon, Nancy:
I have not gotten confirmation from my client (or her mother) that they are willing to meet at this time.
When we spoke previously, you indicated that the most recent report included allegations against Mia’s father, including a new allegation of penetration. This is the first time I have learned that there are allegations in the most recent report regarding the safety of the children in their mother’s home. Is that correct? Or did I misunderstand your email below?
Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report? Or a summary of the allegations?
MICHAEL G. CURLEY
Attorney Curley’s request was totally reasonable: “Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report? Or a summary of the allegations?”
The response from the CT DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson is where things get strange:
Good afternoon Attorney Curley,
As Nancy states below, we have been unable to schedule a time to meet with Mia and Matthew in their mother's home. This is necessary in order to assess their safety given that they are now residing with their mother. Per our own policy, we must continue to make attempts to see the children, mother, and her home.
We have an active assessment related to allegations against both parents. We have received several reports - some of which were not accepted because of duplicate information. Our most recent report is related to the children in mother's care and allegations that they are not attending school, have missed appointments with providers, and are not taking medication as needed. Another recent report raised general concerns about the children in mother's care given there is a court order in effect that says she is only to have supervised contact. These are all allegations that must be addressed with mother and her children, however we have not been given access to her household thus far.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could arrange a time for us to meet with your client, Mia, and her mother this week. While we also want to meet with Mia's brother Matthew, I understand that he is not your client. We would like to be able to schedule a time that is mutually agreeable, but frankly our timeframe for doing so has long since passed. We would appreciate it if you could help bring people to the table.
Let’s break this down.
Attorney Curley makes a specific request: “Could you please provide a copy of the most recent report [of sexual penetration]? Or a summary of the allegations?”
DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson evades addressing the most recent report of sexual penetration (obviously, there are more than one).
There is no further mention of the report or a summary of the sexual penetration allegations. She does not deny that they exist, and she does not agree to provide them. She says: “We have an active assessment related to allegations against both parents.”
So, in plain English, that means that Mia Ambrose complained about sexual penetration by Christopher Ambrose. But there were also a slew of complaints against Karen Riordan. What are these complaints?:
The Ambrose children are not attending school.
The Ambrose children have missed appointments with providers.
The Ambrose children are not taking medication as needed.
Who complained about Karen Riordan? You guessed it: Christopher Ambrose.
We saw what happened in the de St. Croix case when “Dr.” Yvonne contacted officials about petty issues. The Court and DCF saw it as parental alienation. But for $ome rea$on, Michelle Peter$on didn’t see it this way in the Ambrose case.
And the next part is the kicker. What about the sexual penetration allegations?
“We have received several reports - some of which were not accepted because of duplicate information.”
DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peter$on stated in writing that it is the policy of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to not accept multiple reports of sexual penetration because of “duplicative information.”
Let me say that again.
DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peter$on confirmed that DCF would “sometimes” decline to investigate multiple credible allegations that a child is being raped or sexually abused by a parent. But DCF will always investigate truancy, missed doctors’ appointments, and medication compliance.
DCF gives no reasons or stated policy standards for why some reports are accepted, and others are not. This is the textbook definition of unreasonable. It is arbitrary and capricious, and the CT Superior Court should ask ‘Why?’
Was Mia dressed in a purple shirt, and is it DCF policy not to take multiple, specified, and particularized sexual penetration complaints from minors in purple shirts seriously?
Or is it because Mia is brown-skinned and adopted, and her father is white? Is it DCF policy not to accept multiple, specified, and particularized sexual penetration complaints from minors who are black and brown when the alleged perpetrator is white?
Or is it because DCF had been “read-in” on “CT Ca$h-For-Kids,” whereby a parent who pay$ and has the right lawyer$ can sway DCF to look the other way so the “child sale” remains in full force and effect?
Or is it because, as the “Dean” of the Fairfield County Family Law Bar, Attorney Edward Nusbaum, Riordan’s former lawyer, said in his May 28, 2020, email to Attorney Nancy Aldrich, Christopher Ambrose is skilled in gaslighting and creating false narratives?:
The Court process has empowered Chris and is using every opportunity to flex his muscles at the expense of the children and with a view toward creating a false narrative of what is really occurring. I would assume that the combination of being an NYU Law graduate and a fiction writer served him well…
Like Yvonne de St. Croix, Christopher Ambrose unilaterally canceled appointments with providers. And, like her, Ambrose turns around and makes complaints about the other parent, alleging the activity that he, himself, has perpetrated.
I submit that Christopher Ambrose’s actions have been far worse than “Dr.” Yvonne de St. Croix’s in a multitude of ways:
Litigation abuse and abuse of power - Riordan has no money or lawyer and is being beaten into submission. The children have no meaningful voice in the process.
Authority Bias - Racism, sexism, and classism. The poor mother and her brown-skinned children are at the mercy of the white, wealthy authority structures.
Witness Intimidation - Ambrose regularly and psychopathically intimidates witnesses, the press, and anyone he believes may reveal facts contrary to his spun narrative. This includes journalist Frank Parlato and yours truly.
Victim Reversal - Christopher Ambrose was never a victim. He uses the courts and his lawyers to victimize the real victims further, the Ambrose teenagers and their mother, Riordan.
Scapegoat - The lawyers, GALs, DCF workers, and other participants involved have allowed Christopher Ambrose to spin the tale that Riordan represents everything that is “wrong” with the CT Family Court system when, in fact, Ambrose is the physical embodiment of the problem.
The only difference between the De St. Croix and Ambrose v. Riordan cases is in Yvonne’s case, the DCF personnel recognized Yvonne as bat-shit-crazy. In the Ambrose case, DCF are the co-signers to his psychopathy.
DCF Behaved Unreasonably. Why?
At this juncture, nothing that DCF says can be relied upon in the Connecticut courts in the Ambrose v. Riordan case. Why? Because their actions fall wholly outside the range that anyone can call reasonable.
First, Ambrose is a psychopath, yet DCF ignores this clinical diagnosis, takes everything he says at face value, and considers it all credible. They consider everything Riordan says as not credible. And nothing will change their mind. Not even child rape, which they have not investigated. Or if they claim they have, it has been done so selectively to produce a pre-determined result in favor of Ambrose.
How is this even possible when Christopher Ambrose had previously been found a “HIGH RISK” for domestic violence by Connecticut Court Attorney Allison Kaas, Esq.?
Dr. Bandy Lee, MD, M.Div, a noted psychiatrist with twenty-five years’ experience, recently diagnosed Ambrose’s actions as “psychopathic,” and several of these communications and reports are in the possession of CT DCF and the Family Court.
Additionally, as a mandated reporter, Dr. Bandy Lee raised the sirens about the sexual abuse of the Ambrose teenagers:
“I am sending this exceptional letter to Your Honor because I cannot in good conscience (and by my professional ethics) stand by. I have heard recordings of Mr. Ambrose’s threatening the daughter with vaginal penetration as punishment for minor misbehavior. All three children have reliably reported sexual abuse, and no one has believed them, frankly, because the father is so threatening, he has intimidated all witnesses (he has already been threatening to me, which I had to report to local police). The 12 (now 13)-year-old recently reported anal penetration. Even if none of this occurred, their lives seem to have been living “hell” from his coercive control, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, and isolation from the mother who raised them (the father did not raise them) for three years, which is abundantly and clearly recorded. His aggression is such that, immediately after the first child ran away, he found out their address from the Connecticut Address Confidentiality Program, hunted her down and stalked her everywhere in his car, almost causing her to have an accident. As expected from his coercion, these children exhibit signs of severe trauma in their behavior: finding refuge in substances, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts while living with him, as well as going from normal weight to morbid obesity, as you have heard.”
Christopher Ambrose is alleged to have threatened his sixteen-year-old daughter Mia Ambrose with vaginal penetration as punishment for minor misbehavior.
Dr. Bandy Lee, MD, even filed a mandated Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect:
DCF admittedly did not investigate the allegation. They said it was “duplicative.” They had heard that story before, so no further investigation had to be done.
After the Attorney Curley’s email, the youngest child, Sawyer Ambrose, filed a petition with the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court alleging abuse by Christopher Ambrose:
4. I have nightmares that Chris [Ambrose] abducts me. Please don’t let that happen Judge Conway.
Chris has molested me by touching my penis and won’t stop even when I told him to stop.
When I report his abuse he has physically shoved and pushed me, yelled at me and takes all my belongings.
He calls us racsit names and allows lots of drugs and alcohol to be used in his house by all of us. He doesn’t care.
He lies to DCF and the police and threatens us not to say anything.
Judge Conway please help me. I have always told the truth and we can prove what Mia, Matthew, and I are saying.
Sawyer Ambrose corroborated Mia Ambrose’s allegation of sexual penetration and improper sexual conduct. Dr. Bandy Lee, MD, a trained medical doctor, also confirmed these allegations.
DCF has possession of these filed court documents, which state unequivocally that Ambrose lies to DCF and that the Ambrose teenagers can prove their allegations.
DCF admittedly still did not investigate. They said it was “duplicative.” They had heard that story before.
Days after the Sawyer Ambrose court filing, sixteen-year-old Matthew Ambrose, through his appointed counsel Matthew T. Gilbride, Esq., filed an amended petition with the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court alleging, among other things, sexual abuse by Christopher Ambrose:
On numerous occasions both prior and subsequent to April 26, 2022, the Respondent, Chris Ambrose, improperly touched the inner thigh and or breasts of the minor, Mia Ambrose;
On numerous occasions both prior and subsequent to April 26, 2022, the Respondent, Chris Ambrose, improperly touched the inner thigh and or breasts of the minor, Sawyer Ambrose;
The minor, Matthew Ambrose, is similarly situated as the minor children, Mia Ambrose and Sawyer Ambrose;
On numerous occasions both prior and subsequent to April 26, 2022, the Respondent, Chris Ambrose, utilized the derogatory and insensitive term of "Beaners" when speaking to, or about Mia Ambrose, Sawyer Ambrose and/or Matthew Ambrose;
On numerous occasions both prior and subsequent to April 26, 2022, the Respondent, Chris Ambrose, threatened to withhold and or use personal, local, state and/or Federal resources to intimidate and control the minor children Mia Ambrose, Sawyer Ambrose and/or Matthew Ambrose;
On numerous occasions both prior and subsequent to April 26, 2022, the Respondent, Chris Ambrose, utilized support services such as 211 and 911 to intimidate and cause fear in the minor, Matthew Ambrose;
DCF has possession of these filed court documents, which state unequivocally that Ambrose has engaged in sexual abuse and improper touching and uses the authorities to intimidate the teenagers into silence.
DCF admittedly still did not investigate. They said it was “duplicative.” They had heard that story before. And magically, even though the allegations said, “On numerous occasions both prior and after April 26, 2022,” for DCF, there was nothing new under the sun. Not in Ambrose v. Riordan.
NYC Private Investigator Manuel Gomez has been on the Ambrose v. Riordan case for over three years - pro bono. He minces no words: “Mr. Ambrose molests his children,” and he told this to the FBI and US Attorney for the Western District of New York in relation to Christopher Ambrose’s baseless claims about Frank Parlato:
“I will be attaching the video evidence proving that Mr. Ambrose molests his chidlren. I have a 35 minute video of my initial meeting with the children. The children describe in detail the molestation they endure. Due to the file size, I cannot attach it via e-mail. If you would like a copy of the video, pelase contact me. I will mail a flash drive with the video. The first video attached to this e-mail shows that Mr. Ambrose removed the dorrknobs from his children’s rooms to provide easier access to his children. The chidlren stated that he would come into their rooms at night, and that they could not lock the door. Second, attached are the hospiutal documents supporting that the chidlren told the ER doctors and hosptiual psychiatrists of the sexual abuse that they suffer at the hands of their adoptive father. The hosptial determined that Mr. Ambrose was a threat to the chidren and recommended that the chidlren go home with thier mother.”
(NOTE: These materials were sent to the WDNY AUSA’s and Buffalo, NY FBI Field Office. I will have a forthcoming article about serious governmental misconduct that recently occurred under the nose of a well-respected Federal Court Judge in the WDNY.)
DCF has possession of this document and the referenced additional evidence, which state unequivocally that Ambrose has engaged in sexual abuse and improper touching. The sources include direct knowledge of a Private Investigator who interviewed the children, direct video evidence of the children’s statements, and hospital personnel reports and statements.
DCF admittedly still did not investigate these serious claims of sexual abuse. They said it was “duplicative.” They had heard that story before—nothing to see here. Not in Ambrose v. Riordan.
TAKEAWAY: If you are a pedophile, Connecticut is an excellent place. If you can fool DCF once into thinking that sexual abuse allegations are unfounded, you can rape the children in your care until they turn 18 or run away.
Any judge with a brain larger than a walnut would see that DCF’s factual findings and consequent conclusions in the Ambrose v. Riordan case are not based on investigative corroboration, a hallmark of the evidentiary collection process.
DCF’s fact collection and opinions should be thrown out wholesale because of an unreasonable failure to engage in investigative corroboration and the pervasive institutional myopia that CT DCF has for Christopher Ambrose’s pedophilia and sexual abuse.
What is Investigative Corroboration?
Investigative corroboration proceeds from the premise that when the same information is received from multiple credible sources, it is reasonable to assume greater reliability.
This is why police and investigators interview witnesses and take statements.
Federal and Connecticut law not only favors evidentiary corroboration, but the law requires it in numerous instances. In the context of search warrants, for example, corroboration is required for the information provided by an informant. The judge will require the State’s Attorney to be “damn sure” before they knock down someone’s door.
In State v. Barton, 219 Conn. 529, 594 A.2d 917 (1991), the Connecticut Supreme Court explained why corroboration is important when it observed that:
. . . confidential informants are themselves often "criminals, drug addicts, or even pathological liars" whose motives for providing information to the police may range from offers of immunity or sentence reduction, promises of money payments, or "such perverse motives as revenge or the hope of eliminating criminal competition." Because such an informant's reliance on rumors circulating on the street is not unlikely and the veracity of such an informant is questionable . . . . (Citation, footnote and reference omitted.)
The rationale for independent corroboration of an informant’s tip was further articulated by Judge O’Connell in his dissent in State v. Santiago, 27 Conn. App. 741, 610 A.2d 666 (1992), as follows:
The defendant was arrested solely on the word of a drug user who was a paid police informant. Although an informant's tip may be used in combination with information gathered by independent police corroboration to establish probable cause, the tip alone is not sufficient to justify intrusion on a person's constitutional rights. The evil of eliminating the corroboration requirement is that the probable cause determination is thereby delegated to the confidential informant who is insulated from cross-examination. The protection that is afforded by a neutral and detached magistrate's eventual involvement in the process of determining probable cause is abolished. (Citation omitted.)
The following excerpt from State v. Conley, 31 Conn. App. 548, 627 A.2d 436 (1993) not only attests to the importance of corroboration, but it also suggests that corroboration is essential when dealing with certain circumstances:
When an informant's tip underlies an arrest, the trial court's task is to review the "totality of the circumstances" to determine the existence of probable cause. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1983); State v. Barton, 219 Conn. 529, 594 A.2d 917 (1991). This inquiry involves an assessment of "the relative weights of all the various indicia of reliability (and unreliability) attending an informant's tip . . . ." Illinois v. Gates, supra, 284; State v. Barton, supra. The informant's "veracity," "reliability," and "basis of knowledge" [*14] are highly relevant. State v. Barton, supra, 537; State b. Hunter, supra, 135. Moreover, "corooboration of an informant's tip by independent police information has long been considered critical in determining probable cause. McCray v. Illinois, 386 U.S. 300, 87 S. Ct. 1056, 18 L. Ed. 2d 62 (1967); Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 79 S. Ct. 329, 3 L. Ed. 2d 327 (1959)." State v. Hunter, supra, 134.
The question here is how can DCF Program Supervisor Michelle Peterson advocate for ignoring Mia Ambrose’s “new allegation” of sexual penetration as “duplicative” when there are at least half a dozen credible sources that corroborate the sexual abuse and child molestation of the Ambrose teenagers?
Even if Michelle Peterson doesn’t believe Mia, Matthew, or Sawyer, how can she not believe medical doctors? Or the allegations prepared by lawyers? Or statements taken by licensed private investigators? Or other facts from hospital personnel, police officers, and others that tend to show an unmistakable truth: Christopher Ambrose is a child molester.
She can’t. If not relieved from her position, she should be called in for questioning immediately by the authorities, pending a full and formal investigation into CT DCF practices.
How is it that the stated DCF Policy in Connecticut is: Pedophiles Get a Free Pass?
To paraphrase the economist: “An investigation is like a bikini. What it reveals is intriguing. But what it conceals is crucial.”
Judge Moukawsher’s Tango With Ambrose v. Riordan: Judge Adelman Disqualification and Nickola Cunha’s Disbarment
On November 9, 2021, at a status hearing, Judge Adelman was accused of bias in the Ambrose v. Riordan case by then-attorney Nickola Cunha.
Later that day, Judge Adelman issued an order seeking a hearing on whether he should recuse himself from the trial.
A hearing was held on December 1 before Judge Moukawsher. On December 10, Judge Moukawsher denied the motion, finding no evidence of bias on the part of Judge Adelman.
That was the extent of the participation in the Ambrose case in chief.
On January 25, 2022, Judge Moukawsher also summarily disbarred Attorney Nickola Cunha for her conduct at the December 10 hearing, saying,
Whatever the fashion in ordinary public discourse, in court, lies by lawyers will be punished by judges. This court has already found that Ms. Cunha repeatedly pressed empty and malicious claims that Judge Gerard Adelman favored Jews, protected pedophiles, and discriminated against the disabled.
There is no argument that everything Judge Moukawsher said was correct. The insinuation that Judge Adelman was part of a “Jewish Conspiracy” would be plain loony if it weren’t also dangerous.
I believe Nickola Cunha was reckless. Judge Moukawsher gave her every opportunity to make a record on the “Jewish Question.” She couldn’t, and rightly so. Given the loaded history of the issue and its previous appropriation by mass murderers, Cunha bore a very heavy burden. She needed to come up with “smoking gun” evidence. She brought nothing.
The “Jewish Question” hijacked the entirety of the hearing and stole most of the oxygen in the room. Karen Riordan was also irreparably harmed by her former lawyer’s representation. Riordan became the scapegoat she continues to be to this day.
The claims that Judge Adelman knowingly engaged in discrimination against the disabled and the protection of pedophiles were similarly baseless.
But - and there is a big but here - Nickola Cunha was correct in pointing out that CT DCF apparently did not present all the facts to Judge Adelman. At best, the record concerning Christopher Ambrose’s conduct with his children is questionable. Judge Moukawsher made clear the record that was before him:
What about Ms. Cunha's claim that DCF never decided whether the claims where substantiated or unsubstantiated? With emphasis added by the court, the 2020 document says that "DCF has concluded the following":
Child's Name Allegation Disposition
Sawyer Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Mia Ambrose Sexual Abuse Unsubstantiated
Sawyer Ambrose Sexual Abuse Unsubstantiated
Mia Ambrose Medical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Sawyer Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Matthew Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
The 2021 document says that "DCF has concluded the following":
Child's Name Allegation Disposition
Sawyer Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Mia Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Matthew Ambrose Physical Neglect Unsubstantiated
Sawyer Ambrose Sexual Abuse Unsubstantiated
The DCF documents say even more. With emphasis added here by the court, they both specifically state to Christopher Ambrose that "DCF finds that you do not pose a risk to the health, safety or well-being of children."
The problem is: remember the bikini.
Judges Adelman and Moukawsher were presented with intriguing findings. But these “findings” mean nothing if it is DCF’s stated policy of selectively ignoring certain information as “duplicative” and failing to fully investigate corroboration from reliable sources.
The facts crucial to the DCF investigation were withheld from Judges Adelman and Moukawsher. They were presented with selective facts, arbitrarily and capriciously arranged. They were not presented with reasonable conclusions from a complete investigation based on investigative and evidentiary corroboration.
Nickola Cunha was unable to articulate this point in December 2021. And Karen Riordan, without counsel, has been unable to address the point since.
If we remember the De La Croix case, what allowed Judge Moukawsher to finally rule in favor of the father, Pierre, was that respected Dr. Israel AND DCF agreed that “Dr.” Yvonne was the problem.
In the Ambrose case, Dr. Israel’s opinion is on par with Dr. Bandy Lee’s medical views. Dr. Lee has interviewed Karen and Mia. And Dr. Lee’s mandated reporting of sexual abuse/child molestation is corroborated by a multitude of additional credible sources.
The differentiating factor is DCF’s investigation and their opinion based upon that investigation. However, no one can reasonably or in good conscience give weight to the Ambrose DCF investigation.
TAKEAWAY: Something at CT DCF is rotten to its core in the Ambrose v. Riordan case. If that something is over three years of uninvestigated/underinvestigated/selectively investigated child molestation allegations, some people might have to go to jail. The fact that Christopher Ambrose still has custody of his children and is seeking to have Karen Riordan imprisoned defies conventional morality and natural law - if Ambrose is a pedophile. And the evidence is overwhelming.
The problem is that given DCF’s seriously flawed investigative methodology and willful disregard of sexual penetration allegations against Ambrose, I don’t know of any judge, lawyer, medical professional, or human being of conscience who would personally co-sign for DCF in this case. And yet, we have the “perfect storm” of conditions that have allowed the Family Court to unwittingly “sign off” on a childhood marked by rape and pedophilia for the Ambrose teenagers.
A childhood characterized by forcible rape is in the “best interests” of no one.
A copy of this article has been sent to the same UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights that publicly condemned a court in Spain last year for awarding custody to a father with a history of sexual abuse.
Suppose the heightened visibility and scrutiny brought about by the UN’s focus on human rights abuses in Connecticut Family Court will help the state’s court system to “re-couple” with the popular understanding of conventional morality and natural law. In that case, it can only be a positive, more therapeutic result.
DiRubba v. DiRubba: How Lives Are Ruined When the Courts Allow Abusers To Prevail
Yvonne de St. Croix had Pierre arrested for sending his son an electronic happy birthday message. On another occasion, when Pierre mailed his son a birthday card, she promptly took the card and her son to the police to get Pierre arrested again for violating a restraining order.
All charges were baseless and ultimately dismissed.
But “Dr.” Yvonne is an amateur compared to a “Pro” named Anna Maria Mongillo. She sprayed about as many “silver bullets” at Luigi DiRubba, a Cheshire, CT chiropractor, as came out the barrels of Tommy guns during the Chicago gangland wars of the 1930s.
It wasn’t enough that she was screwing around; Anna Maria had her ex-husband arrested seven (7) times on baseless charges and entirely frustrated all attempts at reunification therapy.
In the end, seeing that Luigi would once again be able to see his children and with the help of Cos Cob, CT Attorney Marianne Charles, Anna Maria absconded from the State of Connecticut with the six children, fleeing to Florida under cover of darkness. Dr. DiRubba says Anna Maria’s flight with the children didn’t just happen under the Judge’s nose. CT Superior Court Judge Jane Kuspon Grossman’ was an active participant in what amounts to interstate kidnapping, he alleges.
Dr. DiRubba did everything right. But because his wife had the “right “lawyer who made the “right” payments to the Superior Court Reappointment Fund, she didn’t have to follow the rules. In fact, she broke the law, and now Luigi and the children are paying the price of some of the worst parental alienation on record in the State of Connecticut.
A Long Road to Nowhere?
Judge Moukawsher’s thesis is that small but significant changes can be made to bring greater efficiency to court proceedings and tremendous public respect for the courts and the legal process.
For litigants like Luigi DiRubba, who feel they have been chewed up and spit out by a system he feels is corrupted, or any observers of the DiRubba v. DiRubba case, will Judge Moukawsher’s changes be meaningful?
While whether Luigi DiRubba can receive any measure of recourse is essential, the crucial question is not whether but why. Why should the subsequent Luigi DiRubba trust the Connecticut Family Court system and not seek relief in an “alternative forum”?
On one end of the spectrum, there are diversionary programs like mediation if the litigants can behave like adults. But more often than not, divorce is characterized by generally good people on their worst behavior.
Then, there are a range of other legal options where some form of redress can be achieved. The media is one avenue, particularly where the actions of one spouse open them up to public scorn.
But quickly, the options available without a robust and trusted legal system devolve rapidly to the violent and the criminal.
Connecticut lawmakers already realized some of this tension in passing Jennifers’ Law in 2021. The law expanded the state’s definition of domestic violence to include coercive control, defined as “a pattern of behavior toward a person who is, or has been, an intimate partner or family or household member ... which causes fear or harm to such person or restricts such person’s freedom of action.”
Examples of behavior that the law identifies as coercive control include not merely physical violence or the threat of physical violence but also:
Stalking and cyberstalking
Isolating a person from family, friends, and other sources of support
Denying a person resources that are needed for independence
Manipulative control over a person’s activities
Before the passage of Jennifers’ Law, the Connecticut Courts were essentially powerless in the face of the coercive control of high-risk abusers. The legal changes were intended to assist people who utilize the courts for protection against abusers, making coercive control grounds for restraining orders and other protections in family relations matters brought to the Superior Court.
Domestic violence victims once again had a reason to feel safe that the Connecticut Courts would protect their interests until a very recent ruling in, of all cases, Ambrose v. Riordan.
Advocates claim Westport, CT Attorney Alexander Cuda hoodwinked Judge Thomas J. O’Neill into exploiting Jennifers’ Law and allowing one of the most egregious cases of institutional DARVO on record.
“[Cuda] distorted and twisted its intended purpose to attack an allegedly innocent mother and blame her for the coercive control of her own children - children she had no visitation or access to,” according to Connecticut Protective Moms, in a piece by Jill Rosenfeld called “The Ultimate DARVO: Continuing Abuse of Victims by Lawyers Abusing Jennifers’ Law.”
DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrongdoing may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.”
The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim’s role and turns the true victim -- or the whistleblower -- into an alleged offender.
This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility and blames the accuser for being the perpetrator of a false accusation.
As a perpetrator of Parental Alienation, “Dr.” Yvonne de St. Croix engaged in DARVO, as detailed by Judge Moukawsher in the “brainwashing” of Owyn against his father Pierre:
Owyn claimed to remember Mr. de St. Croix abusing him when Owyn was one year old—a virtually impossible memory psychologically.
Owyn accused Mr. de St. Croix of abusing a woman Mr. de St. Croix knew before Owyn was born.
Ten-year-olds don't write "to whom it may concern" on communications, but Owyn's letter supposedly cataloguing abuses contains this.
Children don't typically use notaries when they write something down, but Owyn's handwritten statement is notarized and is also co-signed by his mother.
Children don't typically describe themselves as "survivors of abuse" unless someone has suggested these words to them. It would be reasonable to infer that Owyn used them because his mother taught them to him.
Absent brainwashing, a child shown repeated pictures with his father in which the child is obviously happy doesn't reject them as forced or say they were kicked right after the photo, but Owyn refused to admit he had ever had a happy moment with his father and insisted that he was both forced to smile during the pictures and kicked by his father afterwards.
Children don't take birthday cards to the police, but Owyn—driven by his mother—did.
Children don't bring bodyguards to therapy, but at his mother's behest Owyn did, reinforcing an atmosphere of fear.
Children don't typically refer to "we" when talking about what they want, but both Owyn and his mother typically use this pronoun when ostensibly talking solely about what Owyn wants.
Children don't, as Owyn did, talk knowingly about restraining orders, tape their therapists' conversations, or ask their therapists about what the therapist is going to say in court.
Having brainwashed her son that his father abused him, “Dr.” Yvonne then frustrated reunification between father and son. During remote sessions, Owyn was constantly looking off-camera, being monitored and “coached” by Yvonne.
Judge Moukawsher saw through the Parental Alienation and the DARVO in the de St. Croix case because he is a talented, intelligent, and conscientious jurist. If the courts had a thousand Moukawshers, the problem of judicial confidence would be solved overnight.
But Luigi DiRubba’s case underscores a persistent problem for the courts: psychopathic litigants, enabling attorneys, and less-than-conscientious jurists. In Family Court, this is a perfect storm for institutional disaster.
Queen DARVO and Her Enablers
In the spring of 2019, outside a school, Dr. DiRubba waited, a puppy by his side for his children. Only a select few knew of this meeting. Yet, police came, Anna Maria having directed them to him.
“It was a setup,” he’d say later. “My kids watched me get handcuffed. That’s what she wanted.”
A court in Meriden dismissed the charge swiftly. But Anna Maria had already used the Connecticut system as a weapon, a way to keep him from his children.
In ugly divorce cases, some attorneys advise clients to make false accusations to win favor. And now, Dr. DiRubba wonders: Was Anna Maria advised this way? After seven arrests, little room is left for doubt. This was an attack, a weaponization of the law. This is DARVO, and Anna Maria Mongillo is its Queen.
The guardian ad litem, Janis Labirette, reported to DCF that Anna Maria was using the criminal justice system to further herself in Family Court. It didn’t matter because she had the right lawyer. DCF took the complaint but didn’t press the issue. Like allegations of sexual penetration in the Ambrose v. Riordan case, institutional corruption is not a high policy priority for DCF investigation, unlike truancy or missing a Zoom meeting.
The Mongillo-Charles team is the poster child for weaponizing the criminal justice system in furtherance of Parental Alienation.
As discussed above, in the de St. Croix case, “Dr.” Yvonne used every trick in the book to make reunification between Pierre and his son Owyn an impossibility. Anna Maria Mongillo took it one step further: she picked up and left the state and had her lawyer clean up the mess.
Anna Maria ignored Connecticut’s law and took the children to Florida without telling either the court or Dr. DiRubba, crossing at least nine state lines.
But Anna Maria had little to worry about. Marianne Charles had her back.
When Parents are Punished For Playing By The Rules
Luigi DiRubba had played by the rules. He complied with reunification therapy, but it didn’t matter.
DCF caseworkers reported Anna Maria was brainwashing the children in the same manner as Judge Moukawsher saw with Owyn de St. Croix.
Many parents are good and loving, but that can give tiny comfort if your ex is a psychopath with a connected attorney who has contributed to the proper “Superior Court Reappointment Fund.” Your claims are basically ignored.
Judge Jane Kupson Grossman blatantly ignored the significant facts marshaled by DiRubba.
The backstory is quite simple. In May 2022, Judge Susan Connors permitted Dr. DiRubba to move for reunification with his kids. Dr. Carla Stover gave testimony relied upon by the court showing Dr. DiRubba had met all the previously imposed conditions. The court ruled that Dr. DiRubba had done more than enough to have an opportunity to see his children and have a meaningful relationship.
Dr. DiRubba had done the right thing despite the roadblocks by Anna Maria and her attorney, Marianne Charles. For Anna Maria, the court had the gall to allow Dr. DiRubba to see his brood. This was unacceptable for Queen DARVO. She couldn’t let all of her work “brainwashing” the children become undone.
Papers filed by DiRubba allege that Queen DARVO willfully disregarded the court’s facts and commands.
Dr. DiRubba promptly filed a Modification of Child Custody on May 10, 2022, the final step in reunification. Judge Jane Kupson Grossman had to sign off but failed to treat the application with any urgency.
Two emergency applications were filed once Dr. DiRubba discovered the children were removed from the state—still nothing.
No hearing occurred for five months while Anna Maria put her unilateral relocation plan into action. With her kids in tow, she “took the midnight train down to Georgia” and continued into the Sunshine State. Judge Grossman signed off on both of Marianne Charles’ continuance requests.
Meanwhile, the court remained slow to act. Judge Grossman was set to finalize reunification but dragged her feet. By the time she was ready, Anna Maria and the children were long gone.
The parties finally appeared before Judge Jane Kupson Grossman on October 5, 2022. The issue before the court was reunification.
Judge Grossman effectively trusted Anna Maria, Queen DARVO, who had previously used the police and baseless arrests to keep Dr. DiRubba away to ensure the children engaged in reunification. Unsurprisingly, the children failed to participate, sort-circuiting the process. It’s like the judge telling the bank robber to count the money.
At the hearing, the court-appointed therapist, Ms. Farbish, terminated the reunification process. She testified that she did not believe reunification was possible, not having seen the children - who were now physically located in Florida - for over a year.
Queen DARVO provided no evidence the therapist had met with the children or provided any reports.
Dr. DiRubba presented testimony from Dr. Carla Stover, who wrote the program and protocol for the Connecticut DCF in alienating circumstances and reunification.
Dr. Stover’s testimony indicated Anna Maria’s lack of interest in reunification therapy and parental alienation. She explained reunification therapy is crucial for children’s normal development, as they need both parents and a balanced male and female influence.
Judge Grossman denied Luigi’s motion. Queen DARVO and her attorney-enabler-minion, Marianne Charles, had gotten off scot-free.
The decision was questionable at best, particularly when viewed in line with the de St. Croix case, where the Parental Alienation was extreme but far less extreme than what was perpetrated by Queen DARVO. Judge Moukawsher said the Court’s concern was for young Owyn to “stabilize his feelings before he enters the bubbling cauldron of his teenage years where, without intervention, his present willful defiance of his father is likely to transform into lava that will suffocate his chances of ever knowing his father as he really is.”
Multiply the “lava” by six, and you have Luigi DiRubba’s circumstances. Judge Grossman effectively told him that the Court had no problem sitting idly by while any chance of his children knowing him suffocated and died.
Justice, equity, truth - these are what the Connecticut court claims to stand for. But Dr. DiRubba, and many like him, have the strongest case in the world to show that it is really a line of horseshit and one that willfully violates natural law and public perceptions of conventional morality and the role of the courts.
A System of the Inhumane or a Therapeutic Jurisprudence
It’s not about moms or dads per se. It’s about insane participants in an insane system.
For some, it’s akin to the feeling you might get every four years when deciding which presidential candidate to pick. “Is this the best we can do?” But in the Family Court, that question looms daily for litigants, participants, and judges alike.
Judge Moukawsher would say the Family Court needs a strong dose of “humanity.” But is it more than even that? Is it a fundamental flaw of our adversarial legal system that is incompatible with a more therapeutic jurisprudence?
When any parent is excluded from contact with their child, the seeds of alienation proliferate, and the damage is done and very costly financially and emotionally - and often cannot be undone. This is the very reason intense oversight, early and timely court and therapeutic intervention, and especially mediation with parents as co-equal participants are critical. The Pierre de St. Croixs and Luigi DiRubbas of the world deserve the Family Court’s protection.
But the other side of the coin is equally as important to consider. Parental contact and a relationship cannot be used as a pretext by well-funded monsters using Dr. Gardner’s PAS “pseudo-science.” No system of justice can deliver children to pedophiles in violation of natural law and conventional morality and still retain any speck of legitimacy. Christopher Ambrose deserves universal scorn and far, far worse.
Lawyers, guardians ad litem, court-appointed experts, DCF workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, reunification specialists, and even many judges will never let it happen. They are not trained to do so. The law is black-and-white. There must be a winner and a loser.
While involvement in any litigation process “can produce anger, anxiety, stress, hurt, hard feelings, or other strongly negative emotional reactions that diminish [a] client’s psychological wellbeing,” family disputes “often involve participants under especially intense emotional stress which can cloud their judgment.” In re Ivy, 374 P.3d 374, 391 (Alaska 2016)( quoting Bruce Winick, Symposium, Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Role of Counsel in Litigation, 37 Cal. W. L. Rev. 105, 108 (2000)).
In Family Court, we regularly have generally good people on bad behavior making the worst possible decisions. And when the “Dr.” Yvonnes, Christopher Ambroses, and Queen DARVOs become litigants, all bets are off as to the types of psychopathic and bat-shit-crazy behavior we will invariably see.
But does the adversarial process produce the best results in Family Court? For the litigants? For the courts? For the children?
The cynic will say Judge Moukawsher’s “humanism” is little more than lip service. It won’t change a thing. The system is what it is. After all, even “The Devil” is a “fan of man.” Is the Connecticut system one run by absentee landlords parading as penguins?
But I, for one, believe the Connecticut General Assembly can remedy the issue. The same way they listened to Judge Moukawsher during the COVID crisis and after the CT Freedom Alliance v. Lamont case. In the same way, they listened to the victims of domestic violence in the crafting and passage of Jennifers’ Law. Now, too, they can hear the clarion call.
The law requires the moorings of conventional morality, of which the Legislature is our political preceptor. No single person, whatever their name, whether he be named O’Neill, the people’s Governor, or a misguided judge, can serve as the legal substitute for the political and moral will of the people.
Legal solutions are available for the harms of Family Court that smack of the criminal. Texas has recently enacted a “Time Taken Back Law” to cover the Yvonne de St. Croix situation, and palpably the Christopher Ambrose and Anna Maria Mongillo circumstances as well:
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. The people will not long suffer their courts being twisted. The denizens of Connecticut will not long suffer Jennifers’ Law, meant to protect vulnerable women and children, being twisted to imprison a 110-pound special education teacher by a wealthy, blue-blooded pedophile.
The people will not long suffer exceptions to Amber Alerts and federal kidnapping, which would allow “favored clients” to abscond with children beyond nine state lines under the cover of darkness, allowing the Connecticut courts to welch on their promises.
The words must end. The deeds must begin. The Pharisees must be banished. Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta!
Today, we are at Wittenberg. Moukawsher has nailed his “Fifty Theses” to the door of the Connecticut State House. Let us hope Pope Lamont shall escape his camarilla and breathe the free air of reason for the slightest fleeting moment.
“Our court system works best when it reflects the diversity, experience, and understanding of the people it serves. These individuals I am nominating have the qualifications that meet the high standards the residents of Connecticut deserve on the bench. Justice delayed is justice denied, and these new judges will help ensure the judicial branch can decide cases promptly and efficiently,” noted Governor Lamont in a March press release.
Judge Moukawsher’s concerns must be taken as the top priority by the political branches of the Connecticut government. Not just for Mia, Matthew, and Sawyer Ambrose and their escape from their father’s psychopathic mental and sexual abuse. Not just for Luigi DIRubba and his six alienated and estranged children. Not just for Owyn de St. Croix and to avoid “suffocating his chances” for a relationship with a loving father.
At stake is the institutional integrity of the Connecticut courts themselves. At stake is respect for the rule of law and the legal process.
Judge Moukawsher gives a compelling case of how the courts can be reformed, partly through a more therapeutic jurisprudence, to give the counterargument to the Faustian bargain. In the heat of the moment, when good people are at their worst and most vulnerable, the rule of law should shine its brightest. The integrity of our legal system must be tied to conventional morality and natural law to retain its legitimacy.
It cannot be said for Pierre de St. Croixes, Karen Riordans, Luigi Di Rubbas, and the multitude of others who have suffered at the hands of sick people and an unwell Connecticut system that they can receive any measure of justice at this juncture. Maybe it is possible, and we hope and pray it is.
But the most important task is that the entire system does not lose its moorings in the minds of those it is meant to serve. “Americans have lost faith in their courts,” Judge Moukawasher laments. Let us all be activists to ensure our system is moored solidly and held within the bounds of conventional morality and the faith of the people. Absent sensum fidelum, the courts cannot act with authority. And far too many recent Connecticut family court decisions leave an inexplicable gap between the popular understanding and a formalistic, legalistic, and unnatural result.
Judge Moukawsher has spoken words as a true guardian of justice. Let us have the courage to listen before it is too late.
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Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. A transplanted New Yorker, Luthmann is a member of the National Writers Union now living in Southwest Florida.
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"Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.” (Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, more obscure than public opinion, and more deceptive than the whole political system.)
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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