The below letter is from Dr Caruso Ph. D. Clinical Psycholigist with a 30 year practice in family law and CPS evaluations. This letter is from a case I have actively been involved with, trying to turn this case around. The ironnic part to this case is for some time now there has been all the needed facts and document to have turned this case around some time ago had it not been for incompetent counsel on the fathers behalf.
Dr Caruso points out that had this father been the suject of a CPS case he would have been seeing the children long ago. This case shows the glaring difference on how fathers are treated in Family Law Courts.
Following the letter is a declaration that I prepared for the father for mediation to show a more clarity along with a letter I did that outline the relavent case history. I did get permmision by the father to send the letter. Please keep this case confidential. For some reason the Letter by Caruso had some scan errors but the main part of the letter is intact. The pleading did not format correctly when copied to this email but you will still understand this case when reading all. This case represent a pattern that unfortunately is very common now adays.
July 9, 2004
Cathy Lyman, Administrator
In the matter of Steven D. Tipaldi Case
Dear Mrs. Lyman:
I am hoping
that a copy of this letter will be submitted to the court, and so that it might
have some favorable impact upon this case. Last night I spent approximately 20
minutes talking on the phone to Psychiatrist Grace Lusk, who has offices in
Dr. Lusk and I apparently are in total agreement in our opinions that there is absolutely no substantive clinical, objective, or otherwise tangible evidence, in existence that would allow one to conclude that Mr. Tipaldi is or ever has been or represented a danger to his children. He might possess some traits or quirks or characteristics that may not endear him to others at times; and that might even incline him to present in a somewhat abrupt, forward, or mildly agitated manner when meeting with his daughters under a highly pressured and scrutinized one of a kind visitation. None of this, however, would or should preclude Mr. Tipaldi from assuming the role of a loving, doting, and nurturing father figure.
What offends me mostly in this matter, something that has drawn my ire for a quarter of a century, is how states or municipalities can create and maintain two entirely different and even contradictory sets of policies and philosophies pertaining to parental rights. A parent is much better off having their child removed from their care through a county's Children's Protective Services Agency than falling victim to a hostile and vindictive ex-spouse whose intention it is to sabotage that parent's relationship with the children.
reason federal and state lawmakers and authorities believe that a parent's
rights are :'sacrosanct until It can be proven, often beyond a shadow of a
doubt, that a parent shooldlose his or her parental rights. The parent is
offered his or her time in court, the parent IS
provided an attorney and the child or children are normally provided attomey
advocates as well. Evidence has to be vigorously produced and in the State of
Cathy Lyman, Administrator
In the matter of Steven D. Tipaldi Case Page: -2-
On the other hand a case like Mr. Tipaldi's proves that, and I have been involved in dozens of them over the past 30 years, the same municipalities and judicial entities are willing to indirectly strip parents of all their parenting rights and relationships in matters where the case history may not even stand a detention hearing. Though it is not spoken in these family court rooms, the result is exactly the same. That result is that a parent, more often a father than a mother in my experience, is never again provided an opportunity to assume the role of an involved parenting figure. And just as frequently in these cases, unfortunately, that parent might be pushed entirely out of the picture, at least for such a period of time that the damage to the parent child relationship becomes irreversible. And that damage is not only to the relationship, and to the parent himself or herself, but has long term negative consequences for the children as well. Clinicians such as myself must ask then which parent is the real abuser; and why do courts and agencies continue to be complicit, covertly or overtly, in their tolerance
of these kinds of situations.
I am by no
means pointing a finger at the Court system of
-f-R.c;".. I fl. 0
.Ph.D. - . Clinical Psychologist
Superior Court of California County of Siskiyou
Declaration of Petitioner
Steve Tipaldi for Mediation
To the attention of Cathy Lyman, Mediator;
This declaration is in response to mediation as requested by Family Court Services, 500 North Main Street Yreka, CA 96097 and to the attention of Cathy Lyman, the mediator handling this case. This declaration contains attachments as supporting documents that have been marked as Exhibits followed by page numbers for each Exhibit in the lower right hand corner that will be referenced to for the purpose of clarity and supporting evidence. I also declare that all attachments are true copies thereof for each author of a document or order referenced.
I declare that I have not or do I now suffer from any long-term effects from the surgery for the removal of a brain tumor in late 1992 that would affect my ability to parent our minor children, Violet and Angelina. There is also no evidence that I have ever, would or could act in a violent way or be considered a threat of causing harm to a person as a result of the surgery. The most recent evaluation took place by Dr. Grace Lusk, M.D. who specializes in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry, referenced in attached Exhibit A, pages 1 and 2. Also attached are supporting documents from Dr.
Spears M.D. and Dr. Cooper M.D., see exhibit B, pages 1 through 8. Also see Documents by Timothy J. Dakin M.F.T, Exhibit B, pages 9 through 13. There is also an evaluation report that has been already been provided to mediator done by Dr. Kent Caruso Ph.D., along with supplemented documents that he had in fact viewed the entire file in this case. All supporting documents show I have and do act and behave as a fit parent with no mental disorders and that I have emotional control.
I declare that I have always acted in a willing manner to comply with court orders and done my best based upon my financial means to provide the court with the evaluations to establish my fitness of being a responsible and fit parent. It does how ever appear that the court may have the perception of an intentional act on my part of not complying with court orders in regard to the issue of evaluations. I know that a court order had specified Dr. French, and I was more than willing to comply with Dr. French doing the evaluation. Dr. French had initially agreed to do the evaluation for $1,000.00 dollars and then changed it to $3,000.00 dollars. I advised my attorney James Johnson that I could not afford that amount and my attorney had advised me to contact Family Court Services for this venue and get a list from them. Upon obtaining this list I was instructed by my attorney to use Dr. Kent Caruso. I am not an attorney and not educated as to the rules and procedure. I was under the impression based on the instructions of my attorney that using Dr. Kent Caruso would be within procedure and acceptable to the court for its intended purpose.
I further declare that I had contacted my attorney James Johnson about using Dr. Grace Lusk in an attempt to satisfy the courts request of an evaluation by a M.D. specializing in Psychiatry. Dr Grace lusk was the only qualified expert I could find in my area that could do the evaluation in time to supply both the mediator and the court with evidence of my willingness to comply with court orders. I was instructed by my attorney to do the evaluation with Dr. Grace Lusk.
I declare that I have also supplied the court with all financial records. It appears that the court has the perception that I have intentional withheld financial information that had been requested by opposing counsel on discovery. I have supplied all information to the courts twice. I believe that this perception is a result of the fact that I live in a well to do neighborhood in conditions some would consider comfortably and the litigation costs that have been spent. I had supplied the court with a declaration which is contained in the record pointing to the fact that the home that my current wife Nora Robinson and I reside in was purchased by her and her late husband 18 years ago, she is also a mortgage banker and had made a loan to me in the amount of $26,000.00 dollars. Nora has also spent an additional $10,000.00 of her own money to help with litigation costs.
I declare that all allegations of abuse are incorrect and false. Almost without exception all alleged allegations that have been made against me are a result of the children’s mother using fraudulent documents that are contained in the record of this case by Chuck Spezzano, Lency Spezzano, Katherine Snow Davis, Christine Snow, and Cindy Yanover. All of these individuals supplied written documents that were entered into the record by Sarah Carpini. All these individuals claimed in their individual documents they were licensed professional to practice in the area of Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapists or Social Workers. All of these individuals were personal friends of Sarah Carpini. The attached documents are from the State of Hawaii Licensing division for said alleged professionals showing these individuals were in fact not licensed. See exhibits C, pages 1 through 9. The licensing division in Hawaii did in fact take action against these individuals. Also see order from Judge Watanabe, Fifth Circuit, State of Hawaii. I had never been or was not abusive or a threat, Exhibit C, pages 10 through 13, Guardian Ad Litem report, Exhibit C, pages 14 through 20, and Affidavit by Alena Tyler, Exhibit C, pages 21 through 24.
I declare that there is a document in the record by Chuck Spezzano, claiming to have seen me as a patient in a professional capacity. I declare that at no time have I or had I been a patient of Mr. Spezzano. Mr. Spezzano’s document paints a very negitive picture of me.
I declare that there is on record documents in the record from the PAC Center (Parents and Children Together) in Hawaii that also paints a very negative picture of me. The personal friends and unlicensed individual of Sarah Carpini, Cindy Yanover was on staff at the PAC Center at the time their report had been made to the courts in Hawaii and has been used over again as venue has been changed in this case along with all the other unlicensed individuals documents. The PAC Center was not Licensed or Accredited at the time and did not become licensed until sometime in 2000.
I declare that the record contains Documents by Claudia Gibson and Jay Skelton. Sarah Carpini had picked these individuals along with her mother Mimi Calpestri to facilitate court ordered supervised visitations in the Marin County, CA. Venue. Mimi Calpestri, Sarah’s mother had also been a long time resident in Marin County. The letters and reports in the record by these individuals paint a very poor picture of me and I believe them to be exaggerating of the facts. During a phone call that took place on or about April 15, 2001 between Claudia Gibson and my wife Nora Robinson, Ms. Gibson had stated to her that Sarah’s mother had actually written the letter because her arm was broken and that they (Ms Gibson and Sarah’s mother) were personal friends. I had not been at any time made aware of this fact before meeting them or had this personal relationship between Sarah’s mother and Claudia Gibson ever been disclosed to me at anytime before or during orientation or visits. Had I known of any personal relationship or involvement by Sarah’s mother and Gibson I would have not agreed to use these individuals or agency. I believe that this part of the record should be viewed as biased and suspect as to its accuracy. I would agree to further investigation as to the length and depth of this personal relationship. Claudia Gibson is also not licensed. See attached declaration by Nora Robinson and letter from the State of California Licensing Division, Exhibit D, pages 1 and 2. Also see letter by Dr. Dianne Gerard, Ph.D., Exhibit D, pages 3 and 4 that goes to Sarah’s wrongfully using her report to withhold visitation. Dr. Gerard along with all the other experts with real licenses to practice that are in the record or added to the record in this declaration have recommended that Sarah be evaluated. This has never occurred to this date.
I declare that I have never violated any Restraining Order and no such factual proof by law enforcement or any creditable witnesses can be produced to show that I have. All that exists is unsubstantiated allegations that are suspect at best. What can be shown is that in the affidavit of Alena Tyler that is attached and marked Exhibit C, page 23 paragraph 8 where Sarah admitted that I had never been abusive while waiting for a hearing on a TRO application. I never was given a hearing on the current Restraining Order it was just issued without a hearing. If there was a hearing my attorney at the time was in possession of most of the information contained in the attachments and should have set the matter for trial as I have recently learned.
Sarah is now attempting to get an extension of the current order, which is soon to expire. Sarah is using the same old claims without any factual or real evidence. Sarah is requesting that this matter be heard on July 29, 2004 at the same time for the hearing from the results of this mediation out come. Sarah is requesting a 10-year extension. I am lacking faith in my present counsels ability to properly represent me in this case. Nora and I have been attempting to find replacement counsel but have been unsuccessful so far but we haven’t giving up yet. I am fearful that if Sarah is successful in getting a 10-year extension I will have lost any ability to reestablish a relationship with our daughters. See Exhibit E.
I have only been arrested one time in my life. This occurred when I had the problems from my brain tumor. The arrest was for shoplifting. I had gone into a store, got an item and walked out without paying for it. I did have about $500.00 dollars in my pocket at the time and had honestly just forgot to go through the check out line. The charges had been dismissed in that matter and it is not on my record.
I am requesting that recommendations be made for therapeutic visits to start off with, along with the goal of reunification that would lead to a structured unsupervised parenting plan that could hopefully be amicable to all parties and in the best interest of the children. That appears the only logical or real possibility due to the estrangement that exists between the children and I. This also appears to be the consensus of all the licensed professionals on record to the present and I yield to their experience, qualification and knowledge. I would also request that either the mediator or one of the evaluators in this case make the recommendations of a qualified person to handle the therapeutic visits.
I would further request as a result of all the facts that can be presented that any recommendations would consider that the process begin with a location being convenient to the Sacramento Area. I would also request that given all the evidence presented that it be recommended that Sarah either be ordered to pay all costs or share costs. If it appears that Hawaii is the only place the process of reunification can start, I would request either Dr. Dianne Gerard or some one she would recommend. I want to avoid any further possibilities of false allegations or a less than accurate evaluation of the visits.
I believe that if given this opportunity, visitations will go much better for the following reasons. One of the reasons I went to see Tim Dakin MFT, who’s report is attached as Exhibits B, pages 10 through 13, was to learn some skills so that I could be sensitive to Violet and Angelina’s needs and feeling and to not allow my frustrations over the false allegations and non-compliance of past visitation orders to affect visitations. I realize that at first they may and most likely will show negative emotions toward me. I understand the importance of my responses being respectful of their feelings. I have also recently completed a parenting class that is structured for teen-agers. Both Nora my wife and I performed and completed this parenting class at Positive Options. Positive Options is approved by Sacramento Courts and is on the list of the Sacramento Family Court Services list. See attached Exhibit F, pages 1 through 5.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Signature of Declarant_____________________________Dated_______________
Children’s Rights Counsel (Sacramento Chapter)
ACFC associate member
7850 Antelope North Rd #2
Antelope, CA 95843
Several months ago Mr. Tipaldi’s case was brought to my attention by a radio talk show host in So. California, Glen Sacks. I do legislative work at our state capital in areas relating to family. I have attended many Domestic Violence and other conferences relating to family law and family issues. I have done panel discussions with Judge Donna Petre, Yolo Co, who started the model for Unified Family Law Courts, founder of WEAVE (women escaping a violent environment) and Dr. David Fontes Ph.D. DSS. I have been attending the AG’s task force hearings on DV.
I along with another CRC member who volunteers his free time as a support person who is a government attorney went with me to meet with Mr. Tipaldi and his wife Nora. We reviewed the record in this case in the evenings. I have been in frequent constant contact with Mr. Tipaldi and his wife up to this writing. I have helped both men and women in high conflict cases where it is evident there has been alienation, interference with visitation tactics and false allegations. It is the Children’s Rights Councils position that children need two parents. The LaMusga case was just ruled on and I would urge you to read the friend of the court briefs from the case that had been filed on behalf of the children by Warshak and Shear. Shear was representing the Association of certified family law specialists. In short a fathers role in the healthy development of a child is substantial.
The children in this case have been denied that opportunity up to this point. I have outlined the chain of events below that are relevant on how this case has become any mediators’ nightmare, up to the change of venue to your court. This is definitely not a case that any mediator would want to have hit their desk. These cases are heart wrenching. It is understandable how, as in this case with all the changes of venues, pieces have fallen through the cracks. It also appears that Mr. Tipaldi could have had better representation in counsel. After reviewing this I find it amazing that he has been able to maintain the degree of sanity that he has.
The outline below paints a very clear and compelling picture and this picture deserves not only being viewed but also someone who has the courage to change the coarse of this run away train for the benefit of these children.
Mother files for TRO and motion for property control. Father in this case had previously undergone surgery for a brain tumor and had been hospitalized for 30 days for post-op recovery. Mother filed for TRO after father had to be readmitted for an 11 day period due to swelling. Medical records and letters from several Medical Doctors all of which are contained in the record of this case substantiate this. At no time has father been admitted to a psychiatric unit for any other reason other than those directly associated with the tumor. Father was unable to respond to the TRO while hospitalized and a 1-year RO was issued by default judgment.
Note: letters by Dr Cooper 3/15/95, 11/8/95 and 7/30/96. Also Dr Spear letters, 2/23/94 and 4/30/02. All clearing stating that father is non-threatening or does not show any abusive behavior.
Note: There is no valid record that exists anywhere to substantiate mother’s claims other than her word which is very suspect at best.
Note: Mother has 4 other children by 3 different father’s from relationships prior to the father in this case for which he had willing helped to care for both emotional and financially. To the best of anyone’s knowledge those children have not had a relationship with their fathers. There is no record to verify if this has ever been investigated and is relevant because it goes to a possible pattern of behavior by the mother in this case.
September 28 1994
Mother files for dissolution of marriage
May 3, 1994
Dr Gerard Ph.D. recommends supervised visitation as a result of evaluation of father and the 2 children in this case.
Note: On page 7, paragraph 4, of Dr Gerard’s initial report she states that mother was presenting a negative picture of the father and had questions about her truthfulness.
Note: On 4/27/02 after reviewing this case Dr Gerard submitted a letter for use to the courts recommending that mother should be evaluated and that father was not a threat and that mother has inappropriately used her report to justify her decision to withhold contact.
Judge Watanabe orders supervised visits with a plan to move into a non-supervised parenting plan and stated that the father had never been a threat. The judge had established as a result of a hearing in which a the guardian a litem for the child, John Rhoades Davis had testified under oath that mother was in essence sabotaging the children’s relationship with the father and did not think supervised visitation was necessary, nor did he think that father was violent. Much of this is also contained in a written declaration and a video of the sworn testimony is on record.
During the hearing there was also sworn testimony by Alena Tyler and there is a Nov. 95 declaration. Alena Tyler was a neighbor of the mother and testified that mother had told Alena Tyler directly that she (mother) had lied to get the RO and mother admitted that father had never been abusive towards her or the children. It is also worth noting that Alena Tyler had been working on getting licensed as a guardian ad litem and was in fact licensed shortly after this.
Judge Watanabe had also found Mother in contempt.
Mother introduces documents into record by individuals claiming to be licensed therapist and experts by way of motions to the court.
Mother introduces additional documents into record by individuals, one claiming to be a licensed psychologist who claims to have seen the father in a professional manner, which is disputed.
Note: There are letters from the state of Hawaii DCCA that all of the individuals were not licensed and action has been taken against them for these letters. On 4/26/2004, I personally spoke with, the attorney for the state of Hawaii Denise.P.Balanay@dcca.hawaii.gov who is taking action against, RE: PSY 2003-5-U - Chuck Spezzano who claimed to be a licensed psychologist in a letter that is in the record of this case that had been produced into the record by the mother. Ms. Balanay stated to me that because this is an on going case there was not much she could do at this point to further help the father without jeopardizing her case against Mr. Spezzano. She informed me that she would talk with her supervisor to see what more she could do to help the father.
Mother requests change of venue. Change was granted and supervised visitations are also ordered again at the PAC (parents and children together) center. Mother had supplied PAC center with the same documents by the now proven unlicensed therapist. There had been 3 visits scheduled but only one had been kept as a result of mother claiming misunderstanding of the times or other reasons. Mother files motion to suspend visits as a result in my opinion of a skewed report by the PAC center. The PAC center was not accredited at this time and did not receive accreditation until sometime in 2000.
Judge Radious orders supervised visitation with the goal to move to an unsupervised parenting plan for the father. This could not be done because the mother had moved to Marin County, CA with out notice to father or the court.
Father final has 2 supervised visits out of 3 that had been schedule. There is a recommendation by Jay Skelton, Ph.D. that the whole family be evaluated. Mr. Skeltons letter and report is not favorable to father and it does appear that father was pushing too hard. I think that the fact that father had, had very little contact with the children and an intentional thwarting of visitations and other information that can be gleaned by looking at this case it would be reasonable to expect that even a highly functional person would become stressed. Again Mr. Skelton had recommended a full evaluation of the whole family which has never occurred to this date.
Note: The father has been in an intimate relationship with Nora Robinson (no relation to myself) for more than 4 years and married for a year and a half of that. Nora is a widow of a 26-year marriage and her family background is one of stable and nurturing relationships. Nora has never experienced any abusive behavior by the father and very frustrated herself as to how this could happen to the loving caring man she knows. Nora is having difficulty understanding how this could even happen, she or her family have never been to divorce court and her first experience has been a result of this case. She is extremely supportive of the father.
Note: Mother disappears again without notice to the courts or the father.
Father hires detective to locate the mother to serve her papers for change of venue and modification of custody and visitation.
August 8, 2001 venue changed to Marin County CA.
Mediation ordered and venue change granted. Additional hearing date set for 8/28/01.
Counsel at hearing who files for TRO and child support arrearages for which there were none represents Mother. Records actually show that father has overpaid his child support obligation. TRO is granted and all other issues are reserved and a hearing is set for 9/14/01 for TRO. This was never addressed
Mother reintroduces fraudulent documents by unlicensed therapist. Her counsel motions court for change of venue to Siskiyou County. Mother had moved again. Venue change had been granted.
The father has also seen one of the Sacramento Court Approved experts, Mr. Tim Dakin. Father started seeing Mr. Dakin in March of 2002 and had meet regularly with him for approximately 8 to 10 times. It appears that Mr. Dakin is as equal disturbed as others and myself by what has occurred in this case.
Mr. Dakin’s letters along with one from one of fathers past attorneys and other documents call into question a serious injustice to a parent child relationship. Mr. Dakin’s letters also have urgency in them supporting a reunification plan for father and the child to be established.
I have also spoken directly with Dr Caruso who insists that he has reviewed the entire record in this case as I and others have done and feel someone needs to act in this case if the children involved are to ever know stability in there lives. School records indicate that the children have changed schools an average of twice a year since kindergarten.
One of the issues that seem to be present in the current venue of Siskiyou Co. is that father did not see Dr French. It is my understanding that your courts have not used Dr. French in 15 years according to Dr. Caruso. I would like to bring to your attention that Dr. French’s offices are in Roseville, Ca. that is a 20 to 30 minute drive to the Sacramento Family Law Court. Dr French is know by family law attorneys in our area and is not approved as a court evaluator here also and the courts here do not use him.
I would also like to make mention that I have engaged in intentionally attempting to push Mr. Tipaldi’s buttons, very hard at times to see if he would go off in an inappropriate manner, I was never able to or did I ever get an inappropriate response. I want to be sure that if I am going to help someone who has claimed to be falsely accused of being abusive or engaged in violent behavior that they are in fact not. If they react in an inappropriate manner I quickly suggest that they seek qualified help. This tactic is often used by Child Advocate Attorneys in he says she says cases where the allegations are unsubstantiated. I has even seen judges do this.
I also find it very odd that even though there has been countless licensed professionals with first hand knowledge of this case recommending that mother be evaluated, it has never been ordered. It is of my opinion that this should be a recommendation.
Father has no unrealistic illusions of custody and that he has to be patient with any kind of reunification process. He has an extremely supportive wife who only wants, along with father to provide the children with the chance of someday knowing stability and a loving caring father. If I can be of any assistance in anyway in this matter please feel free to contact me.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct. Signed__________________________ Date______________