50 Ways to Steal a Child — Legally or Not
(I thought title that might get your attention. No, I am NOT in favor of the above activity, just reporting on the reporting of it. EVERY story, especially the ones hitting the headlines, is likely to have another side.)
I dedicate this post to whistleblowers who gave their lives to report, such as I believe the late Nancy Schaefer and her husband are, after reporting on such rampant and widespread corruption in CPS that she doubted it could be reformed. Some of us believe that it is in essence engaged in child-trafficking, not preventing it.
I’m posting just enough to I hope inspire someone to finish reading the blog, and keep this in mind the next time someone, especially someone MALE, comes up moaning and groaning about no access to his kids.
I’m FEMALE, and as horrible as my marriage was, I never stooped so low as to cut off contact with him. Given an inch by the family law court, he took the rest of the rope and hung us out to dry . . . . No comment, locally.
Child abduction law’s backer has checkered background
By Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent
In Print: Friday, May 21, 2010
When a Florida Senate committee considered a bill this spring to prevent parental child abductions, one of the witnesses in support of the measure was Peter Thomas Senese. “I flew in this morning from Los Angeles,” Senese began, identifying himself as the head of an L.A. entertainment company. He told lawmakers that his own son had “traveled a very dangerous road” after being “internationally kidnapped” by his ex-wife in collusion with lawyers. Senese’s March 26 appearance was noted on a Tallahassee blog, Capitolsoup.com, that also identified him as author of a “critically acclaimed book” on child abduction. The testimony of Senese and others proved persuasive enough that the bill, introduced by Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat, sailed through both houses and was signed into law May 12 by Gov. Charlie Crist. But while Florida’s new Child Abduction Prevention Act addresses a very real problem, Senese’s own story is far different from what state lawmakers were led to believe. The “very dangerous road” began in 1998 when his ex-wife, pregnant with their son, returned to her native Canada after Senese landed in a California jail for bouncing $6,800 in checks used to finance a hot-air balloon wedding. The “critically acclaimed book” is self-published and has yet to go on sale. And many people say they have been scammed by Senese, including a California father who says he was “profoundly devastated” when Senese reneged on a promise to help pay $30,000 toward the return of the man’s abducted children from the Philippines. “He’s a master con,” says John Lee Smith, a carpenter. “I will not sit by any longer and let this guy continue to do to other people what he has already done to me and my sons.” Smith and others say they suspect that Senese’s “impassioned” support of the Florida bill — as Senese called it in a press release — was largely motivated by a desire to get publicity for his book, Chasing the Cyclone: a Father’s Unending Love for His Son, and obtain funding for a movie based on the book. “If you look at his website everything is promoting Chasing the Cyclone,” says Karl Hindle, a Briton who briefly worked with Senese. “The idea was he had funding in place for this movie and all these parents were going to be part of it. He was just playing to the dreams of people in a very desperate situation.” Senese, 44, accuses Hindle and others of “untruthful and malicious” statements and says he only wants to help other victims of parental child abductions. “I have attempted . . . to the best of my ability to help educate society about the gravity of this issue,” he said in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times. “I have used a substantial amount of my own resources to do this and have never earned a penny from my efforts.” The bill Senese supported was written by Carolyn Ann Vlk, a St. Petersburg resident briefly married to a man who was not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Vlk, afraid that her Czech husband would flee the United States with their son, was surprised to find that Florida had not adopted a 2006 federal law that lets judges impose restrictions on parents deemed likely to abduct their kids. “At the very least our state law needed to indicate risk factors and other preventative measures for judges to use as a guide,” Vlk says. She sent a report with recommendations to dozens of agencies and politicians, including Rouson. “I said, ‘Carolyn, if you write it (the bill), I will file it,’ ” Rouson recalls. Vlk says she knew nothing about Senese until he called her and offered to help “get the word out” about the legislation. “For me, he’s been a perfectly lovely, sincere gentleman, and he wrote some great articles,” she says. “I would like to believe he’s motivated truly out of concern for other parents. The past is the past.” But, critics say, Senese’s past is a troubling one. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to grand larceny in his native New York in a scheme targeting doctors and insurance executives. Senese even set up temporary offices at prestigious Manhattan addresses to buff his image as a rich venture capitalist with homes in Italy and Boca Raton, Newsday reported. A year later, Senese was still on probation when he got married in California and spent months in jail after bouncing checks on a lengthy honeymoon. He pleaded no contest to one count of burglary with intent to commit grand larceny. “My drug of choice was not a narcotic nor alcohol, but the most severe addiction of all: the addiction of money,” Senese wrote to the judge, according to a story in the law enforcement magazine APB. Over the next several years, Senese self-published three books and in 2006 promoted his idea for a TV show called Book Beat, which would feature major authors like J.D. Salinger and “make rock stars out of writers.” That brought Senese to the attention of author Victoria Strauss, who has a blog that tracks schemes that allegedly prey on writers.\
(Note – I have only skimmed the article).
More later — I have another half-baked post to publish today.