Are Sarah Palin and Family Serial Parental Alienators?

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November 4th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Although they may seem strange bedfellows, former Governor of Alaska and US VP candidate Sarah Palin (Republican) and smallfry pandering child abuse proponent Jim Beall (Democrat – California Legislature) may have more in common than meets the eye. Both appear to have attitudes towards fathers that suggests they regard denying them contact with their children via access blocking and false accusations. They believe these should be tactics vicious women can legally use without regard for their children. Both think that this form of emotional child abuse known as parental alienation should be ignored and not considered in child custody decisions. Yet child psychologists consider parental alienation of great harm to children.

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Palin Family: Serial Parental Alienators?

Sarah Palin and her family have been accused of alienating her daughter Bristol’s child Tripp Johnston from his father, Levi Johnston. Levi Johnston and his sister Mercede claim that the Palin family blocks his attempts to see Tripp. He is contemplating legal action against them to regain time with his son. While detractors point to Johnston being a high-school dropout with a variety of family and personal problems, it looks very likely that the Palin family really does have a problem with parental alienation against ex-relatives they want kicked out of the family and are willing to go so far as using defamation campaigns and frivolous restraining orders to accomplish their despicable goals.

(from Bristol Palin’s Bitter Split!)

“Levi tries to visit Tripp every single day, but Bristol makes it nearly impossible. She tells him he can’t take the baby to our house because she doesn’t want him around ‘white trash’!” Bristol won’t even allow him to watch the baby for a few hours — unless he’s babysitting!

The worst part, Mercede continues, is that the former vice presidential candidate supports Bristol’s treatment of Levi, 19. “I used to love Sarah,” Mercede says sadly. “But I’ve lost lots of respect for her.”

It’s not a big leap to think that Sarah Palin may be alienating her grandson from his father. Look what Palin, husband Todd Palin, and their family have done to her sister Molly Hackett’s (formerly Molly McCann) former husband, Michael Wooten, who continues to reside in their hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. It’s widely believed and reported that they engaged in a vilification campaign against Wooten, even threatening his job. Even the courts warned them to stop what they were doing:

(from Warned by the Court: A judge repeatedly told Palin and family not to badmouth her sister’s ex)

An Anchorage judge three years ago warned Sarah Palin and members of her family to stop “disparaging” the reputation of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, who at the time was undergoing a bitter separation and divorce from Palin’s sister Molly.

Allegations that Palin, her husband Todd, and at least one top gubernatorial aide continued to vilify Wooten—after Palin became Alaska’s governor and pressured state police officials to take action against him—are at the center of “Troopergate,” a political and ethical controversy which has embroiled Palin’s administration and is currently the subject of an official inquiry by a special investigator hired by the state legislature.

Court records obtained by NEWSWEEK show that during the course of divorce hearings three years ago, Judge John Suddock heard testimony from an official of the Alaska State Troopers’ union about how Sarah Palin—then a private citizen—and members of her family, including her father and daughter, lodged up to a dozen complaints against Wooten with the state police. The union official told the judge that he had never before been asked to appear as a divorce-case witness, that the union believed family complaints against Wooten were “not job-related,” and that Wooten was being “harassed” by Palin and other family members.

Palin Defamation Campaign Against Michael Wooten

The Palin family’s attacks on Michael Wooten were particularly harmful and stressful for him because he worked as a police trooper for the state of Alaska where she was not only the governor of the state but was also spreading disparaging remarks about him and putting pressure on her underlings to fire Wooten in what appears on its face to be an abuse of power and vengeance against Wooten:

(from Newsweek: Warned by the Court)

“It is the mother’s [Hackett’s] responsibility to set boundaries for her relatives and insure [sic] they respect them, and the disparagement by either parent, or their surrogates is emotional child abuse,” Judge Suddock wrote. He added that: “If the court finds it is necessary due to disparagement in the Mat-Su Valley [the area north of Anchorage where Palin and her extended family live], for the children’s best interests, it [the court] will not hesitate to order custody to the father and a move into Anchorage.” Cyr, the union official, said that to his knowledge, no such move was ever ordered.

The “Troopergate” special investigator, former prosecutor Steve Branchflower, was hired by a unanimous vote of state legislative leaders. His mission: to investigate whether Palin fired Walter Monegan—her State Public Safety Commissioner (and the official in charge of the State Police)—when he refused to dismiss or open a new disciplinary investigation of Wooten after receiving complaints about him from Gov. Palin and her husband Todd. Initially, Palin indicated she would cooperate with the investigation. But more recently, a lawyer hired by the state to represent her in the case asked the Alaska Attorney General to request that a state personnel board conduct its own special-counsel inquiry and demanded that the state legislature back off.

At the heart of the continuing “Troopergate” flap is evidence that despite Judge Suddock’s warnings back in 2005 and 2006, Palin and her husband continued to make disparaging allegations against Wooten, even after she went to the statehouse. During her first security briefing with a representative of the state police, Palin and Todd were both asked whether they knew of any potential physical threats against them, according to a deposition taken from one of Palin’s top aides following her election in Nov. 2006. Both said the only threat they were aware of was posed by Wooten.

Tactics Against Wooten Include Use of DVTRO / DVPO and Abuse of Power

Those familiar with the ugly divorce of Michael Wooten and Palin’s sister Molly know that Wooten isn’t free of mistakes. He’s failed to use turn signals while on duty. He illegally shot a moose without a permit. He taser-shocked his 11 year old stepson with his taser set to “test mode” which when you read the full story isn’t nearly as disturbing as the Palins are making it sound. Sarah Palin’s father’s close friend claims that he saw Wooten once drive away in his police vehicle while off-duty and not in uniform with an open beer on his way to his home a mile away, an incident that Wooten denies and for which there is no proof.

Those familiar with the divorce also know that the allegations made against Wooten were timed to be after the divorce started and were clearly motivated by the divorce. Allegations about incidents from years earlier were suddenly put into complaints against Wooten on the day off the divorce filing on April 11, 2005, or shortly thereafter. Molly and her typically abusive divorce attorney immediately filed for a Domestic Violence Protective Order (known as a DVPO in Alaska or a DVTRO in many other areas) against Wooten on the day of her divorce filing, but there was never any evidence to substantiate her allegations and the DVPO was dropped by the court less than a month after it was issued under the “presumption of guilt” standards common to these kinds of unconstitutional legal stunts:

(from Wikipedia: Michael Wooten)

Allegations that Wooten is violent and abusive

According to the Memorandum of Findings[26] and the suspension letter,[32] there was no finding that Wooten ever committed any act of violence against any person, other than the Taser incident. According to a police statement, McCann told police that Wooten never abused her.[25] According to a police statement, the DVPO was dissolved because there was no evidence of violence.[21][26]

According to various statements by Palin et al., Wooten is violent and abusive.[136] Various statements reference the DVPO as proof that Wooten is violent.[21][29][157][159][174][175] In a sworn statement, Todd Palin accused Wooten of “violent behavior” directed at four family members.[174] On September 2, 2008 Palin said that Wooten was guilty of “violent behavior … directed against … my sister.”[159] On September 17 McCain-Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton said Wooten “abused her [Palin’s] sister.”[176] On October 9 Stapleton said “there are numerous instances of abuse.”[177] On October 10 the McCain campaign accused Wooten of “violent behavior” directed at four family members in 2005 and early 2006.[175]

Threats against other family members
According to the Memorandum of Findings[26] and the suspension letter,[32] there was no finding that Wooten ever made any threat of violence against any person, other than Heath. The alleged threat against Heath was witnessed by no one outside the family. The suspension letter did not mention that threat. Another alleged threat, to “bring down” Sarah and her family, was witnessed only by McCann, and she stated that she understood it was not a threat of violence, but rather a threat “to make life difficult” for them.[26]

According to various statements by Palin et al., Wooten has made violent threats against various other members of her family, aside from Heath. For example, on September 15, 2008, Palin said Wooten had made “threats of violence” against McCann and Palin’s nephew.[136]

Threats subsequent to April 2005
In September 2008, Palin described Wooten as “a trooper who is making threats against the First Family.”[178] On September 18 she again mentioned “his threats against the First Family.”[84] This seems to indicate that Wooten has made threats subsequent to the time that Palin became governor. However, Palin’s September 2008 legal filings[114][136] do not detail any threats that took place after Palin became governor, or at any time since April 11, 2005, when the divorce was filed. Palin’s filing on September 1, 2008[114] said “no one in the Palin family ever filed a formal complaint,” subsequent to the complaints the family made in 2005.

Branchflower said “Palin has stated publicly that she and her family feared Trooper Wooten. Yet the evidence presented has been inconsistent with such claims of fear … she ordered a substantial reduction in manpower in her personal protection detail …, an act that is inconsistent with a desire to avoid harm from Trooper Wooten … [Palin’s] claims of fear were not bona fide and were offered to provide cover for the Palins’ real motivation: to get Trooper Wooten fired for personal family related reasons.”[179]

Branchflower wrote that in their first meeting with their security detail, the Palins were specifically asked if they knew of any threats against them. “They basically said no.”[180]

Duration and nature of the restraining order

According to the DVPO document itself, the DVPO was temporary, with a nominal 20-day duration. It was issued presumptively on April 11, 2005, based on allegations made by McCann that day, in her written application.[174] The DVPO document indicates that a hearing would be held to determine whether or not the temporary order should be extended into a long-term protective order. That hearing was originally scheduled for April 27 but actually took place on May 9. According to a police statement, the DVPO was dissolved at the May 9 hearing because McCann could not present evidence of violence.[21][26]

On September 2, 2008, Palin said “the Anchorage Superior Court [had found] that [Wooten] had engaged in serious, violent misconduct.”[159] According to a sworn statement by Todd Palin,[174] the DVPO extended into 2006. On September 16, 2008 the McCain campaign said “he [Wooten] is the subject of a Domestic Violence Protective Order,”[181] suggesting that the DVPO is still in effect. On October 10, 2008 the McCain campaign said Wooten was the subject of a DVPO “in 2005 and early 2006.”[175]

Palin’s Distortion of the Taser Incident

The taser incident in particular bears some detailed explanation because it shows how the Palin family can make something sound shocking and frightening to vilify Wooten when the actual facts of the matter didn’t even disturb them at the time it occurred. The family wasn’t “concerned” about it until about two years later when it provided for ammunition to use against Wooten in the divorce.

Wooten apparently thought that showing his 11 year old stepson who was fascinated with his taser how a training version (a “test mode”) of the taser worked would be acceptable and satisfy the boy’s curiosity. It wouldn’t hurt him, he really wanted to see it work, and other family members were present and were not alarmed by the idea. Cops using training versions of tasers on each other, they generate just a tiny fraction of the power level of a live taser device. Furthermore, Wooten took safeguards to ensure the child would not be harmed in any way and the whole family apparently laughed about the incident and the boy wanted to be tasered again.

(from Wikipedia: Michael Wooten)

Taser Incident

Wooten was also found to have violated department policy in using a Taser on his then 11-year old stepson in 2003. He told investigators that he did so “in a training capacity” after the child had asked to be tased. In a September 2008 newspaper interview, Wooten said that he set the Taser to “test” mode, meaning that it was on low power.[34][35] In a statement to police, the boy said “he wanted to be tased to show that he’s not a mommy’s boy in front of Bristol [his cousin, Palin’s daughter]. Following being tased he went upstairs to tell his mother that he was fine.”[21] In a statement to police, Molly McCann said “she was up stairs giving a bath to the kids … Mike was going to show Payton what it feels like and she told Mike that he better not.”[21] According to Molly’s account, she remained upstairs during the incident.

Although the Taser incident happened in 2003, it was not reported to police until on or after April 11, 2005, the day McCann filed for divorce. On June 6, 2005, a police investigator asked Bristol why they “waited so long and brought the incident up after two years.” Bristol said “because of the divorce and stuff”.[21]

But now Palin can inaccurately spin what happened to make Wooten sound like a dangerous and violent nutcase. In retrospect, Wooten acknowledges what he did was a mistake.

Michael Wooten Interview With CNN

What Palin and crew run around spewing as distortion to vilify Wooten over the taser incident is a bit like your ex and family are running around saying to everybody who will listen that you were shooting at your child with a loaded AK-47 and hit him and he was hurt and bleeding and that they saw this happen and therefore you are a terrible danger and should never see your son again. The real story is that you were having a squirt gun fight at a family summer party two years ago and gave your son a good soaking with a water squirt gun AK-47 replica, sometime during the party he tripped over the edge of the sidewalk and scraped his knee, he laughed at the funny shape the blood made, and then somebody put a bandage on the wound and he was off running around the rest of the night with no complaints. Nobody thought a thing about it for years until divorce was filed and distortion could be employed to make you sound like a psychopath.

What the Palins having done to Wooten is a total distortion of reality that sounds horrible and gets everybody to take their side except for the few parties that have bothered to take the time to understand the issues and facts. This is such a sick distortion that it makes a fair-minded person question the mental stability and fairness of the Palins and their family.

Allegations Investigated, Yet Many Unsubstantiated

The allegations the Palin family made against Wooten were investigated. Most of them were found to be unsubstantiated, but there was evidence some were true. Wooten was put on suspension for 5 days for his mistakes, including failure to use turn signals, the taser incident, illegally shooting a moose without a permit, and other allegations.

But after Sarah Palin became governor, she tried to get the matters reopened to go after Wooten further even though the disciplinary investigation and punishment were already completed months earlier. What was Sarah Palin doing making it her personal quest to nail Wooten, get him fired, and badmouth him around the community? It looks like a personal vendetta and an abuse of power.

Palin jabbers about Wooten supposedly making death threats against her father Chuck Heath over the telephone and claims she listened in on the conversation. Where are the recordings of this conversation? There are none? Alaska is reportedly a one party recording state, meaning that so long as one party to the conversation wants it recorded, a phone conversation can be legally recorded. This is unlike many other states which have ridiculous “all party” recording rules in which you’d have to have the agreement of the person making threats against you to record them making the threats or else you’re breaking the law.

While it is readily possible that they didn’t have a recorder handy, Palin’s statements in interviews don’t seem to match her statements to police and make it questionable that she truly believed that Wooten was ever a threat:

(from Long-Standing Feud in Alaska Embroils Palin)

A month later, Sarah Palin, then chairing the state oil and gas commission, was interviewed by a state police investigator about the argument. She told investigators that when she arrived at the house she could see Wooten “waving his arms.” She said she thought, “He is gonna blow it.” She said she left for a meeting without calling police.

You’ve really got to wonder that if Sarah Palin was really afraid of what Michael Wooten might do, then why did she just leave without doing anything about it? This gap between words and actions is typical of liars making accusations during divorces. Even if Wooten actually said anything remotely resembling her claims, Palin was likely clear that he was no threat and didn’t think until later about how she could distort reality for her sister’s benefit and Wooten’s detriment. She and her family have continued to try to harm Wooten by repeating their reality distortions to all who will listen.

(from Newsweek: Warned by the Court)

In a press release issued last week by her new lawyer, Palin continued to attack the character of Wooten—still serving as a state trooper in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla. The release repeats allegations that Wooten had threatened members of her family, including her father, with violence; that Wooten had threatened to “bring” Palin and members of her family “down;” and that Wooten had once been the subject of a court-imposed domestic-violence protection order. A court filing by Wooten’s lawyer indicates that within months of being issued, the violence protection order was dismissed.

Palin Interview with Fox News

Truth is Difficult to Know When Liars Are Involved

Outsiders may never really know the truth about what is happening in a high-conflict divorce or child custody dispute. Politicians have a well-earned reputation for being manipulative liars. Even though the allegations against Wooten were extensively investigated and written up, the Palins seem intent on continuing to slime Wooten with inaccurate statements and Wooten’s own mistakes hurt his reputation, too.

Levi Johnston doesn’t have a stellar reputation himself. Some of his detractors claim he’s an opportunistic media whore out to slime the Palin family with false accusations to get attention for himself. Others claim he’s a dolt who is falling into the trap of Democrats and the liberal media who seem to find every scandal and imagined scandal they can to smear Sarah Palin and her family.

Whether or not either of those suppositions are true, Johnston’s involvement in reporting stories such as Sarah Palin And Husband Don’t Sleep Together, Says Levi Johnston isn’t doing himself any good. It’s not good for Tripp, either. Palin may be an alienating freak grandmother, but odds are that Tripp is going to have some affection for her given how much time he spends in her home. Grandparental alienation is not a good thing, either, and Johnston would do well to refocus his animosity away from personal gossip that comes across as mean-spirited.

Johnston’s Hope Rests with Evidence

Johnston may be getting the shaft by the Palin family, but with big money, superior influence over courts in Alaska, and other unfair advantages propping up the Palin clan, he’s going to need to collect some solid evidence of the Palins interfering with fathering his son. We’d suggest he get witnesses, use extensive email and written communications setting up contact times, arrange for friends and family to audio record and videotape every one of his access attempts and visits, and to always record every phone conversation with any of them.

Often an alienated child will start to make ridiculous false negative comments about a target parent. While Tripp is likely too young to be doing this yet, in a a couple of years he’ll be talking up a storm and might start repeating anti-daddy statements made by mommy’s family. Having incriminating recordings of Tripp repeating the disparaging remarks from the Palin family would go a long way towards showing they really are parental alienators.

Levi Johnston should be watching out for a Palin-style defamation campaign against him. The false and distorted allegations they leveled against Wooten and continue to repeat make it clear that the Palin family will stoop to highly destructive and perhaps even illegal behaviors to harm somebody they want out of their lives or want to harm. Already Johnston is making innocent mistakes that could set him up as a target for vindictive harassers. For instance, he’s at risk for being wrongly accused of child pornography, as evidenced by this photo from NYMag article showing little Tripp’s unclothed pubic region with Levi standing over him. While this is not pornography and baby and toddler photos like these are common, it’s also very true that such photos have been used by the government to persecute unwitting parents who haven’t broken any laws.

Even when there’s no child custody battle involved, the government can use such photos to take your children away as they did to the Demaree family in Arizona thanks to Wal-Mart reporting their innocent baby bath pictures as child pornography. Even if the cops agree the photos are innocent, they can provide the pretense of “evidence” for a rubber-stamping judge to approve a search warrant or arrest warrant. This could quickly a person into lots of trouble, even if they never did anything wrong. For instance, if anybody ever used your computer even legally to view any picture that could be misportrayed as child porn, you could quickly find yourself charged with multiple counts of child pornography because of traces of evidence left on the PC thanks to how Windows and web browsers work. See target=”_blank” False Child Porn Persecution: The Child Custody Scenario for more details.

In divorces and child custody battles, such photos are even more likely to be distorted into something they are not. They are often used in divorces and child custody battles to wrongly portray a parent as a child molester and pornographer. Malicious parties start referring to them as “penis photos” (or “vagina photos” for baby girls) and other distortions just as the taser incident with Wooten was distorted. Malicious people like the Palins apparently are could get Levi harassed with a search warrant, investigated by Child Protective Services for pornography and sexual and emotional abuse of a child and banned from seeing Tripp, and even wrongly arrested by making false claims of child pornography over this photo. I truly hope that for Tripp’s sake, Bristol will keep her mother and other relatives from cruelly destroying Tripp’s father like that.

Political Opportunity for Palin

For those who may be thinking I’m a Democrat for dumping on the Palins, don’t try to pin down my political position because you’d likely be way off the mark. Both major US political parties are full of pandering corrupt scum whose only real interests are their pocketbooks and power plays.

It is long past time that a major US political party actually do more than give “lip service” to preserving children’s relationships with their families. The Democrats have absolutely no interest in this at all, they are too busy pandering to radical feminists who would be pleased for genocide against all males to come to fruition. Sexist opportunist Democrats like Jim Beall and Joe Biden push those anti-family and anti-father agendas every year.

While the Republican Party’s attempt at sucking up to “family value” voters seem to be siding with religious zealots and trying to turn the abortion debate into a campaign-winning issue it isn’t, they would do a lot better to show some genuine concern for stopping the government’s war on children, fathers, and families. The Republicans could push forward reforms in family law courts and the termination of unconstitutional and sexually discriminating legislation like VAWA (Violence Against Women Act — backed by the big feminazi himself, Joe Biden) which virtually turns fathers into criminals merely by the fact they have children with an alienating woman who doesn’t want them around and is willing to lie left and right to make it so.

The McCain and Palin camps during the 2008 US Presidential campaign repeatedly made false statements about Wooten. They characterized him as a violent person and stated that he was subject to a restraining order when there is no evidence for their statements, the DVPO tactic is a routine part of divorce case abuse against men, and the DVPO was dismissed by the court on May 9, 2005, less than a month into the divorce and more than three years before they were lying about Wooten during the campaign. This is a typical tactic of dishonest harassers during a divorce and custody battle. Many men and some women have experienced this.

While lying about this matter is plenty of reason for families who have been victimized by false accusers in divorces to vote against Palin and McCain in future elections, they should keep in mind that Democrats are responsible for many of the worst unconstitutional and abusive laws that allow false allegations in divorces to be turned into unwarranted restrictions of rights and disruption of parent/child relationships. VP Joe Biden in particular is one of the worst offenders in this area thanks to his Constitution-trampling civil-rights-crushing VAWA which treats men as guilty of domestic violence by accusation without any evidence required.

In a choice between Palin and Biden on this one area of civil rights and family rights, Biden’s record is even far worse than Palin’s. Barack Obama’s choice of Biden for VP is a disgusting choice for civil rights and family rights advocates. In short, all of the Republican and Democrat candidates for president and vice-president in 2008 were very bad choices for those in favor of fixing the hell that has been created by abusive government and laws in the realm of child custody and divorces. All of them have directly or indirectly participated in unwarranted government harassment against children and fathers during divorce.

It would be a very, very smart move for Sarah Palin to suck it up, apologize for whatever misunderstanding there are, and then to turn her family’s divorce and child custody messes into a political opportunity for herself. She should be personally ensuring every reasonable effort for Tripp to see his father frequently is made and well-documented with surveillance and witnesses that can talk with the courts and media if necessary. She should also be apologizing for her family’s animosity and their poor behavior during the divorce between Molly and Michael.

Voters may be able to get their mind around Palin having been angry and vindictive during her sister’s divorce as many of them have had this experience themselves. Palin would probably win some converts for admitting this is a mistake, talking about how this kind of destructive behavior hurts children and families, doing what she can to ensure it doesn’t occur again, and for pursuing measures to protect children and their families from being harmed by nasty child custody battles and wrongful government involvement in them.

Further Reading

Sarah Palin Accused of Alienating Grandson

He Shall Be Levi

Levi Johnston Says Sarah Palin Mocked Her Down Syndrome Baby; Palin Calls Him a Man-Whore

In US, Baby Bath Pictures Yield Living Hell for Family

Republicans Fail to Offer Family-Friendly Policy Choices

California Democrat Jim Beall Supports Child Abuse

The Gregory Mantell Show: Parental Alienation Syndrome

Richard Smulczewski Parental Alienation Case

Jayne Major: Common Questions About Parental Alienation

Kids’ Parental Alienation Book: “I Don’t Want to Choose!”

Loads of Info on Parental Alienation

Group of 50 Mental Health Experts Pushing to Add Parental Alienation to DSM

More articles mentioning parental alienation…

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