International custody quagmire: Court sends girl to father she fears

International custody quagmire: Court sends girl to father she fears

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Despite expert opinion warning against it, The Hague upheld US custody rulings and sent "Ruby" now aged 10 or 11 to live with her father who she says has been sexually abusing her since age 5

“The incidents of abuse and violence against children are so widespread that every child is at risk of becoming a victim,” says Sparc district Coordinator. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS -
“The incidents of abuse and violence against children are so widespread that every child is at risk of becoming a victim,” says Sparc district Coordinator. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS -

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2015 – A court in The Hague recently forced a child to live with the father she claims has molested her. This is the same court that recently heard cases involving notorious international criminal scofflaws like José Maria Sison, Frans Van Anratt, Heshamuddin Hesam and Habubullah Jalazoy.

Geerte Frenken first met David Hunter in 1998 while doing intake work for with Ibogaine for Ibeginagain, an alternative detoxification clinic for hard drug addicts, where Hunter was a patient. According to statements Hunter made on the internet, he has been using drugs off and on since he was 11 years old.

Frenken and Hunter met again in 2000 in San Francisco. They began dating and married in 2001. They had a daughter, Ruby, in 2004.

Frenken told CDN that when Ruby was about six months old, Frenken caught Hunter doing heroin. Later the same week, he admitted he was having an affair. The marriage, Frenken said, quickly fell apart. She and Ruby moved to Texas a few months later.

Frenken said that she had primary custody of Ruby, with Hunter getting visitation. Hunter, says Frenken, never asked for sole custody until allegations that he was molesting Ruby surfaced.

Frenken said that initially Hunter visited Ruby only sporadically. This lack of consistency became a source of tension between Frenken and Hunter because Frenken wanted Hunter to participate more regularly in Ruby’s life.

An email from Frenken to Hunter on Dec. 4, 2008, reflects that view. She wrote, “Can we get back to the discussion of earlier this year where you said you would be coming more regularly? At that point we talked about every six weeks. I understand if that is not feasible financially any longer, but I think there is a serious need for some consistency- a regular schedule Ruby can get used to.”

In 2009, a Nevada County court in California family court gave Frenken custody of Ruby 80 percent of the time with the rest to Hunter. However, Judge Julie McManus of Nevada County then changed the custody agreement, giving both Frenken and Hunter 50 percent custody.

In 2010, Hunter admitted to a drug relapse and failed two drug tests. Hunter was required by the courts to provide Frenken with the results of his drug tests. However, when he started to fail those tests, Frenken lacked the financial ability to challenge the custody ruling with the court.

Hunter told CDN that the failed drug tests were for prescription drugs. However, test results revealed levels of opiates, the primary ingredient in heroin.

Frenken said that around this time, Ruby started coming home angry and agitated from visits with her father.

“Ruby comes back from the visit with uncontrollable behavior again. Similar scenario as the previous visits: kicking, screaming, biting herself, biting me, bedwetting etc.” Frenken said of one visit. “This time she also starts leaving the lights on, even during the day and she won’t let me out of her sight. I even have to go to the bathroom with her. In my mind I am thinking: ‘what is going on’? She tells me she was being forced along a steep cliff by her father and she was afraid.”

In 2011, Frenken took Ruby to Kathryn Carter, a child therapist in Texas. Carter’s report concluded that Ruby was processing “humiliation, cruelty and revenge” and noted “sexualized behavior.”

In 2012, Frenken’s mother in the Netherlands became ill. Frenken and Ruby went to the Netherlands for what should have been a short visit.

During that trip to the Netherlands, Frenken said her daughter confided that Hunter had been “touching me in the private parts” and that this had gone on since she was four years old.

Days later, Ruby was referred by Dutch Child Protective Services to a State Mental Health Institute for Children called GG Net Jeugd where for the next eight months experts in child abuse tested, interviewed, and investigated the claims.

Dr. Rita Zecher Ianhoro led the investigation and submitted a report January 31, 2013.

“I ask her what the visits with father were like. Ruby becomes anxious and the building blocks with which she was building a portal on the table fall down. ‘Father should be locked up,’ says Ruby.” Dr. Zecher’s report stated. “When I ask why, Ruby becomes angry, ‘because he touched my private parts.’ When I ask when this started, Ruby said it happened at age 4 and when she was five and six years old.”

“Since the start of her treatment, Ruby states that she definitely does not want to return to her father. She is quite emphatic about this,” reported Dr. Zecher.

Frenken said that when she told Hunter about the results of the investigation and about her intention to stay in the Netherlands because she no longer had the funds to fight custody he filed an appeal with the International Court in The Hague demanding that Ruby return to the United States.

Hunter, his current U.S. attorney, Kelly Reiter, and Dona Woods Glanz, who represented him in custody hearings in Nevada County from 2009 to 2014, all say the charges against Hunter are false.

“These incidents did not happen,” Glanz said.

Hunter added that he was “thoroughly investigated by the Fairfax Police Dept. and the Marin County DA’s special investigator on all of her allegations, all of which were dismissed.” Hunter also stated that the DA’s office and Child Protective Services conducted the investigation. He also claimed that Ruby was questioned in his presence. If true, this would represent a substantial breach of protocol for investigations of child abuse.

CDN could not independently verify that any investigation has been conducted.

“I think she suffers from some pretty serious mental health issues,” Reiter said about Frenken in a voice mail. Those sentiments were echoed by Hunter in an email, “You sir, are dealing with a pathological liar/ hypocritical ex-junkie/sexworker woman with serious emotional problems.”

But a 2010 custody evaluation paints a more complicated picture, showing that both parents were dealing with some normal psychological issues.

“Dave scored in the high category on the histrionic clinical personality scale, and in the low category on the compulsive, narcissistic, and antisocial clinical personality scales, in that order.”

“Regarding diagnostic impressions, Geerte’s psychological testing is associated with moderate paranoid personality functioning, and partial breakdowns of reality testing under stress. Concerns with respect to psychosomatic problems were also suggested, but this may be an understandable spike in her psychological testing based on her ongoing physical disability issues.”

Frenken said that the child abuse team at GG Net was not allowed to testify at The Hague. Ruby, according to Frenken, did testify, and repeated that she didn’t want to go back with her father.

According to information from the Court, “In the interview for this appeal the minor child showed a great resistance to returning to the USA. She does not want to return because she is afraid the Father will visit her and states she does not feel safe with him. She is very angry because she has the feeling no one is listening to her.”

The Hague Court dismissed Ruby’s testimony, stating that it was of the opinion “that the minor child did not show a sufficient degree of maturity during the hearing in the judge’s chambers, so that the views of child cannot be taken into account.”

Frenken’s Dutch attorney, Ariane Hendriks, said that the psychiatrist hired by The Hague court also concluded that Ruby should not be reunited with her father: “(a) child psychologist spoke with Ruby during the cross-border mediation that took place between Geert and Mr. Hunter. The child psychologist had agreed to supervise a meeting between Ruby and her father within the context of the mediation UNLESS she would find that Ruby’s resistance against meeting her father was so strong that in her professional opinion, enforced contact would be against Ruby’s best interests. And this is what she found. No supervised meeting took place during mediation because the child psychologist was of the opinion that this was not responsible.”

The Hague ignored Ruby’s request and recommendations by both psychologists and ruled in jurisdictional grounds, “Now that the grounds for refusal as referred to in Article 1 paragraph 13, subparagraph b, and paragraph 2 do not apply, while less than one year has passed since the illegal detention and submitting the petition, the minor child must be returned at once.”

The decision stated that since a U.S. court gave joint custody to both parents in the USA, this situation should continue.

In issuing this decision, The Hague Court ignored its own convention, which states that a child would not be sent back if, “there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation. The judicial or administrative authority may also refuse to order the return of the child if it finds that the child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.”

An email to The Hague Court was not returned.

On May 21, 2015, Hunter’s girlfriend emailed Frenken, scolding her for starting a website on the story. However, in the email she suggested that Hunter was in fact abusing her daughter: “You name her school and show her photos though. She will be a teenager soon and will have Internet access, if you were a young victim of abuse; would you want all that splashed all over the world for anyone to see?”

She later clarified to CDN that she only wrote this because Frenken believes the claims. “My comment was taken entirely wrong. I only meant for Geerte to reconsider sharing all that personal information in the permanent context of cyber space. I believe that Geerte was, personally, a young victim of abuse and I believe she’s putting all her past experiences onto Ruby.”

Frenken denies that she was ever abused and this purported claim, she told CDN, is part of a campaign to gas-light her.

Neither Hunter nor his girlfriend provided any evidence, besides their accusations, that Frenken had been abused.

After the verdict, Frenken hid with Ruby for about six months. She then returned to the Netherlands,  at which point a SWAT team removed Ruby from her custody. Ruby was then deported back to the United States.

Ruby has been living with her father since April 2014. Frenken said she has been allowed only one session on Skype with Ruby over the last six weeks.

While CDN is the first media to cover this story in the USA, her story has received some traction in the Netherlands.

Reiter said Ruby is doing “great” since moving back to the USA. She admitted, however, that she has had no personal contact with Ruby.

After spending a decade in finance, Michael Volpe has been a freelance investigative journalist since 2009. His work has been published locally in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Crusader, Chicago Heights Patch, and New City. Nationally, Volpe‘s work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, Capital Research Center, Communities Digital News, Crime Magazine, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Newsletter, and Counter Punch. Volpe has been recognized by leading whistleblowers as leading the charge in getting their stories out. Volpe‘s first book Prosecutors Gone Wild was released in 2012 and his second book The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers was released in 2013. His third book tentatively titled Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Family Court Nightmare is scheduled for a summer 2015 release.


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