WASHINGTON, APRIL 4, 2017 – Despite claiming to have no jurisdiction in the Grazzini-Rucki matter, the Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office has been deeply involved in the case.
Judge David Knutson forcibly removed Grazzini-Rucki from her home on September 7, 2012. That removal, done without a warrant or formal hearing, followed an alleged “telephonic conference” which was called after Dr. Paul Reitman wrote the judge a letter stating his concern for her children in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s care.
Reitman, who had been appointed weeks before the removal, allegedly spent approximately thirty minutes interviewing Grazzini-Rucki and her children before writing the letter that triggered Grazzini-Rucki’s vacate order.
Knutson held the telephone conference with Lisa Henry, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliott, David Rucki’s attorney, and Julie Friedrich the children’s Guardian ad Litem (GAL). But Reitman, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and/or her ex-husband, David Rucki, were not present.
From that conference, Judge Knutson ordered Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to vacate her home and cease all communications with her five children on September 7, 2012.
In 2013, Knutson was sued by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her five children for a series of civil rights violations. He was represented by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.
Removing Sandra Grazzini-Rucki from the home was the start of a chain of events which culminated in her two oldest daughters running away on April 19, 2013, staying voluntarily at a horse farm for abused children.
They were found in November 2015, and their mother, her advocate Dede Evavold, and the two individuals, Gina and Doug Dahlen, who ran the horse farm were charged with an assortment of crimes.
In the summer of 2013, Grazzini-Rucki and her attorney Michelle MacDonald went to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to ask for an investigation into allegations of David Rucki’s domestic abuse and into allegations of sexual assault of the daughters against Dr. James Gilbertson.
Grazzini-Rucki said that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office told her that, despite the evidence provided, they refused to move forward unless her two daughters, then missing, came forward to make a complaint themselves.
Dr. Gilbertson was brought into the case by Judge Knutson in September 2012 to be a therapist for the five Rucki children.
“He kept rubbing me and I told him to stop. I’m like ‘can you please stop?’” Sami Rucki said in an audio tape which was posted on You Tube but has since been removed, “Then he put his hand on my back almost like what couples do. It’s disgusting and I’ve told him to stop numerous times when he puts his hands on my shoulder and this is not just in the last even when it happens with him…But this time was different; there was a bulge in his pants this time.”
A phone call to Dr. Gilbertson’s office was left unreturned.
Grazzini-Rucki said that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office promised to protect her daughters if they came forward. After the girls were found in November 2015, the office did not step in and protect them as promised in that meeting. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office also refused to interview the three children already in David Rucki’s custody though all the children alleged abuse.
But that’s not what the office recently told CDN when contacted for comment:
“This office has no authority in the Grazzini-Rucki case,” said Laura Flanders, a staffer in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office said in March 2017 letter to CDN.
The tact does not surprise John Hentges, another parent battling court officials on behalf of his children and suffering from disingenuous actions by the court, who told CDN that rather than representing the people of Minnesota the office covers up and represents the corrupt public officials.
“I reported the corruption to her (Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General) and to the governor and to the Minnesota Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.” Hentges.
Hentges said he spent time in jail for failure to pay child support for a bill which had already been paid in another state and his trials in the Minnesota Justice System opened his eyes.
“I found several other things they were doing in the criminal justice system.” Hentges said. “I firmly believe that nearly every single case in the 1st Judicial District is fixed in one way or another.”
The 1st Judicial District in Minnesota is where Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s custody and criminal cases were held. As in her case, Hentges alleges that evidence and witnesses vital to his defense were withheld during his case.
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki also made an affirmative defense, arguing that she feared for her daughters’ safety in the custody of her ex-husband, David Rucki, whose criminal history includes: a bar fight, a road rage incident, incidents of stalking, multiple violations of restraining orders, and choking his wife with an organ leg, but the trial judge, Karen Asphaug, disallowed most of it from coming into evidence.
In Hentges’ case, evidence of the mortgage being paid off was not allowed into the trial. Hentges also wanted to argue that his entire savings account which was to be used for the children, roughly $500,000, was given in full to his ex-wife, but this too was not allowed into evidence by his judge, Michael Baxter. Housing and schooling are also supposed to be factors in determining child support payments.
Hentges said he planned to call more than twenty witnesses, including his ex-wife, but all his witnesses were denied.
Hentges said he was worth roughly $2 million before his divorce but his entire fortune was given to his ex-wife, and like in the Grazzini-Rucki case, the court still went after him for child support obligations.