A Crime of Parental Alienation - Part 3

The trial continued today with what seemed to be a set back at first, but actually may have saved the case from appeal, as well as an attack on our very constitutional right to freedom of speech.


Part 3 in a Series of Articles


By Joan Kloth-Zanard, RSS, ABI and LC


Yesterday, I reported about Day 1 in the trial of Mr. Jerry Mastrangelo and his ex-wife, Trudianne Formica.  There was so much that was said, that I could not get all of it into yesterdays article. 

Yesterday’s trial began with barely any seats left in the galley of the courtroom.  It was a diverse audience with the father’s family and friends.  There was not a single person there in support of the mother.  Not even her own parents.  In addition, Mr. Mastrangelo’s business partner, Michael Katz, a former Mr. Universe and Jets Football player, came to listen and testify.  Mr. Katz, who testified as a character witness yesterday, is a godfather to one of the triplets.  He spoke briefly about how he has known the triplets since their premature birth at 1½ lbs. and like the father, has spent little to no time with the children in nearly 2 years.  In edition to Mr. Katz’s, State Senator Len Fasano, stopped by to show his support.

This leads us into today’s trial, which opened up with a retraction by Judge Mark Gould of his decision yesterday to not allow Dr. Benjamin Garber to testify as to the validity of Dr. Amy Baker’s testimony on Parental Alienation in general.  The judge stated that in practicality, it is important to have a swift trial but that in the ‘Best Interest of the Children” (BIC), and fairness to all parties, that Dr. Garber’s testimony needed to be heard.  Attorney Norm Pattis objected to “further delays” arguing that though he understands the need for fairness, this would delay the case again.  And that in fairness to the father and the children there should be no more delays.  He further expressed concern that there were urgent needs based on the children’s lack of a relationship and impediments by Mrs. Formica, who would now “benefit” from the delay by getting another 3 months to further brainwash the children to hate their father.  In the fact, the only one that was smiling was Mrs. Formica, who has stolen the hearts, souls and mind of the children.  Attorney Norm Pattis has realistic concerns based on the number of times this case has been postponed. The fact is, this case, was initially scheduled to be heard in October 2011.  Attorney Tom Esposito, one of three attorneys for the mother, argued that the trial cannot move forward until Dr. Garber's testimony has been heard.

I agree with both sides of this argument as timeliness is important to the children’s best interests, but fairness to the plaintiff must be considered.  As well, if he does not let Dr. Garber’s testimony in, it would be grounds for appeal.  And so Judge Gould is correct in his reversal, as it would only be fair to hear what the other side has to say about the general testimony and validity of Parental Alienation in the courts.  Unfortunately, as the judge pointed out, due to the thousands of family court cases and the scheduling conflicts with all attorneys, the trial will be held off until December 3. Judge Gould did state that he will do anything in his power to accommodate hearing Dr. Garber's testimony before December if counsel can coordinate their schedules while the two sides try to “effectuate”, that is accomplish, getting Dr. Garber’s testimony heard in a more timely manner.

But that was not the end of today’s hearing.  Apparently, the Attorney for the Minor Children, AMC Anne Epstein, was upset that articles had appeared in the New Haven Register and Southbury Patch with her name, the parent’s names and references made about the children including a picture.   Evidently, she felt it was “outrageous” that this case has become so high profile in the papers and was concerned about the affect on the children.  But what is ironic and really kind of sad in this reporters opinion is that this is the only time in which the AMC showed any concern for the best interest of the children; afterall, these same children have been denied a relationship with a good, loving father for nearly two years. As Norm Pattis so eloquently stated in court, "if the GAL, Lynn Pellegrino had been doing her job, none of us would be here today." He went on to make mention about what is going on in the "Formica Household" is in question and the right for Mr. Mastrangelo to have a relationship with is children is the real crime here. Keep in mind Mr. Mastrangelo has a court order for joint legal physical custody of his children since December of 2007 that no one has bothered to address.  The system seems to be terribly broken.

In addition to Attorney Epstein's objection to media coverage in this case, we can't help but to be reminded of other high profile cases such as Dwayne Wade, who just released his book regarding parental alienation and fatherhood. Wade was very candid about how he was the target of parental alienation, which caused his two boys to reject him. And then there is Halle Berry, who is trying to make up excuses as to why she needs to move her daughter to France, away from her father. Or Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. Even though these families are celebrities, they're no different than the Mastrangelo case. Since I am a sympathetic and compassionate reporter and human being, I will reframe from using the children's names or photographs in my future articles. Perhaps one thing the triplets can learn, along with thousands of other children of parental alienation, is that they are not alone and a father such as Mr. Mastrangelo is fighting for them. He is not abandoning them just because they're brainwashed to think he is the worst father on the face of the earth.

What is really outrageous according to Attorney Norm Pattis is that "had the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), Lynn Pelligrino and AMC Anne Epstein, done her job”, instead of allowing this case to drag out, things would not have escalated.  The father would not have had to go back to court to ensure the rights of his children and him to have a healthy relationship that is not impeded on by the mother.  But the fact of the matter is that this reporter actually did contact Trudianne Formica before any of these articles were published to get her side of the story.  Mrs. Formica, as is her rights, declined to return this reporter’s two phone messages.  And though this could be construed as not in the best interest of the children, Judge Gould, who seems to be a fair and honest man, also knew that this matter was really about our constitution right for Freedom of Speech. Thus Judge Gould took this issue out of his courtroom stating it was a Supreme Court issue and he was not going to quash those rights.

In summary, this notion of the Best Interest of the Child has many flaws.  One of which is the constant delay in cases and refusal of one parent to comply with the courts orders.  Though for most adults, 3 months seems like not very much time.  To the average child, 3 months is like a lifetime.  And as we all remember being young and thinking that Christmas was so far away, for this father, it means another Christmas without his kids.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Erin Miller September 15, 2012 at 03:35 AM
This is such a helpful series of articles on a very important, heart-breaking issue. Parental alienation is impeding healthy relationships between good parents and their children for no good reason. And it's happening far too often! Thank you for helping to educate and spread the word about this.
Joan Kloth-Zanard September 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Erin: You are welcome. I hope that by writing this series, we can start to make a difference. Time is of the essence when it comes to the children. 3 months to us is not a lot of time but to a child it is a lifetime.
bob September 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM
One sided, slanted reporting. You should be ashamed of yourself for not providing a balanced account.
Joan Kloth-Zanard September 21, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I would have but despite 3 attempts to contact the other side asking for their side, they have not even had the courtesy to call me back to even say, No thanks. Not even a request to contact their attorney. In fact, if you bother to read all of my articles you will see that I understand why Alienators behave this way, but it still does not make it okay for the kids. And if you bothered to read my article and understand it, you would see that I side with the other side and the judges decisions to do what he is doing. So no this is not a one sided but a reporting of what occurred in court. To that end, please if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything, because I really did try to get the other sides story several times and they refused to respond. So I did do what I was supposed to do, the other side decided to not be heard, which means I have nothing to report on from their perspective.
An Honest Observation October 14, 2012 at 05:30 AM
A balanced account says Bob! I wonder if he is a parent. How would he react if his wife cheated on him, removed his pictures from the home and replaced them with her lover's picture right after the separation,filed for divorce and then defied a court order which granted him joint custody. How would he feel if, after the children began the transition of adjusting to the divorce (that took 2 years and cost thousands of dollars) and was having fun with him, his wife allowed the children to call him names, ignore him, refuse to go to court ordered therapy sessions and then refuse to even speak to him on the phone or spend any time with him or his family.Talk about shame...this mother should be filled with shame!
Joan Kloth-Zanard March 08, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Actually, you need to get your facts straight. Trudianne was cheating on Jerry with Dr. Formica while on a vacation she asked Jerry to pay for. In fact, Dr. Formica within a month or so of Jerry and Trudianne being divorced, had installed bunk beds in a room in his townhouse for the Mastrangelo kids. Jennifer and Jerry were not even dating yet. I am not sure they even knew each other yet. Furthermore, Jerry spoke with a family therapist about when the best time was to introduce a new partner. He was advised to wait 2.5 years, which he relayed to Trudianne, who promptly made sure the kids knew who Dr. Formica was. Jerry, on the other hand, waited the stated time before introducing the kids to Jennifer. Time to get your facts straight. My facts can actually be proven with solid evidence and bills from the Bahamas where Trudianne on Jerry's dime, wined and dined with Dr. Formica.
Paula March 08, 2013 at 02:37 AM
I employed Jennifer and recruited her from another State and she hadn't moved back to CT until February, 2005. I was the person who introduced Jennifer to Jerry to cover a meeting that I was unable to attend at that time. Jennifer went in my place. From what I'm reading in the various posts, this would mean that Jerry never even knew Jennifer until several months after Trudianne met up with Dr. Formica in Bermuda. The timeline of who met whom and where, is all documented in depositions taken of Dr. Formica and Trudianne. Please everyone understand that the wellbeing of their children is at stake and all of this conjecture isn't helping anything. Here we go, adults more concerned with their own interest and forgetting what this is all about. The crime of parental alienation.
Joan Kloth-Zanard March 08, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Paula, thank you. You are quite correct that this "don't worry" is more concerned with who thinks they like who, than what is important for these kids. The kids are already having serious issues from not being allowed to have their father in their life. That should say it all right there. Kids need both parents and not be made to choose between them. At a recent rally in Wallingford, an Adult child of PAS spoke up about what it was like for her. She felt pressured to stay with her alienating mother. She felt obligated to say horrific things to her father, whom she loved dearly. And even to this day, despite having rekindled her relationship with her father and forgiven her mother, she still feels guilty about the mean and hurtful things she felt forced to say to her father.
Connecticut Resident March 08, 2013 at 02:55 AM
http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=NNHFA054012782S. Trudianne Formica v Jerry Mastrangelo - notice how Trudianne filed a motion for possession of premises the day Dr. Richard Formicas divorce was finalized 9/13/05 Trudianne Formica v Jerry Mastrangelo http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=NNHFA054010870S. Dr.Richard Formica's divorce records
Paula March 08, 2013 at 03:27 AM
When my parents divorced after 18 years, my mom still encouraged us to spend time with our father. Their issues, were their issues and did not have anything to do with their love for me and my siblings. The one thing that got us through the pain of their divorce, was knowing my parents loved us. If we were alienated from our dad, we would have believed otherwise. A son needs his father as a roll model and a girl needs someone to look up to. Why take that away from your children? ...unless you care more about your own selfish needs over your childrens.
Joan Kloth-Zanard March 08, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Paula, you are so dead on. At our recent rally, an adult child of custodial interference/parental alienation spoke. She wept as she talked about the pain and guilt she felt over the things she said and did to her father, whom she loved dearly. She spoke of how it felt like her entire childhood had been taken away and she had to become an adult too early in life. She felt like she could have chosen normal if she went to live with her father, but because of her mother's depression and other issues, she had to choose chaos to be there for her mother. In the end, she says she still would have wanted a relationship with both her parents and not the disjointed guilty ridden one that she had to keep sucked inside for her father.
An Honest Observation March 22, 2013 at 01:05 AM
These innocent children are scarred for life due to the selfish and controlling behaviours of the alienating parent. These alienating parents think of their own needs but claim to have their child's best interest in mind. Jerry Mastrangelo is a dedicated and loving dad who was undermined as the triplets dad. He has the support of so many; the courtroom was always packed because we know he was unjustly alienated from his children. Stop this child abuse before it claims the emotions of another child!
PAS Intervention March 22, 2013 at 02:08 PM
An Honest Observation, yes you are so right. These children are the future of this country. They have warped views of their world and life, and this is what they will base how they live as an adult.
An Honest Observation March 29, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Joan, your efforts are endless...you are helping thousands of children by being their voice. Alienated children are innocent victims of a parent who has an intense need to control their minds and,ultimately, their actions toward the other parent. Hating a parent is unnatural and so very damaging to any child. These children grow up with so many trust issues and are never in control of their emotions.The team of court room vultures (the attorneys who represent the alienating parent, the GAL, and the attorney for the children) can claim this blame as they enjoy the thousands of dollars they, so easily, manage to rip out of the wallet of the targeted parent. Parental Alienation is the ultimate betrayal of a child. Shame on these individuals who hide behind these innocent children and bigger shame on the CT courtrooms where this happens on a daily basis.
Joan Kloth-Zanard March 29, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Yes, An Honest Observation, the money highway has to stop. GAL's should NOT be attorneys as they do NOT have intense training in Marriage and Family Therapy. Their training is so limited that they cannot comprehend the damages to the human mind by this type of psychological abuse. All of them need this type of training if they are going to work in the family courts.
An Honest Observation May 31, 2013 at 11:54 PM
The GAL's are terrific secretaries; writing without picking their heads up while in court, charging their lawyer fees but not doing their real job investigating the real family dynamics. You would wonder how they manage to sleep at night knowing that they work for years to keep the same family separated from their children, charging thousands of dollars and, ultimately, causing such harm to innocent children who are torn between two parents. Thanks to terrific dads like Jerry Mastrangelo who has been fighting for years to see his alienated triplets, the role of the GAL is now under scrutiny. Their profitable "gig" is now exposed and change is coming!
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 01, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Honest Observation, you are so right. I think the key is that we need to start focusing on the Children's Rights and not the parent's rights since parent's right seem to mean nothing. The children have a right to healthy, happy, unimpeded relationship with both parents. These professionals take an oath to protect the children's best interests which includes their rights. So why are they still not doing this?
Joan Kloth-Zanard August 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM
I cannot answer that question at the moment, Lucas. But maybe someone else out there knows the answer. I had to have surgery a week ago, and I am still pretty out of it.
Joan Kloth-Zanard August 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Lucas, thanks.
Joan Kloth-Zanard August 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM
By the way, for anyone interested, the CT Chapter of PASI and PAAO USA meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month in Southbury from 6pm-9pm at the St. James Lutherian Church at 111 Peters Road. Please let us know if you would like to join by reaching out to us at either CTPASI@pas-intervention.com or http://www.meetup.com/PASA-NY-CT/events/133922792/
An Honest Observation September 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM
The parental alienation case of Jerry Mastrangelo and his triplets is still going on. Why wouldn't it when the courts keep these cases ongoing and the lawyers crave the thousands of dollars that they are making by keeping a loving parent away from his children. Their mother and step father certainly do nothing to encourage breaking this cycle of child abuse; they must love the enpowerment they have over three innocent minds.


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