Minnesota Exposed: “Tough on Crime” but Silent on Abuse (Grazzini-Rucki Case Update)

I’m the toughest on crime that ever lived, I make Elliott Ness look like nothing.  I think for some reason the authoritiehave dropped the ball on this case.” – per Ron Rosenbaum (Holding Court Podcast Thu, 22 October 2015) claims he is paraphrasing James Backstrom.

County Attorney James C. Backstrom

The Lakeville police have mishandled the investigation of the missing Rucki sisters – worked to cover up child abuse, and tainted the investigation with bias and misinformation. Innocent children are being punished for the actions of an abuser, and those who are charged with protecting them have failed to keep them safe.

 Ongoing Child Abuse Cover Up 

From the beginning, the Lakeville Police have failed to protect those victimized by David Rucki – Sandra and the children, the neighbors, and the public. Had the Lakeville Police properly intervened, the escalating behavior could have been prevented, and the children could have been spared the abuse they have suffered (and continue to suffer.)



Laura Miles GAL Coordinator

The Lakeville police are aware of multiple abuse allegations concerning the Rucki sisters made before their disappearance. NONE of these allegations were ever investigated by the police. The sisters had also attempted to run away in Sept. 2012, again because they did not feel safe.

The Rucki sisters also reported  abuse to numerous professionals, doctors, therapists, friends – and each time the family court professionals, under the jurisdiction of Judge Knutson, ignored or dismissed their cries for help. Even after being “recovered”, the Rucki sisters again stated to anyone who would listen, that they were afraid of their father, David Rucki, that he had abused them, and that they would run away if returned to his care. Instead of listening to their cries for help, the police and court system have chosen to listen to the abuser.

Judge David Knutson

Judge David Knutson


Dr. Paul Reitman, Clinical Psychologist


Julie Friedrich, GAL

 Rogue Drone – Detective Jim Dronnen Erases Report of OFP Violation

Image from sunthisweek.com

Image from sunthisweek.com

Det. Jim Dronen should have never been assigned to this case because of his past involvement with David Rucki.

In 2011, Det. Dronnen handled a case where Rucki was charged with an OFP violation. Dronnen had the charge not only dismissed but wiped completely off MNCIS.

Lakeville Appoints Det. Dronen to “Most Bizarre” Case

Det. Jim Dronnen began working on the case in 2014, and bragged that “the Rucki case was virtually the only one he worked on”. How is this possible? What about the violent crimes, unsolved cases and other threats to public safety? How can the Lakeville police direct one investigator to this case – and yet also fail to issue an Amber Alert or fail to do a local search for the missing sisters?

The Lakeville police also failed to contact Trish Van Pilsum, who interviewed the the girls for a story after they had run away. There was a crucial period of time to gather information that was totally ignored. Yet, at a later date, the Lakeville police had multiple conversations with Brandon Stahl and Michael Brodkorb of the Star Tribune…after the girls were missing for almost 2 years! What is the difference? The Star Tribune had aligned with the Lakeville police in covering up abuse, while Van Pilsum was exposing it.

The Lakeville police had mishandled previous reports of abuse made in connection to David Rucki, and needed to keep the allegations silent to avoid responsibility for their role in the escalating conflicts. In order for this cover-up to be successful, one party must be targeted a scapegoat. 

Just A “Very Sad Case…(of a) Nasty Divorce” or a High Profile Case for Lakeville?

Instead of correctly naming, and investigating the abuse, the Lakeville police have begun a disinfo campaign to say this case is really just a “high conflict” divorce issue.

Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long says this case “is one of the most ‘bizarre’ cases he has seen throughout his 29-year career..” Keep in mind that Chief Long has investigated murder, rape and other serious crimes.. and yet we are to believe this is “the most bizarre”? 

The Lakeville police ignored the history of abuse, ignored documentation of abuse , and ignored the reason the Rucki sisters ran away. They stated they did not want to live in the care of paternal aunt Tammy Love, which is in itself may be an indicator of abuse. 

If the sisters did not run away due to abuse, what led up to this? According to Detective Dronnen,of the Lakeville Police Dept. “This is a very sad case that just shows how nasty divorce can be…When you have people that are just working so hard to win, it can just make things really, really nasty and there’s really no winners.” 

The police listened with a sympathetic ear to David complain about suing Sandra for the money in her family trust. What does that have to do with the missing Rucki sisters?





Millionaire David Rucki then used money from the Wetterling Foundation to pay for all expenses for the Rucki sisters to be shipped, with a retired security officer so they would not run away again, on a plane to California for “intense therapy lasting 6-8 hours a day” to “de-program” the girls in a treatment facility, transcripts state, which was used by the Feds on numerous occasions.

David confided to an officer that “the MN Attorney General’s Office was conducting an investigation which involved the two missing girls in this case.”  According to David Rucki, the Attorney General’s Office is now involved in a missing persons case? 

The Lakeville police also utilized the resources of the BCA to collect DNA samples on the sisters as well as dental records. 

Why all of this effort? I would argue that Lakeville’s interest in this case was not so much in finding the Rucki sisters, but had to do more with this being a high-profile case that would increase the prestige of the police department. 

 A Pat on the Back for the Good ‘Ole Boys

IN 2015, Det. Dronnen was named officer of the year. And Det. Dronnen recently received a Medal of Commendation related to his work on the Rucki case (May 2016) . Mayor Matt Little personally praised him, saying, “If you continue to receive all that pressure, we’ve got your back and we’ll support you for the whole way.” Det. Dronnen is given one of the highest awards for law enforcement service, usually reserved for those who risk their lives in the line of duty, for one case that was supplemented with help from the Star Tribune?

If this is not a Red Herring Alert, I don’t know what one is! Stay tuned for updates on the Grazzini-Rucki case… 

Additional Sources:

Charges Filed Following Discovery of Missing Rucki Sisters

The Provocateur: David Rucki’s Greatest Hits (Michael Volpe)

Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse? (Michael Volpe)

(2011) Judge Knutson Orders Reunification Therapy with David Rucki and Children, while HRO in place

Lakeville detective receives medal of commendation

RĒ TALLY Ā SHEE ŌNN? (Det Dronnen)


MN Rogue Psychologists/Therapists


Image Courtesy of Ambro @ FreeDIgitalPhotos.net

“Parental Alienation Syndrome”

Rogue Psychologists/Therapists such as Paul Reitman, James Gilbertson, and others have been allowed to “infiltrate the family courts” via the Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) roster to overlay what is by its very nature an unsubstantiated “bogus diagnosis” on what cannot be diagnosed. One cannot diagnose a good parent or use a diagnosis to determine or deny a parent custody.  Because even if some mental illness exists, under the Civil Rights Act that parents cannot be discriminated against on the basis of some real or perceived mental disability.  The big problem currently in MN is Parental Alienation Syndrome-PAS which is tantamount to Voodoo, yet our courts even at the appellate level seem to embrace PAS. Educating our courts about the true nature of PAS and to reject such “PAS-voodoo” is essential. Kim Bukstein, MN Civil Rights Advocate      

A SENE is  a voluntary process parents may choose to participate in when they disagree about custody or parenting issues. The ENE is used in divorce cases as well as in custody cases, and can also be used for post-decree disputes. It is an alternative dispute resolution process similar to mediation.

What is “Parental Alienation Syndrome

Appeals Court Judge Issues Absurd Decision (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Case)   Excerpts Below:

Judge Knutson refused to hold a hearing or to even schedule one. Minnesota Statutes § 589.29 is not applicable.

The habeas corpus statute is useless for Sandy and all other Minnesotans because of a very stupid appeals court judge and a very corrupt district court judge. The legislature may as well not have passed a law to protect citizens from wrongfully losing a liberty interest.

At the hearing on September 7, 2012, Judge Knutson declared that Sandy had the condition of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). He based this declaration on the reports of two whacko psychologists, Dr. Paul Reitman and Dr. James Gilbertson. In August, 2012, at the request of father’s lawyer, Judge Knutson appointed Dr. Reitman as an “expert” on PAS. Dr. Reitman was paid by the children’s father, a millionaire businessman who has an extensive history of domestic violence. Dr. Reitman reported this finding even though he had met with Sandy and her children for only about one-half hour. He did not conduct any evaluations or administer any psychological tests. PAS is widely discredited. “Although there are no data to support the phenomenon called parental alienation syndrome, the term is still used by some evaluators and courts to discount children’s fears in hostile and psychologically abusive situations.” American Psychological Society Task Force Report 40. “PAS as a scientific theory has been excoriated b legitimate researchers across the nation.” Dr. Paul J. Fink, past President of the American Psychiatric Association. “The scientific status of PAS is, to be blunt, nil.” Emery, Otto & Donohue (2005) PAS is “probably the most unscientific piece of garbage I’ve seen in the field in all my time.” Professor Jon Conte, a leading expert on child sexual abuse. “The theory positing the existence of ‘PAS’ has been discredited by the scientific community.” NCJFCJ Custody Guidelines, p.24 “PAS is not recognized by any professional associations, including the American Psychiatric Association.” National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse/National District Attorneys Association.

Continue Reading: http://carvercountycorruption.com/2013/04/30/appeals-court-judge-issues-absurd-decision/

Dakota County MN Judge David L. Knutson/Case of Grazzini-Rucki

Below are comments on the post above from Investigative Blogger Victoria Englund-Let’s Get Honest Blog.  Victoria has analyzed and written about Family and “Concilliation” Courts, Operations, Practices and the History of how these Courts have developed.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)

Generally speaking, the AFCC  is favorable to (abusive) fathers’ rights, and the industries of supervised visitation, parent education, and of course as much custody evaluation as possible. A related organization NACC (based in Colorado) tries to get a Guardian ad-Litum (GAL) appointed wherever. From what I can tell, the GALs are rarely neutral

  1. In all of these groups, some of the money is made and control established through the trainings. Continuing legal education-CLE-GAL training etc can be written off
  2. The presence in any jurisdiction of a “Conciliation court” and with it “Conciliation Code” (usually at state level) generally means that any “rebuttable presumption against custody going to a batterer” is a moot point — because that courtroom (and presiding judge) BY LAW grabs jurisdiction and decides to order all kinds of services; a.k.a. “fees for friends.” The goal of the AFCC (ca. 1963 founded) is to transform the language of criminal law into a behavioral health paradigm, which is for control and profit.

Conciliation is about “reconciliation” (co-parenting, allegedly) and is not interested in criminal matters. We need to recognize this; it happened when no-fault divorce replaced actual criminal matters as a cause of divorce across the country, ca. 1970s.

Quick look on James Gilbertson (the Doctor).

Here he is standing by a man who tried to kill his wife by hitting her over the head with a board, as follows:

Stuckmayer sentenced to 90 months in prison

Before sentencing, Morrison County Assistant Attorney Todd Kosovich said Stuckmayer’s mistakes were having an affair, deciding to kill Natalie and intending to kill by hitting her on the head. “The defense wants a reduction in sentencing, but the victim was treated with particular cruelty when she was left on the ground for 20 – 40 minutes, when Stuckmayer pretended to call 911 and when he pretended to faint. Plus, this act was committed in the presence of a child. A good father? That’s a stretch of the definition,” he said.

The recommended sentence for first degree attempted murder is 180 months. Kosovich said that due to mitigating factors, he would ask for 90 months.

“To sentence Stuckmayer to less than 90 months would cheapen the value of life and reward him for not killing Natalie. He must pay his due,” Kosovich said.

After he was sentenced, Stuckmayer spoke to the court on his own behalf. At one point, he turned around and told Natalie he loved her.

~ ~ ~ ~The wife is talking “God” and all — who probably spared her life. Hope she’ll take precautions in the future. Here’s what Gilbertson said at the pre-sentencing hearing: “The subject of probation came up during the pre-sentencing hearing. When evaluating someone for possible probation, Gilbertson said he rated them in a low, medium or high risk tier.

“Kevin is rated low risk, statistically,” he said. “He doesn’t have a history of rebellion, counter culture, rubbing others the wrong way or not  making connections with others. Any of these would go against a recommendation of probation.”

Gilbertson said Stuckmayer had always been a law-abiding person, pleased others, was respectful and a follower. He was not anti-authority. Gilbertson didn’t think there was anything which would derail him in the future. Several friends and family on both Kevin’s and Natalie’s side, testified that he was a model father, great friend and good citizen. Other members of the families testified he was not to be trusted.”

More on Gilbertson (also see Google Scholar)

In the Matter of the Welfare of M.W.W., Child. [M.W., natural father …law.justia.com › … › Minnesota Court of Appeals Decisions › August, 1996 Aug 6, 1996 – … (2) attend weekly therapy sessions, (3) undergo urinalysis (UA) testing, (4) abide … did complete the court-ordered evaluation with Dr. James Gilbertson who …. and could not rebuild his life towards reunification with his son. In January 1992, appellant did complete the court-ordered evaluation with Dr. James Gilbertson who recommended that appellant undergo a professionally guided and coordinated therapeutic effort to make his personal life more ordered.

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of: CMS and MDS … – Justia law.justia.com › … › October, 2007 ECFE also indicated that father “needs more in-depth therapeutic parenting services. … In November 2005, Dr. James H. Gilbertson examined father. …. services to meet the needs of the child and the child’s family” and to reunify the family.

Here’s an appeal. The mother remarried and around 2002, kids 9 & 10, they started resisting visiting time with their Dad. She allowed them to skip (probably a mistake) and along comes Gilbertson to correct the situation: http://mn.gov/lawlib/archive/ctapun/0412/opa040197-1214.htm

If you read this one carefully (and the timeline), here’s a guy who had a string of crimes, then raped his 11-year old daughter in 1989 (she got an STD), and somehow was out on parole, and acting up AGAIN within a year (i.e., more crimes in 1994, apparently he was paroled after doing 3 years for this crime).

http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?page=3&xmldoc=in%20mnco%2020100622293.xml&docbase=cslwar3-2007-curr&SizeDisp=7 They try to civilly commit this guy in 2002, and there were two “pre-petition screeners” who said he wasn’t a high risk. It doesn’t say so there, but apparently one was Dr. Gilbertson: It goes on with more horrific crimes (false imprisonment of some more minors, impregnating one of them….)

“In 1996, while still on parole for his 1989 offense against his daughter, appellant committed his third and fourth sex offenses that resulted in a conviction. According to the complaint, appellant held two females, ages 15 and 16, at his trailer for approximately one week, providing them with marijuana, threatening them, and repeatedly having sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old, once while the 16-year-old was in bed with them. The 15-year-old became pregnant. Appellant pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct and solicitation of a child under age 18 to engage in prostitution, and received a 90-month prison sentence.

“In January 2002, Dakota County filed its first petition to civilly commit appellant. After the two pre-petition screeners concluded that appellant did not meet the future harm criteria for commitment as SDP or SPP, the petition was dismissed. In February 2002, appellant was released from prison as a Level 3 sex offender and placed on supervised release.”

__________ Here’s one of a cold-blooded murder (by a father of a man, at the dining room table). Of the experts involved, Gilbertson and one other reversed, and found that he didn’t know it was wrong to do so. The trial court didn’t take their opinion:  http://www.soc.umn.edu/~samaha/cases/InsanityOdell.htm\

“In the trial court’s extensive findings of fact and verdict, it carefully considered the evidence presented by all four experts and determined the believability and weight to be given to each expert’s testimony. Accordingly, the court decided to give greater weight to the opinions of Drs. Farnsworth and Kienlen because their reports were more consistent with appellant’s behavior and belief system. The court could not reconcile the opinions of Drs. Gilbertson and Erdmann with several facts of the case; namely, that on April 23, 2000, immediately before and after the murder, appellant was able to communicate and interact with others normally. Further, the court questioned some of the underpinnings of Dr. Erdmann’s revised analysis and found that in his first and second opinions Dr. Erdmann had relied on similar facts to support divergent conclusions. Finally, the court concluded that appellant had proved by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time of the murder, he was suffering from a severe mental illness, but that appellant had failed to prove that because of his mental illness he did not understand the nature of his act or that the act constituting the offense was wrong.”

This is a quick search. Just checking — but is this the same James Gilbertson who doesn’t believe this mother should see her own children? Let’s get real about the relative level of risks!