RAW ONIONS by F.O. Lambert
Nov 5, 2012 – Marina Gazette
Today’s column is the fourth in this ongoing melodrama about the Monterey County judicial and law enforcement system’s treatment of Eva Ruiz-Gomez, the counseling coercion of her fourteen year-old son, and for what purpose. And who is the District Attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Department looking out for and protecting for all of these years while putting Eva and her family through the mill?
I’m not joking about “times in court”, folks. Eva will be back in Family Court again on Friday, Nov. 9th. But in Part 4, we’ll be looking at the court-ordered “Reunification Therapy” sessions which have failed at forcing Eva’s 14-year old child to want to be with or spend time with his biological father, Ramon Munoz. Sometimes the Reunification sessions work, re-uniting family members whom otherwise may have remained estranged, and in other cases, the sessions are emotionally detrimental and make matters worse, specifically for the children involved in this form of “psychological arm-twisting”. One size does not fit all! We have different fingerprints, different temperaments, and different people we want to associate with or those we prefer to distant ourselves from. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, and each individual reacts differently in RT (Reunification Therapy).
It appears to me that Eva’s child is being used by the court system as a possible delaying tactic for the benefit of the biological father. This is the same man, Ramon Munoz, who brought felony kidnapping charges against Eva, so the Family Court is trying to force the son to have a relationship with the man who is trying to put his mother in prison. That’s gotta be tough. When Eva’s son was five years old, Munoz could only have supervised overnight visitation (supervised by a deputy sheriff) and was not allowed to drive with the boy in his car, because of Munoz’s drinking and driving convictions. Shortly after Eva and her family, including her son, moved to Mexico (with permission from the court) for seven years.
Since being back, her son’s experience of Munoz has included being abducted from his school and kept from his family for two weeks, being traumatized (he’s been diagnosed with PTSD by two therapists) and being forced to attend Reunification Therapy sessions. He was being “prepped” for a year before the official RT sessions started in October, 2011, to the present day. Family Code Section 3190(a) says:
“The court may require parents or any other party involved in a custody or visitation dispute, and the minor child, to participate in outpatient counseling with a licensed mental health professional…for not more than one year, provided that the program selected has counseling available for the designated period of time, if the court finds both of the following:
(1) The dispute between the parents, between the parent or parents and the child, between the parent or parents and another party seeking custody or visitation rights with the child, or between a party seeking custody or visitation rights and the child, poses a substantial danger to the best interest of the child.
(2) The counseling is in the best interest of the child.”
Family Code Section 3190 (d), “the court, in it’s finding, shall set forth reasons why it has found both of the following:
(1) The dispute poses a substantial danger to the best interest of the child and the counseling is in the best interest of the child.
(2) The financial burden created by the court order for counseling does not otherwise jeopardize a party’s other financial obligations.”
The court-mandated reunification therapy sessions are expensive, and both parents and/or guardians are obligated to pay the counselor fees. Eva and her husband, Mailo, struggle to make ends meet, and have to pay for therapy which is not working, but Eva manages mostly to pay for the sessions, sometimes getting behind. Oops! Let’s not forget that the child’s biological father, Mr. Munoz, owes Eva almost $29,000 in child support! Twenty nine thousand dollars! He and his attorney agreed to that amount in court. It’s a matter of record. A “loving father, eh?”
Eva’s child does not trust the reunification therapists, and his physical and emotional health have been affected from these coerced counseling sessions. He’s only 14, and is forced to “butt heads” with adult counselors who, to my understanding, refuse to acknowledge the fear he has of being with his biological father. If that isn’t enough, there’s the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s declaration or testimony on the child’s behalf. The nurse has been his primary healthcare provider since his birth and knows the youngster very well, and stated in writing that the physical ailments (migraines, stomachaches, eczema, rashes, nausea, and now even chewing on his knuckles on all 10 fingers) developed since the Reunification Therapy started, in 2011. Plus, he doesn’t sleep well at night since being forced into therapy. This on top of his diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Eva’s son loves his step-father, Mailo, whom he feels is his father. Is the Family Court really concerned about the child or are they using him to “get Eva” for not selling her soul on a plea bargain?
Stay tuned for Part 5. You can read Part 3 and much more on http://www.friendsofeva.org,
the onion cutter