Update from Sarah Collins: Falsely Accused of Parental Alienation by the GAL for Having Summer Parenting Time with Children

Sarah Collins is a Minnesota mother of two young children who is involved in an ongoing custody case in Hennepin County. She is speaking out about how the family court system, and Guardian ad Litem program has abused its power, and discretion, and failed to protect her children from abuse. The children were exposed to pornography while in the care of their father, and there have been other allegations of abuse raised as well.

Sarah says she is being punished, and falsely accused of parental alienation, by Guardian ad Litem Susan Olson, who has failed to investigate the facts of the case and failed to contact collateral witnesses and professionals involved with the family. Instead of gathering facts and documentation, Olson relies on what she “thinks”. One example of this is that Sarah was falsely accused of parental alienation by Olson because she does not approve of her summer visitation schedule with the children. Sarah and children have historically spent the entire summer months together, which has never been questioned until Olson was appointed as Guardian ad Litem.

It should be noted that in Minnesota, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) does not have the statutory authority to make any mental health or medical diagnosis or recommend treatment for either a parent or a child. It also violates APA ethical standards for a mental health practitioner to engage in “dual roles” (also known as multiple relationships). Any form of medical treatment should only be handled by a licensed professional, and in cases of domestic abuse, the professional should have knowledge and experience in dealing with abuse, trauma and related issues.

Sarah has filed a complaint against Susan Olson with the Guardian ad Litem Program, and feels that State Program Administrator Suzanne Alliegro, and the GAL program as a whole, is dismissing her concerns without proper investigation. Instead of protecting children, Sarah feels the GAL Program is working to protect its own.

Sarah claims that Olson has retaliated against her for filing complaints, and is in fear that she will permanently lose custody of her children.

Olson has denied any wrong doing. She has been a Guardian ad Litem with Hennepin County for over 10 years.

The City Pages previously published an article on Sarah Collins that can be read here: What to do when you can’t trust the guardian of your kids? by Susan Du (City Pages)

Sarah says:

Here is the statement from the Judge in our case regarding Susan Olson’s claims of Parental Alienation against me. Keeping in mind that her basis for these allegations were a complete refusal to speak with me for 9 months of the year she was on the case, refusal to speak to the children’s therapists, refusal to look into the facts in the case regarding transitions.

Basically, because the children have spent every summer for their whole lives with their brothers and sister in my home, that very same aspect of the life they have always known is what she has used to accuse me of Parental Alienation. So, if you are a devoted parent who built your life and work schedule around your children, you too are guilty of Parental Alienation by the standard set by the MN G.A.L. program led by Suzanne Alliegro. This has knowingly been done by letting Susan Olson make these Parental Alienation claims.

The Guardian also expressed concern that it might increase the danger of alienation of the children from Petitioner Burns. She expressed the opinion that there were numerous reasons not to give Respondent Collins more than 50% of the time and to take away Petitioner Burns’ ability to enroll the children in activities during his parenting time. She testified as follows: “Well, I think that taking away father’s ability to decide for the children during his time things such as enrichment camps doesn’t benefit the children. . . .The level of contempt that I observed early on in this case, in my view, disqualifies them as parents who would–parents who have children who would benefit from right of first refusal. . . .” (Olson Transcript, pp. 25-26.)

She further testified that it might lead to alienation: “. . . I think that it can lead to alignment to the children. I think if the court orders right of first refusal, particularly during just someone’s work hours, I think that it sets the children up to be aligned against their father.” (Olson Transcript, p. 27.)

Our family now knows how Susan Olson follows through on her threats.

After refusing to speak to our children’s therapists, despite the ongoing harm the children continue to report to their therapists, Susan Olson followed through on her threat to punish our family for questioning her on her lies and manipulations. The punishment was to set our abuser up to continue to seek full custody. How? By her allegations of Parental Alienation.

We have confirmed that at least one other case of Olson’s experienced this allegation as well in the month of May 2016. Susan Alliegro is responsible for this toxic woman’s harm of the victims of abusers and her own pride and ego are responsible for continuing Susan Olson’s wrath against victims and children.”

About EJ

Parenting Abused Kids (PAK) reflects the personal thoughts and opinions of "EJ" sharing her experiences of surviving domestic abuse and injustice in family court. PAK also includes news and informational articles about abuse and family court issues. The purpose of PAK is to raise awareness of the challenges domestic abuse survivors to rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic abuse, compounded with the struggles of ongoing family court litigation. PAK will also discuss and raise awareness about issues related to parenting children who have been abused, and often present with emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting Abused Kids is not affiliated with any professional group, political group, organization or religious affiliation. My sincere love and support goes out to abuse survivors and their children. I am so sorry for what you have endured, and pray your lives will be filled with the happiness you so deserve. Thank-you for visiting!
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4 Responses to Update from Sarah Collins: Falsely Accused of Parental Alienation by the GAL for Having Summer Parenting Time with Children

  1. Sarah Collins says:

    Thank you very much. Our family appreciates your help and communication.

    Like

  2. Lackawsnna Pride says:

    This is very common in Northeast Pennsylvania. There is a GAL there named Brenda Kobal who is notorious for ignoring child abuse and throwing casees to lawyers she is biased to. She is a monster and instead of researching facts and listening to APA professionals she fabricates lies to make as much money as she can. Luckily families are now contacting the attorney general and department of justice to investigate her family court corruption. I recommend you do the same as you mention they protect their own. Luckily justice departments jobs are to investigate and prosecute corruption.

    Like

  3. LS says:

    I also filed a formal complaint against Susan Olson, it was dismissed because of their 60 day report policy. I wrote a letter to the board explaining my families situation. The letter was also dismissed. Their responce ” we apreciate your feedback”. No reprocutions for her actions yet.

    Like

    • EJ says:

      LS,

      Just want you to know that C2A has heard, and acknowledged your comment, and concerns. So sorry to hear of your troubles with the complaint policy and response from the GAL program.

      Some Feedback:

      C2A attended a State Guardian ad Litem Board meeting where it was explained, by the Board, that their reasoning for the 60 day report policy is to hear, and investigate complaints in a timely manner. Specifically, that the Board is unable to investigate complaints on closed cases, or allegations that occurred many years ago.

      That being said, it is understandable that family situations may require an exception, especially in situations where a client is pro se – within a reasonable time, on an ongoing case.

      District Managers can also talk with parents to help resolve complaints, and address issues. While this is the ideal, complaints have been raised by parents that communication with District Managers is difficult, and specifically they feel Managers work to protect Guardians rather than hear concerns in a fair, neutral manner. Many parents also feel the Managers, and GAL program, overall, tends to blame parents for systemic problems and the actions of GALs and either ignore, dismiss or cover-up problems within the program and its GALs.

      Suggestions for the GAL Program:

      – Public reporting on the number of GAL complaints filed, the nature of the complaint and the outcome to be made available in print and online annually (this is offered for complaints raised against judges)

      -The GAL Board complaint procedure is difficult to find – make the complaint process easier to access on the web. The web address should include the words “complaint” or “complaint policy”. The complaint procedure and form should be clearly identified on the State Board website with it’s own tab, and mentioned in the menu or sidebar.

      -Information about the complaint process, and complaint form to be available at several locations throughout the Court House, Self Help, and GAL offices, County Offices, etc Also offered on the state courts website.

      -Create a position similar to an ombudsman to help parents address concerns with GALs, and help parents navigate the complaint process. The GAL ombudsman will be a neutral 3rd party.

      -Create a GAL Board advisory panel that is diverse and includes both genders, and includes a mix of professionals and community members. Advisory panel will assist Board in investigating concerns, researching solutions, and suggesting new policies.

      ANY OTHER IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS? POST BELOW!

      ** Currently information re the complaint procedure is provided to parents when they become involved in the GAL program, or upon request

      Like

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