A few days ago I shared this outrageous story with you–Father Jailed Because His Adult Daughter Fails to Get Her GED. In the case, father Brian Gegner was ordered to see to it that his daughter gets her GED, but she has not done so, in part because she struggles with math. The daughter’s problems in school came at a time when she lived with her mother. The daughter herself–now almost 19-years-old–says that she alone is responsible for her own problems and that her father shouldn’t be blamed. Nevertheless, the father is in jail on a six month sentence.

The jailed father goes before Judge David J. Niehaus on Friday–I urge all of you to call Niehaus and also the Governor of Ohio to demand Brian Gegner’s release. The contact information is:

BUTLER COUNTY
Juvenile Justice Center
Judge David J. Niehaus 513-887-3318
fax: 513-887-5592

Contact Ohio Governor Strickland here:
http://www.governor.ohio.gov:80/Default.aspx?tabid=448
Phone: (614) 466-3555
Fax: (614) 466-9354

Michael Robinson of the California Alliance for Families and Children issued a call to action on this case earlier this week, and has been checking into the case and speaking with Ohio officials. Robinson reveals several important facts about the case:

1) Both Robinson and Ohio WCPO TV reporter Deb Silverman have been digging into the Gegner family’s history, and Robinson says “both parents are clean, they simply were unable to get their daughter to stay in school.”

2) This sad chain of events was set off because the parents did the right thing–they were concerned about their daughter’s truancy, acknowledged that they were not able to control her, and called the police for help. I would also add that this is an example of two divorced parents working together to try to help their child, something this country needs a lot more of.

3) Perhaps most significant of all, Judge David J. Niehaus and two colleagues were specifically accused of judicial abuse by Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox in his 2003 report “A Culture of Secrecy, Fear and Judicial Abuse.”

Again, I urge all of you to call the judge in this case and also the Governor of Ohio to demand Brian Gegner’s release. The CAFC press release has generated protest calls but we need a lot more–the contact information is above.

Other relevant details:

1) According to CBS, the judge is “standing firm” and says Gegner will “only be released if his daughter passes the GED.” So a parent can be held in jail until his or her child passes a test?! If my son fails Geometry, should my wife and I be jailed until he passes Geometry in summer school?

2) In “A Culture of Secrecy, Fear and Judicial Abuse,” Fox writes:

“The Domestic Relations and Juvenile Courts of Butler County foster a culture of secrecy, fear and judicial abuse that violates the most fundamental and sacred rights guaranteed by our nation’s Constitution — the rights of due process of the laws. Those who are most directly affected by decisions of these courts — parties to the actions — are routinely excluded from court proceedings and deliberations, told to wait outside the hearing room in a hallway while their lives, personal property, children and homes are divided up by strangers.” To read the full report, click here.

3) The CAFC’s press release on this case can be seen here.

3) The most recent Associated Press article on the case can be seen here. A Butler County TV station cites the CAFC on the case here.

4) To watch a video of the daughter discussing her father’s jailing, click here.

5) In a letter to officials, Robinson poses an excellent question:

“What was the juvenile court doing to help these parents with dealing with Brittany’s destructive behavior before it got this far? Did the court offer any kind of parenting resources like The Parent Project, which help parents deal with such problems?

“The Parent Project is a parenting skills program designed specifically for parents with strong-willed or out-of-control children. Because of its success in preventing, identifying and intervening in the most destructive of adolescent behaviors, the Parent Project has won three state awards in California and has been successfully adopted for use by hundreds of communities throughout the nation.”

I think Robinson’s remarks are particularly relevant because the parents got in trouble because they went to authorities asking for help.

Again, I urge all of you to call the judge in this case and also the Governor of Ohio to demand Brian Gegner’s release.

Glenn Sacks, www.GlennSacks.com

[Note: If you or someone you love is faced with a divorce or needs help with child custody, child support, false accusations, Parental Alienation, or other family law or criminal law matters, ask Glenn for help by clicking here.]

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