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Jim Manion

The Economic Chain Gang - Fathers Without Rights

December 1, 2004

Seven more months before I am a truly free man. I am not in prison, but I can be at any moment. If I miss my bi-monthly commitment, even once, they will find me. And they will put me away.

It has been almost 12 years since I accepted and agreed to the terms of my limited freedom. I am a free man as long as I submit to what I call unrestricted welfare.

I never saw a judge, nor a jury. My sentence was meted out by an anonymous judicial system that presumed my guilt before I even entered the system. A guilty man by judicial and legislative fiat. Guilty by association. Guilty because I was a man. A man who did everything to make a home for his wife and children to be.

I have another 7 months left before my economic probation ends. I have paid a substantial portion of my income for the last 12 years to buy my freedom from incarceration. And if I continue to pay the tribute for another 7 months, I will finally be a free man. In the event I miss even one payment, I will be put into jail, I will not be allowed to drive a car, my livelihood will be eliminated and my bank accounts will be seized by the State.

I am not on any terrorist list. I have never been judged guilty of any crime. And I am not wanted for any infraction of the law.

My High Crime was becoming a father. I never considered it a crime at all. I was there when my two daughters were born. They were both Caesarian babies, so I was the first to hold them and talk to them. My first words to both of them, "I love you. I am Your Daddy, and you are beautiful." When the nurse placed these hysterical bundles into my arms, my words and my feelings calmed them. They stopped the cries and looked and maybe even smiled at this beast of a man that cradled them in his arms.

The world stopped when I held them both for the first time. The only thing I can recall from both experiences is when a doctor insisted that I needed to let them take my daughters for their first checkup. I will go to my grave with the vision of those little eyes focusing for the first time on me. The first sight outside the womb. Incredible.

I worked very hard to support my babies. Education was important, and I saved for their future. No matter how hard I worked, and despite the hours, I always kissed them both goodnight, even in those wee hours when they were fast alseep. No matter what time I arrived home.

I had moved from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to take a new job that would create a wonderful environment for my family. The move was a necessity since I had just been merged out of a job. The mother of my children claimed she was having an extremely difficult time being away from her family, despite the fact that she had the house she wanted in the location she and the children loved.

One day I came home from work to see a large rental truck in my driveway. Her male friend from Pennsylvania had flown down to North Carolina to help her move back to live temporarily with her mother. I was told it was for my children. My 10 year old and 7 year old daughters could not make the adjustment. My daughters were my life, and I could not bear to see them suffer.

I was 'sentenced' in 1994. A temporary order for custody gave her custody of my daughters. A battle regarding my competence as a father and the incompetence of my children's mother had no effect. And my subsequent battles with solid proof that my daughters' new stepfather was a probable threat to them, did nothing to change the course of events.

Their stepfather was the male friend who was there on a moments notice to move my family back to Pennsylvania. While I knew their new stepfather, I really knew nothing about him. He was under the same roof as my daughters, and his past was a mystery. What I found out about his past led me into a crash course on pedophilia. Suffice it to say that in the mid 1980's, he was finally caught after numerous complaints about a man prowling school bus stops and pleasuring himself in front of pre pubescent girls. He plead guilty to two separate instances involving two different girls. And this incident lead to his divorce from his first wife, and restrictions on visitation with his son.

This information had no impact on the court. The court punted to a court appointed psychologist with no background in dealing with pedophilia. And ordered me to pay for the psychologist. While the psychologist stated that this man still had unresolved issues, she pronounced him "cured" based only on his word that he was OK. This man was abused as a child by his own father, and was caught in one of many high risk incidents. As anyone who specializes in this area will tell you, these people are never cured. The Center For Missing and Exploited Children was appalled when I relayed this story to them 10 years ago.

While my daughters were living under the same roof with this man, I was the one that could go to jail in a heartbeat. I could never miss a support payment, yet my ex was free to marry a man convicted of what today would be pedophilia. My daughters were taught that he was the victim, and instructed tat their loving step father was being persecuted by their biological father. And my ex was and is still free to continue the vile hatred against me that she has taught my daughters. It has taken a long time, but I have finally let go. Those precious angels that I held in my arms have been taught to hate me. And believe me, they do hate me.

My daughters have not been in my home for 4 years. There is always an excuse. But the real reason is that I have been painted as a terrible person. My payments have reinforced the hatred. Those payments are accountable to no one. They are a form of welfare, but welfare without accountability. I would never mind giving my earnings to my daughters. Never.

Child support is a major problem. It is most definitely welfare. It is welfare with no restrictions. And it encourages divided families. I would have, and still would, give my life for my daughters. However, I have endured over 12 years of extreme pain, e.g., having my children tell me to my face that their new Daddy, the man convicted of masturbating in front of little girls as bus stops, was their real father now.

The Court took the path of least resistance, and sentenced my daughters to a life in the same house with a a man who was attracted to girls of their age group. I was simultaneously given probation from a modern day debtors prison.

All I ever cared about up to that point was gone. And I was further sentenced to paying my tribute only to support the sexual predator living with my babies. My daughters are out of his target range now, and despite the fact that they are ashamed to be associated with me, I now have the best wife a man could ever hope for. And I have moved on, realizing that my daughters are lost to me forever, at least in this world.

I have kept this bottled up for the last 10 plus years. I share it now not for sympathy nor understanding. But because I know I am not alone. And my silence would be the greatest injustice. My youngest is 18 now, and old enough to bear the truth. After all, she is my daughter, and she has her father's thick hide. As does my 21 year old. They were deprived of the one person in this world that put their lives before his own. My love for them was destroyed in their eyes by a judicial system that pandered to their mother, no matter what.

That is the Pennsylvania court system. Judy Mulligan, of the Allegheny County Family Court, was the unseen judge. And Judge Mulligan takes no responsibility. Per Judge Mulligan, that's the system.

I have no animosity toward Judge Mulligan. None whatsoever. But I want her to think about the path of destruction the good judge created. You placed my daughters with a convicted pedophile and ordered that this man was a better father to my children than a decorated member of the US Army and licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. You ignored his criminal record. I spent everything I had to make things right, but your self righteous and insulated life ignored the threat of pedophilia. And your malfeasance deprived my children of the only person on this Earth who refused to use them as pawns. I am certain that my love for my daughters was consciously used against me, And the fact that I would not lie under oath, something that is apparently a given in Family Court, was the final nail in the coffin.

I will pay for Judy Mulligan's judicial ignorance and abject negligence for 7 more months. And perhaps Judge Mulligan's children or grandchildren will be mentored by or housed with a pedophile some day. After all, the good Judge sees nothing wrong with that situation.

It is no wonder that Pittsburgh, PA is a bankrupt city. It is bankrupt economically now, but it has been morally bankrupt for at least the last 12 years. Not a condition caused by its citizens, but a condition created by elected judges.

Judy Mulligan is the poster child for judicial incompetence. And despite the fact that I have not followed her career, I am certain that she is still on the bench. And she continues to put vulnerable children at great risk. I am certain the good judge maintains the same standard with her own offspring.

Jim Manion