Judge Rachel Rancilio rules, boy dies, grieving father thrown in jail

St. Claire Shores, Michigan hosted the first International Conference on Men’s Issues in 2014. Also, from the shores of Lake St. Claire, and much more recently, comes the story of a Macomb County man just subjected to one of the most egregious family court abuses I’ve ever heard of.

From a local news story, the unnamed father had fought for custody of his young son during an acrimonious divorce. Ruling in the case was Judge Rachel Rancilio, who was cautioned by the father and his attorney that they feared harm would come to the child if the mother was granted custody. Consistent with standard operating procedure for family courts in the U.S., Judge Rancilio ruled against the father.

The boy later died in the mother’s custody.

According to the dead boy’s grandmother, Deborah Vanderhagen, Judge Rancilio dismissed the father’s concerns. She said, “His lawyer said something is going to happen to this child. You need to get him away from the mother. There are too many red flags. And the judge said, oh that is in the past.”

The grieving father set about complaining about the ruling in the only venue available to victims of family courts. The internet. He posted videos criticizing the ruling. For his efforts he was charged with “malicious use of telecommunications services,” which sounds more like a charge of violating Judge Rancilio’s decidedly thin skin.

Despite being charged, the father continued posting to the internet. One social media post he made read “Dada back to digging and you best believe I’m gonna dig up all the skeletons in this court’s closet.”

This was apparently too much for Judge Rancilio. The grieving father was arrested and now sits in jail on a half-million-dollar bond.

As a publisher, I have to admit that I’m at a loss for words to describe the hubris and unspeakable insensitivity it must require, even in the insulated, untouchable world of family court judges, to throw this particular man in jail.

Skeletons indeed. I’d like to know about them myself and I’d be happy to expose them to the light of day on this well-traveled website.

In fairness, it must be said that the police claim there is no reason to suspect the mother in the son’s death. And we know police are trustworthy. Like family court judges. However, the family of the dead boy isn’t convinced. They are still looking for answers. Perhaps they can find them after they raise a half-million dollars to get a grief-stricken father out from under the thumb of a kangaroo court.

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