Friday, June 12, 2009

Susan Murphy Milano: Breaking My Own Chains of Fear

Suddenly, the divorce was being contested. The son’s father had a new expensive attorney representing him. She wondered how he could afford a four hundred dollar an hour attorney from the largest law firm in town.The woman was summoned to court on an emergency order filed by her husband’s lawyer. She could not figure out for the life of her what was happening. In court, both of their lawyers filed their appearances on behalf of their clients.

Immediately, the judge ordered the case sealed. The court determined she was a public figure, and it would not be in her child’s best interest if people had access to their personal information. The judge without a hearing granted the removal and temporary custody of her son to his father. The mother was devastated as any parent male or female when their own flesh and blood is ripped from their hearts.

They left out the courtroom, the woman asked to speak with her son’s father for a moment.“Why are you doing this? We had an agreement.” He smiled. “Had, meaning past tense.

We no longer have an agreement. All I am going to tell you is watch your back. You have pissed off a lot of people in this town who want to see you go down.” He excused himself and left.
Later that day, the woman met privately with someone from city government, hoping they would be able to provide answers to her questions.

“You have not only embarrassed the city, you cost them a tremendous amount of money in assisting families by filing wrongful deathlawsuits on their behalf.” “What are you talking about, she asked?” “You heard me,” said the city official.“Who is behind this?” she demanded to know.“I am not at liberty to disclose details. I will tell you that you better re-think how you are assisting your clients. Make sure you have release forms indicating you are an advocate, not a lawyer and signed by every single client. "Cause lady they ain’t finished with you yet." Lay low for awhile. I would not do any media interviews if I were you. Tighten your seat belt, you are in for a bumpy ride” The woman thanked him for his time and left. The woman’s divorce had turned into another war.

She had no strength left to fight this battle. Her son, like so many man and women who lose custody of their children as another way to manipulate and control their victims was now a casualty of the cruel and common tactics often used in divorce as one parent attempts to send the other out for slaughter. This experience was similar to what the woman witnessed while helping others to whom she had provided assistance, watching while abusers continued to victimize women and their children, as they were ending the relationship with the person. As with all battered women her emotional mental stability became a major issue before the judge in court, due to accusations from the son’s father, citing that she had grown up in a violent household and how her father had killed her mother in 1989. Yes, the woman I speak of is me.

“She’s crazy!” the lawyer said during the next status hearing in court, using newspaper articles about me advocating for other victims and my parents’ death certificates to make his irrelevant point. He waived them like a flag in front of the judge. Proving his ignorance of victimology he exclaimed “your Honor, we ask the court to consider the public life lived and led by the plaintiff.
She speaks, lives and breathes her parents’ tragedy. At this time we feel it is in the best interest of the minor child and his safety to ask that continued temporary custody be awarded to my client, the child’s father, until such time as Ms. Murphy-Milano can be seen by a psychiatrist to determine her fitness as a parent. Additionally, we have filed a motion with the court ordering a mental health evaluation.”

In disbelief my lawyer said “Your honor, I object. The only harm being done to the minor child is this child's father denying access to his mother. If council is so insistent on a mental health assessment, then I respectfully ask the court for an evaluation on Mr. Milano,” responded my lawyer. I sat at the table with my attorney, stunned by the lies from my son’s father. My attorney objected to the motion, saying there was no basis for the allegations the other side was presenting. “Conveniently taking what my client does to help others is not a valid reason to deny visitation or remove custody. Your Honor, the respondent has manufactured lies, there is no proof to back up these outrageous allegations,”said my attorney.“It’s best for the child that we err on the side of caution,” responded the judge. The judge ruled that both my son’s father and I schedule mental health evaluations with a person chosen by the courts. In the meantime, no decision would be made as to when I would be allowed to have visitation with my son. The judge wanted to wait until after the mandated evaluations.

I knew this process could take months. It was clear my son’s father was angry with me for ending the marriage, and he was going to use my son to teach me a painful lesson. Denying access to my son was devastating. Now I was in the same boat without oars to row, like many other women to whom I had provided assistance. More importantly, my son was a helpless pawn in his father’s sick game. With the tables reversed, I was alone. I had similar feelings when my mother died. My son had been ripped away from me. I knew where all of this was headed and I wanted no part of it. I was unable to fight both the legal system and now my son’s father.

Whoever was behind this master plan wanted me out of the way. The words my son’s father used in court were like daggers thrown at perfect aim, straight at my heart. Because the court records to my divorce had been sealed, any hope of regaining visitation or custody of my son was sealed as well. The powers that be knew the media would have no access to the divorce case file. And would likely not investigate what was happening in the divorce proceeding because the proceedings and records were closed off to the public.The legal system and the political machine were punishing me for refusing to play ball. The divorce was final with custody issues in reserve to be revisited at a later date.
Suddenly, I did not feel worthy as a mother. I questioned my faith in the legal system and in God.

People use fear to silence other people. For nearly 20 years that tactic has worked on me, until now. Pandora's box has been opened and without my knowledge. The 1993, seal on my divorce lifted and the contents now open to the public for which I have provided a link HERE for anyone interested. (Case Information Cook County, Illinois, Summary for Case Number 1993D012470)

I only learned the file was unsealed after receiving a phone call from a person from another State where I resided from 2000-2006. My son's father was well aware that I moved back to Illinois. And I have documentation of our correspondence from my son's father at my Cook County, Illinois, mailing address. Once again he has used a back handed method to have a legal case proceed without my knowledge. I was not legally or properly served. It also shows on the court docket computer screen that I "participated" in a few hearings which makes me wonder if my former husband had a woman in court pretending to be me?

Fear should have died with my father. Instead the power of the secrets that have held my heart in chains die as I press this send button, now.

Stay tuned to part two of this series "Disabling Secrets Empowers Our Truth" Monday, June 15, 2009.


Chris Crandle said...

Susan, Satan loves secrets....I'm so glad you are coming forth with all of this, because Evil loses its power. You made a comment that "people use fear to silence other people"...that is so true, and I see Michael Pagel using this tactic to silence Renee's family. It was a tactic he used with his attempts to control and manipulate her.

It breaks my heart that the judge ruled the way he did in your custody case--it is just WRONG. Thank you for being courageous enough to tell your story...once again, you are turning your pain into an avenue for helping others...just by talking about it. Beauty from's Biblical. I love you.

Orland Park said...

I wept for you after reading this, wishing I was able to give you a big hug & say thank you for doing something important for you and as always it appears is your lesson in this painful time for you personally.

I admire & respect the courage & wisdom you have to say enough is enough.


Delilah said...

Facing the demons head on is sometimes the only way to reveal the truth.

The truth is never a compromise and as it's light shines into the darkness, the rodents will scurry.

This is your time, Susan, and feel free to lean on the support system which is around you. There are many!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I can't imagine how you coped with out your child.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Anny Jacoby said...

Susan, far too often does a Survivor turn negatives into positives to help and assist others

in need. Far too often many have no idea the torment and hell one has gone through nor

is going through; unless they've walked a mile in our shoes; (no two experiences/stories

are alike). Hence, it is imperative for we, the Survivors to extend our hand, reach out and

let all know that they can make it too.

Unfortunately, times will be tough but we are and must be persistent. "If your faith can't

move mountains, it ought to a least be able to climb them. Soooooo, Climb Baby Climb."

I commend you for sharing your personal story, you are human and it's okay. What we

face are merely "speed bumps" because our faith can and will overcome any obstacles put

before us.

Our Lord's unconditional love gives us continual strength.

Susan, we love you and we are here for you always. Know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Be steadfast, persistent as you have and are touching many lives.

God Bless!

Paul Thompson said...

Susan, it breaks my heart to see that you have to be going through what you are going through. Having worked for the legal system for almost 20 years, I can honestly say that I am often embarassed by how victims are treated by the system and the lack of oversight of those in the system that choose to wrong the system instead of doing what is right. You are and always will be one of the strongest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with. Sweet dreams and love to you my friend and to all of your wonderful supporters.

Anonymous said...

The scent vulnerability is common among victims experiencing trauma.

The have been in your shoes as the person to whom I was married abused me physically and verbally. In coiurt I was told I was unfit as a parent because of a traumatic event prior to my marriage. It was used against me like a prisoner with a rap sheet.

Thank you for all you do for so many. You are a bravo solider in the war on violence.

Anonymous said...


I am a BIG believer in ASK and TELL. Where does sin live - in the dark. You put it in the "son-light" and God will take care of the rest.

I am so very proud of you coming forward and telling this story.

This is exactly why I encouraged Regan to TELL. Your son needs to know the truth.

You helped my little girl TELL the truth about spousal rape and abuse. She told it to the world and one day her sons will know the truth.

Regan's Story in Chicago Tribune you are in the video, you were the one who got her story told.

You were the catalyst for that truth to be told. It is the kindest most loving thing we can do.

JUSTICE is just as good for the victim as it is for the criminal.

I am sick to death of the torture of women and children.

Thank you for standing up for RIGHT.

May God Bless You Really Good!

You are an AMAZING woman!

Regan said...

Thank you Susan for helping me and my sons TELL the truth.

Many advocates don't encourage the victim speaking out.

But I knew the moment I did it was the beginning of the end of me being a victim.

Now I am an over-comer and I am moving on in my life. But I don't think I would have told the world my story if God hadn't put you there to help me.

I'll NEVER forget you sitting next to me in court, or your words of encouragement, your calls telling me it'll be alright.

You helped me and my sons and my mother.


Anonymous said...

One of the problems we face in Illinois is not that there are not good laws on the books, but that the laws are not enforced equally or fairly.

For example, we do have provisions preventing dissipation of marital assets. It's supposed to prevent a spouse from draining assets for their own legal defense while starving their spouse out of having a defense of their own. But this law is not enforced.

The cases that end up in court for year after year typically involve a fairly well off family -- a man who makes a good living and controls the family finances, as well as is abusive and controlling of his wife. He successfully blocks her access to funds for legal fees and starves her out of the legal battle. And he gets away with it. The wife ends up borrowing money from her family until there is no more money to be had. The court piles on evaluators, guardian ad litems, psych evals, etc. so that the cronie system can be well paid.

The man uses the children as pawns in his relentless drive to destroy the woman whom he once claimed to love, and is the mother of his children.

When there is no money in the family, the judge does not order an evaluation and there are no other experts consulted. The judge makes a quick decision from the bench. Typically it's joint legal custody with primary residential custody going to the mother and father gets every other weekend, one night a week, alternating holidays and two weeks in the summer. The father is then ordered to pay child support, sometimes as little as $50,00 per week -- the minimum allowed by law. That's it. Case over.

ChildOnlineProtection said...

Such a powerful story and a lesson many need to learn. A voice is a powerful weapon, and it is ok to use it. Keep screaming the truth.

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