*WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SENSITIVE MATERIAL SURROUNDING CHILD ABUSE, INJURY, VULGAR LANGUAGE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND RACISM: IDENTITY OF SOME PERSONS HAVE BEEN CHANGED
In a tale of children, facts should always matter. A child’s life is not a game or sport; a community, a court, a Guardian Ad Litem, or a Parent has the charge to love and provide access to all things good now or potentially in the future to children in their span of control. As you read these stories, never forget there are innocent children involved. Above all else, remember the kids.
As objective as I try to be, I want to clarify that the termination or limiting of a parent’s rights to their child is one of the most drastic decisions the State is called upon to make. This is not an ex-partner’s position to say unless there are hard facts and due process to that decision to limit a parent’s rights. However, the State of Oklahoma does so at an alarming rate with little or no public scrutiny of the legal violations that often take place under the guise of child protection.
Many times, the Oklahoma Department of Human Service (DHS) is introduced into what would normally be, and what should be, simple divorce proceedings. The days of using an agency service as a weapon are coming to an end. Most states don’t weaponize children in family courts any longer. That doesn’t mean the ignorant and profiteers aren’t going to fight to the end to continue fraud upon the Oklahoma public.
In this case, it is important to remember that DHS hired Ms. Rosario Chico, the subject of the article, and Ms. Chico continues to work for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services today. According to Ms. Chico, her conversations with her supervisor have included the idea that if she were to have been found unfit to be a parent or of bad ethics she would not be working for the Department of Human Services today. Logically that should make sense to an audience and a court.
The family court system has become a sport in Oklahoma and is almost always shrouded by attorneys omitting information, coercing people, drafting confidentiality agreements and ignoring privacy laws; it’s an industry of the perceived elite and the crime of child stealing happens all across the country. “Parenting Twice As Hard For Half A Chance” follows a sampling of eight (8) family law cases in which we interact with the families and others in the family law system and have to confront some excruciating dilemmas and choices. We want the reader to dig further and decide on their own the answers to the larger community questions of family court corruption. Who decides when a child should be removed from his/her parents? What is institutional racism? What is equal protection? When should parents lose the right to raise their own children? How much damage might the government and self-proclaimed non-profits do to children and parents in the name of helping them? Finally, who pays for all this damage?
Our series ends with a story of a somewhat famous Oklahoma politician, who himself has gone through a divorce with minor children, but had a much different experience. His children, health, and time were off limits from attack by state agencies, Attorneys, and Judges.
Rosario Chico first came to the United States from Mexico with her family at the age of six (6) years old. She had crossed the southern border with one book bag on her back that held all her important documents. The weather was hot, it was a long journey and the bag felt like she was carrying the weight of life with her that day. The young family had moved to the small town of El Dorado, Kansas in 1995 to find work and to ensure Rosario had a great life. Her father worked in home remodeling and construction and her mother worked as a custodian. The family had humble beginnings, with the Catholic Church at the center of their faith, steadfastly a part of their family journey.
Chico came to the U.S. as a DACA Dreamer. The original Obama-era policy was introduced in 2012 and was intended as a much-needed solution for children brought to the United States by immigrants with no legal standing in American courts. Chico had hope to live the same dream she was learning about in American schools. The introduction of DACA was the first sign of freedom for Chico as a young adult. Last month Biden made DACA codified law that set a standard for who can receive those benefits and acknowledged the children living in the shadows as the Americans they had become.
Now, as an adult, Chico is having to exercise all of those rights afforded to her new residency. She is currently facing a fight for justice in a complex legal case. A big case for her own children, whom she is currently being kept from through alleged parental alienation and legal abuse. Chico hasn’t had custody of her children since January 2022 and only has supervised visitation one day a week.
On June 29, 2022 Rosario Chico had her preliminary hearing for felony child stealing charges that were filed on January 11, 2022 which she faces as a result of fleeing to protect herself and her children. Chico was found and arrested in a domestic violence shelter in Arkansas. She has filed a motion to dismiss the charges which will be heard on October 12, 2022.
Big Dreams And Faith
Chico had always wanted to be in media. Since she was fifteen (15) years old, she wanted to be a news media war correspondent since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. However, Chico wasn’t a documented resident or citizen, thus decided being a T.V. producer would be easier. Technically she couldn’t leave and come back into the country. “I wanted to tell stories about people like her parents and herself. The stories that are left in the shadows” Chico told The Oklahoma Post.
It seems her dreams were big for her career from a young age. As soon as she finished her high school days in El Dorado, Chico headed for her favorite university for training, earning a degree in journalism at Stephens College and going on to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Social Media. Stephens College is a private women’s college in Columbia, Missouri that claims it is the second-oldest women’s educational establishment that is still a women’s college in the United States.
Chico’s career blossomed quickly into that of a TV Producer of some shows you’ve probably seen. She has produced shows such as The First 48 (Remember that Tulsa?!), In Pursuit with John Walsh, 60 Days In, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, Say Yes To The Dress, 90 Day Fiancé Happily Ever After, My 600-Lb Life and has worked on other network shows for TLC, DiscoveryID, Lifetime, Telemundo, CNN, ABC, BET, and A+E. Needless to say, Chico knows a little something about media and telling a story to the public.
On the outside, to someone not in the know, they would think Chico was in fact living the American Dream. She wasn’t. Chico’s real struggles started soon after high school during the beginning of a relationship with her abusive husband. Far from the American dream, her days were split between studying Digital Film Making and Broadcast Media, raising her children, and dealing with the beginnings of an onslaught of documented domestic abuse.
She was pregnant with her first child when she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree, and her third child when she finished her MBA. According to Chico, her youngest has developmental delays, possibly due to the trauma of abuse by her soon-to-be ex-husband. Chico told us that even her children’s medical records are now being kept from her inspection and care, the most fundamental rights of parenting and necessary discovery for her upcoming litigation.
Of note: Studies have shown that Dreamers are victims of abuse at higher rates than other citizens of domestic abuse. Since immigrants began facing harsh immigration laws in the U.S., the Los Angeles’ Latino population, for example, is believed to have seen a drop in domestic violence reports by 10%. The same report noted that in some states, DM reports fell more than 85%. This trend occurred nationwide. According to an article written by Anna Libertin of HAWC (Healing Abuse Working For Change), “threats of deportation of undocumented immigrants lead to a decreased rate of domestic violence reports within immigrant populations in the U.S., as those experiencing abuse may be afraid to come forward for fear of deportation”. This is similar to how Chico felt at the time. “Who was I going to turn to?” she stated to The Oklahoma Post. Chico had to turn to the U.S. Federal Government.
Rosario Chico is now a Permanent U.S. resident per a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) filing and recipient as of August 20, 2020. VAWA provides protections for immigrant women and victims of crime. At that time she was granted immigration relief by the United States Federal Government due to being deemed a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by her U.S. resident spouse. What else would be needed one might ask?
The Legal Abuse Endured To Substantiate Abuse
Some twenty-seven (27) years after coming to the U.S. with her family; Chico is now a mother of three children, a victim of an unhinged family court process, an employee of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, a filmmaker, and an advocate for parental rights. Yes, you read that correctly. Chico applied for a job in 2019 with Oklahoma Child Protective Services; the same department that Chico is claiming failed her children. The case was already ongoing and CPS notified her at the time that they were not going to be investigating any further. Chico obtained the job and was assigned the duty of investigating child abuse and neglect.
However, her job with the agency didn’t help her family from destruction at the hands of the family court system. Her passion to help others is related to Chico’s custody and divorce action, which has been pending in Tulsa County District Court since 2018. The divorce was originally filed against Chico after an instance of abuse at Chico’s home in front of her parents. She was a respondent, but under the idea that the two had been on a path to divorce for four years prior to the Divorce petition.
Chico claims that at the time of the Petition for divorce, the husband’s attorneys had expected that Chico would be considered undocumented and that the husband would be given custody of the children regardless of the abuse allegations against him.
The Orders in the State of Oklahoma District Courts that have been passed down are numerous and indicative of legal and domestic abuse.
In August of 2019, Chico states that “DHS interviews my oldest and don’t tell me anything and then my own child, is telling them that Dad is kicking him, kicking him on his leg, pulling his hair, hurting him so on. DHS comes out and tells me that my little girl disclosed sexual abuse, and I’m like so confused how do you know this? I mean my whole life got turned upside down that week.”
Chico said, “DHS tells me ‘hold the kids do not let the children go’ I’m terrified I have to give over my kids because of this Guardian Ad Litem, I’m so scared…they [DHS] get the other side to agree to not pick up the children, so DHS tells me they are not going to pick up the kids”, which is what Chico was afraid would occur due to her residency status.
Chico goes on to state that just before the Guardian Ad Litem removal hearing the upcoming Wednesday, “[on]Monday DHS says ‘do not give the children over to dad; sexual abuse has been disclosed, physical abuse has been disclosed.'” The Guardian Ad Litem hearing was postponed, allowing the Guardian Ad Litem’s continued influence on the now opened abuse allegation investigation.
Chico then alleges that DHS refused to do a medical exam on her daughter and that they told her they would not be investigating any further, just two days into the investigation. According to Chico, the DHS Supervisor for Tulsa County’s husband is a good friend and co-worker of Chico’s soon-to-be ex-husband.
Time goes by and shared custody is taking place per court order. Fast forward to October of 2020; Chico states that her daughter unexpectedly made “disclosures” about past abuse that Chico documented with audio/video recordings. Knowing she had to make the information available, Chico notified her therapist of the information, but was under duress to not make a report because she had been told by the Guardian Ad Litem that she was not to make any reports or allegations.
The therapist reported the information as required by law.
The Oklahoma Post asked Chico, “but it’s not you that she [the minor child] is talking about, it’s the dad, so why would you be worried she’s going to take the kids from you?” Chico retorted, “because any allegation made about anything I would lose the kids.” Because you were undocumented? “No, because that is what the Guardian Ad Litem wants. I am to not call the police, I am not to take the kids to the doctors if they have marks or bruises or disclosure, I am not to contact DHS, I am to do nothing, or I lose my children.”
The Oklahoma Post asked if she had proof that the Guardian Ad Litem told her that and Chico responded, “Yes we have lots of proof, yes.”
Additionally, Chico’s spouse had pending criminal misdemeanor charges in Tulsa County in November of 2020 for Assault and Battery in the Presence of Minor Children (CM-2020-4176). That case was dismissed in August of 2022. Those case files are not available online.
No persons filed a police report on this matter at the time, DHS closed the case, and the husband was not interviewed in regards to the matter. Later, a new case was supposedly opened in which additional interviews were completed, but it was still discouraging to Chico. She didn’t believe a second investigation would be any different this time.
However, as recorded on audio, Oklahoma Child Protective Services contacted Chico to notify her that the abuse reports against her children were substantiated. The state agency recommended that Chico take steps to protect her children. However, it appears that a guardianship application was sought out by her husband’s mother and put in place to intervene and undo yet another child abuse investigation for the minor children. A video of Chico’s later arrest for child stealing and the telephone conversation regarding investigators substantiating her child abuse claims against her soon-to-be ex-husband can be found here.
In October 2021, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Protective Services stated that the protocol for a substantiated finding of abuse by the father had been met. According to Chico, the investigation confirmed medically that her child had anomalies and that a therapist had observed concerning behaviors in addition to the information obtained during the forensic interviews. It should be noted that if the statements of DHS are true, Judge Tammy Bruce appears to have been dismissing the evidence of sexual abuse since 2019, and physical abuse of all three of Rosario’s children since 2018. On October 05, 2021 forensic interviews took place, on October 06, 2021 a protective order was granted for Chico but is not served, on October 07, 2021 the husband is served with the protective order given to Chico and he then files for an emergency protective order against Chico. There was also to be a hearing to remove the Guardian Ad Litem but, according to Chico, her attorney was sick and not present. So, Chico was there alone at the courthouse; regardless the family court judge denied the father’s petition for emergency custody of the minor children as well as his petition for the children to be placed with the paternal grandmother of the minor children, Jackie Vietti, a longtime Butler County Community College President (retired) and Higher Learning Commission evaluator, as well as serving on local boards.
The direct quote via an Oklahoma Human Services investigator who interviewed Chico’s minor children is as follows:
“So, I can’t go into all the details and stuff as far as what was disclosed, but what I will tell you is that we will be substantiating based off of sexual abuse. So, we — at this point, we definitely do not recommend the children returning to dad’s house. I know that they’re supposed to return tonight. So, I mean, we’re kind of at the point now where — I mean, obviously,…I can’t make a legal recommendation because I’m not an attorney, but at this point we would definitely encourage and recommend that you look into filing for emergency custody…based off of the — based off of the disclosure, the subsequent interview today…Based on our substantiation protocol and the — the information that one has disclosed, we will be substantiating.”
-Unnamed OKDHS Representative
Chico was scared and left the state to go back to her hometown to live with her sister while under the protective order granted by the courts. The same hometown as Mrs. Viette.
After Chico left, she says that Jackie Vietti filed for emergency guardianship and it was granted without notifying Chico. The court seems to have ignored her Federal VAWA status.
Chico had a second protection order in place against her husband on October 14, 2021 for herself and her children. Chico was afraid that since her husband was being held accountable that maybe the husband would try to hurt her. Her legal team had also stopped communication with Chico. Chico did not appear for the hearing on her filing and the case was closed. Also on October 14, 2021 the judge in the divorce/custody case stayed the child issues and noted a new guardianship case was pending. On October 19, 2021 Chico’s attorneys filed an application to withdraw which was granted by the court.
BRUCE, TAMMY: THE CHILD ISSUES ARE STAYED.THERE IS A GUARDIANSHIP CASE PENDING. PG-21-736.
APPLICATION TO WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY OF RECORDDocument Available (SEALED DOCUMENT)
Chico spoke with the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. After hearing the facts of the case, according to Chico, the Coalition advised that the guardianship is a violation of the original protection order which is still in place to this day.
In January of 2022, Rosario Chico was arrested while she was staying at a domestic violence shelter in Arkansas, a place where she was obtaining medical treatment for her son. She is now facing felony child stealing charges.
“I was arrested at a domestic violence shelter in Arkansas, and I was there with my children,” Chico said.
Turns out, even though she had her protective order, she says her husband’s family filed for guardianship.
“Later, I come to find out that the paternal grandmother applied for a guardianship and that the guardianship ended up being granted,” she said.
Chico says she was never notified about that but, since it was granted, she’s ended up facing charges for kidnapping her own children.
According to Chico, Judge Bruce could not switch custody to the father, as he was under investigation for sexual abuse by CPS and law enforcement, as well as being under criminal indictment for domestic violence. So, the judge gave temporary custody to a family member of the father, where the children were possibly silenced, threatened, and pressured into recanting.
According to a source close to the case, instead of switching custody temporarily herself, Judge Bruce colluded with other judges in other courts. The Restraining Order cases against the father and his mother suspiciously disappeared, and on October 13, 2021 Chico’s case was opened Probate Court, where guardianship was granted to the father’s mother, without Chico there.
The alleged sabotage of Chico’s case was accomplished in record time. Just one week after the medical corroboration of the sexual abuse, and unbeknownst to her, Chico lost custody at a hearing.
Chico was expected to hand over her children at a hearing in Probate Court the next week. She had not been given proper notice nor a chance to respond, so she did not show up at the hearing. The families are all from the same hometown in Kansas and she was located, so was a charge necessary? Was a change in custody required?
Despite the obvious procedural improprieties, evidence of the father’s abuse, and no evidence Chico was abusive or unfit, Judge Kurt Glassco issued a bench warrant for Chico’s arrest for failure to appear, with a $10,000 bond (later reduced). Then he sealed Chico’s entire case record from public scrutiny.
Even with overwhelming evidence of abuse and collusion, Chico is in danger of losing her children, her citizenship, and her freedom solely for protecting them and refusing to return them to their abuser.
In a court proceeding where one party holds all the cards and the other party is struggling to get by, and with no right to counsel in traditional family court proceedings, the probability of injustice rises. The legal abuse and the abuse of her children had increased in reported severity including the substantiation of claims by Oklahoma CPS, Chico’s own employer.
The solution Judge Bruce implemented is a tactic commonly used by judges all over the U.S: to silence a situation and to thus silence children by taking them away from a parent completely; the person in authority will use the parent’s contact (or now lack thereof) with the children as leverage to silence parent and child. In Oklahoma child withholding is illegal by any person. Fait accompli!
From Kansas To Arkansas To Oklahoma In a Month
“Whenever I speak to attorneys and advise attorneys, they’re like, this is impossible, this can’t be happening,” Chico said.
On February 12, 2021, Chico took action in a Federal Lawsuit, Case No. 21-cv-00058-JFH-SH, claiming violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States (42 U.S.C. § 1983). The violations are related to Chico’s custody and divorce action, which has been pending in Tulsa County District Court since 2018.
Chico has since been investigating the family court system’s failure to protect domestic violence victims, parents, and abused children. Chico has started filming and documenting stories of parents and children fighting the same impossible court system that is set up to protect those with resources rather than victims and children.
“I myself am doing this with a lot of fear,” said Chico.
On May 02, 2022 the non-profit Unite 2 Thrive hosted a rally and group prayer on the steps of the Tulsa County Courthouse to bring awareness and transparency to the case of a domestic violence victim’s battle for justice. A prayer circle gathered on that windy summer afternoon, praying for Oklahoma to come together in solidarity for all children traumatized by domestic violence and further victimization in the court system. Rosario Chico and others were in attendance to protest for change in our Oklahoma DHS system, our family courts, and for her children’s rights. “A complete reform of our Justice system, and complete reform of our DHS system” were the prayers being raised.
Sitting on the steps of the courthouse, Chico pleaded “Families have lived in fear and are being silenced, There is nothing else to lose when your children are taken. That’s why a lot of us moms and parents are stuck with fear, silenced, and not being able to speak out. We are here to parent human beings that turn into adults. No matter what justice this court system allows for our children when this court system ends then we are still responsible for our children. We are parents for a lifetime.”
She anticipates more litigation to follow her court rulings. What’s needed, she says, is a solution from Congress. “The fight in Oklahoma and outreach to elected officials will continue,” Chico says.
In a recent post online, an Oklahoma activist noted, “‘The land of the free’ arrests more than 28,000 people a day. Some 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent. The State of Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate for women in the nation – over 60% of those women are victims of domestic violence and abuse. Some of those women are being charged for ‘failure to protect when they are being abused by the abuser themselves while the actual abusers get a slap on the wrist and minimal, if any, sentencing. There is also a pattern of catch 22, other mothers are being criminally charged for attempting to protect their children when no one in the system is doing so.”
Chico is now working to reform the justice system to better serve domestic violence victims and children in the state of Oklahoma and nationwide.
“I am still fighting to be reunited with my children. I am battling to not just protect my children but to now recover my children. At the end of the day, they are all that matters.” Chico told the Oklahoma Post.
Hoping to juggle several things she has even applied for Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth Board to help make changes in the State’s child welfare system.
Chico said, ” I am changing my mentality from fighting to working with the system. Helping it. Being a part of the American Dream. With family court, there is so much fighting and I am worthy enough to work for change in the system. To point out errors in the system but also be a part of the solutions.”
We plan to follow Ms. Chico’s cases and will update our readers as things progress. Until then Ms. Chico and others have an upcoming event planned and are asking those able to attend the Mission 2 Dismiss “Child Stealing” Criminal Charges Courthouse rally and prayer vigil. The event is hosted and Powered by Unite 2 Thrive on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 8 a.m., the same day Chico’s motion to dismiss her criminal charges is set to be heard. Additionally, Chico has a pending case in Federal Court that the Oklahoma Post will continue to monitor. Chico’s custody battle will continue with a full-day hearing in Oklahoma District Court scheduled for November 16, 2022 where the court will be hearing a motion to reconsider the disqualification of the Guardian Ad Litem, a motion to reconsider the admission of Chico’s psychological evaluation admitted into evidence and a motion to reconsider the guardianship order.
(Writing by Robbie Robertson; Editing by Robbie Robertson)
Copyright 2022 The Oklahoma Post
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