#JusticeForPrince

 

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My son Prince would have been three years old today, if his father had not murdered him.

 

Prince was born on July 1, 2011. I remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday, but sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. The first time the doctors put him on my chest, his big brown eyes looked directly into mine. I was meeting him for the first time, but it was as if I had known him my entire life.

For those who do not know my story, Prince was murdered on October 20th 2012 when his father drowned him during his fourth court ordered unsupervised visitation when he was only 15 months old. Two weeks after my son was born, I learned that the man I thought I loved was not at all the man he had portrayed. After fleeing his home with my two-week-old son, I began the hardest fight of my life in Family Court.

Currently, my son’s father (whom I call “Lucifer” or “Luc”) is awaiting trial for capital murder in Prince William County, VA. In addition to the medical examiner ruling that my son died of drowning, the police discovered that Luc took out over $580,000 in life insurance on Prince before killing him.

 

Living Well After Tragedy:

 I have often heard that the best revenge is a life well lived. This seems especially true when an angry psychopath who seems determined to tear out your soul is the source of your pain. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to you that this sort of “revenge” was part of what got me out of bed in the weeks after my son’s murder.   I should also admit that I have had my fair share of days when getting out of bed was plain impossible.

Just the other day, while I was dropping off my daughter in the church nursery, a kind woman asked me, “Are you happy?” She asked me this with tears in her eyes as she remembered the mornings when my son would bounce into the room, ready to play with the cars and eat cheerios with the rest of the children. While I responded with a simple “yes”, I thought about her question for some time afterward.

“Am I happy? Or am I still just trying to be happy as some sort of revenge to exact upon my son’s killer?” I thought about this for the better part of the day, and I welcomed the reflection that this question caused for me. As I went through the day, I realized that the reason I choose to be happy has changed since those initial days after my son was killed. I am now happy, but my happiness is now for my son, despite his killer.

I have a good life, but I will always have a hole in my heart. The conflicting emotions of being capable of happiness, but at the same time feeling a nagging pain is something I have found hard to explain. It is possible that only those who have faced such a tremendous loss could understand.

Several months ago, my father was talking to a friend about what happened to my son. He explained it well when he said, “It is like there is a huge stain on your carpet, and no matter how much you scrub the spot – it never goes away. You can put furniture on top of it, but you will always know that it is still there.” There is never going to be a day when I think what happened to Prince is okay. The hole in my heart is never going away, just like that permanent stain on my father’s metaphorical carpet.

If losing my child didn’t put a hole in my heart, I am not sure how healthy a person I would be. If someone had asked me in the days after my son was murdered if I thought I would ever be happy again, I would have said that happiness was impossible. Now, I would tell that same person that happiness can live along side of sadness.

 

Prince’s Legacy:

On this day, I choose to celebrate my son’s short life and his important legacy. Since my son died, I have spoken to many parents who have lived and continue to live through tremendous pain and tragedy. Many of them tell me that my story is the worst that they have ever heard. I still hold firm, however, that pain is relative. Mine is no worse than the next person – it is just a different kind of pain.

Before my son came into my life, I was consumed by my “first world” problems. I spent a lot of time being unhappy about things that now seem completely trivial. Since my son, I think I am a happier person for having known this sort of tragedy and for having known how it feels to hit rock bottom. I have also become the type of person who believes that many times what you think is someone else’s problem will eventually become your own.

Lately, many people have asked me why I continue this blog now that I am no longer in the throws of a custody war. There are several reasons I continue to write. I continue to write because:

…I promised my son that I would finish the job he started, and continue to raise awareness about Civil Rights abuses against children in our country.

…I want to spread hope to other families in crisis.

…I want to be a part of the change, so that no other child has to suffer the way my son did – and that no other parent has to bury his or her child the way I had to bury mine.

Happy Birthday Mr. Prince:

Prince only lived to celebrate one birthday aside from the day he was born. I am so thankful that I took him to the beach, and let him play in the sand on his big day. On his birthday, I remember he woke up in a great mood. He wasn’t walking yet, but he loved to crawl. One of his favorite things to do was to crawl down long hotel hallways and greet all the other guests. We spent a large part of that day following Prince down halls, and watching him beam with happiness.

This year, I am taking my daughter to that same beach. I would give anything to have Prince here with us. As I am sitting on the beach, I will try to imagine a world where there aren’t people who kill their children. In that world, my son would still be here. I will also try to imagine a world where all people care as much about children as I do. I will imagine what things could be like if everyone stood up against the gaping holes in our system that continue to fail our children.

This world I imagine is the world I want for my daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Child Of A Football Player

In the past week, many of you have likely heard about the murder of Adrian Peterson’s two year old son.  Though the brutal murder of this innocent toddler should have made headlines regardless of who his father was, the fact that his father plays for the Minnesota Vikings became a center piece for the story.  At first, I wondered why the media was referring to this child as Peterson’s “secret child”.  After reading more, I learned the sad reality that Peterson didn’t even know this was his child until a couple of months before the child’s death.

Even though it appeared that Peterson had been robbed of the chance to know this little boy, some internet trolls had no problem throwing him under the bus for continuing to play football despite the news.  Before I move on to the real issue here – the child – let me just say some words in support for Adrian Peterson.  Peterson is one of the victims here.  He lost a child he never even had the chance to know (and not through fault of his own).  If he felt the need to dance on top of Mount Everest or run naked on the beach as a coping mechanism, I would have no judgement.  People grieve in all sorts of ways.  Many people choose to throw themselves into their careers in order to keep living.  This man also has two other children for whom he is financially supporting.  Keep living Adrian – it’s what your son would have wanted and it’s what your other children need.

Under The Media Frenzy:

While many of the articles I have read focus on Adrian Peterson being a football player, as if the death of his child is somehow more shocking than the thousands of other children who die after being abused, this story can serve as an example of many disturbing trends in our society.  Just weeks after my own son’s murder (at the hands of his own father), I continued to say that I hoped my son would be the last child who had to suffer in this way.  Though that was my hope, I knew that would never be the reality given the current state of affairs in America.

Adrian Peterson’s son, whom family members called “Ty”, was a happy and vibrant two-year old boy.  His mother had left him in the care of a man named Joseph Robert Patterson.  Without details about how much the mother knew about this man (or more importantly how much information the system allowed to be public information), I will refrain from judging her for the moment.  I will, however, come down harshly on a system that allowed this abuser to roam a free man long enough to kill a child.  It is now known that Patterson was indicted in June 2012 on several counts of simple assault involving an ex-girlfriend and her 3-year-old son.  He was also later charged for violating a no-contact order.  While he was sentenced to one year in jail for both of these cases, his time was suspended upon the condition that he attend domestic violence counseling.

Abusers and Deadly Plea Bargains:

In December 2010, my son’s father was arrested for violently assaulting his then 11 year old son.  To avoid a conviction and criminal record, Luc agreed to family counseling and the child was put back in the home.  Child Protective Services issued a report that the abuse was founded, however, records disappeared and Luc was allowed to go on as if this assault had never occurred.  Luc, just like Patterson, is an abusive man who prays upon women and children.  A few months of family therapy didn’t turn Luc into a loving non-abusive father, and “domestic violence counseling” clearly did nothing for Peterson either.  If Luc had served the mandatory year in jail for abusing his older son, Prince would likely still be here.  If Patterson had served the two years in jail that he was sentenced, I wouldn’t be writing about this story because little Ty would be here too.

My son, Prince McLeod Rams, and little Ty were both brutally murdered by men who shouldn’t have been free to walk amongst us.  While Prince and Ty had  different circumstances leading to how these men obtained access (Prince was forced into the custody of a killer by the courts and Ty was left with his mother’s abusive boyfriend),  the two cases have frighteningly similar roots.  Both killers found dangerous loopholes in a broken system.  Both killers had previous run ins with the law where they were able to convince psychological professionals and court officials that they could be rehabilitated and should be given another chance to behave.  As long as society remains in denial about personality disorders, more children will be at risk for deadly child abuse.  It is not possible to rehabilitate a sociopath.  My son, Ty, and all the other children who have been victims of our broken system (and those who will be victims in the future) deserve better from us – they deserve justice.

Shocking Statistics:

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services analyzed data that showed that 80 percent of the 1,570 U.S. children who died from abuse were 4 years old or younger.  In 87 percent of these cases, the perpetrators were biological parents of the victims.  The Every Child Matters education fund reports that 15,510 children are known to have died between 2001 and 2010 from child abuse related incidents.  This is about 2.5 times the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Though these statistics are shocking in and of themselves, the U.S. Government Accountability Office states that these numbers are underreported because there is no national standard for reporting.

When my son arrived at the hospital, nurses and doctors immediately called police and Child Protective Services as his injuries were consistent with child abuse.  Though every person who encountered my son in those initial hours after he arrived at the hospital was likely horrified at the scene, my son’s death went unreported for nearly a month after the incident.  Police didn’t release a press release of any sort and my son’s killer wasn’t arrested for over three months after the incident occurred.  I often wonder how many other cases where children have been murdered go completely unreported.  For months after my son’s murder, I was told that the case was “under investigation” and that authorities were not releasing the cause of my healthy little boy’s sudden death.

Ty’s story was reported because his father is a football player.  Perhaps my son’s story was reported because I am loud, and continue to scream at the top of my lungs.  Perhaps my son’s story was told because a brave reporter from The Washington Post Editorial section took a chance and reported about a case that officials seemed dead set on burying.  The sad reality, however, is all the cases that go un reported – all the children who are born into this dangerous world with no weapons to protect themselves – no Civil Rights – no voice – and no future.

 

 

 

 

 

In Loving Memory of Prince

Today, my son Prince would have been two years old…had he survived.  I have posted a memorial video for Prince on YouTube and ask that everyone share this video liberally (Link provided below).

While many people who had a part in what happened to my son would likely rather forget about what happened, and certainly want to forget and/or deny their role in it, I want them to have to see his face on his birthday and imagine the life he should have had.

For those of you who don’t know our story, and are coming to this site for the first time, I hope that you will take the time to understand what happened and what needs to happen in order to protect other children from the same fate that my son suffered.  After fighting a long, expensive, and emotionally devastating Custody War (I don’t call it battle because a battle seems more finite than what happens in Family Court), Judge Michael Algeo in Montgomery County, MD ordered that my son have unsupervised visitation with his father.  This decision came after Dr. Margaret Wong (from Ashburn Psychological Services in Ashburn, VA) testified in court that my son’s father was psychologically sound and that Prince would be safe in his care.

On July 12, 2012, the court ordered that my son spend unsupervised time with his father each week – despite the fact that several witnesses testified to the disturbing history of abuse and murder that surrounded his father.  My son only lasted about four unsupervised visits before he was brutally drowned during the visit on October 20,2012.  A week after my son was murdered, I learned from police that his father had taken out over $560,000 in life insurance policies on Prince.  On the policy paperwork, he lied to the insurance companies saying that he had custody of Prince and that I was dead.  It was then that I realized that his involvement in Family Court was for the sole purpose of gaining access so that he could murder my son and financially profit off of the murder.

While I should be celebrating this day with a bubbly, healthy little two-year old, I am forced to mourn the life he should have had.  I wish that I could say my son was the first and would be the last child to die this way; however, from what I have learned about our family court system I am sure this will not be the case.  Until we as Americans start to realize this systemic problem, children will continue to suffer.  When two parents go to court about custody of a child, the discussion should never be focused on the rights of the parents.  The only things that should come into play are the rights of the child.  My son’s civil right to life was denied.

Sadly, the Montgomery County, MD court is not the only part of the justice system that should be questioning their decisions.  It is my firm belief that police corruption in the Prince William County, VA Police department has assisted in helping my son’s father evade the law for several years and assisted in this man collecting a large group of victims.  I will not call officers out by name, however, in time I believe they will have to answer for their own sins in connection with some terrible crimes.  If it weren’t for the work of a few honorable officers in the Manassas, VA Police Department, I am not sure if this man would have ever been taken off of the streets.

My son is an angel.  He was an angel before he was born, during life, and certainly remains so to this day.  In his 15 months of life, he made more of an impact than many people do in an entire lifetime.  I ask of you all to please share this video with as many people as possible.  I also ask that regardless of whether your life is personally impacted by what happens in Family Court, that you continue to talk about how dangerously flawed our courts have become.  My son suffered terribly, but there are still other children who are forced by the courts to live in abusive situations every day despite the pleas of a protective parent.  These children will one day be adults and the problems that began in Family Court will come knocking on the door of every American.

I thank you all for your incredible support over these past months.  Without the support of my family, friends, and my readers, this would be infinitely more difficult.

Please help me spread the word about this issue and help me keep my son’s memory alive by sharing this video:

In Loving Memory Of Prince

My son’s father is currently awaiting trial for first degree murder in the Prince William County Adult Penitentiary.  For more information on this case, here are some of the better articles that have been written.

Death of a toddler raises questions in Montgomery, Pr. William

Montgomery County Court System Failed Prince McLeod Rams

Mother of dead infant, Prince McLeod Rams, files civil suit against Ashburn psychology firm

 Prince McLeod Rams Death Raises Questions In Joaquin Rams, Shawn K. Mason Cases

Mystery Deepens in Joaquin Rams Case

 

 

 

Single Mama – My Badge of Honor

I distinctly remember being 16 years old and walking through the mall with my friends.  My eye was suddenly drawn to a teenage boy (who happened to be black) with his pants sagging nearly to his knees.  He had on a poorly fitting belt and his boxers were completely showing.  He walked around as if he owned the mall, all the while loudly cursing at his girlfriend and friends and attracting all sorts of negative attention.  I remember cringing as I watched him.  I didn’t cringe because I was embarrassed for him.  I cringed because I was embarrassed by him.  I knew that there would be people who looked at him as some sort of prime example of blackness.  I knew that I would have to fight daily to erase that image of blackness from the minds of many people.

16 year old Cappuccino Queen believed she was the most mature teenager who ever lived.  I thought that I knew a whole lot about the world.  Even though my short 16 year old life experiences had taught me something about the ugliness of racism, and I had what I felt to be a good reason to cringe at the thuggishly dressed – ill behaved black teen, I didn’t realize how much about the world I still needed to learn.  I didn’t realize how my judgements on other groups was just the same as the ignorant people who chose to judge the entire black race based on one immature teenage boy who was trying to “show out” for his friends.

What did being a single mother mean to me?

I was the young woman in college who told all of her friends that she would never have sex before marriage.  I didn’t ever think it was possible for me to “end up as a single mom” because I believed that I commanded more respect from men – I believed in the stigma that has haunted single mothers for generations.  I judged single mothers the way ignorant people judged all black people based on rap videos and loud mall kids.  I believed that people had complete control over their destiny and that single mothers were single because it was their own fault.

I sure did talk a good game in college.  I went through my entire college years with my virginity completely intact.  I had intended on keeping it that way until I was married.  I believed that would ensure that I would not end up a single parent and fall victim to the evil statistic of black single mothers.  I never imagined that my first sexual experience would not be with my husband – it would be rape.

What does being a single mother mean to me now?

Life has slapped immature and naive Cappuccino Queen in the face.  Before I was a parent, I had no idea what it was like to be any kind of parent.  I had no business passing judgement on anyone.  Being a parent is hard – period.  It is the most amazing gift from God, but it is hands down one of the hardest thing in life.  It isn’t hard because of the diaper changing and the crying, it’s hard because it requires you to love with your entire heart – your entire being.  Before Prince, I didn’t know what it felt like to literally be willing to lay down my life for someone else.  I had never fought so hard and loved so completely.  To love someone that much is hard because you expect the best from yourself.

Despite my naive childhood belief that I would, under no circumstances, become a single mother – I became one.  It was only after becoming a single mother that I was able to truly appreciate the struggle, pain, and joy that being a mother brings.  I don’t sit here on a high horse looking down at other mothers saying that I somehow had it harder because I was a single mother; however, I do wear being a single mom like a badge of honor.  It’s an invisible badge that I am proud of because it represents love, struggle, battle wounds, and shows how far I have come.  Something I would have been ashamed of in college is now something that represents a source of pride.  Being a single mother is part of my identity because its my experience.

Every parent has a unique experience with parenthood.  No easier – no more difficult – but different.  Whether you are a single parent, working parent, stay at home parent – you should wear it with pride because it represents something important for which you undoubtedly have worked your hardest.  (Note:  …unless you are a deadbeat parent…in which case you should wear a neon sign on your head so that we can all be sure to avoid you in the future.)

 

A few days ago, Michelle Obama slipped up during a press interview and called herself a single mother.  She quickly corrected herself and said she was a “working mother”, but that sometimes she felt like a single mother because her husband worked so hard and was often gone.  While I cannot pretend to imagine what it would be like to walk in Michelle Obama’s shoes (and I believe she is one amazing woman in her own right),  she also cannot pretend to imagine what it would be like to walk in my shoes – as a single mother.

In the past few days, I have heard folks make comments that single mothers “just like to complain” and that it “isn’t that hard.”  That is a laughable and silly notion.  Just as silly as if I told a military wife, whose husband was serving in Afghanistan – was home raising their children in his absence -and worrying that their father would never come home, that she was being ridiculous for expressing how tough things were.  Being a parent is tough.  I try not to compare the apples and oranges of parenthood.  For those of us who love our children with all our hearts, we will face challenges as a parent in various ways.

I am Prince’s SINGLE MAMA:

Prince was my heart.  Every single day, I woke up knowing that he relied on me to take care of him.  I was the one and only person who was responsible for making sure he was clothed, fed, and healthy.  When important decisions were to be made, I had tons of support from friends and family – but it was my ultimate decision alone.  Nobody on this planet cared about him the way I did, and that was evident by the way his father treated him in the end.  There are many people who loved Prince so much and who feel terrible about what happened to him  They might even feel personally responsible for not doing more to try and stop what happened to him.  For me, however, as a single mom – and the one who was solely responsible for his well being – I bear this on my shoulders the way nobody else can.  I don’t say that to complain or to cause people to feel bad for me.  I say this so that people understand what being a parent is like for one single mother – what it was like for me.

Raising a child truly takes a village of people.  I used to think that was a corny statement that only politicians pulled out of cans when they were trying to sell some education bill.  After being a mother, however, I know how true this is.  Despite how big or small your village is, being a parent is a tough job if done well.  Moving forward, I pray that people will look beyond their personal situation and dig deep.  Be thankful for the situation you have, the life you have been given, and the people who share the love of your child.  And the next time you see a single mother with her child (or children), don’t assume you understand her situation or begin to judge her just because her path was different than your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child Soldiers

On March 24, 2013,  a Washington Post Editorial shed light on the ugly realities of Child Abuse in our country.  According to the Washington Post, experts estimate that more than 2,000 children die from abuse and neglect each year, with nearly 82 percent of victims being under the age of 4.  The Post then goes on to disclose a possibly even more disturbing comparison when it mentions that between 2001 and 2010 15,510 children were reported to have died from child abuse and neglect.  This number is 2 1/2 times the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When I read the Post editorial, I stared at my computer in shock – completely hung up on these statistics.  Ironically, while I was reading the editorial, the national news was playing in the background.  The newscaster was discussing how careful we must be when we send our troops to war, and the tragedies that occur on the home front when a soldier doesn’t return.  My son was sent to war too, but it was a different war.  It was a domestic war that children are fighting every day.  Healthy mothers and fathers are forced to send their children to the battle lines of a disordered/crazy/abusive “co-parent” –  armed with nothing more than the hope that they will return unharmed.

The War:

I have spoken with many parents about Family Court, my beliefs when it comes to the system, and tips I learned the hard way.  When I describe Child Custody as a Custody War, I am not trying to be dramatic.  That is exactly what it is.  If you are faced with going to court for custody of your child, with someone whom you believe to have a personality disorder, it will not just be a battle it will be a full on war.  These individuals need to feel as if they win no matter what happens and they will continue the battles until the war is won to their satisfaction.  The reality is – this war could very well last 18 years.  It will be ugly, your child will likely suffer as a result, and the court will inevitably not put the child’s needs first – ever.

Difficult Questions:

Not every custody situation needs to turn into a war.  While I understand first hand how emotions can run high when it comes to your child, it is in the best interest of your child to step back and try to look at the situation with the most objective eye possible.  Before entering into a war, I suggest asking yourself the most important question every parent should ask themselves in a situation like this:  “Will my child’s parent physically harm my child – intentionally or by neglecting the child’s immediate needs?”

 

Honest Answers:  

If the answer to the above question is “yes”, you need to find the most intelligent/aggressive attorney you can afford, dig your heels in, and prepare for an all out Custody War.  Your child deserves to be protected and deserves the healthiest life you can possibly provide them.  If the unthinkable happens to you, as it did to me, you will need to know that you did everything in your power to save your child or else you will blame yourself forever.

If, however, the honest answer is “no” then you need to think hard about what is making you uncomfortable about the other parent.  The hard reality is that the world is full of terribly immoral jerks.  Your child’s father or mother might just be one of them.  Your child will run into a lot of jerks in his/her life and you will not be able to shield them from these deplorable people forever.  Trust me when I tell you that if the other parent is a scumbag, your child will probably realize this before you need to even utter a word.

One of my readers told me about something her young daughter recently said after coming home from a visit with her father.  (Note: the child is about four years old)  The child wisely said, “Mama, I don’t think Daddy is a very good person.  He lies a lot.”  The woman was shocked (and a bit worried) as she had worked very hard to make sure her daughter never heard her speak negatively about the father.  While the father would without a doubt blame parental alienation for his daughter’s statements, the reality of the situation is that this child is just perceptive.  Children can spot bad sometimes sooner than adults can.  Prince hated evil.  He was always able to spot it and it didn’t take me having to tell him.  In fact, he wouldn’t have understood me even if I had tried.

Little Soldiers:

Possibly the most painful part of any Custody War is the days when you will have to send your child to someone you wouldn’t even hire to be your daycare provider.  Even worse, the constant reminder that you had a child with this person and will be battling this monster for 18 years.  No matter how awful it feels to constantly drag yourself into court day after day, turn most or all of your salary over to attorneys, and face legal abuse every single day – your child is the real soldier.  Your child will be on the front lines of this war and you will not always be there to protect him/her.

I wish there were something I could say – some advice that I could give on how you could prepare your child with some sort of weapon for protection.  The only weapons there are in this fight are the weapons of love and hope.  I will never forget the last time I saw my son.  As I placed him in the supervisor’s car, I kissed him on the face, hugged him tight, and told him how much I loved him.  I armed him with love that day.  It was all I had to give him.  There are days when I am angry at myself – wishing that I could have armed him with more.  In the end, however, I know that at least my son knew real love in his 15 months of life.  My son knew that day how much his Mommy loved him.  That is what I hold onto when I am so angry and full of rage at the outcome of my Custody War.

I had hoped and prayed that I would be able to give Prince more, but that is all I had – love and hope.  I now fight every day to make sure that your children are armed with more than mine was.  In order to make children safe, we need to stop making them soldiers and stop sending them to the front lines of battle.  We need to change the minds of those who feel the need to send them – the courts.

Prince was a brave soldier.  I am a proud Mama knowing that even after he is gone, he will fight to protect those who will stand on the front lines after him.  I will fight to make sure of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pursuing Prince’s Legacy

On Tuesday February 19, 2013, I filed a precedent setting lawsuit against Ashburn Psychological Center and Dr. Margaret Wong (the child psychologist who gave Luc his court ordered psychological evaluation).  As anyone who has been following my story knows, I have never stopped trying to get justice for Prince since this whole ordeal started.  Part of “getting justice” is holding all of the people who failed my son accountable for their behavior.  A few hours after the law suit was filed, I held the first press conference of my life in my attorney’s office.  Sharing how I felt in that moment might help you understand why this was such a proud moment for me as a mother – as Prince’s Mama.

 

I couldn’t sleep the night before the press conference.  Thoughout the night, I kept thinking about all of the things I wanted to say and how important it was for me to make my son proud.  I would be speaking in a forum that few people get to experience.  I had an opportunity to speak for my son as he would never be able to speak for himself.

When I arrived at the attorney’s office, my thoughts seemed to go a mile a minute as I wondered if I could make these reporters understand how important this message was to not only me, but to many others across the country and the world who are facing similarly horrifying situaitons.  As I sat down at the table in front of a bunch of new faces and cameras, my mind slowed down a bit as my attorney Patrick Regan spoke to the crowd.  Then, it was my turn.  What I said went something like this,

“Thank you all for being here today.  I hope you can understand how important this is to me.  My son was a very special boy – he was my angel.  I sit here before you on behalf of my son who couldn’t be here today.  I speak for my son who will never be old enough to speak.  The week he died, he had just said the word “ball”.  It was his second word after “Mama.”  As many of you know, my son’s father – during just the fourt unsupervised visitation- took off all of my son’s clothing, put him in a cold bathtub, and then held him under the water until he died.  This was a violent and hideous crime.  My son’s father didn’t “snap” and he didn’t go crazy after having a history of mental health.  When Judge Algeo suspected that (Luc) had a mental health issue, he ordered him to have a psychological evalaution.  (Luc) then went to the Ashburn Psychological Center, a place with whom he had a previous history, and paid Dr. Wong to give him a clean bill of health so he could gain unsupervised access to my son Prince.  Dr. Wong proceeded to perform an unethical and negligent psychological evaluation where she ignored all of the evidence that did not support Mr. Rams’ claims of mental health.  It was her dangerously flawed and negligent examination that led Judge Algeo to grant unsupervised visitations – which ultimately led to my son’s death.”

 

As I looked out at the faces in the crowd, I noticed even several men in the room shed a tear.  I continued to explain to the crowd how regardless of whether Family Law touches your life personally, everyone should care about how children are treated in this country.  If children continue to be exposed to abusive and violent parents, these emotionally and physically abused children will eventually become adults and the same issue that was so easy to ignore will eventually become a deeper sociately problem.   If a man as disordered as Luc can walk into a psychological and pay/charm his way into getting a clear bill of health, just about anyone could have done the same.  Dr. Wong’s behavior undermines the entire justice system and we all, as Americans and as members of the human race, should be appalled.

I am suing Dr. Wong and the Ashburn Psychological Center for 20 million dollars.  There is no amount of money on this planet that will make what happened to my son right and there is nothing that can be done to make me forget the terrible pain that I will face for the rest of my life.  This lawsuit is about justice and accountability.  I want to continue to helping people and I want to keep my son alive with a strong memory and a positive legacy.

If I could work every day for the rest of my life and receive no monitary compensation just to be able to have kept Prince with me, I would sign up for that deal in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, I was not given that choice.

Today was a good day.  I have never been more proud of my son than I was today as I stood there speaking to all of those people.  I realized in that moment that my son was able to have more of an impact in his 15 months than most people will ever hope for in a lifetime.  I was a proud Mama today.  I will never stop telling your story Prince, and I will always fight for your legacy.

Love At First Sight

Portrait of an “alleged” serial killer

In February 2010, I met Lucifer for the first time in person (after several phone conversation and email exchanges).  While in the above picture he appears to have aged about ten years in the three years since I first met him, I cannot say he didn’t look just as menacing back then – to some degree he did.  The public is without a doubt wondering how a pretty, intelligent, and educated woman would have fallen for such a thug.  (I have moments myself when I wonder the same thing.)  Well, I am here to tell you that love is dangerous.  I fell in love with the man Lucifer created specially for me.  He read me like a book and presented who I believed, at the time, was my soul mate and Prince charming.  Had I had the benefit of hindsight, I would have run away screaming.  Instead, I was caught up into a whirlwind fake romance and fell victim to one of life’s most hideous and dangerous crimes -relationship fraud.

Some of you may wonder how a woman who had her son murdered could still qualify “relationship fraud” as one of life’s most hideous and dangerous crimes.  I truly believe this to be the case because it was relationship fraud that precipitated these horrible events.  Had Luc not presented a “false self”, I would never have fallen in love with him.  Had I been exposed to the real monster hiding under the button-down shirt and khaki pants (this is what he wore when he wanted people to see the fake self), I would never have gone on a first date with this man.

Paul Ebert, the Commonwealth Attorney, said to me the other day that he didn’t know how I got wrapped up with such a man.  This is after telling me that good people didn’t hang around with Luc.  After spending a couple of minutes trying to explain myself to him, I realized that this might be a losing battle.  Unless you have been charmed by one of these people it is very  hard to understand. (His lawyers and the therapists who were all conned into defending him likely know this well)  I know this because I used to be one of those people who believed that this sort of thing could never happen to someone like me.  I would have watched this story on the news myself and said things like, “See…people like this should not have children, because they clearly are not responsible enough to properly vet their partners.”  I would have said this because I was ignorant and because I was naïve.

Love is dangerous and the natural emotions a woman feels when she has a child with a man can be deadly.  While Luc never came out and told me things like how his mother was found in his house lying dead on a plastic bag (and he was living off of her life insurance policy), he did have moments of rage and anger that scared the hell out of me.  That being said, these moments didn’t happen until I was already in love with the “fake self”.  As these nightmarish episodes occurred, I held onto the memory of the Luc I had first met and didn’t want to believe that this man didn’t exist.  I had been love bombed.

The relationship that I had with this man cost me more than most people will ever experience in their lifetimes.  The most hideous reality here is that this fraudulent relationship produced a sweet and innocent little boy.  That boy is no longer with us because his mother feel in love with an “alleged” serial killer.  His mother was a target who fell into a dangerous trap.  Instead of mourning what happened to this little boy, there are many who feel better blaming his mother for having looked at this evil man and fallen for his charm and charisma.  I have paid dearly for the mistakes that I have made, but I challenge you all to remember a time when you have made a mistake – to remember a relationship that when it ended you breathed a sigh of relief for having dodged a bullet – to remember regretting having fallen for someone’s lies.  All of us have done things for which we are not proud (if you haven’t then you are probably a little disordered yourself), but most of us have not had to pay for those mistakes with the loss of our children.

I ask you to focus this conversation on my son and his legacy.  Let’s not ignore what happened here - making ourselves feel better trying to believe this could never happen to us or anyone we know.  Not only could this happen to anyone, but something similar (maybe to not the same degree) has happened to someone you know.  If you ignore the reality of how dangerous people like Luc are, chances are greater that this sort of thing will happen to you.

I would be lying if I said I couldn’t remember a time when I looked at this monster and believed he was a good man.  Now, however, I look at this mug shot and I see the devil himself.  I see a man who is ugly, menacing, and evil.  I am thankful that no matter what happens to this man, no other woman (or man) will ever be conned by this man into believing that he is good.

 

Justice for baby Prince

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the past two years, there have been many moments in which I have been ashamed of my country.  I grew up believing that if I was an honest person, who worked hard to positively contribute to society, I would always be able to turn to our justice system for help in dangerous times.  When I needed help, however, the justice system was not there for me.  The justice system allowed my sister to be assaulted and for the criminal who assaulted her to walk free, for me to be falsely arrested instead of protected from my abuser, for the Family Courts to ignore the dangerousness of my son’s father, and for several public servants to place my son in the hands of a disordered man who I believe murdered my 15 month old baby boy.  I have lived a nightmare since the day Luc walked into my life.  This nightmare reached epic proportions the day I left him, and since my son’s death has reached the unimaginable.

I am not alone in my quest for peace.  Every person (man or woman) who has found themselves in the grip of a psychopath comes to a point when they also crave peace.  As MLK Jr. stated so eloquently, peace does not only come with the absence of tension.  To a large degree, the tension I had with Luc no longer exists – Prince is gone and Luc has no more control over the person I cared most for in life – my son.  The tension was also reduced the day I realized that Luc was a lost cause, and that I truly didn’t care what happened to him (beyond justice for my son).  Though I will never again be in family court with this demon, it is impossible to truly have peace until justice is served.  While many men and women who have dealt with a psychopath may never receive the justice they deserve, today me and my son received a part of justice I feared may never come – Lucifer was arrested this morning.

The medical examiner report ruled my son’s death a homicide and that he was drowned.  Since my son was only 15 months old, Lucifer could be facing capital murder charges and the death penalty.

This piece of justice feels bitter sweet.  Had the justice system been there for us before now, my son would be here to celebrate this moment with me.  I am not sure that I will ever be able to forgive my country for the terrible injustices that led to the death of my son.  I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself for following the law and waiting for justice my son would not live long enough to see.  That being said, I realize that if I sit back and merely complain without attempting to change the system – I become part of the problem.  When I read the words of MLK Jr., and think about the incredible legacy that he left behind, I feel hopeful.  While many of the injustices he felt during his lifetime have improved, it was not without struggle.  Right now, we are facing new injustices and new problems.  We are facing a crisis directed at our children.  It has become part of my legacy (and the legacy of my son Prince) to see to it that no other child faces the same fate and no other mother will have to bury her son in this way.

One of the most vivid memories I have of my son happened on one summer day (a few short months before he died) when I was dancing with him up and down the driveway in front of our house.  I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and asked, “Are you going to dance with Mama on your wedding day Mr. Prince?”  Prince was laughing hysterically as I spun him around in circles to the silent music both of us imagined.  While my son was not verbal, if he could talk his answer would have been “No”.  It would have been “no” because Prince would never have a wedding day.  He would never be old enough to get married, and we would never again dance together.  I tell this story not to ask for pity, but to ask for your help in finding the justice my son, and every child, deserves.  Justice does not come from one mother screaming at the top of her lungs about what happened to her son – it comes from the power of many.  The civil rights movement was not a movement based on the words of one brave man; it was a movement afoot in a country that was tired of living in the shadows of injustice.  I am tired of living in a country where the courts allow children to be abused and killed by disordered parents and caregivers.  How about you?

Today was a big day for justice, but it was only a piece of the story and a pebble on the path of justice for our children.  I have often told you that this blog is not about Lucifer (that is one of the main reasons that I don’t use his true name).  Today, however, I want to share a letter with all of my readers that I have written to Luc (but will never send).  I imagine this letter could be used over and over again for many woman (and some men too) who have escaped (or hope to escape) a psychopath.  I encourage everyone to share their “goodbye letters” in the comments of this post.  Say goodbye and good riddance to the psychopath in your life and pledge to have “no contact” with this person in both the physical and in thought.  This is the first time I will address Luc – and it will also be the last.

 

Dear Lucifer,

I regret a lot of things in life, but I will never regret leaving you.  While we were together, I wrote love letter after love letter – hoping and praying that you would one day prove to me that you were the man I wanted you to be.  You never proved anything, because being that man was impossible.  You have taken a lot from me, but you have not ruined me.  I was strong before I met you, but now you have assisted me in becoming wiser and stronger than I ever believed I could be.  Prince was an angel.  I have always known that he saved my life, but now I realize that he likely saved many others.  Sometimes I think Shawn sent him here to protect her son from you.  Maybe your mother Alma sent him so that you would stop killing, conning, leaching, and abusing.   Prince’s true mission was one that I will never completely know until I am in heaven along with him.

Today is the beginning of the rest of my life.  After this moment, I will begin to forget about you.  I will move on, fall in love again, have more children, and one day remember Prince without remembering his unfortunate sperm donor.   I am fairly certain that you will remember me forever.  You are likely thinking that your current situation is my fault.  Don’t be confused Luc, this is part of your disorder.  You always said that you wondered if you were being punished for the bad things you had done in a past life (because you didn’t have money, were not a successful singer, or whatever thing you chose to complain about that day).  I am here to tell you the honest to God truth – you are being punished for the terrible things you are doing in this life.  Everything that is happening to you right now is of your own doing.  That very large and angry man who wants to make you his girlfriend (or maybe already has) is sharing that jail cell with you because of what you have done to the people who tried to love you.

You have destroyed everything that could have been good in your life.  Now, you have nothing.  You have become what you have feared the most – powerless and utterly irrelevant.  In jail you will probably still tell stories about how you believe you were in concert with Brittany Spears, Rihanna, or whatever other artist you will claim to personally know at the time.  The difference, however, is that now everyone knows how delusional you are so these stories will be nothing more than the stories of a crazy man who sits in prison for the rest of his miserable life.

Enjoy the media attention and the televised trial because it will be the last stage you will perform on.  Eventually, you will disappear along with the average news cycle, and nobody will think about you as you rot in jail where you belong.  And remember – you are sitting there because of the things you have done.  You took Prince’s life after only 15 months.  My little boy touched more people in a positive way than you will have in your lifetime.  In fact, I would challenge you to find just one person who will admit (after they learn who you really are) that you have touched their life in a positive way.

Good riddance Lucifer.  You are finally where you were meant to be – in chains, powerless, and forever in jail.

Truthfully and finally,

Prince’s Mama