On June 2, 2012, 6-year-old Leo Rigamonti will be forcibly returned to Italy, where a US appeals court and Italian courts have ordered he must be returned to custody of the father who abused him.
Maurizio Rigamonti isolated and abused his wife, Lura Calder (a US citizen), and their son Leo (also a US citizen) for years in Italy, until Lura contacted a domestic violence organization that told Lura and she and Leo were in danger than that they should leave immediately for the safety of her child and herself. She went the only place she knew to go: Home to the United States to seek the support and help of her family, informing her husband of where she was going before she left the country. In the US, Leo has undergone extensive therapy to help him recover from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that plagued him in the wake of the abuse. He is now a well-adjusted and happy little boy.
The Hague Convention, which was meant to prevent and address international child abduction, has an exception for children who have been removed from an abusive home, but judges routinely ignore this exception, sending hundreds of children back to abusers every year.
Lura sought protection for Leo under this exception in the Hague Convention, and won in a lower court, having documented and proved evidence of grave risk of harm beyond a shadow of a doubt. But an appellate court overturned this ruling, refusing to review the overwhelming evidence of abuse, and, disregarding the exception clause meant to protect children like Leo, they ordered Leo back to Italy.
The California State Supreme Court has refused to hear a further appeal, and so we are now desparate to save Leo in any way legally possible. And this case, published in a legal journal, is already being used as dangerous and alarming precedent to force mothers who have left abusers to return their children to the abusive home.
We hope to not only help Leo, but countless other children, as well. Help us save Leo by asking his legislators in Congress to intervene and help keep him out of the hands of the man who tormented him.
Sign the petition to ask Rep. Karen Bass (CA, 33rd district, where Leo lives) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Barbara Boxer (CA) to intervene in any way they can, and help keep Leo in the United States, where he will be safe from his abusive father.
Maurizio Rigamonti ha isolato e abusato sua moglie, Lura Calder (una cittadina degli USA), e il loro figlio Leo (anche un cittadino degli USA) per anni in Italia, finchè Lura ha contatto un’organizzazione contro la violenza domestica dove l'hanno detto che loro erano in pericolo e l'hanno consigliato di andare via subito per la sicurezza di suo figlio e di se stessa. Lei è andata a l'unico posto che sapeva andare; a casa sua negli Stati Uniti a cercare l'auito e l’appoggio della sua famiglia, informando suo marito dove stava andando prima di partire dal paese. Negli USA, Leo è stato sottoposto ad un'ampia terapia per aiutarlo a ricuperare dal Disturbo Post Traumatico Da Stress che l'aveva angosciato a causa dell'abuso. Adesso lui è un ragazzino psicologicamente sano e felice.
La Convenzione dell'Aia, che ha lo scopo di prevenire ed affrontare il rapimento internazione dei bambini, fa un’eccezione per i bambini che sono stati tolti da una famiglia abusiva, ma i giudici regolarmente ignorano questa eccezione, restituendo un centinaio di figli ogni anno a chi commette abusi.
Laura ha cercato la protezione di Leo sotto questa eccezione della Convenzione dell'Aia, ed ha vinto nel tribunale civile, avendo documentato e dimostrato la prova del grave rischio di danno al di là di ogni ombra di dubbio. Ma una corte d’appello ha rovesciato questa decisione, rifiutando di rivedere la prova schiacciante degli abusi, e trascurando la clausola dell’eccezione intesa a proteggere bambini come Leo, e hanno ordinato al bambino di tornare in Italia.
La Corte Suprema della California ha rifiutato di accogliere un ulteriore appello, e perciò adesso siamo disperati per salvare la vita di Leo in qualsiasi maniera legale possibile.
Questo caso, pubblicato in una pubblicazione legale, viene già usato come un pericoloso e allarmante precedente per costringere le madri che hanno lasciato chi li ha abusati di restituire i loro figli in case violente.
Speriamo non solo di aiutare Leo, ma anche di aiutare tanti altri bambini. Vi prego di aiutarci a salvare Leo chiedendo ai suoi legislatori del congresso di intervenire ed aiutarlo a stare fuori dalle mani dell’uomo che l’ha tormentato.
Firmate la petizione per chiedere a Rep. Karen Bass (CA, 33rd distrect, dove Leo vive) ed ai senatori Dianne Feinstein (CA) e Barbara Boxer (CA) di intervenire in qualsiasi maniera che possano, e aiutare Leo a stare negli Stati Uniti, dove resterà al sicuro dal suo padre abusivo.
I am writing to express my deep concern for the welfare of 6-year-old Leo Rigamonti, who has been ordered to return to his abusive father in Italy in a gross misuse of the Hague Convention.
On June 2, 2012, Leo will be forcibly returned to Italy, where US and Italian courts have ordered he must be returned to the custody of his father Maurizio Rigamonti, who abused Leo and his mother Lura Calder for years.
Lura Calder was advised by a domestic violence center to leave her home with Leo in order to protect Leo and herself from grave danger. She went to the only place she knew to go: home to the United States to receive the much-needed support of her immediate family and friends, informing her husband of where she was going before she left the country. In the US, Leo has undergone extensive therapy to help him recover from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that plagued him in the wake of the abuse. He’s now a well-adjusted and happy little boy.
The Hague Convention, which was meant to prevent and address international child abduction, creates an exception for children who have left abusive homes, but judges have frequently ignored this exception, and hundreds of children are returned to abusers every year. Lura sought protection for Leo under the Hague Convention, and won, having proved documented evidence of grave risk of harm. But an appellate court overturned this ruling, refusing to review the overwhelming evidence of abuse, and disregarding the exception clause meant to protect children like Leo.
The California State Supreme Court has refused to hear a further appeal, and so we are now desparate to save Leo. And now the case, published in a legal journal, is already being used as precedent to force mothers who have left abusers to return their children to the abusive home.
This sets dangerous and alarming precedent in the way that the US implements the Hague Convention. Numerous studies have shown that over two-thirds of accused abductors are women fleeing with their children from domestic abuse, and in most cases, the children are ordered to be returned to their abusers, regardless of evidence of abuse. This flies in the face of the original intentions of the Convention, which was to protect children.
Leo is scheduled to be returned to his father on June 2, 2012. Under the Italian ruling, Lura will have a single, one-hour supervised visit with Leo on June 3, and based on that supervised visit, as well as a single, one-hour evaluation with Leo’s father, the court will decide who will receive permanent custody. This is a travesty of justice, and definitely not in the best interests of little Leo.
We are desperate to help Leo, because once he returns to Italy, it is almost certain that he will be returned to sole custody of his abusive father, who has systematically and repeatedly abused Leo in the past. However, Judge Piscopo has refused to take any of this previous behavior into consideration. Maurizio Rigamonti has at the same time been waging a smear campaign against Lura Calder in the Italian press in order to discredit her, despite overwhelming evidence of his abuses, and in Italy there is no rule keeping the media and public from influencing courts.
Furthermore, it has recently come to light that Maurizio has a criminal record, including drug trafficking, and Judge Piscopo has refused to take any of this, or any evidence of grave risk of harm found in the US courts, into consideration in the custody hearing.
Lura and Leo are residents of California's 33rd district, and have exhausted all other options. They are in desperate need of your help.
Please help us by personally intervening in this situation. We ask that you help us to:
1. Legally keep Leo with his mother in the United States via emergency legislation or any other means at your disposal
2. Raise awareness and public support for Leo to stay with his mother, to protect him from further abuse
By helping Leo, you can help countless other US citizens who flee abusive marriages and try to save their children, only to have their children returned to the abusers, in a well-known, all-too-frequent, and gross misuse of the Hague Convention.
Please contact Lura Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org and give your support to this urgent matter.
1. William M. Vesneski, Taryn Lindhorst, and Jeffrey L. Edleson, “U.S. Judicial Implementation of the Hague Convention in Cases Alleging Domestic Violence,” Juvenile and Family Court Journal 62, no. 2 (Spring 2011); Paul Beaumont and Peter McEleavy, “The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction,” Oxford University Press, 2004; Nigel Lowe and Katarina Horsova, “The Operation of the 1980 Hague Convention – A Global View” Family Law Quarterly 41 (2007); Marilyn Freeman, “Primary Carers and the Hague Child Abduction Convention,” International Family Law (September 2001).
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