When a mother is on trial, the father is the accused
He just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Judge Alfred Stong, I mean, who presided over the Elaine Campione murder trial. Two days ago the jury brought in a decision of first-degree murder and a 25-year sentence against Elaine Campione, who freely confessed to drowning her two little girls in a bathtub, and who freely stated in a videotape that her motivation was hatred for, and revenge against her husband Leo.
The trial was over, But Judge Stong added comments after the verdict announcement suggesting that if had the power to overturn the jury’s verdict, he would. He said, “It is more than disconcerting to think that if Campione had not been so abused, so used and discarded as a person, her two daughters could still be alive…” Judge Stong was determined that even if it is Campione that gets locked up, Canadians would know that the real villain, morally speaking, is Leo Campione, the father of the dead girls (even though his alleged abusiveness was entirely based on his wife’s allegations and never proved), and it is actually the “discarded” Elaine Campione who is the victim.
Judge Stong felt such personal animus against the grieving father that he wanted to deny Mr. Campione and his parents their opportunity to read a victim-impact statement, standard practice even with mandatory- sentencing cases. He only relented under strong pressure from the prosecutor, who reminded the judge that the murdered girls had been “an extremely important part of [Mr. Campione's] life.”
The judge’s attitude is shameful. But what can you expect from someone who has been trained – literally, judges take structured learning programs steeped in feminist myths and misandric conspiracy theories – that women are never abusive or violent unless they have been driven to it by an abusive male. Judge Stong just could not get it into his head – he alluded to the “unimaginable facts of this case” – that a woman could kill her children without a motivation involving a controlling male that somehow drove her to the act.
Why did it not occur to the judge to blame the CAS? The CAS was well aware of Elaine Campione’s quixotic and alarming history. They knew that Campione had exhibited many signs of psychosis, that she had been hospitalized in psychiatric wards, believed people were out to kill her and kidnap her children, and exhibiting such bizarre and/or negligent behaviours toward her girls that mother-substitutes, including her own mother, had to be constantly parachuted into her household if it was to function at all.
Yet the CAS decided the mother was the “safe parent.” Mr. Campione fought like a tiger and indebted himself trying to wrest control of the children from a woman he knew to be unstable and a potential risk to them, but nobody listened to him. Why? Because everyone licenced to deal with family issues on behalf of the state – social service agencies, police, lawyers and judges – are trained in the same mythology about women as Judge Stong was. They are all singing from the same hymn book: trust the woman, suspect the man, even when the evidence screams not to.
Let a man raise his hand once to a woman (or not, but simply be accused of doing so), and he will be whisked out of his children’s lives for a year at least. You can be sure that if the father of these children had exhibited one-hundredth of the myriad clues to Elaine Campione’s potential risk to her children’s safety, the CAS would have eaten him for breakfast.
The “system” didn’t fail Elaine Campione. The system failed those two little girls by enabling a woman’s psychosis at the expense of her children. There is nothing “unimaginable” in this case at all. It has all happened before.
Everyone involved in this fiasco should be locked up in a room and forced to review the case of Zachary Turner, the thirteen-month old baby who was drugged and drowned in Newfoundland in 2003 by his psychotic mother, Shirley, while she was out on bail for the third time on charges of murdering Zachary’s father. And after that forced to review the case of Toronto baby Jordan Heikamp, who in 2001 was starved to death by his mother under the blind eyes of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society (no jail time) and Toronto baby Sara Cao, abused to death in 2001 by her mother Elizabeth. Christie Blatchford, who covered that case, said the mother (again no jail time) “was treated by the system, and in the main by the media, as a pitiful [woman], worthy of sympathy.”
Sound familiar? Plus ça change. When fathers kill, they are not assigned any motivation but their own evil impulses. When mothers kill, everyone in the system kicks into denial mode, and assumes the fault has to lie elsewhere – anywhere, as long as the woman doesn’t have to take responsibility for her actions, and can be offered sympathy. When fathers show disturbing tendencies, the system acts, or tries to. When mothers show disturbing behaviour, the system protects the victimizer.
Little Sophia and Serena Campione did not have to die. They were allowed to die because of a belief system that denies the truth of human nature. Both men and women are capable of aggression.
Statistically in Canada, mothers abuse their children more than fathers. When will our society really consider the “best interests” of the child rather than throwing them under the bus of a superannuated and pernicious ideology?