Maralee McLean’s book, PROSECUTED, BUT NOT SILENCED: COURTROOM REFORM FOR SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN, is a raw and unfiltered account of her decade long battle with the family court system in her mission to protect her daughter from the trauma of sexual abuse by the father. The book details the dynamics of a dysfunctional legal system that knowingly perpetuated the abuse suffered by her daughter in awarding custody to the abusive father and Maralee’s powerlessness in the judicial system as a protective parent.
Multiple gag orders, threatened jail time, and mounting evidence substantiated by medical records of her daughter having suffered sexual abuse as early as the age of two, failed to sway judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, child custody evaluators and social workers that are supposedly trained to recognize child trauma.
Says McLean, “Nearly 58,000 children per year are forced to live with their abuser,” she says. “My case was 25 years ago but even now, in 2015, little has changed. I see cases coming down everyday with the same outcomes.” DOMESTIC SHELTERS.ORG.
Robert Geffner, Ph.D., ABPP, ABN Founding President, Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute (FVSAI) says in praise of the book “[Maralee’s ] story portrays the failure of various systems when child sexual abuse is reported, and how these cases can get turned against a protective parent in family courts…Unfortunately, many judges, attorneys and mental health professionals still do not understand the overlapping dynamics of spouse abuse with child abuse, and how nearly half of either type of case likely has the other going on as well.” – MOTHERS OF LOST CHILDREN WEBSITE.
Maralee’s power to protect her daughter was further reduced by labeling her as a ‘Parental Alienator.’ Her efforts to obtain sole custody were seen by the legal and court systems as a deliberate manipulation of her daughter to turn her against the father, thus depriving her of developing a healthy father-daughter bond. It resulted in a decision to limit Maralee’s contact with her daughter to 2 hour supervised visitations. And still the sexual abuse of her daughter continued with more and more evidence to support molestation and trauma. Her efforts to champion her daughter didn’t stop there. Risking jail time, she went to the media to expose the egregiousness of her case and the corruptness and failure of the system. After nearly a decade of fighting the system that was designed to protect her daughter, Maralee slowly regained increases in custody arrangements of her daughter to and to repair and heal the damage done to their mother-daughter bond.
Today, Maralee is a speaker, expert witness, and author of several articles. She has testified before Congress and has been involved in legislative work for child abuse advocacy. She relentlessly fights for protective mothers’ rights on behalf of their children.