February 22, 2015

"I Had No Idea"

Here is an excerpt from a letter my grandma Judy wrote to my mom's lawyer dated Oct 2, 2004:
"Today, 17 days after her telling me that Brian served her with divorce papers & filling me in with so much that happened since they got married -- I am still reeling. I had NO idea. She told us nothing. I always felt she was protecting him -- but I thought it was just from "little stuff" -- nothing so devastating & humiliating as what he has put her through. I honor her courage, persistence, devotion, love, & loyalty & her clear clear vision & desire to help another human being. I haven't had a clue, however, all this time, as to the horrendous struggle that has been taking place. Not only was this an incredibly negative situation, she received no support from his family, as they apparently blamed it on "relationship problems" & were unwilling to deal with their son on a deeper level. Michelle, incredible as it still is to  me, was always supportive -- 100% -- & only said good things about him. That's why this has all been such a shock to all of us."
My mom didn't want to tell her family and closest friends that she was an abused woman--just like so many other victims of domestic violence do.

To all of you who hear Angie telling you that I'm lying, that she's not abused or mistreated like I previously described in detail, I hope you will consider that she's trying to be being a devoted wife and mother like my mom was. Maybe she feels humiliated like my mom must have been; not wanting her beloved friends and family to view her with pity. Whatever the reason, I'm not lying about the way I saw her treated almost daily in my dad's house.

One of my dad's favorite stories he'd tell my sisters and me after their divorce was that throughout their marriage, she (my mom) was "always talking horribly about" him behind his back every chance she got. Knowing the kind of woman our mom was, coupled with the fact that her closest family and friends had no clue about the way he was abusing her, we knew his story wasn't true.

For those of you who knew my mom and were not aware of what was going on (both during their marriage and after), please leave a comment below about how little she told you, as evidence to those who don't personally know my mom. If you choose to comment anonymously, please state some kind of association with her (co-worker, student, neighbor, friend, family, community member, etc.). Thank you.



  1. Former student, former employee, and good friend of Michelle's for 11 years -- starting from BEFORE the divorce.

    Michelle NEVER mentioned a word about abuse for a long time. BEFORE the divorce, I spent enough time in her home as a music student and paid tutor that I witnessed Brian abusing the girls and Michelle on more than one occasion. (I found Brian's behavior was always odd. One moment he would be abusive to Michelle and the girls, the next moment he was trying to impress/flirt with me - a MINOR - in front of Michelle, the next moment he was calling my cell phone yelling at me, trying to intimidate me -- I still have no idea how he got my number as a MINOR -- creepy. I know that I am not the only MINOR piano student that has been creeped out by Brian's behavior.) I also babysat the girls a few times while they were young and I saw the OBVIOUS effects of Brian's abuse -- BEFORE Michelle had ever even mentioned the abuse. I was a MINOR at the time that I witnessed Brian's abusiveness, so I reported the witnessed abuse to an adult.

    I felt that the situation was really bad even though Michelle NEVER mentioned the abuse once during the time I witnessed the abuse. It's entirely impossible that I was brainwashed into this too since Michelle never mentioned abuse. I was a complete outsider, yet I saw it. I just witnessed it as it happened and reported it to an adult, who then failed to report it to the proper authorities.

    AFTER the divorce had been under way for some time, then Michelle started sharing only a few, vague bits of information about the kind of abuse she and the girls suffered. That's when I opened up and told her that I already knew and had witnessed and reported the abuse. (I thought my report had made it to the proper authorities, and that her going into the shelter was a result of my reporting). It was then that I learned that my "reporting to an adult" did not make it to the proper authorities. I wanted to make it right. She asked if I was willing to submit an affidavit to the court about what I witnessed, telling me that she had found some documents that, combined with the things I had witnessed and what she had witnessed, had her VERY concerned for the safety of the girls. That's when I filed an affidavit to the court containing the things that I witnessed -- and only a small portion of the more severe things that I had witnessed that were direct abuses against Michelle or the girls.

    Not Really Anonymous to those of you who have done your research on this case. :-)

    1. This is so insightful. I've spoken with other minors who had Michelle as a teacher and they recall Michelle having to go to the shelter.
      I hope other students come forward like you have.

  2. Your mom was always extremely protective with information both before and after the divorce with your dad. I'm just glad you are such a bright, strong young woman with the desire to help your sisters. It seems your mom was very insightful to encourage you all to keep journals. Michelle always was very thoughtful and caring about everyone. She clearly wanted more than ever to just have a family led by a righteous, loving husband and father. I'm sure you are learning some great life lessons in all this.

  3. Michelle assisted my special needs daughter at Pleasant Grove Junior High and Pleasant Grove High School. Her help was invaluable and I must give her a lot of the credit for my daughter having a successful school career. My daughter received a certificate from PG High (rather than a diploma) and is doing very well. I talked with Michelle dozens of times, she never once mentioned a negative thing about her husband/ex-husband. I was completely unaware of the entire situation. Michelle went above and beyond to help my daughter be successful at school, I can't thank her enough. Thank you, Brittany, for your bravery and may you, your mom and your sisters all be reunited soon.