by Tina Swithin
July 12, 2016
Three years ago this month, the Family Court System (San Luis Obispo) finally got it right. For years, I had acted as my own attorney in a custody battle that received international media attention. I was up against my ex-husband, Seth and his attorney but also a family that covered their issues and enabled each other. Aside from my ex-husband, my greatest fear was his disturbed older brother and his father who was known in several counties as the “pervert principal.” Even scarier, his enabling mother who worked overtime to spit-shine the family image and brush things under the rug. While I hold my ex-husband, his brother and his father accountable for their actions, I find the most fault with their mother who was conscious enough and able to prevent the destruction caused by these men. Instead, she covered for her family – even under oath when it came time to protect my daughters, her granddaughters. Had she not worked so hard to keep the family image perfect and shiny, many lives would have been spared pain and heartache.
On Tuesday, June 28th, I had picked up my daughters and their friend from soccer camp and we made a run to the pet store. Then the phone call from my husband came. “What is your ex-brother-in-law’s middle name?” I told him and then I heard, “Oh my God. I have the craziest news. Can you talk?” I immediately began to shake and I told the three girls to head over to the pet section and wait for me. I sat down on a bench as he read the headlines: “Mother finds her 6-year-old girl with 44-year-old man.”
My PTSD was i overdrive and I wanted to get off the phone. This was my worst nightmare. I couldn’t catch my breath. I grabbed a few things from the store while in a complete daze and headed home with the girls. I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to read the news which was now breaking in every media outlet in my area. My husband was choked up and I was barely holding it together.
THIS is the brother that I fought SO hard to keep my daughters away from.
THIS is the man whom I live in fear of.
SO many mixed feelings – while validation describes some of the feelings, it isn’t the right word because there is a victim involved.
The layers with this brother are so deep that I don’t even know where to begin. In my first book, Divorcing a Narcissist, I refer to him as, “Robert,” and for consistency sake, this is how I will refer to him here. In the beginning of my relationship with Seth, I was very close with Robert. I thought of him as a big brother. I quickly began to see things that bothered me and those things mounted to the point that I was terrified of Robert. From 2001 to 2006, I begged and pleaded for Robert’s mom to get him help. He was homicidal, suicidal, beat puppies and made out with a 14-year old girl at a wedding. It was her first kiss…he was 30 years old. His mom sat eating chips and dip as he spoke of murdering and raping a woman – she just kept eating without missing a beat.
My first daughter, Piper, was born in 2005 and a year later, my then-husband Seth and I decided that our children would never be around this man. Their mother begged me to put my feelings aside and “pretend” to be a happy family during family gatherings and holidays. I refused. That caused major tension in the family. I didn’t care. My second daughter was born in 2007 and I still refused to allow my children around Robert.I remember one night in 2008 during a really rocky time in my marriage, Seth took Piper to a family gathering an hour away. Seth and his mom promised me that Robert would not be present. When I found out through another family member that Robert was in fact at the gathering, I got in my car and drove to the event, barging in and removing Piper from the house. Seth’s aunt (and mom) followed me out to my car telling me how unreasonable I was. I didn’t care – I felt that strongly about protecting my children.
When Seth and I finally separated in 2009, I was insistent that Seth keep the girls away from his brother but on his first night with the girls, he brought them around Robert and they obviously conversed about me. Within an hour, I received the following text message from Robert:“First off, don’t make rules you can’t enforce you stupid cunt. Second, I don’t need anything to do with ur kids….you and Seth have obviously got them pretty fucked up already. Get a life far away from my family you greedy bitch.”
Self-doubt set in. If I stayed with Seth, I could protect my kids but divorcing him opened the door to things I couldn’t even fathom. One of my biggest concerns was Robert. This was a man who talked about raping and killing women, secretly took photos under women’s skirts in grocery stores and was extremely racist and homophobic. With all of the things I knew about Robert, I was sure that the Family Court System would uphold my wishes and listen to my concerns. I was wrong.
In 2009, I was thankful when the court issued an order that the children could not be around Robert. Seth violated this order multiple times and each time, I called the police. In 2010, a custody evaluation was completed and I listened intently as the evaluator went through her recommendations point by point. I had to leave the room and compose myself when I heard her describe the new order pertaining to Robert. He was now permitted to be around my children on 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas – the family’s favorite holidays. As long as Seth or his mother were around, they could be at Robert’s home. The evaluator told me that I could either sign the parenting plan that she was proposing or I could fight it. If I fought it, I would be charged $3,000 for the evaluation and the court would go with her recommendation anyway. If I agreed with what she wrote, she would type it up and we would go on our merry way — I was backed into a corner. As a single mom who was barely able to buy groceries, I was intimidated by the thought of a $3,000 bill when I didn’t even have $300 to my name. I was intimidated by the reality of the Family Court System and the fact that I didn’t have an attorney. I signed the order sitting in front of me with tears in my eyes.
Seth’s mom, Cleo, had successfully sold the evaluator a rosy story about how Robert was a changed man. She said he had anger issues in the past but he had turned a new leaf – he was now married with a child. The reality was: he BOUGHT a bride on one of his disturbing excursions to Thailand. The evaluator dismissed all of my concerns and placed my children in Robert’s clutches. I was sickened to my core. Within months of the court order going into effect, Seth was already violating it. He took the girls to Robert’s house on January 2nd and claimed that the date was “close enough” to Christmas which was an approved date in the court order. I promptly called the sheriff and got the violation documented.
In 2011, Seth fought the existing order and the judge relented. Now, my daughters could be around Robert ANYTIME as long as Cleo or Seth were present. Not only did Seth have my daughters around Robert, he began residing in his home on his weekend parenting time. The issues began immediately. My daughters came home claiming that Robert had placed a large, blown-up, framed photo of me on his fireplace mantel – my image was taped over with electrical tape. Robert, Seth and their father referred to me as, “T-Rex” which upset my daughters on a regular basis but my biggest fear was not the photo or the names – it was my fear that Seth’s father or his brother would molest my daughters. I remember seeing a photo of Robert holding my youngest daughter in his swimming pool and I felt like vomiting.
For the past three years, my daughters have been safe – the last time they saw Robert, Seth or anyone from their family, they were 6 and 8-years old. The little girl that he was caught abusing is only six-years old. My heart breaks for this child and for her family. They are living my worst nightmare. My heart breaks for my children and for all they’ve been through. This entire week has been a fog and I’ve had to resort to Xanax to carry me through –which I rarely do. This is another example of the Family Court System failing our children – my daughters should have never been allowed in that house. Never.
This is also an example to keep fighting and never lose faith. I never believed that Robert would be caught – his parents are well-known in our community and Robert is a local business owner. His mom works hard to keep their public image squeaky clean and perfect. They believe themselves to be untouchable and I had begun to believe that also. I believe that everything happens in God’s perfect timing – while I struggle to understand why my children suffered, your children suffer and this poor little girl is suffering, I believe that this man will finally be stopped and unable to hurt any other children. I believe this family will finally be shown for who they really are. I believe that my children will persevere and that your children will also. Never give up and never stop fighting for your babies….you never know what the next chapter holds.
The truth always prevails.
If your children have been around “Robert” (aka Jason Porter), investigators request that you call the police department at (805) 237-6464 or Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP.
One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.
Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
The Lemonade Power Retreat: October 21-23, 2016.