Referee Jason T. Hutchison and his law clerk, Kala Swenson, issued an Order Modifying Custody on August 9, 2023. The Court took seven months to adjudicate the issue of custody, electing to wait nearly three months to render a decision after the parties submitted their proposed findings in mid-May.
After winning three prior trials, Ms. Anderson interfered with my custody yet again and refused to allow our daughters to return home after the final dismissal of proceedings in January 2023. I filed a motion citing interference of custody, contempt of court, and emotional abuse and requested full custody of all three girls. Ms. Anderson counterfiled requesting custody, saying the girls were scared to return to my home. Unconscionably, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the Hennepin County Court ruled in favor of Mother and awarded her sole legal and sole physical custody.
Referee Jason T. Hutchison and his law clerk, Kala Swenson, locked onto one thing Ms. Anderson said in her testimony and built their entire Order around it. In July 2016, in the middle of a heated argument, Ms. Anderson threatened to leave and take the girls. In the shock of hearing such a threat, I made the mistake of saying, “If you take the girls, I’ll knock you out.” I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth and apologized immediately after. I never raised a hand to her or my daughters (or to anyone else), nor did I have any intent to do so. She still used the incident to paint herself as a victim. However, neither our custody evaluator in 2018 nor the Parenting Consultant (PC) in 2020 bought her victimization. This was well documented in our divorce proceedings. It did not bear weight in the custody evaluation and the court-appointed PC deemed it inconsequential. The PC acknowledged Ms. Anderson’s attempts to create a narrative of victimization but dismissed her accusations because “she cannot provide additional instances that support a risk of physical harm” (italics in original).
Jason Hutchison and Kala Swenson, however, were more than eager to resurrect it and add to it. They had to somehow tie this incident that transpired seven years ago to a custody dispute today. Because the law requires Ms. Anderson be held in contempt of court for illegally moving out of state, the Court needed a way to excuse her. The only way to do so was to make a finding of domestic abuse. One benign statement wouldn’t do it, so they fabricated another statement out of whole cloth. They literally made up testimony from Ms. Anderson’s father to support their falsity, a desperate twist given the fact that her father testified on my behalf and believed I should have custody.
Did the Court innocently err? It seems only right to look at the evidence before determining innocence or guilt, something this Court refused to do but which I will not. Law clerk Kala Swenson wrote the Order. She publicly aligns with several advocacy groups, as she highlights on her LinkedIn page. Her dated, but revealing, X page provides additional clues for how she views the world. Referee Jason Hutchison served in Housing Court for four years before moving to Family Court in November 2016. He ran for election in 2014 and finished in seventh place out of seven candidates with 5.33 percent of the vote. Local news station, KARE 11, highlighted one father’s fight for his children in front of Referee Hutchison. Scott Vogel’s battle cost more than $150,000. It took him more than three years before Jason Hutchison granted him what he should have had from the beginning, equal time with his children. The story generated more buzz than any other in 2019 and led to multiple follow-up segments.
Far be it from me to wrongly accuse someone of malfeasance. I disdain false accusations. Given the evidence, this Court’s ruling seems too clever by half, the errors too frequent, and the effort too clear. The Court ignored nearly all of my evidence, including the damning testimony of Ms. Anderson’s own father. My innocent little girls are having their childhoods robbed from them as a result and have lost contact with three-fourths of their family. Writing a blatantly biased Order under the guise of “the best interests of the children” does not hide the evil intent behind it.
I have no access to my oldest daughter and can only see my two younger girls for three hours on Wednesdays and one overnight every other Friday. Anytime I want to see them, I have to drive an hour into Wisconsin.
In the face of injustice, Job’s words ring in my ears, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” My heart grieves, and yet, the Lord has prepared me for this moment. He has a plan greater than I can see. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I am preparing an appeal in which I will challenge the Court’s findings. Should the Lord move in your heart to help with my appeal, please do so here. I have only made it this far with the faithful support of people like you.