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September 23, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

It’s not over yet. The case of Italian father Tomasso Vincenti and his ex-wife Australian Laura Garrett just goes on and on. Fortunately, it’s all flowing in one direction – in favor of Tomasso and his daughters. Here’s the latest, courtesy of 60 Minutes in Australia that’s done yeoman work in bringing the facts of the case to the public (60 Minutes, 9/21/13).

In a nutshell, Laura Garrett, her mother Kate and grandmother Carol have finally lied to so many people for so long, and so many people know it, they can no longer even get the Australian media to take them seriously. For them, the string has officially played out. The ship is sinking and the rats are leaving it.

Tomasso now has custody of his four daughters at his home outside Florence. There is no reason why Garrett can’t board a plane for Italy, fly there and let the Italian courts sort out who should have custody of the children and who should have visitation. But, over a year since the Australian courts first ruled the children must be returned to Italy, Garrett has made no effort to be with her children. She claims to be afraid the Italian authorities would arrest her for her clear violations of international child kidnapping conventions and Italian civil and criminal law. But Italian government officials have said time and again, including in court in Australia, that they have no intention of bringing Garrett to justice.

Just why that is, I have no idea, but it adds one more lie to Laura Garrett’s already lengthy list of same. Put simply, the woman rarely, if ever, tells the truth about her ex-husband or his relationship with his daughters.

You remember Tomasso Vincenti. He married Garrett some 15 years ago when she was a student studying Italian in Florence. Their daughters were born, but the marriage began to founder. One incident lets us know just what type of family Tomasso had married into. In short, Garrett’s mother came to Italy with her boyfriend for a visit. They convinced Tomasso to pay for a rental car which they proceeded to steal and trash. Weeks later, they were finally located in Spain living in the car. That’s after they had maxed out the credit card Tomasso had allowed them to use.

In Texas we call that type of person “trailer trash,” and it seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Instead of remaining in Italy, going to court, divorcing and getting an order of custody that almost certainly would have favored her, Garrett decided to abduct the girls to Australia. So she spun an utterly false and groundless tale of abuse by Tomasso which employees of the Australian embassy in Rome swallowed hook, line and sinker.

In what must count as one of the most outrageous chapters of a truly outrageous story, the Australian embassy knowingly assisted Garrett in the international kidnapping of her children. That violated both Italian law and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. That an arm of the Australian government would intentionally violate not only the laws of the land in which it operates but also a convention to which it is a signatory is remarkable indeed.

Once in Australia, Garrett and her family were immediately faced with legal proceedings by Tomasso. Under the Hague Convention, it is entirely clear that the children’s place of habitual residence was Italy. That means that Italy’s laws and courts were the ones to adjudicate all aspects of the custody case. In short, Garrett would be forced to return the girls to Italy whose courts would make the requisite rulings in the matter. That was as clear as it’s possible to be under the Convention, but the Australian courts, cheered on by the Australian news media, took an astonishing two years to decide what should have been decided in 60 days according to the Convention.

From the beginning, the Australian media were unquestioning in their support of Garrett. Nothing she said, no matter how dubious, could sway the news media down under from its certainty that, as Garrett claimed, Tomasso was a child abuser and she a desperately “protective” mother. The early reporting uniformly ignored the plain fact that Garrett had violated numerous laws. Not a single reporter paused to ask the question, “If Vincenti is such an abuser, why not just go to court in Italy and prove it?” After all, Italian family courts deal with those very issues every day, as do the courts of most countries.

But no, the Australian news media had its preferred narrative –courtesy of decades of feminist claims that fathers are a danger to their wives and children - and stuck to it. So it was with considerable embarrassment to the news media that, as the legal case went forward, it turned out that Garrett had no evidence of abuse by Tomasso, either of herself or the children.

As time went on, it was the Garrett clan who were the bad actors. Lie after lie came to light and, when the courts finally ordered the girls back to Italy, Laura’s grandmother and an aunt abducted them again. Eventually they were found, forcibly put on planes and returned to Florence.

That was over a year ago and the scene at the airport was quite a hullabaloo with the children screaming, clinging to chairs, threatening to jump from the plane and the like. To those of sensitive to the parental alienation of children, that’s exactly what it looked like, but now, courtesy of the 60 Minutes reporting, we know there was more. The scene put on by the girls at the airport that drew such national and worldwide attention was a complete fraud.

The main thing to come out of the 60 Minutes expose´ is the story of Melissa and Troy Thompson. They’re Australians who were totally taken in by Garrett’s lies, but, unlike most people, they took action on her behalf. They believed every word she said and contributed thousands of dollars to her legal fund. They started a trust into which was placed the tens of thousands of dollars for the girls that flooded in from all parts of the world. No one outside of the Garrett family did more to support Laura and her claims to be a “protective” mother.

Most importantly, it was their daughter Morgan who coached the four girls in how to appear convincing in the scene at the airport. Morgan acknowledges frankly that Kate came to her and told her what to do to get the girls to act the proper way and Morgan complied. The entire scene was a hoax.

Prolonged exposure to Garrett and her relatives, however, has made the Thompsons sing a different tune. Now Melissa says, “Nothing that family told me has come to be true.” Troy says the Garretts had convinced them and the girls that Tomasso was “a violent man” who “didn’t pay child support” and who

“didn’t love them,” i.e. the girls. He now admits that “none of that was true,” and that it “all came from brainwashing.”

60 Minutes asked to interview Laura Garrett for this most recent episode. She refused.

That may be for many reasons, but one certainly is that it’s been brought to light that Tomasso isn’t the first man Garrett and her mother have ruined. Back when Laura was 14, she accused a man of sexually assaulting her and he was convicted on her testimony and sent to prison. But the Australian High Court acquitted him saying that his alibi meant he couldn’t have done what Garrett claims. I wrote about that here (NPO, 5/1/13).

But, as I said at the outset, it’s not over yet. That must mean that the Garretts aren’t done lying or trying to manipulate the four girls, and sure enough, they’re not. Garrett refuses to move back to Italy and play a constructive role in her daughters’ lives, but that doesn’t mean she and her various female relatives aren’t up to their old tricks. What they’re doing now is communicating with the girls via FaceBook. That would be alright but for the content of those communications that seem to be nothing but exhortations to the girls to make their father’s life miserable.

One message urged the girls to pour boiling water on Tomasso. Another tells them to destroy his computer, disable his car, his phone, etc. When asked what she thought when she viewed those messages, the Italian guardian ad litem for the girls said she concluded the mother is mad.

Currently, Italian child welfare authorities are considering restrictions on the girls’ access to FaceBook and other social media.

The Garrett clan consists of liars and users. Any weakness displayed by anyone is, to them, an invitation to manipulation and fraud. They’re not very good at it. So far, every lie they’ve told has been exposed and every fraud uncovered. Ask yourself, “What has it gotten them?” Laura is a laughingstock and Kate is a disgrace. No one except the truly delusional believes a word they say. Laura doesn’t have her kids and the man she put in prison years ago is out and acquitted. They have nothing to show for all their efforts but a little bad publicity and a lifetime of shame.

What their story teaches is that, in this environment, the worst of the worst can get away with lies, deceit and fraud. Despite being serial lawbreakers and liars, no one has yet suggested doing a single thing to punish Laura or any of her relatives. So I suppose we can expect more of the same.

Not just anyone can do what the Garretts have and get a pass. But mothers who claim abuse by a father can, and that’s the niche Laura and her relatives have discovered and now occupy like snakes in a rabbit’s burrow. That this family could violate so many laws, tell so many lies, ignore so many court orders and have no one even consider punishment tells us a lot. It tells us that, where mothers and children are involved, the sky’s the limit. Any claim of abuse, no matter how farfetched, no matter how false, constitutes a Get Out of Jail Free card to any mother.

It happens again and again all over the world, and why not? Until courts start to punish perjurers and lawbreakers, even if they are mothers, they’ll continue to do it. Hey, most of the time it works.

The National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

The National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

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