Custody Chaos: Janet

Terrified for Her Grandchildren

According to Melissa's mother, Janet, "John is evil. He fools people, he turns on the charm, but he's a twisted person, and that's what I'm afraid of," she says. "John is a scumbag."

 

Janet didn't want her daughter to marry John. "All of us had the just gut feeling that something wasn't right. Our priest was very close to our children. He actually cried," she recalls. "John duped Melissa into the relationship. She was his trophy wife, but John has cheated numerous times. Girls have actually called and told Melissa, ‘John is with me. John loves me.' He had his little girlfriends all along " 15-,16-year-old girls. John would always deny it, but Melissa would find open condom packets in the house, barrettes, notes that John wrote to girls.

"Every weekend with John, we hold our breath until the children are safely home," Janet continues. "John constantly endangers the children. John took the kids four-wheeling. They didn't even have their seat belts on. Daddy took them outside during a thunderstorm. It was the day of the tornadoes. They were scared. They asked John, ‘Please, let's go in the house.' John would laugh and say, ‘No. Daddy wants to have fun.'" Janet recalls John shooting a can of carb and choke cleaner toward his son and igniting it.

 

"I told Melissa, ‘Leave. Just go while he's at work.' We were so afraid what he would do. John has always kept guns in the house," Janet says. "I do believe John really, in his sick way, loves Melissa, but he wants to hurt her."

 

Janet also believes John is using the children as pawns in the divorce. "He manipulates them. John John came home crying and said, ‘Mommy, are you going to jail?' John John said that, ‘Daddy said Mommy's bad. It's Mommy's fault that they are going back and forth. If Mommy gets custody, you'll never see Daddy again.' This upsets the children. He doesn't care," she says. "When the children come back from a visit from John's house, they're upset. They seem very distant. They just gaze out the widows. Madison will actually act like a zombie. She sits there in a trance. I feel that John has brainwashed them."

 

Janet says that John even has threatened to commit suicide. "My worst fear is that he'll be too much of a coward to kill himself, but he will kill the children to hurt my daughter," she reveals. "I am so terrified every time the children have to leave to go visit John."

Dr. Phil asks Janet, "What is your concern about his involvement with the children?"

 

"I'm afraid that he's going to put them in harm, he's going to endanger them," she says. "The children come home every weekend telling me things that Daddy did. Daddy will scream and tell them, ‘Don't tell Mommy, or Daddy will go to jail.'"

 

"What's this about all of the little girlfriends?" Dr. Phil asks. "Do you think he has young women around these children?"

"Oh, yeah," she says. 

 

"They caught him in bed with somebody," Melissa adds, noting that the girl was probably 15 or 16.

 

"How old is she?" Dr. Phil asks John.

"Twenty-one," he says.

 

"Is that the same girl who John John saw behind the door, and you screamed at him and you said, ‘Don't tell Mommy or Daddy will go to jail'?" Janet asks. "Well, if she's 21, then you won't go to jail."

"I never said such a thing," John says.

"Then you're calling your son a liar!" Janet says in a raised voice. "What's wrong with you?"

"You can have your girlfriends and stuff, but you don't bring them around the children," Melissa says to John. "They're already hurting."

Dr. Phil goes over a list of John's alleged behavior. "Do you lock these kids outside in the dark as a discipline?"

"No."

"Have you had them hold their hands up over their head until they cried, as a discipline?"

"I've had them put their hands over their head, but not until they cry."

"These aren't soldiers. These are children," Dr. Phil reminds John. "This isn't a Marine Corps. It's a family."

John says he lets his children out of the corner after three minutes.

"That's a lie," Janet says. "My grandson and granddaughter both told me that he keeps them, and he yells at them. They say you scream right in their face. That's abuse."

"Do you chase them with dead mice, and bugs and snakes under the theory of getting them over their fear?" Dr. Phil asks John.

"Not dead mice," he says. "Maddy and I kind of tease John John with bugs " "

Janet interrupts her ex-son-in-law. "What is wrong with you?" she yells. "You're picking on him because he was always sensitive like [Melissa]. He said he's a wuss."

When John points out that both of Janet's daughters still live at home, Janet says that both her daughters work.

 

"She hasn't had a job in 10 years," John says of his ex-wife.

"You didn't want her to work," Janet retorts. "She drives the children back and forth to Ohio."

"They should be living in Ohio three miles down the road," John says.

"Not when there's a nutcase like you riding around having sex with 15-year-old girls," Janet yells. "He was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old girl."

 

John explains, "I was charged with a misdemeanor, not a sexual " "

Janet continues to list what she believes are John's negative behaviors, including keeping money from Melissa.

 

"Does this have anything to do with his fitness as a parent?" Dr. Phil asks Janet. He asks John, "Are you bringing young women around your children?"

 

"Twenty-one-year-olds I don't consider young," he says.

"Are you consorting with underage females?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No," John replies.

 

"You're lying, John," Janet says.

 

John and Janet bicker.

John claims that Melissa violated her custody order by taking their kids out of state. "Is that true?" Dr. Phil asks Melissa.

 

"The only violation is me driving them back and forth, and my attorneys know about that and why, and it's because I'm afraid to be alone down there around [John]," she explains.

"Would you not then go to the court, and just raise that issue and get a restraining order?" Dr. Phil asks. "You don't just defy the court order."

 

Melissa says she's raised her concern to the court. "I don't understand when the truth is going to matter in all this, because so far it seems to me he says, ‘Jump,' and they say, ‘How high?'"

 

"So, you're getting treated unfairly by the court?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I definitely feel that way," she says.

 

"What is the truth?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I believe that John is unstable mentally to take care of the children," she says. "I definitely feel that he exhibits all the traits of a sociopath."

"You know that how?" Dr. Phil asks. "Has he been evaluated? Diagnosed by the courts? Or is this just your opinion?"

"This is my opinion," she says.

 

Dr. Phil takes her to task. "You're saying you want the truth to come out, but that's not truth, that's just your opinion," he says.

 

"I've read all the traits, and I feel like he fits every single one," she says.

"You feel like, for one thing, he has no conscience. He has no capacity for remorse whatsoever?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Absolutely," Melissa replies. 

Turning to John, Dr. Phil asks, "Did you threaten suicide in front of your children?"

"No," he says.

"You were in the kitchen. You were down on your knees in front of the children, crying, telling them goodbye," Melissa says to her ex.

"Telling them I was leaving because I was not fighting in front of the mother and the children," John says.

Dr. Phil reminds John that when Melissa wanted the divorce, he said he was completely defeated and didn't want to go on.

"Pretty much, yeah," he says.

 

"Have you said that you would like to remarry her?" Dr. Phil asks John.

"Oh, yes. In a heartbeat," he says. "But it ain't going to happen."

"You said, ‘She's the biggest bitch in the world,' and you want to sign up for a second tour?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Not now," he says, but admits that if they could resolve their issues, he would reconcile with Melissa.

Dr. Phil asks Melissa and Janet, "Have you said things to the children to enlighten them about John?"

"When the kids tell me things that he's done and said, I would love to say how I feel about him," says Melissa, but she says she doesn't say anything.

 

Dr. Phil's asks Janet, "Grandma, are you telling me that you have never bad-mouthed this guy to your grandchildren?" he asks.

"Right, yes," she replies. "I don't want to hurt them."

"You seem to me to have a real rapid-fire mouth," Dr. Phil says. "Have y'all ever said that he was adopted because nobody wanted him?"

 

"I recall saying that before to him when we had a heated argument, but I don't remember the children being around," Melissa says.

 

"Why would you say that to somebody?" Dr. Phil asks Melissa.

"I can't describe the hate I have for him," she says.

"I was the mother " and you know this. Look me in the eye " that you never had," Janet says, pointing her finger at John. "You cried to me. I tried taking you in. I gave you love because I felt sorry for you."

"A mother will turn around and backstab their child, what you're doing right now?" John asks her.

"I am not backstabbing you," Janet says. "You stabbed my daughter through the heart and your children. When you're bad-mouthing their mother to them, you're hurting them. You're changing who they are forever."

"So alienate them from their father, also?" he says.

"You're alienating them yourself," Janet yells.

"Denying my visitation, denying phone calls?" John says.

The three bicker.

 

When Janet reiterates that John has a desire for young women, Dr. Phil asks her what the state agencies say in response to the allegations against John.

 

"Until my daughter says that something actually happened to her, they don't want to do anything," Melissa says. "By then, it's too late."

Dr. Phil asks John, "Did you comment on your daughter's underwear?"

John recalls that Melissa purchased underwear for their daughter that sat above her belly button. "I'm like, ‘Why did you buy my daughter Grandma underwear?'" he says.

Turning to Melissa, Dr. Phil says, "You read something into that as being evidence of his perverted nature."

"Absolutely," she says. "What father would be concerned about what kind of underwear a 6-year-old would be wearing?"

"Up until about three weeks ago, my 6-year-old and my 8-year-old still slept in bed with [Melissa]," John says.

 

"They still crawl in with her, because they're so upset and insecure because of what he's done to them," Janet says.

Dr. Phil asks Janet, "Do you get that if you cause them to not have a relationship with their father, that the day will come that they will resent you for that?"

"Absolutely," she says.

Asked the same question, John says, "I have never done that."