ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Infant Sexual Abuse Case : Female Child Care Director: WI

Paragraph 27 reads:  “The defense witnesses Thursday
included a psychologist who evaluated Benz and agreed with her prior diagnoses
of being manic-depressive and bi-polar and suffering from depression and
anxiety. Dr. Gene Braaksma said Benz was taking anti-depressants
and mood stabilizers in June 2007.”

http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20091204/SHE0101/912040448/1062/SHE01/Judge-to-rule-today-on-mistrial-motion-in-Mary-Benz-infantabusecase

Judge to rule today on mistrial motion in Mary Benz infant abuse
case

By Eric Litke • Sheboygan Press
staff • December 4, 2009

The defense is seeking a mistrial in the Mary
Benz infant abuse case after Benz’s attorney stumbled upon evidence he said was
valuable to his client’s case and not previously disclosed by the
prosecution.

Defense attorney Richard Hahn made the motion Thursday after
spotting a social worker’s case file while he was in District Attorney Joe
DeCecco’s office editing an audio recording earlier in the day. In a notation
made June 28, 2007 ­ two days after a 10-month-old girl was found to have
significant vaginal injuries ­ the doctor who examined her said the parents
could not be ruled out as suspects and the injuries could have occurred earlier
than he said when he testified.

The note was made before the
pediatrician, Dr. Thomas Valvano, interviewed the parents and differs from his
final findings, but Hahn said he should have been made aware of the report so he
could question Valvano about the statements. Valvano testified Wednesday and has
since returned to Oregon, where he now lives.

“All of this from an
investigative standpoint is a complete and absolute surprise,” said Hahn, adding
that he said he should have received the file during discovery. “That raises
three issues that I would have utilized with great prominence in my cross
examination of Dr. Valvano.”

Judge Terence Bourke will rule on the motion
for the mistrial this morning.

This was the fourth straight day Hahn
sought to have the case thrown out before it reached the jury, but the first
time DeCecco asked for time to prepare a response before Bourke
ruled.

Court records show Hahn filed his demand for discovery in June
2008. Discovery is when attorneys for both sides must share the evidence they
have gathered.

Hahn said he spotted the file sitting in a box on
DeCecco’s floor while the two editing an audio recording of an interview with
Benz that was played for the jury Thursday. That editing delayed the start of
the trial from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The file in question was created by
the Sheboygan County Division of Social Services, which conducted an
investigation in cooperation with but separate from the Sheboygan County
Sheriff’s Department after the girl’s injury was discovered. The injury, an
inch-long vaginal tear, was discovered the same day the child was cared for at
Our Lady of the Lakes Child Care Center in Random Lake, where Benz was

director.
(2 of 3)

Benz, 51, is charged with felony child abuse and
three counts of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer. Her trial began
Monday after 2½ years of delays from a 10-month investigation, numerous pretrial
motions and two adjourned trial dates.

The case file has not yet been
mentioned in the presence of the jury, as Hahn presented his motion after the
jury was sent home for the day Thursday. After the motion, social worker Laura
Lemon was called to testify as an unscheduled witness about the contents of the
case file.

Lemon said such files are typically given to the District
Attorney’s Office upon request, but she did not know if it was requested in this

case or when. The file includes a record of people contacted during Lemon’s
investigation, a final report and documentation gathered throughout the
investigation.

The case was closed Aug. 14, 2007, because no perpetrator
had been identified, Lemon said.

The key section cited by Hahn was a note
from a Social Services employee who fielded the call from Valvano and reported
that he wanted the agency to know the parents could not yet be ruled out and the
incident could have happened June 25. Valvano said at that point the day care
appeared the “most suspicious” in terms of where the injury likely
happened.

Valvano testified Wednesday that the injuries occurred 12 to 24
hours prior to his examining the child at 2 a.m. June 28.

Another case

note said Valvano told Social Services in a June 28 meeting at Children’s
Hospital in Milwaukee that the girl’s injury could have been caused by a finger,
and there is no indication a sharp object was used or what exactly caused the
injury.

Benz in third interview: ‘I don’t recall’

The
shortened day of testimony preceding Hahn’s motion included a third recorded
interview with Benz in which she changed key details from prior interviews and
repeatedly said “I don’t recall” when confronted about
inconsistencies.

The interview was conducted by Detective Mark Mancl of
the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department on July 26, 2007, after serving a
search warrant at Benz’s home.
(3 of 3)

Mancl focused several of his
questions on Benz’s alleged actions after a June 29, 2007, interview. After Benz
told Mancl then that she changed only two of the girl’s diapers on the day in
question, two day care employees testified that she called and asked them to say
they changed two other diapers when they hadn’t.

In the recording played
Thursday, Benz said she didn’t recall discussing the case with anyone other than
Ed Ritger, an attorney affiliated with the day care, didn’t recall telling one
girl she had been framed ­ as the girl testified she did ­ and didn’t
recall leaving a voicemail saying she messed up and needed help. That voicemail
was played in court Tuesday.

Benz did, however, say for the first time
that she changed all of the victim’s diapers on the day in question. She would
not say why she said otherwise in the two prior interviews, June 27 and
29.

Benz also wouldn’t say why she claimed June 29 that a volunteer had
been caring for the infants during the victim’s first 90 minutes at the day care

when on June 27 she didn’t list that worker as one of the people present. Benz
then said she didn’t recall if the woman was there or had worked with the
infants.

The woman, Rita Schmid, has testified she arrived at 6:30 a.m.
­ around the time the victim did ­ but left when Benz said she wasn’t
needed. She also said Benz called her after the June 29 interview and asked her
to say she worked until 8 a.m. and saw the victim in good spirits.

Asked
directly, Benz repeated previous denials in saying she has no knowledge of the
girl’s injuries and didn’t cause them.

“There was nothing wrong. I had no
concerns when (the victim) left at 4 o’clock,” Benz says in the interview before
deflecting responsibility. “This is the first time dad picks (her) up, and now
we have a problem.”

More defense witnesses testify

The five-hour delay
further disrupted scheduling for the trial, which was to end today. The
prosecution still has not formally rested its case, as Mancl has been on and off
the stand three times to allow witnesses for the defense to testify as
originally scheduled.

The defense witnesses Thursday included a
psychologist who evaluated Benz and agreed with her prior diagnoses of being
manic-depressive and bi-polar and suffering from depression and anxiety. Dr.
Gene Braaksma said Benz was taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers in June
2007.

Braaksma, who spent about seven hours testing Benz and looking
through her mental health history, said she is “limited in her capability” to
deal with stress. In response to a question by DeCecco referencing Benz
allegedly asking the workers to lie and forging a document, Braaksma said he
would expect a person with Benz’s diagnoses to “crumble” rather than take
logical action to cover a crime.

Benz, 51, is charged with felony
child abuse and three counts of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer.
Her trial began Monday after 2½ years of delays from a 10-month investigation,
numerous pretrial motions and two adjourned trial dates.

The case file
has not yet been mentioned in the presence of the jury, as Hahn presented his
motion after the jury was sent home for the day Thursday. After the motion,
social worker Laura Lemon was called to testify as an unscheduled witness about
the contents of the case file.

Lemon said such files are typically given
to the District Attorney’s Office upon request, but she did not know if it was
requested in this case or when. The file includes a record of people contacted
during Lemon’s investigation, a final report and documentation gathered
throughout the investigation.

The case was closed Aug. 14, 2007, because
no perpetrator had been identified, Lemon said.

The key section cited by
Hahn was a note from a Social Services employee who fielded the call from
Valvano and reported that he wanted the agency to know the parents could not yet
be ruled out and the incident could have happened June 25. Valvano said at that
point the day care appeared the “most suspicious” in terms of where the injury
likely happened.

Valvano testified Wednesday that the injuries occurred
12 to 24 hours prior to his examining the child at 2 a.m. June
28.

Another case note said Valvano told Social Services in a June 28
meeting at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee that the girl’s injury could have
been caused by a finger, and there is no indication a sharp object was used or
what exactly caused the injury.

Benz in third interview: ‘I don’t recall’

The
shortened day of testimony preceding Hahn’s motion included a third recorded
interview with Benz in which she changed key details from prior interviews and
repeatedly said “I don’t recall” when confronted about
inconsistencies.

The interview was conducted by Detective Mark Mancl of
the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department on July 26, 2007, after serving a
search

Reach Eric Litke at (920) 453-5119 and

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Sex Abuse: Woman (32) Has Affair with 14 Year Old Boy: PA

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

Finally someone involved in one of these cases is beginning to
connect the dots back to medication. She thought it was the anti-anxiety drugs
without knowing that it is rare for one of these cases not to involve an
antidepressant, not an anti-anxiety med, even though they would certainly
contribute as well. But antidepressants are notorious for producing
toxic manic reactions. One of those types of mania is
nymphomania.
TWO ANTIDEPRESSANTS given together???!!!! When are doctors
ever going to learn that they cannot do that without expecting toxic
reactions?!
_____________________________
Paragraph two reads:  “Tammy Lynn Woodley, 33, of 228
Park St., Grove City, told Common Pleas Judge John C. Reed that a Grove
City psychiatrist
had prescribed her four separate anti-anxiety
medications
and two anti-depressants, all of which she
was to take daily.”

Paragraph 5 reads:  “Defense attorney Veronica
Smith said prior to Mrs. Woodley’s alleged over-medication, she had no prior record. She led a normal life as a wife, mother,
and worker.”

Published October 28, 2009 10:01 pm –

UPDATE: Woman blames drugs for sex with

boy

By Matt Snyder
Herald Staff Writer

PINE TOWNSHIP ­

A former Pine Township woman facing felony
charges for having sex with a boy while he was 14 and she was 32 blamed her
actions on judgment clouded by taking multiple anti-anxiety
medications.

Tammy Lynn Woodley, 33, of 228 Park St., Grove City, told
Common Pleas Judge John C. Reed that a Grove City psychiatrist had prescribed
her four separate anti-anxiety medications and two anti-depressants, all of
which she was to take daily.

“So, essentially the main responsibility for
this is the medication, not you?” asked a somewhat incredulous Miles K. Karson
Jr., assistant district attorney.

“Essentially, yes,” Woodley replied.
She said she does not think she ever would have slept with the boy or been
involved in other petty criminal cases if not for the meds. “My mind was not
clear,” she said.

Defense attorney Veronica Smith said prior to Mrs.
Woodley’s alleged over-medication, she had no prior record. She led a normal
life as a wife, mother, and worker.

Reed sentenced Ms. Woodley to 6 to 12
months, just under the standard range for statutory sexual assault and unlawful
contact with a minor. She will be paroled after six months, he said, if she
behaves herself in Mercer County Jail.

Mrs. Woodley will also be on
probation for 16 years and must register as a Megan’s Law sex

offender.

According to police, Mrs. Woodley and the boy, who is now 15,
knew each other through a relative. She started picking him up after school in
September of 2008, and went for rides or walks in the park. Her husband once
said the two acted like “two teenagers in love.”

Mrs. Woodley said things
got out of hand Oct. 27, 2008, and she had sex with the boy against her better
judgment.

“After it was all done, remorse set in and I realized what had
just happened. After that I took him home,” she said.

The boy’s father
told police the next day that Mrs. Woodley had seduced his son. Both parents
attended Mrs. Woodley’s sentencing. They did not speak, but Karson said they
wanted to show their continued desire for a prosecution.

The boy told
police he and Mrs. Woodley kissed and talked about getting serious, but both
acknowledged their age difference.

After charges were filed, Mrs. Woodley
sent a letter to the boy while he was on the school bus through her 8-yearold

son. Charges of intimidating witnesses and corruption of minors were dropped in
that case as part of her plea.

Mrs. Woodley said she had sent the letter
because she wanted to know how he was doing. She said she’d sent him letters
through her son in the past.

As part of her probation, Mrs. Woodley will
not be allowed contact with underage children besides her own, unless a
responsible adult is present to supervise.

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Murder: Man Kills Mother & His Own Daughter – Michigan

Third paragraph from the end reads:  “Donna Vanniekerk told Defense Attorney Lesley Kranenberg that her husband  ‘used to be kind and loving but he turned mean and vindictive’  after his father died in 2004. She said he had been seeing a therapist and taking medication for depression.

Paragraph five reads:  “Vanniekerk was found in a bed in the motel and arrested and now is charged with two counts of open murder. He listened Thursday as the first witnesses testified in his preliminary examination before Calhoun County District Court Judge John Holmes. Testimony will continue in September when a pathologist is expected to testify that Brenda Vanniekerk and her granddaughter Laura Vanniekerk died from an overdose of medication.”

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20090807/NEWS01/908070314/1002/NEWS01/Wife-testifies-against-man-in-slayings

Wife testifies against man in slayings

Trace Christenson • The Enquirer • August 7, 2009

As Johan Vanniekerk straddled his wife, hitting and choking her, she told him she couldn’t breathe.Advertisement

“I know,” Donna Vanniekerk remembers him saying, “because I am going to kill you tonight.”

“I started screaming and he started strangling me harder. He said, ‘Don’t worry about the girls. When I am done killing you, I am going to kill them, too.”

Johan Vanniekerk didn’t kill anyone that night, April 30, but the 41-year-old Fort Wayne, Ind., man is charged with the May 1 death of his mother, 72, and his daughter, 3, in a Marshall motel. Investigators have alleged that Vanniekerk assaulted his wife in their Fort Wayne apartment and then the next day drove his mother and daughter to Marshall, where they were killed in a motel room.

Vanniekerk was found in a bed in the motel and arrested and now is charged with two counts of open murder. He listened Thursday as the first witnesses testified in his preliminary examination before Calhoun County District Court Judge John Holmes. Testimony will continue in September when a pathologist is expected to testify that Brenda Vanniekerk and her granddaughter Laura Vanniekerk died from an overdose of medication.

Donna Vanniekerk said she and her husband had been married 12 years but the relationship had soured and the couple separated because of his depression.

On the night of April 30, she said her husband entered their apartment a few minutes after a male co-worker, who was repairing some computers, had left.

“He took me down the hall and he put me on the bed,” Donna Vanniekerk told Prosecutor Susan Mladenoff. “He climbed on top of me and started hitting me and strangling me.”

A few minutes later the assault stopped and she said her husband made her promise he could move back with her and their three daughters and they would be together. She said she decided to act normally “because I thought I was dead and he was going to kill me and the girls.”

The next morning she prepared to go to work, took Laura to the apartment of her mother-in-law Brenda Vanniekerk, who provided child care, and then took the two older girls to school. There, an administrator called police and later Johan Vanniekerk realized the authorities were involved.
(2 of 2)

The couple exchanged some phone calls and text messages but when Donna Vanniekerk and the police went to Brenda Vanniekerk’s apartment, they found she and her granddaughter were gone.

At 4:15 p.m. that Friday, Donna Vanniekerk received a text message from her husband which said “we have reached the point of no return,” and then another which said “this is all your fault, you have no one to blame but yourself.”

She continued to call her husband and, when he finally answered, she asked about her mother-in-law.

“She is already dead,” she said her husband replied.

And when Donna Vanniekerk asked about Laura, her daughter, he said, “she is dead, too.”

“I started screaming and said she is my baby. He said, ‘not anymore,’ and hung up.”

Donna Vanniekerk told Defense Attorney Lesley Kranenberg that her husband “used to be kind and loving but he turned mean and vindictive” after his father died in 2004. She said he had been seeing a therapist and taking medication for depression.

Marshall Patrol Officer Andrew Groeneveld testified he was one of several officers to enter two rooms rented by Vanniekerk at the Comfort Inn in Marshall.

Groeneveld said in the room he entered shortly after 5:30 p.m., they found Vanniekerk on one bed, with labored breathing, and the child already dead on another bed.

Trace Christenson can be reached at 966-0685 or tchrist@battlecr.gannett .

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