A Californian man named Christopher Maffei made off with his two children and attempted to flee in a stolen sailboat before being tracked down by military surveillance planes and boarded by an FBI team (probably SWAT). He offered no resistance whatsoever, and is currently in jail being held on $200,000 bail.
He took the children from their grandmother while his ex girlfriend, the mother of the children, was in court filing a restraining order against him.
While in court, Maffei attempted to defend his actions by saying the children were in an abusive environment. The judge dismissed his claims and cut him off.
If so, that’s because last week I wrote about Holly Collins, who did the exact same thing, but was actually successful. No US military operations were launched to recover Mark Collins’ children; nobody did a damn thing.
Like Mr. Maffei, Holly’s claims of abuse were rejected by judges. She, too, had lost custody. But she never spent a day in jail and – even better – some people produced a documentary giving credence to her spurious claims of abuse.
If anything shines a light on the double standard in family law, this is it. Holly Collins’ kidnapping was ignored, while Christopher Maffei’s resulted in the kind of operation normally reserved for major international drug smugglers.
I can’t support Maffei’s actions — tolerating them would open up all sorts of parents to the kind of tragedy that befell Mark Collins. In fact, the reason I am so disgusted by Barry Nolan, who produced the documentary defending Holly’s crimes, is that supporting her kidnapping opens the door to terrible abuses. Any mother could simply make off with a father’s kids and make claims of abuse, and deprive him of the right to parent his children.
But it is kind of sad and pathetic to see a man so misguided as to think he could get away with this. What man in his right mind would ever believe that he could get away with trying to take his children from their mother?
Given how implausible the idea is, I can only assume that Maffei was desperate, and perhaps delusional. Maybe he saw this as his last chance to be a father, and had some wild dream about sailing to Mexico and starting over.
Now, of course, we’re all treated to the spectacle of a broken man hauled in by the air cavalry.
Men, if you are ever tempted to make off with your kids, keep this story in mind. You will never, ever get a Holly Collins style get-out-of-jail free card, and you’re likely to end up in prison for a very long time. As of now, perhaps the only consolation left to Maffei is that, thanks to new federal guidelines for incarcerated obligees, at least his child support will be automatically lowered for what’s likely to be the rest of his kids’ childhood.