Manipulation of the legal system as an instrument of abuse is not illegal. It’s not unethical. But, I think most folks believe it should be.
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (“Clark Rockefeller”) is on trial for kidnapping his daughter Reigh (“Snooks”) during his first supervised visit with her in July, 2008. He’s also charged with assault on Howard Yaffe, the social worker who was assigned to supervise the visit and with giving police a false name. His attorney Jeffrey Denner claims Christian is not guilty by reason of insanity caused by the “perfect storm” of his divorce.
Prosecutor David Deakin, however, argues, “this is not a case about insantiy, it’s a case about control. . .manipulation.” The case has been turned over to the jury which will begin deliberations tomorrow. The jury’s foreperson is a Harvard law professor.
Christian has been called a world-class con artist. He’s got more aliases than most women have shoes. Let’s take a look at the history of this case.
Reigh “Snooks” Storrow Mills Boss was born On May 24, 2001. Her father didn’t show up until 18 hours after her birth.
After Sandra hired a private detective and started doing due diligence into his true identity, this “loving and devoted” father surrendered custody in exchange for $800,000, a dress, and her engagement ring. After the divorce, he didn’t initiate contact with his daughter or respond to her e-mail or phone messages for six months.
In the meantime, prosecutors charge that he made elaborate plans to kidnap Snooks. They introduced evidence that he suggested in December 2007 to investment portfolio manager Mason Peltz that he might kidnap his daughter. For $2,000, he hired limo driver Darrell Hopkins to help him ditch Howard Yaffe, the social worker who supervised their first visit. Yaffe was injured in the escape. Christian called the social worker “Harold” and intimated he was a “clingy” and “dangerous” man. Until Hopkins heard the Amber alert, he didn’t realize he’d been conned into driving the getaway car. Christian hired the right guy for the job because Hopkins also ditched the private investigator Sandra had hired to follow Christian during the visit.
Claiming that Snooks needed medical attention, Christian asked Hopkins to drop them off at the hospital. Another unsuspecting getaway driver was waiting for them. She drove them to New York City and learned of the Amber alert minutes after Christian and Snooks got out of her car.
Christian converted his divorce settlement into gold ~ the perfect currency to escape without a trace. He bought a house in Baltimore under the name of Chip Smith using cashier’s checks and docked his 26′ catamaran at the marina.
For five days, 20 FBI officers and a Boston Police task force couldn’t find Christian and Snooks. He was finally caught when the real estate agent who had sold him the house responded to the Amber alert and called the FBI.
Delusional or Master Manipulator?
Several defense experts testified that Christian is delusional. They also claim he has a narcissistic personality disorder which is typical of abusive people. The prosecution asserts he is a master manipulator.
CNN has opined Sandra has been “excoriated in the media.”Vanity Fair detailed Christian’s plots to “interview every high-powered attorney in Boston so that Sandra wouldn’t be able to hire any of them, because of conflict-of-interest restricitons.” John Greene was quoted, “I think the moment he took the money [the $800,000 divorce settlement] he started planning on how to get his daughter back.”
If the jury is savvy on issues of abusive, controlling behavior, defense attorney Jeffrey Denner’s blistering cross-examination of Sandra may backfire.
This is a kidnapping case. The only issues that are relevant are whether Christian kidnapped his daughter and whether he meets the threshold for an insanity defense. Yet, the defense put Sandra on trial asking personal and accusatory questions. The guise was a challenge to her credibility as a witness. But, this is a sharp practice used to intimidate and humiliate witnesses. It’s litigation abuse. It is designed to punish her personally and professionally.
As a former consultant, I know it is career suicide to air these private details. I was lucky that someone suggested I open my own checking account and have my paychecks deposited directly. Sandra Boss operated at a much higher level of consulting. So, it took her years to figure out how to get back financial control in her marriage. This isn’t easy when you travel constantly to meet client demands.
In his closing arguments, David Deakin characterized Christian as a “self-centered, controlling, manipulative man” who was “angry with his ex-wife for taking control back.” He was a crafty liar who “set the matter right” by snatching his daughter. “It’s not a delusion. It’s all about the money.”
Meanwhile, the state of California wants to talk to Christian about the disappearance and probable murder of a San Marino couple.
Update: On April 10, 2013, a California jury found him guilty of the first-degree murder of John Sohus, his landlord’s son, in 1985.
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Ms Drake, what planet are you living on where a man can kidnap his own daughter? You feminists must be completely destroyed. And Boss is as nutty as a fruitcake.
In light of Crockefeller’s upcoming murder trial, there is going to be renewed interest in this case. That said, I feel the need to post an answer to Brooklyn Dekker’s above comment despite the fact that it wasn’t directed toward me. Apparently, Dekker inhabits a (fantasy) world where he believes a man can’t kidnap his own child. I take it from your attacks on feminists and Ms. Boss, you wouldn’t say the same about a mother who took a child without the father’s permission. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you spent a lot of time on MRA/FRA forums denouncing Boss as a kidnapper even though she had court permission (and Crockefeller’s agreement) to take Snooks to London. That said, who are you to say that a man can’t kidnap his child? I was kidnapped by a mean. abusive father as a kid during a divorce. He told me my mother was dead for heaven’s sake. It was the worst experience of my life. How a man can abuse his wife and kids and thinks he should have custody is beyond me! Thank God, my mother got me back, and my father was arrested for kidnapping. Yes, Mr. Dekker, fathers can and do kidnap their kids. There isn’t anyone more qualified than me that can tell you this is a fact. That said, if circumstances had been different, my mother could have been forced to take me without my father’s permission in order to protect me. That’s not kidnapping-that’s being a protective parent. Was Crockefeller a protective parent? With all the aliases, lies, and con-jobs (not to mention murder charges), it’s hard to believe this man was a good parent who just missed his daughter. Well, let’s hear Crockefeller’s side of the story. In a jailhouse interview, this was said: “A report by a court-appointed advocate for Reigh concluded that Rockefeller was an unfit father and recommended that custody be awarded to Boss, Rockefeller said.
“Everything about the report was negative,” Rockefeller said. “There was not one single positive line about me in the report. Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Even witnesses who had testified on my behalf apparently gave negative testimony on me.” Well, that answers the question as to what kind of father Crockefeller really was. His own witnesses couldn’t even say anything good.
He said that his lawyer at the time told him: “This is a terrible report. We’ve lost. There is nothing you can do.”
Well, Crockefeller was convicted of murder! Ha!. If he was found not guilty, he would be let out of jail now. Sandra Boss must be so relieved that this piece of trash won’t be set free to reabduct her daughter again.
Thank you so much for you continued interest in this story and for updating me on the CA case. I have updated the post to reflect this long-delayed justice for the Sohus family.
This is all very interesting, thank you for writing it. I have wondered and wondered about little Reigh since all this drama happened when she was quite little. How old is she now, and does she still live in London with her mother? Is she old enough to date, and/or get married? Such a pretty little girl according to the pics I have seen, including yours above.