Presiding Judge Grace Dickler Protected Predators. Chief Judge Timothy Evans is Still Protecting them.
In August of 2020, it was revealed that David Pasulka, a Cook County attorney and Guardian Ad Litem, had used his position as a GAL to coerce mothers to have sex with him in exchange for custody of their children. The first woman to report the abuse denied him. He stopped her from contacting her children. It's unknown how many families he abused over the twenty years he served as GAL, how many children's lives ruined. It has since come to light that he also allegedly assaulted a number of female coworkers and employees.
Even more shocking, this man headed the committee that appoints attorneys and judges to the exclusive list of Court Appointed GALs. David Pasulka hand picked every GAL for twenty years, including the GAL who serves in my case. This alleged sex offender helped craft the culture of the GAL system in the Domestic Relations Division.
On August 14, 2020, shortly after Pasulka's arrest, 28 female Cook County Domestic Relations Attorneys wrote a letter to Presiding Judge Grace Dickler detailing "a culture where men feel enabled to 'disrespect, dominate, and assault/rape the women in our legal community.'" (Group Of Women Attorneys Call Attention To Sexual Harassment In The Courtroom, Charlie De May, August 14, 2020, chicago.cbslocal.com). Presiding Judge Grace Dickerson, who heads the Domestic Relations Division, promised to "look into it".
I personally witnessed Grace Dickler's actions to hide another abusive court authority, Judge Raul Vega, the judge who oversaw my divorce and preceded Robert Johnson as trial judge in my divorce case. Like many women, I had experienced Judge Vega's sexual harassment from the bench, his winks and small talk. I had been told by two attorneys that I should always show legs and cleavage so that Vega would like me. I had also experienced his famous temper and mercurial nature when, during a seemingly calm court appearance he suddenly became enraged and screamed at me from the bench, threatening to send me to jail on the spot. Judge Vega's sleaziness and impropriety were well known to everyone in The Circuit Court, especially to Presiding Judge Dickler. That's why she and Chief Judge Evans promoted Vega to Presiding Judge of The Domestic Violence Division - so he would have less contact with litigants like me.
I reported this all to the editors of Injustice Watch shortly before they released a story detailing Vega's dark history. The funny thing is that shortly after Vega was promoted to Presiding Judge of The Domestic Violence Division, he said something unsavory on a phone call with another judge. He was abruptly forced to retire. What's interesting about sexual harassment by a family law judge is you should understand that most of the time they are in a room with ten or twenty attorneys. So it wasn't just that multiple attorneys knew or heard whispers about Judge Vega sexually harassing women in his court. They watched him do it every day for two decades. But it didn't matter until a judge said it happened. Once.
I believe that the circumstances that allowed for Pasulka's and Vega's shocking abuse over such an extended period of time must be fully investigated and real action must be taken to reform family courts, especially the GAL process in Cook County. Financial exploitation, brazen disregard of judicial norms and unchecked biases occur because these individuals have come to believe they have unlimited power. This is no way to keep children safe.
In September of 2022 Grace Dickler abruptly and quietly retired from her position as a Circuit Court Judge and Presiding Judge of The Domestic Relations Division. But as of this writing neither Chief Judge Timothy Evans nor Acting Presiding Judge Scannicchio of The Domestic Relations Division have taken any actions to stop division appointee Michael Bender from committing crimes against me and continuing in his role. Neither they nor the the rest of The Executive Committee have taken any actions to stop financial crimes, including theft and exploitation of my disabled son by court appointees. They refuse to act as executives, which is to say, to stop obvious crime by state employees (whether called Honorable or Ms.), using state computers, under color of the laws of Illinois.
The executive leaders of The Circuit Court of Cook County want Johnson, Dickler, Pasulka, Vega, Bender and others to be quietly ignored or forgotten and so far they seem to be getting what they want. Please tell them you want better courts for mothers and children in Illinois.
David Pasulka hand picked the Guardians Ad Litem of Cook County Domestic Relations for 20 years until his arrest in August, 2020 for multiple instances of sexual assault and forcing women to have sex with him in exchange for custody rights. This behavior was reported to the Illinois Bar (ARDC) at least as early as 2017 but it was not until his criminal arrest in 2020 that the Bar or Presiding Judge Grace Dickler took action. It is almost impossible to know how many women he exploited and families he destroyed during his time in leadership.
links to media coverage of abuse in the division