With Reports of Neglect, Substance Abuse, DUI Arrest, Physical Abuse and Divorce it Appears So…
By Joseph Snook
Medford, OR – In January of 2015, after 15 years of marriage, Carla Hegler up and called it quits on her husband Brian Hegler. Of their four children, the 7 and 11-year-old were unfortunately caught in the middle as they are minors.
After several attempts to repair his family, Brian finally had to accept the tough fact that it was really over. Attempting to limit further damage than just the divorce, Brian has been doing everything in his power to help end his son’s and daughter’s suffering – for over two years.
The boy had previously runaway from Carla five times, as he felt neglected by her. Information obtained by the US~Observer staff shows that in 2015, Carla lost custody of the 11-year-old boy to Brian. A domestic dispute between Carla and her then 11-year-old son left him with a “bite on his ear.” After the bite incident, Carla was arrested by the Central Point Police for assault and booked on harassment charges. Officer Munoz of the Central Point Police Dept. contacted Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) to report the abuse. Carla was eventually labeled an abusive parent by DHS in a report that was obtained by the US~Observer.
According to a witness, “Since that day, Carla has used her influential attorney and her huge salary to make Brian’s life, even the lives of her own children, a living hell.” Her fight to keep Brian’s daughter away from him has led to several legal battles. Now, Brian is fighting back so that he can have the right to see his daughter more than once a week.
Brian has no criminal history, no reported substance abuse, no DUI’s, so why would Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Gerking keep ruling against him? Close family members stated that Carla’s “faucet of funds” (her reported $250-plus k-yr. salary) and “experts” are in part why the rulings have not been in Brian’s favor. Now, the US~Observer has investigated this family travesty and are championing the fight for this loving father to have the time he deserves with his daughter, as well as time for the son to be with his sister.
Carla Hegler’s Criminal History
Carla Hegler’s criminal history appears extensive. According to reports, Carla was previously arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief in the second degree, harassment, violations, contempt of court, and another more recent DUI in February, 2017.
Aside from her criminal history, Carla has another set of concerning findings against her. The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) produced a motion to the court shortly before Brian was awarded sole custody of his son in 2016. In the report, DHS’s Social Service Specialist Alyssa Cauble stated, “The mother, Carla Marie Esselstrom’s (Hegler) substance abuse interferes with her ability to safely parent the child. The mother physically abused the child’s sibling; therefore, this child’s welfare is endangered. The father, Brian Hegler does not have sole legal custody of the child (son) and cannot protect the child from the mother’s abusive/neglectful behavior.” With a strange twist of events, Brian’s daughter was left in Carla’s custody after this report was produced, although his son was not. According to records, Carla Hegler has also had a, “criminal no contact order” issued against her, preventing her from previously seeing her son. The boy’s grandfather witnessed Carla “drive through his lawn in an attempt to run the boy over with her vehicle” shortly before Brian was awarded sole custody.
Again, considering these circumstances, why would Judge Timothy Gerking keep Brian’s daughter in Carla’s custody? Furthermore, why would Judge Gerking only allow Brian to see his daughter one time per week? Witnesses have stated that Judge Gerking is biased against Brian and his son, and does not want the boy to tell his sibling what their Mother has done.
False Allegations Against Father
A friend of the family stated that Brian has now been wrongfully accused of, “alienating the affections of (his son) toward his mother.” After Carla’s domestic dispute with her young son, she denied ever biting his ear. Since that day, her son has reportedly wanted nothing to do with her until she apologizes. Her son has been waiting for that apology since November of 2015.
Somehow, Carla managed to persuade the court, with the help of her attorney and paid experts, that Brian and her son are liars. Her attorney claimed she never bit the boy’s ear, attempting to justify her actions, essentially trying to make that event seem like a parenting matter, not a crime. In one motion to the court, Carla’s attorney, Craig Galpern stated, “She did not bite her son.” Since then, Judge Gerking has believed Carla and she has had her way in his courtroom. The judge talked with the boy in private, reportedly without his father or an attorney to represent the boy. According to Brian, the only attorney present was Carla’s.
At the time, Brian was represented by Attorney John Hamilton, who reportedly stated, “I don’t know what happened in there, but the judge thinks (son) will create a problem between (daughter) and Carla.” Brian’s son allegedly told Judge Gerking that he wanted his sister to know what his mother did to him. He wanted her to know the truth. Unfortunately, Brian was not present to hear what was being asked of his son privately in the judge’s chambers.
To date, Brian says he’s not certain if his daughter saw the ear bite incident or not. He’s refrained from talking to her about specifics in fear that it would somehow be used against him.
In January of 2017, a psychologist named Scott Bandoroff, hired by Carla’s attorney, testified that he was “biased” and wanted to see the young boy attend a camp for troubled youth – it was a camp Bandoroff had reportedly been financially associated with. While testifying, Bandoroff didn’t mention a single word about the questionnaire Brian’s son made for Bandoroff, with the #1 concern being that his mother has never apologized for biting his ear. All Bandoroff really had to share was that he recommended the boy be detained in a wilderness therapy program that costs $450 per day, for ninety-days. Despite Brian’s “objection”, Judge Gerking sentenced the boy to ninety-days at New Vision Wilderness Therapy, in Bend, Oregon. Brian’s son had never been in trouble with law enforcement, had no drug problems, nor was he troubled, as the psychologist asserted with his recommendation. The only “crime” he committed to be sent away was not wanting to see his mother until she apologized.
At wilderness therapy, Brian’s son was placed among boys who were seriously troubled – some of whom reportedly have drug problems. He was forced to live in a tent for three months, in extreme cold temperatures, as low as -4 degrees, and he had medical problems which were induced by the extreme cold temperatures. He reportedly went without medical treatment from a doctor until Brian demanded it. Brian wanted the boy’s own doctor involved after the boy described the pain he was going through. New Vision Wilderness Therapy, without “consent from Brian”, his legal guardian, provided medical treatment from another provider. Nonetheless, the father’s concerns were finally addressed – and confirmed. Despite the diagnosis, New Vision kept the boy living outside in extreme cold temperatures, which was not a recommendation made by the boy’s own doctor.
For a total of ninety days, the boy was removed from his father, siblings, family, friends, and school. According to close relatives, the boy is no longer as concerned about the actual bite, he is only seeking an apology so that he can move on.
Brian adamantly denies ever doing anything to alienate his son from Carla, although one counselor who was paid by Carla produced a report that suggested Brian was alienating his son. According to a family friend, “all Brian has ever done was believe his son.” Another counselor, Barbra Usselman, MS Mental Health Counselor, saw Brian and his son, together and individually for a total of 19 sessions. Usselman stated she was informed, “Blondine Levitt was Carla’s therapist and that Blondine was making an allegation of Parental Alienation Syndrome against Brian.” In response, Usselman produced a letter stating, “I saw no evidence of Brian attempting to align (son) against Carla.” Usselman continued, “I did in fact witness Brian steadfastly encourage (son) to visit his mom…” Usselman finished her report by stating, “I can report that within sessions Brian was positive about Carla.”
All Brian has asked for is more time with his daughter. Currently, he receives one night every other weekend, and only four hours every other Thursday during the weeks where he doesn’t have an overnight visit. All Brian wants is to be a parent to his daughter half of the time, at a minimum. As of June, 2017, Carla’s attorney, Craig Galpern stated, that Ms. Hegler doesn’t think Brian’s daughter should have more time with him. Galpern stated, “Ms. Hegler does not believe your proposal (50/50 parenting time) is in (daughter’s) best interest.”
There is no logical reason to keep Brian’s daughter from him and her other siblings.
In a separate move, Carla Hegler’s attorney recently filed a motion seeking more parenting time with her son, against his will, as she reportedly believes that allegedly lying about biting her son is more important that being accountable and apologizing. By her own actions, she will likely further damage this boy if she continues to maintain her position which does not align with the boy’s account of what happened, or with DHS’s own findings.
Carla’s son is reportedly willing to mend the relationship, but he should not have to deny the “fact” that Carla Hegler bit him as a prerequisite, according to family members.
As for Brian’s daughter, there are several reports that she wants more time with him and her brother. She allegedly wants to be with her father as much as her mother. Strangely, the one child who wants more time with Brian is not getting that time, while the child who doesn’t want to be with Carla will likely be ordered to if Judge Gerking continues this case as he previously has. One close witness to this case stated, “all expected logical decisions in this case are gone once everyone enters Gerking’s courtroom.”
Carla Hegler’s new DUI will be a good point to raise in the upcoming hearings. That, combined with other evidence that has been acquired, will be how Brian receives more time with his daughter – time he should already have. Just ask a parent who has rightfully fought for custody – the costs and damage endured along the way is enough to make most parents fearful of ever bringing another child into this world.
Now that the US~Observer is investigating and reporting on this case, you can rest assured that ALL involved will be watched closely. Brian Hegler will get more time with his daughter. The boy will get his apology, or likely continue to refrain from a relationship with his mother. According to MS Mental Health Counselor, Barbra Usselman, this has been the son’s own decision, not influenced by his father.
The only real question that remains is; how hard will Carla fight to prevent what her own children want? Hopefully Carla receives the help she needs for her substance abuse. If history is any indication of what lies ahead for her, it’s possible once these two kids are old enough, one of them will have to bail her out of jail for another DUI. According to one report, children of abusive mothers suffer well into adulthood.
Editor’s Note: One source in this case has stated that Carla is only fighting against more parenting time for Brian because she does not want to pay more child support. In an attempt to get Carla’s side of the story, this writer met with her and provided his contact information. Carla Hegler never responded.
If you have any information about Carla Hegler, or anyone else named in this article, please contact the US~Observer immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 541-474-7885.