Kathy Berry with a “black eye?”
By Edward Snook
LAKE CHARLES, LA – On December 19, 2008 Kathleen Berry, a psychologist from Lake Charles, Louisiana, retained the services of the US~Observer to help get her children, Zachary and Ryan Hebert back to her and away from their father, Michael Hebert. Kathleen had stated to me that her children were suffering for far too long and she was more than convincing. She said that because of the abuse inflicted by Michael, Zachary and Ryan were failing school, getting into fights and her youngest of two, Ryan had even been expelled from school. Kathleen painted a picture so bad, that I was ready to jump on the next plane to Louisiana and get her children back for her. After concluding our investigation, we found that nothing could be farther from the truth.
While conducting our initial investigation, we printed a lead in, evidentiary article based off of the evidence that Kathleen had presented and the witnesses that she had provided to our investigator who travelled to Louisiana. What was to come, shocked us all, but I must say that our article was excellent in the fact that it did exactly what it was intended to, expose the facts.
Shortly after our newspaper reached the public, we began receiving many calls and emails from concerned people, all in support of Kathleen’s ex-husband or against the Lake Charles Family Courts, but none in support of Kathleen Berry? I spoke with Michael Hebert’s attorney, Henry Liles and subsequently Hebert himself in regards to our article and Hebert produced much of the evidence that our article had been written to obtain.
On August 2, 2004, Michael Hebert filed for divorce from Kathleen Hebert/Berry. By Consent Judgment filed on December 2, 2004 the parties agreed that they would undergo psychological evaluations with alternating weekly custody of their two minor children, pending the trial on the merits of their divorce, since they were not in agreement of custody for their minor children.
On October 14, 2005, Michael sought and obtained an ex parte order of temporary sole custody and a civil warrant for the return of the children when Kathleen evacuated with the minor children the week Hurricane Rita made landfall and she subsequently refused to return with the minor children to the court’s jurisdiction. Kathleen and the children were located in Largo, Florida, and after obtaining an emergency order from the Florida Courts to enforce the 14th Judicial District Court of Calcasieu Parish of Louisiana’s ruling for temporary sole order and civil warrant to take possession of the children, Michael retrieved the children and returned them to Calcasieu Parish.
Upon the return of Zachary and Ryan Hebert to their father, Michael Hebert filed a “Rule for Temporary Restraining Order, to Post Bond for Visitation and Contempt of Court”, which was heard on October 27, 2005, at which time the parties stipulated that the physical custody of the minor children would remain with Michael, with Kathleen having specific alternating weekend, mid-week and holiday visitation, and restraining orders issued prohibiting Kathleen from removing the minor children from Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
The trial on the merits of the custody matter was held on March 7th, 8th and 9th of 2006. Dr. Post, the psychologist who evaluated the boys, testified that both boys, especially Zachary, are more closely bonded with their father. Dr. Post also testified that Zachary indicated that he had more matched interests with Michael, felt his father was not so intrusive as was his mother, and that his mother had “secrets” he couldn’t tell his dad which made him uncomfortable and anxious. Dr. Post’s testimony concluded that Michael was “a better match” for the children. Putting a psychologists testimony aside, as it’s been my experience that most psychologists can be bought and paid for, I was overwhelmed to see the remaining evidence that I received from other sources. Why were none of these documents presented to the US~Observer originally? Could Kathleen have intentionally kept them hidden in a box, hoping that the truth would easily be concealed?
The evidence that follows leads to the inescapable conclusion that Kathleen took advantage of the events associated with Hurricane Rita to secret the children from Michael in Florida with no apparent intention of returning them. Kathleen submitted an application for admissions to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida well before Hurricane Rita was even projected to hit her residence in Louisiana. The US Postal Service records, indicated that Kathleen submitted a request for address change on September 20, 2005, to her parents residence in Florida. School records from St. Patrick Catholic School in Florida, showed that Kathleen enrolled the children in school there within days of the hurricane, with absolutely no indication to the school that the enrollment was to be on a temporary basis. The application for admission to the school listed her and the children’s home address as that of her parents. It indicated that Kathleen had already procured a Florida doctor for the children, and applied to become a member of the Catholic Church there, as well. Further, she failed to give the school any of Michael’s contact information such as his address or telephone number, and failed to list him as an emergency contact for the children, which clearly shows that Kathleen was attempting to keep the children from Michael.
Although Kathleen testified that she had no intention to keep the children in Florida or seek custody there, Kathleen’s diary reflected her attempts to hire an attorney in Florida in order to obtain temporary custody there, which she would have had no need for had she actually intended to return to Louisiana, which is exactly the opposite of what Kathleen had told me when she hired us. Michael’s cellular telephone records reflected many attempts by Michael to contact Kathleen by telephone immediately before and after the hurricane (49 calls between 9/22 and 10/24). Kathleen’s cellular telephone records, on the other hand, reflected only 9 attempted calls during the same period from Kathleen to Michael, but numerous calls to and from other parties. I believe Kathleen ( a psychologist) made the calls only for the record. In other words, she dialed the number and then disconnected, having no intention of contacting Michael Hebert.
Kathleen had stressed to me that Michael had physically abused her, which at first was hard to grasp, and the “evidence” I have now seen, which the court ruled against only clarifies that she has created a “monster” that doesn’t exist. She sent our investigative reporter photos after our first article of what she calls a “black and blue” left eye from the day after the reported incident, to which none of the five photographs which I have, and were introduced into evidence, reflect any visible bruising to her areas of concern. The word “manipulative” was used by numerous witnesses, including Dr. Post, to describe Kathleen, as well as “controlling” and “emotional”. These are my exact conclusions as well.
On the other hand, Michael was described by most witnesses as “calm”, “patient” and “structured”. The Court found that this factor was in Michael Hebert’s favor. Later in Dr. Post’s report, she indicates that Zachary confirmed the refusal of Kathleen to take Michael’s calls by refusing to pick up the telephone if she heard Michael’s voice on the answering machine. Kathleen did not deny or otherwise rebut this testimony.
I have been privy to talking to many recognized people and seeing many letters, all in support of Michael’s parenting skills and the well being of Zachary and Ryan Hebert. Both of these boys are doing exceptionally well in their journey to adulthood. They are both on the Honor Roll and have been to my knowledge for the past year-plus. They are enjoying sports and other activities outside of school. Zachary Hebert recently won the National Geographic Bee at school and is on his way to the Louisiana state-wide competition. If Zachary wins at the state-wide level, he will continue on to Washington DC, where Alex Trebek (T.V.s Jeopardy) will be hosting the national competition. These events that have been proven, only show that their mother Kathleen has created a “Monster” that doesn’t exist and has manipulated many in her attempts to complicate and control the lives of her two boys. My appreciation goes out to Michael Hebert for his continuing struggle with Kathleen as he is doing exceptionally well raising two outstanding “young men”.
The facts of this sorrowful case are simple. A family has fallen victim to divorce and one party has been unable to accept the truth, that moving on is reality. We have found that the accusations Kathleen leveled against Michael as she attempted to obtain our services are completely unfounded. Almost every tear-jerking example of abuse that Kathleen told us of were instances that actually did occur, but at times when she had control of her children.
There is always corruption within a court system because every court system in this nation deals with the so called “practice of law”. Constitutional rights have been bent so far out of shape in this country that they are either non-existent, or un-recognizable, however, our courts are not always wrong or corrupt as this case clearly shows. Ms. Berry tried her best to have us believe that the court in Lake Charles was out to “get her” just as her string of five attorneys had been. Nothing could be further from the truth…
The US~Observer is very clear when taking on new clients to inform them about honesty and factualness. We warn new clients in writing that they should not hire us if they are in any way guilty, which our investigation has clearly proven in this case. Kathleen Berry has created a monster for herself regarding the family courts in Lake Charles and she wonders why she has had her case dropped by her long-line of attorneys, and the US~Observer.
The only people who are supporting Kathleen are the ones who have witnessed what goes on in court almost two and a half years since she has been in contempt. She has support from no one who knows about the well being of her children, because if they knew what the US~Observer and her previous attorneys know, they would tell her, “Kathleen, get a job, start paying your child support, and start being a positive influence for your children’s sake.”