Two More Women Accuse Chicago-Area Family Services Of Placing Their Children In Danger

Via Shutterstock/

Michael Volpe Contributor
Font Size:

Correction: This piece has been updated to clarify the timeline in the Jessica Kasten section, and to clarify that the GAL on the case declined to comment rather than failed to respond. A legal filing incorrectly attributed to Kathleen Doyen was actually filed by Tracey Hower, the attorney for McCullough.

Read part one of our series on the issues with Kane County police, courts, and child protective services here. In part two, we look at several other cases in which children have allegedly been exposed to abuse.

Holly Sathern and Jessica Kasten are two other women from the same suburb of Illinois. Both say their stories are similar to that of Kara Witkowski, and both also ended up before Judge John Dalton.

Holly Sathern

Holly Sathern’s ex-boyfriend, Thomas Ryan, has a rap sheet in at least five counties in Illinois: Cook, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, and Kane, with police reports dating back to the 1990s.

He hit and broke Sathern’s nose on November 18, 2013, according to a police report.

“Thomas then punched Holly in the nose causing her nose to bleed heavily,” that police report stated, “Holly then entered the bathroom to try and control the bleeding when she observed her nose was in a bent position.”

The responding officer, “immediately observed that she had redness and severe swelling to the area of her face and nose,” according to the same report. (RELATED: Feminist Mother Publicly Shames Her Teenage Boys—With The Help Of The Media)

The police report also stated that marijuana paraphernalia and “a green leafy substance” was found on Ryan when he was arrested.

Ryan, in an interview with the Caller, denied ever hitting Sathern and said he was never convicted of any charges stemming from this incident.

Sathern said she refused to testify because he threatened her, an allegation he denied.

She provided a photo taken shortly after the incident.

Photo provided by author.

Photo provided by author.

In November 2015, Ryan allegedly hit Sathern again, “Upon arrival, we met up with other officers on the scene speaking with Tom Ryan and Holly Sathern. There was blood on the floor in the hallway and on the bathroom as well as the bed in the bedroom. Holly had blood on her shirt, pants, on her face, and matted in her hair.”

For this incident, Ryan was convicted in 2016.

Ryan has also failed multiple court mandated drug tests; Ryan acknowledged failing the tests to The Daily Caller.

Ryan’s son was also recorded on audio accusing him of touching him inappropriately.

“Who scratched your tummy like that,” Sathern asked her son, in one recording.

“Daddy did,” he responded.

“What happened to your butt and your leg,” Sathern asks later, “who did that?”

“Daddy did,” her son responded.

In another recording, her son said his father was physically abusing him.

“This bump was from a screwdriver and this bump was from the hammer,” her son said.

“I want to tell them [the police] what happened, what daddy did,” her son says in a third recording, “he hit me with a hammer.”

Sathern made several recordings of her son making disclosures; she said she submitted all the recordings to DCFS.

According to a police report from January 1, 2018, “Holly showed me pictures she had taken of {Holly’s sons} previous injuries. Those pictures showed a large rash on Hank’s inner thighs and several bruises on his inner thighs. We advised Holly we felt it would be wise to take [Holly’s son] to the hospital to have a doctor examine his injuries as well as collect a sex assault kit.”

In another police report from September 19, 2018, her son was discovered to have an “anal fissure” when taken to a hospital.

Her son told her that Tom and his girlfriend were, “picking his butt,” according to that police report.

Hospital staff notified DCFS, the police report noted.

Ryan denied hurting or molesting his son.

“Holly makes so many false reports DCFS doesn’t even take them anymore,” he said.

Photo provided by author.

Photo provided by author.

Sathern challenged that notion, stating that others, like doctors, have made the reports to DCFS, after she showed them her son’s injuries.

Still, since July 2019, Ryan has had majority custody of their son and Sathern has been ordered to pay him $400 per month in child support.

Sathern said her court nightmare started in November 2016, when an anonymous call came in claiming she left her son alone at a train station. While police found her with her son, he was bleeding from his head. She told the police that he bumped his head in a taxi, which the cab driver corroborated. She admitted to having “a few drinks” that evening. Her son was taken to the hospital and picked up by her father that evening.

As a result, DCFS decided to take custody, Sathern said, and her son was placed with her father.

She said she had already made disclosures to DCFS and police providing an audio recording of her son accusing Ryan of touching him inappropriately by this point. (RELATED: Alabama Woman Gets Death Penalty After Starving Her 10-Year-Old Daughter)

By December 2018, DCFS was ready to return their son back to his parents, but the DCFS plan was for 50/50 custody.

“I felt coerced [into accepting the plan],” Sathern said, “They [DCFS] never did anything [about her son’s disclosures].”

Amanda Petricoski, a DCFS case manager also involved in Witkowski’s case, was also involved in Sathern’s case.

The plan took effect in April 2019, she said.

In June 2019, Sathern was found drunk and passed out in a local library bathroom; she was pregnant with another child.

Sathern was not charged for the incident; she said she’d been stalked by Ryan and drank due to the pressure of his constant harassment.

Ryan denied that charge as well.

Still, when Ryan introduced the incident to Judge Dalton, Dalton initially ordered Sathern to have supervised visits with her son before making them unsupervised in August 2019. He kept majority custody time with Ryan.

“I just did what DCFS asked,” Ryan said, “I trust the system.”

Jessica Kasten

Kasten said she and her ex-boyfriend, Darius McCullough had twin girls together and all lived together until breaking up when the girls were two.

For the next three years, she said she and McCullough raised the girls without formalizing a custody arrangement, though she said McCullough saw his daughters haphazardly.

On July 6, 2017, when her daughters came back from visiting their father, she said that something didn’t look right in one of her daughter’s groin area.

She said after questioning her daughter, her daughter told her that McCullough was touching them in the bathtub.

A couple days later, she took her daughters to the Batavia Police Station, where McCullough lived; Batavia, Kasten said, directed her to the Elgin Police Department, where she lived.

Kasten reported redness in her daughters’ vagina region and a “hole that shouldn’t be there,” also in the vagina region, according to the police report. (RELATED: Dozens Of Alleged Child Sex Abuse Victims Line Up To Sue Catholic Church After NY Law Goes In Effect)

She also filed a police report with the Elgin Police Department and then also filed a report with Kane County DCFS.

She said that when she went to DCFS, her daughters were taken into a room without her to be questioned by a DCFS employee.

“Whatever they told them [DCFS], it was enough for a full investigation,” Kasten said of her recollections.

Approximately a month later, DCFS called her to say that the investigation had concluded with the charges being unfounded.

Batavia Police closed the case on August 18, 2017.

McCullough was also not charged criminally by the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

She was told a reason for closing the file was that McCullough passed a lie detector test.

She said she was surprised the investigation closed so quickly because interviews were still scheduled, and she said she is still not sure if her daughters were being molested.

In August 2017, she went to court to try and formalize custody arrangements.

Like Sathern and Witkowski, Judge Dalton was assigned to Kasten’s case.

In October 2017, Dalton assigned local attorney Kathleen Doyen to be the GAL. He awarded Kasten physical custody and granted her child support the following January.

By April 2018, McCullough was back in court arguing a change in circumstance and asking for physical custody.

In May 2018, a custody trial was held with Dalton awarding McCullough physical custody.

“Since on or about July 6, 2017, Petitioner [Kasten] has not allowed Darius any parenting time or communication with the minor children,” McCullough’s attorney Tracey Hower said in a filing.

Kasten told the Caller that she did not allow them to see him after her daughters alleged he was touching them. (RELATED: Texas Mom Convicted For Selling Her Son And Trying To Sell Her Two Daughters To Pay Off Drug Debt)

“On information and belief, the Petitioner filed a false report with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS),” Hower continued, “DCFS has since concluded the investigation in this matter and determined that the accusations filed against Darius were ‘unfounded.’”

Hower concluded, “Darius is a fit and proper person to be awarded sole decision-making responsibilities and the majority of parenting time.”

Kasten is now ordered to pay $532 per month in child support.

Doyen declined to comment on the record when reached by phone at her office and declined to comment on questions in a follow-up email.

Tracy Hower is McCullough’s attorney and she stated, “Everything is a matter of public record, but I wouldn’t be comfortable talking to you about the case,” when reached by phone.

The court docket can be found here.

When the Caller reached McCullough, he was asked if he molested his daughter.

“Sir, you contacted my legal team, they had no comment, so I have no comment,” McCullough responded and then ended the call.

McCullough maintains a YouTube channel that is full of misogynistic material. In one video entitled “Why You Should Always Have 2 Women | Plan B,” he states, “If she sees that you are a quality man and hasn’t been with a quality man in a long time, what she’ll do is give you sex, please you, be a giver, tell you all the right things, for that time being, then she’s gonna want payment on the back end.” (RELATED: Man Punches His Kid Repeatedly At A Chuck E. Cheese)

In the video he argues that all men should have a back-up relationship, or Plan B.

“If you don’t have a Plan B, a woman can sense that she’s the only woman around, and when she senses that she’s the only woman around and when she senses that, she don’t have to work hard,” he stated.

Kathy Davis, a spokesperson for DCFS, did not respond to an email for comment on all three cases.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has prosecutorial jurisdiction over all three cases; Chris Nelson is the public affairs officer for the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

He declined to comment on the record when reached by phone and did not respond to questions by email.