Pursuing Prince’s Legacy
On Tuesday February 19, 2013, I filed a precedent setting lawsuit against Ashburn Psychological Center and Dr. Margaret Wong (the child psychologist who gave Luc his court ordered psychological evaluation). As anyone who has been following my story knows, I have never stopped trying to get justice for Prince since this whole ordeal started. Part of “getting justice” is holding all of the people who failed my son accountable for their behavior. A few hours after the law suit was filed, I held the first press conference of my life in my attorney’s office. Sharing how I felt in that moment might help you understand why this was such a proud moment for me as a mother – as Prince’s Mama.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the press conference. Thoughout the night, I kept thinking about all of the things I wanted to say and how important it was for me to make my son proud. I would be speaking in a forum that few people get to experience. I had an opportunity to speak for my son as he would never be able to speak for himself.
When I arrived at the attorney’s office, my thoughts seemed to go a mile a minute as I wondered if I could make these reporters understand how important this message was to not only me, but to many others across the country and the world who are facing similarly horrifying situaitons. As I sat down at the table in front of a bunch of new faces and cameras, my mind slowed down a bit as my attorney Patrick Regan spoke to the crowd. Then, it was my turn. What I said went something like this,
“Thank you all for being here today. I hope you can understand how important this is to me. My son was a very special boy – he was my angel. I sit here before you on behalf of my son who couldn’t be here today. I speak for my son who will never be old enough to speak. The week he died, he had just said the word “ball”. It was his second word after “Mama.” As many of you know, my son’s father – during just the fourt unsupervised visitation- took off all of my son’s clothing, put him in a cold bathtub, and then held him under the water until he died. This was a violent and hideous crime. My son’s father didn’t “snap” and he didn’t go crazy after having a history of mental health. When Judge Algeo suspected that (Luc) had a mental health issue, he ordered him to have a psychological evalaution. (Luc) then went to the Ashburn Psychological Center, a place with whom he had a previous history, and paid Dr. Wong to give him a clean bill of health so he could gain unsupervised access to my son Prince. Dr. Wong proceeded to perform an unethical and negligent psychological evaluation where she ignored all of the evidence that did not support Mr. Rams’ claims of mental health. It was her dangerously flawed and negligent examination that led Judge Algeo to grant unsupervised visitations – which ultimately led to my son’s death.”
As I looked out at the faces in the crowd, I noticed even several men in the room shed a tear. I continued to explain to the crowd how regardless of whether Family Law touches your life personally, everyone should care about how children are treated in this country. If children continue to be exposed to abusive and violent parents, these emotionally and physically abused children will eventually become adults and the same issue that was so easy to ignore will eventually become a deeper sociately problem. If a man as disordered as Luc can walk into a psychological and pay/charm his way into getting a clear bill of health, just about anyone could have done the same. Dr. Wong’s behavior undermines the entire justice system and we all, as Americans and as members of the human race, should be appalled.
I am suing Dr. Wong and the Ashburn Psychological Center for 20 million dollars. There is no amount of money on this planet that will make what happened to my son right and there is nothing that can be done to make me forget the terrible pain that I will face for the rest of my life. This lawsuit is about justice and accountability. I want to continue to helping people and I want to keep my son alive with a strong memory and a positive legacy.
If I could work every day for the rest of my life and receive no monitary compensation just to be able to have kept Prince with me, I would sign up for that deal in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I was not given that choice.
Today was a good day. I have never been more proud of my son than I was today as I stood there speaking to all of those people. I realized in that moment that my son was able to have more of an impact in his 15 months than most people will ever hope for in a lifetime. I was a proud Mama today. I will never stop telling your story Prince, and I will always fight for your legacy.
As I have told both you, and everyone else, I am in awe of your strength, dignity and courage. Prince and you, Hera, are the innocents in all of this. You fought for your son, you are still fighting for your son and you always will fight for your son. Not only were you lucky to have Prince for a son, albeit no where near long enough, Prince was also lucky to have you for a Mama. I pray you both get the Justice you deserve and I pray that those that let Prince be taken from you are held accountable for their actions. Rest in Eternal Peace Prince, never forgotten.
To Hera, a brave and loving Mama. May the lord bless, keep you safe and steer you in the right direction. The Handsome Prince Legacy will continue for justice. Prince and everyone is very proud of his Mama. You are fighting a good fight and you shall prevail. Many blessings. Great Auntie Elva
First of many I hope. I hope, but don’t expect, justice in some way for Prince and you and your family. I imagine at this point you would not be surprised to lose every civil and criminal case. Your perseverance is incredible.
Joy, there is more too this than winning. I want this place and this therapist to be in the public eye for what they did. That is really important. And I think they need to be held financially accountable for their behavior.
I watched a clip of the press conference on WUSA online. You looked very sad but also resolved, strong in character. Your attorney seems like a strong character too. I was really happy to see him use the word “psychopath”.
Truly hoping you win this one in the most public way possible. I know some are going to be highly critical of the monetary demands, but I think it’s understood that you have to hit ‘businesses’ where it hurts the most. Frankly, I think you’re more than entitled to compensation after the mishandling of this case.
So proud of you for standing up for what is right! I hope this the start to a change in the family court system. No person should have to go through what you have been through. It’s time to hold people accountable that hold a child’s well being in their hands.
I hope you never give up the fight no matter what mud is slung your way. I am sick and tired of the victim being blamed over and over. I hope you just ignore the poor ignorant people who have no idea what a sociopath/con is.
I am still fighting the fight with my soon to be ex con in court for the custody battle. It is a circus to see it go on and on. My ex has had a psychological evaluation done also and it came back really bad on his part. I am hoping the judge really listens to it and does not allow him alone with our girls ever. I spend hours researching the internet for any advice I can get from others who have been in this same situation. Blogs like yours are a start to help people like me. God bless you and help you through this.
I am glad for you that at least the therapist in your case seemed to do his/her job. Sadly, the one who was involved in my son’s case didn’t seem to care about the safety of my son – only keeping her client happy with her and continuing to pay.
My ex has hired an “expert witness” that is now being brought into our case since his evaluation. He has paid this man to say he has evaluated him and there is nothing wrong with him. Before he hired his “expert witness” my ex had already had two licensed psychologists say he is “dangerous”. One was a court ordered evaluation that came back really bad on him. He kept going to get evaluations done till he found one doctor to say he is ok. I am praying the court doesn’t even acknowledge the “expert witness” he has hired and relies on the court ordered psychological evaluation.
I am aware there are people out there who can be bought to say whatever their client wants them to say and it makes me sick.
I assume luc paid Dr. Wong as his expert? I want to know how these people sleep at night? This is why your lawsuit is so important.
Yes, Dr. Wong came in as an “expert”. She specializes in children and the autism spectrum. About all she could have been an expert at saying is that Luc didn’t have autism and wasn’t a child.
I watched the clips on the local NBC and ABC. Has your story gone national? If not is there any way to get the attention of CNN? Your story needs to be global, so hopefully something good can come from this tragedy. I hope you keep screaming from the rooftops and never back down.
It has gone national in print, but I don’t think it has gone national in television media yet.
I’m curious. Your lawsuit mentions that the doctor is a specialist in autism spectrum disorders, but her bio mentions autism, developmental disorders, mood disorders, parent custody evaluations and a host of other things that seem relevant to the case. Did they change it after your lawsuit?
Also, I am wondering, did the doctor give you a chance to speak to her before writing the evaluation?
This must have been changed after the lawsuit was filed. The resume that she had at the time of the custody case showed that she was a school psychologist who specialized in the autism spectrum disorder. She does not have clinical experience with adults and was not qualified to diagnose an adult with a personality disorder. While she certainly “accepted” the task of conducting a parent custody evaluation, this was not what she was asked to do. She was asked to perform a psychological evaluation. The court had already conducted a custody evaluation in which their neutral social worker interviewed both of us. In Wong’s poorly researched and executed “custody evaluation” she merely gathered evidence Luc provided and spoke to people he directed her to speak to. I never spoke to Dr. Wong, she didn’t bother consulting with the court appointed custody evaluator, she never spoke to his older son’s family (who have been involved in custody and visitation situations with him), she never spoke to police, and she was not interested in speaking to anyone who would not support Luc’s opinion of his own psychological functioning. This was not a forensic psych exam she performed. This was a one sided negligent custody evaluation. That wasn’t what she was asked to perform. She should have stayed in her area of being a school psychologist and not tried to switch careers to become an adult forensic psychologist.
These types of psychological evaluations will continue to fail the innocent until we begin holding the unprofessional professionals accountable. No one wants to be diagnosed as being anything but 100% mentally healthy, especially the ones who are 0% healthy like sociopaths/psychopaths.
When I left my pathologically toxic relationship the 2nd time (it took me leaving three times before I understood my ex was truly evil), my ex sought counseling. He didn’t attend counseling to uncover his issues. He sought counseling to uncover MINE! And a certified, educated counselor allowed him to sit there and complain about ME in hopes of making him feel better and to perpetuate my ex’s blame game. He walked away from this professional’s office with a diagnosis of me, not him. He enjoyed referring to me as being either bi-polar or borderline.
I explained to him that when you go to a counselor, you’re supposed to talk about yourself, not about someone else who you think harmed your fragile ego. After all, I have my own counselor with whom I speak and with whom I speak about me and not about HIM. I know what my issues are. Many of us have basic issues and a desire to improve ourselves. But the sociopath isn’t interested in improving himself. In his delusional mind, there is nothing wrong with him or his cruel treatment of others. We deserve his wrath. It never onced crosses his mind that he is to blame for his repeated relationship failures and not me or any of his ex-girlfrends or frineds.
I still can’t believe a professional would even allow such a thing to happen. It’s unethical. It’s unprofessional and only serves the counselor because if she keeps telling him what he wants to hear, he’ll keep going back to her with check in hand. It’s a greedy game that leaves innocent people reeling and being accused of behaving like the mentally disordered person. The system is broken. It’s up to all of us with insight to try fixing it. ~Paula
Just watched the clip, your son is a beautiful child (who favors his mother) he is beaming with light and happiness in the video. The attorney you hired is a gem who cool calm and collectively stated your case in a stern manner while by your side…we all stand right along with you as there is strength in numbers. I myself continue to struggle with the so-called “justice system” who is now trying to supervise MY visitation, my ex husband has gotten away with choking me, biting my face, attempted poisoning/rape and murder for hire plot (during interrogation he disclosed motive-she doesn’t deserve half and indicated 5 times he could not possibly care for the children himself)…he gained custody as a result of requesting to move out of State which was DENIED. I (yes…I) was court ordered to have a psych eval (to “prove” the children are safe in my care) which indicated NO diagnosis and that my visitation should be Unrestricted in any way, it was deemed “inadmissable” by the judge (the same person who gave him custody of our 3 children). He has been clinically diagnosed with BPD, Narcissistic Traits, Depression, Adjustment Disorder secondary to the divorce and Intermittent Explosive Disorder…I truly believe he is a Psychopath as who in their right mind tries hiring someone to kill their wife? EXPOSING these people and their reprehensible actions while POSING as “Professionals” is the only way to make a change, for this I would personally like to thank you. Many thanks and ((HUGS)) to you and your family for being a voice for so many, you are not alone.
Hera, I’m proud of you. You have more guts than anyone I know. Is there anywhere on the web where I can watch the news conference? Expert witnesses are a joke in most trials. Anyone can pay a professional to state a favorable opinion. I don’t even think expert witnesses should be allowed unless they are impartial to both sides which would mean they would have to be trained and paid, not by the defendants and plaintiffs, but by the state. Of course that would not stop the corruption completely but I think it would help. Did Dr. Wong offer a statement of any kind?
Dr. Wong has not made any public statements, however, to my knowledge she was still defending Luc up until the arrest. I am sure she was praying that the Medical examiner report showed that Prince died of natural causes. I am not sure what she would say at this point, but she certainly has not expressed sadness over what has happened or anything of that nature. You can find links to the coverage on my Cappuccino Queen Facebook or also by checking out NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC local Washington, DC affiliate websites. I will also add them to my media highlights later this evening.
Cappy… Justice for Prince, will eventually bring about changes in laws that will give the life of a child the same value as the life of an adult. We must have changes in the way the murderers are charged. I am so glad that you have taken this action but wish it was for a far greater amount of money. Enough to cause the people who denied Prince, to loose their status and license to practice.
Marica, those who are involved in this case are also under investigation with the Virginia Medical Board. The medical board will decide if they are able to continue practicing or not. All I can do is hold them accountable financially for what they have done in a civil suit. I hope the medical board makes the right decision and decides that the therapists involved in this case do not need to be practicing any longer after how they treated the safety of my son.
Hera, My thoughts and prayers are with you. I admire your strength through all this. I wish that Prudence Upton would also be held accountable for her actions/inactions. Her career was and continues to be more important than people’s lives that are ruined on a regular basis due to her selfishness and bad judgement.
Bijou, what I would like to know is whether or not Luc was actually paying her or if she just decided to represent him out of the “goodness of her heart” or out of the “badness of her heart” I guess would be more appropriate. I wonder if she thought he was a good person after hearing that he hadn’t had a job in his entire life, filmed porn in his home, and was a suspect in his ex-girlfriend’s murder…not to mention what happened to his own mother. Why did she fight so hard to make sure I was legally bound to deliver my son to his killer? Don’t worry Bijou, I am going to continue to ask these questions. I suspect that at some point the answer will come out and I think that might be what Ms. Upton is worried about. One thing I do know, the next mother who is looking for a Family attorney who is going to look out for the best interests of the child – well, lets just say I hope they google Ms. Upton and learn about what types of clients she now has a reputation of fighting for. Do you have personal experience with this woman?
I would hope that Prudence Upton feels partially responsible in the outcome of this case. Not to mention Judge Algeo. Fortunately, I do not have a personal experience with her. However, I have seen her, ‘in action’ in court. She is clearly passionate about her career and reputation to were her focus is solely on winning the case… Hera, I will continue to pray for you. You are an inspiration to mothers and fathers alike. I have faith that your courage will result in the accountability that many of us are seeking from our current failing justice system. ~
Thanks Bijou. While I respect the passion she has for her career, I do not respect the fact that since my son died she has been making great efforts to spread around a nasty and entirely false story about my son having died of a genetic disorder. My son was perfectly healthy. While I am sure it was easier for her to believe her client was innocent (because then she could ignore her part in all this), slandering the name of a child whom she has never met is ugly.
I agree with you 100 percent Hera. Prudence made a choice…a horrible one, as did Dr. Wong and Judge Algeo. I am so grateful that you have remained positive and focused. You are truly amazing!~Here’s sending you lots of positive energy your way. ~B
As a mom to two boys, I know that I would go to the ends of this world for both of my boys. I am appalled as just their “step-mother”, their biological mother has more rights than I do. Their biological mother walked out on the entire family more than 7 years ago and I stepped in taking the role of support giver, mom, counselor and just a shoulder to cry on when needed. I have been and will continue to fight for supervised visitation rights of my boys with their biological mother as she has a rap sheet a mile long – most of it abuse towards her step-children.
Cappuccino, I applaud you for standing up for the rights that your baby boy will never have. Know that he is looking down at you proud as any son could ever be, that he has a fantastic mom. Keep that with you in your heart. Use this as the strength you need to change laws. It all starts somewhere Cappuccino! I hope that you begin laying the groundwork for changing child and family laws in this country.
CONGRATULATIONS to you my friend …You are doing an AMAZINGLY-OUTSTANDING Job and I say Job because that’s exactly what it is!! I hope all that had a hand in your Precious sons Death will suffer for what has taken place. Luc will forever be a Murderer that he is and I hope that you keep “Screaming” from the pits of your being that he is put (in hell) where he should have been when he murdered my cousin Shawn by shooting her in the head and leaving her for dead!!
Don’t let Luc say another Insane Word about you..Tear him down to the Piece of Trash that he is and always will be…God surely don’t want him in Heaven!!
Your Grandfather said it Best…when he wrote the judge..”sent the boy to a death that was “at best . . . neglect. At worst . . . MURDER” Enough said!!
You will be Forever Remember as a sole Mother who only wanted to save her son’s life from his Dangerous father. I Cry with you, I Pray for you and after all this is over you will have Peace! God will take care of your Precious son Prince!
Never give up, Hera. Be sure to keep in touch with the Prosecutor in the murder case. You are Prince’s mother and you have a right to be informed of things ahead of time, not after decisions are made. If the prosecutor cares at all he or she will keep you informed and allow your input on any plea deal that may be in the works in the future. The decisions that will be made will affect you forever. Don’t let anyone put you in the background. Be sure to give written and verbal victim impact statements. If you give a verbal one provide a copy to the clerk of court so that it becomes a part of the record of the case Good luck with the civil suit against the psychologist. You deserve justice civilly and criminally. Stay strong and surround yourself with supportive people. I hope you have many. Take care.
Please let us ALL know when the trial begins..i would love to come out and give you support..also can we get T-Shirts made to be worn at the trial in Prince”s Honor? Justice for Prince!!… Be STRONG, Everything will work out in your favor!!
Tee777, I will let everyone know for sure. All of his victims and their families deserve to be there to see him suffer through the justice system and face up to the crimes he has committed.
Yes, I’d like to follow the trial too. I can’t come, but I’d like to follow it via news links. Is he in jail? How much was his bail?
Christine, yes he is in jail. No bail was set because he is a flight risk.
Keep going Hera. You are fighting the good fight! We need more people like you, and I, standing up for what we know to be good and true. Your son IS an angel sent to finally put this monster where he belongs. We’re all here with you fighting the same fight, right next to you!
I personally believe that Prince was sent to you because you were the most likely person to be able to see this through. I tried and failed, as no one, save for a couple close friends and family would rally behind me when I was battling him in court in 2007. Even then, he eluded the law.
I have the utmost respect for you and such humility when I hear what you are dealing with. I enjoy checking in on your blog, seeing that you maintain strength against him. It reminds me why I continue to have home in humanity. That there are others who stand up to those who seek to and knowingly harm others.
Thank you CrimsonKnight. Don’t be hard on yourself for not having been able to stop him. This man had a lot of help along the way and what he put us ALL through was truly terror at its worst. And I agree 100 percent with you about Prince. He was everyone’s knight in shining armor and guardian angel. He did what nobody else has been able to do. He was sent for a reason and I need to be sure that I keep his memory alive so that his mission is completed and Luc ends up where he belongs – bent over in front of a man named Bubba…and behind bars for all of eternity. God Bless you too.
CapQueen, I was most saddened and shocked to read all this. I came across your page from the Safe Kids International facebook page, because they commented on another FB page I was following. When I saw your cybername, my heart stopped. I remembered you from somewhere. After thinking for a while, I remembered and looked up a post you once wrote on another blog, and I had so appreciated your advice, and asked you for your input into my situation. Little did I know that two months after that conversation, which now seems an eternity away (in fact, I wasn’t even sure when it was, at first I thought it was in January 2011 but in fact the dialogue happened in Aug 2011), your little boy whom you lived and fought for was taken away. I found the blogpost you wrote when it happened, and having lost a little boy myself (under different circumstances) it really touched my heart.
I am still in shock but I wanted to tell you how much I admire you for pursuing justice and keeping the experts accountable. I hope you can use the words you wrote during that time as evidence as how much you wanted to protect your child, and how frustrated you were back then, and how much you dreaded the eventuality of the unthinkable and how you fought so hard to do the right thing in a system known for its enmity to victims and friendliness to abusers. I recall reading something you wrote to the effect of feeling like sometimes the only way the system can change is for a victim to be dead and come back to shout, “I told you so” Well, in some ways, this is a massive “I told you so” – now will someone take notice and LISTEN?
Hera, I’m curious to know how Luc found this particular psychologist and why he hired her versus someone else?
And how in the world can a court allow someone to choose their own psychologist when ordering an evaluation? That is truly ludicrous.
Christine, he found this psychologist in the same office as his son’s therapist. I imagine she was a referral. Oddly, after he was charged with domestic assault (hitting his older son), one of the therapists in this office wrote a letter to the court which cleared him of those charges. I think he knew exactly what he was doing going back to this psych center. He knew that no matter what evidence was against him, they would give him a green light. He also chose likely the person in the center who was least likely to pick up on his psych problems – a school psychologist.
Wow. I just can’t believe that the court allowed him to pick his own psychologist. So many injustices in Prince’s short life.
The practioners at Ashburn Psych seem unprofessional. This seems par for the course. I have seen innappropriate behavior on the part of employees and a lack of confidentiality. They fired a psychiatrist who was a Washingtonian Top Doc. One of the psychologists there shared gossipy information about it with a family member. Some of the adverts for the psychologists in that practice look like the cheesy ambulance chaser ads run during daytime soap operas. The focus at this place seems to be more about “selling products” than being a respectable psychological practice.
I have been following your case. I admire your strength to tears. I grieve for your son and I grieve for your intact heart. I am so incredibly grateful that you have done so much for other families out of your heartbreak and loss. God bless you. And if I can bless you, please let me know how. ♥
I also had a forensic psych wreak havoc on my family with an unjust, biased report. I fear I will spend the next 9 years unraveling the damage. Your courage reaches endless bounds.