Mother is relieved by guilty verdict

March 3, 2013
Sharon Kludy testified against her ex-husband, who kidnapped their children.

Sharon Kludy testified against her ex-husband, who kidnapped their children.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Sharon Kludy, the ex-wife of recently convicted kidnapper Mark McCallum, is extremely happy with a jury’s decision to find him guilty on both counts of kidnapping their children.

“I am extremely relieved,” Sharon said. “I was so nervous and anxious throughout the trial. It was extremely hard to wait in the hall while the majority of the trial was going on because I had not testified yet. I am extremely happy with the verdict.”

McCallum was found guilty Friday after a week-long trial, in which he represented himself. He was arrested last March after he took his then 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son to Key West, Fla. without Sharon’s consent. She had custody of the children as they were going through their divorce.

McCallum’s defense was that he took the children because he alleged Sharon had been abusing the them. During the separation he found bruises on the children and called Child Protective Service, which, along with the Michigan State Police, investigated. The investigation was inconclusive.

McCallum made several accusations from the floor of the courtroom, often giving testimony rather than asking questions of the witnesses.

“Everything Mark said in court was not under oath as he was acting as his own attorney not as a witness,” Sharon said. “Everything I said on the stand was under oath as I was a witness.”

Sharon said she wanted the opportunity to rebuttal McCallum’s claims and have her say.

McCallum stated that Sharon slammed their son into a hard tile floor as punishment. “That is completely false. As I stated in my sworn testimony, the incident he is referring to was a very small incident that he completely blew out of proportion. What really happened was I was sitting in a chair. My children were fighting over who could sit on my lap. My son pushed his sister, and in more of a reflexive move, not an angry one, I reached my arm out and pushed my son. He fell to the floor. I immediately picked him up and rocked and comforted him.”

Sharon said her ex husband has a tendency to blow things out of proportion. “This was a prime example as were many other things he said in court in a very clear attempt to assassinate everyone else’s character.”

McCallum said Sharon yells a lot.

“Judging only by Mark’s behavior and my behavior just in court during this last week, who would you honestly say is more likely to ‘yell a lot?’ I am extremely quiet, calm, and reserved. I rarely express much emotion at all as evidenced by my behavior in court. I put on absolutely no show. I remained calm and collected the entire time I was there and as I testified even as he made every attempt to upset me.

“I was actually concerned at the end of the trial that the jury could have mistaken my calm demeanor as a lack of love for the children. That is not the case at all. I love those children with all of my heart, and I was sick with worry when they were gone. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a very loving and attentive mother, and as I stated in my sworn testimony, there has never been either before or after these allegations any other allegations of abuse against me. Mark’s complaints are the only ones, and there are several people including the children’s daycare providers and the children’s teachers who would have been glad to testify to that. Mark’s behavior was so erratic and so extreme that the judge, who is normally extremely calm and reserved, had to stand up and raise his voice to Mark and even told Mark he may not be able to continue to represent himself.”

McCallum said in court that Sharon told him that he would never see his kids again. Sharon said this is a lie. It was Mark who actually said those words, she said.

“Those are the exact words Mark used to his mother, his father, and at least one friend who he was talking to at the time. He made clear threats that he was going to take the kids. That is the only point at which I had my lawyer ask the judge to suspend his parenting time until he could get a psychological evaluation done. Mark adamantly denied saying that, and the judge believed him and his lawyer. That was when the judge denied my motion to suspend his parenting time and instead put restrictions on his parenting time that read that he had to let me know if he was going to leave Mason County and that our son had to be in school unless we both agreed to take him out of school.

“As is clearly evidenced by all of our custody documents, I was more than fair and completely reasonable when it came to custody. I am a big believer in father’s rights and the fact that the kids need both parents. Even after he had kidnapped the kids the first time, I forgave him because he did bring them back after being persuaded to do so by his father, who lives in Arizona.

“Mark was very apologetic and agreeable to being amicable in the custody and divorce at that time. He also adamantly promised he would never take the kids again. It was at that time that I agreed to give him unsupervised parenting time while I worked. Later on, Mark got angry when he received the original divorce documents that my lawyer filed on my behalf because he did not like the wording.

“At that point Mark said he wanted his own lawyer, and he was going to fight me tooth and nail for the kids using accusations of prior abuse against me. He got so loud and angry with me that day when we exchanged the kids at McDonald’s that after he left a lady came up to me and asked if I was safe and if the kids and I needed a safe place to stay for the night. That was at the beginning of November (2011). The bruises on my son’s leg were in the middle of December. At the beginning of December, Mark and I met with both of our lawyers to work out more parenting time with Mark because he was asking for over night time.

“I was leary about giving him overnight time because I was afraid that once he got angry with me he may take the kids again. I was advised that I had to provide him overnight time despite my fears. A referee hearing was scheduled for the second week of January. At that hearing we, together with our lawyers, both agreed on a parenting schedule.

“I never made any attempt to take or keep the kids from Mark. He is the one who took them from me, and that was what this trial is about, Mark, not me.”

Sharon said Mark’s statements that he intended to just take the kids on vacation was also a lie.

“I don’t think even he believes that lie,” she said. “He robbed a house and stole a bunch of stuff that was found in the vehicle he was driving. He switched his vehicle for a neighbor’s vehicle so he could not be tracked, and that was a vehicle that would not be found for at least three more months. He did not take a cell phone or credit cards that could be tracked. He took the kids’ birth certificates and Social Security cards. He admitted himself that he planned on giving the kids to ‘someone he could trust’ in Florida.”

 

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