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In the News

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ohio father released following CAFC's national protest

See the full story here.

In a dramatic turnaround on Friday, Butler County, Ohio, Judge David Niehaus reversed his earlier decision and released Brian Gegner from a six-month jail sentence for his daughter's failure to get a GED diploma. The new order requires Brittany Gegner, the daughter, to enroll in a GED prep class by the next court date and to attend the class 4 days a week. Newspaper columnist and blogger Glenn Sacks reported Brian’s release early Friday morning:

"Good News! Judge Backs Down in Case Where Dad was Jailed Because His Adult Daughter Didn't Get Her GED"

Michael Robinson, Executive Director for the California Alliance for Families and Children, spoke Friday evening with Stephanie Gegner after Brian's release. Stephanie told Robinson that the family can't thank CAFC enough for all of the support they received in gaining Brian's release. It goes without saying that this family has been under a great deal of stress.

CAFC started a campaign for Gegner's release by sending out a press release to all the major media at 3:00 PM on Monday, May 12, 2008, after learning about the case from FOX News and Glenn Sacks. As some of you know, the following morning CAFC and Glenn Sacks moved quickly to mobilize a national protest:

"Protest Ohio Outrage: Father Jailed Because His Daughter Didn't Get Her GED!"

CAFC wants to thank all its members, supporters and friends who took the time to respond to our call for a national protest in support of Brian Gegner. A special thanks also goes to Glenn Sacks and the readers of his newsletter, who also joined in the protest.

The impact of our protest was widespread:

  • According to the Ohio Governor's office, they received over 700 phone calls. We can only assume a similar number hit the judge's office.

  • More than 300 media stories were carried around the country following our national media press release.

  • Local media reporters have told CAFC they plan to follow-up with additional questions and investigations of the judge.

  • At the recommendation of CAFC, the Ohio Governor's office is exploring the expanded use of The Parent Project® as a useful strategy to help parents in other counties. You can see the communication CAFC sent to the Ohio Governor's office here:

We believe that our efforts will make Judges in Ohio much more careful in the future before they unfairly jail a parent trying to do the best they can for their kids. When we pick our issues wisely, men and women united behind a fair and just cause can make a difference. We must build on our successes, one victory at a time.

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