Child abuse from the bench — the Lt. Colonel Joel Kirk story

September 14, 2012



Joel KirkBy DR. Tara J. Palmatier

Originally published on AVFM .

Decorated combat pilot and His Children Brutalized by West Virginia Family Court Judge Lori B. Jackson

When United States Air Force (USAF) combat pilot Lieutenant Colonel Joel Kirk was a young boy growing up on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in rural Georgia, his father took him to see the Blue Angels perform. This was a pivotal moment in the young Lt. Col.’s life. Attending the airshow inspired him to become a military pilot. Lt. Col. Kirk didn’t dream of becoming a pilot because he wanted to fly fast planes or because he thought it would be cool. He dreamed of becoming a pilot for his father.

In the Lt. Col.’s own words:

“In 1979, I sat on a hilltop across from Dobbins Air Force base with my father and watched the Blue Angels roar overhead. I remember the look of amazement in my father’s eyes as he gazed skyward at the powerful jets. Here stood my hero, my guardian, my mentor in admiration and awe of something higher. I knew at that moment what I wanted to do.”

“I knew that some day I wanted my father to look up to me as I looked up to him. I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to show him and my entire family that I was worth the time, love and energy they invested in me. I didn’t want to gain wealth, cars, houses or land. I just wanted to be a man of honor and integrity. My grandfather served in the army during World War II. He was at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. I wanted to be like these wonderful men. “

Lt. Col. Kirk worked very hard and graduated university in 1991 at the top of his class, Magna Cum Laude, and became a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). (Yes, you read right; Kirk has served in both the USMC and the USAF.) Three years later, he realized his childhood dream the day he received his wings.

He writes:

“In January of 1994, my father walked onto a stage in Pensacola, Florida in front of hundreds of people. On that stage, my father, a farmer from Duck Hill, Mississippi, pounded a shiny set of gold wings onto the left side of my dress blues. The tears welled up in his eyes on what was only the second occasion I had seen him cry, the first being my sister’s wedding day.”

“I did it! I made it! The relief was overwhelming. I had struggled so hard and accomplished something only 1 in 100,000 people ever do. But even more importantly, I made my father and my family proud.”

The young officer was living his dream.

Kirk and Father – Getting his wings

Enter Tina Taylor, a very beautiful and very destructive personality disordered predator whom he eventually married and with whom he fathered two beautiful children — a son now 14-years old and a daughter now 12-years old. Today, Tina Taylor Kirk has destroyed nearly everything the Lt. Col. has worked so hard to achieve and is poised to abscond with his military retirement after years of unspeakable abuse and multiple betrayals, at least three affairs that have been documented (2 with other enlisted men and 1 with a mutual “friend.”)

Far worse, Tina Taylor Kirk continues to abuse and terrorize their children; aided, abetted and enabled by West Virginia Family Court Judge Lori B. Jackson, Ms. Kirk’s three pro bono attorneys Thomas G. Smith, Esq. (Smith, McMunn & Glover, Clarksburg, West Virginia), Jamison H. Cooper, Esq. (Cooper Law Offices, Bridgeport, WV), Afton Leanne Huston, Esq. (Smith, McMunn & Glover, Clarksburg, WV), and Clinical Psychologist, Edward D. Baker, Ph.D. (Fremouw-Sigley Psychological Associates, Morgantown, WV).

This story does not have a happy ending, but hopefully the exposure on, and other websites, blogs and news outlets will help to bring about a just ending and conclude the ongoing judicial and financial abuse of Lt. Col. Kirk and the judicial and maternal abuse of the Kirk children.

Growing men’s rights activism track record.

Over the last year and a half, AVFM, in unofficial conjunction with the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), S.A.V.E. (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) and the men and women who support these sites and organizations, have established a growing track record of powerful activism. Through our shared commitment to equal rights, justice and protection for all, we have managed to expose the gross prosecutorial misconduct of Ellsworth, Maine Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett.

Kellett will soon be facing the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar for her breach of ethics in her malicious and frivolous harassment of Vladek Filler. Just this summer, AVFM, NCFM, S.A.V.E. et al championed the cause of Gordon Smith of Delaware. For some time now, Mr. Smith has been the victim of his ex Tiffany Marie’s Smith’s relentless and escalating false allegations of domestic violence and the complicity of Delaware law enforcement and its judiciary. Last week, the Delaware State police finally arrested Ms. Smith for her multiple false allegations and shameless harassment campaign. This story isn’t over yet as Ms. Smith was released on bail and, it is believed, continues to pose a serious threat to both Mr. Smith and their children of whom she still has custody.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be turning our attention and activism toward Lt. Col. Joel Kirk and his children, who have been horribly wronged by the very system that Lt. Col. Kirk has devoted and risked his life to protect.

War is hell, and so is being married to and sharing children with an alcoholic, emotionally and physically abusive, Borderline Personality Disordered woman.

Before citing the many injustices, unethical, outlandish, biased and potentially criminal acts of Judge Lori B. Jackson, Thomas G. Smith, Esq., Jamison H. Cooper, Esq., Afton Leanne Huston, Esq., and Dr. Edward D. Baker, Ph.D., it’s necessary to provide some history and context. The Kirk marriage has a little something for everyone: false rape allegations, false domestic violence allegations, physical and emotional spousal abuse, child abuse, alcohol abuse and addiction, serial infidelities, financial fraud, identity theft, pathological deceit, and much, much more all perpetrated by Ms. Kirk.

Lt. Col. Kirk met Tina Taylor in 1991, three months into his Naval Aviation Training. He graduated Marine Officer Basic Training (otherwise known as TBS) near the top of his class, was flying Marine Aircraft and generally at the top of his game. It was instant attraction at first sight and the young officer believed he had met the woman of his dreams. In reality, the future Ms. Kirk is the stuff of nightmares.

Six months later, the Lt. Col. discovered Tina was engaged to a Navy pilot in California the entire time they were dating in Florida. He was devastated. Friends of Tina came forward after she left for California and revealed the truth about her promiscuity, drinking, smoking and drug use. While the Lt. Col. believed he had dodged a bullet, he says there was still a part of him that felt he was meant to be with her. Even after her fiancé called him warning him to “quit stalking” Tina or he would “regret it.” It would appear Tina lied to this man rather than admit she had betrayed him with the Lt. Col.

The false allegations started early on in their relationship and are just a glimpse of the hell that would later ensue. Their relationship should have ended then, but Tina resurfaced 2 years later.

The Borderline Boomerang and the never-ending, waking nightmare.

After receiving his Gold Wings in 1994, young officer Kirk was stationed in Southern California with a Replacement Air Group flying CH-53 Sea Stallions, even though he had requested to be based on the East coast to be closer to his family. If only the powers that be had honored his request the Lt. Col.’s life may have turned out very differently.

Soon after arriving in California, Tina tracked the Lt. Col. down and re-entered his life. She claimed leaving him in Florida was a mistake and . . . wait for it . . . that her boyfriend/fiancé was “abusive” and “threw her out onto the street.” She apologized for her past behavior and claimed to have found God. This activated the Lt. Col.’s knight in shining armor instincts. He rushed in to save his dubious damsel in distress and fell for her all over again.

It was only a few weeks after their reunion that the Lt. Col. discovered Tina’s relationship with the Navy pilot wasn’t over. After much denial and obfuscation, Tina finally admitted she was still seeing the man she claimed abused her, but only to “finalize” the relationship. Against his better judgment, Lt. Col. Kirk took her back.

He explains:

“I had never seen crying and pleading like Tina engaged in back then. “Please take me back. Please!” “It was a mistake!” “I was just finalizing our breakup!” “Please!” I was conflicted for weeks with myself about what to do. This woman had nearly cost me my dream career in Pensacola and was begging me to jump back in to the fire.”

“It was very difficult to believe her at this point. I enjoyed a very sheltered childhood in a small town and was not fully aware of important warning signs that would have spared me a lot of pain. I had no knowledge of Borderline Personality Disorder and sociopathy. I came from a place where everyone trusted each other, from the best guys in the world in my Marine Officer Training, to my relationship with Tina. I never saw her coming. In my entire life up until that point, I had been taught to always forgive and forget and did not understand that some people are just untrustworthy and best avoided.”

“Looking back, I still don’t know how I rationalized taking her back, but I did. I took her back and it was at this point that I made the most critical and life-changing decision I would ever make. I married her and that has brought me more pain, agony and distress than any and all combined combat flying would ever do.”

Lt. Colonel Joel Kirk

For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with Borderline Personality Disordered individuals, you may wonder how a man as intelligent as Lt. Col. Kirk could have been so easily taken in by a woman like this despite the many warning signs. It is all too common for young, idealistic and, in many ways, naïve men from close knit families and traditional backgrounds like Lt. Col. Kirk, to be beguiled by and fall in love with women like Tina Taylor Kirk. Nice and trusting guys make perfect cannon fodder for this kind of female predator.

Lt. Col. Kirk is a decorated pilot. Over the course of his military career, he has been a Marine Pilot, a Combat Forward Air Controller (FAC) and a Marine Instructor Pilot. He is still an active Air Force Pilot. He was commissioned during Desert Storm. He served in Operation Northern Watch (Iraq), Operation Noble Eagle (U.S. after 9/11), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Joint Force (Bosnia).

He has been deployed 7 times for wartime contingencies and received 6 air medals for his service. He has flown nearly 200 combat missions and served over 500 hours in combat and 4,000 flight hours in six different airframes, both rotary and fixed wing. Yet, because of Judge Lori B. Jackson, an either extremely incompetent and/or extremely corrupt West Virginia Family Court judge, this brave and decent man has had to stand by and allow himself and his children to be abused by their mother, a woman who offered to sell the children to the Col. for $288,000 during mediation, which is documented in a letter written by Ms. Kirk’s attorney, Thomas G. Smith, Esq.

If you would like to read it (Children for Sale).

Notice how Mr. Smith tells the Lt. Col.’s attorney how generous Ms. Kirk is for offering to sell the children to their father for a paltry $144,000 apiece, and immediately reminds the Lt. Col.’s attorney that mediation negotiations are inadmissible in court. It would seem that even Mr. Smith knows how reptilian his behavior is.

Harrison County west virginia Judge Lori B. Jackson knowingly places children in the custody of an abusive, alcoholic, borderline personality disordered mother in the “best interests of the children.”

After over a decade of abuse and betrayals with more enlisted men (a very big no-no in the military, as in a career ending no-no), false rape allegations, $250,000 of debt incurred by and because of Tina ($40,000 of the debt was fraudulently incurred via credit cards she opened in her name during a separation that he now has been ordered to pay, while living it up with her boyfriend/alleged rapist and the rest was from two mortgages also incurred jointly by Tina) and other horrors, Lt. Col. Kirk wanted out.

He wanted out for years, but knew he would face tremendous bias in Family Court, even with over 1300 minutes of audio recordings of her abusive rampages. He had to leave the children with their abusive mother while deployed in two-month intervals, which was bad enough. He was terrified of what would happen to the children if they were left with her all of the time.

Then, one crazy summer night in 2009, Lt. Col. Kirk seemed to have a way out drop into his lap. I have tried repeatedly to write a short synopsis of what occurred that evening, but am unable to effectively convey the sheer insanity of what transpired.

Lt. Col. Kirk recounts the events of June 28, 2009:

“On the outside, Tina was mother of the year. At home, her head spun around on her neck while she turned green and vomited — and I mean all the time. I prayed for something or someone to save us. On June 28, 2009, Tina’s 40th birthday, she drank at least 5 too many martinis, all while the children and I pleaded with her to stop. She went into a rage that surprised even us veterans of such activity after years of her abuse.”

“From painful experience, the kids and I had learned to stay away from Tina when she was drunk and/or on the attack, to egress, and not to engage because it made her worse. If we couldn’t get away, we just went fetal and took it. Never ever did we fight back.”

“That night, I was trying to study for my annual check ride the next morning—a vitally important yearly test. We had spent Saturday and most of Sunday celebrating Tina’s birthday. Because it was her birthday, our video camera was lying on the table, so I filmed her. I filmed a raging Borderline abusing her family. She did not know I had come into the adjacent dark room because she was so wasted.”

“My son fled to a neighbor’s house for help, telling the neighbor, “Mom is going to kill us.”  My son was 11 when this happened. He ran down a pitch-dark gravel road in flip-flops over 2 miles for help.”

“When it appeared that my wife might physically harm our daughter, I stepped in and set the camera on a table. It filmed me calmly asking my daughter to go outside so she wouldn’t have to suffer anymore of her mother’s verbal tirade. I knew Tina would then shift her rage to a new target, me, and she did. When she tried to incite me into an altercation, I knew I had to leave. I retrieved the camera, grabbed a bag of clothes and walked out the door with her cursing and screaming at me all the way.”

“I thought I had turned the camera off, but luckily I had not. I knew my son had fled. I also knew my daughter was outside, but not where (I have 100 acres). I got in my truck, backed out and stopped at the barn to see if the children were there. Our daughter came running and jumped in the truck.”

“We started down the driveway and as we did, we felt a tremendous crash on the back of my SUV and heard a scream. I stopped immediately and got out. As I walked to the back of the vehicle, I saw Tina on the ground screaming and yelling like a demon. She had attempted to jump on the back of a moving SUV and fell flat on her face.”

“I asked her if she was okay and discovered very quickly that was a bad move. She came after me. I ran back to the truck, jumped in and locked the doors. She then proceeded to dismantle the side mirror from the truck and attempted to break the windows, cutting her hand in the process. There was blood everywhere.”

“She screamed for my daughter to unlock the door, but she refused to do so. I still did not know where my son was, so I was scared to leave the property and did not want to move with Tina hanging on to the truck. Because we didn’t have cell phone coverage where I had stopped, I left our daughter in the truck, stepped out and ran to a reception area to call the police. They arrived on the scene at the same time as my son and the neighbor. Tina then went after all of them.”

“As she was being arrested, she screamed that I had abused her. She told the officers to look at what I had done to her. I showed the police the video and Tina was charged with domestic assault and taken to jail. Once on bail, she filed a protective order against me for assault, detaining her and the children and that she was in fear for her life. She filed an ex parte motion that the children were in immediate danger and needed to be removed from me.”

“The Judge granted the motion and Tina came to court with pictures of her injuries and claims of abuse. I came with the video from that night, the testimony of our children to the court appointed CPS worker, the police and the neighbor witness. I was given sole custody of my children on her motion to remove them from me. No reprimand for her false allegations was given. If I had not had the presence of mind to film the events that occurred that night, I would have lost my kids, my job and everything.”

“I called HOPE, a Domestic Violence center in Harrison County, and asked for help. I was told Tina had already reported a claim and that they could not speak with me. Within a week, there was a letter from HOPE stating that my ex was a victim of a dominating, controlling husband. She had never mentioned that she was the one arrested for Domestic Assault and they never bothered to verify what she told them with the court or the CPS worker. I knew right then I was in for a long haul.”

“Guardians and child counselors were appointed. Therapeutic visitation was arranged. At the very first meeting, Tina attacked the children in front of the Guardian and the counselor while in session. My children hid and the Guardian escorted my ex out and filed an immediate NO CONTACT order. I was relieved. I thought finally, “That should be enough.” Oh, was I wrong.”

Psychological evaluations were ordered. The services of Dr. Edward D. Baker, Ph.D. were retained. He diagnosed Ms. Kirk with Axis II Borderline Personality Disorder and Axis I Alcohol Abuse and diagnosed the Lt. Col. with Personality Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified). Being entrusted with 25 million dollar aircraft necessitated that Lt. Col. Kirk be psychologically evaluated throughout his entire military career. Dr. Baker’s opinions are unsupported by 25 years of meticulous military testing.

Some of the more absurd findings by Dr. Baker include that Lt. Col. Kirk exacerbated Tina’s Borderline Personality Disorder because he was “too moral” and that she drank and had affairs to ease her pain from the marital conflict. This is ridiculous. It would be laughable that Dr. Baker believes a man not wanting his wife to cheat on him with multiple partners, to not abuse their children and not drink herself into oblivion while endangering the lives of herself and the children is “too moral,” if his findings were not used by Judge Lori B. Jackson and Ms. Kirk’s three attorneys to enable her continued abuse of the children and the Lt. Col.

Dr. Baker also determined that filming Tina was “abusive” because the Lt. Col. seemed more interested in making her look bad than nurturing the children. These are just the “highlights” of Dr. Baker’s biased and empirically baseless interpretations regarding the nature of Borderline Personality Disorder, marital infidelity, addiction, domestic violence and child abuse. Lt. Col. Kirk suspects Dr. Baker had decided the outcome of his report before he even met with him. The report itself is littered with factual errors and gross biases, but more on that in future articles on this topic.

The children were also evaluated by multiple professionals and found to be credible witnesses. During their evaluations, the children provided detailed accounts of their mother’s abuse. Statements from the children’s evaluations include:

  • “Dad just sits and takes it and mom just keeps after him.”
  • “Mom abuses dad and hits him.”
  • “We hide from mom until dad gets home.”
  • “The night mom got arrested on a scale of 1-10 was a 10, but we have 9s a lot.”
  • “Mom does not help around the house and when dad is gone we have to take care of ourselves.”
  • “Our father does everything.”

Originally, the court ordered that the only way the children could safely travel for visitation with their mother was if she had a Breathalyzer interlock installed in her vehicle. Within 5 months, Tina removed it without consent of the court and was held in contempt.

Judge Cornelia Reep was the original judge involved in the Kirk’s divorce and custody dispute. She watched the video, read the reports and awarded emergency physical custody to Col. Kirk without hesitation. Three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, Ms. Kirk strategically obtained new legal representation, while stiffing her first attorney for thousands of dollars.

Judge Reep had represented Tina’s new attorney during his divorce when Reep was a practicing attorney, which caused her to recuse herself from the case. Judge Lori B. Jackson took over and things changed dramatically for the worse. As it turns out, Judge Jackson should have also recused herself from the case as her husband is best friends with Tina’s attorney, Thomas G. Smith, Esq. This would also appear to be a conflict of interest.

The details of Judge Lori B. Jackson’s malfeasance are long and will be detailed at greater length in future articles, so let’s begin with the basics. For starters, Judge Jackson:

  • Is in the process of reversing custody. She ruled that although Ms. Kirk was drunk, hysterical and abusive, she still showed good parenting instincts unlike Lt. Col. Kirk who, although sober, acted just as irrationally by video taping the abusive episode instead of trying to calm down a drunk, raging, violent Borderline. A videotape, by the way, that Judge Jackson has gagged from public view.
  • Determined that the children had been unfairly separated from their mother because of court proceedings and not because of Ms. Kirk’s volatile and abusive behavior and alcoholism.
  • Determined, without a shred of evidence, that the children would be harmed if they were not returned to Ms. Kirk’s care because Lt. Col. Kirk is “equally dangerous to the children.” Bear in mind, Judge Jackson viewed the video filmed on June 28, 2009.
  • Determined, without a shred of evidence, that since Ms. Kirk had been the primary caretaker of the children prior to separation, that, by law, she should be entitled to that again despite her well-documented abuses. In reality, Lt. Col. Kirk has long been the children’s primary caretaker, even with his deployments.
  • Determined, without a shred of evidence, that Ms. Kirk had passed up employment opportunities by being married and should, therefore, be reimbursed. In reality, Ms. Kirk worked for all but 5 years of the marriage until the children were weaned. She holds an associate degree in business, a degree in holistic nutrition and multiple fitness training certifications.
  • Determined that Lt. Col. Kirk showed a lack of concern for their daughter because he “locked her in a truck” and did not console her when she was upset, even though it is impossible to lock someone in a vehicle without power locks. Clearly, the Lt. Col. and his daughter were in the vehicle to keep Ms. Kirk from attacking them until the police arrived.
  • Determined that Ms. Kirk’s expenses exceed her income, so Lt. Col. Kirk should pay her and that all credit card debt, even the debt she ran up during her affair while separated, was marital and Col. Kirk’s responsibility.
  • Determined that the divorce was “equal fault.”
  • Determined that anytime Lt. Col. Kirk deploys for more than 72 hours, the children will be in the full custody of Ms. Kirk. Keep in mind they have been living with the Lt. Col. and their grandmother for over three years and in the Lt. Col.’s home for the last seven years.
  • Determined that all of the Lt. Col.’s estate, including pre-marital assets (funds that the Col. has had since childhood and kept separate) was to be divided. West Virginia is an equitable distribution state not a community property state.
  • Created money that does not and has never existed in an effort to pad Lt. Col. Kirk’s credit side of the distribution ledger. This way, Judge Jackson could show unequal distribution and extort money from the Lt. Col. through a court order to pay Ms. Kirk an exorbitant amount of money. The amount created was over $70,000. This was even upheld in the last contempt hearing in which Judge Jackson ordered the Lt. Col. to pay even though she admitted in court, “That is clearly a mistake.” The Lt. Col. has an appeal schedule on this matter later this fall.
  • Awarded Ms. Kirk the Lt. Col.’s retirement, half of the marital assets, no responsibility for child support, $45,000 in spousal support already paid in the last three years and $12,000 more over the next three years regardless of remarriage. All marital debt, about $400,000, was given to the Lt. Col. Ms. Kirk, again with two college degrees, and who worked for all but five years of the marriage, was imputed at minimum wage for calculations that leave the Lt. Col. with over $1,000 a month in support payments to her for what will soon be 50% custody. This does not include the $800 a month in child support he was ordered to pay.

Judge Jackson’s rulings have nearly destroyed the Lt. Col.’s ability to support his children. He was also ordered to pay the bulk of the court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem fees. For over three years, he has paid Ms. Kirk over $1500 a month in pay and benefits while he had sole custody of the children and serviced 100% of the marital debt. Ms. Kirk has had no legal fees since stiffing her original attorney. Her lawyers work pro bono. Ms. Kirk also quit work after separation under the guidance of her first attorney in order to throw off the chart for income and place the lion’s share of burden on Lt. Col. Kirk. Mission accomplished.

Judge Lori B. Jackson basically ignored three years worth of recommendations by court appointed officials who were charged with determining the “best interests of the children.” All of these officials, with the exception of Dr. Edward D. Baker, agreed that the children should not be placed in the custody of their mother. However, even Dr. Baker agreed the children were truthful in their accounts when he interviewed them. Numbers of reports were submitted to the court attesting to Ms. Kirk’s unfitness as a parent and Judge Jackson has neither acknowledged their existence in her rulings nor has she stated why she disregarded them.

Judge Lori B. Jackson completely disregarded the children’s counselor’s recommendations and continues to disregard the children’s own custody requests to live with their father.

Judge Lori B. Jackson disregarded the detailed written report and recommendations of the Guardian ad Litem formed over her extensive three-year interactions with the children and thorough investigation.

Judge Lori B. Jackson disregarded the report by Children’s Protective Services.

Judge Lori B. Jackson has yet to acknowledge Ms. Kirk’s diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and its implications on her fitness to parent.

Judge Lori B. Jackson appears to have based her rulings simply on the word of an established mentally ill liar and the dubious opinions of a Psychologist who claims that Ms. Kirk’s many abuses, infidelities, alcoholism and rage were due to the effects of a “volatile marriage on her frail psyche.” It is also possible that there are relationships and/or political favors occurring behind closed doors, but don’t expect to see the truth or, for that matter, justice from Judge Lori B. Jackson.

More articles on Lt. Col. Kirk’s case are soon to follow by Paul Elam, others and myself. We ask that you consider supporting Col. Kirk when the time comes (and it will very soon!) by writing letters, posting respectful and civil comments on any news publications that carry this story, blogging about his story and/or simply by keeping Col. Kirk and his children in your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I have one question for Judge Lori B. Jackson, the pro bono attorneys, Thomas G. Smith, Esq., Jamison H. Cooper, Esq., and Afton Leanne Huston, Esq., and Dr. Edward D. Baker, Ph.D.:

Would you feel comfortable leaving your children in Tina Taylor Kirk’s care for a week? For a day? For an hour?

Didn’t think so.


Joel Kirk

Joel Kirk

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