Geraldine Jensen and the Dead Beat Dad




The True Story Behind the Movie Abandoned and Deceived
by Traciy Curry-Reyes

In 1977, Geraldine Jensen divorced her husband and left the state of Omaha, Nebraska.  Jensen raised her kids as a single mom with two children named Jake and Matthew. Jake was just one year old and Matthew was four years old. She was able to make ends meet, and things seemed to be going ok, until her husband stopped sending child support. He stopped sending the money after 6 months without explanation. Geraldine was not able to pay her house note or make ends meet on her salary as a library assistant so she started to collect welfare payments. After losing her home she was literally almost kicked out on the streets. She was lucky to have loving parents that gave her and the boys a place to live until she could get on her feet. She decided that this was not the end of the story and that raising her children on welfare was not going to be enough to provide a good life for herself and for her sons. In 1980, Geraldine decided to go back to college to get a nursing degree. She was able to go back to college by receiving Pell grants provided by the government. She graduated from nursing school and she became a licensed nurse. Her first job was working as an LPN at a local nursing home facility. She did ok for a while, but their economic situation worsened. In 1983, Geraldine became very sick and had to be put in the hospital for several weeks. She also needed to attend to her son's hearing loss. All the while her ex husband was making over $35, 000 a year. Her ex kept making excuses as to why he was unable to pay. The real story is that he had moved on with his life by making a new family, so he couldn't afford to pay her. Gerri decided to make contact with the social worker who had helped her before to find out what she could do to get back payments for child support from her ex husband. She was directed to the child support agency. The prosecuting attorney that was handling the case told Geraldine that there really was not a lot he could do about the back child support payments because she didn't really know where her ex was living at the time. She could not afford to hire a lawyer. Mad and desperate she decided to take matters in her own hand, but placing a newspaper ad in the local Toledo newspaper with the title "Not Receiving Your Child Support? Call Me." She received so many calls she could barely sort them all out. The response from the single mothers in Toledo was overwhelming. These women wanted action so the formed themselves a small group called the Association For Children For Enforcement of Support. Within just a few weeks the number of women who became members of the group multiplied. Today there are chapters in just about every state across the US. Eventually, after going in circles, with trying to locate him, finding out where he worked, and then where he lived, Gerri was owed more than $12,000 in back child support money.

Women started developed names for this group of fathers who refused to help support their children, knowing that the single mothers were struggling. These non paying fathers became deadbeat, deadbeat dads, delinquent dads, and well....just simply deadbeats. Other states followed suit. For the first time these states started making these deadbeat dads accountable for fathering children, leaving, and not helping support their children financially. Not only are these non paying dads being publically humiliated, but they are subject to being imprisoned for not paying.

Gerri started making headlines all over the US. Her case was the subject of news shows and talk shows alike. Gerry hit the talk show circuit to let all the singles mothers know that they were not alone. She let them know that her organization helps single mothers and single fathers get collect their child support payments. To make it easier on the fathers, there are payment set ups to help them. If they don't pay they go to jail. Most of these fathers don't want to do jail time so they find a way to come up with the money. You have men who challenged Gerri's cause. Many of the dad's stated that their jobs just don't pay enough, and that it is embarrassing and traumatizing for the kids to have their father's put in jail. Statistically when fathers are put in jail for not making payments, they find a way to make the payment in most cases. So it is a system that seems to work.





Read other dad beat dad cases below.







Child Support Timeline (Geraldine Jensen Ohio Case)


1977: Gerri divorces her husband

1985: Geraldine Jensen's case hits the press
Ohio state laws concerning child support toughen up. People who won the lottery had to sign a declaration that they do not owe child support payments.

1986: Gerri Jensen's group comes to the attention of the media. At the time there were over 4 million single women who were trying to collect child support payments.

1988: Ohio recalculates how much child support an absent parent should be required to pay.
Banks and landlords look at an absent parents' record to see if they are evading their child support payments. Landlords also look for this in order to reject an application for housing.

1989: Gerri Jensen starts receiving her child support payments.

1990: More single fathers try to fight back by filing for joint and sole custody to reduce child support payments.Ohio loses an appeal to avoid a penalty of $5 million dollar for child support. Complaints are made that the child support rules cost the states millions of dollars.

2004: Geraldine Jensen had a bit of drama and stepped down due to fraud accusations. She was accused of increasing the number of members for her organization in order to get new members and for grants. Jensen stated that they actually have more than the 50,000 members on record. As for the fraud cases, it appears that a woman named Patricia Lisa Redieck, age 36, was responsible for faking Geraldine Jensen's signature on some checks in the early 2000's. Jensen's organization has always come under fire by various sources who resent the work that she has done and for her role in helping shape child support laws. Geraldine Jensen officially retires from her organization. Jensen publishes a book entitled Child Support A Complete reference.

2006: Jensen publishes the book How to Collect Child Support

Geraldine has gone on to write books on child support.She has been given the Heinz Award, the Ohio Mother of the Year Award, the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award,  and she was entered into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame. She is now a public speaker and she continues to help government agencies.

2012: Stephen E. Gerharter, Geraldine's ex husband, died when he had some sort of medical issue while driving in Nebraska. He was found by passers by in a burning car. He was pulled from the car and taken to a nearby hospital where he expired. He had been married to the same woman since 1979 after his divorce from Gerri.


Abandoned and Deceived True Story






Reality: Abandoned and Deceived is a 1995 movie that is based on the true story of Geraldine Jensen aka Gerri Jensen of Toledo, Ohio. Starring Lori Loughlin

List of Dead Beat Dad Cases

A Look at Deadbeat Dads and Child Support Cases
by Traciy Curry-Reyes


About Those Child Support Payments

Collecting child support from dead beat dads is a difficult task, and most single moms aka baby mamas or divorced women never see a dime. Most states have severe consequences for not paying child support.

1996 In the state of Alabama the judge started revoking and suspending the driver's licenses of deadbeat moms and deadbeat dads who did not pay. The controversial ruling became known as pay or walk.

In 2004
a family court judge in Kentucky, Judge D. Michael aka Mickey Foellger, tried to make dead beats dad pay by making it mandatory that they get a vasectomy if they could not afford to pay child support. 


Backlash and Support for Fathers Accused of Non Payment

There are many groups aimed at supporting fathers and lowering the payments that they have to pay when having financial hardships. They want the public to know that a father's inability to pay is not always because they are trying to get back at their ex, but sometimes the fees are actually too high. Fathers are also facing the challenge of not being able to see their children when they fall behind on payments.


List of Dead Beat Dad Cases

2011: Dr. Donald Lee Roberts, 61, wanted to avoid paying support for his child so much so that he left the country in order to avoid paying. He was eventually jailed and sentenced for failing to pay his child support dues. 

Dead Beat Dad: Bow Wow?



 August 2012: Rapper Bow Wow's own sister is calling him a dead beat dad. Bow Wow's sister, Najah Chavis posted the message via her twitter account stating that her brother Bow Wow has not even bothered to see his daughter more than three times and that he has not been buying her anything. She goes on to say that Bow Wow has proudly acknowledged his daughter and she wants to know when he is going to announce that he is a deadbeat dad. Bow Wow's real name is Joie Chavis.