Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Sandra Sue Grazzini-Rucki, age 50 (currently residing in Stillwater), was sentenced today by Judge Karen Asphaug in connection with the taking and concealing of two of her daughters from April of 2013 until November of 2015, in violation of child custody order issued by a District Court Judge in connection with a family court matter. Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty July 28th by a Dakota County Jury of six counts of Deprivation of Custodial/Parental Rights and acquitted of two additional counts related to causing minors to be runaways. The sentence could only be imposed on two of those counts (one related to depriving David Rucki of his custodial/parental rights and one related to depriving the girls’ paternal aunt of custodial/parental rights).
The initial sentence handed down in court today by Judge Asphaug, which included a current jail sanction of 34 days and placing Grazzini-Rucki on probation for six years with additional annual jail and Sentence to Service sanctions will likely not be imposed because following the sentencing hearing Grazzini-Rucki through her attorney demanded the execution of her sentence, which she is allowed to do under the law. While this will require an additional court hearing, the ultimate sanction that will be imposed in this case based upon Grazzini-Rucki’s demand to execute her sentence will require her to serve an additional 233 days in prison (in addition to the 133 days she has previously served in connection with this matter). Grazzini-Rucki was immediately taken into custody following today’s sentencing hearing.
Grazzini-Rucki was also fined $944 for each of her daughters ($1,888 total), which represents $1 for each day her two daughters were missing. She was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the Minnesota Crime Victims’ Reparations Board (this organization expended this amount for family reunification services in this case) and additional restitution for any future counseling expenses which may be incurred by the victims in this case.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is located online at: Criminal Complaint
. If in custody, a mug shot can be viewed online at: Inmate Search
Cases involving others charged with Deprivation of Custodial/Parental Rights (involving the concealment of a minor) in connection with this case are still pending for Gina Schmit Dahlen and Douglas Craig Dahlen of Herman, Minnesota and for Deirdre Elise Evavold of St. Cloud. Evavold’s trial is scheduled to begin next Monday, September 26, 2016.
Backstrom indicated that he will be making no further comments in connection with this matter in light of the pending trial of Deirdre Evavold scheduled to begin next week.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Kathy Keena, who prosecuted this case. Backstrom thanked the Lakeville Police Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Office for their ongoing investigation into this case and bringing the girls back safely to their father in Lakeville.