Thursday, April 24, 2008

How To Identify Victims of Child Abuse

How can you identify victims of child abuse?
As the State of Texas moved swiftly to protect 460 victims of child abuse, look no further than the common characteristics of the children taken from the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and their Yearning For Zion 1,700 acre ranch.
These children are in such horrific danger that they are being moved as far as 500 miles away from their home, their mothers, fathers and family members, and often out of reach of their court appointed attorneys, in order to "protect" them.
The abused children all have these identifying traits (Source: Associated Press):
  • They are healthy and seem happy.

  • They are polite and well mannered.

  • They have been raised on a diet of home grown vegetables, chicken and fresh fruit. Absolutely No Junk Food!

  • The dress modestly. No low slung jeans or bare midriffs for these kids.

  • They have been home schooled and are well probably ahead of the children attending public schools.

  • They engage in prayers with their family every day.

  • They can be any age from one month to 18 years of age or older.

  • They can be boys or girls.

The exact nature of the abuse suffered by the vast majority of the 462 "children" now under the protective custody of the State of Texas can actually never be determined by any psychiatrist or other professional. It's so secret only the State of Texas will ever know what it is.

To be certain a very few girls in the FLDS sect have been forced into marriage, possibly at a young age, as young as 13. Of the 462 children taken by the State of Texas their might be fifty (50) who are or were at one time, victims of forced marriage. Maybe. Eventually the State of Texas may or may not get around to actually investigating this potential crime. Certainly no one has been charged yet.

Had the of State of Texas moved to protect those fifty young girls, it's unlikely there would have been much objection. The action might have been applauded in spite of the fact the whole raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch was started by an easy-to-identify false report. So while the legal grounds for the armed assault on the compound might have been faulty, rescuing the girls could have made it all worthwhile.

But that's not what happened. Janet Bennion, the nation's leading expert on the polygamist sect is appalled. Bennion is a world renowned Professor of Anthropology at Lyndon State College in Vermont. She has spent months living with the sects in Utah, Montana and Mexico.

As reported by Vermont's WCAX-TV, Professor Bennion stated, "This is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. This is a group of people that are already against the government and the outside world, and then you get raided by state troops, kidnapping the children."

"If you can establish abuse, of course intervention must be made, but use an intervention that doesn't break the constitution and that doesn't violate all these civil rights laws," argues Bennion.

Some believe it's polygamy, not the alleged child abuse, that's actually on trial. Others fear it's an excuse to attack the underlying religion.

A motley assortment of almost four hundred lawyers is struggling to sort out this madness. Unfortunately, most are court appointed and come from all four corners of the state. Some have yet to meet their clients, others are simply trying to figure out where their clients have been taken.

According to Texas law none of this should be happening. But short circuiting the law has become the norm for this case.

So some of the lawyers for the parents and other lawyers for the children are attempting to restore logic and order.

ABC News reports tonight, "A state appeals court has agreed to hear arguments next week about whether the state can place the children into temporary foster care without giving each family an individual hearing."

"These families have the right to have their voices heard in the legal process," said Robert Doggett, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which filed the appeal. "The idea that these children can be taken away without giving their families the opportunity to address allegations and fight to stay together is absurd."

Lawyers point out that the figurative cows are already out of the barn. Now that the children have already been scattered throughout the state, it may be nearly impossible to insure them of their rights.

1 comment:

Vigilante said...

As a class action law suit or individual law cases, this is going to be very expensive, even for a state as large as Texas.