Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Free Merrianne!

Okay, I’ve had just about all I can take of this stupidity from Texas CPS. Face it, folks, the YFZ raid was a horribly botched invasion almost unprecedented in U.S. history (let’s not forget the 1953 Church/State cabal-raid of Short Creek). It wasted tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and is swiftly becoming a monumental humiliation for Texas government officials at every level. If law-enforcement and lawmakers wanted to make this unusual, FLDS religious community look bad, they have virtually achieved the opposite. The Texas Supreme Court affirmed the wrongfulness of the removal of over 400 children, and made Judge Barbara Walther look foolish and out-of-control.

As of this writing, now only three of the YFZ ranch’s children remain to be non-suited. Despite the frantic gyrations of Natalie Malonis in her efforts to keep control of Teresa Jeffs, CPS has accepted the obvious truth that Teresa is as “safe” as her siblings and needs no more government supervision than any other Texas citizen. It remains to be seen which attorney took the extraordinary license of leaking details of Teresa Jeffs’ case and the associated depositions. While CPS is abandoning the vast majority of the cases, some factions are clinging desperately to the thin remnants of a bad case.

Now all eyes are turned towards Merrianne Jessop, the girl from the Warren Jeffs wedding-kiss photo. The photo may well be disallowed as evidence improperly seized, perhaps eventually making Merrianne’s case moot. Yet, while that argument drags on, Merrianne sits glumly in forced foster care awaiting a distant September trial to learn her fate. I do not pretend to understand FLDS marriage traditions. I think people should marry as adults, NOT as children. The vast majority of Americans recoiled at the sight of a 50-year-old kissing a twelve-year-old. We do not understand this culture. A Utah jury felt sufficient contempt for Warren Jeffs that it convicted him for rape as an accomplice for condoning a young monogamous teenage marriage. Jeffs is likely to spend many more years in prison.

Despite CPS’s distaste for this misunderstood culture, it has acknowledged that the YFZ families are cooperative and capable of caring for their children. After all, Texas likely has infinitely more families with greater challenges and who are more worthy of government intervention and its precious resources. So why the dogged insistence on keeping Merrianne? Merrianne’s younger siblings have been non-suited. That means that CPS has concluded that Merrianne’s parent(s) is/are cooperative and have demonstrated the ability and propensity to keep their children physically and emotionally safe. Those siblings are not married yet, but apparently CPS is confident that they are not at risk of an “early” marriage or underage sex. So, what are we to believe about Merrianne? Her alleged abuser will be safely incarcerated until she is in her twenties. If, in FLDS religious terms, Merrianne is still betrothed (or “married”), then no other honorable FLDS male will venture near her in this lifetime. If the spirit of the legal moves has been to punish her parents, then why is the punishment being inflicted upon her? Why is she in forced detention with a second Texas foster family?

In a recent DCFS custody case, a Utah woman’s ten children were forcibly removed and placed in foster care (ostensibly because their father disapproved of earrings on teen girls). The oldest son, Kevin (15), was deemed too old for a foster-care family, so Judge Andrew Valdez ordered him into a juvenile detention facility (ARTEC) where he was emotionally, physically and sexually assaulted. After several months of torment, Kevin succeeded in escaping from detention, and he vanished for several days. After his escape, Kevin wrote lengthy letters to the press and to Judge Valdez, chronicling the abuses he had suffered in government custody. Evidently acknowledging the horror of the experience, the Judge agreed to allow Kevin to return home to his family, where he was undoubtedly safer than in any other place. Later, all but two of his siblings were also returned home, and the case was closed. I mention this simply because I see parallels.

CPS/DCFS has well-worn techniques it likes to use when it becomes an adversary of your family. It makes allegations based on rumors. It elevates those rumors to the status of “evidence” (through a practice known as “courtroom demonstration”). It demands that you admit to abuse before it will agree to consider capitulating. Then, if you admit to abuse or neglect, you may not get your children back. You MUST cooperate with the “service-plan”, or you will lose your children. Not cooperating with CPS means you are a “bad” parent. That would be akin to being found guilty simply for invoking the Fifth Amendment. That whole “best-interests-of-the-child” mumbo-jumbo is just a supercilious way of saying that CPS knows better than you do what is best for your child.

So now Barbara Jessop is in the spotlight again, this time for providing her daughter Merrianne with a cell phone and encouraging her to do everything possible to convince her “captors” that she needs to go home (no duhh !!). Merrianne has experienced deep depression while in foster care. The first foster family was ashamed to go out in public with Merrianne because of her unconventional clothing.

CPS will say that Merrianne should be permanently removed, because her mother is uncooperative and disobedient. Obey CPS or you are a bad parent! Perhaps we should all turn our children over to CPS as soon as they are born, because, after all, CPS is a far wiser parent than we can ever be. What percentage of American parents would not try to get a cell-phone in the hands of their daughters after they were kidnapped (regardless of whether or not their removal was at the hands of the State)? I know I would. I know that Utah mother was overjoyed when her 15-year-old found the courage and initiative to flee his confinement – obedience to DCFS be damned! DCFS rarely even obeyed the judge’s orders.

Why can Texas not see the writing on the wall? Barbara Walther and Natalie Malonis are both risking disgrace for their hubris and abuse of power, and several shamed agency heads have already slunk off into early “retirement” following this mushrooming P.R. nightmare. Let the poor girl go home! Look at her elder sister, Betty Jessop! She is yet another young teen girl who was removed against her will from her father. She loves her family. She loves her life at the ranch. She loves her community and her religion. She loves her relatives and her ecclesiastical leaders. Upon turning 18, in the face of intense opposition, Betty moved heaven and earth to rejoin her community. Does CPS truly think it can re-program her sister, Merrianne, and forcibly separate her from her lifelong culture? What type of culture is Texas CPS offering her as an alternative, when Texas’s private foster care system has been shown to be the worst in the nation, and where a child is four times more likely to die?

Admit it Texas! You blew it! You lost! Walk away! Drop these last three cases. Leave these people alone. Stop all the hypocritical sanctimoniousness. Send Merrianne home to her loving family, and quit quibbling over a mother texting her daughter when you can’t even get your own attorneys to stop leaking confidential legal pleadings.

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