Maureen remembers Hana Alemu “Williams” and gives us a small update in Remembering Hana: May 12, 2011.
Maureen shares an update of the Barbour case, in which Kristen Barbour was sentenced to 6-12 months for pleading no contest to the felony charge of endangering her 2 adopted Ethiopian children. What I find most surprising is that she will be allowed to go home and take care of her children for 40 hours per week. This is all explained in this article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Update: More about the Barbour case in this article: Franklin Park child abuse case draws protest, counter-protest.
She then goes on to tell us about Carri Williams and the 59 page appeal brief she has filed, which she has on her site for us to read. This is a lot to read, but I’ll try to summarize what I can understand. They argue that it was not proven that Hana was under 16 nor that Immanuel’s scars were caused by Carri, that the terms “torture” and “extreme indifference to human life” were unconstitutionally vague and that she was deprived of a necessary witness. They bring up the witness who claimed to be Hana’s uncle and testified to her age being 13 and then fled instead of returning to Ethiopia. It later came out that the State had paid him for his testimony. His testimony was stricken from the case, but the jury had heard it. They also show where the prosecuting atty gave opinions and was instructed by the judge to stop more than once. For these reasons, they believe that it should have been ruled a mistrial.
For more on the Williams case, please see my Hana Alemu “Williams” tag.
Maureen, at Light Of Day Stories, remembers the verdict one year ago today.
There are so many tragic cases of abuse, I don’t usually mention them unless the abuse was clearly tied to Christian teachings. In the case of the Barbours the ties are not indisputable, but there are some pretty good hints. Thankfully, this case did not end in death.
Maureen compares the Barbours with the Williams and finds quite a few eerie similarities.
There is a lot of information the 2 articles she links to from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
This story from Oct 2012 tells about how the adoption ended in tragedy.
This story from June 2014 is the follow up and tells us that the couple pleaded No Contest.
Maureen has a follow up to the Hana Story which I found interesting.
Kiley Crossland of World Magazine takes a look at the Pearl’s teachings in To Train Up A Pharisee.
Today the International Business Times featured an article about the pressure being put upon Amazon to stop selling the Pearls’ book, To Train Up A Child. This is a very good article except for a small confusion about the children who have been killed. Sean “Paddock” was killed in 2006, Lydia “Schatz” in 2010 and Hana “Williams” in 2011. For more information about what the Pearls’ teachings had to do with the death of Lydia, please see my post, Why Blame The Pearls At All and for more information about what the Pearls’ teachings had to do with the deaths of Sean and Hana, please see Why Blame The Pearls At All Part 2.
Michael Pearl says that his teachings are Biblical. Lee Woofenden does not agree and he explains why in his post, To Train Up A Child, or: Spare the Rod? What Rod? This is a long article and worth the read. He points out, among other things, that Mr. Pearl is actually teaching parents to condition their children which is not Biblical.
So, I guess many of you noticed that this blog was down from Tuesday, November 19 at 1:00 PM PST until today. I’m sorry to disappear without warning, but the truth is that I did not even know about it until 2 hours after it happened.
I did notice on Monday the 18th that my traffic had gone up ten-fold, but I did not know that my host would pull the plug over that. They put up with it for what I assume was 24 hours and then advised us that they had placed a temporary block on the account because “This account was found to be consuming an inordinate amount of processor time, to the point of degrading overall system performance. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively disable accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.” Wow. [Read more…]
Kathryn Joyce did a long and very thorough investigative report for Slate Magazine on Hana’s entire story. Her article also looks at adoption reform. I must warn you that if you are sensitive and/or easily triggered, please do not read this story. Here is what Maureen has to say about the same article.
The above mentioned article is perfect for sharing with any politicians or celebrities who might be willing to put pressure on Amazon.com to remove the book, To Train Up A Child. If you can’t think of anyone, here is an idea from StopSpanking.org
Please ask Patty Murray to follow Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie’s example to demand that Amazon remove “To Train Up a Child” — a book that advocates child abuse and has contributed to the death of Hanna Elemu, murdered by adoptive parents Carri and Larry Williams right here in Skagit County!Call Senator Murray at (866) 481-9186 OR email her at: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie has agreed to contact Senator Murray to advise her to speak out on behalf of children and parents! Let Senator Murray know that Washingtonians are outraged by this book!
For a sample letter and more information on this issue:
I should also mention that while Amazon.ca.uk has removed the paperback version of To Train Up A Child, the Kindle version is still available. More info here in this edited and updated post from @ADadCalledSpen.
Maureen has an update on the Williams, just to tie up loose ends.
Tuesday October 29, 2013, the Williams were sentenced to prison for a very long time. Carri has been sentenced for 37 years and Larry for almost 28 years.
Cindy Kunsman, of Under Much Grace, responds to Judge Cook’s comment, “I am at a complete loss as to why this happened,” in An Open Message to Judge Susan Cook About the Williams’ Sentencing: The Development of the Perfect Storm, in which she attempts to explain why.
After the sentencing, the Ethiopian Community Center had a graveside service for Hana. (More about the graveside service.) They are working on getting a proper headstone for her grave. So far, they have not been successful because the family owns the plot so they are considering making a memorial elsewhere. For more information on that, see the Facebook Group.
I should also mention that this might not be the last we hear of this story as there has been talk of an appeal.
Here are some news stories:
Skagit County couple sentenced to prison for adopted daughter’s death in the Seattle Times.
Couple given long sentences for death of adopted girl on King 5 News which includes video from the sentencing. In this video we see a family friend speaking on the Williams’ behalf calling them “two of the truest and purest people on this earth.” I find that statement so flabbergasting that I don’t even know how to respond to it.
Religious Handbook Parents Carri and Larry Williams Given 65 Years for Killing Ethiopian Daughter in the UK Paper, the International Business Times.
According to recent news stories, Larry Williams’ Lawyers are trying to get him a new trial and/or a short sentence. The sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013.
Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald which discusses them requesting a new trial. (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)
Here is the story on Kiro TV which discusses them asking for a sentence of only 5 years (with 2 years credit for time served) because he had no idea what his wife was doing while he was away at work.
Also, Carri’s lawyers want her Manslaughter conviction dropped, since she was charged for the more serious crime, according to this story in the Skagit Valley Herald. (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)
In case anyone was worried about how Carri Williams is faring in jail, the Skagit Valley Herald reports that she is being kept safe in one of the Work Release pods. This was an upgrade from the Solitary Confinement cell she was in before, as they are not healthy to use for long term use. It’s nice to know that they are doing their best to be as humane as possible while she is paying the price for accidentally torturing her daughter to death. Maybe she will start to understand the concept of grace, (unmerited favor.)
Meanwhile, Larry has been in custody for 2 years and the article does not mention what protective measures they have been using to keep him alive, but one must assume that they are in place.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29.
The Skagit Valley Herald has an article (Subscriber Content) which states that Prosecutors have dropped the charge of Homicide By Abuse against Larry Williams. Those who were following the trial may remember that the jury was deadlocked on that charge and were unable to return a verdict for it. The charge was officially dropped on Sept 23.
Sentencing was originally scheduled for Oct 8, but it has been postponed until Oct 29 at 9:30 AM.
Mareen also writes about this, here.
The Seattle Times also has an article here.
Valerie Tarico looks at the problem of Christian discipline leading to abuse in “Bible-based” discipline has led to child abuse in Salon Magazine. I am seeing non-believers getting more and more concerned with this issue and rightly so. It breaks my heart that abusive Christians are giving Christianity a bad name. Of course, it is only natural that they are trying to find a way to stop the abuse. My only concern with that is that their definition of abuse often includes teaching children that they are sinners in need of salvation, which is the heart of the Gospel.
Because of that article, Pastor Doug Bursch (who was raised in a grace-filled, loving home) discussed the problem with M. Dolon Hickmon on his Christian Talk Radio show, Live from Seattle 820AM. This conversation is extremely interesting as well as important. Dolon explains how important it is for Christians to recognize abuse. Not only do churches fail to notice abuse, they often inadvertently encourage it. He explains how each person listening to a sermon about spanking has a different definition for the words being used. Both abused children and their parents assume that the word, “spanking” means exactly what they are currently doing and are being validated that they should continue, even if the pastor preaching means nothing of the sort. Raising awareness is very important and he has a lot of hope that the book he wrote will go a long way towards that. You can get information about his book here. ****Warning! Book very triggering for survivors of abuse****
The Daily Beast looks at the problem of certain parents who use homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse in The Sinister Side of Homeschooling. This article does make it clear that homeschooling is usually not done as an excuse to abuse and that most homeschooling parents are not abusive. However, the author of the piece also appears to be advocating for more oversight of homeschooling. I am not sure I agree with that. More children who attend public schools are abused than homeschoolers and even so, many die. How much oversight would be necessary of homeschoolers in order to make sure that they are not abused? I do feel that it would be a slippery slope.
Back in March of 2012, Jan Heimlich debated Michael Pearl in a video which was featured in The Christian Post. Although, I did mention the debate at the time as well as Samuel Martin’s Rebuttal to one of his statements, I never gave my own rebuttal.
I would like to respond to some of Mr. Pearl’s statements. Rather than transcribe his comments myself, I will use the quotes given in the Christian Post article.
… In our book, To Train up a Child, we clearly point out that parents should not spank when it doesn’t work; they should not spank when they’re angry. We point out that they should spank five or ten licks, no more. And we point out that the spanking should be in accordance to the size of the child. We point out they should never leave marks.
I really don’t know where he says not to spank when it doesn’t work. I would appreciate some help with that. All I can find is him saying that if you are consistent, it will work. Here is an example from To Train Up A Child (TTUAC)
Those who are MOSTLY consistent must use the switch too often. Those who are ALWAYS consistent come to almost never need the switch.
Whatcom Mom had an interesting comment which I would like to highlight.
I’m hoping the readers here will have some ideas about improving adoption home study practice, based on what we have learned from the deaths of Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz and injuries to their siblings.
So you know where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive parent of now adult daughters, one adopted as an infant from a local nonprofit agency, the other as a toddler through state foster care. I’ve been active in pre-adoptive education and post-adoption support and have had plenty of occasion to reflect on issues that arise in transracial, special needs, and international and open adoptions. I have long been concerned about adoption agencies that place especially needy and difficult children with naïve, unprepared (and maybe overconfident) families and then fail to follow up with oversight and support.
I followed the Williams trial especially closely because the family lives in my area and because I know people who have worked for, and adopted from, the agency that placed Hana and her brother Immanuel. [Read more…]