Gregory and Melanie Magazu have been told that they may not have foster children because they spank their own children. I think that it is a good thing. Foster children have enough trauma, without being aware of children in the home being hit. This applears to be a test case, so I will be watching it.
Markiece Palmer has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the beating death of Roderick “RJ” Arrington. This was another case of parents abusing their child in the name of religion. The part I found intersting about this case was that the judge condemned him for his attempt to break the child’s will. Here is the quote from the story in The Las Vegas Review Journal. (Warning, upsetting story; not for the faint of heart)
“You used your faith as a basis to justify that,” District Judge David Barker said at Palmer’s sentencing hearing. “It sounds to me like you were trying to break him, this little boy, to break his spirit, to break his will.”
ETA: There was some question about the report to CPS on my Facebook wall, which led me to share this (very disturbing) news story.
I just found out about a new abuse trial, that of Army Maj. John E. Jackson and his wife, Carolyn. The North Jersey Record writes about the case here. It involves 3 adopted children, one of whom died some time ago (which they are now investigating due to the findings of abuse of the other 2.) I normally would not post about a case when religion has not been mentioned, but according to this story, when the oldest biological son confronted his father about the abuse, he was told that children were being trained. This article is giving me flashbacks of the Williams case.
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.
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.
The Southern Illinoisan has an article about Stephanie Cox and and how she came to write a gentle Parenting book with her nose.
Here is more information about Stephanie Cox.
World Mag Reports that Bill Gothard has been placed on administrative leave while they research recent allegations of abuse.
Naturally this story has impacted many people. Here is a testimony from Micah Murray which reflects on this news as he looks at Growing Up in Bill Gothard’s Homeschool Cult.
A writer from The Verge is working on a story about the Pearls for publication on The Verge website. He would like to talk with anyone who has experience with the book or the Pearls firsthand. If you are interested in taking part in this, please send me (email@example.com) your contact info and I’ll pass it on to him.
A reporter from the BBC is working on a story about the Pearls for publication on the BBC website. He is doing a lot of research and would like to talk with someone who was raised by the Pearls’ methods. If you are interested in taking part in this, please send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your contact info and I’ll pass it on to him.
Thank you for your help, everyone. The interview is over. If I hear of another opportunity, I will be sure to post. 🙂
Spiritual Sounding Board tells us that The Board of Vision Forum Ministries Announced the Closing of Vision Forum Ministries. Again, this is the Non Profit Ministry. It is business as usual at the For Profit side of Vision Forum.
Here are some news stories and blogs about this story. I will add more as I find them.
An Infidelity Scandal Just Shuttered a Major ‘Biblical Patriarchy’ Organization in the Atlantic Wire
Vision Forum Ministries Closing by Calulu
Under Much Grace looks at Fallen Cult Leaders and explains how they work in Follow the Leader: Con Artists and Cultic Leaders Have No “Off Switch.”
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.
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.
As I reflect with sorrow and horror at the tragedy which was the Williams Trial, I find myself trying to make sense of what happened and why.
What I see as the root problem is pride. The Bible says that God hates pride. We know that “pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). I believe that very few people would argue with me when I say that Carri Williams had a problem with pride. I heard her described as a person who had to be always right. She was said to have perfect children. People described her as intimidating because her children were so perfect. I was told that when someone disagreed with her, they had a hard time confronting her because she had a reputation for a very cutting tongue. So, when people had concerns about how she was raising her children, they just withdrew away from her and left her alone. What else could they do? She would not listen, and she certainly would not accept help.
I’m not sure how and when she found To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl. [Read more…]
Thursday, August 22, 2013 was devoted to trying to figure out Hana’s age. If the jury believes her to be 16, they cannot charge Larry and Carri Williams with Homocide by Abuse, a charge which only applies to children under the age of 16. Earlier the Prosecution called a Forensic Dentist who could not determine Hana’s age at the time of death and today the Defense called another Forensic Dentist who cannot sure of Hana’s age at the time of death. However the first dentist said that she was probably at least 15 but could be 13-18 while this one says that he believes that she was 16 years and 3 months old.
Hana’s cousin was flown in from Ethiopia to testify that she was 13. But instead of catching his flight back to Ethiopia, he disappeared which casts doubt as to the veracity of his testimony.
Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald.
Here is the story from KiroTV.
And here is some very important insight from Maureen. Apparently, African children’s teeth develop earlier than Western children’s teeth.
According to Gina Cole, in the afternoon they had some witnesses discussing Immanuel’s scars. A doctor said that he saw scars and the detective who interviews him did not.
Tomorrow morning the Prosecution has more witnesses scheduled and then Prosecution will rest and the Defense portion of the trial will commence.
Wed, August 21,2013 saw Immanuel’s foster mother on the stand. KiroTV has that story (not for the sensitive.) Interestingly, Defense brought up that Imanuel had been abusive towards the foster mother’s daughter. I guess they are trying to prove that he is just a bad child, but what they really proved is that he was abused. (How that works is graphically illustrated by this powerful and triggering Ad Campaign from Mexico. )
Here is the story from the Skagit Valley Herald which discusses foster mother’s testimony as well as the issues which were brought up in regards to Immanuel’s first interviews after Hana’s Death. The defense asserts that interviews planted ideas in the “highly suggestible” boy’s head. She seems to forget that the testimony of the biological children backed up pretty much everything that Immanuel said.
Here is a large, comprehensive story in the British Newspaper, The Daily Mail.
Here is Maureen’s report from Tuesday, July 30, 2013. I will give a brief summary below for the faint of heart and/or the short of time.
Dr. Daniel Selove testified about the autopsy and explained how he arrived at the conclusion that Hana died of hypothermia and that malnutrition and H. Pylori contributed to her death. She showed evidence of being switched before her death, but that did not contribute to her death. The defense attorneys asked if it was possible that Hana had bulimia/anorexia and were told that there was no sign of that. They then went on to discuss how bulimia/anorexia can be practiced secretly. Maureen and I both consider this idea outrageous considering the lack of privacy they were given in that house per Immanuel’s testimony.
Gay Knutson, from Adoption Advocates International (who handled Hana’s case) testified about the adoption documents and how adoptions are handled. Every adoptive family is required to submit a post adoptive report every year until the child turns 18. The Williams had not submitted one since 2009. Families are encouraged to call if they need help and there was no record of the Williams ever calling.
Then Yohannes Kidane, an instructional assistant with Seattle Public schools, (who is fluent in English, Amharic, and Tigrinya) testified as to the veracity of the translated documents and explained the Ethiopian calendar. Maureen noted that the Defense was asking him about his early education while they did not question any of the other witnesses about their education. Mr. Kidane is expected to return today.
Here is the article from the Skagit Valley Herald.
Yesterday, Monday July 29th, was Immanuel’s first day of testimony. He is scheduled for 3 half days. Here are the reports I have found so far for that day.
Komo News reports on Immanuel’s testimony.
Also, someone who apparently knows the family attempts to explain what happened in this comment. Edited to note that the comments have been stripped from this article.
Kiro TV reports on Immanuel’s Testimony in Boy tells jury his adopted parents beat him until he bled. From the video which accompanies this story, I found out that they played the 911 call in court today and that Immanuel will testify for 2 more days. As usual, this story/video is not for the sensitive because of child abuse triggers.
Edited to add: Maureen has finally posted her report of yesterday’s testimony. This is a hard case to watch and I’m not at all surprised that she was not ready to post last night. While not easy to read, I think that all but the most sensitive could handle it. She does mention upsetting things, of course so those with abuse triggers should probably stay away from this case entirely (as should any jurors and potential witnesses.)
Maureen starts her report today with a warning for prospective witnesses and all jurors to abstain from reading her blog. I must agree with her and include this blog in that restriction. There is a LOT here which is off limits for witnesses and jurors, and it is best to err on the side of caution.
She then went on to discuss the courts reaction to her blog which must have given her quite the adrenaline rush. I can only imagine. Then the motions of the morning and on to the opening statements.
I will now make a disclaimer that the sensitive should probably not read the opening statements. In fact, the entire case is very upsetting. This case is a very upsetting and disturbing case and not for the faint of heart. For that reason, I will attempt to keep you up to date without giving you the gory details.
The Prosecution gave opening statements in which they outlined the deplorable treatment of Hana and Immanuel. They started out treating them fine but when their behavior did not meet the Williams’ standards, they escalated their treatment from bad to worse. Their punishments were cruel and abusive by pretty much anyone’s definition.
Carri’s Defense Lawyer made opening statements in which he explained how Carrie had tried to get Hana back into the house and warmed up but was unable to. While admitting that her discipline was excessive, he asked if it was “substantial bodily harm.” I’m not positive, but I believe that means that he was questioning if it was the discipline which caused her death. As I understand it, that is the real question. He then went on to respond to many of the prosecution’s points.
Larry’s Defense Lawyer described Larry’s role in the family and how the family worked. They had a large family and a lot of rules. They were starting to doubt the effectiveness of spanking as it did not seem to be working during the last year as the two adopted children had become very oppositional. She went on to discuss the issues of knowing Hana’s exact age and blamed Hana’s weight loss on medical issues beyond the Williams’ control.
A large part of Larry’s defense seems to be that he was not around that much and that Carrie was in charge of most of the running of the house while he was working to provide for the family. He was not even home the night that Hana was dying. Oh, and he gave them ice cream once. That was apparently a very important point since she reminded them of that again at the end as she urged them to find him not guilty.
Now, here are some news stories about the trial today. Again, these links are not for the faint of heart.
Well, Maureen faithfully posted yesterday’s events late last night. Words cannot express how impressed I am by both her reporting and her dedication. She reports that the jury has been selected and sworn in. She also mentions the scores of motions which have been brought before the court and promises more details about them this weekend. Today (Friday) there were motions in the morning and opening statements were scheduled for this afternoon. She promises to be there for the opening remarks and I do not doubt that she will post about them as soon as she is able.
Google tells me that the Skagit Valley Herald has an article about yesterday which I will not read as I have clicked on too many of their links already this month. (I don’t know why they don’t warn you before allowing you to land on the page and use up one your 5 monthly views. I never would have chosen to read them if I had been given the choice as they were old articles but I was on Twitter where you can’t see what you are clicking on.)
If you are following along at home, you will want to read Maureen’s Update on the Williamses’ Trial: July 23 in which she describes in impressive detail the narrowing down of the jury pool from over 160 to about 80. I found this account quite interesting, especially as the potential jurors were asked to discuss how they feel about spanking, when it becomes abuse and their definition of torture.
There is also an article in the Skagit Valley Herald about today’s court session. I will not be linking to this newspaper much in the near future since they only allow 5 views of their articles per 30 day period and I have already used up 3 of them. Since Maureen does such a good job of reporting, I see no reason to pay for a subscription. In the even that Maureen cannot attend, I will get information from other newspapers.
And, in case anyone is wondering why I am covering this, Cindy from Under Much Grace ties it together.