Category: arrest

accountability, arrest, kidnapping, kids, law, legal, news
East Texas Jury Deliberates on Kidnapping of Boy Hidden for 8 Years

Krystie Tanner

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (AP) — An East Texas jury sentenced two women to prison Tuesday after convicting them of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found.

Gloria Walker was sentenced to 30 years for injury to a child and eight years for kidnapping, to be served concurrently. Her daughter, Krystle Tanner, was sentenced to eight years for kidnapping and eight years for the lesser charge of reckless injury to a child, also to be served concurrently.

Earlier in the day the same jury convicted them in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, who is now 8. Walker had faced up to life in prison, and Tanner faced 20 years.

“We believe that justice was done on behalf of Miguel,” said San Augustine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.

After the sentences were announced, both women told state District Judge Charles Mitchell they had done nothing wrong, insisting Miguel’s mother had given him away.

“Justice is not served. We have not hurt no child. We loved and cared for him,” Walker said before she and her daughter were handcuffed and taken away by authorities.

Jurors and attorneys for Tanner, 27, and Walker, 51, declined to comment afterward.

Prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments earlier Tuesday that Tanner and Walker neglected Miguel during the eight years they hid him from authorities, denying him appropriate medical care and keeping him out of school.

But defense attorneys countered there was no abduction because the boy’s mother sold him to the women and his parents never showed any concern for their son and refused to cooperate with authorities.

The trial was in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston, where authorities say Miguel lived part of the time during his kidnapping.

During the trial’s punishment phase, both Walker and Tanner testified, asking jurors to sentence them to probation.

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” said a tearful Walker. She also told jurors she had very little contact with the boy, saying she was focused more on dealing with various health problems.

But Tanner contradicted her mother, telling jurors Miguel lived with Walker for extended periods of time. Tanner said she never hurt or abused Miguel.

“I didn’t know they were looking for him. I didn’t know he was missing,” she said.

Prosecutors did not present any witnesses during the punishment phase but did ask jurors for a 25-year-sentence for Walker and an eight-year term for Tanner.

Authorities said Tanner, who used to babysit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was an infant and that she and her mother kept him hidden in homes in Central and East Texas, renaming him Jaquan.

Dutton said in his closing argument that claims by Tanner and Walker that Miguel was given to them by his mother are not supported by their actions.

“If Ms. Walker and Ms. Tanner had a right to little Miguel, why wasn’t he in school?” he said. “Why didn’t you get the rest of his immunizations? Why didn’t you take him to the dentist? They knew they didn’t have that right. They knew they couldn’t put that baby out in the public eye.”

Miguel remained missing until March 2012, when Tanner and Walker were arrested. Authorities began investigating Tanner in 2010 after her newborn son tested positive for marijuana. Investigators later determined that she had the missing boy.

San Augustine County Attorney Wesley Hoyt, the other prosecutor in the case, told jurors Miguel stayed missing for years in part because of a flawed investigation by Houston police, which closed the case in 2006.

But Rudy Velasquez, Walker’s attorney, told jurors Miguel’s parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, didn’t cooperate with Houston police after the boy was reported missing and never really showed any concern for their son.

A Houston police investigator testified during the four-day trial last week she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy’s parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody.

“This is not a kidnapping. What has happened is you have a young lady who gave her child away,” Velasquez said. “Ms. Morin was willing to sell her child for $200.”

The boy’s parents were not in the courtroom on Tuesday. But Champion-Morin, had testified her son was taken by Tanner and that Houston police did not keep in touch with her about the case.

Donovan Dudinsky, Tanner’s attorney, told jurors to consider that Miguel is currently not living with his parents but is instead in the custody of a Houston-area couple in deciding whether to believe the parents’ claims that their son was taken.

A Houston judge last month placed Miguel with Junita and Joseph Auguillard, who have also been taking care of Miguel’s four siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy’s parents.

Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

“I hope years later (Miguel) looks back on this day and understands there were good people looking out for him,” San Augustine County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said after the sentences were handed down.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

accountability, arrest, kidnapping, kids, law, legal, news
East Texas Jury Deliberates on Kidnapping of Boy Hidden for 8 Years

Krystie Tanner

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (AP) — An East Texas jury sentenced two women to prison Tuesday after convicting them of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found.

Gloria Walker was sentenced to 30 years for injury to a child and eight years for kidnapping, to be served concurrently. Her daughter, Krystle Tanner, was sentenced to eight years for kidnapping and eight years for the lesser charge of reckless injury to a child, also to be served concurrently.

Earlier in the day the same jury convicted them in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, who is now 8. Walker had faced up to life in prison, and Tanner faced 20 years.

“We believe that justice was done on behalf of Miguel,” said San Augustine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.

After the sentences were announced, both women told state District Judge Charles Mitchell they had done nothing wrong, insisting Miguel’s mother had given him away.

“Justice is not served. We have not hurt no child. We loved and cared for him,” Walker said before she and her daughter were handcuffed and taken away by authorities.

Jurors and attorneys for Tanner, 27, and Walker, 51, declined to comment afterward.

Prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments earlier Tuesday that Tanner and Walker neglected Miguel during the eight years they hid him from authorities, denying him appropriate medical care and keeping him out of school.

But defense attorneys countered there was no abduction because the boy’s mother sold him to the women and his parents never showed any concern for their son and refused to cooperate with authorities.

The trial was in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston, where authorities say Miguel lived part of the time during his kidnapping.

During the trial’s punishment phase, both Walker and Tanner testified, asking jurors to sentence them to probation.

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” said a tearful Walker. She also told jurors she had very little contact with the boy, saying she was focused more on dealing with various health problems.

But Tanner contradicted her mother, telling jurors Miguel lived with Walker for extended periods of time. Tanner said she never hurt or abused Miguel.

“I didn’t know they were looking for him. I didn’t know he was missing,” she said.

Prosecutors did not present any witnesses during the punishment phase but did ask jurors for a 25-year-sentence for Walker and an eight-year term for Tanner.

Authorities said Tanner, who used to babysit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was an infant and that she and her mother kept him hidden in homes in Central and East Texas, renaming him Jaquan.

Dutton said in his closing argument that claims by Tanner and Walker that Miguel was given to them by his mother are not supported by their actions.

“If Ms. Walker and Ms. Tanner had a right to little Miguel, why wasn’t he in school?” he said. “Why didn’t you get the rest of his immunizations? Why didn’t you take him to the dentist? They knew they didn’t have that right. They knew they couldn’t put that baby out in the public eye.”

Miguel remained missing until March 2012, when Tanner and Walker were arrested. Authorities began investigating Tanner in 2010 after her newborn son tested positive for marijuana. Investigators later determined that she had the missing boy.

San Augustine County Attorney Wesley Hoyt, the other prosecutor in the case, told jurors Miguel stayed missing for years in part because of a flawed investigation by Houston police, which closed the case in 2006.

But Rudy Velasquez, Walker’s attorney, told jurors Miguel’s parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, didn’t cooperate with Houston police after the boy was reported missing and never really showed any concern for their son.

A Houston police investigator testified during the four-day trial last week she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy’s parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody.

“This is not a kidnapping. What has happened is you have a young lady who gave her child away,” Velasquez said. “Ms. Morin was willing to sell her child for $200.”

The boy’s parents were not in the courtroom on Tuesday. But Champion-Morin, had testified her son was taken by Tanner and that Houston police did not keep in touch with her about the case.

Donovan Dudinsky, Tanner’s attorney, told jurors to consider that Miguel is currently not living with his parents but is instead in the custody of a Houston-area couple in deciding whether to believe the parents’ claims that their son was taken.

A Houston judge last month placed Miguel with Junita and Joseph Auguillard, who have also been taking care of Miguel’s four siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy’s parents.

Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

“I hope years later (Miguel) looks back on this day and understands there were good people looking out for him,” San Augustine County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said after the sentences were handed down.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

arrest, arrests, child, child abuser, child sex crimes, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, crime
Another (Alleged) Pedophile Arrested !!!!!!

image

A man is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 14 that includes a 12-year-old girl, a 5-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy. Michael Shawn Reynolds, 34, address listed in the 1200 block of Ridgeway, was assessed a $250,000 bond on each of the three charges and was in the Wichita County Jail Thursday afternoon. Reynolds was arrested at his home on three warrants Wednesday night. According to the arrest warrant affidavits: On Aug. 13 and Aug. 16 multiple referrals were made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services about the possible sexual abuse to the three children. Forensic interviews of the three victims were conducted at Patsy’s House Children’s Advocacy Center Aug. 17 and Aug. 20 where the 12-year-old girl described multiple incidents consistent with aggravated sexual assault of a child while she was 11 and 12 years old. She told interviewers she also witnessed Reynolds preforming multiple sexual acts on the 5-year-old victim. The 5-year-old victim said she also witnessed Reynolds engaging in multiple sexual acts with the 12-year-old victim. Reynolds also coerced the 15-year-old boy into engaging in sexual acts with the 5-year-old girl. The 15-year-old boy said he witnessed Reynolds engaging in multiple sexual acts with the 5-year-old girl while at an apartment where Reynolds formerly lived. Reynolds resided at three different locations in Wichita Falls over the period the incidents occurred. Reynolds told the children not to tell anyone, but the 12-year-old girl spoke up. Reynolds was friends with the family and had access to the victims while visiting. The affidavit states the disclosures made by the 5-year-old victim are credible because a child of her age should not know about them unless she experienced them.

arrest, arrests, child, child abuser, child sex crimes, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, crime
Another (Alleged) Pedophile Arrested !!!!!!

image

A man is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 14 that includes a 12-year-old girl, a 5-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy. Michael Shawn Reynolds, 34, address listed in the 1200 block of Ridgeway, was assessed a $250,000 bond on each of the three charges and was in the Wichita County Jail Thursday afternoon. Reynolds was arrested at his home on three warrants Wednesday night. According to the arrest warrant affidavits: On Aug. 13 and Aug. 16 multiple referrals were made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services about the possible sexual abuse to the three children. Forensic interviews of the three victims were conducted at Patsy’s House Children’s Advocacy Center Aug. 17 and Aug. 20 where the 12-year-old girl described multiple incidents consistent with aggravated sexual assault of a child while she was 11 and 12 years old. She told interviewers she also witnessed Reynolds preforming multiple sexual acts on the 5-year-old victim. The 5-year-old victim said she also witnessed Reynolds engaging in multiple sexual acts with the 12-year-old victim. Reynolds also coerced the 15-year-old boy into engaging in sexual acts with the 5-year-old girl. The 15-year-old boy said he witnessed Reynolds engaging in multiple sexual acts with the 5-year-old girl while at an apartment where Reynolds formerly lived. Reynolds resided at three different locations in Wichita Falls over the period the incidents occurred. Reynolds told the children not to tell anyone, but the 12-year-old girl spoke up. Reynolds was friends with the family and had access to the victims while visiting. The affidavit states the disclosures made by the 5-year-old victim are credible because a child of her age should not know about them unless she experienced them.

arrest, arrests, child, child death, child sex crimes, family, murder, sex offenders, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual offenders, system
9 Year Old Cold Case in Tampa Ends with Sex Offender As Murderer!

My “Homesick News” from my beloved Florida:

Ahhh.

The beautiful Clearwater Beach.

Just west of Tampa, about halfway down the State of Florida, on the Gulf Coast.

Its Paradise….(for most)

Clearwater Beach, FL courtesy of www.Placsaroundflorida.com

But a family in Tampa probably doesn’t think much of their home as paradise much these days now that an old wound has been re-opened, so that it can finally be closed.

Tampa police arrested a 15 year old’s  killer after 9 years! My thoughts are with those who grieve for this child, and with the spirit of the little girl turned Angel taken in such a horrible way.

This is a reminder that you can never be too careful, even in your own backyard.  This tragedy happened and her body was found 3 miles from the victim’s home, a crime committed by a sex offender who did not know the victim.

She was only 15 years old, but still a child when she was killed 9 years ago in and found Decenber 7, 2000.  But with DNA stemming from a 2008 crime leading to the arrest of her killer, closure may have been found, but I shudder to think of all the possible unknown victims of this monster that may never be revealed during those 8 years in between.

Thank goodness this awful man is behind bars where he won’t hurt any more children.


Jailed sex offender charged in 2000 strangling of

15-year-old Tampa girl – St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA

By Rebecca Catalanello,  Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 11, 2009

He said he never met her, never saw her, knew nothing about her.   But Tampa police say Carl Chavers killed her.

Nine years ago, 15-year-old Laquetta Chael White left her Grant Park home for a dentist’s appointment on Davis Islands only to be found dead 3 miles from home.

Until now, her mother has had few answers as to how, on Dec. 7, 2000, her daughter ended up naked and discarded, her dead body lying in an alley next to Connie’s Restaurant at Oberry Street and 21st Avenue.

But Detectives Eric Houston and John Columbia this week brought Carla Wilson the closure she desired.

It came in the form of first-degree murder and sexual battery charges against Chavers, 40, a man police say lived three houses away from Laquetta’s 5606 Terra Ceia Drive apartment building at the time of the killing.

Houston said DNA gathered from Chavers during a 2008 sexual battery case matched that found under Laquetta’s fingernails.

They believe he’s the man who abducted and strangled Laquetta after she left home at 9 a.m., planning to board a bus for a dental appointment she never kept.

When Houston and Columbia questioned him, Chavers denied the crime. But Thursday, he told police he was living in the neighborhood, Houston said.

Chavers is incarcerated at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, where he is serving a 24-year sentence for lewd and lascivious sexual battery involving a 13-year-old girl, including a charge that he impregnated her.

The night before Laquetta died, her mother cooked her daughter’s favorite dinner: sausage, stewed tomatoes and okra over yellow rice.

As Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times nine years ago, she and Laquetta had a dance contest and laughed. “She was actually being the little girl I wanted her to be,” Wilson said back then.

The next day, Wilson, who worked as a school bus aide, passed by the homicide scene on her daily bus route as detectives were working it.

She had no idea until later that the person detectives were tending to was her own daughter.

Houston, who has managed about 12 cold cases since joining the squad in 2005, said it feels good to share news of an arrest with a family member who has lived for years without knowing.

“That’s the best part,” he said.

Tampa Police have 282 unsolved murders going back to 1982.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.
[Last modified: Sep 10, 2009 11:54 PM]
arrest, arrests, child, child death, child sex crimes, family, murder, sex offenders, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual offenders, system
9 Year Old Cold Case in Tampa Ends with Sex Offender As Murderer!

My “Homesick News” from my beloved Florida:

Ahhh.

The beautiful Clearwater Beach.

Just west of Tampa, about halfway down the State of Florida, on the Gulf Coast.

Its Paradise….(for most)

Clearwater Beach, FL courtesy of www.Placsaroundflorida.com

But a family in Tampa probably doesn’t think much of their home as paradise much these days now that an old wound has been re-opened, so that it can finally be closed.

Tampa police arrested a 15 year old’s  killer after 9 years! My thoughts are with those who grieve for this child, and with the spirit of the little girl turned Angel taken in such a horrible way.

This is a reminder that you can never be too careful, even in your own backyard.  This tragedy happened and her body was found 3 miles from the victim’s home, a crime committed by a sex offender who did not know the victim.

She was only 15 years old, but still a child when she was killed 9 years ago in and found Decenber 7, 2000.  But with DNA stemming from a 2008 crime leading to the arrest of her killer, closure may have been found, but I shudder to think of all the possible unknown victims of this monster that may never be revealed during those 8 years in between.

Thank goodness this awful man is behind bars where he won’t hurt any more children.


Jailed sex offender charged in 2000 strangling of

15-year-old Tampa girl – St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA

By Rebecca Catalanello,  Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 11, 2009

He said he never met her, never saw her, knew nothing about her.   But Tampa police say Carl Chavers killed her.

Nine years ago, 15-year-old Laquetta Chael White left her Grant Park home for a dentist’s appointment on Davis Islands only to be found dead 3 miles from home.

Until now, her mother has had few answers as to how, on Dec. 7, 2000, her daughter ended up naked and discarded, her dead body lying in an alley next to Connie’s Restaurant at Oberry Street and 21st Avenue.

But Detectives Eric Houston and John Columbia this week brought Carla Wilson the closure she desired.

It came in the form of first-degree murder and sexual battery charges against Chavers, 40, a man police say lived three houses away from Laquetta’s 5606 Terra Ceia Drive apartment building at the time of the killing.

Houston said DNA gathered from Chavers during a 2008 sexual battery case matched that found under Laquetta’s fingernails.

They believe he’s the man who abducted and strangled Laquetta after she left home at 9 a.m., planning to board a bus for a dental appointment she never kept.

When Houston and Columbia questioned him, Chavers denied the crime. But Thursday, he told police he was living in the neighborhood, Houston said.

Chavers is incarcerated at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, where he is serving a 24-year sentence for lewd and lascivious sexual battery involving a 13-year-old girl, including a charge that he impregnated her.

The night before Laquetta died, her mother cooked her daughter’s favorite dinner: sausage, stewed tomatoes and okra over yellow rice.

As Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times nine years ago, she and Laquetta had a dance contest and laughed. “She was actually being the little girl I wanted her to be,” Wilson said back then.

The next day, Wilson, who worked as a school bus aide, passed by the homicide scene on her daily bus route as detectives were working it.

She had no idea until later that the person detectives were tending to was her own daughter.

Houston, who has managed about 12 cold cases since joining the squad in 2005, said it feels good to share news of an arrest with a family member who has lived for years without knowing.

“That’s the best part,” he said.

Tampa Police have 282 unsolved murders going back to 1982.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.
[Last modified: Sep 10, 2009 11:54 PM]
arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

accountability, arrest, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, government, jail, police, psychotropic medications, social services, system failure
Child welfare officer jailed (ACCOUNTABILITY!!!!)

this is what i like to see – this case is a couple years old, but its a good leader to what needs to keep happening – accountability!!!

The Pinellas sheriff’s employee lied about checking on children and filed false overtime claims, detectives say.

By CHRIS TISCH
Published December 10, 2004


Megan Gallagher faces felony charges of grand theft and falsifying records.

LARGO – Pinellas County sheriff’s detectives arrested one of their investigators Thursday, alleging that in a least two dozen cases she failed to visit homes where child abuse had been reported, then wrote fake reports.

Megan Gallagher, 25, also submitted bogus overtime slips for hours she never worked, sheriff’s officials said. She was booked into the Pinellas County Jail Thursday on felony charges of grand theft and falsifying records.

Gallagher, who has worked for the agency since March 2002, was placed on paid administrative leave.

After learning of one case of deceit, supervisors in the Sheriff’s Office’s child protection division found 26 cases where Gallagher falsified documents this year, according to officials. In most of them, she made no visits to families where children were reported to be in danger, said Capt. George Steffen, the division’s commander.

None of those children suffered injuries because of Gallagher’s no-shows, though two children later were removed from a home Gallagher failed to visit, Steffen said.

“It was very disturbing and we acted as quickly as we could,” Steffen said. “This is extremely egregious on her part.”

Steffen said the work of his 77 investigators is important and can save children from harm or neglect. The possibility that Gallagher wasn’t doing that work is alarming, he said.

“If you’re not making contact as you’re required to and they are tasked to do on a daily basis, obviously you’re going to leave children at risk,” Steffen said. “And we were fortunate in all these cases that nothing serious occurred.”

The 26 cases Gallagher is accused of falsifying all occurred this year, though officials intend to look back even further, Steffen said.

He said he couldn’t rule out that there are more cases in previous years, and that children may have been harmed if there was more deceit.

“We are going to go back further,” he said. “It could be growing.”

This marks the third time this year that a child-protection investigator with the Sheriff’s Office has been arrested.

Two other child protection investigators were arrested in August on charges they submitted false overtime slips, though neither was accused of skipping family visits.

Both of those investigators resigned, then entered pretrial intervention programs that could result in criminal charges being dismissed, court records show.

Division supervisors tightened up on overtime procedures and began reviewing spikes in overtime, but found no other people abusing the system. Gallagher’s time slips were not reviewed at that time because she filed for it sporadically, Steffen said.

Sheriff’s officials said the overtime in question this year amounted to about $2,000.

A fellow investigator became concerned during a visit with a family that Gallagher had supposedly visited earlier this year, officials say. When questioned by the second investigator, the family said Gallagher had never called or visited their home. A report filled out by Gallagher said she had.

“This family said they didn’t even know anyone by the name of Gallagher, had never seen her or been contacted by her,” Steffen said. “Of course, this raised a red flag. The information was practically totally fabricated.”

Steffen said he assigned four investigators to meet with the families that Gallagher had failed to visit. Of the 160 or so cases she was assigned in the first eight months of this year, she did not visit 26, sheriff’s officials said.

Officials said they did not know what Gallagher was doing when she said she was visiting with at-risk families.

Steffen said Gallagher used similar descriptions in most of the reports she is accused of falsifying, including often saying that dishes were piled high in the sink. Steffen said supervisors have been reminded to be vigilant when reviewing investigators’ work and to look for such repetitive descriptions.

In 1999, the Sheriff Office replaced the state’s Department of Children and Families in investigating child abuse cases.

Steffen said there are no plans for changes in management practices and said the accusations against Gallagher are not reflective of the division.

“Most of our people are honest,” he said.

[Last modified December 11, 2004, 19:12:00]