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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Court orders return of sect children to parents

Well, that was fast.

I would have thought that the law would wend its leisurely way for at least weeks if not months; that the children might see their parents again for their college graduations or weddings. But like a bolt of lighting the Texas Supremes ruled that the children from the Yearning For Zion Ranch have to be returned to their parents … now.

SAN ANTONIO - In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.
The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.
"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices said in their ruling issued in Austin.

The speed with which this case was decided may be an indication of how weak the case brought by the CPS was. It will be interesting to see if someone is made to pay for this fiasco or whether there will be the usual bureaucratic CYA and the CPS workers circle the wagons.

In a related development, the Texas Rangers may have found the person who perpetrated this outrage with a hoax phone call. The perp, who is under investigation for other hoax calls appears to be Rozita Swinton, 33, of Colorado Springs. She has made other phone calls pretending to be a teen aged girl being abused either by her father and her pastor.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A woman suspected of making false abuse claims in Colorado used a telephone number that was later used to report alleged abuse at a polygamist retreat in Texas, according to an affidavit made public Wednesday.

Swinton was arrested April 16 and later released on a misdemeanor charge of false reporting in a February case in Colorado Springs with no known ties to the raid in west Texas.
She's accused of posing as a teenager named "Jennifer" and falsely claiming in a 911 call that her father had locked her in her basement for days, the arrest warrant affidavit released Wednesday said.
Swinton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false reporting in a 2005 case out of Castle Rock, Colo.; a one-year sentence was deferred. She had claimed in phone calls to be a 16-year-old named Jessica who was suicidal after giving birth; there was no baby.
"The investigator ... was surprised at her age because she sounded like someone who was in her mid- to late teens even though she was 30," Castle Rock police Lt. Douglas Ernst said.…

The warrant also links Swinton to calls made throughout October from a "Dana Anderson." The caller claimed to be a young woman being abused by her pastor at Colorado Springs' New Life Church, and later as a 13-year-old student at Liberty High School who said she was being drugged and sexually abused by her father.
New Life Church is incidentally the church in which a deranged gunman killed one and wounded four before being killed himself. It appears that his church is the subject of quite a bit of hatred by militant atheists.

But back to Swinton, these kind of accusations can have a devastating effect on the person being accused, since the assumption is made that no one would fake this. Decades ago, this kind of thing sent day care workers to jail for years. This one almost led to the destruction of hundreds of families and their children.

If Swinton is the hoaxer, she deserves a long, long prison sentence.


Anonymous said...

At last the law prevails, but unfortunately a lot of damage has been done. One can only hope the order is carried out swiftly, with no 'lost' children and the guilty pay.

Hugh McBryde said...

It turns out that the author "Kate Rosemary" who gives us most of our information about Rozita's past is both Vice President of the PUBLISHING company that published the books, and author as well, her real name is "Mary Catharine Nelson" and she stand (potentially) to make a tidy sum of money if she has the rights to the story. She has made a non disclosure agreement with David W. Powell, the attorney representing Rozita Swinton that smacks of "BOOK DEAL." Everything you know about Rozita that isn't from her arrest record comes through this extremely impeachable source. There's more to the Rozita story I think. Why else would her lawyer ask and get a continuance in her prank call case that is just a misdemeanor?