Prince twins and grandfather

Twins with their grandfather – summer of 2015. Source: Prince family Facebook.

by Health Impact News/ Staff

“They just make it up as they go along.”

That is what more than one person told Health Impact News about Alabama Shelby County DHR’s treatment of the Prince family. Friends of the family were horrified when DHR seized the baby of Dee and Rodney Prince’s 14 year old granddaughter in June. While the man accused of raping her sits in jail accused of raping 3 other underage girls, the young mother and her twin brother have also lost their freedom and remain in DHR custody.

The latest developments have the family reeling. Their older sister Haly and both of the 14 year old twins continue to suffer at the hands of Shelby County’s Child Protective Services, under the Department of Human Resources (DHR).

Twin Brother Incarcerated in Foster Home

Once the juvenile system is involved, things can be blown out of proportion very quickly. The 14 year old twin brother of the young mother experienced that first hand this past week. He was taken out of his grandparents’ home at the same time his twin sister and her new-born baby were taken into custody.

As previously reported, social workers seized the twins’ cell phones 3 days after the teens were taken from their home. The young man has been in a foster home separate from his twin sister, with 2 counties between the county he was placed in and the county where his life, his friends, and his family were. He misses them all very much. The foster family gave him a cell phone to use, but he was only to use it for playing games. Last week, the foster father reportedly found links to porn sites on the phone.

Immediately, social workers stepped in to deal with this. The act which many view as fairly normal curiosity on the part of a normal adolescent boy is apparently being seen by the child protectors as a very big deal, and he was quickly whisked away by DHR for a “psycho-sexual evaluation.” According to the Save Braelon’s Family Facebook page, the youth is now “being accused of being a sexual predator because he accessed pornography on a cell phone!”

This is not a behavior that he has ever exhibited when he lived with his family, because his grandparents, with whom he has lived his whole life, kept a check on what kinds of things the children accessed online and on their phones. Never before has there ever been this type of behavior from him, and he reportedly denies that he was viewing porn at this time.

His explanation is that he knew that he was being watched at the foster home. He reportedly decided to test the new guardians and see just how much they were watching and how much they were monitoring the phone that they let him use. He wants very much to go home. He reportedly told DHR that he did this so that he could get out of foster care and that he never actually watched the porn. He merely accessed the sites, and told them that if this had been about watching porn, he was smart enough to delete his history.

While the family was in court Friday, trying to fight to get the kids back home, the young man was taken for a psycho-sexual evaluation by Deegan Malone, a therapist whose resume states that she is contracted with DHR in “over 24 counties.”

In a normal family, an adolescent who is caught looking at pornography may get a lecture about “the talk,” or may get grounded, or lose access to their electronic devices for a period of time. With government stepping into the role of parent, the response is apparently much more drastic. The young man was subjected to a very uncomfortable psycho-sexual evaluation with disturbing questions that many parents would have problems with their child being asked. His family was not given any voice in him being subjected to such an evaluation.

Taken to New Group Foster Home, Hasn’t Been Heard From Since

The young twin has now been allegedly taken to a group home in yet another county late Friday night. He was able to contact home as he arrived, and he said that the place was a “prison for kids.” That was the last time that anyone has heard from him. The family had been told that they would be able to call him, but they have not been able to reach him for several days and they are concerned.

Controversial Sexual Testing

According to The Atlantic, the Abel Assessment has very little published research on its effectiveness, and the bulk of the scientific articles written about the usefulness of the test were written either by its creator, Dr. Gene Abel, or those who work directly with him. Abel cautions that the test should not be relied upon too heavily because the test carries with it a number of false positives and false negatives. In other words, the controversial test misses a significant number of actual pedophiles, but it also incorrectly finds a significant number of innocent men and boys to be pedophiles.

The test requires the subject to look at pictures of men, women, boys, and girls, including some very young children, all in various stages of dress or undress. None are completely naked, but some are in their underwear, and some pictures are crude. The first time through, the response time is measured. The longer a subject lingers on a particular photo, the more sexually interested the person being tested is assumed to be to the person in the picture. From the descriptions of the test both from the creator and by critics, it is not difficult to imagine perfectly innocent scenarios in which one might linger longer on one picture than on another. Perhaps one photo reminds the subject of a friend that has been taken away from him, or in this young man’s case, of his twin sister. Could simply missing a loved one and lingering on a photo that reminds him of home contribute to him being labeled a pedophile?

The second phase of the test has subjects rate the pictures from revolting to arousing. points out that “A picture of a child in a bathing suit may not be revolting to you, but having a sexual relation with this child is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.” It may be cute, but if the photo is not rated revolting enough, could the test taker be labeled as a predator?

The scoring of the test is proprietary, and the methods of scoring are not publicly known, prompting one judge to declare:

For all we know, they and their components could be mathematically based, founded upon indisputable empirical research, or simply the magic of young Harry Potter’s mixing potions at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 [1993]). (Source)

The test has been been rejected as admissible for evidence in a number of jurisdictions, including the state of Massachusetts.

Therapist Deegan Malone: Conflict of Interest?

The therapist, Deegan Malone, is the same therapist who assessed the 14 year old’s older brother Haydn several years ago. Haydn spent years after DHR somehow turned his juvenile popping of his sister’s bra strap into all manner of sexual deviance. (See that story here.)

Haydn’s recollection of Deegan Malone was that she seemed “weird” and asked many strange questions that made him feel like she was trying to entrap him and get him to confess to being a sexual deviant and admit to things that he didn’t do. He was only 12 at the time, and tried to tell her that he didn’t do anything besides pop his sister’s bra strap, but she wouldn’t listen to him.

Now, his little brother is being subjected to the same therapist. The family is frightened for him.

Note: all of the siblings have adamantly insisted to Health Impact News that Haydn has never touched them inappropriately, maintaining that all he ever did was pop his twin sister’s bra strap. There have been other allegations over the years, but other than the bra strap incident and the coerced confession to things he didn’t do, all of the allegations have been unsubstantiated or “not indicated.” These allegations have prompted the family to feel targeted over the years by DHR, that DHR is “making it up as they go along.”

The family is very afraid that the younger twin is being set up to be accused of the same kinds of things that Haydn was several years ago. There is fear that he will be diagnosed with various disorders for which unwanted psychotropic drugs will be prescribed, just as Haydn faced years ago.

Therapist Deegan Malone evaluated Haydn years ago when DHR alleged that he was a sexual offender. Haydn, now 20, was 12 at the time.

Isn’t it a conflict of interest for Malone to now be evaluating the younger brother who is being accused of viewing pornography?

If you live in Alabama and have had dealings with Deegan Malone through her association with DHR that you would like to reveal, please contact us.

Youth Pastor: He Is a Good Kid

Health Impact News spoke with the twins’ youth pastor, who has known the kids for about 5 years. The family regularly attends church and participates in youth functions.

He reports that he has never seen even a slight sign of sexual deviance or inappropriateness in the teen. When asked if he tended to be flirtatious, the answer was a resounding, “No!”

The youth pastor describes him as a “very nice kid,” one who is “honest, trustworthy, and faithful.” The accusations that he is hearing do not fit the person that he knows at all.

14 Year Old New Mother Treated Like a Slave in DHR Custody Away from her Family?

Meanwhile, his twin sister and baby Braelon remain in the group home they were taken to after they were seized from their family. Health Impact News has learned that the postpartum care that the young mother received at the hands of the state was very poor. Since she has been taken from her home, her freedom has been severely limited.

She has been doing chores at the group home since the very day she arrived, which was a mere 4 days after giving birth to her baby. The people over her have reportedly told her that, if she wants to raise a baby like an adult, then she needs to act like an adult and take care of herself like an adult. She has been responsible for fixing her own breakfast and lunch, and has had “kitchen duty” at the home at dinner, cleaning up and sweeping the floor. She has not been permitted to follow the advice that the best experts give to all new moms – “Rest when your baby naps.”

If she had been with her family, her only responsibility for the first few weeks of her baby’s life would have been to take care of her baby. She would have been surrounded by love and a supportive family. Most new mothers have at least a few days of having her mother, mother-in-law, sister, or even a postpartum doula come in to assist in the early days. The job of new mothers is to care for their newborn and to rest and recover.


Resting in the hospital with her baby before he was seized. Photo credit: Juda Myers

Not so for “Cinderella.” She has been forced to do chores disguised as “life skills.” It was weeks before she got the basic postpartum supplies that she should have had. When DHR and the police seized her from her home, without a warrant or court order, she was not given time to gather the supplies, so she went without for several weeks.

Normal new moms have friends and loved ones drop by to bring meals and give a hand, but this young mom has been isolated from every support she has ever known.

Her phone calls have allegedly been limited, and the calls she has been able to have are monitored. She has been given no privacy.

She hasn’t been to her own kind of church for more than a month. She was compelled to attend the group home’s church for the first couple of weeks.

She and her twin brother are supposed to be a part of their own church’s annual Kids Rally on Wednesday, July 27 through Friday, July 28. They have never missed a Kids Rally. Their family hopes that DHR will honor their religious preferences and not stop them from attending.

As previously reported, baby Braelon got very sick before those at the group home listened to her maternal instincts and took them to the hospital. Days after her baby was released, DHR worked hard to cause the newly recovered baby to be circumcised against his mother’s wishes. After a petition and an outcry that was heard all around the world, the circumcision was stopped.

All this is supposed to be “in her best interest” and “in the best interest of her baby.”

Haly’s Appeal for Her Children Denied

Last week, the twins older sister Haly received the devastating news that her appeal to reverse the termination of her and her husband Anthony’s parental rights for their 2 older children was denied. Earlier, they had been told that the Court of Appeals was closed during the month of July, and that it would likely be September or October before they got the verdict. Yet, somehow, their verdict came in the middle of July. Judge Terry Moore has denied the appeal, with “no opinion” cited.

They are hoping to appeal again to a higher court. The family feels that there was never a valid reason for taking her children; they were just caught up in the system because Haly herself was in the system.

Because those children were taken, the couple’s youngest baby, born in May, was seized by Shelby County DHR, even though she gave birth in Jefferson County. The baby is being given formula against her mother’s wishes. Haly is still pumping her milk for her baby, because she wants her baby to have what is best for her.


Haly and her baby, before she was taken by DHR. Source: Prince family.

Recently, DHR has ordered that she and her husband have separate visits with the baby. They each have 2 hours, 3 times a week. The grandparents have just 1 hour per week to see her.

Children’s Song Racist?

Haly was reported to DHR for singing a “racist” song to her baby during a visitation. Tonya Brancato is a DHR transporter who supervises the visits with her baby, and she recently took issue with Haly singing a beloved children’s song to her daughter, “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”

Haly was floored. It never entered her mind that someone would consider the song racist. She certainly doesn’t consider herself as such – her husband Anthony is black, and her children are half black. These are children that she is fighting for with every breath in her body, the children that she loves dearly. She sounded quite offended that someone would consider her to be racist.

Court Case Continued

There was a hearing on Friday, July 22, but after a long day, nothing was reportedly decided. The cases have been continued. The next hearing is on August 25.

Health Impact News reporter Terri LaPoint was told that Judge Corey Moore has said that she and other journalists are not welcome at his courthouse in Columbiana, Alabama. The family was reportedly instructed not to bring their “media friends” to court any more.

There never was a court order or warrant for taking baby Braelon or the twins. There were never any “exigent circumstances” or immediate danger. As previously reported, Shelby County Officer Edmunson told the family that DHR did not need a warrant, and that DHR had a “pickup order.” But apparently there never was a “pickup order.”

DHR supervisor Ahzshaka Evans told the young mother shortly before she seized her baby:

There are 2 people who don’t need a court order or warrant: the Department of Human Services and law enforcement.

If the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution does not apply to law enforcement or to the governmental agency with the power to seize children from their parents, then who else would it apply to?

The American Flag and the Constitution of America

The American Flag and the Constitution of America.

The longer that DHR remains entangled in the family, the more opportunity there is to cause further destruction for this family. Things that would have been handled by the family become huge deals with DHR. More than anything, they just want to be able to be a family.

The family, as well as now hundreds of thousands of people supporting them all around the country and even from other parts of the world who are following their story, believe that it is time for Shelby County DHR and Judge Corey Moore to do the right thing and send these children home.