Criminal charges against CPS employees related to their actions in child protective services cases are rare. Indictments were handed down last Thursday to 1 of the 3 Child Protective Services (CPS) subordinates who were charged with Oppression, tampering with evidence, and falsifying and forging documents to conduct illegal searches and seizures, which are third degree felonies, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000. 60 year-old Laura Marsh Ard, the former program director for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services office in Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Reynolds, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression, and one indictment for tampering and fabricating physical evidence. All these charges stem from an alleged case where all three conspired to use false documents in an investigation of the mother of a murdered teenager Alicia Moore from Greenville. Thonginh and Reynolds conducted unlawful searches and seizures in association with CPS investigations. The tampering with physical evidence indictments say that all three defendants collaborated together back on November 6th, 2012. “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk assessment involving Aretha Moore … with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”
Innocence Destroyed: Case Against Texas Homeschool Family Dismissed as Traumatized Children Try to Rebuild Their Lives
The Rembis family in Texas is rejoicing and giving glory to God. Family court Judge Cyndi Wheless has ruled that the CPS case against them is dismissed. Their children are home, and there are no more "hoops" to jump through to prove that they are good parents for their 11 homeschooled children. Though they are thankful that the case is over, the trauma that the family has experienced is not. The children have reportedly lost some of their innocence. They no longer have the security of the childlike faith that their daddy can protect them from anything, because they saw that, against the monster of Child Protective Services, their strong daddy was powerless. The fears of the children are triggered by simple things like the ringing of the doorbell. They are afraid of the police now. Their parents have taught them that the police are the good guys, but the children no longer trust that. They are fearful that any police officer they see works with CPS and will take them away from their parents. Some of the children have been having nightmares, and cry out in the night from dreams "that I was in the foster home." They come to their parents room in the middle of the night, scared.
Tears of relief and joyful smiles were a few indicators of the emotions that Diana Gonzalez and Ethan Johnson felt Tuesday morning when state District Judge Charles Van Orden ruled that their 10-month-old daughter, Melodi, must be returned to them that afternoon by Child Protective Services. But their rejoicing was cut short briefly Tuesday afternoon when a CPS investigator allegedly defied Van Orden’s order that the couple could be with their daughter at McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White for testing. They were holding Melodi when the investigator ordered them to surrender her and then the couple was escorted from the hospital by security officers, Brad Williamson, the couple’s attorney, said. “Melodi had better be back in their arms no later than 4 p.m.,” Williamson said. “They are defying the judge’s ruling that the parents could be there.” Williamson mentioned possibly calling CPS headquarters directly to file a complaint against it for not following the judge’s orders and could even file a motion for enforcement, he said. Melodi was returned to her parents before 4 p.m. and was taken home.
Claire Rembis was sick, and had to spend 3 days in the hospital. Her attack of pancreatitis paled in comparison to what happened next. The mom from Plano, Texas, came home to a nightmare that no parent should ever have to face. CPS came and took her children, all 11 of them, because a "well-meaning" couple, members of her oldest son's former youth group, didn't think that the 16 and 14 year olds could handle babysitting their siblings while their dad took the baby to the hospital to visit Claire. The 16 year old made a dramatic escape and eluded CPS for days, until a judge allegedly determined that the seizure and removal of the children was illegal, and allowed them to return home. Has it really gotten to the point where a mother cannot get sick without risking losing her children to the State? The traumatized family's problems are not over, unfortunately. They must vacate the house where they are currently living by August 8, and CPS is continuing to harass the family by allegedly attacking their homeschooling program and requiring the mother to stop breastfeeding their 3 month old baby. They show up at their home unannounced whenever they please, and the family fears that the children could be kidnapped back into State custody at any time.
“The role of CPS has changed over the years,” Julie Ketterman of KHA Lawyers, PLLC said. “They have become too powerful and have shifted their focus from offering guidance and support to acting as a punitive force.” Ketterman alleges that CPS frequently oversteps their boundaries, opting to remove children from their homes, placing them outside the home and in to foster-to-adopt homes for monetary advantage. “CPS profits every time they place a child outside the home for adoption,” Ketterman said. “It has stopped being a resource for families in need and has instead turned into an adoption mill.” One victory against CPS corruption is the recent passing of SB 1876, a bill recently signed by Governor Greg Abbott into law on June 19. The law will go into effect on September 1 of this year. “The bill specifies that attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem and mediators in CPS cases will be appointed on a rotating basis,” Ketterman said. “This prevents corrupt judges from appointing attorneys they have in their pockets.”
Texas Baptist Home for Children says it has a mission to protect abused and neglected children. Tell that to Bryan and Austin Cook of Cleburne. They say they were molested by the same 13-year-old boy in one of the Waxahachie foster homes run by the Baptist agency. They say their cries for help were repeatedly ignored and discounted. "We told our caseworkers about it," said Austin, now 13. "We tried to tell Texas Baptist Home manager people, and they wouldn't listen to us." A News 8 investigation has uncovered troubling new information appearing to back up their claims. For more than a year, their mother, Angel Cook, has repeatedly claimed Austin, Bryan, and her oldest son, Justin, were sexually abused by other foster children while in foster care at Texas Baptist Home for Children. An Ellis County grand jury will soon hear a case against the teenager accused of sexually assaulting Justin in another of Texas Baptist's foster homes in Waxahachie. "Nobody listened, and two girls are now rape victims," Angel Cook said. "They will forever have to live with this. You can never erase sexual assault."
The Giwa's are not the kind of parents who come to mind when you think Child Protective Services. “They're well educated they are hardworking people the mom actually has a PHD in special education dad works for an energy company here in Houston" says attorney Jon Parchman. The couple says they know their 19-month-old son is not developing like he should but say they've never gotten a medical reason for his developmental delays and say they've never denied him medical treatment. In court documents CPS admits the reason for the boy's developmental delays are not known but still that state agency is accusing the parents of medical neglect. As for the medical neglect the attorney says CPS's only witness in court was a doctor who never saw the boy or talked to the parents. “The most they really got was the hospital room was a little dirty that was the extent of what they proved in court,” Parchman says. “The judge said so you've proven there's a dirty hospital room that doesn't get us to danger in returning the child home.” Still the judge ruled in CPS's favor granting them temporary custody and only allowing the parents to see their son for one hour twice a week. “It's horrible he's never been without us he's my baby the entire family is a mess because of it we can't function,” Giwa said.
Deanna Robinson-Katsuki is a decorated Air Force Veteran, who once received the Airman’s Medal for helping drag soldiers from a burning plane in Iraq. Yet Deanna recently came under an investigation by Texas Child Protection Services, who arrived at Deanna's parents' home with Sheriff deputies from Hunt County. Deanna is also 9 months pregnant. What followed was partially recorded by a home security camera, which showed Sheriff deputies repeatedly punching her in the stomach, because she did not want them to remove her 18 month old son. The video has gone viral, and has been viewed over 400,000 times already.
In this interview with Angel Cook, she explains how a Texas CPS worker came into their home after the death of one of their adopted children, and misrepresented herself as a police detective, and then accused her of murdering her child, a charge that was later dismissed in a court of law. CPS removed their other 7 children from the home, and they were subsequently mistreated and sexually abused while in Texas foster care. Today, the Cooks have their children back, but they continue to fight against the abuses of Texas CPS and the foster care system. Angel Cook and two of her sons have testified twice before legislative committees about the failings of CPS and the foster care system. Although all charges were dropped against the parents for the death of their adopted son, who was allegedly abused and mistreated prior to coming into the Cook Family's care, Angel Cook is now listed as a Child Abuser and can no longer get a job or visit her children in school. The social workers who knew about the mistreatment and sexual abuse of their children while in foster care remain on their jobs as social workers, and the foster parents who allegedly abused their children are still fostering other children.
Crystal Bentley, 23, entered the Texas foster care system when she was 2 and wouldn’t leave it until she aged out at 18. In the intervening years, as she was shuffled from place to place, she was repeatedly beaten and sexually abused — sometimes by the adults entrusted with her care, sometimes by their biological children, sometimes by other foster kids or her own relatives, Bentley testified in federal court Wednesday. A rotating cast of Child Protective Services caseworkers who were supposed to watch out for her safety often didn’t show up for monthly visits, she said. When they did visit, it was usually for a cursory handful of minutes during which they failed to detect what was happening to her. “I would hint that something was going on, but when they asked me if I was being sexually abused, it was always right there in front of my abusers,” Bentley testified. “What could I say?” Bentley’s testimony Wednesday came on the third day of a trial in a class-action lawsuit brought by Children’s Rights, a New York-based advocacy group on behalf of 12,000 children in long-term state care in Texas.