Sometimes justice never comes, sometimes it takes ten years.
A decade after Aaron and my other three children were abducted from their homes in Oregon and sent out on the road in the middle of the Great Storm of 1996, justice is well on its way.
On April 7 and 8, 2006, the Oregon Judicial Department and the State Family Law Advisory Committee held its 4th annual family law conference in Bend, Oregon.
Co-sponsored by the Oregon State Bar and the Juvenile Court Improvement Project, the conference was attended by judges, court administrators and family law attorneys from across the state.
These conferences are an essential part of the ongoing training and certification programs for the bench, the bar and for administrators. Aaron's Law was featured at this conference, and its 360-page resource guide is now a permanent part of the bar's continuing education program. In short, everyone in the court system is going to see this.
Workshop #6, "Encountering Family Abductions in the Legal Setting", is described in the guide as follows: "This workshop will offer information about family abductions, including international abductions and the Hague convention, prosecution of custodial interference, and statutory approaches to preventing and dealing with abduction cases including the new Aaron's Law (SB 1041, Ch 841, Oregon Laws 2005).
The panel presenting the workshop included a psychologist who testified to the devastating effects abductions have on the child victims (Aaron is proof), a Marion County judge who testified to the fact that virtually all abductors claim that they are fleeing from abuse of some sort, and two family law attorneys who are taking leadership roles in educating the bar and the public to the problem and devising solutions.
The workshop also covered cult abductions. People abduct their own children for any number of reasons, but the most common reason that people abduct other people's children (children that they know personally and exert influence over) is related to membership in some sort of religious group.
All of the people who participated in abducting the Cruz children were members of the same church group. Those people committed Class B and Class C felonies, as the workshop material clarifies.
Aaron's Law is landmark legislation, first in the nation, and many of the people working on the issue are working across state lines.
Coming to a courthouse near you, Evelyn Taylor (Hillsboro, Oregon), David Holliday (Hillsboro), Tony Micheletti (Salem), Cynthia Anderson (Rainier) will be the first application of Aaron's Law.
Since Aaron's Law applies if a minor child is "enticed, taken or kept" out of the state of Oregon, the law will reach to the states where kidnapped children are being held.
So to Chris and Kory Wright, Steve Nielson, and the rest of the Utah abduction team--justice is coming to you bastards too.
You will all have the opportunity to explain in public why you put the Cruz children at risk in that storm, and why you chose to knowingly violate the lawful joint custody order that kept my children safe and their lives orderly and secure.
If only Aaron was alive to see it.