Google+ Badge

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kidnapped Children Lose Educational Opportunities

In a recent post, I wrote about the terrible news I had just received, and here it is:

Last week, I learned that both of my sons dropped out of their Utah high school more than five years ago, that they both left school with academic GPAs of 0.00, and I am still reeling from the shock.

The people who kidnapped the Cruz children from Oregon and hid them in Utah, a group that included Mormon officials in three states, repeatedly represented to the courts that my children were receiving excellent educational opportunities while under their control and supervision. They were lying.

The multiple law firms they hired to deny me access to my children and to any information about my children all represented to the courts (four jurisdictions in three states) that the Cruz children were doing fine in Utah in all respects. The lawyers were insistent that the best place for my children was in their Utah schools. They were lying, too, as they were paid to do.

The five Guardians ad Litem appointed to the Cruz case (1 in SW Washington, 4 in Utah) had no problems and no concerns whatsoever regarding my children’s schooling in Utah. Their attention was focused on assuring the Court(s) that as long as the Cruz children were kept isolated in their Utah enclaves, the situation would be preferable to allowing them contact with anyone outside of those enclaves.

Working together, the church officials, the lawyers, and the people in their circles of influence, denied the Cruz children, year after year, school term after school term , an opportunity to achieve at minimum a high school education.

My children were raised in my home to be computer literate since 1988. After the divorce in 1991, I bought them computers for their own use in their mother’s home to maintain their literacy. My youngest child was literate from the age of four.

Yet, the Payson High school transcripts show that they all failed all of their computer classes, all three children.

The kidnappers denied my children access to computers, to email, to contact outside of the enclave, and that fact is reflected in my children’s grades.

Computers are essential to academic and career success, but they are also communication devices, and you can guess the rest of that story….

My children were taught in Utah to be hostile to computer technology, an attitude that would severely limit their educational and career options, a complete reversal of the head start I had been providing my children since 1988.

I learned on January 8, the first day of the 2007 legislative session, that my son Aaron’s 1997-1998 Payson High School report included 5 F’s and a D-, that his final year in school was 1999-2000, and those grades were all F’s.

On January 10, I learned that my son Tyler had also dropped out of his Utah high school at some point in the 1999-2000 school year, that his grades were all F’s.

Before they were taken to Utah, all four of my children were smart and adventurous. They were highly social and all on a college track.

Their kidnappers swore my children were doing fine in school, and that all was wholesome and healthy in their lives.

But the transcripts reveal how desperately unhappy my children were, and that that unhappiness endured year after year during the entire time they were concealed in Utah. The transcripts also reveal that my children received no help from the professionals charged with their wellbeing.

There was no one for my children to turn to, no one to help them with their schoolwork, no one to give them hope. Just a phalanx of lawyers and the church officials who swore the Cruz children were fine.

And—in Aaron’s case—they saw that he received a bottomless supply of psychoactive medication from the age of 15. He never had a chance.

In 2003, I went to court in Utah to ask the judge for my children’s school, medical and employment records, and for a list of their former addresses in Utah.

It was actually hard to find a judge to hear the case. The judge who the case was originally assigned to had been one of those lawyers shielding the courts from the truth.

I learned this fact about the judge moments before the case was to be heard. He greeted my children’s kidnapper warmly and personally from the bench, announced his conflict of interest, and then they had a mad scramble to find a neutral judge in this one-horse town, where they all belong to the same church.

This judge had direct knowledge of the physical and emotional abuse my children were suffering during the years of their mother’s marriage to Steve Nielson, because he was one of the divorce lawyers representing their mother, and he interviewed my children and took their affidavits alleging the abuse.

This judge had to have known about the school records, about the facts of the abduction, and all the other information that was sitting in his own damned files.

After a few hours, they found a judge who could pretend to be impartial, and he ruled that he wanted to take some time to think about the request for records, and there it lies today. I left Utah empty handed—again.

That is how the system works out there, in the state that leads the nation in child molestation.

The transcripts explain why they have fought so hard to maintain secrecy over the past eleven years.

In order to gain access to my son’s high school records, all I had to do was present a copy of his death certificate. In other words, Aaron had to die first.

Aaron died, in fact, just down the street from Payson High School.

The irrepressibly happy part of Aaron died a long time ago, the part that saw a bright future was snuffed out in Utah.

It’s right here in black and white. Academic GPA: 0.00

More on this later, to be sure.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

My God Sean, you & your children have been through a nightmare!! I'm so sorry about the death of your son and all the suffering you and your children have had to, and still do endure.

What kind of a nation do we live in that this can happen, especially in the 21st century?!

My heart and prayers are with you.

Please let me know if there is something I can do to help.