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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Principles of Aaron's Law (2005 Oregon Child Abduction Law)

Aaron’s Law is premised on the finding by the 2003 Oregon Senate President’s Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions that child abduction is highly abusive to the child, and that this abuse occurs regardless of who abducts the child: “(Child abduction)…is extremely detrimental to the emotional and mental well being of the children, and at times may even put the life of the child in danger.”

Victims of child abduction by family members who appeared before the Task Force and who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee testified unanimously that the injuries caused by abduction were in fact severe and permanent.

Stated simply, child abduction—by any person—is child abuse.

Aaron’s Law (Senate Bill 1041 [2005]) seeks to address the problem in several ways:

1. By empowering the Court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem and a qualified mental health therapist to represent the interests of the child at the very outset of the case.

2. By requiring the parties to the case to attend counseling directed at informing the parties of the harm their conduct is inflicting on the children.

3. By encouraging the professional development of the bar, the courts and others through training and the dissemination of information regarding the issue of child abduction, particularly those abductions in which family members participate.

4. By authorizing the Court to award damages to the parties suffering harm.

5. By extending the statute of limitations and placing the statute in the context of the crime. Abduction is a continuing crime, not an event that occurred on a single day.

6. By providing to victims an avenue that is separate from the criminal system. In most cases, incarcerating a parent adds to the ongoing trauma suffered by the child victims.

7. By providing a means to fast-track an abduction case, shortening the time that a child is abducted.

Aaron’s Law has been in effect since October 2005, and we recognize several areas where the law could be amended and improved.

We also recognize that many participants in the system, including law enforcement, the courts and the bar, have not yet reached a level of awareness regarding child abduction where family members are involved that either affords the opportunity for Aaron’s Law to work effectively or that adequately addresses the suffering of the child victims.

A key problem with current law lies in determining when an abduction reaches the point where ORS Custodial Interference statutes apply. ORS requires an act “with intent to hold the other person (the victim) permanently or for a protracted period.”

There is no agreement on what “protracted” means. In a recent case handled by the Portland Police Bureau, the detective in charge was unsure that the definition of “protracted” had been reached although the children had been missing (along with their non-custodial mother) for nearly eight months.

Also, while Aaron’s Law authorizes the court to appoint legal and mental health advocates for the child victims, there is at present no cadre of such professionals who are knowledgeable about and/or experienced in the recovery of child abduction victims.

Amendments currently being drafted:

1. Define “protracted” for purposes of Aaron’s Law (SB1041) as 72 hours from the time the child or children have been reported missing to law enforcement.

2. Authorizes agency (Commission on Children and Families) to apply for grants for the purposes of training and deploying certain guardians ad litem and child mental health professionals as child recovery teams.

3. Directs the Court to select guardians ad litem and mental health professionals from this cadre.


Related Issues:


1. Local law enforcement agencies do not routinely or effectively provide reports of child abduction involving family members to the OSP Missing Children’s Clearinghouse. This needs to change.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oregon Senate Committee to hear predatory towing bills (and the news gets even better than that!)

Towing horror stories have been pouring into Senator Avel Gordly’s office since the Steve Duin story broke in the Oregonian on January 22, stories from the Portland Metro, Albany, Woodburn, Corvallis, Salem….

The horror stories will be published to Senator Gordly's website at www.leg.state.or.us/gordly on Monday.

The public hearing is set before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, January 31, at 3:00 p.m.

People are coming from all over the state to tell their predatory towing horror stories to the Committee, chaired by Senator Floyd Prozanski. Senator Gordly also serves on the Commerce Committee.

The extra good news is that the Department of Justice is looking at each of those towing horror stories and opening new case files on the incidents.

If you have a towing horror story of your own, NOW is the time to send it in.

The towing industry is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and in workgroup meetings has conceded that regulation is needed, that these predators have gone way, waaaaayyyy too far.

Change is gonna come.

Right now, the workgroup is sorting through the issues and working through amendments to SB 116.

I participate in that workgroup, representing Senator Gordly.

There are currently five legislative vehicles in play addressing predatory towing, and all are being addressed by the workgroup.

Eva Novick, the DOJ’s policy expert, is leading the workgroup, which held its first meeting on January 25.

SB 116 is the Department of Justice’s bill, which had its first hearing before Senate Commerce on January 22.

SB 388, SB 389, SB 390 and SB 431 are Senator Gordly’s bills.

SB 388, SB 389 and SB 390 are up before the Senate Commerce Committee on January 31.

SB 388 requires towers to provide printed rate sheets to vehicle owners who arrive to find a tower in some degree of lawful possession of their vehicle (or so they claim!).

SB 389 requires landlords contracting with tow companies to provide tenants with printed information detailing the actual potential costs of being towed from the property.

SB 390 requires that a landlord provide 24 hours notice to a tenant before having the tenant’s car towed.

SB 431 is an outright ban on patrol towing. This legislation will require property owners or their agent to be present and sign the towing invoice when ordering a vehicle towed without the vehicle owner’s knowledge or permission.

SB 431 will take the decision-making on these tows away from a driver working on commission, which is the root cause of most of these predatory practices.

Tow truck drivers are paid on commission, and many towing companies offer no health or other benefits. They need to fix that situation, too.

The towing industry has already caved in to the provisions of SB 388, which are also in SB 116.

The January 31 hearing will focus on SB 388, SB 389 and SB 390. SB 116 and SB 431 will be heard in the coming weeks.

The public is encouraged to send their horror stories in, and to COME TO THE CAPITOL and tell your story directly to the Commerce Committee.

ACTION PLAN: Send your stories to (1) the Department of Justice, attn Jan Margosian; (2) the Senate Commerce Committee; (3) Senate Commerce Chair Floyd Prozanski; (4) Senator Avel Gordly; (5) your respective Senator and Representative.

The addresses are available online at www.leg.state.or.us

While you are at it, send in your horror stories related to the auto finance racket, according to the same Action Plan.

Change is gonna come over there, too.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tyler Cruz--1st tour--somewhere in Iraq-2004, pt 2






Tyler Cruz--1st tour--somewhere in Iraq--2004





John Bissell saved my life

I owe John Bissell for saving my life after my four children disappeared in 1996, and for the help he provided to my son Aaron.

I am making this statement to put what I know about John on the record. I believe I owe where I am today to John perhaps more than any other person, because he helped me live through the ordeal.

I am grateful to John Bissell beyond all possible recompense for the actions he took on several occasions and at his own expense as we attempted to get a lifeline to my son Aaron before his death in 2005.

On one of those occasions, I became aware that Aaron’s illness had worsened, that he was probably out of his medications and getting no help of any kind from anybody, and that he had become homeless somewhere in or near Payson, Utah. I had no current address and Aaron had stopped answering his cell phone.

The first person I thought to call for help was John Bissell, and I caught him as he was driving westward on a highway in Arizona. I began to explain the situation to John, and as I spoke he told me that he had already turned around and was on his way to Payson, Utah.

That’s the John Bissell I know….

He had already calculated how many hours it would take to get to Payson, and we developed a plan: John would start with Aaron’s last known address and work from there.

I cannot express too strongly the relief I felt knowing that John Bissell would be on the scene, knowing also the skill set he brings to a situation when someone’s life is on the line.

John Bissell and my father, the late John Cruz, were both career police officers, and much alike in the dedication to public service that infused both their personal and professional lives, always ready to help someone at a moment’s notice, and very good at providing real help in an urgent situation.

John and were in constant communication throughout the day. I was able to work from my office in the Oregon legislature, contacting every resource I could think of, and John and I, working as a team, found my son.

Unfortunately, my son’s condition continued to worsen.

I want the record to show, however, that John Bissell dropped whatever he was doing and drove to Payson Utah expressly to provide urgent assistance to Aaron, and that he did this on three separate occasions, all at his own expense.

I want to state that I will follow this statement of support with an additional statement of support describing the circumstances under which John Bissell saved my life and will publish both statements to my blog: www.blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com

I also want to state herein that John informed me very early in our relationship of the criminal issue in his past, and we discussed this at some length. It is my understanding that he paid his debt to society some twenty years ago, has been completely rehabilitated, and there are no other issues or incidents in his life either before or since that time that should be of concern to any other person.

Over the time that I have known John Bissell, I have introduced him to other persons, and I am witness to the fact that John informed these persons of the darkest hour of his past and did so of his own volition and—in my opinion—needlessly.

I am also witness to so many incidents where John provided assistance to even complete strangers with the same level of compassion, selflessness and professionalism that he brought to my family to conclude that this fine man has dedicated his life to the service of others and he does so as a way of life.

I stand ready to provide additional information in support of John.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

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.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

President Bush--Iraq--Oregon

It took President Bush a whole month to write THAT speech? And that’s the plan?

He spoke like we just walked into the room, and he wants to tell us the story from the beginning one more time for twenty minutes like we’re simple-minded, like we don’t remember that this part was a lie and that part was just routine incompetence although on a massive scale, and this other part was proven to be false by your own Presidential Commission, without getting to the part about how he and Cheney really fucked up things so bad for all of us, the two most miserable fucks to every occupy the chairs they’re sitting in, the ones that will eventually be hounded out of the country, that we’ve got to send in another 20,000 troops, like this is about numbers.

Like this is about numbers.

We military families waited a month—right through the joyous holidays—for him to read off a teleprompter THAT speech? And THAT’S the plan? Didn’t he read any new books over the holidays?

The Sunnis and the Shia have been at it for a 1000 years. How could anybody miss that? It’s been going on for a THOUSAND YEARS!!! I know they were teaching this information at the college level in the ‘70’s…I took the class. “A” student in Politics of the Middle East.

The sentiment I am attempting to express here is that the information was available. I don’t know how they could have missed that part.

In any case, the Bush Administration missed it. And they missed on the WMDs and all the rest. And they didn’t notice the part about how wars lasting thirty years get started in increments, or the part about how rarely wars turn out in a way that makes any of the parties feel it was worth the cost, or the part about how Iraq itself remains one of the consequences of, a continuation of, the damage resulting from European nations’ prior aggression in and colonization of the region, and it is above all, a problem we cannot solve, not even in our uniquely particular American conceit, we cannot do it, and my essential point here is that we knew this years ago.

Pichot-Sykes. French and British. This is still their mess.

“A” student.

…As opposed to this “C” student who can neither speak nor read the English language in a way that does not bring shame raining down upon us among the civilized peoples of the world, both among nations where English is spoken as a primary language as well as where it is among the top three in common use.

George W. Bush is sitting where he is because he and his political machine, with a little help from the Supreme Court, was good at getting into office, if not exactly elected. There it is.

He’s going to make his name in the history books as the President who took the whole Middle Eastern oil system off line. This is as likely to occur in our lifetimes as is a hurricane flooding New Orleans, and that has already happened, and this is what is really at stake.

That was a really, really important part to miss, and the Bush Administration missed it.

One of my sons has already done two years in Iraq, Army National Guard, a first-rate forest fire fighter back in the US, but now firing a .50 caliber machine gun from the top of a humvee, security for convoys, divorced during the first tour, on the perimeter repulsing multiple daily attacks in Ramadi for a year, going out on missions day after day.

My dream for Tyler was Stanford University, baseball scholarship, leading the team to the College World Series, star pitcher US OlympicTeam, maybe a law degree, maybe just being who is….looks, charm, personality, smart, athletic to the genius level, magician with a baseball glove, game-winning hitter, unhittable pitcher, natural star and leader….I could see it all from the time he was four years old, and that was my dream. I could see it then and I think of it often now.

Just before his second tour in Iraq, Tyler took emergency leave from training to be by his brother’s side in an emergency room in Utah and then to bury Aaron in California and hours later the same day start driving in the dark to report back to camp about 300 long dark miles away in the dark.

That’s the way we treat these men and women.

Bury your brother, off to Ramadi, here’s your machine gun back, now we’re waiting for THAT speech? And if not with this rotation the next? Army National Guard. He was fighting forest fires in his real job before he was deployed more than three long years ago, when he was young. He’s 21 now, but who knows?

He sent me photos of his RumVee with the jury-rigged armor, my son up there in the turret with his .50, as good with the .50 as he had been with a baseball with the game on the line either on the mound or at the plate. Place hitter at the age of seven! Sheer glove magic! A fastball beyond the skills of most hitters and above that, “The Heater,” a pitch I taught him that was perhaps the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen on an athletic field, a pitch I had once taken right between the eyes, playing catch with my son, it was so beautiful to watch coming in, from the catcher’s point of view, it mesmerized me, and I didn’t move my glove up to stop it, the ball striking me exactly between the eyes, knocked me right on my back, but I had to laugh at the time, because it was such a marvel, Tyler was a genius with a baseball. That was one beautiful pitch. I watched it all the way in. I’m so glad it wasn’t the heater, the ball would still be bouncing.

Last winter, I saw a picture of my son, published in the 22nd Infantry Division online newsletter, up there in the turret. The caption read that he was on his way out to pull another shift at an outpost in Ramadi. Tyler Cruz, the caption said, was on his way back out. Again.

The Iraqis were hitting them every single day, multiple attacks every single day the entire year he was in Ramadi, let’s call them what they are, they’re Iraqis and after we are gone they are going to be after each other again for the next thousand years.

We military families have waited for President Bush to write a speech for a month, to announce his big new Texas-sized plan, so that I personally can know, for instance, in terms of my own family, whether he will require my son’s service in Iraq yet again.

President Bush wants to tell us the story once again all over again, as his administration begins to fall in around his ears, and soon he will start looking sweaty on camera, right now he almost looks like he’s talking to himself, and the public discussion will soon turn to comparisons of George W. Bush with other world leaders who throughout the vast length of recorded civilization went a foreign invasion too far and as a consequence sent their entire civilizations into decline.

The boy is here. What’s new is television.

As the world’s thirst for oil places more demands on production and delivery, as the world’s supply of oil declines, as the costs go up as you know they will, as the systems of production and delivery become absolutely vital beyond anything we can currently understand, the blood cost of Middle Eastern war will soar, and right now we are facing the fact that the Bush Administration has set us all firmly on that path.

If only we could simply fire these people…. Two more years with a man, a decider for crying out loud, a “C” student who just spent the last month cramming in vain, a man whose Presidentialism Factor registers at nil.

He’s decided that he’s sending the loved ones of military families straight into modern urban guerilla warfare, said it on the news nationwide in a special broadcast, which only the President can do, which fact in itself should have attracted widespread notice, but which did not, which brings me to another important point, one which has completely escaped the notice of the uninvested, including the President himself, and that is, historically speaking, in the history of insurgencies, one of the unique characteristics of insurgencies is that they endure shortages of weapons, ammunition, explosives and other critical gear.

Iraq is the exception. The Bush Administration didn’t send in enough troops to secure the weaponry and munitions even weeks after they had cleared the armories of Iraqi defenders.

Then they allowed the Iraqis to take all of that stuff and hide it, and thus this President’s team furnished the conflict with enough ammo to blow the region to hell for the next decade or more.

We military families remember that part, too.

In any other walk of life, other line of work, these people would have been fired. Escorted out the door.

Today I saw on the network news the White House ceremony, the President awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to the parents of a young Marine who threw himself on a grenade to sacrifice his own life to save the lives of his buddies, that’s the kind of people we have in the fight, but the problem is that not everyone on the other side(s!) is a terrorist, there are brave people all over the world, and some of them are fighting armies occupying unwelcoming neighborhoods, and wherever there is an unwelcome army there is also an insurgency, unless there is a strongman in power, controlling a “police” force ruthless enough and for which the main job is keeping the locals quiet in those neighborhoods where the unwelcome armies are operating.

Just like it was when Saddam Hussein was in control. There will be someone or something else just as absolute, just as flawed, let’s be real….

And those grieving parents, and all those who grieve with them, including those Marines whose lives their son saved, and their families too, for as long as generations remember, those grieving parents, as brave as their son, the nation largely yawns….

On the floor of the Oregon Senate today, largely a routine administrative session for the first reading of bills, the morning after the President of the United States of America announced he was committing more troops to the battle we generally all agree is—to a credible degree—highly likely to fail, but absolutely for sure and certainly using the same troops, using the same military families over and over again, committing our people our families again like we don’t know who they are, and yes once again we’re sending your son your daughter your husband your wife your mom your dad your grandpa your GRANDMA, for Christ’s sake, into a bitter conflict that has raged for a thousand years, and we’re going to send them into the most dangerous combat environment on the planet—urban guerilla war.

I’ll tell you something about military families, something that will illustrate the vast endless chasm that separates the vested from the non-vested people in this war, the vested from the non-vested in the actual blood cost in this country, here’s the insight: Prior to the invasion of Iraq, it was common knowledge that the military regarded modern urban guerilla war as the world’s worst most dangerous combat environment among possible environments short of thermonuclear war, this modern urban guerilla war, but the Bush Administration also assured we military families at the very same time that absolutely for sure certainly our generals were too smart—way too smart—to get caught up in something as awful as that, modern urban guerilla warfare. And we’re going to stay away from civil wars too, and that assurance came before we even knew about without even counting the IEDs and the willingness of people to die for their beliefs, which actually has been going on since the beginning of humanity if you give it a second thought, how could they miss that part too, and besides, our very President Bush described his war in Iraq as “hard work” multiple times, “hard work”, and that descriptor and the way the President said it made it seem like ok, we can do this, and we are fine with “hard work”, particularly the way the President said “hard work” like, “Damn, this is hard work!.”

We military families are always down with hard work and sacrifice. That’s what makes military families tick, that’s who we are. And proud, too, but I digress….

Speaking about the difference between the vested and the uninvested families in this war, which is indeed a vast chasm, the military families were paying attention to the briefings about the dangers of modern urban guerilla warfare more than three years ago, and we remembered that part, so when the President said last night he was sending the loved ones of many thousands of military families straight into modern urban guerilla warfare, even though now we absolutely do know about the IEDs and the deep well of resources in the Middle East if you are looking for people willing to sacrifice their lives NOW for their beliefs, the uninvested are unsure about whether 20,000 is a big number or a small number….

The President wants to talk about numbers and the nation slumbers.

All I want to say about the Oregon Senate Chamber today is that you would have never known we are a nation at war if you were in that room today. I don’t know if they remembered about the war in the Oregon House today, someone who was there will have to tell me…I don’t know how they could miss it over there, because Representative Brian Boquist was either in the room or in the war—again.

The President said last night that 20,000 American families—some number of them Oregonians—are nightmare-bound for the foreseeable future and there wasn’t a ripple in the chamber.

I rest my case: the difference between the vested and the uninvested is a chasm.

Following the broadcast of the Marine receiving the Medal of Honor was another story, a story about a soldier whose leg was blown off in Iraq, and how he has no complaint about the loss or the medical treatment, but he and his marriage have been under a whole lot of unnecessary stress because the VA has been underpaying his benefits for the past eight months because they haven’t processed his paperwork yet, and do they doubt that he lost his leg, can’t they figure it out, and we military families know that this is typical, and we who heard the President speak last night doubt that the 20,000 troops the Nation is sending into modern urban guerilla will receive any better treatment than that, because the non-military families aren’t even paying for this fucking war with their taxes or with higher gas prices, imagine the ruckus if gas prices go up a nickel, we all know that the money cost will be borne by our grandchildren….

I think I’ve said my piece for the moment. I want to conclude this post with these words from Sun Tzu in The Art of War more than 2,000 years ago:

“The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative.”

“If the general is unable to control his impatience and orders his troops to swarm up the wall like ants, one-third of them will be killed without taking the city. Such is the calamity of these attacks.”

“Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations.”

“Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.”

Pearls before swine.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I received some terrible news today

Heartbreaking news.

News that speaks directly to my son Aaron’s suffering as a result of the kidnapping.

How thoroughly they ruined my son's life.

The following information will help place the news in context:

Our 15-year marriage ended in 1991 with an Order for Joint Custody.

The Court found and stated in the Order that “Both parents are fit and proper to raise the couple’s children,” and it laid out a weekly residence schedule for the children, specifying the days and hours that the children would reside with each parent.

Over the five years that transpired between the setting of the Order for Joint Custody and the disappearance of the children, the result was a pattern where I saw my children an average of 180 days each year.

The Order for Joint Custody also specified how decisions would be made regarding issues of the children’s education, their health care and their religious upbringing.

“Both Parents Together,” the Order stated, would make those decisions.

My children’s lives were kept orderly and secure for five years under the protection of the Order for Joint Custody.

My children were all healthy, athletic, smart and beautiful. They were extraordinary children, each of them. They had character and ability and self-confidence. They were highly computer literate. They were all on a college track, there was no doubt about that. There was a magic to them.

The child stealing ring that formed to kidnap my children were apparently concerned about the decision-making function, particularly about how the religious upbringing was going to take place.

Although I did not stand in the way of my former wife taking the children to her church, I was not interested in joining in myself. I did not buy the doctrine they were peddling or the bunker mentality of many Mormon church members.

The child stealing ring determined among themselves that this was sufficient reason to cause the children to disappear. They wanted to firm up their control over the children and at the same time punish me for turning my back on their dogma.

The child stealing ring consisted of church officials in three states, some of whom acted in their official capacity in violating the Order for Joint Custody, and members of my former wife’s family.

David Holiday was a Bishop in a Hillsboro ward, and Evelyn Taylor was President of the Relief Society in Washington County. Both directly and personally influenced my children in their official church capacities and in their association with the LDS seminary program attended by my daughter. Holiday and Taylor were dirty up past their eyeballs in the pre-abduction planning. They knew months in advance.

My children vanished on Monday, February 12, 1996, a school day for those living normal lives.

But there were a number of people who knew very well where my children were, where they were headed, and why.

Donald Taylor was a Bishop in a ward in Southwest Washington. He wrote a letter dated March 2 supporting my children’s mother’s decision-making, and stating under penalty of perjury that my children “visit with their father one day a week.” His letter is signed “Donald D. Taylor, Bishop, La Center Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” I have never met this man.

On March 2, 1996, I did not know where my children were, but this man did.

Also writing letters to the Court on March 2 were La Center Ward members Barry and Connie Dunford. I do not know these people, but they seem to know much about my children.

Kory Wright, a Mormon official in Utah, and his wife Chris Wright also wrote letters to the court dated March 2. They were in charge of arranging housing and employment on the Utah end of the kidnapping.

Kory Wright wrote this: “Because of the close relationship between our families we have tried to support Gina and the children throughout this ordeal….In the short period they have lived here the children have increased their circle of friends, been involved in numerous activities and made a home for themselves. The schools the children attend are among the best in the state of Utah. Gina has already secured employment and is looking at enhancing her earning opportunities. Clearly, the move here has been a tremendous benefit to both Gina and her children.”

The fact is that Kory Wright arranged for Gina to have work as a maid, and for my children to work after school helping her clean apartments.

Gina had quit her job in the Hillsboro High School library, where my daughter was about to graduate, and where Aaron would have been a student the following year, to take a job as a maid in Utah. In February. While school was still in session.

You know that makes no sense whatsoever.

On an affidavit dated March 4, 1996, Tony Micheletti stated: “My understanding of the current situation regarding my sister, Gina Frischknecht, and her former husband, Sean Cruz, is as follows: Sean is seeking to prevent Gina from remaining in the state of Utah on the grounds that it interferes with his joint custody of the couple’s four children….”

At the time these bastards wrote their letters, I could only guess that my children were in Utah. Yet here were people in three states who had knowledge of my children’s location and who understood that there was an order for joint custody.

Violating a lawful joint custody order by enticing, taking or keeping the children is a Class C felony in the state of Oregon. If you kidnap a child and either take the child out of the state or expose the child to physical harm, the crime moves up to a Class B felony.

This fact, the threat of possible criminal sanctions, supplied the only motivation these criminals needed to keep the Cruz children isolated and under control. Pure self-interest.

The statute of limitations on the kidnapping expired three years later, even though the children were still kidnapped.

I received some information today regarding Aaron that I initially wanted to write about, but I need another day or two to think about what I am going to say.

I’m posting this instead, which will help you understand the context of my next post.

Once, decisions were made by “Both Parents Together.” The children were healthy, happy, moving forward in their lives.

The information I will share next will illustrate the terrible price Aaron paid once the child stealing ring took over all decision making.