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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stolen Voices, the movie, pt 2: the sixth victim: Mom

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon-- I was my mother's sole caregiver at the time my children were taken into concealment in Utah, had been so for a year.

My mother's voice on this tape, with its references to my birthday and the death of Richard Nixon, dates the series of messages to May 1994, about 8 months before she came to live with my children and me.

My mother, whose name was Olive Cruz, died four years after her grandchildren disappeared without seeing them again, without hearing their voices again, without an iota of respect or caring from her former daughter in law.

For my mother, there were no birthday cards, no phone calls, no Mother's Day or other holiday recognition. For her, now that the children were totally in Mormon hands, there was nothing, all the way to the end of her life.

My mother had suffered with poor health her entire adult life. My earliest memories of my mother are of visiting her in the hospital, of standing in the ivy outside her room, waiting for my turn for Dad to lift either my brother or me up to the window so we could see her. In those days, children were not allowed in hospital wards. We could only smile at each other through the window. I remember the window, in my father's arms, and the ivy, waiting for my turn.

As the years went by, there were many visits to the windows, to the ivy.

She had ulcers on both her ankles that never healed over decades of treatment, and some years the broad arc of our family story during my childhood was about her battles with gangrene, worry over whether the doctors would amputate her right leg or her left. She would never give permission for the amputation, not to her dying day, choosing to live with the pain and the poison instead.

She was widowed in 1975, following my father's final, fatal heart attack.

By 1990, her multiple illnesses kept her housebound. Osteoporosis caused the vertebrae in her neck to collapse, so that she could only raise her head off her chest by pulling it up with both hands.

Her health became so fragile by 1994 that moving her long distances by car was impossible. She would either have to be flown in short flights as a passenger with special needs, or travel by ambulance with skilled care.

I became my mother's sole caregiver in the spring of 1995. We had a three-generational household, my mom, my kids and I, living in Washington County not far from where Gina's third marriage, to my children's first step day, was coming apart.

During that time we had together in 1995, before my children disappeared, my mother hospital was hospitalized twice, for emergency surgery, for tachychardia. For weeks at a time she needed daily physical therapy session, always on the verge of re-hospitalization, and multiple doctor's visits for wounds that would not heal.

The doctors continued to urge her to allow them to amputate, but she never gave permission, stating that she wanted to be buried with all of her parts intact.

Housebound, the only company she had that year was with her grandchildren and me, and Gina and her Mormon friends took all of that away. With the kids gone, my mom was doomed to long hours alone, every day, every moment that I was away from the house.

That was fine with Gina and her Mormon friends. She and they had other priorities, and my mother was just so much collateral damage. Our four children were collateral damage to be sure, but their main purpose to Gina was to be used as weapons, and to provide cover for her Mormon friends. They were only too happy to oblige...Chris and Kory Wright, Evelyn Taylor, David Holliday and the others....

There would be no price to high for my children to pay once they arrived in Utah, at the home of Chris and Kory Wright.

Within four months of her divorce from Step Dad #1 in Oregon, Gina was married to Step Dad #2 in Utah. No price too high....

Step Dad #2, Steve Nielson, would slap my children around for the next two years or so, and Gina would allow him to get away with it. No price too high....

Utah Child Protective Services, in practice a working arm of the Mormon Church, would allow him to get away with it also. That's how things are done in Utah. No price too high....

I wrote 37 letters to Angela Adams, the Guardian ad Litem that Utah CPS appointed to look after my abducted children, begging her to help arrange contact between my children and their grandmother, but she ignored all of that, as she ignored every other indicator that something was wrong here.

My mother spent the last two years of her life in a hospital bed.

She is buried next to my father in a cemetery in Fairfield, California, where the tombstone reads"

                                     "sunshine fresh flowers green grass
                                                     together at last"

To the best of my knowledge, her grandchildren have never visited her grave.

And the Mormon Church proclaims: "Families are tee da...Families are forever...."

Here's the link to Stolen Voices, the movie, pt 2: the sixth victim: Mom

Stolen Voices, the movie, pt 2: The sixth victim: Mom

Friday, August 27, 2010

On taxing and spending, smaller government and Oregon parochialism

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon-- Ever since the rise of Ronald Reagan, no matter what the real issue is, most political arguments have to deal with the phrase "taxing and spending" and the attitudes behind the phrase.

There are many who see government at any level in no other terms. Tax and spend. Tax and spend. This mantra is far more a matter of attitude than it is sound economic or political thought, but it's also a matter of civic engagement.

Ronald Reagan was a master of engaging the intellectually non-engaged, that portion of the electorate who clove to the concept that all political and economic thought could be boiled down into an issue of "taxing and spending", and that government itself is the problem.

Even the village idiot would oppose taxing and spending, if that was the argument, and often the village idiot votes.

The non-engaged could buy into that idea and then continue down the self-indulgent path of non-engagement, and the result was the election of Ronald Reagan, who as Governor set in motion the destruction of California's then-world-class educational system, but I digress....

One certainly cannot expect to sustain a civilization under pressure if everything boils down to three of the most unremarkable words in the English language:


This mantra is used interchangeably and blindly across all levels of government, local, state and federal, its users generally ignorant of or unwilling to distinguish between the different roles each plays in the American system.

While much has changed since the days of Ronald Reagan, mindset has not.

Now Oregon must compete in a vast global economy, in a world where people are fighting for their very lives, where nations, states and large corporations are not hamstrung by Reagan-thought or by Oregon's unique parochial isolationism.

Geographically, we are the most isolated state in the nation, save Alaska and Hawaii. That fact has a great deal to do with why we are at this place in the history of the state.

Economically, we have a cobbled-together revenue structure that has never made much sense, that was never designed as a system, that is hyper-sensitive to events in the national and world economies, and that no other state has chosen to emulate, for obvious reasons.

Those that argue that the answer lies in small government are unwilling or unable to point to an example of right-size government anywhere in the world, or in the history of the  world. It is a false argument.

It's time to create a revenue structure that will function as a system, that makes Oregon truly competitive, that is not so vulnerable to events taking place outside of the state, and that's where the argument and the work should be.

Pioneer days are long over.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stolen voices, the movie, pt 1: Before the abduction, we were a family for forever

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--I loved the sound of my children's voices so much that I saved the messages that they left for me on my answering machine. About a year and a half after my kids left these messages, they disappeared into Utah.

This is the first part in a series of movies I am producing to document the lives of my children before their abduction.

I'm limited to the photos, videos and audio recordings that I had before they disappeared. The last year that I saw a school photo of any of my children was 1995.

The people who abducted my children and concealed them in Utah did everything they could to destroy every emotional link between my children and I.

That is typically what happens in parental and family abductions. The emotional abuse led to long years of isolation and suffering and ultimately to the death of my son Aaron Cruz.

My children's abductors claimed that my children didn't love me and that there was no emotional bond between us. You can hear the love in their voices and as a parent you can gauge for yourself how damaging this experience was--and is--for them.

My children were taken in a Mormon shunning that continues to this very day. My former wife joined the Mormon church about six years into our marriage and became a 100% zealot nearly overnight. Nothing else mattered to her.

The shunning began after I left her church, was taken to the point where my children vanished in a kidnapping organized by Mormons in three states: Oregon, Washington and Utah.

My children were isolated in remote Mormon enclaves and forced to renounce me, my family and the lives you hear on the tape.

Aaron died a needless, preventable death. All he needed was decent medical care, some love without strings attached, and permission to not be forced into Mormonism like my other children were. Aaron resisted the pressure and suffered the most damage.

I should say that Aaron was the most visibly damaged, because I have little information to gauge the damage that my other children suffered.

The innocent children whose voices you hear suffered the loss of their father, were not permitted to mourn the loss, and were forced to adopt whatever stories were invented to suit the needs of the Mormons who helped their mother get away with a kidnapping.

This group of Mormon criminals included Chris and Kory Wright, David Holliday, Evelyn Taylor, Cindy Anderson, Tony and Connie Micheletti, and Steve Nielson, who as my children's second step dad slapped them around throughout his marriage to my ex-wife, who now goes by the name Gina Foulk.

Under the accords of the Geneva Convention, that behavior would be classified as torture.

I've written extensively about the abduction of my children, of the Cruz family. I've testified before Senate and House Committees and before the 2004 Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions. I led Senator Avel Gordly's workgroup on parental and family abductions and saw Senate Bill 1041 "Aaron's Law", named for my beautiful boy who died in Utah in 2005, passed into law.

I hope to see Aaron's Law enacted nationwide.

Here's the link to Stolen Voices, pt 1:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chris Dudley reveals his 26-Point Plan, a true measure of cluelessness

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--Oregon GOP candidate for Governor Chris Dudley revealed more than his 26-Point "Plan to Control Spending and Reform Government" yesterday.

He put in writing a true measure of how poorly prepared both he and his campaign staff are to deal with the state's problems and issues.

More a list of dreams and statements of ideology in numbered paragraphs than an actual plan, the document does not describe either how Dudley will accomplish his goals or how he will pay for what he proposes.

Where actual cost information would be provided in an actual plan, Dudley only provides additional rhetoric.

For example, he continues to claim that he will privatize the OLCC "without sacrificing existing revenue streams" but fails to explain how he "plans" to get that done. A real plan would identify those revenue streams and describe why they are important and how they would be maintained under Dudley.

Dudley's website states that he plans to put a fee on liquor sales and distribution, but that fact is completely omitted from his 26-pointer. A real plan would include projections on how big that fee is going to be, where it will be collected and from whom.

One of Dudley's key "new ideas" in his plan is that "Oregon's two-year biennial budgets should be built based upon forecasted revenues."

Two points to make here: (1) Oregon's budgets are already built based on the revenue forecasts. That's why the forecast reports are so crucial, especially the May forecast. That's why everyone with an interest in how the state budgets its resources pays close attention to the reports; and (2) "Biennial" means "two-year." Look it up!

Dudley's 26-Point Plan runs aground right at the beginning, with Point #1.

Dudley wants to create a host of new positions, commissions and committees, beginning with his desire to create a new Office of Budget and Management in the Governor's Office, easily a multi-million dollar budget item itself, and staff these offices with his political appointees.

The work of the Dudley Budget Team, other than to duplicate non-partisan work already performed by the legislative revenue and fiscal offices, will be to explain the budget to Dudley.

At the same time that Dudley claims he will attract top talent to work in his much-enlarged Governor's Office, it is worth noting that Dudley Plan Points 7, 8 and 9 are going to be hard news for their pay and benefits. State workers are already taking unpaid furlough days.

In Point # 5, Dudley plans to ask Oregon voters to change the Constitution to give him and any future Governors more power. Hahahahah hahaha hahahahah....

Point # 6 is simply ludicrous: "Legislators lack an independent evaluation of a law's ability to create costs or regulatory burdens on the private sector." Actually, the private sector, through its lobbyists, provides the information most important to them to the legislators directly, and those arguments are heard in televised committee hearings.

In Dudley's plan, legislators are going to get "an independent evaluation" from his political appointees, at public expense, with PERS benefits.

In a nutshell, there are fewer than 26 actual points in the Dudley plan, and the plan's success depends on these three:

(1) Dudley drastically enlarging the Governor's Office staff with new positions, commissions and committees with no discussion at all of how much they will cost or how he will pay for them; and

(2) Events that are already occurring; or

(3) Like amending the Constitution to grant this rookie more power than the governor's office already has, are impossible.

Dudley's 26-Pointer makes the point most clearly that both he and his team lack the most basic understanding of Oregon's system of government, and that they believe that replacing it with an imaginary system is a real solution, and it makes that point again and again.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Parental Abduction Wisdom, pt 10: A Deliberate, Particular Cruelty

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

Abducting a child is an act of deliberate cruelty, and it is an act of particular cruelty in cases where the child is abducted by a parent, by any of the child’s family members, or by persons known to the child or the child’s family.

Stranger abductions are in a category all their own, as there is no expectation that the stranger will feel any sense of empathy for the suffering child, and that the act will be merciless is a foregone conclusion. A stranger abduction nearly always leads directly to the torture and murder of the child. The cruelty is both deliberate and expected.

Parental and family abductions, and those that involve other persons known to the victims, however, are crimes that are both deliberate and particularly cruel, because the perpetrators possess certain knowledge that they going to cause the child to suffer the loss of a parent, and they very deliberately cause that harm to take place.

Abducted children will be told--and often convinced, because the kidnappers control all access to the child--that a beloved parent is dead, or no longer loves them, and they willingly put the child through that suffering.

Their cruelty is both deliberate and particular. They know that the child is suffering a great tragedy and they know that they are its cause. Yet they will profess that they love the abducted child.

In the case of the abduction of the four Cruz children, for example, their abductors deliberately and knowingly caused the children to suffer the loss of their father.

While every abduction has its own causes and effects, some common motivators are rage, jealousy, and religious fervor. All of these factors were present in the abduction of my four children, none more important than religious fervor.

After our divorce, an Order for Joint Custody protected my children and made their lives orderly and secure for five years.

Then, abruptly, more than 14 years ago, while being divorced by her third husband, my former wife disappeared with our four children, taking them on a hellish journey to a series of remote Mormon enclaves in Utah, beginning with the home of Mormon zealots Chris and Kory Wright, and on through a gauntlet of three Mormon stepdads in three states. A deliberate, particular cruelty.

Gina Micheletti...Gina Cruz...Gina Micheletti...Gina Frischknecht...Gina Micheletti...Gina Nielson...Gina Micheletti...Gina Foulk (now living in El Dorado Hills, California)....

Despite the Order for Joint Custody, once they disappeared into theocratic Utah, I never saw so much as a school picture of any of my children ever again.

If they do exist, those photographs would show children putting on brave faces to please those who now controlled their lives, but in their eyes and half smiles you would see terrible, completely needless suffering....

Parents and family members who abduct children generally don’t want to murder the child, but they do want to murder the child’s relationship with and memory of the parent they are intending to kill.

They will focus their energies on severing every physical link and destroying every emotional connection that the abducted child has with the other parent.

It is a deliberate, particular cruelty....

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Fourteen years after four children vanish from Oregon--someone notices!

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Fourteen years after my four children vanished from Oregon, and five years after the death of my son, Aaron Cruz, and the passage of Oregon’s landmark anti-kidnapping Senate Bill 1041, Aaron’s Law, named in his honor, the abduction of 7-year-old Kyron Horman has stirred up some media interest in the issue of children abducted by family members and persons known to the victims.

Radio host Diane Dennis made the Aarons Law media breakthrough on the topic when she interviewed me yesterday, July 31, 2010 on her Family Focus 101 program on KUIK 1360 AM. The link to the interview is below.

Diane, you are the first to take an interest! Thank you!

Later on the same day, one of the Portland TV stations broke the news (!) that, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 2,000 US children are reported missing every day! That may be news to a lot of people, but not to those of us who have suffered the disappearance of a child, or to the child victims themselves, who grow in number every day.

The National Center and the US Department of Justice has put the figure of children abducted by their own parents, family members or persons known to the victims at more than 200,000 a year, every year, for more than a decade now.

Either way, it adds up to a lot of traumatized and seriously abused children, like my own, whose kidnapping was first reported after they vanished without a trace on February 12, 1996.

The fact is that, in sheer numbers, the most dangerous kidnappers are a child’s own parents, and this is news only if you haven’t been paying attention to the issue.

Parental and family abductions can be divided into two categories: those involving a single perpetrator, and those that involve two or more perpetrators, acting together to carry out a criminal act and any subsequent criminal acts.

Aarons Law makes Oregon the only state in the nation where abducting a child creates a civil cause of action. This means, in layman’s terms, that only in Oregon can you hold a person financially accountable for abducting your child.

Practically speaking, if the whereabouts of your child and the child’s kidnapper(s) is unknown, there’s little that you can do but pray that local law enforcement doesn’t give up (they usually don’t even get started).

If you become aware, however, that the kidnapper(s) had help, had associates, had others providing logistical, financial or planning support, and you can identify them and locate them, then Aaron’s Law is your answer.

The criminal custodial interference and kidnapping statutes require evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” and unanimous agreement by a jury for a conviction. That is far too often a bar too high for the prosecution to get over, and thus many investigations end right there, even though the children remain kidnapped.

Aaron’s Law, however, creates a civil cause of action, and a judgement can be reached in court with a lower standard, by showing “by a preponderance of the evidence” that a person did in fact participate in the criminal taking, enticing and keeping of a child from the child’s lawful custodian or in violation of a valid order for joint custody.

I know that if Aaron’s Law had been on the books in 1995, the people who planned and executed the abduction of my children, who committed those crimes and the crimes that followed, would have never gotten involved in the first place.

They would have known that I would never give up on my children, and that I would have sued them for everything they could ever hope to own, for the damage and trauma they inflicted on my children, on my family and on me.

That fact would have kept my children safe in their homes, among their family and friends, growing up and living normal lives, instead of lives lived in concealment in a succession of remote Mormon enclaves in Utah, lives that led to the death of my son Aaron.

Here are some easy examples:

After my children disappeared, mail addressed to them at their mother’s last address was not forwarded to Utah, where they were being concealed. The kidnappers had thought about how forwarded mail might lead to discovery, and my children’s mail was actually being forwarded to an address in Hillsboro, Oregon, to a person named Evelyn Taylor, Mormon Relief Society President at the time of the abduction.

I later learned that it is not illegal to receive mail intended for abducted children, but Evelyn Taylor was filthy beyond her eyebrows in enticing my children out of their homes and on the road to Utah. She would have faced a lawsuit filed under Aaron’s Law had the statute been on the books, and a lot of subsequent embarrassment, probably loss of standing in her church. That eventuality would have had a strong deterrent effect.

I learned that my children’s first stop on their circuitous, hidden journey to Utah was at the home of Tony and Connie Micheletti near Salem, my former wife’s impotent brother and sister-in-law. It was here, on February 12, 1996, that my children first learned that they were being moved to Utah.

Tony and Connie Micheletti would have been looking at a lawsuit under Aaron’s Law, had the right to file a civil suit for the abduction of a child been on the books back then, and with that the leverage to force information as to the whereabouts of my children out of them. I would have seized their rancid, reeking, cat-filth-infused house and burned it to the ground.

The next example of how Aaron’s Law would have deterred the abduction of my children is that of Kory and Chris Wright, Mormon zealots and friends of my ex-wife’s and the principal planners of the kidnapping. The Wrights live in Vancouver now, but at the time of the abduction they lived in a remote area in the mountains east of Ogden, Utah.

The first place that my children were concealed in Utah was at the home of Chris and Kory Wright. These stupid, self-absorbed individuals actually wrote out sworn statements describing how they welcomed my children into their home and local Mormon church congregation, where they held leadership positions.

It is a felony to take, entice or keep a child from the child’s lawful custodian or in violation of a valid joint custody order. Utah and Washington statutes add the word “conceal” to the statute.

Nothing could have been simpler than to assemble “a preponderance of evidence” to show that each of these people were involved in a criminal enterprise.

For that matter, had law enforcement taken an interest in the case, it would not have been difficult to show that each of these persons were guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

You can hear what I had to say in the interview, here:

Aaron’s Law exists to act as a deterrent to non-stranger child abductions. It is not likely to be effective against stranger abductions, which take place about 100 times a year in the US.

More than 200,000 children are victims of non-stranger abductions every year, however, and Aaron’s Law can be an effective deterrent to many of those.

I hope to see the principles of Aaron’s Law applied nationwide, and that we might see that 200,000 number knocked down to zero.

Thanks again to Diane Dennis.