Thursday, December 25, 2008

Texas DFPS Report observation #1

Quite simply, there is no mention whatsoever of "observing" pregnant underage teens. The word "pregnant" occurs twice in the report, the word pregnancy never occurs. All the observations are based on documents obtained during the raid. Many of those documents were "observed" after breaking down doors and destroying safes. It would seem that Texas is resting it's case for continued search on the interviews conducted with girls while at the ranch, not on events observed at the ranch. In addition, Brooke Adams points out in her blog "The Plural Life" that the interview is most likely with not girls, but one girl. Therefore the pathway given in the report is "Sarah's complaint" and then "interviews with a girl or girls" which then justify the search for all the other evidence gathered.

On page three
- "Over the next three days, investigators continued to interview children at the ranch. They saw wedding photos involving young girls. They found records indicating a pattern of underage marriages and births."

Observations, such as this, are repeated several times in the report. DFPS applies it's justifications and applications of evidence in different contexts, either thanking "team" members for cooperation, or putting the observation in context with other titles in the report.

On page seven - "At the 14-day hearing, DFPS presented evidence gathered in the investigation that at least 20 young girls and women at the ranch, including five who were still minors at the time of removal, had become pregnant from the ages of 13 to 17."

I continue to be struck by the lack of news in the report. Most of this is stuff we already knew. I will read, and reread the report and look for inconsistencies and omissions. What I find significant is the omissions.

As a post script or corollary I would observe that this also means that any observation of "pregnant underage teens" is now the entire province of various branches of Texas Law enforcement. If they saw such things, and based their actions upon them, that would be a separate issue. Someone who knows the basis for the warrants more intimately should observe on what basis each warrant was issued.

There is then the question of legal notification. Up until the point that an abuse condition is observed or reported, certain people have certain rights. Parents are the guardians of their children until cause is for removal is determined. Did the children have the right to be advised of their rights? To legal representation? Did the parents have the right to be read their Miranda rights? To legal representation? Again children are treated as objects, as evidence, not as people to be protected. Can you imagine children with parents and a lawyer sitting before the interviewer answering questions that would incriminate them, or others?

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1 comment:

yutthehay said...

"They saw wedding photos involving young girls":

Most girls that marry are quite young the first time. The problem is that in the rest of the world older women are getting married over and over again. And if you don't even get maarried then so what? That seems to be ok also.