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  1. #1

    Parental rights vs. child safety (Was there any reason Josh was awarded visits?)

    Should the boys have been visiting Josh Powell?

    Joy Silberg, a psychologist who specializes in child protection and abuse cases, says courts often place more value on parental rights than a child’s safety – or see them as equal concerns, when in her view, the parental rights should be secondary.

    “I have situations where the child has disclosed very clear disclosures about a parent, or terror at being near a parent … and the judge still orders a child to go [to visitation] because the parental right is seen as having so much more power,” says Dr. Silberg.

    While she doesn’t know all the facts of the Powell case, she adds, “it’s hard for me to believe that this was completely out of the blue and that no one knew he was this destructive. People usually leave clues.”
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/02...ng-Josh-Powell

    I'm not a Christian Scientist, but I think this article is bringing up a lot of the same issues that we've been questioning in the threads.

    Where do we draw the line?

  2. #2
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    Yea, I'd say he left a really big clue when his wife went missing. But to legal system it didn't matter because police couldn't make the case ( at least so far).
    Just my opinion

  3. #3
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    I can think of so many cases right off the top of my head. Little Ayla, who was constantly seen with Bruises, Arm in sling, but still allowed to be with her Father and now she's missing. Another sore subject is FCA, she can have another child. Can you imagine that poor child if it survives, but nothing is stopping her from getting pregnant again. the list goes on and on... Sky's wacky Mother who cared more about cleaning her house than her own children. Made them stay outside so as not to dirty the carpet. She is still walking free and could easily get pregnant again. It's just disgusting!!

  4. #4
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    We must draw the line in favor of the safety of the child. Always.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimster View Post
    Should the boys have been visiting Josh Powell?

    Where do we draw the line?

    Snipped and BBM: Good Question ... wish I had the answers ... but the drawing of the lines should start now ...

    I can think of one example : Michelle Parker who is missing -- her twins.

    Why did the Judge allow these young twins to be with their father Dale -- who HAS BEEN NAMED a "suspect" in Michelle's disappearance -- AND -- Dale has a criminal record !

    Michelle's mother -- IRRC, her name is Yvonne -- should be banging on the Judge's door asking that Dale have no visitation -- after what happened to Susan's boys.

    If the "parent" wants the rights to see their children -- fine -- tell LE what they REALLY KNOW about the person that is "missing" ... hmmm ... don't see it happening ...

    MOO ... and sorry for the rant ...
    JMSSO = Just My Super Secret Opinion

  6. #6
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    We must be mindful that THIS case is unique. Even though many of us can say that there were signs and that they are not surprised at this tragic outcome and so forth, the fact remains that the courts do indeed try to ensure the welfare of the children first & foremost. It is a delicate balance, further complicated by statutes and codes in different localities not to mention the facts as known in any case. Anomaly cases don't change the laws either, as well they shouldn't.

    That said, and speaking as a former social worker from decades ago, I believe that supervised visitation should dictate a neutral venue in cases classified such as THIS one should have been from the get-go.

    Like most if not all of you, I have gone thru stages of shock, unbelievable sadness, insomnia, and finally major anger about this horrific end result.

    Discussion about changes in the law/system/procedures might have to wait a few days until cooler heads prevail...at least for me.

    ~jmo~

  7. #7
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    Chuck Cox: ‘Too many warning signs’ regarding Josh Powell

    From the above-referenced article:

    Cox said that while he thought everyone did what they were supposed to do under the law, he wished the supervised visit had been at a neutral location, instead of Powell’s home.

    ...and then, this:

    Cox said he warned police, social workers, lawyers and anyone else who would listen that he felt Powell might try something desperate.

    “We felt that if he – Josh – felt that there was no hope -- that he was losing, or was gonna end up in jail or something – that he would do something very desperate and could possibly harm the children or take them with him in a murder-suicide thing,” Cox said. “Well, there you go.”

  8. #8
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    BritsKate is offline Past mistakes should teach you to create a wonderful future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shana View Post
    We must be mindful that THIS case is unique. Even though many of us can say that there were signs and that they are not surprised at this tragic outcome and so forth, the fact remains that the courts do indeed try to ensure the welfare of the children first & foremost. It is a delicate balance, further complicated by statutes and codes in different localities not to mention the facts as known in any case. Anomaly cases don't change the laws either, as well they shouldn't.

    That said, and speaking as a former social worker from decades ago, I believe that supervised visitation should dictate a neutral venue in cases classified such as THIS one should have been from the get-go.

    Like most if not all of you, I have gone thru stages of shock, unbelievable sadness, insomnia, and finally major anger about this horrific end result.

    Discussion about changes in the law/system/procedures might have to wait a few days until cooler heads prevail...at least for me.

    ~jmo~
    BBM
    It really isn't though. There are scores of children who have met miserable fates as a direct result of court findings. Many of those cases can be found here. I followed Susan's, Venus, Summer's and Michelle's stories because it so easily could have been me.

    Family reunification is the primary goal for family courts and in many states shared parenting is still presumed to be in the best interest of the child(ren). I have gone into great detail over my own custody battle and my fight to keep my children safe from their father. Despite overwhelming evidence of psychiatric disorders and a well-documented history of domestic violence I did not even have the benefit of a guardian ad litem until I petitioned the court to move half a world away. The GAL had to ensure that relocation was in the best interest of my children - because the father also had parental rights - but there was no one listening to my concerns that he would/could harm them until I asked to move.

    The court initially granted unsupervised visits because I (apparently) fell into the ill-conceived notion of a spiteful spouse. At this time he was awaiting trial for a firearms violation! When he attempted suicide in front of his 12 year old daughter the court ordered family supervised visitation. After he plead guilty to drugging and raping his 14 year old niece the judge finally rescinded visitation.

    Mine was not an anomaly case but it was an issue of his testimony versus mine. Jhessye Shockley was not an anomaly case. The Skelton boys were not an anomaly case. Christopher Barcenas and Ethan Stacy were not anomalies. It happens every day in any courtroom of America.

    Parents who are awarded custody of their children are penalized if they refuse to send their children to an abuser for visitation. Parents who have had their children removed are allowed reunification if they dot I's and cross T's. All, supposedly, in the "best interests" of a child. I was forced by the court system, designed to protect my children, to send them to a man who was abusive, had stated he hated them to several people, and wanted to hurt me as much as possible. It is on angel's wings my children were not harmed but certainly not due to the legal rulings.

    Though it will increase costs exponentially and violate some privacy I believe there should be a mandated psychiatric evaluation and filicide risk assessment before the issuance of any custody orders.

    This is a website dedicated to the memory of children who died while under the protection of social services: http://suncanaa.com/in_memory_

    That website alone, in my opinion, is clear and ample evidence we have a system that just isn't working.
    Last edited by BritsKate; 02-07-2012 at 06:32 AM.

  9. #9
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    I watched some of the coverage on JVM last night and Wendy Murphy who is an ex prosecutor who specialized in child abuse and sex crimes had this to say.

    MURPHY: You know, Jane, there is no excuse. I wish I could say it`s a rare event. The family court system in this country is a mess. Abusive men are far more likely to win custody over protective mothers than are non-abusive men. And you know why? Because the abusive ones, especially with the help of jerk fathers, make up stories about the mothers, like the junk we just heard from that nitwit. They make crazy claims: the mother`s crazy. The mother is poisoning the well. Parental alienation syndrome.

    Let me be very clear here. If I were practicing regularly in family court, I would be in jail, because I have seen judges do this too often. "Oh, the guy seems nice. OK, he`s a little abusive to the mother, but he`s a good father. I`m going to send the kids over."
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIP...6/ijvm.01.html

  10. #10
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    While I understand the concepts of constitutional rights and innocence until guilt is proven.......FGS!

    Either we need to rework our laws where there is a suspension of certain 'rights' while being considered a suspect or POI, especially in cases where domestic violence, sexual/child abuse or drugs are at issue......OR......we need to rework our laws where the police have just and LEGAL cause to hold a suspect while performing the investigation.

    Our Constitution was put in place to PROTECT our rights. It isn't perfect. And when we, as citizens see that there is a GREAT problem emanating from it's wording or interpretation, then it is up to us to CHANGE it.

    Too much consideration is given to the perpetrators of these crimes against women and children and virtually NONE to the victims. I am so effing sick of LE not being able to do a search or make an arrest in time to prevent another innocent baby from being rape and/or beaten to death!

    I am so sick of CPS having to consider the rights of so called parents when allowing visitation and custody. NO! Eff that! With kids, it oughta be ONE strike and you're out! Why aren't children afforded the same considerations as these POS arsehats who harm them?

    If you are charged with animal cruelty, you can't ever own another dog. But the law has no problem returning human babies back to the inhuman monsters who abuse them over and over until, too often, we are searching landfills or swamps for tiny broken bodies.

    I am so flipping mad right now I can't see straight! Why does it take so long to prosecute these wastes of oxygen? Why do they deserve another chance but those poor babies don't?


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  11. #11
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    Although our case was not as severe, I can attest to what BritsKate is saying. As another protective parent, I faced the same issues. If Susan had talked to an advocate or attorney, she was likely made aware of this too.

    You think that if you leave, you can just go to court and testify truthfully and present the evidence and that you will get help, but that's not reality in a LOT of cases.

    The Battered Mother's Custody Conference convenes every year in Albany, NY. The leading experts on DV and child custody get together with moms on the front lines and hear stories, exchange ideas and plan for the future. You can't hear these same stories over and over and not realize that there is a widespread problem. We are not protecting children. We send women the message that as a society we're very aware now of DV, and that it's okay to leave, there is help for you. The truth is that YOU can leave, but your children can't. And if you leave, your children will likely be left to fend for themselves with the abuser during visitation without you there to protect them.

    DV Leap is an amazing non-profit in Washington working on these very issues. Their appellate briefs are worth reading. Here is their website:

    http://www.dvleap.org/

  12. #12
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    Kimster, a while back I had mentioned Lundy Bancroft, who is one of the leading experts on these issues, as a possible radio show guest. Given the current discussions, maybe this is worth revisiting. Barry Goldberg or Mo Hannah or anyone from DV Leap would be able to talk about this subject also. Just a thought if we want to examine this issue more.

  13. #13
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    Here's hoping that someone in government puts forth a bill that prevent any adult having contact with their children, as long as they are a suspect, a POI or even a non-cooperating party in a missing persons or murder investigation. Children's best interests are NOT served by allowing such adults to retain custody, or even have visitation. If the adult is fully cooperative and does everything asked by LE to try to clear their names, fine. JMO
    Just my opinion, of course.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RR0004 View Post
    I just wish in light of all that they DID know that they acted in the best interests of the children.
    I have read that the Coxes gave permission for a home visit...but (IMO) this should never have been a consideration with the Court. A "no discussion" kind of arrangement. Personally, I believe he should have been denied visitation considering all that WAS KNOWN...but hindsight is always the best sight.
    Im not sure how true that is, there are so many articles right now with some inaccuracies. I have been watching the Coxes interviews and I get the feeling they resigned themselves to certain things were going to happen and these visits were one of them. They did not want this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cluciano63 View Post
    Here's hoping that someone in government puts forth a bill that prevent any adult having contact with their children, as long as they are a suspect, a POI or even a non-cooperating party in a missing persons or murder investigation. Children's best interests are NOT served by allowing such adults to retain custody, or even have visitation. If the adult is fully cooperative and does everything asked by LE to try to clear their names, fine. JMO
    Slippery slope, imo. Define "cooperating". 2, 5, 10, 25 interviews with LE ? 90% of the time POI's do cooperate with LE until evidence and or a body is found.

    We have to remember, narcisissts think this is all a game. Heck, look at Scott Peterson. I know he didn't have children but he cooperated with LE, he gave interviews, he attended vigils (albeit talking to his lover pretending to be in Paris) but nobody knew at the time.

    It means nothing, imo.

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