The Other McCain

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‘Emotional Abuse and Cruel Punishment’: Woman Reported Lesbian Couple in 2013

Posted on | April 4, 2018 | 1 Comment

 

More background on the story of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, the lesbian couple who adopted six black children and died when they drove their SUV off an oceanside cliff in California last week:

A woman said Tuesday that she told Oregon child welfare officials in 2013 that Jennifer and Sarah Hart — who plunged off a California cliff with their children last month in an SUV — had been depriving the kids of food as punishment.
In a statement provided to the Associated Press, Alexandra Argyropoulos, a former friend of the Harts, said she “witnessed what I felt to be controlling emotional abuse and cruel punishment” toward the six children.
Argyropoulos said she was told the children had been interviewed by officials but there was nothing more the Oregon Department of Human Services could do because there was not enough evidence to make a case. . . .
Authorities have said social service officials in Oregon contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area. Police referred media questions to the Oregon Department of Human Services, which cited privacy laws in refusing to say whether the agency was involved.
After reporting her concerns in 2013, Argyropoulos said, she was told the Hart children had been interviewed by officials from the Oregon department; it was apparent that each child had been coached by their mothers on what to say; and nothing more could be done.
Argyropoulos said she was unaware of a 2011 domestic assault conviction against Sarah Hart. She said the couple broke off contact with her after she went to Oregon officials.
“My heart is completely broken. The current system failed to protect these children from their abusers,” Argyropoulos said. . . .
On Sunday, authorities disclosed that data from the vehicle’s software suggested the crash was deliberate. They said the SUV had stopped at a pull-off area before speeding straight off the cliff.

All six children were adopted from Texas. Three were found near the crash site, and the other three are missing and presumed dead. Jennifer and Sarah Hart had a history of abuse complaints:

The parents of Devonte Hart removed him and his five siblings from public schools in Minnesota the day after one of his mothers resolved a child-abuse court case, The Oregonian/OregonLive has learned.
Sarah Hart reached a probation agreement April 14, 2011, a week after she pleaded guilty to physically abusing one of her daughters, who was then 6 years old.
The next day, all six of their adopted children were taken out of public schools in Alexandria, where the family lived before moving to Oregon. They would never attend public school again. . . .
An Alexandria police report obtained Tuesday also shows a different daughter told authorities in 2008 one of her mothers bruised her with a belt.
Asked by police about the beating, Jennifer and Sarah Hart said the girl had fallen down the stairs days before, the report shows. . . .
All eight Harts left their home in Woodland, Washington, sometime after no one answered the door March 23 for a visit by child protective services, according to neighbors and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. . . .
Court records in Minnesota show Sarah Hart in 2011 received a 90-day suspended jail sentence and a year of probation after daughter Abigail arrived at Woodland Elementary School with bruises on her stomach and back.
The girl’s teacher contacted social services and police.
Abigail told authorities her mother struck her repeatedly with a closed fist, submerged her head under cold water and withheld meals from her for misbehaving, according to report by police in Alexandria, a small town northwest of Minneapolis where the family lived.
Though the girl said Jennifer Hart was the one who hit her, Sarah Hart pleaded guilty April 7, 2011, to misdemeanor domestic assault.
Previously, Abigail’s older sister Hannah said in September 2008 it was her mother Jennifer who struck her with a belt, causing a bruise on her arm that attracted notice — and a call to authorities, according to the newly obtained Alexandria police report.
In an interview, both mothers told a police sergeant and social worker they had no idea how Hannah, who was 6 at the time, got the bruise but said she had recently fallen down the stairs in their home. . . .
Records show the Hart children enrolled in Alexandria public schools Sept. 8, 2009 — seven months after Jennifer and Sarah finalized their adoption of siblings Devonte, Jeremiah and Sierra in Harris County, Texas. The women had previously adopted siblings Markis, Abigail and Hannah from Colorado County, Texas, in September 2006. . . .
Bruce and Dana DeKalb, who lived next door in Washington, said Devonte had come to their home a dozen times to ask for food, saying his parents had withheld it as a form of punishment.
The DeKalbs also recounted that three months after the family moved into a home on 2 acres last May, one of the girls rang their doorbell in the middle of the night.
The girl, who they later learned was Hannah, “was at our door in a blanket saying we needed to protect her,” Bruce DeKalb said. “She said that they were abusing her.”

This was an avoidable tragedy. Did political correctness discourage authorities from intervening to save the lives of these children?




 

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