King George 28, State of Texas 17
16. Court testimony indicating that Child Protective Services relied on information from a former FLDS member and from a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians appears to indicate that CPS knew the conclusions they wanted to reach before moving against the FLDS community. Relying on the witness of a former church member to provide evidence relevant to actions that occurred in Texas and that the former member could not possibly have witnessed is about like using Benedict Arnold – after he had joined the British – to provide a legal basis for a case against George Washington regarding actions Washington took after Arnold was no longer part of the colonial army. Bringing in a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians to try to understand the FLDS seems to present a preference for jumping to conclusions, because of the implicit presumptions that the FLDS are a cult and that any one cult may be judged based on understanding any other cult. A CNN producer noted that the psychiatrist referred to the FLDS as a separatist group “but acknowledges he has done little reading of their doctrine.” In fact, another expert, who would seemingly have a background better suited to this case – a religious studies Ph.D. who lives in Texas and is an expert in the FLDS – actually offered his help to CPS and was turned down.
17. Mental health professionals who helped at the shelters in San Angelo where the FLDS children were initially detained have complained about the way the FLDS were treated. A must-read article published by the San Antonio Express-News says that these workers described FLDS mothers “who appeared to be good parents of healthy, well-behaved and emotionally normal kids.” The workers complained that the separation of the children from their families was both unnecessary and traumatic, and the workers complained about the behavior of CPS personnel. The article quoted one of the mental health workers as writing “I have worked in Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse programming for over 20 years and have never seen women and children treated this poorly…. It makes us all wonder how safe anyone is who has children.”
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