EUGENE, Oregon - No matter which way this one goes, it does not look good. A teenaged girl accused her father of sexually abusing her. As a result, Lane County, Oregon Department of Human Resources removed her from the home, along with her younger sister.
After four months of fighting with the department, the parents had basically proven all allegations false or there was no basis to support any charge. The youngest child was returned to the parents by the court; however, the oldest child remained in foster care because she apparently refused to return home.
For ten months, the parents were subjected to psychological and psycho-sexual evaluations. The parents were court ordered to transport the youngest child to services as many as five days per week. The result of the evaluations showed that neither parent was a danger to their children and that the validity of the sexual abuse allegations was questionable at best. Several hearings occurred in the mean time, paid for by the tax payers of Lane County.
Finally, in December of 2011, the youngest child had completed all goals in court ordered services, the parents had completed the evaluations, and DHS still did not want to return the oldest child, or release control over the youngest child. The parents filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the dependency petition did not state the allegations with sufficient information to put the parents on notice as to the matter in the proceeding.
The motion was uncontested. However, Lane County Juvenile court needed two days to make a decision on whether to dismiss the motion. The court instructed DHS to have a new dependency petition ready in those two days so that the dismissal could be ruled on and a new shelter hearing held simultaneously.
DHS failed to file the petition. The shelter hearing was cancelled, and the Motion to Dismiss remained undecided. Two weeks later DHS, with the assistance of Lane County Assistant District Attorney Mark W. Haight, finally managed to file a new petition. The parents were once again summoned to the court to hear the decision on the Motion to Dismiss and allow DHS to file a new petition against them.
The difference between the new petition and the old petition was, in essence, who accused the parents. The first petition alleged that the oldest daughter was in danger because she had accused the parents of sexual abuse. The petition also alleged that the youngest daughter was in danger because the older sister had accused the parents of sexual abuse. The second petition alleged that the oldest daughter was in danger because the parents sexually abused the oldest daughter. The petition also alleged that the youngest daughter was in danger because the parents sexually abused the oldest daughter.
The conundrum here is that one of two possible situations existed upon which the court could rule: the parents never abused their children, and the court and DHS should return the youngest to the parents, or the parents did abuse their children, and the court and DHS should return the youngest to the parents.
Neither of the parents were ever criminally charged. Neither parent had any criminal history, nor any indication of substance abuse. Neither parent had ever been accused of abusing their children. Both parents passed polygraph examinations regarding the abuse of the oldest daughter. Incredibly, Lane County Assistant District Attorney Mark W. Haight refused to acknowledge the polygraphs and stated for the record that no polygraph would be good enough in this case.
DHS, two Judges, two DHS contracted counselors, an entire forensics team at Kids First, a respected polygrapher, and two psychologists were either wrong, or this innocent family is being persecuted by Lane County Assistant District Attorney Mark W. Haight.
So what exactly is occurring? Has the entire Child Welfare system in Lane County broken down, or did a family manage to get their case dismissed to only have malicious prosecution for exactly the same thing brought against them again? Either way, it is ugly. Either way, some system broke entirely. Either the Child Welfare System missed and returned a child to parents who sexually abused her older sister, or the court allowed an innocent family to be persecuted at the hands of Mark Haight. At this point, no matter how you feel, it doesn't really matter if the parents did it or not; Lane County failed.
The youngest child remains placed with the parents, even after the second petition. The oldest remains in foster care. The court obviously does not believe the accusations, however the same court is allowing the prosecution.
It is inconceivable that the Lane County Juvenile Court believes that there is probable cause to warrant removal of the oldest child. It would mean that the court, if they did believe probable cause, intentionally left, and continue to leave the youngest in the care of the accused. The parents heard the decision, after new jurisdiction had been established. The first petition and the jurisdiction established by that petition was dismissed. At least, that is what happened in court. The parents received copies of the judgment granting DHS custody once again, but never received the judgement on the Motion to Dismiss. It apparently was never written or filed.
Why does Lane County keep allowing Mark Haight to violate the civil rights of innocent people? What is happening in Lane County Juvenile Courts?
Written by the father of the two children in this case and supported by the mother.
Brandyn Miller-Intake caseworker (DHS caseworker who took the kids from school and home)
Carrie Burreson-Current Caseworker.
Patricia Larson-First Level Supervisor (Brandyn Miller's Supervisor)
Linda Canizales-First Level Supervisor (Carrie Burreson's Supervisor)
Rolanda Garcia-Ms. Larson and Ms. Canizales's Supervisor John Radich-District Supervisor
The DHS office is located at 1899 Willamette St, Eugene, Or 97405. This case is in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon.
Carrie Burreson and Linda Canizales have been the primary DHS contact since December 2010.