Justice for Boo Part III: The Secret “Settlement”

In 2012, nearly four entire years after Boo had been sexually victimized by an adult sub-contracted county employee at the residential “treatment” facility where the courts had ordered her to reside, another child at the same facility came forward with allegations so similar to Boo’s, that the “professionals” in charge of monitoring those in close contact with the Juvenile Wards in that facility were forced to finally take it seriously. This time, the nine-year-old victim had been under the predator’s consistent “care” for the essentially the entire duration of time that filled up te period of time between Boo’s allegations against the scumbag and her own – four long years (which means he had been preying on her since she was approximately five years old).

This girl’s story was so eerily consistent with details from Boo’s accusations from years prior – from a time before the second victim had even been court-ordered to the facility yet – rendering any collective conspiracy theory between the two girls as obsolete. Boo and victim #2 never met. Boo had already been shamed and exiled from the facility before victim #2 arrived.

For me, the first thing that stabs unfailingly at the backs of my eyeballs upon adding up these variables: is undoubtedly a sense of absolute disgust… most notably because every single one of the victims behind the very first one (Boo) was TOTALLY avoidable and DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. We all know too well, the ways in which childhood sexual trauma can change the course of one’s life forever – creating darkness that casts it’s shade across every existing space and time for the Survivor; we all know how this crucial pivoting point in the collective story of abuse and recovery has the power to steer the rest of the victim’s life in one direction or another, solely based on the initial reaction and response.

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  • Had Child Protection Services, the Police, and/or the Courts actually handled the “investigation” in a more appropriate manner when Boo spoke up in 2009, forensics would have likely put the animal behind bars back then – BEFORE HE WAS ABLE TO ASSAULT AND PREY ON ANYONE ELSE!
  • Had the Department of Family and Children’s Services acted appropriately during such a traumatic and life-altering instance for Boo, i.e. given her any kind of treatment for sexual abuse/trauma as is consistent with widely acknowledged psychiatric and medical care, done a “rape kit” for collection of forensic evidence immediately upon the allegations being stated openly (this NEVER happened at all), offered support in the forms of psychiatric and emotional follow-up treatment as is consistent with widely practiced sexual assault treatment globally, Boo’s chances of recovering from such a horrid experience would have naturally been much better in the long run. As it was, Boo was not only discredited and discounted by officials in control; she was also ridiculed and punished for bringing a pedophile to the attention of the courts that employed him.
  • A disgustingly lengthy list of other victims was enabled to grow during the time frame between when Boo (Janey Doe AKA Victim #1) was silenced sent away, and the time when “Janet Doe AKA Victim # 11” came forward with a story almost identical to that of my daughter’s – from almost a half-decade earlier. I don’t need to emphasize the fact that every single victim on that list after Boo was essentially assaulted by the Department of Family & Children’s Services and juvenile courts – given that these entities had been made fully aware of the Pedophile on the county payroll, but had chosen to ignore such knowledge and continued to employee the sexual predator.

Around the time “Janet Doe” came forward, and the Pedophile was finally arrested and taken into custody, preceding a slew of official questioning and arraignments, I was successful in retaining a high-profile lawyer who specializes in child sex crimes. He had literally just buttoned up a case in which he had publicly exposed an entire string of U.S. Olympic Swim Team coaches for sexual crimes against Olympian child swimmers that went on for decades back through history. He assured me that he could help despite the legal bindings tied around my life through the disposition relating to Boo’s status as a “ward of the court”; and quickly set to work in doing so. Unfortunately, and for reasons still very vague and unclear to me (because the laws that define juvenile courts nationwide – are unintelligible – even to those who write them), he and I quickly realized that the pending lawsuit was to be unjustly short-lived because of this very element.

I was not allowed to go after the county Department of Family & Children’s Services for the absolute negligence and cruelty that this agency displayed throughout such a heinous ordeal – one that was cultivated and enabled by the Department’s very own procedural outline. Technically, I was not allowed to go after anyone at all from a legal standpoint: I was not Boo’s legal guardian any longer by that time, despite my continued iron-clad grip on what are described as my lingering “parental rights” in this courtroom (a concept that is painfully hilarious in hindsight, as such “rights” never exist at all in this pit of legal Hell). The next road-block of Boo’s justice appeared then: in the form of legal constraints set forth by the code that determined Boo as “UN-representable” in the eyes of the Superior Court. She had been deemed a Ward of the Court, wiping away any legal standing I formerly held in regard to my ability to protect her situations such as the one we were glued into. In such circumstances, there is no one at all in a role to seek justice for the child victim – when the child victim has been victimized by one the county’s own. STAND STILL.

After several months of legal research and regular daily complaints to varying county officials about the total injustice being done to Boo right under everyone’s noses, some reference files I had assembled from another county’s online procedural handbook (as my county conveniently provides no such documents for public use) finally broke through and Boo was assigned a Guardian Ad Litem through the juvenile courts. This was something that it turned out – should have been done from the beginning of the lawsuit, but such information was never outlined or defined by the juvenile court judge who allowed the lawsuit to begin (certainly not an omission by mistake, as the result was another lengthy thwart to Boo’s very justice). Months had passed by during the waiting and judicial red tape; the DA had been building what he describes as an “airtight” case in criminal court at the same time that my private lawyer was jumping through lawsuit hoops as well.

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In the end, here’s what I know to have happened for sure:

In the end, Boo’s GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) (assigned by the same courthouse that was responsible for denying justice a child victim of sexual assault thus far) filed a suit against the residential facility organization in which Boo resided when she was groomed and preyed upon by a grown man on its staff – a sub-contracted agency that can be legally disconnected from the Department of Family & Children’s Services in regard to any liability. After this step in the process, I was blocked completely out of the entire thing from that point on, and, in fact – was intentionally avoided and legally restrained from any future information of the lawsuit’s outcome as well. Over a year passed by without any word from anyone, including the attorney I had hired who was now working with the GAL only – on Boo’s behalf.

He refunded my retainer, asked me not to contact him any longer about Boo’s pending case, and never contacted me again – except for one time, about one more year down the road: when he emailed me and said that the case “had settled” and he thought I might want to look into a private treatment option for Boo that was closer to home “because she should no doubt be able to afford any treatment facility of her choosing from now on…” When I replied to ask him if he could elaborate any further – In order for me to have a fucking leg to stand on in following his suggestions regarding a transfer for Boo to somewhere that might actually help her somehow – somewhere she wouldn’t be looked at as “the enemy” by people under the same umbrella as the man who violated her at age 13…?He said he could not give me any more information, and that I could not contact the GAL directly either, of course (That would be too easy and make far too much sense in the big picture of Boo’s justice, after all). The whole circus came to yet – another STAND STILL.

As of now, two years AFTER the lawsuit settled on some mysterious ground – agreed to by mysterious and elusive representatives of people who are mysteriously kept in the dark against all rhyme or reason – Boo has no knowledge or information regarding this supposed “settlement sum” that theoretically could have afforded her countless comforts, including the basics of support and acknowledgment of the tragedy that she has endured at the hands of a child molester and his professional posse. I am not even sure that a lawsuit took place at all. I have no way of finding out because I have been black-balled in the files, if they exist and am repeatedly shut out by any door on which I knock for answers. I have no legal standing, despite the full awareness on everyone’s part that I am the ONLY PERSON WHO ACTUALLY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT BOO. They all know exactly what’s been going on behind the curtain, and behave as if it’s acceptable – on even the most fundamental levels of humanity – by enabling the sickeningly broken system to keep me from seeking justice for Boo. Justice is intrinsically warranted when it comes to children, everyone knows that, naturally –children are innocent; even children who are troubled and struggle with authority and who have behavioral issues are innocent to the ways of the world as they are young and inexperienced – unable to properly fend for themselves. That is why nature is sure to give the young a set of parents to watch over them. Often, children are faced with life under the watchfulness of a single parent, but nature always gives an innocent young creature a guardian to protect them until they are grown enough to be solo.

The processes of this court are unnatural. The lack of safeguards to the fundamental rights that define parenthood is preposterous and absurd.

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The laws that define its code go against the very essence of natural intuition and any common good. The procedural format of this failed vision of child protection creates an arena in which the single, although loving and very capable parent of a high-maintenance and behaviorally challenged child – is systematically put on trial before a “judge” and the entire county Department of Family and Children’s Services with no legal support or guidance (despite an entire section of funding being spent annually on the so-called “court-appointed attorneys that are “provided” but who serve no purpose other than standing around and looking stressed beyond the point of being able to answer your questions), beaten down psychologically, mentally, financially, and spiritually – and being thrown to the wolves as her child is whisked away to another state. The actual outcome of this court’s interloping is sheer demolition to countless lives without a second thought about it. What the process has done in my own case and that of Boo has been to take her away from a worthy mother and replaced that worthy mother with the sickeningly inadequate surrogate of the “court” for guardianship and supervision and daily interaction. Why would anyone with half a brain cell have ever really believed that such a process would serve an already struggling child well? You’re telling me that the lawmakers and politicians who call the shots behind the laws that govern Boo and I’s personal dynamics aren’t more knowledgeable regarding the fucking things that they are passing laws on? Really?

While, in reality, any parent or guardian who responded to his/her child’s allegations of sexual assault in any way remotely similar to the ways in which the Department and the courts have responded to the allegations made by a “legal ward under its care supervision”, would be put in jail for accessory to such filth and exploitation. Also notable, is the court and social services’ long history of persecuting a parent based solely on a past accusation – validated or not; tell me why then, was it “acceptable” for a man who had been accused of sexual assault against a minor ward of the court to continuing working with kids for years afterward…who’s really the perpetrator here? Any mother who knowingly stood by and allowed numerous kids to be violated would be undoubtedly strung up from a tree and lynched publicly. Similarly, any parent who allowed their teenager to repeatedly go missing for months on end without actively searching for her would be considered as disinterested and uncaring, then possibly charged with neglect. But since the system is so obscure and confusing and hopeless, it’s perfectly okay AND legal for it to execute such traumatizing and despicable acts in its role as a child’s replacement guardian. There is no one to stop the courts from continuing the bullshit facade of “juvenile justice and child protection”; and unsurprisingly, this corner of the Superior Court is completely closed off to the media due to the “privacy laws that protect the information belonging to minors involved”. Whose got the bloodiest hands?

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Reflections of an Erased Identity: Before

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One thing that I have always found to be highly annoying and socially antagonistic for those of us who struggle to make the simplest of ends meet – is the fact that community-based programs for children with behavioral issues are so out of reach to the targeted population who need them most.
My daughter had been displaying severe and notably precocious behaviors for more than three years before I was finally able to push my way through the proverbial red tape and connect both of us with the government equivalent of “treatment” resources; and then, upon finally being given the necessary “referrals” to track down such elusive “treatment”, I was very disappointed to learn that it consisted of little actual treatment to speak of. The available resources were mostly programs and that I had already tried without success.
The “Treatment Plan” provided through the resources made available to me after YEARS of searching was nothing more than a hodge-podge of various interns who needed the hours spent on my family’s problems in order to receive a degree:
1. A non-English speaking psychiatrist who saw my child once a month for a half-hour session, strictly for the purpose of prescribing the ever-changing array of cutting-edge psychiatric medications to my then six-year-old child.
2. A weekly support group for each of us in which we could separately share our experiences with peers in “similar situations”, and receive feedback and support (This was the BEST part of any services I’ve received thus far).
3. The installment of a “Wrap-Around Team” as a family maintenance tool; this was a cocktail of several community programs that involved having one or two social-work apprentices coming into our home at least three days weekly, for approximately four to five hours each time.
NOTE: The “wrap-around” team provided during this time consisted of the following revolving appearances by five different people; two of whom we had been assigned to upon beginning services through Eastfield Ming Quong, Families First AKA EMQ and/or EMQFF – the same entity as the residential treatment facility in which Boo was later sexually assaulted by a staff person.

As I proceeded to envelope myself within the realm of mental health advocacy for my only child, who struggled quite obviously with self-control and impulsivity issues, I found the process for special education and the acceptance of an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) to be exceptionally daunting and near impossible to navigate.
The task of getting an Individualized Education Plan accepted and assigned swallowed up an entire year of time during my girl’s fourth grade school year. I am an intelligent human being who is well-spoken, written, and read; with prime communication skills and am very capable – and I was shocked at the realization that it is likely that parents of average or less-than-average intelligence would be completely unable to make his or her way through such a diabolical and detail-born administrative routine – to the detriment of his or her struggling child.
After the two entire school-year calendars that it cost out of my child’s once promising educational career, she was finally deemed eligible for the services of an I.E.P. by the middle school administration when she was eleven years old. By that time, her behavior and basic traits had developed into a calculating, manipulative, and unreliable adolescent.
Her behaviors at school were continuing to escalate to dramatic levels on a steady basis. The constant shame and embarrassment began to take over my own life, as well; in response to the unnecessary and excessive lying she did to her teachers and counselors about me and our home lifestyle. The tall tales and dramatically exaggerated dialogue became a regular hobby for her – because of the instantly gratifying reactions that she unfailingly received from telling them. Often times, the school officials would summon me to the school for emergency meetings and conferences because she had said some off-the-wall things again that were simply just too bad for them to ignore – the way that I like to believe they would of done if her crazy stories had held any truth.

It’s very difficult to try and describe to another human being – the spiritual and psychological tolls that become taken on the parent of any child who is similar to mine. As the survivor of a near-fatal marriage, the only thing that comes close to the circumstantial chaos of a battered woman’s mind state, in my experience, would undoubtedly be that of a diabolical, unruly and explosive child. Take that factor and add to it the fact that I am a single, low-income, rehabilitated heroin addict-mother who works full-time to try and get myself and child by from day to day – and the outcome of our story seems undoubtedly clear, in hindsight.

Of course, life usually goes that way for me if I’m going to be honest with myself…and that is surely part of the reason that I have become so frustrated and impatient with the entire world around me – because I can’t help but to harbor awareness, no matter how distant and vague it may be, that when all is said and done and I am burying my only child, I’ll look back on this all and be able to see the creases and wrinkles of the unfolding tragedy.

I vividly recall the day that I received a call at the tax firm where I work from my daughter’s sixth grade core teacher; he asked me permission to be frank – which I promptly granted him with my heart in my throat – before he sympathetically spoke again over the line.
“Listen Ms. X, I don’t know what you do for a living…it’s none of mine or anybody else’s concern or business, really…” his words came nervously yet his voice remained calm and his tone quite matter-of-factly. “…but Boo seems to have the compelling need to share things with class – along with the parent-aids who may happen to be there on a given day – that you are a stripper –“ he cleared his throat quickly twice; “…an erotic dancer or what not…” Silence on the line. “…whether you are or you aren’t a dancer, Ms. X, I just feel like you should be made aware of the talk on the playground these days; forgive me if I am out of line or inappropriate for calling – believe me, it’s quite embarrassing from this end to discuss with you –“, his voice trailed off to almost a whisper, “…keeping the lines of communication open, as you requested, that’s all…”.
Now, when it comes to psychological warfare, my daughter’s arsenal has been stacked like a WWII bunker since the approximate time she was old enough to begin to grasp such profoundly baffling concepts. Her disturbingly keen ability to manipulate both her own relationships, and the relationships between others became apparent and undeniable when she entered school. Seeing her interact with her peers in a consistently conniving manner also alarmed me deeply; her overbearing bossiness and passive-aggressive behavior began to etch quite the chameleon into her fundamental traits – those that would be with her all of her life; those that make her who she is.
A blatantly dangerous impulsivity began to surge through her veins, all of the time – day and night; being the root cause of the evil that her choices started leave her holding in her lap. Her self-absorbed nature began to define the proverbial spoiled brat without consequence; the enabled, obnoxious and snot-nosed Shit from next door. Adults and children alike avoided interaction with her; they grew wary of her constant stream of shocking and destructive actions. Accountability or anything remotely similar to it is an issue that continues to stand, untouched and unacknowledged by her to this very day. My daughter seems to have always been unable to pay consequences for her own decisions and the effect that her choices might have on those around her.
The DFCS, as the legally bound entity charged with her “care”, has inarguably enabled this characteristic in my daughter’s perpetual self-denial; and has done so to a sickening degree.

The County Department of Family & Children’s Services entered the picture when Boo was almost out of sixth grade, upon her second release from John Muir Children’s Psychiatric Hospital within two weeks’ time. She had returned the second time for physically attacking my mother during one of her regular tantrums for not getting her way about something; only this time, she followed up by opting to kick her grandma in a healing surgical wound only several days post-op. I was at my wit’s second end by that point, and had exhausted any and all of the public resources available in the area of trying to find a working solution to the out-of-control behaviors of my child. My options ran out and I was forced, through the pits of desperation, to involve social services – as much for my own sake as for my daughter’s by that point in time.
I remember having days in which I would feel something very close to disdain for my only child because of her embarrassing, encompassing and incorrigible ways; I had many days spent thinking about how much better things may have been had I not given birth to this extremely defiant, highly unlikeable little creature and shit away so many thankless years in trying to correct her incredibly incorrect behaviors.

Life as a mother, for me – was pretty much a constant three-ring circus in Hell’s ghetto during the summertime: nowhere to cool off and wild, angry animals trying to bite your face off with every turn.

Once she had been court-ordered to residential “treatment” by the local juvenile court system, I actually felt like there was some substantial hope of a better future relationship between the two of us. Unfortunately, the way in which the courts are designed is severely flawed and perverse in its ability to safeguard parents such as myself: parents who were not the underlying purpose for the court’s involvement with the family.

This was where things first part of our case went awry, as a result of the incompetence associated with the shadiness of state and local child protection laws. I was unknowingly labeled incorrectly way back then, by those involved with the course of me and my child’s future, and never given a second thought after that point in regard such a mislabeling of my character and priorities.

 

Justice For Boo – PART I – The Discovery – 2009

BOO’S STORY:

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The restaurant was dimly lit and the mood was calm and easy, hushed voices whispering stories to one another throughout its interior. It was the place where we had celebrated my daughter’s past few birthday dinners, at her request; she had taken a liking to seafood as she grew up. Personally, I don’t care for it too much, but like most things in motherhood, that factor washed out the window with my child’s stated wishes. There we sat, talking about school and her wide array of “frenemies” there; her face randomly becoming lit by the shadows of light dancing around the archaic candle at our table – her increasing beauty affecting a slap in my face from Good Ol’ Father Time, I recall.

“Can you believe you’re already thirteen?” I teased her across the table, snickering and rolling my eyes in an effort to provoke her into a response.

Our relationship had been heavily strained leading up to this night: her thirteenth birthday – an estrangement that happened as a result of the local courts and child welfare agencies. We had been separated for nearly a year at that time, the very first year of our two-unit family’s still unrecognized, yet inevitable demise; the very first of a long string of years lost down the drains of time.

An imposing wedge in the form of a gavel had been forcibly squeezed between us with a shoehorn. We had suffered a trauma to our daily lives when she had been court-ordered to “residential treatment” at a nearby facility for children who suffer from behavioral issues (which Boo most certainly did).

“No…..it feels like I should be turning sixteen already…” was her response from across the heavily lacquered shine of a redwood tabletop, her large, hazel doe eyes shot up again to meet mine “…feels like I’ve been gone forever…”Boo’s reply was not one of anger or bitterness, as is often the case when it comes to the things Boo says.

And so it goes: A simple observation of Boo’s reality regularly and innocently transforms into a crushing blow to my own.

I reached over and grabbed her greasy hand, locked my fingers tightly around the little fingers so likened to my own, and said, “This’ll all be over before you know it, Kiddo…hang in there, we’re almost done.” Boo smiled, a smile that has the ability to melt away every bad notion that’s ever entered my mind, body or soul, and simply said, “I know, Mom.”

The rest of our dinner had been eaten without incident; and when the waiter and some random servers from other tables came around with a slice of cake topped off by a candle and an obnoxious level of un-harmonized singing, she happily accepted the attention and dessert offering. It was during this last part of her birthday meal that everything changed forever.

She began to talk about her counselor, a man with whom she had grown very fond of and close to over the time she had been at the facility the judge ordered to go to; a man in whom I had always secretly harbored a deep distrust for and could not put my finger on exactly why that was. The details remain blurry but the end result stands out like a black sheep among newborn albino lambs:

–         My daughter proceeded to absentmindedly and unintentionally (by attempting to show off how mature she was becoming while away from home, I believe) spend over twenty minutes describing to me in a bragging-like manner (because she was not yet old enough to even comprehend that a crime was being committed against her) – the gut-stabbing realities that defined a new direction being taken in the “relationship” between she and her “one-to-one counselor “at the facility, and it was anything, but acceptable.

This was the true beginning of my own Living Hell, making the time and ALMOST the life I had lost to Boo’s father pale in comparison to the grief, despair, hopelessness, helplessness and injustice that accompanied this night’s discovery of a pedophile on the county payroll, counseling children in a facility to which 90% of them are court-ordered to be.

 

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