The tale of Representative Justin Harris (R-AK) and his family took a turn towards the weird today. Harris maintains that he “re-homed” his adopted daughter with her future rapist because he couldn’t get help from the DHS. Sources close to the family, however, claim otherwise.
Last Friday, Harris and his wife Marsha spoke out about the swirling controversy. To hear Harris tell it, his family couldn’t get help from the Department of Human Services when the family made overtures, and when they attempted to make the DHS aware that the girls were violent and a risk to other children in the household, the DHS allegedly threatened charges of child abandonment.
Harris claims that they weren’t made aware that the girls were violent.
Sources close to the family, though, dispute every word of their account.
A family babysitter, Chelsey Goldsborough, had a horror story to share that is all too depressingly familiar.
According to Goldsborough, the family first brought the three girls into their home in fall of 2012. The oldest girl, then six-years-old, was the first to face exile; she was shipped off to a mental hospital. The other two, then four-years-old and two-years-old, were kept by the family.
Goldsborough noted that the treatment of the then-four-year-old was horrifyingly abusive. She told the Arkansas Times that “The first night I was over there, I just broke down and cried with this little girl because I just felt so bad for her.”
Goldsborough said that the family kept the middle child — named “Mary” by the Times — locked up behind an elaborate system of locks, with video cameras and alarms. They were afraid the girl would kill the family, because Marsha Harris believed that she was “possessed by demons” and they had to keep the girls separate, because the girls could “communicate telepathically.”
Other testimony from sources close to the family corroborated the claim. An anonymous source said that Harris would speak regularly of “demons” that she believed were inside of the girls:
“They consider it to be spiritual warfare,” the anonymous source said. “I’m a Christian, and I have these beliefs, but this was completely beyond anything I’ve ever seen or heard about.”
Mary was locked away without any entertainment, books, or colorful clothing, because, in the words of the babysitter, “a demon told [Mary] not to share…Demons told her to not appreciate [her toys] and all that, so they took away all the toys and her colored clothes.”
The babysitter, Goldsborough, noted that the family even brought in an exorcist from Alabama to try to chase away the demons, because this an acceptable thing in 21st Century America.
The family attorney, Jennifer Wells, disputes the claims, though:
“Exorcisms and telepathy are not part of the Harrises’ religious practice,” Wells said. “They followed the techniques in a book called When Love Is Not Enough, a Parent’s Guide to Reactive Attachment Disorder by Nancy Thomas, who is a recognized expert on therapeutic parenting techniques.”
The other foster families say that the middle girl, Mary, was never violent. They also note that the Harrises were warned, multiple times, that their home wouldn’t be a fit for children with traumatic backgrounds.
Even though they were warned, and the state had misgivings, the Harrises relied on Cecile Blucker, a DHS official, to push the adoption papers through.
It’s a shame they didn’t listen. Rather than go back to the DHS when things got too complex, they relied on their Christian faith. When things got too bad they could no longer handle it, one assumes God directed them to move the girls into the home of Eric and Stacey Francis, where Mary was raped by Eric, a serial predator who had molested other children and is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.
[h/t and picture credit RS]