Saturday, March 31, 2012

CNN AC360's Investigation into Pinehaven Part III of III: Escape from the Illinois Child Trafficking Pipeline of Children to Montana

HT to Chuckles Travels:  "Your Kids" or your prey, Mr. Duke?
Continuing with Part III of the CNN Anderson Cooper 360 investigation into Pinehaven of St. Ignatius, Montana, one of the Independent Fundamental Baptist affiliated homes for troubled children that employ extreme abuse and forced heavy labor to purify their souls. Note that Kathryn Joyce titled her article about these IFB homes as “Escape from Montana” when it first appeared in Mother Jones in August, 2011 because the Montana state laws apparently facilitate the free operation of the abuse that takes place within them.

This episode highlights the procurement activities of Charlie Duke who gains access to children through his employment as a truant officer in Olney, IL and arranges with the court to have students sent out of state to Pinehaven in Montana, some 2000 miles away from parents where parents are largely denied access to their children. The court apparently decides without a hearing or investigation of parents and without their knowledge or approval to deem their homes unfit so that they have cause to send children out of state to Pinehaven. CNN's Gary Tuchman dubs this the Illinois Pipeline. (Read more here at Chuckles Travels.)

Since the airing of these episodes, the Pinehaven Abuse (vicitm advocate and support) website notes that the young woman featured in the CNN investigation (transferred from an inpatient mental health facility for post-rape suicidal behavior because of Charlie Duke's intervention as a “procurement agent” for Pinehaven) has been ordered to be released from the IFB boarding home to return to her mother's care in Olney, IL at the end of this school year in June of 2012.

 Addendum 31Mar12 5PM:  Since this initial posting, I've been made aware that though the IFB does run boarding homes like Pinehaven, the facility in Montana is not directly affiliated with the the IFB in the same way as homes like Hephzibah House.  Apparently, the home is subsidized as a missionary effort in the same way that the IFB homes are and practice the same types of discipline and heavy labor as a "Christian ministry" but receive donations from a variety of sources including funds from many evangelicals including Baptist and Catholic sources.  Like the homes directly affiliated with the IFB, Pinehaven does operate without oversight from anyone under the laws protecting private homes and religious liberty.

Part III of III as it appears on the AC360 blog entry:

March 29, 2012 transcript not included in video:

COOPER: Well, tonight, part three of our report on allegations of abuse at a small Christian boarding school in Montana. You're going to meet an Illinois mom who says her daughter was sent to the school against her wishes after a truant officer gave her daughter a form to sign. She was just 15 years old.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She called me, she was crying, she said, mommy, I just made a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was her mistake?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked her what happened, and she said, I just signed the papers to go to Pinehaven.



COOPER: Tonight in our "Ungodly Discipline" series, the disturbing link between a truant officer in Illinois and a small Christian boarding school nearly 2,000 miles away in north western Montana.

Now over the last two nights, we've told you of allegations of abuse at the school, which is exempt from state oversight. In part three of his report tonight, Gary Tuchman exposes what amounts to a pipeline between five counties in Illinois and Pinehaven Christian Children's Ranch.

Dozens of kids from Illinois have ended up at Pinehaven, steered there by the same truant officer. It happened to a teen named Cassie against her mother's wishes. Now, her mom wants to pull her out of Pinehaven, but can't. Here's Gary's report.


COOPER: Gary, I mean, it's such a fascinating report that you've done over the last three nights. What is the state of Illinois and child welfare experts have to say about this?

TUCHMAN: You know, we've talked to child welfare experts who work for the state and who work in private practice and they all tell us this is unorthodox and upsetting. They say it's standard procedure to try to take a kid if the kid has to leave their parents to a place close to their home.

But interestingly, we also talked to the top legal official in the state, the attorney general of Illinois, and this is what's fascinating. This has been going on for many years. The attorney general's office says they knew nothing about this whatsoever.

They did some investigating, and they, too, say it was disturbing, but during their investigation, they discovered that this is not their jurisdiction, that only the local state district attorneys can deal with the situation.

So, therefore, the Democrat is the attorney general in the state of Illinois, Lisa Mattigan, says she can't do anything.

COOPER: And just so I'm clear, they have no trained counselors, certified counselors at this school to help troubled kids?

TUCHMAN: What Bob Larsson will tell us is he believes these people are good and they're trained and they know what they're doing. But the fact is, they are not licensed whatsoever. The counselors or the teachers, not licensed by the state of Montana, it's unaccredited, unlicensed, and uncertified employees.

COOPER: That's even ignoring the abuse allegations, which you've documented in the previous nights. Gary, appreciating the reporting. Thanks. We'll continue to follow it.

Link here to Part I and Part II
with transcript not included in the video.