May 15, 2018

Ten homeschooled children were removed from a squalid California home, their parents charged with abuse.

In a heartbreaking story out of Fairfield, California, authorities report ten homeschooled children suffered “acts of intentional abuse that resulted in puncture wounds, burns, bruising and injuries consistent with being shot with a pellet gun.”

Commenting on the case, Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said she was “horrified” by statements made by the children while noting that torture was carried out in the house “for sadistic purposes.”

Henry said:

It literally breaks your heart, and you’re outraged by how a parent or anyone could commit those acts.

The father, Jonathan Allen, is currently being held on more than $5 million bail, while his wife, and the mother of the children, Ina Rogers, is currently free on bail.

USA Today reports:

Jonathan Allen, 29, on Monday pleaded not guilty to nine counts of felony torture and six counts of felony child abuse. His wife, Ina Rogers, 30, was charged with child neglect last month and is free on $10,000 bail, but authorities said she could face additional charges.

Ina Rogers, the children’s mother, denies the charges, telling reporters:

I strive, I thrive on being a good parent to my children. My husband has a lot of tattoos. He looks like a scary individual, and that’s why people are so quick to judge him. But my husband is an amazing person. I am an amazing mother.

Rogers explained to the media that she homeschooled her children while working full-time as a medical technician:

Not only do I have 11 children and I’m 30 years old, but I also homeschool all of my children and people don’t agree with that lifestyle and so I’ve had many people question my right to parent and I just feel like this whole situation was exploded.

While Rogers tries to paint an innocuous picture of the children’s home life, police report a different story.

Police Lt. Greg Hurlbut reports that police found the children living in squalid, filthy conditions, noting:

Officers located unsafe and unsanitary living conditions including garbage and spoiled food on the floor, animal and human feces and a large amount of debris making areas of the house unpassable.

Even more alarming, Lt. Hurlbut said:

The children described incidents of intentional abuse resulting in puncture wounds, burns, bruising and injuries consistent with being shot by a pellet or airsoft gun.

Peggy Allen, the mother of Jonathan Allen, said she was surprised by the charges, explaining:

We’re a Christian family and Jonathan has not been raised that way.

Note: While homeschooling can be a good fit for some children, often the parents are not qualified either by temperament or education to be homeschooling their children. Add to that the ignorance and bigotry associated with religious superstition, and one is left with a toxic brew ripe for abuse and neglect.

Earlier this year, Christian homeschoolers in California were placed under arrest after police found their 13 children emaciated and “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings” in their family home.

Bottom line: Ten homeschooled children were removed from a squalid California home, their parents charged with abuse, after authorities found that the homeschooled children suffered “acts of intentional abuse…”

Report: Homeschooled Children Tortured ‘For Sadistic Purposes’ (Image of Jonathan Allen via Twitter)
March 21, 2018

Domestic terrorist: Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt was homeschooled by a conservative Christian family and contemplated going on a “mission trip” before becoming a terrorist.

Conditt, the bombing suspect believed to be responsible for terrorizing the Austin, Texas community with a series of  bombings that killed two people and injured four more is dead.

According to reports, the 24-year-old bombing suspect died by detonating an explosive device after police cornered him in the early morning hours of March 21.

According to a Facebook post from Conditt’s mother, Danene Conditt, the Austin bomber was homeschooled, and contemplated going on a “mission trip” before becoming a domestic terrorist.

A February 2013 Facebook post from Conditt’s mother reads:

I officially graduated Mark from High School on Friday. 1 down, 3 to go. He has 30 hrs of college credit too, but he’s thinking of taking some time to figure out what he wants to do….maybe a mission trip. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years.

On her Facebook page Danene Conditt indicates she received her education from Gustavus Adolphus College, a “liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

After his conservative Christian homeschooling, Conditt attended Austin Community College from 2010 to 2012, but didn’t graduate.

While attending Austin Community College the domestic terrorist wrote a blog called “Defining My Stance.” In his bio for the blog Conditt wrote:

My name is Mark Conditt. I enjoy cycling, parkour, tennis, reading, and listening to music. I am not that politically inclined. I view myself as a conservative, but I don’t think I have enough information to defend my stance as well as it should be defended. The reasons I am taking this class is because I want to understand the US government, and I hope that it will help me clarify my stance, and then defend it.

Blog posts written by Conditt argued against same-sex marriage, against abortion, and in favor of the death penalty.

Ultimately, it appears that Conditt chose to defend his conservative stance with bombs.

Bottom line: Austin Bomber Mark Anthony Conditt was homeschooled by a conservative Christian family and contemplated going on a “mission trip” before becoming a domestic terrorist.

And so it goes.

Austin Bomber Mark Anthony Conditt Was Conservative Christian Homeschool Graduate (Image via Facebook)
January 19, 2018

Christian homeschoolers in California accused of torturing their 13 children plead not guilty, and are held on bail of $12 million each.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were placed under arrest earlier this week after police found their 13 children emaciated and “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings” in their family home.

ABC News reports the couple “face up to 94 years to life in prison if convicted of a number of charges,” noting:

The Turpins appeared in court Thursday afternoon shackled and in dress clothes and entered pleas of not guilty at their arraignment. A court conference was scheduled for Feb. 23 in Riverside. They were ordered held on bail of $12 million each.

The Turpins are charged with 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse on a dependent adult, 12 counts of false imprisonment and six counts of child abuse, each.

David Turpin faces an additional charge of committing a lewd act on a child by force.

James and Betty Turpin, the parents of David Turpin, and grandparents to the abused children, said that “God called on them” (referring to their son David and his wife Louise) to have as many children as possible.

The grandparents also report that the children were given “very strict home-schooling,” and that the children were forced to memorize long passages of the Bible.

The Washington Post reports:

The siblings’ grandparents told ABC News that during the children’s home schooling, they were made to memorize long scriptures of the Bible, with some memorizing the entire book.

Commenting on the horrific case, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said:

This is severe, emotional and physical abuse. There is no way around that. This is depraved conduct.

In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen. We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm.

Hestrin noted that while the children were supposed to be homeschooled, they were so clueless about the world that “many of the children didn’t know what a police officer was.”

Note: While homeschooling can be a good fit for some children, often the parents are not qualified either by temperament or education to be homeschooling their children. Add to that the ignorance and bigotry associated with religious superstition, and one is left with a toxic brew ripe for abuse and neglect in the world of Christian homeschooling.

However, being shackled and tortured is not the only hazard faced by children forced into the secretive and sometimes dangerous world of Christian homeschooling. One need only recall the tragic life and death of Leelah Alcorn, or the tragic circumstances of the Duggar family, to recognize the dangers inherent in the Christian homeschooling movement.

Bottom line: Christian homeschoolers in California who kept their children shackled to their beds in dark and foul-smelling surroundings while forcing them to memorize Bible verses plead not guilty to multiple charges of torture and abuse.

Christian Homeschoolers Plead Not Guilty In Torture Case (Image via Facebook)
Christian Homeschoolers Plead Not Guilty In Torture Case (Image via Facebook)
January 16, 2018

House of Horror: Christian homeschoolers in California kept their children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks.”

A California couple is under arrest after police found their 13 children emaciated and “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings” in their family home.

The parents, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, are currently being held on charges of torture and child endangerment. Bail is set at $9,000,000 each.

Local police were alerted to the horrific crime after one of the children managed to escape the house of horrors and contact the authorities.

A press release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department describes the horrific scene found at the home:

investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings

The release continues:

but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.

Police officers were later “shocked” to find that seven of the 13 children were actually adults between 18 and 29 years-of-age. Due to the severe malnutrition, reports indicate the adults being held captive actually looked like children.

James and Betty Turpin, the parents of David Turpin, and grandparents to the abused children, said that “God called on them” (referring to their son David and his wife Louise) to have as many children as possible.

The grandparents also report that the children were given “very strict home-schooling,” and that the children were forced to memorize long passages of the Bible.

In fact, the family home where the children were tortured and abused is also a registered private school called the Sandcastle Day School. David Turpin is listed as the principal of the school.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that registering a residence as a private school is a common practice among Christian homeschoolers in California who seek exemption from the California compulsory education law.

The fact is, while homeschooling can be a good fit for some children, often the parents are not qualified either by temperament or education to be homeschooling their children. Add to that the ignorance and bigotry associated with religious superstition, and one is left with a toxic brew ripe for abuse and neglect. 

However, being shackled and tortured is not the only hazard faced by children forced into the secretive and sometimes dangerous world of Christian homeschooling. One need only recall the tragic life and death of Leelah Alcorn, or the tragic circumstances of the Duggar family, to recognize the dangers inherent in the Christian homeschooling movement.

Bottom line: Christian homeschoolers in California kept their children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, while forcing them to memorize Bible verses. One can only wonder how many other children are being neglected and abused by other unsupervised and unqualified Christian homeschoolers across the country.

And, as always, it is the children who suffer for the parents’ folly.

Christian Homeschoolers Kept Children Shackled To Beds (Turpin family image via Facebook)
Christian Homeschoolers Kept Children Shackled To Beds (Turpin family image via Facebook)
November 5, 2016

Pro-Trump kid sings creepy song urging Christians to vote against Hillary Clinton on Election Day.

Izzy, an eleven year-old victim of Christian homeschooling, sings a twisted song to appeal to Christian voters.

A press release from Christian NewsWire claims Izzy’s pro-Trump anthem, “Christians – Don’t Stay Home on Election Day,” is “a powerful plea that focuses on the massacre of Christians in the Middle East and the plight of the preborn under the Democrats.”

Commenting on her song Izzy said:

I hope that this song will show Christians that there is a big difference between Trump and Hilary. It is the difference between life and death.

Izzy continued:

There are Christians who think they are being holy by not voting, but that’s not true. Like in the Good Samaritan parable Jesus told, if you walk on and ignore the cries, you are guilty.

Izzy’s mother notes:

Millions of Christians sat out or voted third party the last two presidential elections which led to the Democrats taking over and causing millions of innocent lives to be lost. Under Obama and Hillary’s watch, ISIS grew huge, and hundreds of thousands of Christians have had to flee their homes, while thousands more have been tortured, killed, and raped. If we allow this innocent blood to be shed by not voting for the one who will save lives, God will hold us accountable.

Sounds like Izzy’s mother is exploiting her child to promote a twisted and false political narrative.

Bottom line: Izzy is a victim of Christian homeschooling, and her parents are guilty of child abuse.

Watch the video below as Izzy sings about “Crooked Hillary,” ISIS, abortion, and her Christian love for Trump –

https://youtu.be/v0G1pmb-iNI
(Image via Screen Grab)
(Image via Screen Grab)
May 5, 2016

A conference to arrange child marriages for Christian homeschoolers will be held in Kansas this fall.

Fundamentalist and conservative evangelical parents will meet in Wichita, Kansas, this November to arrange marriages for their teen daughters. Quiverfull guru Vaughn Ohlman, who runs a website promoting early, “fruitful” marriage for Christian children, has announced plans for a “Let Them Marry” retreat where parents can arrange suitable marriages for their teen children.

The weekend retreat is “designed to bring together like-minded families who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.”

According to the website’s Frequently Asked Questions marriage is appropriate between the ages of 13-20, but no later, because:

delayed/denied marriages cause the Word of God to be blasphemed, and turn our young people over to Satan.

The website explains how a parent will know when their child is ready for marriage:

The ‘youth’ ready for marriage has breasts. A woman who is to be married is one who has breasts; breasts which signal her readiness for marriage, and breasts who promise enjoyment for her husband. (We believe that ‘breasts’ here stand as a symbol for all forms of full secondary sexual characteristics.)

Writing for Love, Joy, Feminism, Libby Anne explains how such thinking is not only wrong, but also dangerous:

Girls’ bodies are physically able to have children far before it is fully safe for their bodies to bear children. The United Nations is trying to eradicate child marriage—i.e. the marriage of those under age 18—in part because early and mid-teen female bodies are not truly ready for childbearing.

The whole endeavor is truly despicable. Girls are expected to accept the arranged marriage as “a gift” from their parents. Consent of the girl being forced into marriage is not a legitimate consideration. Again, from the website’s Frequently Asked Questions:

Doesn’t a legitimate marriage require the consent of both the people marrying?

Scripture speaks of the father of the son “taking a wife” for his son, and the father of the bride “giving” her to her husband (Jeremiah 29: 6; Judges 21: 7; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 10: 30; 1 Corinthians 7:36-38). It gives example after example of young women being given to young men, without the young woman even being consulted…

In short, according to the teachings, the girl is not expected to consent to the marriage, and really has no right to object.

And while the teen being forced into marriage is expected to accept her fate without question, the parents are entitled to a “bride price”:

A “bride price” is anything paid or given by the man or his representative at the time of his betrothal or receiving his bride.

Scripture certainly teaches about it… The law concerning bride price (Exodus 22:16-17) indicates that . . . the bride price was a normal part of the marriage process.

The bride price plays a significant function: It shows the woman’s value, and the point isn’t that the father gets the money but that he keeps it for his daughter, if her husband should ever abandon her.

To summarize, a conference sponsored by Christian extremists will allow parents to arrange marriages for their teen daughters without their consent, while making a profit from the transaction.

Isn’t that what they call sex-trafficking?

UPDATE: Salvation Army Cancels Conference Promoting Child Marriage

(Image via Wikipedia)
(Image via Wikipedia)
December 30, 2015

Transgender teen commits suicide, cites Christian parents in blog.

On Dec. 28, 2014, Leelah Alcorn walked into traffic and was struck and killed by a truck. After years of abuse and rejection from strict Christian parents, the transgender teen ended her sad and tragic life.

Leelah was a victim of Christian homeschooling. Denied access to the outside world by religious parents, Leelah was isolated from friends and forced to endure psychological torture from Christian “therapists” in a cruel attempt to force the teen to identify as a male.

On her blog at Tumblr, Leelah left a poignant suicide note, detailing a life of pain and rejection, a life dominated by Christian parents who refused to understand, or simply could not understand, that their precious child was a female trapped in the body of a male.

The following is an excerpt from Leelah’s final blog post, a post that was subsequently deleted at the request of her parents:

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

….

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

…The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society.

Since Leelah’s death a year ago this month there have been efforts made to “fix society” and end the awful treatment many transgender youth face at the hands of parents and others blinded by religious superstition and bigotry.

In response to Leelah’s tragic suicide and eloquent plea on behalf of transgender youth, there was a large public outcry, and a petition was circulated asking the Obama administration to put an end to conversion therapy.

The petition was successful, gathering over 120,000 signatures, and in response President Barack Obama announced he would support a ban on “the practice known as conversion therapy.”

And earlier this month Cincinnati banned conversion therapy in memory of Leelah Alcorn.

The practice of conversion therapy is essentially psychological torture based on discredited and debunked “medical science” used to abuse, harass, terrorize and bully vulnerable LGBT youth like Leelah Alcorn.

Simply put, conversion therapy is child abuse, and it is endorsed and utilized by many religious conservatives in the cruel and misguided attempt to coerce teens into changing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Putting an end to the despicable practice of conversion therapy is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. If we are to fix society, we must find a way to protect children from the potential dangers of homeschooling, and the religious extremism often associated with the practice.

Bottom line: If we are to fix society, we must protect children like Leelah Alcorn from the cruelties of religious extremism.

(Note: If you are a transgender or gender nonconforming individual in crisis check out the TransLifeLine.)

Leelah Alcorn
Leelah Alcorn
November 23, 2015

A Georgia mother who used her sincerely held religious beliefs to justify the horrific abuse of her adopted teen daughter could face more than 400 years in prison after being found guilty on 28 counts of child abuse.

Earlier today, November 23, Diana Franklin was found guilty of 19 counts of cruelty to children, 8 counts of false imprisonment, and 1 count of aggravated assault.

According to court records, Franklin used starvation, a shock collar, and prolonged confinement in a chicken coop to punish her adopted teen daughter.

Earlier this month the teen testified about the horrific abuse she endured during the six years she spent in the custody of Diana and Samuel Franklin.

The devout Christian couple was homeschooling their adopted daughter, and believed the Bible justified their harsh treatment of the teen.

Diana Franklin’s husband, Samuel Franklin, is set to stand trial in December, and is accused of sexually abusing his adopted teen daughter.

ABC reports that in court state workers described how Diana Franklin forced her adopted daughter to live in a hot shed with no air conditioning, locking her in for weeks at a time. They also accused the woman of depriving the child of food, forcing her to read and write Bible verses as punishment, cut her hair as punishment, forced her into a chicken coop, and more.

When confronted by concerned neighbors about the harsh treatment, Diana Franklin said that she was “doing what the Bible says” by punishing the girl for not doing chores the “right way.”

The 15-year-old victim told authorities her adoptive parents made her spent days locked inside a small outhouse and chicken coop, wearing a shock collar as punishment for not doing her school work. Other reports indicate the girl was forced to live on bread and water for days on end as punishment.

During her testimony, the teen described being locked in various outbuildings on the family’s property when she was menstruating. She was allowed to wear only a shirt, and no under garments during this time.

Defense attorney Kevin Bailey argued Franklin was raising her adopted daughter in accordance with her religious beliefs. However, the jury disagreed with the religious defense, and took only two hours to convict Franklin on all charges.

Franklin could face a sentence of more than 400 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m.

(Large portions of this post were previously published here: Christian Homeschoolers Use Religious Belief To Justify Horrific Abuse)

Diana Franklin (Image via Taylor County Sheriff’s Office)
Diana Franklin (Image via Taylor County Sheriff’s Office)
November 12, 2015

The Bible made her do it: A Georgia mother is on trial for child abuse after using starvation, a shock collar, and prolonged confinement in a chicken coop to punish her adopted teen daughter.

Earlier this week the adopted daughter of the Georgia couple testified about the horrific abuse she endured during the six years she spent in the custody of Diana and Samuel Franklin.

The devout Christian couple was homeschooling their adopted daughter, and believed the Bible justified their harsh treatment of the teen.

Currently the teen’s adopted mother, Diana Franklin, is on trial in Taylor County. She is charged with 19 counts of child cruelty, eight counts of false imprisonment and one of aggravated assault.

The teen’s adoptive father, Samuel Franklin, is set to stand trial in December.

ABC reports that in court on Tuesday state workers described how Diana Franklin forced her adopted daughter to live in a hot shed with no air conditioning, locking her in for weeks at a time. They also accused the woman of depriving the child of food, forcing her to read and write Bible verses as punishment, cut her hair as punishment, forced her into a chicken coop, and more.

When confronted by concerned neighbors about the harsh treatment, Diana Franklin said that she was “doing what the Bible says” by punishing the girl for not doing chores the “right way.”

The 15-year-old victim told authorities her adoptive parents made her spent days locked inside a small outhouse and chicken coop, wearing a shock collar as punishment for not doing her school work. Other reports indicate the girl was forced to live on bread and water for days on end as punishment.

During her testimony, the teen described being locked in various outbuildings on the family’s property when she was menstruating. She was allowed to wear only a shirt, and no under garments during this time.

Addicting Info reports this horrific treatment was undoubtedly based on Leviticus Chapter 15, which states:

And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.

Defense attorney Kevin Bailey said the couple was raising their adopted daughter in accordance to their religious beliefs.

Watch this news report about this ongoing trial via ABC –

WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather

Diana and Samuel Franklin (Image via Taylor County Sheriff's Office)
Diana and Samuel Franklin (Image via Taylor County Sheriff’s Office)
November 2, 2015

Waiting for the Rapture: Christian homeschoolers in Texas refuse to educate their nine children because they believe the Rapture is at hand.

Last year the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled that Christian homeschooling parents  Laura and Michael McIntyre were not exempt from state education regulations after they refused to educate their nine children because they believed they would soon be transported to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ.

However, the McIntyres are appealing that ruling, and the Texas Supreme Court will soon decide whether religious parents have an obligation to ensure their children actually learn educational basics like reading, writing, and mathematics.

Religion Clause reports the McIntyres are challenging the right of the state to investigate the curriculum which they utilized. In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”

Michael McIntyre and Laura McIntyre removed their nine children from a private school in 2004 to homeschool them. According to reports the McIntyre children did little school work, and that one of the children said they did not need to because they were going to be raptured.

Another one of the children ran away at age 17 so she could attend school, the parents refused to provide the school district with any information.

In 2006, El Paso Independent School District met with the parents about an anonymous complaint that the children were not being educated. District attendance officer Mark Mendoza later confirmed that one of the daughters, Tori, had run away from home to “attend school,” and was enrolled at Coronado High School.

Responding to the case, Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Coalition for Responsible Home Education, said:

Parents should be allowed to decide how to educate their children, not whether to educate their children.

The previous Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruling states:

No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements. They do not have an ‘absolute constitutional right to homeschool.’

Let’s hope the Texas Supreme Court upholds the previous Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruling.

It is unclear how many other children are suffering a similar fate across the nation, but one thing is certain: Children are not property – they have rights. All children are entitled to an education. Homeschoolers should be monitored and regulated to prevent the kind of abuse and neglect the McIntyre children suffered.

Bottom line: To deny a child an education is child abuse, full stop.

(Portions of this article were previously published here.)

(Image via Flickr)
(Image by Cassidy Lancaster via Flickr | CC 2.0)
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