The more that comes out in the media about Arkansas Republican representative Justin Harris rehoming two adopted daughters with a sex offender the worse it sounds. Which is surprising because the entire idea of rehoming adopted daughters with a rapist seems to have been a new low in the first place.
Goldsborough told the Times that Mary was mostly confined to her room and monitored by video camera. Marsha Harris told the babysitter that the girls were demonically possessed and that they had to be kept separate because they could communicate telepathically. One of the girls crushed the family’s guinea pig to death, Marsha Harris claimed, and the family were so frightened of the children that they summoned an exorcist from Alabama to perform a casting-out of the girls’ demons.
There are allegations of abuse as well.
Babysitter Chelsey Goldsborough told the Times that when she cared for the children in the home, she was alarmed at how the family treated the girls, who initially arrived in the home with an older sister. The Times, for the sake of clarity, gave the girls false names.
“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,” said Goldsborough. The Harrises used an elaborate system of locks, video cameras and alarms to separate the girls because they believed they would kill their entire family.
Another source close to the family corroborated this account to the Times, saying that Marsha Harris regularly spoke of the demons she believed were living inside the adopted girls.
From the Daily Kos comes news that the foster family that originally had the girls and the local CPS objected to the Harris’ adoption but were overruled by by Cecile Blucker, head of Division of Family and Child Services. Harris may have used his political influence to get a crony to force through the adoption.
An experienced foster family that housed the two younger girls for a year and a half prior to their adoption by the Harrises has approached the Times with their story. Craig and Cheryl Hart say, among other things, the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff only because the head of the the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Cecile Blucker, exerted pressure on behalf of Justin Harris. DCFS is the arm of DHS responsible for child welfare.The Harts also say the middle sister — who would have been 4 years old at the time she entered the Harris home in 2012 — was not violent or dangerous. They claim the Harrises were warned repeatedly by themselves and local DHS staff that their home was not a suitable placement for the two girls or their older sister.
Officials from the Division of Children and Family Services say they cannot comment on the adoption case, but Cecile Blucker needs to answer to the people of Arkansas—did she intervene on behalf of the Harris family over the objections of DHS staffers and the former foster family? Everyone involved in the case objected to the adoption, but later gave tentative approval, with conditions:
“And at the hearing, the ad litem attorney — you know, the one who is representing only the interests of the children — said, ‘When we met less than a couple of days ago, everyone’s recommendation was for these kids to not go to this home. Now, what has happened in the last 24 hours that everyone’s recommendation has changed?'””Harris’ face was getting all red,” Cheryl said. “And the ad litem asked him, ‘Did you make calls?’ And he finally said, ‘I did what I had to do to get these girls.’ I expected the judge would [stop the adoption] but she gave them the oldest girl.” The younger two soon followed.
Will post more as it becomes available.