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Adopted seven-year old Seth Johnson has suffered terribly for years and it appears has died a painful (avoidable) death at the hands of Tim and Sarah Johnson. Thank you Paul Walsh, Brandon Stahl & Star Tribune.
The parents have moved to New Zealand and will most likely use a religious exemption defense that is very often successful as this case proceeds. We talk big about valuing children in our communities, but where’s the proof? Today, Minnesota has almost 400 state ward children without a CASA guardian ad litem to speak for them. It’s a lonesome and frightening experience. Consider volunteering (or maybe you know someone that might be a good candidate).
We will never know how awful Seth’s life was before he was fostered and then adopted
by the Johnsons. Legally, to be removed from a birth home by a court, a child’s life must be in danger of “imminent harm”.
Few people are aware of the level of violence and neglect that must be substantiated before a court can place a child in foster care. Chances are, Seth, like all the children I worked with in child protection, almost certainly lived a horrid and toxic life before he was fostered and then adopted by the Johnson’s.
All 50 children I worked with in child protection had been tortured as defined by the World Health Organization’s definition, “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.
Whether or not there was more to Seth’s death than withholding medical care by the parents will become apparent as the case unfolds. It does seem odd that this very sick and dying child was left in the care of a sixteen year old son while the parents traveled just days before his death.
MN is one of 34 states provide a legal shield of religious exemptions from child abuse and child neglect laws.
About the Legal Shield of Religion In America;
Many American newborns remain untested and untreated for very treatable metabolic disorders, hearing and sight diseases & blood lead level s.
48 States allow religious exemptions from vaccination.
Some states allow religion to keep children from TB testing in school. 43 states give some kind of criminal or civil immunity to parents injuring their children by withholding medical care on religious grounds.
Six states let parents keep teachers from teaching their children about disease in school.
Over the years KARA has reported on children dying because their parents withheld medical treatment because the church told them to do so. Some parents have killed more than one child by withholding medical treatment.
Some religions allow child neglect and abuse & some states allow a religious defense against charges of murdering their child – and “some can’t be charged with murder at all” (Slate).
2 years ago, Kansas State Rep Gail Finney vowed to pass a bill that allowed caregivers to leave bruises and cause bleeding when disciplining a child (no age limit).
Arkansas State Rep Charles Fuqua promoted the death penalty for rebellious children (based on religious grounds).
As a volunteer CASA County guardian ad-Litem, it has been awful to observe sexually abused two and four year old children and children suffering from violent physical abuse and neglect live through that abuse & try to overcome the terror and traumas inflicted upon them to make for themselves a normal life. Not many do.
There are between 12 and 18 million children reported abused in our nation every year. They have no voice in their homes, in the courts or in the media.
There are many terrible laws endangering thousands of children in all parts of our nation. There are dangerous religious cults in America that need to be exposed for the terrible way they treat children. Here’s one reported on by the Daily Beast this morning
Children in most of our communities have the same rights women and slaves had in the 1800’s (they were property).
KARA supports the U.S. ratification of the international Rights of the Child Treaty. We are the only nation on earth not to have done so.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for ending all religious exemption laws.
It is insane that in the 21st century America promotes deadly religious practices with outcomes not any different than witnessed at witch trials in the 1600’s (innocent dead people).
All Adults are the Protectors of All Children
Here’s a breakdown from Children’s Healthcare that shows a breakdown of states and their religious exemptions.
What saddens me most is that we only know of the children who have suffered and died because of the religious exemption laws (children must die to be reported on – when they are alive and suffering, no one knows).
1) Our documentary on the needs of at-risk children and breaking the cycle of abuse
2) Our second book, a collection of micro-bios following at-risk children through their journey
Accepting all donations, small and large. Their lives will not improve without help.