Our Utah story is almost unbelievable. Not like Amy’s trips into fantasy, but full of twists and turns. When you go through something like this you really only see the tip of the iceberg, and only later become fully aware of the fathoms to which the berg extends.
Amy’s mind is full of paranoia, and she sees secret agents under every bed. Real life doesn’t work that way. My granddaughter, Puck, drew the attention of the Utah CPS. No biggie. Been there before. But this time one Alex, CPS, drew up a petition citing several charges against my ex. It seems that Puck and her best friend were out in the school yard swapping lies. “My daddy whips me with his belt!” “My momma whips me with a big stick!” My daddy grabbed me by the hair!” “If I don’t come to school tell the cops to come find my body!”
Best friend runs to her teacher, who runs to the Principal, who calls CPS, who calls the cops, who all show up at the house. They didn’t find a body, of course, but they did file the petition, filled with the confessions of a ten year old little girl with Reactive Attachment Disorder. And they took every word as gospel!
My ex called me, I called Theo, and we were off to the holy land. We’d seen the petition. In Utah anyone can file a petition against anyone else. Also, once a child makes an allegation it can never be retracted. It’s a layered society. There are two kinds of people in Utah. The Saints, and the not so saintly known as “Gentiles.” They don’t have a whole lot of black folk in Brigham City so they just take the Gentiles and make them the black folk.
Upon arriving, Theo and I set up an office in the basement of my ex’s big blue house. Theo would walk the kids to school, and at the same time meet neighbors. We learned that’s there’s a park between the house and school that was a real “happening” place. Lindsay Park lay right across the street from Puck’s best friend’s house. Puck had wanted to join the “Pretty Girls” club, headed up by best friend, but first she had to prove herself worthy. Giving best friend money, learning to shoplift, but most of all slipping out of the house at night and meeting with best friend and “big people” in the restroom of Lindsay Park! We unpacked the guns.
Theo was intrigued by the principal’s intense interest in Puck. With a little investigation we discovered he’d been interested in two other little girls over the last year who were removed by CPS, and fostered to rather large families down in Saint George. Same method. Outrageous claims, lots of cops, long petition, both girls members of the Pretty Girls Club, and both, like Puck, were Gentiles! Too many coincidences for Theo.
All the while we were steadily heading for court. Unlike Amy we didn’t talk about corruption, we just recognized organization! All these people were on the same sheet of music, and business was good! Slowly but surely we waded through Puck’s tangled story and arrived at a semblance of truth. Now, you have to understand the thinking of a “RAD.” First off, there is no conscience. Only purpose. If the RAD perceives danger, or thinks they’ve been wronged they simply “fix” the problem. Puck’s favorite remedy is fire. Five of them! One cost Amy two suitcases. They also run away. A lot! They don’t consider the consequences of their actions. For instance Puck told one couple my ex was throwing knives at her and because she wanted to visit a little boy next door a bit longer. And Puck was the CPS’s star witness.
She told Theo and I she’d made up the stories so she could “run the house,” and move in with best friend should she wish. Upon getting a new iPad she flipped and told the principal that she’d lied, but by then it was too late. She couldn’t retract. Utah law! Her new family was already waiting in Saint George.
Why Saint George you ask? It sits conveniently on the Utah/Arizona border. It was Brigham Young’s winter retreat. Far enough away to avoid too much scrutiny, yet still well inside “Deseret.” By this time we had a lawyer. A Temple Worthy lawyer by the way. When in Rome, do as the Romans. He’d been up against this situation many times, and told us there was but one way out. Plead no contest, and most likely they’d only take the girl and leave her four brothers alone. They didn’t want little boys. I guess they leave them for the Catholics.
Well, we rejected this. We instructed him to register a “not guilty” plea, and immediately were informed by the CPS that they could remove any child at any time. It was along about this time we were visited by two young men. Nice white shirts, black slacks, bicycles, you know the drill. But they didn’t want to teach the kids about their church, they wanted to talk to Theo and I in our office alone. They were quite up front about it. They wanted to know what we were up to. We explained the case, and what we were finding at Lindsay Park. They were concerned that we thought the church was at the bottom of this. We explained that no, we didn’t see that. If anything else the reason this situation had prospered was the church’s non-involvement. I told them as “Danites” they should inform their bishop, and perhaps hang out at the park a bit. Of course they gave us that Mormon smile, telling us that Danites were an old church myth. I let the two “church myths” know that they were the first missionaries I’d seen who had no name tags, carried no Book of Mormon.
One good thing came out of that meeting. When those two boys got through with Lindsay Park you couldn’t find a sea gull there! But we still had Alex, the attorney general, and the school principal to contend with. In Utah the CPS draws up the petition, but the office of the attorney general carries the case to court. The no contest dodge gives an open door to the department and sets up the parents for criminal charges should they get out of line and not want to lose their kid. Our plea threw the whole thing into court. Even though we were in their court, it wasn’t written in stone that it was a sure win.
At this point we did two things. First, Puck was on the next flight to Austin to take up treatment at a residential treatment center. I informed my contacts at the Texas CPS as to what was going on, and they located Puck and placed her under their watchful eye. See? Not hidden at all! Of course, Alex Borne hits the ceiling and hung there for a while. After she threatened a bit the second thing we did was introduced her to the Ombudsman from Salt Lake City. That’s a little like throwing a pail of water on the wicked witch. But Alex couldn’t back down at this point. We’d gone for blood, and her own department in Salt Lake City was beginning to cast the stink eye at her for getting so much exposure for a simple kidnapping.
So we all meet in court. The assistant attorney general was seated in the lobby. Theo, lawyer, and I approached her. The lawyer informed her that he was going to exercise the option of having the petition read out loud into the record. The judge, by law, hadn’t read it. Unfortunate the attorney general lady hadn’t either, a clerk having rubber stamped it for her. While she was sitting there looking all official we told her the petition was actually penned by a recent graduate of the local high school, and I read her the last paragraph, which paraphrased said, “I, Alex, being a duly sword employee of the State of Utah, do swear that I believe everything contained in this petition to be true, even those things which are not true, which I believe to be true, also.” I looked at the lady, raised my hands to heaven and said, “Goooooolden Tablets!”
She walked into court with us, and the two CPS workers, who were clueless by the way. The judge asked if the state was ready to proceed, the office of the attorney general rose and said, “The state declines to proceed, your honor.” The gavel came down, we all walked out, and the attorney general lady dragged Alex to a private room. Today children play again in Lindsay Park. All but two. Their skulls were found in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico.
As we drove home we dropped by and placed the customary bullet on the grave of my ancestor, Orin Porter Rockwell, the king of the Danites.
The Butcher Shop