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Op-Ed

Beware: Don't Let Your Family Be Destroyed by CPS

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This is a follow-up piece in a series. Click here to read part one. 

Like so many innocent American families, our family fell victim to the incompetence and misconduct of Child Protective Services in New Mexico and their willing accomplices in law enforcement — in our case the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. We were a law-abiding family with a career of serving with the Navy and Air Force and were stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when our daughter’s teacher at Calvary Christian Academy, Betty Duboise, knowingly made a false child abuse allegation.

Our purpose in writing this article is to outline a few of the abusive tactics used by CPS and law enforcement when seeking to prove false allegations. We hope to warn innocent families in New Mexico and around the country of what you might expect should you find a CPS investigator at your door.

While many readers may dismiss our story as a rarity, more than three million allegations are made against American families each year. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment 2017 report, 83 percent of investigated allegations are proven false. That number is staggering and shows just how many false allegations are made.

First, when CPS receives an allegation to its child abuse hotline the agency assumes the allegation is true. In our case, Senior Investigator Maria Morales made this evident with her words and actions. She went so far as to file an affidavit with the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque that had more than two dozen false statements and claims — all of which were eventually shown to be false.

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Morales was never punished for her misconduct, which only incentivizes investigators to act with impunity. In the rare case where a CPS worker is either punished or sued, the system will often protect them and assume they meant to do the “right thing” even if they lied under oath or broke the law.

It is important to keep in mind that New Mexico and sixteen other states, perhaps your state, make it perfectly legal to knowingly make a false child abuse allegation. This allows CPS to be used as a tool of retaliation for an angry neighbor, ex-spouse, dishonest teacher (our case) or anyone else who has a beef with you or a member of your family. In New Mexico, CPS is called the Children’s Youth and Families Department and they admit that 72 percent of allegations to their child abuse hotline are unsubstantiated. This means seven out of ten families in New Mexico face an unjustified investigation that is often abusive, intrusive and traumatic.

CPS agencies nationally often get away with their abusive conduct because there are laws on the books in each state that seal material related to child abuse investigations. This makes scrutiny of their actions by the media virtually impossible because any misconduct is never made public.

The idea that a government agency is immune from public scrutiny is galling and is only possible because these agencies claim secrecy is necessary to protect children.

Have you ever encountered CPS exploitation?

This is a lie. Secrecy protects bad actors.

This systemic problem makes it is important to immediately begin filming any interaction with CPS. They will attempt to stop you from doing so, but it is your right — particularly in your own home. It is also important to never acquiesce to their demands. Contrary to what they tell you, CPS is not in the business of protecting families, but finding abuse — mostly imaginary.

Second, when law enforcement officers arrive at your home, they will likely attempt to coerce you into granting them entry into your home. BCSO officers Catherine Smalls, Brian Thornton and Martin Lozano threatened to arrest my wife Jessica if she did not allow them into our home. They claimed that New Mexico statute 32A-3B-3 allowed them to enter any home without a search warrant, probable cause, or exigent circumstances. The tactics of law enforcement may vary from state to state, but rest assured, they will say whatever it takes to get access to your home.

It is important to remember, law enforcement has no legal obligation to tell you the truth. They are incentivized to find criminal conduct, not innocence. On the night our horror story began, Detective Jacob Wootton told Jessica, “And so my job is not to prove a little child wrong, it’s my job to prove them right. And so I’m trying to get the facts to support her statements.” These were not, in fact, our daughter’s statements, but the third-hand hearsay of our daughter’s teacher Betty Duboise — a known criminal.

In our case, BCSO deputies forcibly entered our home after Jessica refused to grant them entry. Had she physically resisted their effort to illegally enter our home, they would have arrested her and taken our children anyway. Law enforcement in New Mexico was trained to believe that a New Mexico state statute abrogates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps most shocking, deputies Smalls, Lozano and Thornton did not have the discernment or desire to challenge such a clear violation of our constitutional rights.

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Before forcibly entering our home, Deputy Smalls told Jessica, “You can either let us into the residence or you can be detained in the back of a car. That is your choice.” All of this was done without a search warrant and solely based on the anonymous phone call of a woman who turned out to be a criminal and a liar.

Our advice to any family is to never open the door to law enforcement unless they have a valid warrant. You should, however, bring your children to a window so that law enforcement can visibly see them and know that they are unharmed and in no danger. It is also important that you immediately begin filming their conduct and call a lawyer. Absent a video of their conduct, do not expect a truthful retelling of the facts from law enforcement. Your chances of seeing any law enforcement officer punished for their actions is close to zero. Thus, get everything on video and live stream the encounter so that they cannot erase the encounter.

Third, CPS will likely use some form of highly abusive and coercive tactics against mothers in an effort to get them to support any allegations made against a husband or boyfriend — men are the target in most cases. In our case, CYFD attorney Bridgette Thomas and others labeled Jessica a “non-believing spouse” and claimed she was a danger to the children because she did not believe Betty Duboise’s allegations.

They even went so far as to suggest that Jessica would allow our daughter to be abused in the future if she was given custody of the children; they were taken for ten weeks into an abusive foster care system that is replete with horror stories. CYFD also attempted to pressure Jessica into supporting the allegations and additional claims they manufactured.

In fact, well after it was shown through medical reports, interviews with the examining physician, and Betty Duboise’s own admission that she never asked our daughter the questions she previously claimed led to the allegations, CYFD attorney Bridgette Thomas still sought to have Jessica sign documents admitting abuse occurred.

For CPS and law enforcement, winning is often the most important consideration. By getting their victims to admit to even the smallest misconduct — out of sheer exhaustion from the stresses of the legal process — they protect themselves from accountability later.

Such tactics are common by law enforcement and CPS across the country. New Mexico is not unique. For those readers who are still skeptical that such an event could happen to you, we would encourage you to do your own research. Our story is common, but our willingness to discuss it publicly is uncommon.

I am asking the millions of American families who have suffered the ramifications of a false allegation to join us in telling your story. You are not alone. We can only stop this misconduct if we band together and act as one. State laws will not change until Americans are outraged at the misconduct of their governments and feel the pressure of a citizenry that will vote elected officials out of office.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dr. Adam Lowther served as the founding Director of the Department of Defense’s School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies. He is a nuclear weapons strategy and policy expert who has spent a career in uniform and as a DoD civil servant. He is working on a book about his experience with corrupt law enforcement and is an advocate for the victims of false allegations.




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