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By Leonard J. Schussel, Ph.D.

May 24, 2002

The Roseburg OR. News Review editorial on the Christine case is so far off the mark, that I don't know where to begin.  You should have been in the courtroom with me, seeing and hearing this story with your own eyes and ears - you would have come to a vastly different conclusion.  It would be time well spent for every person reading this to spend a day in the courtroom watching the drama of criminal justice. 

The SCF was not on trial in this case.  Brian and Ruth Christine were.  When we talk of child abuse, does eight months without seeing their parents fit the description?  It was testified that Judge Coon in Grants Pass ordered weekly visits to Brian and Ruth, but the agency played 'security games' to allow only the monthly visits that the agency wished to provide - despite Judge Coon's order. 

What about the blatant personal abuse of Terri Christine, a grandmother concerned for her sons family?  Does allowing the maternal grandparents to receive weekly phone calls and take a seven day unsupervised visit with the girls compare with telling Terri that her grandchildren do not remember her?  The unaccountable SCF demonstrated exceptionally rude behavior - there is no doubt that their actions were punitive.  If the Christine's abuse was so bad, then why weren't charges filed immediately upon taking the children? 

The SCF was not on trial in this case.  I have heard many horror stories about the courts in America.  I saw with my own eyes, that for Douglas County, these stories are not true.  Judge Lasswell is a treasure for this community, and with assistance from Elaine, Lisa and a host of others, made me feel like a welcome addition to the courtroom function.  I learned courtroom decorum and found that the fixing the broken justice system is well beyond the scope of a twelve-member jury of my fellow Roseburgers.  They were asked if the incident was covered under the legal statutes applying to this case.  They found affirmative for robbery, negative for kidnapping.  The facts were not in dispute. 

The SCF was not on trial in this case.  They are never on trial and they are not held accountable for their behavior.  I did see evil in action in this courtroom - but only twice.  Once from a witness who was a friend, but who took possessions from Brian because 'he was owed'.  The second was the SCF caseworker.  Bend to her will or she will run your life into hell.  No remorse, no consideration for the family - the Christine's resisted intervention and must be punished.  By her - without the benefit of a jury or a court of proper procedure. 

Where in the statutes does it say that we the people must seek formal medical attention for every auwee that our kids have?  How did 'two days from death' turn from testified fact to hearsay in five minutes?  How many other lives has this woman ruined, that never make it to court because the victims copped a plea from the Chinese menu of charges presented, because they didn't have the moral turpitude to destroy their own life by forcing the instance to court? No, the SCF was not on trial in this case in Roseburg.  Ruth and Brian Christine were.  And even though they committed robbery to reunite their family, they do not deserve a seven-year mandatory jail sentence. They do not deserve a state enforced divorce - a sure bet now that Ruth, a native of England will be deported as a felon, and Brian a resident of Indiana will never get a passport as a felon. 

But the saddest part of all is that in this community The News Review and it's editor feel they have a moral imperative to pass judgment on these people without the benefit of having sat in a courtroom.  Whatever SCF says or any other governmental agency for that matter, is automatically accepted as gospel without even considering the fact that public officials could lie.  

The News Review convicted the Christine's in their headlines two weeks ago, in my opinion, before the jury was even seated.  It is your first amendment right to do so, but the editorial on Sunday overstepped the bounds.  In this day of disintegrating state agency budgets, we the people must decide which services we no longer want the government to provide.  Perhaps we should consider dissolving the SCF and spreading their budget throughout the education system to make it whole again. 

The SCF was not on trial in this case in Roseburg.  But it should have been.

  Leonard J. Schussel, Ph.D. - All Right Reserved


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