Can you imagine this? ^ | 12/8/06 | Unknown

...a young soldier... (and a Purple Heart recipient) is called upon to serve his country.. twice... leaving behind a young wife and his children. While in Iraq, he hears of abuse allegations and he expresses his wishes and fears to social workers after his 9 year old daughter was hospitalized, only to be told he has no parental say so because he is not in this country, but told that "the wife is the custodial parent.... she is here" and he is expected to carry out his dangerous missions as he is wondering who is helping to protect his own children back home.

He returns from serving his country as soon as he can, and decides that he can't be the kind of father, a single parent,... that his children need if he were to remain in the military, so he gives up his 8-year career to go on unemployment and finally is able to find an $8.00 an hour job...

He also tries to file for divorce and is told he can't do that either because you have to be a resident for 6 months and he had been gone for a year.... remind you again, doing what was asked of him, while serving his country. In the meantime, the wife files, and is then granted a divorce in Louisiana, yes, she filed first, he filed when he was finally allowed and he has never been served with any papers, notices or been notified of any hearings and yet, she is given her divorce and also custody of their children.

While all of this is going on, and over a year ago, the children are placed in the paternal grandmother's custody ... in Ohio and after the abuse allegations. The mother files for divorce and she receives free legal aid in both Ohio (which is where the soldier is from) and Louisiana (which is where the mother lived as a child). The soldier ends up having to pay thousands to be represented and is never even given a chance to give his side of the story to a judge. He and his children were never given the chance to speak to a judge in over a year of hearings.

On July 28th, his wife came to Ohio for a hearing, prepared to take her children home. The case was rescheduled for the next Monday. Again they never saw a judge, only a magistrate. It was an ugly scene at the courthouse in Ohio when the children learned they were going back with their mother, they were never going to be able to talk to the judge and explain why they are so frightened and what happened to them while in their mother's care... even though they tried on several occasions, they would just be expected to go with their mother and her live in boyfriend and go through even more abuse.

The now 10 year old screamed to please not make her go, don't let her sister and brother go. She is hysterical and cries that her mother said she would hurt her real bad if she told and now she would beat her again. Again nobody would listen to this child screaming for help. Instead she and her family were told that they had to leave, they were making a scene.

We are told it was because Ohio didn't have the jurisdiction over this soldier's children, this is also why they couldn't be appointed a guardian ad lidem. (If the state of Ohio didn't have jurisdiction over the children, then how could they grant the grandmother custody in the first place and then take it away?) They say because the kids hadn't lived here for 6 months before they were placed in their grandmother's custody, and only had been visiting for 3 months. Their father came to be with them as soon as he had chaptered out of the military. They attended school here for over a year and were doing great, they were involved in Girl Scouts and sports programs. They were happy and enjoying just being able to be kids...

As one police officer who couldn't believe this was happening to them has said "What a way for us to say 'thank you' for serving our country!"