Church members trying to take children out of country

Post Reply
Shelony
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:37 pm

Church members trying to take children out of country

Post by Shelony » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:17 pm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35181444/ns ... arthquake/

10 jailed Americans await fate in Haiti
Church members accused of trying to take children out of country

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Ten Americans jailed amid allegations they were trafficking Haitian children were meeting with a judge again on Tuesday, a day after Haiti's prime minister said the missionaries knew that "what they were doing was wrong."

Prime Minister Max Bellerive also told The Associated Press that his country is open to having the Americans face prosecution in the United States, since most government buildings — including Haiti's courts — were crippled by the monster earthquake.

"It is clear now that they were trying to cross the border without papers. It is clear now that some of the children have live parents," Bellerive said. "And it is clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong."
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

If they were acting in good faith — as the Americans claim — "perhaps the courts will try to be more lenient with them," he said.

U.S. Embassy officials would not say whether Washington would accept hosting judicial proceedings for the Americans, who are mostly from Idaho.

Cheryl Mills, counselor to the secretary of state, said Tuesday she is not aware of any conversations with the Haitian government about prosecuting the Americans in the U.S.

Mills would not speculate whether the missionaries were legitimately trying to help the children, saying only that, "I appreciate that obviously in this instance individuals were making their own assessment about how they best could participate."

Haitian officials insist some prosecution is needed to help deter child trafficking, which many fear will flourish in the chaos caused by the devastating Jan. 12 quake. The government and aid groups are still struggling to get food, water, shelter and basic health care to hundreds of thousands of survivors, and many parents are desperate to get help for their children.

U.S. diplomats have had "unlimited" access to the 10 detainees, and will monitor any court proceedings, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. They have not yet been charged.

Nine of the 10 Americans met with a Haitian judge on Monday but because of uncertainty in the quality of translation, another interpreter "more acceptable to both sides" was being sought for a meeting on Tuesday.

Humanitarian aim?
Members of the church group insisted they were only trying to save abandoned children — but few appear to have had any significant experience with Haiti, international charity work or international adoption regulations.

Pastor Clint Henry told the TODAY show on Tuesday that the church members were doing what they thought was right and what "they thought they had permission for."

Since their arrest Friday near the border, the church group has been held inside two small concrete rooms in the same judicial police headquarters building where ministers have makeshift offices and give disaster response briefings.

"There is no air conditioning, no electricity. It is very disturbing," Attorney Jorge Puello told the AP by phone from the Dominican Republic, where the Baptists hoped to shelter the children in a rented beach hotel.

One of the Americans, Charisa Coulter of Boise, Idaho, was treated Monday at a field hospital for either dehydration or the flu. Looking pale as she lay on a green Army cot, the 24-year-old Coulter, was being guarded by two Haitian police officers.

"They're treating me pretty good," she said. "I'm not concerned. I'm pretty confident that it will all work out."

Investigators have been trying to determine how the Americans got the children, and whether any of the traffickers that have plagued the impoverished country were involved. Their detained spokeswoman, Laura Silsby, said they were "just trying to do the right thing," but she conceded she had not obtained the required passports, birth certificates and adoption certificates for them — a near impossible challenge in the post-quake mayhem.

'I am not an orphan'
The 33 kids, ranging in age from 2 months to 12 years, arrived with their names written in tape on their shirts at a children's home where some told aid workers they have surviving parents. Haitian officials said they were trying to reunite them.

"One (9-year-old) girl was crying, and saying, 'I am not an orphan. I still have my parents.' And she thought she was going on a summer camp or a boarding school or something like that," said George Willeit, a spokesman for the SOS Children's Village.

The prime minister said some of those parents may have knowingly given their kids to the Americans in hopes they would reach the United States — a not uncommon wish for poor families in a country that already had an estimated 380,000 orphans before the quake.

Haiti's overwhelmed government has halted all adoptions unless they were in motion before the earthquake amid fears that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to being seized and sold. Sex trafficking has been rampant in Haiti. Bellerive's personal authorization is now required for the departure of any child.

The arrested Americans' churches are part of the Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest Protestant denomination, which has extensive humanitarian programs worldwide, but they decided to mount their own "rescue mission" following the earthquake.

Shelony
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:37 pm

Post by Shelony » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:40 pm

[quote]Prime Minister Max Bellerive also told The Associated Press that his country is open to having the Americans face prosecution in the United States, since most government buildings — including Haiti's courts — were crippled by the monster earthquake.
[/quote]

What the prime minister is trying to tell us? There is no court in other departments which were not affected by the quake that could handle the case?

[quote]Pastor Clint Henry told the TODAY show on Tuesday that the church members were doing what they thought was right and what "they thought they had permission for."
[/quote]

Permission from whom? Papa Ayiti? Haiti's master? hein?

[quote]Since their arrest Friday near the border, the church group has been held inside two small concrete rooms in the same judicial police headquarters building where ministers have makeshift offices and give disaster response briefings. [/quote]
They want personal hotel rooms? They are under arrest!

[quote]"There is no air conditioning, no electricity. It is very disturbing," Attorney Jorge Puello told the AP by phone from the Dominican Republic, where the Baptists hoped to shelter the children in a rented beach hotel.
[/quote]

They were taking our kids without permission. It is very disturbing, Mr. Puello. Now you are asking for air conditioning, what we can't provide to our poor traumatized patients in our hospitals or to the surgeons helping us with the disaster.

[quote]Investigators have been trying to determine how the Americans got the children, and whether any of the traffickers that have plagued the impoverished country were involved. Their detained spokeswoman, Laura Silsby, said they were "just trying to do the right thing," but she conceded she had not obtained the required passports, birth certificates and adoption certificates for them — a near impossible challenge in the post-quake mayhem.
[/quote]

I thought they had permission, pastor Henry! And again, tell me, permission from whom.

Shelony

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:55 pm

Thanks, Shelony! If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, then perhaps it's a duck! One thing to keep in mind also is that the word "orphan" has different connotations in Haiti and the United States. Never mind the definition of the word in the Oxford Dictionary, most "orphans" in Haiti actually have parents!!! (most of the time, mothers who could not support said children with the economic means available to them). This certainly does not imply that those unfortunate children are there for the taking by any self-professed do-gooder who comes along.

And then they will be the first to describe Haiti as a place where lawlessness reigns supreme. Air Conditioning, my foot! Has that lawyer never heard of human trafficking laws?

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:39 pm

Part of that is associated with the broken concept of the "République de P-au-Pce". The church group could have moved the children to the North, like Cap-Haitien or even Limbé (where there is a reputable Christian Theology School), and wait there for the proper documentation if the transfer across the border was absolutely necessary; they would still be on Haitian soil and show some degree of respect for the law of the land. In the same vein, there are several functioning courts in that part of the country and they could be used to look into this case if needed, or try it if that's the decision. Well, ...

gelin

Anacaona
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:17 am

Post by Anacaona » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:25 am

They had permission from the Dominican Republic (Word of the spokeswoman). When I heard the lady, I wanted to jump on the TV and slap her. I don't know who she was kidding because even my son would know better (ok maybe not, but still). And their so called pastor has the nerve to say that they are not receiving proper treatment in Haiti. They are not even in handcuff, what else do they want?

It's sad that some people are asking the government of Haiti to release them (just pay a visit to the blog on Le Nouvelliste).

Like Gelin said, why do they have to remove the children from Haiti? If they really wanted to give them a better future, they would have done their so called charity in Haiti and those kids would then be able to provide better for their kids in Haiti and so on... I hope that they ban them from entering the country forever.

Anacaona!

User avatar
Marilyn
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:14 am

Post by Marilyn » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:00 am

Anacaona wrote:

[quote]They had permission from the Dominican Republic (Word of the spokeswoman). When I heard the lady, I wanted to jump on the TV and slap her.[/quote]

Same here!

Quelle audace!

Who doesn't know that proper papers are needed to cross international borders?

That even if they had the word of some Dominican that they could cross into the DR with the kids that still did not constitute legal rights to take them out of Haiti.

This brings to its ultimate conclusion the standard operating procedure of so many NGOs, especially church groups.

Disregard the government. Disregard the state. Disregard laws. We know what's best.

When TV talking heads and those representing the 10 missionaries try to justify this heinous act by saying, "they were trying to do good", I want to puke.

Why did these missionaries not heed their own Bible, where it describes in the Book of Judges a period of chaos when "everyone did that which was right in their own sight"?

Aaaargh! Degutan!

Marilyn

Shelony
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:37 pm

Post by Shelony » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:22 pm

You're right Gelin!
Two departments out of 10 (ouest et Sud Est) are affected significantly and in the "Ouest" department, two "arondissements" are destroyed to a significant degree. What about the northern part of the country? what about the south and "Grand'Anse? No place to put some children temporarily, no court? Please!

These statements are attributed to the prime minister:

[quote]"It is clear now that they were trying to cross the border without papers. It is clear now that some of the children have live parents," Bellerive said. "And it is clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong." [/quote]

[quote]If they were acting in good faith — as the Americans claim — "perhaps the courts will try to be more lenient with them," he said. [/quote]

How can you be acting in good faith when you know what you are doing is wrong? I know I should not jump to conclusions before they have a chance to defend themselves in court but still, these contradictory statements are from the prime minister. Are they just poorly translated sentences from French or Haitian Creole? Did he try to say them in English but did not really say what he wanted to say? Or is the prime minister just dancing "woule m de bò?

I cannot see acting in good faith and knowing it's wrong going together especially from a christian group.

"La fin justifie les moyens???"

Shelony

Anacaona
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:17 am

Post by Anacaona » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:13 pm

This is getting interesting by the minutes. Change of story a couple of times and now this.

[quote]The Idaho woman who led a group of 10 Baptists on a mission to help children in Haiti admits to failing to obtain paperwork needed to move 33 children to the Dominican Republic.

But even before Laura L. Silsby and seven other Idahoans ended up in a Haitian jail accused of trafficking in children, Silsby had a history of failing to pay debts, failing to pay her employees and failing even to follow Idaho laws.

Silsby has been the subject of eight civil lawsuits and 14 unpaid wage claims. The $358,000 Meridian house at which she founded her nonprofit New Life Children's Refuge in November was foreclosed upon in December. A check of Silsby's driving record revealed at least nine traffic citations since 1997, including four for failing to provide insurance or register annually.

Silsby is a longtime Treasure Valley businesswoman. In 1999, she founded an Internet business. As CEO of PersonalShopper.comnear Overland and Maple Grove roads, the mother of three was named eWomenNetwork's international businesswoman of the year in 2006.

Three years later, building an orphanage for Haitian and Dominican children became Silsby's vision, and the 40-year-old brought others on board, including her 24-year-old nanny, Charisa Coulter.

"The folks in the church embraced their vision, and it became a shared vision," said Coulter's father, Mel. "The church made it part of their missions program."

But Silsby's failure to work with Haitian authorities before trying to take children from the country last week has many questioning the woman and the cause.

Members of her church, Central Valley Baptist in Meridian, did not return calls Wednesday.

An e-mail circulated Wednesday at PersonalShopper.com urged employees not to speak to the press or post any information on Web sites. "Given the aggressive nature of the press and the fabrications already being invented, we need to make sure nothing in writing is published that can be misconstrued in any way," the e-mail says. Employees also were given the option to work from home to avoid reporters.

UNPAID WAGES

Fourteen claims, including two by the same employee, were filed against Personal Shopper Inc. for nonpayment of wages between Feb. 21, 2008, and July 21, 2009, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

The total dollar amount of the 14 claims was $38,100.09. Department of Labor compliance officers determined that $30,620.26 was owed to the employees; the department also assessed a $4,000 penalty against the business.

Five claims were denied, dropped, or the department did not have jurisdiction. PersonalShopper Inc. paid the employees their due wages and penalties.

The business' former marketing director, Robin Oliver of Eagle, filed a civil suit against Silsby and Personal Shopper Inc. in October for alleged unpaid wages, wrongful termination and fraud.

The suit says that Oliver was promised an annual salary of $110,000, with twice-monthly payments of $4,583.33. The suit alleges that Personal Shopper was delinquent on five payments, for a total unpaid wage claim of $22,016.65.

"In multiple e-mails during 2009, Ms. Silsby repeatedly told plaintiff that she had investors 'committed,' that the money was being 'wired,' and that investors were going to be providing funds," the suit says.

Silsby is due in 4th District Court at 2:45 p.m. next Wednesday; a jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Court records show that Silsby also is due in court in March to answer for another civil suit against her.

Beer & Cain, a Boise law firm, filed a civil suit against Silsby in January this year. The suit says Silsby owes the firm $4,526.59 and interest for services rendered. "The demand for payment was made on May 20, 2008, February 4, 2009, and April 3, 2009," the suit says.

Attorney Dennis Cain declined Wednesday to comment on the suit.

SUITS, TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS

Court records also show that Silsby has been sued by several seeking payment for services or return of goods:

- On July 28, 2009, Disaster Kleenup in the Treasure Valley sued Eric Evans, Evans Construction and Silsby, asking for a lien in the amount of $3,225.79. A notice of voluntary dismissal with prejudice was recorded Nov. 8.

- On April 20, 2009, Les Schwab Tire on South Main Street in Meridian filed a suit for nonpayment. The business received a default judgment on July 2 in the amount of $1,058.91.

- On Feb. 12, 2009, Farm Bureau Finance Co. sued for return of a 2008 Yamaha YFM 25 RXL ATV, valued at $2,740, from the home where the New Life Children's Refuge was based. A default judgment was entered May 7.

- On Aug. 28, 2007, Collection Bureau Inc. sued for $731.33, not including attorney's fees and costs. The suit says the money was owed to the Kuna Rural Fire District for services. Silsby defaulted, her wages were garnisheed and the $1,077.33 judgment later was set aside.

- Two other small-claims cases in 2000 and 2002 were dismissed before trial or hearing.

- Silsby logged numerous traffic infractions. She was cited four times for failure to provide insurance/failure to register annually (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001; the latter was dismissed). She was cited four times for speeding or driving too fast for conditions (2000, 2005, 2006 and 2007).

DEFAULT ON HOUSE

It's unclear where Silsby resides, though Mel Coulter said he believes she lives in South Boise.

Her 16-year marriage to Terry L. Silsby, a real estate agent, ended in divorce in January 2007, according to marriage records.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Terry Silsby declined to comment.

Laura Silsby bought a house at 2828 S. Alfani Way in Meridian on Nov. 10, 2008. On Dec. 7, 2009, MetLife Home Loans foreclosed on the $358,500 house, according to the Ada County Recorder's Office.
[/quote]

http://www.idahostatesman.com/newsupdat ... 67267.html

Post Reply