Greenville Man Found Guilty of Human Trafficking, Sentenced to Life in Prison
HUNT COUNTY, TX – After a 25 minute deliberation, a Hunt County jury found Jeffery Barrett guilty of a human trafficking case in Greenville.
On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the jury found Barrett guilty of abusing his three adopted children.
“It is heartbreaking to know this horrid abuse was happening in our state, and it is unfathomable that a person could be so heartless to abuse the foster care system and use children in need of a loving, safe home as slave labor,” said Paxton in a prepared statement.
According to investigators, Barrett subjected his adopted children to continuous abuse through isolation and coercion, making the children work at his puppy mill for years and not allowing them to attend school.
During the seizure, the puppies were taken under the care of the SPCA, and the children were removed from the home.
Barrett was sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine, which is the maximum sentence for this offense.
This verdict comes after Barret’s wife, Barbara, was sentenced to 99 years for the continuous trafficking of children.
“There is no excuse for this evil behavior, and it will not be tolerated in our state,” Paxton said.
Police searching for Polk woman
accused of hit and run, Child Abuse
POLK COUNTY, FL – Police are searching for a Haines City woman accused of driving head-on into a vehicle, causing an unrestrained child to be injured on Monday morning.
Taquire Studimire, 34, faces charges of child abuse, tampering, reckless driving, hit and run and resisting arrest without violence, police say.
Authorities say she drove her 2008 Honda Civic into the front of a garbage truck in the area of North 14th Street and Stuart Avenue before 8:30 a.m. on Monday. The driver of the truck told police that he honked his horn to try to avoid being hit, but was unsuccessful. Studimire then exited the vehicle with a young child in her hand and told the driver that he was at fault for the crash.
Video recordings from the truck’s dash camera showed the child sitting unrestrained in the front and being thrown into the dash as the vehicles collided. Studimire is then seen grabbing the child from the floorboard and immediately exiting the vehicle to confront the truck driver.
Police say at no point was she ever seen taking time to examine the child for potential injury. After confronting the truck’s driver, she reentered the vehicle and backed into traffic with the driver’s side door open, almost hitting another vehicle.
The child was later located at a daycare facility after suffering a head bruise and a swollen cheek. The child was taken to a hospital but did not suffer any serious injuries.
“The blatant disregard shown for this child is appalling,” Chief Jim Elensky said. “She proceeded to put others in danger with her carelessness and has taken no responsibility for her actions. Perhaps jail time is what she needs to mull it over. It is fortunate that no one was seriously hurt.”
There is a warrant for Studimire’s arrest. Officers made contact with Studimire by phone, but have yet to locate her. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Haines City Police Department at 863-421-3636.
Special Education Teacher at Miami School Facing Child Abuse, Neglect Charges
MIAMI, FL – A special education teacher at a Miami elementary school is facing charges after police said she punched a student and shoved another.
Graciela Reyes-Marino, a teacher at Auburndale Elementary, was arrested Thursday on aggravated child abuse and child neglect charges, an arrest report said.
The report said earlier this month a boy in Reyes-Marino’s class had been crying and screaming when she allegedly grabbed him by the wrist and shoved him into a bathroom corridor.
She then closed the doors behind the boy, leaving him alone in a confined area for 3-4 seconds until he started screaming louder, the report said. She then opened the door and walked him to his desk.
During a separate incident, a student who was looking under his desk had been asked to stop multiple times by Reyes-Marino before she punched him on his upper back area with a closed fist, the report said.
“[Reyes-Marino] forcefully lifted [the victim] from the ground, proceeded to kick him in the leg and punch him with a closed fist on his upper back area prior to sitting him down,” the report said.
The report said Reyes-Marino denied punching the boy and said she propped the door open for the other student in the corridor.
Reyes-Marino, 60, was booked into jail and later released on bond.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials said Reyes-Marino had been employed by the district for about eight years but will be fired.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is deeply disturbed about the serious allegations made against the employee. Conduct such as the one she is accused of will not be tolerated,” the district said in a statement. “As soon as the allegations surfaced, the individual was reassigned away from the school setting pending the outcome of an investigation by the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. As a result of this week’s arrest, her employment will be terminated and she will be precluded from seeking future work with the District.”
Executive Order on Strengthening
the Child Welfare System
for America’s Children
We opened NOT IN MY WORLD!!!! as a one-page gift to Google+ and all it’s users, on August 19, 2014, with 7 members in #OurCircle. Since that day, we have been very active in the war being waged for Our Children, and seen many Blessings.
In those first days, weeks, and possibly even months, at this point in time I think we, for the most part thought the people we were fighting was something like perverted men dressed in raincoats, standing around and flashing women and children.
I don’t mind telling this like it really is, and was… it wasn’t long before everything we read and saw hit us, and opened deep mental wounds, and assaulted all of our senses, and nothing has changed as far as that.
I can’t help but cry as I look back on all this, here we were adults having innocence ripped away from us, by what was/is done to Our Children almost every minute of every day.
It took quiet some time before we learned of Senator Nancy Schaefer, but the rest of what I list here is documented on our website or our blog, down thru January 2016.
Worse yet, the administration acknowledged that it can’t account for each of the 90,000 children it processed and released since the surge peaked in 2014.
My post on January 30, 2016 had a dead link, and I already knew this was one I enjoyed, because Senator John McCain got so upset with Mark Greenberg and CPS, that he walked out of the bipartisan congressional investigation. The article led the reader to believe that possibly 10 – 30 Children were “missing”, when the link was fixed that number had grown to 90,000+ Children.
HHS Official Jerry Milner was appointed three years ago to oversee much of the departments child welfare work.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar hailed the order as a step toward “bold reforms”. The goals are ambitious – curtailing child maltreatment, strengthening adoption programs and encouraging supports for at-risk families so fewer children need to be separated from their homes and placed in foster care.
Section 1. Purpose. Every child deserves a family. Our States and communities have both a legal obligation, and the privilege, to care for our Nation’s most vulnerable children.
The best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place. My Administration has been focused on prevention strategies that keep children safe while strengthening families so that children do not enter foster care unnecessarily. Last year, and for only the second time since 2011, the number of children in the foster care system declined, and for the third year in a row, the number of children entering foster care has declined.
Sec. 2. Encouraging Robust Partnerships Between State Agencies and Public, Private, Faith-based, and Community Organizations.
Sec. 5. Improving Processes to Prevent Unnecessary Removal and Secure Permanency for Children.
(iv) Within 6 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide guidance to States regarding flexibility in the use of Federal funds to support and encourage high-quality legal representation for parents and children, including pre-petition representation, in their efforts to prevent the removal of children from their families, safely reunify children and parents, finalize permanency, and ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected. The Secretary shall also ensure collection of data regarding State use of Federal funds for this purpose.
Sec. 6. Indian Child Welfare Act. Nothing in this order shall alter the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act or replace the tribal consultation process.
Seymour father, stepmother face neglect
charges, accused of locking kids in room,
limiting bathroom access
SEYMOUR. WI – The parents of children who told police they weren’t allowed to leave their bedroom for hours at a time or use the bathroom more than three times a day were charged with felony neglect.
The children, a 12-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, who lived in a house with their father, stepmother and siblings in Seymour, also said they weren’t fed anything other than peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Outagamie County Circuit Court.
The windows in their bedroom were screwed shut and the door was equipped with an alarm that went off if it was opened, and the rest of the house was monitored by security cameras, the complaint says, and both children were punished if they tried to leave.
Gregory Hietpas, 33, and Elizabeth Hietpas, 33, both of Seymour, are each charged with two counts of chronic neglect of a child, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and five years of extended supervision.
A police officer for the Seymour Police Department spoke with both children at school. The 12-year-old boy was “very soft spoken” and “appeared very tired and sounded depressed” as he spoke, the complaint says.
The boy told the officer he and his sister share a bedroom, where he is forced to sleep on the floor without a blanket or pillow and is only allowed to use the bathroom three times a day.
“If he has to use the bathroom more than that, he has to go inside his bedroom,” sometimes “in a bucket or on the floor,” the complaint says. He also told the officer he is only given five minutes to take a bath and the door to the bathroom has to stay open.
The other children in the house are allowed out of their rooms and can leave the house, but he and his older sister are forced to stay in their bedroom, “unless they need to take the dogs outside or do chores,” the complaint says.
The boy described an incident in which he left his bedroom and “walked around the city,” the complaint says, and when he was found and returned home, his father, Gregory Hietpas, “screamed at him, hit him and threw him across the room.”
He also described how his stepmother, Elizabeth Hietpas, used the clock on the oven to time the five minutes given to him and his sister to make and eat their meals.
“When asked the last time he was given something other than a peanut butter sandwich to eat, he could not remember,” the complaint says.
The girl later told an interviewer at a child advocacy center that the alarm was placed on the door because they would sneak out and take food from the refrigerator, which she said her parents considered stealing, the complaint says.
When he was punished, the boy said he was forced to carry a weight over his head “and is not allowed to let it rest on his head or chest” and “if he lowered it, he has to start over,” the complaint says. His sister described an incident in which the boy dropped a weight on his head and injured himself.
Both children also described being forced to write sentences hundreds of times as punishment for not listening to their parents.
The girl, who was also interviewed at school, told the officer that she and her brother are not allowed around the other children because “her parents think they are bad influences,” the complaint says.
The girl also said “there are days that she does not feel safe going home,” the complaint says, and that her father “hurts her when he is mad or frustrated.” She also described days on weekends when she and her brother were forced to stand in their bedroom from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
When a police officer visited the house on Dec. 4, 2018, he found at least two large loaves of bread and large container of peanut butter, and saw the alarm attached to the bedroom door, the complaint says.
The officer asked whether the boy was able to use the bathroom at night, the complaint says, and Elizabeth Hietpas told him “no, not right now,” and explained that the boy runs off and “we don’t know what else to do.”
When asked why they hadn’t told anyone what was happening, the girl said “they were afraid of getting in trouble,” the complaint says, adding that “it is never good at home” and “it is painful to have to deal with it all of the time.”
The boy told the interviewer that when other people are around, his parents will be nice to him and his sister and “act like nothing is going on.”
When Elizabeth Hietpas was interviewed by police, she denied the two children weren’t allowed to use the bathroom when they wanted, the complaint says. She also claimed they had stopped using weights as a punishment after the boy hurt himself. But when asked about her honesty during the interview, Hietpas said she didn’t want talk more about the issues and accused an officer of “backing her into a corner.”
Gregory Hietpas told police that the boy and girl were forced to sleep in the same room because the two children would intentionally go to the bathroom in their pants, the complaint says, so they decided to put them in the same bedroom “so only one room was destroyed and not the whole house.”
Hietpas said both children could go to the bathroom whenever they wanted during the day, but not at night, when the alarm on their door is activated, the complaint says.
He also told police that when things started to “go south” at his house, he began to “tune things out and found things to do to get out of the house.”