Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cruz kidnapper confrontation earns commendation from judge!

See you next year, judge rules!
By Sean Cruz

It took 14 years to get Kory Wright, the organizer of my children’s kidnapping, into a courtroom, and that drama played out today.

The courtroom opportunity took place as a result of my confrontation with this criminal in the lobby of the Vancouver Hilton Hotel, where I slapped him with a copy of Aaron’s Law, Oregon’s anti-kidnapping statute…

…bounced it right off of his face…, telling him: “Oregon’s Aaron’s Law was written for people like you, motherfucker. You are served!”

Kory Wright was asking for a permanent Order For Protection From Unlawful Civil Harassment, which would restrain me from entering or being within 250 feet of his home or of Columbia Ultimate, his place of employment.

The judge heard me out…you lose track of time in there…she listened to me explain the Order for Joint Custody that had protected my children for four years…

She listened to me describe how Kory Wright, motivated by his rabid Mormon zealotry, had violated that order and criminal statutes in three states, but there had been no investigation and the statute of limitations had run on those crimes….

The judge saw documentation detailing Kory Wright’s criminal conduct…there was no question about whether he violated the law or not, that was easy to show….

The judge heard me describe my history of work on the issue of parental and family abductions:

My testimony on Kory Wright’s criminal conduct before the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Committee in 2003….

My testimony on Kory Wright’s criminal conduct before the Senate President’s Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions in 2004….

My assignment, as Senator Avel Gordly’s Chief of Staff, to lead her workgroup on Senate Bill 1041 in the 2005 legislative session….

My 2005 testimony on Kory Wright’s criminal conduct before the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Rules Committee and the House State and Federal Affairs Committee….

The 2005 passage of Senate Bill 1041 on a unanimous House vote…the bill became known as Aaron’s Law after the death of my son….

I showed the judge a photograph of my family—my children and I—taken before the abduction, and a photograph of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signing the bill into law with Aaron’s picture on his desk….

The judge asked me questions…What does Aaron’s Law do?...I described the law…explained that it provides an alternative to traditional criminal and family law procedures….

I described how both the criminal and family law systems had failed in response to the abduction of my children, and how common the problem is….

The judge asked me if there were any other legal avenues available regarding my quest for justice against Kory Wright (and the other criminals)….

I explained that custodial interference statutes have a 3-year statute of limitations, even if the children remain kidnapped, and that fact plus the inaction of law enforcement had allowed Kory Wright and the other criminals to escape justice.

I said that I had hoped that she would find Kory Wright’s conduct offensive and that she might order him jailed today on a perjury charge….

We discussed the fact that my “service” of Aaron’s Law on Kory Wright was an intentionally symbolic act, and not a legal process. I had not gone to the Hilton in order to get into a scuffle but to serve a document…there was a larger public purpose at stake.

I described my ongoing efforts to raise public awareness of the crime of abduction by persons known to the child or to members of the child’s family….

We talked about the Hilton confrontation. If he hadn’t smiled, I wouldn’t have thrown the envelope at him, I explained. He smiled, I threw it at his face….

After some deliberation, the judge handed down her order:

“Mr. Cruz, I see that you are an intelligent man, and I commend you for your work on these issues….”

She then ordered the Protective Order into effect until October 27, 2010.

Kory Wright protested…he was asking for a permanent order….

“You will have to file again next year”, the judge said.

Next case.

Looks like I will be seeing my children’s kidnapper again, this time next year….

See you again, motherfucker…!

I wonder how soon/often he is planning to set foot in Oregon…home of Aaron’s Law…?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Triple-threat deterrence: How Oregon's Aaron's Law can prevent a kidnapping

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--With more than 200,000 US children suffering parental and family abductions every year, year after year, it is clear that current criminal and family law remedies are inadequate.

Far too often, people decide to abduct their own children (or, like Kory Wright, to take part in the abduction of someone else’s children), knowingly committing a criminal act, because they realize that they are likely to get away with it. They usually do.

Some 20% of parental and family abductions involve more than one perpetrator, and not all perpetrators are either family members or known to the child(ren).

Some abductions are impulsive or taken in haste. Others might be the result of much pre-planning, where the perpetrators coldly resolve well in advance to take a course of criminal conduct that will shatter the lives of their young victims.

Aaron’s Law fills key gaps, skirting both the criminal and family law processes to offer triple-threat deterrence, real reasons for many a would-be perpetrator to reconsider.

Oregon’s unique law also provides several new tools to resolve these soul-crushing conflicts where children are abducted by persons they love and trust.

Triple-threat deterrence

1. Under Aaron’s Law, the Court can immediately order the parties into counseling directed at educating the parties to the harm their actions are causing the children, and order them to pay the cost of the counseling.

2. Under Aaron’s Law, the Court can immediately assign a mental health professional and a legal advocate to protect the wellbeing of the children, and order the parties to the conflict to pay for these services as well.

3. Also under Aaron’s Law, both adult and child victims have recourse against
the perpetrators for special, general and punitive damages, for the cost of a life, for the loss of a future, for the destruction of a personality.

Had these provisions been in effect in 1996, my children would have been kept safe, and my son would still be alive today. There would have been no abduction.

Kory Wright would have been subject to Aaron’s Law, and this fact alone would have dissuaded him from organizing and perpetuating the crime. That’s the bottom line.

More on this later, to be sure….

I’ve written extensively about the kidnapping and Aaron’s Law in earlier posts on www.blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com and www.aaronslaw.blogspot.com

Link to Senate Bill 1041, Aaron’s Law:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed Aaron's Law with my son's photo on his desk

Chronology of Aaron's Law

In 2003, I testified to Kory Wright’s criminal involvement in the abduction of my children before the Oregon State Senate Judiciary Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee, about the “taking, enticing and keeping” of my children in violation of the Order for Joint Custody.

Also in 2003, Senate President Peter Courtney appointed the Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions, which met in 2004 and reported its findings to the 2005 Oregon Legislature.

The blue-ribbon Abduction Task Force was co-chaired by Senators Avel Gordly and Frank Morse.

The Task Force included: Hon. Judge Maureen McKnight; former Senator John Minnis (Director of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training); Liss Hart-Haviv of Take Root; Judy Hayes of the Oregon State Police, Missing Children’s Clearing House; Mickey Lansing of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families; Sybil Hebb of the Oregon Law Center; Madeline Olson of the Department of Human Services; Ronelle Shenkle of the Department of Justice; BeaLisa Sydlik of the Judicial Department; Patrick Callahan of the District Attorneys Association; and, Denise Washington of the Domestic Violence Coalition.

I testified before the Parental and Family Abduction Task Force in 2004.

Among its findings: “According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, in 1999 an estimated 203, 900 children were victims of family abductions with 20 percent of the abductions involving more than one perpetrator. Although there are no numbers for Oregon regarding parental abductions (emphasis added), the Task Force is of the opinion that the rate of parental abductions in Oregon mirrors the rate for the country. In other words, there appear to be at least 5,000 parental abductions in Oregon every year. These abductions are illegal; they cause a tremendous amount of grief and anxiety for the parent or guardian with legal custody, and they cause immeasurable damage, both psychological and sometimes physical, to the abducted child.”

At the beginning of the 2005 legislative session, Senator Gordly tasked me with leading the workgroup on her Senate Bill 1041, which, after the death of my son, became known as Aaron’s Law.

In 2005, I testified on Senate Bill 1041 before the Senate Judiciary Committee and then before the Senate Rules Committee and the House State and Federal Affairs Committee, describing the multi-perpetrator criminal abduction of my children.

Aaron’s Law passed the Senate on a 26-3 vote and the House on a unanimous 59-0 vote as the 2005 legislative session came to an end.

Governor Ted Kulongoski signed the bill into law with Aaron’s picture on his desk.

In April, 2006, Aaron’s Law was among the featured sessions at “Out of the Frying Pan: Burning Issues in Access to Justice”, the Oregon Judicial Department and the State Family Law Advisory Committee’s fourth annual Family Law Conference.

Hon. Paul J. De Muniz, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court wrote:

“I am pleased to inform you that the State Family Law Advisory Committee is offering a workshop on parental abductions at its fourth Family Law Conference…. The curriculum for the workshop will include education on the nature of the problem, information about case studies from a practicing psychotherapist and two attorneys, information about Aaron’s Law (SB 1041), and existing statutory remedies in Oregon to enforce parenting plans and prevent abduction in the context of family law proceedings.”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sean Cruz's confrontation with his childrens' kidnapper moves to Clark County courtroom!

Portland, Oregon--

At long last,14 years after Kory Wright organized the disappearance of my four children, I will face him in a court of law, in the same building where my Order for Joint Custody had originated.

Korwin Jay Wright didn’t like being served with a copy of Aaron’s Law, Oregon Senate Bill 1041 (2005), and has filed for an Order for Protection, stating under penalty of perjury that “…I feel Mr. Cruz represents an immediate threat to me, my family and others.”

The kidnapper alleges that unlawful harassment has occurred.

The document states: “Unlawful harassment means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses, or is detrimental to such person and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose.”

I’m glad that the subject of “a knowing and willful course of conduct” will be part of the discussion, because it describes Kory Wright’s years-long actions in violating the Order for Joint Custody that once protected my children and kept their lives orderly and secure.

I’m also open to discussion regarding whether the incident “serves no legitimate or lawful purpose.”

FYI, neither Kory Wright nor any member of his family is related in any way to my family or to my former wife’s family. His involvement in the kidnapping of my children was motivated by his own extremist religious views and enabled by his position in the Mormon church, which he used, violating a trust relationship, to further the kidnapping over a years-long period of time.

It is a felony under Oregon statute to “take, entice or keep” a child in violation of a valid joint custody order, which is exactly what Kory Wright did. There was never a police investigation, and he was never charged with the crime.

Technically, the immediate crimes he committed were Custodial Interference I and II, both serious felonies with penalties of up to five years in prison.

An investigation would have shown that Kory Wright became involved in planning the disappearance of my children and their concealment in Utah several months before the actual kidnapping took place.

If we were talking about a stolen load of lumber or a pallet of printers or a car theft operation, there would have been charges of conspiracy and other related crimes added to the docket, both state and federal, and all of the defendants in court….

But the System handles child abduction cases where a family member is involved differently from the way stranger kidnappings are handled, ignoring the roles non-family members play in carrying out the crimes, focusing on just the parents, which often obscures the real picture and allows criminal conduct to go unaddressed.

More than 200,000 US children suffer an abduction where a parent or family member is involved every year, year after year…the System fails to make a dent in the numbers.

Child abductions by any party are so heinous, so damaging to the children and so costly to the victims’ families that the best solution is to deter these kidnappings from happening in the first place.

Aaron’s Law offers new tools to deter and resolve child abduction by any parties.

Aaron’s Law is landmark legislation, unique in the nation, and I hope to see it enacted by every state in the USA.

The fact is that, without Kory Wright, my children would have never been abducted….

…which is why I stated, when I served him with SB 1041, that Aaron’s Law was written for him and for people like him….

Aaron’s Law creates a civil cause of action that can only be triggered by the commission of a serious criminal act, the violation (in Oregon) of Custodial Interference I and II.

If Aaron’s Law had been on the books in 1995, Kory Wright would have faced an immediate lawsuit and would have been liable for the damage he caused my family to suffer, including “Special and general damages, including damages for emotional distress; and punitive damages.”

His Mormon zealotry would have never been sufficient to motivate him to get involved in violating the Order for Joint Custody of a family he barely knew, not if it was going to cost him money.

More on this later….

The hearing will take place in Clark County District Court, 1200 Franklin Street, Vancouver Washington on October 16, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.

The public is invited.


I’ve written extensively about the kidnapping and Aaron’s Law in earlier posts on www.blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com and www.aaronslaw.blogspot.com

Link to Senate Bill 1041, Aaron’s Law:


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sean Cruz confronts man who kidnapped his children

Portland, Oregon—

Fourteen years ago, Kory Wright organized the kidnapping of my four children, and today I walked into the lobby of the Vancouver Hilton Hotel and slapped him in the face with a copy of Senate Bill 1041, Aaron’s Law.

I became aware that he would be present at the Columbia Ultimate conference today, October 6, and I drove there with dual intentions: to confront this person who had done such grievous harm to my family; and to raise awareness of the issue of child abduction by persons known to the child or the child’s family.

He looked at me quizzically as I approached him, and I asked him if he remembered who I was…he was unsure….

“My name is Sean Cruz. You kidnapped my children, motherfucker.”

He remembered who I was then, smirked a little, thinking back to how good it felt to cause my children to disappear from their Oregon homes into the mountains east of Ogden, Utah, near where Kory Wright was living.

“Oregon’s Aaron’s Law was written for people like you, motherfucker,” I said, and bounced the envelope right off of his face. “You are served!” That ended the smirking.

The entire confrontation lasted less than 30 seconds. I was careful to keep to my talking points:

1. I am Sean Cruz
2. You kidnapped my children (motherfucker)!
3. You ruined six lives: mine, my mother's (who died four years later without seeing or hearing from her grandchildren again), and my four children (Natalia, Aaron, Tyler and Allie)
4. Aaron's Law was written for you, and people like you (motherfucker)!

Those were my words to Kory Wright, Mormon zealot.

To be specific, when my children disappeared on February 12, 1996, my former wife drove them directly to the home of Chris and Kory Wright, who were living east of Ogden, Utah at the time. It was at the Wright home that my children were first concealed.

I then walked out of the hotel and drove to the Vancouver Columbian where I spoke at length with a reporter, about child abduction in general and the kidnapping of my children in particular.

My essential point was that Aaron’s Law is designed to deter non-stranger abductions, but it cannot possibly serve as a deterrent if no one knows it exists, and the Oregon State Bar hasn’t produced a single lawyer who is conversant with either the law or the issue.

It is a felony to “take, entice or keep” a child in violation of a valid joint custody order, which is exactly what Kory and Chris Wright did, Mormon zealots that they are. There was never a police investigation, and they were never charged with the crime.

I’ve written extensively about the kidnapping and Aaron’s Law in earlier posts.