Friday, December 23, 2011

The last Christmas gift, the Story of Abduction Eve

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

We were three generations gathered together, my mother, my four children and I, that Christmas Eve so long ago. A fire burned in the hearth against the winter night. Love and tradition making up for what we lacked in money, we exchanged gifts for what we did not yet know would be the last time, our last holiday together, this Eve of Abduction, the night before Christmas, 1995.

I had become my medically fragile mother’s sole caregiver, and had maintained this home for us and for my children under an order for joint custody. My former wife and I had shared the children for the holidays for the five years that had followed the divorce, but that was about to come to an abrupt end, vicious and cruel, a cold-blooded kidnapping in the making, a Mormon shunning in the first degree.

Mormons in three states were planning to cause my children to disappear into a series of secret locations in Utah, were in fact finalizing their plans during this very Christmas holiday, furtively arranging housing, employment and a rousing Mormon welcome for my former wife and her four freshly abducted children with Mormon zealots Chris and Kory Wright.

But my mother, my children and I were unaware of all of this at the time, and the video we shot of ourselves that Christmas Eve captured some of the last moments of childhood innocence the Cruz family would ever experience. After this evening, there would be no more holiday gatherings, no birthdays, no communications at all to record. Only the Mormons knew what was about to come, criminally complicit and firm in their fucked-up self-importance.

My mother would live for four more years, without seeing or hearing from her grandchildren again. That’s the way the Mormons roll, separating families into Mormon and non-Mormon contingents, among the most intolerant, controlling and hypocritical of religious sects, the American Taliban, some of them.

My eldest son, Aaron, 14 years old at the time, surprised me with a wonderful gift, a wrist watch. He had saved his money for some time to pay for it, and I asked him “How did you do this?” when I opened the box. He had just smiled, enjoying the moment even more than I did.

The Mormons caused my children to disappear on Monday, February 12, 1995, a day when they should have been in school with their friends. They were taken by a roundabout, circuitous route to the home of Chris and Kory Wright, I would later learn, in the mountains east of Ogden, Utah.

When my son’s 15th birthday came around on March 21, I had no address to even send him a card. And later that year, he would begin carving up his arms with a knife, isolated and depressed, held captive in Mormon Utah.

The watch Aaron gave me that last Christmas Eve has become perhaps my most treasured possession. It stopped running years ago, and a piece of clear tape holds the crystal together. I have never taken it off since that night, now sixteen years ago, other than to keep it dry. I keep the clasp closed with another piece of tape, so that it stays on my wrist always.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night….

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On child abuse, Mormonism, Mitt Romney, the Penn State Scandal and the People of the Lie

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

That Jerry Sanduski loved to play grabass naked with children not much taller than his crotch in the Penn State athletic department showers (he calls it “horsing around) is not in dispute. Nor is the fact that many adults had some awareness of Sanduski’s “problem”, and kept silent or otherwise minimized his criminal conduct in order to protect their own careers and their respective institutions, Penn State mostly, but the web of guilt and the repercussions will not end there.

The combination of power, greed, vast sums of money and valuable perks, an organization that commands and rewards loyalty in a climate of religious fervor, and a culture financially and otherwise dependent upon the public stature of iconic individuals and the continuation of fabricated legends, has led to this end.
Religious fervor and sports zealotry are very similar, and how individuals think and act within institutions that strive to increase levels of fervor and zealotry (and the financial rewards that ensue) within its manufactured belief system exactly alike. Where do people exhibit more raw, emotional zealotry as a group than in church or sports settings?

The behavior of Penn State as an institution and as a collective of individuals in the Sandusky scandal is similar to that exercised by the Mormon Church and its TBMs “True Believer Mormons” as everyday practice, as the norm. This explains in large part why the mock-Christian sect is so secretive, shielding itself from scrutiny concerning the rampant domestic and child abuse so thoroughly ingrained in its white-male-dominant, female-submissive culture.

In his book “People of the Lie”, examining the psychology of evil in everyday life and in how the roles of individuals within groups operate in such situations, Dr. Scott Peck called these persons exactly that, the People of the Lie, describing a mechanism he termed “the fragmentation of conscience.”

“Whenever the roles of individuals within a group become specialized, it becomes both possible and easy for the individual to pass the moral buck to some other part of the group. In this way, not only does the individual forsake his conscience but the conscience of the group as a whole can become so fragmented and diluted as to be nonexistent…The plain fact of the matter is that any group will remain inevitably potentially conscienceless and evil until such time as each and every individual holds himself or herself directly responsible for the behavior of the whole group—the organism—of which he or she is a part.”

The coming legal process will reveal the names of many whose inaction, while not strictly criminal, served to enable the continuation of heinous crimes against defenseless children fallen into the Penn State-Sandusky orbit. We will learn the identities of those who kept a lid on clear evidence of child abuse in order to protect the system and their place in it. The investigation will follow both the money and the amorality and cowardice.

The same processes were at work in the Mormon abduction and long-term abuse of my four children, in the series of crimes that took place beginning in 1995, when the kidnapping was planned, and after February 12, 1996, the day my children vanished into Mormon enclaves in remote areas of Utah.

Mormon officials, bishops and the like, in three states were criminally involved in the abduction, and that fact created powerful incentives to protect themselves, each other, and their institution once the kidnapping had become a fact. Like at Penn State, these were crimes of great shame, and reputations and prison sentences were at stake, and thus the People of the Lie conspired to sustain a kidnapping, and the systematic abuse of four innocent children.

Bob Schaeffer had these words to say on the Penn State scandal, in his commentary on Face the Nation, broadcast November 13:

“It is hard to believe that anyone who had an inkling of what was going on at Penn State did not understand its significance… As the Catholic church learned, when protecting the institution is put ahead of those it is intended to serve, it is eventually the institution that is put at risk. That is unfortunate, but let us remember those the institution forgot, the victims, children who may have been scarred for life (italics added).

“They deserve to know that those who wronged them and those who knew about it are being brought to justice; and, yes, that includes the icons.”

There were Mormons who knew in advance that my children were to be abducted, and there were Mormons who became involved later, that worked to protect the first group, and thus themselves, as the crimes metastasized through the church organizations, all well aware of the significance of their actions, these People of the Lie.

To deliberately cause a child to lose a beloved parent, a beloved grandparent, is an act of child abuse as cruelly destructive as any other form, and has lifelong consequences. Each of the perpetrators understood this fact perfectly well, and would have considered the treatment that they were happy to give the Cruz children as child abuse were it applied in their own families. They were knowingly People of the Lie.

And thus, I will identify them, as I have many times over the years, again in this essay. Lifetime consequences for the victims must be balanced by lifetime consequences for the perpetrators; even if they are never brought to justice, their conduct must be brought out into the open and kept there, as both punishment and deterrent.

The statue of limitations has probably long expired over many of the Sandusky crimes, as it has for the crimes of child abuse perpetrated in the Mormon kidnapping of the Cruz children. The passage of Senate Bill 1041, named after my late son Aaron Cruz, whose death is directly attributable to the abuse and isolation he endured during his years in Mormon captivity, did not pose any threat of justice against his abusers. The law applies only to those cases that originated after its passage in 2005.

These People of the Lie, complicit in the Mormon kidnappings, individually and institutionally, often acting in their official LDS capacity, and bearing a share of responsibility in the death of my son Aaron, include:

Kory and Chris Wright; bishop Donald Taylor; bishop David Holiday, Evelyn Taylor, Tony Micheletti, Cynthia Anderson, Steve Nielson, Ben and Gina Foulk, Barry and Connie Dunford, Edwin Poyfair, James Rulli, and others whose names I do not know or who escape recall at this writing.

The presidential aspirations of Mitt Romney is bringing new attention to Mormonism and how the church operates, how it controls its members, particularly women and children, who have no real power in the organization.

The fragmentation of conscience is far more potent a path and cover for evildoing in the Mormon church than it is in collegiate sports, as would be expected in any secret society.

Although his campaign portrays him very effectively as a businessman and a moderate (despite his crazy talk on the stump), Mitt Romney, a former bishop, is a product of the Mormon institution, and the social values of the church are the only place where he can be counted on to have a core, the loci of his few absolute values.

“As bishop, Romney exercised great power over his congregation. Besides appointing staff members, from the local church librarian to choir master, he interviewed people in the congregation to determine fealty to the church. He decided who could carry a ‘recommend,’ a physical card that serves as proof of a person’s good doctrinal standing and suitability to enter the sacred temples.

“In Boston, Mitt Romney ‘evolved’ in Mormon leadership, some churchwomen say”, By Jason Horowitz, The Washington Post

Mr. Horowitz delved into the “evolution” of Romney’s attitudes toward the place of women (it’s in the home), concluding that he shares the Mormon church’s antipathy towards independent-minded women.

These temple recommends are an effective tool for keeping the people in line, and any Mormon who commits an act of child abuse is sure to lose it and much more, should the crime become known.

Therein lies the incentives and the path for child abuse, Mormonism, Mitt Romney, Penn State, the Cruz kidnappings and the People of the Lie….


Friday, October 21, 2011

On Faith, Religion, Mormonism and Presidential Politics

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

The candidacies of Mormons Mitt Romney and John Huntsman have put the issue of religion on the Presidential debate stage, which is where it belongs.

The President is the nation’s Decider-in-Chief.

We should be concerned with all of the factors that will influence the future President’s decision-making. When the candidates identify a particular school of thought, worldview, religion or set of beliefs as central to their lives, then the public should vet those aspects. This is no place to grant a candidate a pass.

It’s one thing to have faith in a given creation story or adhere to a given religious tradition. It’s another thing entirely, however, to believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, or that a person rapped a stick on a rock and the sea actually parted, or a story about golden plates, the Lost-Tribe-of-Israel origins of Native Americans and real rocking, talking angels. Do we want a Commander-in-Chief who is convinced that any of this is factual?

If the next Decider-in-Chief has crazy beliefs in his or her head, we need to know about it. Does the candidate believe that God drawls in his or her ear? Like George W. Bush? Have we forgotten how that worked out already?

(sound track: The Who: “Won’t Get Fooled Again!” is playing right here)

I don’t much care what church they do or do not go to, but I do want to know--long before election night, long before the anointed one ascends—if they are spending way too much time in an imaginary world, measured in cubits. That’s not the problem-solver I want to see in the Oval Office.

The Mormon church is powerful, enormously wealthy, highly secretive, and amounts to about 3% of the US population. These are well-established facts that have nothing to do with the theology of the sect or its relationship to Christian points of view, or with the First Amendment, for that matter.

Mormonism is controversial for many reasons, not just whether it meets the dictionary definition of a cult or is a bizarre form of polytheistic Christianity, or for its polygamist and officially racist recent past.

One of those reasons is the Mormon practice of shunning, and how Mormon shunnings are enforced, which speaks to how the Mormon Church operates as if it were a cult. That’s a different issue altogether, and should be part of the discussion.

Another issue is the position of women in the Mormon Church and in the Mormon worldview. All of the higher positions in the church organization are reserved for men only. Mormon women belong in the home, not the workplace. Mormon women and girls are expected to be subservient to men, and are trained to be “meek and mild” as part of everyday practice.

I would never vote for a candidate that had this set of beliefs, not for any public office.

One of the issues that stood between me and unwelcome Mormonism in my family story was the status of its women and girls. I did not want my daughters to grow up believing that their roles were to be subservient to men, or my sons to believe that either.

If your child marries into the Mormon church, you can say goodbye to any plans you ever had to see your child’s wedding. You will be forbidden participation, an outsider to one of the most important events in your life. That is official Mormon policy, and it is enforced without exception. Voters need to be clear on this.

The Mormon notion of the family unit and the church’s willingness to sever families based on their membership status or fidelity to hard core Mormonism should be part of this public policy discussion, as the candidates debate their notions of family values, an essential component of each of their platforms.

My four children disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction more than 15 years ago. This is the story of a Mormon shunning.

Mormon officials in three states conspired to abduct and conceal my kids in a series of remote Mormon enclaves in order to immerse them in a completely Mormon environment, despite an order for joint custody. And they got what they wanted, too, although it cost the happiness and then the life of my son Aaron.

Oregon's landmark 2005 kidnapping law is named "Aaron's Law" after my late son Aaron Cruz, who died in Payson, Utah from long-term medical neglect, emotional abuse and abandonment. Aarons Law (Senate Bill 1041) is designed to remedy several common failures of the criminal and family law systems in preventing and resolving cases of child abduction.

Aarons Law provides abduction victims tools to hold their abductors, and those who provide financial, planning or logistical support to the abduction, accountable financially, including religious organizations that engage in shunning, like the Mormons, like the Mormons who abducted my children.

With Aaron’s Law, Oregon is the only state in the nation where the abduction of a child creates a civil cause of action. The law recognizes that the abduction of a child by any person is child abuse, as serious as any other form of abuse.

The provisions of Aaron’s Law arise from the failures of both the criminal and family law systems in the interstate kidnapping and concealment of my children, but these failures are commonplace, with more than 200,000 cases of parental and family abduction taking place in the United States each year, and increasing numbers of children disappearing into foreign countries forever.

Personally, I’m glad Romney’s in the race. The more people understand the ins and outs of Mormonism, the more will reject it. Bring it on, Mitt! You too, Mr. Huntsman. I didn’t buy the story about the golden plates, so your church destroyed my family. Now let’s talk about who you hypocrites really are.

Every candidate for public office has the right to believe whatever he or she believes, to belong or not belong to any religious organization. That is guaranteed by the First Amendment,

But the public does have a legitimate right to know the specifics of those beliefs, and to vote accordingly with a complete set of facts.

There is far too much at stake in the election of a President to give the candidates a pass on such a fundamental part of their character and how they view the world, particularly since they express such strong feelings about it. Let's talk it all out. There's plenty of time. I've waited for 15 years.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Mitt Romney and the Mormonism controversy

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

My four children disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction more than 15 years ago.

Mormon officials in three states conspired to abduct and conceal my kids in a series of remote Mormon enclaves in order to immerse them in a completely Mormon environment, despite an order for joint custody.

Oregon's landmark 2005 kidnapping law is named "Aaron's Law" after my late son Aaron Cruz, who died in Payson, Utah. Aarons Law is designed to remedy several common failures of the criminal and family law systems in preventing and resolving cases of child abduction.

Mormons divide the world into "Members" (Mormons) and "Non-Members" (everybody else), and they carry a huge thin-skinned “Us vs Them” persecution complex that influences their relationships with non-members unlike any mainstream religion in America.

Mormonism’s essential tenets put it at odds with every branch of Christianity on the planet, along with the Mormon doctrine that every other church or belief system is fundamentally evil.
If your child marries into the Mormon church, you can say goodbye to any plans you ever had to see your child’s wedding. The Mormon notion of the family unit and their willingness to sever families based on their membership status should be part of this public policy discussion.
Personally, I’m glad Romney’s in the race. The more people understand the ins and outs of Mormonism, the more will reject it. Bring it on, Mitt!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fundamentalist Mormon Warren Jeffs and LDS Hell on Earth

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

Mainstream Mormons may not grow their own child brides like Warren Jeffs, but Mormon zealots can be just as dangerous, and a non-Mormon has little chance to find justice in Utah (read Mormon) courts.

My four children disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction more than 15 years ago, eventually suffering life under a series of three Mormon step dads in three states.

My late son Aaron Cruz died in his mother’s empty house in Payson, Utah, from “undetermined causes”, and a phalanx of Mormon lawyers hired by 5th-husband Ben and Gina Foulk, who now live a country-club, Rotary life in El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park, California, are determined to keep it that way, with the circumstances of his death unknown and uninvestigated.

My son Aaron Cruz is memorialized in Oregon's landmark anti-parental-and-family-kidnapping Senate Bill 1041 "Aaron's Law", passed in 2005.

Oregon is still the only state in the nation that offers its children this level of protection from parental and family or other non-stranger kidnappings. Under Aaron's Law, taking any abducted child out of the state of Oregon creates a civil cause of action, and you should really think hard about how you want to protect your child from abduction by religious zealots, your ex or any other criminal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nightmares of an abducted child, Terri Horman and the Casey Anthony trial

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

Some minutes after I woke from the nightmare this morning, I wrote some lines while the memory was still fresh. I’ve had several hundred of these since my four children disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction more than fifteen years ago, but there was something about this one that felt different, and it took some time for me to put it together….

This, I came to realize, was the first nightmare to trouble my sleep since the conclusion of the Casey Anthony trial, the young mother who couldn’t find the time to report the disappearance of her 3-year-old daughter Kaylee, whose skeletal remains were found months later, her lips and nose duct-taped shut, packed into a plastic bag and dumped by the side of the road.

What was different about this dream was that where my ex-wife Gina Foulk was in it, she had that emotionless Casey Anthony/Terri Horman demeanor, was indifferent to the fact that a small child was missing, although clearly unhappy with the inconvenience resulting, and aggravated at the notion that she might be thought somehow lacking in her role as a mother, an epic of pathological self-absorption….

Nicole Kidman had that look, too, in two of her movie roles: To Die For, and The Others. She was a dead ringer for my ex in those movies, almost like she’d studied scenes from our lives, watched home movies, in preparing for her parts.

Seeing the images of Kaylee Anthony over the course of the search, arrest and trial was always painful for me, and I never lingered on any of them or the horror story itself, but it was always there, has been there since July 2008, when Kaylee’s grandmother contacted the police and the media took an interest….

I saw my baby girl in every one of those pictures of Kaylee Anthony…so many memories triggered…Allie was a week past her eighth birthday on the day the Mormons took her away from the father who loved her, and set her on a path of three Mormon stepdads in three states. Memories of her early childhood were still very fresh.

These are the lines I wrote earlier this morning:

“Nightmares of an abducted child...struck early this morning....

“Sometimes they are focused on a single child, sometimes all four...

“This one was about Allie, missing with her mother for days in the dream, and I was reporting this to the police, over and over...feeling all the shock and horror...over and over...desperate...talking to the police, over and over...then I woke up, exhausted...and the nightmare is real....”

In actual fact, when my four children disappeared from Oregon in February 1996, they were driven more or less directly although by a circuitous route to the home of Mormon zealots Chris and Kory Wright, somewhere in the mountains east of Ogden, Utah, who had been in on planning the abduction for months beforehand.

While all of their friends were in school and safe at home, the Mormons were shuttling my children from place to place, knowing that they were violating a joint custody order that had been in place for five years, which is a serious felony, worth five years in prison, but infrequently and very poorly enforced.

The statute of limitations expires on these crimes after three years, even if the child is not recovered. Try to make some sense of that reality….

My children never recovered from the trauma academically or emotionally; and, of course, Aaron is dead, left behind ill and alone in that crappy little Mormon town on the edge of the desert, Payson Utah….

Years later, after many fruitless online searches, one panned out… I located kidnapper Kory Wright right here, where he works at Columbia Ultimate in Vancouver:

I counted coup….

But today my thoughts are still buffeted by this most recent nightmare…and that look in these eyes….

…the look of pathological self-absorption, epic…. You would never know there was a child in distress from these people.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mormon abduction, self injury and lousy medical care

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Self injury became an issue for me when I learned that my son Aaron had been cutting himself with a knife during his captivity in Utah, the victim of a Mormon abduction, his despair and loneliness so intense that he would carve deep wounds into his beautiful arms, like the girl in this story in Indian Country Today:

“When she was 14 years old and living in a boarding school in Arizona, Alex Exendine cut her forearms with everything from broken mirrors to scissors to cope with her grief. The Lakota teen from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation had lost her best friend to a brain tumor, and the grandmother who helped raise her died shortly after.

“’I was so lonely,” Exendine told the Rapid City Journal. “I just never thought anyone understood how I felt.”

“Now 19, Exendine shared her struggle and how she overcame self-injury with Indian leaders and medical experts at the self-injury prevention conference "Wakanyeja Ihawicakta Pi, Looking Out for Our Children: a Cultural Learning Opportunity on Self-Injury Prevention” in Rapid City, South Dakota from May 12-13.

“Exendine told the Journal that her internal suffering and bottled feelings led to physical self-harm. “I felt like I had no emotions anymore,” she said. “I started cutting and I’d at least feel something.”

I first saw the knife-wound scars on my son’s arms while he lay comatose in Payson, Utah, in 2005, stared at them for much of the five days he lay there unresponsive. And then the doctors pronounced him dead.

They looked like those in the illustration, except Aaron’s were all above the elbow, on both arms. Deep, wide scars as much as four inches long. Many scars were laid across other earlier scars, indicating that this behavior had gone on for a prolonged period of time.

I counted 15 large scars.

Abducted children get lousy medical care.

Learn about how Alex Exendine overcame the urge to self-mutilate; see the complete article and illustration by Marty Two Bulls at Indian Country Today here:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A slain son, a father's heartbreak and the end of poetry

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Grief-stricken Mexican poet Javier Sicilia read a poem dedicated to his murdered son last Saturday, and then declared that this would be his last, that “Poetry does not exist in me anymore.”

I understand how he feels, find much in common, remember when the poetry died in my life…and how long it took to come back….

24-year-old Juan Francisco was found in an abandoned car along with six other bodies, their heads, faces, hands and feet bound with tape, suffocated to death under that tape, among the latest victims in the ongoing war that has its foundation in American demand for drugs and the many billions of dollars U.S. citizens are willing to export in order to feed their habits.

These seven are believed to be innocent, “collateral damage” in the incessant violence between the gangs, the cartels, for control of the smuggling routes, and the Mexican government, the battle for the soul of Mexico itself “so far from God, so close to the United States”….

More than 35,000 people have been murdered in Mexico in just the last five years, most often with guns supplied by U.S. gun dealers, and by criminal enterprises nearly entirely funded with U.S. dollars, smuggled back across the border or transferred electronically to offshore tax havens by corrupt American banking officials.

And now there is Mr. Sicilia’s last poem:

El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra
Nos la ahogaron adentro
Como te (asfixiaron),
Como te
desgarraron a ti los pulmones

Y el dolor no se me aparta
sólo queda un mundo
Por el silencio de los justos
Sólo por tu silencio y por mi silencio, Juanelo.

El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra, es mi último poema, no puedo escribir más poesí poesía ya no existe en mi.

The world is no longer worthy of the word
They suffocated it inside us
Like you (they asphyxiated)
Like you
they slashed your lungs
And pain won’t cleave from me
only a world is left
By the silence of the just
Only by your silence and by my silence, Juanelo.

The world is no longer worthy of the word—is my last poem, I can’t write any more poetry...poetry no longer exists in me. (Javier Sicilia)

I understand the grieving poet’s sentiments so well…nearly fifteen years went by following the loss of my children in a Mormon abduction…and more than five years passed after the death of my son Aaron, a death preventable had he received medical care of minimal competence…before I could find my way to the poetry, to the lyrics, to the music once again….

No one knows how long these things take….

No one knows how much time will pass before Mr. Sicilia finds the poetry in his soul once again….

A year ago, I would have been among the first to say, “Never…it will never exist in me again”….

But today I taste the bittersweetness of life with purpose and compassion…I hear songs, melodies, feel the pulse of the drumbeat in my heart…lyrics close to the surface, where tears used to abide…and down the road, perhaps, another poem will rise for Mr. Sicilia, as it has for me….

I greet the day gladly.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Your child disappeared...then what?

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Last night, KATU-TV’s Steve Dunn asked viewers the question “What would you do if your child suddenly disappeared?” and in the broadcast described what Kaine Horman, whose 8-year-old son Kyron disappeared nearly a year ago, is doing this weekend.

315 days after his son was abducted, Mr. Horman told reporter Anna Canzano: “Well, there’s only one day to me that has any significance, and that’s June 4, 2010. Every day after that is pretty much as painful as the one before it.”

I know that feeling well…. When asked over the years about how I felt about missing birthdays and other special days, I would respond that those days are just like every other day, only more so….

My life changed forever on February 12, 1996, when my four children disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction, Mormon zealots and my former wife carrying out a Mormon shunning. This is what can happen when you disagree too openly with Mormon Borg-like intrusion into your family life…the church is very highly organized to sever Mormon family members from contact with non-Mormon members of their own family.

Just ask the grieving parents and grandparents of MormonsHMC (Mormons Have My Child)….

I counted the days, marked out on my calendars, month after month, year after year, 1876 days lived one day at a time, before I finally stopped counting five years and two months after my children were kidnapped….

But enough about me….

Find out what the father of Kyron Horman is doing, and think about what you would do if your child was abducted….

KATU-TV news:

PORTLAND, Ore. - When was the last time you cherished getting your kids ready for school, walking them to the bus stop or tucking them in at night?

Those are the kinds of things - the simple things we sometimes easily take for granted - that Kyron Horman's dad, Kaine Horman, says he misses about his son.

"The days I miss the most are him in one arm and Kiara (his daughter) in the other arm, just sitting on the couch together," Kaine told us.

Kyron disappeared from Portland's Skyline School on June 4, 2010. His stepmother, Terri Horman, has not been named a person of interest or suspect in the case but she has been the focus of the investigation. She is believed to be living in Roseburg with her parents. Kaine still believes she knows something.

While police continue looking into the case and searchers continue heading out to try to find any trace of Kyron, Kaine is keeping his son's name and face out there in the hopes that someday his boy will be found. Kaine was at the Expo Center on Friday and plans to be there throughout the weekend, both at the KidFest and at the Portland Garage Sale.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On counting coup on a kidnapper

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—I used to own a .357 magnum revolver, but not long after my children disappeared in what I had come to learn was a Mormon abduction, I gave the weapon away to my brother, lest I be tempted to use it, either on myself while in the depths of hopelessness and despair, or on one or more of the people responsible for the crimes they were inflicting on my children and my family.

I have never regretted this decision.

As weeks turned into months turned into years, fighting through four jurisdictions in three states, with my children’s kidnappers enjoying safe harbor in theocratic Utah and my children suffering terrible abuse, I had many opportunities to think about this single fact.

There were many long, strongly magnetic moments when the grief and pain were unendurable, and I might have found a solution in that holster long ago had it still been in my possession.

And there were many sharp hours of contemplation, my anger grown cold, considering what events might take place should I decide to go out and impose a form of frontier justice on the criminals who were most responsible for the abduction and the subsequent abuse of my children, none of whom was my former wife.

These persons were Mormon zealots Kory Wright and Steve Nielson and my former brother in law Tony Micheletti, and I contemplated this Trifecta for years, but took no action other than to continue to fight through an indifferent and ineffective legal system, compromised by Mormon cronyism and the paranoid, self-absorbed and delusional mindset that is the foundation of that religion.

Outside of these moments, these hours of weakness and vengefulness, I held to my core integrity, passed down to me from my late parents and grandparents, and it was in those reflections that I found the strength to act honorably, and to work to make something good and lasting result from these terrible crimes.

In 2003, I had the great good fortune to be offered an opportunity to work for Oregon State Senator Avel Louise Gordly, a transformational and widely respected leader known as “the conscience of the Senate”, and it was in that year that we began work on legislation addressing the issue of children abducted by family members and persons into whose care the children had been entrusted.

I have written elsewhere and in depth regarding the history of that legislation, the Senate Task Force on Parental and Family Abduction, the death of my son Aaron Cruz, and the passage of Senate Bill 1041 in 2005, known as “Aaron’s Law” in his honor, and will not repeat it here, other than to make these points:

Aaron’s Law is designed to address the failures of both the family law and criminal law systems in preventing and resolving child abductions that involve known perpetrators, a crime that continues to take place at the rate of more than 200,000 cases each year.

An abduction is a continuing crime, an offense that has a beginning but no real end, a fact in conflict with the reality that law enforcement and the courts take little interest in these cases, hence the large annual numbers.

I am often contacted by parents whose child or children have been taken into concealment by the other parent, looking for advice, running out of hope. Their painful stories all have points in common with mine: law enforcement is apologetic but does not act; they cannot find a lawyer who is willing to listen; when and if they do get before a judge, the judge is indifferent, even judgmental; every avenue burns up precious time, time scalding hot, in weeks and months, and yet there is a child missing….

This adds up to more than 200,000 cases of child abduction a year, every year….

Several years ago, I became aware that Kory Wright, after having concealed my children in his home in Utah, their first stop in Mormon Country, had moved into the Portland area, and was employed at Columbia Ultimate across the river in Vancouver, where his ugly, criminal face was displayed on the company website.

Without Kory Wright, the abduction of my children would not have taken place. Senate Bill 1041 was deliberately written with his actions in mind, criminal acts that Aaron’s Law is designed to prevent, and here he was, having suffered no consequences for his crimes….

I chose October 6, 2009 as A Good Day to Die….

In the days and weeks leading up to the day, I reflected on all that had taken place, thought about a wide range of options, a very wide range….

President Bush had recently been pelted with an Iraqi journalists’ shoes, and I thought of that option, too, the night before the day…but tossing my shoes at Kory Wright would have been poorly understood in American culture….

I decided to count coup, to count coup with a copy of Aaron’s Law, written for Kory Wright and for people like him, as the honorable course…only one criminal in this confrontation…a non-violent but pointed confrontation….

I began the dialogue, in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, with this statement: “My name is Sean Cruz. You kidnapped my children, motherfucker.”

An abduction is a continuing crime, and a criminal is responsible for all the damage that ensues from his or her criminal act….

Many a grieved parent would have brought a weapon, would have made the news for a couple of days, maybe…I brought the law instead, Aaron’s Law….

Here is the series of essays that described the incident and the ensuing trial (note that the “slap” was a rhetorical slap, not physical; the rhetoric created some confusion at trial):

Sean Cruz confronts man who kidnapped his children

Kidnapper confrontation earns commendation from judge

Not guilty!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reflections and resolve on Aaron's birthday 2011

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

Today, March 21, is/was, could have been, should have been, should be my son Aaron’s birthday, a day for celebration and a sharing of love and companionship, with my beautiful boy and my three surviving children, the Cruz family gathered together like we did before my children vanished fifteen years ago in a Mormon abduction.

Like most parents who have suffered the death of a child, or, as I have also, the disappearance of a (four) child(ren) in a kidnapping, I find special calendar days are an emotional obstacle course, a test of coping skills, and a time for reflection and resolve….

There is a law on the books now in the state of Oregon, an important, landmark piece of legislation designed to deter and resolve non-stranger child abductions that bears my son’s name, called Aaron’s Law, passed on a unanimous House vote shortly after his death in 2005.

Had Aaron’s Law been in statute in 1995, my children wouldn’t have been abducted in the first place, and today would be one of those marvelous days of celebration that instead ended so abruptly so long ago.

The U.S. Department of Justice counts each year more than 200,000 cases of children abducted by a parent or family member, of parents themselves generating more than 200,000 child victims in this country, year after year.

While most of those abductions are of short term duration, the harm to the children lasts far longer, and some six per cent of the child victims are never recovered. This fact suits the Mormons who abducted my children just fine. Even as adults, my children are prohibited from having free contact with me or with other members of my family. That’s how a Mormon shunning works….

March 21 is no longer a day for celebration in the family of Aaron Cruz. The date instead has become a time for reflection and resolve, and I am ever more determined to see the principles of Aaron’s Law embedded in statute across this nation, to see that justice is served, to see that parents and family members (and religious fanatics) are sufficiently deterred from causing their own children this terrible, completely senseless suffering.

This is for you, my beautiful son, with all of my love,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Report to the Oregon Senate on Parental and Family Abductions

Report of the Oregon Senate Interim Task Force
Parental and Family Abductions

To: The Honorable Peter Courtney, President, Oregon State Senate

From: The Senate Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions

The Senate Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions (“The Task Force”), chaired by Senators Gordly and Morse is pleased to report to the President of the Oregon State Senate, the Honorable Peter Courtney, that it has completed its assigned task of reviewing the current state of Oregon law as it relates to the serious problem of parents abducting their own children in order to negate the lawful orders of Oregon courts regarding child custody and parental visitation rights. We have enclosed a list of the members of your Task Force, with biographies, and labeled it attachment “A.”

Since June of this year, The Task Force has conducted four hearings and during these hearings has taken testimony from witnesses concerning the extent of the problem, reviewed current federal and state law, reviewed current state policy, reviewed and debated possible changes to state policy and law and has made recommendations concerning changes to this policy and law.

Furthermore, The Task Force finds that often parents involved in a divorce, or parents of children born out of wedlock who are involved in custody disputes, often take out their anger with each other through their children; some retain or flee with their children to ensure the access and control that has been denied them, or they fear will be denied them; others even abduct their own child in order to interfere with the other parent’s right to custody or parenting time.

We further find that this is extremely detrimental to the emotional and mental well being of the children, and at time may even put the life of the child in danger.

In order to lessen the incidence of parental abductions and to lessen the damage done to these children who are the victims of parental abductions, your Task Force has taken the following actions and makes the following recommendations:

1. We have asked that the Joint Interim Judiciary Committee introduce, on behalf of The Task Force, LC 847 and LC 858 and recommend their enactment into law. We have attached copies of each LC and labeled them attachments “B” and “C” respectively.

2. We recommend that the Commission on Children and Families continue to work with Take Root, King County, Washington, the Oregon mental health treatment community and the Oregon law enforcement community to develop a better understanding of the trauma victims of parental abduction suffer and how best to treat this trauma. And, as part of this process, develop with the Oregon State Bar a symposium for the legal community, the mental health treatment community and the law enforcement community.

3. We recommend that you, on behalf of The Task Force, encourage the Judicial Branch and the Oregon State Bar to assist in educating judges, prosecutors and family law practitioners concerning the problem of parental abduction, its impact on children, and the need to better understand and utilize current statutory provisions relating to the prosecution of the crime of custodial interference and the enforcement of parenting plans and orders.

4. We recommend that you, on behalf of The Task Force, inform the Oregon Congressional Delegation of our support of the Polly Klaas Foundation’s proposed federal legislation, “The Family Abduction Prevention Act of 2005.”

Legislative Recommendation 1

LC 847 would extend the statute of limitations for the crime of custodial interference in the first and second degree from four years to six years after the commission of the crime or, if the victim at the time of the crime was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim attains 24 years of age or within six years after the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or other governmental agency.

This would mean that the statute of limitations for custodial interference would be the same as it is currently for sex offenses. Your Task Force believes that the rationale for doing this is the same for the statute of limitations on sex crimes. A child who is removed from the lawful custody of one parent by another is a victim. That child is similarly situated to many underage victims of sex crimes. The perpetrator of the crime is the child’s parent. Too often, at the time of the offense, the victim is unaware that they have been abused or that they have a right to seek redress. LC 847 would give a person, who as a child was a victim of a parental abduction, the ability to seek prosecution when the person is an adult and better able to understand the ramifications of the abduction.

Legislative Recommendation 2

LC 858 amends the current definition of what is an “injury” within Oregon’s Victim’s Compensation Act to include the injury a child incurs when that child is the victim of custodial interference. Currently, the injury a child receives, when the child has been abducted by one of the child’s parents, does not necessarily include physical injury. The injury is more in the nature of mental trauma or mental injury. Nonetheless, the injury is real and may be even more long lasting and damaging than physical injury. LC 858 is intended to include this injury within
Oregon’s Victim Compensation Act so that children who have been abducted by their parent, in violation of Oregon’s custodial interference statutes, can be compensated.
Task Force member, and Executive Director of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, Mickey Lansing, on behalf of The Task Force, met with the Board of Social Workers and the Board of Psychologists concerning the current training their respective professions receive regarding the treatment of victims of parental abduction. What she found was a general lack of awareness of the problem.

With the assistance of Task Force member Liss Hart-Haviv, of Take Root, an advocacy group for victims of parental abduction, Ms. Lansing contacted Take Root’s Law Enforcement Consultant, Officer David Barnard of the Missing Children’s Unit of the King County, Washington sheriff’s office. He described the King County program where a mental health provider accompanies sheriff’s deputies when retrieving a victim of a parental abduction. Ms. Lansing added that Take Root, as part of its program for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in King County, is developing a curriculum to train law enforcement and mental health workers and would share it with us.

Ms. Lansing stated that, although parental abduction was not within the Oregon Commission on Children and Families purview, she would continue to work with Ms. Hart-Haviv, the mental health treatment community, and the law enforcement community to develop a program similar to that which King County has developed. Ms. Lansing has volunteered to report back to the Co-Chairs of The Task Force, Senators Gordly and Morse concerning the progress of her
endeavors even after your Task Force has completed its work and gone out of existence.

We applaud her for her efforts and look forward to her report. Furthermore, we recommend that you, on behalf of The Task Force, encourage the appropriate Senate committee to receive this report during the 2005 legislative session.

Recommendation 3

The Task Force heard testimony from the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon State Police, Missing Children’s Clearinghouse on the Federal Parent Locator Service, a federally mandated program operated through the Oregon Department of Justice, Division of Child Support, that assists in locating missing children. The service is available for use by the courts and the law enforcement community.

The Department of Justice stated that it will promote greater awareness of the service through articles in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin, a publication distributed to all judges and attorneys in Oregon. The department added that a similar article will appear in the Oregon District Attorney Association publication. The two agencies stated they will work together to educate law enforcement officers about the locator service.

At one point, The Task Force considered legislation that would have required that all local law enforcement agencies report missing children to The Oregon State Police, Missing Children’s Clearinghouse. However, after the State Police and the Department of Justice met and discussed the issue, they determined that the State Police could obtain this information by an administrative process that will automatically notify the Missing Children’s Clearinghouse of all reports of missing children made by state, county and local law enforcement agencies.

Consequently, The Task Force decided this legislation is not needed (Seven years later, the State Police has not kept its promise to the Task Force).

The Task Force heard testimony that one of the leading causes of parental abduction is the failure to enforce parenting time orders and agreements. Some parents take children to ensure the access and control they feel they are entitled to pursuant to their parenting plan that, in their opinion, is not being enforced.

The Task Force considered a legislative proposal pertaining to judicial authority to enforce parenting time orders and agreements. However, after reviewing existing legal remedies, The Task Force is of the opinion that current law is adequate to address failures of parents to abide by parenting agreements.

In particular, The Task Force is of the opinion that parental abduction, by either the custodial or non-custodial parent, may constitute “immediate danger” to the child and warrants a change of custody pursuant to ORS 107.097 or ORS 107.139.

What is lacking is an understanding of how current legal remedies can be used to more thoroughly enforce parenting plans and orders. In order to rectify this, The Task Force asks you to communicate with the Judicial Branch, the Oregon State Bar and the Oregon District Attorneys Association on the need to make judges, prosecutors and family law practitioners aware of existing remedies and the need to enforce these provisions.

Furthermore, we suggest that the Oregon State Bar be encouraged to develop, in conjunction with the mental health treatment community and The Commission on Children and Families, a symposium on the legal and mental health aspects for the prevention of parental abduction and the treatment of its victims. To assist you in this endeavor, we have attached a draft letter to the State Court Administrator, Kingsley Click, and to the Executive Director of the Oregon State Bar, Karen Garst.

Recommendation 4

The Polly Klaas Foundation is a national nonprofit corporation that is dedicated to finding missing children and helping to prevent them from being missing in the first place. It accomplishes its goals by promoting public policies, educating the public, and providing families, law enforcement and communities with the ongoing support and expertise needed to protect our children. Since its founding in 1993, The Foundation has helped more than 4,500 families find missing children.

The Polly Klaas Foundation will reintroduce before Congress, “The Family Abduction Prevention Act of 2005.” This bill was developed in consultation with Take Root and would fund grants to states for programs that:

(1) Extradite individuals suspected of committing a family abduction back to the state from which the child was taken;
(2) Investigate family abduction cases;
(3) Train state and local law enforcement agencies in responding to family abductions and recovering abducted children, including the development of written guidelines and technical assistance;
(4) Conduct outreach and media campaigns to educate parents on the dangers of family abductions; and
(5) Flag school records.

The Task Force urges you, on behalf of The Task Force, to inform the Oregon Congressional Delegation of our support of this legislation.

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, 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.

We hope, Mr. President, that your Task Force has not only made you more aware of this very much-ignored problem, but has made others also aware. We believe that your Task Force can confidently say that, through its efforts, those responsible for tracking missing children have developed a more efficient process for doing so. We hope that you will ensure that the legislation we are proposing is given due consideration during the 2005 legislative session, and
we urge you to communicate with the Oregon State Bar and the State Court Administrator’s Office to urge them to inform their respective constituencies regarding parental abduction.

Finally, we, once again, urge you to inform our Congressional Delegation of the need to enact “The Family Abduction Prevention Act of 2005.”

Date: December 2004

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Father-sense, a missing daughter, earthquake and tsunami

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

No noise woke me early morning yesterday; no bathroom urge stirred me, no dog moving around in here, but a sense that something was wrong somewhere….

My father-sense had been activated….

I looked at the clock, where 3:00 am or thereabouts glowed in the dark; no reason to get up other than to turn on the news, the bad news….

Major earthquake in Japan, tsunami, nuclear power plants in harm’s way, and somewhere in that country my baby girl, Allie….

I actually have no direct knowledge that my daughter is in Japan, little information about her since she disappeared in a Mormon abduction 15 years ago, a week past her eighth birthday, but I heard a rumor that she had been sent to some Mormon missionary operation in Japan about eight months ago….

(The Mormons are well-organized to make children disappear, to sever families forever, just ask the bereaved parents and grandparents who make up Mormons HMC “Mormons Have My Child.”)

But now, my father-sense was confirming my earlier suspicion, that my child is in fact in danger, amid falling buildings, chaos, tsunami, and as the hours have worn on, clearly in a place where lack of clean water, food shortages, sanitation and disease crises loom for the survivors….

Is my daughter among them? Where is she? Is she injured, frightened? Is she alive? When and how will she be safe? When will I see her again? When will I hear her voice?

If the Mormons who have controlled her life for the past fifteen years have anything to say about it, then these questions will never be answered, not in my lifetime.

There is news of winter cold, fuel shortages, transportation links broken, people buried alive, nuclear plant supercrisis, aftershocks, more buildings coming down, endless heartbreak….

My father-sense hit crisis mode also nearly six years ago, and the following morning I learned that my beloved son Aaron had fallen into a coma and died in his mother’s empty house in Payson, Utah, a Mormon stronghold in the desert, a place where the Mormon system smothers non-Mormon children to death, spits them out unwanted and unloved, but that is a different story.…

The Sendai Earthquake, as this disaster is now known, caused the main island of Japan to move eight feet, and shifted the Earth on its axis…and somewhere in there is my baby girl, her name is Allie (Alexis) Cruz, and she is more beautiful than all of the stars in heaven….

My father-sense is at maximum alert, calling her name….

The people who could tell me where and how my daughter is are the same people who caused her and my other children to disappear:

Chris and Kory Wright, the Mormon zealots who concealed my children in Utah:

And Gina Foulk, here with husband #5:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mormon abduction of Cruz children passes 15 year mark

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

It was fifteen years ago, on February 12, 1996, that my four children vanished from Oregon, taken into concealment in a series of remote Mormon enclaves in theocratic Utah. They certainly take care of their own, those Mormon ideologues do. Mormon officials in three states were involved in planning, carrying out and maintaining the kidnapping.

No independent thought is permitted among Mormon children. My son Aaron had a strong independent streak in him, however, and they punished him for that, eventually wearing him down, taking away his hopes and dreams in that ratty Mormon town where he died in 2005, in Payson, Utah.

In 2005, I watched Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski sign Senate Bill 1041 into law, named "Aaron's Law" after my son. With Aaron's Law, Oregon is the only state in the nation where child abduction creates a civil cause of action.

If Aaron's Law had been on the books in 1995, no abduction would have taken place, my family would have remained whole, healthy and happy like we were, and my son would still be alive today.