ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, ABUSE RECOVERY PROCESS-PROBLEMS, Domestic Violence, Full-Quiver, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Homeschool Movement, Legalism, Parenting, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Recovery Process

The David and Louise Turpin Family Homeschool Cult

David and Louise Turpin, Homeschool, Cult, Abuse, Torture


David and Louise Turpin, homeschool, cult, abuse, torture, chain, padlock, quiverfull full-quiver, Christian

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Most likely you have heard the news about the large homeschooling family, the Turpins, from California. The parents, David, 57, and Louise, 49, Turpin who were arrested for torture and child endangerment, with bail set at $9 million each. Here are some of the key facts:

  • David and Louise Turpin are the biological parents of 13 children ranging in age of 2 years to 29 years old.
  • They live in Perris, California, not too far from Los Angeles.
  • Their 17-yr old daughter escaped from her home early Sunday morning by climbing out of a window, and used a deactivated cell phone to contact authorities. She showed the police photos of the living conditions of the home which convinced authorities to do a welfare check at the house.
  • When authorities arrived, they found several children shackled to beds or furniture by chain and padlocks.
  • The children were found pale and extremely emaciated.
  • It was reported that the 17-yr old looked to be approximately 10 years old. The other adults, too, looked very young for their age.
  • David and Louise Anna Turpin were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment.
  • The minor children were taken to one hospital, and the adult children were taken to another. All were given food and drink, and admitted for treatment.
  • “US reports say Louise’s parents had tried to visit their daughter and son-in-law in the past, and had to turn back at the airport when the Turpins refused to provide their street address.” Source
  • They were known to be hoarders, and the home was dark and had a foul odor.
  • The children were rarely seen outside. Neighbors had no clue there were 13 children (and adult children) living in the home.
  • They were deeply religious, and were forced to memorize chapters of the Bible
  • David Turpin registered his homeschool under the name, Sandcastle Day School in 2011.

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Turpin’s Religious Beliefs/Practices

They said their son and daughter-in-law, whom they have not seen for several years, are religious and kept having children because “God called on them.”

The grandparents said that the children are home-schooled, made to memorize long scriptures in the Bible. Some of the children, the grandparents told ABC News, have tried to memorize the entire book. The Washington Post

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What could cause parents to do something so awful? An expert gives his opinion.

As a forensic psychologist, this is why I think David and Louise Turpin may have held their children captive

In this article, David Canter, “an emeritus professor of investigative psychology at the University of Liverpool” discussed the way the children addressed. For example, in the photos of three different wedding vow renewals, the girls all wore matching plaid dresses, and the boys, matching suits. Here is what he had to say about that:

Here is evidence of the children being treated as decorations for the parents’ rituals. They also show that the Turpins were more than happy to display their anonymous brood, apparently unaware of the social implications of showing them off in such a strangely formulaic way.

Canter noted that sometimes children held captive can indicate the possibility of sexual abuse, but didn’t see any clues to that in this case. However, he speculated about psychological reasons why parents might want to keep children locked away and away from public.

One possibility is that the parents wanted to keep their children away from the authorities for religious or other ideological reasons, or because they did not trust those outside the family. These situations have all the qualities of a cult in which the father usually acts as a patriarch who browbeats his wife and children into subservience. The Facebook photographs we’ve seen certainly have the look of a cult about them. Even their picture in Disneyland shows the children identically dressed.

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Financial Problems

I’ve lost track of how many articles I’ve read, but clearly finances was an issue for this couple. At least one house went through foreclosure in Texas. There was at least one bankruptcy in California. Could these financial difficulties, compounded with the demands of a large family contribute to the abuse? Maybe so. Here is more from David Canter:

Large families do tend either to be chaotic or to develop formal, often ritualistic, processes to manage day to day activities. Is it possible that, as the Turpins’ finances cycled ever more out of control, they became increasingly coercive in their attempts to handle the situation they had created for themselves?

 

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This video interviews a neighbor from when they lived in Texas. Also, we can see the condition their house was in after they left Texas to move to California.

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Some thoughts on homeschool laws, quiver-full ideology, and cult-like religion and beliefs:

Someone posted this story in a private Facebook group when it first broke. This Facebook group deals with homeschooled kids who are abused. We all read the report and knew in our guts this was a homeschool family. We highly suspected it was a Christian family as well. We were all right. We’ve seen this pattern again and again.

I am tired of seeing abuse in families who homeschool their children. This family was able to register their homeschool in California, and then go off the radar, with little-to-no interaction with people who might have been able to notice there was a problem.

The case raises questions about whether the state may be too lenient in its approach to home schooling and whether it should have been monitoring Mr. Turpin more closely. In California, almost anyone can open a private school by filing an affidavit with the state. California is one of 14 states that ask parents only to register to create a home school, and in 11 other states, including Texas, parents are not required to submit any documentation at all.

The California Department of Education said it was sickened by the tragedy and was investigating what had occurred. The department registers private schools, but “does not approve, monitor, inspect, or oversee” them, said Bill Ainsworth, a department spokesman. ~New York Times

As a former homeschooling mom of 23 years with 7 children, I understand the amount of pressure involved. I saw families larger than mine and I often wondered about them. Were the children being isolated? Were their children really getting a good education at home? I had suspicions about children not getting as good of an education as possible, but what about abuse? How many cases of abuse were being hidden?

“The state has a responsibility to make sure there is at least an annual inspection,” she said. “If we’re not going to uphold educational standards, then for the love of God the least we can do is uphold health and safety standards. We need to do everything we can for vulnerable minors before it becomes anything this tragic.” Assemblywoman Susan Eggman

Every state has their own homeschooling laws, some are more strict than others. But it really bothers me that abusive parents like these can keep even adult children up to the age of 29 locked up. What if the 17-yr old didn’t escape? How long would this abuse have continued?

I was in the homeschool movement when fear was taught from the key leaders. I didn’t let my children play outside during school hours for fear that a neighbor might turn us in (never mind the fact that even elementary school children get to go on recess). I had a paper taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard that listed what to do if child protective services or the police came to our front door.

Yes, there was a culture of paranoia and fear in the homeschool movement. This family sounds like they were caught up in fear, too. Eventually, I realized that I was hearing all of the horror stories from HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). They needed to scare us so that we would buy their homeschool insurance and provide legal assistance to us if we needed it. After that “discovery,” I stopped paying for HSLDA and never bought into that fear again. But what kept this family in so much fear? There is not the same fearful climate now for homeschoolers as there was two decades ago.

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This family didn’t believe in birth control, they were full-quiver. This means don’t interfere with a woman’s body by using artificial birth control, just trust God to give you the amount of babies He wants you to have. The Turpins had 13 children, her last child was born when she was 45 yrs old. God was in control of Louise’s womb. All children are a blessing from the Lord. That is the quiver-full mantra.

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I posted the quote from the grandparents that the children were to memorize big chunks of the Bible. That in and of itself is not abusive, but it would be interesting to look at all of their education to see what quality of education they received. The dad was registered as principal. Did he do all of the teaching and hold a full-time job?

A man named Mike reported to the New York Post that he thought the family was like a cult.

“They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole the time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth,” said Mike, who wouldn’t give his last name.

Mike works in a hospital and says he’d often see the Turpin siblings being marched through the upstairs rooms between midnight and 3 a.m.

I wonder if the Turpins followed any specific religious teachings. Did they follow Bill Gothard’s teachings? Maybe not, the girls were seen wearing pants. It doesn’t seem like they went to church, or the neighbors would have seen them leaving and returning to their house over the years. It’s highly likely they were influenced by patriarchal teachings, but was it anyone in particular? Doug Wilson? The former Doug Phillips? Or was David Turpin just doing his own thing?

Sometimes in patriarchy, wives are abused. Was Louise abused in her home? How about the children – – did they experience any physical abuse (not sexual)?

I have a lot of questions. A whole lot of anger. And I just want to weep for those precious kids who will likely have to spend many, many years getting help recovering from their nightmare. Imagine – – the people who should have cared for them and loved them the most, neglected and harmed them. What a tragedy. Lord have mercy!

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201 thoughts on “The David and Louise Turpin Family Homeschool Cult”

  1. Song of Joy – I’ve been seeing tweets and news that there are many fundraisers being spread, but they are fake. I have been trying to find another source for the fundraiser you mentioned in the comment (which is not approved yet), and have not found any. I tried looking up city of Perrin to call and verify, but can’t find any number. I also found nothing on Facebook (like a city page). It sure sounds legit, but I want to be sure before posting publicly. If you find anything else confirming this fundraiser is official, please let me know and I will release your comment.

    The hospital which has the children put out a request list with specific clothing sizes and items for the children, but I haven’t seen any official actual fundraiser for $$ yet.

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  2. Julie Anne, probably wise not to post the link in my unpublished comment. That link was included in an online article that I thought was from a reputable organization; however there are so many stories about this tragedy out there that I can no longer relocate that specific article. Anyway, even online news orgs can get it wrong, so I’m glad you further researched it and withheld the link.

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  3. @Mark:

    “Instant unquestioned obedience” Straight from Ezzo.

    Ever heard of the German word “Kadavergehorsham”? (“Corpse Obedience” or “Zombie Obediance”; a favorite word of the Nazis.)

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  4. roscuro – This is a good example of how these kids are going to be dealing with their abuse for the rest of their lives.

    It made me think of the older ones. The oldest is 29. Think about all of the life experiences that you had by the time you were 29. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it will be for the older ones to start life without a lot of basic knowledge.

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  5. Kathi, I’m just a few years older than that 29 year old, so I remember what life experiences I had very well. I was working in an impoverished African country at that age. While I was there, I met a few adults whose growth had been stunted by malnourishment so that they were shorter than I – I’m below average height – but they were mature in mind and life experience and were adults in every respect. The kind of physical and psychological torture those 7 adult children in this case have undergone to be so stunted in mind and body as to appear minor children is hard to comprehend.

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  6. HUG, it’s not surprising that the church would co-opt things that seemed successful in the area of manipulation and control. I find that fundamentalists really really like the military and business analogies. That is until the military or business analogies say that they’re doing the wrong thing, then they decide that they should ‘trust the Spirit’.

    The college I went to had seemingly no end of money to spend for stupid things like beautiful signs and fresh coats of paint in the administration building, but when my ground floor window lock failed, there was no money to fix that. They told me to make sure my parents’ insurance would cover anything that was stolen from my room.

    But, especially militarily, the church seems to love the idea that we follow orders without question from our ‘superiors’, and that only illegal orders can be disobeyed. I’ve heard more than my share of “spiritual warfare” sermons meaning be a good boy and do whatever you’re told”.

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  7. . I find that fundamentalists really really like the military and business analogies.

    Interesting thought. Some guy over a different blog was using a bad military analogy (related to marriage) and I corrected it and he was apparently so rude back that the blog host wouldn’t post the comment.

    A lot of these guys haven’t been in the military and they haven’t been in business.

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  8. I have a nephew who is a captain in the army. He is firm with his men, and he is where the buck stops. He is also fair and kind, which is why the guys in his unit respect him greatly.

    However, he and his wife have a partnership of equals, and they have an excellent marriage.

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  9. @Mark:

    But, especially militarily, the church seems to love the idea that we follow orders without question from our ‘superiors’, and that only illegal orders can be disobeyed.

    And if the Superior gives the order, it isn’t illegal.
    Kadavergehorsham – “Ich habe nur meine Befehle ausgefert.”

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  10. @Mark:

    I was part of a patriarchal, homeschooling church, and those kids only spread their wings when they could escape their parents. It was shocking and amazing to see families disintegrate once the children were unshackled.

    Which can also be used to justify “Double Down and Scream Louder!” on the shackling.

    For example, the Jews had the same idea about wealth. Wealth was a sign of God’s blessing. The rich were seen as amazingly righteous and someone like Job was seen to be cursed by God.

    As did the second-generation Calvinists in New England.
    The original Prosperity Gospel?

    My parents “liked it”. They got praise from all their peers about how smart we were and how obedient we were and how we sat quietly in church and how well we did in school and how they must be wonderful parents.

    i.e. The Payoff.
    Celebrity status like small-time Duggars.

    Given what you’ve said about your and your wife’s backgrounds, I’m surprised you ever got married, much less had kids. That sort of upbringing tends to turn you completely off to the very idea of “family”.

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  11. @ChewingCrayons:

    My eldest two children are in a large, national, Christian based homeschool speech and debate organization and we travel to various competitions, including across country. Our eldest son is the top speaker in our state and his public speaking and debate education is fantastic.

    Two caveats:
    1) A LOT of toxic Christian homeschool organizations seem obsessed with competitive debates. All I can figure it’s part of “Culture War Without End, Amen” and the debates have been weaponized. This alone would seem to discredit “Christian based homeschool speech and debate” organizations in general.
    2) In my years in and around various fandoms, I have had a run-in or two with former competitive debating champs. The vibe I got from them was “There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only Winning the Debate by Any Tactic Necessary.” Tactics as in “All Semantics, My Dear Wormwood”.

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  12. However, he and his wife have a partnership of equals, and they have an excellent marriage.

    Of course! A lot of guys are also in deployments, ships, drill etc for extended periods of time and their wives run everything at home.

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  13. 2) In my years in and around various fandoms, I have had a run-in or two with former competitive debating champs

    I remember going up against some bratty 14 year old boys who had been to ‘debate camp’ and they were so obnoxious the judge said she could see the moment when my partner and I were so done. They also learned how to twirl pens which seemed a very stupid thing to me.

    (Most of the people in debate with me were cool, though. )

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  14. @Lea:

    They also learned how to twirl pens which seemed a very stupid thing to me.

    I have heard of that mannerism being associated with Christianese Debate types.

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  15. Latest morning drive-time tidbits on the Turpin Cult:
    1) Like food and toys, the parents bought multiple kid’s bicycles only to let them sit on the porch unused until they sun-bleached and rusted out. Nothing as to when or where (Perris or Texas) this was.
    2) In Texas, their home/family compound was on a 38-acre (about 15-hectare) property — which could explain why the neighbors didn’t notice anything really wrong.
    3) Papa “Prince Valiant” Turpin was known to shoot off his pistol on said property. While such a spread makes a private shooting range very practical, the report said he was shooting in the direction of the road (and speculated that said pistol could have been used as intimidation to keep family in line).
    4) During their time on the Texas property, one of the girls did run away but was returned by a neighbor (who apparently wasn’t suspicious). Speculation as to whether this was the same girl who finally escaped and blew the whistle on the abuse.

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  16. 4) During their time on the Texas property, one of the girls did run away but was returned by a neighbor (who apparently wasn’t suspicious).

    Wow.

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  17. It’s worth noting here that screening homeschoolers–a preferred approach to addressing problems–as a whole only works if the problems are not correlated more strongly to other factors. If the problems are correlated to other factors, you’re just going to spend most of your time investigating innocent people, with the end result that the people you need to monitor–people like Banita Jacks and Mitchelle Blair–do not get monitored. You are also ensuring that innocent people will be harassed by well-meaning, but misguided social workers.

    Just for interest, I took a look at the lists of homeschooling fatalities, and it strikes me that they almost always fit a few broad categories; mental illness, stepparenting, difficult adoptions, and people who were known to social services already before the problems became grievous. Look for yourself; the categories of big problems are predominantly linked to known categories linked to this kind of criminality. As such, I’d suggest that there might be some simple fixes linked specifically to these categories that would end up doing a lot more good than blanket screening.

    It’s worth noting as well that blanket screening is one of the easier things to pass–everybody can mind their manners for an hour’s interview, after all. So my take is that it sounds good until you take a good look at the data.

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  18. I personally think the ‘big problems’ as you put it, might be much more easily eliminated if children were given an opportunity to meet with someone at least once or twice a year as part of regular testing. That poor girl who ran away would have at least had a chance to communicate with someone.

    It also would help the ‘smaller’ problems, which are much more prevalent, like children falling behind in subject matter. I have read some horror stories on the internet of the poor educational training given to children, particularly girls at times. A yearly check to see if they are keeping up with their peers could be helpful to parents as well.

    Two birds. One stone.

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  19. @HUG, “Given what you’ve said about your and your wife’s backgrounds, I’m surprised you ever got married, much less had kids. That sort of upbringing tends to turn you completely off to the very idea of “family”.”

    My wife and I both thought our upbringings were good at first. There was a process of discovery where we began to understand that things weren’t quite so wonderful. Interestingly, very few of her younger siblings are married, and especially the ones who recognized they were abused are very concerned about marriage and potential hangups with the church – those who actually attend church, that is.

    I think most of my self-protection defense mechanisms were subconscious. I lived within easy driving distance from home when I was at college, but I stayed on campus unless the dorms were closed. I initially looked for a job near home, but when I found one that was far away, it was over a year from the time I moved that I first returned for a visit.

    For her, it was discipline that really changed things – we were “on” or first-born pretty hard and she read stuff that was talking about what was developmentally appropriate at various ages. She then realized that the fundagelical discipline strategy was punishing children for things they were not developmentally ready to process. For example, our child was not ready to sit still and quietly in church until she was ready. Taking her out pretty much weekly for 2-3 years before she was ready (she was a late bloomer in that regard) didn’t do anything but cause us both lots of frustration and destroy relationships. With our second (who STILL can’t sit still in church) we moved from the front of the church to the back and decided that anyone who didn’t want to listen to her shift around was free to take our old place in the front.

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  20. Re:debate

    We went to the final presentation of a home school co-op group – one our child was enrolled in. The pinnacle of this classical model was a senior who presented his case against “Harry Potter”, in which he blamed Harry Potter (which he equivocated to witchcraft) for all sorts of psychological diseases (as diagnosed by the amazing medical community in sub-saharan Africa). Reading Harry Potter was only okay under the “proper oversight” of parents or Christian teachers who could use it to correct bad worldview, etc. Mid-way through, I realized that the rhetoric teacher was also the art teacher, so rhetoric was not about using logic, speech organization and good structure to form a coherent and well-reasoned argument, but it was an art form about cleverly badgering your audience with falsehoods, but in a sophisticated and smooth way to make them assume that your arguments are well-researched and well-reasoned.

    In the Q/A period, I was going to ask him the question of whether he would, if he had some undiagnosable (in the US) psychological issue, submit to whatever diagnosis and treatment was recommended by the sub-Saharan psychological community.

    We had already decided to put our child in public school, but the total inadequacy of this “exemplary” student and the praise he received in this insular community told me that this community was all about picking one or two areas (e.g. debate) where their students could win, and then setting that up as a proxy war against all other forms of education. In other words, our program won the debate competition, therefore homeschooling is best.

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  21. we were “on” or first-born pretty hard and she read stuff that was talking about what was developmentally appropriate at various ages. She then realized that the fundagelical discipline strategy was punishing children for things they were not developmentally ready to process.

    This is very interesting, Mark! I am always interested in what was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for people and I hadn’t heard this.

    Sidenote: I was talking to someone about this crazy ‘courtship’ stuff I had been reading about on the internets, and they said they tried it in her family until they realized it had not worked at all, so ditched it for their own kids.

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  22. Mark, I am so glad that you and your wife are responding to your children’s developmental stages. I am a huge fan of developmentally appropriate children’s programming in church. Nursery/preschool programs while parents are in church, and older children being included during the music time but then excused to their own classes during the sermon. I think these programs a) minister better to children’s individual spiritual needs, and b) help them not to hate church. I get internally upset when I see little people being punished because they are acting like normal children in a church service that is not designed for them or their needs. Every other Sunday morning I teach the 4 year-olds. We have one family who takes their son in for the music portion because he loves it. Then, they bring their happy camper back to class. Those are parents who are in tune with their child.

    I think in many ways some (not all) homeschooling families are attempting to meed their children’s individual needs. I teach in a private school where every year we get homeschool applicants whose parents have run out of ideas to happily teach their children at home. I do see the Turpins as a horrible aberration of something that could be good. When I look at the entire homeschool movement, I’ve seen that the most isolated families often belong to very isolated churches where the the philosophies of false teachers reign.

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  23. this community was all about picking one or two areas (e.g. debate) where their students could win, and then setting that up as a proxy war against all other forms of education

    Ah, very interesting. Whereas in public school, debate was fun and a good thing to put on one’s college application, but hardly life or death.

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  24. I am a huge fan of developmentally appropriate children’s programming in church. Nursery/preschool programs while parents are in church

    Interestingly, Linn, there seem to be a contingent of people who hate this type of separation of children from adults, even in the context of sunday school. I think there is room for a number of styles here, but one of the things I love about my church is that they have the preschool/small children in the service, but they have their own teeny little sermon! It’s so cute. And sometimes sets up the adults sermon. And the church has kid sermon appropriate coloring pages for them to work on during church if they like.

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  25. I think there are many directions you can take. My church doesn’t totally isolate the kids, and they leave it up to parents to decide what is best for their family. We have several families that worship together. Our Spanish congregation, where I am in charge of our children’s program, includes children for the music portion, as well as monthly communion. Then, we go off to our classes. We have a similar setup for the mid-week Bible study.

    I’m aware of the new push towards no children’s programming, and I personally think this is how a church can convince kids never to darken the door of a house of worship when they are old enough to make their own decisions. I have many non-Christian friends who describe church as boring, dull, irrelevant, etc.based on their worship experiences as children. I think a balance of child/adult programs is best-just like we have programs for young marrieds and senior adults. We have different stages of life, and we need to see ways to be all together, but also address those special needs.

    Yes, I’m a teacher! Almost 36 years in, and I never get tired of school kids or my church kids.

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  26. Bike Bubba: This family fits none of the broad categories you listed. No previously noted mental illness, no step-parenting, no adoptions, not known to social services before.

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  27. JA: at this point, that appears to be the case, but the question is whether we ought to make laws based on singular our even outlier cases. I think I’ve made a reasonable argument that what’s been proposed could end up doing more harm than good.

    You spend most of your time on good apples, you will end up spending less time on bad apples. Moreover, the very design of the program is going to encourage over-reporting and penalization (one billable hour at a time) of innocents. Say what you will about those HSLDA cases, they are winning a lot of them. An ex parte screen of home educators just might explode that number–and further demoralize social services workers.

    Want to require some ongoing help for difficult adoptions? Amen. My brother in law and his wife would have appreciated it–they ended up un-adopting kids because of the difficulty. Find some cash for improved mental health services? Halleluiah. Make it easier for social services to follow up on allegations that were significant, but not yet prosecutable? Might be a good idea. Look seriously at workloads and methods for social services and make changes–including possibly more funding/hiring? You bet. Looking at family discord as a possible indicator of interest? Might be worth looking into.

    But mandatory meetings with mandatory reporters? Sorry, law does not allow ex parte restrictions on most things, and it would almost certainly cause a lot more problems than it solves.

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  28. ” I think I’ve made a reasonable argument that what’s been proposed could end up doing more harm than good.” Innocent people getting harassed juxtaposed with undernourished, underdeveloped adults. Take a good look at those thirteen kids’ pictures, BB. Read the story. Are you effing serious?

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  29. Carmen, the point is that if we divert scarce resources to required meetings with mandatory reporters, we are going to get more of both; more kids injured and killed, and more families put through the wringer in courts of law.

    It may be counter-intuitive, but again, if the vast majority of innocents are subjected to this, it’s a huge chunk of time social services doesn’t have to work with real cases, and simultaneously a huge opportunity for them to make mistakes. (and we all do)

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  30. Bike Bubba,

    I like the idea of requiring one visit per year to a mandatory reporter. For virtually all families, this is not a hardship, because we, for example, have yearly checkups with the doctor, who is a mandatory reporter.
    

    I don’t as much like the idea of trying to isolate and go after homeschooling families by virtue of them homeschooling. That sends the wrong message. It’d be different to find the maybe 1 in 10000 families who don’t have their kids in public school, and who also don’t have regular checkups at the doctor.

    And... I'd represent this as a CHILD has a right to be seen by a mandatory reporter each year. For most kids, this isn't a big deal. They have teachers and doctors.
    

    Then… Social Services doesn’t spend time trying to check out all of the homeschooling families, but only the subset that haven’t seen a mandatory reporter in more than a year.

    And, that would have caught this family.

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  31. Missed this: “But mandatory meetings with mandatory reporters? Sorry, law does not allow ex parte restrictions on most things, and it would almost certainly cause a lot more problems than it solves.”

    There are already many ex parte restrictions on homeschooling. Very few states take a completely blind approach to this. Some require testing, some require school board approval, some require registration.

    In this case, the question is how to we protect children without depriving their rights and the rights of the parents too much. The carrot doesn’t necessarily work, because many of these families aren’t looking for free help from the state. Many wouldn’t sign up for welfare or food stamps or whatever program they qualify for based on principles. So, the question is, then, how do we provide for the welfare of these children in the least invasive way possible, and I think that a yearly mandatory reporter visit is as close as any I can think of. If you want a carrot, then you at the same time create a state-funded program to provide a free yearly checkup at a doctor’s office for low-income families.

    I would much, much rather have my doctor doing that than some bureaucrat having a rotation of homeschooling families to check up on. It also balances the “ex parte” – the doctor gets to walk the fine line between over-reporting abuse and losing customers, and on the other hand, non-reporting of abuse and potentially losing her medical license.

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  32. Linn, “I’m aware of the new push towards no children’s programming, and I personally think this is how a church can convince kids never to darken the door of a house of worship when they are old enough to make their own decisions.”

    I’m somewhat on the fence here. I think worship is more than just some feel-good thing we do every week. It’s not as restrictive and hard-core as my old church would have taught. I think there are good reasons for children to be in worship – it connects the generations in the church, so the older people are encouraged by energy of the youth, and the youth are encouraged by the faithfulness of the elderly. It also theoretically (didn’t in my last church) requires the pastor to teach on multiple levels so that there is truth for both the new Christian and the saint who has greater understanding.

    We (no longer) require our children to sit through and pay attention to everything. We let them color, fold papers, pretty much anything that isn’t really distracting, and we’re often surprised how much they get out of the teaching.

    On the other hand, I think that it’s perfectly fine to have age-appropriate classes and ministries. I went to a pre-family integrated church and sabbath school was horrendous. Kids 8-10 years old listening to grown ups arguing about theological minutiae and buzzwords.

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  33. Mark, the question is how you verify that a family has seen a mandatory reporter in a year. Quite simply, it takes…..whoever is tasked with monitoring this. It really all comes down to either the police or social services, really.

    Keep in mind as well that the 4th Amendment prohibits searches without reasonable justification, and I guarantee you that if you come in and say “I’d like to investigate 10,000 families because one might be abusing their kids”, the judge will rightfully slap you into next week, legally speaking, while giving your lawyer a short, emphatic, possibly profane lecture on what he should have learned about the 4th Amendment.

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  34. The FACT, BB, is that if those children had been in public school their parents’ abuses would have been picked up on long ago – they would have been interacting with several teachers, administrators, other students, Guidance Counsellors, etc. We would not be reading this horrifying story. Your points are weak and ineffectual, in my opinion.

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  35. Bike Bubba, there’s something called the truancy law. It requires parents to enroll their children in school and for their children to attend school. When a school district’s truant officer goes to the judge to investigate a truant child, the judge doesn’t give them a lecture on unreasonable searches and seizures.

    So, if a law similar to the truancy law (which this would be, wouldn’t it) that requires families to visit a mandatory reporter each year would also have similar enforcement. At first, it would probably be a letter sent to the parents reminding them of the law, and, without a required visit, the enforcement agency would refer the family to the juvenile court, which already deals with these sorts of matters.

    I doubt that Truant officers get read the riot act in front of judges. In fact, my grandfather was a principal and a truant officer and had lots of stories to tell about investigating delinquent parents alongside police officers. From descriptions of houses of these delinquent parents, I’m sure he had search warrants.

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  36. Carmen, are you seriously arguing that regular contact with mandatory reporters guarantees detection of child abuse? If so, please explain the news I’m hearing out of Lansing, Michigan about Larry Nassar. Each one of the 100+ girls he abused was in regular contact with other doctors, teachers, coaches, and other mandatory reporters on a daily basis, and it took 20 years for the truth to be heard by someone who cared enough to do something.

    In the same way, there were apparently 781 teachers and school employees (mandatory reporters all) accused of inappropriate sexual contact with children in 2014, and the number is growing. Sorry, but we cannot argue that contact with mandatory reporters is a panacea against this sort of thing. The evidence simply is not there.

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  37. I would recommend being a more alert neighbor. If my neighbors had a pigsty, children who never talked to anyone, shot at things in the night (that was reported in Texas), I’d alert the authorities. I have on a couple occasions. I had a neighbor whose 4-year old was always walking around the neighborhood unsupervised, and we would bring him home. He tried o cross a three-lane street on more than one occasion.It took two phone calls, but CPS did respond, helped mom problem-solve with her little Houdini, and I truly think a life was spared from an early death by traffic accident.

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  38. Mark, there are some huge differences between a truant officer and the proposal here. For starters, the truant officer was contacted to investigate when a student was supposed to be in school, but was not–so he had a known issue instead of a < 1% likelihood. Going further, the truant officer’s work stopped when the student went back to school, while an interview with a mandatory reporter would be investigating any number of possible deficiencies in parenting. It makes a big difference.

    And let’s be honest here; if the Turpins were Presbyterian or agnostic, would that excuse mandatory interviews with mandatory reporters for all Presbyterians or agnostics? What if we connected their crimes with their race or ethnicity? Let’s change the group name a bit and see if we’d accept that.

    I hope and pray that we wouldn’t.

    One other note; it’s not certain that no mandatory reporters had reason to make reports. They were on Facebook, got a citation when their lawn violated code, multiple neighbors in their subdivisions suspected things but didn’t report them, the father was shooting cans with a pistol towards the road….sorry, there were opportunities that were simply missed.

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  39. Carmen, are you seriously arguing that regular contact with mandatory reporters guarantees detection of child abuse

    Of course she isn’t. But there is no way they could have been kept chained up for months if they were regularly attending school.

    Homeschooling makes this level of abuse possible. Deal with that honestly.

    It also makes gross neglect of a child’s education possible when there are no state requirements.

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  40. Lea, absolutely. And students who get raped by their teachers are exclusively in the schools–hundreds of them each year. Does that justify subjecting the families of public school students to intrusive investigations without any evidence of wrongdoing?

    In the same way, since you mention gross neglect of a child’s education, did you know that the average graduate of Chicago Public Schools reads at a 6th grade level–and 40% of students don’t graduate? This is replicated in dozens of big city public school systems. Shall we send a social worker to each home in every big city because their schools obviously make this level of abuse possible?

    Honestly, I understand the goal here, but I would hope we would agree that absent clear evidence of wrongdoing, we ought not subject people to search. It’s in the Constitution for a reason.

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  41. BB, take this back a level. The state has an interest that children be educated. The state enacted laws to guarantee as much as possible that children are educated. Different states have different approaches to applying this requirement to children who are educated in non-traditional ways, with varying degrees of ‘invasiveness’ and varying degrees of ‘laxity’.

    Now, you can argue the constitution out the wazoo, but the same things you’re arguing for truancy only exist because the state put a positive requirement on parents to be responsible to educate their children.

    In the same way, the state has an interest that children are not abused. Again, there are people who have non-traditional approaches to parenting that make it difficult for the state to effectively enforce child abuse legislation. So, you can argue till you’re blue in the face that somehow the Constitution precludes states from disturbing the peace and sanctity of the parent/child relationship, but you would find yourself at odds with many, many laws and many court decisions that effectively demonstrate the opposite.

    And, yes, homeschoolers are going to be impacted in the sense that they are going to be most affected by this sort of mandatory reporter law, but, the “Lemon” test would be somewhat applicable here – if the law is not specifically intended to discriminate against or promote one specific area, it will be hard to get it struck down simply because it affects homeschoolers disproportionately.

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  42. BB, “Honestly, I understand the goal here, but I would hope we would agree that absent clear evidence of wrongdoing, we ought not subject people to search. It’s in the Constitution for a reason.”

    Perhaps, but try not giving your license and registration to the police officer the next time you’re stopped 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Lea, absolutely. And students who get raped by their teachers are exclusively in the schools–hundreds of them each year. Does that justify subjecting the families of public school students to intrusive investigations without any evidence of wrongdoing?

    Um…it justifies maintaining standards at school and for teachers, which would be analogous. and investigating when lines are crossed at school, absolutely.

    Your analogy is poor here.

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  44. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear, or duress.

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  45. You don’t need periodic meetings with a state social worker to verify home schooled kids aren’t being abused. All you need is a real private, charter, or even normal public school to supervise the home schooling family–in other words, an “umbrella” school. It’s what I had growing up. My parents paid our church’s private school to do yearly standard testing, and my mom met multiple times per year to go over curriculum, show samples of my work to prove I had earned the grades, and get further guidance. I must say as an adult who successfully home schooled through high school, and now has a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science from my local state university, I was shocked to find out that many home schooling families don’t use umbrella schools. Why wouldn’t they? Home schooling is hard enough without guidance. It is not for everyone, and having guidance helps ensure that it really is for you and that you’re not screwing up your kids’ education. Golly, they even have co-op classes for the kids and will even let you pay for classes for subjects you feel you can’t handle on your own. Don’t want to dissect frogs at home? Easy! Send them to your umbrella school’s biology class and just pay for that one. You can do the other subjects at home.

    I suppose those not using umbrella school home school programs are either paranoid, cheap, abusive control freaks, or lazy. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. I hate to say this, but given some of the horror stories, like this one, maybe we need some laws passed to ensure that home schooling families use an umbrella school. Even county public schools have home school programs these days. There is no excuse for this negligence! And neither church nor neighbourhood communities should ever make excuses for it. Until laws are passed, we need to call it out for what it is when you see these lone ranger families–gross negligence. Shame them until they conform.

    And on another note, it makes me very mad when bad parents give home schooling such a bad name. They’re going to get it entirely outlawed for the rest of us who do it right. In the meantime, I hope these psychotic parents never see another child again.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Sorry. Just read BeenThereDoneThat’s comment reporting what I did above. Anyway, I live in Riverside, the county seat of the city of Perris where the tragedy occurred, and all private schools are subjected to a yearly fire inspection.

    I read that reporters were told by a County clerk that there were no records of any fire inspections performed on Sandcastle Day School, over which David Turpin presided as principal. Also, the Fire Marshall did not return repeated telephone calls seeking comment.

    If the mandatory annual fire inspection had been performed, authorities would have been alerted to the foul and squalid conditions in the interior of the home (enough to warrant an intervention from CPS in itself). Plus, how can you escape a fire if you’re chained to a bed?

    I don’t know how it is in the rest of the country, but, unfortunately, Riverside County seems to be strapped for funds and its employees overworked (I used to work for the County and can personally attest to the “cut corners”).

    One of the posts I held for the County was at DPSS, and I know that there are special food stamp programs for large families. So not having enough money is no excuse for the Turpins starving their children.

    One more thing: The Turpins had previously resided in Rio Vista, Texas, where they lost a home to foreclosure. One of the neighbors, out of curiosity, inspected the property after they abandoned it and found carcasses of dead cats and dogs in addition to 2 live Chihuahuas who had survived by eating poopy diapers. That is animal cruelty, a crime. He also encountered “waist-high” excrement in a makeshift school classroom.

    Here in SoCal, there was a case recently where someone moved out and just left a dog in a yard. A neighbor called the police, and the dog’s owners were tracked down and prosecuted for cruelty to animals.

    Plus, leaving a neighborhood house in such filth should also be a crime. The feces can attract vermin, which negatively impacts surrounding properties. Aren’t there certain basic health standards that must be followed in a municipality?

    Where I live, you cannot elect to forgo trash pickup. No, you have to pay for the city to come and collect your garbage. Following that line of reasoning, I don’t think people (who are in foreclosure or otherwise) should be legally allowed to allow human excrement to pile up (I also read that in Texas the Turpins left behind a Ford vehicle FULL of soiled diapers).

    The Turpins weren’t just hoarders. They seemed to never take out the trash. From what I read, their house in Texas became so full of garbage that they had to buy a trailer to live in instead. In time, that, too, became garbage infested. Then they left. And started to repeat the cycle in Perris.

    This points to depravity, and it is child abuse just forcing your children to live in those conditions. But nobody reported them in Texas, even though there was evidence of animal cruelty and a squalid domestic environment (albeit, after they moved out).

    Still, these kind of people need to be tracked down and charged, so they can be STOPPED once and for all. Think about it: who lets trash pile up like that? Who would leave behind dogs to fend for themselves? Why is there so much human excrement in the house? This behavior points to twisted minds and reveals deranged, abnormal character.

    In my house there is no poop laying around, much less “waist deep” levels.

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  47. Sorry. Someone else had already commented on this blog about David Turpin being charged with a lewd act on a child.

    It also bears mentioning that the 29 year-old eldest Turpin child weighed just 82 pounds; a 12 year-old had the weight of an average 7 year-old; and the 17 year-old who escaped appeared to be aged 10 to police.

    At the public schools in my area, there is a free breakfast and lunch program for students who qualify because educators realize that without proper nourishment, kids can’t concentrate very well on assignments.

    So much for the Sandcastle Day School run by Principal David Turpin.

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  48. By the way, the Sandcastle Day School was required to receive annual fire inspections. The Fire Marshall has not appeared to respond to repeated telephone calls seeking answers, and it has been reported by a Riverside County clerk that there are no records of a fire inspection having ever been performed on the Sandcastle Day School.

    Actually, “Night” school, since it has been said that the children were forced to sleep in the day and be awake at night.

    Also, it is pretty hard to escape a fire if you’re chained to a bed or have to dodge all the piles of accumulated feces.

    Is it even possible that David Turpin has a degree in engineering???????

    They can afford personalized license plates, multiple Las Vegas wedding vow renewals, Disneyland trips, but no food for their kids?

    Riverside County (where I reside) operates a food stamp program for large families, so there’s no excuse for the Turpins.

    It’s reported that the children were prohibited from washing their hands above the wrists. Doing so constituted “playing in the water.” The Turpins really had a thing for filth, eh? The squalor is no accident!

    From what I’ve read, it appears that Mrs. Turpin (who is unemployed) never seemed to get around to throwing out the trash.

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  49. All you need is a real private, charter, or even normal public school to supervise the home schooling family–in other words, an “umbrella” school. It’s what I had growing up.

    Thank you! I agree with your entire post.

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  50. Clockwork Angel,

    A lot of homeschooling parents believe that those who aren’t believers are agents of Satan who hate all children and are incapable of doing anything ‘good’.

    They would imagine that any oversight or ‘umbrella’ school/program would have a devious agenda to remove the rights of parents in Home educating.

    I’ve been around people who think and believe this.

    I know parents who don’t register their kids as homeschooled, and because they don’t receive government support they essentially fly under the radar from the local authorities. Authorities who would otherwise notice their kids aren’t in public school and would do something about it.

    The fear in the homeschool movement is insane.

    And many of the homeschooling families I know have adult children who move to the opposite side of the country to get away from their parents.

    The enemy is more often in the home than not.

    Parents who do the right thing should not fear accountability by the government. Especially considering scripture makes clear it’s purpose is to punish evil doers.

    The government isn’t always the enemy.

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  51. “It just keeps getting Weirder and Weirder.”
    — Johnny Bravo

    Latest development from local morning drive-time radio is that Louise Turpin was a SERIOUS “John & Kate + Eight” fangirl. Search of the home found a LOT of J&K+8 DVDs (the entire run?) and all the Turpin kids’ names began with “J” (“J”ust like the Duggars). The story was she was obsessed(?) with becoming a Reality Show Star and a lot of the family weirdness was to make them Reality Show material and get them on TV. (A lot like the 1930s/40s shtick of becoming a Movie Star by dressing up and hanging out at a soda fountain hoping that a Hollywood talent scout would Discover(TM) You.) The radio commentary even described the Elvis-Impersonator Vegas re-weddings in matching outfits and haircuts as “like something out of The Brady Bunch“.

    Aside: Was deliberately stunting the kids’ growth through starvation an attempt to keep them photogenic children for the Reality Show cameras?

    <I.>”I’m Gonna Be,
    I’m Gonna Be,
    I’m Gonna Be FAMOUS!”
    — Total Drama Island opening theme

    Aside: J&K+8 itself had a CHRISTIAN(TM) tie-in; one blogger remembers seeing a J&K+8 Celebrity Study Bible (with J&K+8’s Christian Testimonies) hitting the Jesus Junk store shelves just before the sex/divorce scandal broke. (And even after John left and divorced her in that sex scandal, Kate stayed a Reality Show Star for a couple more seasons of “Kate + Eight”.)

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  52. @Stephanie:

    They can afford personalized license plates, multiple Las Vegas wedding vow renewals, Disneyland trips, but no food for their kids?

    It all depends on What’s REALLY Important.

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  53. @Salty:

    A lot of homeschooling parents believe that those who aren’t believers are agents of Satan who hate all children and are incapable of doing anything ‘good’.

    They would imagine that any oversight or ‘umbrella’ school/program would have a devious agenda to remove the rights of parents in Home educating.

    I’ve been around people who think and believe this.

    It’s all part of a completely closed system called Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.

    The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

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  54. @Mark:

    Mid-way through, I realized that the rhetoric teacher was also the art teacher, so rhetoric was not about using logic, speech organization and good structure to form a coherent and well-reasoned argument, but it was an art form about cleverly badgering your audience with falsehoods, but in a sophisticated and smooth way to make them assume that your arguments are well-researched and well-reasoned.

    As I said above, “There Is No Right, There Is No Wrong, There Is Only WINNING The Debate. All Semantics, My Dear Wormwood.”

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  55. Perhaps, but try not giving your license and registration to the police officer the next time you’re stopped 🙂

    Perhaps ask a police officer what happens when they make stops without clear evidence of probable cause, Mark. They rightly catch Hell for it, since state surveillance requires probable cause, period. Just ask any police officer with a pattern of DWB (driving while black) actions detected by outsiders.

    And really, I don’t know why you would want to look at everybody when the news coming out is that friends, family, and neighbors all knew that something was wrong, but didn’t report it. Just like the Larry Nassar case. Just like the hundreds of cases of sexual assault by school teachers each year. There is no need to gut the 4th Amendment to deal with these things–we just need to find ways to get people off their rear ends so that the bad actors can be dealt with.

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  56. cleverly badgering your audience with falsehoods

    Mark, I think there are a number of people who think badgering is a good debating strategy, and that if they shut someone up they have won. When what has actually happened, is the other person has rejected you as not worth arguing with and moved on. This happens in comment sections too 🙂

    As I said above, “There Is No Right, There Is No Wrong, There Is Only WINNING The Debate.

    Ha. You know HUG, one of the very interesting things that debate did teach me is that if you don’t understand both sides of an argument you do not understand the topic. If they had learned that lesson rather than yours, it would be a very good thing.

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  57. The media is now reporting that this couple was involved with swinging, wife swapping and had an open marriage where both spouses were supportive of each other’s meet ups.

    I’m now more convinced that this is NOT the crazy Christian couple that some are claiming but rather moral degenerates that grew in their perversion. Apparently they had this obcession with the Jim Bob’s family of 19 and counting and wanted their own show.

    Imagine that, we only allow our kids a shower once a year. Normal moms are making young kids take a bath regularly. Whatever mistakes your parents made, pretty hard to imagine anyone topping this pervy couple. Very bizarre case. Sometimes you wonder how these crazies stay hidden. Like the Olympic coach, how are we as a society allowing this to occur for so long ? More important how can we stop it from happening again. There is just way too much of this for there not to be a bigger problem here than the pornification of America.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus

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  58. @Scott1253:

    The media is now reporting that this couple was involved with swinging, wife swapping and had an open marriage where both spouses were supportive of each other’s meet ups.

    As Johnny Bravo said above, “It Just Keeps Getting Weirder and Weirder”.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    Wrong thing to say to a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War, Scott. If nothing else, an overused Christianese sound bite.

    And on a deeper level, like the congregation in Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”, do you know what comes in the package? The prophets called The End “That Great and TERRIBLE Day of God”, not a spectator sport for the Saved; if all these glib Rapture Ready types could see a vision of what That Great and TERRIBLE Day entails, they’d be staring silent with their hands over their mouth like Job’s Counselors.

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  59. Having an occasional monthly or quarterly visit from a social worker or educator is not the same as having your house sporadically overrun by Gestapo style soldiers who smash things and terrorize the kids. If you do right and have nothing to hide the social worker will have nothing to report. When my parents adopted my sister we didn’t mind them investigating us. They didn’t know us and wanted to make sure we weren’t the Gogans from Pete’s Dragon.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. I think parents who homeschool should be required to be mandatory reporters just as other instructors are. They should suffer legal consequences if they fail to act accordingly.

    OK, the prime suspects in child abuse must testify against themselves? Ever heard of the 5th Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination?

    OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment) Maybe we can dispense with the 8th (cruel and unusual punishment), too.

    Seriously, there are countries out there who have indeed dispensed with protections like these, and it has always worked out very badly for everyone involved. Millions have learned, lethally, that just because you have nothing to hide does not mean you have nothing to fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment)

    If kids were working through a co-op or school program like Clockwork Angel described then officials would not be coming to anyone’s home and children would still be being seen. And their education would probably be improved in many cases. All good. Let’s not be hyperbolic.

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  62. BB, “Perhaps ask a police officer what happens when they make stops without clear evidence of probable cause, Mark.”

    That’s why there exist all sort of laws like the “fuzzy dice” law – where having something hanging from your mirror is a primary (i.e. can be pulled over for) offense. I was stopped (probably not) because my license plate holder partially covered over the state name.

    But, if you research these sorts of cases, you’ll find that the truth is much worse than the Constitutional fairyland you believe in.

    Sobriety Checkpoints: The courts have upheld the practice of police setting up a roadblock and checking each driver for signs of drunkenness.
    “Hot Pursuit” – related cases. In many cases, the courts have upheld police officers breaking in and searching based on some apparent (whether mistaken or not) urgent need. In one case, IIRC, the police were chasing a man in an apartment building, lost sight of him, but then heard loud voices, so they broke in and shot the wrong person.
    “Lying/Threatening” – related cases. The courts have upheld times when police have lied or threatened to gain otherwise unlawful entry to a house. For example, a social worker and a police officer told a mom that they were authorized to break in and take her kids away to foster care if she didn’t co-operate. When she let them in, I believe they found evidence of some other crime and prosecuted her. The judge upheld the evidence because she “let them in”.

    There’s a situation in Aurora, CO that I’m surprised hasn’t gone to the courts. The police received a tip that a bank robber(?) was headed towards a certain intersection. The police blocked the intersection, removed everyone from their cars, handcuffed them, and then proceeded to search all of the cars. The police DID find the suspect, which probably is enough to make the courts happy.

    I doubt that a mandatory reporter law is going to raise many eyebrows in terms of the courts, since there are already quite similar laws on the books that require positive action from parents (e.g. truancy).

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  63. From what I’ve read, it appears that a foreclosed property abandoned by the Turpins in Rio Vista, Texas, was left in atrocious conditions, with waist-high human excrement and carcasses of cats and dogs strewn about.

    A neighbor reported finding 2 live Chihuahuas inside that had survived by eating feces infested diapers. This is animal cruelty and sheds light on the character of the Turpins.

    Perhaps leaving a residence in such squalid conditions should at least be considered a misdemeanor. I mean “waist-high” human excrement (including a Ford vehicle on the Texas property filled to the brim with soiled diapers) is unsanitary for the whole neighborhood. Those filthy conditions can breed vermin and represents a public nuisance.

    Perhaps the companies that repossess such properties should be required to report these filthy offenders so that the police can also verify if there were children living in the home at the time. Such household conditions, by themselves, represent child abuse.

    Maybe neighbors could be permitted to sue the filthy offenders, also, and recoup their extermination and pest control bills.

    Liked by 2 people

  64. OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment) Maybe we can dispense with the 8th (cruel and unusual punishment), too.

    Sounds like a Guns & Ammo editorial from the Seventies, i.e.
    “Registration by 1977, Confiscation by 1978, COMMUNISM by 1979”.

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  65. @Carmen:

    “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

    And just how in the HELL is that supposed to help the Turpin offspring?? 😦

    Just Christianese buzzword bingo, that’s all.

    Doublepluswarmfeelies (and confirmed Godliness) for the mp3 player uttering the Spiritual Buzzword phrase. Shows how much more Righteous he is than all the rest of us.

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  66. And the latest morning drive-time developments re Cirque de Turpin:

    Oldest son (not the oldest child) was attending a local community college with a 3.8 GPA. (Speculation as how to Mommy was keeping control; accompanying him to classes?) Besides wondering about the contrast between this and the home conditions, every coverage mentioned that one of the classes he got a straight A in was Public Speaking. (My first thought on hearing that was “Debate”. My second was if twirling pencils was involved.)

    And the Turpins were within a week of “moving to Oklahoma” at the time they got busted. No further details, but speculation as to whether the upcoming bugout was the final trigger for the 17-year-old to bug out and blow the whistle.

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  67. HUG, have been enjoying your ‘local updates’.

    Oldest son (not the oldest child)

    Do you know how old the son was? Interesting that the daughter was the one who escaped and saved the crew. Interesting that the son was controlled enough to be let out. Did he buy into whatever motivated them? Was he treated as poorly as the others? I think they were all, excepting the baby, malnourished.

    (My second was if twirling pencils was involved.)

    LOL! That has stuck with me since high school. I wonder if it’s still a ‘thing’.

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  68. And the Turpins were within a week of “moving to Oklahoma” at the time they got busted. No further details, but speculation as to whether the upcoming bugout was the final trigger for the 17-year-old to bug out and blow the whistle.

    Maybe they moved when the neighbors had time to get suspicious.

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  69. @Lea:

    Oldest son (not the oldest child)

    Do you know how old the son was?

    Early- to Mid-twenties is my best guess.

    Here’s the latest headlines & blurbs that show up on Bing Search when I enter “turpins”:

    1) “The ‘Happy Family’ at Centre of Torture Allegations” (BBC headline)

    2) Louise Turpin’s sister, Teresa, is revealing how truly bizarre the marriage between her sister and David Turpin was. She says that David Turpin once drove his wife 700 miles for a romantic tryst with a total stranger. “She said that her and David had met a man online and they were going to Huntsville, Alabama to meet him and she said she was going to sleep with him,” she told Inside Edition. “David waited in the parking lot on her.” (Inside Edition video)

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  70. On a lighter note, here’s a blast from the past about another Reality Show Wannabe.
    Remember “Balloon Boy”s dad?

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  71. She says that David Turpin once drove his wife 700 miles for a romantic tryst with a total stranger.

    I wonder if this wasn’t some extreme exercise of control on David’s part. It’s very strange.

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  72. “and investigating when lines are crossed at school, absolutely.”

    This is the problem. That means we are always reactive. We need to understand what the warning signs are that lead up to the lines being crossed and try to prevent those. We don’t look at a factory and say, “hey, it’s perfectly safe, no one has died here”. We look around and try to figure out areas where there is the potential for something to happen. We start investigating “close calls”. We start putting policies and procedures in place that prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place.

    We don’t say, well, only 13 kids here were harmed. For example, look at the aviation industry. It’s the safest form of transportation, yet when there is an accident, there is a no-expenses-spared investigation into that accident to understand the cause. The root cause typically leads to changes in the design of airplanes, the design of air traffic safety protocols and more that leads to a reduction in injury.

    Having an attitude towards these children of, “nothing to see here, move on” really does not grasp that we as a society are failing our children in fundamental ways, and I believe much of that is the attitude that the parent/child relationship is somehow uniquely unobservable. We don’t want children to become wards of the state with constant encroachment and fear, but neither do we want children to go off the radar for years without any contact with those concerned about their wellbeing.

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  73. Mark, you appear to be responding to me, but I’m confused as I’m not sure you’ve understood my point, which was specifically in relation to school. These kids weren’t in school. I was NOT in any way expressing a nothing to see here attitude towards them.

    Schools have ‘policies and procedures’, which is why we can tell when lines have been crossed and react.

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  74. Cirque de Turpin seems to have calmed down a bit; not much news the past day. Just the court forbidding the Turpins (defendants) to have any contact with their children (witnesses) without attorneys present. This is normal to prevent witness intimidation/tampering, but there was some morning drive-time commentary about why the judge didn’t do this at initial arraignment time.

    Afternoon drive-time zingers:
    1) “Defense? What ‘Defense’? They should call it ‘stacking and manipulating the jury to get the guilty off.”
    2) Regarding Louise Turpin’s trying to use the family to get on her own Reality Show: “It’s over. There’s no hope. I’m going to stand in front of a train or something. EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE THE NEXT KARDASHIANS!!!!!!”

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  75. Mark– I appreciate your story and your perspective on emotional needs that parents need to attend to. Would you be willing to tell us your age? In the past everyone had to do a lot of work to keep things going– should they have been restricted from having children? Do you consider it trauma to not have had all your emotional needs met?

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  76. Lea, “Schools have ‘policies and procedures’, which is why we can tell when lines have been crossed and react.”

    I don’t believe that really addresses the problem. I’ll give you an example. My school district has a “10 minute per grade” homework policy. So, in 5th grade, students should expect a maximum of 50 minutes of homework. So, my daughter had a class where the teacher assigned about twice her allotment.

    So, here’s the conundrum. The administration refuses to enforce the policy. We documented about six weeks where she was working well past that and the response was basically to blame our daughter and do nothing.

    So, the policy is nothing without the enforcement, and generally, the enforcement fails because the actors within the system have an us vs. them mentality (i.e. blame the student).

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  77. As someone who went to homeschool, I believe the state should check in on homeschooled children. My father being the manly man he was decided we would go to homeschool; he would not pay for our school books every year, we skipped grades, did not go to ninth grade, we never graduated. It is an embarrassing secret we keep from our friends and cousins.

    I consider the conservative homeschooling parents I grew up with to be selfish, sadistic, heartless, dumb, know-nothing, liars.Though these selfish liars pretend they know so much. I have been suicidal since I was eleven; my cousin who also went to a conservative homeschool committed suicide two years ago. It is a cesspool of selfish misognisitc fathers and trapped unloved misogynistic mothers.

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  78. I mean, I’m sorry they’re not strict with the homework policy at your school, Mark, but I ask what is your point here related to this?

    Of course, enforcement is needed?

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  79. Irene, not sure why my age means much, but let me answer your other questions.

    I’m not sure how the word “trauma” applies to emotional neglect. There was also emotional abuse, which I would call trauma. But, let’s take it back a step and say that there are typical cause and effect relationships.

    For example, if you see a dog that urinates on the floor or lowers its head and backs into a corner when the owner opens the door, you would probably think to yourself that the dog is abused.

    In the same way, there are behavioral patterns. Abused children tend to do poorly in school. Abused children tend to be afraid to make eye contact. These may be based on parental actions – beating a child for childish forgetfulness or unwritten rules.

    But, there are also behavioral patterns due to neglect. For example, there are symptoms related to insecure attachment. For example, avoidant children act as if they are okay when they really aren’t. They are afraid to communicate their needs or ask for help because they were generally neglected, and their expression of need was negatively reinforced. Resistant children are another facet of insecure attachment. In this case, they are comfortable around the parent, but highly distressed when they leave.

    So, I can see in myself patterns of behavior that stem from specific patterns of care in my parents.

    “In the past everyone had to do a lot of work to keep things going– should they have been restricted from having children?”

    I think our knee-jerk reaction is to find one thing and focus on that. Instead, we have to look at the system. There were a ton of factors. For one, I think my parents were encouraged to have lots of kids by the fundagelical church. I think it was socially acceptable for my dad to work long hours and avoid dealing with the children. I think there was an overall behavioral (i.e. cold and non-emotional) approach to parenting that replaced love and care with a bunch of parental do’s and don’ts, most of which were about withdrawing love when children disobeyed or displayed needs. I think there was a lot of fear in the fundagelical church about not having the “picture perfect” family, so much so that parents who were struggling were unable to reach out for help or encouragement.

    I don’t think focusing on one area (i.e. forced sterilization based on number of children) is going to solve the system of problems. My parents were highly sensitive and easily overwhelmed by a few kids. My wife and I are similar. I know families that are much larger and louder and the parents seem to be doing just fine. But, I think each couple needs to be able to assess their situation without all the crappy platitudes (children are a blessing!!!) and outside pressures and decide what they can handle. The flip-side of that is that we don’t need out-of-touch grandparent-types in churches trying to guilt manipulate couples (you’re not trusting God to give you strength?!) into over-extending themselves.

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  80. Lea, let me approach this from a different perspective:
    How many children should be sexually assaulted by their teachers per year? Zero, right?
    So, most states have laws on the books defining teacher rape as a criminal offense. It reduced the incidence, yes, but is it 0?
    Most school districts have policies and procedures designed to prevent students from being sexually assaulted by their teachers. Is it 0 yet?

    So, if we really, truly want to get this to zero, we need to change the culture from a reactive culture to a proactive culture. We could give teachers the death penalty for assaulting children and the number still wouldn’t be 0.

    So, this levels the discussion. Yes, children are safer in schools because there are more reactive safety measures in schools, and a lot more eyes, but we aren’t going to solve these sorts of problems without starting to understand behavioral patterns that lead up to these incidents.

    What would that look like? How do you create a safe culture at a school? In the same way, how do you create a safe public culture? Like the Nasser case, it’s not about victim blaming and revictimization!

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  81. @Christianity Hurts,

    Yeah, in my small world, it’s about 30/60/10. That is about 30% got a horrible education, skipped grades, checked the graduated box without really fulfilling standard requirements. About 60% had an experience that I would say is on par with public school, and about 10% were able to excel.

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  82. Yes, children are safer in schools because there are more reactive safety measures in schools, and a lot more eyes, but we aren’t going to solve these sorts of problems without starting to understand behavioral patterns that lead up to these incidents.

    Mark, that all sounds great. I just didn’t understand why you seemed to be arguing with me, about something I don’t actually believe. Proactive as I see it includes policies and procedures, oversight, etc. I’m not a teacher so I don’t know what training they get on this, although I’m sure they get at least some on professional ethics in dealing with students.

    Although, I think no matter what measures we put into place, the number will never be zero sadly.

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  83. What? 30-60-10. And you think the odds are better in public school? More than 10 percent excel? Including dropout rates, fewer than 30 percent don’t do well in the public school? I am a product of the mediocre public school system, where I personally worked hard at getting an education and wouldn’t have thought to complain about homework even the times it required an all-nighter. I homeschooled both of my kids and they both got a far better education than they would have in public school. If you can do better than the teachers—do it!

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  84. Mark–
    Modern standards are that parents need to attend to every emotional need. I don’t think that was recognized 40 years ago– reason for the age question. Also, i don’t know that it was always possible in the midst of so much work to survive to attend to every emotional need. When we label things trauma- –especially things that are not sexual or physical abuse– do we have compassion for those who were just doing the best they could?

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  85. Irene, “If you can do better than the teachers—do it!”

    This is a much more involved and convoluted thing. We went in with the “we are going to homeschool” mentality. After four years of homeschooling, my wife and daughter’s relationship was pretty trashed because the caring mother and school taskmaster were incredibly hard to differentiate. There are some unique things here and I think it was really essential, in her case, that the person who was assigning the work not be the person encouraging her to get it done and comforting her when the consequences of not getting it done became apparent.

    While I have the academic credentials to teach at a college level, I think it best not to take that on with my children. My parents provided no support for my education. I excelled because I had the giftedness and personal drive to excel. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my children are “normal” in the sense that they are age-appropriately motivated. I get really really frustrated when they don’t absorb what I have to say and ask for more. Instead, I tend to overwhelm them and then get frustrated and shut down.

    So, I think that my role is more to find opportunities and open paths for them to navigate, as well as understand when I might need to intervene.

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  86. Irene, “I don’t think that was recognized 40 years ago– reason for the age question.”

    Hmmm. I think you are wrong here, in a sense. John B Watson was the father of behaviorism (~1913), which became the dominant philosophy for education and upbringing in general. To that the point that Dr. Spock was a considered a revolutionary for suggesting in 1946 that children should be treated like individual humans. My parents spoke pretty regularly against Dr. Spock and his wicked coddling of children.

    So, yes, perhaps behaviorism was the predominant evangelical baby-raising theory when I was raised, but there were contradictory theories well in place at that time that my parents knowingly chose to reject.

    While I expect all parents did so to the “best of their ability”, I believe that there is an underlying behaviorist lie that the cold, harsh, strict treatment was “for our own goods”, so my parents may admit that they were sinners in parenting, when it comes down to actually admitting specific things they were wrong about, I got nothing. That tells me that they really, removing the veil of false humility and self-effacement, believed they did a great job of raising us.

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  87. And, fifteenish years ago, that teaching was still in place in the fundagelical church. We saw Ezzo videos, got handed James Dobson books and sermons from the pulpit about family were very patriarchal.

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  88. Lea, just trying to argue that there are fundamental issues on both sides. On the one side there are parents who are abusive using homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse. On the other side, you have guys like Nasser who operated in a public school setting, in front of parents, and victims were silenced and ignored, despite the schools theoretically having all these policies and procedures in place to protect the students.

    The fundamental question here is how do we provide children the power and the hearing they deserve while also protecting normal parents from governmental overreach.

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  89. Cirque de Turpin seems to have fallen off the radar of morning/afternoon drive-time, replaced by other headlines. Probably not going to hear much more until it actually goes to court and more comes out. Still lotsa questions as to details.

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  90. Parents do report curriculum choices and grades. It’s required by all states or so I thought. That would not alert anyone to abuse.
    Unfortunately all the thousands of Christian homeschooling families that have healthy, happy productive children that do interact with the real world may now be under bias and scrutiny due to the extreme and deranged behaviors of this family. My son’s girlfriend was part of a large homeschooling group in our city and will be graduating this May from a Christian college at the top of her class and already has job offers. She’s outgoing, intelligent and frankly represents the majority of homeschoolers, not the minority.

    I think it’s important for people to realize that evil people will use whatever means they can to abuse and torture and that religion or homeschooling is not the issue. It’s using these things as a tool, twisting then and using them as a means to force the victims to do their will. We need to be sure the blame is solely on the criminal, in this case, the parents.

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  91. “Parents do report curriculum choices and grades. It’s required by all states or so I thought.”

    No, this is not accurate. I homeschooled my kids in 3 different states and never reported curricula or grades.

    Homeschooling itself is really not the issue. The issue is that kids can become lost (literally) in the system, and it gives a green light to any kind of deviant behavior when there is absolutely no oversight.

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