Fighting BackParents are taking action to protect their children
I have helped many families get their children back — probably 13 in the last few years, and have made sure their constitutional rights were met," said Connie Roska, whose son, Rusty, was abducted from their home after she was assigned a false psychiatric label.
Roska sued the state of Utah after getting Rusty back. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, except when immediate danger exists, children could not be removed from their parents without a warrant from the court.
Following the verdict, the Utah legislature incorporated this principle into
state law. "If you look at the standards in the law now," said the Roskas' attorney,
Steve Russell, "the language is right out of the Roska decision."
Asked why he took on the case in 1999 and pursued it for years with no promise of payment, Russell said, "I have had clients who had been abused by the system and I was looking for a case that is so rock solid that I could really make a difference. I have eight children. I did this for my own family and for everybody else, so they could be free."
The trial judge ruled the case would go to a jury to decide, not whether the Roskas' rights had been violated since that was not in dispute, but how much they should be awarded in damages. On February 9, 2006, the 10th Circuit upheld this ruling. As Freedom went to press, the case was slated for a federal jury trial to determine the amount of damages.
Many besides the Roskas and Steve Russell have fought the system and made a difference. As reported in an earlier issue of Freedom, Butch and Kitral Chaplin faced charges of "medical neglect" for refusing to put their then 14-year-old daughter, Abbey, on a mix of dangerous drugs. Although Abbey was taken from them and locked in a mental institution, the Chaplins fought successfully to get her back and have had all charges against them dropped.
Five years later and free from psychiatric "assistance," Abbey is supporting herself through college and making the dean's list, her father told Freedom.
Butch Chaplin has spoken to other parents threatened with loss of their children. He tells them the only way to win is to stand up for their rights and not to back down. "People say, 'Why is it like that? Why doesn't it change?'" Chaplin said. "Well, this is the absolute truth: it is because good people say and do nothing."