Harris Case RID 1300823

Who We Are and How We Got Here

In 2015 I reported the sexual and emotional abuse of my children. They claimed to have been filmed by their father and a group of men and women. The scenes they described were graphic and disturbing. I was hesitant to report the incident to police, because they claimed that some scenes involved police officers, and I knew that their father was well connected in the county of Riverside California.

I thought that doctors would treat the injuries, therapists would counsel our children, social services would work with our family, police would arrest the offenders, and attorneys would prosecute the case.  However, none of that happened. Riverside and San Bernardino county agencies dropped the ball at every pass. Soon it became clear that what I had reported was to remain in the dark.

But if you’re reading this, light is shed on the underground railroad of child abuse in Inland Empire California.

Since reporting the crimes, I have done all that I can to ensure that my children have medical and psychiatric help, social support, and legal representation. I had never spent much time dealing with child welfare agencies or authorities before 2015. I now know what corruption looks like.

The restraining order we were granted due to past abuses, did little to protect us from stalking, theft and home invasion. By reporting their father, a life long City of Riverside employee, and the misconduct of Riverside County Sheriff deputies, we shed light on a ring of people who operated in the dark.

The family court in Riverside California and its paid agents ignored and deflected attention away from the crimes alleged by our children. In spite of my experience there, I will continue to help my family out of a criminally abusive situation; And I must remain free to do so.

This deadlock situation where I’ve been given the choice to hand over custody of my children to those they claim hurt them, or face prosecution, is a mother’s worst nightmare.

Where is the justice? I have learned so much about how child abuse is handled in this country. Reform is needed. We cannot allow our children to be continually exploited for money and we must hold every agency and individual accountable for what they testify to on the stand.

Our Move to Austin Texas: August 2016

In August of 2016, I had sole legal and physical custody of our children, and had appealed to the judge about the emotional harm and threat suffered during visitation with their father. No remedy was offered.

We needed to find people and resources willing to aid our family under displacement and duress. We needed to be a safe distance from the ring of men and women my children claimed abused them in Southern California.

The cost of living, access to social support, and technical jobs made Austin Texas a logical relocation choice under the circumstances. Our children and I loaded a diesel truck and moved in August of 2016.

In Austin our children have a protection team that includes professionals from medicine, criminal justice, social work, and education who understand and appreciate the different roles, responsibilities, strengths, and weaknesses of the other team members. They have full access to communicate with me and with each other to coordinate efforts and develop effect plans. Plans of treatment to address the emotional issues faced by our children. The skills of each person and agency are different but equally important.

I am not a mother who is alienating her children. I am protecting and supporting their healthy development in a safe environment.

Riverside’s Response: March 2017

on March 17th, 2017  the judge granted full legal and physical custody of the children to their father. He did this at the recommendation their assigned  lawyer, Jennifer Gerard.  This lawyer had met the children two days prior in her office, but had expressed to the judge and I that this was a case of “parental alienation” the week before.

This lawyer disclosed the abuse she had heard of from the children in her office. She seemed to mock them… mentioning “Good cop, bad cop” and that my son spoke of being chased around with a sword. She mentioned that our daughter did talk about being touched in a sexual manner by her father. Why this was not cause for concern or action, I don’t know.

But she, like all others who heard their claims, did not protect them and ensure their safety. In fact, she did the opposite. Without validating their statements or speaking to the contacts provided to her, she recommended that they be given over to their father.

I had signed releases for Jennifer Gerard to speak with the children’s regular therapist and school staff counselors. However, she only mentioned she could not get information from the mental hospital about our son’s stay. However she did indicate that I “may be telling the truth” about the hospital stay. The hospital acknowledged that our son was a patient, but could not disclose information to her.

In her office, attorney Jennifer Gerard asked me if the children could positively identify the police officers involved in the group, and asked for contact information for those who could support the allegations. I told her I would supply the information when I returned home, after Spring break.

It is clear now that her interest did not lie in bringing these people to justice. She worked in the interest of the Sheriff’s department and the abusive father by recommending that the children be thrown back in to the lion’s den, without investigation. I see a theme here.

I have more concerns about this woman, but will go into detail later.

Such bias and drastic actions are irresponsible and unprofessional. I used to become visibly upset in court during the year and half of watching people testify on Bobby’s behalf on the stand. But by March of 2017, I knew what to expect, and had no emotional reaction to what was occurring.

Abuse has a way of numbing you. When our children speak of what they went through, it is in a calm way without emotion. I understand.

I confirmed with the judge that I was to have no contact with my children. He affirmed that all contact by phone would be at the discretion of their father. He gave me two hours to bring our children to their father at the police station in Riverside. It was nearly 10 am.

Silence filled the courtroom. No one rose from their seats. It’s as if we all knew that this was not the proper end to the hearing. Each second felt like an eternity, until their father began to sob. There had to be some dramatic end to the show, and I refused to play along.

We cleared the court room, and I watched the crocodile tears cease in the waiting area. His mother mouthed “I’m sorry.” to me as she gently patted his shoulder.

I was in utter shock; Expressionless and motionless.

Outside of the Courtroom

I attempted to deliver the message to my mother outside of the courtroom. The children had plans for the movies that afternoon, and I had to arrange for a ride for them and for myself. We had flown out of Austin the Friday before for court, and they were on Spring break.

Their father’s girlfriend, Crystal, began to closely follow me on foot. She was uncomfortably too close to my person, not lagging 24″ behind at any given time. From what I had heard about her from our children, she is a dangerous and sadistic woman. I asked her to leave me alone and to give me space.

I turned my cell phone camera on her. I did not know what her plans were for me. She followed me around for nearly an hour through the back streets and neighborhoods of downtown Riverside. After thirty minutes, I called the police, and arranged for them to meet me at a liquor store to take my report. But when I saw that she had followed me, I decided to walk back to the court house and wait for the police officers to meet me there.

I walked in to the Family Court House on Main Street, and Crystal entered a black SUV driven by Bobby. There was no license plate on the vehicle. I walked into the courtroom and quietly asked for the bailiff’s assistance. It was a little after 11 am, and I indicated to him that I needed some time to locate the children and arrange for safe transport. But first, I wanted to make a report to local authorities.

I showed him the video and he commented that it was a stupid move on Crystal’s part to follow me in that manner.  The bailiff then escorted me downstairs until the police pulled up to the front of the courthouse.

I began to tell the officers about what had occurred in court and on the streets, but one of the officers immediately reached for my hand bag and asked to look at my documents that were sticking out of the zippered front.

The officer handed my bag to the other officer, who began to search it. I contested the search, and the officer told me to take a seat on the front bumper of his SUV.

“I just want to make a report.” I said repeatedly.

The officer grabbed me, handcuffed me tightly, and placed me into the back of his SUV. The vehicle was not running and it was hot inside. The contents of my bag were placed on the hood.

I shouted, asking why I was being detained. The officer who handcuffed me, entered the front of the SUV to turn on the air. He would not speak to me. The other officer opened the back door to obtain my consent to search my bag for weapons and other illegal items. I refused, and he said that they would have to hold me. I asked for what. He indicated that they were investigating a crime; the crime that I was reporting!….If you are confused by that statement, you are not alone.

I was hindering the investigation into the crime I was reporting, yet they would not take my statement, nor allow me to leave until I consented to their search. I asked what would happen if I refused. He said he would have to get his Sergeant to come and release me. I wanted out of the back of the vehicle, and felt I had no choice but to let them search my bag.

All contents were thoroughly looked through and placed on the hood of the SUV. This took place in front of the court with a high volume of traffic just before lunch time. The experience was confusing, humiliating and upsetting. During the search, one of the officers came across my gun permit. He made the handgun gesture with his fingers and the other officer nodded with a smile.

The officer who had spoken to me at the door before, came back and said that they had received reports that I was armed. This is why a search was mandatory before taking my statement, to ensure their safety.

I did not want to speak to him further. I told him, “It’s OK.” and turned away.

He said “What’s OK? I’m doing nothing wrong.”

I knew that there was nothing I could do but remain calm, silent, and  to wait. I would give them no excuse to detain me longer than necessary or to harm my person. They concluded the search of my bag, found nothing of concern, and held me for nearly thirty more minutes until their Sergeant arrived.

A man, who I assumed was the Sergeant, opened the door to the SUV and allowed me to exit. He sighed loudly when he saw how tight my handcuffs were placed on my wrists. He then released me, and asked if I had anything to report. I shook my head, grabbed my bag, and walked away. I was too upset to speak, and any expression of fear or sadness could be used against me in the face of corruption. I had been through enough for one day.

I heard one of the officers mention Ms. Holcomb’s name on the phone. This is Bobby’s lawyer. I’m unsure if he was on the phone with her, or on the phone with someone speaking of her. Either way, the exchange did not take place at the police station at noon, as ordered.

Given what had just occurred outside of the courtroom, I feared for my safety and for the safety of my children. I immediately called Texas CPS. The safety and well being of our children and I are compromised.