In 2015, we covered the story of the Stanley family in Arkansas, reporting how the local sheriff department arrived at the home one night with local social workers and issued a warrant to search their property for a "dangerous" mineral supplement that was supposedly being forced upon the children and endangering their health.
The Stanley family homeschool their children, and that night, despite the fact that no dangerous materials were found in the house, and that a local doctor who came in an ambulance and examined each of the 7 children cleared them as being healthy, the local sheriff deputy ordered all 7 children to be forcibly removed from their home. Prior to this time, they had never spent a night away from their parents.
DHS workers reportedly remarked that there was no reason to take the children out of the home. When Mr. Stanley asked who actually made the decision to take their kids, Garland County Deputy Mike Wright allegedly replied, “I did, and I am proud of it.”
It turned out that the mineral supplement was perfectly legal, and posed no health threat to the children. So in order to justify the removal of the children, the charges were changed to something that was not on the original warrant, including "educational neglect" due to the family's homeschooling practice.
The children were forced to live with foster parents and start attending public school.
None of the charges were ever substantiated, and it was determined later that one the older teenage children made up all the accusations because he did not like being homeschooled and the family's strict Christian values.
5 months later, all the children were returned home, but not before suffering tremendous emotional trauma from being separated from their parents.
After 21 months, all charges were dropped against the Stanleys.
But this was not the end of their ordeal, only the beginning. Working with local attorney Joe Churchwell, the Stanleys sued the Garland County Sheriff's Department for a violation of their civil rights - a case that has reached all the way up to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which last year upheld a U.S. District Court ruling depriving the lead investigator from "qualified immunity."
So the civil rights case continues.
The investigator, Kathy Finnegan, was recently deposed by Attorney Joe Churchwell, and the Sentinel-Record has published an account of the deposition.
Finnegan allegedly revealed that there was no evidence for the Garland County Sheriff to take the children in the first place.