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Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children. (More about this child and the mother who tried to protect her appears below.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mother of slain children seeks changes to state laws, procedures

Posted on Wed, Dec. 23, 2009
Mother of slain children seeks changes to state laws, procedures
The Kansas City Star
A mother whose two children were killed in 2004 after her estranged husband kidnapped them proposed changes to state laws and procedures Wednesday that would better protect children.

Surrounded by law enforcement authorities and legislators at a morning press conference, Tina Porter asked for an appeals procedure for denied Amber Alert requests and more complete record-keeping on protection orders in police databases.

Porter said that if those changes had been in place five years ago, authorities may have moved more quickly on the disappearance of her children.

“We have a very short window of finding (missing children) and finding them alive,” Porter said.

In June 2004, Porter’s husband, Dan Porter, picked up her children — Sam and Lindsey, ages 7 and 8 — for a weekend visit. He soon killed them, but for more than three years refused to tell authorities what happened to them.

Dan Porter confessed in 2007 and is now serving a life sentence.

Legislation to make the proposed changes is being drafted.

Rep. Jason Kander, a Kansas City Democrat, said the changes would establish an appeals procedure for parents whose request for an Amber Alert has been denied by a local authority.

Currently, if a local law enforcement agency, such as a police department, denies an Amber Alert, the parent has no procedure for asking other agencies, such as a sheriff’s department or the Missouri Highway Patrol, to reconsider.

“This puts into place an appeals procedure so more people get their eyes on it,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar.

Another change would require the courts to enter details of temporary and full orders of protection into state law enforcement databases so police can ask about the welfare of children when they encounter a parent.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said that when officers now call up a name from the databases, they learn only that an order of protection has been entered. Under the proposed changes, the officer would have details about the children and custodial and visitation arrangements.

If a parent cannot account for a child during the interview, and if the officer has reason to believe a child is in danger, authorities could hold the parent for up to 20 hours until the child is found.

Sharp acknowledged that the procedure could be time-consuming for officers.

“But when it comes to the welfare of the child, we have all day,” Sharp said.

To contact Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send e-mail to

About the mother and child pictured at the top

On February 21, 1992, Rhode Island Family Court's Chief Judge Jeremiah Jeremiah gave this two-year-old to the sole custody and possession of her father despite his history of domestic violence and failure to pay child support. The father, a police officer, brought false charges against his ex-wife, first saying she was a drug addict. (Twenty-two random tests proved she was not.) Then he had her arrested for bank fraud, then for filing a false report, then for sexual abuse, then for kidnapping. None of his charges stuck.

The child remained with her father and stepmother until 2003, when, at 14, she finally realized that her mother had not been a drug addict. The teenager persuaded Judge Stephen Capineri to let her return to her mother. There she began working on the painful issues of lifelong coercion and deception--a tangled knot of guilt and rage. Most painful has been her father’s continuing refusal to let her visit two dearly loved half-sisters, whom she has not seen since 2003.

She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court when it helps abusive parents to maintain control over their families after divorce. When she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.

We are using this blog to provide links to stories that will help concerned people, including government officials, become aware of this form of child abuse and legal abuse. We must work together to improve the courts' ability to recognize the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of domestic abuse who are trying to protect their children.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking for the story of the removal of "Molly and Sara," please visit

About the Author and the Cause

Parenting Project is a volunteer community service begun in 1996 at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. Our goal is to make Rhode Island's child protective system more effective, transparent, and accountable.

The Parenting Project coordinator, Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter for battered women and their children, researches and writes about official actions that endanger children and the parents who try to protect them. She wrote a chapter on Rhode Island in Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues, ed. Mo Therese Hannah, PhD, and Barry Goldstein, JD (Civic Research Institute, 2010).

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Find out more about the crisis in custody courts here: provides forensic resources to end violence against women

about domestic violence in hague custody cases:

more about domestic violence in law enforcement: