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Protect The Children
by Susan Bachant


April 04, 2004

What a terrible job our court system recently did to protect the life of an innocent child. A child who tragically and needlessly died in my opinion because our court system let her down. This child's mother tried to protect her and did everything she could. She asked for help and placed her daughter's life in the hands of our legal system. A system responsible for protecting children from the horrible people who are out there.

Where is the common sense in decisions? Because a court appointed social worker does not herself see abuse or neglect, is it in the best interest of a child to recommend unrestricted visitation? Decisions are being made to put children in harm's way, like this young child, because a judge puts more worth in the words of a social worker than that of a mother and of others who state that a child should never be left alone with a person.

Does a social worker and a judge involved with protecting an innocent child really think that an alleged child abuser is going to abuse the child right in front of the social worker? Do they think you can just look at a person and tell who abuses children and who does not? Were they both born yesterday?

A young innocent child died because we failed to protect her, because we ignored the warnings of her mother, because quite simply... we let her down. I ask you, does this child's memory not mean anything to you, to our legal system? What is our legal system doing to serve justice for the tragic death of this child? What is our legal system doing to make certain that ALL children are protected? Why must children be placed with people who have committed crimes against others? Why must we continue to accept the reasoning that a person with a known criminal history has not harmed a child and so we must hand the child back?

In particular, what is being done by Judge Chenhall or by the social worker Cara Nygard to make certain this never happens again, and to assure that this child's death not go by unnoticed? Are these women making changes in the way they make their decisions? Are they suggesting changes in their departments to ensure that they perform their jobs and not allow more children to become victims?

As citizens of Ketchikan we should be demanding justice and that action be taken. We should demand that these two women make changes in the way they do their jobs. Changes that will ensure that mistakes will not result in the death of another child. We should demand that this innocent child's life not be forgotten and that the person found responsible not be allowed to harm any more children. We must protect ALL the children.

Please join me and others in writing letters to our representatives in the legislature, the District Attorney's office, and anyone else who will listen. Tell the story of this beautiful child whose life was cut short because our legal system let her and her family down. Demand justice and demand action be taken so that other helpless children who need protection be given that protection. Don't let one more innocent child be placed in harm's way.

Susan Bachant
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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