Justin Harris is an Arkansas Republican state lawmaker; he’s also the owner of a Christian pre-school. He and his wife adopted two young girls, but when things got a little tough, they basically gave the girls away.
In Arkansas, they call this “re-homing” and it’s perfectly legal; I guess, to Republicans and Christians, recycling children when you’ve grown tired of them, or it gets too hard, or becomes too much work, is just fine.
But the father of the family to whom Harris pawned off his two adopted daughters — a man whom Harris hired as a teacher at his Christian pre-school — raped the 6-year-old girl that Justin Harris gave him.
Justin Harris refuses to speak to the media, but released a statement through his lawyer:
"Representative and Mrs. Harris have suffered a severe injustice. Due to threats of possible abandonment charges, they were unable to reach out to DHS for help with children who presented a serious risk of harm to other children in their home. Upon the advice of both a psychiatrist and a pediatrician, they were forced to move the children to the home of trusted friends, who had a lot of experience with children with reactive attachment disorder. Rep. and Mrs. Harris are devastated about the outcome of that decision, but faced with no good option, they did the best that they knew how."
And it seems that their argument that there could have been "abandonment charges" seems unlikely, after Arkansas Department of Human Services [DHS] spokesperson Amy Webb said:
"[DHS] can intervene in a number of ways — do they need respite on the weekends? Does the kid really need some inpatient psych services, or additional therapy? … If none of that works, then they can come to us and say, 'We have exhausted all of our available resources. Please, help us. We cannot take care of this child.' And we will take that child back into custody if the family has exhausted all available resources, and we will do that without any repercussions for the family."
I’m not saying Justin Harris knew what this rapist would do, but had they simply said to DHS, ‘We cannot do this,’ then one little girl might not have been sexually attacked; and two little girls might not be thinking, today, that they are just something that can be passed along from family to family because it was too hard to take care of them.
Apparently that’s what passes for a good Christian in the Justin Harris home. And to the Arkansas GOP, too; Justin Harris will face no legal punishment for his actions, and he has the full support of Republican leadership, who say this issue "is past tense."
House Republican Majority Leader Ken Bragg said Harris is "a dedicated Christian," and "a family man with the highest integrity who cares deeply for the welfare of children."
Uh huh. Keep saying that and maybe one day those two girls might even believe it.