COVID-19 fears inspire a bizarre revenge plot
What's a parent to do? It was early in March, COVID-19 fears were on the rise, and two Kentucky parents who were new to the state needed to open up a bank account. Seeing no other option, they took their young kids into the bank with them.
By the time they returned home from their errand, a child protective services caseworker and a law enforcement officer were waiting at the door to investigate them for child abuse.
That's according to Jim Mason of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who blames the false report on panic over COVID-19 social distancing rules. A letter from child services, which I reviewed, confirmed the existence of the complaint.
The parents, referred to as "Bill and Kristy," are homeschoolers. Kristy had moved to Kentucky in advance of Bill. When they arrived at the bank, the parents opted to let their two oldest children wait in the car. The younger five -- yes, a big family -- accompanied them into the building, which had a COVID-19 warning sign on the door.
They were not treated warmly. The teller asked why on earth they'd brought their kids in and told them to stand six feet away. Kristy explained that to open a joint account, both parents had to be present. Letting the kids wait in the car could prompt a call to 911.
Back at home, the authorities confronted Bill and Kristy, who discovered that someone had called in an anonymous tip claiming that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn't their dad, and they had bruises on their arms indicative of rough grabbing.
The investigator proceeded to question the kids away from the parents, and he made at least one of the boys take off his shirt to look for bruises. Kristy told Mason that the investigator wanted to do the same with the girls but she objected, so he only pulled up the girls' sleeves and took photos.
But ... if the kids were wearing long sleeves (it was cold), how had anyone spotted bruises? Of course, the caller got other information wrong, too: Bill was very much the kids' father.
The parents presume the call came from someone at the bank. Whoever it was provided the exact kind of information -- bruising, suspicious man, etc. -- that prompts a Child Protective Services investigation.