Monday, August 2, 2010

White Trash, Georgia

The Augusta Chronicle reports on the efforts to provide adoption services for the Long children who were taken from a Burke County (Georgia) shack.  This story is the second one this week to catch my attention.  The picture is of the "father" Jeremy Long (pic).  This is reporter Sandy Hodson's account:

"The 10 children found living in a Burke County shack without food or utilities have begun new lives.

The court denied petitions filed by attorneys for Christine Long and a child advocate guardian to appeal the termination of the Longs' parental rights. Although the Burke County Juvenile Court records remained sealed, the fate of the minor children of Jeremy and Christine Long has been revealed in a single-sentence ruling by the Court of Appeals of Georgia.

On July 17, the court denied petitions filed by attorneys for Christine Long and a child advocate guardian to appeal the termination of the Longs' parental rights. The termination of parental rights means the children are now [available] for adoption.

Earlier this year, the Juvenile Court judge appointed to handle the Long case rejected an attempt by The Augusta Chronicle to cover the court proceedings, and closed the hearings to the public.

The Longs' minor children, who ranged in age from 1 to 17, were taken into protective custody July 31, 2008, when they were discovered by law enforcement deputies. According to police reports, there was no food or water in the home. None of the children had ever been to school or seen a dentist or doctor. The younger children had never worn shoes or ridden in a car. Several needed extensive medical care.

Jeremy and Christine Long were indicted on criminal charges of cruelty to children in the second degree and failure to provide an education. Jeremy Long pleaded guilty in June 2009 and was sentenced to three years in prison, followed by 10 years on probation.

Christine Long pleaded guilty July 31, 2009, and was sentenced to two years in jail and 16 years on probation. She is serving the jail time by spending every other weekend in the Burke County jail. The Court of Appeals can be asked to reconsider its denial. If the court doesn't change its stand, Christine Long can ask the Georgia Supreme Court for permission to appeal, a request that is not often granted. The Longs' divorce case is pending in Burke County Superior Court. Christine Long filed for divorce in February 2009."
These horror stories of children living in neglect and filth break my heart and fill me with dread for the life prospects of the children.  While my family upbringing was marginally better than this, I can attest to a legacy of pain and suffering stemming from poverty and deprivation especially of proper health care.  My father, a child molester, used violence and manipulation to enable his molestation of my sisters and the other young girls who visited our house over time.  The offspring of these families are no better off than the orphans of third world countries.

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