Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rifqa Barry Will Be Returned to Ohio

The Florida judge who has charge of the Rifqa Bary case has ruled that Ohio has jurisdictioon. However, he has not signed the order for this decision yet and he has set certain stipulations:

Before the girl gets sent back, the judge says he needs immigration papers proving her status in the U.S. and proof from the state of Florida that she can continue her virtual schooling and receive credit in Ohio.

Both those requirements involve bureaucratic entities, but judges are feared by county agencies who supervise foster care, so one can presume that the Florida Department of Children and Families will work to satisfy these requirements fairly quickly.

I doubt that her immigration status will be found wanting. IIRC, her parents came to this country originally when she was about eight years old. Their reason for moving was to seek medical care for Rifqa who had sustained an eye injury.

The pressure on Florida to send her back, in my opinion, is largely monetary. Florida’s DCF, who must be the legal payee for Rifqa’s care, will be anxious to send her back because of the expense.

Both Florida and Ohio police investigation teams have failed to substantiate Ms. Bary’s claim that her life is in danger if she is returned to Ohio. How accurate or in-depth these reports are is an open question. I’ve worked with investigative police officers who were thorough and competent, but I’ve also been saddled with the other kind. At any rate, those reports were sealed by Judge Dawson; there is no telling when or if they will be available for public scrutiny. In domestic cases involving juveniles, courts are very cautious about revealing family information. That would not prevent Ms. Bary, one she reaches eighteen years of age, from requesting the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

Here’s what is supposed to happen:
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She is expected to be placed in foster care when she returns [to Ohio] and will also be provided with psychiatric evaluations. Her parents will also receive psychiatric evaluations.

Rifqa can be back in Ohio as early as this week, or by an Oct. 23 follow-up hearing.

The Orlando Fox website says it could be delayed until a further hearing in November.

One question I’ve not been able to get answered is this: when does she turn eighteen? I believe she has a good nine months or so to go until she reaches the magic age; it’s a crucial fact in this case and ought to be addressed more than it is. At eighteen she is home free (so to speak). Or rather, she doesn’t have to go home at all. She may be able to employ enough delaying tactics that she’ll ‘age out’ of the system and all the concern will then become moot.

Another thing I haven’t seen is any evidence that a guardian ad litem was appointed in this case. In Virginia, a child presenting these issues (apart from any private attorney she might have) would have had an impartial attorney assigned by the judge whose sole function would be to assess and decide the best interests of the child. This person has a lot of authority to question parents, school, officials, etc. It could be that Ms. Bary does indeed have a guardian ad litem, but that wouldn’t necessarily be revealed to the public. I just can’t see that anyone has inquired.

A really aggressive guardian, or even her private attorney, could demand a forensic psychoneurological exam which would include an MRI. A functioning MRI looks at the brain dynamically, not merely in a series of images. They are discovering more and more about the brains of traumatized children and how they differ from that of a normal child (i.e., one that experienced no abuse). But I don’t think Rifqa has received this benefit.

I am on the fence about this one. There are discrepancies that have not been answered, or at least I haven’t seen the answers…

For example, it was reported back in the beginning that she went to a church in Ohio. This was in addition to the Face Book religious group she hung with. At the time it was said that Rifqa never approached any member of the congregation with her concerns and they were in the dark regarding her fears of her father.

There is also the fact that the father permitted her to join the cheerleading squad. This would be a remarkably open move for someone who is supposed to be abusive and angry, especially for an immigrant dad who might find the behavior of cheerleaders on the field definitely not to his liking.

Does anyone know what Rifqa’s school friends are saying? Did she confide in them? Obviously, she didn’t go to the school guidance counselor since those folks are “mandated reporters”. This means that if anyone tells them of abuse they are required by law to call Social Services immediately. If the danger is assessed as serious and immediate, Social Services gets a court order from the judge in that jurisdiction and opens an investigation. You have to present fairly compelling evidence to make a judge sign such an order.

Having been involved in a few cases where serious abuse was alleged, I can assure you that it’s rough going for all concerned. The family is in turmoil, the parents are angry and the child is afraid. Often the other children will turn on her for making trouble. If the child is being abused, there is a mountain of denial by the parents and they don’t cooperate. On the other hand, having Social Services show up at your house suddenly is disorienting to any parent. I wouldn’t expect them to react with less than outrage.

In one case, we were fairly certain, given the evidence, that the teenager was being abused. There was a lengthy series of court appearances and a whole lot of competent intervention by a therapist who specialized in such cases. The girl was placed in therapeutic foster care (a very expensive and a reluctant move on the part of any agency) until she reached eighteen. The judge decided she was old enough to make the call on visitation so she opted for supervised, limited visitation with both parents and a psychologist present.

In the interim, the specially trained foster parents worked intensively with the girl to prepare her for that birthday when she would essentially be on her own. There are some limited provisions past this age, but not nearly enough to help such children. In her case, she had no close relatives who could provide assistance.

This is messy and the pressures from press, advocacy groups (on both sides), and the public make the situation very fraught. Teenagers by nature aren’t very stable. Such intrusive attention only worsens the situation for them.

That’s why I haven’t been reporting much on Rifqa Bary.

I will post on the milestones; in this case the ruling by the judge that she be returned to Ohio. Other than that, I think we serve her best by letting her be, just checking to see what the authorities are doing. In a case this politicized, there are no good outcomes. No matter what happens from now on this young woman has a difficult road ahead of her. The months of high pressure notoriety have assured that she won’t easily be permitted to leave this behind her.

If the world were just, a rich fairy godmother would show up and mentor her when all the noise has died down. Somehow I don’t see that happening, but you never can tell.


Chechar said...

In the last few weeks I’ve watched lots of YouTube videos about this girl and it’s hard to see that she might be thrown to the wolves, again…

Unknown said...

Please read the article at Atlas Shrugs. Pamela, the author, was in the courtroom.
The Florida judge has ordered Rifka retained in Florida pending the showing of her immigration papers. Her parents have been refusing to produce the papers.

laller said...

Just wondering if emancipation is possible in the US?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with saying we simply don't know?

Actually, we do know. Forget Sri Lanka, look at the mosque her parents attend. It's very sympathetic to jihadist causes.

Sri Lanka only matters in one sense: her parents might be refusing to show their immigration papers in order to get both them and her deported to Sri Lanka, where they will be able to do as they will to her.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dymphna said...


That's one of the crucial questions, isn't it?

The family came in 2000 to seek medical help for Rifqa. We don't even know if they're still here legally or if their visa has expired.

Also, does anyone know the circumstances surrounding Rifqa's injury to her eye, which "occurred in the home" in Sri Lanka? That injury is a potential red flag for anyone who deals with children, but I can't find any information on that, either.

If they turn out to be illegals, there is a lot of help available for her to seek asylum in this country. It would be a protracted battle, but with competent legal help, I think she could win.



I have worked with kids her age and with the same level of conflict who were legally emancipated by the judge. I helped them in a Life Skills program. Sometimes, especially with girls, an "emancipated" child lives in a group home with other girls her age.

She has expensive legal representation that someone is paying for. I would imagine that when she gets back to Ohio, another attorney would pick up the case since the one she has is probably not certified to practice law in Ohio *and* Florida.

Also, do you know, does anyone know, if she will be appointed a guardian ad litem in Ohio?

The family doesn't appear to have entered the country illegally -- they came her for medical treatment of Rafqi when she was bout 8 or 9 -- but I don't know their current status.

Dymphna said...

randian --

I refuse to "forget Sri Lanka".

It's important to understand this family's country of origin since it is so torn with strife. Christians and Muslims are persecuted there:

Dalai Lama commented that violence is inevitable in Sri Lanka to “save the last living knowledge of Buddhism.” As the nationalist Buddhists are convinced that they are destined to protect the country and they should be the only people living on the Island, efforts to marginalize other ethnic and religious groups continued in Sri Lanka.

This quote is from a 2008 study of the situation. Muslims and Christians are killed in Sri Lanka.

I'd like to find out both the situation of the three groups of Muslims, and from which group this family originates.

And where do you get your information about the mosque this father attends? What is the name of the mosque? What is the ethnic make-up of those who attend it? In which ways, specifically, has it shown itself to be "sympathetic to jihadist causes"?

These are not rhetorical questions. They are items I have not been able to source reliably.

I haven't even found whether or not there are honor killings in Sri Lanka and if there are any, how prevalent is this murderous practice? Among which of the three groups of "Moors" (the Sri Lankan word for all Muslims) does this happen?

I refuse to lump all Muslims together into one violent pile. I don't like it when the Salafists do that with "infidels" and I will not return their ignorant rants about my religion with equally ignorant statements that blanket all Muslims as honor killers.

If that were the case, Ayaan Hirsi Ali would have been hunted down and killed when she left the train that was taking her to an arranged marriage and fled to the Netherlands.

Her father was a prominent Somali. He wasn't happy with her actions, but he didn't have her killed for destroying the family honor by becoming an apostate. In fact, she has visited with family members in Somalia in the intervening years, though I don't know if this is the case since she came under fire by the immigrant population in the Netherlands for making that film with Theo van Gogh.

[I admire this woman. In fact, when the Baron was employed, we contributed to her legal fund. But I still question her judgment re the making of that film. And I don't agree with her that *all* religious schools in the Netherlands should be shut down. That opinion arises out of her lack of understanding of the hard-won "tolerance" the Dutch established toward religious groups in their midst. It was a tolerance that worked until the influx of immigrants overwhelmed the native Dutch.]

Dymphna said...

Englishman --

That question is off topic. In fact, it's OT on this blog.

People who continue to raise this question about Obama are marginalizing the important issues and playing into the hands of those who want to keep Obama in power. They're gleeful that so much energy gets wasted on a question that will never be seriously addressed by the American electorate.

You might better ask why Hillary or the other Democrat candidates didn't bring up the passport issue when they were running against Obama. Hillary is famous for fighting dirty; if she could’ve used this she would jumped on it.

And why didn’t the Republicans address it during the campaign?

Judicially, the birth certificate issue is moot because the Supremes will never touch it. This is a loaded gun with a hair trigger and they know it.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men", etc., and the tide for this one went out to sea when Obama was elected. Trying to get him out of office other than thru the ballot box makes us look like those Bush Derangement people who tried for 8 years to get him impeached. They marginalized themselves.

The Left loves it when conservatives get side-tracked on this. It makes us look bad to the larger electorate. Ignoring this issue is important in terms of our larger strategy. The smart thing to do is to consider it part of the learning curve and move on to the issues that imperil us.

I don't like Obama's policies, or those of Democrats in general. They want to create a nanny state and that is what I want to fight. That is the germane issue about this president, i.e., his socialist programs that will leave us with a 3rd world economy.

Anonymous said...

I said "forget Sri Lanka" because I thought the question about which group they came from was a proxy for "What kind of Muslim group did they come from?" Disregarding the question of Rifqa's injury, in the instant case what matters is what kind of Muslims are they now, not what kind were they then.

As to the Bary family's mosque, according to the following Jawa Report article, the imam at their mosque was a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Anonymous said...

How can you be on the fense Baron?
You do know about punishment for Apostacy from Islam. So it must boil down to you thinking Rifqa's making stuff up. She's not. Pamella Geller has been leading the charge, so to speak, to keep this girl safe. She is to be commended.

According to Rifqa's Christian friends in Ohio she has been a Christian for at least four years. And say they knew of Riqa's real concerns for her safety should her family find out she had left Islam.

And Pamella has just posted this info on documents proving the Barys are here illegally.


Which means if they send Rifqa back to Ohio she gets deported with her family back to Sri Lanka.

American courts and police cannot protect her there.

Baron Bodissey said...

amerisrael --

This is Dymphna's post, not mine. Note the byline.

I don't know enough about the Rifqa case to respond, so I'll leave it up to her.

Anonymous said...

I always love your posts Dymphna, but today I have to disagree. While the focus in the courtroom has been on 'abuse', the real issue here is the Muslim view of apostasy. Also as a Master's level counselor who specializes in abuse, I assure you that a rule of thumb is to believe the victim. That doesn't mean you take sides and suspend your intellect, it simply means that you err on the side of caution, because a life is potentially at stake. Only Rifqa knows the real situation and the severity of the threat. An outsider cannot possibly know what transpires behind closed doors. If my child were to run for her life from my home I would honor her wish to be on her own and try to maintain cordiality with her in order to repair the relationship.

Dymphna said...


Since you haven't noticed that I wrote this post (not the Baron), your oversight calls into question your ability to observe the facts as they stand at present:

1. This girl is going from one foster home in FL to another foster home in Ohio. Both she and her parents must undergo psychiatric examinations once back in Ohio. I have every confidence that her lawyer will propose various delaying tactics with these "evaluations" that will permit her to AGE OUT OF THE SYSTEM.

2. What is your experience with foster care and adolescents? Do you happen to know what Ohio's legal code is for situations like this, when she is so close to being 18??

3. What other cases of adolescent abuse where foster care was already involved and had the child do you know of? In my case load, once a teenager was out, he or she stayed out.

3. This situation is grave enough without adding hysteria to it. Of course I know what the penalty is for apostasy from Islam. But I also know people who have survived in this country even after leaving.

4. Rifqa's concerns for her safety are belied by the fact that she freely gave away information about her conversion on Facebook. Her abililty to practice self-preservation is questionable at best.

5. Go back and read my post. Start with the author's name. Then show me where I even implied that this child is making stuff up. How dare you accuse me of such a scurrilous charge!

I resent your implication that my desire to tread carefully here is somehow bad or deficient.

6. Tell us about your personal experience with foster care for teenagers and why you think the state of Ohio is less competent to protect Rifqa than Florida is.

7. I am continuing to gather information. When I have finished the research, I'll be glad to share it.

Meanwhile, coming over here and making such accusations simply increases fear without adding any information. What you have written is merely heat without light. That's how they argue over at Chazzer's. Surely you can do better.

Anonymous said...

"Then show me where I even implied that this child is making stuff up. How dare you accuse me of such a scurrilous charge!"

When you state that you are "on the fence", this implys that you entertain the notion that Rifqa is making stuff up about how her father threatened her:

"If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me."
"I will kill you".

I'm sure you must have watched the video of Rifqa giving testimony to those threats and her very real concerns over what could happen to her for leaving Islam.

In other words, it's about taking her claims of her father's threats against her seriously. And not from just her father.

When state that you are "on the fence", that implys that you entertain the notion that Rifqa's concerns for her safety may not be warranted.

And that would imply that you entertain the notion that perhaps she should not be believed.

As one of your previous commenters has suggested, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Have you had a chance to go to Pamela's site and see the immigration documents she has uncovered?

The Barys are here illegally. If Rifqa gets sent back to Ohio, she and the other Barys could be deported back to Sri Lanka.

I'm sorry Dymphna that I didn't notice it was your blog post. For that I appologise, and to you to Baron.

Gates of Vienna has posted many articles in the past that I've found both interesting and informative.

However, on this matter we cannot afford to be "on the fence".

C.A.I.R. has been heavily involved in funding the Bary's legal team. This guy Mohammad Lufti, connected to C.A.I.R., has been down there in Forida every court hearing.

Have you seen any of his rants against Pamela, Robert Spencer, and Tom Trento?