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Ellis County CPS suffers another blow

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Judge Greg Wilhelm, R-Midlothian, rejected a last-ditch effort by Ellis County/District assistant attorney Sara Spector to have certain facts of a Child Protective Services case from reaching an "Internet Web site or the Press," a move in which the judge said would not result in any gag order or restriction on pursuing the best interests for Christian Johnson, a 12-year-old caught in the middle of a nasty CPS-family dispute.

That was Monday morning, when colleague Megan Gray and I sat in the Waxahachie courtroom to monitor CPS’ behavior and attitudes towards Midlothian resident Connie Moody (and Christian’s mom), who had appeared at the compliance hearing to state her case about missing scheduled appointments ordered by Wilhelm’s court, Ellis County Court at Law No. 1 (where CPS cases are heard.)

In fact, Moody and supporters said the presence of The Ellis County Press in the audience at the hearing kept CPS "low key" and prevented their viciousness from getting out as in two previous hearings.

The case almost proved discouraging at the start.

CPS’ Jillian Bean and Spector, as well as other CPS employees and lawyers involved all described how 12-year-old Christian reiterated to them that he wanted to stay with his father and did not want any contact with his mom.

Wilhelm, elected in 2006 as the county treasurer but vaulted into the judiciary with Bob Carroll’s surprise retirement last year, then asked CPS point-blank: "Are these his own opinions or are these opinions being fed to him?"

Wilhelm definitely showed the mark of what he staked his career on: being honest and allowing every conceivable opportunity for parents and children to have a fair and open hearing.

I personally believe God himself planned for Wilhelm to be elevated to his current position for these reasons.

CPS’ Bean admitted to having one-on-one conversations with the son, which, from a legal mindset, that’s beyond uncalled for; anyone who speaks with CPS should have a lawyer present.

When every lawyer, CPS worker and guardian ad litem had a chance to speak, Moody took her soap box and wiped them all clear across the wall with her allegations that father James Johnson had already surrendered his visitation rights to her son in a 2001 case with the Texas Attorney General for child support issues; Johnson, it was learned, owed $13,083.85 in back child support – a fact Wilhelm said would be pursued with the fullest extent of the law (Moody said the Monday hearing was the first this fact became public knowledge.)

Moody then ripped into Johnson by pulling up his past cocaine use, even going so far as to allege that Christian had to be picked up from "a crack house."

She mentioned Johnson having just been relieved of "felony probation" for drug crimes and that he was furious the Internal Revenue Service would not allow him to claim Christian on income taxes.

David Abbott

, representing Moody’s husband, objected several times to the "adversarial" Moody, but Wilhelm sustained and allowed the mother to speak.

At this point, Moody’s admittance that she took numerous prescription drugs for various ailments was put into the record; she’s missed 21 of 32 appointments with counseling services as ordered by Wilhelm, but the judge said facilitating the mother’s contact with the son was of upmost importance.

The father himself was found not to be attending a 12-step program in five months; Wilhelm’s final directive was to facilitate the son’s visits with the mom provided she shows the court effort to abide by the court orders.

Interestingly, CPS then said they had no objection to this arrangement despite all of the statements from Christian saying he didn’t want to see his mom anymore.

To read more stories like this, visit SaraSpector.com.

I bought the site in hopes of centralizing readers’ CPS stories and opinions.

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