Arkansas legislator performed exorcisms on adopted daughters
According to a report by the Arkansas Times, state Representative Justin Harris gave away his two adopted daughters, ages three and six, because he and his wife thought that the children were possessed by demons. The man that the children were given to, one of Harris’ former staffers, is now serving a 40-year sentence for raping the older of the two girls.
More than a dozen sources, including former foster families, the girls’ biological mother, a former Department of Human Services employee, and a babysitter, confirmed that the Harrises believed the children could communicate telepathically, that they performed exorcisms on the children, and that they kept them separated, with one of the girls confined in a locked room and monitored by a video camera.
The Harrises deny these reports, and say that they gave away the children without notifying the DHS because the three- and six-year-old were too much to handle, and that the department had “failed” and “misled” the family by not notifying them about the girls’ “severe behavioral issues.” Rep. Harris stated that the DHS had threatened the couple with “abandonment charges” when they reached out for help. So, out of fear of losing their own biological children, they decided not to tell the DHS of their plans to abandon the children to a since-convicted child molester.
Harris’ claims that they were not properly informed of the girls’ potential behavioral problems (at the time of their adoption by the Harrises the children already had a history of neglect and sexual abuse), is contradicted by the foster family who had priorly housed the children and a former DHS employee. They say “DHS caseworkers, adoption specialists, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and therapists” cautioned the Harrises that they were not prepared to take care of the children, but that the family brushed off the warnings and fought tooth and nail to get custody of them.
One source familiar with the DHS said that the adoption went through because the head of the Division of Children and Family Services exerted pressure on the county DHS office after Harris threatened to hold up the budget for the division.
In addition to being a state representative, Harris also owns and operates the Growing God’s Kingdom preschool. The convicted child molester that the Harrises gave the two girls to was the former head of the school.