I wrote this when I was angry. I let it sit for a few days, so that I could evaluate whether I still wanted to publish it. I do, and I am still angry. I’m angry about the way the system failed my children. I’m angry enough to name names, and today I’m going to call out one name in particular – Lt. Steve Blevins of the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department. Lt. Blevins failed me and he failed my children by failing to perform his job. The police officer’s motto is “To Protect and Serve”, and one would think that they would take that seriously, especially when it comes to children. But not Lt. Steve Blevins.
On Friday, 8/28/2015, my daughter, whom I had not seen in three years, went to school with bruises on her face, arms, and chest. A teacher noticed, and rightly contacted Georgia DFCS. The teacher also spoke with my daughter, who did not want to disclose the abuse at that time. But when she found out DFCS had been contacted, she told them she was afraid to go home. DFCS then contacted Steve Blevins of the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department. I wish they had contacted the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office instead. When my ex-wife showed up with her mother, they confessed to abusing my daughter, and even produced a video, taken by my son at their instruction, showing part of the abuse. (As a side note, having children witness abuse of another child is a crime in itself). Of course the two of them put the blame on my daughter, but any reasonable person could see that their behavior was abusive.
It was decided then and there that it would not be safe for my daughter to return to her mother’s house. She was taken into DFCS custody, finally free of the physical and emotional abuses of my ex. I would like to tell you that the story doesn’t end there. I would like to tell you that Lt. Blevins arrested my abusive ex and conducted a thorough investigation, that he contacted me or my extended family, and that he got my daughter in front of a victim advocate to tell her story. But Lt. Blevins did none of those things. What he did do was write up a very vague and bland report, and called it a day. He did no follow up with an investigation at all, but rather sat on the case for six weeks and then marked it “Exceptionally Cleared”, which is cop-speak for “We can’t technically close this case, but we don’t feel like working on it anymore”.
Contrasting Lt. Blevins’ report with the report made by the social worker shows a blatant incompetence and/or apathy on his part. Several key parts of the narrative that justified the removal of custody, and would have supported a prosecution for a Cruelty to Children charge, were missing. Phrases like:
“She stated they had “ganged up on her” and that is how she received the bruises on her right arm and right eye”
“Ms. Singleton [was seen] sitting on [child] while [child] was screaming for Ms. Singleton to stop”
“Ms. Singleton also said something in the video while she was lecturing [child] about “a dumbass kid””
“[Child] stated that her mother and brothers would antagonize her and then when she became so upset they would videotape her”
“[Child] stated that… her mother had taken her drawing, journaling, and walking away privileges away”
“[Child] stated that… her mother reached under her arms and punched her in the eye”
“Ms. Singleton became defensive and told Case Manager Baldridge “Just take her into foster care. I am fed up with her”
Instead of putting these things in his report, Lt. Blevins uses language that suggests my daughter is responsible for the incident, and it’s just a simple matter of a parent being overwhelmed by an unruly child. Although he acknowledges there are inconsistencies in Ms. Singleton’s story, he simply takes her word for it that “they were all abused by her husband in Florida”, and doesn’t bother to try and contact me. I don’t even find out about the incident until more than three moths later, and then he ignores all my attempts to contact him at that time. It won’t be until I am finally awarded custody of my daughter, ten months after the incident, that she finally gets an interview with an Abuse Advocate at my insistance.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is this guy so hung up on the criminal case? He’s got his daughter back, so what does it matter if his ex gets prosecuted or not?”. Because my ex still has custody of my two sons. My sons were not only a witness to this abuse, they were a part of it. Now, I don’t blame my sons for this. They are children, and they act at the direction of a parent. My ex has made them her henchmen in carrying out abusive behavior on their sister. This is unacceptable. And no one is there to stop her. The boys are home schooled, and their computer access and contact with adults are tightly controlled. I haven’t seen or spoken to them in almost five years. NO ONE IS WATCHING OUT FOR THEM. So because Lt. Blevins had little to no interest in Protecting and Serving, my sons remain in the home where their sister has been removed by DFCS and the Georgia Court System, with no oversight whatsoever.
Steve Blevins, you failed me, you failed my daughter, and you failed my sons, leaving them with an abusive woman who has already risked their lives with an arson attempt. Your failure to act and follow up on this case is negligent, despicable, and shameful. You don’t deserve the badge you wear, and you don’t deserve the respect of the people of Fort Oglethorpe.