June 25, 2014
It was quite interesting to listen to your testimony and response to questions yesterday. I was reminded of the famous quote from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who frequently said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not his own facts.”
There were three points where your opinions expressed as facts are so egregious that I must respond specifically to each of them.
First, you claimed that, during our meeting here in Denver in early April of this year, you had offered me a job at Spirit Lake. This subject never came up during my conversation with you. If it did, I would be prohibited under federal conflict of interest requirements from accepting such a post-federal employment position.
You are Chair of the Spirit Lake Council because the prior Chair was removed due to the community’s perception he was totally ineffective in dealing with the child protection issues at Spirit Lake. When we met you had been Chair for 7 months and as far as my sources and I were concerned we saw no discernible improvement in the safety of the Spirit Lake children who I had been complaining about, at that time, for 22 months. My sources have been complaining about the treatment of Spirit Lake children for several years before I arrived on the scene.
I learned just last week that, by your silence, you are apparently endorsing a tribal judge’s refusal to extradite a Level 3 Sex Offender, who has already served a lengthy sentence for his vicious rape of a teen girl, to Ramsey County to stand trial on four felony indictments for child sexual abuse. You failure after seven months in office, to protect the children who had been moved into the full-time, unsupervised care and custody of addicts, abusers and rapists where they are available to be raped daily, I believe, is unconscionable and, if the subject of employment had been raised, would have elicited an extremely loud negative response from me, a response that would have been heard not only by you but also by anyone within 30 feet of our conversation. Under no circumstances would I allow my character and integrity to be used as a cover for your failures to effectively address the abuse and rape of Spirit Lake children. Did you think that somehow you could shield yourself from public scrutiny by hiding behind my well-known reputation for integrity and honesty built over more than 45 years of professional experience, much of it spent rooting out abusive situations such as you seem to wish to protect? Your continuing refusal to speak publicly against your tribal judge’s refusal to extradite this violent rapist moves you, I believe, into the ranks of the criminally corrupt.
I have spoken to a good friend, a long-time tribal council-member from another state in this region, who knows you and who was horrified at your willingness to shield this rapist from trial in Ramsey County and who also said he would try to speak with you about the foolhardiness of your position.
Second, you claimed that during our meeting you had asked me why I had not filed any 960s with the appropriate tribal offices and claimed I had no answer. I told you that I had been receiving widespread complaints from Indian Health Service employees, former Tribal Social Services staff, former Tribal court staff, all stating that when they filed 960s they were ignored and thrown away, that no action was taken on them no matter how serious the problem complained of was. I went on to tell you that under these circumstances I believed it was unlikely that anything different would happen to any 960 that I filed. You have to admit that if I had not filed 13 Mandated Reports, but instead only filed 960s, yesterday’s hearing probably would not have happened.
Third, you claimed that during our meeting you asked me why I had not responded to your letter to me and claimed that I had no explanation. During our meeting I explained to you that when I received and saw your letter in my Denver office, Ms. Mcmullen had already pre-empted my response with a response of her own. Somehow, your letter to me took several days longer to arrive in Denver than it took to get to her in Washington, DC. The US Postal Service is full of surprises but I believe you followed the practice of your predecessor who when he sent a letter addressed to both the Acting Assistant Secretary, based in Washington, DC, and to me, he held mine for several days so that, his complaints about my efforts to address the child abuse, rape and torture of kids at Spirit Lake, at least for a few days would go unchallenged by me since I knew nothing about his complaints. I told you I believed you were doing the same thing and that I found that offensive. You had no response to my reconstruction of what you had done. I also told you that since Ms. Mcmullen had responded to your letter to me so promptly, effectively removing me from any substantive involvement with issues at Spirit Lake, no response from me was appropriate.
I trust that in the future you will exercise more care in your future statements about me so that you differentiate more precisely between what is fact and what is only your opinion.
Thomas F. Sullivan Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver