Defender of Abused Children about to be fired by DC Superiors for refusing to shut up about rampant sexual abuse –

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Mar 162016
 
Sunset on the Rez

Whistle-blower Thomas Sullivan, the one HHS/ACF official who has stood up against the rampant sexual abuse on many reservations, is about to be fired by his DC Superiors.

They have come up with several accusations against him, but if you have followed his work and the threats they have made against him over the last three years – you know that all he has ever done is defy their orders to shut up about the overwhelming abuse of children, and release his reports to the public when his DC superiors ignored them.

Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

Tom Sullivan is a hero – working to protect our children fromleaders who simply use and abuse them for purposes of power and money.

The following is the latest letter – a 6 page list of accusations from his superiors…

On the last page, you see a handwritten note from his superior that says;

Employee refused to sign document before having an opportunity to review it.
Mishaela Duran 3-10-16

(Why shouldn’t a man be allowed to review a document before he signs it?)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-1

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-2

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-3

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-4

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-5

Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-6

May 182015
 

Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks During the White House Tribal Nations Conference
Washington, DC
United States
~
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Good morning. I want to thank you all for such a warm welcome. And I would like to thank President Obama for hosting this important White House conference.

It is a pleasure to be here today, and a privilege to join so many distinguished public servants, passionate activists, dedicated leaders, and good friends as we celebrate vital achievements, discuss critical challenges, and renew our shared commitment. All of the leaders in this room – and so many others across the country – are indispensable partners in our efforts to fulfill the promise of the U.S. government’s relationships with sovereign tribes. You are critical allies in our ongoing work to move this country closer to its most treasured ideals: of equality, opportunity, and justice under law. And you continue a proud tradition of tribal leaders who have stepped to the forefront of efforts to preserve cultural values, to enforce treaty obligations too often ignored, and to secure the rights and benefits to which all American Indians and Alaska Natives are entitled.

I know this responsibility has rarely been easy. But it is a solemn obligation that you and your ancestors have carried for generations – through injustice, violence, and deprivation; through broken promises, deferred action, and denial of rights. Over the years, you’ve seen avenues into prosperity foreclosed by bigotry. You’ve seen opportunities curtailed by deplorable discrimination. And you’ve held firm even at times – in past decades – when the federal government insisted that the men and women of tribal nations forsake their culture and their heritage, and be slowly, painfully, grudgingly assimilated, while their tribal governments were neglected—or even terminated.

Together, you and your predecessors faced down tremendous adversity to safeguard your lands, protect your cultures, and strengthen your ability to choose your own future. And, particularly in the last half-century, your commitment has finally been met by a U.S government that’s prepared to acknowledge the failures and injustices of the past – and to work with and empower you to chart a new course.

That is why, during the earliest days of the Obama Administration – in 2009 – I traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota, for a historic Tribal Nations Listening Session, to hear directly from tribal officials about the actions we could take together to build a relationship of coexistence and cooperation. I was joined at the time by roughly 100 Department of Justice officials representing more than 20 different components, as well as more than 400 tribal leaders and representatives from around the nation – some of whom are here in the audience today. We discussed the epidemic of violence that cut a vicious path through Indian Country, where violent crime rates reached two, four, and sometimes over ten times the national average. We spoke about the vital needs of women on tribal lands, who faced a shocking reality in which 1 out of every 3 American Indian or Alaska Native women would be raped in her lifetime. And we spoke about children who were brought up in poverty, in the midst of uncertainty and rampant abuse.

As I listened, during that visit, I heard the pain in the voices of the people I was meeting with – people whose parents and grandparents had made indelible contributions to this country, but who had been shut out of the process of self-determination, and denied access to opportunities for success. I felt, even then, a deep and powerful comprehension of the magnitude of discrimination that tribal communities have faced – discrimination that bore a distressing resemblance to the experience of millions of people of color throughout our history, including those brave pioneers I remember watching as a young child, on a black-and-white television in the basement of my family’s home in New York City, as they marched for equality and rallied for the opportunities that should have been their birthright.

I recognized, on a basic, human level, the desire for empowerment, and the need for mutual trust and understanding, that I encountered during my listening session in Indian Country. And I left St. Paul both inspired and invigorated by a firm commitment to the work we must do together.

After that conference, I announced not only an intention to work closely with you to move in a positive direction, but a desire to take concrete steps forward – and to implement a fundamentally new approach that emphasized collaboration between sovereign tribes and the federal government. I announced the creation of a Tribal Nations Leadership Council to advise me on matters critical to Indian Country – a council made up of men and women not selected by the federal government, but elected by their own peers. I stated my determination to work with Congress to pass important legislation like the Tribal Law and Order Act in order to provide tribal governments with more of the authority, resources, and information they need to appropriately hold to account those who commit crimes in Indian Country. I directed the department to increase the engagement of United States Attorney’s Offices with tribes in their districts and work to expand Indian Country prosecutions. And I called for the swift reauthorization of a revised and strengthened Violence Against Women Act, including provisions recommended by the Justice Department that would, for the first time in decades, protect and empower Indian women against abuse by non-Native men.

I am proud to say that, thanks to the hard work and dedication of many of the men and women in this room today, every single one of these goals has been met. And all of these commitments have been fulfilled.

In every instance, progress was made possible by our shared determination to overcome the effects of what my predecessor, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, once called the “tragic irony” of American Indian oppression, and to work together to forge an enduring, positive, collaborative relationship between the federal government and sovereign tribes. And I am pleased to note that, over the last six years – by committing to this new and necessary approach – together with President Obama and our colleagues throughout the Administration, we have expanded on our initial groundbreaking efforts and helped to launch a new era of empowerment and opportunity.

Through cooperation between tribal justice leaders and U.S. Attorney’s Offices – including new tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who prosecute Indian Country cases in federal and tribal courts alike – we have dramatically strengthened interactions between federal and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors, and transformed a dysfunctional process that too often allowed domestic violence cases in Indian Country to languish and disappear—the sad result of a system in which the federal government and tribal officials would too rarely communicate, let alone collaborate. Every U.S. Attorney’s Office with Indian Country jurisdiction is now required to engage with the tribes in its district to develop operational plans to improve public safety and prevent and reduce violence against women and girls. A review of FY 2013 cases filed against defendants in Indian Country showed a 34 percent increase from 2008 numbers—the year before the department’s Indian Country initiative began. And since the bipartisan passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in 2013, the Justice Department has announced three pilot projects to begin early implementation of special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction, which extends tribal prosecution authority over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence for the first time in more than 35 years. As a result, more than 20 non-Indians have been charged by tribal prosecutors – and more than 200 defendants have been charged under VAWA’s enhanced federal assault statutes. This total includes more than 40 cases involving charges of strangulation or suffocation, which are often precursor offenses to domestic homicide.

We’re building on this work through targeted programs like the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team Initiative – under the leadership of our Office for Victims of Crime – which is designed to strengthen the federal response to sexual violence in tribal communities. Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with the Initiative’s Coordination Committee. I received their formal report and concrete recommendations on improving federal agency response to sexual violence in tribal nations.

And I pledged then – and reiterate today – that these recommendations will serve as a solid basis for robust action as we seek to gain the trust of assault survivors; to break the culture of shame that prevents far too many victims from coming forward; and to build upon the exemplary work that tribal authorities, law enforcement leaders and victim advocates across the country are doing every day to help us turn the tide against sexual violence.

We are also expanding our work with tribal governments to protect children in Indian Country through the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. Since it was established last year, the Task Force has already made important progress, led in part by the outstanding work of its distinguished Advisory Committee co-chairs, former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and Grammy-winning artist – and member of the Iroquois Nation – Joanne Shenandoah. As the Task Force moves ahead, they will continue to coordinate closely with federal leaders to support and strengthen the work all of you are leading throughout tribal lands.

Beyond these efforts, we have taken a collaborative approach to break the gridlock on issues that have been a source of contention between tribal nations and federal Administrations for decades.

In 2010, the Obama Administration reached a historic settlement – totaling $3.4 billion – that resolved Cobell v. Salazar, a class-action lawsuit on trust accounting and mismanagement that had been pending for fifteen years. Since October of that year, the United States has settled the trust-mismanagement claims of 81 federally recognized tribes, putting an end to decades of bitter litigation and providing over $2.6 billion to tribes across the country. These settlements – which place no conditions on the use of funds – have spurred tribal investments in long-term economic development initiatives, infrastructure, and expansion of tribal government services. And as part of the agreements, we established procedures for improving communication and avenues for alternative dispute resolution – so that, in the future, we can more effectively collaborate to resolve issues involving trust funds and assetswithout costly and long-running litigation.

More broadly, we’ve worked to protect water rights and natural resources on tribal lands. And we’ve vastly expanded our outreach to – and cooperation with – Indian tribes across the continent, institutionalizing ways to seek input on environmental concerns and gaining critical insights into the environmental needs of tribal nations from coast to coast. Today, I can announce that we are releasing a revised Environmental Justice Strategy and Guidance, outlining how we will work to use existing environmental and civil-rights laws to help ensure that all communities, regardless of their income or demographics, are protected from environmental harm. Across the board – from our collaboration with and funding of the Intertribal Technical-Assistance Working Group, or ITWG, which uses peer-to-peer education to enhance effective prosecution practices in Indian Country, to our formal conversations with sovereign tribes to discuss ways to expand and enforce the voting rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including a proposal to require state and local election administrators whose territory includes tribal lands to place at least one polling site in a location chosen by the tribal government – this Administration is standing up for tribal sovereignty, tribal self-government, and tribal power. We are defending the rights of men and women in Indian Country to execute their own laws, to implement their own practices, and to perform their own civic services. And we will do everything in our power to ensure that, in the future, efforts like these will become standard practice.

To that end, last year, I announced that the Justice Department would take steps to draft and adopt a new Statement of Principles to guide all of the actions we take in working with federally recognized Indian tribes. Developed in consultation with the leaders of all 566 tribes, that Statement of Principles was meant to codify our intention to serve not as a patron, but as a partner, in Indian country – and to institutionalize our efforts to reinforce relationships, reform the criminal justice system, and aggressively protect civil rights and treaty rights. I am proud to say that our Statement of Principles is now complete. It has taken effect. And it will serve as a guide for this Administration – and every Administration – as we seek to build the more perfect Union, and the more just society, that every individual deserves.

All of these achievements are vital – and many of them are nothing short of groundbreaking. But, like all of you, I recognize that the longevity of our accomplishments depends not only on the strength of our convictions, but on the ability and the willingness of those who come after us to build upon the progress that we have set in motion.

After all, for everything that’s been achieved so far, a great deal of important, life-changing work remains to be done. That’s why the Department of Justice is committed to programs like the Gaye L. Tenoso Indian Country Fellowship—named for a beloved and extraordinary member of our DOJ family, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Indians, who worked tirelessly to advance the federal government’s relationships with sovereign tribes and to defend the interests of Indian and Alaska Native communities from coast to coast. Although Gaye passed away this summer, the fellowship that bears her name is creating a new pipeline of legal talent with expertise and deep experience in federal Indian law, tribal law, and Indian Country issues. I’m proud to say the very first Indian country fellow has been selected, and Charisse Arce [sha-REESE AR-see], of Bristol Bay, Alaska, will be appointed to a three-year term position in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, where she will be assigned to the district’s Indian Country Crime Section. She will also serve a portion of her appointment in a tribal prosecutor’s office or with another tribal legal entity within the district.

In addition to establishing this vital fellowship, the Department of Justice is reinforcing and increasing staff for the Office of Tribal Justice—including experts with a deep understanding of the laws impacting Indian Country—to make certain that Indian men, women, and children will always have a voice in the policies and priorities of the Justice Department. And we are redoubling our support of the Indian Child Welfare Act, to protect Indian children from being illegally removed from their families; to prevent the further destruction of Native traditions through forced and unnecessary assimilation; and to preserve a vital link between Native children and their community that has too frequently been severed – sometimes by those acting in bad faith.

Today, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice is launching a new initiative to promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Under this important effort, we are working to actively identify state-court cases where the United States can file briefs opposing the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families and their tribal communities. We are partnering with the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services to make sure that all the tools available to the federal government are used to promote compliance with this important law. And we will join with those departments, and with tribes and Indian child-welfare organizations across the country, to explore training for state judges and agencies; to promote tribes’ authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.

Ultimately, these children – and all those of future generations – represent the single greatest promise of our partnership, because they will reap the benefits of our ongoing work for change. In the last six years, we have worked together in a shared effort to end misunderstanding and mistreatment, and to bring about a triumph of vision over the status quo; of ingenuity over incapacity; and of progress over stagnation. We have laid an enduring foundation as we strive to empower vulnerable individuals, and give them the tools they need not to leave their communities, but to bolster them; not to abandon their ways of life, but to strengthen them.

Of course, there are many more challenges still before us. And we’ve seen all too clearly that the barriers erected over centuries of discrimination will not be surmounted overnight. But we face a brighter future today because we have placed our faith not in conflict or division, but in cooperation and respect; in the understanding that, though we live in different cultures, with different traditions, we share the same values. We believe that sovereign nations have the right to protect their citizens from harm, and that no perpetrator of domestic violence should be granted immunity because of the color of his skin. We understand that promises of autonomy have meaning, and should not be overturned through the changing desires of different federal Administrations. And we recognize that any child in Indian Country – in Oklahoma, or Montana, or New Mexico – is not fundamentally different from an African-American kid growing up in New York City. And neither child should be forced to choose between their cultural heritage and their well-being.

From the assurance of equal rights and equal justice, to the power of democratic participation and mutual aid, we are joined together by principles as old as time immemorial – principles embodied both by men and women whose ancestors lived on this continent centuries ago, and by those who have newly arrived on our shores. This is my pledge to you – here, today: that, because of our partnership – because of the record we’ve established; because of the foundation we’ve built – no matter who sits in the Oval Office, or who serves as Attorney General of the United States, America’s renewed and reinforced commitment to upholding these promises will be unwavering and unchangeable; powerful and permanent.

That is the legacy of our work together – not only the groundbreaking accomplishments I have described today, but the historic dedication to partnership that has made them possible. Although my time in this Administration will soon come to an end, we have embedded a commitment to tribal justice in the fabric of the Justice Department that I know will continue long after my departure. I will always be proud of the enduring, positive, and collaborative relationship we have built; of the life-changing work we have completed; and of the new era of progress that we have begun. It is my sincere hope that as the history of this Department of Justice is written, great attention will be paid to our accomplishments in interacting with our Native brothers and sisters. This has been a personal priority for me.

I want to thank you all, once again, for your passion, your perseverance, and your steadfast devotion to the work of our time. I am humbled to stand with you, today and every day. I am grateful for your friendship. And I look forward to all that we will achieve – together – in the months and years ahead.
Thank you.
Topic:
Tribal Justice
Component:
Office of the Attorney General

The United States Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, Justice News –
http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-eric-holder-delivers-remarks-during-white-house-tribal-nations
Accessed Dec 4, 2014, 5 pm

ACF Director Tom Sullivan Suspended –

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Mar 262015
 
Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

We believe ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan is being punished – not for minor paperwork infractions related to his recovery from surgery as claimed in the letter below, but because he has strongly spoken out against his DC superiors in attempt to protect the children of Spirit Lake and other reservations.

It is ironic that these same superiors paid absolutely no attention to the paperwork he had submitted concerning the number of children currently living with known sexual offenders. But heaven forbid he not turn in a form related to his medical leave of absence.

Even more ironic is that forms related to National Security within the State Department have apparently been passed off as non-essential by many in the current executive branch of government.

But heaven forbid a lower-level manager, known for telling the truth, fail to (gasp)…dot an ‘i’.

His absence due to hip surgery appears to be a convenient opportunity for his superiors to finally “punish” him.

Please contact your congressional delegation and ask them to protect this brave and honorable man.

Letter from DC ACF Acting Director James Murray to Tom Sullivan:

(https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/9b0b4460-d9e3-40b5-8ca0-8a9d3aff6d54)

DATE: March 23, 2015

FROM: James Murray
Acting Director Office of Regional Operations

.TO: Thomas Sullivan Regional Director

SUBJECT: Notice of Proposed Suspension (Fourteen Days)

You are hereby notified that it is proposed to suspend you from duty with out pay for a period of fourteen calendar days, from your position as Regional Administrator, Denver Region VIII, GS-15, in the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). This action is initiated pursuant to Title 5 USC Part
752, which.affords you the right to make an oral reply and/or to submit written material
to the deciding official named below, before a decision is rendered. You will remain in a .
duty status until a decision has been rendered by the deciding official named herein. The reason for this action is as follows:

Charge #1: Failure to Follow Proper Procedures for eave Notification and Requests. The Agency records show that you were on approved Annual arid Sick Leave from
February 9 to February 20, 2015. You were scheduled to return to duty on Monday
February 23, 2015. On February 24, 2015, Marrianne McMullen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs addressed an e-mail message to various officials including you. The message was intended to set up visits to two regions including the Denver region. In the e-mail, Mrs, McMullen asked about your availability for th.e week of March 16 to 20, 2015.

You responded to Mrs. McMullen by e-mail at 2:43 pm on February 24, and copied me. Your message reported that you “had hip surgery one week ago today.” You indicated that it was unlikely that you would be cleared to travel ta Denver for the meeting during the week of March 16 to 20, 2015.

Mrs. McMullen replied promptly to inquire how long you would be on leave and who is acting in your absence. You replied to state that the length of leave is contingent on the surgeon’s approval and you would return when he cleared you,

You did not request leave as required. You did not notify me that you were going to be absent. Neither did you submit any leave request in ITAS. You failed to follow basic and standard procedures for notifying your supervisor of the absence and requesting
leave as required. I determined that your total disregard for such basic and necessary

Page 2-

procedures cannot be condoned. HHS leave regulations found in the HHS Instruction • 630-1 requires that employees normally must notify Management of absences, and submit appropriate leave requests in advance. In cases where advance notice is unforeseeable,employees are required to notify the supervisor of absences and make a request for leave no later than one hour after the scheduled reporting time on any given day.’ As a Regional Administrator in a senior position of authority, you must have known or should have known of these basic and standard requirements. The fact that you elected to ignore or disregard the !eave procedures is very disturbing, in light of your position as a senior and experienced management official. Several days elapsed after the e-mail exchange on February 24, 2015. You did not subsequently notify me of an approximate date of your return or make a proper request for leave, indicting the leave type and the expected duration. Neither did you submit any medical documentation to substantiate the absence.

On March 5, 2015, I sent you a “Directive to Comply.” I reminded you of the HHS regulations which require employees to notify their supervisors of absences and employees’ responsibility to request leave. I cautioned you that failure to comply with the applicable leave procedures may result in appropriate corrective action and/or a charge of absent without leave (AWOL). I specifically directed you to submit a leave request for the period of your absence commencing on February 23 through the date that you anticipate returning to duty. In addition I instructed you to furnish acceptable medical documentation to substantiate the request for Sick Leave or Annual Leave in lieu thereof. Finally, I directed you to comply with the instructions no later than March 12, 2015, to avert a charge of AWOL and for appropriate corrective action.

You replied to me on the same day, March 5, 2015. You relayed a copy of an e meil message you addressed to the Region VIII timekeeper, CarolDelgado at 4:26 pm on March 5, 2015. Your message to the timekeeper indicated that you requested Annual Leave for partial day absences on February 23 thru March 1, 2015. You claimed that you were working six to seven hours per day during that period. You further stated that you worked eight hours per day on March 4 to March 6. In this regard, your actions are a flagrant violation of several applicable regulations and standard procedures. You did not request to perform Telework and for notify me of your intention to do so. You do not have a current telework agreement and you are not approved to participate in the Telework Program. It is very disconcerting that you demonstrated such a total disregard for compliance with the Agency’s Telework policies. The manner in which you took it upon yourself to allegedly perform work at a remote site, without even notifying me and/or any of your superiors constitutes a grave offense. Your conduct demonstrates a total disregard for the Agency policy and applicable regulations, which you are charged to uphold and enforce. In addition, your actions evince stark disrespect and lack of consideration for your supervisors. In addition, your assertions that you were working every work day between February 23 and March 5, 2015 were submitted and advanced after the fact. You had an obligation to notify your supervisor that you intended to work at a remote site and to obtain approval in advance. You elected not to do so. Your
notice to the timekeeper and to me was in fact retroactive, coming as it did on March 5, 2015, apparently in response to my directive issued to you earlier that day.

Page 3-

In light of all the facts noted above, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I cannot approve or verify that you worked at a remote site on the dates you cited and I cannot properly certify or verify the work hours as such in the Agency time records. In consideration of the foregoing, I am proposing to suspend you from duty without pay for a period of fourteen calendar days. This action will promote the efficiency of the federal service.

Penalty Analysis and Considerations:

The offenses you committed namely, incurring a period of absence without notification to your supervisor and without making a request for leave is a clear failure to comply with a HHS Leave Regulations. In addition, based on your own assertion, you it
upon yourself to perform work at a remote site, without notification and /or approval from your supervisor and without the benefit of a current telework agreement In doing so, you showed a blatant disregard for the same regulations which you are charged to uphold. As a senior member of management in your role as Regional Administrator, it is expected that you enforce and uphold the Agency’s policies. It is further expected that you will serve as a model for compliance with the same. The manner in which you disregarded these regulations was in violation of the HHS Standards of Conduct and showed your disrespect and lack of consideration for your managers.

I considered the severity of your actions and the effect upon your ability to carry out your duties and responsibilities. Your actions have eroded my confidence in you and your ability to uphold and enforce the leave regulations, which is a requirement of your position as Regional Administrator. In addition, I considered your prior disciplinary record. You sustained a three day suspension in August, 2014 for the charge of Improper Conduct. The instant. proposed action is therefore proper and progressive. I determined that the degree of discipline is !he minimal action necessary to the deficiencies and to serve as a deterrent factor. The proposal is in keeping with the recommendations in the ” HHS Disciplinary Guide”.

You and/or your representative may review the material relied upon to support the reasons for this Notice, by contacting Garfield Tavernier, National Labor Relations Officer at (202) 260-6697, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday. If you do not understand the reason for this Notice, contact Mr. Tavernier further explanation.

I would like to remind you that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP} provides professional and confidential services to assist employees with a variety of personal issues or problems. If you believe that EAP could be of assistance, you are urged to contact them on 1-800-222-0364.

You and/or your representative may answer this notice within fourteen (14) calendar days of your receipt thereof, either in person or in writing, or both, before Mrs. Marrianne McMullen, at the Aerospace Building, 901 D Street SW, Washington DC, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. You and/or your representative may also furnish affidavits or written material to Mrs. McMullen within fourteen (14) calendar days of your receipt of this Notice. You will be afforded a reasonable amount of official time for the above purpose,if you are otherwise in a duty status. After the expiration of the time limits for reply, all of the facts, including any reply you or your representative may submit, will be given full consideration before a final decision is rendered. You will receive a written decision from Mrs. McMullen.

Acknowledgement of Receipt

Your signature below is only an acknowledgement of receipt. lt does not indicate your agreement with the content By signing below you will not forfeit any rights you are entitled. Failure to sign will not stay the action.

Thomas Sullivan
(Signature and Date)

Jul 052014
 

July 1, 2014

Ms. Mcmullen:

It is unfortunate that neither the leadership of my agency nor my department had the courtesy to inform me that I had been invited by the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs to testify about conditions on the Spirit Lake Reservation at the Subcommittee’s Hearing on June 24, 2014.

Associate Commissioner Chang’s testimony was, at best, confusing where it was not false. In the second sentence of her prepared testimony she speaks about the Administration’s concerns about child safety and well-being at Spirit Lake. Finally, after more than two years, 13 Mandated Reports and numerous emails to ACF leadership about the lack of safety for Spirit Lake kids, someone, other than me, is saying safety of children is of concern. Of course that contradicts an exchange I had with Mr. McKearn, Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget for ACF, back in July, 2012 when I was told that the safety of kids at Spirit Lake was not a priority. I guess the leadership of ACF never has to explain their position nor apologize when that position is proven wrong.

Ms. Chang’s claim that BIA has addressed, “…most notably the safety checks prior to placement” is simply false. If the BIA had addressed the safety checks prior to placement, Laurynn Whiteshield would be alive today, soon to celebrate her fourth birthday with her twin sister, Michaela. Instead she has been in the ground for more than a year, dead at the hands of her step-grandmother, who, it was well-known by most families on Spirit Lake, beat and abused her own children so badly they were removed from her home.

Ms. Chang goes on with the assertion about the strengths at Spirit Lake, saying, “Perhaps the most important strength is the commitment of the new leadership under Chairman McDonald and the work of the BIA.” Early on in this process the BIA and Tribal leadership were presented a list of 137 children who were in uncertain placements or unaccounted for at that time. At the Subcommittee Hearing Ms. Merrick-Brady, the Acting Director of Spirit Lake’s Tribal Social Services, explained that 66 children had been found and accounted for. That means that after 13 Mandated Reports, numerous detailed, factual emails about continuing abuse of children at Spirit Lake, 21 months after the BIA Strike Team arrived with much fanfare and ten months after Chairman McDonald was elected Chair there are still more kids unaccounted for than accounted for. How many of these unaccounted for children have been trafficked into the man camps of the Bakken oil fields, just a few hours down the road from Spirit Lake? If the safety of the children of Spirit Lake is our top priority, this performance should be called what it is, “weak and inadequate”.

Most witnesses at congressional hearings are told that if they don’t know the answer to a question, there is no problem in saying so and offering to provide the information requested in a few days. When asked a question about how often I had been at Spirit Lake, Ms. Chang seemed eager to offer her lying answer, saying that I had never been there, giving the impression we had discussed that question just the night before. Ms. Chang has never sought me out to ask me any question of any kind. Why would a woman of her stature lie so blatantly about me? Was she seeking to tarnish my reputation? As I cautioned the Spirit Lake Chair in an email last week, quoting the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan who frequently said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not his own facts.”

I have been to Spirit Lake three or four times in the last four years. Prior to that time each year I routinely met a couple of times a year in Bismarck with all of the child welfare directors from the four North Dakota reservations. I attended their meetings, spoke when asked and sought to assist them to develop more productive relationships with state human services staff to assist them in reducing their caseloads per worker to the levels prevalent in the majority community.

Thomas F. Sullivan Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

Jul 052014
 

June 25, 2014

Chairman McDonald:

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

Jun 102014
 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF) Date: Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Subject: Criminal Corruption Reaches New Heights at Spirit Lake
To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)”
Cc: “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)” , “Murray, James (ACF)”

Ms. McMullen:

One month ago I wrote a four page email documenting the level of control exercised by the criminally corrupt at Spirit Lake.

This was not the first time I had raised their control over events at Spirit Lake. Almost two years ago, in my First Mandated Report, dated June 14, 2012, I quoted favorably from a letter composed by former Tribal Judge Molly McDonald who had written, “I grew up on this reservation and witnessed many acts of violence and abuse. This is normal to us. Our tribe has adopted this as a way of life, violence and hopelessness. When does the cycle end?…The abuse is reported but nothing is done by Social Services or Law Enforcement. Where do we go from there?…. Please consider that if an investigation had been done, many children could have been saved from further abuse, and possibly, they would have been alive today…..our tribe is attempting to cover up these issues that plagued our reservation for many years……Whatever picture our tribal council or chairman want to paint, it simply is not the case. There is a dire need for professionals …that know their boundaries and will not overlook issues at the request of Tribal Council.”

When former Tribal Judge McDonald wrote that letter in the Spring of 2012, the criminally corrupt controlled the levers of power at Spirit Lake. They still do. Now, however, after going unchallenged by anyone in authority for so many years, they may have gone too far for most responsible people.

In item # 2 in my December 19, 2013 email to you I referenced the allegation that a 13 year old little girl was being raped by a known sex offender, that this had been reported to the Tribal Chair and Council, BIA and Tribal law enforcement. The child’s non-custodial father was told by the BIA that they would not be able to investigate this allegation for another thirty days at the earliest. I have periodically referenced this child’s situation in my subsequent emails to you. To my knowledge, more than 6 months after this allegation was first reported to the BIA, no investigation has yet been conducted. This is how innocent victims are treated at Spirit Lake! Would such a failure to investigate these allegations, to stop the abuse and to protect the innocent victim be tolerated in Devils Lake, ND, the nearest off reservation majority community?

Clearly the criminally corrupt do not control Devils Lake. Even though the alleged rapist, referenced above, resides on the Spirit Lake reservation, the State’s Attorney for Ramsey County (Devils Lake is the county seat for Ramsey County) has obtained four felony indictments against this man for child abuse, endangerment for actions he engaged in off the reservation in Ramsey County. My sources and I suspect these indictments are for child sexual abuse but have not thus far been able to obtain confirmation of our suspicions. Nevertheless, these are felony level charges involving the abuse of a child. I believe most thinking adults, knowing this, would consider those to be serious charges. This is not an opinion held by the Spirit Lake leadership because they are refusing to allow this alleged rapist of a 13 year old little girl, the subject of four felony indictments involving child abuse, to be extradited to Ramsey County.

Apparently this is how it works at Spirit Lake: the allegations of little girls who report they are being raped are ignored while their alleged rapists the subject of four felony indictments for child abuse is shielded from the law. If this isn’t a new extreme in criminal corruption what is?

Thomas F. Sullivan
Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

May 012014
 
BIA - DC

On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 CAICW wrote the following letter to BIA officials:

Ms. Cave and the committees involved with transforming ICWA guidelines;

Thank you for allowing input concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act guidelines.
The hosts of the listening session on Thursday, April 24 stated that only tribal leaders have a stake in the ICWA and are thus the sole “stakeholders” in what happens with ICWA. I realize this is what the BIA as well as many in Congress believe.

However, tribal members who have rejected tribal jurisdiction, non-member persons of heritage who rejected the reservation system and/or have never lived under it, and hundreds of thousands of non-Indians across the nation are in fact “stakeholders” in this law – whether government wants to admit it or not.
Non-Indian stakeholders would include the non-Indian birth moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of children adversely affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act. There are hundreds of thousands of them. You can not say that these families are not “stakeholders” if they are having to fight a tribal government over rights to their own children.

And yes – we have current cases of birth family having to fight tribal governments for their own children. We had a grandmother in Colorado last month who won her case to keep her 7-year-old grandson – but would not have won without help from good attorneys. Sadly, we have a birth mother in Michigan right now who is losing against tribal court because she had no money to hire an attorney who could stand up and say the tribal court isn’t following ICWA, let alone regular family law.

When government passes a law that mandatorily gives jurisdiction of ones family to a political entity – and that law affects not just persons who have chosen to be part of that political entity, but everyone of 100% certain blood heritage – Government has approved a law based on race and has way overstepped its bounds. It gets even worse. Bad enough that many persons and families of 100% heritage are forced unwillingly into this political situation due to their race, but our federal government went further – forcing everyone down to 51% heritage to be included in the law – as well as hundreds of thousands of people with even less than 5% heritage. This means families who are predominately non-native – many of whom are unconnected to the reservation system.

Government has lost sight of the reality that 75% of those who are considered Native American do not live within the reservation system and appears to be blind to the reality that the vast majority of people affected by ICWA are predominately of non-Indian heritage. These affected children have OTHER extended family, roots, traditions, and worldviews – all equally important and acceptable.
I am speaking as a birth mother, grandmother and aunt. I am also speaking as representative of our national membership. I and the people I represent are undeniably stakeholders.

Below are some of the issues brought up by tribal officials in the listening session last Thursday. Tribal leaders are talking about ways to strengthen their jurisdiction over our children. We were very dismayed at the suggested ICWA changes.

Some of the upsetting points of change requested by tribal leaders and their attorneys are listed here. I have summarized reasons for our objections in italics.
1. ‘Make it easier to transfer children to tribal court’ – (Thus harder for families such as ours to protect themselves)

2. ‘Tribal decisions concerning eligiblity should be conclusive’ – (Dominating the feelings and decisions of the birth family, who might have purposefully left the reservation system due to prevalent crime and corruption. Parents and primary caregivers should have the final say as to whether their children are enrolled.)

3. ‘A tribal committee should make revisions to the guidelines and those guidelines should become binding law.’ – (Despite the legislative record, which shows that the guidelines were never meant to be binding. Further – ALL stakeholders should be invited to the table, not just those who have a financial and power stake in having possession of our children.)

3. ‘Make it easier for kids to be eligible. Allow for combining the heritage from two different tribes to help a child reach eligibility.’ – (We are obviously talking about children here who are primarily of non-native heritage. Are tribal governments grasping at straws to keep control over other people’s children?)

4. ‘Require complete ancestry charts for BOTH parents’ – (No tribal government has any right to see my ancestry chart. I am not a tribal member – they have no right to demand any of my personal documents or a right to inspect my lineage.)

5. ‘Eliminate all language referring to “delay” being a problem, the advanced stage of proceedings, or the undue hardship of transferring to tribal court.’ – (OUR children have a right to be respected and protected. There are laws in every state limiting how long a child must wait for permanency BECAUSE it is well documented that children have an emotional need stable and permanent homes as soon as possible. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, our children are no different from any other child in America. It is extremely racist to claim that OUR children are somehow different than other kids and do NOT need permanence as early. What this is essentially saying is that it is okay if children of heritage have their lives disrupted and pulled apart – it doesn’t matter how long they cry or pine for the people they knew and loved best – because they are not as important or valued by our government as other children are. Our government is willing to deeply hurt our children simply because they have Native American heritage. Does the government consider them not as worth protecting as other children?)

6. ‘No more talk about a child not being connected to the tribe – as if the child isn’t “Indian” enough. Eliminate use of the Indian Child Doctrine nationally.’ – ( It is extremely racist for tribal governments to claim that they know my child, who they have never met, better than I do – and that it is more important for my child to be connected to the tribe than it is for my child to have a permanent, safe, and stable home. It is extremely offensive for Tribal leaders to make racist statements like this – completely denying the rights and feelings of non-Indian families as well as Indian families who have purposefully distanced themselves from the reservation system.)

7. ‘Acknowledge that a parent who has not had custody is still a parent with continuing custody.’ – (Would this acknowledgment apply to non-Indian parents as well? Will the government consider the non-Indian mother in Michigan as one with ‘continuing custody,’ even though the tribal court has ripped her 13-yr-old daughter away from her – against the daughter’s wishes? Or is the suggestion that only non-custodial parents of tribal heritage will always be considered a custodial parent? Why? Does the U.S. government continue to view U.S. citizens of native heritage as somehow incapable? Is there an underlying racist notion that parents of heritage are somehow different than their non-native counterparts – despite the vast majority of citizens of tribal heritage living average, mainstream lives off the reservation? To many parents of heritage who choose to live outside of Indian Country, it is offensive that our government continues to pigeon hole people. Further, to non-native parents of eligible children, it is appalling anyone would suggest the other parent be considered to have had custody simply due to a percentage of heritage. Parents without custody are non-custodial parents, period.)

8. ’24-months isn’t long enough for some parents. ex – One dad wasn’t the one with custody because most young children are raised by the mothers and so it is not his fault. He wasn’t responsible for the current situation and needs more time.’ – (The best interest of the child – the need for permanence, safety and stability – needs to be of utmost importance. The needs of Dads who haven’t been in the picture – many times by choice, although they might regret it later – must be secondary. Our society needs all parents, no matter the heritage, to be responsible and accountable, not blaming. We need to make the emotional needs of individual children priority and quit making excuses for adults who should know better.)

9. ‘What one culture deems normal, another culture might not.’ – (This is true. But many ICWA workers seem to ignore the cultural norm an individual child has been raised in – as well as ignore any other heritage of the child – for the sake of the culture tribal leaders and ICWA workers deem necessary and solely important. This appears to happen even when a child has been completely raised and feels comfortable in an alternate culture. Among many ICWA workers, there appears to be a complete disregard and even antagonism for the equally good and acceptable cultures many children living outside of the reservation system have been comfortable with.)

10. ‘States should be required to give the tribal gov’ts a list of all their licensed foster homes so they tribal gov’t can identify preferred families.’ – (Foster families have a right to privacy. This expectation and demand is frightening.)

The following are a list of proposed ICWA changes we would like to see:

1. Children of tribal heritage should be guaranteed protection equal to that of any other child in the United States.
a) Children should never be moved suddenly from a home that is safe, loved, and where they are emotionally, socially and physically comfortable simply because their care-givers are not of a certain heritage. The best interest of the child should be considered first, above the needs of the tribal community.
b) State health and welfare requirements for foster and adoptive children should apply equally to all. If there is proven evidence of emotional and/or physical neglect, the state has an obligation to that child’s welfare and should be held accountable if the child is knowingly or by Social Service neglect left in unsafe conditions. ( – Title 42 U.S.C 1983)

2. Fit parents, no matter their heritage, have the right to choose healthy guardians or adoptive parents for their children without concern for heritage and superseding wishes of tribal government. US Supreme Court decisions upholding family autonomy under 5th and 14th Amendment due process and equal protection include Meyer vs. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Brown v. Board of Education.

3. The “Existing Indian Family Doctrine” must be available to families and children that choose not to live within the reservation system.
a) In re Santos Y, the court found “Application of the ICWA to a child whose only connection with an Indian tribe is a one-quarter genetic contribution does not serve the purpose for which the ICWA was enacted…” Santos y quoted from Bridget R.’s due process and equal protection analysis at length. Santos also states, Congress considered amending the ICWA to preclude application of the “existing Indian family doctrine” but did not do so.”
b) In Bridget R., the court stated, “if the Act applies to children whose families have no significant relationship with Indian tribal culture, such application runs afoul of the Constitution in three ways:
— it impermissibly intrudes upon a power ordinarily reserved to the states,
— it improperly interferes with Indian children’s fundamental due process rights respecting family relationships; and
— on the sole basis of race, it deprives them of equal opportunities to be adopted that are available to non-Indian children and exposes them…to having an existing non-Indian family torn apart through an after the fact assertion of tribal and Indian-parent rights under ICWA”.
c) In re Alexandria Y., the court held that “recognition of the existing Indian family doctrine [was] necessary to avoid serious constitutional flaws in the ICWA” and held that the trial court had acted properly in refusing to apply ICWA “because neither [child] nor [mother] had any significant social, cultural, or political relationship with Indian life; thus, there was no existing Indian family to preserve.” Question: If current ICWA case law includes many situations where existing Family Doctrine has already been ignored, then have serious constitutional flaws already occurred?

4. United States citizens, no matter their heritage, have a right to fair trials.
a) When summoned to a tribal court, parents and legal guardians, whether enrolled or not, have to be told their rights, including 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1911. (b) “Transfer of proceedings [to tribal jurisdiction] …in the absence of good cause to the contrary, [and] objection by either parent…”
b) The rights of non-member parents must be upheld: for example; 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1903. Definitions “Permanent Placement” (1) (iv) “shall not include a placement based … upon an award, in a divorce proceeding, of custody to one of the parents.
c) Non-members have to be able to serve county and state summons to tribal members within reservation boundaries and must have access to appeal.
d) Under the principles of comity: All Tribes and States shall accord full faith and credit to a child custody order issued by the Tribe or State of initial jurisdiction consistent within the UCCJA – which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another State – unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Article 2 of the UCCJA.

5. Adoptive Parents need well defined protections. These are the citizens among us that have been willing to set aside personal comforts and take in society’s neediest children. Adoptive parents take many risks in doing this, the least of which is finances. People build their lives around family. Adoptive parents risk not only their own hearts, but the hearts of any birth children they have as well as the hearts of their extended family. These parents have an investment in the families they are building and have a right to know that they can put their names on the adoption paper with confidence. If we, as a society, continue to abuse these parents, we will find fewer people willing to take the risk of adoption and more and more children will languish in foster homes.

6. A “Qualified expert witness” should be someone who is able to advocate for the well being of the child, first and foremost: a professional person who has substantial education and experience in the area of the professional person’s specialty and significant knowledge of and experience with the child, his family, and the culture, family structure, and child-rearing practices the child has been raised in.

7. Finally, if tribal membership is a political rather than racial designation, (as argued) than is it constitutional for the definition of an Indian child to include “eligible” children, rather than “enrolled” children?
a) 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1903. Definitions: (4) ”Indian child” means any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either
b) member of an Indian tribe or
c) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe;

However;
1. Tribal governments have been given the right as sovereign entities to determine their own membership at the expense of the rights of any other heritage or culture as well as at the expense of individual rights.
2. ICWA does not give Indian children or their legal guardians the choice whether to accept political membership in the tribe. Legal guardians have the right to make that choice for their children, not governments.
3. Non-member relatives are being told that these children are now members of an entity that the family has had no past political, social or cultural relationship with.
4. So IS it then the blood relationship that determines membership? Bridget R., stated, “If tribal determinations are indeed conclusive for purposes of applying ICWA, and if, … a particular tribe recognizes as members all persons who are biologically descended from historic tribal members, then children who are related by blood to such a tribe may be claimed by the tribe, and thus made subject to the provisions of ICWA, solely on the basis of their biological heritage. Only children who are racially Indians face this possibility.” Isn’t that then an unconstitutional race-based classification?
5. Keeping children, no matter their blood quantum, in what the State would normally determine to be an unfit home on the basis of tribal government claims that European values don’t apply to and are not needed by children of tribal heritage is racist in nature and a denial of the child’s personal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
6. Even with significant relationship with Indian tribal culture, forced application of ICWA runs afoul of the Constitution in three ways: (1) it impermissibly intrudes upon a power ordinarily reserved to the states, (2) it improperly interferes with Indian children’s fundamental due process rights; and (3) on the sole basis of race, it deprives them of equal opportunities to be adopted that are available to non-Indian children.

Thank you for listening to all the stakeholders – including us.

Tom Sullivan rebukes his DC Superiors for their negligence of children on Indian reservations

 Comments Off on Tom Sullivan rebukes his DC Superiors for their negligence of children on Indian reservations
Apr 042014
 
Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

> From: “Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)” > Date: April 4, 2014 at 10:45:46 AM CDT
> To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)”
> Cc: “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)” , “Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF)” , “Sparks, Lillian (ACF)” , “Kennerson, Marilyn (ACF)” , “Murray, James (ACF)”
> Subject: CB team to Spirit Lake
>
> Ms. Mcmullen:
>
> Thank you for your email response to my questions.
>
> You have assembled quite an impressive team to go to Spirit Lake. I am confident that team will be able to put together equally impressive “guidance to the tribe on what steps they need to take to establish a functional child welfare system.”
>
> Two aspects of this effort are of concern to me. First, it is unfortunate that this effort comes almost 22 months after my First Mandated Report was filed on June 14, 2012. Spirit Lake Social Services (TSS) was in disarray then and has not improved its capacity to respond to the child welfare needs of its youngest citizens in the interim despite claims to the contrary by the state, BIA, DOJ and the leadership of ACF.
>
> Second, there is no mention of any effort to evaluate the current condition of those 100+ children I wrote about in that First Report who had been placed in the full-time care and custody of abusers, addicts and rapists. That number has probably more than doubled in the intervening 22 months as more children were removed from their biological homes by TSS or BIA staff. How many of these 200+ children are being tortured in the same manner as the six children removed from their grandmother’s home in Grand Forks and reported in the online edition of the Grand Forks Herald on the evening of March 20, 2014? How many are being raped like that 13 year old little girl who I first brought to your attention more than 100 days ago? That young girl’s claims of rape have still not been investigated by the BIA more than 3 months after this situation was first reported to the Spirit Lake tribal chair and council, the BIA and you. It is my understanding this little girl remains in the same placement available to be raped daily by a Level Three Registered Sex Offender. Why is the statutory rape of this little girl, an enrolled tribal member, allowed to continue by the tribal chair and council?
>
> The delays in removing these children from those abusive homes have been caused by the libel and slander directed at my sources and me. These delays are unconscionable because they required and continue to require all of these Spirit Lake children to remain in the care and custody of abusers and rapists, available to be tortured and/or raped daily. Are there any people at Spirit Lake or in North Dakota with a conscience?
>
> One former senior tribal employee has recently reported to one of my sources that when she started working for the tribe she was told by her supervisor that everything we were reporting were lies. She told my source, “Now, I not only know you weren’t lying, but I also know that all of you have been understating the facts. It is far worse for kids at Spirit Lake than anything you have been saying.”
>
> I understand this former senior tribal employee briefed the tribal chair in these same terms several weeks ago. Since he knew our reports were being characterized as “understatements” and that, “It is far worse for the kids at Spirit Lake than anything (we) have been saying.”, why has he taken no action to help those Spirit Lake children escape the grip of those who abuse and rape them?
>
> The second paragraph of your March 31, 2014 email seems to seek to minimize ACF’s role at Spirit Lake.
>
> ACF’s 2014 Strategic Plan released almost a month ago states on page one, “….we seek to advance a set of key goals:” followed by five statements of goals, which read:
>
> * “Promote economic health and social well-being for individuals, families and communities;
> * Promote healthy development and school readiness for children, especially those in low income families;
> * Promote safety and well-being of children, youth and families;
> * Support underserved and underrepresented populations; and
> * Upgrade the capacity of ACF to make a difference for families and communities.”
>
>
> Minimizing ACF’s role at Spirit Lake within the context of this statement contradicts the entire purpose of ACF’s 2014 Strategic Plan and makes no sense unless you are attempting to avoid addressing the epidemic of child sexual abuse and child/youthful suicide at Spirit Lake. Why would any responsible government leader wish to avoid dealing with such widespread dysfunction that is well-known to have disastrous consequences for children, their families and communities? To do so would effectively negate every one of the “key goals” from ACF’s own 2014 Strategic Plan, at least at Spirit Lake. Is that what you intend?
>
> You ask for some information from me to assist you as you prepare for this visit.
>
> I find this especially ironic since when you were claiming I was misrepresenting the facts at Spirit Lake, that conditions there were not nearly as bad as I claimed and that the BIA and DOJ claims they had investigated every one of my allegations and most were unfounded or false, no one from ACF asked me for any information to corroborate my Reports or provided me with an opportunity to rebut those self-serving claims.
>
> First, you ask for a list of the steps I have taken to assist the tribe to improve their child welfare system.
>
> When I first learned that all tribes in North Dakota were operating their child welfare systems with caseload ratios of as few as 50 – 60 cases per worker to as many as 100 – 120 cases per worker, I met with the child welfare directors from four of the reservations in North Dakota and encouraged them to begin moving closer to a caseload ratio of 20 – 30 cases per worker. They claimed they had been trying to move in that direction but were refused funding every time the subject came up. They realized they were, in many cases, not compliant with state and federal regulations due to inadequate staffing and were quite fearful of the potential financial penalties that might follow if they did not become compliant.
>
> Because of the criminal corruption which continues to dominate the Spirit Lake Child Welfare program, attracting qualified social workers will be next to impossible. Until the leadership of Spirit Lake convinces the public that their CW program is operating and will continue to operate with integrity and transparency, social worker recruitment will be extremely difficult. Only by prosecuting all of those who are abusing, neglecting and raping Spirit Lake children will the public understand that Spirit Lake CW program is no longer controlled by the criminally corrupt. Until that image is implanted in the public perception of Spirit Lake, TSS and BIA will be forced to attempt to address these significant issues with few, if any, qualified social work staff.
>
> I regularly met with the leadership of the ND Department of Human Resources to encourage them to increase their support for their tribal child welfare programs. While these meetings were friendly, the Department was unwilling to increase the money made available to the tribes for any purpose. In late 2010 I met with the Spirit Lake Tribal council members, pointed out the problem with inadequate funding for their child welfare operations and encouraged them to lead an effort to increase tribal funding for their CW operations. They took no action that I am aware of and elections soon replaced the tribal Chair with Mr. Yankton.
>
> In 2008 Spirit Lake’s director of social services told me he had 46 cases of reported, investigated and confirmed child sexual abuse that had been referred to the US Attorney. He said “None are being investigated and none are being prosecuted.” I encouraged him that, as difficult as it was, he should keep referring confirmed cases to the US Attorney for prosecution. I understand he did but there was no action from that US Attorney or his successor to correct this failure to investigate and prosecute serious crimes..
>
> I have filed 13 Mandated Reports, many of which dealt with the inadequate response of law enforcement to crime on Spirit Lake. I would have filed many more if Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon had not illegally prohibited me from doing so and if Acting Assistant Secretary Greenberg had not, by his silence, apparently endorsed Mr. Sheldon’s actions.
>
> I have reached out to partner with non-governmental entities in the development and presentation of educational programs focused on the recognition of, prevention of and rehabilitation from child abuse in Indian Country. These programs have been targeted to child welfare staff working on reservations. The National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA) has been especially generous with their time and resources. They have already provided or will be providing, at no cost to either ACF or DHHS, multi-day training sessions on this subject matter in the following Indian Country locations all across this country: Casper, WY; Browning, MT; Aberdeen, SD; Nampa, ID; Albuquerque, NM; Tulalip, WA; Santa Fe, NM; Pojoague, NM; Yankton, SD; Houghton, MI; and Muscatine, IA. Of the 11 locations identified where presentations will be made, only four are in Region 8, less than 40% of these sessions. While concerned about conditions in Region 8, my efforts have also been focused on the larger community in need of training. Those who have participated in these sessions have been very complimentary about their skill development following their participation in these sessions.
>
> Before limitations were placed on my ability to address issues like the twin epidemics of child sexual abuse and child/youthful suicide in Indian Country by the leadership of ACF, I spoke frequently to groups in North Dakota, in the other states in this region and all around this country about these issues. In fact, until I first spoke about these issues in 2006, no one had ever dared mention the subject publicly. Convinced the silence protected the predators and harmed children, I decided to make this an issue whenever I could. American Indian audiences were initially put off by my frankness but as they understood my efforts were focused not on stigmatizing them but on finding ways to address these epidemics, bringing resources to begin correcting this situation and bringing healing to their children, I began to receive more invitations to speak on these topics.
>
> Since those limitations were placed on me requiring me to get clearance from ACF leadership for any speech I wished to give and since that clearance always involved censorship, removing all substance from my proposed speeches, I have refused to accept speaking engagements where I could not speak honestly about conditions in Indian Country.
>
> Second, you ask me to provide a summary of anything I have learned “from other tribes…. that faced similar challenges….List any best practices for establishing a strong child welfare system and any contacts I have that could be resources for……Spirit Lake”
>
> That is a mouthful and would take essentially a Doctoral dissertation to answer completely. Unfortunately, I do not have time to do that if I am to meet your deadline. I plan, however, at a later date and on my own time to write several books.
>
> Every reservation I have been on, and I have been on most in this region as well as several others outside of this region, are characterized by crushing poverty, many times higher than the rate for the general population. Unemployment levels for generations have been and continue to run at levels not seen in the majority community even during the Great Depression. Alcohol and drug use and abuse are rampant. This abuse is so prevalent that many reservation residents around the Bakken formation cannot qualify for oil field employment because they cannot pass pre-employment drug and alcohol screening. Law enforcement is, on most reservations, non-existent with few officers, little training and little or no professionalism. Domestic violence and rape are rampant. Because children are placed in foster homes of uncertain safety, many children removed from their biological parents when they were drunk, have been placed in homes where they are raped daily, not just at Spirit Lake but on every reservation in this country. What do rapists have to fear when there is no effective law enforcement? Many of these sexually abused children, seeing no hope to escape this horrific abuse realizing the adults who are supposed to protect them will not, choose to end their own lives. On every reservation service needs are high and resources available to respond to those needs are limited.
>
> I am not aware of any “best practices for establishing a strong child welfare system”. I am confident Ms. Kennerson and the leadership of the Children’s Bureau are fully aware of such “best practices” if any are in place. Child safety should be emphasized in every decision made in any child welfare system. Nearly three year old Laurynn Whiteshield died at the hands of an abusive, step grandmother whose history of abuse of her own children was well-known to the BIA caseworkers who placed Laurynn and her twin sister in that home. I understand that another young man died in that same home less than two weeks ago. The step grandmother is reported to be in prison serving a lengthy sentence. Who is responsible for this young man’s death?
>
> Third, you ask for “a list of national and local partners….who could provide financial, training or technical assistance to Spirit Lake moving forward”.
>
> May I suggest all of the members of your team read my 13 Mandated Reports. If you had, you would understand that on pages 5 and 6 of my First Mandated Report, filed on June 14, 2012, at items D – H there is a list of some of those organizations and my suggestions on how they might be used to begin addressing the issues at Spirit Lake.
>
> The former Executive Director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, Ms. Suzanna Tiapula, should also be involved in any effort to address the criminal corruption at Spirit Lake.
>
> Fourth, you ask for a “list of stakeholders or advocates who can be brought to the table to help Spirit Lake protect their children.”
>
> On January 20, 2014 I provided Ms. Kennerson, by email, with detailed contact information for my primary sources at Spirit Lake. I did so at her request and with the understanding she would be contacting some or all of them during her trip to Spirit Lake scheduled to take place before the end of January. In speaking with my sources, none have been contacted by her. I assume Ms. Kennerson still has that email and can make this information available to you.
>
> Whether my sources will be willing to speak with any of you remains to be seen after the disrespectful manner you treated one of them on a telephone call two weeks ago. That was bad enough but then, in a subsequent email, you lied not only about what you said and did but also about what my source said and did during that telephone call.
>
> It would be well for you to consider the words of Marvin Bower, Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company for almost twenty years who, in the ‘Will to Lead’ wrote, “Leadership scholars are virtually unanimous in putting trustworthiness at the top of the list of qualities required by any leader. Trustworthiness is integrity in action….Integrity is honesty carried…….into action so that the person is completely honest. That kind of integrity I put above all else as an essential of leadership.”
>
> I do not “…feel that (my) previous emails regarding Spirit Lake have not been answered”. I know it for a fact. In a later email I will provide chapter and verse on each of those unanswered emails.
>
> Thomas F. Sullivan
>
> Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver
>
> From: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
> Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:52 AM
> To: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
> Cc: Murray, James (ACF)
> Subject: RE: CB team to Spirit Lake
>
> ACF is looking forward to a productive visit to Spirit Lake next week. Joo Chang will lead a team that includes Lillian Sparks, Marilyn Kennerson and me, and it is our goal to provide guidance to the tribe on what steps they need to take to establish a functional child welfare system.
>
> As you know, our jurisdiction here is limited. ACF, through the Children’s Bureau, provides funding and guidance to states, tribes and localities for child welfare agencies. States and Tribes have legal jurisdiction over their courts and agencies and we have no jurisdiction to intervene on individual cases.
>
> We do want to do everything we can within our defined role, however. To that end, we need your assistance to prepare for this visit.
>
> Specifically, please:

> – Provide a detailed list of the steps you have taken as Regional Administrator to assist the tribe to improve their child welfare system. Please include the status of each action and any outcomes of those actions.
>
> – Provide a summary of anything you have learned from other tribes you may have had contact with that faced similar challenges. List any best practices for establishing a strong tribal child welfare system, and any contacts you may have that could be resources for Spirit Lake.
>
> – A list of national and local partners (philanthropies, universities, etc.) who could provide financial, training or technical assistance to Spirit Lake moving forward.
>
> – A list of any other stakeholders or advocates who can be brought to the table to help Spirit Lake protect their children.
>
> Please send this report by noon Eastern time on Friday, April 4 so that it can be included with briefing materials for the team. Please also include your primary point of contact at Spirit Lake, or any other contacts there we should be aware of.
>
> I am sorry you feel that your previous emails regarding Spirit Lake have not been answered; that is not what my records reflect.
>
> After the ACF team visit to Spirit Lake, I will let you know of any need for follow-up on your part.
>
> From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 5:35 PM
> To: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
> Subject: Re: CB team to Spirit Lake
>
> Ms. Mcmullen:
>
> Thank you for your email notification about the Childrens Bureau team visit to Spirit Lake on April 9 – 11, 2014.
>
> I have some questions concerning this visit: 1. What are the names of those who will be part of this team? 2. Who will be the team leader? 3. What will be the expected outcome of this team’s visit to Spirit Lake? 4. What written instructions will be provided to that team? 5. May I receive a copy of those instructions?
>
> I have raised many questions about Spirit Lake to you over the last 21 months, all documented in agency email. Few, if any, have been answered. I trust I will not have to add this email to the “unanswered” file.
>
> Thomas F. Sullivan
> Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver
>
>
> From: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 04:27 PM
> To: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
> Subject: CB team to Spirit Lake
>
>
> Hello Tom:
>
> I wanted to let you know that the Children’s Bureau is planning a team visit to Spirit Lake April 9-11. The ACF team will talk to various stakeholders, tribal child welfare staff, judges and others. They will use the information gathered to provide clear guidance to the Tribe on what steps need to be taken to establish a successful child welfare agency.
>
> Marrianne McMullen
> Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs
> Administration for Children and Families
> U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
> 901 D. St., SW, Washington, DC 20447
> (202) 401-9215
> marrianne.mcmullen@acf.hhs.gov
> www.acf.hhs.gov

Letter’s from George Sheldon say “Ignore Tom.”

 Comments Off on Letter’s from George Sheldon say “Ignore Tom.”
Dec 042013
 

 

George Sheldon, Former Director of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), made it clear in April, 2013, that the ACF does not want to hear about atrocities occurring at Spirit Lake. He further stated the ACF stands firmly behind the behavior of the BIA, FBI and US Attorney at Spirit Lake – despite numerous reports from Spirit Lake residents as well as ACF’s own Regional Director, Tom Sullivan, that horrific child abuse has been ignored by the federal agencies.

The horrific child abuse that Mr. Sullivan reported to Mr. Sheldon in 2012 and 2013 was supported by a recent CNN segment (Oct, 1013) entitled “Sexual Abuse Rampant on Indian Reservation.”

Further, had Mr. Sheldon listened to Mr. Sullivan, toddler Lauryn Whiteshield might be alive today.

Capitol Hill