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February 16, 2011 permalink
The province of Newfoundland has found a way to cure the embarrassing revelations in the case of Dorothy and Bobby Rodgers: force the parents, and the press, to shut up. The province is applying for a gag order in the case.
Don't gag media, Port aux Basques family says
A family in southwestern Newfoundland that has alleged social workers were heavy-handed in removing children from their custody does not want the media to be prevented from reporting fully on their case.
Sources tell CBC News that the provincial government will go to court Thursday to seek a publication ban in the case of Dorothy and Bobby Rodgers of Port aux Basques whose two children were taken into care last year.
The Rodgers spoke out earlier this month when they could not get their two young children out of foster care in part because they scored poorly on a series of tests, including an IQ test. The case has drawn a strong public reaction.
Eileen King, Bobby Rodgers's sister, said the family believes the government wants media reports on her brother's case shut down.
"No names would be mentioned, that the Rodgers family name would not be mentioned," King told CBC News.
'Cover up what they have done'
A publication ban would mean that any media identifying the family would be breaking the law.
"I think it's just another way for them to cover up their track, to cover up what they have done," King said in an interview.
Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson has suggested there is more to the Rodgers story than has been reported and has said government officials are bound by confidentiality.
King said her family would like to know what government means about what has not been disclosed.
"We have nothing to fear nor do we have anything to hide," she said.
The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services would not comment on the issue of a publication ban, and said it cannot comment on specific cases.
The Rodgers case involves numerous complicated factors, including Dorothy Rodgers's admission that she made false allegations when she stayed at a transition house. She has said she was coping with sexual abuse suffered years ago.
As well, Dorothy Rodgers says she did not trust social workers because of her own experiences growing up in foster care.
Addendum: The family is now anonymous.
Parents will get to argue kids’ return in court; Interim ban now forbids publication of family name
CORNER BROOK — An interim publication ban has been ordered until the merits of a more permanent prohibition on identifying the family involved in a high-profile case involving the removal of their children from the home can be argued in court.
The western Newfoundland family was in Corner Brook to attend family court Thursday morning.
As is the norm for any proceedings in family court, the media was not permitted to sit in on the matter in which the provincial government is seeking the ban that would effectively prevent the media from publishing the names or images of the family at the centre of the case.
In a more unusual measure, Justice Alan Seaborn, who presided over the matter in family court Tuesday, also prohibited the media from obtaining images anywhere inside the Corner Brook Law Courts building.
Arguments on a permanent publication ban will be heard in family court March 11, while a protective intervention hearing on the family’s situation itself has been scheduled for March 29 to April 1.
The mother of the two children told the media she thought they will still be able to tell their story and, more importantly to her, have their children returned to her and her husband.
“I am determined,” she said. “I will go every inch of this way — every peck — to get my kids back because they don’t deserve this.”
She said she is not aware of any problems created for her kids since their story was thrust into the public spotlight in early February. Her sister said the kids are too young to be subjected to teasing, as some have suggested they might be because of the media coverage.
“I think, honestly, that (other) children are going to applaud the fact that mommies and daddies ... have stood up for their children,” said the sister, who accompanied the parents to court.
In addition to fighting to get their kids back, the family is trying to form a group of other families who have had similar experiences in dealing with the provincial Department of Child Youth and Family Services.
“With all the support we get and some of the factors of people who have actually suffered through the same circumstances, and much the same circumstances, we are going to ... bring this together,” said the sister. “We are doing this positively and we want a positive outcome.”
The mother, urging anyone who would like to join their fight to seek them out, said she has already received an incredible amount of feedback and support.
“That’s what I’m looking for,” she said. “I want everybody to come forward. My phone has not stopped. My Internet has not stopped. I am very pleased to know the feedback we are getting and I want more feedback and more people to come forward and stand their grounds with my family and my children to get the children back to where they belong.”
In the meantime, the mother said she does get to talk to her children every day and has seen them regularly too.
“They are crying to come home, and I will do what it takes to see my kids come home,” she said.
Source: Western Star