Johnathon Irish, fiancé and baby
A tiny baby girl snatched from her parents’ custody a week ago when her father was accused of being an “Oath Keeper” was returned to her parents today.
According to WND sources close to the case, the accusations against the father, Johnathon Irish, whose fiancée, Stephanie Taylor, is the mother of Cheyenne, have been dropped.
WND originally reported on the case last weekend when the state took the baby, ordering the father to stand with his hands behind his back and frisking him while social workers took the child. The affidavit supporting the actions cited the father’s affiliation with the patriotic organization Oath Keepers.
Irish, reached today by telephone by WND, said New Hampshire state law prevents disclosure of details of family court disputes. But the WND source confirmed that the little girl had been returned to the family and there were no future court dates scheduled in the case.
Officials with the state Family Court system could not be reached by WND.
Just hours earlier a protest was held outside the court where the hearing was going on, and as WND reported, officials with Oath Keepers submitted a demand letter to the state’s social services agency to remove the reference in the affidavit in the Irish case.
The organization collects affirmations from soldiers and peace officers that they would refuse orders that violate the U.S. Constitution in light of what they perceive as the advance of socialism in the U.S.
Irish had told WND that an affidavit signed by Child Protective Service worker Dana Bickford seeking government custody of newborn Cheyenne a week ago said the agency “became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the ‘Oath Keepers.’”
While officials with Oath Keepers confirmed that there were other issues involved in the case, they were stunned to learn that the court ruling had described their organization as a militia and had referenced participation with them as an accusation.
“This poorly conducted investigation used unsubstantiated and unsupported information regarding our organization. A journey to our website, and a reading of our bylaws, could have easily confirmed what we are and are not,” said the Oath Keepers letter, delivered today to state officials.
“We are an association of currently serving and retired police, military, and emergency personnel. We are not a militia. Our goal is simply to educate all current service personnel on their obligations under the law and in particular our Constitution.”
WND reported earlier when the dispute erupted, including when Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes wrote on his website that the citation of his organization sends a seriously troubling message.
Details of the resolution of the case were withheld behind the curtain of Family Court restrictions. But Rhodes described it as a “fundamental point” to have government agencies condemning defendants for their political affiliations.
“Talk about chilling speech! If this is allowed to continue, it will chill the speech of not just Mr. Irish, but all Oath Keepers and it will serve as the camel [nose] under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare,” he continued. “‘Don’t you dare associate with such and such group, or you could be on ‘the list’ and then child protective services might come take your kids.’”
While Oath Keepers is not a militia, he said, it would make no difference if it was.
“A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment,” he said.
Oath Keepers’ members promise not to obey any order “to disarm the American people,” conduct warrantless searches, “detain American citizens as ‘unlawful enemy combatants,’” work to impose martial law, invade or subjugate any state, blockade American cities, put Americans in detention camps or “make war against our own people.”
Rhodes himself was a U.S. Army paratrooper injured in an parachuting accident, a former firearms instructor and a former member of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s Washington staff.
The organization’s board of directors includes Army veteran Sgt. Dave Freeman, Army veteran Capt. Chauncey Normandin, Navy veteran Capt. Gregory Gooch, Celia S. Hyde of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, all retired.
Others are Marines, members of the Air Force, local law enforcement and even of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
The demand letter apparently was addressed by the court’s action, although Rhodes said he’d been given no direct response to the concerns. It said, “As police officers, we have been called all manner of vile names by criminal suspects, but nothing compares to the offensive assertion that to associate with us and our military counterparts is child endangerment. We respectfully request that any reference to Oath Keepers be removed from your affidavit by whatever mechanism New Hampshire law allows or requires.”
The letter continued, “On behalf of all of the active duty and retired police and sheriff personnel within our organization, as well as our military and firefighter brothers and sisters, we demand that you remove the offensive verbiage in the affidavit filed by your investigator, Dana Bickford, which states, ‘the Division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the ‘Oath Keepers …”
“By so listing the political associations of a parent as a reason to take a newborn baby from her mother’s arms, the affidavit politicizes child protective services. That politicization was unfortunately furthered by the judge in this case who adopted Bickford’s entire affidavit as the Court’s ‘findings of fact’ setting forth the reasons for issuing the order to take the baby.”
The letter explains Oath Keepers members “have seen first-hand the heart-rending abuse that children can suffer at the hands of dysfunctional adults. It is to prevent such abuse that child protective services is given great latitude and power. Politics has no place in this process precisely because of the immense power you wield. All that should matter is the welfare of the children, not the politics of the parents. Such politicization not only hurts the families and children involved, but also chills the speech of other parents who now will worry that their political affiliations will be used as grounds for taking their children.”
It was signed by Capt. Chauncey Normandin, retired, from the Lowell, Mass., police department; Sgt. David Freeman, retired, from the Las Vegas police department; Chief Celia S. Hyde, retired, of the Bolton, Mass., police department; retired Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack; and almost half a dozen actively serving law enforcement officers in Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah and others.
According to the original court documents, copies of which were posted by Oath Keepers, “Mr. Irish was court ordered to attend Ending the Violence with Scott Hampton, however, to date, has not completed this program.” The court affidavit continued, “The Epsom Police Department stated they were very familiar with Mr. Irish, as they have responded to multiple calls, which involved Mr. Irish and firearms, one of which resulted in a pending charge for possession of a concealed weapon without a permit.
“The division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the ‘Oath Keepers,’ and had purchase several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and taser,” the court documents said.