The shocking, heartbreaking story of the ‘Hart family’

By Joseph Farah

The Hart 'family'
The Hart ‘family’

Have you heard the disturbing details of the “Hart family”?

In March, Jen Hart drove the family’s SUV off a California cliff killing, her lesbian “wife,” Sarah, and all of their adoptive children.

But it wasn’t until last month that the grisly details became known of the years of torture inflicted on the children by this deeply disturbed couple united in a same-sex “marriage.” It’s still a mystery as to how child welfare officials in two states overlooked the evidence.

News reports found five of the six children were so small in 2013 that their weights and heights were not listed on growth charts for children their age. Yet Oregon’s child protective agency determined there was no conclusive evidence of abuse or neglect in the home and closed its investigation into the family after five months.

A doctor who measured the children reported no causes for concern despite the children’s sizes because she didn’t have records of their previous sizes.

At least two women who knew the family told case workers they witnessed the Harts withholding food and harshly punishing the children, and a Minnesota official who investigated the family said the mothers knew how to blame apparent red flags on their adopted children.

Photos of the children dating back to 2013 show they were skin and bones. Their heights and weights were well below average for their ages.

Minnesota child welfare records show that a social worker said that four years after the couple adopted their middle daughter, Abigail, the then 6-year-old was the size of a 2-year-old. Her school called child welfare authorities after she was seen going through garbage and taking food. Records indicate school officials stopped telling the Hart parents when their children took food at school so that the children would not be punished.

Oregon case workers are supposed to interview each child who is alleged to have been abused or neglected, then other important adults in their lives before interviewing the adults who are alleged to have abused them. Instead, separate case workers interviewed the children and their parents at the same time during the same visit.

When Jen and Sarah Hart were interviewed, they told case workers they had been targeted in the past because they were vegetarian lesbians who adopted high-risk children while living in a small Midwestern town. They moved to Oregon to better fit in, they said. One report said Jen Hart “was adamant that many of the family’s issues stemmed from others not understanding her family’s alternative lifestyle.”

Oregon child welfare workers received their first complaint about the Hart family on July 18, 2013. They went to the home the next day, but no one came to the door, even though two vehicles with Minnesota license plates were in the driveway. Sarah Hart called them on July 22, but said Jen Hart and the children were traveling. Case workers were not able to meet with the Hart children and parents until five weeks after the initial report. The children were seen by the doctor in late October or early November. Case workers spoke with the doctor on Dec. 3, then told Sarah Hart on Dec. 26 that the investigation had been concluded.

Earlier, Minnesota child welfare investigators had fielded at least six reports that one or more of the Hart children had been neglected or abused.

Oregon workers were aware of six reports about the Hart family to Minnesota’s child welfare agency during a three-month period from November 2010 through January 2011. All of the reports were tied to Hannah or Abigail Hart, biological siblings who were adopted in 2006. Abuse was found to be substantiated in two of the six investigations.

But Oregon workers did not learn of a 2008 investigation into allegations Jen Hart injured Hannah. Oregon workers also did not learn that Sarah Hart had pleaded guilty to criminal abuse of Abigail until Sept. 24, 2013, two months after the investigation began. In that case, Abigail told investigators her mother had hit her because she had a penny that she claimed she had found but her mothers thought she had stolen it and that she was lying.

Starved, beaten, psychologically tortured, I was not able to sleep after reading the horror stories. While these monster “parents” claimed to have been targeted by authorities because of their “alternative lifestyle,” it seems clear to any reasonable observer that quite the opposite was true. In fact, they were let off the hook because of their so-called “alternative lifestyle.”

Welcome to the brave new world of liberal tolerance. It’s just a shame that the kids were the victims of this cruel insanity, deprivation and, ultimately, their young lives.

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