AG Paxton Urges HHS to Repeal Rule that
Violates the Religious Liberty of Texas’
Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption
AUSTIN, TX – In a letter today to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Attorney General Ken Paxton urged prompt repeal of an Obama-era rule that violates the religious liberty of Texas’ faith-based foster care and adoption service providers by requiring them to abandon their core religious beliefs as a condition of receiving federal funding under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
“People of faith should not be required to forfeit their sincerely held religious beliefs as a condition of helping Texas’ most vulnerable children,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We’re asking HHS to repeal its unlawful rule on child welfare funding or, alternatively, grant the state of Texas an exemption from the rule.”
Attorney General Paxton, in his letter to Lynn Johnson, the assistant secretary at HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, pointed out that the rule on Title IV-E funding exceeds statutory authority, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and conflicts with Texas law.
Last session, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 3859, which protects the religious liberty of child welfare organizations and prohibits the state from granting or refusing to grant funding to such organizations because of their religious beliefs, including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Texas’ share of Title IV-E funding is administered by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) through its Child Protective Services, which works with secular and faith-based communities to find loving homes for children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
Some faith-based providers who receive Title IV-E funding through DFPS require potential foster care or adoptive parents to share a particular religious faith, be a member of a congregation, or agree to the provider’s statement of faith. But the federal rule requires those organizations to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs as a condition of receiving funding.
McKinney daycare worker suspected in at
least three Child Abuse cases
MCKINNEY, TX – New police documents show a former McKinney day care worker arrested for child abuse is suspected of hurting three infants.
Records show while police were investigating the first complaint against Jessica Wiese and looking at daycare surveillance video, they discovered two more possible cases that the babies’ parents didn’t even know about.
Six-month-old Henry is one of the babies former Joyous Montessori McKinney worker Jessica Wiese is accused of injuring. His mother agreed to talk to FOX 4 as long as her face was not shown.
“I don’t know what to do, you know? I don’t know what the next steps are. This is all new to him. This is what he thinks life is,” she said. “And I can’t bear to think that anyone could hurt a precious baby.”
Henry’s mother said he has been in Wiese’s care since he was 8 weeks old. Since then, she’s noticed him with a scratch.
“They said they would look into the video,” she said. “I come back from work to pick him up. ‘Oh, that’s not on the video. There’s no video.’”
The first-time mom said on other occasions Henry came home with bruises and a bit of a black eye.
“At the time in my thinking, yeah he could’ve just grabbed the toy and hit himself,” she thought.
After another mother complained about bruises on her child, police investigated and arrested Wiese Monday for injury to a child. The next day, Henry’s mother was contacted by Montessori management, Child Protective Services and police. She said she was asked to watch video footage from the daycare to identify her son.
“It was her slapping the back of his head. But that’s all I wanted to watch,” Henry’s mother said. “I can’t watch any more than that. It was pretty, pretty rough.”
An arrest warrant affidavit states that Wiese was caught on camera slapping Henry, “causing him to cry out in pain,” and then “slamming his head into the changing table” and finally covering his face “pressing down, crushing [his] face downward.”
Another affidavit states that Wiese was captured on camera that same day injuring another child by “body [slamming]” that baby onto the changing table.
Records reveal Wiese used to work as a labor and delivery nurse in North Texas but she had her license revoked for stealing and using drugs.
Henry and his mother spent part of Thursday at the hospital, getting a full body scan that will tell them whether he has any fractures as a result of her care.
“Just to think that someone has the nerve to hurt an innocent newborn baby,” she said. “I can’t even put into words what should happen to her.”
The daycare said Wiese is no longer an employee.
McKinney police are still wanting to talk to the parents of any children who have been at Joyous Montessori since May 2016.
An Esteemed Doctor, Child Sexual Abuse
Claims and a Hospital That Knew for Years
For almost 30 years, parents sought out Dr. Reginald Archibald when their children would not grow. They came to his clinic at The Rockefeller University Hospital, a prominent New York research institution, where he treated and studied children who were small for their age.
He also may have sexually abused many of them.
The hospital sent a letter last month to former patients of Dr. Archibald asking about their contact with him. Ten days later, on Oct. 5, it posted a statement online saying it had evidence of the doctor’s “inappropriate” behavior with some patients and that it first had learned of credible allegations against him in 2004. The letter went out to as many as 1,000 people, said a former patient who spoke with a hospital administrator.
Dr. Archibald, an endocrinologist who spent most of his career at Rockefeller, died in 2007. His son, Larry, declined to comment. “This doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
The New York Times spoke with 17 people, most of them men, who said they were abused by Dr. Archibald when they were young boys or adolescents. Most of them learned of the possibility of other victims for the first time when they received the letter. A few, however, said they had filed complaints with the hospital or authorities in the past, but their allegations were not investigated.
“To know that they knew about this in 2004 and didn’t reach out to people, it’s absolutely outrageous,” said Matt Harris, now 58, a former patient of Dr. Archibald.
The men all described similar experiences with Dr. Archibald, who would tell them to disrobe when they were alone in his examination room. He would masturbate them or ask them to masturbate, sometimes to ejaculation.
The doctor took pictures of them, while they were naked, with a Polaroid camera, and measured their penises both flaccid and erect, the men said.
Some of the former patients said they saw Dr. Archibald only once and some went back annually for many years as subjects in his studies.
Their stories paint a picture of an esteemed doctor who wielded great authority with parents desperate to help their children and patients too young to know the difference between legitimate medical practice and molestation. The alleged abuse would have occurred in an era in which few safeguards existed for those patients.
“You are robbed of knowing what’s real and what’s not real. That’s the real cost of this thing,” said Mr. Harris, who, like many of the patients who spoke with The Times, has talked to a lawyer.
In response to questions from The Times, the hospital said in a statement Thursday that after the letters were sent, it heard from many former patients alleging abuse. The hospital said it has set up a fund to provide counseling for the victims.
“We are appalled to hear those accounts of Dr. Archibald’s reprehensible behavior. We deeply regret pain and suffering caused to any of Dr. Archibald’s former patients,” the statement read.
A hospital spokesman declined to answer questions about when the hospital first learned of the allegations and why it did not try to contact a wider array of former patients earlier.
In its earlier statement, the hospital said that in 2004, it received an allegation of “impropriety” during Dr. Archibald’s physical examinations, which it did not specify.
The hospital said it informed the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the state office that oversees medical conduct and a federal research agency. It also hired Debevoise & Plimpton, a law firm, to investigate. The inquiry turned up two additional reports dating to the 1990s.
The hospital did not say where the allegations from the 1990s were filed and what the response to them had been. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could not immediately confirm whether the office had received the allegation from the hospital in 2004.
Earlier this year, separate allegations against Dr. Archibald were reported to the hospital, which again hired Debevoise & Plimpton.
Based on its investigation, the law firm concluded that some of Dr. Archibald’s behaviors involving these patients were inappropriate,” the statement said.
The hospital said it has scrubbed Dr. Archibald’s name from its web pages and rescinded his emeritus status.
The possibility of a large number of victims could pose a serious financial threat to the research institution. Under current New York law, the statute of limitations for victims to sue the hospital has long passed.
But a proposed change to the law, supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would lengthen the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges and civil suits in child sexual abuse cases, and crucially, create a one-year window in which all victims could sue, regardless of when the abuse happened. The legislation has been held up in the State Senate and is vigorously opposed by institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, which has argued that the one-year window could lead to catastrophic financial damage.
Dr. Archibald worked as a doctor, researcher and professor at The Rockefeller University Hospital from 1941 to 1946 and again from 1948 to 1980. He kept his affiliation with the institution, as an emeritus, until 1987.
His former patients remembered him as avuncular and authoritative, with white hair as he grew older. They also remembered his strange methods. Their allegations suggest a pattern of sexual abuse from the 1950s through the 1970s among patients as young as 6 and as old as 17.
Michael Manfre, now 57, recalled Dr. Archibald asking him to masturbate when he was about 12 years old and then doing it himself. “Keep trying,” Mr. Manfre, of Massapequa, N.Y., remembered Dr. Archibald saying, encouraging him to ejaculate.
Mr. Harris, who now lives in Port Washington, N.Y., said that during a visit in the 1970s, the doctor massaged the area between his testes and anus, asking if it felt good.
Many of Dr. Archibald’s patients were short for their age, and their parents worried about the teasing and shame they might experience in school if they hit puberty years behind their peers.
Dr. Archibald was known as a growth specialist who administered hormones, such as testosterone, which he hypothesized could help spur puberty and increase the height children would reach. To better understand children’s growth and create a control group, he often had siblings come to the clinic, former patients said.
Taking measurements of boys’ genitals when doctors were concerned about delayed puberty was considered normal until the 1980s or 1990s, said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan. But doing so when they were erect, asking them to masturbate, particularly while the doctor was present, was not considered acceptable, even at that time, he said.
Nearly every victim remembered having to strip naked, stand against a wall and hold their palms out facing forward while Dr. Archibald took photographs. One patient provided a copy of a release signed by that person’s mother giving Rockefeller permission to photograph her child “for the advancement of medical science.”
At least two articles published by Dr. Archibald contain pictures of naked boys in the stance described by these victims. One of those articles also contains close-ups of the boys’ genitals.
While almost every alleged victim said the abuse occurred in the doctor’s examination room, one described a dark encounter far away from the hospital. A 58-year-old Brooklyn man said he believed Dr. Archibald raped him on a trip to the doctor’s Canadian summer home.
The former patient, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John, because of the nature of the alleged assault, said Dr. Archibald watched him masturbate during examinations at the hospital. But one summer, when he was about 13, the doctor convinced his parents to let John accompany him to the house.
One of Dr. Archibald’s former neighbors in Pelham, N.Y., who visited the lake, recalled that every year Dr. Archibald would take a young boy to help prepare the wooden cabins for his family’s visit.
John said Dr. Archibald tried to shower with him at a motel on the two-day trip to the house but he ran out of the bathroom. Once they arrived, John said, he believed Dr. Archibald drugged and raped him. He angrily insisted on being taken home, he said.
Dr. Archibald spent only two years of his career away from Rockefeller when, in 1946, he took a job at Johns Hopkins University.
It is unknown how many children participated in Dr. Archibald’s studies.
He maintained records of an estimated 9,000 patients who visited him and other doctors at Rockefeller, according to one victim who said she met with a hospital official and three attorneys representing the hospital in September.
That victim said those attorneys and Dr. Barry Coller, the hospital’s physician in chief, told her that the hospital sent letters to more than 1,000 former patients they were able to identify and locate.
The hospital would not comment on how many former patients received a letter.
by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®
Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day. Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.
Review the four rules of personal safety with your children. Remind them to:
Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you. It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.
Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help. Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.
If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.
Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride. Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.
Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.
Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them. If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.
Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information. Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.
Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.
Verizon throttled fire department’s
“unlimited” data during California wildfire
“Fire department had to pay twice as much to lift throttling during wildfire response.”
Update: The Santa Clara fire department has responded to Verizon’s claim that the throttling was just a customer service error and “has nothing to do with net neutrality.” To the contrary, “Verizon’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality,” a county official said.
Verizon Wireless’ throttling of a fire department that uses its data services has been submitted as evidence in a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate federal net neutrality rules.
“County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon,” Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a declaration. “This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services. Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire’s ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services.”
Bowden’s declaration was submitted in an addendum to a brief filed by 22 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and the California Public Utilities Commission. The government agencies are seeking to overturn the recent repeal of net neutrality rules in a lawsuit they filed against the Federal Communications Commission in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Throttling affected response to wildfire
“The Internet has become an essential tool in providing fire and emergency response, particularly for events like large fires which require the rapid deployment and organization of thousands of personnel and hundreds of fire engines, aircraft, and bulldozers,” Bowden wrote.
Santa Clara Fire paid Verizon for “unlimited” data but suffered from heavy throttling until the department paid Verizon more, according to Bowden’s declaration and emails between the fire department and Verizon that were submitted as evidence.
The throttling recently affected “OES 5262,” a fire department vehicle that is “deployed to large incidents as a command and control resource” and is used to “track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed,” Bowden wrote.
“OES 5262 also coordinates all local government resources deployed to the Mendocino Complex Fire,” an ongoing wildfire that is the largest in California’s history, Bowden wrote.
The vehicle has a device that uses a Verizon SIM card for Internet access.
“In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds,” Bowden wrote. “These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262’s ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes.”
Verizon did not immediately restore full speeds to the device, however.
“Verizon representatives confirmed the throttling, but rather than restoring us to an essential data transfer speed, they indicated that County Fire would have to switch to a new data plan at more than twice the cost, and they would only remove throttling after we contacted the Department that handles billing and switched to the new data plan,” Bowden wrote.
Verizon “risking harm to public safety”
Because the throttling continued until the department was able to upgrade its subscription, “County Fire personnel were forced to use other agencies’ Internet Service Providers and their own personal devices to provide the necessary connectivity and data transfer capability required by OES 5262,” Bowden wrote.
Verizon throttling also affected the department in a response to previous fires in December and June, emails show.
Bowden argued that Verizon is likely to keep taking advantage of emergencies in order to push public safety agencies onto more expensive plans.
“In light of our experience, County Fire believes it is likely that Verizon will continue to use the exigent nature of public safety emergencies and catastrophic events to coerce public agencies into higher-cost plans, ultimately paying significantly more for mission-critical service—even if that means risking harm to public safety during negotiations,” Bowden wrote.
Update: In a statement to Ars three hours after this article was published, Verizon acknowledged that it shouldn’t have continued throttling the fire department’s data service after the department asked Verizon to lift the throttling restrictions.
“Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations,” Verizon’s statement said. “We have done that many times, including for emergency personnel responding to these tragic fires. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us. This was a customer support mistake. We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward.”
Verizon also noted that the fire department purchased a data service plan that is slowed down after a data usage threshold is reached. But Verizon said it “made a mistake” in communicating with the department about the terms of the plan.
“We made a mistake in how we communicated with our customer about the terms of its plan,” Verizon said. “Like all customers, fire departments choose service plans that are best for them. This customer purchased a government contract plan for a high-speed wireless data allotment at a set monthly cost. Under this plan, users get an unlimited amount of data but speeds are reduced when they exceed their allotment until the next billing cycle.”
Verizon also said that the Santa Clara “situation has nothing to do with net neutrality or the current proceeding in court.”
Throttling happened after net neutrality repeal
Verizon’s throttling was described in fire department emails beginning June 29 of this year, just weeks after the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules took effect.
Even when net neutrality rules were in place, all major carriers imposed some form of throttling on unlimited plans when customers used more than a certain amount of data. They argued that it was allowed under the rules’ exception for “reasonable network management.” But while such throttling is generally applied only during times of network congestion, the Santa Clara Fire Department says it was throttled at all times once the device in question went over a 25GB monthly threshold.
Even if Verizon’s throttling didn’t technically violate the no-throttling rule, Santa Clara could have complained to the FCC under the now-removed net neutrality system, which allowed Internet users to file complaints about any unjust or unreasonable prices and practices. FCC Chairman Ajit decision to deregulate the broadband industry eliminated that complaint option and also limited consumers’ rights to sue Internet providers over unjust or unreasonable behavior.
Emails between fire department and Verizon
On June 29, Fire Captain Justin Stockman wrote an email to Verizon, noting that download speeds for an essential device used during large disasters had been throttled from 50Mbps to about 30kbps.
A Verizon government accounts manager named Silas Buss responded, saying that the fire department would have to move from a $37.99 plan to a $39.99 plan “to get the data speeds restored on this device.” Later, Buss suggested that the department switch to a plan that cost at least $99.99 a month.
Stockman didn’t have authority to upgrade the plan, so he sent an email to Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski that same day. Stockman wrote:
Verizon is currently throttling OES 5262 so severely that it’s hampering operations for the assigned crew. This is not the first time we have had this issue. In December of 2017 while deployed to the Prado Mobilization Center supporting a series of large wildfires, we had the same device with the same SIM card also throttled. I was able to work through [Fire Department IT executive] Eric Prosser at the time to have service to the device restored, and Eric communicated that Verizon had properly re-categorized the device as truly “unlimited”.
Prziborowski expressed concern about the throttling in an email to Buss. “Before I give you my approval to do the $2.00 a month upgrade, the bigger question is why our public safety data usage is getting throttled down?” Prziborowski wrote. “Our understanding from Eric Prosser, our former Information Technology Officer, was that he had received approval from Verizon that public safety should never be gated down because of our critical infrastructure need for these devices.”
While fire department personnel thought they were already paying for “truly” unlimited data, Verizon said they weren’t.
“The short of it is, public safety customers have access to plans that do not have data throughput limitations,” Buss told Prziborowski. “However, the current plan set for all of SCCFD’s lines does have data throttling limitations. We will need to talk about making some plan changes to all lines or a selection of lines to address the data throttling limitation of the current plan.”
The emails started up again on July 5 and 6. “Can confirm that after using 25GB of data, our service drops to zero. This is unacceptable and needs to be fixed,” fire department IT officer Daniel Farrelly wrote.
Buss clarified that “data throughput is limited to 200kbps or 600kbps” after 25GB of use. Buss also told fire officials that all Verizon plans have some sort of throttling and that the department would have to pay by the gigabyte to avoid throttling entirely.
Verizon has always reserved the right to limit data throughput on unlimited plans. All unlimited data plans offered by Verizon have some sort of data throttling built-in, including the $39.99 plan. Verizon does offer plans with no data throughput limitations; these plans require that the customer pay by the GB for use beyond a certain set allotment.
The Mendocino fire began on July 27. On the night of Sunday, July 29, Stockman sent an email to Bowden:
OES 5262 is deployed again, now to the Mendocino Complex, and is still experiencing the same throttling. As I understood it from our previous exchange regarding this device, the billing cycle was set to end July 23, which should have alleviated the throttling. In a side-by-side comparison, a crew member’s personal phone using Verizon was seeing speeds of 20Mbps/7Mbps. The department Verizon device is experiencing speeds of 0.2Mbps/0.6Mbps, meaning it has no meaningful functionality.
Farrelly wrote a brief email to Buss that night, telling him to “Remove any data throttling on OES5262 effective immediately.” Farrelly emailed Buss again the next morning, saying, “Please work with us. All we need is a plan that does not offer throttling or caps of any kind.”
Buss responded that afternoon, suggesting a plan that costs $99.99 for the first 20GB and $8 per gigabyte thereafter. “To get the plan changed immediately, I would suggest calling in the plan change to our customer service team,” Buss wrote.
That was the last email submitted in the court exhibit.
Santa Clara apparently switched to the $99.99 plan, more than doubling its bill. “While Verizon ultimately did lift the throttling, it was only after County Fire subscribed to a new, more expensive plan,” Bowden wrote in his declaration.