Here’s an article: Parental ruling stands on appeal – CharlotteObserver.com
Okay, wait a second. I just read the article. I just saw the comments. They were there a minute ago on my computer screen. I left the Charlotte Observer page to write a few sentences on this post, went back to the Charlotte Observer and the comments were gone. Not just some of them. All of the comments disappeared.
Here’s what it says at the bottom of the article now:
“Comments have been disabled because of repeated violations of site policies.”
I don’t understand. Is that a punitive measure? Does the Charlotte Observer not have the staff available to moderate the comments? Perhaps the topic of a judge ordering someone to change her beliefs isn’t important enough to welcome an open discussion from the readers? The phrase “My way or the highway.” comes to mind, but that’s not what judges are supposed to say and it’s not what newspapers are supposed to tell their readers either.
I’d like to write an open letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer to ask why they don’t just weed out the offensive comments – like all the other news outlets do.
Click here for a related article about the Pennington children’s case. Maybe those comments are still below that article there because of that whole “freedom of speech” thing.
Our Supreme Court justices just said something about that today.
Editor’s note: Did you pause for a moment when you read “the Pennington children’s case?” Were you expecting to read, “Lisa Pennington’s case” instead? It will help the children if we can remember that this case is about the children. this case is not a festival of opinions, guesses, slander and libel hurled at a mother who sincerely believes she needed to protect her children from abuse. Focusing on what the mother did or didn’t do instead of focusing on the safety of the children is a tactic some attorneys use in family courts to take abused children from protective mothers.
Case law from Findlaw.com:
Court of Appeals of North Carolina
PETERS v. PENNINGTON
Whether the trial court abused its discretion
After careful review, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion when fashioning Dr. Pennington’s therapy. Dr. Pennington is required by the 6 March 2009 order to acknowledge that Dr. Peters did not sexually abuse their children and accept as true the trial court’s conclusion that she harmed her children. Thus, Dr. Pennington must force herself to believe that she implanted false images of sexual abuse in her children. Presumably, she must prove to a medical professional or counselor that she genuinely believes the trial court findings were correct before being certified as rehabilitated, which may be a prerequisite to obtaining significant visitation or any level of custody in the future.6 We hold this is an unwarranted imposition under these facts. Our objection to this requirement is that it mandates Dr. Pennington and the therapist attain a standard based upon Dr. Pennington’s beliefs rather than her behavior. It would have been appropriate to require Dr. Pennington to demonstrate to the court that she would not engage in any behavior that suggests to the children that they were sexually abused. We believe this is best achieved through non-disparagement requirements and prohibitions on discussing these matters with the children, which are enforceable through the contempt powers of the trial court, including incarceration. It was an abuse of discretion to require Dr. Pennington to change her beliefs and prove to a counselor that such a change has in fact occurred. We therefore vacate paragraph 5 of the decretal portion of the 6 March 2009 order (“Decree 5”) and remand the order to the trial court to enter a new order based upon Dr. Pennington’s and her agents’ ability to comply with existing court orders and demonstrate behavior that prevents harm to her children.