By AlaskaWatchman.com

Over the last year and a half, I’ve authored several articles about “AK Mom” and the government’s abuse of power in destroying her Mat-Su Valley family.

To summarize, more than three years ago the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) took AK Mom’s five children from their loving home on vague allegations of “medical abuse.”  AK Mom was a registered nurse and had adopted the five children as infants with the support of their biological parents. Each of the children were diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and a variety of other conditions.

Two were autistic. Four of the children took medications prescribed by doctors.

AK Mom’s children were ages 10 to 15 years, enrolled in a Christian school and attended church regularly. They loved to play baseball, jump on trampolines and hang out at local parks with their mom.

OCS broke up the family the day before Easter Sunday 2021 and took all the children to a hospital where they were forced off their prescriptions. Even the child who wasn’t on any medications was taken from AK Mom and forced to stay at the hospital for five days. OCS then split the children up and over the next three years, moved them around the state and aggregated 80 times into various foster homes, hospitals, motels, and homeless shelters.

OCS prevented AK Mom from seeing her children until June 28, almost three months later. Over the next three years, the siblings were able to see each other and their mother only sporadically, usually in commercial office spaces for about an hour under supervision.

“Move along folks, nothing to see here” is what the State officials would have us do.

Laws protecting families that required adjudication before OCS could take custody of the children were not enforced by the two Palmer Superior Court judges assigned to the case. Delays were the name of the game, each one compounding the trauma. The custody trial was first set for March of 2022, then postponed to June, postponed again to December and didn’t commence until April 2023.

Even when the trial started, it was only a few days here, months later a few days there, and so on. The facts that slowly trickled out into Judge Kristen Stohler’s courtroom didn’t support the allegations and on May 10, OCS filed a motion to close the case before AK Mom had a chance to finish presenting her defense.

On May 16, Judge Kristen Stohler held a hearing and granted the motion. Just like that, OCS abandoned their own case which they had initiated by filing an emergency petition on April 5, 2021, seeking temporary custody. A case that coursed through three full years and cost AK Mom her life savings to defend against. “Move along folks, nothing to see here” is what the State officials would have us do.

One person who isn’t willing to just move along is “George,” AK Mom’s second oldest son. I’ve written extensively about George, focusing on the two times he left foster homes and walked at least 10 miles trying to reach his real home where he was loved.

George was 13 years old when this tragic ordeal began, but now at age 17, he’s a young man who’s already experienced enough trauma to fill a lifetime. He didn’t do a single thing to deserve this treatment by government officials sworn to protect him.

When George heard that OCS wanted to dismiss the case and that there would be a hearing, he decided to write the following letter to Judge Stohler.

“Dear Judge Stohler,

This is [George], and I’m just wondering why all of a sudden, they’re just dismissing like this after three years. It makes no sense for them to take me and my siblings for three years just to let us go. I mean I’m not complaining but what I’m getting at is clearly they were wrong, and they know that. But it can’t just be “oh I made a mistake” and they release us, and everything ends. What about my three years spent in captivity or the money, time and effort my mom put in to save me? It can’t just be forgotten and thrown to the side. Something needs to be done, they can’t just get away with things like this. Other families need just as much justice as mine does, someone needs to stop them. They can’t keep getting away with this. Almost every single foster parent and multiple different caseworkers have told me that this is not right. They can’t keep getting away with this and they won’t keep getting away with this. Anyways, you get the idea. They claim one of the reasons they released us was because I’m able to speak for myself, but I was when they took me and I’ve been saying the same things to them that I am now, but no one listened. [George]”

AK Mom’s case evidences a total breakdown of Alaska’s government. The checks and balances intended by our Founders to prevent this type of abuse of power have failed.

George just didn’t leave it at that though.  He went to the court hearing and read his letter to Stohler.

When George finished, Stohler seemed to be at a loss for words.  “Um, so I, um, don’t really know that I really have a response for you right now [George] that is going to satisfy some of the concerns that you’ve raised,” she said.

As Stohler began to regain her composure, she suggested there are other methods by which OCS could be held accountable.  She told George the Ombudsman’s office investigates complaints against OCS when they operate in an unlawful way.  She also brought up the prospect of a civil lawsuit.

Are you kidding me?

It was Stohler’s and her predecessor’s sworn duty to protect the family by ensuring OCS followed the law.  The two judges failed miserably.  Now Stohler has the audacity to suggest that George and his family might find justice in another court?  Why should George or his siblings have any faith in our legal system?

The Ombudsman isn’t a solution either.   AK Mom has said she contacted them three times asking for help, but they turned her down each time.

One remedy of the People is through our votes for Legislative candidates and the issues we force them to address during their campaigns. This fall, 50 of our 60 legislators are up for election.

The resulting trauma suffered by this family is intense and they need immediate help recovering from it.

AK Mom’s case evidences a total breakdown of Alaska’s government. The checks and balances intended by our Founders to prevent this type of abuse of power have failed. Governor Dunleavy and several state legislators were very knowledgeable about the case yet did nothing to stop OCS’ unlawful behavior and help its victims.

George just spent three years in “captivity” where he was moved nearly 20 times into different living situations. He knows his family is not the only one in Alaska which is being victimized by OCS. He’s pleading for help saying repeatedly, “they can’t keep getting away with this.”

If the executive, judicial and legislative branches are unable to prevent chronic tyranny like this who can? There’s only one answer – ourselves. We are the only remaining backstop.

Our Constitution begins with the words “We the People.”  But those are hollow words if unaccompanied by action from a majority of voters. If enough people don’t speak up to force change, nothing will happen and innocent children like George will continue to be victimized by the state government.

Facts revealed to the public in an independent grand jury report go hand in hand with our other remedies. Those facts help inform voters and can help generate the necessary support for initiatives and impeachments.

My stories about AK Mom’s family have typically ended with a plea for help, asking people to contact their elected representatives. Some readers have made calls and written emails. Other readers like Betty Jo Moore, a former tribal judge, have become tireless advocates writing dozens of emails to our elected representatives.

But these efforts haven’t been enough. We’re continuing to fail George who is pleading for help. “Someone needs to stop them,” he wrote. Will that someone be you?

One remedy of the People is through our votes for Legislative candidates and the issues we force them to address during their campaigns. This fall, 50 of our 60 legislators are up for election. Challenge them on the issue of our failed foster care system and the specific action they took to stop the tyranny over these past two years. Through the efforts of Betty Jo, myself, and others, all 60 legislators were made aware of AK Mom’s case. The cold truth is that most of them completely ignored it.

Another remedy is through the power of the initiative found in Article XI of our Constitution. Another remedy is impeachment under Article II, Section 20 of the officers who have violated their duties, but that requires a 2/3 vote of both the Senate and the House and is hard to achieve.

Besides our votes, the most fundamental remedy of the People is the investigative and reporting powers of the grand jury found in Article I, Section 8. The report of a non-partisan group of citizens, disclosing facts gained through their powers of subpoena and immunity, and suggesting recommendations after their deliberations is an essential part of our ability to govern ourselves.

Despite their “wins,” the executive and judicial branches are running scared right now.

Facts revealed to the public in an independent grand jury report go hand in hand with our other remedies. Those facts help inform voters and can help generate the necessary support for initiatives and impeachments.

Our Founders understood that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and government can’t always be relied upon to police itself. If you’re serving on a grand jury in the Anchorage or Mat-Su valley area, bring AK Mom’s case to the attention of your fellow grand jurors. If you know someone serving on a grand jury, tell them about George and his plea for help.

There will be challenges to overcome. Grand juries are typically advised by prosecutors employed by the Department of Law, but in AK Mom’s case they have a conflict of interest and should be prevented from advising on it. The prosecutor may seem like a nice person to you, but they answer to higher ups who may have blood on their hands.

Keep in mind the “almost every single foster parent and multiple different case workers” described by George in his letter, who were compromised by those above them. Recall how former Rep. Tammie Wilson back in 2017 accused the Attorney General of “hijacking” her requested grand jury investigation into OCS. Learn from the subsequent difficulties encountered by citizens Ray Southwell and Thomas Garber who each tried to revive Wilson’s efforts but were stymied by prosecutors and judges.

An Alaskan grand jury is neither a tool of prosecutors nor an arm of the court. It’s independent from the other branches of government.

Despite their “wins,” the executive and judicial branches are running scared right now. Garber’s persistence forced them into a very precarious position in the fall of 2022 when Chief Justice Winfree and Attorney General Taylor defied the separation of powers doctrine and privately collaborated on rules designed to restrict grand jury investigations. The Alaska Supreme Court was so scared by Garber’s requested investigation they ignored warnings from their own Rules Committee that the proposed rules involved “serious changes of a constitutional nature.”

Insist the prosecutor leave the room while you present your information to the other grand jurors and confer with them. If a majority of the grand jury supports an investigation, insist it be provided with an independent special prosecutor who is beyond the tentacles of the Alaska government. Be aware of the trap set recently for a Kenai grand jury investigating judicial corruption when the Attorney General hired a special prosecutor with a conflict of interest to advise them.

The grand jury should interview all prospective prosecutors and have the final say. The grand jurors may find it necessary to hire a special prosecutor from outside Alaska. Precedent for this was established in 1985 when former Watergate prosecutor George Frampton was brought in from Washington DC to advise the Juneau grand jury investigating former Governor Bill Sheffield.

An Alaskan grand jury is neither a tool of prosecutors nor an arm of the court. It’s independent from the other branches of government. Any other branch that tries to control a grand jury violates the doctrine of separation of powers inherent in the Constitution. Grand juries have substantial leverage to get what they want. Without their cooperation, prosecutors can’t get anything done.

Over the last few years, the State’s obstructions of investigations have spawned citizen efforts to better educate grand jurors. One source is a book I wrote two years ago on the history of the Alaska Grand Jury and its common law powers. The book can be downloaded for free on my website found at www.poweredbyjustice.com.

Another source is the Alaska Grand Juror’s Association. Its website can be found at www.alaskagrandjurorsassociation.org.

On July 31, 3:30 p.m., Garber is scheduled to appear before the Alaska Supreme Court for oral argument on his appeal of an order denying his request for a grand jury investigation into OCS. Moore is planning a peaceful rally in support of Garber on the steps of the Nesbett Courthouse in downtown Anchorage that day. Mark the date on your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

AK Mom plans on being at the rally and hopes some of her children will be able to accompany her. If you happen to meet George there, tell him you’re listening.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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OPINION: What can Alaskans do when they are unlawfully persecuted by state government?

David Ignell
David Ignell was born and raised in Juneau, where he currently resides. He holds a law degree from University of San Diego and formerly practiced as a licensed attorney in California. He has experience as a volunteer analyst for the California Innocence Project, and is currently a forensic journalist and author of a recent book on the Alaska Grand Jury.


17 Comments

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Shiversprit, get a life your part of the problem just like this article.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    David: to answer your question,” what can Alaskans do when their government persecutes them”? The answer is without question, nothing can or will be done!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Really good interview LT w/And We Know has with Chris Surgard about this war on truth. J6 is part of the conversation.
    https://rumble.com/v4zbobw-6.3.24-lt-w-chris-surgard-the-war-on-truth-movie-shocks-the-world-pray.html

  • Mary says:

    Nothing new with corrupt OCS. My case goes back more than 20 years, involved grandchildren being placed in an unlicensed foster home for 1.5 years, a lawsuit that cost me unnecessary anguish, lost work time, vast sums of money, and a gag order by AK Attorney General when I went to elected officials. Corruption you can smell.

    Another case I have been personally involved with: no interest in taking custody of a dependant daughter until OCS discovered their was a million dollar trust they could access. Sick!

    The suffering that OCS has caused Alaskans over the years is a crime against humanity. But, unfortunately, our court system does not want to deal with it. They are part of the problem.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Great article! I’d say Geoge needs compensation for his time in captivity and his family also for loose of time and money’s fighting this thing.

    This is the negative thing that cause young people to go off on the wrong trail. We don’t need this to happen to young folks. We have way yo many problem children already and don’t need yo create more!

    George. I’ll speak to my legislator’s about this! It’s just wrong regularly of the states reasons. I know another family this happened to but all involved had enough money to fight it. Hope you get satisfaction in your case. Good luck.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    Dave you have hit the ball out of the park on this summation of AK Moms case & ongoing Thomas Garbers efforts ! The story will not be concluded until our Lord intervenes & light has endlessly shined on the truth in all of the OCS cases of abuse … Lord give all those willing to stand strong for the justice,that they work so hard to achieve…. Grace & peace to that end. Liberty Ed

  • Betty Jo says:

    Remedies. Article I Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution states “…that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.” Have your (or your child’s) constitutional rights been violated? Article II Section 20 requires 2/3 vote of both senate and house vote for impeachment. How does this happen? We the people need to write our Senator and Representative and request them to start an impeachment process. We the people have another layer of protection within our Constitution and that is Article III Section 16 “The governor shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws…” Governor Dunleavy just made a statement about the Republican Party and that the party is about the people. I believe he is spot on. We the people for the people. Contact your Senators and Representatives and talk with them about remedies. https://mustreadalaska.com/dunleavy-joins-republican-governors-in-calling-for-immediate-action-on-energy-from-biden/

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    • Sherri Baeza says:

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  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Take your extra $ and ram it in bidens empty moral abyss!

  • Steve says:

    Lisa Murkowski will never stand with the Republican party, she’s still confirming Biden judicial nominees! She a Democrat all the way to her evil bones.

  • AKseventysix says:

    Most judges and attorneys in the USA are freemasons, or members of one of the many freemason tentacles such as Rotary International (business branch of freemasonry). Freemasons take an oath to each other that supersedes any other oath they may have taken. Until we clean the secret societies out of the three branches of government, little can be accomplished without direct intervention from God.

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  • RayT says:

    AlaskaWatchman needs to clean up and revamp its comments section to deal with the irrelevant scam comments. Maybe a moderator??
    I know I won’t bother with comments again.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Agreed Joel and Jake! Censorship of irrelevant needed!