Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris (R) held a press conference last Friday in which he claimed that he and his wife Marsha had to place their two adopted daughters, 2 and 4, with another family so that they would not be charged with abandonment by a state agency.
However, one of the girls was molested by the family that the Harrises placed them in (a practice called "rehoming").
Harris blamed the situation on the "failure" of the state's Department of Human Services (DHS), which he claimed "misled" him about the girls' behavioral problems and troubled pasts (video below), noted the Arkansas Times.
Harris also claimed that he and his wife were forced by the DHS to adopt a third older girl, 6, before being allowed to adopt the two other girls. Harris said the DHS eventually placed the troubled older girl in a hospital, and added that he was told by some professionals to remove the two younger girls from his home.
Harris said that when he reached out to the DHS about the other two girls, the DHS threatened to have him charged with abandonment if he returned the two girls to the DHS. Harris added that the DHS threatened to take away his three biological sons.
However, Cheryl and Craig Hart, who were the foster parents of the two girls prior to the Harrises' adoption, recently told the Arkansas Times that they clearly told the Harris family not to adopt the girls.
The Harts also claim that social workers, therapists and DHS employees were very open with Harris and his wife about the girls' prior history. Those workers reportedly warned the Harris family that they were not prepared for the girls.
The Harts say that Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, pressured the Washington County DHS office to allow the Harrises to adopt the girls.
In another bizarre twist, Chelsey Goldsborough, a babysitter for the Harris family, told the Arkansas Times that the two girls were kept separated in two rooms with locks, alarms and video cameras.
Goldsborough also claimed the Harrises thought the girls could talk to each other telepathically because they were demonically possessed.
Goldsborough said the girls had to undergo an exorcism by specialists from Alabama while she stood outside the home with the Harrises' boys.
Several unidentified sources backed up the claim that the Harrises thought the girls were possessed by demons, but the Harrises’ attorney, Jennifer Wells, said in a statement:
Exorcisms and telepathy are not part of the Harrises' religious practice. They followed the techniques in a book called "When Love Is Not Enough, a Parent's Guide to Reactive Attachment Disorder" by Nancy Thomas, who is a recognized expert on therapeutic parenting techniques.
However, an unidentified former employee of Harrises' preschool, Growing God's Kingdom, recently told KNWA that the Harrises tried to pray demons out of misbehaving children at the school (video below).
The former employee said she was fired by Harris for disagreeing with his discipline methods, but kept her own child in the preschool until this week.