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Transcript: Phone Conversation Between Gene Ashdown (Director of DCFS in St. George, Utah) and Flora Jessop 6\26\01 Concerning Ruby Jessop.

Ruby Jessop

Jessop: Gene?

Ashdown: Yeah

Jessop: Ok, Sorry about that.

Ashdown: That's OK.

Jessop: So, What happened with my sister?

Ashdown: Uhh, to put it in a word, Nothing, Zero, Nada, and that really, I guess isn't a surprise. She was wonderful, gave no information of any concern, for anything. Period, that's it.

Jessop: Who brought her in?

Ashdown: I'm not sure. I believe it could have been her Mom but, I…. After that point I … One of my problems, I can't share any details of who said, she said, they said, ya know who said what to that question and stuff because she's a juvenile, but I did tell the au… my agency I did want to share with you and Les that we at least did talk with her under the agreed arrangements and that she provided no information. None.

Jessop: What about Tests?

Ashdown: Who?

Jessop: The tests. I had asked if a medical test could be done. To find out if she had had sex.

Ashdown: Oh, we didn't, we couldn't do a test on her. She has to give permission for that.

Jessop: She…

Ashdown: I don't remember if … saying that we could even do a test. Doing a test on a teenager we have to have the mothers permission or have the child state to you that they ahh.. give ya some cause for that. That's a..... Can't do those unless she's in our custody

Jessop: So.. Even though there were allegations of abuse then….

Ashdown: There'd be no way to force a test, all a person has to do is say nothings happened, nothing will, I'm fine, everything's peachy wonderful day, you have a nice day too and there's nothing we can do. It really isn't much of a surprise actually I don't think anyone expected anything but that. I mean I don't think I did. Ya never know and we wanted to have the opportunity as much as we could.

Jessop: So now what? She just goes back and stays married?

Ashdown: Uhh… in a word, she goes back. What her condition is that's a controversy, if she's married I guess she stays married, if she isn't married she doesn't…she isn't married, what her true condition is might never be known .What her reporting condition is, she's wonderful and fine No Problem No marriages, no nothing. She's a happy person

Jessop: Hmm…

Ashdown: Doesn't know why everybody is doing all this so I mean there's no entry points, at this point anyway

Jessop: So, is it normal, I'm just curious, is it normal policy in an abuse case, because most, a lot of abused children will, when they realize the consequences of what's going to happen to the abuser, will deny the abuse.

Ashdown: It's a very common thing

Jessop: So…why is there nothing to do to stop the abuse?

Ashdown: That normally happens, That phenomenon you are talking about we'll talk to a child, take them into custody or make sure they're safe or we'll do what ever we need to do to assure they're safety and we'll remove the perpetrator or whatever and it's not uncommon for the well it's not very common to say it's uncommon would be unfair, it happens once in a while the victim will say "I was just kidding, I just made it up and that's something that we see but that's after they have already given us a statement that it did happen if we go out to a school and even the child themselves have said they have been sexually abused by my mother or father if we get to the school the authorities, as soon as that kid sees us gulp, how are you? we do a good forensic nice interview, that kid can say I don't know what you are talking about that's a bunch of crap I didn't tell him that or anything else we're out of there we're all through unless that kid will say it, we haven't got it. unless they are preverbal, unless they don't talk and we would have some indication that, some very good indication there's been sexual abuse some other way like a baby or something or a child or a two year old or

Jessop: So if these kids are terrified to tell you

Ashdown: Then they will stay there

Jessop: Then you leave them in that situation

Ashdown: If they can't corroborate it Yup that's what happens we have to have some cooperation we have to have some way of saying this is true.

Jessop: So on what grounds do you pull children out of homes?

Ashdown: Uhh if they've been… If they report to us that they have been sexually abused and the perpetrator is in the home and there's good indication that they can't be protected there by the non offending parent, they're out of there if there's serious physical abuse to the point where its felonious we pull those kids if the children don't have any caretakers we remove them temporarily till we can find out what's going on umm..

Jessop: And the fact that ruby had told people, several people that she has been married and that she had been forced to have sex meant nothing

Ashdown: It wouldn't mean anything as far as removing her. I don't know that anybody… I don't know that, is that the case?

Jessop: Yes that is the case

Ashdown: That we have the names and phone numbers and the witnesses that will come forward and swear it out

Jessop: I told you that when we met that she had admitted to that

Ashdown: Ok she's admitted to that and maybe to some people I don't personally do that investigation we have really good staff that does that I think in terms of this case I don't know how many people there are I wasn't aware of there was anybody that could swear it out and would it even make a difference I can only tell you from my experience if the child says no that didn't happen if she told a congregation that I have had sex with my father when we go to talk to her and she says no I was just kidding I told all those people that just for sensationalism that's it its over

Jessop: Well that seems screwed up to me

Ashdown: Well, Flora I don't know what else to do, you could… if you haven't got a child a verbal child normally intelligent who will corroborate that she has been married or forced to have sex and there are people who she has told that she has had sex even if those people come forward she can always say I was just kidding I just wanted to see what they would do

Jessop: And it ends there

Ashdown: Pretty much

Jessop: And she gets placed right back with the abuser?

Ashdown: If that's what she wants, because she's got to help a little bit. We've got to have a little help Theoretically Flora, all that she had to do in that interview was say there's people outside that brought me here I don't trust them Thank you for talking to me Please help me, I've had this happen to me and this happen to me they tried to talk me out of this they gave me whatever to try to keep me from saying this Please help me she would have gone straight from there into shelter straight on

Jessop: And how many kids do that?

Ashdown: A lot. We have kids in shelter right now

Jessop: I did that and what happened to me?

Ashdown: I don't know

Jessop: I got turned back over to them to

Ashdown: You set and told a police man that you had been sexually abused forced to have sex and a member of the division of family services and they said that's interesting and they gave you right back to the people?

Jessop: As a matter of fact, Yes. I was placed back into Fred Jessop's Custody

Ashdown: After you had disclosed to the authorities

Jessop: Yes I had a case worker in your office I had to go see once a week to deal with my sexual abuse and you guys still turned me over

Ashdown: which office did you see, where was this

Jessop: St. George Utah

Ashdown: OK what office

Jessop: Chuck Sullivan was my counselor

Ashdown: Well I can't say that didn't happen if you say it happened it happened Flora I can just tell ya that's absolutely incredible and I would never allow that to happen here I don't even …I mean

Jessop: In my eyes, this is no different

Ashdown: I can understand that, I wouldn't argue with you about that, I can't argue because you have your position and your right to your knowledge this is your life you know what's happened to you and I guess in this particular case we made some overtures, a brother, a relative steps in and says aah ah Ill take care of her don't worry I got it covered, I got it made here, he then on his watch allows her to go somewhere or I don't know who really did what there but somehow she got out of his control went with other people was gone for sufficient time

Jessop: To be brainwashed and scared to death

Ashdown: And when she comes back everything is wonderful

Ashdown: And wouldn't it have been great if that brother would have said look she's here with me but ill bring her into St. George in two days I've got a way to get in ill bring her right in

Jessop: And why should he have done that when the only thing that's going to happen is you're going to turn her back over to her parents

Ashdown: No No Flora that's not fair no no what was he going to do just hold her forever

Jessop: Does he have the right to hold a minor from her parents

Ashdown: No one had complained I guess he could keep her until they came over and said we'll take her back now

Jessop: So if an underage child

Ashdown: We are going to a different subject now

Jessop: Ok but I want to ask you a question now, If an underage child runs away and runs to someone for help do they have the right to hold that to keep that child

Ashdown: No, absolutlely not

Jessop: OK, so what would have happened if he would have brought her in to you guys?

Ashdown: We'd have talked to her

Jessop: And -

Ashdown: Made a decision as to whether she was in danger or not

Jessop: And after you had made that decision, you would have sent her back to her parents

Ashdown: That's correct

Jessop: That's all I wanted to know

Ashdown: Absolutely If they can't corroborate that they are in danger what kind of agency would this be if we were to say ya know you say you're not in danger but we think you are were going to be taking you into custody that's really high handed and I don't know that we would, that would be a pretty hard thing to do

Jessop: You know you have renewed my faith in the system in Utah once again it is it has proven itself because

Ashdown: We are always disappointed when we can't do what needs to happen we just need help

Jessop: Every kid that comes out of there though every kid that comes out of there screaming for help and you guys do nothing but turn them back over

Ashdown: And I would say I disagree with you but you have a right to your opinion I just flatly deny

Jessop: Can you name one child that has come out of there that you guys have helped

Ashdown: I can't name any child out of there

Jessop: There you go, I can name a couple hundred that have come out of there looking for help

Ashdown: Who have come to this office and said I've been Sexually….

Jessop: They know they will get turned back over in Utah

Ashdown: So then the point is mute if they're not going to come in because they know they can't get any help then they really didn't yell very loud, then I say well we can't

Jessop: No they just know they don't have the money to make a higher payment I guess

Ashdown: Money to make a higher payment for what?

Jessop: Ya know what I would like to know personally just for me is how much was she worth?

Ashdown: How much she was worth for what she's a human being she's worth…. There's no value on those things

Jessop: but you can place them back into abusive situations

Ashdown: Allegedly there is no abuse out there we have to have some help from the victim, a little bit of help we have to have bruises we have to have a mark we have to have a statement

Jessop: And knowing that there's brainwashing going on

Ashdown: You don't know that

Jessop: I know that because I'm from there I've been through it

Ashdown: In a court of law Flora, you know this you could give them your whole life history but they can say but you don't, did you personally see it? Do you have yourself or a witness or someone who saw her get brainwashed administered did you know what happened to her? I would guess you would have to say No. You can assume she was because of your own experiences but in courts of law they want

Jessop: I can bring you 300 witnesses that have had the same thing happen to them they had the same brainwashing happen to them and nobody , that doesn't account for nothing

Ashdown: If only Ruby had said something, if only the brother had brought her in, if only somehow she could get here we're not tired of this we want to keep going

Jessop: And you know what? Nobody's going to give you the chance again to turn another one back to them

Ashdown: Ya know something?

Jessop: And that's unfortunate because that's what we were trying to do was open a door for these kids

Ashdown: It is unfortunate

Jessop: That sucks

Ashdown: Main thing why she wasn't brought in here from Joe's

Jessop: Because he knew you would turn her back and that's what would happen

Ashdown: There we go again in a circle

Jessop: I tried to get you guys to go in and help when she first was taken back and

Ashdown: Back where?

Jessop: To Fred Jessop's house and I was refused from your office to get involved I told you this in the meeting

Ashdown: We talked about other things in the meeting and she may I don't know I'm going to tell you something frankly I can't remember all we said and I don't remember that fact you could have easily said it but as far as ya know getting to these kids do you think that if we had gone to Fred's house with the sheriff and myself even or who ever and said Hi we'd like to talk to her out in the police car do you know what we'd have gotten?

Jessop: What?

Ashdown: I don't know do you? Do you think she would talk then?

Jessop: I think if you had gone when I called she would have but I think they took her and kept her in isolation for 5 weeks and now she's not talking is she?

Ashdown: Whe was at Joe's house I remember something about this case she went from one home to Joe's house and I was up to speed on that and uhh and then at Joe's it was well we just wait and see what happens here and Joe was going to take care of her and the next thing we know she's at Quail Creek and gone we had nothing to do with it we really didn't

Jessop: After she was taken back to Fred's house after the Quail Creek I called your office they refused to help me told me I had to go through the sheriff's office

Ashdown: I don't know who you well I can't dispute you I don't know who you spoke to but I don't know what to tell ya Flora

Jessop: I just Ya know what? I'm just I really am disappointed because these kids I thought this agency is supposed to be about protecting these kids and it's obviously not it's about protecting the abusers

Ashdown: I don't agree with you but you certainly have a right to your opinion and I wouldn't argue with you

Jessop: Well, because I'll tell ya what the kids up there know they can't come to you guys

Ashdown: Well and that's unfortunate and again I can't argue with you and I'm sorry that's the case

Jessop: For 15 16 years its been the same way with your office and that is you are protecting the abusers at Colorado City and what they are paying or what they got over your office I don't know

Ashdown: I'm going to say good bye to you because I have my own feeling about how I've conducted myself and I don't want to …

Ashdown: Hung up.