Monday, 28 October 2013
When social workers call on home educating families
In a recent comment on this blog, somebody drew attention to this link, which appeared on the Education Otherwise support group list. Here it is:
This was posted in connection with the idea that social workers might visit home educating parents. Scroll down and you will see mention of fathers killing their children, rather than let social workers take them away. For those who don’t know about this particular conspiracy theory, the notion is that stealing children from families and then placing them for adoption is a money-making racket run by various businesses, in conjunction with corrupt and venial local authorities. This is said to be especially dangerous for home educating parents, as social workers might be more inclined to seize their children and such parents should therefore fight tooth and nail to prevent social services from gaining access to their children. I have to say that in my experience, whenever social workers take an interest in a home educating family, they invariably have good reason. Still, maybe that’s just me! I’m going to look at a real case today and then let readers judge for themselves. It involves the children of a home educating mother being snatched by police and social workers and then held for over eight months in foster homes. I know something of this case, because it took place in the London Borough of Hackney, where I lived and worked for many years. I will use the real names of those involved, because the parents have put all the information into the public domain and also so that readers can check what I am saying for themselves.
Here is what happened. On January 29th this year, a home education group was meeting in Springfield Park in Hackney. The police and social workers turned up and took away an eleven year-old boy called Guy Freeman-Pow and his nine year-old sister Mia. They were then sent to foster homes. The rumour, quite correct in fact, was that this action had been precipitated by something which the boy had posted on his Facebook page. There was no suggestion that the children had been neglected or ill-treated, nor that their education was defective. At subsequent court hearings, it was decided that the children should not be returned to their mother. She commissioned a report from Alan Thomas, the well known expert on home education. The report may be seen here:
The judge at the hearing in July this year, refused even to look at this report.
This then is the case as it has been circulating in certain circles; a terrible indictment of social services and the tendency of local authorities to snatch children on the most trivial pretexts. What justification could there be for a nine year-old girl to be seized like this and put into a foster home? This is the sort of case that those of us interested in such things see all the time on internet lists about home education and this is all that most people on such groups will ever know about it. Let’s look now in detail at the background. Readers who are prudish or of a sensitive disposition, may wish to go no further. You have been warned!
The children’s mother, Linda Pow, says that she is, ‘ Fighting to get my children back from being stolen by police and social services for supporting my partner Michael J Freeman in the ipornographerbooks.com.’ To begin with, her partner’s name is not always Michael J Freeman, but we will return to this point later. He certainly goes under this name currently and so let’s see what he does. Here is a book called Forbidden Passion, written by this man:
Hmmm. It shows a young person tricked out as a schoolgirl and we can see right up her skirt; her knickers are showing. You will observe that the mother of the children taken by social workers endorses this book and has apparently read it. Well, we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover alone! Let’s have a look inside:
On Page 1, our eyes fall at once upon the sentence, ‘He wanted to fuck a real schoolgirl now and have sex with her.’ This isn’t too promising. By Page 2, the protagonist has met a real schoolgirl and is talking of, ‘shooting his sperm all over her face’. Well, I think we have seen enough of that book. Those who actually read the section on offer will soon find that the small part which I have quoted is relatively inoffensive. Still, Michael J Freeman has written many others. Perhaps this was not typical of his oeuvre. Here is his Amazon page:
Let’s have a look at a few other books of his. The Honey Trap is about a man sent to prison for producing child pornography. The Nonce is about a man sent to prison for having sex with an underage girl. What else do we have? The Abduction tells the story of an eight year-old girl who is abducted by a gang of paedophiles. Let's have a look at, The Pervert. Ah, this is about a man who meets an underage prostitute via the internet. I think perhaps that readers are beginning to get the idea! The recurring leitmotif in these stories is prison and underage sex. The author of these stories is the father of the children who were taken into care in Hackney. Before they were taken away by social workers, they were dividing their time between this country and Italy, where Michael J Freeman lives. I wonder if any readers with nine year-old daughters would care for them to spend much time in the company of a man who writes about fucking schoolgirls and shooting sperm in their faces? No? You prudes!
This is not however the full story, not by a long chalk. Michael J Freeman is really Michael Muldoon. He has a string of convictions dating back sixty years, when at the age of fourteen he was arrested for carrying a firearm. He was a pornographer in the 1960s and in December 1969, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. He stabbed a man eighty nine times and then dumped the corpse in Epping Forest. Yes, you did read that right; eighty nine stab wounds. After his release, he started to deal in pornography again and was sent back to prison. He was also charged in connection with a film of naked children, which led to a trial under both the Obscene Publications Act and the Protection of Children Act. Here is his own account of this:
As to what eleven year-old Guy posted on Facebook, it was an advertisement for the book; The Nonce. When the police went to his home, they initially arrested the mother for possession of indecent material, which was found on a computer. She says that this was a misunderstanding; the material was actually on her eleven year-old son’s computer…
I have examined this case in some detail for a purpose, which is this. The next time that we hear of social workers wanting to speak to home educated children, we should not be too quick to assume that they are in the wrong and that this is persecution of an innocent family. Usually, as in this case, there is good reason to be concerned and the children’s interests are the priority. Do any readers think that in this case, Hackney social services over-reacted?