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Here's your morning update on Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris, who naturally had excellent reasons for giving up on his two adopted daughters and "rehoming" them with another family in 2013. Harris issued a statement late Thursday to explain that he and his wife, Marsha, are the real victims here. Oh, yes, in addition to that unfortunate business with his 6-year-old daughter getting raped by Eric Francis, the man they "rehomed" the girls with. My, yes, that was sad.


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Harris spent most of Thursday avoiding reporters, then issued this statement:

"Rep. and Mrs. Harris have suffered a severe injustice. Due to threats of possible abandonment charges, they were unable to reach out to DHS for help with children who presented a serious risk of harm to other children in their home. Upon the advice of both a psychiatrist and a pediatrician, they were forced to move the children to the home of trusted friends, who had a lot of experience with children with reactive attachment disorder. Rep. and Mrs. Harris are devastated about the outcome of that decision, but faced with no good option, they did the best that they knew how."

Severe injustice, you hear? What choice did they have? They couldn't possibly have contacted the Arkansas Department of Human Services, because then they'd have been charged with abandoning the children. As we noted yesterday, that sounds pretty unlikely -- the DHS does offer help to families having trouble with adopted children, especially in cases where the children had been sexually abused in their birth families. But the thing to remember here is that the Harrises were doing their very best, so stop being so hurtful -- their real children were in great danger from a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old who was all screwed up in the head! Alas, if you are screwed up in the head from the abuse you suffered, you do not get a "forever home."

(Ahem, a reminder:

“When our adoption became final, we went to the court, the whole family, exchanged teddy bears and everything — and it was like a light bulb suddenly flipped on for the girls. They knew, suddenly knew, that this was their forever home, and they were no longer ever going back to Mom’s house,” Harris said. “There was anger and an instant behavior change.”

We do not think "forever home" means what Justin Harris thinks it means.)

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The girls had been initially placed with the Harrises sometime in the fall of 2012, while he was running for his first term in the Arkansas House. Needless to say, it would be extremely cynical to suggest that Justin Harris may have sought to adopt them for the sake of burnishing his credentials as a pro-family Christian conservative, although having a herd of foster children sure worked for Michele Bachmann. An anonymous tipster has urged Yr Wonkette to find a copy of Harris's 2012 campaign flyer and to "count the number of children" on it. We haven't been able to find anything online, but perhaps some of our readers in Arkansas have some old campaign detritus kicking around?

The Arkansas Times noted in its original story on Harris that

Pictures of the girls appeared on Justin Harris' social media accounts in early 2013 (the images have since been deleted), and Harris announced on Twitter and Facebook on March 6, 2013, that the couple had officially adopted the girls. Because DHS adoptions require an in-home trial period of at least six months prior to papers being signed, the girls likely entered the home no later than September 2012.

Harris's attorney, Jennifer Wells, said Thursday that Rep. Harris will hold a press conference Friday afternoon. If he takes questions (don't be the least bit surprised when he reads a prepared statement and leaves), there should definitely be a lot of questions about what he said in the immediate aftermath of the arrest of Eric Francis on April 4, 2014. (The news report is graphic in its detailing of the six-year-old's rape. Fair warning.)

would you regift your adopted daughter to this man?

As you'll recall if you've been following this horror, Francis had briefly worked as a teacher at the Harrises' daycare, "Growing God's Kingdom Preschool." After Francis's arrest, Harris "said he was devastated and sickened" by the news, and explained that Francis had only worked at the school from November 2013 until Harris fired him on January 28, 2014 for excessive absenteeism, saying that Francis had worked "only 38 days over a three-month period." The report at that time, of course, gave no indication that Francis's victim was Harris's adopted daughter. But Harris was careful to reassure the reporter that everything was just peachy at the school:

Harris notified parents of the allegation against Francis to prepare them for State Police investigators' interviews with children at the school last week. They interviewed children who had regular contact with Francis. "I'm confident nothing happened to our children," Harris said. He said rules require operation of a camera in the pre-school classroom. It keeps a permanent record and is monitored in main offices, he said. Teachers also always are supposed to have another adult aide present. He said State Police investigators had informed him of no adverse findings. The State Police won't comment on such investigations.

"I'm confident nothing happened to our children." You know, our children at the school, is what he meant. As for his own six-year-old daughter, hey, nobody asked! Possibly because of how careful he was to neglect to mention it. Or, by then, maybe he had decided that the girl really wasn't his.

The more we find out about Justin Harris, the more we loathe him. We didn't really think that was possible. But don't worry, when he gives his press conference later today, we're sure we can find some additional reserves of disgust.

Update: Watch Justin Harris's press conference, placing the blame on DHS where it belongs, here.

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[KATV / Arkansas Times]

Have any old Justin Harris 2012 campaign literature lying around? Let Dok know at doktorzoom at wonkette.com! and go ahead and follow him on Twitter, too.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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