Isaiah 3:13 13 The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
Does it seem to anyone like the world is getting more evil by the minute? I’ve been out of town all week, and I came home to a stack of newspapers and mail, and while eating breakfast this morning, I just skimmed a few days’ worth of the paper, and it was NOTHING but awful, awful, awful. “Jackson County woman arrested for sexually molesting her disabled daughter in her hospital room,” “Jackson County man arrested for drugs,” “Kanawha County parents arrested for molesting their children.” On and on it went. I know there may be something to the fact that we now have instant news, that sexual abuse is now reported more than it used to be, but I truly feel the absolutely evilness (if that’s a word) has multiplied in the last ten years.
My very first trial as a court reporter was when I was 19 years old, fresh-faced, relatively unscathed by the world’s ugliness, and I was so excited to have a trial, an actual real (not practice!) trial with a real jury and judge and everything! My excitement quickly waned when I realized what I was in for. This trial was in Calhoun County, and it was the sexual assault of three little girls (the youngest ten months old) by their father. These children, when rescued, ate out of bowls on the floor like a dog, were barely dressed, filthy beyond description, living in squalor, could hardly communicate other than by grunts. By the time of the trial, after their rescue, they were the most adorable blonde-haired little angels you ever saw. Their foster parents had loved them and taught them and given them a chance. See, they grew up in pain, in unspeakable abuse, that went so far as to witnessing their father having carnal relations with the dog, as well as with their ten-month-old sister.
As the horror began to unfold, I realized that there was an evil present in the soul of man that was incomprehensible, truly unfathomable. It did not jade me, keep me from KNOWING that there are good people out there, people who love each other and uplift each other, but it did open my eyes to the fact that not everyone lived like I did. I will never, as long as I live, forget the sight of the state trooper carrying in the oldest little girl, who was five by that time, to testify against her daddy. She would not let loose of this trooper’s neck, and he had to hold her on his lap in the witness stand. See, he was the one who came and took her out of her nightmare, and she equated him with her salvation. He was her rock, her safety blanket as she walked down this terrifying journey. She would not turn her face away from his neck, and they allowed her to testify that way. It was hard on me, as the reporter, as she barely spoke her answers, but she would not bring her eyes to land upon her abuser, the man who gave her life and then proceeded to destroy her bit by bit.
Sometimes I wonder why God allows so much evil – I really do. That’s probably the only thing that I ever question about the sovereignty of God, the “Why do you let all this go on?” God’s ways are higher than my ways, and I accept that, but sometimes I sure wish I had His power to just go in and zap some of those nasty hands and mouths and evildoers that will harm children. That said, there is a group in Jackson County that is working extremely hard to make a difference, and they need our help. The group is CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates. These CASA workers are all volunteers – what they do is become the eyes and ears of the Court on behalf of the child. For instance, a child gets removed from their home and is put into foster care and the judge has to make the decision of whether to allow them to return home, to be placed with grandma, to be adopted out, whatever. Those decisions are extremely difficult, with tons of factors to be considered.
The CASA worker is authorized to speak to the child’s teacher, their counselors, their social worker, the child themselves, and investigate the situation. They are not the DHHR worker – they are an aid to the CPS team. If our CPS workers put in 24 hours a day, they could not accomplish all that needs done, so the CASA workers are there to assist. They are unpaid, independent people who are willing to give of their time to make sure the child has what it needs for its best chance at success. I particularly remember one case where a CASA worker made the difference between a very bad outcome and a great outcome. The parents had lost custody of their children for sexual abuse, and the father’s parents had acquired custody, promising that they would keep the children away from their son to protect them. They were swearing in court that they had done so, but the CASA worker had interviewed the children, gotten to know them well enough that they shared their heart and lives with her, and she ascertained that grandma was not only allowing her son to see his children, but she was leaving them ALONE WITH HIM!
How would the judge know these things if someone had not investigated thoroughly, something that takes a lot of time and investment? Our CASA in Jackson County has been on its last legs financially since it began. These volunteers take their time to try to help the children, and that leaves very little time to beg for money. Tom and I got the CASA started here but then had to back away from it because he appoints the workers. However, we are always aware of its shaky financial condition. The money CASA gets is usually grant-related, but it never covers the costs. The needs are really quite minimal – background check fees, training materials – nothing extravagant or wasteful. The directors and volunteers give and give and give, not only of their time, but their resources, even though they aren’t supposed to.
If you would like to help, donate to the Jackson County CASA fund, or become a volunteer! Or begin to pray for God's protection for these children. We can always do something! With God, nothing is impossible!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.