THIS IS A PART OF A SERIES OF STORIES ON THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND ITS EFFECTS ON MUSKOGEE COUNTY CITIZENS
Note: After the last story I did about DHS, I have hesitated to do another one for fear they will try to retaliate and come after my children. But the sheer volume of stories I received from grieving families that have been unjustly torn apart by DHS demanded that I continue exposing their corruption. This notice is a declaration to hopefully prevent them from retaliating.
Ann Durossette worked for Muskogee County most of her adult life in the office of former County Commissioner Dexter Payne. For much of that same time, she was a certified therapeutic foster parent, and later adoptive parent to some of her grandchildren - until Muskogee County DHS took them, she says because she refused to lie and say her son-in-law molested another of her grandchildren.
Therapeutic foster parents must pass a rigorous background check, regular home inspections and lots of training. They must never have been in legal trouble, must have an acceptable home and enough income to care for the children. Durossette passed those standards regularly. About a year ago, one of the grandchildren she hadn’t adopted, a seven-year-old, wrote a note to a classmate that said “You’re a sexy bitch, you want to have sex?”
The child’s principal suspended her and called DHS. DHS went to the girl’s house to investigate and she then told them that her uncle had touched her years ago, Durossette said. The daughter who was married to that uncle called Durossette at home and told her DHS wanted her to come to her house so they could talk to her.
She says DHS worker Miranda Robbins asked her if she believed her son-in-law had touched the girl.
“I said, ‘well, I don’t know; the kid has made so many allegations.' Those were my exact words.”
The girl had in fact accused several people of molesting her and had also, after watching a crime drama on TV, accused another man of wrapping her in a shower curtain and throwing her in the tub - just like the action she had seen on the TV show.
After she spoke to Robbins and told her she couldn’t possibly know whether her son-in-law had done what he was accused of, Durossette went home. Robbins and another worker, Karen Spencer, showed up at her home and took the two younger children she had adopted, leaving two teenagers with Durossette.
“I asked them why they were taking the kids and they said, ‘It’s because of what you said’,” she said. “I said, ‘So you’re telling me if I don’t say a black man is guilty, I lose my grandkids?' They repeated ‘it’s because of what you said.'”
She asked why they were taking two children and leaving two children and they said it was because the little children couldn’t talk and were in danger in the house.
”(The four-year-old) could talk up a storm,” she said.
Later, at a mediation meeting set up at the DHS office, Robbins and Spencer told Durossette that they had checked the references she gave them and said “nobody likes y’all, they all said you do drugs.” Durossette asked which references they had called and was told they were not allowed to tell.
“They didn’t call any of my references,” she said. “We have never been in any trouble. I mean, I had a traffic ticket, and that’s all.”
Durossette said the children’s new foster home is riddled with bed bugs and filth, but Spencer repeatedly told her the children were okay because they’re now attending church.
“She asks me all the time if I go to church,” she said. “And she said they’re doing fine because they’re now going to church and they’re being homeschooled.”
One last time, at the Muskogee County Courthouse in a hallway, Durossette asked the DHS workers why she couldn’t get the babies back, and she says they were adamant that they believed she wouldn’t protect the children because she would not say her son-in-law had molested the granddaughter who was not in her custody.
“I have cried so much over this, and fighting them is impossible,” she said. “Very few lawyers will even attempt it. I would die and go to hell before I would lie to put someone in jail, but if I said ‘yes, I believe he molested them,' I could have them back.”
DHS referred all questions to its media relations department, which has not returned a call for comment.
UPDATE: DHS’s communications department called. In response to a question about why DHS would take children away from a witness who refused to lie against a presumably innocent man, they said they cannot comment on child welfare cases.