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The truth might not set you free

John E. McCaul, Jr. is a violent career criminal who left his child dependent and neglected in 2005.  He went to prison shortly thereafter, and his biological daughter, Sonya, was raised for 8 years by a lovely family who adopted her.  When he cooperated with a murder investigation, he had his sentence reduced.  He argued a technicality on which his termination of parental rights were overturned.  The adoption was overturned as a result, but Sonya remained with her loving family, who were now ,once again, foster parents.  When he got out of federal prison in 2012, he tried to get his daughter back.  She was loved and cared for, and had a wonderful life with her parents and brother.  He knew that she didn’t want to come live with him, and he knew that taking her back would cause  Sonya serious psychological damage. Nevertheless, he sought her return and, in a crazy move, and without a best interest hearing, Judge A. Andrew Jackson of Dickson, TN turned Sonya over to him, suddenly, on January 29, 2014.

Because of the egregiousness of the case, volunteers created Bring Sonya Home to advocate for Sonya’s rights.   More than 20,000 people have joined Sonya’s Facebook page and over 16K have signed a petition to get her home. Her story has been featured on The View and CNN.

McCaul sued a number of Sonya’s supporters for defamation and tried to get a restraining order so that we couldn’t exercise our First Amendment rights to free speech.   The suit was tossed, and free speech is alive and well.

However much McCaul does not want the truth about him known, no one can be sued for defamation for speaking the truth.  By suing Sonya’s supporters, though, he opened himself up to questioning about whether our statements are true.

The request for admissions were provided to McCaul as part of discovery in the civil lawsuit he initiated.  He could object to any of the questions as irrelevant. He didn’t.  He could deny any of the statements.  He didn’t.  (That’s tricky, because if he denied a statement that’s supported by facts, even in the sealed Department of Children’s Services records, he’d be committing perjury).  That put McCaul in a no-win situation.  He simply didn’t respond.  He knew that if one doesn’t respond to admissions, they’re legally admitted to be true. That’s what happened.  These are now filed with the court and publicly available to anyone who wants a copy.

Put yourself in his place.  If someone accused you of violating the terms of your parole, and the accusation was false, wouldn’t you defend yourself? If someone accused you of disregarding your child’s feelings and best interest, wouldn’t you defend yourself?

Then again, doing nothing, even when his child had been judicially found dependent and neglected, is John’s modus operandi.

Here are his 302 Admissions.

Governor Haslam Drops the Ball

Seriously, Gov?  This is the best you can do?  The SAME canned response you’ve been sending all along?  You COULD look into DCS’ actions and coverup.  You COULD make sure that your employees are doing their jobs.  But this same canned response, over and over, is all you can manage?

From: <>

Date: June 24, 2014 at 9:43:39 AM CDT

To: <undisclosed recipient >

Subject: Responding to your message

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to write to Governor Haslam.  We have also seen the recent news reports about this custody dispute that has resulted in a girl being taken from her foster parents and placed with a biological father who is out of state.

It is our understanding that these circumstances are a result of several different court cases. The Governor does not have jurisdiction or control over the decisions of courts and is not able to intervene in this tragic situation. DCS is required to follow the guidance and direction of the courts. 
This case has stirred deep emotions on both sides, and we hope the most appropriate resolution for this child can be found as it works its way through the judicial process. Again, thank you for your message.

Best Regards,

Don Johnson
Deputy Director, Constituent Services