Just on the news is that Laura Silsby is finally home. Not sure how much of this was in the national news, but Silsby was the leader of a group that went to Haiti, collect some 33 children and tried to take them into the neighboring Dominican Republic without any government permission. Haiti has had considerable trouble with human trafficking in children and charged Silsby with kidnapping, but later dropped that charge and has convicted her of arranging illegal travel and sentenced to time served of just over 3 months.
Silsby claimed she was taking the children to an orphanage that did not exist. She also claimed none of the children had living parents after the Haitian earthquake; all 33 children were found to have at least one living parent. Silsby claimed she didn't know she needed permission, but at least one government official has indicated she inquired and was told that yes, she did - do not try to take the children out of Haiti.
Was Silby's sentence reasonable?
Obviously not if she has been jailed and served her time all since the earthquake.
I've no idea who she is, but she sounds like a chancer who thought she could make a few bob at a time of great confusion in Haiti. How dare she remove children from their parents at this time when their need for their parent was greatest?
She was the leader of a group of Idaho Baptists who hired someone in Haiti to find children for an orphanage she wanted to build in the Dominican Republic. Parents, in despair of giving their children a good life after the earthquake, gave them to the man who then turned them over to Silsby. Reports were that she knew quite well they were not parentless, but who really knows. All just a giant mistake done with the best of Christian motives, she claims. All members of the group were charged, but those charges were dropped when it became apparent that Silsby had told them she had the necessary papers. I understand the man that collected the children is still at large and wanted in Haiti, but not sure of that.
Interestingly, Silsby faces several rather severe charges in the US of failure to pay debts, mostly for a business she owns.
I think 3 years would have been more appropriate from what I have seen so far in the news.
Does motive count for nothing, then? Or would you have said 30 years with a different, more sinister motive?
I would have said 30 years, but even 3 years is more appropriate than 3 months!
motive, like truth, is subjective - she 'believes' maybe that she was doing good, but she was wrong. Stealing children to give them a 'better' life is a conceit of religion, if that was ok then i should go about stealing baptist children to keep them from being indoctrinated into religion. It is basically just another take on the 'other' not being as good as us, which works both ways.
Alternate, read the whole thread, man!
That was what she claimed in court, but the 'orphanage' didn't exist, She claimed they were orphans - and they weren't, She claimed she didn't know that she could't do what she was doing - and it was proved that a high ranking official had previously told her she couldn't do it.
Makes you wonder if the whole Baptist thing was lies too.
I agree with earnest - a longer jail term would have been more appropriate.
I haven't seen this news but over the years there have been other similar occurences around the world of religious groups thinking they are above man's law. That this woman was a baptist should be no surprise.
I think I have to agree with the concensus here - 3 years might have been more reasonable. That Ms Silsby was convicted of a far lessor crime than originally charged with doesn't seem to me to hold much water. Perhaps that was the best the judge could do with the evidence he had. Perhaps political pressure from the states played a part.
Whatever the cause for the reduced charge, anyone caught trying to remove children from Haiti without government permission needs a little stronger lesson that a few days in jail while the government tries to sort out what happened.
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