Justin Harris, an Arkansas Republican State Representative, gave his adopted daughters to a man who raped one of them. Also, Harris frequently attempted to perform exorcisms on children in his federally-funded pre-kindergarten. According to a former teacher at the school, “If any of the kids got in too much trouble they would pray on the kids, do a circle around them, and put their hands on their heads in an attempt to rebuke demons.” The teacher was fired shortly after she expressed her disagreement with their practices. Justin and his wife Marsha attempted to drive out demons and gave their two adopted girls to Eric and Stacey Francis because they believed the girls were possessed and could communicate telepathically. Eric Frances is now serving a 40 year prison sentence for the rape of the eldest adopted child, who was only six years old. Justin and Marsha Harris gave an emotional press conference and made statements which many of the other witnesses of the events strongly disagreed with. The family was accused of keeping the older of the two girls “locked in a room with no books or toys, monitored by a video camera and kept separate from her sister, whom Harris and his wife believed could communicate telepathically. Along with other accusations, Harris is accused of lying about his ability to raise the two girls, and used his power as a State legislator to suppress any concerns about his taking in the children. Many are angry because these girls were some of the most traumatized in the system, which Harris knew beforehand. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Harris wrongfully accepted federal funding for his school. This was not allowed because his school was a religious institution.
Source: David Ferguson, “Arkansas Republican who gave girls to rapist “regularly” performed exorcisms on unruly preschoolers,” Raw Story, March 12, 2015, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/arkansas-republican-who-gave-girls-to-rapist-regularly-performed-exorcisms-on-unruly-preschoolers/.
Student Researcher: Tyler Provance (Indian River State College)
Faculty Researcher: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)