I blogged on those articles, which I thought were very well done, here.
The editorial this morning noted that:
- Another call to Ouachita Parish authorities could have determined that the reason Lowe had custody — suspected abuse allegations against his former wife and Celeste's mother — had been determined to be unfounded.
What The Times is ignoring in the editorial this morning can be summed up in a sentence from Ms. Bath’s article:
- Finally, Social Services completed their investigation in December and validated the reported abuse.
The courts have to act with the information that they are given by both sides in a dispute, and by facts they ascertain from official sources.
The court had a copy of the Ouachita Sheriff’s investigation. They also knew that Social Services had determined – rightly or wrongly – that the charges of abuse at the hands of the mother were validated.
The editorial goes on to say:
- Bossier Parish judges must consider whether they too readily extended protective orders related to the custody fight. Protective orders were extended four times, including once after the investigation related to the alarm raised at Celeste's school.
I see no fault in the decisions made by the hearing officer and the judges of the 26th JDC. They had to act on the facts they had at the time, and those facts told them that it had been determined that the child suffered abuse while in the custody of the mother.
The end result was a terrible tragedy, but let the blame lie where it lies – with the father and step-mother who perpetrated the act.
The court system did the best it could do with the information it had.