In 2010 Brandon Taliaferro, an idealistic young South Dakota Assistant State Attorney, along with Shirley Schwab, an experienced court-appointed special advocate, uncovered a horrific case of child physical and sexual abuse in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The offenders were foster parents Richard and Wendy Mette, the victims were five young Native American foster children ages 8, 9, 13, 14 and 15 in 2010. In March of 2012, Richard Mette plead guilty to rape of a child under 10 years old and was given a 15 year prison sentence.
So why did the State of South Dakota spend a full year, beginning in the fall of 2011, investigating and prosecuting Taliaferro and Schwab, who stood up for the children? Because the state was fearful of being sued itself for having repeatedly ignored the sexual abuse of the foster children. Rather than protect the children and focus prosecutorial energies on the sex offenders, the state went on the offensive against those who were looking out for the safety of the children. The state placed the children back into the same home where they were physically beaten, tortured, sexually molested and raped from 2001 until 2010 while granting the foster/adoptive mother full legal and physical custody of the children in 2012 after dismissing all her 11 felony counts.
Brandon’s and Shirley’s story shows the criminal lengths to which South Dakota will go to protect its interests. In January, 2013 a veteran judge dismissed all the charges against Taliaferro and Schwab and called the year-long investigation and prosecution of them a “a case of office politics and substandard investigation.” These two child advocates need your help in exposing the cruel pattern of illegality by the State of South Dakota.
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