Last updated on 2014.03.03
In January 2013, Judge Gene Paul Kean dismissed the state's flimsy case against of Shirley Schwab and Brandon Taliaferro for witness tampering and other charges. Last December, Judge Kean ordered the expungement five of the counts on which Taliaferro was arrested, noting with distaste the state's brazen disregard for court orders.
But Schwab says justice still hasn't been done. Schwab thus appears to be launching a whistleblowing campaign to challenge the state and raise money for legal costs. Her first public salvo is this video, summarizing her argument that the state has abused its power to shield a sexually abusive foster father and his silently complicit wife and protect itself from a lawsuit on behalf of abused Native American children:
To summarize Schwab's narrative:
The South Dakota Department of Social Services had evidence for over a decade that the five Native American children it placed in the home of Richard and Wendy Mette in Aberdeen. In 2001, DSS had the Mettes sign a contract requiring that they lock up pornographic materials in their home and refrain from touching the children. In 2007, DSS documented porn, physical beatings, and sexual touching the home. DSS left the children in the home.
Richard Mette was arrested in November 2010 and later indicted on multiple counts of physical and sexual abuse. Wendy Mette was indicted in March 2011 for child abuse.
On June 1, 2011, court-appointed guardian ad litem Scott Heidepriem reported that there was the potential for the Mettes' Native American foster children to pursue a civil claim against the state. The threat of such legal action, says Schwab, prompted the state to dismantle the team assembled to protect the children and sabotage its own case against the Mettes. Schwab alleges that the state executed and leaked search warrants against herself and Taliferro in order to cast doubt on the allegations against the Mettes. The state completely shielded itself from civil litigation by dropping all charges against Wendy Mette and returning the abused children to her legal guardianship.
Schwab says she and Taliaferro have incurred a quarter million dollars (and counting: the state is still fighting them) in legal costs. This video is part of her effort to raise money to cover past, present, and future litigation.
Update 2014.03.03 07:58 CST: Schwab offers documents to support her story and seeks donations to the "South Dakota Child Advocates Defense Fund" online at http://childadvocatesdefensefund.com.