Desperately wanting

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They sent law enforcers and social workers in to rescue Christine and Jeremy Long's 11 children last summer.

They should have included an anthropologist or two.

The Burke County couple had essentially established a tribe that was cut off from civilization. The children were malnourished, going without food for days at a time. They had all manner of health problems. They'd never been to school and were frightened by others. They had no electricity or running water, and were unfamiliar with the most basic mechanisms of plumbing; they smelled "somewhere between animal and death," according to one foster parent.

Several of the children had to have immediate dental surgery for teeth that hadn't been brushed and had rotted to the core.

The 3-year-old girl asked to go dig a hole in the yard to relieve herself her first morning in foster care. That's just what you did.

The father is serving a three-year prison sentence; the mother received two years in prison on Friday, but is being allowed to serve it on alternate weekends.

Played out to the end, that might consume all of 14 years -- but no one expects that to happen. Fact is, the mother has significant church and community support for her efforts at rehabilitation.

But for creating a sickly Third World all their own, every other weekend in jail seems desperately wanting. Nor would the courts be depriving the children of much of a loved one: The older ones report that the mother was as responsible for their conditions as anyone, and the younger ones could never quite figure out her lack of affection.

Mrs. Long says she is punished every day she wakes up without her children.

It's quite likely the feeling isn't mutual.

Comments (35) Add comment
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opiner
2
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opiner 08/04/09 - 05:02 am
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Crazy people do crazy things.

Crazy people do crazy things. It's amazing they were able to hide for so long while living on the fringes of society. It makes you wonder who else is hiding.

Riverman1
83996
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Riverman1 08/04/09 - 05:12 am
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I try not to be emotional

I try not to be emotional when an obviously mentally disturbed parent does something outrageous, but that's what's lacking with this horrid case. The parents are not insane. The mother has the deputy believing in her. He will make her weekend jail stays easier, I bet. The editorial yesterday was about parents withholding medical care from a child and that's what made me comment about our local case. This was much worse. The couple withheld medical care, starved and mentally tortured eleven children for years. We can all feel warm and fuzzy about the dental care the kids are receiving and the new foster homes the kids are in, but, the truth is, irreparable damage has been done to most of the them already. I can't fathom the mild sentences, especially the woman's or rather her lack of a real sentence.

opiner
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opiner 08/04/09 - 06:19 am
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Riverman, our definition of

Riverman, our definition of "mentally disturbed" must be very different. Would a sane parent treat their children like this?

Riverman1
83996
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Riverman1 08/04/09 - 06:32 am
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If she were insane her

If she were insane her attorney would have brought that up. She appears sane according to her newfound friends. Plus, she was deceitful enough to try to get the kids to change their statements. http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/04/01/met_516677.shtml

concernednative
28
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concernednative 08/04/09 - 06:36 am
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She knew what she was doing

She knew what she was doing was wrong and that is the bottom line. I believe in forgiveness and redemption. However, just punishment has to come first.

reesiecup
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reesiecup 08/04/09 - 07:40 am
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OK, lets not forget, she is

OK, lets not forget, she is in Burke county. That is one of the most crooked law enforcement districts in the state. There are more cover-ups down there in the country than you can shake a a stick at. The deputy that is her "protector" now will certainly see that she has an easy stay on the weekends, if she stays in jail at all. She might check in and right back out. Im sure her church going friends will want her at church on Sunday mornings so that will interfere with her jail schedule. This sentence is a joke, just like everything else in that backwards county. Im just glad the children are in good homes away from those idiot parents.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 09:23 am
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Although this story seems so

Although this story seems so unbelievable and the condition of the children horrible, It amazes me that people can not understand even a little how a situation like this could even happen. Here is a mother with 11 children living in horrible conditions, no job, evidently not much help from the husband, no friends to help, trying to not only survive but keep your kids alive. We all "she should have", "could have", all day long but try looking at it from this woman's perspective. I'm sure depression played a role but here you are with 11 kids (not 3 or 4) trying to make ends meet, no transportation, probably afraid of a domant husband, maybe she didn't know where to turn. I'm not saying she isn't to blame in some way or that her sentence seems a little too mild but wouldn't it be better to rehabilitate her so that she can become a productive citizen than to beat her down even lower than she already is.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 08/04/09 - 09:27 am
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She and the kids' father are
Unpublished

She and the kids' father are proof that having babies is the only form of production that doesn't require skilled labor. OPINER, I've worked in law enforcement and seen all kinds of people who claim to be parents acting like this. Their mental condition isn't bad...they just don't care. These 2 dirtbags are prime examples of this.

Jillian
2
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Jillian 08/04/09 - 09:28 am
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It's a fact in the U.S.

It's a fact in the U.S. people care a lot more about animals than children. Thousands of childen are victim's of abuse every day and seldom, if ever, are their abusers punished anywhere near the maximum sentence allowed. Most of the time they move on to find a new victim.

Before a child molestor is finally convicted and imprisoned (if they ever are at all) they usually have 20-50 victims. MANY TIMES the abuse could have been stopped with the first report...IF someone had believed the child.

These parent's were not hidden from the world. The abuse was happening EVERY DAY in front of a LOT OF PEOPLE..

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 09:30 am
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reesiecup, at least her

reesiecup, at least her "church going friends" have enough compassion to try and put this woman on the right path to make something useful of her life and hopefully rehabilitate herself instead of ending up another drug addicted, homeless, drag on society that so many on here love to grip about. You beat people down enough times and they don't get up. Some people are worth saving. I agree she needs to be responsible for her part in this terrible situation but what good is sitting in jail for two or three or more years going to accomplish. Does no one believe in second changes any more.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 09:41 am
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Jillian, I agree with

Jillian, I agree with you..any type of child abuse is horrible but you post reference sexual child abuse and I do not remember hearing anything about sexual child abuse in this case. southernguy08, in some cases the parents don't care but how do you know that this was the case in this situation. How do you know that the mother just wasn't so overwhelmed by the conditions they were living in and over time it just became the norm. My question is why did it take so long for someone to notice the condition this family was living in? Someone owned that home, were they not collecting rent? Wasn't there neighbors close by?

bm4
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bm4 08/04/09 - 10:01 am
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Where were the grandparents,

Where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of these children? I can hardly believe that NO ONE ever checked up on this family. Did the mother and father have brother's and sisters and/or parents? Where were they? I have a sister and if I knew this is how she was living I would definitely report it to someone. If this was my son or daughter I would have done the same thing. What if someone did report them but no one ever did check up on them? This whole story smells funny!

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 08/04/09 - 10:03 am
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INCHRIST, would you ever
Unpublished

INCHRIST, would you ever consider this condition the norm for you and your children? Don't let this woman and her husband off so easily. Dirtbags like this get away with this kind of behavior too often because society doesn't want to be "too hard on the mother."

TechLover
15
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TechLover 08/04/09 - 10:06 am
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Sounds like she had a cult

Sounds like she had a cult mentality or possibly something related to Stockholm Syndrome.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 10:17 am
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southerguy08, no I would not

southerguy08, no I would not consider this condition norm but then again I haven't lived this way for years like this woman had. Growing up we did not have A/C in our vehicles and now we do....to have a car without A/C now is not the norm so you see it all depends on what you get use to that determines the norm. All I'm saying is do you really think a woman would choose to live in these conditions or have her children live in these conditions unless she didn't know of any other way out. I agree with bm4, where are the grandparents, other family, neighbors, etc. When you live like this, eventually you just get numb to it and figure this is just the way it is, make the most of it.

The Ode
2
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The Ode 08/04/09 - 10:21 am
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It is awesome how at the end

It is awesome how at the end of this a church shows up to get themselves some cheap publicity and speak favorably about a woman they don't even know. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Happy Camper 455
6
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Happy Camper 455 08/04/09 - 10:26 am
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Yeah. She misses them

Yeah. She misses them alright. Give me a damn break. This is so UNREAL.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 10:49 am
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Give it a rest "The Ode".

Give it a rest "The Ode". You're just a miserable, grumpy, old man/woman. You complain about anything the church does, whether good or bad, and blame everthing on Christians. How do you know that the people of the church don't know this woman by now. It's been a while since this story first became known, and some people do change, if you give them help and lift them up instead of tearing them down. This woman needs to be held accountable but some people deserve a second chance too.

SusieQ
1
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SusieQ 08/04/09 - 10:52 am
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bm4- I asked the same thing

bm4- I asked the same thing yesterday, where were other family members?? Surely, they knew where their daughter, sister, or whatever was? Wasn't he living someplace on Wrightsboro road?? Didn't they know where his family was. Didn't the man ( a commissioner, wasn't it?) that rented to them, know this place had no water, electricity, etc. Did he never check on his property? There's so many things we don't know about this situation. SusieQ

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 11:06 am
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SusieQ, I read an article and

SusieQ, I read an article and it said that Mr. Long had not had contact with his family in several years. His father tried to track him down so evidently there were some issues there. The article said he kept to himself arriving home late at night and that the neighbor across the street never saw the kids outside. Seems people knew something was odd but no one reported it.

The Ode
2
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The Ode 08/04/09 - 11:22 am
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ICL - a second chance? The

ICL - a second chance? The woman had 11 chances to close her legs and not burden society. And btw "the church" hasn't done anything good. Centuries of history are littered with the killing and oppression of millions of people by "the church."

Riverman1
83996
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Riverman1 08/04/09 - 11:49 am
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I believe it's wrong to paint

I believe it's wrong to paint this as churches being in favor of the minor punishment the woman received. Because one church does certainly doesn't mean most do. Arguments using religion are misplaced in this case.

russian7.62
0
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russian7.62 08/04/09 - 12:27 pm
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Spot on River

Spot on River

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 01:14 pm
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The Ode, you are misinformed

The Ode, you are misinformed about "the church", there are a number of good things the church as done recently and when in the last century have you heard of "the church" killing or oppressed anyone. Give the hatred for the church a rest. I see you consider children burdens instead of blessings. Her care of these children was lacking but the church had nothing to do with it.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 08/04/09 - 01:55 pm
0
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INCHRIST, you could use your
Unpublished

INCHRIST, you could use your argument to defend every dirtbag parent in the world. Where do you draw the line? Parents like this are ample argument that orphanages aren't necessarily the worst environment for children to grow up in. Take the children away and make examples of this woman and the father. That will get the message out to other potential abusive parents faster than anything else.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 02:44 pm
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southernguy08, I'm not

southernguy08, I'm not defending this woman. The conditions those children had to live in was horrible. What I'm saying is, this woman is trying to rehabilitate herself to become a productive citizen. It does seem odd that they would only require her to spend the weekends in jail but truthfully if she spent the entire two or three years in prison what good would come of that except be a burden on tax payers. The children are in good foster homes and wouldn't it be better to teach Mrs. Long some job skills, parenting skills, and self esteem so that she betters herself. I'm not saying she should have the children returned to her but wouldn't it be better if she knew the proper way of taking care of them if that should ever happen. At least now she does have some kind of support system through the church where people can assist her.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 08/04/09 - 02:57 pm
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INCHRIST, what good would
Unpublished

INCHRIST, what good would come of this man and woman serving time? How about sending a message to other parents not to put their children through this? I guarantee, if we don't send a strong message, we will be seeing this again and again. Compassion is one thing, but you have to draw the line somewhere. When this woman's sentence is up, I'll bet she'll claim to be a new person and want those kids back. God help them. In other words, if you can't raise them and provide for them, you don't deserve them! Sorry that sounds hard but it's a hard world!

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/04/09 - 03:16 pm
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southernguy08, I understand

southernguy08, I understand your reasoning on this. I just think that if you can take a person, educated them and make them productive, that's a far better alternative than sticking them in a jail cell for two or three years where when they get out they go right back into a society that is tough enough to get on your feet now a days, much less once you have a prison record. The husband can always go back to manual labor jobs such as construction but what alternative does she have once she gets out. Teach her to support herself and hopefully is in this type situation again. If as you guys say, she didn't love the children, then do you think she's going to want them back.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 08/04/09 - 03:24 pm
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INCHRIST, take a look at
Unpublished

INCHRIST, take a look at prisons. We've spent billions on education and "rehabilitation" on prisoners through the decades. Where's it gotten us? Do they learn? No, they come back like the prison has a revolving door. Sending a message of tough punishment to these dirtbags gets through a lot faster than compassion. And yes, many dirtbag parents couldn't care less for their children but see them as means for more from the state in the form of welfare and food stamps. Sorry you don't like the truth, but it's still the truth. I've worked in law enforcement, and I've seen these dirtbags that call themselves parents. They aren't fit to keep animals.

SusieQ
1
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SusieQ 08/04/09 - 03:35 pm
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InChristLove-Yes, she will

InChristLove-Yes, she will want them back because the more kids she has the more people will feel sorry for her. I don't feel sorry for her at all. I pray for these kids. I still believe in "Where There's A Will There's A Way". She was only worried that she was there for this low life man, if one can call him a man. At age 15 I knew you wasn't suppose to live in these conditions, so as far as I'm concern her age made no difference. God forbid, she will never get them back. I will pray that they are never returned to her. When this guy gets out she will be back in his arms again making more babies, and living the same way. SusieQ

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