Stand with Sophia campaign started on a heartbreaking note. The father of the 9-year-old girl was screaming for help in a viral video and he has finally won the custody of his daughter for the time being.
In a viral video, Sophie, the little girl accused her mother Kelly’s fiancée of sexually abusing her. She did that her grandmother (Kelly’s Mother) dragged her out of the car during a paternity exchange. This video went viral with #StandWithSophia.
A judge on Wednesday finally awarded the full custody of Sophia and her two brothers to the father Michael. He will have the trial till November when the lengthy custody battle between Michael and Kelly will be resolved.
Michael said he wants to enroll the children in his town Seguin, Texas. His lawyer, Jamie L Graham said they are super excited about the decision.
Stand with Sophia – Story of her
Michael and his wife Kourtney previously told Daily Mail, that they could not sleep at night in guilt for the abuse Sophia had gone through. Sophia and her brothers were to handover back to the mom, Kelly, this week. The stepmother and the father were terrified of that. However, the judge decided otherwise.
They said in an interview that they have spent their entire life savings on the legal battle. Sophia, once a bubbly child has become a shadow of herself, Kourtney, her stepmother said. They have given up their dream home plan to secure the future for Sophia and her two brothers.
Kourtney told Daily Mail,
‘It’s really, really hard. There’s a lot of guilt – you try to think if there was a sign you could have seen sooner if they were trying to tell you in some other way.
‘It felt just awful [to hear what she said] and you feel disgusted all the time, especially with everybody telling you right and left that it shouldn’t be this hard to remove a child from an abusive situation.
‘I just don’t understand why everybody just keeps throwing them back to the wolves.’
Michael confirmed that Kelly was initially given full custody and Michael was only granted intermittent episodes of supervised access to the children. However, since 2016, He along with Kourtney started a legal battle for shared custody and co-conservator with ex-wife, Kelly.
Despite several attempts and plea about the sexual abuse that Sophia has faced, their pleas were unheard of. Michael said that Child protective services completely failed them.
‘It’s one of those helpless things – as a parent, you do everything you can do to make sure your child gets the help she needs.
‘The legal system failed us miserably. I knew the only way to protect Sophie was to record everything.
‘I realized we were completely broke, we’d spent everything we had, so you know what, if no one else is going to speak for Sophie, I’ll let her speak for herself. So I released it and we’ll let the world decide.
‘While nobody wants to be under scrutiny in that way and I certainly don’t want my daughter to be under public scrutiny for something so sensitive, I thought I’d let her speak up for herself rather than be put in this situation again and again.’
Her stepmom shares some grim details of the ordeal that the little girl went through. During the summer vacation, the little girl complained about pain in her private parts. She was taken to a clinic and yeast infection was diagnosed. However, Sophia was worried that the doctor would take photos of her private parts.
At last, she told Kourtney that Mr. Jake, the fiancée of her mom, Kelly, along with some of his friends, has been sexually abusing her.
After medics and forensic interviewers had a discussion with the little girl and medical note has been provided as ‘sexual abuse suspected’. However, Kourtney believes that the assault was going on for long. The change in behavior was noted in 2017.
She has withstood a lot of trauma but on August 14 when the custody exchange was taking place. She screamed for help as her grandmother dragged her away from the car.
‘The agreement that had been sent over was that we’d stay in the car, her grandma would come over and Sophie would make the transition.
‘What happened was I unlocked the car, her grandma showed up and it looked like an abduction in the back of my car. Thank God I was filming.
‘But this is the most helpless feeling I’ve ever felt in my life – my daughter was screaming for her life while I was holding a video camera and that’s all I could do.
‘This world is broken if that’s all a father can do to protect his daughter. I’m having to film my daughter getting assaulted in the back of my own vehicle and if I do anything wrong, my parental rights are going to be gone.’
Sophie left with her father, but a week later, she was heard handed back to the mother along with her brothers. Kelly then took a restraining order to stop Michael and Kourtney to even facetiming.
The decision was again overturned and they were back with the father for labor day weekend. The children were to go back to the mom after the weekend.
Michael concluded by saying,
“They completely took her innocence away. But they didn’t take her power away and they didn’t take her will.
In terms of how I feel towards them, I hope they pay for what they’ve done. I don’t believe in violence, I don’t believe in death threats but justice needs to be served.
At this point, there’s so much evidence, if justice isn’t served, it tells me the system is completely collapsed and there is no justice for children in the United States.”
There is a Facebook Private Group with 121K members for Stand with Sophia.