Tags: Idaho | Impasse: | 'American | Tragedy | the | Making'

Idaho Impasse: 'American Tragedy in the Making'

Thursday, 31 May 2001 12:00 AM

SANDPOINT, Idaho - A modern American tragedy in the making. That’s what the Sagle, Idaho, McGuckin family "standoff" represents.

The McGuckin family home and the 40 acres upon which it stands were recently sold for a pittance by the county government for past-due taxes. It brought only $50,000, while the property is in prime territory, with fully half of Beaver Lake on its eastern edge.

Dad died recently, after a long and valiant struggle with multiple sclerosis, not of "malnutrition and dehydration," which has widely and falsely been reported as the cause of death. Just a couple days after this tight-knit family buried Dad, county government lured her out with a promise of money and free groceries, then arrested her, leaving them only to have to deal with the kids. That was a mistake, of course, but not their first.

Rather than allow this tightly knit family a decent period to grieve the loss of their beloved husband and father, the county government instead is doing its best to make the family’s worst nightmare come true.

For years, Mrs. McGuckin has been fearful of the government taking her property and her kids. Today, that fear is realized, with the issuance of an order through Child Protection Services, making the six children its wards. Of course, the Sheriff can’t get near the house to make good on that order.

She has been jailed on a charge of felony child endangerment, allegedly for not providing a proper home for the children, including food, hygiene and education.

Well, admittedly the running water is off temporarily, because the well pump broke and, what with Dad’s severe condition as his days drew to a close, they just didn’t have the time or the money to deal with it properly. So, they drew water from the crystal-clear lake on their property for washing and to flush their toilets with. And, yes, the laundry did pile up, but what family doesn’t have a few domestic backlogs when it loses its patriarch?

And the children are home schooled, fact which makes them politically incorrect, even by North Idaho standards.

But they do have food, contrary to reports, and the power was hooked up and paid for when Mrs. McGuckin was arrested.

Are they armed? Who knows? Nobody has seen any weapons and no gunshots have been fired. Sheriff Jarvis has shown great prudence in executing the orders he is lawfully obligated to follow. He did not cut off any essential services, as has been reported. He has vowed to keep his men well away from the house and allow us time to effect a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

That resolution must begin with the release from custody of JoAnn McGuckin and the rescission of the order giving custody of her children over to the government. Friends and family stand ready to accept responsibility for the children while Mrs. McGuckin puts her life in order and proves the outrageous charges against herself to be false. However, the demand by the county Prosecuting Attorney that the bail, initially set for $10,000, be elevated to $100,000, effectively guarantees that Mrs. McGuckin will not be given that opportunity.

We are now asking the court for a reduction in the bond requirement and will then seek a modification to the CPS order, whereby the children are given over, as a single unit, to the custody of a trusted family friend. Then, we will take on these outlandish charges and give them the ignominious end that they deserve. We are also investigating this highly questionable attempted seizure of the McGuckin family home.

Donations to the family can be made to: McGuckin Family Trust, PO Box 1255, Sagle, ID 83860.

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SANDPOINT, Idaho -A modern American tragedy in the making.That's what the Sagle, Idaho, McGuckin family standoff represents. The McGuckin family home and the 40 acres upon which it stands were recently sold for a pittance by the county government for past-due taxes.It...
Thursday, 31 May 2001 12:00 AM
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