Child Abuse Case Used to Question the Patriot Act

In July 2007, FBI agent Scott D. Eicher, a 10-year veteran of the Bureau, filed an affidavit stating that he had interviewed the flight attendant, pilots, and several passengers and supported the arrest of Freeman based on the following facts:

  • "Maria Aldeguer observed Freeman drinking alcohol on the flight, cursing and screaming at her children, and hitting the children with open fists on their shoulders and knees."

  • "David Shipman stated that he observed Freeman hit her children with a closed fist during the flight."

  • Carrie Storin, who was sitting in front of Freeman on the flight, heard Freeman hitting her children "the entire flight," to the point where the children were trying to hide in a corner and on the floor.

  • Amy Grant observed Freeman hitting her children repeatedly and yelling profanities at her children and at the flight attendant. She observed Freeman swing with an opened hand down at the children and heard the children crying after being struck.

  • Katie Shanahan observed Freeman drop her son on his back and head on the ground when he did not want to go to the bathroom with her [in the airport]. Freeman let her son on the ground crying for several minutes.

  • Dianne Delverstoni was the passenger who first approached the flight attendants regarding Freeman's assaultive behavior toward the children. She observed Freeman hitting her son several times "over and over," using profanity to the flight attendant, and throwing a drink.

In other words, it was the passengers who asked the flight attendants on Frontier Airlines to intervene for the welfare and safety of two helpless children. Their actions fell under the banner of society's common welfare, not the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act indeed has significant flaws, including the fact that it allows the government to break in and search your home without your knowledge. Further, it allows the government to monitor what books you take out of the library and medical treatments you may have received. But when journalists misrepresent situations to prove a point it smells as dangerous as phony holocaust stories. The truth is more than enough.

Note: Annie Jacobsen contacted reporters Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae via their email addresses listed at the bottom of their story requesting comment. Neither responded by press time.