This report is part 17 of an investigative series looking into reported corruption in the Missouri Judiciary and family courts. For the rest of the investigation, visit the catalog here.
Charles Haynes pleaded guilty to raping his step-daughter Melissa Hogg and is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Farmington Correctional in Missouri for the crime. PJ Media reported the events that lead up to his incarceration and to the suicide of his 14-year-old daughter, Mikaela. Guardian ad litem Jennifer Williams withdrew from the case after her actions—repeatedly procuring visitation for Haynes with his young teen daughter against her wishes and her therapist’s advice— were brought to light.
What do you call it when a guardian ad litem advocates for a convicted child rapist to have access to teen girls even after one of them commits suicide? #JenniferWilliams #RipleyCountyMo pic.twitter.com/Z1uKC8Ilus
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) May 1, 2021
But the attempts to place the remaining teen daughter, Mikaela’s younger sister, into Haynes’ custody have not stopped. Attorney Keri Smith of Marler Law Partners argued in court Friday that Haynes, a convicted child rapist, has a right to be a parent to his teen daughter. PJ Media witnessed that hearing and made a transcript.
After demanding that the judge issue a “no recording order,” claiming that media presence is not in the best interest of the children, Smith proceeded to argue for a child sodomizer to have access to another teen girl.
“Seeing that the children are parties to the case, you’re the only judge that has jurisdiction over these children, so custody and those things are very much still in play in this case according to Missouri state law,” Smith said, referencing the closed juvenile case that awarded custody of the teen to her mother, Cynthia Randolph.
“My client is incarcerated in Farmington correction,” said Smith, emphasizing that Haynes had not molested the last child living in his house. “However, he is a sex offender so he knows under Missouri state law he cannot receive unsupervised visitation, as that is the law. However, he is still asking for contact, as well as letters, while he is incarcerated.” Smith continued to fight for the admitted child sodomizer—whose preferred victims are young teen girls—even suggesting Haynes intends to fight for more access when he gets out of prison.
“Obviously, he can’t do anything proactive unless he gets out prior to our trial…but he still has his parental rights,” Smith argued. “His rights were not terminated and the juvenile case is closed and the jurisdiction over those children was terminated and you are the only one at this point who has jurisdiction and the children are a party to this case…and the law requires you to appoint a GAL for determinations and findings.”
Smith is determined to have a GAL appointed as soon as possible and she badgered the judge about it for the entire hearing. PJ Media’s investigation into the GAL scandal in Missouri has shown court guardians acting in collusion with attorneys to suppress evidence of child abuse like in the case of Child S, who was handed over to her alleged abuser after multiple hotline calls and disclosures were hidden from the court by GAL Elaine Pudlowski— who is being sued for her actions in several cases.
Randolph’s attorney, Evita Tolu, argued that a GAL is not necessary and all that remains, in this case, is to divide the properties of the two people and divorce them after eleven long years. “Your Honor, there are no allegations of abuse in this case,” argued Tolu. “The children are safe and well cared for and bringing another person into this case—Ms. Smith’s position is only to create costs and further drama to these children. These children need to be left alone. We just need to divide assets and let this family be free from this court.”
Randolph has been trying to divorce Haynes for eleven years. During that time, he went to prison for raping one daughter and was involved in the events that led to the suicide of another daughter, Mikaela. Now, he’s got his sights on the youngest and it seems that the court is going to let him. Missouri law says:
The court shall not grant visitation to the parent not granted custody if such parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of or pled guilty to any of the following offenses when a child was the victim: a. A felony violation of section 566.030, 566.032, 566.031 , 566.060, 566.062, 566.064, 566.067, 566.068, 566.061 , 566.083, 566.101 , 566.100, 566.111, 566.151, 566.203, 566.206, 566.209, 566.211 , or 566.215;
Haynes plead guilty to second-degree sodomy which is covered under 566.064 and as such it seems the law prohibits him from having any visitation. But Judge H. Mark Preyer appeared to entertain the possibility that this predator has a right to prey on another child.
JUDGE PREYER: Ms. Tolu, [Keri Smith is] right that there’s two people who could have custody. Obviously one has limited rights… I do think if there’s allegations of abuse I’m required to appoint a guardian ad litem… How far apart are you?… If this is going to be a full-blown litigated custody matter or do you have objection to some level of contact?
Later in the hearing, Judge Preyer claimed to care about the safety of children and yet he considered the possibility that a convicted child rapist “could have custody.” It’s not clear if he’s ignorant of the law or just ignoring it. Tolu fought hard to make the judge understand what happened to vulnerable children in this case. “My client objects [to] hauling a 12-year-old to jail to be reunited with a sex offender who raped her oldest sister, absolutely! We don’t need drama and Dr. Jerry Marks, who is the treating psychologist of the minor, has said there should not be any reunification of this kind because the oldest child committed suicide because she was reunified with the sister’s rapist.”
Dr. Jerry Marks did, in fact, write many letters telling GAL Jennifer Williams and other court professionals that the girls should never be in the presence of Haynes or his enabler mother Bernice Haynes, who allowed her son unsupervised access to the girls. Marks wrote on January 11, 2021, “It has been brought to my attention that Mr. Haynes has reached out to [the child] at Christmas along with his mother. I wanted to reinforce my recommendation that I made about one year ago that neither he nor his mother have any contact with [the child] until and if she seeks out that contact. I believe that, given the history of this case, it is best not to expose [the child] to either of these people as they have not shown any caring for [the child] in the divorce process.”
Smith also admitted in court that she has not deposed Dr. Marks yet. Dr. Marks has been on the record advocating for the children for many years. It is inexplicable why he hasn’t been deposed in all this time unless lawyers are purposefully dragging out the process. Smith claims that she cannot depose Marks without a GAL on the case but she has only been missing a GAL for the last few weeks.
On the subject of GALs, Smith revealed a shocking fact about conflicts of interest in this case.
KERI SMITH: I know every GAL that has this training, I can give you the list, however I can tell you this: every single one of them will be conflicted out in this case. Every GAL has in some manner been affiliated with this case… and frankly, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone due to the nature of this case. I think you’ll have to appoint someone… the media presence and the threats that the GAL has already suffered… you’re going to have to. The nature of the case, the law requires it.
Smith argued that Williams has suffered “death threats” as a result of media reporting. PJ Media has seen no evidence of any death threats. Williams never responded to our inquiry and instead withdrew from the case, attaching our inquiry as the reason for her withdrawal. The inquiry did not contain any death threats but it did pose multiple questions about her documented actions in the case. It is fairly common for targets of investigative reporting to claim “death threats” as a result of increased public attention on their actions.
PJ Media sent Smith a similar press inquiry asking why she argued against Missouri law in order to procure a child for visitation with a child rapist but Smith also refused to respond. It remains to be seen if she will also claim “death threats” and withdraw from this case.