Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris, who gave away his adopted daughters to a child molester because he and his wife thought they were possessed by demons, will be given an award for courage at a dinner for Senator Ted Cruz tonight. Harris and a fellow state representative, Charlene Fite, are being commended for “standing strong in faith.”

The Arkansas Times’ Benjamin Hardy wrote a stellar, multi-part, Pulitzer-worthy series on how Harris and his wife “rehomed” two adopted children with a man named Eric Cameron Francis, who raped one of them, a six-year-old child. Francis was convicted of rape and second-degree sexual assault, and will serve 40 years in prison.

Meanwhile, the The Family Council Action Committee, a “family values” organization associated with the national, hotly anti-gay and anti-abortion Focus on the Family, thinks Justin Harris deserves some recognition for his bravery. Hardy reports he will be awarded a “Power of Courage” award at the Crawford County Republican Party’s “Lincoln Day” Dinner in Van Buren. According to the ticketing information, which you can see here, the dinner will be held at Van Buren High School beginning at 6 pm.

Via Hardy, a press release announcing the award commends Harris and Fite for anti-abortion legislation they supported this year, yet somehow fails to mention Harris’s important work handing over children to sexual abusers:

The group’s press release say Fite and Harris “demonstrated courage by standing strong in faith when situations were tough at the State Capitol and they did so with grace. They are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches.” It commends the two lawmakers for their work on legislation regarding abortion.

The only mention that the Family Council makes of the kind of year Harris had is the following sentence: “Even when opposed by the liberal media, Representative Harris has always held firm and stood tall in his faith.”

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law in April that outlawed “rehoming” adoptive children, making it a felony to assign custody to anyone other than close relatives without permission from a family court judge. Harris and his wife never faced any charges, and they never will.

Hardy posted the full press release from the Family Council Action Committee; you can read it here.

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Drew Petrimoulx, a reporter for a local Fox affiliate, tried to ask Cruz what his opinion about Harris was, and if he was aware of Harris’s “background.” Cruz declined to answer, saying repeatedly, “You’re trying to get me involved in local legislative matters.” His campaign, however, evidently told Petrimoulx that the award would no longer be presented.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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