Faye Yager's husband Howard called me a couple of nights ago to point out
the Time story and to ask for some moral support. It seems that the
Yagers have recently been subjected to a wave of threats and vandalism.
I'm so sorry. At the risk of encouraging people to read a story which I
think represents a very distorted caricature of Faye and how she does her
work, here is a copy of the response I just e-mailed to the editor at
1412 Nancy St.
Bloomington, IN 47401-6052
May 8, 1998
To the Editor,
I have known Children of the Underground founder Faye Yager
("Hide and Seek," May 11) and closely followed her work for
five years. She has been a guest in my seminar on children's
rights and safety nine times since the fall of 1993. I in
turn have visited and stayed with her in Atlanta, and
reviewed files of evidence which I believe to be the largest
and best archives of parental violence against children.
Faye is meticulous about requiring and examining
documentation of violence before she helps anyone. I happen
to have reviewed the notebook she put together for the case
you feature in your cover story, where as I recall the
evidence supported a whole series of court orders and an
arrest in vain attempts to stop violence and threats to the
mother, including in front of the children.
Southern Illinois University sociologist Joel Best has
recently published a very careful examination of estimates of
intra-familial child abduction, and has concluded that the
true annual number of such abductions in the U.S. is closer
to 8,000 than to the National Center on Missing and Exploited
Children's figure of 350,000. I don't look on Faye as the
one who is exaggerating and distorting facts here. She has
become one of my most experienced, insightful, reliable
teachers about violence against children and how we respond.
I join many activists and professionals in honoring Faye's
painstaking attempts to show us violence others hide from and
deny, and in gratitude for the countless numbers of children
she has helped escape horrific, often court-supported,
Professor of Criminal Justice