Christines' Story Not Your Ordinary Travesty

By Steve Trinward



This article was published on August 25, 2001.

Permission to reprint/republish granted by

All Sierra Times news reports, and all editorials are © 2001™, A Subsidiary of J.J. Johnson Enterprises, Inc.





If this story sounds familiar, it should; similar things are happening to families all over this land … and all in the name of “the children”. If this story makes your flesh crawl and your stomach churn … Congratulations! You still have a heart ­and a mind capable of trolling through the major media and government lies to find a smidgen of the Truth!


The Christine Family

Brian and Ruth Christine must wish they had never decided to stop in Grants Pass, Oregon. The couple, both 28, do not fit the stereotypes about itinerant, uneducated ne’er-do-wells, which the social services agencies use to perpetuate their interventions. Both are college-degreed, with professional experience in several businesses.


But back in 1998, they decided to change all of that. They bought a small bus, painted it (white and tan, with green mountains and trees), converted it for living quarters, and began a series of trips with their two young daughters. After a few trial runs, it was evident that this “life on the road” suited them all.


They spent the next two years traveling around the country, adding another daughter to the clan, meeting new friends and experiencing a variety of communities. Ruth was homeschooling the children from the outset, while also helping them to interact with the social life in whatever community they happened to be in at the time.


All was fine until they got to GrantsPass.


At the time they were just passing through, though they had been praying regularly, hoping to find a setting suitable to settle down for a while and raise their growing family. (Ruth was once again expecting at this point.) The pastoral community of Grants Pass, Oregon, beside the beautiful Rogue River seemed perfect. When a local farmer consented to let them anchor their rolling home on his property, they took him up on the offer.


As Brian put it, in a wistful retrospective Guest Opinion in the local Daily Courier last November: “Our daughters could feed various animals and spend many happy hours playing outdoors…” The motorhome was parked on the edge of the farmer’s land, adjacent to the Josephine County Library.


The First Attack on the Christines

On July 31st, 2000, it suddenly all hit the fan. With no warning whatsoever, local police (backed by Oregon Services for Children and Families caseworkers - SCF) descended on the motorhome and took the three Christine daughters. As it turned out, they had received an anonymous phone-tip from someone complaining about “a family living behind the library.”


The caller had known just how to get the police’s attention: by claiming possible “child abuse” because a child “appeared dehydrated.” (The fact is, one of the girls WAS a bit dehydrated, having just rebounded from an illness, during which she had refused to eat. She had resumed eating, and was recovering normally.)


The SCF workers claimed at the time of the taking that all three daughters were “undernourished and only days from certain death.” The three girls were admitted to the local hospital and held for four days. The SCF folks also noted a bandage on the forehead of one of the other daughters, covering a 3-inch cut that the parents said had occurred in a simple fall. That, in combination with the somewhat slender bodies of the children (the family were all vegetarians) was all they needed to declare “abuse,” and split the family. They also cited the Christines’ unorthodox lifestyle as evidence of “mistreatment” of the children.


(As Brian noted in his Guest Opinion. “The reason we live our lifestyle of travel is because we wanted to be together 100% of the time. We live according to our religious beliefs, including the way we school, spend our time, spend and make our money, eat, sleep, travel and take care of our health.” It would seem in retrospect that the Christines are being pilloried for simply choosing to live outside the lines of conventional sheepdom.)


The aftermath of this event got worse and worse. Alleging sexual abuse, despite no evidence or claims to sustain the charge, an SCF worker stripped the girls naked, and took photographs of their bodies, with genital close-ups. Attempts to introduce these into evidence at court hearings were met by Judge Allan Coon’s rejecting them and calling them “pornographic.”


Nevertheless, the SCF subjected each of the girls to painful and invasive sexual examinations.


Further violations of the family’s wishes included the administering of “live virus” vaccinations, the placing of Bethany Christine in a public primary school, where, as Brian notes, “prayer is not allowed and the mention of God is punishable. The list of violations,” he concluded, “of religious belief, personal security and basic human rights, is too long for this article. SCF has a mission to ‘Help bring families back together’. My question is, Why do they break them up in the first place?”


(Note: One observer of these proceedings has written a commentary in defense of the Christines: Roger Fredinburg, whose on-air radio interview with Ruth Christine last winter caused the Oregon State Police to question him about recent events. In that commentary he tells about his questioning, and of being shown ‘before and after” photos of the Christine children, allegedly showing the “abuse” of each at the hands of their parents.


Fredinburg notes that the detective who showed him the photos “… had no way of knowing that I worked in the manufacturing of film for 3M Company for nearly a decade and that my job for much of that time, as a Quality Control Inspector, was to test and manipulate photographs to determine the products’ range and viability for customer use.”


In Fredinburg’s words, “The before photo of the children taken by SCF immediately after their abduction by the state is a manipulated photo intended to show a less than favorable example of just how thin the kids were at the time. This photo has red eye varying grain patterns and fluctuating contrasts, a good indication it has been tampered with.


The "after" photo

"The after photo shows happy little girls who are well fed and clean. One girl looks like she is obese now. … I might accuse the SCF of child abuse. You can’t put little kids on fattening diets after they have been vegetarians without greatly risking their health.” The rest of Fredinburg’s commentary is well worth the read, as a consideration of how much work there is to do in regaining this part of our freedoms.)


The upshot of it all was the legal aspect: both Brian and Ruth were charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment of the children. Brian was additionally charged with fourth-degree assault, for resisting the taking of his children.


(Ironically, or perhaps just fortunately, another child has escaped the SCF machinery. At the time of the taking, Ruth was pregnant with the Christines’ fourth child. When Olivia (now 11 months old) emerged from her mother, they were visiting Ruth’s own mother in Indiana. Olivia has been in her Granny’s custody ever since, and the Indiana judge is not about to give up jurisdiction to Oregon.)


Over the next year, Ruth and Brian Christine did everything they knew how to, attempting to get their children back, while still obeying the law. They initiated community petitions, and wrote letters to newspapers and legislators. They filed forms and affidavits, charging repeated malfeasance and illegal actions on the part of the SCF and other Oregon state agencies. They appealed to the mayor, local clergy and other families in GrantsPass. They found themselves up against a climate of fear and terror, perpetuated by the SCF and keeping families from supporting their cause, for fear of losing their own children to the agency’s machinations.


The Breaking Point

On August 1, 2001 ­ a full YEAR after their children had been stolen from them­ the Christine parents decided to take more direct action. Following a supervised visit at the SCF’s Grants Pass branch office, Brian followed the SCF worker who was transporting the children in a minivan, back to their undisclosed foster-care location. When the worker stopped at a rest stop along the way, Brian stepped up with a gun in his hand, took the children and the minivan, and drove away.


The minivan was discovered abandoned about a mile away. Police investigators found from witnesses that Brian and his daughters had been joined by a man and a woman, presumed to be Ruth, switched to an SUV, and driven away, leaving the minivan and a station wagon. They were also on the lookout for the family’s bus, which was also missing.


Over the next four days the Oregon State Police had a bulletin out on the ‘fugitives,” who were “considered armed and dangerous.” On Friday, August 3, Brian Christine was arrested in neighboring Missoula, Montana, after being stopped for speeding, on Oregon warrants for armed robbery (he “stole” his children), kidnapping (ditto!), custodial interference (a procedural definition) and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (this charge is still not quite clear). He is still in Yellowstone County Jail in Billings at this writing.


Two days later, on Sunday, August 5, Montana police arrested Matt Gerawan, when he came home while his house was being searched for the missing Christines, and charged him with aiding an abduction. That evening, they found Ruth and her three daughters, in a house just west of Missoula. The girls were turned over to Montana Child Protection Services, who quickly sent them back to Oregon’s SCF. Ruth was arrested and held in the MissoulaCountyDetentionCenter, charged with kidnapping, armed robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. (Apparently, “custodial interference” only happens if you are actually present when the “crime” occurs?)


Now Ruth, in her Missoula jail-cell, is about to give birth to a fifth child. Since she refuses to waive extradition on her own charges, the OSCF can’t step in and order that the custody be turned over to them at the moment of birth. Meanwhile, the Indiana grandmother is willing to take custody if need be, as is a local Missoula family, who would adopt the baby upon birth ­ anything to keep it from what some call the “Oregon snatch-and-sell factory.”


Enter the Cavalry - Edgar J. Steele

The most recent twist in the Christines’ case is the entry of Attorney Edgar J. Steele into the picture. Steele made recent news waves by attempting to represent JoAnn McGuckin in her efforts to save family, home and property from the machinations of a local political clique in Idaho. Now he has begun by setting up the Christines Defense Fund (

P.O. Box 1255, Sagle, ID83860
), and has just been retained by the Christines to aid in their defense.


Although he has yet to meet either of the parents face-to-face, he has spoken to them many times by phone.


His summary of the current situation:


"The state is now moving to terminate parental rights, with a "permanency hearing" (a sort of nominal required review of custody at regular intervals) set for September 20. I'll be there if at all possible, but the real action will be on the Termination petitions that were just served on them in jail, to allow the girls to be adopted by the foster parents with whom they have lived this past year. This is going to be near impossible to prevent, but we're going to try, nonetheless.


"I have yet to see or hear anything to indicate that the Christines are anything but doting parents,” he declares. “You have to ask yourself why Oregon is so intent upon destroying this family that it drove the parents to the desperate act of love that they employed in rescuing (I refuse to dignify the Oregon SCF Nazi position by using its term "kidnapped") their three beautiful little girls from the Oregon snatch-n-sell operation.”


“I haven't seen any of the paperwork in the files, but the only reference to a child's skull fracture that I have seen was in a pretty sloppy newspaper report. Past experience tells me that the one girl's scalp cut when initially seized (with a band-aid and gotten in a fall - kids do fall down now and again, of course) could easily have been sensationalized with the infamous media license.


With regard to Ruth’s pregnancy, Steele notes the irony of the situation:

 “To allow abortion, the state mandates that one does not exist until birth; therefore no custody can be ordered or applied for until the baby is born. Oregon authorities have confirmed to me that they clearly want to snatch this baby, too, but have to wait for the birth.  They clearly are being driven nuts by Ruth's loitering in a Missoula, Montana jail while the birth is imminent. Not much they can do so long as Ruth refuses to waive extradition on the pending criminal charges, which she does.


"At birth, Montana has jurisdiction, of course, and Oregon must get Montana to hand the kid over to its snatch-n-sell factory.  Montana is willing to do that. Likely, if we move quickly, we can get this child safely into the hands of the Montana family and out of harm's reach, as well….”


Finally, on the criminal charges themselves, Steele admits, “This is going to be tough to beat, with Brian's list the most imposing. All charges relate to the original child "abuse" allegations and the rescue mission that Brian allegedly undertook.” He also notes that, “although Oregon knows full well that both Brian and Christine are languishing in Montana jail cells, it went ahead and defaulted them for failing to appear for arraignment, issuing bench warrants for that failure alone.


"You just gotta love how the legal system works, don't you?” he concludes.

 “In the NFL they call it "piling on" and you get a personal foul. Of course, when it's the referees doing the piling on, they just call it more "anti-government" and lawless activity, and add it to the list of charges….”




Baby Seized by State Police from Mother’s Hospital Room

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