Sus (64) : a new investigation into the Tabitha’s Place community- 19 November 2013
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It focuses on suspicions of undeclared employment and breaches to schooling obligations for children living in the chateau rented by the community.
Monday about 10 officers from the Oloron police and work inspectors intervened in Sus, at the residence quarters of the community of Tabitha’s Place, classified as sectarian by the MIVILUDES.
Information provided by the newspaper France Bleu Bearn and confirmed by the public prosecutor’s office.
“This surprise visit is done within the context of a preliminary enquiry that opened a few weeks ago for undeclared employment and failure to comply with school regulations” said the prosecutor Jean-Christophe Muller. It hasn’t lead to any questionings.
What is the starting point of these new enquiries? The Justice department remains silent, as the members of Tabitha’s Place who didn’t wish to speak
Currently, according to the Mayor of Sus, between 90 and 120 people live in the chateau rented by the sect since 1983. In September 26 children aged less than 16 were reported as homeschooling there, which is within the law. Homeschooling is a right that has the status of a rule among the members of this community which rejects scholarisation of their children and already has had confrontations with the law on this issue.
New proceedings have begun and are on the way before the administrative court of Pau, following the order issued by the department of education to enrol the 25 children at school this last spring (march-April 2013). This order was issued in the light of the great deficiencies in learning detected by evaluation tests conducted on the children.
“We have objected to the organization of controls and have prevailed, the administrative court has suspended the decision coming from the Education department, the children continued to be homeschooled. The case is still being examined” explains the community’s lawyer Me Selles who successfully overturned a similar decision in 2011 for five children.
Has the inspection office of the education department originated this new criminal investigation? One thing is certain…a report has been addressed to the public prosecutor.
He also examines the working conditions of the community members.
Until 2011 its commercial activities , bread and organic products sales and building work, were all regrouped under the company called “Reuben and brothers” which has since been dissolved.
“My clients are not mega rich, in fact they don’t own a thing” says Me Selles, their lawyer. While someone who knows the case well said “They would have other companies by now”.
MIVILUDES =Mission Interministerielle de Vigilance et de Lutte contre les Derives Sectaires can be translated as Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting against Cultish Deviances.