The Lakota People’s Law Project is working to create a permanent solution for Lakota foster children and families by creating Lakota run foster care. Unfortunately, we are unable to take on individual cases at this time, but through spreading awareness, we can all help to create the change that so many young children need.
Many of you are aware of the latent corruption that is involved in the Mette Case of South Dakota. For those of you that aren’t aware, there’s a brief summary below and more information can be found at: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/the-mette-affair .
We ask you to contact Virgena Wiesler, the Acting Program Administrator for the Child Protection Services Department of the Department of Social Services in South Dakota. Please call, write, or email Ms. Wiesler telling her that you are aware of the activities and accusations that have been brought upon South Dakota’s Depatment of Social Services and insist upon the release of the children from Wendy Mette’s custody. These children have been through enough and they belong with their relatives that are more than able to care for them.
Acting Program Administrator
Child Protection Services
Department of Social Services
Richard F Kneip Building
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2291
phone: (605) 773-3227
Mette Affair Summary:
The South Dakota Dept. of Social Services placed 7 Lakota foster children into foster care with a non-Native, known molester, Richard Mette, and his enabling wife, Wendy Mette, from 2000 to 2013. The DSS knew of the accusations against Mr. Mette, but still placed Lakota foster children with him.
The state ignored MULTIPLE complaints of sexual and physical abuse, and pleas for help from the children.
Brandon Taliaferro, the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for criminal child abuse cases in Brown County, immediately began an investigation.
The police searched the Mette house and find more evidence of sexual abuse, including enough pornography to “pack a store”, including “family incest” porn.
The children revealed they had been subjected to physical abuse, sexual molestation and threats of being beaten if they did not comply with the molestation or if they told anyone.
The disgusted police charged Mr. Mette with 23 counts of child rape and incest, and Mrs. Mette with 11 counts of physical abuse and enabling.
The State prosecutor, however, first attempted to drop all charges, and charged sexual predator Mr. Mette with only one count of “spanking”. When the State was not allowed to do this, they decided to charge Mr. Mette with only one count of rape of a child under 10. The other 22 charges of aggravated child rape and incest were dropped.
The State then dropped all charges against Mrs. Mette, who the children said knew about and enabled the abuse.
The state then went after the Lakota childrens’ advocates instead! Rather than save the Mette children from a known sexual predator and his enabling wife, the state of South Dakota brought felony charges against Brandon Taliaferro, the attorney who started the investigation and advocated for the kids, and Shirley Schwab, the childrens’ Court
Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
The judge acquitted the advocates of all charges, due to the state’s complete lack of evidence against Taliaferro and Schwab.
Children are now back with Mrs. Mette, where they can’t sue the State DSS. Since they are now minors in the custody of Wendy Mette, the person who enabled the abuse, they cannot sue the state without her permission and support.