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MOTHER CAN’T BE FORCED TO PAY

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Repercussions of a Utah mother's stay with the anti-government Freemen group continued Thursday as a judge ruled the court will not set aside Gloria Ward's money to evaluate the well-being of her two daughters.

It's been nearly two months since Ward walked out of the Jordan, Mont., compound with 8-year-old Jaylynn on one arm and 10-year-old Courtnie on the other. Now, as Courtnie and Jaylynn remain in the temporary custody of Courtnie's father, several issues remain unresolved about the girls and the lifestyle they led with their mother.The court hasn't yet decided who will get custody of the two girls, and a new wrinkle emerged Thursday in the state's effort to evaluate family members and the girls. The court will consider these evaluations when it grants permanent custody.

As a result of a hearing before 3rd District Court Judge Timothy R. Hanson Thursday, it is unclear who, if anyone, will pay for treatment and supervision the court and state child officials have recommended.

Ward, who is known in Utah as Tamara J. Mangum, is about to receive $19,000 as part of a mortgage settlement.

Kristin Brewer, who acts on the girls' behalf as the state's guardian ad litem, has asked the court to set aside $10,000 of the settlement to pay for services, evaluations and supervised visitation.

On Thursday, Hanson refused Brewer's request and argued the guardian's claim that Ward won't pay her bills because of her anti-government beliefs.

"She may be affiliated or was once affiliated with groups that think the state and federal government have no authority, but that is irrelevant. What I have to do is follow the law," Hanson said.

"There is no evidence before me that she is obligated to pay anything or will be obligated to pay anything in the future."

He dissolved the previous judgment and ordered the $10,000 be returned to Ward.

After the hearing, Brewer said the judge's action leaves open the question of whether the custody evaluations will be completed.

"Their fathers have spent their money chasing the kids all over the nation. They don't have any left for these kind of expenses," she said.

The state can't pay for the evaluations because it doesn't have legal custody of the children, she said. Even if it did, thorough evaluations might not be completed.

"Sometimes the (Division of Family Services) do a small-scale evaluation. They're usually not as useful as psychological testing and full evaluations performed by independent professionals," she said.

According to court documents, supervised visitation is "made necessary by Gloria Ward's previous and ongoing conduct."

After Ward left the Freemen ranch and returned to Salt Lake City, a judge granted temporary custody of both girls to Courtnie's father, Robert Gunn of Kearns. Jaylynn's father, Steve Mangum, is allowed to spend time with the girls during the temporary custody arrangements.

Ward can see the girls too, if visits are arranged and closely supervised by state officials.

Visits must continue to be closely supervised because the children have previously been adjudicated as neglected in Michigan and Ward has been found in contempt of court there, according to an affadavit from Brewer.

Ward continues to associate with a religious group whose leader awaits criminal trial in Utah County. She has adopted the surname of her common-law husband, and changed her first name because of affiliation with a religious group.

That group's leader, John Chaney, is married to a 15-year-old girl who also is Ward's daughter. Ward has concealed the whereabouts of herself and the children in the past and has demonstrated a disregard for the laws and courts in Utah, Brewer states in court documents submitted this week. The girls need protection and services from the "perilous situation" created by Ward, the records show.

But the money has run out, the court documents show.

The Division of Children and Family Services announced recently it will no longer provide supervision. Ward did not visit the girls last week because no supervision was provided.

The state is not obligated to pay workers to supervise Ward's visits and conduct psychological tests to evaluate the children's mental well-being.

Court documents show the girls have no money to pay for services, and if the court doesn't attach funds, "the funds will be lost and the children irreparably harmed."

Jan Thompson, a spokeswoman for the court, said a court commissioner will hold a hearing about visitation sometime in mid-August.