A so-called family values organization will present an award at a fundraiser for GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz to a lawmaker who gave his two adopted daughters away to a rapist.
Arkansas State Sen. Justin Harris, a Republican, will be given the "Power of Courage" award by the Family Council Action Committee, a non-profit that is vocally anti-LGBT, the Arkansas Times reports. The awards will be given out Wednesday evening at a Cruz fundraiser dinner.
Another Republican, Rep. Charlene Fite, will also be honored with the award, which they are being given because they "demonstrated courage by standing strong in faith when situations were tough at the State Capitol and they did so with grace. They are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches."
According to the Times, Harris used his influence as a lawmaker to pressure state child services to allow him and his wife to adopt two young girls, even though caseworkers said the couple was ill-suited to care for them.
Eight months later, the adoption failed. The Harrises sent the girls to live with family friends. One of the girls was sexually abused by the father, who is now serving a 40-year prison sentence for crimes against children.
Before "rehoming" the girls, the Harrises believed the children were possessed by demons and could communicate telepathically. The Harrises apparently feared the girls and had an exorcist "cast out" the demons. According to the Times, they kept one of the girls locked in a room with no toys or books, monitoring her on closed-circuit television.
While the other child was allowed to roam the house, the girls were separated by an elaborate system of locks and alarms.
The Harrises were not prosecuted because there was no law on the books in Arkansas barring "rehoming" of adopted children at the time. After the case became public, lawmakers quickly made it illegal to do so without court supervision, but the law is not retroactive.
In a press release for the event obtained by the Times, mention of these events is only made obliquely:
Even when opposed by the liberal media, Representative Harris has always held firm and stood tall in his faith. No one can deny Representative Harris’ faith has always led him while serving at the Arkansas State Capitol. In 2015, Harris sponsored the Parental Involvement Enhancement Act, requiring parents to be involved in their children’s decision to terminate life by requesting an abortion. This is now law today.
According to the Times, Harris makes his living running a religious preschool called Growing God's Kingdom.