Monday, July 14, 2008

Children's Drawings as Evidence

In August of 1998, Sharon E. Wimperis, 50, an underground mom was escorted into District Court for a bail review hearing wearing a black-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles. Wimperis went underground with her son in June 1990 after losing custody in a Carroll County Maryland Circuit Court and was in hiding for 8 years.

Sharon Wimperis and Holly Ann Collins have two things in common, both are/were underground mothers and both used their children's drawing or artwork as alleged evidence that their child's safety was in jeopardy.

Using children's artwork in such a manner is extremely controversial since it is impossible to know if the children were coached when they the artwork was created. In addition, the one that was allegedly watching the child when they created the artwork is almost always the underground mother. Furthermore, for some of the drawing critics say that the underground moms often supply coloring books with highly suggestive pictures, similiar to anatomical dolls, which are no longer used by therapists.

There is one more difference between the children's artwork in these two cases. In 1993, Sharon Wimperis provided the Washinton Post with her son's drawings for a front page story. In 2008, Holly Ann Collin's daughter's drawings appear on, allegedly posted by her 22 year old daughter (if you believe that).

Finally, the interpretation of those drawings is never done by a licensed therapist, but by the underground mom herself. That's what makes both of these cases very, very sad. I believe Holly Ann Collins deserves her day in a United States Court, just like Sharon Wimperis eventually did. For the sake of Holly's children and all other parentally kidnapped children, I hope that happens soon.

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