Many of the approximately 400 images described in documents released under Washington state public records laws Friday included sexual depictions of popular cartoons, including child-focused characters such as Rugrats, Dennis the Menace and SpongeBob SquarePants. Another 15 images showed 3-D depictions of sex involving parents and their children.
Powell had initially told the psychologist that he visited only pornography sites featuring adults.
“Given the gaps of information about Mr. Powell there seems reason to conclude he may not presently be a stable and appropriate resource for his children,” wrote Dr. James Manley in a follow-up report dated Jan. 31.
Washington officials overseeing the care of Powell’s children first got word of the graphic content in November, when a Utah investigator wrote in an email that they were looking to disclose to social workers about 5-6 images recovered in 2009 shortly after Susan Powell’s disappearance.
But two months later, social worker Forest Jacobson wrote that the images weren’t received until mid-January and were far more extensive. Powell had full custody of his kids up until last summer, when his father was charged with voyeurism. After that, he had consistent supervised visitations with the children.
It wasn’t clear why it took so long for authorities to reveal the information.
The same article notes Josh’s antipathy towards the LDS church (verging on paranoia) and what he told his children about it:
In interviews with mental health professionals, Powell said he feared a “militant faction” of the Mormon church might kidnap his two sons. Braden and Charlie were overheard saying that “Mormons” were “trying to steal” them and “harm” them. When Charlie told his father that they were “good Mormon boys,” Powell abruptly responded that they were not Mormon and not to let anyone tell them they are.
You can read Josh’s psychological report here. The cops think the house where he visited with the children was a Potemkin village, a prop — there’s no evidence that he actually lived there; he just decorated it to make it look good and make himself look like a devoted family man. Nevertheless, social workers still were afraid that he would harm the children.
He rented a house on a cul-de-sac in the Graham area.
But those who live on the same circle said they had no idea anyone lived in the house, which had been empty for some time. People who live across the street, up the street and behind the house’s backyard said Monday they thought the place was abandoned. They had never seen Powell or the boys there.
Detectives didn’t go into detail but said they believe Powell kept living at his father’s house and created a fake home to use for supervised visits with the boys.
The cops said that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent what happened:
“If we had gotten someone there, firefighters or police officers, we’d have dead firefighters or police officers,” Wood said. “If the court had done something different and awarded custody to the grandparents, we’d have dead kids and dead grandparents.”
A commenter to that article summed it up very well in my opinion:
I knew from the time he blew up the house that, even if he had been denied custody, he would have found a way to do this very same thing wherever they had been. Had he been denied custody he would have taken the grandparents with him as well. Had it been a neutral site, bystanders would have been killed.
There was no stopping this evil except to have locked him away or killed him, and there was not enough evidence yet for the former and no legal basis for the latter.
Hindsight can always see much clearer than foresight but logic usually is forgotten then.
Josh will NOT be buried anywhere near Charlie and Braden’s grave. The two boys were buried in the same casket in Puyallup, Washington. His mother initially picked a gravesite in the same cemetery, which upset a lot of people. The local Crime Stoppers raised $20k to purchase the plots on either side of the children to keep Josh from being buried there (rather over-stepping their mandate, in my opinion). But Josh’s mom admitted her decision was “clueless” and is now looking at other options.
RIP Charlie and Braden. And Susan, too.