Postscript: An Interview With the Foster Father

When Rebecca Long is sentenced for her part in the abuse of her stepdaughter on November 6, the Pomeroy children, along with their various supporters, will be on hand to watch.

Reached by phone earlier this week, Dwight Thompson, foster father to the two children we’re calling Janet and Carson, says the family plans on “packing the courtroom” as a show of support. “We don’t want her to get off,” says Thompson.

Along with Janet, Thompson plans to submit a letter to the court recommending the maximum possible sentence—just as they both did before Jon Pomeroy’s hearing in late September. (The judge complied, giving Pomeroy a 41-month sentence.) In Janet’s letter—which she tried to read in court before being overcome with emotion—she wrote that her stepmother Long managed to manipulate her father into believing that his daughter was “Satan” and therefore deserving of the abuse. Long’s “brainwashing” ran so deep that Janet began to wonder if, in the event of her death, Pomeroy might lie to authorities to protect his wife.

“What in the world is he going to do with my body when I die,” she wrote. “Would he bury me in the woods then swear [Carson] to secrecy? Would they call the police and tell them I had been starving myself? All of these questions troubled me constantly. I began to realize that Dad did not really care about me; he was just putting everybody’s health above my own.”

It’s been just over a year since Janet and her brother were placed with the Thompsons. The family has been licensed for foster care for the past six years, says Thompson, 54, of Lake Forest Park. With their youngest daughter soon to leave for college, he and his wife Irene were preparing for life as “empty-nesters.” But shortly after Janet was removed from her parents’ custody in August 2008, the Thompsons received a phone call from Catholic Community Services, asking if they would consider taking on another foster child.

Carson soon followed his sister into the Thompsons’ care. Both he and Janet are healthy and have returned to school, reports Thompson. Recent months have seen Janet, now 15, nearly double her weight since her rescue last year, he says. And with the help of injections of growth hormone, she’s grown a full six inches, though her doctors don’t expect her to get much taller. Dealing with the psychological fallout of their experience has proven more of a challenge, he says.

“Both [Janet] and [Carson] are really resilient kids, but I think any child that has been isolated for three or more years will have difficulty developing normal relationships and communicating,” says Thompson. “Most kids their age have had the opportunity to play and be educated with their peers…it puts them at an extreme disadvantage.”

Thompson expects both the Pomeroy children to remain with his family for the foreseeable future, but says that Mike and Cheryl Pomeroy, siblings of Janet’s father Jon, have expressed interest in securing custody of the children, as has their biological mother, Karen Stokes. Attempts to contact all three were unsuccessful.

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