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‘They’re in a cult.’ Father fights to see his toddler son as mother refuses to say where they are

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VICTOR — Lee Jennings just wants to see his son.

The 45-year-old says he has spent nearly $150,000, attended dozens of court hearings and endured “character assassination” all in an effort to spend time with his 3-year-old River Jennings.

River is with his mother, 42-year-old Sarah Stanley, who refuses to tell authorities where they are located other than they have been “granted sanctuary in a safe house” provided by Walking for the Forgotten Ministry.

“We are being hunted down by corruption, greed, wickedness and evil and I have a duty as my son’s God-given mother to protect him,” Stanley tells EastIdahoNews.com.

But Jennings, who has been granted permanent full custody, is worried for his son’s safety and the group River is with.

“This is a cult. Absolutely they’re in a cult. These people are insane. Totally insane,” Jennings says. “I hope River is ok, but I have no idea.”

LEE JENNINGS’ STORY

Jennings and Stanley met on Facebook in 2016. He says Stanley moved from Colorado to be with him in Victor and in the summer of 2017, she became pregnant.

River was born in April 2018 and Jennings says the couple ended their relationship in November.

“When Sarah and I had just split, I texted her and said I hadn’t seen River in a week or so and I wanted to see him,” Jennings recalls. “She was like, ‘Yeah, that’s fine. We’ll set something up,’ and then the conversation went dark for a few more days. The next thing I knew, I got a phone call from my attorney, and he told me she was in Arizona.”

There had been no discussions about Stanley going to Arizona with the baby, according to Jennings, and custody arrangements were not in place. A court hearing was held in January 2019 where Jennings attended in-person and Stanley appeared via video from Arizona.

“I was granted visitation four days a month, so the next month, I went to Phoenix and visited River,” he says. “I was there for four days, got a hotel, a rental car, the whole nine yards.”

Around this time, Jennings moved to Seattle to begin a job as a real estate agent. He says the next year was difficult financially as he was settling into a new city and getting on his feet.

“One challenge in this whole process is paying for the attorney fees, paying child support and paying to visit,” he says. “You lump all that on top of each other and you’re talking thousands of dollars a month. It was really challenging and I was flat on my back for a while.”

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Lee and River Jennings. | Courtesy Lee Jennings

Jennings visited with River on Zoom during 2019 and his financial situation gradually improved. In early 2020, he says he let Stanley know he was coming to Arizona for an in-person visit, but she responded that he couldn’t because of the pandemic.

“I scheduled a subsequent visit in April, and she didn’t show up,” Jennings says.

Jennings alerted his attorney, and they ended up before a judge in Arizona. Stanley was told she must comply with the visitation rules, and Jennings set up a trip to see River in July. Once again, she never showed up because she had moved to Idaho days before the scheduled visit.

The judge granted Jennings full custody of River but Stanley claimed she had only been living in Arizona temporarily and was not a resident, even though she later admitted in court she was there working for eight months. Stanley argued the child custody case should have been handled in Idaho all along.

“So the Idaho judge took the case back over and we started again,” Jennings says. “All the efforts I had made in Arizona, all the legal fees, everything was all down the drain.”

Through the fall of 2020 into 2021, Jennings says he visited River in Teton County 10 or 11 times. They also chatted on Zoom calls.

“Those Zoom chats are so painful to watch. I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Laurie Gaffney, Jennings’ attorney. “She’d sit and hold the child tightly and just stare at the camera. If he tried to talk to dad, she’d hold him tighter or send him away.”

Jennings adds, “A lot of the time, I’m on the Zoom, I’m sitting there looking, and no one is on the frame. I’m looking at a couch, and there’s nobody there. I can hear him sometimes in the background, but there’s nobody there.”

Stanley filed for an increase in child support payments but Jennings asked the court for sole custody so a trial was scheduled in August 2021. The three-day trial was held, but Magistrate Judge Jason Walker declared a mistrial due to a technical malfunction with recording equipment.

Another trial was scheduled, and in the meantime, Walker increased Jennings’ visitation to three nights and four days on alternating weekends.

He had a visit with his son in October but Stanley refused to let River see his dad in November and the following month, Walker issued a writ of assistance.

“It basically is an order to the sheriff to go get the child from the mother and give him to the father for his Christmas visit. She would not respond to the order, refused to give her address, and could not be located by the police,” Gaffney says.

Jennings did not see River for Christmas and has not seen or spoken to him since that October visit. He has no idea where his son is.

SARAH STANLEY’S STORY

Sarah Stanley insists she and River are safe, not missing, and are being “hunted by the government.”

She spoke with EastIdahoNews.com from a restricted phone number and would not say where she was but claims she has not committed any crimes.

“We’re not missing. This is a witch hunt. The public is being lied to and deceived to and being defrauded,” Stanley says. “The government has escalated this to an obscene level and they need to cease and desist their actions against me and my son.”

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Sarah Stanley and River Jennings. | Telegram

Stanley is representing herself in court because she “doesn’t have a million dollars” for attorney fees. In court documents she filed, she alleges Jennings left months after River was born, closed their joint checking account, and took their vehicle. She tells EastIdahoNews.com he was “majorly abusive.”

“Mr. Jennings has used post-separation abuse and the court system as a way to bully and abuse me,” she says. “He has not been charged (as) he’s quite clever at getting out of things.”

Idaho court records confirm Jennings has never been charged with any form of abuse, and he adamantly denies all allegations of abuse.

Stanley argues the family court system is a “fake system with abusive males against women who are just trying to protect their babies.” She says judges in her case do not have valid oaths of office and claims her American Disability Act rights have been violated, along with her due process rights.

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH SARAH STANLEY BELOW

“I have filed a federal lawsuit against many people,” Stanley explains. “We the people need to realize courts don’t have power over you. People’s rights are being stolen left and right. I’m standing up for my rights and I’m being retaliated against.”

Stanley argues the family court system is a “for-profit corporation” and “the largest human child trafficking sector in the state.” In her eyes, the rulings from judges on child custody are unconstitutional and illegal.

“I have not done one wrong thing. I do not consent (to the proceedings). You need my consent. What is the opposite of not consent? It’s rape. And that is what the court system is. It’s a ‘legal rape system,'” she says. “They need my consent per the constitution to continue what they’re doing, and they do not have my consent. I have said that on record time and time again.”

Stanley says the custody situation is a family matter, and she will not “co-parent with the government.” She believes the case can be resolved with the help of her church – the Walking for the Forgotten Ministry.

WALKING FOR THE FORGOTTEN MINISTRY

Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer is the man behind Walking for the Forgotten Ministry and Veterans on Patrol based in Tuscon, Arizona. He tells EastIdahoNews.com Stanley and River are in one of “dozens” of safe houses he’s been operating in secret across the country for the past seven years.

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Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer is the pastor of Walking for the Forgotten Ministry. | Pima County Arizona Sheriff’s Department

“She’s in a safe location with her son, and everything she needs will be provided for her and her son,” Meyer says. “Under no circumstances will Walking for the Forgotten Ministry reveal the location of Sarah and River. Our Safehouse Program is now publicly compromised by criminals who continue to target a fit and loving mother as well as her 3-year-old.”

Meyer is well-known to law enforcement in Arizona and elsewhere. In 2014, he was involved in the standoff with federal officers at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada and was reportedly given the nickname “Screwy Louie.” A year later, he climbed an 80-foot light pole in Surprise, Arizona waving an upside-down American flag. Police talked him down after four hours and he was charged with criminal trespass. The next month, he climbed the same light pole and stayed up for two hours.

Meyer has also been charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage.

The minister, who is not a veteran, has posted conspiracy videos on social media about sex trafficking and veteran homelessness. He claims to have run nine homeless shelters and helped 14,000 immigrant children who were “dumped” on his property in Arizona. He asks his followers to send money to assist in his “rescue operations.”

“We have over 300 members across America involved in walking for the Forgotten Ministry,” he tells EastIdahoNews.com.

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL LEWIS ARTHUR MEYER BELOW

The group has at least two pages on the social media platform Telegram. One has over 10,000 subscribers, the other has around 25,000.

It’s unclear how Stanley found Meyer, but Jennings remembers his ex-girlfriend gradually becoming obsessed with extreme fringe beliefs during her pregnancy and after River was born.

Meyer tells EastIdahoNews.com one of the main concerns he and Stanley have with providing Jennings access to River is the father wants to have his son vaccinated – not just against COVID-19, but all vaccines.

“He’s trying to get this kid so he can vaccinate him and virtue signal to other families in Seattle. That’s not going to happen. We’re not going to allow anyone to inject the child with a bioweapon,” Meyer says.

Meyer says the only judge he answers is to is the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” and the judges in Stanley’s case have no authority.

“Our church can mediate anything between father, mother and son,” he says. “Let’s get the family courts out of our ways and sit down and actually hold mediation. Our whole job is to find a solution for the problems.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

Judge Walker is no longer on the case, and Magistrate Judge David Hunt took over but quickly recused himself in January.

Magistrate Judge Cleve Colson is now presiding over the matter, and on Friday, he ordered Stanley to bring River to the Teton County Courthouse on Monday, Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m. and turn him over to Jennings. Colson said if she did not, he will strike all of her pleadings and the issue would be considered resolved with Jennings having permanent full custody.

Stanley did not show up and has been charged with 10 counts of criminal contempt.

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Lee Jennings has created a missing poster to help get the word out about his son.

“In my entire time of being a lawyer, I’ve never seen anything like this – and I’ve seen some things,” Gaffney, Jennings’ attorney, says. “I’ve never seen anything like this case.”

Meyer and Walking for the Forgotten Ministry have posted numerous threatening messages and videos on social media telling law enforcement, Colson, Jennings, Gaffney and others to “stand down.” They’ve publicly shared email addresses, phone numbers and addresses of those connected to the case.

“You are committing egregious crimes against a loving mother and her son who are in our safe house program,” one post says. “We WILL NOT hand over a loving mother and her son to anyone who means them harm. This is your LAST opportunity to stand down. Our Father will permit us to expose every little secret you criminals think hidden or unknown.”

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One of multiple social media messages posted by Walking for the Forgotten Ministry. | Telegram

Meyer tells EastIdahoNews.com he plans to post “digital child predator posters” at truck stops across America “exposing the democratic socialists” involved in this case.

“I don’t care what law enforcement says. I don’t answer to the government. The government works for me,” Meyer says. “She doesn’t have to comply with any of these court orders.”

When asked how long Stanley will stay in hiding and how far she will go to prohibit Jennings from seeing River, she tells EastIdahoNews.com she will do “whatever it takes.”

“I will protect my son and myself and fight for my rights for not only me but for all the other rights that have been stolen from thousands of other healthy parents out there,” she says.

Jennings says others have told him to give up his fight, and if he did not have the financial resources to keep going, he would have been forced to stop pursuing River years ago.

He’s been accused of horrible behavior and says lies about him have spread online. He’s broken down more times than he can count but says small wins along the way have pushed him forward.

“My message to others in similar situations is to keep going,” he says. “There have been a lot of times where I’ve been really down and wondered if we were going to get anywhere.”

Gaffney and Jennings remain hopeful police will be able to find River and arrest Stanley. In a court hearing Monday, Judge Colson said it’s likely she has fled the state with the child.

Jennings looks forward to the day he can hug his son and have him living under his roof permanently.

When that does happen, he’ll have a whole new set of concerns as he has no idea what Stanley and members of her church could do.

“It’s going to be hard to let him out of my sight. It’s hard enough to be a parent and raise a child, let alone having to worry about some bad actor trying to do something to him,” he says.

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