- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Melissa WolfHawk, scheduled to give birth any day now, lives in fear that her baby will be taken from her by the government.

The county child-welfare agency thinks her child won’t be safe because her husband is a sex offender who spent more than a decade in prison for rape in a case involving two teenage girls.

But Mrs. WolfHawk says her husband of three years, DaiShin WolfHawk, is no “monster,” and she won a federal court order Sept. 30 keeping child-welfare workers from asking about her pregnancy, at least until a hearing next week.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has taken her side, argued that the county was too aggressive in monitoring her pregnancy and will ask a judge Monday to block the agency from taking the baby.

Despite the restraining order she won last month, Mrs. WolfHawk still is required to notify the Schuylkill County Department of Children and Youth Services within 24 hours of giving birth.

“I am living every woman’s worst nightmare — that when your child is born and you close your eyes for one second, if that baby isn’t sleeping on your chest, you open your eyes and that child isn’t going to be there,” the 31-year-old said last week.

She said she is not worried about her husband’s past.

“If he was this miserable monster — and I’ve dealt with miserable monsters — I wouldn’t be able to close my eyes at night, knowing I was carrying his child,” she said.

WolfHawk, 53, was known as John Joseph Lentini when he pleaded guilty in his native state of New York in 1983 to rape, attempted rape, sodomy and attempted sodomy.

“I’m not saying I was an angel. Maybe more like a Hells Angel,” he said.

WolfHawk, who is unemployed, said he lives about 20 miles from the home his wife shares with her father. He described himself as the chief of an American Indian tribe, the Unole E Quoni, which he says has 175 families in eight states but is not recognized by any state or by the federal government.

The ACLU argues that officials in Pennsylvania have no right under state law to question Mrs. WolfHawk about her unborn baby, and that her husband should not be punished further.

“There’s just no evidence in this case that Mr. WolfHawk has engaged in criminal acts against very young minors,” attorney Paula Knudsen said. “And while the charges that were lodged against him in the early 1980s are not excusable, he certainly has paid his time for those crimes and has moved on.”

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