Utah dad alleges ‘deceit,’ takes fight for son to federal court

An unmarried Utah father whose son was placed for adoption at birth without his knowledge or consent has filed a $130 million federal lawsuit against the biological mother, adoption agency, adoptive parents and attorneys alleging they conspired in an “illegal deceit-ridden infant adoption” that deprived him of his son.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Jake Strickland alleges the defendants acted in a “clandestine” manner and “essentially kidnapped” his son. It alleges the defendants engaged in racketeering, human trafficking and various kinds of fraud as part of a conspiracy to deprive Strickland of his child.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include biological mother Whitney Vivian Pettersson Demke; the adoptive parents (identified only by initials); LDS Family Services; Kirton & McConkie, and attorneys Larry Jenkins and David J. Hardy, both of whom are now associated with Kirton & McConkie. Demke could not be reached for comment.

Hardy declined to comment on the lawsuit on behalf of himself, Jenkins and their law firm. Hardy also declined comment on behalf of LDS Family Services, which handled the adoption and is represented by Kirton & McConkie.

Attorney Wes Hutchins is representing Strickland in the federal lawsuit, as well as an action pending in the Utah Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit, Hutchins said, is “basically an effort to hold everyone accountable for the conspiracy to defraud Jake.”

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3 Responses to Utah dad alleges ‘deceit,’ takes fight for son to federal court

  1. Sam says:

    Sadly, this happens to fathers way too often. Most resign themselves to accepting it. This man is fighting for his son. I hope things turn out well for him and the child, however if he loses, it still draws attention to the unfairness and double-standards that exist.

  2. HA says:

    Interesting commentary found concerning this topic:

  3. De2nis says:

    If this is kidnapping, then so is no-fault divorce. Society has already determined women have the right take our kids from us out of sheer boredom, and even make us pay them for the decision. This lawsuit will fail, methinks.

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