Mom helps revive son after near-drowning in Basin pool

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BY KYNLI SMITH

Amanda Craft of Basin lived through a nightmare she never thought she would experience while at the local pool when her son stopped breathing after being found at the bottom of the pool.

Craft and her two sons, Hunter, 7, and Haakon, 4, were at the Basin pool trying to beat the heat on Saturday.

“I had taken off Haakon’s lifejacket so he could run to the bathroom,” said Craft. “I didn’t see him come back and I guess he thought he could swim on his own underwater back to me.”

Stephanie Olsen was in the pool at the time cooling off with her 5-month-old when she noticed a kid under water.

“I was walking to the ladder to hand my baby off to my mother-in-law when I saw a little boy under water a couple of feet away. At first I thought it was just a kid trying to see how long he could hold his breath underwater. But something wasn’t right; there was no movement.”

Olsen, not being able to dive underwater with her baby in her arms, used her foot to pull Haakon out of the water.

“Once I lifted him up with my foot and was able to grab him I yelled for help. I got him to the edge and his mom was there instantly lifting him up out of the water to the lifeguard.”

Craft, who was a lifeguard and trained in CPR, started performing CPR on Haakon.

“He had turned a purplish color and was started to have foam come out of his nose and mouth. Natalie helped me with CPR as Justen called 911,” said Craft.

Craft said that it took a couple of minutes to revive her son after they pulled him out of the water.

“It felt like years but it was maybe a couple of minute before we got him breathing,” said Craft. “Once he came out of it, he started screaming.”

“Normally you don’t like to hear a child scream or cry,” said Olsen. “But in this case this was the best sound any of us could have heard. It was the scariest thing I’ve experienced.”

Haakon was revived by the time the ambulance arrived to take him to South Big Horn County Hospital. Once at the hospital, doctors determined he needed to be life-flighted to Billings for observation. Because of Haakon’s age, doctors were concerned of dry drowning or secondary drowning. Both are not medical terms but are used to commonly describe respiratory complications after children may have swallowed water while swimming or even taking a bath.

With dry drowning, water never reaches the lungs. Instead, breathing in water causes vocal cords to spasm and close up, making it hard to breathe. Secondary drowning happens if water gets into the lungs. There, it can irritate the lungs’ lining and fluid can build up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema. 

“The doctors in Billings were really impressed with how fast he was able to come out of it,” Craft said. “They kept us overnight for observation, but we were able to come home Sunday.”

When the family got back into town, they went to visit the two lifeguards that helped save him.

Craft said the lifeguards at the Basin pool are well trained and that these accidents sometimes just happen.

“The lifeguards did an amazing job during everything and are well trained. They handled the situation correctly. All the moms and everyone at the pool did a great job, too, getting the kids away from situation. I didn’t even know who had Hunter at the time I was doing CPR but I knew he was OK with whoever had him.”

“I couldn’t stop thinking about him all night,” said Justen Miller who called 911. “It was really scary. But it helped when he stopped by, still in his hospital gown, the next day.”

Pool supervisor Kellie Gloy says she is extremely proud of the lifeguards for handling the situation correctly.

“I was so proud of our lifeguards. They did exactly what they were supposed to do,” said Gloy. “You prepare and hope you never have to use your emergency training but they handled it really well.”

She added that two lifeguards would always be out at the pool now — one focusing on the deep end, the other on the shallow end. Even before this incident, the pool had a better lifeguard ratio that the state requires.

“We aren’t comfortable with the state ratio with 1 to 40 or so; ours is 1 to 30,” Gloy said.

Craft said she is so thankful for all the support she and her family received over the weekend.

“It does take a community to raise a child,” said Craft. “Hopefully I don’t have to do CPR to anymore of my children ever again. But if I do, I know that I can.”

Looking at Haakon, one cannot tell he nearly drowned in a pool; he is back to running around driving his brother and his sisters crazy as of Monday. Craft said that they still are keeping an eye on him and he has some follow-ups at the doctor, but other than that he is doing great.

“It is the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” said Craft. “My child needed me and I just reacted and did what he needed. It is just by the grace of God that he is here. Haakon was just a little too brave for his own good, thinking he could swim on his own.”

What to do if you find a child drowning?

Unintentional injury like drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4 according to the Center for Disease Control. In an emergency, the first priority is to get the drowning child out of the water as quickly as possible. If the child isn’t breathing place them on their back on firm surface and begin rescue breathing while someone calls 911. The following steps are not meant to replace CPR training but could help revive a child after drowning:

1. To open child’s airway,

Tilt the child’s head back with one hand, and lift her chin with the other. Put your ear to the child’s mouth and nose, and look, listen, and feel for signs that she is breathing.

2. If your child doesn’t seem to be breathing:

Infants under age 1: Place your mouth over infant’s nose and lips and give two breaths, each lasting around one second. Look for the chest to rise and fall. Children 1 and older: Pinch child’s nose and seal your lips over their mouth. Give two slow, full breaths.  Wait for the chest to rise and fall before giving the second breath.

3. If the chest rises:

Check for a pulse (see number 4). If the chest doesn’t rise, try again. Retilt the head, lift the child’s chin, and repeat the breaths.

4. Check for a pulse

Put two fingers on the child’s neck to the side of the Adam’s apple. For infants, feel in inside the inner arm between the elbow and shoulder. Wait five seconds. If there is a pulse, give one breath every three seconds. Check for a pulse every minute, and continue rescue breathing until the child is breathing their own or help arrives.

5. If you can’t find a pulse

Infants under age 1: Imagine a line between the child’s nipples, and place two fingers just below its center point. Apply five half-inch chest compressions in about three seconds. After five compressions, seal your lips over the child’s mouth and nose and give one breath. 

Children 1 and older: Use the heel of your hand (both hands for a teenager or adult) to apply five quick one-inch chest compressions to the middle of the breastbone (just above where the ribs come together) in about three seconds. After five compressions, pinch the child’s nose, seal your lips over their mouth, and give one full breath. All ages: Continue the cycle of five chest compressions followed by a breath for one minute, then check for a pulse. Repeat cycle until you find a pulse or help arrives and takes over.

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Young woman overcomes child sexual abuse in Big Horn County

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Editors Note: The following story discusses child sexual abuse, which may be sensitive to some readers. In order to protect the victim’s identity, the victim has chosen the alias Blayke for her name in the story.

BY KYNLI SMITH

For 10 years a Big Horn County girl was abused in the walls of her own home. While her story is her own, her story is far too common. Blayke, 18, spoke up, and her abuser is now behind bars. Blayke has come forward to share her story in the hopes that other victims can come forward and begin to heal as she has. She is just one of the nearly 100 children that have come forward in the past five years in Big Horn County to report child sexual abuse.

“I’m not coming forward because I want the attention or any of that,” said Blayke. “I want to share my story to help other victims out there. While going through this whole process I have learned I’m not alone.”

Many who would see Blayke today would see a bubbly young woman who is engaged and has dreams of becoming a traveling trauma nurse. No one would see the silent, invisible scars she carries from being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

According to Blayke, the abuse started when she was in kindergarten. 

“He was my stepdad,” she said. “He was supposed to protect me. I didn’t tell anyone.”

Blayke added that in ninth grade her mother and stepfather made her drop out of school to work fulltime to support their family.

“He didn’t trust me to be at home alone,” said Blayke.

She also added that her stepfather would make her mom ride in the backseat so she could ride in the front.

“My mom joked that he was my boyfriend,” said Blayke.

After another person in Blayke’s family spoke up about the abuse they experienced with her stepfather, Blayke spoke up about her abuse a year later.

Blayke moved from south Big Horn County to her father and stepmother’s home in a neighboring community.

“The hardest part in the process was being put into my dad’s home,” said Blayke. “And being interviewed by the cops. I really had to change my whole lifestyle,” said Blayke. “When I first moved in I didn’t care about school. I just wanted to work because that is what I knew. My dad and his wife were really supportive and put me on the right path.”

When Blayke started back up at high school as a junior she needed 24 credits to graduate, she only had three.

“I would go to school from 7 in the morning to almost 4 or 5 p.m. for a year in half,” said Blayke.

She ended up going to the Shoshone Learning Center for her classes and took college level classes as well. Blayke graduated in the spring, a month early.

In the midst of graduating from high school, Blayke’s stepfather’s court case was moving through district court in Big Horn County. He was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. Once his sentenced is served he will also be on 10 years probation and will have to register as a sex offender.

When he was sentenced at the Big Horn County Courthouse in Basin, Blayke went to court to face her abuser.

“I needed to go,” said Blayke. “I needed to go watch him get sentenced. I wanted to see the look on his face, that I was going to send him away to prison.”

Blayke’s mom, grandpa and friends were there as her support system in court.

“The judge asked if there were any victims in the room after he was handed the victim impact statement. I raised my hand in front of everyone, which I wasn’t expecting to have to do,” Blayke said. “I remember walking out and a lady I didn’t know said ‘you are such a brave girl’. After court I broke down.”

While going through the court process and the healing process Blayke says she has been going to counseling weekly to get help.

“It was hard but in the end I know that I put him away and he can’t hurt anyone else,” said Blayke.

Through the process, Blayke started an account on a social media website that is dedicated to not only her personal life but also helping victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

The account currently has more than 15,000 followers on the site.

“I didn’t expect 15,000 followers,” said Blayke. “I get private messages all the time that thank me for opening up. Some people have messaged me on advice on how to tell someone they have been abused. There are so many people out there that are scared and don’t know how to tell.”

While she claims to get some negative comments on the account, most of the comments are positive ones.

“The positive comments outweigh the negative ones,” said Blayke. “Going through this whole process has been an empowering experience.”

Blayke says that she is still continuing to heal.

“I still have hard time with hugs and being touched on the back,” said Blayke. “I get flashbacks but I have people that help me get through it.”

When it comes to speaking out and advocating for victims and survivors of sexual abuse, Blayke wants to continue making her voice heard.

“We are not all alike but there is a thing that draws us all together,” said Blayke. “We understand we all lose something. We lose a part of ourselves that we shouldn’t lose. My motto for myself and what I share with other’s is: ‘Be who you needed when you were younger.’”

Sexual abuse by the numbers

Blayke’s story is unique but also common throughout Big Horn County. According to CARES, there have been 90 reports of child sexual abuse in the last five years. In 2016, there were 29 reports.

Compared to adults who reported sexual assault and adults who reported sexual abuse as children, child sexual abuse outnumbers them by nearly four times. In the past five years 18 adults have reported sexual abuse as children, and 26 have reported sexual abuse as an adult.

According to the Department of Justice Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking, in a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26 percent were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34 percent were younger than 9 years. Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18

“We serve many sexual assault victims,” said CARES director Leslie Hoffman. “As you can see by the numbers, the vast majority of sexual assault victims served by CARES are children (below the age of 18) or adults molested as children.  We know that most sexual assault victims do not report for various reasons.  So these numbers represent more victims than the number they add up to.  Not all cases can be prosecuted.  I would like you as a community member to realize how important you are to victims in our community.”

Hoffman also offered some advice if a victim discloses sexual abuse to you:

1. Believe that person

2. Tell that victim that they did not deserve to have this happen to them and it is not their fault.

“This can go so far in helping victims in Big Horn County,” said Hoffman. “The road to healing for a sexual assault victim is long and hard.  The dynamics and feelings described by Blayke are very common to all sexual assault victims.  As you can see from Blayke’s story, a victim can heal and go forward to do amazing things.  As a community member, I appeal to you to believe and support them on their journey. “

Blayke hopes that other victims will come forward from her sharing her story of abuse and can begin to heal.

“I want to help victims,” said Blayke. “I want to tell my story because I feel like I can help someone out there even in Big Horn County.”

 

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The Campbells file motion to dismiss TCT federal lawsuit

TCT

BY KYNLI SMITH

Joe and Barbara Campbell along with their lawyers recently submitted a memorandum in support of a motion to disqualify counsel and a motion to dismiss in the recently filed Tri County Telephone Association vs. Joe and Barbara Campbell.

TCT flipped the tables on the Campbells in late May by filing with federal court in the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. This federal suit comes after the ongoing Campbell vs. Tri County Telephone Association lawsuit. The Campbells’ lawsuit has been ongoing for nearly two years. The suit alleges that TCT held more than $90 million in hard assets when it was sold for $51 million in 2014. Of the $51 million sale price, $12 million was to retire debt and $10 million was held back for “unseen liabilities,” leaving just $29 million to be paid to TCT cooperative owners.

The Campbell suit names TCT chief executive officer Chris Davidson, TCT chief financial officer Steve Harper and former board members Dalin Winters, J.O Sutherland, Daniel Greet, Clifford Alexander and John K. Johnson as defendants. Also included as defendants are Neil Schlenker, accounting firm Hathaway and Kunz and attorney Michael Rosenthal.

The new federal lawsuit filed by TCT on May 25 lists allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets as well as interference with contract and business expectancy. In the federal suit it names the Campbells along with John and Jane Does as defendants.

In the newly filed court documents by the Campbells they argue that counsel for TCT, Burge, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine law firm, is suing their own clients, the Campbells.

Attorney Chris Edwards, who works for the law firm representing TCT in the federal case, also has given legal advice to the Campbells and is their estate-planning lawyer.

“The plaintiff in this action seeks to impose personal liability on Joe and Barbara Campbell. Mr. Simpson, if left unchecked, will be allowed to violate the trust Joe and Barbara Campbell has placed in Mr. Simpson’s firm as a weapon against them in the litigation,” the memorandum states.

They also argue that the lawyers for TCT were told that Chris Edwards had given legal advice to Joe and Barbara Campbell on the very subject of the lawsuit and knew of the conflict of interest with Simpson’s law firm.

Edwards warning of a takeover?

In the newly filed documents in the federal case, the defense explains that Edwards used to provide legal counsel to TCT before the 2014 sale when it was still a cooperative.

According to court documents, Edwards along with attorney John Ruppert advised the board in 2009 after Schlenker’s first attempt of a “takeover “of TCT.

They advised the board that the owners’ interest could “not be bought” and attempted to educate the board on their fiduciary duties.

The documents allege that Davidson became “furious” at Ruppert for giving advice on fiduciary duties and limitations of the board and officers. In 2010, Ruppert resigned as counsel for TCT.

Edwards became concerned about the rights of the owners after the 2009 bid and proposed to send out a mailing to owners informing them of what Schlenker had tried to do.

In a letter, Edwards states, “The decision to sell Tri County Telephone Association Inc. is ultimately up to the members of this cooperative. We rejected the offer that was made to the board because the offer was only for approximately $12 million, and your company had $9 million cash on hand at the time of the offer. In other words, Neil Schlenker of Big Horn Telecommunications was trying to use our own cash to purchase the company.”

In response to her proposed letter, court documents allege that Davidson moved to oust Edwards by replacing her with attorney Rosenthal and the law firm of Hathaway & Kunz.

After Edward’s departure, Joe Campbell remained on the board for the cooperative and was very vocal in opposition of Schlenker’s second offer. The documents allege that counsel for TCT as well as Davidson tried to push Campbell out of the board. It alleges that Rosenthal proposed a tiered litigation approach that could be implemented in case Campbell said anything to the owners of the cooperative about the takeover.

The documents allege that Rosenthal stated that the cooperative’s insurance policy would not cover Campbell’s cost of defending the lawsuit that he and the board were threatening to file against him.

“Davidson told Joe Campbell that Mr. Campbell could ‘lose his ranch’ if he were faced with a lawsuit. Chris Davidson went so far as telling Joe Campbell that he was elderly and was senile and should not oppose Davidson or the board,” the memorandum states.

During and after the sale of TCT in 2014, the Campbells sought advice from Edwards on efforts and issues now raised in the class action state case the Campbell’s filed. They even met with Edwards at the law firm’s offices that are now suing them in the federal case. 

According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.7 “prohibits a lawyer from undertaking representation against a current client if the matter would directly adverse to the existing client.”

According to Joe Campbell’s affidavit, both him and his wife are current clients of Simpson’s law firm and they claim the federal lawsuit filed against them is directly adverse to them. Grounds for dismissal?

In the memorandum for the defense in the federal case, the Campbells’ lawyers claim that TCT’s federal complaint is defective for four reasons, which they outline as follows:

The complaint does not state what trade secrets are at issue. “It merely states in conclusory fashion, that there are trade secrets,” the memorandum states. Because of this they argue that TCT cannot invoke protection under the Trade Secrets Act.

The complaint fails to state that they claimed action on the part of Joe and Barbara Campbell was taken in interstate commerce. “The plaintiff has failed to invoke federal jurisdiction under the Act and this court does not have subject matter jurisdiction,” it states.

The complaint makes clear that the alleged “misappropriation” occurred on Jan. 1, 2015, which is the date Campbell’s service on the board ended. The Campbells’ lawyers argue that the plaintiff’s claim did not come into effect until May of 2016 and that the complaint “fails to specify when Joe Campbell allegedly disclosed claimed ‘trade secrets,’ when such alleged disclosures occurred, or any act that has occurred after passage of the Act.”

The Act the plaintiff’s used makes clear that it does not seek to inhibit whistleblowers. “From the face of the complaint  in this case and from the Second Amended Complaint in the class action, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are whistleblowers entitled to protection from this kind of lawsuit.”

The defense also addressed the plaintiff’s protective computer allegations. After Campbell no longer served on the board, he was asked to return his laptop to TCT so trade secrets could be removed from the laptop.

“Joe Campbell acquired TCT’s trade secrets and knew or had reason to know he acquired TCT’s trade secrets through improper means,” the plaintiff’s complaint states.

The defense argues that the plaintiff’s failed to allege any facts that would indicate the computer was a protected computer. Under 18 U.S.C 1030 (a)(4) the plaintiff’s cannot state a cause of action because “the complaint fails to allege the first element required to invoke protection under the state, namely, that Joe and Barbara Campbell actually accessed computer-stored information as opposed to merely using the computer. Using the computer for the receipt of emails from the company using a personal email account is not accessing the information on the computer, it is mere use of the computer, and is not prohibited by the statute.”

Class action case moves forward

Back in April, the plaintiffs, the Campbells, alleged the defendants in the Campbell Class Action suit were blocking discovery. The Campbells claim that they have produced 14,500 documents along with 71 witnesses while out of all the defendants only one document was produced.

The defendants filed a motion for bifurcation of discovery; however, on May 5, Ninth District Court Judge Norman E. Young denied the defendants’  motion. Twenty days later, the federal lawsuit was filed by TCT against the Campbells.

In April, the defense also put forth a motion to quash the subpoena of Rep. Mike Greear R-Worland. A subpoena was also served to Greear who represented BHT Holdings and Schelenker when purchasing TCT. Greear objected to the subpoena, stating that the subpoena did not allow enough time, was a burden and that it violated attorney-client privileges.

On June 22, the motion to quash the subpoena was denied, which means Greear will now have to answer to the subpoena.

On June 16, defendants Davidson and Harper along with their counsel filed a motion for a protective order regarding confidential information.

“Not only is competitive information at issue, but private and personal information that has no place in the public sphere will necessarily be a part of production in this case. Financial information related to individual members and information regarding employee compensation are part of the documents requested in this case,” the motion states.

The defendants also filed a 30-page proposed protective order on June 16. The scope for the protective order covers all materials produced or adduced in the course of discovery, including initial disclosures, response to discovery requests or subpoenas, depositions testimony and exhibits.

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