TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- A Colorado man says he is going on a hunger strike to get his kids back.
Raymond Schwab camped out at the Statehouse Monday morning for the first day of a hunger strike against the State and the Department of Children and Families.
“They seized my kids under false allegations, which have since been unsubstantiated by DCF, and it’s been almost a year now and they are still refusing to return them,” Schwab said.
DCF officials responded Tuesday, saying the agency is aware of Schwab's allegations. Spokesperson Theresa Freed issued the following statement:
Although we are bound by confidentiality requirements and prohibited from discussing the specifics of the case, to protect the privacy of his children, we can say Mr. Schwab’s accusations are false. He is providing the public with an incomplete and inaccurate account of the events that have transpired. If Mr. Schwab’s interest is in the truth, he is welcome to sign a release to anyone in the public who wishes to gain more information. DCF does not remove children from their homes because of marijuana use. DCF makes recommendations to the court for removal only when serious safety issues are present. Our priority is always to maintain children in their home, when that is a safe option. Sadly, if a child is in foster care, it is because it is safer than his/her own home.
Schwab is a Gulf War veteran who uses marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Denver Post reports that Schwab began working at the Topeka VA in 2013, but two years later decided to transfer to a VA job in Denver, where medical cannabis is legal.
The Post says, as the family was packing to leave, his wife Amelia’s mother took their five children, ages five to 16, to the Riley County Police Department, reporting them as abandoned.
In an April 2015 child abuse investigation, results show that the allegations were dismissed as unsubstantiated.
Schwab says he reached the final straw when he learned his 13-year-old son would be placed in a psychiatric ward.
“I am an honorably discharged, disabled veteran,” he said. “This is not what I fought for. I fought for the Constitution, to uphold and defend it against enemies foreign and domestic.”
Schwab posted on his Facebook page he will continue on his hunger strike until his children are returned, a federal lawsuit is filed against the state, or “a higher authority steps in a legally prosecute those who have done this to his family.”
The Schwab’s also left a letter for Governor Sam Brownback.