Save the Bannister children from sex trafficking

Save the Bannister children from sex trafficking

December 8, 2019
Petition to
Steve Marshall and
Signatures: 47,341Next Goal: 50,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Stephanie Eagleson

"What does a mother do, when she discovers that the most unimaginable nightmares have occurred, repeatedly, to her little ones at the hands of the men who should have been the most protective in their lives: their father, grandfather, pastor, church members, and neighbors?

"What does she do after the local justice system utterly fails them?

"She takes her children and runs for their lives."

Melody Bannister has been living on the run with her four children for six months as of December 2019. They allege that her husband, William Joseph Bannister, conspired with her father-in-law to perpetuate some of the most horrifying sexual and physical abuse imaginable upon her children. When local law enforcement failed to protect these children, ordering them back to live with their credibly accused abuser, Melody chose to live on the wrong side of the law. What else could a truly desperate mother do?

"We left home with barely a week’s worth of summer clothes and are practically penniless, living off the kindness of friends, who one by one have taken us under their wings."

The Bannister family escaped from Virginia to Alabama only to have Judge Pamela Wilson Cousins defer to the Virginia ruling. Melody is now appealing their case on both the state and federal levels. As she notes in her public statement, "The mental health and credibility of my children and me have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman. ...Naturally, the abusers did not take kindly to such a development, and are seeking to have the reports stricken from the record. ...Hence our position of living underground."

You can find the full story of the trauma Melody and her children have faced here:

At this point, Melody Bannister's best hope is that true justice will be found for her family: the legal system must stand up to protect her children, and it must pursue criminal action against those they have credibly accused. Will you join your voice to the throng of people appealing for justice on behalf of the Bannister children?

No mother should be forced to protect her babies from the system designed to rescue them.

No child should be forced to live with a parent who has come under any legitimate suspicion of child abuse--especially when the alleged abuse is so severe!

No family should become so desperate that they leave everything they know and love in order to preserve their most basic physical safety.



Please contact the relevant authorities, listed below, to demand safety and justice for the Bannister children. Use the enclosed form letter if you find it helpful. The Virginia Family Court case number is JJ053144-01-99; the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals case number is 2180939.

Every voice will raise the cry until authorities can no longer ignore victims and enable perpetrators!


Richmond, Virginia FBI: (804) 261-1044

Stafford, VA Commonwealth Attorney Eric Olsen: (540) 658-8780

Judge Julian W. Johnson: (540) 658-8775;

Stafford VA Detective J.G. Wright: (540) 658-5210;

Jennifer Dudley, Stafford VA CPS: (540) 658-5107;

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey: 334-242-7100

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall: 334-242-7300



To Whom It May Concern,

I have become acquainted with the severe, conspiratorial, and protracted physical and sexual abuse alleged by Melody Bannister's four children at the hands of their father, William Joseph Bannister, and their grandfather, Jay Tuhl Bannister, as outlined in the statement made by Ms. Bannister on her blog, Millstones of Justice.

This same statement details how the Virginia and Alabama justice systems have utterly failed to protect these children from the threat of sex trafficking. Now Melody has appealed the unjust ruling of Judge Pamela Wilson Cousins to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and, in the meantime, lives in hiding with her children from national law enforcement, who seek to return her children to William Bannister, their alleged trafficker, despite the absence of any thorough investigation of either William Bannister or Jay Tuhl Bannister.

Note that, according to Millstones of Justice, "The mental health and credibility of [Melody's] children and [Melody herself] have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman." Sam McLure, Melody's legal representative in Alabama, has publicly confirmed this information in his interview with Dr. Carole Lieberman dated Dec. 17, 2019. Mr. McLure's appeal to the Alabama appellate court documents this information as well.

In Melody's words, "Children do have bright and creative imaginations; it is an integral part of the human spirit. But no child is capable of pulling a story out of thin air, which includes them being violently abused physically, sexually, and psychologically, in ways that would cause even the most stout-hearted adult to lose their lunch."

This gross miscarriage of justice must end with you.

Sex trafficking is a nation-wide scourge, with FBI agents stretched completely beyond their capacity to rescue most of those caught in it, as I expect you are aware. If Americans cannot rely on the justice system to protect our most vulnerable from trafficking before they are completely lost to it, where do we stand?

Our faith in the integrity and power of our legal and judicial authorities, such as yourself, will end, as will your tenure in office.

Insofar as you are able, you must bring this matter to justice: protect these children on every level and pursue criminal action against those they have credibly accused to prevent more innocents falling prey to unimaginably grotesque schemes.



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Signatures: 47,341Next Goal: 50,000
Support now