One Thursday afternoon in December, a father and two of his estranged children boarded a flight from Salt Lake City to Texas, beginning an effort to repair their fractured relationship.
A family court official had ordered them to attend a reunification camp, Turning Points for Families Texas, to repair damage that the judge said the boys’ mother had inflicted by alienating them from their father.
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The following morning, at the vacation rental where their therapy sessions were to be held, the counselor made an unusual request.
Jordan, the boys’ father, was asked to play a recording he’d made of a 2019 domestic dispute with his ex-wife, Hollie, that led to her arrest and their divorce. (ProPublica is using only the first names of adult family members to avoid identifying the children who are minors.) Jordan would later tell the court that he never intended for his sons to hear the sounds of their mother screaming during their fight. “I never even wanted the kids to know it existed,” he said of the recording.
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