CJE has fought for more than a decade to eliminate harmful and traumatic forced reunification programs in California and across the country.
Maya & Sebastian – Video (trigger warning)
WARNING- This is disturbing video footage of two Santa Cruz children begging for protection before their violent abduction to a Los Angeles-based “threat-therapy program” that was also caught on film and has spurred protests across the country to free the two siblings.
The two minor children were abducted from Santa Cruz on October 20th and court-ordered into the abusive custody of Dr. Lynn Steinberg in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles. Transporters from Assisted Interventions Inc. and Santa Cruz police violently removed 15-yr-old Maya and 11-yr-old Sebastian Laing from their safe relative’s home by order of Santa Cruz County Family Court Judge Rebecca Connolly. These innocent, and scared children were forced into a car and driven to Los Angeles to be sequestered with the mother they’ve reported as abusive. The program isolates and threatens children, forcing them to recant their lived experience of child abuse if they ever want to see their friends or safe parent again.
Read the CJE press release and learn about the protest in support of Maya & Sebastian scheduled for Friday, October 28, 2022.
Before the legal kidnapping, Maya bravely uploaded heartbreaking videos to Instagram, begging the public to come protect them from being forcibly removed from their safe family, their school, their friends, and their community. Click here for her videos.
View the full video of Maya and Sebastian being taken from their home as recorded by a witness. Witness testimony follows:
It is a special kind of evil one who harms children for money. Maya (15) and Sebastian (11) Laing were violently taken from their home on 10/20/2022 after Judge Rebecca Connelly granted full custody to their mother and alleged abuser.
The ruling called for Lynn Steinberg’s “reunification camp” in Los Angeles, CA, to hold Maya and Sebastian for days. Order in hand, three transporters arrived at their grandmother’s home in Santa Cruz, CA. These transporters mercenaries who exchange kids for money as they deliver them to camp, demanded Maya and Sebastian surrender and board their SUV. They claimed the kids would be taken on a five and half hour drive to the camp to see a doctor.
Maya and Sebastian fought fiercely and loudly to resist their abduction. Santa Cruz Police Department arrived to facilitate compliance with Connelly’s order. Maya pleaded desperately for help on Instagram, as she had done in the days leading to the dark and cold night of their seizure. She called for anyone that could protect them or just be there to bear witness to their kidnapping.
Neighbors began to show up at her doorsteps trying to understand what was happening. There was very little information. Police did not allow anyone to help them. Their families had been ordered to stay away and not “tip off” the kids on their impending fate. Courageously, Maya refused to surrender. She would not back down. Her arms gripping her terrified brother as to shelter him from harm. The transporters relentlessly attempted to get them in the car.
Maya called me for help. I arrived at the scene and joined them. Maya and Sebastian held me tight, seeking comfort in the chaos, a temporary barrier from the perpetrators. Neighbors had been recording the incident to document the horror they were witnessing. Police stood by. I could not believe this was happening.
We realized the man in the group was driving up the driveway to take them. We sought shelter at the back of the garage. Police ordered me to step away and forced me to abandon them. I could not help them. Maya’s heart wrenching scream pleading me not to leave them still plays in my head.
The transporters moved swiftly and aggressively to overtake them. Three grown, large adults forcefully taking two small children. First, Sebastian was forced into the car carried away by a large woman. Then, Maya was carried away restrained from hands and feet by two people. She was nearly disrobed in the process, her face was slammed hard against the edge of the car door, she took a knee to the chest as the man pinned her to the hard cold concrete upside down. Once in the car, the woman continued to struggle to control Maya by pulling her by the hair and appearing to grab her by the neck as if choking her.
To the very end they blatantly disregarded Maya and Sebastian’s safety by speeding away recklessly without securing them with seat belts.