Allegations of Kidnap in Controversial Army Recruiting Incident
May 5, 2005
Re: Army Recruitment Malfeasance
Dear Congressman Howard Berman,
We are writing on behalf of our friend Maria Iris and her son, Ever Jandres. We have known this family for over 10 years. Ms. Iris does not speak English. Ms. Iris is extremely distressed over what she describes as the dishonest and completely aggressive behavior by army recruiter Jesus Lopez in his effort to enlist her son against her wishes. She reports that both she and her son were directly lied to by army recruiter Jesus Lopez. Thus far, she has been completely stonewalled by the recruitment office in her many efforts to get information regarding her son and his current whereabouts.
What we know:
1) Both Ms. Iris and her son Ever Jandres are from El Salvador. Both have green cards as reported in the enclosed Case Work application.
2) Ms. Iris lost one son in a traffic accident several years ago.
3) Ever Jandres is an affable, eager to please 24 year old who is learning disabled and probably has a borderline low IQ. His mother reports that he suffered from epileptic seizures from toddler hood to the onset of adolescence. He and his mother are extremely close and depend on each other.
4) For the last several weeks, Ever has been frequently solicited both at home and at his work (a Chevron gas station) by army recruiter Staff Sergeant Jesus Lopez Febo. Ms. Iris thinks that they went together to the bank, and also for a medical examination.
5) Ever kept referring to the recruiter as his “friend”.
6) Ms. Iris clearly tried to discourage the recruiter, the recruiter continued to go to Ever’s work place.
7) Last week, according to Ms. Iris, The recruiter invited Ever to go to Arizonafor 3 days to observe basic training. The recruiter promised directly to both Ms. Iris and Ever that he would be home by Friday, April 22, so that he could go to work that evening. Mrs. Iris still did not agree.
8) The recruiter came to pick up Ever at 4:00am, and told him not to wake up his mother. He did sign a paper at that time – but he thought that he was giving permission to go to Arizonafor 3 days.
9) Ever did not show up on Friday. He called home on Sunday, April 24 in a hysterical state, saying that he was not in Arizona, but was sent to South Carolina, and that they would not let him leave, nor speak on the phone for more than a minute.
10) All efforts to contactthe recruiter were fruitless. Several family members tried to speak to the recruitment office and were told that they could not be given any information. I (Allan Phillips) also called and was told the head of the recruiting office would call me back. He never did.
11) Finally, Ms. Iris herself went in person to the office. She also was told that they could not give her any information. She forced her way into the office of the Station Commander, Sergeant First Class Todd A. Pooler. He finally told her that Ever was enlisted properly, never lied to (her word against theirs) and that the recruiter, Jesus Lopez would not be allowed to speak with her, and had gone back to school.
12) This Sunday, May 1, Ever was able to make another 30 second phone call. He was finally able to tell his parents that had been sent to Fort Jackson in South Carolina. He continues to sound very agitated and terrified, does not understand why he is in this predicament, and continues to state that he was lied to. The family related that they understood him to be under some form of punishment at the army facility.
Needless to say, as U.S.citizens both my wife and I are alarmed and upset at the actions of this Army recruitment office. We are also at a loss as to how to rectify and assist this poor family in their current situation. They and their son have been victimized by the Army recruiter and the U.S. Army seems to have colluded in this.
Attached please find a recent article from the New York Times, which has documented many other similar cases. Clearly this is an insidious activity which has received “tacit” approval by the U.S. Army.
Congressman Berman, we appreciate any help you or your office can provide. Obviously time is of the essence.
Allan and Abbie Phillips