An Irish teenager and her Mormon half sister in Provo, Utah, have filed a temporary protective order against their mother alleging they were abused while under her care.
Shannon Cowan, 14, and her half sister Melita Carter, 28, obtained a temporary protective order against Caroline Cowan, their mother, in Provo’s 4th District Court in August, an order that prevents the girl’s mother from taking her back home.
Carter lived with her mother in Dublin before moving to Utah at the age of 12 to live with her father. She claims she was abused by her mother while under her care.
Last week Cowan went on radio in Ireland saying she was worried that the Mormons in Utah were keeping her child in an effort to brainwash her.
In the affidavit filed with the court, Carter claims she and her younger sister suffered physical abuse at the hands of their mother.
On one occasion, Carter claimed, Cowan beat her for putting her hand out a window to feel the rain.
In the petition Carter asked for a protective order for herself, her husband, her sister (Shannon) and her daughter. She said she feared Cowan would retaliate against her.
On August 9 Carter and Shannon reported the abuse to the Provo Police.
Police Captain Cliff Argyle said “the child came to the police department with her sister to report incidents that had occurred in Dublin, Ireland.”
Although Argyle could not take any action on the alleged abuse because it occurred out of the Provo jurisdiction, he said he did report the incidents to authorities in Dublin. A later request from police in Dublin seeking a check on Shannon’s health was completed and the report came back that the girl was fine and staying in Provo willingly.
Shannon came to visit her sister in the summer and was due to return to Ireland in August. She never returned.
Cowan’s attorney, Sean Petersen, based in Utah, told reporters his client’s daughter should be back in Ireland attending school.
“Obviously, Caroline is denying any allegations that are in the petition,” he said.
Nathan Shill-Carter’s attorney told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that Carter denies claims made by her mother that she is trying to keep Shannon in Utah so she can be “brainwashed” by the Mormon community.
“This is untrue and we deny any such allegations,” said Shill.
He also said the Shannon has started school in Provo and is getting on fine.
Petersen said Cowan is currently in the hospital in Ireland and is concerned for her daughter.
He said Cowan would fight the protective order, which is temporary until a final order is issued. He also said he does not know if Carter will be successful in obtaining a permanent order.
“By listing (the teen) on it, she may be stretching,” he said.
Shirll said, “Right now she (Carter) is just trying to do what she feels necessary to protect Shannon and do what’s best for her. She is just seeking whatever judicial intervention that is available.”