Rutherfordton -- Two children residing with their mother in a Word of Faith Fellowship home were removed Monday after their father obtained a court order to get the children.
Robert Hamrick's two children, ages 8 and 13, had been residing in the home of Rick and Suzanne Cooper since November when Hamrick's wife , Stella, came here with the children. Stella is Rick Cooper's sister.
Attorney Ed Hensley who is representing Robert Hamrick filed for an ex parte order to remove the children.
"His children had been in an environment that had been adjudicated abusive and that the father had, based on information and belief, a fear they were going to remove the children from the country," said Hensley.
In such cases, one parent can get an emergency order if they can show the children are in danger of being physically or sexually abused or if they are going to leave the jurisdiction.
Because only one side of the case is heard before issuing the order, a hearing must be held within 10 days so that both parents or parties can present their case for custody.
That hearing is scheduled for domestic court Monday, April 5.
The children were turned over with the help of law enforcement and taken to a location outside of the county.
It was the Cooper home where Shana Muse and her four children lived while Muse was a member of the controversial Spindale-based church.
Muse left the church without her children in September 2002 and later returned to the area to get custody of her children whom she had left with WOFF ministers Kent and Brooke Covington.
The Covingtons refused give the children back, stating the children wished to remain where they were.
The Rutherford County Department of Social Services began a proceeding in September 2003 which ultimately resulted in the children being placed in DSS custody.
Judge Randy Pool declared the environment created by the WOFF abusive to children because of excessive corporal punishment, use of blasting to exorcise demons and other means of control and discipline
Blasting is a term used to describe a situation with a person usually seated in the center of a group of two to 20 or more people who use guttural screams and other vocalizations to drive out ungodly forces.
Blasting has been done on children and infants according the testimony given by former members during Muse's and other court cases.
Muse is the sister of Suzanne Cooper. The Coopers, their daughter Lena, and Carol Smith will be in court Friday. Muse has accused the four of false imprisonment while Rick and Lean Cooper have countered with assault charges against Muse during the same incident which took place in the Cooper home in March of 2002.