Dad Ends Hunger Strike Amid Fight to Get Kids Back

Raymond Schwab lost custody of 5 kids amid abuse allegations
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 7:19 AM CDT
Dad Ends Hunger Strike Amid Fight to Get Kids Back
Raymond Schwab, center, speaks during a rally with his wife, Amelia, standing below him Wednesday at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.   (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Raymond Schwab, a Gulf War veteran and father of six, has ended his 17-day hunger strike on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse now that an LA-based attorney is filing a lawsuit on his behalf. Schwab, who says he uses medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, lost custody of five of his six children last April, when the state placed them in foster care under allegations of emotional abuse, reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. (His other child is an adult and can thus remain in the home.) "Now I can eat!" exclaimed Schwab in front of 35 supporters on Wednesday, adding that he hopes the lawsuit will result in an injunction against the state and ultimately return his children to his custody.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families said Wednesday that the lawsuit had not yet been filed, and it notes it's expediting the review of a "fairly thick file" on the case; Schwab says he lost custody because of his pot use, but the DCF says it can't disclose details. While documents from the department do show that claims of emotional abuse were unsubstantiated, its public relations director tells KSN that this doesn't mean abuse didn't occur, and it also doesn't mean that the children will be automatically returned. NBC News reports that Schwab and his wife, who were in the process of moving to Colorado (where medical marijuana is legal) when their children were removed from their home, have only seen their children three times since April. (A student held a hunger strike last year in neighboring Missouri.)

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