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Swain County father, Michael Shannon, has filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the civil rights of him, his daughter, and his father have been violated by key personnel in local and state government.

The lawsuit filed August 15, 2011 in the Swain County North Carolina Superior Court, names Michael Shannon, his father, Scott Shannon and his Daughter, Sierra Shannon as the Plaintiff’s and names the following as some of the Defendant’s.

  •  Michael Bonfoey, District Attorney, Swain County, North Carolina
  • Lanier Cansler,  Secretary of the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services. (click the link to find more stories of Lanier Cansler on this blog)
  • Patrick Betancourt,  Director of Child Protective Services, North Carolina. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Tammy Cagle, Director of the Swain County Department of Social Services (Tammy Cagle was fired for  insubordination and conduct unbecoming of a state employee detrimental to state service during an investigation into the death of 15 month old Aubrey Kina-Marie Littlejohn)
  • Jerry Smith, Interim Director of the Swain County Department of Social Services
  • Justin Green, counsel to the Swain County Department of Social Services
  • Ellen Thomas-Pullen,  Child Welfare Services Consultant with the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services
  • Aaron Ammons, Officer of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
  • Swain County Commissioners
  • Swain County Department of Social Services Board

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, accounts of government corruption so all encompassing that I believe an SBI investigation into this matter is desperately warranted.

This corruption includes, but is not limited to:

  • Failure to obey a custody order,
  • Failure to obey a judges order to pick up a child,
  • Wrongful arrest,
  • Malicious prosecution,
  • Placing a child in a dangerous environment
  • Allowing a child to be abused and neglected
  • Failure to obey statutory law
  • Failure to protect
  • Kidnapping
  • Child abduction
  • Perjury
  • illegal and unethical practices
The Swain County Department of Social Services has been the subject of an intense investigation into their involvement in the death of 15 month old, Aubrey Kina-Marie Littlejohn.  Social Worker, Craig Smith, falsified his records after Aubrey’s death, so it would appear that he followed the laws and policies during an investigation into the suspected abuse of Aubrey.  According to The Citizen Times, When investigator’s informed Smith that they knew he was lying,
“Smith then told the investigators that he was instructed to falsify the records by his supervisor after Aubrey died to show that he followed up with a call to the hospital.

He said he was later called to a meeting with his supervisor, Candice Lassiter, other agency officials and DSS Director Tammy Cagle.

They questioned him about his investigation at the Powell home. Cagle, according to the court papers, told Smith “we have to get everything in order and everything straight.”

The director, Tammy Cagle who is listed as a defendant is Shannon’s lawsuit, was fired  for insubordination and conduct unbecoming of a state employee detrimental to state service, for her apparent involvement in the falsification of records in Aubrey’s case.

It is abundantly apparent that Swain County DSS has broken laws in the case of Aubrey Littlejohn and in an attempt to cover their asses they falsified records and lied.  It is also abundantly apparent to me that these people were completely comfortable in their illegal behavior, so comfortable in fact, that they even held a meeting and discussed how to get “everything in order and everything straight”, or what I refer to as “a document forging party”.

The chances that the Aubrey Littlejohn case is the first and only case in which the Swain County DSS has exhibited this type of illegal and unethical behavior in, is in my opinion, slim to none.  I believe, based on the Swain County DSS’s proven behavior, that the case of Michael, Scott and Sierra Shannon should be looked at by unbiased, appropriate law enforcement.

I have heard the 911 call placed by Scott Shannon when he was being assaulted by Shannon’s mother, I have read some of the court papers and I have talked with Scott Shannon…there is something really fishy occurring in their case, and I believe with the illegal practices that have been brought to light in Swain County, that the Attorney General and the SBI owe a duty to investigate not only the Shannon case, but any other case that has been handled by the Swain County DSS.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of the Swain County Department of Social Services Please contact me at

For more information about Sierra’s case, please visit Michael Shannon’s site at the link below.

Sierra Shannon, 4 years old

A Victim of Child Abuse by

The Swain County, North Carolina

Department of Social Services

in Bryson City, North Carolina

We desperately need your help to save Sierra from the bureaucrats and criminals in the department of Social Services in North Carolina. A civil case was filed in the Superior Court of Swain County North Carolina on August 15, 2011 on her behalf by her father, Michael Shannon and her grandfather, Scott Shannon. The details of the case are below, as well as a link to a copy of the Civil Complaint. If you read these items you will discover a horror story that is almost beyond belief. 28 people are being sued in this case, and all have some responsibility for the abuse that Sierra has suffered since August 5, 2010.

Please read these materials and then take action to do what you can to help save Sierra from continuing abuse by these criminals, uncaring bureaucrats, and others who have allowed her to be abused and illegally taken her from her loving father. I know there is a lot of material to go through, but unless you know the entire story and all of the facts, you can’t understand the full horror of what has been done to my family. If you consider yourself a caring person, please read all of it. The links in the text will open in a new browser window so that you can always conveniently return to this page.

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    • shannon28713
    • Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm
    • Permalink

    Dear Lisa,
    Michael and I can’t begin to thank you enough for writing this post. You are only the second person who, during this ordeal, has given us any help or believed the atrocities committed by DSS. The three regional newspapers won’t mention it. The Asheville Citizen-Times and WLOS-TV in Asheville won’t cover the story. The SBI claims they have to be ordered by the Attorney General before they can investigate. The FBI said to call the SBI. No attorney in our region would help us with this case, except for one who said he would represent us for $100,000. The first hearing on this case is tomorrow. All of the defendants are seeking an immediate dismissal due to their “sovereign immunity” and “lack of service”. Everyone of them was properly served and the proof of service is in the court file. No government employee is subject to sovereign immunity when they commit a crime. How else could a senator be prosecuted for taking a bribe or misuse of campaign funds, domestic violence, drunk driving, etc? I have asked for a continuance because the state confiscated my computers after we filed this case. The computers have important evidence on them. They won’t give them back. It appears that Sierra HAS been sexually abused. Our fury has increased 100 fold. I hope we win the civil case and that it will be immediately followed by criminal prosecutions. We are eternally grateful to you.
    Scott & Michael Shannon

  1. Hello,

    I am very sorry and ashamed to hear of your terrible ordeal.

    I have myself filed a federal civil r

  2. I myself have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against my state and our version of dss which is called DHR is Alabama (Dept of Human Resources).

    Are you familiar with Nancy Schaefer? She was a senator from Georgia and a staunch advocate for issues like ours.

    If I can help anyway please let me know!

    • Anonymous
    • Posted February 26, 2012 at 10:50 am
    • Permalink

    Very sad! Having problems myself with cps here in wake county. There’s an election coming up it needs to be an issue!

    • smokegray
    • Posted February 1, 2013 at 3:24 am
    • Permalink

    I’m having problem with cps here in onslow co. I was convicted last year of abuse by the onslow co district kangaroo court and they are at it again because my autistic child has been abused on the school bus and i complained and the are turning it around on me again. This past december 2012. He came home with hand prints and bruses on his legs and i filed a complaint so the school filed the same complaint against me and cps is here again even worse this time. The real abuser is still on the bus. So i have to have someone else take my child to school and i have to be supervised with him or they threaten to take him away. I was a single father for 5 years and recently married and have 4 children in total with my new wife. i have been primary caregiver without a problem till the school bus last year and now again. With no recourse. Any help anyone can give would be appreciated. I can’t afford internet my phone is the only access and can’t access alot of sites. My address is po box 1372 richlands nc 28574

    • almosthome13
    • Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm
    • Permalink

    I am trying to find the outcome of the Shannon vs. Swain Co. DSS. I read in one post that it went to trial in Swain Superior Court and every one of the DSS staff members claimed Sovereign Immunity. Citizens can’t sue county or state agencies in regular court. The NC Tort Claims Act allows citizens to file lawsuits against county and state agencies, without them being able to claim Sovereign Immunity, with the NC Industrial Commission. $200.00 to file a lawsuit. The is where the Aubrey Littlejohn Lawsuit was filed. If anyone has information about the outcome, I would greatly appreciate it. The local news outlets will not report on issues like these.

    • Anonymous
    • Posted July 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    • Permalink

    We have had many problems out of Swain DSS and I hope that one day someone let’s them have it. I think everyone needs to come together and fight the.

    • charity larocca
    • Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:57 pm
    • Permalink

    How do you file a civil suit against dss or other goverment agencys.I am having problems with dss trying to adopt my grandson,because she was in a domestic violence relationship they took her child prior to her finalley getting out of it with no help from law enforcement,now dss filed adoption papers he was not abused or neglected by either parent,but father was abusive.Dss,also found a way to harrass my whole family to make all of us look not suitable to raise my grandson.Please any help would be appreciated.

    • almosthome13
    • Posted March 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm
    • Permalink

    Ms. Larocca, DSS employes have sovereign immunity in regular Superior Court because they are government officials. But in North Carolina, you can file a lawsuit against a county DSS with the NC Industrial Commission. I would suggest hiring an attorney to do this. On a local level, county DSS is under the county commissioners so I would call the commissioners at home to discuss your situation. You really need to rattle the cage to get anything done. If you live in Swain County, NC, the county commissioners home phone numbers are listed on You can also contact your state senator or representatives, Mark Meadows’ office listened to my DSS issues and my complaint was forwarded to the State Attorney General’s office. Hope this helps. Best of Luck!!!

    • John Roberts
    • Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:33 am
    • Permalink

    I want to say thank you first of all, this is the first time I’ve been able to find any hope. I am very sorry that you and your family is going through this atrocity. I am a resident of Pender county N.C., I was recently involved in a case that was closed on me. I had my two young children taken from me a placed with their mother who was a few months earlier under investigation for the beating of my youngest. With picture an all paper work I fought against D.S.S. Removing an then placing my children in her home. I was told that none of the evidence had any standing on this case. This is the clincher, when the beating case first started the children was removed fully from her an placed with me. Anyways the point is, they didn’t care about the well fare of my children by not investigating, an now I learn my daughter is witnessing her mother be beat by the bf, my son is hitting the other girls with closed fists. Both mother an bf has legal cases against them an D.S.S. out of their county has a new case also against them both. No one will lesson an my children are suffering for it, I’m at a lost on how to fight these people. Can you maybe point me in a direction that may help please

    • Anonymous
    • Posted October 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm
    • Permalink

    Wow I thaught it was just here in California

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  1. [...] CourtWhere is GOD in all this? Is this truly a battle against EVIL? or Are these mere WORDS?Father files lawsuit in Swain County NC: Names key personal at DSS and DA, among others body { background-image: [...]

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