The video was shared by Michael Long as he had become desperate to get the word out and save his daughter somehow.
Trigger Warning: Child Abuse
What started as a custody battle for Michael Long of Texas has turned into a father's cry for help for his 9-year-old daughter, Sophie. Michael, 41, of Seguin, Texas, and his ex-wife Kelly, 34, of Frisco, Texas, have been fighting for custody of their three kids since 2015 since they got divorced. More recently, a video of Sophie fighting her maternal grandmother while refusing to return to her mother's home went viral.
The 9-year-old has accused Kelly's fiance and his friends of abusing her. Michael was awarded full custody of Sophie and brothers Jack, 7, and Lucas, 6, on September 9, according to Daily Mail. The viral video sparked the campaign #StandwithSophie and the desperate father has beseeched everyone possible, including Taylor Swift and President Donald Trump, to help him.
In the video, Sophie tells her grandmother that Mr. Jake, Kelly's boyfriend/fiance, and some of his friends have touched her inappropriately. She is seen putting up a fight to not go back to her mother's house and is screaming to her father to "help me!". Michael and his wife, Kourtney Chalmers, have been fighting the legal battle to remove the three children from Kelly's home as she is not able to keep them safe there.
(Please view the video at your discretion as it contains disturbing content)
"They completely took her innocence away. But they didn't take her power away and they didn't take her will. In terms of how I feel towards them, I hope they pay for what they've done. I don't believe in violence, I don't believe in death threats but justice needs to be served. At this point, there's so much evidence, if justice isn't served, it tells me the system is completely collapsed and there is no justice for children in the United States," said Michael to the news outlet.
On a GoFundMe page started by Kourtney, she writes that Sophie "has been continuously subjected to domestic violence, sexual grooming, and most recently molestation/rape in her primary residence. Her father is fighting for her life while her abusers pull every resource to get their hands back on her. The biological mother, according to Sophie, is a part of the sexual abuse and is encouraging it. We have gone through 30 thousand dollars since June and the fight somehow isn't over. We have been dealing with CPS, Law Enforcement, Lawyers, DFPS, Forensic interviews, and several doctors that are helping with Sophie's recent medical issues in her private areas and as a resolute (result) of the assault by her mother and grandmother in this video. She is desperate to be saved from that environment and we are desperate to help her. She states her life has been threatened by these people and she is afraid, but has brave heart and wants to help her brothers get away from the abuse too. [sic]"
Sophie, we will not stop fighting for you, Until you are safe Forever. Just a clip of everyone's support.— Amanda Nicole (@AmandaGelinas3) September 11, 2020
You have the WORLD standing behind you. You're voice is being heard. 💜💜💜💜 #standwithsophie @taylorswift13 @standwithsophie @DailyMail @DailyMailUK pic.twitter.com/2yzydwbxwE
Michael is relieved that he has custody of his children but he knows that the fight is not over yet. A trial in November will finally decide the fate of his children. Meanwhile, he revealed that he feels immense guilt about not being able to save his children earlier.
They said that the once "bubbly" Sophie is a shadow of her former self. They believe that the abuse has been ongoing for a long period of time. "It's really, really hard. There's a lot of guilt – you try to think if there was a sign you could have seen sooner if they were trying to tell you in some other way. It felt just awful [to hear what she said] and you feel disgusted all the time, especially with everybody telling you right and left that it shouldn't be this hard to remove a child from an abusive situation. I just don't understand why everybody just keeps throwing them back to the wolves," said Kourtney.
I sigh a deep breath of relief tonight knowing that all four of my children are safe and sound in our care and protection. Thank God! ☝🏼🙏🏼💙💫 #standwithsophie #sophiesarmy #14thamendment #lifeliberty #breakthecycle pic.twitter.com/ZZS8rpvrbg— Michael Long (@standwithsophie) September 10, 2020
The younger boys are also affected by the treatment they receive in their mother's home in Frisco. Lucas apparently told his stepmother that he tries to stay awake until dawn because "they get them in the dark".
Their older sister, Sophie, has been taken to the doctors repeatedly after she had shooting pains in her private parts. Her father has tried to seek the legal route for help but he was desperate and used social media to get the message across.
Dear @realDonaldTrump, As a Father to a Daughter, I’m sure you can appreciate my dilemma. I need your help Sir. Will you help me #standwithsophie? #savethechildren pic.twitter.com/gcax4tsRbO— Michael Long (@standwithsophie) September 9, 2020
"It's one of those helpless things – as a parent, you do everything you can do to make sure your child gets the help she needs. The legal system failed us miserably. I knew the only way to protect Sophie was to record everything. I realized we were completely broke, we'd spent everything we had, so you know what, if no one else is going to speak for Sophie, I'll let her speak for herself. So I released it and we'll let the world decide," he added.
For now, the judge erred on the side of caution and gave Michael full custody but it remains to be seen what will happen in November.