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Overbearing parents? Irvine may have a couple

June 20, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • Irvine couple Kent and Jill Easter are accused of planting drugs in the car of a PTA president because they were unhappy with her supervision of their son.
Irvine couple Kent and Jill Easter are accused of planting drugs in the car… (Orange County District…)

When my colleague Meghan Daum wrote about overprotective parents in her May 31 column, she pegged it to the brouhaha over the Time magazine cover of a mother breast-feeding her nearly 4-year-old son, and to the disappearance in 1979 of 6-year-old Etan Patz.

And Daum’s conclusion?

What happened to Etan Patz, in other words, is incredibly rare. Sure, it could be presented to the public as part of a nefarious and growing trend, as the latest reason that society is going to hell. But, like mothers in the industrialized world who breast-feed 4-year-olds, what happened was the exception: Most kids don't disappear, and when they do, not that way.

That's important to remember as we are, once again, being instructed to be scared for the nation's children.

Which brings me to a couple who could be the latest poster people for “overbearing parents” --  Irvine’s own Kent and Jill Easter.

Orange County law enforcement officials say the two, both 38 and both attorneys, planted drugs in the car of Kelli Peters, a school volunteer and PTA president, because they were unhappy with her supervision of their son, a student at Plaza Vista Elementary School in Irvine.

As The Times reported:

Prosecutors say Kent Easter drove to the volunteer’s home shortly after midnight on Feb. 16, 2011, and put a bag of prescription pain medication and marijuana, along with a used marijuana pipe, in plain sight in the woman’s unlocked car.

He then allegedly called police from a public phone in Newport Beach and falsely reported seeing the volunteer -- whom he identified by name -- driving erratically to the school and hiding drugs behind the driver's seat of her car.

Irvine police went to the school the night and found the drugs, but after speaking with the volunteer and searching her home, found "no evidence to support drug use or possession," the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Detectives later turned their attention to the Easters after determining the drugs were likely planted in the woman's car. Video surveillance from a hotel near Kent Easter's Newport Beach office showed him allegedly making the initial 911 call, and prosecutors said the Easters were texting and calling each other during that time.

Remember now, all you “CSI” fans, these are just allegations. Then again, this is Orange County, where they take their crime-fighting duties seriously.

I’d say these two better get a good lawyer; of course, they are lawyers, but anyone dopey enough to hatch this plan shouldn’t be representing anyone, much less themselves.

Now, thankfully, there are no allegations that Jill Easter breast-fed her child until a ripe age or insisted on a vegan lifestyle. (I say thankfully because, as my colleague Alexandra Le Tellier learned in the latter case, questioning the sensibility of a vegan diet for children can provoke, uh, strong reactions from some folks.)

But I’m tipping my hat to Daum, who couldn’t have been more prescient when she concluded her column with this line:

This time, the boogeyman isn't a mostly nonexistent marauder who strikes when parents aren't looking. It's the ever-lurking, overbearing parents themselves.

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