Where is Michael Long? Sophie Long’s dad says he’d ‘go to jail’ to protect her amid abuse claim
Sophie Long’s on-the-run father has finally decided to present his side of the story as he is demanding permission to present his case before a jury. Michael Long also claimed that he would “go to jail to protect” his daughter, who he claims was sexually abused by her mother’s fiancé.
In an interview with DailyMail.com, which took place at an unknown place, Michael said, “I'd absolutely go to jail to protect Sophie. I'd do anything for her. She's a 10-year-old child. She shouldn't have to be dealing with this stuff. These high conflict custody cases — this wasn't about getting into a custody case.”
Where is Sophie Long’s dad?
According to reports, Michael is on the run with his 10-year-old daughter after being ordered to hand over the child to her maternal aunt. An arrest warrant was also issued against him and he was supposed to be present at a court in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday, August 4, for a hearing over a motion brought by his ex-wife Kelly Long that could put him behind bars for three years. But Michael did not show up
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, which happened the day before the warrant was issued, he said: “This was about getting justice for my daughter. It turned into that because the system didn't take action as they promised they would. People like to say this is a vendetta against my ex. No, it's not. This is about a little girl who made an outcry and has a diagnosis and has not gotten justice. There's no way I'm going to turn my back on her now.”
In her motion, Sophie's mother has put her demand against the jury trial while calling for her former husband to be jailed for 18 months along with one year extra in jail on one count of hiding Sophie and one of failing to hand her over. She also wants Michael’s bond to be set at $20,000. Besides, the 36-year-old has requested a decade of probation for him and wants him to cover her legal expenses.
Michael has reportedly been “laying low” with Sophie since July 7 after a court ordered him to give the girl to her aunt in North Carolina. He was also banned from speaking to her for at least three months. But he said the order left him “numb” and he decided to “buy time” and left the town. “I sat there, everybody started scrambling in the background trying to find her and pick her up. And I thought through it. This is a civil matter. This isn't a criminal matter, it isn't oh, he's going to jail if we find him kind of thing. It's a time period. And I knew the only thing to do next was to file an appeal and to do it quickly. But you need time to do that. Within days of the hearing, there's a missing poster floating about. No, she's with me and we're laying low until the next step,” he told DailyMail.com.
Michael continued: “That was a motion to stay and a writ of mandamus that was denied. Between that denial and now, they called for a court hearing on August 4 where they wanted to put down an order on the motion decided on July 7. But they also want to put me in jail for two and a half years and they want to put me on probation for 10 years. All through this situation, I'm just a father trying to protect my child – that's all there is to it. At the end of the day, I will do anything I can to make sure Sophie gets justice. This is my little girl. What would any other parent do in this situation? Especially when the documentation I have proves what happened.”
Earlier in July, it was claimed that Michael had kidnapped Sophie, but he denied the accusation and said that he took her along with him because he’s afraid of the consequences if she returned to her mother’s house. He also explained how his daughter is doing. He stated, “She's awesome. Sophie's brave. She's really into architecture at the moment so she's been spending some time learning about those principles. Swimming. We are blessed to have wonderful friends in this world, people who are willing to give us a soft place to land. So, we're comfortable, she's happy. It's summer. I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible in her life. I don't want her to feel the stress I go through. At the end of the day, this is about her. It's about my boys too but I can only deal with what I have control over and at this point, it's my daughter and making sure she has her voice heard.”
Michael, who is now waiting for his request to be granted, said: “I feel like the police have let her down. I feel like the court system has let her down. I feel like DFPS have let her down and that applies to my boys too. Sophie wasn't the only (one) who was living through that situation. There was domestic violence in that home. I feel jaded by (the process). That's not how this country should be.”
“We are smart enough to do this better. We need courts that are transparent. Open courts serve a purpose in this country. That's not happening in family courts and you have to ask yourself why? I know the privacy argument is made but what about the other side? That's when corruption will happen. We have to demand transparency and ultimately we need to agree to federal oversight over family court,” he added.