In a statement released in the wake of a judge's order to keep 17-year-old Fathima Rifqa Bary in custody of a foster family in Florida while her family is investigated by state law enforcement officers, Craig McCarthy accused the governor of taking sides before evidence has been submitted.
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"The entire Bary family has already been exploited by those who recklessly wish to force this case into a clash of religions, and now by the Governor's statement the Bary family's case has become a political matter as well."
Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson ruled that for at least the next two weeks, Rifqa Bary will stay in Florida. She is living with a Christian foster family that has other children, and she is being home schooled.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating threats to the girl's safety. That includes a probe into her family, which lives outside Columbus, Ohio.
FDLE's investigation is already underway, said George Sheldon, secretary of Florida's Department of Children & Families. DCF is charged with safeguarding Rifqa Bary since it was called in to look at the girl's situation after she arrived in Florida.
The investigation should last about two weeks, Sheldon said.
The judge ordered the girl back to court Sept. 3 for another hearing.
Rifqa Bary disappeared from her home in late July. Later it was learned that she hitch-hiked to a local Greyhound station and boarded a bus to Orlando to meet a husband-and-wife pastor team with whom she became familiar on Facebook.
When Bary got to Orlando, she borrowed a cell phone to call Beverly Lorenz, who with husband Blake Lorenz is a pastor of Global Revolution Church in Orlando.
The Lorenzes have said Bary was a stranger when she showed up -- and that she arrived saying she was afraid for her life. She told them her family would harm her, kill her or send her back to her native Sri Lanka, Beverly Lorenz said.
Rifqa Bary's mother and father, Mohamed Bary, a jeweler, have attended both Florida court hearings involving their daughter.
Since the family's story has hit the news, it has become a national story with both political undertones fanned by religious interest.
Christian and Muslim faithful have expressed views to Crist and to the media about what they believe should happen to the girl.
With Crist's statement, "Now the Barys can only conclude that chances for impartiality and straight-forward dealings with DCF are slipping away," McCarthy said in his statement.