WASHINGTON, February 14, 2015 – Alecia Faith Pennington was born at home in Kerrville, Texas.
But she can’t prove it.
The 19-year-old does not have a birth certificate, does not have a social security number, was home schooled so she has no school records, has never received immunizations or physicals.
Efforts to obtain a delayed birth certificate so far have failed, making it impossible for Pennington to open a bank account, vote, or get a job.
The issue has also placed a magnifying glass on her parents, James and Lisa Pennington, and their choices not to obtain birth certificates or other identifications for their nine children.
Last September, Alecia left the family home with the help of her maternal grandparents.
According to a blog post by Lisa, which was subsequently removed from her Pennington Point web site:
On Wednesday, September 24, my life was changed forever. My 18 year old daughter left home. She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming. She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us. She, with the help of my parents, just left.”
The post goes on to say that they met with their daughter about a week later, and “agreed” to “all the changes” Alecia requested, but she still would not come home. According to that post, Alecia had a “list” of items she wanted changed.
The Pennington’s, who previously were known as Lisa Southworth Sublett and James Clark Sublett, deny that they intentionally avoided filing for a birth certificate for Alecia. According to posts by her parents, they believed the midwife who delivered Alecia applied for a birth certificate when she was born.
They do admit they avoided getting Alecia, and their other children, social security numbers. According to James Pennington, they have “a religious objection to obtaining Social Security Numbers for our children,”
Lisa Pennington is a devout Christian and homeschool parent. She writes the Pennington Point, a blog about parenting and faith, sells essential oils, and is a motivational speaker. According to her site, “She loves meeting women face to face and sharing God’s love with them. She has spoken all over the country at women’s retreats, blog conferences, homeschool conferences, MOPS groups and church groups.”
James is a CPA and a tax attorney. According to his web site, he is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court, and he is a member of the State Bar of California.
Mr. Pennington is also a director of The Anchor Group, which Mr. Pennington argues is a Church under the definition of IRC § 7611(h)(1)(A). In 2010, Mr. Pennington sought to quash an IRS summons requiring Mr. Pennington to provide financial statements and bank documents pertaining to The Anchor Group. He lost that motion.
After Alecia posted her video and went to Facebook for help, Lisa briefly posted her own video. In that video, which she also deleted, Lisa accused Alecia of being untruthful. She said that the only piece of truth in Alecia’s video was that she was born at home.
James then recorded his own YouTube response to Alecia, where he offers to help her obtain a birth certificate. He notes that he has helped several of his other children obtain documentation.
James has also said he and Lisa did not know Alecia was trying to get a birth certificate. He said they offered to help, but that Alecia had rejected their offers.
According to Alecia’s Facebook page, on February 12, a lawyer offered to help her.
She updated her status on February 12, noting “I have some wonderful news! My father has begun cooperating with us! He states he is willing to sign any documents, and give me any information he has concerning what I may need as proof.”
Neither Alecia nor her parents have commented on the current status of their relationship. However, in her Facebook post on February 12, Alecia asked the social media universe to back off on attacks on her parents. She wrote:
I would also like to ask that you do not post demeaning comments about my parents. Even though I do not agree with them on many things, I would like their reputation to be protected as much as possible. Thanks!