Matt Shea, a former Washington GOP state Representative who was accused of domestic terrorism in relation to his role in a series of standoffs with federal authorities, has sparked alarm after gathering more than 60 Ukrainian children in an attempt to facilitate their adoption in the United States.
Shea is currently in Kazimierz Dolny, a small town in Poland. His behavior has disturbed others, including Weronika Ziarnicka, an aide to the town's mayor who in an interview with The Seattle Times said Shea "told me that it’s not my business" when she questioned him about what he intended to do with the children.
“I got the feeling in my gut that something’s wrong with this guy; he didn’t want to tell me his last name," she added at the same time mayor Artur Pomianowski said the "case is being investigated and clarified by the relevant authorities."
Pomianowski later communicated his concerns to The Seattle Times in an email, noting Shea has been acting suspiciously:
"I do not know what Matt Shea and his friends are doing here around children. Mr. Shea and his friends have given us some contradictory information and, for that reason, it is difficult for us to trust them."
Shea is a highly controversial figure in Washington politics.
A noted extremist, he once published a manifesto which called for the killing of non-Christian males and has long advocated for the installation of a Christian theocratic state.
In fact, Shea and his supporters have advocated seizing control of their corner of the Pacific Northwest following the outbreak of a civil war that would culminate with him being declared the leader of a Christofascist state.
Given his violent history, many have expressed alarm and outrage at Shea's actions, accusing him of engaging in human trafficking.
Others called for further investigation.
According to Ziarnicka, the mayoral aide, and Joanna Stefańska, who both run a foundation that "funds various children’s initiatives and events in Kazmierz Dolny," they grew concerned when they heard from colleagues that "an American pastor by the name of Matt Shea was not allowing Polish volunteers or doctors to visit the Ukrainian children."
Shea was combative, Ziarnicka said, recalling that he was angry that she brought police and refused to allow her to speak to any legal guardians.