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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Opinion Piece

I found an interesting article on the problem of false allegations of child abuse; it talks about why it happens, how it happens, etc. It seems that most professionals hold the belief that children would never, ever lie about sexual assault, and that children must be believed at all costs; even if the interviewer has to ‘help them along’ a bit.

We tend to assume that the mother in Coy Vs. Texas knew all along what she was doing, that she made up the accusation. It’s entirely believable that that’s true. However, she did not get all the way to trial by herself. There was a system in place that greased the skids, that allowed her to either knowingly imprison an innocent man or that convinced her that her own half-accepted idea was the truth.

Those of us with children fear for their safety. It’s just a fact of our lives, a constant wondering of “Are they okay?” “Who are they with?”. Most of us respond to that fear by keeping our kids away from people and situations that we dislike or mistrust.

At trial, Mom testified under oath that she disliked Carlos Coy because he ‘used drugs and beat women’. One has to ask, why the hell would you allow your daughter to spend the night his house, then? Even if you had no thoughts of inappropriate sexual behavior, why would you risk exposing your daughter to a man that you truly thought was dangerous?

But let's say that you do allow your precious nine year old daughter to spend the night at the home of a man who you believe is a threat to women and weed. You've spent the day shopping with him and his family and although you don't want to, you let her go.

Later that night, he drives her back to your house and you find out she's feeling ill. This dangerous man, whom you strongly dislike, gets invited to stay for a little while and have menudo with your family. He eventually goes home and you sit there, thinking. Did I make a mistake? What if she's not really ill? What if...God forbid...this man, whom I believe to be violent and out-of-control, and whom I entrusted my daughter to, molested her? Panic!

The girl supposedly told her mother about the abuse the next morning. Now, whether she said "Mom, I need to tell you something" or if the mother said "Honey, I need you to tell me something", we'll probably never know. We do know that the girls watched movies that depicted oral sex. We know that she had a sleep disorder, which probably involved nightmares. If we take the mother's statements in court at face value, that she believed Coy was a bad person, she's probably feeling a certain amount of guilt at letting her daughter stay at his house. So whoever brought up the supposed abuse, the other was primed and ready to support the story.

Eventually they end up in the hands of the professionals, who exist to confirm and prosecute stories just like theirs.

At this point there is no turning back. If there was even the slightest chance that the case was prosecutable, the professionals would have held on with both hands and their teeth.

In the 1989 case of Jay Van Story(Lubbock County), CPS workers told the 7-year-old victim that she would never see her mother again unless she helped them prosecute Van Story. He remains in prison.

The only thing that makes me suspect that the mother in Coy’s case was a willing participant, rather than a legitimately concerned Mother is the suggestion that after the CAC told her she had no evidence and they would not proceed, she brought them Jill Odom's story. That, to me, suggests a malicious intention to see Coy imprisoned no matter what. If they had told her the case would not be pursued, she probably brought Odom to their attention with the expectation that they would prosecute that case, and not her daughter's.

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