Ten years ago my brother was falsely accused of a horrible crime. He’s was beaten and raped while incarcerated. Inmates used socks filled with batteries and bars of soap to beat him. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease prior to the incident and his health became increasingly worse. He was placed in solitary confinement for a long period of time.
Solitary confinement of prisoners exists under a range of names: isolation, control units, supermax prisons, the hole, SHUs, administrative segregation, maximum security, or permanent lockdown.
Prisoners can be placed in these units for many reasons: as punishment while they are under investigation; as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement; as retribution for political activism; or to fill expensive, empty beds, or protection from inmates who want to kill them, to name but a few.
Although conditions vary from state to state and in different institutions, systematic policies and conditions of control and oppression used in isolation and segregation include:
- Confinement behind a solid steel door for 23 hours a day
- Limited contact with other human beings
- Infrequent phone calls and rare non-contact family visits
- Extremely limited access to rehabilitative or educational programming
- Grossly inadequate medical and mental health treatment
- Restricted reading material and personal property
- Physical torture such as hog-tying, restraint chairs, and forced cell extraction
- Mental torture such as sensory deprivation, permanent bright lighting, extreme temperatures, and forced insomnia
- Sexual intimidation and violence
False allegations of the magnitude in which my brother was accused destroy not only the life of the accused, but their family as well. We are sad, desperate collateral damage.
The purpose for this post: To warn others from the same fate. According to statistic compiled nationally by Child Protective Services, more than 65% to 70% of all accusations of child molestation are false. It is the worst crime to be falsely accused. Somalia pirates who overtake cargo ships armed with semi-automatic weapons do not receive as much time. And not since the days of McCarthyism has any one accusation been bantered about so free with such deadly force.
The following is an example of a recent situation in Northern California that led to a man being arrested on false allegations of child molestation. James Kirkland and his kids spent an evening playing Twister. Mrs. Kirkland is a nurse and was working the night shift and wasn’t there. Two days later their son, Mark – a twelve year old with a history of trouble at school – told his school counselor that his dad was touching and pressing his body against his. He did not mention the fact that they were playing Twister. Mark claimed it was sexual abuse, and soon child protection opened a case file to investigate Mark’s allegation.
False allegations of child molestation happen every day in families across America. You are at your most vulnerable if you think it can’t happen to you. Be alert and protect yourself.
Document everything. Start a notebook to record details of every phone conversation, personal interview, and correspondence related to the allegation. Write in pen, and be prepared to use the notebook to back up your story in court if need be. Request copies of the written charges against you, as well as the letter that formally states that the allegations were unfounded once the investigation is over. (That won’t always make a difference. We have such a letter from the state of Missouri. Get a copy of that document anyway).
Educate yourself. Insist on getting a copy of your state’s laws pertaining to allegations and abuse, and learn about county or agency policies and procedures too. Find out what will happen during the investigation, what your rights are, and how you can appeal an investigator’s determination.
Behave appropriately. During interviews, make your point and then stop talking. Speak with confidence, and be factual, honest, respectful, and business like. Avoid emotional language when telling your side of the story. It may be extremely hard, but you must try to be objective.
Meet with people who are gathering information. If an investigator asks to meet with you, don’t keep her waiting. If you need to, bring along a friend or someone from your support group who can give their perspective on how the meeting went. (Make sure you are working with an investigator who is unbiased. The investigator working with my brother and family was giving money to my brother’s ex-wife and her daughter. Always report the first sign of any corruption.)
Know your rights. Don’t be afraid to appeal, request a waiver, and learn how the grievance procedure works. If need be, hire legal counsel. I would especially recommend hiring a good attorney for sexual abuse allegations. Some of the best lawyers who specialize in such things are in Phoenix, Arizona. There are quality attorneys to be hired. Get more than one opinion. If you feel the attorney you hired does not really care, run! Take your money and run and hire someone else. Sticking with a lawyer that doesn’t care might cost you your freedom.
The following is a confession from one woman who falsely accused her step-father of child molestation.
“MY NAME IS Kassandra Lucas, and I am writing this statement because about 10 years ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life! I am not proud of what I did, in fact I am outright Ashamed and embarrassed that I did such a horrible thing to my own family. I knew what I was doing at the time was wrong but I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal and what was the worst that could happen to me (in my mind) was that I would get grounded and it would all be done with. I never had even a clue of what this would do to so many people and how lives could be ruined, and back at that age I really didn’t care! All I know is that somehow some way I need to try to find a way to make this right as much as I can because I can’t bear to see the pain I have put my whole family through, and I keep thinking ” It has to stop some time” but it never does! My parents love me and have forgiven me, and I don’t know why after what I did. My dad hasn’t even seen his own 2 daughters (my step sisters in 10 years). I am so sorry and ashamed for saying my step dad molested me back then when he didn’t, and I am sorry for all the pain I have caused my whole family as this has torn my family apart and has caused my family great embarrassment due to something so horrible that never even happened. I know I can’t give my parents back what they have lost and I can never make up for this, But maybe by doing whatever it is I need to do to correct this mistake, I can somehow help stop this from happening to another loving family! You can’t imagine how awful it is to see your own family going crazy and doubting their own values and actions all the while I sit here knowing that they did nothing wrong! And after (with help from a social worker and my sister) accusing my stepdad of molestation, and the court saying my mom failed to protect me, my parents still forgave me and love me, Now the CPS workers are saying that until I deal with the abuse I supposedly endured years ago, They have now taken and refuse to return my child to me! I believe this is in retaliation because I won’t tell the story they want me to tell.”
Personal Note: Jesus lives and forgives. His grace says come to me and I will make you whole. That is true forgiveness. It would not be true forgiveness if he told you something like “I forgive you, even though you relinquished the right to be called my child. I forgive you, even though I do not want a relationship with you.” His grace covers all and His true forgiveness washes over you with compassion and love. It’s not passive aggressive. It’s perfect and true. Flee from anyone who boasts that they follow God and tries to make forgiveness conditional. Those two things are contradictory. Look to the Lord for strength and only the Lord.