Monday, June 25, 2012

America as South Park Nation: Where Life is a Bad Cartoon, Part I

In the bawdy, satirical cartoon show, South Park, one episode seemed to be something akin to life imitating art (if one calls the show "art"). Called "The Wacky Molestation Adventure," the children in town are able to make their parents legally "disappear" simply by accusing them of molestation.

Not surprisingly, the children revel in their newfound power and the authorities are happy to go along, since everyone is against child molestation. The town soon is denuded of adults.

While South Park is supposed to be farce, nonetheless its plot is not far from the current situation in the United States, where a mere accusation of child molestation, child abuse, sexual abuse, or even rape can end in a legal nightmare for anyone falsely accused. As in the cartoon, when the epidemic of false accusations created circumstances that got out of control, we are seeing what happens in a country when people are empowered to make others disappear by the simple uttering of a lie.

As I have read the horrific story of the school bus monitor who was harassed to tears by a group of seventh graders, I cannot help but wonder if this whole "experiment" in empowering children to falsely accuse adults because we must "protect" children at all costs has played a role not only in that case but in the way children now interact with adults. On top of that, the regular use of accusations of child molestation in child custody battles certainly cannot help how children view adults, especially when the authorities literally coach them to lie.

When I was a student at Baylor School more than 40 years ago (at that time, Baylor was an all-boys military school), students often would find unpopular teachers and make things difficult for them. However, none of us could have imagined acting as the children on that bus did, especially when we were seventh graders. This would have fallen into the "unthinkable" category.

Of course, back then we did not have the authorities actively encouraging us to make accusations of serious crimes against adults, or at least accusations that patently were false. Unfortunately, since then we have seen the advent of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, or CAPTA, also known as the Mondale Act. This law plus subsequent federal statutes not only made false accusations more likely, but also placed government authorities in a position where they were to believe that ANY accusation was true and must pursue the charges as far as they possibly could take them.

The Mondale Act included two important provisions that would eviscerate rule of law and also empower children to go after adults that they didn't like. The first was money that was promised to state and local agencies to assist in prosecuting alleged abusers and for treating children that were abused. The second provision simply did away with the bedrock of Anglo-American law: due process, and in so doing eliminated many evidentiary standards that guaranteed innocent people would be convicted.

At the time, authorities needed corroborating evidence to go along with an accusation, as the simple word of a child with nothing else to help confirm the charges (such as evidence that the accused actually was in that place when the alleged molestation/abuse occurred) was not considered to be credible enough to put someone behind bars for a long time. By ridding the authorities of that troublesome requirement that the accused actually might have committed the acts, the wrongful convictions came and came and came.

During my coverage two years ago of the Tonya Craft case, I heard from another private investigator in Georgia, Ron DeLaby, who told me of a very sad situation. Schools regularly have assemblies in which students are told about "good touch, bad touch" situations with students then urged to report anyone who has given them a "bad touch."

One does not need much of an imagination to know what has happened because of this "touch" emphasis: students try to outdo each other in reporting these alleged crimes. Furthermore, if an adult has upset them, or maybe a parent or grandparent has punished a child for something or has kept a girl from seeing a certain boy, the incentive is there simply to get that person out of the picture.

In the case of which DeLaby spoke, after the girl and her friends went to the assembly, a number of them reported "bad touches," and the girl in question felt left out. She then accused her grandfather of molesting her, and he went to prison. Some time later, she recanted her story and told the authorities the truth, but already having nailed their prey, prosecutors were not interested in hearing what she had to say; her usefulness to them ended when the jury declared, "Guilty."

A number of prosecutors in this country have used the Mondale Act to catapult themselves to the national scene. Janet Reno engaged in especially abusive and dishonest tactics in securing high-profile child molestation cases and her crusading landed her the job of U.S. Attorney General during the Clinton years. (Reno demonstrated her love for children by massacring a large number of them in Waco just weeks after she was sworn into office.)

By eviscerating due process and rules of evidence, federal law has empowered prosecutors and has protected them when they engage in outright criminal activities. The Craft case was especially egregious, as prosecutors Chris Arnt and Len Gregor, "judge" brian outhouse, and Det. Tim Deal colluded to let Deal fabricate a document during the trial in order to fill a giant hole that the prosecutors had dug for themselves.

(Even in Georgia, fabricating evidence in a criminal trial is a felony, except that a representative from the Georgia State Bar told me that prosecutors only were "doing their jobs." So, if one wishes to live a life of crime and do it under color of law, prosecution should be the chosen profession.)

Furthermore, under the non-rules of evidence from the Mondale Act, Arnt was able to claim that molestation occurred without giving place, date, or time. In one ridiculous act, he even charged Craft with molesting Sandra Lamb's daughter in the house that Craft had purchased. However, the alleged molestation was supposed to have taken place long before Craft even lived there.

(Let me note that after the prosecution rested, "judge" brian outhouse upheld that charge, claiming that the prosecution had given "compelling evidence" for the truthfulness of that charge. What outhouse did not realize was that by then the jurors already had concluded that Arnt and Gregor were feeding them lies and that outhouse was enabling the whole sorry show.)

It is true that Craft was acquitted, but only after having to spend more than a million dollars in her defense to debunk charges that were transparently false. Sandra Lamb, who was ground zero for the false accusations, and her daughter knew exactly what they were doing. Arnt advised them that they had to get three children to make accusations, so they chose Tonya's daughter, who was the subject of a custody battle between Tonya and her ex-husband, Joal Henke, and the daughter of Jerry and Kelli McDonald, a child who simply did not make a particularly good witness, judging by her claim on the stand that she knew where Tonya had touched her because her mother said that was what happened.

Pre-Mondale Act, no prosecutor could have made the charges that Arnt and Gregor brought into the "judge" brian outhouse's courtroom. There was no corroborating evidence, nothing. However, Arnt wanted to use the case to catapult himself to stardom, Sandra Lamb wanted to get back at Tonya Craft for whatever petty reasons would motivate "Mommie Dearest," and Joal Henke and his wife, Sarah, wanted Tonya out of the way so that they could have her children. (Gregor just wanted another opportunity to impress people as "the man," not realizing that his courtroom antics revealed him as the buffoon he really is.)

Unfortunately, the Mondale Act is not the only federal statute that has made a mockery out of due process and rules of evidence. The Violence Against Women Act provides the same legal framework, which means that any woman can accuse any man of rape, and no matter how incredible or ridiculous the accusations, authorities MUST investigate them as though they were true, even if it is obvious they are a lie.

Remember the Duke Lacrosse Case? The charges stayed up for a year even though the authorities knew from the beginning that they were false. It was not the power of the accusation or the supposed "mountain of evidence" that prosecutor Mike Nifong claimed to have possessed (with the "mountain" really being a giant hole), but rather the provisions of the VAWA that kept the case alive and forced the families of the accused to spend about five million dollars even though the case never went to trial.

From Durham, North Carolina, to Narragansett, Rhode Island, the VAWA, like the Mondale Act, has enabled false charges of sexual assault and rape against people who were convenient targets for the authorities. As in the old Soviet Union, where anyone could make a troublesome neighbor "disappear" with a false accusation, the United States of America has become a place where innocent people don't have a chance when faced with judges, police, and prosecutors that prefer lies to the truth.

Next Up: The Violence Against Women Act and the injustices that it has spawned.


Doc Ellis 124 said...

Greetings Dr Anderson,


Thank you for writing this essay

Doc Ellis 124

camille tilley said...

Bill, This is an outstanding article that truly describes where we find ourselves today. No one has done a better job of putting the puzzle pieces together of the child abuse / sex abuse industry. Hope you will write about the role of the insurance companies how they are used and abused, along with Victim's Rights (AZ).

Your piece needs to be published in the Atlantic, among others -- those who have written about the innocent and wrongfully convicted, imprisoned and even executed by the government.

Thank you for sharing your vast amount of knowledge on the subject. You need to write the book on this subject that those in the "industry" do not want told.

Camille Tilley

Free Courtney Bisbee, an innocent woman

Arizona Director / Founder
Freedom March for the Wrongfully Convicted
a nationwide grassroots innocence movement

Founder - Arizona Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

Justine Valinotti said...

When an adult is accused of child molestation, his or her life is ruined, even if that accusation is proved to be false. The falsely-accused is likely to lose his or her job, and to spend personal or familial resources for lawyers and such. And, after such an ordeal, prospective employers are reluctant to hire such an individual because most employers don't want controversy, or even the appearance of it. Or, the falsely-accused experience age discrimination in trying to find a new job.

This really is the new McCarthyism. Worse, it has lasted much longer than McCarthyism itself ever did: We can date the situation you describe at least to the Kelly Michaels case a quarter-century ago.

As I have mentioned in other comments, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and fended off an attempted sexual attack as an adult. So I know how serious those crimes are, and that is the reason why I want their perpetrators--and no one else--to be punished for them.

liberranter said...

All I can ask is: What kind of fool must any adult be today who would even think of working in a career field that involves daily contact with children?

Anonymous said...

@liberranter: Well, eventually only those who might not be able to find a job doing anything else ... especially since, if enough people leave such a career field out of fear of false accusations, the employment standards will of course need to be lowered.

A proverbial "downward spiral" if there ever were one.

False Accusations - the gift that keeps on taking.


Roary Calhoun said...

Well, I found my copy of an editorial concerning the economic and political basis of, among other entities, the Mondale Act of 1974: the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. It was actually in the Wall Street Journal on Feb 27, 2001, not Forbes. It states that with the act "came also the large cottage industry of child advocates, self-proclaimed experts in abuse, and of course the citizen hot lines, source of anonymous-not to mention overwhelmingly false-accusations of abuse...The derangement that turned a right and proper struggle against the abuse of children into a hysterical holy war has exacted plenty of other more serious costs: Sex abuse accusations...are the first weapon of choice in divorce and custody battles..."

Anonymous said...

The thing I learned from the fiasco of the Sandusky trial is to never teach, mentor, coach, help, be a foster parent to, or, God forbid, adopt a “troubled youth.” The Second Mile Foundation helped since 1977, some 35 years, hundreds of “troubled” and underprivileged kids. It would not be improbable that at some might make false accusations as alleged by Sandusky’s defense. Sandusky’s adopted son Matt has now accused his adoptive father as having abused him. He has been described as having been “troubled.” As per reports on Yahoo and NBC: " Jerry Sandusky's son Matt recalled showering with his future adoptive father as a boy and pretending to be asleep to avoid being touched — memories that surfaced only recently..." “NBC’s Iskioff also reports that Sandusky, who was adopted by Jerry Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, at age 18, continues to undergo therapy and is only now recalling more details about his encounters with Sandusky.”
Former basketball coach Bernie Fine of Syracuse University was accused by a man he had helped raise, Floyd VanHooser, who now is serving 16 years to life for repeat burglary. He has recanted and said the police suggested things to him and he went along. Another accuser of Fine, Zachary Tomaselli, recanted and said "I fabricated everything about Bernie Fine…Basically, I'm a sociopath. I take a lot of pride in lying."
David B. Cohen, the late professor of psychology at U of Texas at Austin, wrote “Stranger in the Nest.” He said no matter what an parent may do for an adopted child, heredity will win out. And when people who adopt tend, on average, to be nicer, more responsible, and more altruistic than most people, and when most adopted kids are the “troubled” offspring of difficult and irresponsible people, you have a potentially tragic situation.
Paraphrasing what Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker wrote in his best seller “The Blank Slate”: There are three laws of behavioral genetics. 1. Human behavioral traits are heritable…2. The effect of being raised in the same family is much smaller than the effect of genes…3. A substantial portion of variation… in human behavioral traits is not accounted by either genes or families. Indeed, the heritability of these traits far overwhelms the effect of home life (barring extreme situations).
Justice must be served but emotion can so easily send rational fairness and, ultimately, justice to the trash heap.

Anonymous said...

What I have read on Sandusky, These Boys was 15yrs. and older, I believe at that age they can tell the person to stop, or I am going to tell, because they know about sex and a lot more at that age, I was 15 once, and that is all I am going to say.

William L. Anderson said...

I'd like to know more about this case, as it would be a good one on which to blog. What you say does not surprise me at all, given that Buzz is after the money, pure and simple. Please email me and give me more information.

Anonymous said...

They need someone to stand up and say enough, And get those crooks out of office, these are elected people by the taxpayers, to up hold justice for each of the people, not railroad the people, And BUZZ is one of the worst, can not stand the man. We need help are there not any honest people out there.

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said...

This case, another one in a LONG line of cases, illustrates every point Dr. Anderson has made about corrupt prosecutors and the miscarriage of justice. 17 years in prison because the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence as well as used coached testimony from convicts seeking favors from the system. I sincerely hope that there is a special ring in hell reserved for those who abuse their power as representatives of the government's so-called "justice" system.