I'm going to quote parts of a letter that I just received, altering it just enough to protect the identity of the writer. Actually, I could have written it before we received it, because it's almost identical to letters we have received over the past 15 years. Honestly, I could get by changing only names and places and minor details.
"I am requesting your assistance in getting my husband released from prison. He's a former police officer who loves and adores children and would help everyone who needed his assistance.
"He is innocent of the charges of sexual assault that were brought by the mother and daughter we took to church for 10 years, after they asked us for a large amount of money and we refused because we did not have it to give to them. In the past, we had paid many expenses for them when they needed it.
"After we turned them down, the daughter accused my husband of 'touching her boobies' almost every Sunday after church in the parking lot. The daughter's testimony was full of lies and inconsistencies, and the mother's testimony even proved she was lying.
"The prosecution then found a convicted meth dealer who stated my husband had inappropriately touched her when she was a child, but at the end of her testimony stated she was 18 years old when it happened.
"Another witness stated he saw my husband hit this woman on the butt in the parking lot. My husband did not even playfully hit me on the butt. This witness also refused to talk to the detective because he hated cops. Remember, my husband was a cop.
"The jury convicted him and gave him a 20 year sentence and a $10,000 fine for both charges. We appealed to the Supreme Court and lost.
"The justice system did not work in this case. There is no reason for an innocent man to be sitting in prison because of a lie that a minor child told, and a jury believed with no proof."
I'm sorry to tell you this, Ms. D, but the system is failing you and the public on this very issue EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
Only God knows how many lives have been ruined by this reckless type of accusation. Invariably the charges come from someone who wants to get even: an estranged wife or girl friend, or perhaps a family member who has lost favor. Prosecutors smell victory with stories like this, because juries invariably rule in favor of little kids. Decent, law-abiding citizens cannot stand to hear about adults molesting children. As a result, each day innocent people are going to prison because they did something that made accusers angry, and prompted mean accusations.
And I am not exaggerating about the frequency of this scene.
I have two very dear friends who were victims of this very charge. AND IN BOTH CASES, THESE MEN HAD TO LIE AND CONFESS TO A CRIME THEY DID NOT COMMIT AND SHOW REMORSE FOR SOMETHING THEY NEVER DID, IN ORDER TO GET OUT OF PRISON! Otherwise, the Parole Board wouldn't budge. So now you have beautiful people who are not criminals and who never violated any laws who cannot live with themselves. Their spirits have been broken, they are labeled as sex offenders, their names are ruined, and NOTHING can be done to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Nothing.
Here's what I think must happen.
I believe that it's time that police officers and prosecutors demand substantial proof of these charges. I believe that law enforcement and the judicial system must hold the feet of these accusers to the fire. If it is discovered that the accusers lied, and the accused is actually innocent, the accusers MUST BE ARRESTED. THEY MUST BE CHARGED, TRIED AND CONVICTED. It won't help to restore the life of a ruined person, but it may slow down the frequency of these wrongful convictions.
Prosecutors MUST stop thinking about victory and convictions, and instead think about justice.
Give me your thoughts.
I'll bet that many of you know about cases like this.
If it happened to a relative or a friend, could YOU have done something about it?
It may be you or someone in your family next time.
It's gotta stop.
Something's gotta give.