“A child-custody catastrophe”

by Walter Olson on May 7, 2013

“They will spend 10 years and all their money on litigation because of their inability to agree on anything,” a therapist predicted accurately. Yet more unsettling: the mom leveled false abuse accusations at the dad before eventually recanting. [Winnipeg Free Press]

{ 13 comments }

1 No Name Guy 05.07.13 at 2:56 pm

Truly sad for the kids.

“A Winnipeg mother has permanently lost custody of her three children after admitting she falsely accused her ex-husband of sexually abusing them.” and “…the abuse was ruled out and the woman eventually admitted she had made it up in an attempt to discredit her ex and gain sole custody. She was never charged for the malicious allegations…”

It’s a shame she’s not in prison for fabricating such a despicable allegation. And glad that the kids are now cared for by the Father, given her behavior.

2 Barry Sheridan 05.07.13 at 2:56 pm

How sad is this. Lives ruined all round and for what? While one cannot blame the lawyers in this case, it does highlight the need for a mechanism for handling such cases where the adult (s) end up acting worse than children. A courtroom is no place for such scenario’s, as we have seen demonstrated time and again.

3 ras 05.07.13 at 3:57 pm

it’s a shame that the dad couldn’t agree on anything with the woman who falsely accused him of molesting the kids.

4 Mannie 05.07.13 at 4:15 pm

It’s stuff like this that makes me believe in corporal punishment. The judge should be able to have these mopes flogged. Or maybe pilloried on the courthouse steps.

Yeah, I know, but it is a tempting thought.

5 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.07.13 at 11:54 pm

The dad was lucky the abuse charges were made in a jurisdiction where investigators and judges were interested in determining the truth. Such cannot be guaranteed.

6 marco73 05.08.13 at 8:22 am

Final paragraph should have been the first indication of trouble:

“The mother has also been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment because of concern she may have a “delusional belief system or some other mental-health issue.” To date, she has refused to comply on the grounds she can’t find a psychiatrist willing to work with her.”

So a total nut case can falsely accuse a man of child abuse, the man potentially looks at years in the clink and social stigma forever, yet the woman does not spend 1 minute in jail. Methinks the scales of justice need some adjustment.

7 Anonymous Nicholas 05.08.13 at 1:15 pm

I think that the punishment for a false legal accusation should be whatever the punishment would be for the actual crime. False accusation of jaywalking? $25 fine. False accusation of child molestation? 15-35 years in prison.

The fact that this woman isn’t in jail today awaiting trial is 100% positive proof of the anti-male slant of the American justice system.

8 HFB 05.08.13 at 3:00 pm

Agreed.

There was a lawyer/prosecutor show years back where the son of a man who committed murder, lied under oath to keep his father out of jail. When the lie was revealed, the prosecutor put HIM in jail for life. I completely agreed with this happening in real life (in these type of extreme circumstances, since he admitted to it thinking he would get off with a little punishment).

I know it’s not going to help the kids if she’s in jail, but the risk should have been there all along as a deterent to committing to this lie.

9 Ron Miller 05.09.13 at 10:28 am

We should put people in jail for life who would lie to protect their parents? I will not hear anything I will disagree with more today.

I agree that falsely accusing someone of abusing a child should be a jailable offense. But someone should note that it is not nearly as serious as abusing a child.

(Note: I’m not sure this woman should be jailed. We really want to encourage people who lie to come clean. If she thought she was facing a long jail sentence, wouldn’t she just keep the lie alive? It is a complicated world that does not lend itself to easy “everything would be fine if the dumb world would do it my way” answers)

10 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.09.13 at 10:56 am

@Ron Miller–

>I agree that falsely accusing someone of abusing a child should be a jailable offense. But someone should note that it is not nearly as serious as abusing a child.
[end of quote]

If a corrupt cop frames an innocent man for murder and he is executed, would you argue that the cop’s crime is “not nearly as serious as” murder? In many States, the penalties for child abuse are comparable to the penalties for murder.

I agree with you that penalties against recanters can be disastrously counterproductive, deterring a recantation and leaving the innocent to suffer. Sometimes, however, the recantation is effectively forced, coming only after competent investigation has shredded the accusation. In such cases, the mitigating claim of the recantation should count for less. (I am not sure how that standard would apply in this case.)

11 Jack Olson 05.09.13 at 11:18 am

Anonymous Nicholas, the case happened in Canada.

12 Ron Miller 05.14.13 at 11:27 am

Hugo, to answer your question,… yes, framing someone for murder is not serious as murdering someone. I mean, they are both crazy serious but there are relative degrees of evil.

13 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.14.13 at 2:59 pm

@Ron–
Surely you jest? Surely killing an innocent man through hijacking the criminal justice system is just as bad as killing him personally? Indeed, I would consider it worse, corroding the faith of everyone in their government, or corrupting them into helping a cover-up. (In addition, you “murder” the framed man’s reputation.)

If you weren’t willing to concede what I considered a glaringly obvious moral point, I was looking for some evasion like “Well, even if an innocent was sentenced to death, death penalties are only rarely carried out.”

Returning to the topic of this thread, framing an innocent ex-spouse for child abuse can be twice as bad as abuse itself because there are often two victims: the innocent spouse suffering ruinous penalties for a crime that never happened, and the child “victim,” brainwashed by unethical or incompetent investigators with toxic garbage. The lasting harm from child abuse is rarely physical; far more often it is traumatic memories, which are just as devastating when artificially induced. Psychologists Stephen Ceci and Maggie Bruck demonstrated how easy it is to poison an innocent child’s mind:
http://www.amazon.com/Jeopardy-Courtroom-Scientific-Childrens-Testimony/dp/1557986320/

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