Don’t believe the impression you get from newspapers and TV. The reality is that U.S. officials support child sexual abuse, as long as the suspected – or proven –offender is the child’s father. We may pat ourselves on the back for how deeply we condemn violations of children, and for sending pedophiles off to long jail sentences and putting them on sexual offender registries, but that’s largely cover. Most children who suffer ongoing, repeated sexual abuse, where the greatest harm is being done, are being violated at home, usually by their father or step-father. And if the offender is Dad, courts and prosecutors will rarely do anything to stop him; in fact, they’re energy goes mostly into punishing and threatening the mother who reports what her child has told her.
Let's look at a case of a mother whom I have met and spoken with in person (along with her very supportive new husband, step-father to her children). Wendi G.'s case, which is in courts in Michigan and Colorado, gives a perfect illustration of what has gone on in dozens of cases that I have investigated – and this one is happening right now. Despite what you may have heard, these kinds of cases are not about “his word against hers”; they are about whether state officials are doing their jobs or not. Wendi G's case includes what appears to be severe irresponsibility and prejudice on the part of the courts, and a very mixed response from police and prosecution personnel, some of whom seem appropriately concerned and are attempting to do their jobs while others are not. As I follow Wendi G.'s case in this blog, I will keep the focus primarily on the actions of officials, which is what the public should be most concerned about.
Here 's what is happening: Wendi reports that this June her 10-year-old daughter made a clear and specific disclosure of multiple violations by her father. As the court documents submitted by Wendi state, her daughter described her father lying naked in bed with her “touching his private part to hers”, “touched her private part while she was naked in the bathroom”, “hugged her while he was naked inher bedroom”, and “made her rub lotion on his naked buttocks.”
Wendi, as you would expect, went to court to attempt to stop her children from having to spend unsupervised time with their father; in other words, she believed her daughter, as it is a parent's responsibility to do when children report sexual abuse. Due to jurisdictional issues, the case had to be brought in the El Paso County District Court in Colorado, and went before Judge Thomas A. Kane. But Judge Kane denied the motion to protect the children without holding a hearing, and stated explicitly in his ruling that there would be no hearing.
Besides the cruelty to the child contained in Judge Kane’s actions, he is also showing an overt disregard for Colorado law; C.R.S. 14-10-129 (4) states that when a parent brings a motion regarding physical or emotional danger to a child from the other parent, that motion "shall" be heard by the court within seven days. I have observed this disregard for the law by judges -- ironic as it is -- in quite a number of the cases I have investigated.
Therefore, at this moment the children are continuing to be with their father in Colorado, since Judge Kane refused to even look at the evidence. Wendi, meanwhile, is facing criminal charges in Michigan for "interference with the father's parenting time" because she did not voluntarily return her children to their father after her daughter's disclosure.
There are volumes more that I need to write about this case. Here are just some glimpses of things to come in this blog in the days ahead as I lay this story out more:
* The refusal by the Crimes Against Children unit in Colorado Springs to take any action because, according to one official, there was no indication that the father got "sexual gratification" from what he did, so there was no need to further investigate or pursue prosecution.
* Claims were made by one official that she had interviewed Wendi's daughter when in fact no such interview had ever happened.
* The way in which the daughter's disclosures were made are an important story in themselves, as you will see.
* Some officials are placing great importance on the fact that the father is denying that the abuse took place. (Has any sexual offender ever not denied the abuse, at least at first?)
* Members of certain churches appear to be connected and may be having undue influence on the case.
* Wendi is facing criminal charges, beginning this coming Tuesday the 30th of August.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Send an email to the Holland Sentinel newspaper at
expressing your concern about the case and your concern that the Holland Sentinel appears to have been printing false and biased information about the case, (including reporting that Wendi had been arrested and released on bail, when this never took place -- it's a mystery where the paper got this false story).
2) Call Fox-17 News at 616-364-8722, expressing your concern about the failure of Judge Kane in Colorado to hold a hearing about the children's safety, and about the mistaken prosecution of Wendi G. that is happening in Michigan.
3) Send an email to WOOD-TV reporter Leon.Hendrix, at firstname.lastname@example.org, thanking him for his fair coverage of the case and expressing your ongoing concern.