Sunday, May 13, 2012

EXAMINING THE WENDI G. CASE

I am finally free to write about Wendi G.’s case, after months during which I have been asked not to do so by the attorneys. Wendi has been released after serving two months in jail. I know many of you have been deeply curious about what took place. In order to make a great deal of information comprehensible for people, I am going to move somewhat chronologically through the story, and it will take me a number of blog entries to describe even the key points of what occurred.

 I have carefully reviewed Judge Hulsing’s most recent findings and rulings on the case following the January 2012 hearing. The crux if this ruling is Judge Hulsing’s determination that Wendi G. pressured her children to make sexual abuse allegations against their father that were entirely false. I will have a great deal to say about what he wrote, but what people first need to understand is that his order makes no reference to the original Forensic Interview Report, done by a specialized team of four professionals a year ago. I don’t understand how he can make a ruling on this case without addressing the Forensic Interview Report; and I believe that after you read it you will feel the same. Furthermore, Judge Hulsing barred the transcript of this report from being introduced as evidence!

As you read the sections below from the Forensic Interview Report, ask yourself the following questions: Would it be possible for a mother to rehearse this performance with her ten-year old daughter? Could a ten year old possibly remember all these facts, keep them straight in the interview, and respond to questions from the interviewer without knowing ahead of time what those questions would be? And if she could, somehow, memorize this much material, would it come out sounding anything like the statements below? Why would the judge bar the transcript of these interviews from the evidence at the January, 2012 hearing, and then rule that the mother caused it all?

 (As soon as possible I will make the full Forensic Interview Report, with the names of the children altered, available on my website, LundyBancroft.com.)

 The report is entitled “CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER OF OTTAWA COUNTY FORENSIC INTERVIEW REPORT,” and is dated June 28, 2011. The interviewer is listed as Bresh Groen, and the “team members involved” are listed as Detective Derek Christensen of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Jennifer Hnilca of Ottawa County Child Protective Services, and Rachael DeWitt of the Children’s Advocacy Center, all of whom are listed as having observed Mr. Groen’s interviews of the children (presumably through a one-way window).

 Here are various excerpts from Mr. Groen’s interview with Wendi’s daughter, whom I will call “Caleigh”. Caleigh was ten years old at the time of the interview:

 “When asked how come she is here today, Caleigh stated her dad sexually abused her. When asked to tell me about that, Caleigh explained it all started one year ago when he made her put lotion on his back and she didn’t feel comfortable with it. Caleigh added a ‘child support lady’ came out and asked Caleigh some questions about if she is comfortable putting lotion on her dad and she told the lady she wasn’t. Caleigh stated the lady told her dad not to make Caleigh do that anymore but he did it again and he made her put lotion on his bottom and said it was because his wrist was hurting from playing basketball. Caleigh stated she felt like she had no choice…

 “When asked to tell me about putting lotion on his bottom, Caleigh stated one day he asked her if he [sic – apparently meant to write “she”] could put lotion on his bottom because he couldn’t reach that part. Caleigh stated she told him she was uncomfortable but felt like she had no choice. Caleigh stated her dad’s clothes were off and they were in the bathroom in his bedroom. Caleigh stated he was standing and she was standing with her clothes on for school. Caleigh clarified bottom is the butt area. Caleigh pointed to her butt to clarify... Caleigh stated she has only put lotion on his bottom one time but has put lotion on his back many times. Caleigh stated he kept asking her to do it and she didn’t want anything else to happen so she just did it. Caleigh added after she put lotion on his bottom he said thinks [sic], she left, and asked him if she could never do that again but he told her she might have to if it hurts him again.

 “When asked if there are any other times he doesn’t have clothes on, Caleigh stated when she was in 4th grade he laid with her in bed without his clothes on. Caleigh explained it was in the morning and they were getting ready for school and she said that she missed her mom. Caleigh stated he came into her bedroom and said, ‘Sweetie, why don’t you get ready for school?’ Caleigh stated she told him she missed her mom. Caleigh stated he climbed up her ladder to the top bunk and she didn’t notice he had no clothes on until he hugged her. Caleigh stated she felt his private touching her but she still had her jammies on. Caleigh clarified she was at first lying on her back when he was on the ladder. Caleigh stated she saw him at the top of the ladder and she saw his chest and his private part. Caleigh stated then he got in bed and was lying on his side and his ‘thing’ was touching on the side of her stomach and when she turned away from him his ‘thing’ rubbed against her body and touched her butt. Caleigh clarified that this was on top of her pajamas. When asked how she knows she felt his private, Caleigh stated it was pushing against her and she knew it was his private because she saw him naked. Caleigh added his arms were around her arms. Caleigh stated he told her to get ready for school. Caleigh denied he hugged her like that before. Caleigh stated she felt really weird because she never hugged anyone naked in bed before. When asked what his private looked like, Caleigh stated ‘dangling’ and ‘hairy’. Caleigh stated after she turned away from him she scooched away and he get [sic] down. Caleigh stated then she got ready for school. Caleigh clarified she had seen her dad’s private before when he would be naked and ask her to put lotion on him. Caleigh clarified he climbed in bed with her in March of her 4th grade year. Caleigh stated Monte was already at school. Caleigh added it was a little awkward to be around her dad after it happened but then she just got used to being around him again…

 [Now describing a different event]

 “…Caleigh stated she went to the bathroom and had blood in her stool and asked if her dad could come into the bathroom. Caleigh stated she had her pants up but she asked her dad to look at her poop because there was blood. Caleigh stated her dad then asked if he could check her bottom and she told him she did not feel comfortable with that. Caleigh stated she told him she only felt comfortable with a doctor checking her bottom. Caleigh added he told her he needed to check it for her safety and if she didn’t let him check it he would spank her… When asked how he checked her, Caleigh stated he checked the inside of her bottom and was poking around there so she told him to stop and then he told her she looked okay… Caleigh explained he was pushing her butt cheeks, spreading them out, poking around and feeling stuff. Caleigh explained he checked inside of her butt by touching the butthole and feeling around the hole. Caleigh stated then he checked ‘under.’ At this time Caleigh grabbed her vaginal area to clarify how he went ‘under’ with his hand from behind her. Caleigh stated he poked the inside and around of that area too. Caleigh stated it didn’t feel good and she didn’t like him doing that. Caleigh stated she told him to stop and he did. Caleigh denied he has ever checked her bottom before. Caleigh denied he ever checked her bottom again. Caleigh clarified this happened during her 4th grade year before summer started. When asked if she talked to anyone about it, Caleigh stated she felt scared and didn’t want to tell anyone. Caleigh added she was scared something really bad would happen if she told someone…

 “When asked if anyone talked to her about coming today, Caleigh stated her mom told her to be strong, trust in her heart, and say the truth. Caleigh denied anyone told her what to say today… When asked how she knows the word sexual abuse, Caleigh stated her mom told her that it is wrong and parents shouldn’t do that to a kid. Caleigh stated her mom told her that after Caleigh told her mom about what happened with her dad.”

 Does this sound to you like a rehearsed or coerced set of statements? After reading this wouldn't you, at the very least, believe that this case needed a careful, thorough, unbiased investigation? Yet the reality is that no further investigation or evaluation was ever performed concerning Caleigh's disclosures -- with the exception of her testimony at the January trial, which I will discuss in detail soon.

In my next post we’ll look at what the Forensic Interview Report had to say about Mr. Groen’s interview with Caleigh’s brother Monte, and then continue on from there. Please stay with us. In the mean time,  I encourage you to write your reactions to the above excerpts in the Comments.

7 comments:

  1. Lundy, sorry this is off topic with the Wendy post, but I just want to let you know that the transcription of Part 2 of your Domestic Violence in Popular Culture video is now up online.

    I titled it "Lundy Bancroft says the right outlook is outrage"
    http://notunderbondage.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/lundy-bancroft-says-right-outlook-is.html

    Thanks for letting me transcribe it. I think you said I can do more, so I'm going to get Part 3 transcribed as well, unless you let me know otherwise.

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  2. Lundy, Thank you for sharing this important legal document. What can we do to bring this as evidence into the court? That poor daughter and all she has gone through and it hasn't done any good to report it even to child advocacy center. why didn't the advocacy center do anything? Couldn't they arrest the father for these sexual behaviors? Why has he not been put in jail? This just makes me sick to my stomach. Who is supposed to protect these children? Let us know what we can do.

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  3. This gradual build up is so like what was done to a little girl I know. The perpetrator starts his build up in the context of 'normal-like' things. Putting body lotion on someone else's back is normal, but it's not normal for a little girl to have to do that to her dad while he's naked.

    A parent checking their kid's stools for blood is normal, if the kid has asked for it to be checked. But a dad digitally exploring the genitals and bottom of his daughter is not normal, never never never.

    The other thing is, if a mother DID want to coach her child to make false allegations of sexual abuse against the father, wouldn't the mother make up a story that went straight for the jugular – with all the trappings of what we 'classically' think of as sexual abuse: full on masturbation or penile penetration. Why would a mother waste her time coaching her daughter to memorize 'borderline' incidents like the lotion incident, when that kind of incident might not lead to charges being laid against the father, or even call into question his visitation rights? (assuming those were a dishonest mother's goals)

    A child who was being coached to lie might easily forget her lines or break down under pressure at any time. Why would a dishonest and manipulative mother risk shipwrecking her immoral agenda by choosing to coach her child to make 'borderline' allegations of sexual abuse?

    The record of interview on your blog rings completely true to real life, and is completely implausible as a child's scripted speech created by a dishonest mother.

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  4. It truly makes me sick when we program our children to tell the truth and keep telling the truth until someone listens and the very people who are suppose to step in and help once they have been heard turn their backs on the child and send her back into the hell. What she has been told is... If you tell we will throw your mom in jail and put you back in the very home, with the very abuser that caused this problem. Now, do you honestly think this child will ever tell again believing someone will help her? She feels helpless enough as it is. Can you imagine how it must feel for her now? What is the point in a justice system if we can not take in to account ALL of the facts? My heart is so broken for this family.

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  5. And people ask me why I havent reported my son-in-law for the abuse of my daughter and the fear he holds over his family? The very system they keep telling me to report him to is screwed up and how do I know they wont let him out and then what? I shudder to even consider the possibilities...its a sad system we have to "protect"
    Thanks for sharing this and I hope in so doing it can help someone, mostly this poor family.

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  6. I agree with a previous commenter that it sounds like a description of grooming. Not only is the description very detailed and subtle, it is also told very much from a ten-year-old's point of view, in her language and from her perspective. Nothing in it sounds coached. The things that are hardest to hear in it, for me, are when her requests that something stop are disregarded. The girl had the strength and wherewithal to express her discomfort or unwillingness, but was vetoed.

    So what makes a judge suppress evidence like this and protect, essentially, the abuser and not the children and their mom? And do Wendi G and her children have any further recourse at this point? Can anything be done to address the judge's willful incompetence?

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  7. It genuinely makes me sick whenever we made our kids tell the truth and being truthful until someone listens and also the very those who are suppose to part of and help once they've been heard turn their backs around the child and send her into the hell. A very excellent article. Thanks for sharing. attorney medford oregon

    ReplyDelete