And the letter I wrote in response, and their reply:
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Letters to the Eye: In Their Own Words
Often when we post stories about the goings on in some department or court case, family members contact us with more information about the story itself. Sometimes it corrects mistakes or clarifies facts. Other times these emails add a whole new dimension to the story.
After our post Disturbing Behavior, we received one such email. The author wishes to remain anonymous and since this case involves allegations of criminal sexual behavior, the author has withheld the names of the detectives assigned to the case and of course the accused.
Although the letter does not contain specific allegations regarding the accused, our Eyes tell us that that acts of the accused are particularly contemptible.
Disturbing Behavior - The Parents' Side
It has been brought to our attention that one of your Eyes gave you a heads up regarding the situation involving our two boys, ages four and seven. We are sending this in an effort to clarify the details of our plight, and pray that pointing the “Eye” in their direction won’t cause our case to get “lost”.
This nightmare started the day our children told us that a close family friend who watched them had sexually abused them. We did what any competent parents would do, called CPS and APD. CPS advised us that since the perpetrator didn’t live in the home, they wouldn’t investigate. APD sent out an officer nearly 20 hours after our initial call to make a report. An officer took the report and was extremely helpful. He even called us later that evening to let us know who the detective would be and when she would be calling.
“Detective A” (for the sake of protecting our boys, we have chosen not to name any names) called the next day and we set up an appointment for the following day at All Faith’s Receiving Home. Our children were interviewed (video and audio taped) and “Detective A” spoke with us afterwards. She suggested that we get a restraining order and told us where we could get help obtaining one. She also said that she would contact the offender, provide him with a “No Contact” order, and offer him a chance to tell his side of the story. She further said that she would have the report typed up quickly and get it off to the DA’s office by the end of the next week and we could hopefully expect an indictment soon.
That same day, we obtained a restraining order through the Victim’s Advocacy office. We left feeling confident that things would be dealt with swiftly and our children would be safe. Throughout the weekend, however, the offender attempted to contact various family members by phone. We avoided the phone calls, and the family members that did answer only made small talk so as not to give him details of the pending action against him. This was clearly in violation of the restraining order, so we called “Detective A” immediately to inform her that he was trying to contact us. We got her voicemail and left a message. On Monday, we called again and got a full voicemail box, and at that point I called 242-COPS to find out what to do. Another officer was sent over to make a report. He called for the status of the restraining order and it hadn’t been served. The order was in place Wednesday afternoon and 5 days later it still hadn’t been served. We had absolutely no recourse against him for violating an order that he had no knowledge of.
The next day, “Detective A” finally called back and told us that she and an advocate would make contact with the suspect and serve the restraining order. She went that afternoon and then took him for an interview where he of course denied the allegations. That’s the last time we heard from “Detective A” personally. We figured she would have had ample time to write the report and send it to the DA. Last week, we called the DA’s office to find out the status on the case, since “Detective A” had stopped returning our phone calls. The DA’s office had no record of it. We called “Detective A” again and left another message, and then we called her supervisor. “Supervisor B” returned our call the next day and said since our kids “weren’t raped or sitting in the emergency room with broken bones that they aren’t high on the priority list.” He further said “victims with offenders still living in the household take precedence. Emergencies are dealt with first, and (our) inquiries were doubling or tripling “Detective A’s” work load.” Please note that if our calls had been returned the first time, we wouldn’t have left 5 or 6 more messages, and certainly wouldn’t have called the DA’s office and then the supervisor.
Look, we completely understand that these things take time. It takes a lot of work to put a case together before it’s submitted to the District Attorney’s office so that the case is as strong as possible. We certainly don’t want this animal to get away with what he’s done. But all we’ve asked for is communication, and we are certainly entitled to at least that. We have a right to know where our case stands, and when this man will be indicted, arrested, and punished. And while we concede to the fact that there are children out there that are in greater danger and jeopardy than ours, it does not mitigate the fact that our children were sexually molested. We want justice for our children just as much as the other parents want justice for theirs.
It takes maybe 3 minutes to return a phone call and explain where things stand. We understand that the detectives in this unit have a huge case load and are understaffed, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that our case is “not a high priority”. Our children, especially the seven year old, are terrified that this man is going to come hurt them since they told on him. How do we reassure them that they are safe, when we can’t even count on law enforcement to serve a restraining order or even update us on the status of our case? We are good parents, have worked hard to protect our kids and arm them with the knowledge they needed to protect themselves. We never dreamed that something like this could happen, but when it did, we felt we did everything right. We find it unbelievable that “Detective A” couldn’t simply pick up the phone and call us back, and even more unbelievable that this supervisor would chastise and lecture us for simply wanting information on where we stood in the process. It certainly shakes our faith in the system.
We trusted the man that molested our boys implicitly. Our children loved him, and he used their love and trust for his own sick sexual gratification. We never, in a million years, would have thought he would be capable of doing something so absolutely disgusting and demented. Now we realize, despite knowing this man for nearly 20 years, that we really have no idea who he is or what he is capable of. The fact that he lives a block or two away from an elementary school is even more troubling. You would think that would be a pretty high priority, right?
In closing, there are a couple of details that need to be corrected in your story. While we did discover and report this incident in late July, we are UNSURE of how long it has been going on. The kids say this particular incident was the first and only time, but there are behaviors that our children have exhibited prior to our discovery of the molestation that lead us to believe otherwise. It is highly possible, and even likely (in our opinion) that this has happened before, and the kids simply don’t remember or have repressed. But at this point we can only prove this recent incident. This man has been a family friend for many years, and he has watched our children many, many times, so that aspect of your story is correct.
We want to thank “The Eye” for your attention to our story, and hope that our case gets the attention it deserves, and that justice is served for our children. We will keep you posted as things develop.
Two very frustrated and disappointed parents
We understand why parents would be concerned. Their faith in a family friend has already been betrayed and now the people charged protecting their kids from predators like this "friend" are acting as if their case and their children don't matter - yet another betrayal. The last thing that these folks want to do is anger the people in charge of their case, but fear and frustration are powerful motivators and when your children are involved there's little a parent won't do to make sure their children are safe.
Officers over at the CAC unit need to remember that there's no child that isn't a priority. Parents of child victims need constant communication and updates. After all, it's a parent's responsibility to protect their child and to help them heal. Parents can't go on vacation, and they can't move on to some other priority as long as there's a chance that their child may still be in danger - particularly since most parents would already be feeling (wrongly) that they had failed their child or were somehow responsible. When a child has been through something like this, parents don't give a damn whether or not the courts are clogged, the police have other priorities, or the DA is overworked - they demand and deserve justice for their children.
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