Lesson # 3: How it Feels to Be Falsely Accused of Molesting Your Own Child.
A divorcing wife that falsely accuses her husband of sexually molesting their child is committing an evil act of supernal vindictiveness. In making this assertion, it should in no way be construed that this author is anti-mother, anti-woman or believes that the issue of false allegations is unique to one gender. Indeed, false abuse allegations may be levied by either party. However, the use of the specific tactic herein discussed is typically made by divorcing woemen against their ex-husbands. Needless to say, any false allegation of abuse by men or women should be considered a form of child abuse and condemned without equivocation.
While most moms have enough love and concern for the welfare of their children to spare them the horrible process of being included in a false sexual abuse allegation, an ever-increasing number of women are choosing to use this legal strategem to “level the playing field” against their husbands in divorce court. Renowned family law specialist, Jeffrey M. Leving (1997), has written: “the use of false sexual abuse allegations to win custody suits has become almost a standard tactic among disturbed mothers and unethical divorce lawyers” (pg 148).
The fear, shame and uncertainty felt by these falsely accused men cannot be put into words. No man can adequately describe his feelings, which adds to his position of isolation. He craves empathy and support, but a man accused of molesting a child will receive neither. The woman has succeeded at instilling in the man an all-consuming state of fear and defensiveness.
After making a false child sexual abuse allegation against dad, mom can sit back and watch the chaos ensue. She has been given full-custody of the children, pending an investigation of dad, and need not fear accountability should the scheme fail to produce the desired goal of total custody of the children and the destruction of her ex-husband's state of stability and happiness.
One of the most devastating results of a false sex abuse allegation is that dad is stripped of the privilege of contact with his children during the investigation. When the children are unable to communicate with their father a process of alienation begins. The more time that passes without contact, the greater the alienation. During this period of alienation, a child may be coached by the mother to support the allegation against the father. Dad can do nothing but watch as his children are coerced into believing that he has sexually assaulted them. Nothing hurts more than to hear one's own child say, “How could have done this to me? I hate you and don't ever want to see or talk to you again.”
After the Emergency Ex-Parte Order has been granted, an investigation of the allegation begins. As part of this ongoing investigation by both CPS and local law enforcement, the reputation of the father is constructively destroyed. Family relationships become strained. Employers tire of granting time off work to accommodate the father's frequent court hearings and interviews. Social relationships are damaged, often never to be repaired.
The very process of being investigated causes many men to give up and grant the mother everything she wants from him. Sadly, many fathers are so traumatized by the horror of the process that they commit suicide (Seidenberg, 1997). False abuse expert, Dean Tong (2002), says of the emotional state of the accused:
Sleep is forever elusive, night-terror becomes common-place and depression is a constant companion. Rarely is there any support to be found within the community and rarely is there any sympathy for the falsely-accused. Throughout it all, you must bear the title “abuser,” until you prove otherwise, if you can. Disorientation, denial, shock, confusion, anxiety, and disbelief are constant. Lack of concentration is a chronic problem, exceeded only by the frustration of being denied the right to see your children. (pg 25)
Immediately, the father finds himself in a maze of confusing litigation. He spends thousands of dollars to retain an attorney. Police often request the father to take lie detector tests. Even though he submits to and often passes several polygraph tests, it does him little good as the tests are not admissible in court. A single attorney is rarely sufficient to provide an appropriate defense in this type of case. Thousands of dollars must be spent to retain psychologists and other expert witnesses in the fields of sexual abuse.
In an attempt to prove their innocence, many fathers submit to invasive and humiliating psycho-sexual testing, such as the penile plethysmograph. The cost of testing, attorneys, expert witnesses and other legal fees in this type of case often exceeds $50,000. The father sometimes has to mortgage his home and sell his assets to afford a sufficient defense. Naturally, little money is leftover at the end to use in a custody case. In the end, the vindictive wife usually succeeds in destroying her ex-husband's financial security and savings.
When a father has been falsely accused of molesting his child, even when no evidence substantiates the claim, he often loses custody of his children because the court decides to “play it safe”. The father may not go to jail, but the temporary order preventing his access to his children may be made permanent. By no fault of his own, the father has lost his children, all because a mother chose to fight dirty in court. For the unfortunate father who loses his criminal case, he is locked away. Sentencing for child molesters is typically longer than sentencing for murder (Seidenberg, 1997). Men convicted of child molestation are constant targets of prison abuse by fellow inmates. Fathers, unjustly incarcerated, become bitter and less productive members of society.
The emotional scars that result from such a horrid battle may never disappear. Even when a father successfully fights off the false accusation, the effects of the ordeal may damage him for the rest of his life. It takes years to rebuild his reputation, if at all, in the eyes of his peer group. While he knows with certainty that he has committed no wrong, the planting of the seed of doubt in the hearts of his coworkers, parishioners, friends, family members and other associates can strain relationships interminably.
When a father is falsely accused of sexually molesting his own child he enters what will likely be the single most horrifying experience of his life. Society should be slow to condemn a man with no history of abuse who has been accused by his ex-wife during a custody case. You could be next.
Next Lesson – Signs That Your Ex Might Be Plotting Against You
Leving, Jefferey M. (1997).Fathers’ Rights: Hard hitting and fair advice for every father involved in a custody dispute.New York, NY: Basic Books.
Seidenberg, Robert (1997). The Father’s Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle: A Tour through the Predatory World of Judges, Lawyers, Psychologists & Social Workers, in the Subculture of Divorce. Takoma Park, MD: JES Books.
Tong, Dean (2002). Elusive Innocence: Survival guide for the falsely accused. Lafayette, LA: Huntington House Publishers.
[Author's Note: The purpose of this series of articles is to address the specific issue of false child sexual abuse allegations made by women against men during custody litigation. However, any false abuse accusation made by either mom or dad that results in trauma to a child is a form of child abuse. Parental alienation tactics are used by both genders and should be equally condemned in the strongest terms possible. Future articles will address this gender-neutral issue.]
Jake Morphonios is a civil rights advocate and North Carolina State Coordinator for Fathers 4 Justice – US. The political opinions of Mr. Morphonios do not represent those of Fathers 4 Justice. Neither Mr. Morphonios nor F4J-US provide legal advice or assistance with individual cases.
Fathers seeking support or information, or other parties interested in becoming involved in the children's rights movement may contact Mr. Morphonios at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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