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Stepfather is accused of child abuse; what can be done to prove it false?


Your Question:
I am a concerned grandparent. My daughter's new husband is being accused of child abuse by the children's biological father. He is supposed to have made a bruise about the size of a quarter on her leg. The BF made the oldest child tell the DCFS worker that the SF hit her on the leg. The child tried to tell the DCFS worker she fell. She has also since told the same thing to 5 other people (lawyers, ect.) The BF has also recently been telling the children they are going to be living with him very soon. This is upsetting the girls a lot.

My questions are:

#1. Is there anything specific my son-in-law can do to help prove he did not do this?

#2. What are the chances the BF can actually take the girls away from my daughter?

#3 What can be done to the BF for filing a false report?

#4. How do we prove it was a false report? They have a lawyer already on the case. We are trying to find out if there is something else we can do to help our case.

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My Answer:
Hi,

Sorry your family is going through this. I've been through similar kinds of false allegations made by my child's mother, so I have empathy for what you're all enduring.

If any agency concludes in a report that the stepfather is an imminent threat to the children, it's quite possible that the father can get court orders to either prohibit the children being in the mother's care while stepdad is present or the father may be able to change custody altogether.

Because the stakes are so big, it's important to mount an aggressive defense to the accusations as well as put measures in place to help protect against future false allegations.

I suggest that your daughter and her husband do the following:

  • Get a referral to a reputable polygraph examiner in your area and have the stepfather go through a lie detector. Have him explicitly say he has never struck any of the children with any object or with his hand or foot. Have him specifically say that no action of his resulted in the bruise on the child's leg. Their attorney can then send the report results (assuming that the stepfather passes everything) to all the people involved in the matter. It's not admissible in court, but it could be enough to end the investigation as unfounded. In my own case (on the advice of my attorney), I took a polygraph within 24 hours of learning of a serious accusation, and the accusation completely fizzled away (despite that the mother still insisted it was true).

  • I suggest it may be time to get the girl (if not all the children) into regular therapy sessions (i.e., at least two per month) with a child psychologist who has a great deal of experience in children from high-conflict custody situations. Such a person can help the child deal with her inner conflicts, and it's good protection against future allegations. If there is a regular mental health professional involved, that's one of the first people who a social worker, custody evaluator, or judge would want to hear from regarding future accusations. If dad says something horrible, and the psychologist reports that the child never reported it but HAS reported the pressures Dad puts on her to say bad things, case closed.

  • I recommend that you get your daughter copies of two books, both of which I review on my Book Reviews page. The first is 'Divorce Poison,' which provides much guidance on steps to take to help protect a parent and a child from the other parent's alienation tactics. The second is 'Elusive Innocence,' which is a guide for parents who have been falsely accused.

Realistically, nothing will happen to the father for this single incident. If it becomes a pattern, a judge would be very concerned and will implement measures to help shield the children from it (i.e., so long as your daughter has strong evidence and a good attorney). With regard to punishing the father for what he's putting all of you through right now, there will be no sense of justice, so try to come to peace with that.

Get those books-- I think THOSE will help channel everyone's energy into the right direction for the current and future situations. If you assume that the father will continue to act in the same manner for years to come, it should be your daughter's goal to understand how to protect her home and her kids from it. Those books will help.

I really think the polygraph will help draw things to a close rapidly, presuming the stepfather passes it.

Good luck.

Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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