This case makes me shudder for more than one reason.
In 2005 I was living in a religious community in Seattle. Because I was an older woman, and a pediatrician, I was presumed to be the “grandmother type,” although I am the opposite. I am not in the least “touchy-feely.” I enjoy children, but as patients, not as anything else. There was this one lady in the community who kept after me to babysit during services, and I kept saying no, and she kept badgering me, so finally one day I said fine, I’ll play the banjo for the kids but I won’t take care of them. Somebody else has to be there to take care of the little beasts. So that’s what I did.
Wouldn’t you know, a few days later there’s a knock on my door, and who is there but one of the religious leaders and a woman, a mother of one of the children, and she’s accusing me of molesting her kid. I about died, and told them that I had had nothing to do with her brat, that she just wanted money because she thinks I’m a rich doctor, that I did nothing but play the banjo for the kids, and there were three older teenagers there to prove it. Very fortunately, the religious leader was embarrassed by this woman’s clearly false accusation and lead her away in disgrace. I shut the door shaking, realizing things could have gone a very different way and it could have been the police at the door instead. I never, never, never have agreed to play babysitter in any capacity again. It’s too easy for predators to descend like vultures on someone they think they can squeeze money out of. The case below is tragic. Courtney’s big mistake is that she went to someone’s house. Whether or not there was anything improper going on, and I know I will be smacked for saying this–in this day and time, anyone who takes their professional calling into a setting where there are no other responsible adults on site is at risk for being accused of wrongdoing. Regardless of the altruistic intentions a person may have, going to a place where the only other people are children, even if invited by the children’s parents, is no longer a safe thing to do. Very sad, but very true, and very dangerous. Don’t do it. I lived in fear of another kind of knock on my door for years, just because I gave in to another adult’s nagging and played the banjo for some toddlers for half an hour.
Originally posted on Wrongful Convictions Blog:
From time to time, I become aware of cases that are particularly good examples of the flaws, the problems, the shortcomings, the failures, and the actual injustices of our so-called justice system (that I have been writing about here for the last 3 1/2 years). This is Part 2 of what is intended to be a continuing series highlighting these cases. These cases have been selected as representative and demonstrative examples, but be aware they are just the “tip of the iceberg.” This kind of stuff is happening every day in every state. You can see Part 1 here.
[Note: To the best of my knowledge, everything in this article is a matter of public record. If it can be shown that there are any misstatements, I will immediately post a retraction and an apology. This article has been reviewed and approved for posting by…
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