Monday, December 6, 2010

POLITICIANS AND CHILDREN/ Part 390 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I am usually hopeful. Today, not so much.
The contentious spirit, the vast expenditure of monies evidenced in our British Columbia political climate as individuals vie for control of political parties and ultimately for the governing mandate of the province is a waste of resources of all kinds. This is however a diminutive display in a small arena which typifies what humanity is doing on a much larger scale around the world. Wikileaks are merely a temporary embarrassment for nations treating one another with suspicion and disrespect in the midst of a veneer of good relations. Elsewhere North Korea simply ignores the politics and aggressively blows up South Korean property. And all of this, for what?

Back to British Columbia. Progress is inhibited because there is so much wheel-spinning as individuals and parties protect themselves. Working together is a concept that eludes our kind. We can theorize but the personalities who are driven to acquire power are hot-wired to fight for factional interests. That's because they get to the power station by accommodations to special interests which thereafter must be placated. The greater interest and greater good of the whole, the province, the people, the seniors, the children, the disabled, the students, the teachers, the medical professionals, the tradespeople, are given perfunctory attention. The resources of this province should be viewed as belonging to all of us. Somehow the government has philosophically divorced itself from us but refused to accept this. From an historical anecdote, our government is the kind that gives the province's teachers grief and delay at the bargaining table and then follows it up by an outlandish in our faces raise for MLAs.

Our government is the consumer society. It devours money. It passes legislation and creates programs for the self-serving purpose of generating more usable dollars to consume on projects that do not matter and do not help the whole. Yet when the budget and the funds are challenging, the really important ministries and services that help us are slashed or eliminated. Isn't that right? Haven't you read about this before?

Yes, well, sorry about all that, but it is illustrative of my frustration with the upper echelon of the Ministry of Children which should and could work together with the Representative of Children and Youth, rather than moving instinctively into a defensive posture. An objective appraisal of MCFD by the Rep should be seen as helpful and on the other hand the Representative could be making constructive suggestions over the months rather than presenting a landmine report once every couple of years. We really know how to do things incorrectly. And the Governing Liberal Cabinet refuses to put money where it would do the most good. So, I need another dark roast coffee right now to fortify me to think about our provincial leaders who cannot be trusted with the best interests of children when they spend most of their time marketing themselves, roasting their opponents or planting IEDs for one another. It would be so refreshing to hear a politician speak about ministry to children, parents and families from a position of sincere commitment.


  1. Fighting MCFD is something that only the people who have lost their kids know on a deep level. It is a very hard thing to do. I am lucky to be young enough to do it. I could not re-do it. I am now validated since they mostly think I am okay as a parent and I got my kids back. But since my children were taken, they have to make all kinds of fuss that I need 'services'. It is a bizarre system that forces people to go to therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists. Ridiculous, really.

  2. Hi Ron; can you stand another case history from my book today. It is a bit long, but I think those readers who hang in will find it instructive.
    Jane and Ginny

    Here is another case illustration, which presented an interesting challenge in the development of evidence and an unusual outcome. I had known the case a little before the complaint, as the father was related to another case of mine. Mr. Doe was a widower and prior to the death of his wife he had been a heavy drinker. He had married very young and had children over a twenty year span, now aged 33 to 13. Following his wife's death he was filled with remorse with his own life and resolved to become the father he had never been. He stopped drinking and tried to become a responsible parent and to give his children care and guidance. It was perhaps rather late for his older children, who already had developed antisocial behaviour, but the younger children seemed to benefit from improved care.
    The information which spurred me to action came from the family doctor. He phoned me one morning to tell me that he had seen a daughter of Mr.Doe's on the previous day. "Jane" Doe was in her mid-twenties. She told the doctor that she was worried because her father was sexually abusing his thirteen year-old daughter "Ginny" and possibly an eight-year-old grand-daughter, who was staying with him temporarily.
    As soon as I could free myself, I ascertained which school Ginny attended and went there to see her. I readily agreed to the principal's request to have a school counsellor sit in on the interview, because it is good to have checks and balances in these situations. The girl immediately acknowledged that her father was sexually abusing her and that Jane's report was correct. I took down a complete statement and had her sign it, with the school counsellor signing as witness. In the statement she stated among other things that her father had on a number of occasions had full vaginal intercourse with her. We were very careful to check that she understood all the terms. In search of corroboration, I found that she claimed to have told a sister-in-law about it. She also stated that her father sexually interfered with his eight-year-old grand-daughter, but she was much more vague about this.
    In view of a statement by Jane that her father could be very violent, I de0cided to apprehend the girl at once and took her with me to a receiving home. I then interviewed the younger girl at her school under much the same conditions and she also confirmed that her grandfather sexually molested her. However she was much more reticent. I was not able to get a clear statement that I could really use, because I wanted to avoid putting words into her mouth. It is all too easy to do this when interviewing children and it does not provide reliable evidence. I decided to remove the grand-daughter into care as well. continued

  3. Jane and Ginny continued

    My next concern was to report the matter to the police. I discovered that the detective-inspector who would be responsible, was tied up in court until mid-afternoon. I wanted the matter investigated immediately, because I wanted to tell Mr.Doe as soon as possible what was going on. I wanted him to know that I had apprehended his daughter and why, by the time she was due home from school. I had to keep my mind open to the possibility that he was entirely innocent and regardless might be very worried about his daughter's whereabouts. As he was reputed to be quite violent, I would rather have a policeman with me when I called, but I was quite prepared to go alone if necessary. So I went over to the courthouse and I was lucky enough to catch the detective in the waiting area, waiting to give evidence. I gave him a photocopy of the statement and he wanted to get onto the case the minute he was free. I told him I would call at the family home by three o'clock in the afternoon regardless of his availability. He was not very happy about it, but he understood my reasoning.
    In the meantime, I had arranged for the receiving home staff to take Ginny to the same family doctor who had made the initial report. By the time I got back to my office at about two P.M. he had examined her and telephoned to say that she was completely virgo intacta and there could not be any truth to her story of full intercourse. Having proof of one lie, I was at this stage prepared to be cautious about the other statements.
    By three o'clock, I had had no word from the detective, so I went to see Mr. Doe, in order to put him in the picture. He was at home with two of his sons. He seemed to be quite shocked when I told him about the statement and the other allegations, but he was not violent. His sons were very angry and one became quite threatening. His father calmed him, pointing out that I had a job to do and was acting reasonably on the information given. While this was going on two police detectives arrived. They soon left to interview Ginny in the receiving home. I stayed behind, but told them about the doctor's latest findings before they left. Shortly afterwards a daughter-in-law arrived. She was the one that I wanted to see for corroboration. She vehemently denied that Ginny had ever told her anything and was quite sure that there was no truth in her allegations.
    It took the detectives about half-an-hour to return, but when they did it was with a complete confession from both girls. They admitted that the whole story was made up by Jane, because she was angry with her father. She had carefully rehearsed the girls in their story, but the younger one had not remembered her lines very well. Jane had promised them all sorts of treats, if they would tell me the story on interview. They were Continued

  4. Jane and Ginny conclusion
    They were completely unaware of the possible serious consequences to Mr.Doe.
    I learned that Jane had a drug addiction problem and that her father was being very strict with her in order to help her. He was not letting her have any money, but bought the necessities for her. He always tried to have a family member with her when she went out. His strategy was successful insofar as depriving her of access to drugs, but her craving was unquenched and so her tortured mind hatched a nasty plot to remove the perceived obstacle.
    Having cleared the father, I went and got the two girls and returned them home. I thought that I should maybe stay around a little while to make sure that people could vent their anger with me around as a safety device. While this was going on, the hapless Jane arrived upon the scene, totally unaware of the events that had taken place that day. As she entered the eye of the storm, I had little sympathy for her. Indeed I was somewhat relieved that the focus moved from the two young girls.
    Of course I had to file a court report and go through the reams of paperwork that an apprehension entailed. The father received his copy, which not only informed him of what was happening, but gave him documentary proof that an investigation had cleared him of any sexual abuse allegations. The court had no hesitation in endorsing both the apprehension and the return of the children.


    A number of principles and practice points are illustrated in this case. As in the previous example, the first consideration is for the safety of the child. That is why I interviewed her in a safe setting and removed her to a receiving home as soon as she confirmed the abuse. One can always return her later, if the story is unfounded. The second consideration was to find good evidence. In interviewing the older girl, it was necessary to make her very specific in her statements. This took some persistence and of course care that she understood the terminology. It is for instance sometimes necessary to use the more common words for the sexual organs. Especially with the evidence of children, it is important to seek corroboration, wherever possible. In this case I had two possible sources for confirmation.
    It is very important to keep an open mind in an investigation like this. I was fairly convinced at first that it was a case of incest. However, when the subsequent evidence did not support the case, I did not pursue the issue unreasonably. Another principle that was followed was to try to conduct the investigation as quickly as possible in order to protect the rights of those involved and to reduce the stress on everyone. Once an action like this is started, it puts everyone in a turmoil and it is better not to prolong uncertainties more than is absolutely necessary. Note that I chose to make a full disclosure to the father, as soon as was consistent with the safety of the girls. As it subsequently turned out, he and his family saw the police and myself as having protected him from the terrible scheme of his oldest daughter. Another thing to note from both case illustrations is that the apprehension itself did not seem to add significantly to the stress of the situation and was not nearly as traumatic as the other events which were taking place.

  5. Ray, I have a feeling reading your case history above that whatever apprehensions you were involved in were much, much less stressful than many of the ones we hear about these days. It's as if they (MCFD, etc.) go out of their way to make them exceedingly stressful.


I encourage your comments using this filter.
1. Write politely with a sincere statement, valid question, justifiable comment.
2. Engage with the blog post or a previous comment whether you agree or disagree.
3. Avoid hate, profanity, name calling, character attack, slander and threats, particularly when using specific names.
4. Do not advertise