Tag Archives: Police

Life goes on?

Please Note: Posts in the ‘My Story’ page always have the newest post on the top. If you would like to read the story from the beginning – start with “An Introduction”. Thanks for reading! ~IWFA

What do you do the day after you are accused of a horrible and unthinkable crime that you didn’t commit?  Where do you start?  Are there things you should be doing?  There is no handbook for this type of scenario.  But the thoughts about all the “what if’s” begin in your head.  How do you go on “if” you lose the career you had worked on for your entire life?  What if you lose your home…your savings…your friends…?  What is the penalty for this kind of crime?  Worst case scenarios start immediately.

The first thing I could think of was to try to figure out what yesterday really meant.  Is it a good thing that I was not arrested – just questioned and let go?  Did the detective actually know I was telling the truth like I thought he did?  Should I tell my friends what happened?  How do you figure all of this out?

Fortunately – my mother has a close friend who is an attorney, and a local level prosecutor.  While he never handles cases of this magnitude, he was an amazing source of information on how things like this work.  What he told us, though, was the start of my total disbelief in our justice system!  He told us, of course, that when an allegation like this is brought to the police, they have to fully investigate it.  That makes perfect sense to me.  I hope they would investigate something this serious…but what made no sense is that they owe the ‘accused’ no more explanation than that.  We learned that the techniques they use in their ‘interrogation’ are designed only to get a confession – NOT to determine the truth.  The detectives don’t even have to give factual information to you in an interrogation in order to get a confession.  They can tell you that there were accusations made that actually were not.  They can phrase questions in a way to lead you to believe things that are not true.  They can promise you things about “deals” and “everything will be ok” if you just confess.  They can outright lie about the reason you are being questioned…all are legally acceptable ‘interrogation techniques’.

After the interrogation, the police don’t ever have to follow-up with you again.  The advice we were given is that if we heard nothing more about this for the next 90 days it is safe to assume they have dropped the investigation.  But – there are no rules either – they can sit on the accusations for a year if they want before they decide to act.  If they decide they are dropping the case – they don’t tell the ‘accused’…so you spend your entire life wondering.  So – our friend’s advice was to just go on with life as if this never happened…because you may never hear anything about it again.  Easier said than done!

From this day forward, I feel like nothing will ever be the same.  Are phone calls being listened to?  Are emails being read?  Quick trips to the store for milk are no longer an easy thing to do.  You look at everyone in the store…do they know?  You scan cars in the parking lot looking for an unmarked police car…are they watching me?  Leaving your house to check the mail raises so many new questions…  Who was in that car that just drove by?  Did I see a neighbor watching me from their window?  And forget about going out to eat…  A knock on the door makes your heart skip a beat every time…is this the knock before they arrest me?

But as the days and weeks go by – it actually becomes easier.  I return to work quickly – and it seems like nothing has changed at all.  No one seems to know.  Day to day activities become easier again as well.  I feel like I am not watching over my shoulder all the time anymore.  Christmas and New Years come and go.  Activities with friends and family happen as they always have.  My life actually feels like everything is back to normal now!  This has to be a good thing…right?

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The precursor…

Please Note: Posts in the ‘My Story’ page always have the newest post on the top. If you would like to read the story from the beginning – start with “An Introduction”. Thanks for reading! ~IWFA

November 15, 2006:

This was the day before my world felt like it was coming to an end.  That morning I was at a work meeting relating to ADA compliance.  While in the meeting, I received numerous calls on my company cell phone from one of the employees who worked for me.  Becoming concerned with the number of calls – and the fact that they knew I was in a meeting – I stepped out of the room and returned the call.  I was informed that a police officer assigned as the school resource officer in our local high school needed me to contact him as soon as possible.  I knew this officer well, and returned his call immediately.  He asked me if I knew John.  I said, “of course – he lives with me”.  The officer informed me that a detective in the Prosecutor’s Office was looking to speak to John and his mother, but they had no record of John being enrolled in the high school.  I explained that John went to a vocational high school at the time, and provided the officer with his mother’s phone number.

As I hung up the phone – I was very concerned.  As I mentioned previously, John has had some issues with behavior for some time, and even at his age was really no stranger to our local police department…but the Prosecutor looking to speak with him…that is much more serious than anything we were used to with him.  I called his mother, and told her about my phone call.  She shared the same concerns…what could he possibly have done that would involve the Prosecutor’s Office?

My next call was to John.  He said right away that he hasn’t been in any trouble.  I explained to him that the Prosecutor’s Office only handled major crimes.  His only thought was that he had witnessed a friend get assaulted at a local mall, and his name was included as a witness, so maybe they wanted to talk to him about that.  I was still concerned…

In the early afternoon John’s mother was contacted by a Detective with the Prosecutor’s Office.  The Detective stated to her that they needed to meet with her and John the next morning – and that “he may have been a victim of a crime”.  She immediately called me to ask if I was able to go to the meeting with them to find out what was going on.  Unfortunately, I had a commitment at work that I could not break, so they were going to the meeting alone.

November 16, 2006:

John and his mother drove to the Prosecutors Office, where they were met by a male and female detective.  They were immediately separated into different interrogation rooms.  They were told that cell phones were not allowed in the rooms due to ‘policy’ – so their phones were taken from them.  They first spoke to John’s mother, and told her that one of John’s friends had accused me of sexual assault, and they think John was also a “victim”.  She told them immediately that there was no way that could have happened.  She stated that I was a very close friend to her and her family, and they trusted me 100%.  She asked who made the accusation – they declined to tell her.  She told them that if it was Michael who made the accusation she was completely sure it was made up.  She told them that Michael had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and was known to lie and make up stories frequently to get himself out of situations.

Next they spoke to John.  They questioned him like HE was a suspect in a crime.  They asked him repeatedly if anyone had ever made him uncomfortable – if anyone had ever touched him inappropriately.  John continued to tell them that no one had ever done anything inappropriate to him.  The detective began to treat him as if he was being hostile by not answering their questions the way they wanted him to.  They finally asked him specifically about me.  They asked what our relationship was, what our sleeping arrangements were (John has always had his own room like any other child would).  They asked him about his sex life.  They asked him about my sex life.  They asked him if he viewed pornography.  They told him that all they did was investigate sex crimes and they “knew” that something had happened to him, and all he had to do was say it.  At this point, John became very upset.  He told them that not only has nothing ever happened to him, but that there was no way it would have happened to anyone else.  He asked to see his mother.  She tells me that she could hear him screaming from inside her room down the hall!

Eventually – they put John and his mother in the same room.  They told them that they would have to stay there until they were able to get in touch with me because they were not allowed to have any contact with me.  They would not return their phones to them until they left.  Their ‘interview’ lasted over two hours – yet the Detective condensed it to only 1/2 a page of typed notes.

(I think it’s important to note at this time that in the Detective’s written report secured as discovery he states “nothing inappropriate occurred” between John and I.)

The Phone Call That Started It All:

I am anxious all morning waiting to hear an update from John about what their meeting with the detective was about.  Calls to his phone and his mothers phone go unanswered.  I am worried about him.  Then my phone rings.  It is Detective Smith, with the Prosecutor’s Office.  Detective Smith tells me that he has John and his mother in his office right now, and that they need to speak to me immediately.  I advise the detective that I was in the middle of a commitment at work that was time-sensitive, and was unable to leave.  Detective Smith stated that there were some issues with the custody of John, and that this meeting had to occur today in order to “get this thing closed up”.  I invited the Detective to meet at my office, or told him that I would be happy to meet after work.  He informed me that “due to the nature of this” their policy required the meeting to be at their office, and that I really had to get there in the next hour.  He told me that it was really important for John’s welfare.  When I questioned him more about it – he told me that he would explain the whole situation when I got to his office.

Now – my heart is really racing.  I am thinking that John is in some kind of trouble.  He mentioned a custody issue – were they trying to put John in foster care?  There were so many thoughts…why hadn’t John or his mother called me?  I made arrangements at work – told them there was some kind of emergency with John – and drove to the Prosecutor’s Office.  When I arrived, I was brought into a reception area of the office, where I sat and waited.  Eventually Detective Smith came out – introduced himself, and said “let’s go inside and talk”…

If you enjoy following my story please subscribe to this site by entering your email address at the very bottom of the page – then you will be notified immediately of new posts!  You can always unsubscribe at anytime! ~ IWFA Blog

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