Over the past few months, New Jersey family lawyers have noticed a severe overreaction to the sex abuse scandals recently reported in the media. Such overreaction can have dangerous consequences.
The Penn State sexual abuse scandal involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is one case in point. The former coach allegedly abused several young boys who had been taken in by his charitable organization. The abuse continued over many years. The allegations against Sandusky have left family services, parents and schools appalled, and the scandal has caused widespread panic.
This overreaction could lead to overaggressive prosecutions of parents and family members who are erroneously believed to abuse children. In 2010, 40% of children who were removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect were later returned home after agency workers found no signs of abuse. That figure translates into a total of 80,000 children in 2010 alone.
New Jersey Family Lawyers Advise against Overreaction to Child Injuries
Often, an allegation of child abuse against a parent depends heavily on a single diagnosis by a doctor. These doctors frequently have no background or training in detecting symptoms of child abuse and therefore, the diagnoses are skewed. In other cases, doctors who do not want to be blamed for failing to catch child abuse classify unexplained injuries as abuse. When parents have been charged with child abuse, they find that they are presumed guilty until proven innocent.
An example is the recent case in which a 23-year-old woman came forward to admit that the allegations of sexual abuse that she had made against her father a decade ago were baseless. The girl, who was 11 years old at the time of the allegations, had been angry with her father and had accused him of rape.
The father protested his innocence, but was convicted, and spent nearly 10 years in jail before his daughter rescinded the allegations. The father lost close to 10 years of his life because of his daughter's lies.
The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, parenting and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.