Simon Lundström
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Täby
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Yes, this is a rant. Yes it is. Don't read if you don't want to.
I figured this might be in RPS as it might be an inflammatory issue.

I, or to be precise, my daughter of three, recently became the victim of justice murder. Reason? After a year and some of living apart, her mother accused me, out of the blue, of sexual harassment. Of my daughter.

Unable to prove, thus unable to disprove. The accusation alone, despite the fact that the police scrapped the investigation, was obviously reason enough for the court to declare me an more or less unfit parent. Or at least, being accused was seen as a more serious "crime" than suddenly removing the child from the place where she grew up, and preventing her from seeing her father for over two months. Which her mother did.

Sure, I am biased like hell in this specific case, but what kind of freaked-out court makes a decision like that? Temporary decision or not, everyone knows the law's delay and by the time for the real hearing the child is already uprooted. Too late to fix that then.

Let me recap:
Girl and I get together. Mistake pregnancy, but we decide to keep the child. Girl wanted to move out into the country so she could take better care of her horses. One year later I buy a house in the countryside. She wants more horses. We buy more horses. She ignores horses, complains that she can't take care of so many, that they're only trouble. Well, you could have said so earlier. About three months after we've moved it, I barely see her face. A couple of months later I discover she was unfaithful, probably from the point where I didn't see her face anymore. By this time our daughter is attending kindergarten nearby.

She moves out, into a rental house near me, and we share time with our daughter. The horses are sold, and I take the loss. At this point, naturally, I'd have asked her to go to hell, but a child changes everything. So when she a couple of months later says she's sorry, that we should try again, I reluctantly agree. So, again she wants more horses. I protest, but she's SO SURE this time, so I fall into the trap - again. Weeks after the second horse arrives, she all of a sudden announces that she's moving out again. She leaves me with the horses to sell, again, at a substantial loss.

For a month she stays at friend's places, as her parents have moved to an island off the main coast, and we continue to share time with our daughter, but all of a sudden she's moving to this island. I try to ask her if she's insane, but it's all so temporary, because she can't get a flat in the capital, only temporary. Sure.

One month later she decides to study achaeology (she didn't even finish high school) on the island. One month later she scraps that idea and says she's moving back. I recieve mails claiming I'm the only one in her life and that we should get together again. She's waiting for a rental flat nearby. Time passes. Our daughter starts to get tired of all the moving. She still goes to kindergarten at my place.

Fast forward to september. Suddenly I hear I can't come fetch my daughter, all this moving is so bad for her. Sure. But who's responsible for this distance? Not me… She says she's staying on the island and that our daughter should live there too. I figure this farce has gone on too long, and contact a lawyer. As a response, I get accused of sexual harassment of my daughter - the child has obviously said something like "dad has a wee-wee" which ohmygod, MUST mean that I'm doing something. Right? So, I can't see my daughter. The promptly refuses me to see her, I can't even visit the kindergarten my daughter's now attending on that island. The police gets the accusation, and scraps it.

Right. Now, the court in this case, they couldn't care less about who did who, who was unfaithful and whatever. They only look to the child's interests. Now, moving back and forth isn't good (no one has said it was) so the little girl has to live somewhere, and see the other parent like each other weekend or something. So, on one hand we have the mother, who on her own accord moved 7 hours away from where the child grew up and thus caused all this travelling, who has moved back and forth the last 6 years and never stayed in one place, who's 30 years old but still hasn't bothered to get either an education nor a decent job in years. And who strictly prevented the child from seeing her father, on accusations that were dismissed. And on the other hand we have the father, who stayed in the house where the child grew up and has attended kindergarten for over eighteen months. And who has taken care of the child singlehandedly half of the time for over a year.

From these facts, the court decides that the best suited parent to live with is the mother. The mother who has shown enmity, taken the law into her own hands and falsely acccused the father of hideous crimes. The mother who has moved five times during this year or separation. Because of what? Because the father is still under investigation. Not police investigation, mark you, but social investigation. And this investigation is due to a single fact: a report from… the mother. The one where she's so worried because the threee-year-old says daddy has a wee-wee.

In other words, being accused of something, even if the investigation is scrapped, makes you a less fit parent than falsely accusing others and generally acting like a capricious teenager. Actually, you're so much less fit, that it's worth ripping up the child from the place where she's spent her whole life.

I am speechless. Or rather, I was. This is an outrage against children, against innocent fathers. Praise your god, whatever one you have, that you're not living in the country where every man is a potential pedophile until proven otherwise - namely Sweden.
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Unfortunately total disregard for fathers and the automatic assumption that the mother is the more suitable parent is universal.
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Andrew Rowse
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Society is obsessed with paedophilia. It gets so much exposure that people are tricked into thinking it's much more common than it actually is.

It's sad, and the reason why men are more and more often put in the situation where they cannot take jobs that mean working with children (the risk of an unfounded accusation destroying your life is just not worth taking). And it's the children who suffer from not having male teachers.
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Ken
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Sounds to me like you might want to appeal that decision and/or get a different lawyer. But there's no question what you've presented sucks.

And this isn't isolated to Sweden. This kind of crap happens in the US and I suspect just about every country.
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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The US court system is no different. It's entirely possible to destroy someboddy's life with a mere baseless accusation, all the while the "victim" is allowed to remain anonymous in many cases (for their protection). Not being able to prove one way or the other is bad enough, but then you have the cases where it is PROVED beyond a resonable doubt that the victim has committed purgery (and that the defendant is completely innocent) and rarely are there serious consequences to the accuser. Usually the case is dropped, apologies are extracted, and everyone goes their separate ways, the accuser back to their life, and the REAL victim back to pick up the pieces of what used to be their life.

I get that it is important to protect victims in cases of pedophilia and rape trials, but when it becomes clear that they are lying, there need to be MAJOR consequences. The defendant needs protection, too, you know... cause they're INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. It's a far too common story, lately. Sadly, true rape remains yet more common.

In short, I agree with the sentiment (only) of the line from the Godfather II when he asks the courts to clear his name with the same publicity with which they besmirched it. Guy was evil, but it doesn't make the statement any less true in other cases, such as the Duke La Cross team.
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Paul DeStefano
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KAndrw wrote:
Society is obsessed with paedophilia. It gets so much exposure that people are tricked into thinking it's much more common than it actually is.


I think there's far more than most people are aware.

I personally know of 3 families where it has been made public knowledge. There must be more where it never surfaces.
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Andrew Rowse
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Geosphere wrote:
I think there's far more than most people are aware.

I personally know of 3 families where it has been made public knowledge. There must be more where it never surfaces.

I absolutely believe that there is more than people *know* happens - and that there is a lot of secret abuse that never gets found out.

But when the default position of many people (at least when acting as a mob) is to believe without evidence or investigation that any accused man is a child abuser, that leads me to believe that the magnitude of child abuse is over-estimated.

Mind you, I don't have stats either way to back that up - perhaps it would more accurate to say that people see child abuse too easily in the WRONG places, and ignore where it actually happens.

At any rate, I condemn child abuse by any person in any form (including lying to a child and convincing her that she has been sexually abused when she hasn't), and I genuinely wish Zimeon luck in achieving justice and providing his daughter the life she deserves.
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Lynette
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* Hugs *

I feel for you. It is horrible when people use dishonestly to twist a system that is supposed to protect kids into a tool to achieve personal gain.

So sorry for you pain and frustration.
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Randy Cox
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Sorry to hear this and even more sorry for your daughter. But one of the most telling statements you made was that you singlehandedly reared the child half the time. That's equivalent to you were half of the parenting duo all the time, in the ears of most disinterested parties. Hence, outsiders would hear that you're one of the two parents and you both raise the child (separately). All that stuff about what a sleezeball either of you may be falls on deaf ears.

I know too many unable parents who get custody simply because they are the mother (or have more legal power). Without a dedicated guardian ad litum to investigate the situation, it's very hard for an outsider to make a judgment as to who is the "better" parent.

It does sound like your "ex" (were you ever married?) might be way on the immature side. But that isn't a crime. In fact, while reading your tale of woe, I imagined she was barely into her 20s--then you said she's 30! I was shocked. But not surprised. There are a lot of young parents where the toddler has as much common sense (or more) than the adult. Can't get around that one.

I hope someone is assigned to the (social) case to get to the bottom of what is best for the child--including your qualifications, hers, and any grandparents' capabilities (you haven't mentioned whether or not your "ex's" parents are worthy folk).

Good luck.
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Stephen Dunne
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Man, I thought this kind of crap only happened in the US court system. Seems the anti-father bias is everywhere.
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It's the same everywhere in the Western World Simon.

Possibly as bad or even worse in the USA. I disagree with any who thinks sexual abuse from fathers is even close to common. It may be more common than we know about, but it is still a tiny fraction of overall father/child relationships and for a legal system to act on unwarranted accusations by a mother who is clearly not providing normal stability does more harm to most children than any court ought to be allowed to do.

In the USA all it takes is an accusation and subsequent investigation and dad is outta there. I mean "out of there". Either the child is removed and placed in state (or other family) custody or the dad immediately leaves. You might ask. "Well, what if dad was diddling Suzy? How can we leave him there to continue his perverse and damaging behaviour?" How about actually having people assess the context of the accusation? Divorce? Family turbulence? Child having other emotional or even physical issues? Money? I could probably come up with 100 questions to be asked or areas to inspect that could lead me to determining if Dad was actually a threat. But the way the laws have evolved here over the last couple of decades is through the public eye.

Outspoken activists - who mostly mean no harm - tend to be, in my view, man-haters who automatically assume the worst case scenario. They then use real cases of sexual abuse as a rule-of-thumb for all children who are reported (usually by the angry wife, ex or GF) to have possibly been abused.

Some years back most states in the USA adapted laws that restrict anyone who has been convicted (or is under investigation) for spousal abuse to not be allowed to own or carry firearms. The almost immediate response to that from the angry soon-to-be-ex wives of more law enforcement officers than you can imagine was to file complaints of abuse against their husbands... thereby depriving them of the right to carry a firearm... meaning they were either fired, suspended or had to quit their jobs.

It's not rare. It's not every woman in a failing relationship... but it is enough to have had a very real effect on law enforcement and how any man who is does police work needs to handle himself if his relationship starts getting in trouble.

I know exactly one person who is in jail for messing with a daughter..... well, step-daughter, sort of... and I know dozens who have been accused. In every single case where I know the man who was accused there was an angry woman and a failing relationship and the accusation came from her... or, in two cases... it was a step-daughter who hated stepdad and both of those teens were already in the high school drug culture and running afoul of the stepdad at home. Not a single one of the accusations was proven to be true in the end. Yet in every case the man was deprived of either his job or home, the relationship failed beyond help and the child (or teen) gained nothing except either more heartbreak or they got their way and continued doing drugs and running wild.

If I was you I would go on the attack... without mercy. I would lawyer up and make momma's life a living hell. She is obviously going to use your daughter as a tool to get whatever thing she feels she wants and I will flat out guarantee you there is a 100% chance her behaviour will not change as your daughter gets older. This is serious shit as you know and defending yourself is the worst possible tactic. Cold, calculating aggressive behaviour against the mother is the only way to get sanity back in the situation and your daughter will pay a heavy price in her life if you allow momma to drive the bus Simon.

The way to get rights as a father in America is to break the mold and be the aggressor. To be the first one to file for custody. To be the first one to dictate terms of time-sharing, to be the first one to propose any financial arrangements for the child's welfare. The key is being the plaintiff, not the defendant.

It works better from almost every angle to be the one perceived as the victim of your ex's behaviour as opposed to being perceived, even remotely, as possibly a victimizer.

Good luck.
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Simon Lundström
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Meerkat wrote:
It is horrible when people use dishonestly to twist a system that is supposed to protect kids into a tool to achieve personal gain.

So much more horrible, as they're effectively misusing time and money that otherwise should go to those kids wo REALLY are in trouble and who need help fast. Triple evil. False alarms like this cause the system to slack.

Randy Cox wrote:
It does sound like your "ex" (were you ever married?) might be way on the immature side. But that isn't a crime. In fact, while reading your tale of woe, I imagined she was barely into her 20s--then you said she's 30! I was shocked. But not surprised. There are a lot of young parents where the toddler has as much common sense (or more) than the adult. Can't get around that one.

Perhaps not. Point being, though, that acting like she does isn't at all a problem as long as you're a teenager - in that case it's just natural, just as it's natural for five-year-olds to lay on the ground and scream when they don't get their way. However, doing that when you're ten isn't acceptable. And constantly changing plans, not being able to adapt to others and not taking adult responsibility when you're thirty isn't acceptable either - or shouldn't be. It even has a name: Borderline.

You're perfectly right that none of us is exactly an unfit parent; none of us are committing any crimes, none of us drink or gamble. However, her behaviour is for everyone concerned very obviously immature and irrational, and that should count for something. At least I thought so.

Randy Cox wrote:
I hope someone is assigned to the (social) case to get to the bottom of what is best for the child--including your qualifications, hers, and any grandparents' capabilities (you haven't mentioned whether or not your "ex's" parents are worthy folk).

Her father seemed like a nice chap. Her mother, though, is basically as hysterical as she is, and considering this whole idea of sexual harassment came up when she'd moved back to her parents, I seriously doubt they have anything worth saving beneath their skulls.
Oh yeah, according to her, I have "no contact with my family". Which is ridiculous, I meet them a bit too much, and she knows it. It's just a bunch of lies, and it's exasperating that I'll have to reduce this to a "yes you do, no I don't"-match that I haven't participated in since I was eight.

And thanks, Tripp. I'll take the advice. Thankfully she's pretty stupid so I think I might have got an upper hand there. At least I want to put up a fight enough to be able to proudly see my child in the face when I hand her teh paperworkin another fifteen years.
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I'm getting this fuzzy, but don't want to ask my friend to clarify so I can post here. In some states, the laws about domestic disturbances are really over the top in trying to protect people. In Colorado, calling in a domestic fight has some sort of automatic conviction thingamadoodle. Basically, my friend's wife shoved him, he shoved back and she called the cops. They came and put him in jail overnight. Because she was the one to place the call, the law automatically required him to be on probation. Later, she even admitted to the judge she had started it, and the judge said the new laws required him to give the minimum of X months probation to my friend. It was so surreal I was almost tempted to tell him it didn't add up.

Apparently Colorado used to have some crappy laws that let women fall through the cracks in domestic disturbances. When the cops came out and the husband was standing right there, the wife would retract whatever she called about and go back into harm's way.
 
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I agree with the comments about anti-father biases. I'm not married, have no kids, but it certainly seems to me that for a father to sexually abuse his children takes dropping to the absolute lowest possible level of humanity. Normal people just don't do that.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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Don't ever underestimate in any circumstances the tendancy of people who are involved in anything to want to cover their own ass.

When its "she said he said" the natural reaction of the decision maker is to play it safe. After all which is the worse consequence if they are wrong?

The funny (well probably not to the OP) things is that from an instutional basis the tendancy to side with the accuser rather than the accused is fairly recent. Until not too long ago most western legal systems required a judge to expressly caution a jury in a rape case (which was she said he said) of the dangers of convicting on unsupported evidence. Convictions were sometimes thrown out on appeal if the judge didn't give that specific instruction.

As a lawyer, the advice above about getting on the front foot is spot on. These things have their own momentum. Having made a false claim your ex may have felt on whatever level somewhat bad for that but they are sure as hell never going to retract the accussation - that just makes them look bad (as well they should). As the relationship deteriorates the justification to rely on it will just increase. At best it will just sit there hurting you.

You will never vindicate yourself without attacking her. You pull it into the open and start questioning it then things start to shift in your favour. All people guilty or innocent "strenuously deny" accusations of any sort but guilty people then do nothing while innocent people fight. These are the pre-conceptions that are hard wired into almost all of us.

Now of course theres an immense issue about how all of that would impact on your child. But you also have to weigh that up against the impact if you leave things alone.
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Quote:
As a lawyer, the advice above about getting on the front foot is spot on. These things have their own momentum. Having made a false claim your ex may have felt on whatever level somewhat bad for that but they are sure as hell never going to retract the accussation - that just makes them look bad (as well they should). As the relationship deteriorates the justification to rely on it will just increase. At best it will just sit there hurting you.


Yikes! Having a lawyer agree with me... even an Australian one... is a little weird. But thanks Daniel for further illustrating the point I wanted to make.

Family law is awful, awful, awful. Nothing is cut and dried. Nothing is clear. There are no fingerprints, DNA or verifiable paper trails leading to the money. It's just unrestrained emotion.

Having been there in divorces and having been emotional support for people who were being sued by an ex to have their child removed to his home instead of hers I was shocked at how much of the judges rulings pretty much boiled down to determining the truth (Ha!) of the plaintiff's accusations. It was as if the plaintiff was the only victim.

When I parted company with my long term GF several years ago I knew there would be a tulmultuous and bitter fight from her because we had a 2 year old boy. I also knew the lad needed to share equally with both of us. So I blindsided her completely. I downloaded, filled out and filed all the proper papers including a petition for full custody and child support from her. When everything was done I hired a guy and had her served, on a Friday, at our home while I was away.

There was a huge explosion. She was beyond angry. Took her kids and our son and went to her mother's house. Called me and threatened all sorts of lawyer-y consequences. Bottom line though... she had over 48 hours to stew on it. I owned the small ranch (yes, horses again...hers, not mine) and I had the income.

When she finally settled down and we began talking... on Sunday evening... she had clearly seen the reality of the situation. She came back, I slept in the spare room. I offered to sell the ranch and give her a cash portion or to have her buy it at a reduced price. The focus shifted from "us" to her and her children's stability. Within weeks her parents had agreed to buy the property, her and I had gone to mediation and a judge had ruled for equal time and no child support from either of us. What she did was react to my stated desires... she negotiiated with me and everything I conceded was no more than what I would have wanted to begin with... the difference was simply how it was filed. Even the judge raised his eyebrows when he saw there was no acrimony.

It's now almost 4 years later. I live on the adjoining ranch... our houses are within line-of-sight. Our son trapses back and forth and sleeps at my home or hers where he has a bedroom in each. I play Wii with him at her home and he watches his cable shows at mine.

All in all, not a bad situation. But I credit myself, not her. If I had allowed her to be the plaintiff it would have been ugly.

None of this is fair. And it certainly seems that our world allows for women to almost always be perceived as victims and men as criminals and despite courts paying lip service to the welfare of the children I don't think for a single second they can provide any such thing except in extreme cases of neglect, abuse, drugs or other obviously harmful conditions.
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Johannes Åman Pohjola
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Simon, I applaud you for being outspoken about this. And I'm going on a rant too.

Sadly, it doesn't really matter if the charges against you are obviously bogus - the mere existence of the charges is enough to make you a branded man in the eyes of the moral majority, to make you one of them. To those who don't know you already, but know of the accusations, you will no longer just be some random guy - you will be that guy, a potential child abuser, and having that in the back of their minds can change people's perception of you into god knows what. So strong is our society's fear of paedophilia, that the mere accusation of it can be enough to make your life a living hell.

Imagining myself in your shoes, with the above in mind, I can imagine the pressure to simply fold it and give in to the pressure being enormous. But I think you are doing the right thing, talking about it and standing the fuck up for your rights. Reading and hearing it from you in this manner, it suddenly becomes very difficult to take whatever accusations against you seriously. So strong is our society's fear of paedophilia that if you were silent about it, on the other hand, the mob would see it as an implicit admission of your guilt.

Of course, everyone would be better off if legal practice could be changed into something slightly less paranoid, something slightly more sophisticated than "he's a witch! burn him!". But standing up for the rights of people in situations like yours, Simon, would be political suicide. So strong is our society's fear of paedophilia that if you speak up for fathers' rights, you will be branded as a spokesperson of them in the eyes of the mob, and people will ask: "what's your interest in this? What if you're a paedophile yourself?".

So it seems obvious to me that change cannot come from above. Not as long as people's perception of the accused paedophile remains a mere spectre in the eyes of a paranoid mob, some kind of monster that embodies all our fears and prejudices. So strong is our society's fear of paedophilia, that no one will stand up for the rights of the monster.

But follow the example of Simon, stand the fuck up and speak out, and suddenly the monster melts in the light of day. It turns out there was no monster after all. It is no longer merely an anonymous other, a figment of our imagination that in our minds embodies everything that is rotten about human nature. Instead, the monster becomes a decent, upstanding person. Someone you can relate to, sympathise with and stand up for without being seen as a monster yourself.

Perhaps, if enough people in your shoes did exactly what you are doing, both legal practice and the witch hunt-like behaviour of the moral mob might change into something reasonable. At the very least, speaking up about it is laying the groundwork for making such a stance possible without commiting political suicide. The current situation is bad for just about everyone who is honest - it's bad for innocently accused fathers and it's bad for all the unabused children who are used as pawns in this weird game. It's also bad for all the real abuse victims and their parents who report it. The behaviour of people like the mother of your child is putting all the real accusations in a bad light, and clogging up valuable time and resources that could have been used to stop actual child abuse. So in effect, they are not only being asshats, they are neglecting the most important issue at stake - making sure no children come to harm.

So again, I applaud you for speaking up - not only for your own sake, but for the sake of everyone else in a similar situation. Also, a brilliant post by DWTripp.
 
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Dane Peacock
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Simon, I feel for you. You must be going through hell.

A man I worked with for several years was recently accused by his daughter on twelve counts of sexual abuse. I found out about it when I saw his picture on the local news one night. Of course, everyone at work was discussing it the next day. The company President wisely called an all employee meeting and reminded everyone that there are two sides to every story, that he was innocent until proven guilty, and that he would be coming back to work and we should treat him the same as always.

With many people, it didn’t matter. He was a guilty bastard and should fry in hell. They had no knowledge whatever of the situation. Yet, he was accused of a horrible crime, so he must be guilty, right?

The only thing that the accused was allowed to do was defend each particular count. The problem was that the daughter could not narrow down any of the twelve counts to less than a six week window. He had work records and his (new) wife’s testimony, but none could be used for his defense because a date or time was never specified by the accuser. Talk about frustrating.

The girl had been rebelling for a year or so. She was 14, she had become sexually active with boyfriends, she had gone goth and was getting into drugs. Her Dad kept grounding her from certain things. Finally, he grounded her from the internet. That was the final straw. The very next day she filed the accusations. None of that could be brought up at the trial; he was only allowed to directly response to the specific twelve counts.

About a year previously, the daughter had told a school councilor that her Dad chained her up every night in the basement and starved her. The school investigated. Not only did they find several eyewitnesses that had been out with her at those times, but her Dad’s house did not even have a basement. She had made up the whole thing. The school and police reprimanded the daughter. All of this was officially recorded, but it could not be brought up at the trial because it did not address any of the specific counts.

The girl’s mother (his ex-wife) encouraged the daughter every step of the way. In fact, the ex-wife had heard that just after he was arrested, that he had bailed out of jail. She called the cops and told them that her husband was driving by her house in his Chevy Blazer and harassing them and violating the restraining order. The cops showed up at his house looking for him. His new wife was furious. She told them that first, they had sold the Blazer a month ago, and second, he had NOT made bail and he was still sitting in THEIR jail! This could not be brought up at the trial; it was not a specific defense against one of the counts.

It boiled down to an accusation with no physical proof; the classic he-said, she-said. I personally believe that the jury made their decision based on “what if.” They were very scared of allowing a child molester to go free. He was found guilty on all twelve counts. Each count came with a five year sentence. He now sits behind bars for a long, long time.

I will never know if he is guilty or not. Even the people that support him will always wonder. If his daughter was lying, will she ever come around? I don’t know, but for now, she’s living it up. She proved that she was right and he was wrong all along. She is being treated as a victim, and she is receiving the attention she craves.

It’s scary. Teachers, coaches, and even parents are all vulnerable to a false accusation at any time that could ruin their lives. Thankfully, most young people would never lie about something so horrible. The false accusers add to the hurt and pain of real child abuse victims. False accusations create doubt in all of the real victims’ stories, and that might be the worst thing of all.

Simon, I hope that things improve and it all comes out for the better.
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Dane's story is a terrific example of how broadening the scope of "alleged" crimes and "alleged" victims ends up marginalizing the actual victims... if all theoretical crimes are punishable, then what about the real crimes... where the criminal never gets caught? How many public resources are squandered chasing people like Dane's co-worker when they could be used properly, to protect potential and real victims?

That's why I opposed the broadening of "rape" that occured in the USA some years back. Regret is now rape in America if the woman feels bad the next day about what she did. This obscures and desensitizes the public to the real victims of the horror of rape. Same for child abusers who really aren't abusers... just people caught in the web.
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Isaac Citrom
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Simon, welcome to the land of Family Law in Western Democracies. My advice is to take it in stride. You cannot at this moment change what is. Fight the good fight and learn to accept the injustice or else it will eat you alive.

This is a prime example of the "evils" of Liberalism post-WWII. The treatment of fathers today in family law is iconic of everything that is wrong about Liberalism.

To be fair, men brought this on themselves. Women were so very much at a disadvantage before such reforms. Because everything tended to be in the husband's name, women, and often the children as well, could and were thrown out on the street penniless, even unable to use a chequebook because they spent their entire adult lives as homemakers.

Currently, most if not all Western democracies have no fault divorce proceedings. That is, the court is not seeking to determine marital justice. They are disinterested in why the marriage broke down and are only there to determine the just and beneficial disolution of the marriage. So, for example, if the wife or husband was a class A asshole and fooled around unashamedly, that has no bearing on the divorce as no fault is being addressed.

This came about because women were forced to have to prove that they merited a divorce to be granted. This created huge legal proceedings with no other value than to determine whose fault it was that the marriage failed. Moreover, this fault became determinant in deciding who got what, including the kids. As such, there was a lot of work being done trying to prove that your wife was a whore.


Then comes the modern reforms which turned the table completely to the other side. There are many injustices being carried out against men, the accusation of child abuse is just a recent tactic among many. It is only very recently that the courts are starting to treat men more fairly and the legislation is still behind.

In Canada, all else being more or less equal, young children, up until about 7, automatically go with the mother. It is assumed she is the better nurturer, which I have to agree is most usually the case. From 7 to about 13, a judge will decide with which parent the child is better off. The child is also consulted as to his wishes. From about 13 onward, the child basically decides where he would like to be on the premise that you cannot force a child of that age to be where he doesn't want to be.

These modern reforms have created a lot of resentment among unfairly persecuted men. These are real-world examples of which I know of:

1. She was cheating on him. When he found out she started legal proceddings. She had him kicked out of his own home. That is to say, the preliminary judgment forced him to leave on the grounds that the home is the primary family home where the children live and the children were automatically awarded to the mother.

Until such time a final settlment is arrived at, she submitted to the court an (inflated) list of expenses that had to be covered. In the preliminary pass through the court, there is no argumentation. It is meant to quickly solve problems roughly. The woman basically gets what she asks for.

As she is free to do as she likes, the boyfriend moved in. Now you have a guy who went from happily married (as far as he knew) one day to put on the street and having to pay for his wife and lover's love nest, mortgage, utilities and the lot. He barely gets buy in a one bedroom flat as he cannot afford to maintain two residences. And, he gets to grind out work day after day supporting all this.

At each point there is a logical reason for the court to act so. The main concern is not to have the children's lives impacted more than minimally necessary. What the parents are doing is not a concern at all.

A number of cases just like this end up with the father committing suicide or entering the home and killing the wife. I say a number because I don't see it that often, perhaps once every two months or so; plus the cases that I don't hear about, plus the cases where the man suffers in silence.

2. Another colleague's marriage disolved in a similar manner. The new boyfriend moved in along with his furniture. Now, this colleague is a super calm guy. The wife was going to sell all the furniture they had just coincidentally purchased on credit ($25, 000). He approached her and said, "hey, I've got nothing at all. If you don't need the furniture, can't I have it to furnish my new place." She closed the door and returned a minute later bearing a broom, "here, you can have this." He is still slowly paying off the $25K alone as she does not work.

3. A very close personal friend is about to be married to another close personal friend of mine. His first marriage was to a young girl (19). She had a blast at a grand ole wedding. She then settled into married life. Having no skills to speak of she was naturally relegated to being a homemaker. She didn't seem to find that fun. Four months into the marriage she disappears to Aruba. My friend is slow to see signs. She finally comes back with half-assed explanations. Very soon thereafter, he comes home to find an echoing cavern as their freshly furnished and equipped home. She emptied the place like right out of a movie, icecube trays included. He only recently finished paying for all the stuff he purchased.


The question on my mind is that I think it was a grave error to exclude personal justice from the formula. A man, or a woman for that matter, who does all the right marital things ought not to have his/her life destroyed by unscrupulous people. Why and how the marriage broke down is important for everyone's peace of mind. Yes, the children are more important but there is no logical reason why they must be the only concern.

A good and honest wife should not have her life destroyed because her husband couldn't keep it zipped. That was the genesis of these reforms. Likewise, a man shouldn't have his life destroyed by conniving women who easily play the courts.
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Simon Lundström
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Thanks for all the kind words, it really does help. When I hear the stories you tell I can at least conclude that I'm not in that deep a water - first of all I work at home as a translator, and my work isn't affected by this accusation (apart from the fact that I barely can work). Secondly, when it comes to show, this kind of stunt is common enough for a lot of people to immediately form doubts. Of course, people who hear my side of the story tend to side with me, but usually I just have to get to the part where I mention the island and people go like "Excuse me… did you say she moved away… to THAT ISLAND? That's like SEVEN HOURS away!" Thirdly, her accusation was so poorly worded it was ridiculous and hard to take seriously. And despite all I said, it's not like the court sided with the mother totally. After all, she advocated full custody of the child, and that I shouldn't be able to meet the child unless under supervision. And both those claims were declined.

Lastly, despite the fact that my ex basically did shit during our time together (well, she did stuff, but considering she didn't work I felt that a division of house larbour 50-50 was unfair) I have to say that when it comes to "who did what" in the marriage, I actually think the court is right in not caring. However, I there is a number of behaviour patterns during the marriage/separation that I most certainly think should matter. Moving seven hours of travel away from the marital home at the point of separation, without any valid reason, is one such behaviour. It's very obvious for all that such a decision is not made for the best of the child, but only for one's own goddamn slackyness. Deliberately keeping the child away from the other parents on what is considered to be very very loose grounds is another of these behaviours that should be considered bad. I am aghast at the fact that the judge managed to "overlook" this behaviour. Former lies and deceptions should add to this, of course.

My ex is vehemently unstable; constantly changes her plans and acts irrationally. She's 30 and hasn't got any decent education nor solid work for her entire life. Tripp and Edwards, point taken, and I'm going to play hardball the worst I can, if for no other reason than to protest against this lack of righteousness. Any hints as to where to put in an attack?
 
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Ken
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My suggestion is find a good lawyer and let them dictate what you do. Charges of abuse are taken seriously because they need to be. Overreacting, going terribly offensive, "going after" your ex without good legal advice could end up sending the wrong image. Cooperating with the social workers, getting friends and relatives to help show that the charges are groundless, etc. may be a far, far better idea. Once you clear that up, the fact that the charge was leveled speaks volumes about the other party, doesn't it?

It's a crappy position, but playing "hardball" too soon strikes me as a potential mistake. Any court's going to take the accusation seriously until they've a reason not to. There's a kid involved, so that's probably what they should do. Get a damned good lawyer and fight the way that they tell you to fight. If that's an aggressive stance, so be it. But a softer approach may pay off better and you should hear them out.

I had a friend who had a flaky ex who was prone to "drama" that fell just short of these types of accusations. After three years of letting her prove to the court just what an awful mother she was during joint custody, he ended up with full custody of their son. But that was how his lawyer suggested they play it.

So poll your friends/business associates and find a good family law specialist. Then do what they tell you to and demonstrate to the court you're not the person that they say you are in the way that's proposed. There aren't many judges that are complete idiots and won't pay attention to evidence.
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Simon Lundström
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Well, that sounds pretty much how I planned it. There are numerous things coming up in this case, and I guess that's the stance with which I need to deal with them.
 
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Zimeon wrote:
Well, that sounds pretty much how I planned it. There are numerous things coming up in this case, and I guess that's the stance with which I need to deal with them.


You know your situation and local legal system best Simon. I just want to point out something Ken said:

Quote:
I had a friend who had a flaky ex who was prone to "drama" that fell just short of these types of accusations. After three years of letting her prove to the court just what an awful mother she was during joint custody, he ended up with full custody of their son. But that was how his lawyer suggested they play it.


Now I don't know if Ken has kids or has ever been in anything even close to your situation. But I do know that three years is not something I would ever wait patiently through if my child was basically being held hostage by an ex who used the child to grind me down, prove a point or punish me. As I understand it your little girl is three now. Three years means that if..... if... patience and kindness and passive/aggressive legal wranglings fail, then half her enitre life would have passed by the time you found out whether or not you had any rights at all.

If you trust family law judges then I don't know what to say. What I do know, from my direct observation on several occasions and from being in court with an acrimonious ex and a dipshit judge is that for most of them I wouldn't piss down their throats if their hearts were on fire.

I'm a total asshole regarding my children's welfare and not once have I ever considered they would be better off being raised by their repsective mothers. Both mothers of my three kids have been excellent. But only because they knew exactly what was in store for them if they fucked around.

My children are purposely not aware of any of the specifics of how custody issues were settled. And it will remain that way.
 
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Stephen Dunne
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I will say in my experience with a piece of crap ex, go for the throat, in a legal sense.

Give no ground. Fight everything as hard as you can, as much as you can afford to. once you agree to something between the two of you, at least here in the US, and it is put on paper, a judge is always hesitant to change things, since change is not "in the best interests of the child".

Tripp did the right thing I think, in suing for full custody. He used it as leverage, and was willing to negotiate, but he went in swinging.

You need to do that. Otherwise you are playing legal catch-up, and that seldom works in your favor. Negotiation from a position of strength is the right way to go about it. If she works with you, great, if not, you have already started the process in a manner more agreeable to you.
 
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