A “WORD OF CAUTION” IN CONTROVERSIAL SOUTH CAROLINA MOLESTATION CASE …
By DAVID PISARRA || “I’ve been accused of molesting my kid. I didn’t do anything wrong. What’s going to happen?” is the way the phone call starts. “Who’s doing the accusing?” I ask, because that makes a world of difference in these cases.
As a father’s rights attorney in California I’ve repeated this conversation with an increasing frequency that is truly shocking. In heavily contested custody proceedings the allegations are almost a certainty these days in my firm’s custody cases – mostly because we rarely represent the mother who is the most likely person to make false allegations.
Which is why I would caution anyone jumping to conclusions about Josh Kimbrell the conservative radio host. I’m sure the anti-Kimbrell people are bubbling over with glee at the prospect that he is a child molester – especially in light of the Stephen Collins matter that is currently roiling the media.
Lest you think I’m some Josh Kimbrell supporter, lets begin with this; as a gay man who has a God but no religion, Mr. Kimbrell and I have little in common socially, politically and philosophically. I live in California and have never met Mr. Kimbrell nor listened to his show. I am not his constituency.
But I know what he’s going through right now. I’ve represented many men in custody cases and the allegations almost always look the same.
These days the allegations are almost boilerplate language that is pre-printed on a form. If the child is a boy under a certain age it will involve fondling, if a girl, mom will have vaguely worded ‘fears’ that he’s been ‘fingering’ the daughter. These allegations are generally exceedingly vague and unsupported by any actual evidence other than mom’s alleged ‘fears.’
Sometimes with the boys there are allegations of weird toilet behaviors between father and son.
Last week I had a father in my office who was peeing with his 3-year-old. They had been play fighting with their streams of urine, mom thought that was sexual and stole the kid away 2,000 miles from their father.
Where does this stuff come from? From the culture of fear that the mass media has perpetrated upon America. Does molestation happen? Yes. Does it happen disproportionately in divorce and custody cases? No. The allegations are disproportionate, but in the 15 years I’ve been practicing as a family lawyer, the number of our cases that have been investigated by the local Department of Child and Family Services that have turned out to involve actual molestation by a father – zero.
That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but usually the real molestation cases start in Children’s Court. Where the accuser is a teacher, doctor, therapist, anyone besides the estranged spouse of the accused.
Why do these types of false allegations come up so often in custody cases?
Because there’s a lot to be gained. Moms who don’t want to co-parent can “win” sole legal and sole physical custody if the judge is convinced. There’s money at stake as well – the more custody mom has the more support dad pays – it’s a direct time equals dollars calculation. There’s also a revenge factor if dad’s affections wandered to someone else. There’s the “hero complex” that some moms get of being able to “protect their baby” from a perceived threat of dad. In those cases where mom has a personality like Borderline or Narcissistic disorder she may ‘need’ to oust dad so that she can enmesh herself with the child – it’s a psychopathology that harms the child forever and will generally be repeated in their lives and relationships.
Women who have been raped or molested as children themselves will oftentimes see normal father/child play as sexualized. Because their vision is tainted they can’t trust anyone on a very basic level and then are hyper-vigilant which leads to a psychological enmeshment with the child, and then the cycle repeats itself.
The harm that is done to the children and the men involved is profound.
Purposefully creating a break in the father/child bond is unconscionable in my mind and should be punished by supervised visitation of the false alleger. They should have to do jail time for their false allegations which led to a huge waste of judicial resources, the draining of the family’s financial resources, the stain of the accusation and the perjury they have committed. Will that happen?
Not so long as the tyranny of fear continues to be pushed forward by a media that lives on salaciousness and fear-mongering.
Is Josh Kimbrell guilty of molesting his 3 year old son? I have no idea. Is he a victim of false allegations – time will tell. Is he enduring a hell he helped to create – maybe – because these allegations are easy to make, hard to prove, and rarely forgotten by everyone, thanks to the media.
David Pisarra is a father’s rights attorney in Los Angeles, CA. His website is www.MensFamilyLaw.com. You can listen to his podcast, Men’s Family Law on iTunes and Stitcher.