Blogs > Liberty and Power > The State in Action - Destroying Families Edition

Mar 16, 2008 1:58 pm

The State in Action - Destroying Families Edition

From today's Detroit Free Press comes this story of a 13 year old boy (with Asperger's no less) who had to endure humiliating and manipulative interrogation by suburban Detroit cops in response to utterly false claims that his father had sexually abused his 14 year old sister, who is autistic.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

For nearly an hour, Detective Joseph Brousseau had grilled the boy about accusations that he and his autistic sister had been sexually molested by their father.

No, the boy insisted, he'd seen nothing to support the detective's lurid suspicions. Three times, he offered to take a lie detector test.

But Brousseau hammered away, challenging the boy's honesty, his manliness, his loyalty to his disabled sister.

Again and again, the detective told the boy his body language betrayed the burden of a terrible secret.

"What if I told you that one of those videotapes confiscated from your parents' house had you in it?" the detective asked suddenly.

The 13-year-old straightened."Was it me doing something sexually?"

"I don't think I'd be bringing it up if it wasn't," Brousseau answered."That's what I'm trying to tell you -- it's going to come out."

If it were merely what it purported to be -- the disclosure of a deviant father's treachery -- the videotaped exchange would be excruciating enough to watch.

But the truth is a good deal uglier than that.

Charges have been dropped. In fact, prosecutors now concede, much of what Brousseau told the boy during his Dec. 4 interrogation was a fabrication.

There were no videotapes depicting the boy in sexual situations with his father or sister. There was no new crime lab evidence confirming his sister's allegations, despite Brousseau's repeated assertions to the contrary.

and let's not forget this part:

The father had spent 80 days in jail without bond on three counts of first-degree sexual assault. His wife, whom prosecutors had charged with abetting her husband's alleged crimes, had been confined by an electronic tether, and their children had been dispatched to separate foster homes.

So a 14 year old girl who cannot speak is manipulated into providing graphic claims about sexual abuse which were enough to jail the father and tether the mother and send the kids to separate foster homes, and then a 13 year old boy is psychologically abused by cops trying to save the evidence-less case.

The police are the good guys, right? The government is here to help us, right?

This is just a toxic brew of paranoia about sexual abuse lurking behind every closed door, out of control and publicity hunting prosecutors (see Mike Nifong), power-hungry cops, and public schools that all-too-quickly seem to be willing to turn every moment of childhood angst into evidence of parental abuse.

It is stories like this that activate my strongest anarchist inclinations: why would we want to give ANY power to the state when its agents are willing to destroy the lives of a family, including 2 children with psychological problems, over a non-existent case? Stories like this also suggest how important it is to set the bar as high as possible in our current world if one believes that the state does have a responsibility to protect innocent children from abusive parents. We better be a lot more certain than THIS before we start busting families apart to save the children.

It's the state we need to be saving them from.

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Anthony Gregory - 3/30/2008

"It's the state we need to be saving them from."

Agreed. The police are not the good guys, even if some percentage of them are otherwise good people. They are, as a class, the enforcement arm of the state. The police should be among the first institutions abolished.