A horrendous story of false accusations and Parental Alienation. From Kids recant abuse claims after dad jailed 20 years (Huffington Post, 7/11/09):
Former Vancouver police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children say it never happened. Matthew Spencer and Kathryn Tetz, who live in Sacramento, Calif., each took the stand Friday in Clark County Superior Court to clear their father’s name, The Columbian newspaper reported. Matthew, now 33, was 9 years old at the time. He told a judge he made the allegation after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff’s detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.
Tetz, 30, said she doesn’t remember what she told Krause back in 1985, but she remembers Krause buying her ice cream. She said that when she finally read the police reports she was “absolutely sure” the abuse never happened. “I would have remembered something that graphic, that violent,” Tetz said. Spencer’s sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2004 after questions arose about his conviction. Among other problems, prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, even though Krause claimed the abuse was repeated and violent. Both children said that while growing up in California they were told by their mother, who divorced Spencer before he was charged, that they were blocking out the memory of the abuse. They said they realized as adults the abuse never happened, and they came forward because it was the right thing to do… Spencer, 61, hugged his son and daughter afterward while a dozen supporters cheered…The hardest thing about his ordeal was missing his children, he said. “They were my life, and they were taken away from me,” he said. “I could serve in prison. …” His voice trailed off, and his son came up for one more hug.
One interesting note about just how deep Parental Alienation can go and how intractable it can be. According to the article, “Matthew Spencer said his father had ruined the relationship with his mother and he had faults, ‘but none of them were molesting children.'” In other words, he still sees his mother as a victim. He still holds his father responsible for their breakup, even though the man was married to a woman complicit in locking up an innocent man. Maybe dad might have had a reason to not want to be around mom. Though Parental Alienation wasn’t an issue, it kind of reminds me of the popular reaction to the Clara Harris murder. Clara’s husband David had cheated on her and she repeatedly ran him over with her Mercedes. Many in the media and public blamed David Harris for the problems in their marriage. A few years ago Oprah did a special about Clara Harris, and she played clips of a radio commentary I did on the case:
Why are we accepting the idea that Clara was this perfect angel and that David was a bad guy for wanting to leave her? That she was just this wonderful wife until one day she snapped? Don’t you think that any person capable of slaughtering a man as the man’s daughter begged her not to kill her father might not have been the perfect wife? That maybe David Harris had damn good reason for wanting to get away from her?