Father Gets Justice in False Allegations Case-Was Racism an Issue?

Hartford, CT–One of the worst injustices modern fathers face is false allegations of molestation used by mothers as part of custody battles.  Courts usually “err on the side of caution,” and falsely accused fathers usually must fight a long, hard battle in order to clear themselves and get back into their children’s lives.  Mothers who make these allegations are playing a game they rarely lose — if they can make the false allegation stick, they win child custody.  If they can’t, they still usually keep child custody or at worst have joint custody.

That’s why it was gratifying to see the story below, where the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that a mother must pay her child’s father $3.5 million in damages for falsely accusing him of sexually abusing their daughter.  The couple had joint custody of the five-year-old-girl when the mother made the allegations.

I do want to criticize the father’s comments below on one point.  The father seems to be convinced that part of the reason why the allegations ruined his life is race. He is an immigrant from India, and he believes the American courts sided with the mother because she is white.

While I have no doubt that people from India suffer racism in the United States, I think the father is wrong on this one.  All other factors being equal, white fathers generally get treated just as badly in these false allegations cases as nonwhite fathers. As I once said in a speech I made at a father’s rights rally here in Los Angeles, “Family Court is one place where race doesn’t matter — white, black, Latino, Asian, it makes no difference — fathers of all races are treated like second-class citizens.”  The mother did not receive preferential treatment because she is white as much as she received preferential treatment because she is the mother.

From Supreme Court: Mother must pay ex-fiancé $3.5m for sex abuse claim (, 7/16/08):

The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld a superior court”s decision that a mother must pay her ex-fiancé $3.5 million in damages for allegedly falsely accusing him of sexually abusing their daughter. But the girl”s mother says she still believes her former lover is the guilty one.

In the June 24 decision, the court affirmed that Marlene Debek must pay Ajai Bhatia $3,544,500 in damages, including $2.5 million for emotional distress, loss of reputation and humiliation; $500,000 for loss of income; $540,000 for attorney”s fees; and $4,500 for his bail bond premium.

The case goes back to 2001, when Bhatia and Marlene Debek had joint custody of their daughter, who was then 5 years old. In October of that year, Debek reported to a supervisor at a mental health center for children that her daughter had told her that her father “held her shirt and touched her … for a long time,’ according to court documents. But following the trial, Bhatia was acquitted of sexual assault in the first degree.

Bhatia said that he has suffered extensive damages as a result of the accusations, and has since filed a lawsuit against Debek, accusing her of maliciously inventing her claims.

Bhatia gave up custody of his daughter. He lost his $100,000-per-year job and his $1.7 million home and had to make money by holding unskilled jobs such as shoveling snow. He also said that his father and brother in India were impoverished because they sent him money for his six attorneys in the United States.

In a telephone interview with an INDIA New England reporter, Bhatia, who emphasized that he is an American citizen, said that he was angry at what “white people’ have done to him.

“White people get away with garbage,’ he said. “Indian people didn”t do this to me, white people did this to me. They destroyed my life.’

Bhatia also accused Debek of bribing his daughter by promising her trips to Disneyland if she told the court that her father abused her. He said that he feels she should go to jail because — he says — she lied under oath.

“She should be basically jailed, but yet she didn”t [go to jail] because white people protect one another,’ he said.

Read the full article here.

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