Thursday, March 29, 2012

Georgia law may favor innocent parents

Fox News reports:
For 13 years, a Georgia woman has lived under the shadow of a child abuse investigation, though police cleared her of any wrongdoing.

The welts and bruises on her daughter's body turned out to be an allergic reaction to antibiotics. But the investigation showed up on criminal background checks, restricting her access to jobs, housing and even her daughter's school.

"I used to have to call ahead and let them know I was coming," said Theresa, who asked to keep her last name unpublished. "I always had to get a clearance if I wanted to participate in certain activities."

Late last year, Theresa was able to remove the investigation from public criminal records with the help of Ashley Deadwyler, an attorney with the Georgia Justice Project, a non-profit advocacy group that provides criminal defense for the indigent.

Lawmakers are now trying to ensure other Georgians don't have to go through the same ordeal, with a piece of legislation that advanced Tuesday in the Capitol. ...

Republican state Rep. Jay Neal sponsored legislation in the Georgia House to restrict law enforcement from disclosing records of dismissed charges to employers and other non-police entities. He said the measure would eliminate a double standard.

"In the United States, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty," Rep. Neal said. "But when it comes to seeking employment, that presumption goes away upon arrest."
I am in a similar situation. So are maybe 100,000 other parents. My ex-wife, attorney Julie Travers, called CPS and accused me of emotionally abusing our kids. The court-appointed psychologist determined that her accusation had no merit, and the court did not find any wrongdoing on my part. The family court did make some unfavorable temporary custody decisions pending further investigations, but those investigations did not find anything wrong with anything I ever did.

Nevertheless, I am on the California registry of suspected child abusers, and I have no due process for getting removed. It does not matter that the accusations were never substantiated. It is not a registry of convicted criminals, like the sex offender registry. The whole point of the registry is to keep a list of (possible unsubstantiated) accusations so that employers can be notified of the accusations.

This being the internet, my anonymity on thie blog does me little good. My ex-wife has put her accusations on the public record anyway, so my current and future employers know about them. Still, it is un-American for the state to go around warning employers about accusations, when those accusations were never substantiated. As Neal says about, we should be innocent until proven guilty, here in the USA.


Anonymous said...

Should perpetrators who reported false abuse be held responsible for financial support of the person who can not find job due to false accusations?

How do people check if their names in the list of "California registry of suspected child abusers"?

George said...

No, there is no remedy for false accusations. The state maintains the list. The court is the remedy. You are free to tell a potential employer that you were never convicted.

There is a procedure to find out whether you are on the California. I have forgotten how. I will post it if I find it.

Anonymous said...

I think you may have answered already no. Does it specifically apply to below.

Lot of people are not comfortable not informing. What if the person actually informs all prospective employers that she can not find job because ex claimed false accusation of abuse. Now, perpetrator, ex is should be financially responsible for her.

In divorce, family court chastise parents to find employment to support children (after courts destroys families). In this case, how she going make buck when accused of false claims. I would think judge will not able force to find job or even impute income on the person. The person could tell the judge because it is false claim, I do have to inform employers thus get disqualified for jobs. How does child support or alimony play in this situation. Should perpetrator and courts be responsible for financial means?