For 13 years, a Georgia woman has lived under the shadow of a child abuse investigation, though police cleared her of any wrongdoing.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.
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"I used to have to call ahead and let them know I was coming," said Theresa, who asked to keep her last name unpublished.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."
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.