Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Glens Falls Man Arrested For Filing False Child Abuse Report.

According to The North Country Gazette "Daniel J. Russell, 24, of Glens Falls, has been arrested for falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor, for allegedly calling the hot line and reporting that an acquaintance was used marijuana in the presence of children.

Authorities determined the report was false and according to Glens Falls police, Russell admitted to both his probation officer and the state Department of Children and Families, the state agency that operates the hot line, that he had made up the story."

This is a first in my memory. Three million child abuse reports are made across the country each year. Out of those two million are found to be without merit. Nevertheless, you never hear of anyone being arrested for filing a false report. It is unlikely that Mr. Russell would have been arrested except for the fact that he was on probation.

Child Protective Services in New York State and elsewhere make it easy to file a report but difficult to press charges against someone who has filed a false report. Teachers, doctors, policeman and a host of other occupations are required to report suspected cases of neglect or abuse. If they don't, they can be arrested as an elementary teacher and principal were this past year in Florida.

If you are the subject of a false child abuse report, you have to go to your local D.A. and it is up to him to do something about it. If he or she chooses not to, you have little or no recourse. The name of the person who made the report is kept confidential, which also hinders the victim of the false report.

Even when a person is arrested for filing a false report, it is considered a misdemeanor. Failing to file a report of suspected abuse, however, is a felony.

Somehow we have to get it into our heads that people falsely accused of crimes are themselves crime victims and need more support than they are getting.


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