What would happen to your family if someone accused you of sexual abuse with your child and your spouse of failing to stop it?
What happens when someone is falsely accused of any kind of criminal sexual conduct? What happens when the alleged victim is your daughter?
The case that we are going to examine today made headlines back in 2007, but the story starts before that. In 1993, the daughter of Julian and Thal Wendrow of West Bloomfield, Michigan was diagnosed with autism. The autism was so severe that the child was unable to communicate. Then in 2004, the family learned about Facilitated Communication.
Both Julian and Thal learned about a controversial method that might allow them to communication with their daughter through the help of a teacher or ‘facilitator’.
In November of 2007, the Wendrow’s daughter who was the 14-years-old met with her facilitator, Cynthia Scarsella. During that time, Scarsells helped the daughter type out a message that accused her father, Juilian, of sexually abusing her since she was 6-years-old, and that her mother chose to look the other way.
Accused of Sexual Abuse
The school then reported the allegations to the Department of Human Services or DHS. DHS then removed both of the Wendrow children from the home. The Wendrow’s have another child who has Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism.
The police searched throughout the Wendrow’s home, and the daughter was taken for a nurse for an examination that would prove if the child had indeed been raped.
Nothing was found at the Wendrow’s home to suggest misconduct, and the examination came back reporting that the child had not been raped.
The children were then put into Rabbi Levi Shemtov’s custody. He was the founder of a facility that helps to teach life skills to special-needs children.
The brother was removed from school and taken to the police station where he is interrogated for 2 hours with a lawyer or guardian present. Below is what the Detroit Free Press reported on the interview,
“During a taped interview, West Bloomfield Police Detective Joseph Brusseau attempted to get the brother to corroborate the rape allegations and repeatedly lied to him, telling the boy that investigators found videos of Julian Wendrow raping the boy’s sister. No such tapes were ever found.”
Both parents were arrested. Thal was released 6 days later with an electronic tether. Her husband, Julian, spend 80 days in jail until the case collapsed and the family was reunited after being separate for 106 days.
The case fell apart when the same evaluation was given with the daughter communicating through the facilitator, however, the facilitator, Cynthia Scarsella, was not allowed to hear the questions. The answers were very different in the second evaluation, including the description of nonexistent relatives and the incorrect name for the family dog.
One false accusation of sexual abuse devastated and separated a family for 106 days. The couple is now in the process of a lawsuit with the claim that their constitutional rights were violated
Being accused of a serious crime is a traumatic experience for an innocent person and their family. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential. If someone has falsely accused you or someone you know of criminal sexual conduct, please pick up the phone and call The David J. Kramer Law Office.
248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000