Abuse unfounded - father jailed
One of the best written false abuse stories appeared
recently in the Washington Times. Fred Reed outlines
the railroading of a father who still sits in jail.
His unjust conviction is revealed by a conscientious
CPS worker who reviewed the file and was shocked at
the behavior of an overzealous CPS worker and an
out-of-control court system. Fred Reed writes the
regular Police Beat column and is also owner of the
popular web site fredoneverything.net.
This story is a "must read" you can find by choosing
the link at the end of these excerpts.
December 4, 2000
Father's abuse conviction looks more like a con job
By Fred Reed
The Washington Times
. . . Some time back, I wrote a column about Bruce
McLaughlin, now in the Loudoun County jail after being
convicted of sexually molesting his children. He got
13 years, which is fine by me - if he did it.
Here is what happened: He confessed to his wife
that he had extramarital affairs. His wife suddenly
discovered his four children had been abused. Criminal
There was no medical evidence against him. His
conviction rested heavily on transcripts of interviews
of the children, conducted by the county's Child
Protective Services, in which the children said
McLaughlin molested them. Well, they sort of said he
did, then they said he didn't, then they said mommy
said he did it.
I read the transcripts from CPS shortly after the
original trial. They stank.
. . . The transcripts contain passages like this
. . . Leigh (a policeman): "Let me see what else
you have here. 'He had played with my penis.' Tell me
about that, do you remember that?"
Nicholas: "No. My mom told me that."
His mom told him?
Over and over, the children say they don't
remember being sodomized. Then, after insistence and
leading questions by the questioners, with a
suspicious consistency they say they do remember.
Their testimony reeks of coaching. One, pushed, said
McLaughlin had white pubic hair.
No. Not true.
. . . A conclusion: The interviews with the children
are flawed. They show evidence of coaching by
McLaughlin's wife. They are not properly documented.
They are loaded with leading questions (Let me tell
you what I think you're telling me). There are many
indications, especially in the interview with
Nicholas, that, in fact, nothing is really remembered.
The previous paragraph isn't mine. It is from the
decision of Michele Anne Gillette of the Virginia
Department of Social Services who heard McLaughlin's
She changed the finding from founded to
unfounded. The word "fabricated" appears in her
. . . Why is McLaughlin in prison?
This could happen to me or you, gang. McLaughlin
is a middle-class lawyer involved in an ugly divorce.
False accusations of child abuse are a tool of divorce
In this case, Mrs. McLaughlin ran away to New
Zealand with the children, in violation of a court
order. This makes a reinvestigation of McLaughlin's
This is how criminal justice works.
Read the complete story at: