Don't Let Another Family Be Destroyed by False Allegations: It's Time To Pass Abby's Law
Aug. 30, 2019, marks the second anniversary of the day my family’s life was destroyed by a false allegation. What is so shocking is that it was perfectly legal in New Mexico. The malicious attack on my family is, sadly, not unusual.
According to the Children’s Youth and Families Department’s own data, 72 percent of the calls they investigate are unsubstantiated. For every instance in which evidence supports an allegation, three innocent families must face a traumatic investigation.
Paul Williams, head of CYFD’s Statewide Central Intake Office, knows of this abuse and said, “We don’t want our agency to be used as a mean guard dog.” He added, “But I see it all day long.”
Williams further stated, “I think part of the low substantiation rate is that not everything coming through is a legitimate concern about child abuse, but they (accusers) say the right things on the phone so we can’t call them a liar from the intake.”
You may be surprised to know that New Mexico is one of a minority of states that protects those who knowingly make a false child abuse allegation.
I am asking New Mexicans to demand the state legislature pass Abby’s Law in the next legislative session and save innocent families like mine. This law would change New Mexico statute 32A-4-3(F) and make it illegal to knowingly make a false child abuse allegation.
Currently, the statute reads, “Any person who violates the provisions of this section pertaining to the duty to report is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to NM 31-19-1.” You can go to jail for not reporting your suspicion, but not for fabricating an allegation?
In passing Abby’s Law, the statute would read, “Any person who violates the provisions of this section pertaining to the duty to report or knowingly makes a false report is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to NM 31-19-1.” The penalty for failing to report child abuse is up to one year in jail or a fine of no more than $1,000.
I am asking you to stand with me in changing the law because my daughter’s kindergarten teacher at Calvary Christian Academy, Betty Duboise, knowingly made three false child abuse allegations against my 7-year-old son, my wife and me. Her first lie sparked widespread misconduct by BCSO, who tore then my family apart, destroyed my Air Force career and financially crippled my family.
Considering that new teachers are required to pass a mandatory background check, it is particularly galling that former CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobsen’s Department cleared a known convict and perjurer — Duboise — to teach my daughter and BCSO relied on her to target my family.
In a Nov. 15, 2017 interview with attorneys, Duboise admitted that she did not interrogate my daughter as she initially told CYFD and BCSO. Sadly, BCSO ignored that admission and continued the persecution of my family until October 2018 when the District Attorney’s office forced BCSO to stop.
Detractors will suggest that the passage of Abby’s Law discourages legitimate reports of child abuse. Such an assertion justifies victimizing innocent families. I challenge anyone to tell my daughter that her trauma is acceptable because allegations will be right one out of every four times. Tell my son his permanent fear is acceptable.
Since taking office, CYFD Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock has taken active steps to fix a department that Gov. Suzanna Martinez and Monique Jacobsen left in shambles. I believe Mr. Blalock’s efforts are genuine.
Passing Abby’s Law is a first step and will create a disincentive for using CYFD for retaliation — something we can all support — and focus more resources on actual child abuse. It will also give the victims of false allegations the opportunity to hold criminals like Betty Duboise accountable.
Don’t fail my children again.
Pass Abby’s Law.
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