Child sexual abuse is a serious allegation, often destroying the lives of those accused even when they not convicted. The trauma of the investigation often damages the children, too. In the case of children who were not abused, the investigation can be far more abusive than anything that really did happen to them. Yet apparently the government of Santa Clara County behaves as if child sexual abuse allegations warrant hiding evidence to prevent a defense and possibly bullying children into getting the testimony the police and DA want for their cases.
The Center for Child Protection at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, an organization contracted by the county to do medical exams on alleged child abuse victims, apparently hid 3000 child sex abuse exam tapes since 1991. This crippled the defenses of many accused of child sex abuse crimes. The DA’s office claims to have just found out about the existence of the tapes.
Shortly after the “discovery” of the sexual abuse exam tapes, the tape of one exam that showed there was no sexual abuse was used in the California Sixth Court of Appeals to overturn the conviction of a man named Agustin Uribe. The alleged child victim had already recanted and provided inconsistent testimony, but with the “guilty until proven innocent” bias of child sex abuse trials, Uribe had been convicted anyway.
More requests for new trials are pending. Mary Ritter, the coordinator for the Center for Child Protection, was one of the witnesses in many cases who testified regarding sexual abuse. This includes the Uribe case. Yet she had knowledge of evidence such as the videotapes that was relevant to the cases, but apparently hid it. Her credibility should be seriously questioned given these revelations and her ties to the county government, law enforcement, and the prosecutor’s office.
Santa Clara County should launch civil and criminal grand jury investigations of Mary Ritter, the Center for Child Protection, and the District Attorney’s office. Conspiracy to cover up evidence in a criminal case is a serious offense. If this is indeed what happen, Ritter and the others involved should be fired and prosecuted. Furthermore, the County should consider terminating the services contract with the Center for Child Protection.
Santa Clara is just another of the many California counties involved in persecution of people apparently falsely accused of sexual abuse. It joins San Diego County’s infamous record of government abuse in the James Wade and Dale Akiki cases and Los Angeles County’s abysmal record with the McMartin Preschool sex abuse trials. It is clear that the policies in the State of California are encouraging wrongful prosecutions and abuse of both children and the falsely accused.
When will the government abuse end? After reviewing what happened in the James Wade and Dale Akiki cases and many other false child abuse cases promulgated by the San Diego County child protection system, the San Diego County Grand Jury and many others believed the abuse would not end until individuals in the child protection system are held legally accountable by stripping them from immunity for misconduct. That hasn’t happened, so the government abuse continues.