Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Father Made Claim That Mother Was Danger To Child Before Murdering That Child

When the subject of a dishonest parent comes up about how the police and courts work related to disputed custody or allegations of danger from a parent, the narrative that I hear repeatedly from too many people is that women lie to manipulate the system to deny fathers their rights to their children. The desired response which usually accompanies this narrative is to dismiss the testimony of mothers as untrustworthy unless she has independent proof.

The positioning of men in this narrative related to the filing of orders for protection and custody disputes is either implicitly or explicitly that men are more honest than women. Their testimony, according to this narrative, shouldn't be dismissed as untrustworthy without proof.

If a woman actually lies and manipulates the system, she's alleged to be representative of all women or at least she's alleged to be the reason all women's allegations should viewed differently than men's allegations. If she's angry or bitter this is positioned as credible evidence that her allegation shouldn't be taken seriously.

This negative generalization of women often happens when women have not physically harmed anyone and have not been proven to have made any false statement. Unproven belief that a woman lied is often sufficient for her and many other women to be presumed guilty in the name of not presuming men guilty.

So if you have only the testimony of a woman or only the testimony of a man or you have only their contradictory testimony then under this narrative the man should be treated as if he is telling the truth and the woman should be treated as if she is lying.

This narrative likely helped a man who went on to murder his son before killing himself to convince police officers to take his son from the mother who had custody and to give that child to him when he most likely intended murder while he was claiming to be interested only in protecting his son from harm.
WLKY obtained an audio recording of a conversation between Timothy Frazier and the Lawrenceburg Police Department. Police said in May 2009, Frazier shot his 21-month-old son in the head, then turned the gun on himself.

The likely response by those who cling to the women lie narrative will be that this man is the exception and his actions shouldn't impact how other men are viewed. This is wrong because this man's approach can teach responders about how someone manipulated the system.

An element which stood out to me was that at some point this man seemed only to want the child removed and didn't care where the boy was moved to as long as he was safe. By creating the impression that he wasn't intent on getting the boy within his control, he got that outcome without being granted custody.

This case shows that there can be a huge difference between sounding selfless and being selfless.

This crime may not have made the national news when it happened because unlike in high profile cases where a mother is accused of killing her child there was no murderer to arrest and therefore no sensational trial to speculate about. This also isn't a case where the fate of the child is unknown such as the baby Gabriel case.

However, this case is as important as cases which make national news because it highlights where the police failed in specific ways. These failures, if repeated, can help those willing to harm whether that person is male or female.
In the call, the dispatcher asked Frazier why he thought Dempsey was a danger to the boy. "Well, I mean, she threatened to wreck. According to, I mean it's on the EPO, she's threatened to wreck while he's in the car," Frazier told the dispatcher. "Does the EPO give temporary custody of one or the other?" the dispatcher asked. "No, it don't," Frazier said.

The EPO stated that Frazier requested temporary custody of the child because, he was "afraid for his son's safety." The judge did not give Frazier custody, but referred him to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or law enforcement if he believed the child was in danger.
The mother's threat to wreck a car with her son inside is an allegation. But the assumption of a father's truthfulness and selflessness blinded the police to the possibility that the EPO and this call were done with the intent to harm. In the call he even admitted that "They won't let him reside with me."

There may have been valid and documented safety reasons for this. The police officers admitted to not reading the entire EPO before taking this boy from his mother who had custody and giving him to his father who later murdered this young boy. This action was caused by inexcusable sloppiness and for that reason I'm glad the police dept. is being sued for taking this child from his mother and handing him to the man who murdered that child.

Sloppiness in how these reports are handled is the core systemic problem and that can be fixed no matter who lies and who tells the truth. Most of the time those who repeat the "women lie" narrative aren't focused on fixing the sloppiness and may in fact prefer sloppiness as long as the sloppiness is biased in favor of fathers.

When the official goal of protecting men from false allegations means protecting men from most allegations including true ones, that's not an act of justice. Those who defend this outcome by saying justice sometimes means that the guilty go free are ignoring what happens to children of the guilty who go free. These children may be forced to live part time or full time with an adult who abuses them. And some of them like this boy won't survive a mistake related to custody.

All reports where a child's life or welfare is stated to be at risk need to be taken seriously whether the person making the report seems selfless or like a vengeful liar. Those taking these reports need to consider the possibility that they are wrong no matter what their initial impression is about the case or what narratives they believe in.

Beyond consideration of all possibilities, those who are doing the investigation need to have enough specialized training so that they can assess these cases with the greatest possible accuracy.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:42 AM   1 comments links to this post


At February 05, 2010 10:33 PM, Blogger Rj said...

Thanks for this, Marcella. I don't know what to say anymore.


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