12.27.2011

The Many Roles Of The Private Investigator In Investigating Child Sexual Abuse Allegations - Part XXIV

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 06:  Federal Bureau o...
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By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
I would say in just about every investigation we have, there will be differences of opinion, where you have partial facts, as to what those facts mean”                                                                           Robert Mueller

The media continues to uncover and expose the numerous high-profile alleged sexual offenders who are in high-powered positions. The reason for the newly identified sexual offenders is due to the notoriety which is occurring behind each disclosure. The alleged victims are having their day in the public arena by exposing those who hurt them at a younger age.
Law enforcement does not expend the time trying to locate other victims, as they seem to have victims finding them. Law enforcement’s busyness is the reason many private investigators that specialize in child sexual abuse investigations are not being affected by the economy. The more the child sexual abuse allegations continue to pour in, the greater demand there will be to hire competent and intelligent investigators to perform a complete and thorough investigation with the intent to ascertain who is telling the truth.
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Bill Conlin
Just because an individual is quickly labeled a sexual offender doesn’t mean it is true. The Constitution guarantees that each individual has the specific rights to have their day in court. Further, they have their right to an attorney who will aggressively represent them. The attorney can then hire a private investigator to assist them in preparing for possible trial.
Today, a Philadelphia columnist, sportswriter Bill Conlin who worked for the Philadelphia Daily News retired abruptly upon being accused of being a sexual offender. A rival newspaper the Philadelphia Inquirer printed a story that there are three women and a man who claim they were molested as children in the 1970’s by Conlin.
One of the alleged victims is now a prosecutor in Boston. Kelley Blanchet, Conlin’s niece said they came forward because of the Penn State debacle. The problem with Blanchet and other’s coming forward is the statute of limitations has expired. This is one of the major problems in child sexual abuse allegations. The statute of limitations is limited by the number of years the allegations can be brought forward for criminal prosecution. What is the purpose of having a statute of limitation on child sexual abuse allegations? There are numerous studies which have been conducted that state that those who truly have been sexually abused as a child, will not come forward until they feel safe and they are adults.
Understanding these aspects of the crime of children being sexually abused, the statute of limitations needs to be abolished. There are certain states which have some ‘if’ this happens then this can happen and then maybe the filing of criminal charges may be filed.
These prominent individuals who have come to the attention of the media and have been aggressively pursued by them will open the doors for those who are not as strong, who are of the belief that no one will believe them, that it was too long ago to bring it up now, and so many other reasons the child sexual abuse victims have to deal with.
The message here is not one of confusion, but one of reality. Everyone has the right to come forth and tell all about what happened to them as a child and who allegedly violated them sexually them. The allegations may be true or false. Just because you read it in a newspaper, Internet, hear it on the radio or see it on the television doesn’t mean that it is true.
Those who are accused have the right to respond to the allegations and they have as much credibility as the alleged victim. The balancing of who will be believed in the finality will depend upon the intelligence and competency of the investigations. If law enforcement fails to produce a successful investigation then it will take an educated, trained and experience investigator to bring the truth to the surface.
It is always a pleasure for law enforcement investigators to compare their work to private investigators. Law enforcement has always had the attitude that they live in a world of competition, the “we against them” mentality and so forth. Trying to get law enforcement to take the necessary time to conduct a thorough and complete investigation which has integrity is difficult because the premise they are under is they have received the proper child sexual abuse investigative education and training, therefore their investigation stand on their own foundation. Unfortunately this could not be farther from the truth. At some point law enforcement will realize that there are those individuals who didn’t commit the alleged crime and deserve the same respect as the alleged victim.
As this author has demonstrated over the past 29 years, the need for the proper law enforcement training needs to be a priority in the law enforcement investigative arena. Until this is accomplished then the integrity of every child sexual abuse investigation will be questioned.
The private investigator that specializes in child sexual abuse cases has a great opportunity to make a difference in the field of child sexual abuse investigations. If these investigators take the necessary time, effort and financial commitment to become educated and trained by legitimate individuals and organizations, then their investigative skills and abilities will make a difference in the assignments they accept and the integrity of those investigations they desire to investigate.
Tomorrow, the final article of this series will be written. The role of the private investigator is one of professionals working in the field where respect is difficult to obtain and the consistency of that respect remains in place. Child sexual abuse allegations are not only emotional for the alleged child victim but for those professionals who work in the field. The private investigator who hasn’t been a major player in the investigative field of child sexual abuse allegations now has the opportunity to work their way into the field of child sexual abuse investigations and make a significant positive difference.


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