After spending 80 days in jail, and facing possible life in prison, a West Bloomfield man who was accused of raping his autistic daughter has been granted a $1.8 Million dollar wrongful-arrest settlement. This was for a form of premises liability.
The man’s wife also faced decades in jail, as the accusation stated that she had stood by and watched the assaults take place. Their 14-year-old daughter, who is severely autistic and cannot speak, was the suspected victim. She and her 13-year-old brother were placed in foster care.
The case began to unravel when judges began to more closely examine the evidence. The only evidence in the case was a statement that the 14-year-old girl supposedly typed with the help of a teacher’s aide at her school, reported a policeman. She stated that her father had raped her since the age of 7 and that her mother had stood by and watched.
According to a friend, the statement came from a form of communication known as facilitated communication, where an aide helps the girl type on a keyboard. The 14-year-old only functions on the level of a 2-year-old, and the case began falling apart when a judge realized the girl could not answer simple questions with this form of communication. There were no physical signs of abuse or injury.
The case was dropped in March 2008 for lack of evidence, claimed a judge. The township lawyers deny any wrongdoing by the police. The family has a federal lawsuit against the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools and the Michigan Department of Human Services. The defendants have asked the judge to dismiss the case on grounds of governmental immunity. The family named the police department in the lawsuit because of a two-hour interrogation of the 13-year old son without an adult representative. The 13-year old suffers from a form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome, and was seen rocking and crying on the interview video.
It is unclear how much township insurance will rise because of this settlement. The county prosecutors as they would in New York City and Westchester County have admitted to not investigating the facilitated communication method before charging the parents, and after making nationwide calls, they were unable to determine the reliability of the method.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury, a New York Injury Attorney can help you receive the settlement you deserve. A New York Injury Attorney will review your case and help to get justice served on your behalf.