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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
We never learn (09/19/2012)
By Frances Edstrom
The headline in the Star Tribune of Sept. 15 read, “Search comes up empty in porn case vs. coach.”

In the early ‘80s, in Scott County, Minnesota, Kathleen Morris, the county attorney, opened a case in which she accused over twenty people of running a child sexual abuse ring in and around the small town of Jordan.

Morris, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, were caught up in what then seemed a frenzy of child sex abuse cases in the news, mostly occurring in day care facilities. The most infamous of the day care cases was the McMartin case, which was finally resolved when the accused were set free.

In Scott County, those accused by Kathleen Morris had their children removed from their homes and put in foster care. The children were interrogated again and again by law enforcement, social workers, and even foster parents. Their stories became more and more fantastic, but law enforcement doggedly pursued every “lead.” The case was resolved finally, and only one man stood accused of child sexual abuse. The rest of the people, most residents of a mobile home park in Jordan, were free to go.

But by then, most of their lives and their families were ruined, some irreparably. Any financial resources they had were gobbled up by the courts. Their children, who had been essentially brainwashed by Kathleen Morris’ henchmen, were returned to them. But in what mental condition, after falsely accusing their parents of unspeakable crimes?

Now we in Minnesota are feeling the effects of the Penn State case in which Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing children, ruining along the way the reputations of good people and trashing a university football program.

A Mankato State football coach innocently took his university-issued cell phone to the IT department for help. On the phone were nude pictures of his young children, pictures that he and his wife say are innocent.

But not so the university and county law enforcement! The county attorney (sound familiar) decided to press charges. Now the coach, his wife, his children—and their future—have been ruined. Ruined, even though there is absolutely no evidence that these photos were anything but private family shots. (Doesn’t nearly everyone have a nude childhood photo to live down?) The county attorney won’t even let the coach’s attorney have a copy of the cell shots in question, because he claims that it is illegal to reproduce “pornography.”

What is it about our society that lets petty bureaucrats ruin other people’s lives, while hiding behind “doing the right thing for the children”? It’s disgusting. 


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