Rozita Swinton. Swinton was
arrested by Colorado
Springs, Colo. Police
Thursday, April 17, 2008,
and charged with false
reporting to authorities in
connection the Fundamental
Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints case in
The Colorado Springs
Sep 20, 2010
The lie that tore my family apart
In the '80s and '90s, thousands came forward with their own incest stories. I was
one of them -- and I was wrong
By Meredith Maran
Why I falsely accused my father
The following is reprinted by permission of the publisher from "My Lie," by Meredith
Maran. Copyright (c) 2010 by Meredith Maran. Published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley
Imprint. To read an interview with Meredith Maran, click here.
In the late 1970s, a handful of feminist scholars did some groundbreaking research
and delivered some distressing news: one in three American women and one in ten
American men, they reported, had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Their studies proved that incest wasn't the rare anomaly it was long believed to be.
Incest happened often. It happened in normal families -- in the house down the
street, in the bedroom down the hall.
A psychological phenomenon called repressed memory had allowed this outrage to
go unacknowledged, even unknown. As Freud had first asserted a century earlier,
the impact of child sexual abuse on young psyches was so profound that victims
often lost their memories for years or decades. Hundreds of thousands of
Americans were walking around with the time bomb of untreated childhood sexual
abuse ticking inside them.
For better and for worse, these findings transformed incest from a dirty little secret
of American family life into an American obsession. During the 1980s and early
1990s, several cultural icons, including Susanne Somers, former Miss America
Marilyn Van Derbur, Roseanne Barr, and Oprah Winfrey, went public as incest
survivors. Incest memoirs hit best-seller lists. "The Color Purple," whose protagonist
had borne two of her father's babies, won the Pulitzer Prize. Sympathetic and
sensational incest stories proliferated on TV news shows and after-school specials
and in newspapers and magazines.
Reported cases of child abuse and neglect surged from 669,000 in 1976 to 2.9
million in 1993. During those years, according to "Victims of Memory" author Mark
Pendergrast, up to one million families were torn apart by false accusations of
Mine was one of them.
Many of these accusations were made by adult daughters who claimed to have
repressed and then recovered memories of childhood molestation by their fathers.
I was one of them.
In courtrooms around the country, daughters sat sobbing on witness stands,
pointing across the room at their fathers, listing the atrocities their fathers had
committed against their bodies and their souls.
If I'd been just a bit more suggestible (more impulsive, more vindictive), I might have
been one of them.
Here's how I became convinced that this lie was true.
In 1982, I edited a book by one of those pioneering feminist researchers. I was
shocked and moved by what I learned, working on the book I'll call "The Incest
Secret." With missionary zeal -- and without considering the tunnel vision, good
guy–bad guy polarization, and dangerous excesses that often accompany that kind
of heart-thumping fervor -- I spent the next few years writing exposés of child sexual
abuse for local and national newspapers and magazines.
As a journalist doing what journalists do -- slouching toward objectivity, stumbling
over my preexisting prejudices and proclivities -- I helped spread the panic: basing
conclusions on skewed studies I believed to be accurate, citing manipulated
statistics I trusted, quoting experts who proved more attached to their points of view
than they were to the facts.
Along with other writers on both sides of the issue, I used quotation marks to
declare my allegiance, calling it recovered memory, not "recovered memory"; incest
survivor, not "incest survivor"; "false memory syndrome" not False Memory
I didn't just hand out the Kool-Aid. I drank it. I didn't just write about recovered
memories; I spent a decade trying to recover my own. Shortly after the 1988
publication of the Bible of the recovered memory movement, "The Courage to
Heal," I joined the ranks of self-identified incest survivors and accused my father of
The full story of how I came to that conclusion is complicated. [To read an interview
with Meredith Maran, click here.] During that time, I was in love with a woman who
identified strongly as an incest survivor. I was in therapy with a woman who believed
in recovered memory. Many of my friends were incest survivors. I'd been plagued
by strange dreams -- dreams in which little girls whose fathers had raped them told
me, night after night, that I was one of them. I made a list of the "evidence" and
presented it to my brother over dinner one night. I've never seen him look so
"I've read your articles," he said finally. "I know this kind of thing happens all the
time. I just never thought --"
"I know," I said. "Me neither. It took me a long time and a lot of therapy to put the
clues together," I said. "But there's no other way it makes sense."
"Doesn't that seem weird to you?" he asked. "Your girlfriend was molested. Your
best friend. Now you."
Tears sprang to my eyes. "It's shocking to me, too," I said. "But I really need you to
"I do," my brother said. "I do believe you."
In the 1990s, the backlash began.
In March 1992, accused parents banded together to form the False Memory
Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). "When the memory is distorted, or confabulated,"
the FMSF newsletter declared, "the result can be what has been called the False
Memory Syndrome; a condition in which a person's identity and interpersonal
relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is
objectively false but in which the person strongly believes."
Although false memory syndrome was the invention of laypeople, not a medically
identified condition, the phrase burned its way across the country, setting off the
firestorm that would come to be known as "the memory war."
Even characterizing the conflict was cause for controversy. Was the "outing" of
child sexual abuse a brave crusade to save children's lives, or a witch hunt
reminiscent of others in the American hall of shame?
Nearly overnight, "false memory" replaced "recovered memory" on the American
tongue. Therapists were sued for implanting false memories, stripped of their
licenses, ordered to pay six-figure settlements to clients who'd once credited them
with saving their incest-ravaged lives. Accused molesters' convictions were
overturned. Many but not all of the accused were set free.
Families devastated by incest accusations were now bifurcated, also, by warring
beliefs about truth and memory. If the outraged parents -- my outraged parents --
were right, they were the victims, and their daughters were -- I was -- the
perpetrator. If the daughters were right, we were the victims, our parents the
perpetrators, denying the trauma they'd inflicted upon us. Each side allied itself with
a phalanx of opposing experts who built constituencies and careers on unproved
When the culture tilted toward disbelief, I leaned that way too. In 1996, I faced the
truth that my accusation was false. I apologized to my father and my family, quit
incest therapy, and broke up with -- truth be told, was dumped by -- my incest
A few years later, just when I'd fully regained my mind and my memories, my father
was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and began to lose his.
Redemption-wise, my father's diagnosis left me two options.
I could hope my father would forget the wrong I did him, along with the other bits
and bytes that were slipping through the fissures in his brain. Or I could convince
him to have a conversation with me about what I did and why I did it and how sorry I
A girl can dream: maybe he'd even forgive me, so I might step into that shaft of light
and begin to forgive myself. But first I needed to understand. How had I -- more
neurotic than some, but surely less neurotic than many -- come to believe that my
father, a man lacking the cruelty to squash a spider, had sexually abused me
throughout my childhood and spent the next twenty years covering it up?
How had so many other people come to believe the same thing at the same time?
In "Creating Hysteria," Joan Acocella's 1999 exposé of the sex-abuse panic of the
1980s, she wrote, "One of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of
psychotherapy seems to be coming to an end."
Acocella's prediction was true, and false. The sex-abuse panic did recede. But ten
years later, it still hasn't come to an end.
"When you once believed something that now strikes you as absurd, even
unhinged, it can be almost impossible to summon that feeling of credulity again,"
Margaret Talbot wrote in The New York Times Magazine on January 7, 2001.
"Maybe that is why it is easier for most of us to forget, rather than to try and explain,
the Satanic-abuse scare that gripped this country in the early 80's -- the myth that
Devil-worshipers had set up shop in our day-care centers, where their clever
adepts were raping and sodomizing children, practicing ritual sacrifice, shedding
their clothes, drinking blood and eating feces, all unnoticed by parents, neighbors
and the authorities.
"Of course, if you were one of the dozens of people prosecuted in these cases, one
of those who spent years in jails and prisons on wildly implausible charges, one of
those separated from your own children, forgetting would not be an option. You
would spend the rest of your life wondering what hit you, what cleaved your life into
the before and the after, the daylight and the nightmare."
As Talbot says, the panic hasn't ended for the preschool teachers and fathers and
uncles who were convicted of child sexual abuse 20 years ago and remain
It hasn't ended for the children, now adults, who testified against those prisoners at
age four or 10 or 30, some of whom have since acknowledged that their
accusations were false.
Va. family still suffers effects of guilty plea to false charge
By Chris L. Jenkins
November 26, 2011
They believed that their son was innocent but were afraid that Virginia’s penal
system would grab hold of him and never let go.
So Cherri Dulaney and Edgar Coker Sr. told 15-year-old Edgar Jr. to plead guilty to
raping a 14-year-old friend. Their court-appointed attorney told them that was
better than risking adult charges and a lengthy prison term.
Two months after their decision, in November 2007, the girl admitted that she had
The Cokers have been fighting ever since to rescue their son from the
consequences. He served 17 months in a juvenile prison. He remains on the Virginia sex-
offender registry, and the family moved to avoid harassment from neighbors.
Last month, Coker, now 20, was arrested during a Friday night football game at the Orange,
Va., high school he graduated from after his release from juvenile prison. Unless they have
permission from the school, convicted violent sex offenders are not permitted on school
grounds. But Coker had received such permission, and he attended school there for more
than a year before graduation.
“He can’t do something as simple as go out with his brothers and see a football game,” his
mother said as she fought back tears during a recent interview from the family’s modest
rambler in Mineral, Va.
Coker’s attorneys are working to have the conviction vacated in Stafford County, and the
Virginia Supreme Court is expected to hear the case early next year. To his attorneys and
other advocates, the case is about the dangers of ineffective counsel and about Virginia’s
restrictive post-conviction laws, which make it extraordinarily difficult for people like Coker to
get a retrial.
“We have a kid here who’s innocent,” said Andy Block, an assistant professor at the
University of Virginia law school and director of the school’s Child Advocacy Clinic, who is
helping with Coker’s defense. “If the Virginia courts fail to intercede, he will suffer
consequences for the rest of his life.”
To his parents, those lasting consequences are the most painful part of this saga. They
lament that they couldn’t afford a better attorney for their son.
“He has his whole life ahead of him, and where is he now? With this hanging over his head,
he has limited options,” said Edgar Coker Sr., 44, a warehouse supervisor who often tears
up when going over the facts of the case. “We made a mistake in giving up originally. All we
want him to have is another chance.”
The sex, the parties now agree, was consensual.
But when Michele Sousa caught Edgar Jr. with her daughter, the girl claimed it was rape. He
was arrested in June 2007, and by September he was sent to a juvenile prison outside
Just after Thanksgiving 2007, however, Sousa’s daughter, whose name is being withheld to
protect her privacy, told her mother that she lied because she was afraid of getting in
trouble. Both Coker and Sousa’s daughter had learning disorders that required special
education when they were in high school. In a letter to the Circuit Court, the girl wrote:
“Eger didn’t rely rape me . . . in fact we did it befor. Eger was a friend of mine befor this even
happend . . . but now it just seems that I lied about Eger. . . . I will never forgive myself.”
|San Diego Education Report
Will false rape accuser face justice?
Rape lie put promising football player Brian Banks
in prison for five years.
Accuser collected $750,000 from school district.
County of Conviction: Los Angeles
Convicted of: Rape
Sentence: 7 Years + Lifetime Registered Sex
Years Served: 5 Years 2 Months
Released: May 24, 2012
Cost of Wrongful Incarceration: $232,497
In 2002, seventeen-year-old Brian Banks was
wrongfully convicted of rape. At the time of his
conviction, Banks was, by all accounts, a rising
football star destined to play in the NFL. Tragically,
Banks would never realize his dream of going to
college and playing professional football.
A high-school acquaintance – Wanetta Gibson –
shattered that dream one fateful day after she
accused Banks of rape and kidnapping following a
consensual sexual encounter on the school
campus. It was Banks’ word against hers and she
was not likely to change her story. After all, Gibson
sued the Long Beach Unified School District
claiming the school’s lax security provided an unsafe
environment that led to the fraudulent rape. She
would eventually receive a settlement of 1.5 million
Banks was faced with an impossible decision
at the time – either fight the charges and risk
spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a
plea deal and spend a little over 5 years of
actual prison confinement. Although it would
mean destroying his chance to go to college and
play football, a lengthy probationary period, and a
lifetime of registration as a sex offender, Banks
chose the lesser of two evils when he pleaded no
contest to the charges.
Nearly a decade after his conviction, Gibson
recanted her statements and has
acknowledged she fabricated the whole story.
The California Innocence Project presented this
evidence of Banks’ innocence to the Los Angeles
District Attorney’s Office who launched an
investigation into the case. After a thorough review
of the evidence, the District Attorney’s Office
conceded that Banks was wrongfully convicted.
On Thursday, May 24, 2012, Judge Mark C. Kim of
the Los Angeles Superior Court reversed Banks’
conviction and ended his nightmare of wrongful
False Police Report/False accusations
Update: Mother of Toddlers Who Drowned in May Arrested on Child
Abuse and Drug Charges
Tassie Behrens, 26, was taken into custody at an El Cajon motel Thursday morning in
connection with the deaths of her year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
Posted by Chris Jennewein (Editor)
September 20, 2013
A woman whose two toddlers drowned four months ago in a swimming pool at a friend's La
Mesa home while she slept was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony child abuse and
Tassie Anne Behrens, 27, was taken into custody without incident at a motel on East Main
Street in El Cajon late this morning in connection with the May 13 deaths of her 16-month-old
daughter, Harley Bradford, and 2-year-old son, Jason Bradford Jr., according to sheriff's
About 9:45 a.m. that Monday, Behrens awoke at a home where she was staying in the 10000
block of Sunset Avenue in the Mount Helix area near La Mesa and found her children floating
unconscious in the backyard pool, Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.
Behrens pulled them out, and she and a friend who lived at the house drove them to a nearby
fire station. Paramedics tried to revive the toddlers before taking them to Sharp Grossmont
Hospital, where Harley was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Her brother was transferred
to Rady Children's Hospital, where he died late that night.
The mother first told investigators the drownings had occurred at a mobile-home park on
Jamacha Boulevard in Spring Valley, but later admitted that they happened at her friend's
home in the Mount Helix area. She apparently fabricated the initial story in an attempt to keep
him from getting into trouble for not having a fence around the pool, Giannantonio said.
During a search of the house, where Behrens and her children had been staying for several
days, deputies discovered a marijuana-cultivation setup in a basement area and called in
Narcotics Task Force personnel to investigate, he said.
That evening, drug agents arrested a resident of the home, Larry Dangelo, 44. He was
booked on suspicion of child abuse and cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.
Behrens was booked into Las Colinas women's jail in Santee this afternoon on similar criminal
counts. She was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Behrens initially told investigators that the children were found in the pool at a mobile home
park. She later admitted they were found in the pool at the residence at 10011 Sunset Avenue
in unincorporated La Mesa.
The toddlers' paternal grandfather, Pat Bradford, told U-T San Diego in May that their father's
cousin sought to take in the children and was supposed to gain custody of them the day after
The father, Jason Bradford, is currently serving a 60-month federal prison sentence in Phoenix
for conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, according to court and prison records.
Sound familiar? Completely false
allegations were made in an effort to
banish a woman from California school.
Two attorneys tried to put an innocent
woman in jail, and ended up in jail
themselves. Sadly, not all false allegations
are so clearly exposed.
How Two California Parents
Ended Up in Jail Over After-
By MICHAEL MENDELSOHN, HARRY
PHILLIPS and SUNNY ANTRIM
Jan 15, 2015
...A Mysterious Call to Police Over an
A year went by as Peters and the Easters
battled in court. Then, on Feb. 16, 2011,
the Irvine Police Department received a
call around 1:15 p.m. on a school day,
reporting an erratic driver at the Plaza
Vista School. The person on the phone
said his name was “Vijay Chandrasekhar,”
and he was concerned about the welfare
of his child, who he said attended the
A man tells the dispatcher, “I’m concerned
one of the parent volunteers there may be
under the influence or using drugs... I just
had to go over to the school and I saw a
car driving very erratically.”
The caller gave a description of the car, a
white PT Cruiser, and said the volunteer’s
first name was “Kelli.” Officer Charles
Shaver with the Irvine PD was dispatched
to the school and found the car in the
“The caller that indicated the erratic
driving also said there was a potential that
the driver put drugs or pills behind her
seat,” Shaver said, “So, I went to the driver’
s side and looked in the window... There
was a large bag of marijuana that was
protruding out of the seat pocket, behind
the driver’s seat.”
‘Please Put the Drugs Away ... They’re Not
Officer Shaver went into the school to find
the PT Cruiser’s owner, and discovered it
belonged to Kelli Peters.
Peters said when the officer first came in,
she panicked, thinking something had
happened to her husband. But it then
became clear the officer was inquiring
“And he said, ‘Somebody said, after they
saw you driving erratically, that you put
drugs in the backseat of your car,’ and I
was like, ‘there’s no way… they’re lying to
you,'" Peters said.
Shaver said Peters began crying
hysterically as the police searched her car
and pulled out a large bag of marijuana, a
bag of Percocet and a bag of Vicodin. She
begged police to believe that the drugs
didn’t belong to her.
"They put it up on top of the police car for
everybody to see, which was really hard,
because I kept thinking ‘my daughter’s
getting out any minute.’ ... And I’m just
thinking the whole world is looking at this
right now … no one’s ever going to get this
image out of their head,” Peters said. “I
said, ‘Please put the drugs away. You’re
going to find out they’re not mine and you’
re going ruin my life anyway.’”
Peters was further questioned and given a
sobriety test, which she passed. When
Officer Shaver asked if there was anyone
she knew who would go after her, Peters
told him, “Jill Easter.”
Police searched Peters’ home and
conducted DNA tests on her and her
family. The results showed zero evidence
of the Peters family’s DNA on the drugs
found in Kelli Peters’ car.
She was not charged with drug possession
and police opened an investigation into
the drug planting. They traced the call
made to the Irvine Police Department to a
hotel business center in Newport Beach,
California, about 11 miles from Irvine. They
watched the hotel surveillance cameras
from the date and time the call came in
and saw Kent Easter walking into the hotel.
Kent worked for a law firm located next
door to the hotel where the call was placed.
Police also discovered that drugs found in
Peters’ car showed the Easters’ DNA on
them. Cell phone records, prosecutors
said, also showed that the Easters’ phones
pinged a tower near Peters’ home the
night before the drugs were planted...
Video Exonerates Man Set
Up By Louisiana Cops And
The Daily Caller
Mar. 1, 2015
If not for cell phone video,
Dendinger could be going
to prison — because of an
effort by Washington
Parish, La. cops and
prosecutors who falsely
accused him of battery
and witness intimidation.
As New Orleans’ WWL
reports, Dendinger’s two-
year nightmare began on
Aug. 20, 2012, when he
was paid $50 to serve a
court summons on behalf
of his nephew against
Bogalusa police officer
Chad Cassard in a police
Cassard a white envelope
containing the documents
and says he went on his
way. But 20 minutes later,
police showed up to
Dendinger’s house and
arrested him. He was put
in jail on charges of simple
battery, obstruction of
justice and intimidating a
Two of those charges are
felonies, and a prior
cocaine conviction on
threatened to land him in
jail for a long time as a
But Dendinger was
confident that a mistake
had been made and that
he would be released
without cause since two
prosecutors and several
police officers had seen
him hand over the
But that’s not what
A year after the incident,
Walter Reed brought
Dendinger. His case was
backed by two
prosecutors who asserted
that Dendinger had
assaulted Cassard. Seven
witness statements also
supported the case.
Cassard made the same
claim, writing in a
voluntary statement that
Dendinger “slapped him in
the chest” when he served
Pamela Legendre, a staff
attorney who witnessed
the hand-off, said she
thought Dendinger had
Bogalusa police chief Joe
Culpepper said that
Dendinger had used
“violence” and “force.”
And another witness said
in a deposition that
Dendinger used such
force when he served the
summons that Cassard
flew back several feet.
“It wasn’t fun and games,
they had a plan, the plan
was really to go after him
and put him away. That is
scary,” Philip Kaplan, the
Dendinger in his civil
rights case, told WWL.
“I realized even more at
that moment these people
are trying to hurt me,”
Dendinger told the news
Luckily for Dendinger, his
wife and nephew had
filmed him that day in
order to prove that the
court papers had been
Grainy video of the
Cassard the summons
and the former police
officer walking away in the
Though the video aired by
WWL does not show the
entire encounter, what it
does not show is
anyone or acting
aggressively during the
crucial moment when he
served the summons.
The video also shows that
the witness who claimed
that Denginger’s force
pushed Cassard back
several feet had his back
turned as the scene
After Reed was forced to
recuse his office from the
case, it was referred to the
general who quickly
dropped the charges
president of the New
Crime Commission, told
WWL that after viewing
the video he did not see
Dendinger commit battery
on Cassard and that the
officers and prosecutors
involved could be looking
at serious ethics charges.
“I didn’t see a battery,
certainly a battery
committed that would
warrant criminal charges
“It’s a felony to falsify a
police report,” Goyeneche
continued. “So this is a
police report, and this
police report was the basis
for charging this
Kaplan made the obvious
point: ”If this was truly a
battery on a police officer,
with police officers all
around him, why isn’t
something happening right
The flip side of false police
report: when victims make a
true report, but the police accuse
them of creating a hoax
Drones, cameras seized in bizarre
kidnapping tied to Harvard-
Did Vallejo police mishandle Denise
Huskins kidnapping investigation?
By Veronica Rocha
July 14, 2015
A former attorney arrested in the
mysterious kidnapping of a Vallejo woman
was a decorated U.S. Marine who once ran
Harvard Law School's immigration program.
A few years before Matthew Muller became
the focus of an FBI investigation into the
abduction of Denise Huskins, he was an
immigration attorney at a San Francisco law
He landed there fresh out of Harvard Law
School, where he managed its Immigration
and Refugee Clinical Program, among
Matthew Muller had served as a U.S.
Marine from October 1995 to August 1999
and also graduated from Harvard Law
School. (Thomas A. Johnson Law Office)
As a U.S. Marine from October 1995 to
August 1999, Muller held the rank of
sergeant, with the occupational specialty of
trumpeter, according to Yvonne Carlock,
deputy public affairs officer with the Marine
Corps’ Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
During his service, he earned several
honors, including the Good Conduct Medal.
Then, there was a sudden shift.
Muller, a summa cum laude graduate of
Pomona College, stopped paying his State
Bar fees in 2013. He filed for bankruptcy
the following year, and he was accused of
failing to refund a client $1,250 after a
court decided he failed to competently
This year, Muller was disbarred.
In a sworn federal affidavit unsealed
Monday, Muller, of Orangevale, Calif., told
investigators he suffered from psychosis
and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in
With man's arrest, a kidnapping case
dismissed as hoax bubbles up again
With man's arrest, a kidnapping case
dismissed as hoax bubbles up again
See all related
It was unclear whether his debt, failed legal
career or mental illness had any influence
on Muller’s alleged actions, but the FBI said
investigators found a string of evidence
connecting him to Huskins’ abduction in
March and a second kidnapping attempt
two months later in Dublin, Calif.
Muller was already in custody on the Dublin
home invasion robbery and attempted
kidnapping, when the FBI issued an arrest
warrant and named him in a federal criminal
complaint for the Huskins incident filed June
In both cases, couples awoke to find a man
standing at the foot of their beds with a
flashlight shining in their faces. Both times,
the victims were ordered to lie on their
stomachs, and zip ties were used to
Now investigators are examining
anonymous emails sent by Huskins’
kidnappers to the San Francisco Chronicle
that describe a series of crimes committed
throughout the Bay Area.
FBI affidavit for Matthew Muller
FBI affidavit for Matthew Muller
The emails describe crimes, including
vehicle thefts, committed by a group
primarily focused on Mare Island, where
Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn,
In the emails, the group members claimed
they had mostly stuck to property crimes
but switched to kidnapping because they
wanted “something with a high payout.”
So they went after Huskins and Quinn, but
the “operation went terribly wrong.”
“The bottom line, inconceivable as it
sounds given what we have done,” the
kidnappers wrote, “is that we didn’t really
want to hurt anyone.”
The emails described group members as
“young adults, fairly recent college
graduates and up until now this was a bit
like a game or movie adventure.”
@MedievalPundit WE PTSD MARINES
HAVE A PLETHORA OF IMAGINERY
at 5:04 PM July 14, 2015
Add a comment See all comments
“We fancied ourselves a sort of Ocean’s
Eleven, gentlemen criminals who only took
stuff that was insured from people who
could afford it.”
In an attempt to clear Huskins’ name after
she was lambasted by Vallejo police, who
claimed her kidnapping was a hoax, the
kidnappers provided photographic
evidence of their weapons and gave away
clues in their emails about the March 23
Huskins and Quinn were awakened by an
intruder in the middle of night, according to
the affidavit. He was drugged and bound.
Quinn told police he later awoke to find his
girlfriend, belongings and car missing. He
was threatened and a ransom was
Two days later, Huskins was dropped off at
her family's home in Huntington Beach.
A cellphone left at the scene of the second
kidnapping attempt in Dublin, Calif., was
tied to Muller, the FBI said.
Denise Huskins' lawyer says Vallejo
abduction was no hoax
Denise Huskins' lawyer says Vallejo
abduction was no hoax
During a search of a home in South Lake
Tahoe, a Ford Mustang and other
locations, investigators seized several
pieces of evidence mentioned in the
Among the items seized by the FBI during a
July 1 search of a Vallejo storage unit were
two drones, a mattress and black duct tape,
the Sacramento Bee reported.
Several laptops, including Quinn’s
computer, a digital key maker, numerous
blank car keys and a pair of two-way radios
were allegedly seized at Muller’s home and
inside a Ford Mustang.
Water goggles covered with tape and a
super-soaker water pistol that had been
spray painted black, with a flashlight and
laser pointer attached to it, also were
allegedly recovered. The tape still had a
long blonde strand of hair attached to it.
The Huntington Beach address where
Huskins was dropped off was found on the
log of a navigation system inside the Ford.
On Monday, Huskins' and Quinn’s
attorneys called on Vallejo police to launch
a thorough investigation. Huskins' attorney,
Douglas Rappaport, called Muller a
"psychopath, a sociopath bent on
destroying people's lives."
Quinn’s attorney, Daniel Russo, said the
behavior of the perpetrator was "strange
"The conduct was so far outside the box
that [the police] had trouble believing it was
true," Russo conceded.
But he slammed the department for
declaring it a hoax "in such a short time."
Voice of San Diego sometimes is courageous, and it
usually seems to be Sara Libby who exhibits the
courage. She learned what many in San
Diego have learned: sometimes the
police file false reports.
What We Learned This Week
By Sara Libby
Feb 21, 2016
One of the highlights of my year last year was going to
trial over a traffic citation I’d been given – and winning.
A big part of the reason I was so fired up about the
incident wasn’t just that I hadn’t done the thing the
officer said I had (making an illegal U-turn), it was that
she blatantly lied several times during the stop.
I was so unnerved by the officer’s behavior that I
decided to look her up. Ten seconds of research
revealed she’d been named in a sexual harassment
suit that settled, costing city taxpayers money. My rage
level, it was a 10.
When we got to the courtroom, I almost jumped out of
my seat with glee. The officer had created a hand-
drawn diagram of the intersection where I was stopped.
The only problem: I had actual photos that disproved
the diagram – she’d drawn in “No U-Turn” signs where
there were none.
I bring this up not to show off my legal prowess
(although let’s be honest, my name is bound to start
circulating for that Supreme Court opening any minute
now) but to emphasize how cops’ behavior can
backfire. I’ve gotten traffic citations before – and I
quickly paid them. It was only when this officer started
lying and acting inappropriately that I became
motivated to fight the ticket, and ultimately won.
That’s also what happened when our intern, Lina
Chankar, came to work one day last month, shaken
and visibly upset about an encounter she’d had with a
security officer on the trolley.
Another reporter asked her what’d happened, and
soon after looked up the officer who’d bullied Lina. His
name was Bill Buck, and we quickly discovered he’d
been accused of some pretty ugly behavior – and that
at least one of those incidents had been settled with
taxpayer money. (Lina, by the way, is working on her
own piece to describe her experience in more detail.
Look forward to that.)
I guess the lesson is this: If you’re a public safety
officer and you’re not naturally compelled to treat
people with respect and dignity, then perhaps consider
a more selfish guiding principle: Treat everyone like
they might be an investigative journalist you don’t want
That investigation of MTS officers I mentioned includes
body camera footage of a group of officers surrounding
and violently arresting a man for trespassing – only
they knew he wasn’t.