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Edgar Coker’s case reminded me of an experience that devastated me and so motivated this post.

The State of New Hampshire criminal justice system framed my son for statutory rape. There was no evidence of a crime. The girl in question never filed a report. The State of NH did not follow its policies and procedures that require rape counseling and an exam of underaged rape victims.

A doctor did not examine the “victim” who did not receive rape counseling. According to authorities, there was no need to get my son’s version of events. I was warned to leave the state of NH for my safety. The police report was a kind of dog-whistle meant to incite racial hatred. My address published in the local newspaper without regard for my safety.

For my son, the presumption of innocence was not an option entertained by the criminal justice system. Law enforcement did not question him. He was assumed guilty and arrested on $50,000 cash bail, no bond. He was in jail for almost a month where I was not allowed to visit him, and neither was his therapist who had treated him for years. It was nearly one week before I was able to speak with him over the phone, after his arrest.

My son had a documented learning disability. He was immature and had difficulty communicating. He had been in therapy since his father committed suicide. There was no consideration of his disabilities or medical needs when the criminal system prevented his therapist from visiting.

The court assigned attorney told us my son would have to serve time in prison– for a crime that didn’t happen. The attorney thought the investigation suspect as it was concluded in less than 24 hours, something he never saw happen. According to the court-appointed attorney, the girl exposed herself to my son. My son did not have sex with her; he said no.

The only evidence of rape were reports written by cops. No signed statement by the victim of a crime. She nor her parents did not sign the police report which went into a lavish fantasy story filled with racial undertones that never happened.

I hired a private attorney who did get the bail changed to a bond and the amount reduced. Had it not been for the court-appointed attorney bail would have been reduced further.

When I attempted to have the case annulled, despite the absence of evidence of any crime, the court wanted my son to go to therapy for sexual predators. Bail was used as evidence of the severity of the crime. To undergo such treatment would indicate guilt, so he declined.  The case was dismissed, but it will stay with him. Cops can use that arrest to establish criminality in any case they wish to pin on him.

Why would NH criminal justice system do this? Curiously, the arrest happened about 1-2 weeks after I won a MCAD hearing against Tufts Medical Center. One has to look at Tufts administration, its legal team and their tactics  to understand the uncanny coincidence.  That is another story to tell at another time.

My son committed no crime but as I discussed the case with friends we realized the criminal system was rigged.  The statutory rape laws were meant to protect children instead they incarcerate children and young adults while middle-aged and senior white men like the Roman Polanski, Trump, and Catholic clergies run free. Teenagers and young adults have sex with each other because of overlapping circle of friends. I heard of several young white men who had open relationships with “underage” girls in high school and middle school without charges of statutory rape.  It should not be a crime but an opportunity to educate teenagers and young adults.

I’ll end on a disturbing observation: the court was filled with brown children and young adults pleading guilty at the advice of their court-appointed attornies.  I saw so many tearful young brown faces sentenced to the plantation.   It was heart-wrenching to observe. The brown children were in orange jumpsuits, and white children were dressed in suits.

How can we track ALL falsely accused teens and young adults on a national level? The information gleaned from such data would provide evidence of structural racism inherent in the criminal justice system.

BTW, know I would never lynch or kill myself.

XXX

 

Pinned Comment:

Hi Pete, it’s a risky topic to discuss. The experience taught me much about the system.

The warrant was particularly misleading. It was my son who made me realize that 99% of the written inaccurate police statement was related to an incident about two years earlier. The alleged victim’s story was a paragraph in the police statement which was several pages.

The only evidence of a crime provided to his attorney was the warrant.

I call the event the other traumatic nightmare that cost financially and medically. The harm done to my son was worse and will always be problematic. I want that changed.

Sadly, I’m not alone. Millions of Americans face similar or worse encounters with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. With friends and family, I was able to pay a private attorney and the nonrefundable bond. If not, my son could have gotten caught in the dragnet of the prison industrial complex awaiting trial.

My son is one in I suspect millions of falsely accused who are cataloged by the system and then bilked for money most people don’t have. Money that is non-refundable regardless of innocence or case dismissal.