[Private journal entry written on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 2:00pm]
Two days ago, I left a voice message for Officer Lopez asking for advice on how to best handle the piano lessons scheduled for tomorrow evening (Saturday evening) with Bailey’s family. He is on his four-day break between rotations and isn’t due back on duty until a few hours before the time the lessons are scheduled to occur. I haven’t heard from him yet. So, I have doubts about him getting back to me before the lesson time.
When I filed the report, Officer Lopez told me that the kids would be interviewed at school by a police officer and the school psychologist. I had no idea if that had happened.
By chance (or as a phenomenon of living in a small town), I sat next to the school psychologist a few months ago during a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. We had a lengthy conversation about kids in general. Through that experience, I know him to be a reasonable guy. I believed he would either tell me “yes” or “no” in response to a request for an update without getting all upset and defensive about it. So, I took a chance and contacted him around lunchtime today.
I explained to him that I needed to know how to interact with the family in the current moment – that my personal safety may be at risk by my not having a general idea of what has happened in the investigation. He agreed to give me some information – he indicated that he and a police officer (not Officer Lopez) interviewed the three older children yesterday. He said they interviewed each child individually and compared their answers.
He said he obviously couldn’t give me any details about what the children had said in the interviews, but he did say that the answers the children gave to the questions, and the manner in which the answers were given, all indicated that the details contained in Bailey’s disclosure to me were not accurate or truthful. Therefore, abuse is not indicated.
However, he emphasized to me that, while these interviews did not indicate abuse, it does not mean abuse is not occurring. He encouraged me to file an additional report if anything else came to light.
And, he thanked me for calling attention to the matter. He assured me I did the “right thing” to file the report – he prefers that the general public allow them, the professionals, to determine if abuse is occurring or not. He would rather deal with over-reporting than to have legitimate claims fall through the cracks.
He also indicated that the police officers planned to interview the parents, or at least the dad. He assumed that would be happening today or tomorrow.
I thanked him for addressing my concern, at least to the extent he could. I acknowledged I would have to hear from the police department in order to know the status of the interviews with the parents. But, at least, I now know things are moving forward and that I need to be cautious.
So, now . . . I’m sitting here at my desk, processing the status of things. Part of me is relieved to hear that the professionals are thinking no abuse is occurring – that would be the ideal outcome of this situation. And, that is consistent with my experience of the family in general; I never saw signs of abuse during the ten or so times I’ve been in their home. But, abusers are very good at hiding the abuse . . . one can never be sure.
And, I keep remembering the terror I heard in Bailey’s voice – the fear I saw on her face. I can remember feeling terror like that.
Did my empathy overwhelm my logic and common sense? Was I unwittingly suckered by an eight-year-old girl simply trying to get out of practicing piano? If so, what is causing the terror she exhibited?
Was her cry for help legitimate? Should I keep fighting on her behalf? If I passively let things unfold as they unfold, am I failing her?
Is she living in a nightmare . . . or not?