The Power of a Lie

False accusations are a powerful thing. They can ruin a person’s life. They can take away a person’s freedom. They can destroy reputations and relationships. And they can protect the false accusers.

Eleven years ago, 11-year-old Cassandra Kennedy accused her father of rape. She made the claim to get rid of him because she did not think he loved her :

Kennedy said she got the idea of setting up her father from a friend whose stepfather was sent to prison for a child sex crime.

“I thought that is what I would do to make my dad go away,” she told police.

Thomas Kennedy and his wife divorced around 1991, and their daughters, Cassandra and her older sister, began spending one weekend a month with their father, according to court documents. The girls slept on foam mattresses in the living room of Kennedy’s home.

“I wanted him to love me, and I didn’t think he did at that time,” she told the detectives.

Kennedy said she made up the rape story largely because her father disappointed her. “I took my own vengeance,” she told police.

That vengeance led a jury of Thomas’s peers to convict him of three counts of first-degree child rape, a conviction that was upheld on appeal. Thomas spent the next decade in prison. 

However, Cassandra had a change of heart. After staying at Mountain Ministries, a Christian addiction treatment center, Cassandra contacted police and told them her father never raped her. Amazingly, she will not be charged with making a false report because, according to Prosecutor Sue Baur, it might discourage other girls from reporting sexual assaults.

That old canard is thrown out a lot in these kinds of cases. Time after time we see prosecutors let false accusers slide because of the unsubstantiated claim that it would scare away real victims. Never mind that in this case Cassandra decided to admit she lied. No one made her do it or told her to recant. She decided on her own a decade after the fact to admit she lied about her father.

While one could argue it would be harsh to charge a minor with making a false allegation (although Cassandra is now an adult), consider the extent of Cassandra’s lie:

Cassandra first told her teacher about the alleged incest in early 2001, according to reports. Teacher and student worked out a code word to signal that the abuse was continuing — “peace.” Cassandra told police it wasn’t long before she called the teacher: “It happened again,” she said. “Peace.”

Cassandra also wrote about the alleged abuse in a journal that included among its pink and purple pages other mundane entries about boys, Cassandra’s slipping grades and her older sister’s annoying behavior. On the cover, written in a little girl’s haphazard letters, were the words “Confidential. No taking peeks.”

Later in 2001, in an interview with Longview police investigators, Cassandra used stuffed animals to illustrate what her father had allegedly done to her, reports said. She also drew a picture of a bathroom where she said one of the rapes happened. Police later measured and photographed the room.

According to the article, Cassandra’s account was incredibly detailed. Policed wanted to know an 11-years-old knew so much about sex. Cassandra answered with:

Cassandra told police in January that she began engaging in sexual activity as a second-grader. She also said she may have known what to tell police from watching a movie or from walking in on adults having sex.

That is the power of a lie. That kind of lie, one so intricate that investigators, prosecutors, judges, and jurors all fall for it, can send a person away for a decade. It is the kind of lie that deserves a punishment if for no other reason than how maliciously and meticulously it was done.

Yet Cassandra will not face a day in jail or prison. She walks while her father spent a decade behind bars for something that never happened.

What is especially worrisome about this case is that had Cassandra not admitted she lied, her father would have served his full 15-year sentence and no one would know the truth. Had she not been adamant about having lied, the police, prosecutor, and judge would not have believed Cassandra and her father would have remained in prison. Because Cassandra was sexually active, she had signs of sexual activity. A doctor construed that as a signs of rape, and that helped to a conviction. There was no way for her innocent father to prove his innocence.

How many men like Thomas Kennedy sit in prisons and jails today? We do not know, and that is frightening.

This is not to say that no one should believe rape victims. It is only to say that when it comes to false accusations, people should not be so quick to claim they rarely happen, that they are harmless, or that only cases are those of the police deliberately screwing over people. Cases like this could happen all the time, and there is no way for us to know short of the accuser recanting.

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20 thoughts on “The Power of a Lie

  1. Judging by the large number of women that are willing to shout abuse or I am scared to trigger the jack booted thugs of government to come knocking on men’s doors, I would have to assume that a large number of girls are capable of this kind of behavior. They certainly have examples in their mothers, and are told constantly in the schools about how the system works. Unless false allegations are charged and tried and convicted, men are going to remain second class citizens subject to the whims of the women in society.

  2. How can this man ever get his life back?

    As sad as this case is I find it likely that the mother had some hand in the allegations against this man, possibly coaching the daughter, seeing as how the allegations came during their divorce. Of course this is wild speculation, with no evidence, just a suspicion.

  3. Unregistard, the second article states that Cassandra told her mother her allegation was a lie and then retracted that admission the next day. I think the mother did not know it was a lie.

  4. Every time I read something like this I feel so sad and depressed … Maybe the anti-natalists are right, this life is shit and we are better off unborn.

  5. This is happening WAY TOO MUCH and the kids know how to play the system as the system seems to ALWAYS believe the child. This false accusation/conviction charge should directly be directed to the person who started and perpetrated the lie. That person should be doing time as deliberately trying to ruin people’s lives is unacceptable and they NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. 5 yrs min with a substantial fine.

  6. Cassandra was a child when she lied and as such her judgement was extremely cloudy. She did the right thing when she matured. Perhaps she should become an advocate against false accusation and for law enforcement to be more aware of how easy it is for these types of lies to prevail. Many women in bitter divorces use their children as weapons against their ex-husbands. Other young women use rape as a lie against someone they are angry with or trying to extort. The men are made to pay for the rest of their lives through restrictive sex offender laws and registries. In effect their lives become shambles. They know they are innocent but society has branded them as reprehensible child molesters even if the “victim” was not a child. The public needs to be more aware of the FACTS and quit buying into the myths being perpetuated about sex offenders by grieving parents and vote hungry politicians who feed on their fear and wake up to the fact that states receive federal monies for passing certain laws regarding sex offenders. The more they register the more money and pats on the back they get. Many states inflate their registries with dead people, duplicate names, and names of those who have moved away. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee about the damage these laws are inflicting on families and realize that these laws have not changed anything for the better. Young men are being branded for life (and some girls, also) due to lies and vengeance. They lose hope for a future. Children as young as 6 and 7 are being branded as well. Children of that age who act out sexually need counseling not a lifetime of “monitoring”. Because of lies and revenge many who become labeled as sex offenders lose their rights to a home and a job. Their families lose their homes and become targets for vigilantes. Please arm yourself with knowledge and facts and don’t feed into the current climate of “predator panic”.

  7. I was reading about this over at Good Men Project (http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/false-rape-accusation/) and someone in the comment section brought up a pretty interesting point I hadn’t thought of on why she is not being prosecuted. The idea is that if she were to be punished it would scare other women from coming forward to admit they lied about their accusation(s) as well.

    Now I’m just as pissed about this idea as the next person but if you look at it for a bit there is something to consider. A woman makes a false accusation that lands a guy in prison. She later comes forward to tell the truth. Which is more important getting that innocent man out of prison of punishing the woman that lied? I think we as a society have boxed ourselves in a corner on this issue.

    As I said over there it is entirely possible for a woman to make a false accusation, get him sent to prison, come forward later, and then use his freedom as a bargaining chip to escape justice. The entire time his life is in her hands. She put him in that mess and she literally has control over when/if he gets out of it.

    I recall a case while back (http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-am-so-glad-biurny-peguero-didnt-get.html) in which a woman made a false accusation against a man and got him sentenced to 20 years. After he had served four she decided to come forward…on one condition. She would tell the truth to get him out of prison only if she was granted immunity from prosecution. Thank god she didn’t get that deal but that is what we are looking at folks. The ability for someone to commit a terrible crime that could destroy a person’s life and then turn around basically say, “I’ll admit I lied, if I get immunity from being charged for the crime I committed that got him in there in the first place.”

    What was that I often here folks say about how women don’t benefit from making false rape accusations?

  8. Now I’m just as pissed about this idea as the next person but if you look at it for a bit there is something to consider. A woman makes a false accusation that lands a guy in prison. She later comes forward to tell the truth. Which is more important getting that innocent man out of prison of punishing the woman that lied? I think we as a society have boxed ourselves in a corner on this issue.

    Yet this situation happens with other crimes. People who committed a murder, robbery, arson, assault, or rape do not get to walk because prosecuting them would potentially turn off other people from coming forward. Part of coming forward is accepting the consequences of your actions. By allowing false accusers to slide, we not only allow them to go unpunished, but we also remove the most basic deterrent that prevents false accusations. If people know that they could go to prison for lying about crimes, fewer people would do it.

    The other issue here is the length of time. If Cassandra had admitted the truth a decade ago, it would be fair to argue that perhaps she should not go to jail. But she waited ten years. She has to pay some price for stealing ten years of her father’s life.

  9. Danny, there’s never a valid reason to punish a woman. Especially when she’s committed a crime.

    In fact, the worse the crime, the less she should be punished. We want to encourage women to turn themselves in, and they might become fugitives if they knew they’d face jail time.

    What do you think women are? MEN to be hunted down?? Please. Spare us your crazy-think.

  10. TS:
    Yet this situation happens with other crimes. People who committed a murder, robbery, arson, assault, or rape do not get to walk because prosecuting them would potentially turn off other people from coming forward.
    The difference is this.

    Let’s say that instead of her falsely accusing her dad of rape he actually did rape her and got away with it. In this flip of the situation there isn’t a man wasting away in prison over a crime that did not happen.

    Actually you just made me think of something. Let’s say he raped her and an innocent man got convicted for it. At this point would the system allow him to come forward later to admit he was the rapist so that the innocent man could go free but not be prosecuted?

    Insteresting…

  11. Let’s say that instead of her falsely accusing her dad of rape he actually did rape her and got away with it. In this flip of the situation there isn’t a man wasting away in prison over a crime that did not happen.

    Yes, but no one was sent to prison in his place, so the only issue is that the rapist got away with it.

    Actually you just made me think of something. Let’s say he raped her and an innocent man got convicted for it. At this point would the system allow him to come forward later to admit he was the rapist so that the innocent man could go free but not be prosecuted?

    That is the trick. No prosecutor would do that. There have been plenty of cases like that, whether they be rape cases, murder cases, or other crimes. I cannot think of any case where the guilty party was allowed to walk solely for the sake of freeing an innocent person. The only situation I can think of that would even prompt that response is if the guilty party got a sweet plea deal that did not include prison time.

    In Cassandra’s case, the statute of limitations is up, so the prosecutor cannot charge her. However, the prosecutor also stated in an article clarifying her intentions:

    Baur also said her office won’t charge Cassandra Kennedy because it’s still unclear exactly what happened in the case. Baur said the court didn’t rule that Cassandra Kennedy lied, only that her statements this year raised enough doubt about the original conviction to toss it out. Baur said she declined to retry Thomas Kennedy because the victim had recanted, so the charges were dropped.

    The irony is that Baur considered this same level of evidence as clear proof Thomas Kennedy raped his daughter and that Cassandra told the truth.

  12. The lie is also allowed immortal life contributing to statistics.There was a rape statistically speaking, and that is funded by Federal dollars.
    VAWA
    It was VAWA training for judges and prosecutors that took away his due process.

    The one to convict would be the prosecutor from 11 years ago, but she is immune from prosecution in the line of duty.
    Hence no accountability from the law itself,no recourse.
    Much less from the “victim.”

    The obvious answer to this conundrun is spelled out clearly in the Old Testament.
    Punish the evil doers and these things will cease to happen amongst you.
    Remove immunity from prosecutors and judges and see how quick real evidence must be presented.

  13. OK unregistered- Im casandras older sister and i can tell you right now my mom had NOTHING to do with it!!!! When casandra had told my mom that it didnt happen my mom called her counselor and her counselor said it was normal for a little girl especially when she sees that her telling has sent a man away and they start to feel guilty about it so they say it didnt happen and then the next day casandra told my mom it did happen!!! And this didnt happen during their divorce, this happened years after their divorce!!! Casandra was a troubled child, always has been!!! I am the oldest out of us 2 and i was daddys little girl, still am!! I never believed my father did this from the beginnning but no one would listen to me!! Casandra has always been a jealous person and made it hell for EVERYONE when she didnt get what she wanted! If she didnt get what she wanted when she wanted that was it!!! I know it may sound pretty harsh what im saying about my sister but i have a whole lifetime of issues against casandra and she did this because all attention wasnt on her she wasnt the apple of everyones eye and so on and so forth. Not that i was either because my dad loved me and casandra the same, i was just daddys girl and always wanted to be around him whwere as casandra didnt really care to be. She didnt ever go up on daddys lap just to sit there, she never followed my dad around the house just to be around him, where as i did all that and more because i love my dad very much always have always will. But my main point of this is that my mom had nothing to do with what casandra had said against my dad it was casandra being the typical normal casandra!!! And IN MY OPINION i feel she should be prosecuted!!! Thjroughout the years casandra has recanted her statement to a handful of people and waited 11 yrs to recant to the police!!!b This is just showing girls that oh if i get mad at my boyfriend or if my dad dont buy this or that i can send him away by doing this and in a couple years i can recant and i wont get into trouble and he will be just let out and everything will be fine!! NO everybody and i mean EVERYBODY has to pay consequences for the actions that they take and this is just showing that casandra has done what she did and she wont have any consequences to pay!!

  14. Marlena, I don’t agree with you. There is much more to the story and you know it. I know that you are upset, and I am sorry for what I have done. I may not be sitting in prison, but let me tell you I have spiritual chains, the consequences I am facing are hard, You know what I go through and the struggles I have. As for being jealous, I’m sure I was, it’s typical for a little girl. But I was always with dad, walking with him everywhere he went, sitting on his lap, I did everything he did. Look at the life we lived before he went to prison. I HATE WHAT I HAVE DONE, I WISH I NEVER DID THIS, I WISH I COULD TAKE IT ALL BACK, but I can’t and I am sorry for that. But in my mind at that age I didn’t understand what was really happening, I didn’t think about the consequences, I was just tired of getting hurt by the man that was supposed to love me, and be there for me, the man that God made to be the leader of the family, the example, and all he did was come in and out with broken promises, putting us in HORRIBLE situations, HELLO, a 2nd grader shouldn’t know what sex drugs and rock n’ roll are….it’s not right, anyway, In my mind back then all I was doing was sending him away. As soon as Grandma came and I found out the verdict was QUILTY, this heaviness came over this HUGE burden, I didn’t understand what it was, but now I do, it’s called spiritual oppression due to sin, I was filled with confusion, I was lost and overly depressed. I WAS NEVER HAPPY, and joy seemed far to impossible for me. And because I didn’t understand what was going on or how to deal with it, I started drinking smoking and eventually doing drugs, I sold myself for money, let people take advantage of me, and went into this DARK DARK hole, I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO HOPE, I was completely hopeless, and I never learned how to communicate with people, how to build relationships, how to talk, I withdrew and secluded myself from life itself. Now here I am 22 years old, learning how to do the things I should have learned from birth. We had a horrible childhood Marlena, and you know it. And MY MOM HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS, nobody told me to do this to him so leave my mom out of this, all she did was do what any parent who loves there kid would do, believe them, defend them, and protect them. Sure my mom has messed up TONS, but what parent hasn’t. Sure I come from a broken family and didn’t get taught the things kids should be taught, and sure looking back in my past most of my memories are of partying, sex, drinking, repeat repeat repeat….a child should not be exposed to this kind of lifestyle. however, there are so many things I now struggle with, YES GOD is great, and he is the only reason why I was able to come forward and confess the truth, The reason I’m not in jail is because that is not what the Lord wanted, he is in control of my life now, good and bad things that happen are in his hands and I am so glad that even in the bad things I can trust that he has control and there is something for me to learn from every situation. anyway, I wanted to come clean years ago but I just couldn’t do it, and yes I knew there was a God but I didn’t know God, then I went up to Mountain Ministries a faith based discipleship program, where people come there to find God and to get clean, I tried to get clean before but I never could, that’s because I didn’t have God to help me through it, But anyway, being up there I started to learn about God and learn how much he loves his children, he doesn’t care what we have done, yes there are consequences, but he is a loving God, a forgiving God, he isn’t sitting up in heaven looking down on me for what I have done wrong, he is looking down on me saying, my precious daughter I love you, I forgive you, I DIED ON A CROSS AND ROSE AGAIN FOR YOU, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, nothing you do will stop me from loving you, all I want is you, I desire you, I long for you, I am your loving father and I UNDERSTAND. people wake up!! what don’t you get about a God who created us and forgives us, this is a love that we as people need to embrace, He guided me through this and told me everything will be ok, and it is, I am so loved and there is nothing more satisfying then knowing that Jesus Christ loves me. It was his loving kindness that led me to repentance, not his pointing the finger, critisizing and judgment….come on now if he was like that I would have ran farhter. He says in romans 8:28 that he works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, and without God in this, My dad would not be able to forgive me, we are now building a relationship together as a family, and my family (though they are upset which I don’t blame them) is accepting of me, now that’s the Lord right there.
    So there are many ways to look at this situation.
    To me, it’s a great testimony of the Lord’s character, it’s a painful, traumatic but yet beautiful story of his Heart, of how he forgives, and loves, and is concerned for his people, how he is a God of restoration, once you experience him, which I pray that you give him a shot, you will know that there is nothing or nobody like him and once you experience him, your whole life changes.
    read the story of Joshua in the bible. It’s a GREAT GREAT story. anyway, I am truely sorry from the depths of my heart as to what I have done. and I do understand why you all think I should pay physical consequences, but eternal consequences are much harder. I will not take vengance in my own hands anymore. The Lord tells us not to, and now I know that the only reason the Lord has guidelines and values and morals that he desires for us to live by is because he knows whats best, and look at what happened by me not knowing or understanding his ways, I did what I’m not supposed to do and a TON of people including myself have been effected by this. If I would have known God back when I was a child the way that I know him now, I would not have done these things because I would have known that I could run to him with my hurt and that he would hold me, he would take my hand comfort me and guide me through it all. So please everyone who has taken the time to read this, please try and see it from a different point of view,
    and I have already asked the Lord to forgive me and he does, but I am going to apologize to everyone because this has effected A LOT of people.
    so to whom it may concern: I am asking if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I have done a TERRIFIC thing, I have falsely accused a man of rape, when he did not do it, he sat in Prison for many years because of a lie. I took him from his family and friends and I am so sorry, and I’m asking if you will forgive me. and if you can’t I know the Lord will help you.

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  16. They need to charger her with filing a false police report and fraud. He will be suing I know that is coming. False Arrest, False Imprisonment and a few other things!
    The women needs to be jailed and sent to prison for her crimes against the state and the people who pay taxes there. This person wasted tax payers money and the time of the court dealing with false charges. She committed perjury

  17. put her under the prsion. She lied to help her mother get full custody I bet!
    She needs to understand prejury is a very bead crime and causes wasted tax payers dollars that need to be used to trail real crimes!

  18. I say to the 2 sister that they are liars and nothing they say means a hill of beans! The mother put her up to it and that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The 11 ear old was a pawn of the evil mother who wanted full custody I bet and she saw that as her only way to get both of the girls so he would have to fork over tons of child support.
    I do not buy any of this for 1 second.. The evil mother put her up to lying and told her want to say I bet. I say put the mother and her in prison for as long as possible!

  19. I say charge her and the mother and let the jury set their out comes. They both guily of Prejury and other crimes! She lied and the mother put her up to it. The facts she told could have only been put in her head by a evil and cure mother who wanted full custody! I say jail them both and maybe the other girl aswell

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