Fathers and Families often receives painful calls and letters from fathers (and sometimes mothers) who say they have been falsely accused of abuse or molestation and have been driven out of their children’s lives because of it. The case featured in Dr. Phil’s recent show A Father Accused: Who’s Telling the Truth? sounds like many of them:
Todd says he was shocked and appalled when his ex-girlfriend’s mother, Diana, accused him of sexually molesting his 4-year-old daughter, Taniya, and turns to Dr. Phil to help clear his name. But Diana says she’s convinced he’s done the unthinkable.
Diana says that while babysitting her granddaughter, Taniya, the toddler detailed ways in which her father, Todd, inappropriately touched her. After learning of the accusations, Taniya’s mom, Latia, reported the alleged sexual abuse to a judge who immediately stripped Todd of his parental rights.
Latia says she has proof that Todd molested her daughter. And did the father’s girlfriend, Kristin, partake in the abuse?…
Todd says Diana and Latia brainwashed Taniya, and fabricated sexual abuse claims to win full custody of the child. “Latia is doing this out of spite; to take me away from my daughter,” he laments.
Todd has been on supervised visitation since the accusations and has had very little time with his child. (There also is a move-away involved in the case, though we’re not given any details.) Dr. Phil investigates the case, including having his polygraph expert Jack Trimarco examine Todd and Diana.
Who Is Telling the Truth?
Dr. Phil. concludes that Diana manufactured the allegations and that Todd is innocent. He basis this upon:
Dr. Phil believes that the details and terminology of the alleged molestation that Diana claims Taniya provided her are beyond the realm and understanding of a 4-year-old, meaning that they were fabricated by an adult, Diana, and inculcated in the daughter.
Trimarco, a former FBI agent, said that during the polygraph examinations Todd answered the questions related to the molestation honestly. By contrast, he found that Diana did not. This is the second polygraph that Todd had passed.
Dr. Phil didn’t find Diana’s histrionic attacks on Todd.
There is another reason why the molestation accusations are suspicious, though Dr. Phil didn’t mention it. The mother and grandmother had a long list of bad things to say about Todd, (didn’t spend enough time with his daughter when they were together, didn’t pay child support, left the girlfriend for another woman, etc.)
The veracity of the first two wasn’t addressed, but to me it was an immediate red flag–the key issue is whether molestation occurred, and the mother and grandmothers’ other grievances, correct or incorrect, should not have been lumped in with them. The fact that they’re mad at him about these other issues–particularly the third one–certainly provides plenty of motive to make a false accusation.
Still, I must say, however regretfully, that while I admire Dr. Phil’s investigation, one can’t be 100% sure that he’s correct. And that’s one reason why false accusations are such a terrible crime–it casts the falsely accused in a shadow world where he or she often can never fully exonerate themselves. Dr. Phil has created an advice page for those false accused–it can be seen here.
A Tearful Reunion
The best part of the show was the tearful backstage father-daughter reunion–it’s available here.
Dr. Phil’s Record
Dr. Phil’s work can also be problematic at times, as we detail in these two posts:
- Did Dr. Phil Unwittingly Promote False Accusations on His Recent ‘Crisis in Family Court’ Show?
- Dr. Phil: Wrong Again on Domestic Violence
Nevertheless, Fathers and Families commends him for his work on Todd’s case.