This blog is mostly about OpenSim, an online game I play. Sometimes I like to post some personal stuff of a general type that discusses people, which also fits naturally into my game playing, as people are in it also.
I was once with a guy who was dealing with an issue of child abuse. The child was his. The mother had divorced him for another man. That man was abusing his son. He took her to court to modify the primary custody arrangement to give himself the main parent to raise his son.
The most difficult aspect of the case was in proving, with a preponderance of evidence (the legality of which is the backbone of civil cases in America - whereas in criminal trials they have to prove beyond the benefit of a doubt that the defendant is guilty) that the abuse could be shown to have occurred in enough separate instances that would sway the jury to give him custody.
One would think this would be easy enough to show, especially since there was a bit of evidence, some of which were actual pictures of the bruises on his son. But such things are not always so cut and dried as that, and this was certainly one of those.
His ex-wife was married to a very controlling and dominant man. They were not about to admit any wrongdoing, because they would not only lose the child, the child support, the medical insurance, but would then also face criminal charges.
So what they did for many years was to have various neighbors inspect his son (which was another aspect of how low they would go), every time it was this guy's weekend to have custody, not before, but after, where their own abuse would still show, but he would get blamed for it. As well, they would send his son out to him when he picked him up wearing old raggedy clothes. My friend was then always needing to get him new clothes to wear back, which was another expense on top of the child support he paid...the issue was not that he had this extra expense, but that his ex and her husband used it to show people that he was the one giving his son the awful clothes.
He was then blamed as they said to people he had dropped his son off last time he had custody, wearing those same clothes, so they were just sending them back.
It was a very insidious thing to do. To fuel their side, their desire to look good for the neighbors, they did this over several years and had neighbors fully on their side of the issue, while my friend's son was continually victimized.
It was very sad. It was heartbreaking for this man who only wanted to save his son.
However, he discovered how they hid this. They would take his son to different neighbors, never one the whole time, and always used in a random manner. The neighbors then became excellent witnesses declaring his ex and her husband to be decent and Christian people, just having to deal with an awful father.
Do you see what I am saying?
Since the father knew of this scheme (since he knew he was not actually abusing his son, of course), rather than go to court on an unsure footing, hoping his ex would have all those neighbors there, unwittingly involved in child abuse, he subpoenaed them all.
The wrench in their plan was the neighbors, having no clue to the reality of things, were happy to testify, and when testifying divulge that they never saw the child regularly, never inspected the child each and every time, but just enough to keep them all clueless to the insanity of what they were helping to accomplish, hiding the abuse done by the stepfather, and of course, by the mother whose part in it was knowing of the abuse and also colluding in the scheme. In most places in America, if not all, a person is required to report even suspected child abuse.
People who collude with child abusers are just as guilty as the actual person who laid down the abuse itself.
So my friend, as part of the testimony, called each of these neighbors who were there, who HAD to be there, because they absolutely and completely believed he was the guilty party and they had no qualms testifying to this. They had been utterly fooled and completely used.
Having a jury was essential in this, because by calling those people to the stand my friend was able to show that none of them had but a small amount of time with the child, that it was irregular, and have them admit they certainly were not involved every day and every night with the family in their own home.
The verdict in civil trials does not have to include all the jurists voting one way, merely a majority.
In other words, the stepfather and my friend's ex wife created not only a shield for them to use but created in otherwise decent peoples' fervent knowledge that they were in the right.
However, such a scheme can be easily (not really easily in fact) be shown to have faults in a civil trial by showing enough other evidence to let the jurists see the cruelty imposed on the child.
The jury awarded my friend his son as primary caretaker, his ex never picked him up for her awarded weekends, ever, from that point on, and they moved soon after that. Soon after they moved the ex-stepfather divorced my friends ex-wife. The trial had brought out things the abuser did not know about her.
We expect the poor neighbors, at least some of them, realized they were being played the fools and of course his ex and the stepfather could not live with that.
You see, all of us are susceptible to such contrivances by people who have no qualms about it and who will use anyone they can to help them to do their dirty deeds.
This can happen anyplace in the world, and, of course, in Opensim.