***************UPDATED APRIL 13, 2014**********************
PREFACE: If you are new to this blog, you may want to read the posts “In a Nutshell” or go to July 2012 and read “Sending out a Letter.” Both of these posts give a brief description of what happened. Emma is a young woman who made up a story about a story about a cyber friend being raped and claimed it brought up her own “repressed memories” of a priest of molesting her. As her attorney was about to file a lawsuit against the priest and the church, Emma accused her mother of physical abuse to stop the lawsuit because she knew her lies were about to be discovered. I am that mother. Emma claims to have toxicology reports showing that her mother poisoned her with DDT, essentially accusing her mother of ATTEMPTED MURDER, but refuses to turn over these reports to her mother’s attorney. She also claims that while living with her boyfriend’s family, her boyfriend’s mother was afraid Emma’s mother would show up and kill her entire family. When Emma’s mother contacted the boyfriend’s mother, she told me that this was “ridiculous.”
As always, if you have any questions or comments, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma’s first experience with therapy was with the Tree House, in Winder, Ga. The Tree House is an organization that supports children and families in Jackson and Barrow County, Ga. I am appalled that Emma wasted the time of this facility when there is such legitimate need for their services.
As I mentioned earlier, on Emma’s dad’s birthday, March 21, 2010, Emma told us the story of her “repressed memories” and claimed to have been molested by the priest over a period of several months when she was 12 years old. Two days later, a Jackson County DFACS worker, Cecelia Dove and a sheriff’s Deputy (Janis Mangum, who is now the Sheriff of Jackson County) showed up at our home. Emma became hysterical and threw her arms around me, crying that she didn’t want to be taken away. She sobbed and held on to me tightly, and it took a few minutes for the three of us to calm her down. Perhaps she became hysterical because she realized the magnitude of what she’d done no that the authorities were involved. Deputy Mangum assured Emma that she was not going to be taken away and that she was there just to make sure Emma was safe and that the priest no longer had access to Emma. I explained that the priest had been an interim priest at our church for about a year while the church went through the process of hiring a new priest.
I was also very shaken to have DFACS and a sheriff’s deputy come to my home, and it took us several days to figure out who had called DFACS. Emma denied up and down telling anyone other than one of her church youth leaders about being “molested” but we later found out that Emma was failing Physics, so her excuse to her teacher for not doing her work was that she was having problems because she had been molested. It was the physics teacher who called DFACS. I have pages and pages of letters Emma was writing to “Lacey” during this time, and she could also chat with “Lacey” on the computer when she was supposed to be doing her school work. Emma is a very smart girl, and there was no reason for her to fail physics. She wasn’t doing her work, and needed a good excuse, so she used her “molestation” story.
Unfortunately, Phill and I, as well as our Deacon blamed another woman for calling DFACS. After Emma told us about being molested, Phill called one of Emma’s Youth Group leaders, a young woman who was a school psychologist, and he told her about Emma’s accusation. This lady worked in educational testing, not with abuse, but we figured, working for the school system, she felt obligated to turn Emma into DFACS. That Sunday, we went to church, and I saw this woman crying in church because she knew we were angry with her. Emma never said a word. I saw this woman sobbing when she took communion. She was so deeply hurt that we accused her of sending the authorities to our door when she was another one of Emma’s innocent victims. Later on, I whole heartedly apologized to her, and I think she forgave us, but I will never forget the pain we caused her. Shortly after that, she quit working with the youth group.
After telling her story to Deputy Mangum, Cecelia Dove (DFACS Social Worker) spoke to us and gave me the name of the Tree House and said Emma could receive counseling there. Emma was completely opposed to counseling, and I was the one who pushed her to go. I thought she might need some “professional” help. Emma argued with me and claimed that she’d read that girls who’d been molested like she was did just as well talking things over with their friends as opposed to going to therapy. One problem with this was that Emma really didn’t have any friends. She didn’t have any girlfriends she hung out with. She e-mailed and texted “Lacey,” her cyber friend whom Emma claimed had been raped and tried to commit suicide, but the two girls had never met in person. Emma was also friends with Kayla Benifield Weaver, but only saw her for a weekend or so once or twice a year when Kayla was visiting her mom. Emma talked to me a lot about everything, but I really felt she needed someone other than her mother.
Phill had my calendars, so I don’t have the dates, but sometime around May, Emma started therapy at the Tree House. Her counselor was a young woman, Ms. M, who I believe was working on her Master’s Degree at UGA and interning at the Tree House. She was very sweet, and I thought Emma would like her except she had a Hispanic name, and Emma had some bias against Hispanics, complained about the illegal immigrant problems in this country, and complained about Hispanic kids at school.
After 3 or 4 sessions, Ms. M. called me into the room after meeting with Emma and said that there was really no reason to bring Emma to therapy because Emma would not talk to her. Emma later told her other therapists that she did not like the Tree House because they treated her like a little kid and gave her stickers. (She never mentioned receiving sticker to me, although once I think they gave her a snack of a pack of cookies or crackers.)
Phill and I discussed giving Emma a break from therapy. We were planning a trip to visit my sister up north at the end of June, so we thought we would wait until we got back to have Emma start seeing someone else. In the meantime, Emma had quit going to church, and did not want to go with the youth group on the big trip to Cherokee N.C. that they had been planning and raising money for all year. Emma had quit going to youth group. I suspected that part of this was because it was a very small group, and the boy that Emma liked and had spent quite a bit of time with at church activities and youth group, was no longer interested in her, and there was a new girl at church who seemed to be spending a lot of time at church following this young man around. It was just the typical teenage stuff, but I think Emma was no longer comfortable in the group because for a while there, the kids, and even some of the adults thought Emma and this boy were a couple, even though they never actually dated. I think Emma was very hurt when this young man was no longer interested in her. Emma pretty much did nothing but sit around the house. She hung around me a lot, running errands or doing whatever I happened to be doing around the house, and in the evenings she would want to watch a movie or tv with me.
I had been discussing with my good friend Sandi (Sandra Brooks McCravy) that I hated Emma just sitting around the house, and I wished she would go with her youth group on their trip, but at that point, several people in the church knew about Emma accusation of being sexually molested, and we had filed a complaint with the church, so I didn’t feel like I should push Emma to go if she really didn’t want to. Sandi suggested that Emma could come help with Vacation Bible School at her current church, Sunrise Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga. http://www.sunrisebaptist.com Since Sandi lived about 35-40 minutes away from us, there in Lawrenceville, she suggested that Emma stay at their home for the week. Phill and I thought this would be a great break for Emma, and I took Sandi up on her offer.
During the week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) the kids were at the church in the morning, and then back home to Sandy’s by early afternoon. During time, I called my oldest sister in Ct., and broke the news to her about Emma’s molestation. We were planning a trip to visit them at the end of June, and I felt like I needed to tell her, and I also needed her big sisterly support.
Also, during the week of VBS, one of our neighbors who also went to our church, was in a hospice facility, dying of cancer. Our deacon had called me and told me that he didn’t have much time left, and this gentleman had trained the acolytes, and had been very fond of Emma, so I really wanted to take Emma to see him. He was alert and happy to see us, and if I remember right, he passed away the next day with his loving family around him.
When I picked Emma up one afternoon to take her to visit our neighbor in the hospice, I told Emma that I’d told my sister about the “molestation.” Emma became furious with me. She asked me why I told her, and I said it was because when we went up there in a few weeks, my sister would know that something was wrong, and also because she loved us and I felt like we needed her support. Emma barely spoke to me that afternoon, and when I took her back to Sandi McCravy’s house, Emma got out of the car without speaking and went into the house without saying a word to me. I went in and spoke to Sandi for a few minutes and told her why Emma was mad at me.
It was around this time that Emma developed a crush on Johnathan McCravy, Sandi and Greg’s younger son. Sometime later, it may have been 6 months later when Phill and I were going through Emma’s room, I found a letter Emma had written to her cyber friend “Lacey” about her crush on Johnathan. There was nothing dramatic in it, just the sweet typical stuff teenagers write about being in love.
At the end of June, we went to visit my sister and her husband for a week in CT. Emma was rude and nasty for the entire week, barely speaking to my sister and brother-in-law the whole visit. This hurt me because my sister had been the greatest aunt to Emma. She spent time with her, sent her cards and gifts, remembered her on every holiday, etc. She had adored Emma her whole life, and at 16, Emma was a rude and nasty brat to her. Several times my sister walked in to find Emma on the phone, and she would quickly get off. It wasn’t until later that I realized all these phone calls were to Sandi McCravy. Sandi Even called Emma while we were at the beach for fireworks, and they talked for about an hour. I was also a little surprised that Sandi knew we were having a family picnic at the beach and she still stayed on the phone with Emma so long that night. I thought it was rude of Sandi as well as rude of Emma, but then again, Emma was being so unpleasant, why not let her talk on the phone and just enjoy the adult company without Emma?
When we came back from CT, Emma started therapy with Dr. Genie Burnett (Dr. Elizabeth Genie Burnett) Manna Treatment, Duluth, Ga. http://mannatreatment.com/home
Coming up in Part 2, Manna Treatment