PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

In Wake of Abdalla Suspension, SAVE Says Sex Abuse Policies Recall ‘Soviet-Style’ Justice

WASHINGTON / June 5, 2012 – Following revelations of denial of due process protections to Hany Abdalla, accused by an anonymous source of sexual abuse of an 8-year-old student, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is calling on lawmakers to investigate the problem of false allegations of abuse.

Abdalla, who works as a teacher’s aide in a New York City school, was arrested on April 25. The next day the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced it would not prosecute the case and released the man. Abdalla, father of 3, had worked at the school since 2007 and had no prior investigations or convictions on his record. Abdalla always worked with other adults in the room, according to the man’s attorney.

The teacher’s union has filed a grievance on behalf of Mr. Abdalla. Still, a school system representative refused to indicate how long the department could keep Abdalla suspended without a hearing, or what could lead him to be reinstated, according to the New York Times account: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/accused-of-abuse-but-not-charged-teachers-aide-remains-in-limbo/

The Abdalla incident occurred just as the National Registry of Exonerations released a ground-breaking study that details how dozens of persons around the country have been falsely accused and convicted on charges of child sex abuse, only to be exonerated after years behind bars. Some had been handed life sentences for a crime they didn’t commit.

The exonerations occurred after the “victim” stepped forward to reveal the crime had been fabricated, or after DNA testing proved another person to be the perpetrator. The report deplored the sex-abuse “hysteria” that surrounded many of the prosecutions: http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/exonerations_us_1989_2012_full_report.pdf

“Anonymous allegations, secret procedures, open-ended investigations, and media accounts that presume guilt are an anathema to justice.” notes SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook. “Every lawmaker who took an oath to defend the Constitution should be asking why Soviet-style justice is being allowed to flourish in the United States.”

June is False Allegations Awareness Month. According to a national telephone survey, one in 10 persons has been falsely accused of abuse: http://www.saveservices.org/falsely-accused/survey/

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner abuse: www.saveservices.org