Accusations and the Rush to Judgment
Many are familiar with the news this week that a woman accused an Egyptian national of attempting to abduct her daughter from the Huntington Mall in West Virginia. Like many, I was shocked at the facts as they were alleged: the brazen attempt to steal a child that was only stopped by a mom pulling a gun. It had all the makings of a great story.
And it was just that- a story- and nothing more. Quick investigative work showed that things didn't quite happen as the mother alleged and the mother also began changing her version of events. She very quickly went from claiming her daughter was going to be abducted to attributing the event to a "cultural misunderstanding." Further investigative work revealed that was likely even a lie.
Officials announced this morning that they will now charge the mother with filing a false complaint. Likely, she will be charged under WV Code section 61-6-20 "Falsely Reporting an Emergency Incident." That crime is a misdemeanor that carries with it the potential for a $500 fine and/or no more than six months in the county jail. The lesson to be learned here? Trust only half of what see, none of what you hear, and don't make false claims to the police.