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Family torn apart after false sex abuse claims

Rebecca Martin · 2 Nov 2011, 12:26

Published: 02 Nov 2011 12:26 GMT+01:00

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”We went from a wonderful life to hell. Everything was turned upside down through one single phonecall,” said the mother, Jennie, to newspaper Aftonbladet.

In September last year Swedish parents Jennie and Thomas life fell crashing down when a phone call from Jennie's sister to the social services meant their two daughters, 3 and 6, were taken info protective custody.

On weekends, the two girls usually came running into their parents bedroom in the morning and jumped into their bed.

While romping around with their parents, the older girl had accidentally touched her father's penis on two occasions. Both times Thomas had quickly removed her hand and no more was thought of it.

Later, Jennie told her sister about the incident, sharing it as as an example of an embarrassing situation that parents can find themselves in.

But her sister misunderstood. And phoned social services.

The following day, the couple recived a call from the local authorities.

Without corroborating the story with anyone else close to the children, the authorities had chosen to place the children in protective custody with immediate effect.

”I went into some sort of shock, I thought something had happened to the girls. I couldn't even understand what the man was telling me, because it seemed so clear that something must have happened,” Thomas told Sveriges Television's (SVT) investigative journalism show Uppdrag Granskning.

Thomas and Jennie were called to a meeting with social services. There they recieved the next shock. They were being investigated for sexually abusing their children.

As neither parent had any previous history with either police or social services, they hoped to be able to clear up the situation quickly.

But instead of bringing their kids back home, they were sent to pack up some clothes and other items that the kids might need.

They weren't told where their children were or how they were doing.

”That was the hardest bit, the feeling of powerlessness. That someone can just take your child, it was bloody awful,” said Thomas.

After the weekend, Thomas was remanded into custody on the suspicion of sexually abusing his daughters and soon after Jennie spent a night in jail as well.

A month later they were charged. After two days of deliberation, the court ruled that there was no substance to the allegations and the parents were cleared.

But the story wasn't over because the social services still believed that Thomas was a paedophile.

They wrote that ”the father has exposed his daughter to a limitless sexual behaviour” and that the authority deemed ”the father to have exploited the situation for his own sexual needs”, according to SVT.

”I was livid. It was so offensive. So terribly demeaning,” Thomas said to SVT.

Not until the administrative court had also ruled in favour of the parents, did the authorities release the children back to their parents.

By then they had been in protective custody for 68 days. The younger girl no longer recognised her father. The older had acquired a different dialect.

When they were all together again the next shock erupted.

The prosecutor had found a short video clip from a holiday on the Baltic island of Öland, where the children were tickling each other after swimming naked in the sea.

The prosecutor thought that the clip, filmed by Jennie, was pornographic.

Story continues below…

It wasn't until after the district court had discounted these allegation as well and the Svea Court of Appeals (Hovrätten) finally cleared them of all abuse charges, a full year after the allegations were initially made, that the family could finally relax.

The couple have had no apologies from the local authorities after their ordeal.

”I would like someone responsible on the local council to say they regretted what had happened. Despite everything that has happened, it would help a little,” said Thomas to SVT.

The local politician who made the decision that the children would be taken away has called it ”unfortunate” that Thomas was singled out as a paedophile but none of the civil servants – nor their superiors- wanted to comment on the matter on the SVT show.

Both Jennie and Thomas are still questioning how one single call can put a whole family in a such a nightmare situation.

”No other healthy family should have to go through this. It must be something wrong with the system if it can go this far,” Thomas told SVT.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:18 November 2, 2011 by JoeFriday100
What is wrong with our world? I family is nearly destroyed because of what someone said to Social Services, whom was not a witness, nor was there ever any type of physical evidence and no corroboration by the alleged victims. Yet they still charged them and continued to witch hunt them to drum up something against them...for what? Imagine what their two children endured mentally and emotionally being separated from their loving parents. Who knows what social services subjected them to in an attempt to solicit some sort of corroboration for the allegations against their parents...it's called interrogation by the way, and they can be very convincing by using leading and suggestive techniques. And after all is said and done, no apologies; no accountability of the authorities; nothing. And worse, this family will be forever burdened with this scarlet letter left by these false allegations whiles everyone just moves on and simply says, "whoops, our bad". Stop this madness!
14:30 November 2, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
Sue the social services for damages. Sweden has a terrible reputation for taking children from their parents.
14:32 November 2, 2011 by Jes
This is a cultural problem- pure and simple !

unfortunately , no one seems to ever want to discuss it . It is no secret that most Swedes live open lives with their children . Parents swim with their small children -almost naked . In some homes , a parent will not bother covering up when small children are in the room . Some fathers even take baths with their daughters . Experts in child behavior strictly advise against this practice for obvious reasons.

In this case , the girls were allowed to jump into their parents beds , even when everyone knows that children are always curious about what their parents do when they stay in bed in the mornings .

The danger is that chiildren are less likely to make up stories if there is no basis for it . This time , the children did not just imagine that their dad was responsible for making him touch his penis ; he admits that one one the girls touched his penis . Whether or not she did it accidentaly ( twice ) is just a detail . The main question is why did the parents expose their daughters to a situation where penis touching was innevitable ?

Yes , it is always easy to be shocked and accusative after the fact . Still , a parent has to take full responsibility for his/ her careless action .

Personally , I do not think that children should be encouraged to romp with their naked parents in any bed .
14:42 November 2, 2011 by ?????
Is this a European country of the 21st century? Can anyone accuse everyone with no evidence? Did the social services served right the needs of those two girls? Is the law interpreted as a means of justice or a means of power of people behind desks? Will anyone be charged for ruining the family or everyone involved did their job well? Disgusting, nothing less
14:45 November 2, 2011 by skogsbo
Jes, you don't have kids do you? You've never had to carry an infant / toddler into your bed in the middle of the night, they then spend the rest of the night sleeping between you?
14:50 November 2, 2011 by aditya_mcadu
Similar ordeal is being face by one of our friends, where they are being suspected of causing physical harm and social agency has taken away their son. The couple is the most loving parents that we have known... They actually complained to school regarding some physical abuse, and school to protect its own ass reported it to Social Agency blaming parents...

read : http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showtopic=45949&hl
15:00 November 2, 2011 by skogsbo
In this case I would ask why and what did her sister say to social services, why didn't she speak to the parents first? Does the sister have an axe to grind with the husband? I bet there is something to this.
15:04 November 2, 2011 by Roy E
The social services crusaders need to be held responsible and prosecuted for abuse of authority.

This sort of heavy handed 'witch hunt' abuse is unacceptable.
15:23 November 2, 2011 by Jes
@skogsbo , I do have children . More children than you can even imagine .

I can assure you that I know the difference between an "infant/ toddler" and a six year old girl .

You probably need to study the concept of "contextuality" if you want to understand what I am talking about .

The clue is that the girl did not complain that she had touched her mothers breast or private part ; she accused her father of letting/ making her touch his penis .

Figure out what that means
15:32 November 2, 2011 by skogsbo
jes,I think you'll find she never accused the father of anything. That's the whole point. Context is irrelevant, more kids that i can imagine, I have a good imagination!
15:41 November 2, 2011 by Svensksmith
I do have children . More children than you can even imagine .

I dated a girl who came from a family of 10 kids. Got more kids than that?
15:47 November 2, 2011 by Online Personality
Posts from other stories have cited the ongoing case of Domenic Johansson. Google Friends of Domenic Johansson.

There was also a case from the 80s or 90s where a child was taken from her British mother because the mother spoke English at home with the child. I think the state tortured that family for years as well.

And when the parents freak out because of this abuse, the state then accuses them of having mental problems. It's so sick and so abusive.

The Swedish state can be absolutely SINISTER and far too often looks more and more like an dystopic Authoritarian regime.
16:05 November 2, 2011 by tgolan
any wonder that Julian Assange refuses to return to Sweden??
16:21 November 2, 2011 by truthgate777
what is goining on in sweden
16:42 November 2, 2011 by Migga

The girl never accused her father of anything. Get your facts in order.

The prosecutor is Birgitta Fernlund and she has been critizised before by the JO. She is clearly not fit to work in the position she is in.
16:56 November 2, 2011 by Rick Methven
@ Svensksmith

I dated a girl who was the oldest of 20. baby sitting was a nightmare, never had any time to get my evil way with 19 to keep in order.

As far as Jes is concerned if he has any kids, (which I doubt as he seems not to have reached puberty yet) They must lead a terrible life with his Victorian prudishness. He also does not seem to have the capability to read properly as he makes false assertions as to what really happened.
16:59 November 2, 2011 by Liquidmonkey
guess someones sister is not invited over for x-mas.
17:23 November 2, 2011 by Bölö
They must sue the Social Agency! Rubbish
17:24 November 2, 2011 by calebian22
Indeed, awkard Julbord this year.
18:32 November 2, 2011 by darky
Nota Bene !

1) It is not everyone you confine to or say everything to in the name of brother/sister.This is because some people's minds are programmed to here only evil no matter the good one says to them. Anyway ! Many lessons learnt from here I guess !

2) I belive the social servise has blown this outta proportion and should answer at the court !
19:42 November 2, 2011 by Abe L
The worst part is that there are no viable means to sue the hell out of the social services after and get millions. Which would only heal a fraction of the damage caused.

There should have been a proper legal procedure with investigation before any of the actions that where taken should have been approved. In general social services should not have this power without a court order.
20:01 November 2, 2011 by Kaethar
I agree with the Social Services. Their job is to protect the children - not to "not offend anyone". Here they get a call from a relative stating sexual abuse and they of course take that seriously. When you suspect sexual abuse you remove the kids - simple as that. Trials for this type of suspected crime are held relatively quickly compared to other crimes for this reason. It turned out the parents were innocent in this case but that wouldn't always be the case.

And common sense says you cannot demand compensation every time you get cleared by a court of law...
20:11 November 2, 2011 by missjane30
I'm from one of those prudish nations where it's okay to watch people stabbed and shot on television, but god forbid a nipple gets exposed! And even here social services wouldn't do something like this. Not without definite signs of abuse first, and even then the child isn't always removed from the home.

I don't see anything wrong with children of that age going into their parent's bedroom. It's completely natural behavior. If the little girl in question was showing no signs of being abused what was the problem? It sounds like a sister with an ax to grind based on the fact that she didn't call the parents before calling social services.

Wow...this is going to make for an awkward Xmas dinner for that family!
20:36 November 2, 2011 by johnoleson
@ Kaether

If the Social Services primary job is to protect the children, they should have investigated more thoroughly before traumatizing the children with separation. The damage done to the children's security will last a lifetime.
21:02 November 2, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
@Jes - I missed the bit where it says that the father was naked. Are you reading from a different story or just making baseless assumptions?
21:03 November 2, 2011 by sherkovic
What a hash of a life!! Moral of the story, if you are a successful happily married lady then buzz your sister out of your life because she's a bee ayee tee see hatch that too an envious one.
21:45 November 2, 2011 by Clariefinch
I'm english and came to sweden 10 years ago with my swedish husband. It didn't work out and I stayed here with my 3 children who were born in England. 5 years ago when I had a bad time with my fibromyalgia, I had to ask social services for help with finances and they gave me income support on condition I talked to a social worker which I did. They found out that on occasion my 10 year old daughter would make me a cup of tea. That my 11 year old, 10 year old and 8 year old cleaned their own rooms and put their dirty laundry in the wash basket. I expected them to pick up after themselves, put their plates in the dishwasher etc. Social services said it was adult responsibility and put them in foster care. They said it was mental cruelty for them to watch me in pain. They will have been in foster care 5 years in February. Eldest is now 16, has been in 2 treatment centres. First one she started taking drugs, drinking, smoking. Got kicked out for being pregnant at 14. She had a miscarriage and then got sent to the new treatment centre to get off the drugs etc. Middle one has also been pregnant at 14. Youngest was abused physically and mentally by her foster parents. I could see it was going on and complained to social services. They ignored me for 2 ½ years until the school reported it. She was then removed and sent to a new foster family. Social services refuse to let them come home. They say they are too damaged by me being ill. They don't understand that my girls have been damaged by the years in foster care :(
22:29 November 2, 2011 by johnoleson
Such is the bitter price of socialism and the perpetrators are sincere.
22:47 November 2, 2011 by xexon
You know what's happened here? Sweden used to be a major producer of kiddy porn. Society has now swung in the other direction and they have a complex about child sexuality that borders on the draconian.

It's classical psychology. The abused has become the abuser.

It's YOUR system. If you don't like it, you need to take steps to stop it abusing YOU. you don't have to take this, but your silence in such matters gives it permission to continue.

23:24 November 2, 2011 by update-2011
"While romping around with their parents, the older girl had accidentally touched her father's penis on two occasions. Both times Thomas had quickly removed her hand and no more was thought of it"

It is very sad that the children were exposed to such a bad & long lasting situation, while the touching was done accidentally and it was no more thought of after it happened. At least,People need to understand that the father can't do such an evil thing in the presence of the mother. I guess the sister is some kind of envious person-quick to reuine the family.
23:37 November 2, 2011 by swenrika
The family is the most sacred of all things we have... not .. WE have.. not social services or the state... WE.... unless there is 100% definitive proof of serious abuse the state should NEVER be allowed to mess with your family...

If they do and are prooven wrong... sue them... hold them responsible for making a bad call.. if this is not done they have carte blanche and will never clean up their act and the senseless persecution of normal families will go unchecked...

@ Kaether

Common sense should have told them to investigate before bring out the big guns for nothing.. they botched up.. now sue them !!! hold them accountable for their actions, we are being held accountable for ours...
01:47 November 3, 2011 by SkipEU

your story is one of the saddest I've ever read. :(
03:05 November 3, 2011 by Lovelygirl
this is just f@%&ed up... Not only the poor family but the unpunished Social Services! and not to mention all the money wasted in this kind of process... imagine how much would have they saved if the State put competent people to do this work...
03:29 November 3, 2011 by yourkidding
They always say something like "It was unfortunate" but no one ever does a thing when the aunthorities screw up. That is just the Swedish way. Very, Very rarely does anyone in a position of authority have to aswer to something. So crazy but Swedish people never seem to get upset about it and just accept it as the way it is.
03:58 November 3, 2011 by Da Goat
You silly people you should know better......all children belong to the swedish state and parents are only the caretakers of same!

your children do not belong to you!

I do agree with the others though jennies sister is jealous that the girl got to play with "daddy" and she missed out ! :( oh the thought of forbidden korv
04:47 November 3, 2011 by johnoleson
@Da Goat

A different take. Children belong to God and have been entrusted to families to rear. Sweden outgrew Christianity and replaced God with the state. The state now believes it owns the children and is accountable only to itself. Wake up Sweden your "intellect" is destroying you.
06:50 November 3, 2011 by Uncle
Mmm, I wonder. Is it like in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia now? If I have an argument with my neighbour, can I just report that he is abusing his children on the basis of "his daughter told my daughter"?

If I throw in "I saw them through the window", should I be assured that he will surely move, because the social services will label him as a pedophile, even if not proved in the court?

WOW what a great potential!
07:44 November 3, 2011 by ctinej
I thought CPS was out of control in America. This is disgusting!!! What is wrong with taking pictures of your kids in a natural environment and in their natural skin??

This isnt much worse than those idiots that insist the women wear burkas.
09:42 November 3, 2011 by RobinHood
The state, and the law, will not protect citizens from these people; it is up to people to protect themselves. It would be useful to know the names of everyone involved from the prosecutor's office, and the social services.

That way, anyone who has any sort of professional contact with any of them, may ask for their cases to be reassigned to another person. After a few months of professional isolation, even the dimmest public servant should realise he/she is unfit for their current roll, and ask to be reassigned, or even better - resign.

Migga says the prosecutor is Birgitta Fernlund. Does anyone know any names of the other people involved?
11:41 November 3, 2011 by Puffin
Sounds like a very complicated situation - especially as the reports of abuse came from within the family

Are people saying that when the sister comes forward and reports abuse that this should be ignored?
12:18 November 3, 2011 by John.Smith

I don't think most would agree with that to be honest :). However there does need to be a procedure/method/means by which the claims are investigated in a better way. Any claim of abuse needs to be taken seriously and with instant action, however a healthy dose of common sense is needed too. No matter what way you try to justify the action taken against the parents, it was mishandled and demonstrates an incompetence and inflexibility in the 'system' to deal with the issue in an appropriate way.
13:22 November 3, 2011 by Migga

Reports shouldn`t be ignored. They should be investigated. But only after an investigation should a decision be made whether or not the children should be taken into custody. In this case there was no investigation. It was solely based on the sisters report.
14:05 November 3, 2011 by Meatball
This is all very sad, just read on Aftonbladet that the sister reckons it happened on more than one or two occasions and she had tried speaking to her sister who refused to understand....and also that more people were aware of what was going on.

On another note since there are so many people giving advice here, I have been wondering....I often go to the local swimming pool with my 7 year old son but am always a bit unsure about where he should get changed...should I let him go alone into the mens changing room where I don't know whats going on and possibly expose him to pedofiles etc or do I let him come with me to the ladies where he can see naked ladies in the showers and getting dressed and I could be reported to socialen...and well we saw/know now what happens when they get involved...
14:18 November 3, 2011 by Migga

Therese Stensson is the prosecutor of the case.

Birgitta Fernlund is the prosecutor who handeld the videoclip case.

Maria Pärssinen is the police who was in charge of interviewing the daughter.

Jan Nilsson is the head of the family unit department in Sandviken kommun.

Hans Olov Frestadius is the head of individual care unit in Sandviken kommun.

The sisters of the mother is Jessica Liljenberg and Johanna Berg. Both living in Sandviken. I don`t know who actually made the phonecall and reported it.
16:42 November 3, 2011 by Jes
@Skobo , if you have good imagination , you did not apply it when you made your comment .

Your problem , I suppose , is that you read and recite ; while I read and analyse.

Here is what I mean : although the article does not mention that the father told his wife -Jennie- that their daughter had touched him twice , the report is that Jennies sister called the authorities .

The case was dismissed for lack of suffucient evidence ; and so were the parents shocked etc etc .

But guess what the shocked mother does after the girls were returned to them : she films the girls tickling each other -naked !

Another accident ?

@Atolie Brilliant

you don`t exactly sound like your name ; whats up ?

The father was in bed . the six year old touched his penis 2 times . The man must have shared the touching incident with his wife , who also shared it with her sister .

Mr . Brilliant , please try to think .

Thank you !
17:26 November 3, 2011 by Online Personality
Another source said the Socialstyrelsen has said that the authorities did nothing wrong in their handling of the situation.... Socialstyrelsen = Overlords.

Thanks Migga for more complete information.
18:10 November 3, 2011 by Migga
@Online Personality

There`s another investigation pending and underway.
15:21 November 4, 2011 by Swedishmyth
Where is Due Process in Sweden?

Socialstyrelsen is a people's management bureau that has no legitimate purpose. "This is unfortunate" is all that most victims of Swedish government aggression ever get since the state is viewed as being an end in itself instead of an agent of the people.

It is said that Sweden is very secular. But it has its own brand of god: the state. You can kill a person and receive a lesser sentence than if you are found guilty of heresy, such as tax evasion.
17:49 November 4, 2011 by zoroastrina
My sister the bloodsucking vampire who lives by preying on her blood relatives whose blood makes her vomit when she sucks it. Socialstyrelsen is social fascism. Clariefinch's account is a real horror story of social monsters with a blood lust who may be related to the sister vampire. Democracy of a dictatorship? I pity Julian Assange if Swedish judicial vampires get their claws into him.
20:25 November 4, 2011 by Just_Kidding
It is nice to know that Swedish people hate everybody equally, including their brothers and sisters :)
12:10 November 5, 2011 by Not Dumb
swedishmyth observed that: "It is said that Sweden is very secular. But it has its own brand of god: the state."

I have lived here for many years, but only in the last several have come to realize how true this is, not to mention that -- like any deity -- the governmental or kommunal agencies, or kommunal companies, are essentially above the law. Yes, there have been kommunal korruption prosecutions, but in my opinion this is just the smallest tip of the iceberg that's been addressed.

If 'Occupy' catches on in Sweden, perhaps then things might change. The phrase 'Swedish myth' says a lot, and one of the worst things for me, personally, is not knowing if I believed in something that never was here, or if circumstances changed, turning what was into nothing more than a myth.
14:12 November 8, 2011 by tadchem
Regardless on one's 'definition' of justice, child sex abuse is one crime in which the accused is presumed guilty, often even after being proven innocent.
18:30 November 10, 2011 by waris
Who wrote the story? can a 3 year old girl call social service and say what she misunderstood as a sexual abuse? if parents knew that evey week end girls come to their room then why they were not aware of it, it happened before.
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