BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The Mountain View police, a social worker and a paramedic appear to have violated Santa Clara County protocol when the paramedic allegedly forced a 5-year-old’s leggings off to examine her body for signs of sexual abuse as the girl’s father reluctantly held her down in the family’s home.
The county’s Child Abuse Protocol for Law Enforcement, which was updated last year by a group that included law enforcement, prosecutors and advocacy organizations, instructs investigators on how and where to initiate sexual assault investigations in children.
Those examinations, the protocol states, are to take place at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, either at the hospital’s Center for Child Protection or the emergency room.
Sexual assault investigations involving children under the age of 11 require parental consent, a court order or “exigent circumstances,” according to the protocol.
Channel 7 first reported last week that the Lother family had filed a $1 million claim about the Jan. 28 investigation, threatening to sue the city over their daughter Madeleine’s mistreatment.
Madeleine’s teacher had initiated a Child Protective Services investigation after she made a comment at school about no longer bleeding from her vagina, which the Lothers say was in reference to an injury she had suffered when she slid down a rope at the Sky High Sports trampoline park.
The Lothers’ attorney, Bob Powell, said that the teacher also reported hearing Madeleine saying something about “Daddy touching her in her private parts,” a comment that Powell said he doubts.
Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson said the Channel 7 story “does not give a full picture of the investigation” and declined to comment on specifics of it because of the pending claim against the city.
“Child abuse allegations are very serious and the investigation of them is complex. They are difficult, both on the families and on our officers,” Nelson told the Post in an email. “Every officer in Mountain View understands that questions in these investigations can feel intrusive and uncomfortable, and that the environment can be stressful. It is our job, and a tough one at that, to tackle the role of ensuring that a child’s right to health and safety is protected.”
Police Chief Max Bosel hasn’t returned requests for comment.
After Madeleine’s teacher reported the comments, police, a paramedic and a county social worker showed up at the Lothers’ house and interviewed each family member individually, starting with Madeleine.
Each member of the family, including Madeleine, told the police that she had been injured at the trampoline park sliding down a rope, Powell said.
Madeleine’s mother offered to put the police in contact with the friend’s mother who had been at the trampoline park where Madeleine was injured, but police declined and instead called in a female paramedic to examine Madeleine’s body.
Her parents refused, and police said something to the effect of “you’re going to let this happen here, or CPS has the right to take this child to the hospital for an inspection by a doctor,” Powell said.
The paramedic then had Madeleine’s father, Doug Lother, hold his daughter down as she pulled the girl’s leggings off despite the girl’s resistance. Doug Lother was also asked to use his cellphone as a flashlight for the paramedic.
Powell said Madeleine still has nightmares about the investigation and had told her parents that she thought they had called the police on her.
Powell said he was in talks with the city and county for an early settlement.