Cops force girl, 5, to undergo sex exam against her will, parents say

This story was printed in Monday morning’s Daily Post.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

A Mountain View family has filed a $1 million claim against the city after a paramedic forcibly undressed their 5-year-old daughter while three police officers and a Santa Clara County social worker were at their house for what they say was a sexual abuse investigation, which turned out to be unfounded.

Channel 7 reported Thursday (June 6) that Madeleine Lother had been injured in January after sliding down a rope at the indoor trampoline park Sky High Sports and suffered a small amount of vaginal bleeding.

The Lothers’ attorney, Bob Powell, said that Madeleine’s teacher initiated a Child Protective Services investigation after she heard her say something about no longer bleeding from her vagina and “Daddy touching her in her private parts,” a comment that Powell said he doubts.

“That’s not really words that this 5-year-old would use, and that’s concerning,” Powell said. “By the way, saying that a parent, including the father, touched a 5-year-old’s private parts is literally, like, yeah, so what? Because we bathe our children oftentimes until 5 or 6 and sometimes 7 if they’re not good at that stuff.”

After CPS was contacted, police, a social worker and paramedics showed up at the Lothers’ and questioned each member of the family, Powell told the Post. Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson said the Channel 7 story “does not give a full picture of the investigation.”

“As much as we would like to correct the inaccuracies from the report, we can’t speak to the specifics regarding the investigation because of a pending claim against the city,” Nelson told the Post in an email. “That being said, we absolutely can listen to residents’ questions and hear their concerns. If they have questions, we are here and ask them to reach out.”

Officials at the county Social Services Agency and the paramedic company, American Medical Response, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Powell said police claim the girl also said something about her bottom, but said he didn’t “have all the records yet” about the case.

Police arrive at family’s home

When police showed up at the family’s home around 5 p.m. on Jan. 28, Powell said the officers asked to speak to Madeleine.
“Within two minutes Madeleine tells them, ‘I was hurt at the trampoline park sliding down a rope,’” Powell said. “Even though they got the story right out the gate, they call out the dad.”

Madeleine’s father, Doug Lother, said the same thing, as did her 6-year-old sister and her mother. Madeleine’s mother offered to put the police in touch with the friend’s mother who had taken her to the trampoline park where she was injured.
The police declined, and instead called in a female AMR paramedic to examine Madeleine’s body.

Her parents refused, Powell said, 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.”

Girl had to be held down during exam

The paramedic had Doug Lother hold his daughter down as she pulled the girl’s leggings off as she resisted, and asked Lother to use his cellphone as a flashlight as the paramedic “dug in there a little bit and found nothing.”

Powell said the family members “couldn’t have colluded” and were interviewed separately.

“To me, this was such a strong case that I can conceivably file a motion that would result in a pretrial ruling of liability and then only have to go to trial on damages,” Powell said.

Powell told the Post that he was in talks with the city and county about an early settlement.

“We’ll see what we can do, but they’re not walking away for a couple hundred grand. It’s not happening,” Powell said. “It is really hard to understand what was missed in the training that these individuals, both the police officers and the social worker and the paramedic… that they would think that this was OK and that they had the right to do any of that forcing of the investigation of this child’s genitals, and even talking to her without her parents present.”

Powell said that whatever probable cause the police had “dissipated almost instantly” when the girl and her family explained how she was injured.

Exam caused nightmares

Madeleine spent the two weeks after the investigation sleeping in her parents’ bed, Powell said, and still has nightmares about the event.

“She is scared when she goes to school. She’s so happy school is out,” Powell said. “She processed it as anger that was directed at her parents, who had to hold her down.”

Powell said Madeleine told her parents that she thought they had called the police on her.

“She’s gotten some therapy, processed it as best she can at 5 years of age, and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Powell said.

9 Comments

  1. If this girl wasn’t sexually assaulted by her parents, she certainly was by the Mtn View cops and an AMR driver. This can’t be the proper way to determine if a girl was molested!?

  2. I was molested as a child and if they would have done that to me when I turned my father in and I was 14 I would have been beyond traumatized and I did get molested but the way that went down and the spokesperson for the police department is saying that they can’t say everything and that things are being blown out of proportion up there’s no way to blow that out of proportion no matter what the reason if they did what they did how they did it and obviously they did there’s just there’s there’s nothing that the family could be leaving out that could possibly show that the police department the paramedics or the social worker was anywhere near in the right. As I said being a victim of an actual family molestation I still would not have expected them to treat me that way to find out if it was true or not I was already a victim and they would have turned me into more of the victim in to the point where the people I needed to be trusting I would have been able to trust they would have look like monsters to me and that’s the way my brain probably would have dealt with it and I’m sitting here crying for this little girl is it is and she wasn’t even molested and now she was by the people supposed to keep her safe, the people she supposed to feel comfortable going to for help when some monster out there does hurt her and now they are the monsters in her eyes it’s just wrong on so many levels I’m appalled I actually want to call them…. you guys should be ashamed of yourself I know you’re probably reading this shame shame shame to think in this day and age the ignorance that runs through our system and all departments that were set up to keep us safe and feel secure is worse than on the streets. They conceal their idenity under the ruse of being concerned and helpful while doing more damage than a anyone could because our trust is stripped and you don’t know where to turn after that.Im rambling and I apologise Im am just boiling over what hapoened to that poor child. I am 49 and I have never gotten over what happened to me because I also was abused by the system I went to for help. That was in the 80s. I hope that police department somehow reads this post. For them I say I hope you never have to go through what you put that child through and I hope you get the same amount of rest as that poor child gets for the rest of her life. Just curious was it more exciting for you all to molest that little girl knowing no one could stop you….did it give you a power trip? You should not be allowed around children ever again and you should also be put in some kind of registry so you can NEVER work with children AGAIN!!!! SHAME!

  3. imagine if Mountain View police investigated the rapes of women this way, but forcing the complainants down and taking off their pants to see if they had really been raped … maybe to the men who run this police department, that’s OK? Are there any women in the city administration who are supporting this way of investigating sex assaults?

  4. First off i dont know what people want. First they say they never catch the rapist due to them not doing enough or not catching it on time. If the teacher heard the little girl say that then they should of investigated it first with talking to her at school or just absorving her behavior at school by just sitting back watching her and watching when they drop her off at school how she looks what kind of behavior is going on with the parent when they drop her off then again when they pik her up. Then just sit in the class for a day or two to watch her and then maybe ask her questions if they need to well the teacher is present. Then contact the parent about the stuff they heard her say and why they need to investigate it more further if they need to. Why is this not already the procedures they got going on. Its very simple not to have to do it like this or to figure out the better ways to go about it so that the child also dont get trained to lie either. I dont got not degree in any of this but im sure i could tell them every way i think they could catch a monster who dares to molest or abuse there own child or step child or foster child.

    • My concern here is how the police chose to investigate the teacher’s report. Of course the police should have investigated, but it’s absurd for a bunch of officers to push their way into her home and forcibly remove her clothing so an ambulance driver can poke around her private parts. I don’t understand why the MVPD has such a barbaric procedure. I guess the police chief and city council prefer doing things this way, but I would think the better policy is to have the girl taken to a hospital for an examination by a doctor. The MVPD procedure here is troubling—no wonder she had nightmares!!!

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