Nightmares and Secrets: The Real Story of the 1984 Child Sexual Abuse Scandal in Jordan, Minnesota
by: Tom Dubbe, Ph.D
Published by: Memorial Press
Reviewed by Barbara Broom
In Nightmares and Secrets, author Tom Dubbe reports on what was reported--about what it was like for his hometown of Jordan, Minnesota.
A sleepy little Minnesota town becomes part of every-day news headlines locally and nationwide. A stigma from those days remains deep in some people's subconscious. Ask most Minnesotans if they remember, and they do.
What did happen? In October 1983 a mother reported that the man (friend's boyfriend) babysitting her children had molested them. He is 26-year-old James Rud, repeat pedophile whose arrest launched 23 more arrests--and the removal of 100 children from their homes.
The author, who visited Rud in prison, states that once Rud was arrested he was given a difficult choice by Minnesota's first woman county attorney, Kathleen Morris. Morris suggested: Name names and we'll go easier on you.
This "name names" seemed to be the theme throughout this nightmare. Rud could say that he saw (a man, woman or couple) at a sex party, and when they came home, authorities arrested them (and removed their children, if both were arrested).
While in foster care, these children were often told: If you say your parent abused you, they won't have to go to jail but get the treatment they need. So--the children said what the authorities wanted, believing they were helping. These lies, even 21 years later, have littered the landscape with emotionally damaged children, now in their 30s. They were victimized by the system.
It is every parent's nightmare to be falsely charged. How could this happen? Was Scott County Attorney Kathleen Morris power hungry? Did she decide that child abusers were behind every door? Did she hold power over the sheriff's department and local police? Did she have power over the judge? How could people be arrested and charged with just one person pointing a finger at them?
Residents of that community were afraid to touch or discipline their children. People were afraid to talk to each other fearing the next arrest. In all 24 people were arrested, including Rud's parents. Only one, James Rud confessed and was sentenced to 40 years. Two people went to trial and found not guilty of all charges. After the trial, Kathleen Morris dismissed all criminal charges against 21 defendants in October 1984.
How and why did this happen without proper investigation? Why were accusations without substantiation made? Families were destroyed without reason. Reputations were tarnished forever. Jobs were lost, marriages dissolved.
In his 20 years of research, Dubbe takes a compassionate look at his hometown and the mindset that led to this travesty of justice.
Armchair Interviews says: If you want to know the real story of the shocking hysteria in Jordan in 1984, this is the book to read.
Available directly from author at http://www.tomdubbe.com/
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