Ascension Parish DA Screws up a Child Abuse Case..and a 13 year old girl dies

by Robert Nagle on 8/31/2008

in Legal,Right and Wrong

Last week, I made a post about the 13 year old girl named Megan Leigh Crouch who committed suicide. Here is the video that the mother made about her:

Apparently Megan Crouch’s mother has made a website about the injustice surrounding Megan’s case. Apparently, Megan was abused sexually at an early age by her stepdad. Even though the mother reported it to the police in Ascension Parish in Lousiana and even though the girl gave videotaped testimony, and even though the stepdad was arrested, and even though charges were filed, the man was set free after bail was paid by his mother. She writes:

In January 2005 we moved to Kentucky. We decided that we were going to make a fresh start. Megan wanted to put the past behind her and move forward like a normal little girl her age. I agreed but also explained to her that we still had the upcoming trial. She said she understood but until that day she wanted to move forward without having to think about everything in the past. The DA’s office would schedule the trial and we would receive the summons for court only to be told days before the date that it had been canceled. This went on about 5 times. Each time this happened, my little girl was scared to death to face him in court and would work her courage up for it only to be let down again. It was devastating her.

I was told by the courts that I had to let my ex see my youngest daughter because there were no charges against him for her, only my older daughter. I was forced to drive to Louisiana once a month for a two hour supervised visit with my youngest. Of course, I had to take both children to the visitations. I couldn’t leave Megan home alone. She had to endure taking her sister to see HIM! I was also told I had to let him call my house to speak to my youngest regularly. Megan sometimes answered the phone and had to hear his voice. I had no way to stop his calls or visitations. It was silently killing her and I didn’t realize how bad.

In January of 2007 my ex didn’t show to reschedule the next trial date and a bench warrant was put out for him. The police and the DA’s office had his home address, all phone numbers, and his work address. He was never picked up. Instead, he has been walking the streets possibly molesting who knows how many other children.

If this weren’t bad enough, this is how the mother was treated after Megan’s suicide:

My ex called again a few nights later (Robert adds: after the suicide) and told me I was violating a court order by not letting him talk to Regan. When I told him she does not want to talk to him because of what happened to Megan his response was, “Megan didn’t shoot herself because I molested her.” He has accidentally admitted it to me on several occasions by things that he says when he’s angry. After he called, his mother called stating that I was violating a court order. My husband told her that until her sick son was put in jail NO ONE was talking to Regan. Her response was, “There isn’t going to be a trial now, charges will be dropped – Megan is dead!” After she called his sister called screaming that we were being rude to my ex and her mom! HELLO! WHAT DOES SHE EXPECT!?!

I received a letter on the 25th of July regarding an upcoming “Status Trial” for August 28th at 9am. I took off work and drove down to Louisiana only to find out they had sent me the wrong papers. It was for another man with the same name. I sat in court for two hours to find this out. I met with the prosecutor on my case while I was there and found out that the bench warrant that was supposed to have been issued in January of 07 had NEVER been signed by the judge before it was filed with the court house. Another mistake made regarding the whole situation. Maybe if things had been done right from the beginning and my ex had been forced to stand trial within a reasonable amount of time then my daughter might still be here. I truly believe she needed closure and needed to see him go to jail for what he did. Waiting so long for justice silently destroyed her.

Personal Note: I stumbled upon this youtube video quite by accident and another video by one of Megan’s friends. It is a shocking video to see because the presentation of facts is so straightforward. I have looked very skeptically at this video (as I do all Youtube videos claiming to be true). The basic facts check out about Megan’s death check out (see this obituary and this obituary). Also, I have exchanged a few emails with the mother, who seems credible and reasonable (as reasonable as you’re going to find under the circumstances). I have not talked with her nor have I met her, nor have I verified that these charges did occur nor have I made an attempt to hear the other side of the story. But it’s hard to believe a person would go to all this trouble to stage this kind of story. This story sounds very credible.

Here is the problem. Megan’s mom is predictably outraged by how the DA office refused to prosecute the child abuser. She is outraged that the DA office kept telling Megan that the trial would come, and then it never did. Based on the mother’s account of events, Ascension Parish’s DA office deserves a huge amount of blame for the hell they put the daughter (and her family through).

Once again, we are presented with these questions: a Louisiana man is charged with sexual abuse of a child. Why has it taken 4 years for this case to go to trial? Why should he have the right to see the other daughter (when there are allegations he abused her as well). Why is this man still free?
13 year old girl who committed suicide in June 2008

See also: my thoughts on the tragedies of dying young.

Sept 1 Update: Apparently, the latest video names the person accused of child abuse. The person’s name is: Danny Dewayne Wallice

April 18, 2009 Update. Unfortunately  I did not update with the latest news. Apparently, the mother’s video has now been removed from Youtube, and in December, 2008, the  judge refused to allow  the videotaped evidence Megan gave into the trial.   When I last heard from the mother, she did not know if the DA’s office would be able to continue with the trial.  I have had a brief email exchange with the mother, but nothing I can report here. Unfortunately, this may turn out to be one of those stories that never really ends; it’s simply a neglected case which the justice system didn’t get to.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly Rathbone April 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I only found out about this a few days ago and I found this on a google search.

Megan’s mother and I were best friends when we were in our early 20s. We lost touch over the years, but she was pregnant with Megan when I was pregnant with my older son. I saw her picture on the ultrasound while still in her mama’s womb. This is heartbreaking to me, and if Megan’s mom ever reads this, I want her to know I love her like I always did, and I’m so sorry I wasn’t around…I had no idea. And now I sit with a broken heart.

Bubba Fontenot December 22, 2009 at 5:26 am

By the way, yes, the whole story is true. He is dead if I ever see him again!! I love you Megan..RIP

Shannon Allen February 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

Tragic, and my heart goes out all those left in such pain. I know my words can do little (probably nothing) to afford any comfort.

I can share with you, that this same District Attorney’s Office had no problem taking me to court twice – following my taking a photo of one of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s cars on the road with no license plates. I was accused of “resisting an officer” and they relentlessly persued that issue for over twenty months.

I suppose you can see where their priorities lie, the case you speak of obviously provided no one here in the system any revenue – and after all, is that not their real job, to make money – not seek justice?

So Tragic.

Shannon

angela February 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have 2 daughters and can’t even imagine the absolutely indescribable loss and pain you feel. I can relate in a way because this is the same DA ‘s office that dropped 2 felonies against the father of my child after he held me, our child and my dog hostage by holding a shotgun to my head and threatening to kill all of us. This incident went on for hrs. at the beginning of 2010. It was definitely the most horrific night of my life…….one that we’ll be traumatized from forever. He also only got unsupervised probation for 2 mo. and his charges were dropped to a misdemeanor of domestic violence. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!

Robert Nagle February 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Angela, thank you for sharing your story on my blog.

Your story is terrible, and I’m sorry you had to go through it. I wish
it were not so easy for people to have access to guns in their house. It
always aggravates domestic disturbances and rarely protects you against
burglars.

Lately I’ve seen many instances of just plain incompetence in local
government; you’re almost surprised when the government actually does
what it’s supposed to.

Of course, in your case, you’re talking about personal safety and crime;
that’s a lot different from the city or state losing paperwork or not
returning your call.

It’s probably easy in your case to get cynical; let’s hope you manage to
find a way to deal with it (and have supportive friends and family).
Nobody should have to go through what you went through.

By the way, about that other case I wrote about, the mother seemed very
level-headed and responsible; despite the loss of her daughter and the
frustrations with the justice system, I feel sure she will deal with it;
in a way I admire her. Her biggest frustration when I was communicating
with her was that nobody was really listening to her problems — even
though it was outrageous on the face of it.

nicole April 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

I am so disgusted with the apso…..I too am awaiting their decision to arrest my daughters father, who also molested her just over a year ago, weeks after her 13th birthday. The dads family are longtime residents of the parish and have business and personal dealings with the clerk of courts office, which i suspect is ONE of the reasons he still has not been arrested. Evidence: Forensic interview in which the initial detective stated there was NO DOUBT IN HIS MIND that something occurred, a laptop that she got (from him) in which she journaled “today my dad tried to have sex with me, which was password protected and never at my house, the testimony of her best friend and the mother, to whom she initially confided, a lie detector test which we were forced to pay for that validated WITH FLYING COLORS her story (while his was inconclusive), a validated report by OCS, a court ordered evaluation which absolutely affirms her, a hair analysis test (because he and his hillbilly family have accused her of lying/being on drugs (it was negative), and still he is not arrested. We have gone through the whole civil trial and she is going on forced visitation supervised by his parents, who not only hate me and always have but continue to tell my daughter she is lying. They continually violate the terms of visititation without consequence. As I type I am preparing to call the DAs office AGAIN, since they did have it but sent it back to the cops saying “If you want to arrest we’ll prosecute”. I tried calling the attorney general but found they only come in to investigate if the cops have the decency to recuse themselves. As of Friday the sheriff, the lead investigator, and 2 other superiors met to decide what to do with the case, they decided to send it back to the DA, supposedly requesting a grand jury, which we begged for months ago. My parents are retired police officers in a neighboring town, Im quite familiar with whats SUPPOSED to happen. My daughter and I have been seeing a therapist since she told me about it, a week into this past summer. She hid it from me for 7 months because she was scared to tell. It was her best friends mom who got her to tell me, and thank god but i wish i had known soon as it happened. Im very stubborn and will not accept some small town beauracratic bullshit to stop the prosecution of this sick SOB, who also raped his own sister twice when they were teens, and according to her (who i forced to be one of the supervisors because i knew SHE would believe my daughter) SHE had been dealing with his crap since SHE was 4. Every one Ive spoken with (multiple cops, the da from a neighboring town, therapists) all say he should have been arrested 9months ago. Wish us luck, we’ll take any prayers, and any advice would be awesome.

sherri ayres June 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I feel very sorry for this mother and her daughter and what they had to go through. But that the DA in caddo did the same thing to me. He decided that since some of the information disappeared from child protection and other things that he didn’t want to go to court unless he could verify a win.

Rebecca S August 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm

This is happening right now to my sister and her 3 girls ages, (the twins) age 5 and the youngest, age 3. My sister left her abuser and came home to Colorado only to be forced back to Louisiana by a judges order! My sister has video proving his abuse against her, but the judge didn’t allow it and order my sister to allow him visitations. At the time she wasn’t worried about the girls yet. His abuse was aimed at her. Not long after he got visitations, my nieces behavior change drastically. They were withdrawn, slept a lot and even became aggressive. Then one night my sister called crying, she was taking her girls to the ER, they called CPS and video taped my niece as they questioned her. It seemed like they were going to help. But time dragged and the judge did not change the visitation court order. My sister was told by a judge to hand her girls over to him or face jail time and lose custody to him! This is a continuing nightmare for them. They have to live in it and the judge could careless! I don’t know what to do. I have looked high and low for help. It doesn’t exist in Baton Rouge, everything is broken into parishes and it makes it hard to find any kind of help. Can someone get in touch with Megan’s mom. I think she and my sister have a lot to talk about. I bet there are more stories like this in Louisiana. Maybe if enough victims speak out and ban together we could find the justice for these families!!

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