Caught in the Gray Area of a Child-Abuser Database
“Dear future son,” the North Texas father wrote last year in a prospective adoption letter filled with promises of family bike rides and road trips. “I am a single dad who adopted a middle school boy in 2008. Now we are looking for one more kid so he will have a brother.”
But the father, James, never got custody of a second child. Instead, he received a phone call from a child placement agency with shocking news: He would not be allowed to adopt again because his son, who was sexually abused and badly beaten by his biological parents, is listed on a state registry of people who abuse children.
State investigators were required to put the boy into the database after finding evidence that when he was 10, he had fondled two young children. Now 15, the boy said he will not ever get to have a brother. And what if his friends at school or church find out he is on this list? Unthinkable. “We don’t need some tattletale list, and we certainly don’t need abused children on there,” said James, who is being identified by his first name to protect his son’s identity. The Texas Tribune does not identify victims of sexual abuse.