Arkansas Child Investigator Fabricates Abuse Reports
November 8, 2016 (Fault Lines) — What’s a civilian investigator, freshly minted by Arkansas’ State Police “Crimes Against Children” Division, to do when no incidents of abuse or neglect are to be found? What if that investigator got a report and just knew in her heart of hearts the son of a bitch listed in the report beat a kid but didn’t have the energy to actually go out and investigate the case? For Whitney Adams, the answer was simple. Just make shit up, and have the accused prove their innocence in court.
A civilian investigator with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division is accused of fabricating reports in 43 cases in Benton and Washington counties, according to court documents.
Whitney Loren Adams, 49, was arrested Oct. 27 in connection with tampering with a public record, a Class D felony punishable with up to six years in prison.
The statute regarding “tampering with a public record” criminalizes making “a false entry in” or “falsely [altering]” any public record. If the altered record is a “court record,” then it’s actually a Class C felony. What information did Whitney Adams make up that has her jobless and under criminal investigation? Severe abuse and sexual assault are just the tip of the iceberg.
In one case, Adams documented a “face to face” interview with a child allegedly burned on a stove in his home. That never happened. Police reports would later indicate a Benton County detective made telephone contact with the child. Another case involved the alleged sexual assault of a five-year-old when the child was three. Adams reported meeting with the child and his father in their home. When questioned about this case, Adams recanted her original story and added she “did not do any interviews with the victim, witnesses or suspects.
This is all problematic, according to Arkansas attorney Shane Wilkinson, because investigators like Adams are oftentimes a sort of first responder for police when allegations of abuse and neglect reach the necessary authorities. They are many times the first to question the children and alleged abusers, file reports, and determine whether accusations are “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.” A false report documented by an investigator like Whitney Adams could have a great impact on whether charges are brought against individuals accused of abuse or neglect.
Worse still, if accusations are found “substantiated,” the accused goes on a registry similar to one previously discussed at Fault Lines. There’s no need for a finding of guilt or innocence. If the report is “substantiated,” you lose your shot at ever working with children again. Those claims Whitney Adams substantiated and the accused placed on Arkansas’ juvenile “precrime” registry deserve another look, since there’s a good chance each is based on errors, half-truths, or outright lies.
As of publication, forty-three of the 149 cases assigned to Whitney Adams since her hiring by the Arkansas State Police demonstrably contain fabricated information. Those are forty-three cases with families destroyed, jobs lost, and lives forever changed, since Whitney Adams carried with her the gravity of the Arkansas State Police. With almost one-third of Adams’ cases under scrutiny for fiction and misrepresentations, the just and right thing to do would be re-open each of the 149 cases Adams worked.
Unfortunately, since this is a government agent in the employ of the Arkansas State Police, it’s unlikely how many of those cases will be re-examined. Fault Lines readers already know how tiresome it is for prosecutors to admit the wrongdoings of police. Child protective services workers aren’t that much harder to protect. And with no formal charges filed as of this post’s publication, it’s questionable whether Adams will ever see punishment for her actions.
In a statement issued by Arkansas State Police Spokesman Bill Sadler, the folks with the badges and guns have safely distanced themselves from Adams. Sadler lets the good people of Arkansas know Whitney Adams’ cases were audited, she’s under investigation, and the children who were the subjects of her investigations are “safe.” There’s no word as to whether the families Whitney Adams destroyed with her lies are safe, whether there will be justice for those who suffered from her fabrications, or whether Adams will even see a day of jail.
The eyes of every juvenile justice practitioner are on Arkansas and the fate of Whitney Adams. If she walks without as much as a potential indictment, it shows that Arkansas’ police are more concerned with protecting the liars in their ranks tapped to “protect children” than actually seeking justice. If Adams’ cases with fabricated evidence remain closed, then Arkansas sends a message to its population that the lies of state agents mean more than the truth. Regardless, Whitney Adams’ lies, sponsored by the Arkansas State Police, give those who would stick their heads in the sand regarding the systemic pattern of lies, misconduct, and worse perpetuated by those charged to protect our children one less reason to do so.
In the meantime, it’s safe to say that in Arkansas, the most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m with the Crimes Against Children Division, and I’m here to help.”