We have come to the end of this discussion regarding the Linda Wiegand case, and, again, I will not say whether I think either Linda or her ex husband, Tom, were guilty of anything, because I simply do not know and cannot be sure.
In these past years experiencing my own abusive marriage and high conflict divorce and those of the friends I have met along the way, I have seen how perfectly innocent people can end up being unfairly accused and unjustly condemned. Even though the evidence looks powerful, just seeing it from a different angle, if you just knew about the angle, could lead you to understand the innocence or guilt of a person in an entirely different way.
In divorce, particularly in Connecticut, with so many bright and capable divorce lawyers, mental health and financial experts, you just can't tell what is going on, and as more years go by and more reports get filed and more testimony comes to the forefront, knowing what is going on becomes more and more difficult.
It is more difficult when Judges see their position as a bully pulpit from which to intimidate litigants and mold social policy rather than as a forum where skilled practitioners can sift through the evidence in order to determine what is the truth for the good of all.
Linda Wiegand was bullied into silence.
That does not add up to justice for anyone. It doesn't clear Tom Wilkinson's name and it doesn't bring resolution to what the boys were experiencing.
It is a disgrace to the State of Connecticut.
Ultimately, divorce and custody matters are supposed to be conducted in a manner that benefits the best interests of the children. My heart goes out to these little boys who were both 4 and 6 years old at the time this tragic situation began. They lost their family, then they lost their mother, and while they ended up in the custody of the father/stepfather, they ended up with a father who must have been severely compromised in his ability to love them absolutely and parent. With one of the children, Jon, Tom Wilkinson wasn't even biologically his parent. How ridiculous is that!
In addition to all this, it is mind boggling to think of over a period of years all the hours and hours of time these two boys spent being interrogated about the sexual abuse they allegedly experienced and being expected to testify in court about it. Was it "The Children's Hour"? Was it another "Crucible"? Were they faking it all? Was it the truth, or what they thought was the truth? They have grown up now and maybe one day they will be able to tell us, to tell us what it was like, and whether they understood the impact their testimony would have not only on their parents but on the many, many supporters they had across the country.
There is a tremendous sadness here regarding childhood lost, either through genuine sexual abuse or through repeatedly having to describe abuse that did not happen.
I am aware of the financial damage that occurred here also. Both Linda Wiegand and Tom Wilkinson had to spend substantial sums of money in order to pursue their cases. The $100,000 in reward money that Tom Wilkinson shelled out is gone now--that's at least two years of a private college education. Apparently, money like that flowed through both Tom Wilkinson and Linda Wiegand's bank accounts. It was not inconsiderable and could have been used for a better purpose.
No matter what the outcome, both Tom Wilkinson and Linda Wiegand lost this case. No matter that Tom Wilkinson ended up with the children, people like me will always wonder, "What did he do?" There is a reason why the bible has "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness" as one of the ten commandments; that is, because destroying a person's reputation is just like murder. It kills the soul.
As for Linda Wiegand, she lost her children. What more is there to say? There is sufficient sadness to go around.
For the rest of us, there is the increased difficulty when bringing up the subject of abuse in the family court system. If you are a middle to upper middle class woman undergoing a divorce in the Connecticut Family Court system, I warn you, don't ever bring up the subject of abuse to the court system, because that will be your first step towards losing your children. You will be ridiculed. You will be belittled. You will be labeled as insane. You will be labeled as vindictive. In some ways, you will have less power divorcing and divorced than you would have remaining with the abuse and staying married. So think twice before you make any kinds of moves.
The Linda Wiegand case was and remains a very unfortunate case, but at least we know what we are up against. And in saying this, I am not changing my stand. I still don't know if Tom Wilkinson is guilty or not, but seeing how the Court system handled this case so poorly, you've got to know that other cases are going to be handled just as badly, because from what I'm hearing out there it doesn't look as if much has changed.
Change. That's an interesting word. What do you say, people, do you want the system to change for the better? Do you want to be part of that change? Let us know!