8-year-old never even had been left with babysitter
newspaper columnist has revealed the startling case of an 8-year-old boy who was taken while he was playing outside his Colorado home by police and social workers who then informed his parents what they had done.
The report comes from Denver Post columnist Susan Greene who documented the case of Josh Raykin, who eventually was returned to his parents after being held in county custody for a week with no communication with his parents. At the resolution, Greene reported, a judge simply decided there no reason to believe the allegations of abuse.
The nightmare-inducing experience for the child began when authorities in Arapahoe County “snatched” him following an abuse allegation made by cousins whom the family had not seen for months, since they were placed into foster care because of abuse allegations in their own immediate family.
“The ordeal began while Josh was playing outside one day before dinner in April. A neighbor knocked on the door to tell his dad that police had come to take Josh away,” Greene reported.
His parents, Michael, a courier, and Melanie Raykin, a hairstylist, work extra hours to send him to Montclair Academy and give him advantages they didn’t have growing up in the U.S.S.R.
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“He means everything to us,” Michael told Greene.
“But on the sidewalk late that day in April, deputies wouldn’t let him go near the son whom the county suspected Raykin of molesting in ways too intimate to be described in these pages,” Greene said.
“They blew my mind. I didn’t know what to say,” said Michael.
“Mother, father and son were forced to sit on their curb as neighbors watched and whispered, and deputies waited for a case worker to arrive. Josh, complaining he was hungry and cold, started hyperventilating,” Greene wrote. “Once the social worker came two hours later, he wouldn’t release the boy to his aunt nearby, nor tell the Raykins where he was taking Josh. Instead, he told Melanie to pack a bag for the boy she had never once left once with a sitter.”
The columnist reported the child spent a week with a foster family who “took away the Pokemon toothbrush and stuffed toys that his mom had packed for him. They shut off his shower after five minutes. And most days, he says, they made him wash toilets with a washcloth.”
In the meantime, the parents endured a sleepless week, made telephone calls and met with lawyers.
“Human Services refused to allow them even one phone call to tell their only child they loved him, were fighting for him and would come for him soon,” Green wrote.
“Melanie says social workers kept pushing her to say her husband molested their son, insinuating that such an admission would set Josh free. They suggested that Josh having once kissed his cousins on the lips – as is the norm in his parents’ culture – was a sign that he had been molested. As social workers saw it, Michael’s habit of buying his son toys and taking him to the movies was ‘grooming’ to cover up sexual abuse,” the columnist wrote.
Eventually, Michael passed a lie-detector test, a sheriff’s investigator rallied to his side and a judge concluded “there is not reason to believe” any allegations.
The county declined to comment on the case for Greene.
“We only remove the child from the home when we believe or know to be true that staying in the home is not in the best interest of the child,” said county spokeswoman Nichole Parmelly.
But his parents report now, two months later, Josh continues to have nightmares.
“We live, we work, we’re quiet, we pay taxes. We came from such a hard world to be free in a country where, just like this,” his mom, snapping her fingers, told Greene, “they can grab your kid away from you right off your street.”