May 16, 2011 3:01 PM GMT
This is disturbing. While I fully sympathize with those who are molested, the full force of the law should be applied to those who make and in this case abet false accusations.
Sean Lanigan’s nightmare began in January 2010, when the principal at Centre Ridge Elementary School pulled him out of the physical education class he was teaching and quietly walked him into an interrogation with two Fairfax County police detectives.
He had no warning that a 12-year-old girl at the Centreville school had accused him of groping and molesting her in the gym.
The girl, angry at Lanigan about something else entirely, had made the whole thing up. But her accusations launched a soul-sapping rollercoaster ride that still hasn’t ended.
“Emotionally, a part of me has died inside,” Lanigan said in a recent interview. “I’m physically and mentally exhausted all the time, how the whole process has been dragged out to this date. It certainly has affected the quality of life for me and my family at home.”
Lanigan remains in limbo, nearly a year after a jury’s acquittal. The Fairfax School District transferred him from Centre Ridge in a move that ultimately forced his wife to quit her job. School officials are now transferring him again. And the district has refused to pay his $125,000 in legal fees, even though Virginia law allows reimbursement for employees who are cleared of wrongdoing on the job.