Witch Hunt Horror: A Family Falsely Accused of Child Abuse
Julian Wendrow paced in his cell.
Three steps one way. Turn. Three steps the other way.
Four to eight hours a day, he walked back and forth in his windowless cell in the Oakland County Jail, a first-time prisoner accused of raping his autistic daughter.
Wendrow spent 74 of his 80 days in jail in the one-man cell. He saw almost none of the winter of 2008, the season that would change the West Bloomfield father’s life.
He and his wife, Thal Wendrow, were seemingly ordinary middle-class parents deeply involved in their children’s lives — until the accusations prompted a prosecution that a federal judge later described as a “runaway train.”
Thal spent five days in jail, accused of ignoring the abuse. Their children — a severely disabled teen girl and a mildly autistic boy — were put in separate juvenile homes and kept apart from their parents for 106 days.
The ordeal didn’t end when it was clear that the girl wasn’t communicating, after all. It didn’t end when a sexual assault exam found no proof of abuse. And it didn’t end when a prosecution witness insisted the abuse never happened.