Despite Reporting Child Abuse, Kingfisher Dad Charged by Ambitious DA for Failure to Report Child Abuse…
2:22 PM EDT on November 1, 2023
Unless someone does something really-really-really-really stupid or ultra-ultra-ultra-ultra dumb, I, for the most part, agree with the general sentiments of the Internet that victim blaming is bad.
Sure, you might be tempted to say something like “That’s why you should always lock your car door” to your neighbor after a hack thief pilfers through their unlocked car at night or “That’s why you shouldn’t play with fireworks” after a friend blows his thumb off with an M80, but no matter how at fault or directly responsible the victim is for what happened to them, you should never blame them for it, primarily because angry people on the Internet say you shouldn’t.
That logic holds doubly true when the people truly are innocent victims, like – for example – the father of a kid who was beaten and abused at school thanks to sicko football coaches and then reported it to school officials.
Apparently, Mike Fields – the soon-to-be former DA for a hodgepodge of counties in north and central Oklahoma – doesn’t understand that simple logic.
A few weeks ago, Fields charged a trio of Kingfisher High School officials – the head football coach, an assistant coach, and a school board member – with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors related to the hazing and abuse scandal that’s divided the community into two camps – those tough, bootstrap pullin' good ole’ boys who are fine with child abuse as long as it involves sports and those who aren’t.
He also charged the victim’s dad for failure to report child abuse or neglect, despite the fact that the victims did report child abuse.
Via a Rollin’ Nolan Clay article in The Oklahoman:
The father of a bullied Kingfisher football player complained to a lot of school officials after his son finally admitted to being abused.
Justin Mecklenburg spoke to the high school principal, three school board members, a new superintendent and the head coach.
He just didn't tell the police or call the hotline at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
For not making that hotline call, he was charged Oct. 17 with a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.
Yep, that’s right!
The DA whose primary role is to enforce criminal laws and ensure that justice is served chose to charge the father of an abuse victim who reported it on a minor technicality. Is this a “Is This A Great State Or What!?!”
“But Patrick! Even though the dad notified local school officials about the abuse and made the info public, he didn’t follow an obscure law and call a 1-800-Number! Laws are laws, justice is blind, and football is a warrior’s game and hazing builds friendships and fellowship. He deserves to be charged!”
Bullshit. Selective enforcement of laws is a Hallmark of the Oklahoma criminal justice system, and I guess this kind of proves that.
More than likely, Fields is buddies with all the good ole country boys who think overseeing a systematic culture of abuse in a football program is fine because it makes boys “tougher.”
By punishing the dad who reported – or as the good ole boys call it… snitched – he’ll score brownie points with the good ole’ boys, prevent future parents from reporting abuse, and most importantly, emerge as a frontrunner to be our state’s next DA:
Three days after filing the case, Mike Fields sent a letter to the governor announcing he is stepping down Jan. 1 to begin "a new journey."
Fields has been the district attorney of Blaine, Canadian, Garfield, Grant and Kingfisher counties since 2011. The Republican is expected to run for attorney general if the current attorney general, Gentner Drummond, runs for governor in 2026 rather than reelection.
This would be a good time to remind AG Drummond that although “Governor” looks better on a business card than “Attorney General”, in many ways, the Office of The Attorney General is just as powerful as that of the Governor. In fact, it’s probably the better gig. Maybe Gent should set his ambitions aside and take the better gig. It’s not a bad idea.
Anyway, The Oklahoman has more details about the case, the charges, and just how vague and stupid the statute that allows DAs to arbitrarily charge people for not reporting child abuse, even when they do report child abuse.
In the meantime, please remember to not blame a victim when bad things happen to them. Unless, of course, they’re a DA whose car got egged because he charged a dad for failure to report child abuse even though the dad had the courage to take on a town and football program to report child abuse. Then it’s okay.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.