Two plainclothes detectives showed up tonight at our door. They claimed that a lewd picture had been sent from one of our cellphones to another person. We truthfully told them we knew nothing about it. They asked very few questions, mostly to confirm our identity, said "no one's in trouble but no-one should be sending stuff like this" and left. What should we do/expect now? Details inside. (Ontario, CA)
posted by anonymous to law & government (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hi guys. I am shaken but will try my best to leave emotion out of this. For context, we recently emigrated to Canada from a very troubled country in the "global south", and although I know better than to talk to the police without a lawyer present, I am quite terrified of police/authority due to terrible experiences in my previous country (sth like PTSD i guess) -- so when they showed up out of the blue at our home I just slipped back into "just answer their questions and they'll go" mode. I don't think I said anything that could hurt my family, hope that's the case.
So here are the facts: An hour or two after sunset our bell rang. Two plainclothes cops identified themselves. They asked if anyone at home had a certain phone number. In my state of mind I couldn't remember so they called it -- and one of our children's phones rang. (Let's call our kid "Pat". Pat's a minor btw). They then said that a naked picture had been sent from Pat's phone to a 3rd party. In my stupor I didn't ask what was their evidence for this, I only thought of asking the accuser's age; they told me it was an adult. I then went through Pat's phone's messages in front of them, and there was no such message there. And, the date/time they gave for the message was at a time when Pat was home with us (not long ago). After we expressed our surprise, and corroborated a few details such as our names, they said something to the effect of "no-one is in trouble, but Pat shouldn't be sending stuff like that k"? I said "I don't know who sent what, or what's going on but I'll try to find out, here's my card and can I please have yours". We got their card, and they left. After a quick google their identity checks out as local cops.
Some more data:
* They said the nude picture did not have a face, and that the genitals in the picture were a different gender from Pat's
* Naturally we had a nice long chat with Pat after they left, who swears s/he never sent anything. I am an eternal skeptic, but it's hard not to believe Pat especially because s/he was with us at the time of the message. Plus Pat's even a different gender.
* BUT! Pat told us something weird had happened on the morning after the purported picture was sent: An unknown number started texting Pat, asking "who is this". When Pat refused to identify themselves this person called, and when Pat didn't answer they left an expletive-laden voicemail. Unfortunately this VM msg is lost, but Pat's friend also listened to it. Pat is sorry about not telling us about this earlier, but s/he just blew this off as some prank caller and didn't think much of it.
* The (limited) message logs available at the cellphone provider's website support Pat's version of the facts.
* We are not yet citizens and plan to apply for citizenship shortly, which makes this accusation all the more concerning.
* Now what? We haven't been charged, but should we expect charges to be laid anytime soon?
* Should we go to the police station and find out what's going on, and maybe make a statement for the record? More specifically, should we go and ask them to show us their evidence?
* Or, should we simply lawyer up? Although no one has been charged yet, my gut tells me to keep expecting the unexpected and to prepare for the worst.
* In your experience, what do you think is going on? I find this to be a bizarre situation: if they had hard evidence, they surely would've laid charges, right? Because if they only have an accusation with no proof, why bother driving out to someone's home? Or (god i hope not) does it sound like they're putting a case together and they just came to confirm a few details?
* In a worst-case scenario, could this have any effect on our future citizenship application? After the hell we went through in our previous country, I think I can speak for all of us when I say I can't imagine a worst fate than being sent back.
As you can imagine, this is very stressful. Not being citizens yet makes us feel like we're standing on super shaky ground. I don't even know if sending nudies is a serious enough crime to send either of us back home (which means we would all go back home, since we're all we've got). To top this off, we can't really afford a lawyer atm, we were finally feeling at ease in our new country and recently put our savings towards a mortgage down payment.
Thanks for reading. Apologies if this was overly long. I'm just shaken since we went through a lot escaping our previous country, and I just want my family to feel safe in their new home. We've been nothing but model citizens in our new home, and this situation is simply surreal.
I've set up the following email in case you want to get in touch with me directly: email@example.com. I'll also try and answer any questions you post on this thread via the contact form. (Thanks mods btw for accomodating anonymous questions, and apologies in advance for any inconveniences.)
Thank you all.