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Man Wants to Change Law For Interrogating Children

November 18, 2004  | 

A father whose 13-year-old son was charged with sexual assault after a more than two-hour interrogation says the law is wrong to allow police officers to do so without first calling a child’s parents.

The law requires police to contact the parents of children 11 or younger before questioning them, but not for children age 12 and older.

Rev. Paul Stoot, the father challenging the law, stands by his son and says he believes the boy wasn’t guilty and only confessed to get out of the interrogation room, not fully understanding the situation. The boy was charged with child molestation.

“I felt violated. I felt sick to my stomach,” Stoot said. He is a pastor at Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in south Everett, Washington.

Michael Andrews, the lawyer who will represent Stoot’s son, says he doesn’t believe it would hinder law enforcement to require that police notify parents before questioning children.

But John Stansell, a deputy prosecutor at Everett’s Denney Juvenile Justice Center, disagrees. “I think [the police] would see it as quite an impediment to investigating juvenile cases,” he says.

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