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New Jersey

January 27, 2009
Daughter Spared Repeat Physical Exam

Sixteen-year old Helen (named changed to protect privacy) felt humiliated when she was subjected to a degrading physical examination by multiple people after an anonymous report of abuse.

When a second anonymous report was called in only a few months later, she put her foot down. She refused to go through that again. Her parents, members of Home School Legal Defense Association in South Jersey, called HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff for help.

Woodruff explained to the social worker and her supervisor that Helen had a right to refuse to submit to another physical exam because the report was anonymous, and not entitled to belief, and also because the exam just a few months before had confirmed she was not the victim of abuse.

The social workers involved their lawyer and threatened to take the family to court to get an order forcing Helen to submit to an exam. Woodruff sent the social workers a detailed memorandum outlining Helen’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, and lined up a New Jersey attorney in case the social workers made good on their threat.

Helen agreed to an interview with a doctor, reciting again that she was not the victim of any sort of abuse. A few months later, the social workers closed their file and cleared the family of all charges—without another physical exam.