A settlement has been reached in a wrongful-arrest lawsuit involving the West Bloomfield Police Department and a local man previously accused of sexually assaulting his daughter.
Deborah L. Gordon, an attorney for Thal Flam and Julian Wendrow, said that the family has settled with West Bloomfield Township and its insurance carrier for $1.8 million dollars.
Thal Flam Wendrow was arrested more than three years ago after being accused of raping his autistic daughter. He served jail time before the case was dropped in March 2008.
His wife, Julian, also faced charges after she was accused of standing by while the alleged assaults occurred.
The main evidence in the case was a statement from the couple’s daughter — who is now 14 and cannot speak — through the help of a Walled Lake Consolidated School District teacher’s aide alleging that since age 7, her father raped her and her mother did nothing. The statement reportedly was produced by the girl on a keyboard with assistance from the teacher’s aide.
No evidence of abuse was ever found through a physical exam of the girl, and a lack of credible evidence led to the case being dropped.
West Bloomfield police also came under fire for their interrogation of the girl’s 13-year-old brother, which allegedly occurred with no adult representative for the boy. Police allegedly accused the boy of helping his father sexually assault his sister, and reportedly told the boy that there were videos to prove it. Depositions later showed that no videos were ever found.
Johnson said that the family’s suit will continue against the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan Department of Human Services, and the Walled Lake Consolidated School District, where the girl attended school.
She added that in U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Jan. 13, Judge John Corbett O’Meara stated that he would issue a written opinion instead of a ruling regarding the remaining defendants.
Gordon said that after the written opinion is handed down, she will then look to go to trial seeking additional monetary damages for her clients.
The settlement lists as the settling defendants West Bloomfield Township, the West Bloomfield Police Department, Ronald D. Cronin, Carl Fuhs, Joseph Brusseau, Tara Kane, and Daniel O’Malley.