In mid-January, Mary Masson, 29, was acquitted on charges of making false sexual abuse charges against her former husband in one of the more bizarre such cases.
In 2002, Masson left her husband, Jean-Yves Masson. She then told her sister-in-law and police that in 1999 she discovered a videotape that her then-fiancee had made of him sexual abusing their daughter. She claimed that she had forced her fiance to write a confession to that effect, and wrapped the confession around the videotape which she then placed in an attic.
Police doubted her story almost from the moment she said it, finding it difficult to believe that Mary would marry Jean-Yves and repeatedly leave him alone with their daughter if the claim were true. When police searched the attic, they found no tape and after an investigation charged Mary Masson with making a false accusation.
Most damning was Mary’s statement to police that she discovered the videotape while she was on the phone with a friend. According to Mary, she had screamed while on the phone to her friend and later met with her to discuss the videotape.
But the friend testified that the phone conversation never took place and that Mary Masson never told her about any video showing Mary’s fiance sexually abusing the daughter. The friend testified that she too had left her child alone with Jean-Yves and said,
I would never be so desperate as to leave my daughter with someone I suspected (of child abuse). . . . I don’t recall any incident where she screamed like a blood-curdling scream. It’s not something I would have ever forgotten.
In acquitting Mary Masson, Justice Russell Merredew said,
Notwithstanding Det. James Davies’ healthy skepticism and not without skepticism in my own mind, I cannot find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Not guilty of mischief. Sean McKibbon, Ottawa Sun, January 15, 2004.
Former Friend Denies Hearing Of Sex Video. Sean McKibbon, Ottawa Sun, November 14, 2003.
Cops Questioned Sex-Abuse Accusation. Sean McKibbon, Ottawa Sun, November 13, 2003.