The tragic story of “Dirty Red” – one of the early discussions posted to Y-RIGHTS

The tragic story of "Dirty Red" - one of the early discussions posted to Y-RIGHTS

Date:         Thu, 14 Nov 1991 11:25:00 EDT
Reply-To:     "Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group"
Sender:       "Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group"
From:         Kenneth Udut <KUDUT@HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU>
Subject:      The Tragic Story of Dirty Red - Age 6

From: erik@hpfcso.FC.HP.COM (Erik Lode) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: False accusation beneficial? News article Date: 7 Nov 91 18:52:25 GMT writes:

> Could you please email me the entire article. I think it’s worth the out of > pocket cash to mail it, special delivery, to Catherine Comins at Vassar. > Then again, maybe I’ll send it as a singing telegram!

I tried to email to you, but it bounced. Here it is.

I don’t know if you were serious about wanting the entire article, but here it is in its entirety. (The newspaper may have edited it before printing, though.) I have marked where I have inserted the two sections back into the story.

Excerpt from _The_Denver_Post_ October 27, 1991

Fl[orida] boy, 6, shunned after wrongful arrest Child now an outcast in community

By Deborah P. Work Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — “Dirty Red” is 6 years old and the outcast of his neighborhood, still shunned more than a year after police wrongly accused him of sexually molesting a neighborhood girl.

“Nobody likes me,” says the child, a frail boy with wounded eyes.

“He’s like an old man,” says his mother, Mark Dicks. “He troubles my heart so.”

It is a sunlit morning in south Florida. Dirty Red is at home with his mother. Someone knocks on Mark Dicks’ front door.

She rises from the sofa and cracks the door open, recognizing a woman who lives near Driftwood Terrace, a gritty housing project northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

“Keep your nasty boy away from my daughter,” the woman shouts, her fists pressed deeply into her hips. “I don’t want him playing anywhere near my children.”

Mary Dicks quietly closes the door. “I should be used to it by now.”

Her son’s problems began May 20, 1990, when Broward sheriff’s deputies accused the child of sexually assaulting a little girl by jamming a stick in her vagina.

Mark Dicks recalls the night they arrested her little boy. Police came to her door and told her they were taking her son to the station. He was photographed, fingerprinted and booked.

“He didn’t cry. All he kept saying, in his tiny voice, was, ‘I didn’t do nothing. . . . I didn’t do nothing.'”

“I thought it would be all right. But the next day, he said the kids at school wouldn’t play with him. They told him their mothers said they were not allowed. So I guess he sat alone.”

Mother not informed

Six weeks passed before Mary Dicks learned the charges against her son had been dropped.

[ Start of first deleted section ]

A man named Troy Mosely had been charged with the crime — and Mary Dicks had received a summons to testify in the case.

“That’s how I found out,” she says. Mary Dicks says she called the Broward sheriff’s office to find out what’s going on. A deputy said it wasn’t the sheriff’s job to tell her someone else had been arrested in the crime.

Mary Dicks figures nobody bothered to tell her because she is a poor, black woman trying to raise six kids on her dead husband’s Social Security in the heart of the inner city.

“The police think this is a high-crime area and that we are all poor, black drug addicts,” Mary Dicks says. “They think we don’t have any rights.”

[ End of first deleted section ]

What hurts Mary Dicks most is that nobody ever bothered to tell her little boy how the mistake was made or that they were sorry.

Broward County officials say deputies followed proper procedures in arresting the boy, who was then 5.

Three witnesses had told deputies that Dirty Red had assaulted the neighbor girl: the 7-year-old victim, her 4-year-old brother and another young child from the neighborhood. Three witnesses was enough to take the child into custody.

The little girl had been sexually assaulted on May 20, 1990. But at least one detective doubted the witnesses [sic] story. The following day, sheriff’s Detective Carol Dansky visited the girl in the hospital, where she had undergone surgery. Alone, the girl told her the truth.

[ Start of second deleted section ]

Boyfriend convicted

Her mother’s live-in boyfriend, Troy Mosely, had hurt her with his finger, the little girl told Dansky. Mosely panicked when the child continued to bleed. Seeing Dirty Red playing outside, Mosely told the children to blame him, according to police.

Troy Mosely was convicted of sexual battery and is serving a nine-year sentence at Liberty Correctional Institution in the Florida Panhandle. Mosely began his sentence at Appalachee Correctional, but had to be moved once inmates found out what crime he had committed.

Inmates do not like child molesters, he says.

Mosely, 27, denies ever molesting the girl.

“I didn’t do it. I don’t know who did,” Mosely says from prison. “I never told those kids to say it was Dirty Red. Now he’s just a kid with no one to play with. It’s bad.”

[ End of second deleted section ]

After more than a year, Dirty Red is still afraid to leave his mother’s apartment. The child’s real name is James Montgomery Dicks Jr.

“I called him Dirty Red almost from the start,” his mother says. “Because of the way he’d be playing in the dirt soon as I washed him. Course, he don’t do much playing now.”

And the Red part?

“Because of his skin,” his mother says. “It’s got a reddish shade to it.”

Shunned in the neighborhood

Somehow, the fact Dirty Red was falsely accused has been missed by many in the neighborhood.

Older children have kicked and beaten the little boy. Neighboring parents refuse to let their children play with the boy.

One parent slapped Dirty Red in the face as he waited for his school bus.

Everywhere the child goes, he is continually met with bitter rejection and savage scorn.



Date:         Wed, 13 Nov 1991 10:22:31 CST
Reply-To:     "Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group"
Sender:       "Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group"
From:         John Maag <SECD001@UNLVM.BITNET>
Subject:      Re: There must be something wrong with the way we're made to
              believe . . .
In-Reply-To:  Message of Tue,
              12 Nov 1991 23:15:00 EDT from <KUDUT@HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU>

Ken, nice to have the “youth rights” on a real listserv. Nice Job! John Maag



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