150424ToppinApril 24, 2015

“As was made clear repeatedly upon testimony by experts, the very first reports of the children were the ones that would be most critical in determining whether sexual abuse had indeed occurred. Yet in the first interviews, the children said almost nothing of any interest with regard to sexual abuse, and the police officer who conducted these hearings destroyed all of her notes and all of her tapes of what happened before the case went to court. She was approached by several of the mothers initially because she had taken a short course in investigating cases of child abuse.

“Officer (Brenda) Toppin was crucial to the whole process because she was the one who escalated the case from a minor complaint by one parent into a case of massive sexual abuse of dozens of children by scores of day-care workers.”

– From “Understanding The Crucible: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents” by Claudia Durst Johnson and Vernon Johnson (1998)