Chris and Mandi say their 17-year-old daughter, Lynn, has told a shocking lie that is ripping apart their family. Lynn claims Chris sexually abused her three times — allegations that Chris adamantly denies. Is this just a rebellious teenager caught up in a lie she can’t get out of, or is Chris guilty of the unthinkable? This episode contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.
Who’s Telling the Truth?
More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Fortunately, you can help. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. And, help Dr. Phil raise enough money for 10 million meals. Donate today!
“He knows what he did to me.”
“She has a very big history of telling lies.”
Since the allegations, Lynn has moved in with Mandi’s sister, Amy. She hasn’t spoken to Chris since.
Dr. Phil asks Lynn how she’s feeling about facing her father. She says she’s terrified but wants to confront him. Dr. Phil makes sure she knows she doesn’t have to be there if she’s uncomfortable.
Lynn chooses to participate. “I just want the truth to come out,” she says. “I want everybody to understand what I’m going through.”
“Then start telling the truth,” Chris tells her.
“I am telling the truth,” she says.
“No, you’re not.”
“Really? That’s *,” Lynn says.
“Watch your mouth. You show this man some respect,” her father says.
“I am showing him some respect.”
Dr. Phil tells Lynn he wants to talk about what she says happened with her father, in an appropriate and delicate manner, so as not to embarrass her. “There are very clear signs about these situations that predict with a high degree of accuracy whether the person is telling truth or not, and so I’ve read everything you said with great care, because there are some really big warning signs about truth or not truth throughout the narrative that’s provided by alleged victims. And I always enter these situations by assuming the child is telling the truth … I would rather investigate a thousand cases that didn’t happen than fail to investigate one that did and leave that child twisting in the wind.”
Dr. Phil stresses the seriousness of Lynn’s accusations. “Did you fabricate something because you were really angry?”
Dr. Phil asks Lynn to go back to the first time she says she was sexually assaulted. What does she remember?
“At this point, you don’t remember what day of the week, because in springtime, you would still be in school, right?” Dr. Phil asks Lynn.
“Yeah, so it had to have been a weekend,” she says.
“Where was your mother?”
“I believe mom was at work,” she says.
Mandi says she worked evenings on Friday and Saturday, until Lynn was 9 or 10, then she had a standard daytime job.
“When she was 8, you would’ve been home?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I must’ve been 9 then, because my mom wasn’t home,” Lynn says.
Lynn says she tried to resist Chris, but she couldn’t fight him off. She explains that after it was over, she went into the bathroom and cried. “I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t know what happened to me,” she says.
Mandi says her husband never sleeps without clothes on, which contradicts Lynn’s story. “He doesn’t go to bed naked, ever,” she says.
“According to her, he did this time,” Dr. Phil says. He turns back to Lynn. “How did you react to Chris after this happened?”
“I was scared of him. I went to the other side of bed and curled up on the very, very edge of the bed,” Lynn says.
“So, when you finished, you went and got into bed again?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I had to,” she says.
Dr. Phil turns to Chris. “You say at about 8 or 9, you caught her bouncing on top of you while you were napping?” he asks.
“I was sleeping with boxers and, I believe, pajama shorts on, and I became conscious. I had my sleep apnea machine on. I don’t know if she was clothed. I didn’t open my eyes. I just immediately rolled over and was just utterly disgusted, ashamed, embarrassed, horrified,” Chris says.
“You had a sleep apnea mask on?”
Dr. Phil turns to Lynn. “When you say this happened, did he have a sleep apnea mask on?”
“Yes. He’s had one for as long as I can remember,” she says.
“You didn’t mention that before. I’m just curious why,” he says.
“I didn’t know I needed to. I didn’t think it was a critical thing,” Lynn says.
Dr. Phil asks about the second time Lynn says Chris assaulted her.
“It was a similar situation. I didn’t think he would do that to me again,” she says, growing tearful. “I thought that was a one-time thing. He wasn’t going to do it to me again, and it happened again. It didn’t matter to him. He didn’t care.”
“And then you say it happened again when you were 12, so three years passed before it happened again?” Dr. Phil asks.
She nods. “It was after my brother died,” she says.
Lynn says Chris approached her again at 16 and told her, “I think it’s time you actually knew what making love was.” She says she was able to get away from him.
Chris denies the accusation, and the two argue. Lynn reveals that it happened on a day that Chris got her high.
Chris admits he smoked marijuana with his daughter. He explains, “She wanted to try marijuana. We had talked about it for quite a while, and I decided if she was going to try it, I wanted her to try it with some stuff I knew was safe and in a safe environment, and I allowed her to do it.”
Mandi says she wasn’t happy when she learned what he did, but admits they had discussed letting Lynn experiment with marijuana or alcohol at home so she would be safe. She says she has since learned that it wasn’t Lynn’s first time with the drug, and she’s since gotten in trouble with it more than once.
Dr. Phil tells Chris, “You understand, I think that’s incredibly inappropriate and poor judgment for you to be smoking dope with your 16-year-old minor child.”
“I understand that, and part of me thinks that it is completely inappropriate, but I have to be honest with you, part of me felt it was a lot safer than out at some party and driving up and down the road too,” he says.
“Well if those were the only two choices, then you might have some kind of an argument, but fortunately, they’re not the only two choices, and for you to sit down and smoke marijuana with your daughter is hugely inappropriate,” Dr. Phil says.
In a previous interview, Chris admits that he hasn’t been a perfect husband or father. “I’ve gone through a couple incidences of infidelity in my life,” he says.
“When I was 10 years old, I caught Chris having one of his affairs,” Lynn remembers. “He was horrible for doing this to my mom.”
“She saw her dad and his coworker on the couch making out,” Mandi says.
“I was ashamed. That’s not the person I want my daughter remember me as,” Chris says.
An Outside Perspective
Mandi’s sister, Amy, who took Lynn in after the accusations came out, says she doesn’t know what to believe about the allegations against Chris. “I try to remain very open-minded about it,” she says. “I don’t want to be wrong and say Chris did this when he didn’t, because I think it’s one of the most horrible things to be accused of. At the same time, I do feel you have to take what a child says seriously. If it’s true, I feel that Chris should go to jail.”
Amy tells Dr. Phil that she didn’t want to know the details of the accusations. She says she hasn’t asked Lynn about it because she doesn’t want to hurt her further. “I want investigators to do their job,” she says.
Dr. Phil asks Lynn, “Do you think your parents are too controlling of you?”
“I was always raised to be much older than I was. I had so much more responsibility than all of my friends,” she says. “I thought as I got older, it would get better, but it just got more controlling.”
In a previous interview, Lynn says, “Chris is the strictest father I’ve met. It’s his way or the highway. When I was at home with Chris, I was scared of him. I was his little slave. If he told me to do something, I had to jump.”
Chris admits they have strict rules and consequences if you break them. He admits there were times he lost his temper and yelled at Lynn.
“He would call me fat, stupid, lazy, dumb,” Lynn says. “I’m sorry, but if you say something like that to teenager, I’m going to believe that.”
“My daughter doesn’t like the rules in our house, and I think that’s why she wants out and why she created these accusations,” Chris says. “Before this whole thing came out, she was asking questions about ‘How do I become emancipated?’ And a week later, these accusations are flying.”
Tensions rise between Lynn and her mother. “You chose Chris!”
“I’m going to ask some questions here. Do you have a problem with lying?” Dr. Phil asks Lynn.
Don’t miss Part 2
of this family drama!