"You Ruined My Reputation:" Kristi and KC"

"You Ruined My Reputation:" Kristi and KC"

"Someone accused me of making pornographic videos with the children in my care, selling drugs and alcohol out of my home and having sex with my daughter's teenage friends," says Kristi, who has been providing daycare in her home for the last 13 years. "This has been a nightmare for me." An anonymous letter listing these allegations was sent to her daughter's school and placed in her locker. "The police came the day after and asked if they could take a look around. I let them go through my daycare files. They checked the name and numbers of my daycare parents. The police did their investigation, and they found that none of the accusations were true, so they ended up closing the case. After the rumors started flying, I lost children. Daycare is a business, and reputation is one of the main things that matters."

 

Kristi's husband, KC, sees the struggle Kristi has been going through for the last year and a half. "It hurt my wife's reputation. It's been tough," he says. "It's going to keep coming back and haunting us."

 

Kristi's daughter, Kelcee, was upset and angry when she received the letter, and the comments continue. "I hated going to school because everybody was coming up to me and saying, 'We heard about your mom,'" she explains.

 

Kristi has noticed friends and neighbors acting differently toward her. "The neighbors were saying little things behind my back. They wouldn't let their kids come over to our house. When we would go out to dinner, people would be looking at us, saying things about us," she explains.

 

Parents of the kids in Kristi's care have mixed feelings. One mother defends Kristi. "Kristi was taking care of my youngest son, and as a social worker, I would see signs if things like that were going on and become

suspicious. I didn't see any of that," she says.

 

Another parent of a child in Kristi's care didn't know what to believe. "When you hear stuff like this, how is a parent supposed to react? My kid goes there on a regular basis. I would hate to think that I would be putting my kid in any danger," he says. "I wanted to pull my son out of the daycare. I wanted more investigation to find out exactly what was going on and if it was true."

 

"I am afraid this rumor will follow me forever. It's in the back of everyone's mind," Kristi reveals. "I have anger inside of me that I've never had before." She and KC have even considered moving away. "We waited for years to build our house, and we don't know why we should have to move. We've done nothing wrong."

 

KC just wants it to end. "A lot of the neighbors say, ‘You know, if you move, then they win,' but it's like how much is enough?"

 "What was your first reaction when you saw it?" Dr. Phil asks Kristi.

"Disbelief," she says. She explains there were some other incidents that had happened in the past, including when the state came to

investigate her because they had been told she left her 5-year-old home alone. "There had just been one thing after another, so to me, this had just been one more attempt for me to not be able to do daycare anymore."

"Do you have any idea who did this?" Dr. Phil asks.

"There was someone in particular who was actually going around to a few people who knew us and telling them the same accusations," Kristi says, but she didn't confront the person. "I went to the police department at this point and told them that I thought I knew who wrote the letter, and they pretty much told me that it wasn't going to go anywhere." Kristi doesn't trust a lot of her neighbors, doesn't go to any functions and has withdrawn. "Have you done anything wrong?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I've done nothing wrong," Kristi says.

"You have nothing to be ashamed of?"

"No."

"Nothing to apologize for?"

"No."

"No regrets about any of the decisions you've made in running your daycare center?"

"No."

"So why are you hiding?"

"I don't want to associate with these people who are being nice to my face and running the rumors about me behind my back," Kristi explains. "I don't need friends like that."

"You've kind of dropped out of life," Dr. Phil points out.

"I've changed my life," Kristi explains. "I've changed my functions. I've changed my friends."

"Isn't that giving power to the rumor maker?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Probably," Kristi replies.

Dr. Phil explains that before Kristi came on the show, she gave the producers permission to look at all the paperwork from her case. The show hired Ben Nix,

an independent private investigator, to look at the case. Dr. Phil explains Ben's findings: Absolutely no criminal convictions were located in any way; Kristi had a valid license to operate the daycare center; she had been checked, evaluated and no deficiencies were found whatsoever; and, the initial police investigation concluded that there was no evidence to support these allegations.

 

"I personally got the police reports. I read every word of every interview and every police report … and could not find one shred of any evidence that supported any of the allegations against you," Dr. Phil tells Kristi. "Everybody said there's absolutely zero basis for this whatsoever."

"That is why I have been hurt by it so much, is to know that somebody could sit down and write these allegations about me," Kristi says.

 

Dr. Phil introduces Julie and Eric, neighbors of Kristi and KC. "You had a child that was under her care. How did you feel about it?" Dr.

Phil asks them.

"Loved the family, had no question at all," Julie says.

"We were just shocked," Eric adds. "From our side, probably angry something like this could happen, because we knew them." They have one child in daycare, and their other two children would play at Kristi and KC's house all the time.

 

 

"If you still lived there, would you entrust a child to her?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Without hesitation," Julie replies.

Dr. Phil addresses Kristi. "There's nothing I can say that will make this right, that will make it fair," he says. "What you have to do is walk through

it. Who you are and what you do, and the great job that you've done with children … that will win out in time."

Kristi says that when she and her husband go to functions, some of the people that talk with them and go out of their way to be nice to them are the ones that were spreading the rumor. She asks Dr. Phil what she can do about that.

"I would recommend that you talk to them individually," Dr. Phil tells her. "You've got not to spend time defending yourself, and you've got to put one foot in front of the other and walk on."