This is a letter to the editor from Laurie Linn, Ithaca. To submit opinion letters, please review our letters policy here and submit them to Managing Editor Thomas Giery Pudney at

There are many questions about the investigation of Christine Barksdale. The one thing I will never question is how we were treated the day we entered her office more than 5 years ago. We are one of the 83 families that Christine Barksdale failed.

After sexual assault, it’s hard to navigate what to do. You are drained, sick to your stomach, and unsure where to turn for help. Do we prosecute, do we get a restraining order, do we encourage others to come forward, and most importantly, how do we heal? How do we get healthy again? After reaching out to multiple agencies, it was suggested we meet with Investigator Barksdale.

She originally agreed to meet us at our home in “plain” clothes to talk to us and to help us navigate our options. She never showed. When I called, she said she was not going to make it and we needed to come to the station. Desperate for help we did, it was a horrible mistake.

From the moment we were buzzed into the police station, the intimidation started. Barksdale was in a police uniform with guns on her belt on either side instead of the “plain” clothes as she had promised. When the victim, (who was a minor at the time) wanted a family member present, we were repeatedly told by Barksdale that she would only interview the victim alone. I will not go into additional detail about what happened that day, except to tell our community that we were verbally abused, frightened, intimidated and told not to press charges.

We left the police station broken, humiliated, and still with no real answers. We were shut down, and any power we hoped to gain was taken away by Barksdale. Just as sexual assault and rape is about power and control, Barksdale took power and control over us.

Rape is a very difficult subject to talk about, whether you are a victim, survivor or family member. That is why I believe there are so many questions about this case. It’s hard to talk about, re-live, and each time you tell the story again, you feel re-victimized.

I support the termination of Christine Barksdale. At a time when we needed empathy, advocacy and support, let alone justice, we received only abuse and intimidation at one of the worst times of our lives.

I applaud the Ithaca City Police Department for being transparent, and for putting in measures so this never happens to any family or victim in our community ever again.

Laurie Linn