A letter written to President Reagan by a schoolgirl asking him to help a girlfriend who was being beaten by her father took nearly two years to reach the proper authorities, officials say.
Delaware County Children’s Services workers were investigating the letter, mailed Jan. 7, 1987, after it arrived Tuesday via the White House and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Washington.
“I mean, it sounded pretty serious and we get the letter almost two years later,” said Donna Bukovec, a Children’s Services social worker.
It was sent to Reagan by a girl who was an eighth-grade student at the time, said Bukovec. She would not divulge details on the girl’s identity.
Bukovec said social workers talked to the girl Thursday and were trying to determine whether an abuse case still exists. But Bukovec said she was certain that abuse was occurring when the girl wrote the letter.
The letter read, in part: “I’ve got a friend who is beaten by her dad. She doesn’t want me to say anything but I think she really needs help. I don’t know what I should do. What would you do? She’s really scared of her father and she thinks if I tell someone then her father will find out and beat her more.
‘If You Can’t Help, Who Can?’
“I think you’ve been a great President. I can’t think of anyone to ask but you. Please write back! I have no one else to turn to, if you can’t help, who can?” the letter concluded.
The letter was forwarded to Delaware officials by Elizabeth A. Braun, an intern at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In her cover letter, Braun said the letter was forwarded to the center from the President’s office, asking them to look into the matter.
She said the letter was probably misfiled at the center, causing the delay.
Another official at the center, Charles Pickett, said the allegation of child abuse fell outside of matters covered at the organization. It is a private, nonprofit agency that specializes in tracking down missing and exploited children.
A White House press office spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity said the White House’s policy is to forward such letters to social service authorities.