Nearly two years have passed since the arrest of F. Keith Adkinson, a prominent Washington attorney charged by Montgomery County police with holding a pistol to his 8-year-old son's head while forcing him to watch violent movies.
Today, as he has from the start, Adkinson vehemently contends that the charge was a lie, an outgrowth of a bitter custody dispute between Adkinson and his former wife.
In any event, the youngster's allegations were never proven.
"It was like your worst dream come true," Adkinson said, recalling his arrest on May 2, 1986. Given the bizarre nature of the allegations (the boy also accused his father of rolling a hand grenade at him), and the fact that Adkinson had once been nominated to the Federal Trade Commission by President Reagan, the arrest was well publicized.
Four months later, in September 1986, an assault charge against him was dropped as part of what Assistant State's Attorney Constance A. Junghans said was a plea bargain. The state agreed not to prosecute him on a charge of illegally possessing fireworks that police found in his car and in his Wheaton home on the day of his arrest.
In return, Adkinson pleaded guilty to possessing explosives without a license -- a smoke grenade, he said, and a "simulator" grenade capable of making a loud noise but causing little damage. Last September, after he completed nine months of unsupervised probation, his court file was ordered expunged as part of the plea agreement.
Today, he has no criminal record.
"Punch me into the computer," said Adkinson, still a practicing attorney in Washington. "You won't even find a parking ticket."
Junghans said her decision to enter a plea bargain was not prompted by a lack of faith in the boy's story.
Adkinson, however, considers himself vindicated -- particularly in light of what occurred last summer.
In July, as Adkinson and his former wife Frederica fought a legal battle in West Virginia over child visitation rights for the father, the court official refereeing the dispute interviewed the boy privately. The official, D. Patrick Dalton, a family law master in Jefferson County, said last week that he concluded the youngster's accusations were false.
To the father's satisfaction, Dalton entered his opinion of the boy's story into the court record.
He did terminate Adkinson's visitation rights, however. "I thought the kid might do it to him again," Dalton said. "It's not in the child's best interests not to see the father. It's in the father's best interests not to see the child. I did it to protect Keith."
The attorney for Adkinson's former wife said that in his view the proceedings before Dalton were confidential, and he declined to discuss them.