Out of all of Ben Carson’s various fabulist fever dreams currently floating around, the one about a Florida woman trying to sue him for child support pales in comparison to, say, the one about him trying to murder a pal (or was it a family member?) with a knife. But for something with such legal import, there’s surprisingly little documentation—other than Carson’s word—to prove it ever actually occurred.
Carson’s trotted out the anecdote multiple times, curiously classifying what he calls a false accusation as one of the skeletons in his closet. To hear him tell it, as he did in a 2014 op-ed, he was working in the operating room (whether or not this was mid-brain surgery, Carson remains unclear) when he learned from Johns Hopkins’ legal department that the state of Florida was trying to attach his wages—which, in this case, would mean taking money from his paycheck to satisfy a sudden child support order.
They said a woman in Florida was accusing me of being the father of her son, and that she had proof of our relationship. The proof turned out to be knowledge of where I went to high school, college, medical school, and where I served my internship and residency. To top all that off, she had a picture of me in scrubs. I said anyone could obtain such information. However, the paternity suit was pursued, and I had to involve my personal lawyer.
The point of the story, Carson says, is that she tried to shake him down but failed miserably: “What she didn’t know is that I did not have to scratch my head and try to remember which affair she represented, because I knew that the only woman I have ever slept with in my life was my wife.”
The story only gets more bizarre from there—Carson says he refused to provide a blood sample because he didn’t trust the government not to pin a murder on him—but somehow ended with the case getting dropped.
As the case advanced, I was asked to provide a blood specimen to facilitate DNA testing. I refused on the basis of the incompetence of any governmental agency that was willing to pursue a paternity suit on such flimsy grounds. I said that level of incompetence would probably result in my blood specimen being found at a murder scene and me spending the rest of my life in prison.
Shortly thereafter, the suit was dropped with no further ramifications. I’m virtually certain that the woman in Florida erroneously assumed that someone who travels as much as I do was probably engaging in numerous extramarital affairs and probably wouldn’t even remember all the parties with whom he had been involved. Under such circumstances, she assumed that I would be willing to fork over the money to avoid public embarrassment.
But, as Mediaite points out, there’s an all-too-convenient dearth of information available, especially for a case that presumably went far enough through the legal system to result in an attachment of wages. Though child support cases in Florida are generally confidential, a government spokesperson confirmed to Mediaite that there would indeed be public documentation of any wage garnishments.
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, there are a few holes in Carson’s story. According to their spokesperson, the state would not have contacted an employer based solely on a claim of paternity. “Wage attachment (income withholding) must be based on an income deduction order issued by a court or administrative tribunal. Before an income deduction order is issued, paternity must be established, if needed, and a support order established,” said the spokesperson in an email to Mediaite. Dr. Carson claims he learned of the claim through Johns Hopkins’ attorneys.
The court files pertaining to paternity, if there are any, are presumably sealed. But are the Florida woman’s lips sealed as well? Let’s hope not! If you’re Ben Carson’s maybe-baby mama or think you might know who is, please do get in touch.