PITTSBURGH - For 23 years, Seymour Karlson, now 40, has maintained that his mother wrongly accused him of masturbating on her gold couch when he was a teenager. During all that time, Seymour's mother, Louise Karlson, repeatedly told friends and family that Seymour stained the couch with his "vile, disgusting habit."
Last week, DNA evidence proved conclusively that Seymour didn't do it.
"Back in '84, my older sister Cynthia told my mother that I did it, and since I was the only male in a household of four females, in my mother's eyes, I was guilty until proven innocent," Seymour explained. "It was a classic rush to judgment."
Seymour's goal for the next twenty-three years was to exonerate himself in his mother's eyes. When he learned that DNA evidence could clear him of the charges, he procured evidence from the couch to prove that the stain did not match his DNA profile. Last week, the DNA testing came back, and Seymour was completely exonerated. The stain was proven to be semen from another male. Seymour's older sister Cynthia finally confessed to her mother that her then-boyfriend was responsible.
"Of course Cynthia will only get a slap on the wrists, even though I've been living in a prison my mother constructed for me in her mind for twenty-three years," said Seymour.
Seymour claims that false accusations of masturbation are a national epidemic, affecting 70% of all teenage boys. Women's groups put the figure at closer to 2% and claim that mothers and sisters do not lie about such matters.
Despite his exoneration, Seymour felt strangely disappointed. "I've worked so hard for this day, and I know I'm supposed to be happy, but I keep wondering, how do you get back twenty-three years that were taken from you? What can ever make up for the false accusations, the stigma, the damage to your reputation?"
Seymour's mother was not apologetic. "So Seymour didn't [masturbate] on the couch, what difference does it make? I know for a fact that on many other occasions, he [masturbated] with the vacuum cleaner." When confronted with this latest allegation, Seymour smiled: "Now there she's got me."