Friday, July 20, 2012

Effects of False Allegation of Child Abuse on a Family

IPTForensic  ABSTRACT: The personal, clinical, and legal experience of an intact family of four in which which a false allegation of sexual abuse was made by the daughter toward the father was reported.  The family was followed for two years.  The experience destroyed the family and the parents and children all suffered depression, stress, rage, distress, hurt, and alienation.  This case study parallels the available literature which indicates that a false allegation of sexual abuse is destructive and traumatic.

29 comments :

  1. And people wonder why the rabbonim pasken that halacha is makpid about when one may NOT report accusations to secular authorities?

    This article is the answer! False allegations.

    False allegations that destroy the innocent who is falsely accused.

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    1. And the omission of true allegations destroy the innocent whose life will be destroyed. Their ordeal is worse than this one.

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  2. Excellent research. THIS is why level-headed Rabbonim need to be consulted before any reports to authorities and also BEFORE CONTACTING "PROFESSIONALS", who unfortunately suffer from .....

    "and the readiness of professionals to accept reports as true without question. ".

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  3. Whenever I hear about false accusations, I have to ask, how do they really know it was false. To state unsubstantiated, fine. But you cannot confuse the two. And in the case study here, it was never clear what the truth really was. It was a bunch of very dysfunctional people, the father failed a lie detector test, the girl was only 10 when she retracted her statements. There were losts of possible true scenarios, but it being totally false was simply hard to believe.

    And finally, the report itself pointed outthat most cases of seemingly false accusations happen during divorces.

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    1. The accused legally and morally maintains the presumption of innocence.

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    2. I wish that was true. In actuality it is the exact opposite when it comes to molestation charges. Take a look at the first article.
      http://familyrightsassociation.com/bin/white_papers-articles/stuckle/false_sex.htm

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    3. I meant that the accused must be granted the presumption. Unfortunately you are correct that often they are not, incorrectly.

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  4. This article is from a journal that is not indexed by PubMed (a minimal criterion for presumption of legitimacy.) The journal is purportedly peer reviewed. The article is over 20 years old and details events from the 1980s. Best practices in investigation of accusations of molestation etc. have changed substantially since then.
    The journal appears to be the in-house publication of a psychology practice that testifies extensively for incest and child molestation defendants (it is generally considered unseemly and even suspicious for an expert to primarily testify for either defendants or prosecution/plaintiffs.)
    That being said, the main editors (Ralph Underwager, now deceased, his work carried on by his widow, Hollida Wakefield) were among the first to see that coercive interviewing techniques were responsible for some of the most florid accusations of mass sex abuse of children, some of which did indeed result in miscarriages of justice. It also seems that at that time, they became perceived by professional child abuse prosecutors (who were then embracing coercive interviewing approaches) as enemies, which may in part explain why they primarily testify for defendants.
    The editors became controversial for an interview given to a European journal for pedophiles; their response to the controversy follows:
    http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume6/j6_2_5.htm
    They withdrew from the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which they had helped establish, in the wake of the controversy. From its inception, the FMSF had solid professionals associated with it and their position has indeed made headway.

    It is my impression that poskim tend to rely more on experts in the professional mainstream and might tend to steer away from experts with controversial backgrounds, though that impression is based on a limited number of observations and I would be interested and grateful to hear Rabbi Eidensohn's experience in this area.

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    1. largely dependent on the particular rav

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  5. I just don't get this. Suppose the allegations were false, then we are talking about a family that was disfunctional to the extend that the daughter would bring these false allegations against her father. This is then a very very disfunctional family, and one cannot assume that all the family suffered was as a result of the false alegations. Meaning to say that if only the daughter wouldn't falsely accuse her father everything would be fine. I believde the oppostie is true. The daughter accusing her father falsely is itself a sign of extreme disfunction. This girl is definetly not being raised in a suitable environment that is condusive to mental health and stability.

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    1. And? What's your point.

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    2. It seems to me that this entry comes as a proof why we should not respond to allegations regarding molestation seriously; since the "study" shows that if falsely accused the family will loose very very much.
      Quoting the entry; "The experience destroyed the family and the parents and children all suffered depression, stress, rage, distress, hurt, and alienation."
      I am pointing out that even if the allegations were false, given the fact that the daughter for some reason is in a state where she can falsely accuse her father, we should realize that this family "is already being destroyed, and already suffering depression, stress, rage, distress hurt and alienation."
      It isn't that unfortuantely we have given too much attention to molestation accusations, and thus we ruined an innocen family. Rather this is a family, for reasons unknown to us has become extremely disfunctional, and the allegations are not the cause of the disfunction, just the sign that it has taken place.

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  6. yung children generally don't make up these kind of stories. However if they are coached by adults then you get problems.

    It is up to the investigator to clarify whether the child's testimony is the result of coaching or incompetent investigation by parents or police.

    Rabbis tend to be conservative for many reasons and resist going to the police even when it is clear that something bad happened. On the other hand rabbis also have supported false accusations against a man or husband. They generally are not competent to decide or investigate these issues.

    So there is a need to balance the concern for false reporting versus the real danger of not reporting a molester. Even if the evidence is not clear - a suspected teacher needs to be warned not to be alone with the children and in general yichud with students should be prohibited.

    The issue is not so much avoiding false accusations as it is when it is clear that the accusations are true - but the rabbi wants to protect the perpetrator (he has been embarrassed enough), he is concerned for the reputation of the perpetrators family - more than he is the welfare of the victim. In general rabbis simply don't have a clue what abuse is about.

    I recently had someone ask a rav who is well known for his Torah knowledge and competence as a posek - about the fiduciary question. His first response was - "you mean people do such things to children?"

    One should not underestimate the ignorance of rabbis nor their strong bias against calling the police - even when it is a clear cass of abuse.

    Ideally the community rav should be knowledgable about abuse - have a good working relationship with the police and have mental health professionals he can work with. He should know his limitations. This is not the norm at present - but it is a growing reality.

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    1. yung children generally don't make up these kind of stories. However if they are coached by adults then you get problems.

      Young children generally don't tell these kind of stories whether they are true or false. They have to be coaxed or trained or coached either way.

      It is up to the investigator to clarify whether the child's testimony is the result of coaching or incompetent investigation by parents or police.

      Prosecutors' investigators, in many cases, are looking for business. They themselves may be looking to make a mountain out of a molehill.

      Rabbis tend to be conservative for many reasons and resist going to the police even when it is clear that something bad happened.

      And police and prosecutors tend to be liberal about prosecuting even when it is clear nothing happened.

      On the other hand rabbis also have supported false accusations against a man or husband. They generally are not competent to decide or investigate these issues.

      Which is why we must take all accusations with great caution prior to deciding whether to notify secular authorities. An Adom Gadol should always be consulted first for direction.

      So there is a need to balance the concern for false reporting versus the real danger of not reporting a molester. Even if the evidence is not clear - a suspected teacher needs to be warned not to be alone with the children and in general yichud with students should be prohibited.

      Sure. That is proper caution. But that doesn't, necessarily, allow mesira.

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  7. "young children generally don't make up these kind of stories. However if they are coached by adults then you get problems."

    And those who do this are encouraged bvy the Brooklyn courts in divorce proceedings by the most unscrupulous judges who favor these sick women who shout agunah agunah from every rooftop. And when the husband fights back he is branded as having anger management issues, unstable and emotionally disturbed. And where is the Agudah in all of this utterly silent.

    Come on Michael tzaddok. I know it is the 9 days but you didn't have a clue about how these dysfunctional courts operate and with some of the judges who should be behind bars themselves. And yidden silent while innocent men are destroyed financially and emotionally and have their children ripped from them. Tzadok you owe the readers of this blog an apology and request for mechilah after the nonsence you spewed on this site which showed you up in a most terrible light.

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    1. Who is Michael tzaddok what does he have to do with child abuse? Your comment in context makes no sense.

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    2. Rabbi Michael Tzaddok is a valued frequent contributor that Stan has taken violent exception to his views - esepcially regarding gittin

      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/nachalaot-summary-of-what-has-happened.html

      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/rav-gestetner-bitul-seruv-or-nidui.html

      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/05/ultra-orthodox-jews-hide-child-sex.html

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  8. Daas Torah,

    What does it take to be competent in deciding whether there is any truth to the allegations?

    It seems to me that it is possible to determine that an allegation is a lie. But it is very difficult to determine that an allegation is the truth.

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    1. It seems to me that it is possible to determine that an allegation is a lie. But it is very difficult to determine that an allegation is the truth.
      It should be easy to determine but because of the hysteria that accompanies accusations of child molestation, the reality is that it is not. What is needed is the proper legislation of proceedings that should be followed, well trained therapists, social workers, police, Rabbis, etc. that do a proper investigation into the allegations at the beginning.

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  9. It is certainly a terrible ordeal when a person is wrongly indicted of such a crime, since it will undermine the trust of all the surroundings in the person.

    How was it established that the accusations were wrong and that the daughter did not retract the statements for other reasons? (like pressure from within the family, or seeing the negative impact it has on the family overall).

    As far as the inner-jewish discussion is concerned: it would be naive to think that all the molesters who will be reported to the police will also be condemned for their acts. The secular court system does not have a very good rate of conviction of pedophiles. It would also be naive to think that once a pedophile was convicted, the society is protected from him, since he will come out of jail and live somewhere and probalby go on preying on vulnerable children.

    However, the failures of the state justice system do not justify not reporting pedophiles.

    No-one can be sure that the pedophile will be condemned, even when he is reported, since there is a fundamental principle "in dubio pro reo" which very often plays in favour of the perpetrator.

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    1. You don't need to determine innocence. The accused is innocent until 100% proven otherwise.

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    2. David, how many times are you going to say that?? In theory you are right. However, we are talking about reality here and you are way off.

      "Public hysteria regarding child molestation has changed the rules of the criminal justice system. Child physical and sexual abuse cases must be defended in an entirely different manner than the normal criminal case. In theory the constitutional rights of the defendant are still in place, however in reality those rights do not apply. The truth is: The accused is presumed to be guilty. "

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  10. yung children generally don't make up these kind of stories. However if they are coached by adults then you get problems.

    I have requested the original study by Goodman which was an extensive study over a period of 4 years and 11000 children. In the meantime,
    http://www.skepdic.com/satanrit.html

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  11. Just came across this story which seems germane to the discussion.
    To further complicate the matter, consider the possibility that coercive techniques can be applied by parents and not just poorly or wrongly trained and supervised (recording all encounters with the chld helps here) police or psychologists 0r, for that matter, rabbis.

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  12. sorry, forgot to include this URL: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york-news/sensational-80s-li-abuse-case-getting-fresh-look

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  13. 12000 accusations. (not 11000children)
    "If there are thousands of baseless accusations, how do they originate? Most of them are said to originate with children. Since there is a widespread belief that children wouldn't make up stories of eating other children or being forced to have sex with giraffes after flying in an airplane while they were supposed to be in day care, the stories are often taken at face value by naive prosecutors, therapists, police officers, and parents. Yet, the researchers found that children are unlikely to invent stories of satanic ritual abuse on their own. They get lots of help from therapists, district attorneys, police investigators, and parents. There is ample evidence that therapists and law enforcement personnel encourage and reward children for accepting the suggestions of bizarre abusive behavior. They also discourage truth by refusing to accept no for an answer and forcing children to undergo interrogations until the interrogator gets what he or she is after."

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  14. This is just SO SO FRUSTRATING!!!!! Our Othrodox communities have a great problem called "Child Molestation and Incest." And the problem is not "people getting falsely accused of child molestation." While of course nobody can be sure that innocent pp don't get hurt from time to time, still the epidemic we are facing is molestation, not false accusations.
    Just recently I heard from a woman whose child is on her way off the derch, and she is in touch with askonim to help her with her child. She repeated how she was told by the askan she is working with how %99 or %95 of the time these children have been molested. (I don't remember if she said 99 or 95.)
    This is the third source I heard stating how the overwhelming majority of our kids off the derech were molested.
    So you see, we as a community don't have a "kids at risk"problem, WE HAVE A MOLESTATION PROBLEM, that we are just not brave enough to face head on, so we call it a teens at risk issue.
    (but the kids aren't quiet, they let us know clearly where the problem lies, hence the demonstration during the Internet Assifa.)

    Rabosai, we need to wake up and see reality! When trying to stamp out an epdemic, or trying to extinguish a blaze it is surely possible that innocent people will get hurt along the way. And we should try to be careful that that shouldn't happen. However let us also realize that virtually All PERPETRATORS CLAIM TO BE INNOCENT. And if we are going to address the issue of innocent pp getting hurt we must be super careful that we don't do that on account of backtracking on any progress we already made on dealing with the real problem, molestation and incest.

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  15. it's rabbinic apathyJuly 22, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    If your child has been the victim of abuse your responsibility is not to phone your local rabbi, but to get to the DA's office IMMEDIATELY. Unfortunately, I have the sad experience to know that it isn't merely the molestation that creates the anger in our victimized children at our Orthodox way of life-- it is THE RABBINIC APATHY toward the issue--and sometimes outright support for the perpetrators-- that turns off our children. How do you explain that this is an "Olam Hafuch" to a teenager and still expect him to have emunas chachomim?

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