- Book review: A scholarly, engaging look at ‘witch-hunt’ narratives
- LAUSD Admits To Destroying Over Two Decades Of Child Abuse Records
- Court dismisses case against former Miramonte teacher
- Dissociative Identity Disorder and Fantasy Proneness: A Positron Emission Tomography Study of Authentic and Enacted Dissociative Identity States (findings indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g. iatrogenic) origin)
Book review: A scholarly, engaging look at ‘witch-hunt’ narratives April 27, 2014 By Anne Grant Special to the Journal
“THE WITCH-HUNT NARRATIVE: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children,” by Ross E. Cheit. Oxford University Press. 508 pages. $49.95.
Ross E. Cheit’s book begins with the 1983 charges against staff at the McMartin Preschool. The case stretched over seven years, but produced no convictions — only a widespread consensus that it had been a “witch-hunt” and had unfairly targeted the accused. That narrative prevailed until now.
In 1992, Cheit recovered his own memory of sexual abuse in adolescence, more than two decades earlier, at a summer camp. By then, he held a law degree and a professor’s chair at Brown University. He eventually won civil suits against the individual and the institution that had betrayed him.
Cheit found that a single storyline clung tenaciously even when medical evidence showed children had been harmed. In academia, courts and the media, those who should have looked further failed to challenge the popular myth that considers children suggestible, unreliable witnesses to their own abuse.
Recognizing that his personal experience could bias him, Cheit closely examined the original evidence and court records in three large childcare sex-abuse cases and dozens of smaller ones — identifying some instances of people falsely accused and many where guilt went unpunished. He recounts evidence with scholarly precision that is emotionally engaging and eminently readable….
LAUSD Admits To Destroying Over Two Decades Of Child Abuse Records
The L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) has admitted that it destroyed decades of alleged child abuse records.
This is linked to the investigation into former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt’s sexual abuse of children. John Manly, one of the victims’ eight lawyers, accused the District of destroying documents earlier this month in court.
L.A. Unified spokesman Sean Rossall told KPCC that the District did indeed destroy the records of sexual abuse cases at L.A. public schools in 2008, with files going back to 1988. There may be no way of knowing whether other reports of allegations against Berndt exist.
The question that Manly, and frankly, everyone, is asking is why LAUSD would destroy these records. Rossall said it was because the District felt like they should not have the reports. In 2008, the school district lawyers determined, based on a section of the penal code, that they shouldn’t have the documents, resulting in the destruction of all reports. However, the section they referenced is saying that they merely shouldn’t disclose the reports, not that they shouldn’t keep the reports.
….Berndt pleaded no contest to his charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in November 2013….
Court dismisses case against former Miramonte teacher
Rina Palta with KPCC staff February 5th, 2014
he criminal case against a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles who was charged with inappropriately touching a female student has been dismissed by the court after the prosecution’s key witness said she would not testify.
The case against Martin Springer involved only one alleged victim, who was 9 or 10 at the time the abuse occurred. Prosecutors considered testimony from the girl, now 12, to be essential to the case, and without it they decided they could not proceed, said Alison Meyers, an L.A. County deputy district attorney in the sex crimes division.
“She felt very traumatized by the process and as the days approached to the trial she had expressed to us that she felt coming to court would cause her further trauma,” Meyers said….
Case Dropped Against Second Miramonte Teacher Accused Of Sexual Abuse
….The trial for former third-grad teacher Martin Springer, 51, began this week, but was dismissed today when prosecutors were told by the victim’s family that the 12-year-old girl was too traumatized to testify in court, according to the Los Angeles Times and KTTV.
….The L.A. Unified District fired Springer (who had taught at the school for 26 years) from his job and took away his state teaching credential, the Times reported. They had paid a $470,000 settlement to six other children who claimed they were molested by Springer.
Dissociative Identity Disorder and Fantasy Proneness: A Positron Emission Tomography Study of Authentic and Enacted Dissociative Identity States
A. A. T. Simone Reinders PhD, Antoon T. M. Willemsen PhD
PET and SPECT in Psychiatry 2014, pp 411-431
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatisation and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion and role-playing. Here, we investigate whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high- or low-fantasy-prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing and suggestion. Differences in neural activation patterns were found between the DID patients and both high- and low-fantasy-prone controls. That is, the identity states in DID were not convincingly enacted by DID simulating controls. The findings indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g. iatrogenic) origin.