Letters to the Editor: The Real Darkness Is Child Abuse WALL STREET JOURNAL (J) 02/24/95
As the chief prosecutor of both of the Amirault cases I am writing to prevent the public from being misled into believing that an injustice occurred as Dorothy Rabinowitz alleges in her Jan. 30 editorial-page piece “A Darkness in Massachusetts.”
Her suggestion that the convictions were based on “some of the most fantastic claims ever presented” presumptuously ignores the reality of the cases. The three Amiraults — Gerald, Violet and Cheryl – were convicted after two trials before different judges and juries almost one year apart. They were represented by able and well-known defense counsel. The convictions were upheld after review by state and federal appellate courts. The McMartin case in California was the result of a botched legal system and Kelly Michaels’s conviction was overturned because of legal errors. Contrary to Ms. Rabinowitz’s implication, the Amirault convictions were neither of these.
Studies show, as did testimony from a nationally recognized pediatric gynecologist, that most sexually molested young children have absolutely normal physical examinations. However, in Amirault, the majority of the female children who testified had some relevant physical findings, as did several female children involved in the investigation who did not participate in the trial. The findings included labial adhesions and hymenal scarring of the sort present in a very small percentage of non-sexually abused children.
Ms. Rabinowitz’s article is a superficial, one-sided look at a case handled extensively and carefully by the legal system. The victims and their families in these cases have been irrevocably harmed by what was done to them by the Amiraults. Every argument raised by Ms. Rabinowitz was ably presented by the defense at the trials. The juries, by their verdicts, rejected these arguments. Justice was done.
see for actual case evidence http://abusearticles.wordpress.com/category/commonwealth-vs-amirault/
“All nine children testified in a broadly consistent way…The children testified to numerous instances of sexual abuse. Some of the children testified that they were photographed during this abuse, describing a big camera with wires, a red button, and pictures which came out of the camera. The children testified that the defendant threatened them and told them that their families would be harmed if they told anyone about the abuse….The Commonwealth also presented a pediatric gynecologist and pediatrician who examined five of the girls who testified…She made findings consistent with abuse in four of the girls.”
Amirault’s accusers reveal their faces, and their pain Boston Herald – Boston, Mass. – Peter Gelzinis – Aug 7, 2001
Mass. Victims Fight Commutation Plea By Leslie Miller, Associated Press Writer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – Victims in the Fells Acres child abuse case broke down Thursday as they described their pain publicly for the first time in hopes of keeping the last person convicted in the case behind bars. Victims urged her to keep Amirault in prison. “During counseling meetings as a child, I would speak of a tall man touching me and taking pictures of me,” Phaedra Hopkins, 20, said at an emotional news conference. “So many times, Mr. Amirault hovered over me, touched me and hurt me and committed many disgusting acts of abuse.” Those children, now adults, stood by their testimony Thursday.
“This family raped me, molested me and totally ruined my life,’‘ said Jennifer Bennett, who was 31/2 years old when she started at Fells Acres. “We weren’t coaxed. We weren’t lying. We’re telling the truth and we always will,” said Bennett, 22. “I was there. None of you were there. We weren’t coaxed, nor were we ever ever ever brainwashed.” Brian Martinello, 21, said he was sexually abused by Amirault. His mother, Barbara Standke, claims her son came home from the day care with sores on his genitals and other people’s underwear. “I think it’s an absolute disgrace to let anyone out of prison for such a disgusting crime,” Martinello said.
Paul Ingram – Thurston County Washington Case
Seattle Post-Intelligencer – June 8, 1996 – News, Pg. B1 – Son of Deputy Says He Was Sexually Abused ; Dramatic Report in Testimony to Clemency Panel -: Rachel Zimmerman P-I Capitol Bureau – Olympia
The son of Paul Ingram, a former Thurston County deputy sheriff who confessed to raping his daughters during nightmarish satanic rituals but later recanted, said for the first time yesterday that he was physically and sexually abused by his father for eight years. Chad Ingram, 27, told the state Pardons and Clemency Board that his father, who is serving 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to six counts of third-degree rape – crimes he now says never happened – said he was abused by his father from ages 4 to 12. “He would put himself on top of me and I would perform oral sex on him,” Chad Ingram said.
Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards, though the case never went to trial, it was subject to intense judicial scrutiny, “all the way up to the Ninth Circuit.” Edwards added, “This case was not perfect but it had complete judicial review. “Paul Ingram did commit these crimes; he plead guilty to these crimes. I have no problem shaving in the morning . I can look myself in the mirror.”
The Facade of Scientific Documentation: A Case Study of Richard Ofshe’s Analysis of the Paul Ingram Case” by Karen Olio and William Cornell. APA’s journal “Psychology, Public Policy, and Law,” (1998, Vol. 4, No. 4, 1182-1197) “The case of Paul Ingram, a man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his daughters, has received widespread media attention. Richard Ofshe (1992, 1994) set forth a narrative of the case which included his account of an experiment to test the veracity of Ingram’s confessions and concluded that the inadvertent use of hypnosis during Ingram’s interrogation resulted in the creation of pseudomemories that convinced Ingram of his guilt. On the basis of an examination of the original source documents, the authors discusses the errors of fact, methodological flaws, and confounding factors in Ofshe’s rendering of this case of alleged child abuse. They also cite examples of the extent to which Ofshe’s imperfect narrative of this case and pseudoscientific conclusions have been uncritically accepted and repeated in the literature…”
Harvard Society for Law & Public Policy, Inc. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy – Spring, 1999 – 22 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 523 The Guilty and the “Innocent”: an Examination of Alleged Cases of Wrongful Conviction from False Confessions by Paul G. Cassell – “According to the authors(Leo and Ofsche), in twenty-nine of these cases the false confession resulted in the wrongful conviction of an innocent person.” “examines nine of these twenty-nine cases in detail. Based on review of original trial court records and other similar sources, the part concludes that each of these nine persons were, in all likelihood, entirely guilty of the crimes charged against them.” “Leo and Ofshe rely in large measure on secondary sources for the descriptions of the evidence against the defendants in their collection….For many cases, court records are available only in the local courthouses where the trial took place, while media accounts are often readily accessible in computerized databases. Relying on secondary sources, however, poses the risk of inaccurate recounting of the evidence. Examining primary sources for the cases in Leo and Ofshe’s collection reveals that this is a very real problem.” “The problems with the subjective determination of “innocence” in the Leo-Ofshe collection, like similar problems elsewhere, suggests that reliance on second-hand sources combined with understandable enthusiasm for the enterprise of discovering miscarriages may produce more such cases than really exist.” “Only a relative handful of Leo and Ofshe’s cases would satisfy the criterion of undisputed wrongful conviction.” http://www.kspope.com/memory/facade1a.php
Wenatchee, Washington Case
information from articles :
At the trial, one girl showed “definite medical signs of sexual abuse” while “it could not be ruled out for two others.
In 1996, a consultant, retired Bellevue Police Chief D.P. Van Blaricom, hired by a city insurer who looked into how the Wenatchee police ran the child abuse investigations stated that the cases were handled properly. A U.S. Department of Justice investigation also found that there was no evidence of civil rights violations.
Cops Win Wash. State Sex Ring Case – June 29, 1998 – Aviva L. Brandt AP Online – Seattle “A jury on Monday rejected claims of police misconduct brought by four people who say they were falsely accused of child rape and molestation. After deliberating for more than five days, the King County Superior Court panel decided that the central Washington town of Wenatchee, the town’s police officials and three members of the Douglas County sheriff’s department did not violate the civil rights of the four, who said they were falsely accused in 1994-95. Douglas County Sheriff Dan LaRoche said the verdict allows police to keep investigating sex abuse and molestation cases without fear of lawsuits.
Debate Rages Over Wenatchee Sex-Ring Allegations – November 6, 1995 – Aviva L. Brandt, Associated Press Writer – Wenatchee, Wash.
A line divides this town. On one side are those who believe dozens of children were raped and molested over seven years by adults in two loosely organized sex rings. On the other are those who assert a rogue cop and obsessed social workers created a whirlpool of sexual hysteria – coaxing children into accusations and bullying bewildered, poorly educated adults into confessions. Gov. Mike Lowry, petitioned by critics who believe the case is a witch hunt, has asked for a Justice Department review and is awaiting a decision from U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Authorities say as many as 50 children were forced to have sex with adults since 1988 – sometimes alone, sometimes in groups. In the last year, 28 adults have been charged with child rape and sexual abuse. Five have been convicted, 10 have pleaded guilty.
“Every female victim had physical evidence of sexual abuse and the majority of the males did,” Smith said. “Clearly it’s pretty good evidence to show that this is occurring.”
Douglas County Prosecutor Steve Clem sounded frustrated when asked about allegations that his office hasn’t bothered to look for the truth. “The defense attorneys are using what I’m sure … some day in the future will be called the O.J. defense, where they sling mud, make wild accusations and see conspiracies all around them,” he said. “There’s physical evidence consistent with the stories they (the children) tell. There’s more than one person talking about the very same things going on,” said Tim Abbey, a regional supervisor with the state Child Protective Services. “And there are a lot of confessions, and many times they’re confessing to more than the kids said happened.”