The Witch-Hunt Narrative: “most of the charges brought against child molesters were grounded in some truth”
September 13, 2014 Comments Off on The Witch-Hunt Narrative: “most of the charges brought against child molesters were grounded in some truth”
Research By the Dozens
By Lawrence Goodman September/October 2014
….More than fifteen years in the making, The Witch-Hunt Narrative examines dozens of child sexual abuse cases from the 1980s. Over time, these cases ensnared dozens of defendants, some of whom were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Many experts believed these prosecutions came about when interrogators asked young children leading questions, resulting in a witch-hunt in which wrongful accusations were made against thousands of people.
Thanks in part to the work of Brown students, Cheit reviewed all the so-called witch-hunt cases and concluded that most of the charges brought against child molesters were grounded in some truth. At the very least, he says, there was enough credible evidence to begin police investigations.
Cheit, who holds a law degree and is also a professor of public policy, believes we are far too quick to dismiss the accounts of young children. “We have, over the last twenty years,” he writes in The Witch-Hunt Narrative, “discounted the word of children who might testify against sexual abuse. We have become more worried about overreacting to child sexual abuse than we are about underreacting to it.”….
September 22, 2012 Comments Off on What Scout abuse scandal teaches us
What Scout abuse scandal teaches us
By Patrick Boyle, Special to CNN
September 20, 2012
(CNN) — After being smacked in the face by wave upon wave of sex abuse scandals for the past decade, it’s easy to feel nothing but angry or numb.
So Joe Paterno’s statue came down, a slew of dioceses went bankrupt, and thousands of once-secret documents about molesters in the Boy Scouts will soon be made public. It’s fair to ask: Have we learned anything?
That makes it a good time to step back and look beyond individual villains to the big picture. When you put together the stories of Penn State, the Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other organizations hit by abuse scandals, you see they reacted in much the same way. Their behavior was shocking, but it was more common than we knew.
Thanks to lawsuits and news reports, we now see this: For decades, some of our most trusted institutions — from schools, camps and sports leagues to correctional facilities, foster care agencies and religious groups — have inadvertently enabled child molesters at the expense of victims. While leaders in many youth-serving organizations have confronted the abuse problem head-on, others routinely erred on the side of molesters, ignored the extent of abuse in their ranks, hid abuse from authorities and misled the public.
Why? To protect the good work of their organizations. They lost their perspective on where organizational protection ends and child protection begins….