March 12, 2014 Comments Off on The witch-hunt narrative challenged, McMartin Preschool trial, Child abuse/ritual abuse podcasts
Oxford University Press to Publish Book
by Professor Ross Cheit
February 5, 2014
Longtime Taubman professor Ross Cheit will discuss his new book and the contributions of his many undergraduate research assistants….
What is your book about? The witch-hunt narrative claims that there was a series of child sexual abuse cases in the 1980s and 1990s that were hoaxes and that children are highly suggestible when questioned about possible sexual abuse. The idea that children are highly suggestible is still with us, and the people who believe that use these cases as the evidence….
In the book you reference your own experience with sexual abuse at a camp for the San Francisco Boys’ Chorus. How do you avoid bias? The way I’ve designed my research, it forces me to confront the best arguments that support the witch-hunt narrative. The McMartin Preschool case….I knew that case was going to be the most flawed. After spending weeks reviewing the original transcript of the case, I concluded that there were plenty of reasons for jurors to conclude that the original defendant, Ray Buckey, was guilty. The rest of the case was deeply flawed, and I lay that out in my book. The book is documented to the max. I don’t make any claims that aren’t documented….
What are the policy implications of the book? What’s most worrisome to me is that the witch-hunt narrative unfairly impugns children. The ongoing challenge in this field is, if you ask children a series of open-ended questions about the alleged abuse and don’t get anywhere, then what do you do? I think there are people who are too worried about being criticized for asking leading questions or interviewing a child a second time.
What that leads to are abused kids who don’t disclose. I’ve seen almost no concern or acknowledgement of that issue in the psychology literature, but a lot of people are worried about false convictions. There is also a claim that there are economic motives to find abuse and that federal programs create the incentive to find abuse. I think this is completely wrong-headed. I worry that there are political forces that want to weaken the Child Abuse Prevention and Training Act, get rid of mandatory reporting, and undermine the credibility of front-line professionals, from pediatricians to forensic interviewers, who serve and protect children….
Smart-Talks Podcast Blog
This is a collection of talks given at the annual SMART conference in Connecticut. Speakers present to tell their stories of their experiences with ritual abuse and/or mind control, their experiences treating patients with such backgrounds, or to raise awareness of the various issues surrounding recovery from ritual abuse/mind control of efforts made to raise awareness with the general public of this issue.