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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SO WHAT HAPPENED? LINDA WIEGAND CASE, PART II

So, backing up, how is it that after a full investigation and a determination by SRS, the Vermont child protective services, indicating that the father, Tom Wilkinson, had sexually abused the children, that the Connecticut Court ended up giving custody of both children--Ben and Jonathan--to the person who was said to have abused them? 

Apparently, what happened is that on July 7, 1993, not long after SRS had made its determinations, Judge Herbert Barall, the presiding judge in the child custody dispute between Tom Wilkinson and Linda Wiegand in Connecticut, ordered Mr. Paul Shanley of Connecticut child protective services (DCF) to ask the Vermont's services (SRS) "what is going on?"  SRS again provided information to DCF indicating that Tom Wilkinson had abused the children.  Confirming this, Ms. Caroline Russell of SRS wrote a letter to DCF on July 15, 1993 indicating that abuse allegations had been substantiated indicating that Tom Wilkinson had abused both Ben and Jonathan.  In the letter, Ms. Russell indicated to the court that giving custody of the children to Tom Wilkinson's sister, Karen, would put the children at risk of harm.  Mr. Shanley presented this letter, along with a report of his investigation, to the Connecticut Attorney General's Office.  The Attorney General's Office, in turn, forwarded these materials to Judge Barall.

After receiving Shanley's material and before making any final decision regarding custody, Judge Herbert Barall appointed Dr. Kenneth Robson to evaluate the situation.  Dr. Robson met with Tom Wilkinson, Linda Wiegand, both children, Dr. Balsam, and others.  He also reviewed the transcripts of various interviews with the children, looked at drawings the children had done and other written material.  He finished his investigation around December 1993.  He concluded that he did not consider the allegations of abuse against Tom Wilkinson credible and he indicated his concern that the interviews with the two boys were leading and that Linda Wiegand had coached the children to lie.  Apparently, one or both of the boys had made statements which appeared to indicate that Linda Wiegand may have coached them; however, to be honest these statements were ambiguous enough to make it unclear what the children actually meant by what they said. However, in Dr. Robson's view, the results of his investigation indicated that the initial investigation by SRS was "suggestive of possible coaching."  Not that there was coaching, but that it was suggestive, and there might possibly have been. OK.  In his conclusion, Dr. Robson concluded that the reported abuse was "unlikely"--not that it didn't happen, but that it was unlikely that it happened.

After Dr. Kenneth Robson filed his report with the Connecticut family court in January 1994, this was when Linda Wiegand disappeared with the children, as I stated she had in my previous discussion regarding this case.  Here is where I get confused because there are different versions of the events I am describing.  My understanding of the article I based my first blog on was that Ms. Wiegand disappeared when Tom Wilkinson's sister received custody of the children, but this other article I'm basing today's blog on states that Ms. Wiegand disappeared after Tom Wilkinson received custody of the children.  Whichever way this occurred, what we have is the fact that Ms. Wiegand disappeared with the children.  Still, Judge Herbert Barall continued on with a hearing and awarded custody to Tom Wilkinson and denied Linda Wiegand visitation rights.  Subsequently, over two years later in July 1996, Wiegand was arrested in Las Vegas and both of the children were placed in Tom Wilkinson's custody.

So, what do I conclude from all of this? Well, to be honest, I've read the descriptions of the abuse Tom Wilkinson is accused of (I will discuss them in a later blog) and I don't know what to make of them.  I'm on the fence about what I believe and or don't believe.  Perhaps I will make up my mind during the course of writing up these blogs--maybe something will strike me that will shift me in one direction or another.  But one thing I will say is that I have read a few reports written by Dr. Kenneth Robson here in Connecticut and the guy simply isn't that bright.  His entire generation wasn't that bright overall.  The contents I've read and analyzed in reports by doctors of his kind are rambling and loquacious, and generally heavy on personal prejudices, general impressions, gut intuitions, glossed over by a megalarge dose of psychobabble and extremely weak on the science.  And, give me a break, what is this, the battle of the titanic psychiatric experts?  What do these guys do in cases like this, go from psychiatrist to psychiatrist until they find the one that agrees with them?  What does a psychiatric opinion matter if you can go from one to another and get results like "suggestive of" or "possible" or "likely" and "unlikely".  Come on, people, these are the lives of vulnerable, frightened children and their parents we are talking about.  Can anyone afford this kind of vague, careless, and ill considered language? 

With this kind of voodoo psychiatry, if Tom Wilkinson is innocent, Dr. Balsam is a criminal for not getting it right, but if Linda Wiegand is innocent, there is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Robson is the criminal.  Because it is criminal to apply a science that is fraught with false positives and negatives and present it as a certainty to the Court and other government agencies put in place to protect the interests of children and their parents.

10 comments:

  1. What really bothers me about this case is that Judge Barall denied Ms. Wiegand visitation after the children were recovered. I understand that what Ms. Wiegand did was against court orders and it was against the law. Still, child protective services allows all sorts of abusive parents to continue to see their children in the guise of keeping the family together. Here is a parent who is intending to be a good mother, who has not harmed her children. Her children clearly have a significant relationship with her. The court could have found another way of punishing Ms. Wiegand which did not have to include also punishing the children by denying them access to their mother. This seems to be particularly harsh and vengeful behavior on the part of the judge. It is disappointing to see that kind of lack of compassion on the part of a judge.

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  2. You seem to imply that maybe Linda Wiegand did coach her kids. in actuality you can't tell what happened. Plus Cathy makes a good point. Where is the science in Dr. Robson's report? Did he have a psychologist do evaluations of both Linda Wiegand and Tom Wilkerson. An evaluation would have provided much more concrete evidence of what was going on because they aren't based on "voodoo"; they are based on objective test results.

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  3. EVERYONE was interviewed. Tom even was ordered to have a test to see if he was aroused at pictures of naked children!!! How embarrassing!! He passed the test naturally. This isn't a known fact but it is true. Kinda like a lie detector test................just more invasive for sure.

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  4. That seems pretty disgusting. Question,how accuate are the results of tests of these kind?

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  5. How pathetic tio have to go thru this to prove you aren't the pedophille your soon to be ex says you are!! I don't know the statistics on results of this kind of thing. I only know he did it as a way to prove innocence

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  6. No,it isn't pathetic. It is called the due process of law. If you don't know whether the results of a test like this are valid, then you have a problem with proving your position. I'm not saying you aren't right, but what I am saying is that you can't just expect to have people believe you just because you say so. In court, you have to submit evidence, not just tell the judge how you feel, and your evidence has to be solid and verifiable.

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  7. http://www.facebook.com/#!/wiegand.jonathan

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    1. Hi Jonathan:

      I was deeply shocked by reading Hartford Courant article 3/18/13 and what happened to your life is a violation of child's rights.
      I was stunned as I learned from this site that Judge Barrall and K. Robson were the authors of this circumstances.
      I went through with horrible experience when Dr. Robson was involved in custody of my child and I am still recovering from this tragedy. I am not on facebook, but here is my email thebestfortherest@gmail.com
      Please contact me and I would like to share my story with you. Perhaps together we can attract more attention to decisions made by dr. Robson and how it affected children's pain and suffering afterwards.



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    2. I knew Linda and how much she loved her boys. I saw the injuries from her shackles and even read some of the depositions. I was also involved with Judge Herbert Barrall. His son Doug Barrall represented my husband but had another attorney appear in court on his behalf. Dr. Robson was involved in the case at one time, as well as Dr. Mantell. Frank Santy was my children's attorney and GAL. My children went through horrific situations and were not protected, to say the least. I would welcome anyone who wants to contact me at ellen.johndrow@yahoo.com.

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  8. Penile plethysmographs are not evidence. His passing one doesn't equate to innocence. Psychopaths, alcoholics, and people who predate on children for control rather than sexual arousal can easily pass them, and it bears no indication of whether or not a crime was committed. Using only slightly different images than the suspect's preferences can negate the results. Like, if they only enjoy seeing children who are being tortured, but the images used were kids playing or sleeping... Only EVIDENCE of a crimes can bring out the truth of a criminal act. Not speculation about a suspect's proclivities.

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