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Showing posts with label CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. Show all posts

Thursday, December 20, 2018


"This Article provides a brief literature survey, focusing on the theory of “parental alienation” which operates as a primary vehicle for making abuse invisible in custody litigation. This Article reports on the co-authors’ pilot study, which begins empirically mapping family courts’ uses of this theory. These pilot results provide preliminary empirical support for the critiques from the field." 

For more information on this issue, continue reading the article at the link below:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


In the light of Ronan Farrow's exposure of the allegations against Harry Weinstein, the Woody Allen Child Sexual Abuse scandal has again caught notice. Why is it that Harvey Weinstein faces such overall condemnation in the movie industry and yet Woody Allen has not?

For instance, one reporter -- Molly Fitzpatrick of "Splinter News" -- investigated how actors have responded to Dylan Farrow's sexual abuse accusations against Woody Allen. Below are the names of actors she checked up on: Cate Blanchett, Alex Baldwin, Wallace Shawn, Diane Keaton, Louis CK, Scarlett Johansson, Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Firth, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins, Mariel Hemingway, Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, Anna Camp, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively. Their responses have been neutral, indifferent, or a resounding "It's none of my business."

Monday, March 27, 2017


Foundation for the Child Victims of Family Court

WHAT: Federal Civil Rights Case of Scott Powell 
Suing the New Canaan Police and Maternal Grandparents for Protecting their Grandchildren from Abuse and Harm 

WHEN:    March 28, 2017 at  3:00 p.m. 

WHERE:  Bridgeport District Court
WHO:    Powell v Alexander Case #:3:16-cv-01654, Judge Underhill


This Fairfield County federal case being heard tomorrow in Bridgeport District Court involves two young girls who have been traumatized and have suffered years of Adverse Childhood  Experiences ACEs:

Friday, September 16, 2016


Nicholas Rondinone of "The Hartford Courant" reports as follows: 
"Shelton lawyer charged last month with sexually assaulting a minor now faces federal child porn offense, the U.S. Attorney's office said Friday.
Peter G. Kruzynski, 50, was charged with production and possession of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Federal authorities said that Kruzynski engaged in sexual acts with a male victim from 2009 until last month. During that time, authorities said, he used an iPhone to take photos of the victim, while he was a minor.
Kruzynski was presented in front of a judge Friday. The U.S. Attorney's office said he was released on $250,000 bond and must submit to electronic monitoring..."

Thursday, May 19, 2016


In an article on "The Huffington Post" Phyllis Chesler explains as follows:

Battered senseless, choked into unconsciousness over and over again, bones broken repeatedly, American mother, Holly Collins, received no justice, no protection, in Minnesota. She lost custody of the two children she was trying so hard to protect from their father’s rages and beatings. When Collins believed that her children might not survive another week — or another day — she fled and received political asylum in Holland. A powerful documentary exists about her case.

Collins was the first and only such American mother to do so. 

Other “protective” mothers, like Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, arranged for her parents to flee with her daughter to New Zealand, which had no jurisdictional reciprocity with the United States. Dr. Morgan sat in jail in Washington, D.C. for more than a year because she refused to disclose her daughter’s whereabouts. I personally talked to her daughter’s therapists who assured me that, in their view, her daughter was being sexually abused by her father.


Monday, April 25, 2016


David Moran of "The Hartford Courant" reports as follows:

"BROOKFIELD – A former psychiatrist who treated Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza when he was a teenager was arrested this week and charged with sexual assault after police say he carried on a sexual relationship with a former patient.
Brookfield detectives traveled to Paul Fox's residence in Peaks Island, Maine, to take him into custody Wednesday with the assistance of Homeland Security Agents, police said..."


Thursday, March 31, 2016


Recently, the media has reported on two high profile cases of child sexual abuse where the perpetrator was able to get away with his abuse for a matter of years.  

The first case reported by Karen Florin of "The Day" on December 26, 2015 "Beemer Children Reveal themselves As victims of Prolonged Sexual Assault" discussed the case in which Robert T. Beemer sexually abused all four of his children. Information regarding his abuse of the children first emerged in 1998 when the two older children--Timothy and Christina Beemer--then 13 and 14 respectively--spoke to a counselor at the Old Lyme, CT youth Services Bureau revealing all four of the Beemer children had been sexually abused.  In 2000, Mr. Beemer was given an eight year sentence; however, as soon as he was released in 2008, his abuse of children began all over again.  

The second case reported by Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen of "The Boston Globe" on January 30, 2016 "State fumbled For Answers While Girl was In Limbo" discussed the case in which a father, James Stanley, was accused of molesting his little girl for five years from the age of 3 to 8 while family court sat around and debated on whether to intervene or not. 

Upon reading these cases, the question most of us are left with is how were these clearly rotten individuals given the freedom to sexually molest these children at will for such lengthy periods of time?  

The answer to that question is more complex than it would initially appear.   The statistics on child sexual abuse are as follows.  When it comes to the worldwide prevalence of child sexual abuse in general, 18% of girls and 8% of boys experience abuse.  Yet perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.  The average pedophile molests approximately 260 children in his lifetime—they generally don’t stop unless they are forced to—and the majority of pedophiles are family members, acquaintances, or caretakers, not strangers.  90% of pedophiles who are caught will reoffend.  85-90% of pedophiles are males.  Only 3% of child sexual abuse and 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police, and of those reported only 1-2% of these cases are ever prosecuted and result in a conviction.  Then to go even further, the majority of child molesters who are convicted spend less than a year in jail.  

As Karen Beemer, the mother of child victims here in Connecticut stated, “The kids are messed up for the rest of their lives…The pedophile gets everything they want.”  

One of the reasons why child sexual abuse is so poorly prosecuted is because there is a high rate of false allegations.  So, you are talking about a horrific crime combined with the very real possibility that the accuser is lying about it.   Particularly in connection to custody matters in family court, there are a considerable number of false allegations.  Judges and prosecutors are aware that if they pursue allegations which turn out to be false, even if a man is later found innocent, it is likely his life will be destroyed. 

Of course, many child abuse advocates say that while the problem of false allegations is, indeed, serious and troubling, they only occur very rarely.  However, this is just not true. In the course of doing research for this article, when I typed into google “family court false allegations of sexual abuse.” among the results, I came up with is an article written by Hollida Wakefield entitled “Allegations of Child Abuse in Custody Disputes” While somewhat on the old side, citing studies from the 80s and 90s it provided the insight that in about half of the cases where sexual abuse was alleged, the allegations were false. Another more recent study put the number of false allegations at 33% which is still pretty high. 

In contrast, studies cited by advocates for protective mothers indicated a considerably lower level of false allegations of 8% and even 1%. What was the basis of this extreme difference, i.e. 50% vs. 1%, in the percentages which were reported here?  Apparently, the latter studies only included cases under false allegations when the allegations were intentionally false.  Of course, I would question that approach because false allegations are false, and intentional or not, result in prosecution and the resultant damage to a person's life which is grossly unjust if the person has been falsely accused. 

It is horrific to consider that thousands of innocent men, possibly up to 50% of those accused, could be hounded, harassed, bullied, incarcerated and their lives destroyed by such a high level of false allegations.  Talk about “The Children’s Hour!”  

What can be done?  How can we safeguard fathers who are wholly innocent of wrongdoing, while at the same time protect vulnerable children from the lifelong devastation of child sexual abuse by putting the perpetrators in jail?  

The answer to that question is:  only with a great deal of difficulty.  

Apparently, it is extremely hard to obtain definitive physical evidence, the kind that stands up in court, in cases of child sexual abuse.  For instance, I found on google a 2016 article entitled "Physical Evidence Uncommon in Child Abuse Cases.";  its operative comment was, "Over 90% of sexual assault exams completed in children result in no finding." Here is another article from Reuters dated August 3, 2009 entitled, "Physical Evidence Rare in Girls Reporting Sex Abuse."  It states, "girls who describe repetitive sexual abuse by genital penetration rarely have definitive physical evidence to prove it, according to the journal "Pediatrics."  A Pub Med entry in 1993 states, "Studies indicate that a normal physical exam is common in sexual abuse victims."  A Deutsches Arzteblatt article from October 10, 2014 states, "The great majority of sexually abused children do not have any abnormal physical findings." 

My next question then was, can't you tell whether a child is still a virgin by examining the state of her hymen? Apparently, not.  In the same way that it is impossible to tell whether sexual abuse has taken place, the variation in the state of a girl's hymen is so broad it is literally impossible to be sure who is a virgin and who is not.  I also wanted to mention just in case you were wondering, because I myself immediately asked the question:  does the existence of frequent urinary tract infections (UTI) in girls indicate there has been sexual abuse.  Again, the answer is no.  It turns out that many young girls end up with frequent urinary tract infections without any child sexual abuse involved and so frequently UTIs have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Then, to make things more tough the ano-genital region has such a powerful ability to heal and regenerate that when there is damage to that area, it heals with great rapidity, again making it difficult to determine if any violence was done to that area. 

Given these facts, when a medical report comes back stating that the results of a child sexual abuse evaluation are inconclusive or unsubstantiated, that actually doesn't mean much, does it. 

Some ways in which authorities have been able to overcome these barriers are when the child reports to authorities so quickly after the incident that it is possible to obtain physical evidence such as tearing, bruising, and/or the presence of sperm or semen.  It is also possible to test the child's clothing, comforter or sheets for DNA evidence, but incidents where investigators find anything there is for the better part quite unusual.  Of course, in cases where there are STD's or a resulting pregnancy, that makes it irrefutable that sexual intercourse took place, although in the case of STDs, it would be harder to identify who was involved.  

But again, keep in mind what I stated at the beginning of this article that such definitive physical and DNA evidence is only available in 10% of cases.  

So how are child sexual abuse cases prosecuted for the better part? What evidence are they left with?  

According to the American Humane Association, "The central issue becomes whether the child's statements can be trusted", and according to Attorney John E.B. Myers, "In many cases, the most important evidence is the child's testimony."  

In the case I mentioned earlier where Mr. James Stanley had been accused of child sexual abuse, the daughter who accused him was 3 years old at the time of the initial accusation. Can you imagine putting a man in jail for say 20 years, or say cutting him off entirely from his parental rights to his child solely based upon the testimony of a 3 year old and nothing else?  If that troubles you, imagine how a judge feels!  That's why, according to Nestor Ramos and Even Allen of "The Boston Globe" "Lawyers and judges call the cases that involve allegations of sexual abuse atomic bombs: Everything around them becomes radioactive.  Claims and counterclaims pile up.  Alleged victims are often too young to testify."  

Of course, it would be helpful if Court personnel were knowledgeable about the nature of child sexual abuse cases. For instance, in the Boston case, the judge allowed unsupervised visitation because the judge took into consideration the fact that Mr. Stanley had not "been criminally charged with abusing the girl..."--but as I've said, only 1-2% of cases ever are--and "other than the girl's testimony there was no other "corroborating evidence".  Well, as you have seen from this article, there rarely is anything more than a girl's testimony in cases of sexual abuse and so that is a fairly meaningless observation.  

Another interesting comment that the Judge made in the Boston case was that when it came to another of Mr. Stanley's alleged child victims, the Judge stated, "Even if it happened, it happened when she was 11?...I don't know how it's relevant."  Of course, it is relevant because it is an indication that Mr. Stanley was a repeat offender--he'd molested children before.

I also find the judges comment interesting because she expresses a viewpoint I've heard from Judges before, that somehow as time passes, victims of child sexual abuse should just get over it. In fact, the reality is that these victims do not "just get over it."  This is true of the victims of domestic violence as well as victims of child sexual abuse.  The idea that victims should just bounce back and agree to a complete restoration of the relationship and a reinstatement of full visitation with the children etc. simply because time has gone by, while a very common attitude found in many family court systems, remains a completely ridiculous concept, at least to me.  

So yes, difficulties in obtaining definitive evidence play a major role in the lack of consequences for perpetrators in these cases, but also mistaken, misguided, and just plain erroneous assumptions on the part of court personnel plays a major role as well, even to the point of absurdity.  

So what are we left with?  

What we have are situations such as the McMartin pre-school case (1984-1990), where 48 children credibly claimed that the owners of the pre-school and an employee--Virginia McMartin, Peggy McMartin Buckey and Ray Buckey--sexually abused them.  However, Dr. Michael Maloney, a British clinical psychologist called upon to evaluate the children's testimony, stated that the children's testimony was only obtained via highly coercive interviews. Plus, the jury concluded that claims of underground tunnels and ritual satanic abuse could not have occurred as reported and, therefore, the case ended in acquittal. 

In contrast, there is the case of Dr. George Reardon who successfully evaded the claims of several victims during his lifetime that he had sexually abused them, from 1956 at the start of his career until his retirement in the 90s. Dr. Reardon's guilt was only brought to light after his death when the man who purchased his former home discovered a cache of pornographic photographs in the basement. Currently, there are 135 known victims of Dr. George Reardon's criminal activities. 

Meanwhile, there is a small but influential group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, some associated with the organization B4U-ACT, who are working very hard to destigmatize and decriminalize pedophilia stating that minors aren't harmed by exposure to early sexual activity, and are only harmed by society's stigmatizing response to it. Considering that legal professionals are generally known to have an inordinate respect for mental health professionals, psychiatry's push to normalize pedophilia can only have the effect of making Judges and attorneys even less willing to hold pedophiles responsible for their behavior.   

Ultimately, I can see why in the face of the immense complications presented by child sexual abuse cases in family court, most judges have the knee jerk reaction to just tell mothers to shut up.  It isn't in any way right, but given the complexity involved in adjudicating these cases, it is understandable. Faced with unclear and conflicting evidence, Judges truly must find it easier to conclude mothers have coached their children rather than take the testimony of a 6 year old seriously. So I would not say that we can simply yell that the courts are corrupt and be done with it.  Sometimes Judges can be truly well intentioned, but simply find themselves in a position where it isn't possible for them to make decisions with the kind of certainty they'd like to have when it comes to the truly vulnerable such as young children. I personally do not envy the position they are in.

I also want to say that I am not on board with women's rights groups or government authorities that urge parents to report immediately if they think their child is a victim of sexual abuse, particularly if you have a custody case going on in family court.  You just do not know what the impact will be on your child if you expose him or her to the legal system.  So any step you take as a parent must be carefully considered. Bottom line is we need to depoliticize the issue so that we can deal with accurate data and best practices rather than propaganda from those who have an axe to grind.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Family Courts Exposed

By Barry Goldstein

I have long believed that whoever exposed the custody court scandal would be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. Today, Boston Globe reporters Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen produced a well documented story showing the pattern of ignorance, bias and harmful practices by the custody courts and child protective agencies in their response to child sexual abuse and domestic violence. The custody courts should never be the same and considering the enormous harm they have caused the needed reforms must take place immediately.

The reporters focused on the story of a now eight-year-old girl who suffered five years of sexual abuse and systemic failure despite her repeated reports about her father’s abuse. The reporters interviewed national experts to demonstrate that the mistakes made in this case are part of a larger pattern of custody courts and child protective agencies mishandling child custody cases involving abuse. Especially revealing was their comparison of the flawed practices used by court professionals and child protective caseworkers with the best practices described in the Saunders’ Study from the US Department of Justice.

The failure to believe the child’s reports of her father’s betrayal were based not on the circumstances in the case but the mistaken assumption by the professionals that false reports are common. One of the most important findings in the Saunders’ Study is that court professionals without the needed training and expertise tend to focus on the myth that mothers and children frequently make false reports. This is an important factor that results in the alleged offender winning custody in 85% of child sexual abuse cases. Near the end of the article, the child is quoted as saying, ” I think my mom believes me.” Her mother did believe her, but the authorities who could have saved her from further torture failed to believe her. They work in a system that routinely errs on the side of risking children. Needless to say the failures of the custody court and child protective agency have left the child severely traumatized.

Why Is This Article So Important?

Professor Garland Waller wrote a prophetic chapter in the first volume of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody that I co-edited with Dr. Mo Therese Hannah. The chapter explained the various factors including fear of lawsuits, lack of resources and difficulty in putting these kind of stories together that discouraged the media from exposing the scandal. Garland discussed the “Tipping Point” and predicted when enough people became aware of the scandal it could no longer be hidden and would have to be corrected. This story will either take us to the tipping point or bring us very close.

The Boston Globe reporters produced a powerful story. I believe it will encourage other journalists to cover an important topic they had previously avoided. The story should also encourage court and child protective administrators to consider needed reforms. They have been very defensive and routinely blame victims, but they will want to avoid further stories that would make them look bad and harm their careers. Legislators will want to show they are doing something to protect children. This should come in the form of more resources to improve the system and reforms that I hope will include the Safe Child Act.

Dr. Dianne Bartlow wrote an important chapter in the second volume of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody concerning the 175 children murdered in a two-year period by fathers involved in contested custody. She interviewed many of the best judges who have the most training and expertise about domestic violence. One of the points they made is that courts need to err on the side of safety which is the opposite of what the reporters found. The Safe Child Act specifically requires courts to make the health and safety of children the first priority. It requires an evidence based approach by integrating important scientific research into court practices. The legislation promotes a more multi-disciplinary approach as supported by the Saunders’ Study. And our proposal requires a trauma-informed response based on the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Research that found exposure to domestic violence and child abuse is far more harmful than previously understood.

Moving Forward

The only thing worse than the torture the court made the little girl suffer and the murders of the 175 children and the millions of children who have been forced to live with abusers is if society fails to learn from these tragedies. What frustrates me more than anything is that we now have the knowledge and practices that could save most of these children. The judge who made so many decisions to place the child in jeopardy surely did not want to hurt the girl. But the professionals in the broken system cannot prevent these frequent tragedies using the outdated and discredited practices that were developed in the 1970s. They are afraid of bad publicity which is why they use gag orders and retaliation in an attempt to silence anyone who would criticize their mistakes. The professionals who failed this child would like the story to go away, but our job is to make sure this girl is remembered. It is painful and traumatic to think about all these horrific stories, but we must remember our pain is nothing compared to what this little girl and so many other children are forced to suffer every day until we make it stop.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


"A child allegedly raped and sodomized for more than six years at a Nipomo home was placed there by San Luis Obispo County officials who concluded the foster home was safer and more stable than lodgings her birth parents could provide.
The girl, now 18, was allegedly sexually assaulted by her adoptive father at the home where she was placed after she and two of her siblings were pulled from their parents’ care in 2002. The abuse began when the girl was 12, the SLO Sheriff’s Department said..."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Lyz Lenz of "Buzzfeed" states the following:

"Although my parents currently attend an Episcopalian church, swear, and drink a lot of wine, my family resembles the independent Baptist Duggars — America’s most famous Evangelicals — in many ways, one tragic. When my sister, then age 15, reported that she had been sexually abused by someone in our family, she was counseled by family members and church leaders that prosecution would make things worse. Better to forgive, they told her, and find true reconciliation with God. She was also warned that criminal proceedings would tear her family apart. And because she loved her family, she relented. After all, she was a child with nowhere else to go. She had been taught that her whole world was her family and her church, and they all conspired to keep her silent with the admonition to forgive. And forgiveness so often means complicity..."

For more on this topic, please click on the link below:

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Margaret Coker and Alexis Flynn of The Wall Street Journal report as follows:
"ROTHERHAM, England— Jayne Senior worked for more than a decade to expose rampant child sexual abuse in this rusting steel town in South Yorkshire, but she met mostly indifference and scorn from authorities.
The youth-charity director amassed evidence that a network of pedophiles “groomed” nearly 2,000 girls in her hometown, creating emotional bonds with them before raping them. Police largely dismissed her reports. In 2011, town hall revoked her funding.
Things seemed to change last August, when an independent investigation confirmed the widespread sex abuse Ms. Senior identified, concluding that at least 1,400 girls in Rotherham had been sexually abused from 1997 through mid-2013, allegedly by a gang from the Pakistani community. The police commissioner, town-council leader and child-services head resigned. After its own probe, the U.K. government in February ordered outside administrators to take over the town’s management."
For more information on this topic, please click on the link below:

Friday, May 15, 2015


Biography of the Author:

MARALEE MCLEAN: Maralee is a child advocate, professional speaker, and author of PROSECUTED BUT NOT SILENCED: (Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children) Maralee has several articles published in the ABA Child Law Journal, Women's E-News, NPEIV, on the problems in our family courts to protect abused children. Maralee McLean is with Women's Media Center (WMC), SheSourceExpert, NPEIV (National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence and RAINN Speaker bureau. Maralee is a passionate and driven force in domestic violence and child sexual abuse and speaks at Conferences, Law Schools and is a spokesperson for Protective Mother's. Maralee's involvement in legislative work spans two decades. She testified before Congress to promote judicial accountability to better protect sexually abused children's rights in our courts. She has been covered by many local media outlets, and her story has been covered internationally on CNN.

Summary of the Story:

A powerful documentary about a mother and daughter's tragic involvement with the judicial system when there were allegations of child sexual abuse. This riveting book is a must read for all those working in the fields of domestic violence, child abuse, or child trauma so they can realize what does occur even today. It is important to ensure that all judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, medical personnel, child custody evaluators, and social workers are trained in the dynamics of such maltreatment so that there are no more situations like what happened to Maralee and her daughter.

Link to the Book: