False Allegations of Child Abuse

Editorial Note: False allegations of child abuse, sex molestation, and more, has become a most common activity in these times because of two primary factors.... The involvement of local, state and federal agencies in the lives of families which has provided children and others in and outside the family to release their own hostilities.  Because this is a growing trend in America, it is one trend that must come to the forefront because the effect of such false, misleading and malicious allegations, charges and convictions lead to a life-long battle against false convictions and sometimes, more often than not, a lifelong requirement for local, state and federal registration as an offender of some sort and only in certain areas of offenses.  Murderers usually have no life-long registration requirement.  Neither do arsonists.  Yet government continues to invade the lives of families, schools, even (oddly enough) churches too.  Orson Wells' idea of the future as depicted in one of his now classic movies is here... The government is watching you.  Even so, what about the Church herself?  Has the Church been a willing accomplice in this?  You decide!

Our instincts are to protect and defend defenseless children.  It is a measure of a civilized society.   It is equally instinctive to presume guilt.  That tendency is even stronger when the accused must prove a negative---that what he or she is accused of didn't happen---and the accuser is a physician with a stack of degrees or, equally potent, a child.  These combinations have led to countless criminal convictions:  parents, day care providers, teachers, neighbors---even when the charges cannot be supported by objective scientific evidence, or when there was no physical evidence at all to support the claims. 

We're having second looks at many of these cases, acknowledging that we've convicted innocent people, destroyed families and ruined childhoods.  A second look at the processes that led to these miscarriages of justice is essential, because unless we learn from our mistakes, we will continue to repeat them.
Shaken Baby Syndrome
In the UK, a review of nearly 300 cases in which parents were convicted of killing their young children has identified 28 where there was "sufficient cause for concern to warrant further consideration", the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has told Parliament.  A further 89 cases of "shaken baby syndrome" will be reconsidered in the light of a judgment from the Court of Appeal expected in 2005, Lord Goldsmith promised.  Three pending prosecutions have already been abandoned "on the grounds that it was not safe to proceed".  SBS: Dubious Diagnosis

Dr. Patricia Moore, a former Harris County associate medical examiner accused of botching an autopsy that led to a young mother's imprisonment has come under scrutiny in several other cases in which her conclusions were later contested or revised. 
Moore attributed infant deaths to shaken baby syndrome at a rate considerably higher than the rate at which it happens in the general population.  Biased Autopsies


The Evidence for Shaken Baby Syndrome
The theory of shaken baby syndrome rests on core assumptions: shaking is always intentional and violent; the injury an infant receives from shaking is invariably severe; and subdural and retinal bleeding is the result of criminal abuse, unless proved otherwise.  Retinal haemorrhage is one of the criteria used, and many doctors consider retinal haemorrhage with specific characteristics pathognomonic of shaking. However, in the March 27, 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal,  Patrick Lantz et al examine that premiseand conclude that it "cannot be supportedby objective scientific evidence." 
Read the British Medical Journal Case Report and Editorial (pdf files - use Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Perimacular retinal folds from childhood head trauma
by P. E. Lantz, et al.
BMJ Editorial
We Need to Question the Diagnostic Criteria

The National Association of Medical Examiners (N.A.M.E.) Ad Hoc Committee on Shaken Baby Syndrome published its Position Paper on Fatal Abusive Head Injuries in Infants andYoung Children in the American Journal of Forensic Pathology and Medicine in 2001.  This Position Paper is repeatedly cited and relied on to prosecute people because it states that SBS is an accepted diagnosis.  The Position Paper was rejected on peer review for lack of scientific basis -- but published anyway, since two of the authors were N.A.M.E. Board members.

Click HERE to read the peer review rejection for yourself
(pdf file - use Adobe Acrobat Reader).  This is a publicly available document which was obtained from the Ken Marsh (see below) case file.

State of Florida vs. Brian Patrick Herlihy
Circuit Court of Florida, Eighth Judicial Circuit, Alachua County

Brian Herlihy was convicted of causing the death of Baby Robert, an infant in his care, by violently shaking the child.  None of the physicians who testified as experts for the state reviewed the baby’s prenatal and postnatal medical records to learn about his pre-existing health problems, his treatment with corticosteroid, or his adverse reactions to vaccines. some of these physicians were aware that Baby Robert suffered from chronic health conditions such as a chronic subdural bleed, brain atrophy, and sinus and ear infections. However, they did not make any attempt to investigate the links between the baby’s chronic illnesses and his respiratory arrest on the morning of August 2, 2000. The evidence also shows that Brian was convicted and imprisoned due to  sloppy and incomplete medical investigations.

Click HERE to read the report (MS Word format) of Dr. Mohammed Al-Bayati, toxicologist and pathologist. Then decide for yourself, and demand justice for Brian Herlihy.
Brian Herlihy
Brian Herlihy
Ken Marsh
Ken Marsh spent 21 years in California prisons for a crime that never happened.  He was convicted in 1984 of murdering 2-year-old Kenneth Buell based on testimony of treating physicians -- with no independent corroboration -- who were seeking to protect themselves from malpractice claims.  His conviction was reversed without an evidentiary hearing based on insufficiency of the medical expert evidence.

Ken Marsh and his attorney, Tracy Emblem, have generously made available extensive forensic resources utilized in his case for the benefit of other innocent people facing similar charges.  Visit Free Ken Marsh
In 1999, Alan Yurko of Orlando, FL was convicted of shaking his 10-week-old son to death and sentenced to life without parole.  But the autopsy performed by Dr. Stashio Gore doesn't come close to minimum standard of care --  and Dr. Gore admits to all the Bad Science.

Update:  Alan Yurko has been released.
Link: Mary Beth Davis
Convicted of a Murder That Never Happened
Link: Alejandro Mendez
A Misdiagnosis Leads to Capital Murder Charge
California's 2nd Appellate District Court has overturned Jose Salazar's murder conviction in the death of Adriana Krygoski.  That conviction was based on the testimony of LA Dep. Coroner James Ribe, who claimed that "shaken baby" injuries -- in this instance, intracranial bleeding -- could be accurately "timed" and therefore used to identify the assailant.  This "theory" has been discredited by medical science.  It is just one of numerous cases in which Dr. Ribe has woven a Web of Deceit.
Victims of Dr. Joan Wood
For nearly a quarter century, the citizens of Florida's Pinellas and Pasco Counties suffered with an incompetent and corrupt Medical Examiner, Dr. Joan Wood.  Some suffered more than others.
John Peel David Long
Little Donovan Wright’s death was a tragedy.  The tragedy was compounded by the testimony of a medical expert who claimed he could reliably time Donovan's critical injury to a period when the child was in the care of his father, Doug Wright.  Doug was convicted of killing his son.  Now the doctor acknowledges his testimony was faulty; he was wrong.  But he is unconcerned because he can't remember either Donovan or Doug. Forgotten by Justice

Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy
Another theory unsupported by objective scientific evidence
  MAMA/M.A.M.A.: Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
What you don't know can destroy your family, send you to prison and even cost your children their lives.  

"Mama/M.A.M.A. " is a groundbreaking film that examines Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a bizarre form of supposed child abuse in which a mother pretends her child is ill - or actually makes her child sick- in order to get the sympathy and praise of the medical community. The film scrutinizes the scientific research surrounding the allegation and, in so doing, questions the very diagnosis itself.  Visit the companion website.  See the film.  Protect yourselves and your children.

UK: The cases of more than 250 parents convicted of killing their babies are to be reviewed urgently after a landmark Court of Appeal ruling on January 19, 2004 changed the rules on baby death prosecutions.  The Court ruled that in future no parent who had lost two or more babies should be prosecuted if the case relied solely on expert evidence that was disputed by other professionals who believed that the death could have been caused by natural, if unexplained, causes.  US Needs Similar Review

UK:  The cot death expert at the centre of a series of high profile cases against women accused of killing their babies is to face a professional conduct committee.  Sir Roy Meadow invented "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome", a theory that has punished grieving parents and destroyed families on both sides of the Atlantic.  His pseudoscience continues to thrive in the US, but in the UK, authorities are questioning his Fitness to Practise

CBS 60 Minutes II examined just a handful of UK cases in which mothers were convicted of murdering their children on the word of Roy Meadow alone, without Meadow ever seeing the children or the mothers.  If you missed the segment, broadcast in April, 2004, you need to read the summary.  Expert Testimony, Bad Evidence

Child Protection and Social Care Management Consultant Charles Pagnell examines Fabricated and/or Induced Illness in Children (popularized by Sir Roy Meadow as "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome") and finds the Theoretical Basis is Unsound

Unfounded Physical Abuse Allegations
The Darke County, Ohio prosecutor has said he is closing the homicide investigation into the death of 5-year-old Daniel Crow Jr. because a rare genetic disease may be the cause of the boy's death, not abuse.  It's too late for the rest of the family.  Their other children were seized by the state and adopted by other families.  Officially Sanctioned Abuse

At first, Verlie Hicks of Peoria, Illinois was frightened and confused when she was arrested, held naked in a mental health unit at the Peoria County Jail because she refused to remove braids from her hair, and falsely accused of burning a baby in her care with cigarettes. Now she's angry and is looking for a lawyer.  Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Through the prism of a defamation suit, a federal judge in Atlanta has examined the 1996 murder case of 6-year-old Colorado beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and determined there is "virtually no evidence" to support theories that her parents killed her.  U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes, a former federal prosecutor, evaluated evidence that the Ramseys, Patsy Ramsey in particular, were responsible for their daughter's slaying. In her analysis, Carnes sharply criticized the botched investigation that followed the discovery of JonBenét's body; accused Boulder police of using the media to target the Ramseys; and stated that the Ramseys, despite widespread criticism to the contrary, attempted to cooperate fully with detectives investigating their daughter's murder.

False Allegations of Sexual Abuse
In Bakersfield, CA, Kern County DA Ed Jagels put two dozen innocent people behind bars on charges that they molested their own kids -- while ignoring evidence that his friends were throwing orgies with teenage boys. So why is one of America's most reckless prosecutors still in power?  Mean Justice's Dirty Secrets

Before national attention brought a halt to the worst witch hunt in U.S. history, 43 adults were falsely arrested on 29,726 fabricated charges of child sex abuse involving 60 children.  Parents, Sunday school teachers and a local pastor were indicted and many were convicted of raping their own children and the children of other members of a sex ring. Innocent people were railroaded into prison, and their children were sold into foster care.  Conservative Columnist Paul Craig Roberts details How a Mantra Ate Justice
Cases to Consider


Wenatchee, WA Sex Abuse Cases



More on Wenatchee
Victims of the Fury

Jennifer Wilcox & Robert Aldridge

Peggy McMartin Buckey

George Lindstadt

Joe Kennedy

Bruce McLaughlin

A Wisconsin Grandfather

Made-Up Story = Life in Prison
John Stoll
In October, 2004, Kevin Fox of Wilmington, Illinos was arrested following a 14-hour interrogation in which investigators said he confessed to molesting and murdering his 3-year-old daughter Riley in June of the same year.  The prosecutor, just days away from a hotly contested re-election bid that he ended up losing, vowed to seek the death penalty.  A sheriff's officer called the FBI Lab at Quantico, Virginia in November and told them to stop working on DNA evidence sent there for analysis.  Kevin's attorney convinced the new prosecutor to send the evidence to a private lab for testing, and the DNA test results "absolutely" exclude Kevin.  Charges that could have led to his execution have been dropped.  Riley's killer remains free.

Blake and Brett Zatarain
This is a very disturbing case that may give ammunition to those who fear that juvenile courts, where there is less advocacy, less investigation, less use of DNA testing, and great pressure to plea bargain, may be a breeding ground for wrongful convictions, particularly false confessions and false guilty pleas.

John Michael Harvey
Eleven years into a 40 year sentence, John's innocence is finally being examined.
But the former Assistant DA who hid evidence and coached a child to lie is off the hook.

UPDATE:  John Michael Harvey Freed

A Harris County, Texas prosecutor says faulty physical exams performed by a former nurse may have resulted in wrongful conviction of some defendants in child sex abuse cases.  170 Potential Wrongful Convictions

For James Rodriguez, the only way to freedom was to confess to sex crimes he — and one of his alleged victims — says he did not commit.  Predator or Prey?

San Joaquin County, California Superior Court Judge Stephen Demetras ordered the release of 36-year-old Peter Rose after 10 years of incarceration.  Convicted of sexually assaulting a 13 year-old Lodi girl in 1994, Rose was sentenced to 27 years in prison.  With no history of violent crime or sexual assault, Rose has maintained his innocence from the beginning.  DNA testing has proved him right.  It has also shown the tragic results when police browbeat a child into accusing the person they have already decided is guilty.
Sylvester's case is yet another example of how pressuring children to make false allegations leads to wrongful convictions.  In 1984, two young girls were molested by their cousin who was also a juvenile.  Their grandmother, thinking the cousin would be sent to prison, convinced the girls to accuse Sylvester Smith instead.  Now grown, the victims have recanted and are supported by the trial testimony of one of them -- she told the defense attorney her grandmother said to accuse Smith.
A couple who became fugitives in 1984 following accusations that they abused their 4-year-old daughter left jail feeling vindicated after prosecutors dropped the charges, but said their lives had been ruined.  Edward and Karri LaBois fled Minnesota with their daughter 19 years ago after the abuse accusation was made. They were arrested in 2003 when an informant tipped police that they were living in a Salt Lake City suburb.  Sex Abuse Witch Hunt Scam

Gerald Amirault and the Fells Acres Witch Hunt
Parole Board Recommends Release
Gov. Denies Parole: Still the Witch Trial State
Cheryl Amirault LeFave
Fells Acres Chronology
  Gerald Amirault's Freedom
Link:
Did Daddy Do It?
New Evidence Calls an "Ironclad" Conviction into Question
Link:
Defense of Child Molestation Charges
by Joel Erik Thompson, Esq.
LINK: 
A WGBH Forum Network Lecture - Remembering Trauma
Richard J. McNally, professor, psychology, Harvard
Belle Adler, professor, Northeastern School of Journalism
 
Are horrific experiences indelibly fixed in a victim's memory? Or does the mind protect itself by banishing traumatic memories from consciousness? How victims remember trauma is the most controversial issue in psychology today, spilling out of consulting rooms and laboratories to capture headlines, rupture families, provoke legislative change, and influence criminal trials and civil suits. A clinician and laboratory researcher, Richard McNally challenges the ready acceptance of a notion he says goes beyond common sense. He contends that traumatic experiences are indeed unforgettable and the evidence for repressed memories is surprisingly weak.
Link:  Witch Hunt
A comprehensive listing of cases involving false claims of child abuse, ritual abuse, and false memories, as well as resources and information on these subjects.

Re-examining the Process
Michael G. Brock, MA, LLP, CSW is licensed as both a master’s level psychologist and a certified social worker. He is in private practice at Counseling and Evaluation Services in Wyandotte, MI. Brock has been in the therapy field since 1974 and, in the past five years, custody evaluations have become the majority of his practice. Brock has done over 200 evaluations.  Brock re-examines how the criminal justice system balances---or fails to balance---the interests of truth and justice with those of child protection.
Due Process is Good Psychology
The Pitfalls of Expert Testimony

Michael G. Brock, MA, LLP, CSW examines False Allegations of Sexual Abuse:  What Can Be Done?
In November, 2003, Pennsylvania voters voted to deny criminal defendants the right to confront their accusers in court.  They probably felt there would be no cost to themselves.  But if we let witnesses avoid accountability in criminal proceedings, we all will pay a high price, eventually.  No Accountability

Identifying False Allegations

False reports of crime, including but not limited to sexual assault, put innocent people on trial or in prison andexact a high toll in money, resources and human suffering.  Det. John Baeza, NYPD (Ret.) is an expert whose private consulting practice focuses on sex crimes,  homicides, child abuse and premises liability.  His Special-Victims website offers extensive information on false reports at the links below:
False Reports - Red Flags
False Reports - Archives
More Resources

Shaken Baby Defense
Abuse Excuse
National Child Absue Defense & Resource Center

False Memory Syndrome Foundation  

False Memory/Recovered Memory
Recommended Reading from Stop Bad Therapy
Red Flags Daily

Psych Law Net


Truth in Justice

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    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

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