Sunday, May 29, 2005

Attorneys Experienced with Survivors of Sexual Violence

If you know of other attorneys please send them to:

1. Zalkin and Zimmer, LLP - Personal Injury Attorneys (CA and NY)

2. Denis Ventriglia, Attorney and Counsellor at Law (NC)

3. Susan K. Smith, Attorney at Law (CT)

Other legal information

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Tailgater

I found this on another blog. I think it's an important story for all of us to pay attention to.

An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him.

He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by
accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to
get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose
Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would J---- Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk.

"Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

National Sex Offender Registry Starting

Feds Choose Md. To Test Sexual Offender Registry
Four States Link Registries Via Internet In National Pilot Program
WBAL-TV - May 25, 2005

BALTIMORE -- Maryland will soon test a new high-tech AMBER Alert system.

The federal government chose four states to test an online national sex offender registry open to the public, WBAL-TV 11 News reported.

According to the governor's office, the initiative will link the preexisting state registries involved in the test. If the pilot program proves successful, authorities will link together via a search engine all sex offender registries nationwide.

The governor's office issued a statement Wednesday, in which the governor wrote: "This national online project gives parents and other concerned citizens real-time access to information that keeps our children safe"
The program would allow school districts, assisted-living facilities and other employers to immediately check whether a job applicant is a registered sex offender in another state.

In addition to Maryland, the U.S. Department of Justice selected Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services maintains Maryland's registry.
Additionally, Gov. Bob Ehrlich plans to sign four bills Thursday to strengthen Maryland’s sex offender registry. One of the bills requires child sex offenders to register annually with updated pictures.

Another bill expands release allowances for sexual offenders to include work release, home detention or community release.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I was wondering if anyone has read any new books on healing that they think are good?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Words of Wisdom - Quotes for Today

Let your child find her/his own uniqueness within his/herself.

A garden, like a child, needs more than just planting in order to grow.

Gaining experience means making mistakes.

It is better to be a failure at something you love, then to be a success at something you hate.

A wise person never thinks that he/she is wise.

A person must risk something of significance in order to achieve something of significance.

We can grow in spite of our pain or, perhaps, in response to it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

RCA Encourages All Institutions Dealing with Jewish Youth to Conduct Criminal Background Checks on Employees, and Advocates Legislation Requiring Sam

RCA Encourages All Institutions Dealing with Jewish Youth to Conduct Criminal Background Checks on Employees, and Advocates Legislation Requiring Same
Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) - May 19, 2005

May 19, 2005 -- Whereas the Rabbinical Council of America ("RCA") acknowledges the U.S. Congress-mandated report, issued by the U.S. Department of Education in June 2004, entitled, "Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature", and notes the recommendation in the report that all public and nonpublic schools perform criminal background checks on all employees; and,

Whereas the RCA acknowledges the 1993 National Child Protection Act and 1998 Volunteers for Children Act (Title 42, U.S. Code, Sections 5119a, et seq.), which encourages and allows qualified schools and youth groups access to the FBI national criminal database for the purpose of conducting national criminal background checks on employees and volunteers; and,

Whereas the RCA acknowledges the modern legal trend of many States enacting statutes which require public and nonpublic schools to perform national criminal background checks on their employees and volunteers; and,

Whereas the RCA acknowledges that many private youth groups are also performing national criminal background checks on their employees and volunteers; and,

Whereas the RCA has previously held, in May 2003, a national conference on the issue of sexual abuse, and enacted a resolution condemning abuse, and established an internal disciplinary mechanism within the RCA for responding to abuse allegations; and,

Whereas, the RCA notes that approximately 100,000 Jewish children attend yeshivas and Hebrew day schools in New York State, and more than 200,000 Jewish children attend yeshivas and Hebrew day schools in the U.S. and Canada, and that these children deserve the highest level of physical security and legal protection possible; and,

Whereas the RCA notes the obligation not to stand by the blood of our brothers, and to safeguard our lives exceedingly,

Now, therefore, it is

Resolved that the RCA endorses the continued enactment of legislation that will require all public and nonpublic schools, including yeshivas and Hebrew day schools, to perform national criminal background checks on all employees (and volunteers and contractors who have access to children); and, it is further

Resolved that the RCA specifically endorses the swift enactment of the legislation recently proposed in New York State that will require all nonpublic schools to perform national criminal background checks on all employees (and volunteers and contractors who have access to children); and, it is further

Resolved that the RCA encourages all yeshivas, Hebrew day schools, and all institutions which deal with Jewish youth to establish a cross-institutional disciplinary system that will bar those who have had inappropriate interaction with children of a sexual or violent nature from professional or volunteer access to, or involvement with, Jewish children, and that an internal registry of such persons be maintained; and, it is further

Resolved that the RCA and its individual members pledge their cooperation and assistance in promoting the passage of background check legislation; in encouraging compliance with existing background check law and future law; and in establishing a cross-institutional Jewish educational disciplinary system and registry for those described above.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Village (Understand cultic behavior)

The Village
(Understand cultic behavior)

There's a movie that I think would help those interested understand manipulation and mind control a little bit better. The movie is called "The Village". You can rent it at your local blockbusters video store.

The Village (2004)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quotes For The Day

Hang on to your dreams.

Power does NOT like to loose.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

The only way to determin if a person has courage is to test her/him.

Being able to live with yourself is more important then anything else.

Trust yourself when it comes to questions on how to live.

Maintain inner peace in a world of turmoil.

The more you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Yori Yanover and Hershy Worch Are Banned From This Site

I want to remind everyone that this blog is for and about survivors in their healing process. As I'm sure you know there are two individuals who are dedicated to harassing survivors and those who care for them. Each and every time they post something it will be deleted.

Their goal is to insite a riot of sorts. Please don't respond to them. We will delete everyone of their postings.

Important Quotes

"Nowhere is denial (about abuse) as intense as in the Jewish Community".
-- Rabbi Abraham Twerski"

"If we say that Jews do not commit incest, then the child victim doesn't exist as a person or as a Jew".
-- Marcia Cohn Spiegel

"Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships: it cannot occur in isolation"
-- Judith Lewis Herman, MD

Friday, May 13, 2005

CALL TO ACTION: Case of Rabbi J. Hershel Worch (Manchester, England, Mbale, Uganda; Melbourne, Australia; Pawtucket, RI; Chicago, IL; Istanbul, Turke

Case of Rabbi J. Hershel Worch (Manchester, England, Mbale, Uganda; Melbourne, Australia; Pawtucket, RI; Chicago, IL; Istanbul, Turkey)

In the past the alleged survivors of Rabbi Hershy Worch have spoken to rabbis at both the
RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and also to Rabbis at the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council). Unfortunately because Rabbi Hershy Worch is not a member of either rabbinical organization very little could be done.

Since Rabbi Hershy Worch is consider to be an orthodox rabbi, The Awareness Center is asking that the Orthodox Union investigate the claims, and make a public statement on their web page of their findings.

The allegations against Rabbi Hershy Worch include Rabbinical Sexual Misconduct and also the claims of his re-writing and misuse of Torah. These claims have been following Hershy Worch around the world for several years. Isn't it time for someone in authority to do something?

Rabbi Hershy Worch recieved his smicha (ordination) from
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

There have been several serious allegations made claiming
Reb Hershy's behavior as being predatory, manipulative and sexually abusive. Allegations have been made in while residing in Chicago; from a group from the Hamakom Synagogue in Melbourne, Australia; and from other locations.

Rabbi Worch has been accused of utilizing a mixture of kabbalah, hypno-eroticism and other manipulative techniques to enagage his potential victims prior to sexually assaulting them.

There have been allegations that Reb Hershy creates a cult-like devotion to himself utilizing trance-like-states, guided meditation, hypnosis; all under the guise of kabbalah teachings. Allegedly his MO (modus operandi) has been to use such techniques on women with histories of childhood abuse, so that he can lead them into BDSM
(Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism). activities with him.

Rabbi Worch has allegedly written a "BDSM-Kabbalah" and finds his "students" over the internet, primarily through his Livejournal "Kabbalah_101" community.

As the pressures mounted, Rabbi Hershy Worch moved from his home in Chicago to Istanbul, Turkey.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Standing Together, Standing Firm

I'm sure you are all aware of the attacks on the Survivors of Mordecai Tendler (please note that I can no longer put the title of rabbi in front of this thugs name), the RCA and The Awareness Center.

I want to honor all of the women who came forward to tell the truth. They deserve an award for their bravery. I think we should also honor and support those who have been supportive to the survivors throughout this whole ordeal.

Remember no matter what the outcome is of the Beit Din in Jerusalem, know that you have won. You got the word out. You have warned the world of this man's unethical behavior.

Remember there was enough information provided that the RCA removed his name from their membership.

Remember without your efforts of coming forward more women would have been sexually manipulated by this man. You are heros for taking the risks you did to protect others.

I know that those in the Tendler camp are attempting to make the issue about the RCA and The Awareness Center. They are boths great distractions. The reality is that no matter what Mordecai Tendler says or does -- this is all about Mordecai Tendler using his role as a rabbi to manipulate women who came to him for help. He was supposed to be counseling them not developing his relationship with them sexually.
  1. Was his behavior of a man who is supposed to be considered Torah observant?
  2. Is this the behavior of an orthodox rabbi?
  3. Was his actions considered a form of sexual assault?
Remember that in cults, sexual abuse and or assault is common amongst the manipulative cult leader and his or her followers.

What is most important to remember is that it's only a small handful of people attacking. We are all in this together. I know it may seem scary -- remember if our voices were NOT being heard they would be ignoring our efforts to make our communites safe from sexual violence.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Teshuvah may not be possible

The Rambam in Hilkhot Teshuvah, Chapters 3-4 deal with those who are denied the privilege of teshuvah and/or denied a place in the world to come. If you want to see the text and discussion, look at and go into Rambam then into Hilkhot Teshuvah and the appropriate chapters. (While the Rambam doesn’t deal with sexual abuse per se, his classic example of teshuvah is a sexual situation. See chapter 2, paragraph 1.)

Please note that the web page with this vital information is owned by Rabbi Yaakov (Kenneth Lloyd) Menken.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blackmail, Extortion and Rabbi's From Well Known Families

I was recently reminded of a story about holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel. I'm not sure if I'll be able to repeat the exact story, but it goes something like this.

During the holocaust there was a rabbi in the same concentration camp where Ellie Wiesel was being held. This rabbi had the only siddur around. Many men begged him to lend them his siddur so they could say their daily prayers. The rabbi refused to share it unless the other men gave him their daily rations of food.

These men gave up their food in order to pray. The rabbi ate ten times more then anyone else, and allowed others to starve.

One has to ask, what kind of rabbi would do this?

The same questions need to be addressed and discussed relating to those who are more invested in protecting alleged and convicted sex offenders (especially those who are from well known rabbinical families), rather then protecting those who have been sexually victimized.

Often the real issues get glossed over when dealing with cases of sexual abuse and assault. Why is there no discussion going on regarding the welfare of the men and women who are getting sexually assaulted? These survivors are praying to God instead of being offered food for survival.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Description: WHEN CHILDREN ACCUSE: WHO TO BELIEVE Child sex abuse is a very serious problem. In 1994 alone 140,000 new cases were investigated and found to be real. But are innocent people being sentenced for crimes they never committed because of the testimony of the young?

Code: U961114 01
Price: $39.95

SHOW: Nightline (ABC 11:30 pm ET)
November 14, 1996
Transcript # 4039-1
TYPE: Interview
SECTION: News; Domestic

Child's Word

Doubt over the testimony of children in sexual abuse cases has made it harder to try accused child molesters, sometimes with deadly consequences, but authorities say children do tell the truth in most cases.

TED KOPPEL: [voice-over] This week, another tragedy.

1st RESPONDENT: I don't understand this. They- they knew. Why did they let him come into this neighborhood? Or in any other neighborhood?

IPTED KOPPEL: [voice-over] A convicted child molester avoids prison because there is doubt over the testimony of a child.

STEPHEN CECI, Psychologist, Cornell University: We're never going to have - never going to have - a Pinocchio test. There will never be a test where the child's nose is growing longer when she gets it wrong.

IPTED KOPPEL: [voice-over] But when the convicted molester is sent home, he kills two children.

2nd RESPONDENT: When they do something like that, don't let them out. Just don't let them out at all.

IPTED KOPPEL: [voice-over] Tonight, the country faces a growing dilemma, knowing when to believe a child's word.

ANNOUNCER: This is ABC News Nightline. Reporting from Washington, Ted Koppel.

TED KOPPEL: This is a subject that is so controversial, about which people on both sides of the issue feel so passionately, that you should know how, in this particular instance, it was brought to our attention. Cydnea Tamarkin [sp?] has been a journalist for many years. She has devoted a great deal of attention to the subject of the sexual abuse of children by adults. Ms. Tamarkin has come to believe that, in recent years, a great many children who claim to have been sexually abused are not believed, or at least that suspects are not prosecuted because of some high-profile cases in which the testimony of children was found in court to be not credible. At one point, Ms. Tamarkin served on the advisory board of an organization called Believe the Children. She insists, however, that she remains neutral on the subject, and we have found her to be a useful, objective and reliable resource.@PGPH I'm telling you all of this because some people are under the impression, and have communicated this to us, that Ms. Tamarkin produced the reports you are about to see. That is not true. Correspondent Erin Hayes and producer Jim Hill have been especially sensitive to the suggestion that their work might be seen as anything less than objective reporting, and so have we. We are satisfied that their story is important and that Erin's report has been compiled as fairly and cleanly as possible.

ERIN HAYES, ABC News: [voice-over] Robert Jambois, a Kenosha, Wisconsin prosecutor, and his staff are preparing a case against a man accused of sexually molesting a little boy.

ROBERT JAMBOIS, Prosecutor, Kenosha, WI: He's been waking up in the middle of the night, you know, screaming, "Daddy, don't do it again."

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] As in most child sex abuse cases, there is no physical evidence.

ROBERT JAMBOIS: Basically, it's the child's word against the word of the adult.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] The case will hinge on the testimony of the boy. It will not be easy.

ROBERT JAMBOIS: He's going to be called a liar, and he's going to be told that, you know, going to say that he just- he made this whole thing up, or that somebody else made it all up.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Jambois says it will be doubly difficult because many potential jurors walk into court already dubious about the testimony of children.

ROBERT JAMBOIS: One of the questions that we often ask jurors, I mean, "Are you prepared to convict this defendant just based on the testimony- or based exclusively on the testimony of an eyewitness?" And many of them will say, "Yeah, yeah." And, "Well, what about- what if this eyewitness is five years old, and you believe this five-year-old, and you don't believe the defendant, are you still prepared to convict, based exclusively on the testimony of this five-year-old eyewitness?" "Oh, no," they're not really inclined to do that.

ERIN HAYES: And prosecutors from more than a dozen major cities told Nightline it is a disturbing trend. In the past five years, they say, it has become much more difficult to prosecute child sex abuse because the credibility of children's testimony has come under attack.

J. TOM MORGAN, Prosecutor, Dekalb County, Georgia: The courtroom has gotten very mean. It's gotten mean for children, and it's gotten mean for the people who advocate for children.

ROBERT JAMBOIS: If I have a credible child who's able to give a credible account of what occurred, why shouldn't that be enough? Why- why shouldn't the jury believe that a child will- is telling the truth about these matters?

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Because, a group of critics argues, in many cases, by the time children get to the witness stand, there has been too much opportunity for investigators to pressure children into describing abuse where there may be none. Attorney Steven Komen [sp?] has defended dozens of people charged with child sex abuse.

STEVEN KOMEN: My experience is, is that a qualified lawyer, or a psychiatrist, social worker, or psychologist, can get a child to say just about anything they want while they're talking to them.

RICHARD GARDNER, Psychiatrist: It has all the- all the criteria of a witchhunt, and the- the similarities between Salem and what we have now are uncanny.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] There is a history behind those charges, a spate of high-profile sex-abuse cases gone awry.

1st TV CORRESPONDENT: The community of Jordan, Minnesota has been jolted by allegations of a ring of child sexual abusers.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Cases in the 1980s, charges that defied belief.

2nd TV CORRESPONDENT: Coerced into staying silent by the brandishing of guns and the mutilating of animals.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But police and prosecutors had little, if any, experience with these unusual cases. Some took children's stories at face value or, worse, relentlessly interviewed some children until they finally came forward with stories of abuse.

ATTORNEY [?]: The children were never allowed to say, in their own words, what happened to them.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] In the years since, many of those cases have unraveled. Many of those accused had charges against them dropped, were acquitted, or had their convictions overturned.

PAUL STERN, Deputy Prosecutor, Kenosha, WI: Clearly, in the last two years there have been mistakes made in prosecution. There has been overcharging, there has been overreaching, there's been overzealous statements made by- by prosecutors, by investigators, by therapists.

ERIN HAYES: Those mistakes, prosecutors say, prompted them to change the system. Safeguards are being put in place, and interviewers are being trained not to lead children on in questioning.

PAUL STERN: This system works. This system works more effectively and more efficiently, with better results and better decisionmaking now than it did 10 years ago.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But prosecutors say convincing juries of that has been extraordinarily difficult in the face of a counterattack they say is planting widespread doubt about the believability of children's testimony.@PGPH [on camera] And prosecutors say that counterattack is succeeding on the basis of unproven theories and misapplied science that they say should have no place in the courtroom.

IP[Commercial break]

TED KOPPEL: At the heart of many cases involving the sexual abuse of children is a debate over science in the courtroom. Erin Hayes continues her report.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] This is what is at the center of the debate, the statements of children, like this one, who told prosecutor Jambois that her father sexually molested her.

1st CHILD: He took a pen and stuck it in her- in my body.


1st CHILD: Yeah.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] If you are a juror, listening to this child, should you have strong doubts? Is there reason to believe a child would make up something like that, or could be led to make it up? Many who defend the accused point to a body of research they say shows children can and do make up stories of sexual abuse. Some of they research they cite most frequently is that of Cornell University psychologist Stephen Ceci. Professor Ceci's staff has found they can elicit elaborate stories from young children, stories that are absolutely untrue, like this one.

2nd CHILD: The monkey escaped from the zoo. A man [unintelligible] he asked if- if I could help him find it, and I- and I found it.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] The studies have been widely cited in the media as evidence for questioning children's accounts of sex abuse. USA Today suggested questions can induce kids to falsely claim abuse. The Boston Herald said interviewers' techniques can often convince non-abused children they were truly molested, and more of Ceci's work has been cited in the courtroom as evidence of "...a high degree of suggestibility among young children...," that it's "...quite easy to distort a child's memory..." and "A child who was not abused may come to believe they were...@PGPH But Ceci says in many cases his work has been misused and misunderstood.

STEPHEN CECI, Psychologist, Cornell University: Not only do I believe children can be reliable in sexual abuse cases, I believe the vast majority of them are reliable in those cases.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But Ceci says what is missing from many accounts of his work is that it is fairly difficult to convince children to make up even the most harmless stories.

STEPHEN CECI: Because in our studies we work at it very hard.

INTERVIEWER: And guess what, they found the monkey and gave it back to the lady. Did anything like that ever happen to you?

3rd CHILD: No.

INTERVIEWER: Did you ever help a stranger in a park to find a monkey that ran away from a zoo? You didn't?

STEPHEN CECI: We pursued kids repeatedly over long periods of time.

INTERVIEWER: Did anything like that ever happen to you?

4th CHILD: No.

STEPHEN CECI: I'm not talking about a single interview, where you sit down and you use a single leading question, and all of a sudden the child's giving you some highly elaborate narrative about something that never happened. That isn't how we grow a narrative. We do it over long periods of time, with repeated false suggestions by an interviewer.

ERIN HAYES: That doesn't seem to- to bear most child sexual abuse cases.

STEPHEN CECI: No. I would- I would agree.

ERIN HAYES: In fact, in his studies, most of the children ultimately do not give in to interviewers' suggestions, and while many of the interviews are about more serious subjects, medical exams, for example, they are not about sex abuse, and many in the child protection field are troubled that Ceci's research is being applied to sex abuse cases.

CHARLES WILSON, National Children's Advocacy Center: Because a child can be convinced of some event within their- within their realm of experience, such as seeing a clumsy clown at a- at a party, doesn't translate into that they can be made to believe that their grandfather had sex with them every Friday night for the last three years. It doesn't tell them about what the taste of semen is like. It doesn't tell them about the pain.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Professor Ceci says he sees his research as a first step toward understanding cases where children have made false allegations of abuse.

STEPHEN CECI: It in no way denies the true instance of child sexual abuse, to say that some percentage of those claims may be falsehoods because of the way the adults have pursued the kids' memories.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But those cases, he says, are not the norm.

STEPHEN CECI: Maybe 1 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent. I suspect it's nowhere near the majority. My hunch is the majority of interviews done with kids by front-line workers, child protective service, law enforcement, therapists, pediatricians, are well-done.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But prosecutors say that is not the message being heard. Many jurors walk into court, they say, already doubting children, especially young children.@PGPH [on camera] In fact, prosecutors in several states told Nightline that in many cases of sex abuse involving children under the age of six, they are not prosecuting, even when they are sure the child would be a credible witness.@PGPH [voice-over] Rob Parrish, an assistant attorney general in Utah, is concerned that the cases are proving too tough for many prosecutors.

ROB PARRISH, Utah Assistant Attorney General: What I often say to prosecutors is that when we go in to a case like this, we have an extra burden. It's not just proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt. We've got to prove it pretty much beyond any doubt.

IPTED KOPPEL: In a moment, two of the men who have raised doubts about the reliability of children's testimony, when Erin Hayes's report continues.

[Commercial break]

RALPH UNDERWAGER, Psychologist: [videotape] The best thing to do, the thing that would, in fact, protect the largest number of children from being harmed is to do away with all this bullshit of child protection.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Ralph Underwager, a Minnesota psychologist-

Dr. RICHARD GARDNER: [videotape] And we are witnessing the greatest wave of hysteria in the history of the country.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] -and Dr. Richard Gardner, a New Jersey psychiatrist, are two of the most outspoken critics of child sex abuse investigators in this country. On a past Nightline, Dr. Gardner criticized what he called "the child abuse establishment."

Dr. RICHARD GARDNER: ["Nightline," March 4, 1994] It is a fact that- a- a- a lot of incompetent zealots- zealous people, overzealous, who see sex abuse everywhere.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Gardner's and Underwager's research and theories raising doubts about the validity of many children's accusations of sex abuse have been widely cited in the media, and both have been highly sought, highly paid witnesses for people defending themselves against child sex abuse charges.

RALPH UNDERWAGER: I believe the great majority of the questioning of children that is done in this country is highly coercive, highly suggestive, leading, and produces inaccurate information.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Underwager has done research that he says backs him up. He evaluated taped interviews of children, children who claimed they were sexually abused. Too many of the interviewers, Underwager concluded, used leading or repeated questions, which he says cast serious doubts on the children's accusations.

RALPH UNDERWAGER: It is the case that repeated questioning is the most powerful and the- the most effective way to produce a false accusation.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But his critics point out Underwager uses his own standards for determining what is repeated and leading. For instance, he has said that interviewers' questions like this one, "Okay ... I don't want you to say anything you can't remember for sure," could be considered leading. And most of the tapes he reviews come to him from defense attorneys, for whom he consults. When he testifies for them, he says, he is paid $2,500 a day. Underwager admits he has no way to known if the children's accounts of abuse in the cases he reviews are actually false.@PGPH [interviewing] How do you know, in each of these cases, that the abuse did not happen?

RALPH UNDERWAGER: I don't. That's not my function. That's the function of the justice system.

ROB PARRISH: If that's the case, then there's no reason for him to be expressing an opinion in the justice system, any more than any of the rest of us. I mean, you could call anybody in that circumstance to say, "I've viewed the tape and I think it's a bad interview, so therefore I think this child's probably not telling the truth."

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] At least 10 courts have disallowed Underwager's testimony. One ruled he "...did not have bone fide qualifications..." as a researcher. Another said his work "...was not scientifically reliable..."@PGPH Underwager does continue to testify, which concerns many of his critics, who say is expertise is colored by what they see as a sympathetic view toward pedophiles. In a Dutch publication [Paidika] three years ago, Underwager said, "Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God's will for love and will among human beings."@PGPH Underwager says he has always believed sex between adults and children is harmful, but says to help treat pedophiles, they must first be encouraged to openly proclaim their sexuality.

RALPH UNDERWAGER: That's what they need to do for themselves, and that's what we need to have them do, so that we can deal with it.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] In the same controversial article, he said "Male sex may make women jealous," and that can "...hold true for pedophile sex too."@PGPH [interviewing] To say that a woman would be jealous of pedophile sex, what do you mean by that? Why would you say something like that?"

RALPH UNDERWAGER: What's so difficult to understand about that?

ERIN HAYES: It's almost impossible for me to understand.


ERIN HAYES: Why would a woman, in your estimation, be jealous of sex between a pedophile and a child?

RALPH UNDERWAGER: If it interfered with whatever the woman had as her purposes, or her intents, or whatever her relationships were, that's what could occur.

MARK ELLIS, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse: His methods and theories are not accepted by others in his field, and have been subject to a great deal of criticism by others in his field.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Prosecutors are also critical of Dr. Gardner, who not only testifies, but publishes and markets his own books on child sex abuse, books often quoted in court cases.

ATTORNEY: [law firm videotape] Now, I want to talk to you about the most common cause of false accusations.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] In this videotape produced by a law firm, an attorney cites from Dr. Gardner's research Gardner's conclusion that false allegations of child sex abuse are commonplace in custody disputes.

ATTORNEY: [law firm videotape] This phenomena [sic] has been examined in research and it's now been given the name "parental alienation syndrome."

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] That disorder, however, cannot be found in the standard manual of psychiatric diagnoses. It is a term Dr. Gardner coined himself, based mainly on his own experience as a psychiatrist.@PGPH But the largest study done on the subject to date found that false allegations of child sexual abuse rarely surface in custody disputes ["...less than 2% of cases involved an allegation of sexual abuse."]@PGPH Dr. Gardner declined a videotaped interview for this report, but he sells tapes of his own, as well, in which he describes his criteria to help determine whether a child's allegation of sexual abuse is true or false. Among his criteria?

Dr. RICHARD GARDNER: [videotape] If it sounds incredible, it's probably not true.@PGPH In extreme cases, children who are sexually abused become like little street-smart sluts. I believe that children who are false accusers are going to have a higher incidence of reading mystery stories.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Dr. Gardner concedes no one has scientifically tested his criteria, not even he.

ROB PARRISH: Those tests are not based on scientific reality. They're not verified, they're not validated in any way.

ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But, prosecutors say, such work is having a real effect in the courtroom.

ROBERT JAMBOIS: It has promoted a level of cynicism among a significant percentage of the population, and when you're dealing in an area where you have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt unanimously among the jury, a little bit of cynicism can do a great deal of damage.

IPTED KOPPEL: Balancing the rights of the accused and the abused- some final thoughts from correspondent Erin Hayes, in a moment.

[Commercial break]

TED KOPPEL: Joining us now from our Chicago bureau, ABC's Erin Hayes.@PGPH Erin, I get the sense that- that there really has been no conclusion to this story. I mean, your report ends, but it doesn't end with a conclusion. I take it that's because there isn't any.

ERIN HAYES: There really is no conclusion. There's a consensus among those I've spoken to, and that is that the pendulum just needs to swing back to the middle, that there was in the 1980s a tendency to immediately believe children's accounts of sex abuse, now there's a tendency to doubt children right away, and neither, they say, is reasonable.

TED KOPPEL: And what do the experts say can be done to bring about that happy medium?

ERIN HAYES: Well, they're trying now to remove reasons for doubt, to build more credible cases. There's a great deal of training going on now of police and prosecutors, therapists, even judges, about the best way to interview children to get the most accurate information from them. But having said that, they also say there will never be a crystal ball, an easy test, a simple way to know if an account of abuse is true or false. Each case, they say, has to be determined the old-fashioned way, on its merits, examining all the facts.

TED KOPPEL: Unfortunately, we're talking about fear on both sides, fear, on the one hand, of not believing children who deserve to be believed, fear, on the other hand, of convicting innocent people because of an easily suggestible child.

ERIN HAYES: Well, those I've spoken to say there are two things to remember. The first is that you have to remember that the accused is innocent and has to be presumed innocent until they're proven guilty. But they also say it's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, not, prosecutors say, beyond an irrational doubt. And what they're asking jurors to do is to walk into court with an open mind and a willingness to listen.

TED KOPPEL: And on that note, Erin Hayes, let me thank you. I appreciate it very much.@PGPH That's our report for tonight. Tomorrow, on Good Morning America, Sarah Ferguson, and Evander Holyfield. Then, on the Nightline Friday Night Special, an unprecedented town meeting in the Watts section of Los Angeles with the director of Central Intelligence. He'll be answering questions about the lingering controversy over the CIA's alleged role in the crack cocaine epidemic during the 1980s.@PGPH I'm Ted Koppel in Washington. For all of us here at ABC News, good night.

The preceding text has been professionally transcribed. However, although the text has been checked against an audio track, in order to meet rigid distribution and transmission deadlines, it may not have been proofread against tape.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Online Course on Sex Trafficking at the University of Rhode Island Advanced Topics in Sex Trafficking

Today, the buying and selling of women and children for sexual purposes is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world. Each year, an estimated one million children enter the global sex trade. On the Internet, child pornography and enticement of children for sexual purposes are the most significant cyber crimes, and distribution of obscene material is the most under prosecuted cyber crime. Tolerance of the sex trade around the world has resulted in increased prostitution, sex tourism, and ubiquitous pornography. These forms of sexual exploitation have devastating consequences for the health and well being of millions of women and children. Victims suffer from physical injuries, psychological trauma, addictions, and infectious and sexually transmitted diseases. For the majority of victims their survival is at risk.

Advanced Topics in Sex Trafficking (Women's Studies 490) is an online course that will focus on the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children through trafficking, prostitution, and pornography. Topics covered will include: the organization and operation of criminal networks, official corruption, the role of the state in facilitating and combating sexual exploitation, health effects, perpetrator behavior, and policy debates. There will be particular focus on victim needs and services. Course materials include theoretical essays, research reports, expert testimonies, prevention education materials, protocols for services, and curricula for recovery programs.

Students will access and participate in the course through WebCT at the University of Rhode Island. The class will be offered during the Fall semester (Sept 7 - Dec 9). Registration is open to non-URI students on July 6, 2005.

The instructor of the course is Dr. Donna M. Hughes, Professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies. For more information, email her at

When your therapist goes on vacation or is absent

The following comes from one of our readers.

I feel silly writing about this, yet it's been a battle for me. I don't want to be so dependent on my therapist that it makes a difference. I have panic whenever my therapist goes on vacation, or has taken a leave of absence for medical reasons.

I don't know what to do with myself when they are away. I feel like my life comes down all around me when they are not available to me.

Is this OK? Does it happen to other survivors? Does this mean that the relationship I have with them is bad? One of my friend says the same thing happens to her when her rabbi goes away. Can someone explain why this happens?