I’m reposting this article I just wrote for the California Heal Resistance blog. After reading the book, The Politics of Child Abuse by Paul Eberle, I suddenly had some ‘repressed memories’! Yes, it brought back memories of my first year in California in which I met people who truly believed in the guilt of the defendants in the McMartin pre-school case, including another person (not related to McMartin) whose son was convinced by a therapist that his parents used him in a Satanic ritual. This resulted in the father losing his job and the son being taken away.
Unfortunately, due to privacy issues, I cannot share the video I made of the family that was broken up due to a therapist brainwashing their son. The son, after being separated from the family, eventually admitted to breaking under the pressure of this therapist.
The model of ‘Believe the Children’ works if you’re dealing with a family struggling with incest. Yes, if a child is abused under those circumstances, s/he most likely will tell the unvarnished truth without too much prodding from detectives. But c’mon! If a child is in custody for more than 8 hours, the prosecution obviously isn’t getting what they want and neither, for that matter, is the abusive child containment industry which reaps the benefits of ‘Believe the Children’.
Jack Schaap gave up some names to the prosecutors in order to get a reduced sentence. To advocates, it might seem like good news since one of the defendants allegedly procured an infant for the purposes of child pornography. Wait a minute! By the standards of fundamentalism, and even most prosecutors, a video of a topless toddler running in the backyard might be considered child pornography. Of course, we just have to trust prosecutors. Unfortunately, as the article shows, prosecutors can sometimes be very untrustworthy.
Please read this article with the question, “Is Jack Schaap lying?” And then ask yourself, if he is giving up certain people (beyond, of course, the woman who drove the girl to him) on flimsy evidence, are you comfortable with possibly sending more children into state institutions because a corrupt preacher is trying to protect himself?
All of us need a reality check before more children get abused and our individual rights to a fair trial are thrown out the door!
Paul Eberle, the author of The Politics of Child Abuse, died in December 2012. I have no obituary to prove this. Some believe the reaction from his books regarding the child abuse witch hunts of the 80s finally broke him.
The Politics of Child Abuse begins with Sigmund Freud and his seduction theory. Freud concluded, after hearing so many patients talk about personal incest and child abuse experiences, that abuse is the basis of most of our behavioral problems. Eberle suggests Freud’s colleagues did not want to implicate their best customers in criminal acts, so pressure was applied that resulted in the famous psychiatrist compromising his work and now we’re stuck with a cigar.
The ‘child abuse industry’ did not begin in earnest until Walter Mondale sponsored the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974. There was big money in child abuse and departments were created. The state of Utah, at one time, received over $100,000 for each child they retained in state custody. Those children, allegedly sent for their ‘protection’ from abusive parents, were the first crop of victims to make this abusive teen behavioral modification industry prosper. States had to make changes in laws, thus giving the prosecution immunity from false accusations, if they wanted to receive the big bucks.
The dogma of the child abuse industry shares a commonality with Freud’s revised theories. Freud’s later views linked fantasy with child abuse. His clients were not abused, he said. It was all fantasy. Today, Freud would be a great expert witness for defense lawyers.
Child abuse cases no longer required a defendant to have an alibi! Since repressed memories don’t come with day planners, saying you were at another location when a molestation occurred is not enough. Discrepancies in testimonies were easily written off and discarded.
The insanity went into a tailspin after Ray Buckey was accused of child molestation in the McMartin Preschool case. His arrest was not an isolated incident. Many families were arrested in the South Bay area. Parents sent to jail. Children sent to foster homes and juvenile care by a prosecution that refused to admit it was wrong. One of the most notorious cases was in Bakersfield, California, where the witch hunt nabbed 36 convictions, with flimsy evidence. 34 were overturned on appeal. 2 died in custody. And their children? Sent to foster homes or juvenile facilities! But who cares about that?
The fact is, those who were never abused by their parents did get abused in foster homes and institutions because of the false charges of molestation.
Children taken to juvenile care were placed in small rooms by interrogators. The team of questioners could leave the room, take a break, and return. The child was often kept in the room with no hope of a break. Sometimes longer than 8 hours. Some as long as three months. If they claimed they were abused, they would be rewarded with dolls. If they said abuse did not occur, they would be yelled at.
‘Believe the Children’ became a mantra that could not be questioned. Eberle writes that extremely young children will tell the truth, but as they understand it. A young child may believe Santa is coming down the chimney. He is not lying. He is mistaken.
A lie must have the intent to deceive. He is not lying if he truly believes it. It is necessary, as adults, to have a critical mind to discern fact from fantasy. An adult who does not do that is derelict in his or her duties as a parent. A judicial system that cannot discern fact from fantasy is a witch hunt. A horrendous injustice was done and more children were abused because of unquestioned allegiance to the doctrines of child advocacy.
Years after The Politics of Child Abuse was written, those very children would speak up about their abuse in the movie Witch Hunt. The question they got asked so often was, “If you weren’t abused by your parents, why did you admit to it?”
It was because they were practically held as prisoners of war by zealous prosecutors who only allowed for evidence that supported their case! The defense was forbidden from using any evidence that would prove the prosecution wrong. Another classical sign of a ‘witch hunt’!
If someone like Freud would comprise his work to suggest accounts of child abuse are fantasies, and if much of what we understand about abuse is based on unquestioned allegiance to flawed theories, and if we continue to avoid critical thinking when it comes to prosecuting child abuse cases, we will probably wind up abusing more children than any religious organization now under fire for abuse.
Paul Eberle was the publisher of the Los Angeles Free Press, the famous underground paper known for its counterculture views and acceptance of sex advertisements. His interviews included Frank Zappa and just about everyone who was an influence in the 60s. This past would be held against him after he published his two books about prosecutorial misconduct in The Politics of Child Abuse and his follow up, The Abuse of Innocence.
Lee Coleman, MD, had an article published in Hustler and this was used against Dr. Coleman. Coleman, in The Politics of Child Abuse, responds that one of the tactics used to deflect attention from the substance of the facts is the ad hominem argument. Shoot the messenger! This tactic would be used by National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse when they published a smear article trying to link Eberley to child pornography.
The Los Angeles Free Press published stories written by adults reflecting on their experiences as children. No actual child pornography was ever discovered that could be used against Paul Eberle. The Politics of Child Abuse book does contain an account of a victim’s friend getting arrested and implicated after she questions an investigation.
Temper this with the disturbing events surrounding the 1981 University of Boston Nursing School symposium on child sex abuse. Lloyd Martin, former LAPD detective, brought hundreds of examples of ‘kiddie porn’ to the convention. He stockpiled them from raids and freely displayed them at public awareness events. Dr. Roland C. Summit, the guru behind ‘Believe the Children, and Kee MacFarlane from the McMartin trial, attended this symposium.
The tables would be turned thirty years later as fundamentalist preachers, children’s home personnel, and ‘anti-porn’ activists from this era, would be arrested for child molestation or possession of child porn. Yet, their philosophy that has put many innocent people in jail is still regarded as gospel by those professing to be child advocates.
All is not lost! There is a new twist in the form of survivors who have been victimized by group homes, foster care, and other institutions who are finding each other through Facebook/Reddit.
You who have been victimized by this industry are the wild card! You know what it’s like to be in solitary confinement. You know what it’s like to be punished until you admit that certain things are true (even though you know they aren’t)!
You know what it’s like to have people ask, “Why are you saying bad things about this place? You once said you loved it!”
Now consider the victims of this witch hunt! Every false accusation equals the possibility of another innocent child becoming a victim of institutional abuse. They might be children younger than you who are victims of a divorce squabble! Or victims of an aggressive prosecutor whose career is on the line unless he gets a conviction (and if he’s lucky it’ll be the right guy!). Or a pastor who feels his reputation must be protected at all costs for the sake of the ministry? Imagine those children suffering in order for a guilty party to go free!
What I would suggest is an abolishment of statute of limitations laws regarding child abuse. Statute of limitation rules, along with the basic hysteria that comes with the subject of child molestation, work against justice and forces prosectors to embrace the magical thinking of repressed memories. Lets allow victims to grow up, get their heads straight, and present their cases (without manipulation by a third party) to the proper authorities.