COSA Casualties Of Sexual Allegations Newsletter May – June 1999 Vol 6 No 3
Contents of this page:
Editorial: Final Newsletter COSA National body dissolves at the end of June this year. Because this is the final issue of the National COSA Newsletter, I have taken the opportunity to prepare a brief summary of its 5 year life-cycle, and a short review of some of the factors that have lead to its development and to it having reached the end of its natural life. From the chronological history, it can be seen that the number decline coincides with two major events: the challenge to recovered memory therapy occurring between from 1994 and 1996, and the 1996 introduction of the Domestic Violence Act, the misuse of which appears to have replaced making false sexual allegations as the weapon of choice to prevent access of an non-custodial parent with (usually his) children.
Courts: Update on Peter Ellis Peter had a further parole board hearing on 11 March. He told them: " I cannot accept any Parole that you could offer me because the Board can only release me as a guilty man. I am a human being and of course I very much want my freedom, but I simply cannot accept it, if it is to be given, on the basis that I am a guilty man. I am not a guilty man. I am an innocent man."
Men remain in prison despite retraction In 1996 brothers Paul and Jason Dale, and a third man, Callum McLeod, all in their 20s, were convicted and sentenced to 8½ years for raping, sodomising and violating a young woman with two carrots, a broomstick and a candle. However the woman has since signed an affidavit witnessed by a Justice of the Peace in which she confesses that the allegations were all lies. Despite her confession the men remain in jail.
Trial not to go ahead Judge rules that a Christchurch man accused of raping his partner’s daughters 20 years ago will not stand trial, because it would be seriously prejudiced.
Case to go to Privy Council A man who was separated from his two daughters for two years on the basis of false sexual abuse allegations is trying to get some accountability.
Early parole after recovered memory conviction (Australia).
Third party obligations In 1991, Nicole Althaus recovered memories of both her parents committing bizarre sexual offences against her. The girl claimed she was subjected to medieval torture, bore three children who were murdered by her parents, was raped in a crowded restaurant and had a grandmother who rode a broom. The family sued the psychiatrist and her institution, claiming that they had an obligation not only to their patient but also to the young woman’s parents during her treatment. (USA).
Another therapist sued for malpractice River Falls psychologist Karen Burgoyne and her insurance company has been sued for compensatory damages for allegedly encouraged 3 young women to believe falsely that they were victims of "unremembered" sexual abuse. (USA).
David Calof in contempt of court American therapist David Calof has a legal suit pending against the families of his patients angry that their sons, daughters and grandchildren falsely accused them of childhood sexual abuse while under Mr Calof’s care. (USA).
Recovered memories basis for civil suit Jury hits Archdiocese with $1.2 million verdict the 47-year-old man claimed a priest here abused him as a boy. (USA).
Another civil case based on recovered memories Debra Yeager took a civil case against her father and the Orange County Superior Court awarded her $2 million. (USA).
False rape case Accuser in rape case faces perjury trial after tests cleared former boyfriend of attacking her. (USA).
No retrial in Houston case A mistrial was called 7 months into the trial of psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, psychologist Judith Peterson, therapist Sylvia Davis and Spring Shadows Glen mental hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck They had been charged with conspiracy for knowingly misdiagnosing multiple personality disorder and satanic ritual abuse in order to keep patients in the hospital and collect their insurance. (USA).
Quattrocchi case: unreliable evidence. (USA).
Media:‘Eve’ speaks out Chris Sizemore is woman depicted as ‘Eve’ in the 1957 movie "The Three Faces of Eve", which lead to MPD becoming a common-place ‘pop’ diagnosis. She claims her case was real, but thinks that many MPD diagnoses are fake.
Newsletters recieved by COSA.
Open Letter to the Community from G Waugh Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Claim-makers often commit serious errors. They ask leading questions in retrospective surveys. They ignore, or don’t understand, survey biases and errors. They fail to obtain corroboration of self-reported events. They state their "findings" as facts, when clearly they are opinions and assumptions. Ignorance combined with belief and hysteria is volatile and dangerous.
COSA National body dissolves at the end of June this year. Because this is the final issue of the National COSA Newsletter, I have taken the opportunity to prepare a brief summary of its 5 year life-cycle, and a short review of some of the factors that have lead to its development and to it having reached the end of its natural life. The chronological history notes my involvement in the sexual abuse field and growing concerns about false sexual allegations, plus a few of the more pertinent dates that appear to have affected the incidence of this problem.
The first graph shows the trend of numbers of people who have contacted me per month regarding false allegations over the past 5 to 6 years. Figures for the first year or two are not accurate as my data collecting system was not well established, and the true figures are likely to be higher than these. It can be clearly seen that the numbers of contacts has dropped markedly in the past 2 to 3 years.
This pattern is similarly reflected in the numbers attending the Auckland support meetings (Table 2 above), and the COSA membership and subscription monthly totals (Table 3 below).
A drop in the numbers of ACC claims (Table 4 below) closely matches the decline in COSA numbers.
From the chronological history, it can be seen that the number decline coincides with two major events: the challenge to recovered memory therapy occurring between from 1994 and 1996, and the 1996 introduction of the Domestic Violence Act, the misuse of which appears to have replaced making false sexual allegations as the weapon of choice to prevent access of an non-custodial parent with (usually his) children. This is also consistent with the dramatic drop in numbers of cases involving recovered memories or custody disputes COSA has documented in the past 3 years.
While we have seen a dramatic drop in the numbers of people suffering false sexual allegations, there are still some major issues to address, especially with regard to fathers and their children. We hear from many separated men denied access to their children (and hence the children are denied the right to contact with their dads) on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations that they were once physically, verbally or emotionally violent towards the child’s mother. There has also been an exponential growth in the development of supervised access centres, where fathers have to pay to see their children for an hour or two once a week or fortnight. Some of these have cruel and draconian regulations, such as the father being forbidden to ask his child ANY questions (with someone sitting listening to ensure the rule is obeyed). If you think this is a reasonable regulation, just monitor your own interaction with your children – if you cannot ask ‘How are you today?’; ‘What have you been learning at school?’; ‘Are you thirsty?’, ‘Would you like an apple?’, ‘What would you like for your birthday?’, ‘What would you like to do now?’, ‘How much is 3 plus 6?’ (and a million other possibilities) what possible chance is there that you can have a real interaction with your children and contribute in any way at all to their parenting? We are encouraged by the fact that the importance of fathers is finally attracting the attention of our social policy-makers, and hopefully some of these disturbing issues will be addressed in the next few years.
Although many of our concerns regarding the management of sexual abuse allegations are beginning to be corrected, some issues remain to be addressed. Who is accountable when mistakes are made in the delivery of our social services? What about iatrogenic damage to children who underwent hundreds of hours of ‘therapy’ for something that never happened? This raises the question of possible future compensation for these young people, once they grow up and understand what they went through. In circumstances where false allegations are proven to have occurred, virtually none of the families we have had dealings with have even had a simple acknowledgement or an apology from the authorities concerned.
When we started COSA there were very few organisations dealing with men’s issues and catering for fathers and their children. Within our limited life-span, we have seen many such organisations develop. The aims and objectives of many of these groups overlap with COSA’s, and they offer services that could be of value to some COSA members. For this reason, the names and contact details of men’s and fathers’ groups together with a brief description of what they offer, can be found at the end of this newsletter. This is in no way an all-inclusive list, and our apologies to any group that we have inadvertently excluded. The network of men’s groups is rapidly growing, and if nothing is listed for your region, you may well find that the listed group nearest to you knows of something getting started in your area.
In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge all the support and assistance COSA has had during the past five years. The organisation could not have continued without the financial support of the Lottery Grants and the JR McKenzie Trust Boards, plus the generous contributions of other trusts and numerous individuals – our thanks for your support. Our appreciation also goes out to the hard-working members of our Christchurch and Auckland branches, and regional co-ordinators throughout the length of the country, and to the members of our Professional Advisory Board, prepared to lend their names to an organisation supporting an unpopular cause (the plight of the falsely accused) making them open to the possibility of attack.
We have been very grateful for the considerable support and encouragement offered by a small army of people, both professionals and members of the public. In general the media have treated us well and we commend those with the open-mindedness and courage to run stories challenging the politically correct stance.
Finally, I would like to thank the other members of our Executive Committee for their dedicated service: Paul Warder, Robin Guy, and especially Colleen and Gordon Waugh, whose vision lead to the creation of COSA, and without whose energy and commitment, COSA would neither have been established nor flourished as an organisation to serve our community. Colleen will of course be continuing her involvement as the Secretary of COSA North, details of which are to be found later in this newsletter.
Update on Peter Ellis
Peter Ellis has been much in the news in the past few months. Alan Samson from the Dominion wrote a story summarising Prof Mike Hill’s paper ‘Satan’s Excellent Adventure in the Antipodes’ (see COSA Newsletter Oct 1998). The NZ Listener (New evidence in the fight to clear Peter Ellis, 9 Mar 99, by Bruce Ansley, Vol. 168. No 3073, Pages 18 – 23) ran a review story of the CrÃƒÂ¨che case.
About the beginning of this year Peter Ellis was moved into self-care accommodation at Christchurch’s Paparua Prison, where prisoners go before their release. These are like little motel units, where prisoners are able to do more for themselves, such as their own cooking.
Peter had a further parole board hearing on 11 March. This time he attended the hearing, and made the following statement:
"I would like to thank the Board for the opportunity to appear here today and in particular for allowing both my mother and my counsel to be present. There are two reasons why I think it is important for me to be present today. Firstly, because I wish to show my respect for the Board by personally explaining my position regarding parole and secondly, because it gives me the opportunity to say myself that which I have had to rely on others to say for me for the last six years. I cannot accept any Parole that you could offer me because the Board can only release me as a guilty man. I am a human being and of course I very much want my freedom, but I simply cannot accept it, if it is to be given, on the basis that I am a guilty man. I am not a guilty man. I am an innocent man." Signed: "Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis"
On the basis of Ellis’s declaration of innocence, the parole board said that it had "no option but to decline parole".
Ellis’s second appeal has been set down for May. At the very latest, he must be freed by next February, when he will have served two-thirds of his sentence and parole is automatic.
There is also a petition that the inquiry be widened and "new and complex material" be considered. Justice Minister Tony Ryall has appointed a former High Court judge, Sir Thomas Thorp, to investigate this.
As well as all this, further new evidence has some to light. Dunedin author Lynley Hood has been writing a book on the Ellis case for several years (it is nearing completion). She apparently has a tape of an interview with a juror on the case. This man told Hood that he found something about one of the child complainants "sexual” and that he could imagine how Peter Ellis could find aspects of the assault "exciting”. He said that he had to go to counselling because of his feelings. He had had a counselling role in a church before the trial, and he also knew Dr Karen Zelas, the expert psychiatrist called on behalf of the prosecution, and had invited her as a speaker to his counselling clinic.
Ms Hood will not release the tape to Ellis’s lawyer Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC because the juror spoke to her on the condition the material would be used only in her book. Mrs Ablett-Kerr is asking the Ministry of Justice legal counsel, who are examining the Ellis case, to find a way to obtain the tape.
(Sunday Star-Times (Auckland), 7 Mar 99; The Press Christchurch,18 Mar 99, Innocence Stance Costs Ellis Parole by John Kenzell; The Press Christchurch,30 Apr 99, Page 3, Ellis Lawyer Wants Juror Tape Studied by Martin van Beynen; Dominion 29 Apr 99, Leaked Letter Raises Questions On Ellis Trial Juror.)
Court treats false rape complaint seriously
Helena Clarke, a 19 year old Christchurch beneficiary, allegedly made a false complaint of rape to the police. She then failed to appear in the District Court for a hearing and Judge Graeme Noble issued a warrant for her arrest.
(The Press Christchurch, 20 Mar 1999, Warrant after rape complaint)
Found guilty of false complaint
Amy Jelinek, a 20 year old Rangiora waitress, was declined name suppression and found guilty of making a false complaint to the police. She was sentenced to 12 months supervision and ordered to attend counselling as directed.
(The Press Christchurch, 11 Mar 1999, False complaint)
Men remain in prison despite retraction
In 1996 brothers Paul and Jason Dale, and a third man, Callum McLeod, all in their 20s, were convicted and sentenced to 8½ years for raping, sodomising and violating a young woman with two carrots, a broomstick and a candle. However the woman has since signed an affidavit witnessed by a Justice of the Peace in which she confesses that the allegations were all lies. She says that the acts she had described in her statements did not happen and any sexual activity that had occurred was consensual. She gives her motive as feeling animosity towards Jason Dale because she wanted a permanent relationship with him to which he would not agree. She says she made the allegations at a time when she had a serious drug addiction and emotional problems.
Despite her confession the men remain in jail. The outraged Dale family have petitioned the Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boys for their release and the case has been referred to the Ministry of Justice for an inquiry.
(Truth, April 99, Victim admits sordid sex allegations a lie, by Phil Taylor)
Trial not to go ahead
Justice Panckhurst has decided that a Christchurch man accused of raping his partner’s daughters 20 years ago will not stand trial, because it would be seriously prejudiced. The reasons given were the time lapse and the fact that witnesses for the defence were either unavailable or dead. The case would rest solely on the complaints’ word against the accused.
(Christchurch Press, 27 Feb 1999, No trial in sex case)
Case to go to Privy Council
A man who was separated from his two daughters for two years on the basis of false sexual abuse allegations is trying to get some accountability. He is seeking about½ million $ from the Minster of Social Services and others on the grounds that CYPS should have recognised that the allegations made by his younger daughter (then aged 5) against him was false. His case was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in March but the father has now been granted leave to take his case to the Privy Council.
(New Zealand Herald, 30 April 1999, Privy hearing A3.)
Early parole after recovered memory conviction
Late last year 56 year old Queensland man Alan Dagg was released on parole after serving 5 years in prison. Dagg was convicted after his 26-year-old daughter suddenly remembered sex abuse she claimed to have suffered at 12. He was paroled shortly after the release of a report by neuro-psychologist Dr Alan Gibbs suggesting a serious miscarriage of justice had occurred, and questioning the validity of the complainant’s testimony. An appeal in 1994 was unsuccessful.
A former JP and school-bus driver, Dagg lost his business and has had no contact with his former wife or two daughters since his conviction in 1992. He has always adamantly claimed his innocence and refused to attend sex offenders programmes which might have lead to an earlier release. He will now fight to have his convictions quashed and clear his name.
(Sunday Mail, 21 Feb 1999, Haunted By A Past That Never Happened by Chris Taylor)
Third party obligations
In 1991, when she was 15, a Pittsburgh girl Nicole Althaus recovered memories of both her parents (Richard and Cheryl Althaus) committing bizarre sexual offences against her. The girl claimed she was subjected to medieval torture, bore three children who were murdered by her parents, was raped in a crowded restaurant and had a grandmother who rode a broom. Her parents were arrested but the charges were later dropped. Nicole has recanted her story, saying that she was encouraged to attack her parents by her psychiatrist Judith Cohen.
The family sued the psychiatrist and her institution, claiming that they had an obligation not only to their patient but also to the young woman’s parents during her treatment. Last year the state Superior Court upheld a jury’s verdict that Cohen was negligent in treating Ms. Althaus, which awarded the family $272,231 in compensatory damages. An appeal of that decision is now before the courts.
(Associated Press, 8 Mar 1999, Supreme Court hears appeal in false ‘ recovered memory’ case, by Paula Story; Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 15 Mar 1999, Supreme Court Hears Appeal In False ‘ Recovered Memory’ Case)
Another therapist sued for malpractice
River Falls psychologist Karen Burgoyne and her insurance company has been sued for compensatory damages for allegedly encouraged 3 young women to believe falsely that they were victims of "unremembered" sexual abuse. Two of the women developed multiple personality disorders during the course of her treatment.
Minnesota lawyer and psychologist Christopher Barden, who has previously won the two largest psychotherapy malpractice judgements in the United States, was one of the two attorneys for the plaintiffs. The state settled for $650,000 at a pre-trial mediation hearing.
(River Falls Journal 2 Apr 1999, Former UW-RF students sue psychologist Case challenges repressed memories of abuse, by Judy Wiff)
David Calof in contempt of court
American therapist David Calof has a legal suit pending against the families of his patients angry that their sons, daughters and grandchildren falsely accused them of childhood sexual abuse while under Mr Calof’s care. Calof deliberately ignored the subpoena, and failed to attend the hearing, but submitted a 36 page declaration which said disparaging things about a large number of people (including the plaintiff’s lawyer Christopher Barden; Holy and Ralph Underwager; Pamela Freyd, Elizabeth Loftus and Felicity Goodyear-Smith) but offered ‘no reasonable excuse’ to have the subpoena quashed. The court found Calof in contempt, ordered him to attend the re-scheduled Depositions hearing and ordered him to pay $1,432 in costs.
(3 March 1999 Superior Court of Washington in and for King County Teresa Boone, No. 97-2-32225-1 SEA)
Recovered memories basis for civil suit
Missouri man Henry Bachmann sued 71 year retired Roman Catholic Rev James Gummersbach and his Church (the Archdiocese of St. Louis), claiming that the priest sexually abused him in the 1960s when he was a child. Bachmann alleges that he was unaware of the abuse until, as an adult, he recalled the incidents while undergoing counselling. The jury decided on the basis of Bachmann’s recovered memories that the priest had sexually abused him as a boy and that the Archdiocese failed to supervise the priest. They awarded Bachmann nearly $1.2 million in damages.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch 23 Feb 1999 In rare civil trial here, man accuses priest of abuse in ’60s; 2 Mar 1999, Jury hits Archdiocese with $1.2 million verdict the 47-year-old man claimed a priest here abused him as a boy, by Tim Bryan)
Another civil case based on recovered memories
Debra Yeager, 45, a Southern Californian jazz singer, had just finished recording her first CD in June 1996 when she started to have memories of sexual abuse by her father from age 3. As her memories emerged she became depressed and unable to perform on stage. She took a civil case against her father and the Orange County Superior Court awarded her $2 million.
(Orange County Register 25 Mar 1999, Victim of abuse awarded $2 million by Heather Lourie)
False rape case
Archana Gupta, a 27 year old woman from Maine, told the police that an ex-lover Michael Lewis had caught her in a car-park and raped her at knife point. Lewis was arrested and charged with rape, kidnapping and sodomy. The police ignored his protest that he had been in Boston that week. His parents twice re-mortgaged their house to fund his defense. He spent 4 months in jail before tests showed that his blood did not match evidence taken from the woman’s body and clothing. Gupta pleaded no contest to perjury charges. She was sentenced to 5 years in prison, but all but 25 days were suspended on the condition that she get mental health counselling and have no contact with Lewis.
(Washington Post 1 Mar 1999, Accuser in Rape Case Faces Perjury Trial, Woman Was Charged After Tests Cleared Former Boyfriend of Attacking Her, by Brooke A. Masters; 3 Mar 1999 Plea of No Contest to Perjury, compiled from reports by Tom Jackman, Josh White, Brooke Masters and Philip Pan.)
No retrial in Houston case
In Houston in February this year a mistrial was called 7 months into the trial of psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, psychologist Judith Peterson, therapist Sylvia Davis and Spring Shadows Glen mental hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck They had been charged with conspiracy for knowingly misdiagnosing multiple personality disorder and satanic ritual abuse in order to keep patients in the hospital and collect their insurance.
It has been decided not to call a retrial because it was deemed inhumane to subject the witnesses to another 7 months of giving personal testimonies and being subjected to unrelenting cross-examination.
Defendant Judith Peterson said that the plaintiffs’ lawyers and other patients may have ‘brainwashed the plaintiffs so that they had "false memories" of their treatment… It is sure easier to blame the therapist than your parents or some other abuser.’
(Houston Chronicle , 1 Mar 199, Judge dismissed charges in ‘false memories’ case, by Mark Smith)
Quattrocchi case: unreliable evidence
John Quattrocchi III, a former Lincoln town solicitor was convicted in 1994 of sexually molesting the accuser when she was a young girl, more than a decade earlier. The case has been retried and a Superior Court judge has ruled that the complainant’s recovered memory of childhood sexual abuse more than 10 years ago is unreliable evidence, casting doubt on whether the state could proceed with a further prosecution of Quattrocchi.
(USA Today, 28 Apr 99, ‘Recovered memory’ rejected by Tom Mooney)
‘Eve’ speaks out
Chris Sizemore (aged 72) is woman depicted as ‘Eve’ in the 1957 movie "The Three Faces of Eve", which lead to MPD becoming a common-place ‘pop’ diagnosis. By 1973, when Sybil was published, only about 75 possible cases of MPD had been documented. Dr Colin Ross, past president of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation says that about 40,000 cases have been diagnosed since then.
Sizemore is now a celebrated author and lecturer. She claims her case was real, but thinks that many MPD diagnoses are fake. She says her multiple personalities ‘integrated into one’ 27 years ago.
(Florida Today, 8 Apr 199, `Eve’ Explains Three Faces Woman To Speak Here on Multiple Personalities by Betty Morris)
FMS Foundation Newsletter, Mar 1999 Vol 8 No 2. And Apr / May 1999 Vol 8 No 3.
Packed with news and views from the American False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Focuses especially on multiple personality disorder (MPD, aka DID) which was flavour of the month in the USA with books (eg ‘First Person Plural’) and TV shows treating the topic with alarmingly little scepticism.
Social Work Now: the Practice Journal of the Children, Young Persons & their Families Service. Dec 1998 No 11; April 1999 No 12.
Contain a number of articles about various aspects of child sexual abuse investigation and management by CYPS and it the courts. For example:
A privileged Occupation by lawyer Stewart Bartlett. Explains why confidential notes held by a counsellor may be produced in court, yet a doctor’s may not.
Sexual abuse investigations: what children and their carers really think by Emma Davies and Fred Seymour. Discusses a 3-year project looking at what CSA complainants and their primary care givers feel about investigative and criminal justice processes.
Court education for child witnesses by Morgan Libeau (aka Linda Morgan). Claims that further improvements are needed to help child witnesses in the court.
Courting the press, pressing the court by lawyer Stewart Bartlett. Looks at issues of privacy in the family court and how much the media can report.
FMS False Memory Support Groups Canada Newsletter, Vol 6 No 3, Mar / Apr 1999.
Raises concerns that Health Canadian is disseminating ‘a whole raft of books, booklets and pamphlets’ supporting recovered memories, commissioned, paid for and still distributed free by the Ministry of Health.
The 1998 Newsletters Issues 36 (Mar 98); 37 (Jul 98); 38 (Sep 98) and 39 (Dec 98) have been received.
Tribute to Felicity, Gordon and Colleen
COSA Canterbury have asked for the following to be placed in the final newsletter:
A southern tribute to our two retiring executive members of the national body of COSA Incorporated. Felicity is retiring but thankfully will not be entirely lost to the Association, as she will continue to offer her services at Auckland monthly support meetings, and will advise those seeking help over their individual cases.
Felicity has worked for COSA, in the most professional manner, for five long, hard years. Beginning in the early 80’s as a Police doctor dealing with genuine victims of sexual abuse, she helped to set up the Auckland Help Foundation. With growing disenchantment at the social systems being instituted, she resigned from the Foundation, and wrote her book "First Do No Harm", which we regard as obligatory reading for members. With calls of help from all over the country and impetus from Gordon and Colleen, COSA was formed. And our Association has grown in numbers and in credibility over the ensuring years, starting as a support group and becoming an Incorporated Society in 1995.
As stated Felicity has been most professional, in her fight for justice for members, in her approach to difficult problems posed by members in desperate situations, in her efforts of support and advice for members. She has shown great courage in dealing with institutions and professional bodies, attempting to hold to account those responsible for perpetuating false allegations against innocent men, and some women. Remembering always that abuse and incest does occur, and COSA abhors the practice.
Felicity has been largely responsible for the monthly newsletter sent to all members, other affiliated associations, and members of the public who have, or indeed should have, an interest in the aims and objectives of COSA. This newsletter has been an essential binding force for members, and an important educational tool, and Felicity’s input will be sorely missed.
Progress and the realisation of some of the objectives of COSA began to be met in 1996. The membership grew, and media coverage in the form of TV debates, radio interviews and talk-back shows indicated growing awareness of the problem of false allegations of sexual abuse, and Felicity attended conferences overseas in the USA, Australia and NATO in France. Following years saw a consolidation of common sense thinking, a diminishing of some forms of false allegations such as those arising from recovering memories, but increasing incidences of child custody cases, and some hardening of attitude and personal attacks from those fighting for their ‘lost’, damaging cause.
We thank Felicity for all her work for COSA, and know she will be there for those requiring her professionalism in the future. We also feel she will be thankful the work will go on, albeit in a different vein.
Southern members thank Gordon for all his efforts over COSA. His calm, clear thinking has helped us on innumerable occasions, and we have appreciated his logic and his wit! Gordon has worked tirelessly in his efforts over the need for corroborative evidence in sexual abuse cases; over ACC selectively funding the counselling association for sexual abuse cases only; he has worked for an unbiased Police force, Rape Crisis association, counselling service, and DSAC. He has written letters and articles and pressured Ministers. We could all, as members, follow his example: and are thankful he too, will be in the background.
And Colleen, dear Colleen, will be there!
An Open Letter to the Community
Prof Elizabeth Loftus, recently awarded an honorary doctorate, encouraged psychologists in her acceptance speech to rigorously test, explore and examine topics, rather than accept what others believed, claimed or said. She examined the common claim that "Curiosity killed the cat." I’ve re-phrased it a bit to suit my Open Letter below:
- What is the evidence for and against this claim?
- What exactly is the evidence?
- How do we know it was curious?
- What was it curious about?
- Did it have good eyesight?
- What colour was it?
- How old was it?
- Was it overweight?
- Perhaps there was no curiosity, and it just died of old age.
- What are the FACTS?
A basis for sound, reliable knowledge is measurement. Most things in the human experience are measurable. The hierarchy of thought underlying this concept can be expressed as fact, combined with logic and overlaid with good judgement. Anything is possible, fewer things are probable, even fewer are reasonable, and a very small number of things are facts. Without facts, logic or judgement, there remains only belief, conjecture and assumption – and they are preludes to disaster.
An elusive goal of physicists is to produce controllable nuclear fusion at ordinary temperatures (that is, "cold fusion") as a way of extracting useful energy. The benefits to mankind would be enormous. Several years ago, a couple of physicists believed they had achieved "cold fusion" at room temperatures. Hundreds of well trained professionals, researchers and academics tried to reproduce their experimental results, but no-one could find any evidence to support the original claim.
About 20 years ago, a belief-system was invented which claimed that children could "repress" knowledge of horrendous and repeated childhood sexual abuse. Memories could be "recovered" in pristine condition, during appropriate therapy, they said. Many highly skilled professionals, researchers and academics have since tried to find evidence for this phenomenon, but none could.
There is nothing wrong with having beliefs or making claims. We all have beliefs and probably need them. Most belief-systems and claims are harmless, but when beliefs held and claims made by a few, inflicts unjustifiable hurt on many others, they become dangerous.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Claim-makers often commit serious errors. They ask leading questions in retrospective surveys. They ignore, or don’t understand, survey biases and errors. They fail to obtain corroboration of self-reported events. They state their "findings" as facts, when clearly they are opinions and assumptions.
Ignorance combined with belief and hysteria is volatile and dangerous. As Mark Twain put it, "A Lie will be across the country before Truth has its boots on." Who will challenge the lie and put it to rest?
Sex abuse counsellors adopted a belief-system in which they can supposedly decide, without credible evidence, whether a client was sexually abused. They believe their clients. Women and children don’t lie about abuse, they say.
ACC makes sexual abuse decisions using a "balance of probability" based on information obtained from counsellors. It pays counsellors to decide whether a client was sexually abused, but ignores the need for genuine, objective, credible evidence. It is not sufficient merely to assume, allege or believe that sexual abuse occurred. It is impossible to reach a "balance of probability" without at least two sets of differing information. ACC’s incompetence has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. How many of the 70,000 or so recent ACC sexual abuse claims are genuine?
No-one gave ACC or its counsellors the right, privilege or authority to condemn people as sexual abusers, or to encourage clients to believe they were sexually abused, yet they do just that. Make no mistake. Every claim of sexual abuse is an allegation of the most serious and abhorrent crime in our society. Every such allegation demands corroboration and proof beyond reasonable doubt. Counsellors say they are not detectives, but their actions are those of judge and jury. Their stance is unthinking, untutored and assumptive. Worse, it is arrogant and destructive.
Rape Crisis annually advertises its opinions and assumptions on sexual abuse. Last year, its theme was incest. Before that, it was "date rape". This year, "partner rape".
Its incest campaign claimed hundreds of incest cases occurred, and in the Hamilton district, said there were 59 cases. Hamilton Police said that claim was wrong and misleading. Police there had dealt with only one such case. In the 12 years from 1986-97, there were 204 convictions for incest in the whole country, an annual average of 17. Its claims about the numbers of rapes translated into about 150,000 annually. Rape Crisis used belief, opinion and assumption, not fact.
Now they are into "partner rape", claiming "Nearly one in three sexual assaults are committed by partners or former partners". They say "No-one is immune from partner rape." What evidence or facts does Rape Crisis have to support these new claims?
A sad legacy of these belief-systems is that distorted beliefs about sexual abuse infiltrated our community and damaged generations of young and old. Children torn from families. Women and children believing all men are sexual predators. Counselled clients and their children given life-time sentences of believing their grandfathers, fathers, brothers are monsters. What will the future hold for these counselling victims? When and how will counsellors repair the damage they have done?
Hallmarks of rational people are to seek justification and evidence, to apply balance and common sense to beliefs and actions, and to improve our knowledge in the face of evidence. Above all, we must each resolve to First Do No Harm to our community and continue to demand "What is the evidence? What are the facts? Did curiosity kill the cat?"
Notice To All COSA Members.
COSA Inc will be closing down on 30 June 1999 and its place will be taken by:-
COSA NORTH- will be available to members in the North Island.
COSA SOUTH- will be available to members in the South Island.
The aims and objectives remains the same. The work of help and support to members and their families will continue and we look forward to your assistance in helping us do this work.
Contact for COSA (North) Inc will be Colleen Waugh.
Correspondence and Contact for COSA (South) Inc will be Jane Allison
TRANSFER ELECTION FORMS.
Some members have still not returned their forms. To enable us to finalise the transfer of members and funds to Branches, PLEASE return them as soon as possible.
Colleen Waugh. National Secretary
Auckland Support Meetings
These meetings have been combined with Men’s Centre North Shore information seminars.
Place: Northcote Community House (Onepoto Awhina), Pearn Cres in the Northcote Town Centre off Lake Rd. (map and further details here)
Time: 7.30 to 10 pm every Monday except public holidays.
Peter Ellis Defence Trust
This Trust is still open for donations. Anyone wishing to contribute should make cheques payable to the Peter Ellis Defence Trust and send to B H Frampton, Saunders & Co, Barristers & Solicitors, PO Box 18, Christchurch.
History of Dr Felicity Goodyear Smith’s involvement with COSA
1982 – 1987 Co-ordinator of training in sexual assault examinations of Police Surgeons in Central and South Auckland Training, publishing, administrator, guidelines etc
1982 to 1984 Very occasional cases of false complaints. For example, a disturbed young woman who made several sequential allegations before doctors, counsellors and police at the HELP Centre concluded that she was making false claims.
1984 Dealt with first case of father wrongfully accused by ex-wife in attempt to deny him access to his children.
1986 to 1988 Ward 24 cases Christchurch, where children with unrelated problems were diagnosed as suffering from sexual abuse and removed from their falsely accused parents’ care.
1988 DSAC (Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care Inc) organisation started. I was made honorary life member and elected onto Executive Committee.
1988 ‘Courage to Heal’ published
1989 to 1993 Meetings and correspondence with a number of professionals in the field expressing my growing concerns about false allegations.
July 1992 Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Act abolished lump-sum compensation but nearly 110,000 further pay-outs were made over next 4 years. Sexual assault claims became a special category, whereby the injury was deemed to have been suffered on the date on which the person first received treatment for that injury, irrespective of when the injury actually happened, and even if this was before 1 April 1974 This opened the way for large numbers of historical claims.
Oct 1992 Met with members of PAIN (Parents Against Injustice) in Christchurch; Ward 24 and other families affected by false allegations; also child-care workers accused in the Christchurch CrÃƒÂ¨che case.
Oct 1993 My book ‘First Do No Harm: the Sexual Abuse Industry’ published.
30 Oct 1993 First article about recovered memories and ‘False Memory Syndrome’ in the media – Camille Guy’s ‘Mind Bending’ in the NZ Herald.
Feb 1994 First Auckland support group for anyone falsely accused of sexual offences, their family and friends.
May 1994 1st COSA Newsletter published.
1994 DSAC sponsored: John Briere; seminars on "therapy for adults molested as children"; Jon Conte, PhD, Associate Professor Social Work, University of Washington, to run 4 workshops throughout NZ on Therapy for sexually abused children (including validating allegations of CSA); Roland Summit, MD, clinical Assistant Prof Psychiatry, UCLA, to lecture on ‘Backlash’ issues (including FMS & Memory repression).
Oct 1994 Debate with Ondra Williams on "Can memories be recovered in psychotherapy?", Professional Issues Forum, Department of Psychotherapy and Applied Psychology, Auckland Institute of Technology (attended by about 300 therapists)
Oct 1994 Australian Psychological Society published guidelines relating to recovered memories. – warning professionals re use of RMT.
Dec 1994 Attended "Memory and Reality: reconciliation. Scientific, clinical and legal aspects of false memory syndrome" Conference run by Johns Hopkins /FMSF Baltimore, USA 1995 Awarded Glaxo Foundation Fellowship and taught findings of Baltimore Conference to doctors throughout NZ via the post-graduate medical societies.
1995 DSAC sponsored: Judith Herman, Assoc. Prof Psychiatry, Harvard Med. School, to run workshops nationally on Psychotherapy for patients with a history of child sexual abuse; John Briere, to run seminars in Auckland and Christchurch on the Self trauma model; Astrid Heger, Paediatrician, University of Southern California, to teach Medical management of child sexual abuse to NZ doctors; Arno & Marianne Bentovim, Psychoanalyst, consultant at Tavistock Clinic, London to run seminars in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Multidisciplinary management of allegations of sexual abuse in young children
May 1995 COSA became Incorporated Society.
Jun 1995 Attended First International Forum for a Critical Look at the Functioning of Child Protection Services, the Netherlands, and presented "The business of child sexual abuse management: a NZ perspective".
Nov 1995 COSA received financial support from NZ Lottery Grants Board and JR McKenzie Trust.
Mar 1996 Canadian Psychiatric Association. ‘Adults recovering memories of childhood sexual abuse: position statement’, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 41 (5): 305-306 strong guidelines to professionals re use of RMT.
Jun 1996 Attended NATO Advanced Study Institute, France, presentation: "Parents and other relatives accused of sexual abuse on the basis of recovered memories: a New Zealand survey".
Jul 1996 Introduction of Domestic Violence Act, which extended definition of violence to include physical, sexual or psychological abuse or threats of these, and considered that a child who has seen or heard any such act between parents has been subjected to psychological abuse. This Act is a powerful weapon to use against a non-custodial parent to prevent access to children, easier to use than making sexual abuse allegations.
1996 DSAC sponsored: Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Mary Koss, Marlene Young, Bessell van der Kolk, Astrid Heger.
Sep 1996 Attended Family Planning Queensland Conference, presented: "Men, Women & Sex", Brisbane, "Politics of Sexual Abuse".
Oct 1996 Attended International Congress on Stress and Health, Sydney, presented:"Living with accusations: NZ family recovered memory survey findings".
Dec 1996 Auckland and Canterbury branches of COSA incorporated.
1997 DSAC sponsored: Christine Courtois, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Delayed memory controversy: guidelines for practice; John Briere, Auckland, Male sex abuse; Cheryl Lanktree, Clinical Director, Child Protection Centre, Long Beach, California, Seriously traumatised children
1997 Royal College of Psychiatrists (1997). ‘Reported recovered memories of child sexual abuse: recommendations for good practice and implications for training, continuing professional development and research’, Psychiatric Bulletin, 21: 663-665. Another professional body warning against the use of RMT.
1997 DSAC President rescinded my honorary membership to DSAC, no reasons given.
Jun 1998 Published results of ‘Parents and other relatives accused of sexual abuse on the basis of recovered memories: a New Zealand family survey’, in New Zealand Medical Journal.
1998 DSAC sponsored: Constance Dalenberg, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Transference &counter-transference in therapy for trauma
Sep 1998 Attended 12th International Congress on Child abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN), Auckland, presentation "Role of the General Practitioner in the Assessment and Validation of Child Abuse and Neglect."
Jun 1999 Resigned as President of COSA. National body to dissolve; Auckland and Canterbury branches to re-form as COSA North and COSA South respectively.