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NEWS ARCHIVES

Jan. 24, 2014

Do courts use a controversial theory to punish mothers who allege abuse? ‘Parental alienation’ is sometimes used in family court to wrest custody from a parent who alleges abuse. by Tim Stelloh, Al Jazeera America

Details how allegations of alienation are frequently used by fathers to counter claims of child abuse. Often, these are cases in which a mother reported a classic symptom of abuse — the child acting in a sexually inappropriate manner, for instance, or having overly sexualized knowledge. However, these cases are not considered to be credible because the mother was considered to be alienating or because she was thought to have a mental-health issue. Attorney Gregory Jacob, a former solicitor in George W. Bush’s Department of Labor, stated, “I see parent after parent after parent punished for raising good-faith allegations in court in order to get the authorities looking at the same evidence they’ve seen.”

Jan. 22, 2014

Supreme Court weighs how much one person should pay pornography victim by Robert Barnes, Washington Post,
The Supreme Court heard an appeal by a Paroline, a man convicted of possessing child pornography who had been ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages to the child victim (Paroline v. United States). A woman with the pseudonym Amy Unknown was at the Supreme Court on Wednesday as justices discussed the horrible events that changed her life: Her uncle raped her when she was a young girl, recorded that assault and other sex acts and put the images on the Internet, where they have been viewed tens of thousands of times. All the justices seemed to think that those who downloaded the images of Amy should pay to help her put her life back together. But they struggled to decide what any one person should pay.

Jan 2014 Rates of child maltreatment substantiation by state.
Based on figures released for 2012.
Dec. 4, 2013

Paying Amy:  Doyle Paroline owned two pornographic pictures of an 8-year-old girl. How much should he have to pay? By Emily Bazelon, Slate, 
Countless numbers of people have seen the pictures of 8-year-old “Amy,” as she is called in court documents, being sexually abused by her uncle. She has claimed lifetime damages—in lost income, counseling costs, and attorney’s fees—of $3.4 million.
In January, the Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Doyle Randall Paroline, who was caught with two pictures of Amy among 280 illegal images and was found liable by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for the full amount of the restitution Amypagetemplate-1, who is now 24, has claimed. The 5th Circuit said it was up to Paroline—not Amy—to find the other men who could also be on the hook for restitution and go after them for contributions.

Oct 3, 2013 Updated review of research on PAS/PA released by VAWNET
Sept 12, 2013 Institute of Medicine report finds that child abuse can alter the brain and the harm can last for life. See New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research
July 13, 2013

How Googling Unmasks Child Abuse
by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, The New York Times

The contrast between the search data and the reported data tells a sad story about social services in this country. Just when more children are searching for help, we decimate the budgets of the very people who might actually do something to protect them.
Stephens-Davidowitz reports that he spent months studying the incidence of child abuse using a number of different data sources, including Google search queries. He found that the Great Recession caused a significant increase in child abuse and neglect. At the same time, far fewer of these cases were reported to authorities, with much of the drop due to slashed budgets for teachers, nurses, doctors and child protective service workers.

June 24, 2013 Teenager’s 1988 Sexual-Abuse Conviction Was Justified, Report Says
By Peter Applebome, The New York Times
Jesse Friedman, the Great Neck, NY teenager whose role in a sexual abuse case a quarter-century ago was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Capturing the Friedmans” and came to symbolize an era of sensational, often-suspect accusations of child molesting, was properly convicted and should not have his status as a sexual predator overturned, according to a three-year review that was released on Monday.
In a 155-page report written with very little ambiguity, the Nassau County district attorney, Kathleen M. Rice, concluded that none of four issues raised in 2010 in a strongly worded ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit were substantiated by the evidence.
June 24, 2013

Report: “Jesse Friedman Was Not Wrongfully Convicted.” In a 155-page report released by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, the Review Team tasked with conducting the conviction integrity investigation wrote that "…by any impartial analysis, the re-investigation process…has only increased confidence in the integrity of Jesse Friedman's guilty plea and adjudication as a sex offender."
An independent advisory panel appointed to guide the process found the Review Team's conclusion to be "reasonable and supported by the evidence." In addition,  three of Friedman's victims affirmed their prior accounts to the Review Team, and at least three others maintained their accusations at various points within the last decade. Read the report

The report supports the analysis of the case done by the Leadership Council

April 2013 The Leadership Council will be presenting early data from our groundbreaking research on turned around custody cases at the Battered Women's Custody Conference in Washington, DC (May 10-11)
Mar 5, 2013

Home is Where the Harm is Op-ed by Joan Meier, The New York Times
Excerpt: "Proponents of the [Hague] convention, which the United States signed in 1981, characterize it as a means of reunifying families. And it can be. However, in practice, it often has a dark side: in many cases children and custodial mothers are being sent back to a dangerous or abusive father from whom they fled. . . .
The State Department and Congress should work to ensure that courts and countries implement a more balanced application of the Hague convention, one that protects children and their protective parents from harmful returns."

Jan 2013

Protecting Children After Newtown. by Barry Goldstein. "Time's Up" blog
Excerpt: "EVERY YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES, WE SUFFER THE EQUIVALENT OF FOUR TO FIVE NEWTOWNS IN THE LOSS OF PRECIOUS CHILDREN AT THE HANDS OF ABUSIVE FATHERS INVOLVED IN CONTESTED CHILD CUSTODY CASES. I say this based on research that found news stories about 175 children murdered in a recent two year period by abusive fathers. In many of the cases the outdated and discredited practices used by the custody courts gave these fathers the access they needed to murder their children."

Nov. 26, 2012

Death of a toddler raises questions in Montgomery, Pr. William.
by Editorial Board of The Washington Post.
A 15 month old was taken off life support after being declared brain-dead. A day earlier, paramedics had found him unresponsive, cold and without a pulse at his father’s home in Manassas, where he had been on his fourth unsupervised visit permitted by Montgomery County Circuit Court amid a bitter custody battle. His mother had fiercely opposed unsupervised visits warning that if something happened to him, he was too young to tell anyone.

Nov. 15, 2012 Generals Petraeus and Allen – Helping a Domestic Violence Victim?
By Ben Atherton-Zeman
Headlines are dominated by General David Petraeus and General John Allen. Petraeus had an affair with his biographer – both have been connected to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. Two months ago, both generals submitted affidavits in support of Khawam’s custody proceedings, as did Mrs. Petraeus. Reporters have ignored compelling evidence of Khawam’s abuse, preferring instead to focus on the Generals’ letters as further evidence of an inappropriate relationship.
Oct 26, 2012 No Way Out But One: Custody, Abuse and the Family Courts
by Nancy Doyle Palmer, Huffington Post,
No Way Out But One debuts this week on the Documentary Channel and is as much an examination of this country's family court system as it is the very personal story of Holly Collins.
Collins became an international fugitive when she fled the U.S. with her three children after a court granted custody to her ex despite claims of physical abuse. She and her children eventually sought asylum from the government of Netherlands.
Sept. 10, 2012

Damon's Story: Lost in the System by Fox 11 News (Los Angeles)
A16 year old boy speaks out about how the family court system has failed to protect him.Damon tells his story which he's been trying to tell for years, mostly through YouTube.
Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com/story/19502814/damons-story-a-first-look#ixzz26Sd6wPt2 )

Aug 27, 2012

Mother who became fugitive to protect son returns to court WSMV News (Nashville, TN)
It all started back in 2008 when Dunn was told by her son's pediatrician the boy was being sexually assaulted. Then, an 11-person state investigative team looked into it and decided Cone, the boys' father, was sexually abusing his son. But when Dunn went to court in front of Hicks, she not only didn't win her case, but she also lost primary custody of her son.

June 24, 2012

Sandusky Trial and Horace Mann Saga: Why Sexual Violence Should be a Household Word by Sarah Dropek, PolicyMic
"Don't just let this moment pass by without acknowledgement, like so many other news headlines do. Allow sexual violence to become a household word because doing that is a first step in creating a world free from sexual violence."

June 22, 2012

MaleSurvivor issues statement on the Sandusky and Lynn verdicts
"Abuse thrives on shadows, secrecy, and silence. When those who have beensilenced begin to speak, we all begin to heal."

June 6, 2012

Prep-School Predators: The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse
By Amos Kamil, The New York Times Magazine

Stories like theirs point to why sexual abuse by teachers — or religious leaders or relatives, for that matter — is so especially damaging. As Mones said: “It’s counterintuitive, but sexual abuse emotionally binds the child closer to the person who has harmed him, setting him up for a life plagued by suspicion and confusion, because he will never be sure who he can really trust. And in my experience, this is by far the worst consequence of sexual abuse.” That’s one reason, he said, why those few victims who ever speak out at all tend to do so only after the abuser is dead or dying: telling the truth while the other person is still strong enough to deny it, or to blame the accuser, is just too terrifying

May 26, 2012

Basu: 'Living hell' finally ends for Dubuque mother
by Rekha Basu, The Des Moines Register

The girls alleged that their father had touched them improperly on multiple occasions. The appeals court canceled the rulings by a Dubuque County judge who granted the father joint, unrestricted custody of the girls, and had ordered restricted, supervised contact with their grandmother who brought the allegations to light.

"Each part of the system has an independent role to play in child protection, but they seem to have coalesced to leave vulnerable children at risk. If that happened here, how many other claims have been similarly dispensed with?"

Jan. 14, 2012 Many abusers use custody battles as way to seek control
by Sarah Okeson, News-Leader

Domestic violence advocates say batterers sometimes use child custody proceedings as a way to continue to exert control.
"Victims of domestic violence can be made to appear less healthy and less stable in court, especially without legal counsel, which is a result of the abuse they have suffered," Seal said. "Abusers capitalize on this appearance and present a cognitive frame to the court that they are the 'responsible parent,' and the victim is in fact mentally unstable and financially unwise. Far too often this results in abusers being given too much control over children and the non-abusive parent."

Nov 16, 2011

Misconceptions make sex abuse offenders difficult to detect
USA TODAY"The grand jury report reads like a textbook profile of child sexual abuse. Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State, allegedly bought one boy golf clubs and a computer, took him swimming at a hotel pool, wrestled with him and invited him to sleepovers at his home before sexually assaulting him, the report says.
The pattern repeated over 15 years with at least seven other boys who participated in a mentorship program Sandusky founded for underprivileged boys, the grand jury charges."

Nov 10, 2011

Penn State Scandal is About Institutional Cover-up, Not Football
by Wendy Murphy, The Patriot Ledger
"The story has little to do with football and much to do with the way institutions evade oversight and accountability from real world law enforcement, especially on matters involving child abuse and sexual violence."

Nov 3, 2011 Judge caught on video beating daughter
US News And World Report
Adams, Aransas County's top judge, was elected in 2001 and has dealt with at least 349 family law cases in the past year alone, nearly 50 of which involved state caseworkers seeking determine whether parents were fit to raise their children.
Nov 2, 2011

Family Court Judge Caught Beating Ill Daughter on Videotape
ABC News
Judge William Adams, who has ruled on child abuse cases throughout his career, is seen in a webcam video from 2004 beating his daughter who has cerebral palsy with a belt and cursing at her for close to 10 minutes. The daughter, Hillery Adams,who was 16 when the video was made, said she received the beating for using her computer when she was forbidden from doing so. She recently posted on YouTube.

June 30, 2011 New study: Effects of sexual abuse can last for decades
Researchers tracked a group of girls ranging in age from 6 to 16 for 23 years, found that they had higher rates of depression and obesity, as well as problems with regulation of brain chemicals, among other issues, compared to a control group of girls who were not abused.
May 12, 2011 Cheer Her Rapist? Let's Make Noise Over This WNews
A Texas teen was expelled from her cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for a football player accused of raping her. A group of former NFL cheerleaders are standing up to support her after the courts rejected her suit against the school and ordered her to pay her school's legal expenses.
Mar. 2, 2011 California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody by Peter Jamison, SF Weekly
This well researched article focuses on a number of California custody cases where allegations of domestic violence or child molestation by mothers were rejected by the courts and resulted in children being abused. The abuse was later proved by criminal convictions — and, in one case, the child was murdered.
Feb. 20, 2011 Stepping out from the shadows: Senator Brown speaks about childhood sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Gartner
Jan. 30, 2011 Talking about sexually abused boys, and the men they become: When difficult talk is healing talk. by Dr. Richard Gartner
Jan. 24 2011

The Tiger Mother:  High Expectations or Emotional Abuse? by Leadership Council staff

Jan. 21, 2011 Holly Collins Featured at Battered Mother's Conference
Jan. 20, 2011

State Audit of California  Family Court Uncovers Serious Problems

Family Law Audit Finds Sloppy Record-Keeping. The Recorder

Sept. 4 2010 New research: The influence of family structure on delinquency
May 23, 2010 New article on the Rachel House a controversial reunification program for children labeled with PAS. Controversial disorder at center of bitter custody cases. St. Petersburg Times
May 1, 2010 New Book: Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody Legal Strategies and Policy Issues
Editors: Mo Therese Hannah, Ph.D. and Barry Goldstein, J.D (2010)
April 14, 2010 Special Bulletin by the Leadership Council: What can you do to help solve the crisis in the nation's family courts?
April 14, 2010 Grieving mom aims to change system (view story)
April 9, 2010

Teen sues county for placing her in custody of sex offender grandfather (view ABC news story) (more)

Jan. 15, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld Paul Shanley's conviction for sexually abusing a child. The LC submitted an amicus brief advising the court on scientific knowledge regarding dissociative memory loss (see brief)

Dec. 28, 2009 LC members interviewed regarding Delaware pediatrician sex abuse case
Oct. 14, 2009 States must reform a system that too often awards custody to the abusive parent (Christian Science Monitor)
Sept. 30, 2009 Wendy Murphy's open letter to Whoopi Goldberg Ms. Murphy wonders why Whoopi Goldberg means when she said that while Roman Polanski committed rape, it wasn't "rape rape".
Sept. 15, 2009 HealthDay - Spanking is bad for children's development - New research shows that children who are spanked as 1-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively and perform worse on cognitive tests as toddlers than children who are not spanked.
July 7, 2009 Press release Repressed Memory challenge is itself challenged. Two years after two Harvard psychiatrists published a controversial paper on repressed memory, Brown University political scientist Ross Cheit challenges the paper's integrity and its implications suggesting that it contained misrepresentations of the state of the science regarding memory for trauma.
Cheit has additional information and examples at his website http://www.recoveredmemory.org
April 2009 Several members of the LC board contribute to new book Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals which exposes the hidden problem of sexual abuse in Jewish communities.The book includes a chapter titled "Out of the Jewish Closet: Facing the Hidden Secrets of Child Sex Abuse And the Damage Done to Victims" by LC board members Joyanna Silberg and Stephanie Dallam. Read a review.
Mar 17, 2009

The Report on Physical Punishment in the United States What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children
synthesized 100 years of research on physical punishment and found little evidence that physical punishment improves children's behavior in the long term. Instead, there is substantial research evidence that physical punishment makes it more, not less, likely that children will be defiant and aggressive in the future.

Mar 9, 2009 Domestic Abuse Myths: Five mistakes we make when we talk about Rihanna and Chris Brown's relationship (Newsweek).
Feb 10, 2009 Experts Warn About Dangers of Deprogramming Treatment 
Jan 26, 2009 LC Board member Richard Kluft is expert consultant on new Showtime series United States of Tara. For more information on Dissociative Identity Disorder and commentary on each episode click here.
Sept 24, 2008 Child Abuse Professionals Rally Around American Fugitive Returning to the US After 14 Years in Hiding.
Sept 22, 2008 How Many Children Are Court -Ordered Into Unsupervised Contact With an Abusive Parent After Divorce? (Press release by LC)
Sept 21, 2008

Article: Children should not have to run away from America in order to escape child abuse

Aug 6, 2008 Press Release: Child Abuse Experts Seek To Protect Abused Children from Defense Attorneys
July 30, 2008 A battered woman who is a wanted fugitive and kidnapper in the United States, granted asylum in the Netherlands.
May 2008

Child abuse experts speak out: We must do better

Feb 2008 New publication by CDC: The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan
Jan 2008 Herschel Walker, former football player and 1982 Heisman trophy winner, recently revealed has spent his life quietly battling the effects of dissociative identity disorder (formly known as multiple personality disorder) (more).
Oct 2007 CHOICE Magazine, the magazine of the American Library Association, chose LC board member Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea's Perversion of Power has one of their outstanding books of 2007. (read review)
Aug 15, 2007 Child Abuse Organization Under Pressure from Male Activists
Apr 23, 2007 The Leadership Council Responds to Alec Baldwin's Phone Message
Mar 10, 2007

Perversion of PowerNew book by LC board member
Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, Ph.D.
Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (
Vanderbilt University Press). She was the only mental health professional to speak to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the 2002 meeting where the crisis was first seriously addressed.

Jan 27, 2007 Letter to the Editor by LC President Paul Fink published in the Wall Street Journal. The letter was in response to attorney Theodore J. Boutrous', op-ed about the California Supreme Court's upcoming decision in Taus v. Loftus.
Oct. 27, 2006 Memory expert Elizabeth Loftus in the news.
Elizabeth Loftus, a founding member of the controversial "False Memory Syndrome Foundation", has been retained by the defense in the case against Vice President Cheney's top aide "Scooter" Libby. The defense wants to admit her testimony in order to educate the court regarding "how memory works and why it fails" at Libby's trial on charges of making false statements to federal investigators. More information regarding Loftus' controversial background, testimony and the limitations of her research, can be found in our analysis of Taus v. Loftus.
Nov. 2006 "Please Daddy, No" O, The Oprah Magazine by Jan Goodwin "We lock up adults who molest children -- but what if the molester is the child's parent?  All too often, an outrageous quirk of the law know as the incest loophole metes out only a slap on the wrist and sends the father (or mother) home to abuse again." 
Oct. 2, 2006 Dr. Paul Fink's response to Newsweek story (Oct 2, 2006)
Sept. 25, 2006 Newsweek quotes LC members on PAS (Fighting Over the Kids)
July 12, 2006 Press Release: - Child Abuse Experts Applaud Legal Community for Rejecting Parental Alienation Syndrome
June 18, 2006

Mom termed 'parental alienator' wins rare vindication in courts. L.A. Daily News
Discusses the case of Irene Jensen and her daughter Tiffany-Ann. They battled the family court and child protective systems for 13 years to save Tiffany from an allegedly abusive fatherwho gained custody after convincing the courts his wife was an "alienator".

May 2006 Article challenging the legal admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome published in Children’s Legal Rights Journal (PDF) more information on PAS
May 8, 2006

The sins of the fathers. The Guardian (UK)
Interviews three women and details their experiences in family court. Concludes: "The little-known but astonishing truth about the family justice system is that it routinely grants contact orders to men who have been violent towards their partner and children."

April 11, 2006: The Leadership Council's amicus brief is accepted by the California Supreme Court in Taus v. Loftus et al. more
Jan/Feb 2006 The Leadership Council's analysis of popular "Custody Myths" published in Sexual Assault Report
Nov 1, 2005 "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" premiers Thursday, Oct. 20th at 10 pm ET on most PBS stations (check local listings) This documentary chronicles the impact of family violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. [op ed ]
Sept 28, 2005 Haworth stopped publication on a book containing a chapter by Bruce Rind that seeks to normalize sexual relations between adult men and underage boys. The LC has done extensive research on Dr. Rind's efforts in this area -- Read about Rind's work
Aug 19, 2005

Our letter published in top scientific journal Science

  Taus v. Loftus et al. Why is this case important?

May 13, 2005

May 2005

Information about the Leadership Council's trial blog featured in May/June issue of Psychotherapy Networker
Jackson Trial Blog : Experts on abuse, trauma, and memory offer commentary on issues raised by the criminal trial of Michael Jackson.
Apr 27, 2005
Researchers urge fight against child abuse (The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, April 27, 2005)
April 22, 2005 Child sex abuse policy recommendations published in the journal Science (April 22, vol. 308, #5721)
Scientific study of CSA is currently under-funded, obscured by contentious forensic controversy, and fragmented by discipline. The authors recommend interdisciplinary consensus panels and increased intellectual investment in CSA research, prevention, intervention, and education
April 21, 2005 Recommendations for Child Sex Abuse Prevention (NPR)
Interview with psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd. She has put out a policy recommendation to improve how society deals with the problem of child sexual abuse.
April 4, 2005

Pulitzer Prize winner: The 30-Year Secret. Reporter Nigel Jaquiss, of Willamette Week an alternative weekly newspaper in Portland , Oregon , was awarded the investigative-reporting prize for his expose of a former Oregon governor's long-hidden sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl.

April 3, 2005

Myths cover up further tragedies in episodes of child molestation
(San Francisco Chronicle )
What leads so many men to molest their own children or the children of their friends? The cause "is a profound puzzle for all of us..."

April 2005 National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Safe Children and Healthy Families are a Shared Responsibility
is the theme of the 2005 National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.
Mar 21, 2005 Jackson's Troubling Trial (US News and World Report )
Mar 9, 2005 The LC-- "Million Dollar Baby" Connection
On March 9th, the New York Times ran a front page article featuring Katie Dallam and her sister, our research associate and Secretary, Stephanie Dallam. Katie's personal tragedy is believed to have been the inspiration for the award winning movie "Million Dollar Baby." The article Far From Hollywood, a Boxer Whose Dreams Died in the Ring describes Katie's struggle to survive following life-threatening injuries from being savagely beaten in 1996, and Stephanie's heroic and dedicated efforts to nurse her back to health. MORE
Feb 2005 Dr. Kinsler's response to Susan Clancy's statement in the Boston Globe that, "For children, sexual abuse is rarely painful or terrifying at the time it occurs."
Jan 2005 Shanley Trial Blog : Commentary by members of the LC on issues raised by the criminal trial of Paul Shanley --the former Boston priest who was convicted of child rape.
2004 The LC responds to popular myths about child sexual abuse
Nov 2003 The LC responds to movie Capturing the Friedmans
Nov 2003 Beyond the Bogeyman: We need to develop a more mature perspective on the child molester by Katy Butler, Psychotherapy Networker
Feb. 2003 Commentary: Response to Media Reports on Loftus' Bugs Bunny Study by Jennifer J. Freyd, University of Oregon
Sept 3, 2002 Children In Peril (Washington Post)
Aug 15, 2002 Press Release: Recovered Memories: Can They Be True? What research shows about remembering forgotten abuse
Apr 19, 2002 Endorsement of Adult-Child Sex on Rise (Washington Times)
Apr 17, 2002 Experts debate impact, gray areas of adult-child sex (USA Today)
Apr 16, 2002 Book Blasted for Views on Childhood Sexuality (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Apr 15, 2002 Apologists for Pedophilia (U.S. News and World Report)
Mar 2002

Controversial Studies Push Change in Society's View of Pedophilia ( Newhouse News Service )

Dec 19, 2001 Study Refutes Finding That Boys Benefit from Sex With Adults (Cybercast News Service)
Jan 2001 "Pedophilia Chic" Reconsidered: The Taboo Against Sex with Children Continues to Erode. (Weekly Standard)