Dec 01 2007

Teacher and allegations of abuse

Published by at 2:14 am under Counseling & Psychotherapy

With all the scientific research supporting recovered memories of abuse, we are now more likely to believe the victims and support them telling their stories. Here is one of the stories…

An October 28, 2007 story in the Chicago Sun-Times describes a 40 year old man who had recently “remembered” being molested by a teacher 25 years ago. He filed a lawsuit against the teacher and his religious order.
The alleged victim claims the teacher who molested him also abused other children. He also alleges that the supervisor of the teacher was also molesting children.

These are serious allegations. We have to assume that they have some merit or else the alleged victim would not make the accusations. Of course, he will have to prove all this in court.
So, the other assumption is that the teacher is innocent until proven guilty in our society and that is a good thing.

What caught my eye in this story was the comment by the spokesperson for the religious order when asked about the allegations. The spokesperson said something like, “well, recovered memories like these are still being debated in the scientific community.”

This “sort of means”, well, you know this claim may be an example of “false memory syndrome”

Well, researchers like Jim Hopper, PhD and others he publishes on his website have gone to great lengths to show that amnesia and delayed recall of memory is very common among abuse surviors.

Check out his site, it is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking about these issues.


One response so far

One Response to “Teacher and allegations of abuse”

  1. Edon 03 Dec 2007 at 10:19 am

    There is certainly no debate that abuse of children by clergy and other adults in positions of trust is widespread.

    Nonetheless, one of our legal system’s most basic principles is that the accused are “innocent until proven guilty”–and rightly so. It takes only a word to accuse someone, yet the consequences of a presumption of guilt can be devastating, especially when the crime is such a heinous and loathsome one as child molestation.

    “When will those to whom we have given our trust stop accusing the victim of fabricating their stories of abuse?” Unfortunately, never. Almost all criminals turn on their accusers, and call them liars. This quintessential criminal behavior is as old as mankind and will never go away. It was already well known when our justice system was established.

    Any sane person will want to protect children from abuse, and will want those who perpetrate it to be held accountable, and appropriately punished. But in our zeal for justice, we should not disregard the principles of justice itself. And one of those principles is that accusation does not automatically equal guilt, because people do sometimes make false accusations, either intentionally or unintentionally, for all sorts of reasons.


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