1 involved in a very, very acrimonious divorce -
2 okay. - and for the first time in that relationship
3 allegations of serious physical abuse were
4 surfacing, and in the middle of this acrimonious
5 divorce all of a sudden one parent goes to the
6 authorities and says, “My soon-to-be ex-spouse has
7 been molesting a child for years,” would that cause
8 you to pause regarding the accuracy of that
10 A. That’s a tough question for me to answer.
11 The reason being, it’s not my job to make a
12 determination about whether a particular child has
13 been abused or not.
14 I could argue -- you phrased it that, okay,
15 there’s a late or delayed accusation about sexual
16 abuse, and maybe the parent put the child up to it.
17 I could similarly argue that circumstances
18 within the family or maybe the relationship between
19 the parent and the child had changed. Maybe the
20 parents had separated and the child felt safer and
21 able to disclose the sexual abuse. It’s difficult
22 to not disclose physical abuse, because if you get
23 hit, you have red marks, you get a black eye.
24 That’s really hard to keep secret. Sexual abuse is
25 a lot different.
26 So I could make an argument for both sides;
27 that, okay, I should be concerned or that it’s
28 common for kids who have been sexually abused. I 2913
1 think the primary statement that I would make is
2 it’s not my place as a mental health provider to
3 make a determination about whether a child has been
4 abused or not, sexually abused or physically abused
5 or in any other ways.
6 Q. Excuse me.
7 And is what you’re saying that your line of
8 work is primarily to do research in these areas as
9 opposed to evaluate; is that correct.
10 A. Well, evaluate -- almost. Evaluate in the
11 context of mental health problems. I certainly
12 assess and evaluate children or families all the
13 time. But I assess and evaluate regarding whether
14 they have a mental health problem or not, not
15 whether they’ve been abused or not.
16 Q. Okay. And would it be correct to say to the
17 jury that, as you sit here today, you don’t make a
18 living evaluating whether or not claims of sexual
19 abuse by children are true or not, right.
20 A. Certainly. I make a living being faculty in
21 the Department of Pediatrics, being a psychologist,
22 conducting research, providing mental health
23 services, teaching. I am not involved in the
24 determination of whether a particular child has been
25 abused or not.
26 And it’s not my place and I don’t --
27 actually even further argue it is not the place of a
28 mental health provider to make a determination about 2914
1 whether a particular person was abused or not, or
2 whether a particular person is a perpetrator or not.
3 In the criminal setting, that’s the responsibility
4 of a jury.
5 Q. Now, you made a comment that parents can put
6 their children up to lying about sexual abuse,
8 A. I think I made it as a part of an example.
9 Q. And you would certainly agree that parents
10 can encourage or induce children to make false
11 claims of sexual abuse, correct.
12 A. Particularly within that context of
13 animosity between parents in issues of custody,
14 which is where most of the writing with regard to
15 false allegations comes. That has been a concern.
16 Now, I always hate to go to absolutes, so it
17 is possible for a child to be supported in their
18 false allegation by their parent.
19 Q. If you had a situation where you had a
20 mother and her children, and you had evidence that
21 the mother and her children had, from a
22 psychological standpoint, adopted someone as a
23 parental figure. Maybe there isn’t a formal
24 marriage. Maybe there isn’t a long-term
25 relationship, but --
26 MR. ZONEN: I’m going to object as compound,
27 Your Honor, and the narrative of the question
28 itself. 2915
1 MR. MESEREAU: I haven’t finished my
2 hypothetical, Your Honor.
3 THE COURT: He’s allowed to form a
4 hypothetical. Do you -- do you want the court
5 reporter to read to where you were.
6 MR. MESEREAU: I can rephrase it. Thanks.
7 THE COURT: All right.
8 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Let me give you a
9 hypothetical question: You’ve got a mother and
10 three children. There is no father figure present.
11 There has been a traumatic divorce of recent
12 vintage. For whatever reason, the mother and her
13 children pick someone and adopt that person as the
14 father figure. And they refer to that person as
15 “daddy,” and they refer to that person as the father
16 of the children and the mother encourages the
17 children to refer to that person in that light.
18 And suddenly there is a split. The mother,
19 the children sense that the person they’ve adopted
20 as their surrogate father, as their father figure,
21 is bailing out, is getting out of the situation, for
22 whatever reason.
23 You could imagine, couldn’t you, as a
24 professor of clinical psychology, a situation like
25 that where the mother suddenly induces the children
26 to make false claims of sexual abuse.
27 A. As you frame that question -- I mean,
28 there’s two parts to my answer. As you frame that 2916
1 question to me, I can imagine it, because you just
2 framed it for me.
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. But that would seem to me, in my experience
5 and the research that I know about sexual abuse and
6 even false allegations, to be fairly incredible.
7 The issue being, one, as I said earlier, it’s about
8 custody. And the research, with the caveat about
9 false allegations, is when there is a custody
10 dispute; that is, mom doesn’t want the kids to go
11 over to dad because she’s -- or he’s maybe sexually
12 abused them, or vice versa, and there is this issue
13 about who has legal right to these children. And
14 that scenario that you just gave me doesn’t seem
15 like there would be that issue about who has legal
16 right to it.
17 And on top of that, the research that we’re
18 talking about, just to make sure that we’re clear,
19 the prevalence of it, is that the numbers are really
20 pretty small. It’s difficult and maybe misleading
21 to say, okay, well, there’s these large number of
22 kids who are making false allegations. The studies
23 show that somewhere, at least around 2 to 6 percent
24 of kids who make allegations make allegations that
25 are false or that may be false. So we’re looking at
26 a very small number of kids to begin with, and with,
27 what I would argue, doesn’t fit into that high
28 percentage group that the research describes. 2917
1 Q. But, Doctor, you know that in nasty
2 divorces, very often one spouse will induce a child
3 to falsely accuse another spouse. Not just to get
4 custody; to be nasty and to hurt the person. You
5 know that happens every day, doesn’t it.
6 A. That may be your experience, but it’s not
7 supported by the research, that kids make false
8 allegations related to being sexually victimized
9 every day, or make a lot. I mean, those are words
10 that you qualified with. The research does not
11 support that.
12 Q. But you just said you’re not an expert in
13 the area of false allegations of sexual abuse by
14 children, didn’t you.
15 A. No, I don’t believe I said that.
16 Q. You just said you don’t do any research in
17 that area, correct.
18 A. That’s not an area of research that I do. I
19 do a different area of research.
20 Q. And you’ve never published an article about
22 MR. ZONEN: Your Honor, I ask the witness be
23 allowed to finish his answer in its entirety.
24 THE COURT: Sustained.
25 THE WITNESS: But of the research that
26 exists, I have read most or all of the existing
27 research - research, not just writing that somebody
28 did - related to false allegations. 2918
1 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You don’t know anything
2 about the recent Bakersfield case, correct.
3 A. I --
4 MR. ZONEN: I’ll object. Assuming facts not
5 in evidence that there is a recent Bakersfield case.
6 THE COURT: I’ll allow you to answer.
7 THE WITNESS: Yeah, I’m not aware of a case
8 in Bakersfield.
9 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You’re not aware of a case
10 where false allegations of child molestation were
11 made, people were convicted, were incarcerated.
12 MR. ZONEN: Objection; asked and answered.
13 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You never heard of it.
14 THE COURT: Sustained.
15 Just a minute. I want to stop for just a
16 second, just because the legal term “hypothetical
17 question” has just arisen in this case. And at the
18 end of the case, I’m going to instruct you on the
19 law concerning the whole entire case, but
20 occasionally because of things that happen during
21 the trial, I’m going to give you instruction to help
22 you deal with the evidence. And that’s the case
23 here, so if you would please listen to this
24 instruction, CALJIC 2.82:
25 “In examining an expert witness, counsel may
26 ask a hypothetical question. This is a question in
27 which the witness is asked to assume the truth of a
28 set of facts and to give an opinion based on that 2919
2 “In permitting this type of question, the
3 Court does not rule and does not necessarily find
4 that all of the assumed facts have been proved. It
5 only determines that those assumed facts are within
6 the possible range of the evidence. It is for you
7 to decide, from all the evidence, whether or not the
8 facts assumed in a hypothetical question have been
10 “If you should decide that any assumption in
11 the question has not been proved, you are to
12 determine the effect of that failure of proof on the
13 value and weight of the expert opinion based on the
14 assumed facts.”
15 Thank you, Counsel. Sorry for the
17 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you, Your Honor.
18 Q. I want to add a few facts to the
19 hypothetical I gave you. Okay.
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. Let’s assume, hypothetically, the mother and
22 son have been involved in prior litigation where the
23 son, at an early age, testified under oath in
24 support of the mother.
25 Let’s assume that lawyers were retained.
26 The mother and son had experience with lawyers, have
27 experience making allegation of sexual assault and
28 obtaining money in the process. 2920
1 Let’s assume the facts I just told you,
2 about the mother, the son, and siblings, for
3 whatever reason, adopting a new father figure to the
4 point where they’re referring to that person as
5 “daddy,” and referring to that person to various
6 people as someone who takes care of them, who has
7 adopted their family and become the father figure.
8 Let’s assume that the new so-called “daddy”
9 decides he doesn’t want to be around these people,
10 something doesn’t seem right, and let’s assume there
11 is a falling apart.
12 Let’s also assume the mother and son again
13 go to lawyers. Not the police-lawyers. And let’s
14 assume that they are interested again in financial
16 Given what I’ve given you in that
17 hypothetical, you can certainly envision the
18 possibility of false claims of sexual abuse,
20 A. The difficulty that I have with your
21 hypothetical --
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. -- is that I perceive my responsibility
24 here is to provide information about what the
25 research has to say about child sexual abuse. And
26 while your hypothetical, your story, is clear, I
27 know of no research that goes to that point. So I
28 don’t think I can answer your question. 2921
1 Q. Well, you’re not telling the jury that there
2 has been no research on false claims of sexual abuse
3 for purposes of manipulating the legal system and
4 obtaining financial gain, are you.
5 A. My understanding of the research with regard
6 to false allegations, I don’t recall a single
7 article where the goal of the research literature,
8 where the goal was making a false allegation for
9 financial gain.
10 Now, perhaps making a false allegation to
11 retain custody of your child, as I mentioned
12 earlier, but I’m not aware of any research related
13 to false allegations for financial gain.
14 Q. But you’re certainly not suggesting to the
15 jury that false allegations of sexual abuse cannot
16 be made for purposes of financial gain, are you.
17 A. I’m not making that statement. I’m just --
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. -- trying to describe what the research
21 Q. Have you had a lot of experience with
22 allegations of sexual abuse appearing in civil cases
23 as opposed to criminal cases.
24 A. A couple. But not very many. Maybe two.
25 Q. Do you know whether or not, if somebody is
26 criminally prosecuted and convicted of molestation,
27 whether or not the alleged victim would
28 automatically win a civil case if they filed one. 2922
1 MR. ZONEN: I’ll object as lack of
3 THE COURT: Sustained.
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Now, you’ve indicated that
5 you’re aware of false claims by children of sexual
6 abuse, right.
7 A. Me specifically, or with regard to the
9 Q. The research.
10 A. Okay, yes.
11 Q. And you’re aware that adults can encourage
12 children to make false claims of sexual abuse,
14 A. Certainly they can encourage. And again,
15 usually that’s within the context of marital
16 dissolution and custody.
17 Q. I know your point, but that’s -- that’s
18 through the articles and research you’ve read. You
19 aren’t saying it can’t happen in other contexts, are
21 A. I’m not saying that.
22 Q. And you’re certainly not saying that parents
23 could not encourage children to make false claims of
24 sexual abuse for financial reasons, are you.
25 A. I’m not making that statement.
26 Q. Okay. Now, you’d agree that children will
27 sometimes exaggerate claims that they’ve been
28 abused, true. 2923
1 A. I’m not sure what you mean by “exaggerate.”
2 I know the casual term of “exaggerating,” but you
3 seem to have a more specific one related to sexual
5 Q. Well, I mean, you know what the word
6 “exaggeration” means, right.
7 A. That’s what I mean, in sort of casual terms.
8 But I guess I’m asking if you could be more specific
9 with regards to sexual abuse.
10 Q. Well, certainly you would agree that
11 children can be touched by someone, and at some
12 point in time exaggerate that touching to be
13 something along the lines of molestation or
14 inappropriate touching when it isn’t.
15 A. Certainly that would be possible.
16 Q. So what you’re saying is there are
17 possibilities of pure falsehood; in other words, a
18 child says sexual abuse happened when they aren’t
19 even touched.
20 And there are possibilities of exaggeration,
21 where a child is touched, but not inappropriately,
22 and then the child comes forward and says, “I was
23 touched inappropriately,” correct.
24 A. Those are two possibilities.
25 Q. Yes.
26 A. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the
27 second possibility, but certainly it’s possible.
28 Q. Well, common sense would tell you that it’s 2924
1 certainly possible that a child could be touched
2 appropriately, and at some point come forward and
3 say that touching was either -- either, “I was
4 molested” or “I was touched in an inappropriate
5 way.” That makes sense that that could happen,
6 doesn’t it.
7 A. It’s possible, yes.
8 Q. Okay. But in your studies, you’ve never
9 come across it. Is that what I’m hearing.
10 A. That description --
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. -- about the pattern of exaggerating --
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. -- is not pronounced in the literature
15 related to false allegations.
16 Q. It’s not pronounced in the literature, but
17 you’re not saying it doesn’t happen.
18 A. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. It’s
20 Q. Let’s be honest. If parents are touching
21 their children, and they suddenly go through a nasty
22 divorce, and all of a sudden claims of inappropriate
23 touching happens, they may be exaggerated, right.
24 A. It’s possible that could happen.
25 Q. And would you agree that in the last, say,
26 15 years, you’ve seen a tremendous increase in
27 claims of molestation in divorce cases.
28 A. I don’t know the literature on that. I 2925
1 don’t know that I could answer that question.
2 Q. Okay. Okay. Do you routinely in your work
3 look for research articles on the subject of false
4 claims --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- by children.
7 A. False allegations, yes.
8 Q. Okay. And are studies in this area being
9 done at your university as we speak.
10 A. On false allegations.
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. No. To my knowledge, and -- the issue of
13 sexual abuse, and the clinical aspects of sexual
14 abuse, they are being done at my agency, because
15 that’s what we do within the Department of
17 There is another researcher in the
18 Department of Psychology who does developmental
19 research that is related to physical and sexual
20 abuse, but not to the clinical aspects of sexual
22 Q. Okay. Now, let me ask you some questions
23 about the way children might react if they truly
24 have been sexually abused. Okay.
25 Now, the prosecutor asked you some questions
26 about a child becoming aggressive because a child
27 has been sexually abused, right.
28 A. Yes, I believe he did. 2926
1 Q. And if you have a situation where a child
2 has been aggressive, say, in school before any
3 allegation of sexual abuse arises, you wouldn’t look
4 at that child and say, “I see evidence of sexual
5 abuse because the child’s being aggressive,” would
7 A. It is difficult to say if any particular
8 symptom, in this case you’re using aggressiveness,
9 is directly related to physical abuse or sexual
10 abuse. You can be aggressive for a lot of different
11 types of reasons. It is hard to say, “Okay, you’re
12 aggressive. You’ve been sexually abused.” I would
13 not go there.
14 Q. And it would complicate your ability to
15 attribute aggressiveness to sexual abuse if you knew
16 that particular child was acting aggressively in
17 school before the alleged abuse, right.
18 A. It may com- -- I’m sorry, it may complicate
19 it. The issue, as I said earlier is, aggression
20 is -- may well be a reflection of the distress that
21 a victim has, but it could also be something related
22 to another aspect of their life unrelated to being
24 Q. For example, if a child had been a chronic
25 discipline problem in school, a child had been
26 constantly called to the carpet for fighting,
27 getting up in the middle of class and singing,
28 disrupting teachers, calling teachers names, being 2927
1 bounced out of every class, ordered to detention and
2 not showing up to detention; if you had factors like
3 that, that would complicate your ability to say that
4 aggressiveness was a function of sexual abuse at a
5 later date, right.
6 A. Well, I would actually say it the other way
7 around. I would say that sometimes kids who are
8 sexually abused exhibit those kinds of problems. I
9 would be reluctant to say that because you exhibit
10 those kinds of problems, that you therefore have
11 been sexually abused.
12 Q. Right. Okay. Okay. Wouldn’t you agree
13 that children who actually have been sexually abused
14 tend to react to that abuse in different ways.
15 A. Certainly.
16 Q. Some children who have been sexually abused
17 appear severely traumatized, right.
18 A. Yes. But that’s actually a minority of kids
19 who are severely traumatized by sexual abuse. It is
20 something that some kids go through, but it’s not a
21 frequent occurrence.
22 Q. Well, some kids would seem to take it in
23 stride better than other kids, right.
24 A. That’s correct.
25 Q. Some seem to be very traumatized by it, and
26 some can show remarkable abilities to take it in
27 stride, correct.
28 A. We call it resilience. 2928
1 Q. Yes. Some children who have been actually
2 sexually abused will tend to act out their sexual
3 abuse, correct.
4 A. “Act out” meaning. I mean, I have a sense
5 of what “act out” usually is, but I’m not sure if
6 it’s exactly what you mean.
7 Q. They will in a very overt, dramatic way,
8 describe it, right.
9 A. Now, are you talking about the disclosures,
10 or are you talking about the symptom presentation.
11 Q. I’m talking about both. Some children --
12 I’m not saying “all.” Some children who actually
13 have been sexually abused will describe what
14 happened to them in a very dramatic descriptive
15 fashion, right.
16 A. That’s possible, yes.
17 Q. And some, on the other hand, who have been
18 sexually abused will become very withdrawn, right.
19 A. Correct. That’s possible.
20 Q. Some children who have been sexually abused
21 will immediately tell someone about it, true.
22 A. That is, in fact, possible. Certainly that
23 occurs, as I testified earlier. It occurs in a
24 small minority of cases, but certainly it is
25 possible, and I would guess that it does occur.
26 Q. And some will never tell anybody about it at
27 all, right.
28 A. Yes. I didn’t add that to what Mr. Zonen 2929
1 had asked me. I know I said that there are some
2 people who don’t disclose their sexual abuse until
3 they’re adults.
4 Now, it’s my opinion that there are some
5 people who don’t disclose throughout their entire
6 lifetime, but I don’t have any research, obviously,
7 to be able to point to that.
8 Q. And again, everything you’re saying comes
9 out of research studies that you’ve looked at,
11 A. Either that I’ve looked at or that I’ve
13 Q. You’re not giving opinions to the jury based
14 upon any of the therapeutic work you’ve done with
15 actual children, true.
16 A. There may have been a couple of times where
17 I’ve asked -- was asked my opinion about an issue,
18 and I’ve tried to frame it with the statement “in my
19 opinion,” rather than that’s what the research says.
20 And I think I just did that a minute ago with regard
21 to people who don’t disclose throughout their entire
23 Q. Okay. But what I’m trying to get at is
24 this: You’re giving the jury opinions about the
25 subject. You’ve said some children act out their
26 abuse and some become very withdrawn. Some become
27 traumatized and others take it in stride, right.
28 A. Well, actually, I think it’s -- 2930
1 Q. What are your opinions based on.
2 A. I think it’s actually different than that.
3 My job is to provide information about what the
4 research has to say.
5 Q. Right.
6 A. Not to sit here and just provide an opinion
7 about what I’ve seen as a clinician or what I think
8 as a person. To provide what the research has to
10 In those situations where I, in fact, have
11 an opinion that’s not supported by research, I have
12 tried to say, as I gave you an example a minute ago,
13 “in my opinion” related to something.
14 Now, the other part of your question, it’s
15 my job to educate the jury and, consistent with what
16 Dr. Summit wrote with regard to the Child Sexual
17 Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, is to dispel myths and
18 misperceptions about sexual abuse.
19 And so within the context of the Child
20 Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, I do exactly
21 the same thing that he wanted to do with therapists,
22 but with a jury. That they have a difficult
23 decision to make, and they should do that based upon
24 what research has to say, and that’s what I have
25 tried to present.
26 For example, if they have the misperception
27 that children are sexually abused by strangers, that
28 some guy will jump out of the bushes and molest 2931
1 children, that’s the way it mostly happens, well,
2 that’s a misperception. It doesn’t usually happen.
3 And I think I’ve characterized that most children
4 are sexually abused by someone with whom they have
5 an ongoing relationship.
6 Q. But you’re not telling the jury that
7 strangers do not molest children, are you.
8 A. No, but I am telling them that this is a
9 misperception that strangers are the people we need
10 to look out for with regard to the frequency of
11 perpetrators. Most children are sexually abused by
12 someone with whom they have an ongoing relationship.
13 It could be a stranger, but it is infrequent for
14 them to be sexually abused by a stranger.
15 Q. Have you ever made a study of how many cases
16 go through the criminal courts in California where
17 children are molested by strangers who are
18 pedophiles. Ever made a study of that.
19 A. No, but there are a number of studies that
20 have examined the relationship between the
21 perpetrator and the victim, and the number of
22 strangers who molest kids are in single digits.
23 There’s different studies, depending on methodology,
24 but it’s around the 4 to 6 to 7 percent of children
25 who are sexually abused by a stranger.
26 Q. But do you know how many of those cases were
27 prosecuted in California last year.
28 A. No. Couldn’t tell you that. 2932
1 Q. Do you know how many were prosecuted in the
2 last five years.
3 A. Again, I don’t do research in issues of the
4 court and criminal prosecutions.
5 Q. What you’re telling the jury is that the
6 vast majority of these cases, looking at it from a
7 research standpoint, are done by -- or involve
8 allegations that someone the child is familiar with
9 did this; is that right.
10 A. That most children are sexually abused by
11 somebody --
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. -- with whom they have an ongoing
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Okay. Now, you’d agree that some children
18 who have actually been abused have very accurate
19 memories of their being abused, right.
20 A. I would agree with that. Some children
21 probably do.
22 Q. And some children have false memories of
23 being abused, correct.
24 A. I have a hard time with that question. If
25 you --
26 Q. Let me just ask it again.
27 A. Well, if you have not been abused, then you
28 don’t have a memory of it. 2933
1 Q. You could have a false memory of it, true.
2 A. There is literature which I consider
3 unusual, where certain people have stated that they
4 have a memory of being abused, and it’s a false
5 memory, it turns out. Even more so with the caveat
6 that I have about false allegations, that I would
7 have a significant caveat about the credibility of
8 research related to false allegations -- I forget
9 what -- the phrase that they call it, but
10 allegations that the victim appears to believe that
11 they were abused and they were not. I mean, that is
12 a very unusual aspect of this field.
13 Q. But it certainly has happened, hasn’t it.
14 A. There are reports that it’s happened, yes.
15 Q. And there are people in your field who are
16 devoting a large percentage of their professional
17 endeavors to studying that particular area, aren’t
19 A. I’m not aware of those people.
20 Q. Well, you’re aware of an area dealing with
21 what is called autosuggestion, where children are
22 actually induced by parents, adults, and other
23 influences to conjure up false memories of abuse.
24 You know that’s going on today.
25 A. I’m not familiar with that.
26 Q. Don’t know anything about that field.
27 A. No.
28 Q. Okay. Getting back to the issue of children 2934
1 who actually have been sexually abused - okay. - I’m
2 excluding false claims. All right.
3 Some children who actually have been abused
4 will actually show common symptoms of abuse,
6 A. There are some, well, common symptoms of
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. It is difficult to have common symptoms of
10 abuse because of the diversity of symptom
11 presentation with kids who have been sexually
12 abused, so it’s common symptoms of distress.
13 Q. Well, in your response to the prosecutor’s
14 questions, you were identifying certain generic,
15 general ways that actual abuse victims might behave,
17 A. Yes, I think what I had said is, as a
18 stereotype, it’s consistent with the stereotype that
19 female victims, who usually are victims who
20 experience some distress resulting from their
21 victimization, tend to be internalizing, and then
22 males externalizing, and try to characterize or
23 define what those two things are as broad types of
24 expression of symptoms that victims go through.
25 Q. The point I’m making is this: Some children
26 who have actually been sexually abused will act
27 perfectly normal, true.
28 A. I would -- again, it’s hard for me to go to 2935
1 the issue of absolutes, but certainly there are some
2 kids who act normal and have no apparent external
3 change of behavior that would give you rise to
4 believe that they’ve been sexually abused.
5 Q. And some children who have actually been
6 sexually abused will not act normal, right.
7 A. Some kids who have been sexually abused
8 have -- typically have some type of symptom pattern
9 that they present.
10 Q. And it becomes very difficult when you
11 observe how a child behaves to determine if that
12 child really has been truly sexually abused, true.
13 A. It’s hard to look at a child and say, “Okay,
14 you’ve been sexually abused.” That would be a
15 difficult thing to do that.
16 Q. Okay. Nobody can determine with absolute
17 accuracy that a child has been abused because they
18 act in a certain way, right.
19 A. Again, that would be pretty much the same
20 question that you just asked me a minute ago. It’s
21 difficult to look at the child and say -- you can do
22 it either way. To look at that child and say,
23 “Okay, you’ve been sexually abused,” and/or to look
24 at a child and say, “Okay, you have not been
25 sexually abused.” It’s difficult to have that
26 external ability.
27 Q. Okay. Now, you’d agree that in your field
28 it almost goes without saying that parents can have 2936
1 a tremendous effect on whether or not their children
2 tell the truth, right.
3 A. Yes. It should be -- actually, part of my
4 field is also child development. And I would hope
5 that parents have an ability to influence the lives
6 of their children in lots of ways, one of which
7 would include telling the truth.
8 Q. And if a child is continually exposed to
9 parents who are perpetual liars, that can have an
10 effect to a child’s view of whether lying is
11 acceptable, correct.
12 A. I would tend to agree with that, yes. I
13 mean, they’re not all cases, but I would tend to
14 agree with the sense that a child may have a value
15 about lying that might be similar to that of their
17 Q. Let me get to the subject of when an actual
18 child victim of sexual abuse tends to disclose what
19 happened to them - okay. - because you talked about
20 when they might or might not disclose it. Okay.
21 A. Okay.
22 Q. And I’m going to limit my questions to
23 situations where the literature you’ve studied deals
24 with children who have actually been abused. Okay.
25 A. Okay.
26 Q. I’m not talking about children who lie. I’m
27 talking about the actual, what appear to be victims
28 of real sexual abuse. Okay. 2937
1 A. Okay.
2 Q. You’d agree that some children will disclose
3 it right away, won’t they.
4 A. Again, a minority, and perhaps a small
5 minority of children will make immediate
7 Q. But some do for sure, right.
8 A. It is -- some children do. It is much more
9 common for kids to have a delayed disclosure.
10 Q. But you aren’t telling the jury that there
11 aren’t situations where children who have been
12 abused have not run to their parents screaming and
13 yelling, “This person just touched me,” right.
14 A. No, I think what I’m trying to do is to
15 characterize what the research says about all
16 disclosures, and so that means accurately portraying
17 what an immediate -- the frequency of an immediate
18 disclosure would be, and it is a small percentage of
19 kids who do an immediate disclosure. It certainly
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. It is much more common for there to be
23 either an extended delay, or a delay going into
24 adulthood. That is, I think, an accurate
25 characterization of this issue of frequency of
27 Q. And you’re dealing with generalities that
28 come from the research and study that you’ve done or 2938
1 reviewed, correct.
2 A. Generalities I have a difficulty with. I’m
3 reflecting or describing what several studies have
4 reported that are fairly consistent --
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. -- about the issue of delayed disclosure.
7 Q. But certainly you’re not suggesting to the
8 jury that every day of the year children don’t run
9 to their teachers and say, “So and so just touched
10 me,” “so and so just grabbed me,” “You know what so
11 and so just did to me.” That happens all the time,
12 doesn’t it.
13 A. I’m -- I’m having difficulty -- are you
14 saying that, “They touched you,” they’re making --
15 so are you suggesting that it happens all the time
16 that children make false allegations.
17 Q. It happens quite often, doesn’t it.
18 A. I would agree with that.
19 Q. You don’t think teachers get reports like
20 that often in school.
21 A. I don’t think that there are often or all
22 the time characterizations of false allegations of
23 sexual abuse.
24 Q. Have you interviewed teachers on that
26 A. There actually are --
27 Q. Please answer my question.
28 A. No. 2939
1 Q. Have you personally interviewed teachers on
2 that subject, ever.
3 A. No.
4 Q. Have you done any research on that subject
6 A. I have read research, but I have not
7 specifically done research on that subject.
8 Q. Okay. Now, I just want to ask you if the
9 statements I’m making are correct or not. Okay.
10 Some children tell right away, right.
11 A. Again, within -- I don’t mean to be
12 long-winded or redundant here.
13 Q. I’m just asking you to answer my question.
14 Is it true that some children --
15 MR. ZONEN: Your Honor, I’d ask that the
16 witness be allowed to answer the question without
17 interruption of counsel.
18 MR. MESEREAU: I’ll rephrase it, Your Honor.
19 THE COURT: All right.
20 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Let me ask you to just
21 give a response whether you think this is true or
22 not - okay. - and then if you want to explain it
23 when the prosecutor gets up to get explanations, you
24 can do that.
25 True or false: Some children will disclose
26 sexual abuse right away.
27 MR. ZONEN: Objection; asked and answered.
28 THE COURT: Overruled. 2940
1 You may answer.
2 THE WITNESS: That would be true.
3 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Some children will never
4 disclose sexual abuse, right.
5 A. That is true.
6 Q. Some children will tell a little bit at one
7 point and then tell more at a later day, true.
8 A. I would agree with that, yes.
9 Q. And some children will just make up stories
10 of abuse, right.
11 A. It is true that there are false allegations
12 that occur.
13 Q. You made some statements about details when
14 a child makes a revelation about sexual abuse,
16 A. I did talk about the disclosure and the
17 process of disclosure, yes.
18 Q. You talked about details sometimes changing
19 when a child repeatedly discloses what has happened,
20 allegedly, to the child, true.
21 A. I talked about, and I think what I tried to
22 characterize was that there was a process to the
23 disclosure, and some of the barriers that make it
24 difficult for a child to disclose and the way in
25 which kids would disclose being sexually abused.
26 Q. But changing stories about the details of
27 alleged sexual abuse can also be consistent with
28 lies, true. 2941
1 A. Lies with regard to.
2 Q. Sexual abuse.
3 A. Again, I would agree that that’s possible.
4 Q. In other words, if you see details being
5 added each time a child tells a story about alleged
6 sexual abuse, that might be an indication, as you
7 said, that the child was abused, or it might be an
8 indication that the child is a flat-out liar, right.
9 A. Well, and I think that’s why Dr. Summit
10 included it in the Child Sex Abuse Accommodation
11 Syndrome, because the presentation was, back in
12 1983, that just because a child wasn’t completely
13 perfect, then their disclosure was unconvincing or
14 they weren’t telling the truth.
15 What we have since learned from research
16 since 1983 was that the pattern that is common for
17 kids who have been sexually abused sometimes
18 included mistakes, or errors, or they may goof up on
19 some of the details.
20 And so I’m not making a statement that,
21 “Okay, you made a mistake, and so -- with regard to
22 the disclosure, and so you are or are not sexually
24 I’m trying to dispel the misperception that
25 a juror may have related to the way in which a child
26 discloses sexual abuse. Just because they make a
27 mistake doesn’t mean it’s unconvincing or doesn’t
28 mean that they weren’t abused. 2942
1 Q. And just because they add new details, new
2 stories, new dates, new versions, doesn’t mean
3 they’re not liars either, does it.
4 A. Right. It could go either way.
5 Q. Okay. Now, are the studies that you have
6 looked at been studies that are, for lack of a
7 better word, scientifically based.
8 A. They are research based that are published
9 in peer-reviewed journals.
10 Q. How does what you’ve been reviewing in your
11 work relate to science, if you can even answer that
13 A. I would argue that scientific research and
14 psychology is a component of science, part of the
15 social sciences. And then within the part of that
16 related to children or child sexual abuse, that we
17 engage scientific methodology to attempt, to the
18 best of our ability, to identify what is best known
19 about this event of sexual abuse or sexually
20 inappropriate behavior between an adult and a child.
21 So we try to gain knowledge related to sexual abuse.
22 Q. But there certainly is no scientific way to
23 determine if a child has truly been sexually abused
24 or if a child is lying about it, right.
25 A. I’m not aware of any science strategy or
26 methodology to determine guilt or innocence between
27 a specific perpetrator and a specific victim.
28 Q. Okay. And I think what you’re telling the 2943
1 jury is nobody can determine that a child has been
2 abused just based on what the child says, right.
3 A. No, actually, I think somewhat differently.
4 I think what I’m trying to tell the jury is that
5 there’s a difference between what you may have grown
6 up and learned about sexual abuse through reading
7 magazines or watching television or talking to your
8 friends and what research says about sexual abuse.
9 And my job is to provide you with --
10 MR. MESEREAU: Could I ask the witness be
11 admonished to answer the question.
12 THE COURT: I think he is answering it. You
13 asked him if he said one thing, and he said no, he
14 said another.
15 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
16 THE WITNESS: My job is to provide
17 information about what the research has to say about
18 sexual abuse, and then consistent with Dr. Summit’s
19 Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, to dispel any
20 misperceptions or myths that you have about child
21 sexual abuse so you have perhaps a more solid
22 foundation on which to make a determination in this
23 specific case.
24 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: I may not have asked the
25 question properly. It could have been my mistake.
26 Let me ask it again.
27 Nobody can determine that a child has been
28 abused just based on what the child says, right. 2944
1 A. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that
2 question before. I don’t know how to answer that.
3 I mean, I could only say that that would be a
4 difficult thing to do.
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. But I don’t know how to answer that
8 Q. There’s no test you can give a child to
9 determine whether or not that child has been
10 actually sexually abused, is there.
11 A. I’m not aware of a test to determine whether
12 a particular perpetrator sexually abused a
13 particular victim.
14 Q. Okay. In terms of reliability of studies -
15 okay. - do you have -- do you have any thoughts on
16 how the research studies you look at would relate to
17 the opinions of actual clinical or therapeutic
18 workers in this field.
19 In other words, do you believe that the
20 research work you do, where you review the studies
21 that are being published, do you believe this work
22 is more reliable than the opinions of people
23 actually counseling children or administering
24 therapy to children.
25 A. I earlier made a statement that it’s better
26 to rely upon what the research has to say than in my
27 particular opinion. And I happen to be a person who
28 believes in research and believes in science and 2945
1 it’s part of what I do every day.
2 And the best example I can give you is I’ve
3 seen a lot of children who have been sexually
4 abused. But the research is founded on much more
5 rigorous, focused and a larger number of kids than
6 even than I have seen.
7 So somebody who is in, let’s say, private
8 practice doing therapy maybe, over the course of a
9 few years, will have seen 20, 30, 50 children who
10 have been abused, and they take their knowledge from
11 the children that they see. And maybe that is an
12 accurate reflection of the research; maybe it’s not.
13 But they enhance their knowledge by reading the
14 literature, reading scientific journals, reading
15 professional journals about sexual abuse, and then
16 add that to this issue of the clients that come in
17 and the patterns they see in their clients.
18 Q. But when you look at these research studies,
19 and you tell the jury, “Based upon the research
20 studies I have reviewed in my professional work,
21 I’ll give you these percentages,” the reality is,
22 you haven’t talked to a single one of those alleged
23 victims of sexual abuse that are the subject of the
24 studies, right.
25 A. Well, with the exception of my studies, the
26 research that I have done, if you exclude those,
27 because, in fact, I have cited research of my own,
28 that is true. A colleague of mine does research in 2946
1 Central Michigan. I have not gone to Central
2 Michigan to talk with the subjects in her studies.
3 Q. And when you read one of these studies and
4 they say a certain percentage of victims of sexual
5 abuse don’t tell right away and a certain percentage
6 do, the reality is, you don’t even know who the
7 people they’re talking about are, right.
8 A. I -- well, other than a general description
9 that they provide in a journal article or a piece of
10 research that they do, I don’t know the names of
11 them, and I shouldn’t know the names of them because
12 their involvement in research is protected by
14 Q. Now, based on what you told the jury in
15 response to the prosecutor’s questions, I’d like to
16 ask you a few questions and ask if they’re true:
17 Claiming you’re abused would be consistent
18 with actual abuse, correct.
19 A. I’m not sure I understand your question.
20 Q. Well, if somebody says, “I have been
21 abused,” that would certainly be consistent with
22 someone who actually has been abused, right.
23 A. I would disagree with that.
24 Q. You’re trying to say that victims of sexual
25 abuse never come forward and say, “I’ve been
27 A. You can be sexually abused and say, “Okay, I
28 have been abused.” And you can be sexually abused, 2947
1 and again, as you pointed out, have a false
3 Q. Well, let’s put it this way: Denying you’ve
4 been abused could be consistent with having actually
5 been abused, right.
6 A. You’re getting me all messed up.
7 Q. Let me rephrase it. Some people say, “I’ve
8 been abused,” and they have been. Some people deny
9 they’ve been abused, and they have been. Is that
10 what you’re saying.
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. By the same token, some people say they’ve
13 been abused, and they haven’t been at all, true.
14 A. That’s correct. That happens.
15 Q. And some people who deny they’ve been abused
16 never were abused, right.
17 A. That would be correct, yes.
18 Q. Okay. All right. You said something about
19 allegations of sexual abuse changing - okay. -
20 during the course of an alleged victim telling
21 various people about what happened, right.
22 A. I made mention of that with regard to the
23 aspect -- the fourth aspect of the accommodation
24 syndrome, the unconvincing disclosure, yes.
25 Q. If a child abuse -- excuse me, let me
26 rephrase that.
27 If a child is claiming they’ve been abused,
28 and you notice, during a series of interviews, the 2948
1 dates of the alleged abuse start to change, okay.
2 A. Okay.
3 Q. That could be perfectly consistent with a
4 child who’s lying, right.
5 A. That’s possible.
6 Q. If you knew that an alleged child victim had
7 experience in the legal system making claims and
8 getting money from those claims, would that cause
9 you any pause with respect to whether or not the
10 child was telling the truth.
11 A. I’m -- I don’t think that’s my area to
13 Q. How come.
14 A. Well, what I said earlier. I mean, if
15 you’re framing it within the context of false
16 allegations, kids, in fact, do make false
17 allegations. And when they make false allegations,
18 the reasons that I provided earlier were in the
19 context of divorce and issues of custody.
20 I wasn’t aware of -- or I am not aware of an
21 instance where a child has made a false allegation
22 specifically for the purpose of financial gain.
23 It’s possible, which is the question you just asked
24 me, but I’m not aware of that. Nor am I aware of
25 any research that’s focused on the issue of
26 financial gain and false allegations.
27 Q. Well, you’ve done some therapeutic work, you
28 said, earlier in your career, right. 2949
1 A. Up until about three, four years ago, yes.
2 Q. And I have to assume, as a human being, when
3 you’ve interviewed people, you must have been saying
4 to yourself from time to time, “I wonder if I’m
5 being told the truth,” right.
6 A. Occasionally. But not frequently. Most of
7 the time when I get kids for therapy, they’ve gone
8 through this process where there has already been a
9 determination about whether they’re -- they’ve been
10 abused or not.
11 And it’s not my place to make a
12 determination whether they’re abused or not. The
13 focus of my attention is on decreasing mental health
15 Q. Let me ask you this, Doctor: Let’s assume
16 you’re doing what you just described. Based upon
17 what you know, someone, or maybe more than one
18 person, has made a determination that somebody has
19 been actually abused, okay.
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. And they come to you in this therapeutic
22 context, right.
23 A. Okay.
24 Q. And you start administering therapy to this
25 alleged victim, right.
26 A. Yes. Okay.
27 Q. And in the course of your counseling this
28 alleged victim, it suddenly dawns on you, “I don’t 2950
1 believe this person.” What do you do.
2 A. I don’t know that I’ve been in that
3 situation before.
4 Q. What do you do if it happens.
5 A. Probably try to address the related mental
6 health issue if it’s related to this perception that
7 I have that it’s a false allegation. Because my job
8 is not to investigate if there would have been a
9 determination. My job is if the child comes in and
10 they’re depressed, or they are anxious, or they’re
11 aggressive, is to address the mental health problem,
12 not to investigate whether they’ve been abused or
14 So if I have that thought or idea or
15 feeling, then my first inclination, I think, would
16 be to relate it to the mental health system, which
17 is, in fact, my responsibility.
18 Q. Well, your profession has certain ethical
19 requirements you’re supposed to follow, correct.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And as you’ve said earlier, you’re aware of
22 situations where people have come forward years
23 later and said, “That allegation I made as a child
24 was false,” correct.
25 A. And again, are you talking about within the
26 clients that I have seen, or just generally.
27 Q. Generally.
28 A. I’m aware that there are false 2951
1 allegations --
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. -- yes.
4 Q. My question to you is, as a professional,
5 bound by certain ethical rules, if someone comes to
6 you for therapy, and it’s your understanding that
7 some other individuals, whom you may not even know,
8 have made a threshold determination, “We think this
9 child was abused,” okay.
10 A. Can I interrupt you in the middle of your
11 question. In your prior question when you said
12 “other individuals,” you pointed to these people
14 Q. No, I didn’t mean they had done it. No.
15 A. And I made the determination there was an
16 adjudication and the client was found -- was
17 identified as being victimized by a jury, because
18 you went like that (indicating).
19 Q. No, I was not.
20 A. My mistake, then.
21 Q. The jury has nothing to do with this issue
22 at the moment.
23 A. Okay.
24 Q. What I’m asking you is, as a professional,
25 someone comes to your office for therapy. It is
26 your understanding that certain people in the system
27 out there, whom you may not even know, made a
28 threshold determination that they believed this 2952
1 person was the victim of abuse. You start your
2 counseling sessions. You start talking to the
3 person very intimately about what happened. You ask
4 them about their background. You ask them about
5 parental influence. You ask them how they live
6 their life. You probe into who they are. And at
7 some point a light goes off: “I don’t believe this
8 person. Something’s wrong.”
9 From an ethical standpoint, what do you do,
10 as a clinical psychologist.
11 A. It’s an interesting problem, and only
12 because I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a
13 situation like that, and because it really runs up
14 against this issue of confidentiality. What goes on
15 in a therapeutic office is confidential. Clearly
16 there are mandates to report if you reasonably
17 suspect somebody is abused.
18 But you’re asking me the opposite. And so
19 since I’ve never encountered a situation like that,
20 the first thing I’d do is go read the either state
21 ethics regulations or the ethics related to the
22 American Psychological Association, because I’ve
23 never encountered something like that.
24 But it would be significant for me to break
25 a client confidentiality, since it’s one of the
26 hallmarks of psychotherapy, so I’m not exactly sure
27 what I would do in that situation.
28 Q. Have you ever made a study of false claims 2953
1 of sexual abuse directed at celebrities.
2 A. I’ve never done a study like that, no.
3 Q. Have you ever read a study about that.
4 A. I have not.
5 Q. Have you done any research in the area of
6 false lawsuits being filed against celebrities.
7 A. That’s not my area of research.
8 Q. Okay. Now, you made some comments about the
9 percentage of actual abusers being in a relationship
10 of familiarity with the person abused, right.
11 A. Yes, I think I used the word “acquaintance.”
12 Q. Okay. And I believe you said that you
13 thought the -- certainly the high percentage of
14 abusers in situations where there’s actual abuse
15 have a familial relationship with the victim, right.
16 A. An “acquaintance” relationship was the word
17 that I used, yes.
18 Q. And when you say “acquaintance,” what do you
20 A. Somebody who has some ongoing relationship,
21 who the child knows. It could be lots of different
22 people. It can be a father, brother, uncle. Guy
23 who lives across the street. Babysitter. You know,
24 it can be lots of different types of people. But
25 it’s somebody who is known to the victim and
26 typically has an ongoing relationship with them.
27 Q. When you say “ongoing relationship,” what do
28 you mean. 2954
1 A. At least once, twice, three times. I mean,
2 I think if you are the -- if the perpetrator’s the
3 guy who lives across the street, that would suggest
4 somebody who is seen by the victim on a regular
5 basis. If the person -- if the perpetrator is
6 somebody who lives in the house or is the
7 babysitter, I mean, seen multiple incidents or have
8 multiple times of interaction.
9 Q. And correct me if I’m wrong on this, but
10 it’s sort of assumed that the alleged perpetrator
11 who has an ongoing relationship with the alleged
12 victim wants a relationship with that alleged
13 victim, true.
14 A. I mean, I’m pondering this issue of
15 “alleged.” If you get rid of that --
16 Q. I won’t.
17 A. That’s where I get a little hung up on your
19 Let’s just go hypothetical. All right.
20 THE COURT: Wait. Let’s just take a break.
21 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. All right. Okay.
22 (Recess taken.)
23 THE COURT: Go ahead, Counsel.
24 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you, Your Honor.
25 Q. Just to wrap things up -- oops. Just to
26 wrap things up, a couple of more questions: When
27 you talk about familiarity between the person
28 accused of improperly touching a child and the 2955
1 child, are you referring to typically an ongoing
2 relationship between the two.
3 A. I think that’s what I characterized when I
4 said “acquaintance,” yes.
5 Q. And by “acquaintance,” you mean a
6 relationship where it appears that the two parties
7 are actively involved with one another at some
9 A. Well, without getting all that complicated
10 about it --
11 Q. Sure.
12 A. -- it’s when the perpetrator and the victim
13 know each other, and, you know, the opposite would
14 be a stranger.
15 And so that’s really what I’m trying to
16 characterize is, most of the time the perpetrator
17 and the victim know each other. And I don’t know if
18 that’s simpler or any more clear or less clear, but
19 that’s what I was trying to characterize. That’s
20 what the research shows with regard to sexual abuse.
21 Q. If you uncover evidence that the person
22 accused is trying to disassociate him or herself
23 from the alleged victim, that would not be
24 consistent with what you’re talking about, right.
25 A. Well, again, we got -- I’ll get stuck on
26 your word “alleged.” The Child Sex Abuse
27 Accommodation Syndrome talks about what commonly
28 occurs between a victim in the act of being sexually 2956
1 abused, and so it makes as its presumption that the
2 child has been sexually abused. So the word
3 “alleged” is difficult in that situation.
4 Q. Well, if, hypothetically speaking, you have
5 a situation where you learn that someone has been
6 very generous to a family in need, took that family
7 into his home, was told the child was dying, gave
8 them all kinds of benefits to help them with this
9 very difficult situation, was told the family was
10 impoverished, and at some point there’s evidence
11 that the person now decides, “They’re taking
12 advantage of me. I really want to disassociate
13 myself from them. They’re causing all kinds of
14 problems. They’re referring to me as the ‘daddy’ to
15 everybody when I can’t be their daddy,” and you see
16 evidence in the hypothetical that person is trying
17 to sort of gradually get away from them, it’s
18 unlikely a molestation is going to occur at that
19 point, isn’t it.
20 A. It’s not my place to make a determination
21 about whether a molestation occurred or not.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Thank you.
24 REDIRECT EXAMINATION
25 BY MR. ZONEN:
26 Q. Doctor, the example that Mr. Mesereau just
27 gave you of a person attempting to disassociate with
28 a victim, if the same person was, in fact, plying 2957
1 that child with alcohol and pornography, is that
2 consistent with grooming that child for purposes of
4 A. The prospect of giving alcohol, exposing
5 children or the victim to pornographic material, is
6 completely consistent with the notion of grooming.
7 That phrase, “grooming,” has specific meaning in the
8 field, but it’s consistent with the notion of
10 MR. MESEREAU: Object to the question. Move
11 to strike, violates the Court’s order.
12 MR. ZONEN: I believe that it was opened up
13 by the preceding question by counsel, behavior of
14 the suspect.
15 MR. MESEREAU: The Court has ordered not to
16 use the word “pornography,” and Mr. Zonen knows
18 MR. ZONEN: If I did use that word, I don’t
19 recall. I’m sorry.
20 THE COURT: I haven’t forbidden anyone to use
21 the word “pornography.” The use of the word
22 “pornography” as applying to the materials being
23 introduced is forbidden, because that’s going to be
24 a jury question for how they characterize that
26 But as long as you’re not -- as you’re using
27 “pornography,” that it doesn’t relate to the
28 evidence in this case, you can use that. It was 2958
1 used earlier in the hearing. But since you have a
2 hard time distinguishing that, maybe you should use
3 “adult material” all the time.
4 MR. ZONEN: I will.
5 Is that the extent of the objection.
6 MR. MESEREAU: It is.
7 MR. ZONEN: Then I’m prepared to proceed.
8 THE COURT: All right.
9 Q. BY MR. ZONEN: Doctor, a person who makes
10 available to a child, virtually 24-hours a day,
11 every form of entertainment, from video games to all
12 manner of other games, to no restrictions
13 whatsoever, is that something that could be
14 considered grooming for purposes of making a child
15 susceptible to sexual abuse.
16 A. Certainly. I mean, grooming is -- and I
17 made reference earlier to this pattern of increasing
18 sexuality in the relationship. It desensitizes the
20 Grooming, I think, is a broader scope issue,
21 because grooming really involves the prospect where
22 a perpetrator provides a lot of desirable things to
23 a child, and those can be the special attention,
24 making best buddies, you know, sharing a lot of
26 It can also be sharing a lot of material
27 things, the coolest Nintendo games, the most
28 interesting bikes or nicest car, whatever. It can 2959
1 be a lot of things that essentially pair the
2 perpetrator with good, fun, enjoyable times.
3 And once that is established, then is when
4 the sexuality starts to become a part of that
5 relationship. And again, as I say, that’s part of
6 the grooming. The increased sexuality makes it more
7 accessible for the child to respond positively or
8 favorably to the sexual approaches of the
10 Now, the statement that you made is within
11 the realm of grooming behavior.
12 Q. How about encouraging a child to share not
13 just a bedroom with the suspect, but sharing a bed
14 with the person as well. Would that be considered
16 A. Certainly. That would be --
17 MR. MESEREAU: Beyond the scope, Your Honor.
18 THE COURT: Sustained.
19 Q. BY MR. ZONEN: Doctor, in circumstances
20 where children have difficulty relating -- or
21 relaying with some degree of accuracy events, tell
22 us, what is the difficulty associated with children
23 talking about when things occur, or how frequently
24 things occur.
25 A. Well, when things occur, is kids don’t run
26 their lives with watches and calendars like adults
27 do. So they may make mistakes about whether it
28 happened the day before, the day after, the 13th or 2960
1 the 14th. I mean, those types of things. They make
2 mistakes like this fairly commonly, not just within
3 the context of the sexual abuse. But kids do that.
4 So there’s the “when.” And I forget what
5 the other part of your question was.
6 Q. When or how frequently.
7 A. The “how frequently” is, if something
8 happens just once, usually this issue of frequency
9 is not hard to determine. If it happens twice or
10 three times, it’s not hard to determine.
11 If it happens more than that, then it’s easy
12 to not be clear about whether something happened on
13 the first time -- well, actually the fourth time or
14 the sixth time. Because those things -- the
15 specific events related to each of those incidents
16 may run together.
17 With regard to sexual abuse, if oral
18 copulation occurred on the fourth time and the
19 sixth, but not the fifth time, that would be the
20 mistake, the child would say, “Well, maybe it
21 happened on the fourth and fifth time.” They may
22 not be completely accurate in being able to be
23 reliable in describing those types of details.
24 Q. Doctor, are you familiar at all with any
25 studies that have been written that deal with the
26 issue of false allegations of child sexual abuse for
27 purposes of financial gain.
28 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; asked and 2961
2 MR. ZONEN: Not by me.
3 THE COURT: Overruled.
4 You may answer.
5 THE WITNESS: I’m not familiar with any
6 studies related to that.
7 Q. BY MR. ZONEN: None that you’ve read or none
8 that you haven’t read; in other words, studies that
9 you’re aware of their existence but haven’t read.
10 A. I try to keep fairly current with the
11 literature on all aspects of -- most aspects of
12 sexual abuse. And particularly with issues of false
14 And there are, in fact, several studies
15 about false allegations, but I’m not familiar with
16 any study, either that I’ve read or just generally
17 aware of, where the purpose of the false allegation
18 was financial gain.
19 Q. Can I assume that over the past 20-plus
20 years that you’ve been dealing with this subject,
21 child sexual abuse, have there been any cases that
22 you have had personal contact with where there were
23 allegations of sexual impropriety for purposes of
24 financial gain.
25 A. I’ve never encountered a case like that.
26 Q. Doctor, of all the cases that you have dealt
27 with on a personal level, not research, but on a
28 personal level, have you had a number of cases where 2962
1 you were later able to determine were false
3 A. If the number is two, yes. I’ve had two
4 cases where there was a determination that the
5 allegation was false.
6 Q. That’s over 20 years with more than what,
7 a thousand cases.
8 A. Well, I started doing therapy with kids in
9 1983, so since that time. I’ve had two cases in
10 which there was a determination that the allegation
11 that the child made was false.
12 MR. ZONEN: Thank you. I have no further
14 THE COURT: Counsel.
17 BY MR. MESEREAU:
18 Q. In the cases where the false allegations
19 were made, were you the one determining that the
20 child made a false allegation of sexual abuse.
21 A. In one of them. It wasn’t -- I wasn’t
22 making the determination. It was an incident where
23 a child made an allegation that he was sexually
24 abused by his father in a fast food restaurant. I
25 don’t remember what kind of fast food restaurant.
26 And the father had -- it was a custody
27 dispute between the mother and the father. And the
28 father had videotaped the entire duration of the 2963