San Jose, CA–Following up on the piece out of San Jose, CA about hospital videotapes being used to reveal false allegations of child sexual abuse, comes this from the Legal Intelligencer. Amazingly enough, the headline and much of the article are devoted to the excessive fees charged by attorneys in the case. But read further and here’s what you find:
Parental Kidnapping – The mother, Kristen Clarke kidnapped her and Michael Clarke’s two children, Nathan, aged 5 and Grace, aged 2 and fled their home in Australia for the United States;
False Allegations – Kristen Clarke claimed that Michael posed a “grave danger” to the children and that he had sexually abused Nathan;
Discredited Interview Techniques – The psychologist hired by the mother’s attorneys used “overtly suggestive” techniques “designed to lead Nathan to say that his father abused him,” according to the judge. The psychologist, Joanne Cohen Hamilton, began with the conclusion she wanted to reach and worked backward to elicit the type of testimony the mother needed from the little boy to keep him from his dad.
A Judge Who Didn’t Buy Any of It – U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel strongly rebuked Hamilton, awarded custody to the father and ordered the mother to pay his attorneys’ fees.
Of course no one seems to believe that the mother will ever pay up. So it’ll cost Michael up to $163,000 to get custody of his children who never should have been kidnapped in the first place.
So this case is like the McMartin Pre-School case writ small. Supposedly we learned from that case the correct way to interview small children so they give us the truth as opposed to making up tales they think we want to hear. But this case suggests some people haven’t learned that lesson very well, or don’t want to.
Did Mary Ritter in the 3,000 Santa Clara County cases act like Joanne Cohen Hamilton in this case? Did they both emulate Kee MacFarlane in the McMartin Pre-School case?
What does the American Psychological Association say about interviewing small children when allegations of sexual or physical abuse are involved?
And what does the article not say? Well, it doesn’t tell us whether Kristen Clarke will spend any time in jail for violating international laws against parental kidnapping, perjury, etc.
Anyone care to guess?