In Dane County, Wisconsin, a jury has awarded $1 million to Dr. Charles and Karen Johnson, a former Madison couple who alleged that therapists implanted in their now adult daughter false memories of childhood sexual and physical abuse. The case has been cluttering up the docket for fourteen years, but at the time it was filed, it was just “one in a long line [of cases] across the country related to a controversial treatment called recovered memory therapy,” see here, a therapy that supposedly helps patients reclaim repressed memories.
One day, the adult daughter, Charlotte Johnson, who is now estranged from her parents and had nothing to do with their lawsuit, dropped a bombshell on them by announcing that her physician father had raped her when she was 3-years-old. See here. Charlotte later announced that her mother had attacked her with a knife and tried to drown her. She also claimed that her parents were Satanists who dabbled in cults and infanticide. See here.
“It’s wacko stuff,” said the Johnson’s attorney Bill Smoler, who specializes in false memory cases.
Although mothers are not spared from the daggers of their daughters’ lies in false memory cases, fathers, and their penises, are the primary targets of repressed memories.
For the record, in the Johnson case, the defendants’ attorney denies that his clients practiced recovered memory therapy. Nevertheless, the jury found in favor of Dr. and Mrs. Johnson.
During the 1990s, there were thousands of false memory cases across America. One involved Katie Spanuello’s daughter, who accused Katie and her husband of abusing her as a child. It turns out the allegations were made only after the daughter had read a book called “The Courage to Heal,” written by feminist poet and creative writing teacher Ellen Bass and incest survivor Laura Davis, which encouraged women to find the source of their emotional problems by dredging up painful memories of childhood abuse. The problem is, many women dredged up things that never happened. Aside from reading “The Courage to Heal,” according to Katie Spanuello, the daughter made her false claim only after affiliating herself with “militant feminists.” The daughter eventually recanted her claim. See here.
Former supermodel Karen Mulder once claimed in front of a live audience that many men–including her friend Prince Albert of Monaco and her own father–had raped her. Mulder ultimately admitted that she was suffering from emotional problems because, she claimed, she had been abused by an older male family friend (who is now dead and cannot refute the claim) when she was two years old. She “repressed” the incident for many years but, of course, was able to piece it back together in psychoanalysis. That’s all the “experts” needed to hear: “In some ways, delusions can be an adaptive response to stress,” said Bonnie Strickland, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “Sometimes, when trying to understand why something happened to you, you start making up things that are going wrong that you can point to. If there’s a history of sexual abuse, then the rape allegations could well be an attempt to understand how she feels toward men in general. She knows that something is wrong.” See here.
You see? False rape claims are perfectly understandable after all. The false accuser isn’t a criminal; she just needs help.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently explained:
“Overall, at least seventy-two individuals were convicted in nearly a dozen major child sex abuse and satanic ritual prosecutions between 1984 and 1995, although almost all the convictions have since been reversed. . . . Some defendants, fearing trial, pled guilty or ‘no contest’ to impossible acts of ritualistic abuse, and in some cases they provided detailed confessions in exchange for immunity or generous plea bargains. . . . . Many have described these widespread prosecutions as a modern-day ‘witch hunt.’
“These prosecutions were largely based on memories that alleged victims ‘recovered’ through suggestive memory recovery tactics . . . . Indeed, the dramatic increase in conspiratorial charges of child sexual abuse has been traced to a relatively small group of clinical psychologists who supported the psychoanalytic notion of ‘repressed memories’ and encouraged patients to employ extensive ‘memory recovery procedures’ to ‘break through the barrier of repression and bring memories into conscious awareness.’”
Friedman v. Rehal, No. 08-0297 (2d Cir. filed August 16, 2010).
As if men don’t have enough difficulty avoiding situations where false rape claims might occur, now even monogamous fathers, in seemingly stable relationships, had to worry about whether their grown daughters might imagine a rape that supposedly occurred 20 years ago.
While it might seem other-worldly that we would permit witch doctors to determine whether men languish behind bars for many years, the fact is, when it comes to men and sex allegations, no “science” is too bizarre, primitive, or inhumane. It’s for that reason that penile plethysmograph testing, a sort a junk science polygraph of penises, and “masturbatory satiation” sessions, are often used as a basis to decide whether men or boys convicted of sex offenses should be released from custody.
I have a better idea to decide the fate of a man accused of a sex offense: bind his hands and feet, and throw him in a lake. If he floats, he’s guilty.