Crisis In The Family Courts

Mother Looses Custody For Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Linda Marie Sacks January 2010 Article

Custody Crisis: Why Moms Are Punished in Court

Talk to mothers, divorce lawyers, and child advocates and you’ll hear tales of a family court system that’s badly broken.

Linda Marie and Children

Gina Kaysen Fernandes: To an outsider, Linda Marie Sacks had the perfect life. Her husband was rich, and they lived in a huge home in Daytona Beach, FL, where she spent her days shuttling her girls to school and various activities. Linda Marie describes herself as a “squeaky clean soccer mom” who “lived my life for my children.” Behind that façade, Linda Marie says she married a monster — a man who verbally and emotionally attacked her for years and sexually abused their two young daughters.

When she finally left him and tried to take her girls with her, she encountered a new monster — family court. Rather than protecting Linda Marie and her two young daughters from a sexual predator, a family court judge denied Linda Marie custody and put her daughters into the hands of their sexually abusive father.

Talk to mothers, divorce lawyers, and child advocates and you’ll hear tales of a family court system that’s badly broken. It’s one that routinely punishes women for coming forward with allegations of abuse by denying them custody of their children. Instead of protecting children from abusers and predators, the court often gives sole custody to the abusive parent, say child advocates. Mothers who tell judges their children are being molested or beaten are accused of lying and are punished for trying to intervene. Some are thrown in jail for trying to keep their kids from seeing an abusive parent. Women, many of whom have few financial resources at their disposal, are often at the mercy of a court system that is not designed to handle domestic violence.

Linda Marie first suspected something was wrong in 2002 when she received a shocking phone call from a school administrator. Her 7-year-old daughter was acting out sexually, with knowledge beyond her years. A short time later, the Sunday school teacher reported overhearing Linda Marie’s daughter saying, “I suck my dad’s penis.” She received more phone calls from school about her little girl using Barbie dolls to simulate oral sex with a boy in her class. “I was very concerned, these are alarming red flags,” said Linda Marie.

She consulted family therapists who also expressed alarm and concern, but failed to report these claims to an abuse hotline. In one of the therapy sessions, the oldest daughter drew a picture that depicted her father as an erect penis on legs. Linda Marie says she once walked in on her husband wiping her daughters’ vaginas in the bathroom before school, “because he told me he wanted them to be fresh.” When Linda Marie confronted her husband, he ignored and dismissed the allegations.

After 11 years of marriage, Linda Marie filed for divorce in 2004. Armed with detailed documentation, she believed the judge would grant her sole custody of her two daughters for their protection. “I was sheltered. I didn’t know I had stepped into a national crisis in the courts,” said Linda Marie, who spent tens of thousands of dollars in a legal battle that ended in the loss of her parental rights. Linda Marie has only seen her children during supervised visits for a total of 54 hours over the past two and a half years. “I’m one of the lucky moms,” she said, choking back tears. “Some bonds are severed forever. I’m thankful for my two hours a month.”

Some mothers like Lorraine Tipton of Oconto Falls, WI, have served jail time as the result of contentious custody arraignments. In November, a judge sentenced Lorraine to 30 days behind bars because she didn’t force her 11-year-old daughter to follow the court’s order to live every other week with her abusive father. “She’s terrified of going; she has night terrors and severe anxiety,” said Lorraine.

Her ex, Craig Hensberger, was arrested three times for domestic violence and once for child abuse. His criminal record also includes two DUI arrests, one of which happened while driving with his daughter. The court ordered Hensberger into rehab and demanded “absolute sobriety,” but his daughter claims he still drinks excessively when she visits.

Hensberger admitted in court that he still continues to drink, but the judge punished Lorraine instead for trying to protect her child. “My abuser is continuing his abuse of me and my daughter with the help of the court,” said Lorraine, who spent three days locked up until her daughter made the heart-wrenching decision to return to her father’s home so her mother could be released from jail. “He can’t get to me physically. The only way he knows how to hurt me is to take my child away.”

“What we are seeing amounts to a civil rights crisis,” says attorney and legal writer Michael Lesher, who co-authored the book From Madness To Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts — and What Can Be Done about It. Many judges and court-appointed guardians act above the law with apparent impunity, he argues.

“There’s no hearing, no evidence, no notice — they can take your child away from you,” Lesher tells momlogic. If a mother raises concerns or openly discusses child abuse in court, she typically ends up being the one under investigation. “Mom is guilty until proven innocent,” he says.

A family court judge with the Los Angeles Superior Court refused momlogic’s request for an interview to respond to these allegations.

Unlike criminal court, family court does not rely on criminal investigators to gather evidence in an alleged child abuse case. Instead, the court appoints family advocates known as “guardian ad litem,” or GAL, who are expected to investigate the abuse allegations and make their recommendation in the best interest of the child. GALs are sometimes licensed psychologists, social workers, or attorneys who are not necessarily trained in evaluating sexual abuse or domestic violence. They have the judge’s ear, and their opinions can alter a child’s future. There are no juries and there’s no mandate for legal representation. In fact, most women end up representing themselves because they can’t afford the attorney fees.

Most moms don’t want to take the case to criminal court because they prefer to keep the matter private. Legal experts contend the evidence in sexual abuse cases isn’t typically strong enough to hold up in criminal court to overcome the threshold of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” While the bar is set much lower for proving evidence in family court, advocates argue Child Protective Services frequently doesn’t want to get involved. “If there’s a custody battle going on, CPS won’t touch it,” says Irene Weiser of the advocacy group

There’s no doubt fathers play a critical role in a child’s life, and in most cases, are equally loving and capable parents who deserve custody. However, studies find when a wife accuses her husband of abuse, more than half the time, she faces a counter-accusation of “parental alienation syndrome,” or PAS. Although PAS is not a medically recognized disorder, divorce attorneys often successfully argue that it emerges when a parent brainwashes a child into thinking the other parent is the enemy.

The psychiatrist Richard Gardner, who first coined the phrase “parental alienation syndrome” in 1987, has written more than one hundred articles on the subject, but has offered no scientific data to support his theory. While it’s not considered a certifiable medical condition, PAS is widely accepted in the legal community.

“Parental Alienation unequivocally, categorically exists, and it’s a form of child abuse,” says author and forensic consultant Dean Tong. While he believes more studies need to be done to validate PAS, “it does exist, anecdotally speaking,” he says. As an expert witness, Tong has been called a “fathers’ rights prostitute” for his work in court clashes. But he also testifies for mothers who are fighting to appeal unfavorable rulings. For Tong, it’s about using forensics to find the truth. “I’m not here to protect guys who are guilty,” he says.

In years past, mothers were typically considered the “protective parent” in custody decisions when courts relied on the “Tender Years Doctrine,” which states that children under the age of 13 should live with their mothers. Recently, several courts have ruled that doctrine violated the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment, and replaced it with the “Best Interests of the Children” doctrine. It’s a huge victory for the increasingly powerful Fatherhood Movement that contends dads are systematically alienated from their children after a divorce.

Tong argues the current legal climate continues to put fathers on the receiving end of false allegations. “It’s handcuffs first, speak later,” said Tong, who experienced that firsthand. In 1985, Tong’s ex-wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing his 3-year-old daughter. He spent time in jail and went through “a year of hell” trying to prove his innocence. While Tong was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, he never regained custody of his kids, and remained under supervised visitation for years. Tong became a self-taught expert on the subject of family rights and abuse accusations. He has written three books, including Elusive Innocence: Survival Guide for the Falsely Accused.
“There’s an assumption that maintaining a child’s relationship with the father is a good idea — even if the father is abusive,” says Stop Family Violence’s Weiser, who believes when the overburdened court system is unable to sort out a custody conflict, it relies on misogyny. She argues there are many judges, GALs, and evaluators who believe that women are inherently vindictive and will lie to get a leg up in a custody battle. “We see it over and over again in family court, where judges or professionals don’t believe the violence is occurring,” Weiser says.

“All we have is ‘he said, she said.’ Who’s telling the truth? That’s up to the judge,” says Tong, who believes the justice system isn’t working for either side. “The system is not doing a good job interviewing kids, we’re still in the dark ages there,” says Tong, who thinks there needs to be more formal education and training for the professionals, including judges who are hearing child custody cases.

According to the American Bar Association, child abuse allegations in custody disputes are rare — occurring in only six percent of cases. The majority of those accusations are substantiated. In terms of false allegations, fathers are more likely than mothers to intentionally lie (21 percent, compared to 1.3 percent). In fact, abusive parents are more likely to seek sole custody than nonviolent ones, and are successful about 70 percent of the time.

After three years of litigation, Linda Marie Sacks says she was no match for her ex-husband’s financial resources and powerful connections. “He was buying his way through the courtroom.” Despite 10 calls into the abuse hotline by licensed professionals, Linda Marie’s ex-husband still claimed she was making false allegations of abuse to alienate his children, and the judge believed him. Linda Marie was kicked out of her home and put on supervised visitation with her two daughters, who are now ages 10 and 12. “The judge legally kidnapped my daughters and won’t give them back,” she said.

In some extreme cases, a custody decision will be reversed, which is what happened to Joyce Murphy. The San Diego mother was charged with kidnapping after she took her daughter out of state, away from the girl’s father, because she believed he was a child molester. The father, Henry Parson, accused Joyce of parental alienation and she lost custody. “Despite my pleas for protection to the police and the DA and the family court representatives, and even psychologists, Mr. Parson was able to convince them and the community at large that he was the victim, and I was just an angry, embittered, divorced woman,” explained Joyce.

Six years later, Parson was caught in the act and pleaded guilty to six counts of child abuse, which included oral sex with a child, molestation, possessing child porn, and using a child to make porn. After Parson received a six-year prison sentence, Joyce told reporters that family court’s only good decision in her case was granting her full permanent custody of her daughter after her ex-husband was jailed.

Lorraine, the Wisconsin mom who was jailed for protecting her daughter, knows her daughter’s nightmare will continue for the rest of her childhood. “He’s never going to stop, it’s never going to end until she’s 18.” Linda Marie says she’s putting every penny towards her legal efforts to win back custody of her daughters. “I will never stop fighting for my girls. I know one day justice will prevail.”

Critics argue that not only is the family court system broken, it was never designed to deal with issues like child custody. The goal is to develop solutions that are in the best interest of the child. “Unfortunately when judges and guardians start thinking of themselves as super government, all sorts of abuses will occur,” says attorney and author Lesher.

Activists are working towards making reforms through legislation. “The heartbreaking challenge is that there’s not one quick fix,” says Stop Family Violence’s Weiser. “This is a war — it’s very ugly, it’s bloody, and very bitter,” concludes Tong.

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Linda Marie and Children

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Reevaluating the Evaluators: Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 28, 2010

Why let the drug companies have all the fun? YOU can invent diseases, too!

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 28, 2010

Why let the drug companies have all the fun?

YOU can invent diseases, too!

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your very own disease, disorder or syndrome.

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Why "Therapeutic Jurisprudence" Must Be — and Will Be — Eliminated From Our Family Courts: standards and practices in child custody evaluations

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 28, 2010

Download the doc file version of this article that was published at 13 Domestic Violence Report 65 (2008)
Hear The Justice Hour radio show on it. KatesTJ.wma KatesTJ.mp3

Why "Therapeutic Jurisprudence" Must Be — and Will Be — Eliminated From Our Family Courts

standards and practices in child custody evaluations

One of the problems with the rise of therapeutic jurisprudence and the placement of non-legal systems into the courts is the subtle denigration of long-established precepts of lawyer independence and due process. One of the multiple ways this happens in the family courts is through the common development of multidisciplinary collegial relationships and business referral.

The conflict arises because most lawyers represent different clients taking different sides in different cases (sometimes the wife, sometimes the husband, sometimes the "good guy", sometimes the "bad guy", etc.). If a lawyer coming into a case runs up against an expert he has a referral or employment relationship with in other cases, and that expert takes an adverse position to the lawyer’s client in the new case, the lawyer will have a very difficult time adequately representing his client. Appropriate representation may require the lawyer to strenuously object to an expert’s testimony — or even the expert himself. But if the lawyer needs the good will and cooperation of the expert in connection with the lawyer’s other clients’ pending cases, he cannot do that because he may put those other cases at risk.

Lawyers in these positions will be tempted to rationalize to themselves, as well as maintain the posture in the community at large, that the expert’s opinions, even when they are adverse to his client, are scientifically valid — even when they may not be, even if they are deeply flawed or completely bogus. These lawyers may rationalize to themselves that the validity of the science is not their responsibility because, after all, lawyers are not "scientists".

The lawyer who naively or purposefully steps down the path of multidisciplinary practice, regularly exchanging referrals and engaging in other close associations with nonlawyer case participants (a practice that is encouraged by mixed-discipline organizations such as the AFCC under the Orwellian assumption that this somehow fosters justice and works to "improve" the courts) in fact has sold his professional soul to the devil — literally.

The lawyer and these other participants in the system have different roles. When lawyers directly hire paralegals, experts, and others to assist them, there is not as much of a problem, even when these individuals are independent contractors. First, their work is covered by attorney work product unless and until they testify. Second, because they were hired by the lawyer, they are subject to the same conflict of interest rules as the lawyer is, as far as their involvement in other cases and with other people. That is not the case with "independent" experts, however. Custody evaluators and guardians ad litem who render opinions "for the court", so-called "court-appointed experts", are a very different matter.

The conflict of interest problems are inherent in the nature of the association. They exist even when there is no explicit association or referral relationship. They are not the same as having a professional relationship with another lawyer who regularly may be on the opposing side of a case, because unlike the lawyer colleague, these individuals are case participants — witnesses or even parties. They are not akin to neutral judges or magistrates, the bailiffs or other courthouse personnel. None of these truly neutral courthouse persons advocates for a position in a case, testifies as a witness, or participates as a party proper (as do some GALs).

The routine broad involvement of these expert witnesses must be recognized by the legal profession as the egregious misjudgment it is, as well as fostering ethical violations that must be addressed by state bar ethics rules.

Joseph Goldberg and the network of PAS cross-referral relationshipsIronically, the problem is worse for lawyers who are not ideologues, because these lawyers are more likely to advocate for different client perspectives. The legal community, even in urban areas, is limited and often close-knit. Lawyers in the same area of practice regularly encounter each other in different cases. The pool of forensic experts and GALs tends to be even smaller. The repeated association time and again of these specialists in cases means that at any time and from time to time any given one of them may show up on the "wrong side" of a lawyer’s case — and simultaneously also be on the "right side" of other of the lawyer’s cases, whether as hired expert or court-appointed expert. This creates many of the same dilemmas that ordinary client conflict-of-interest issues do.

Contrary to the rationalizing rhetoric, court-appointed evaluators and opining GALs are not neutral participants in the system. Even if they initially are hired under that rubric, once their reports are rendered, and their opinions formed and ready to be given, they have become advocates for one or the other side or issue. Thus, at a point, they are, just as any party would be, pointedly in favor of certain outcomes, and adverse to others.

What does the lawyer do when an expert the lawyer is relying on in one case takes a similar position that lacks scientific merit against another of the same lawyer’s clients in another case. Because the expert and the lawyer have been, are currently, or will be in cahoots in other cases, the lawyer is placed into a conflict, unable zealously to discredit the expert when that is necessary to protect his client. Bar ethics rules must address this. (The experts themselves have the same temptation to manipulate their opinions to please those lawyers with whom they have ongoing relationships and receive referrals — contributing to yet more corruption of the system.)

Court appointed witnesses and parties in other people’s private civil cases are interlopers in the justice system and must be excised. The very integrity of the justice system is at stake. To the extent well-meaning individuals did not fathom the repercussions, and were swayed by sweet-sounding ideas that simply do not work well in practice, and bought into the rhetoric originating in the psychology trade promotion organizations, it’s time for a regroup and an honest reappraisal.

Lawyers are advocates. If an expert’s position supports the lawyer’s client, the lawyer is going to accept that opinion and put it forward in the interests of his client’s case. But when the lawyer encounters the very same scientifically meritless position by the same expert in a case in which that does not favor the lawyer’s client, what does the lawyer do?

It does not take any "expert" to do a home study or investigate readily observable facts. The proof of that is how often the court-hired opiners are not specialists but lawyers and laypersons. The taint is especially egregious when there is a perception of need for psychological "experts", however, because, unlike other kinds of experts, the field of applied psychology is overrun with political machinations, nonsensical theories, half-baked ideas, and outright misrepresentat
ions. Too often it’s not close to "science" and it’s not technical knowledge either. Much of the time, it’s more akin to an expertise in astrology, or theology — high familiarity with complicated ideas and methods of calculating answers, and the body of literature that discusses all of this, but otherwise somewhere between unhelpful and misleading when it comes to ascertaining the facts.

Unlike lawyers in many other areas of practice, who may retain their clients for years, family lawyers typically need a steady stream of new one-shot clients. In addition, family lawyers also tend to work in smaller firms. So they value those who send them business. Too many family lawyers, perhaps without recognizing or acknowledging the subtle conflicts of interest that have caused their discomfort and unwillingness adequately to represent some of their clients in some of their cases, in fact have sacrificed these clients on the altar of maintaining their professional relationships, associations, and referral sources.

In such circumstances, some busy family lawyers will admit to feeling burnout, but they’ve rationalized their unwillingness to zealously advocate for their clients, as well as their discomfort, as perhaps stemming from the "high conflict" created by unreasonable clients, or the high emotional toll their cases are taking on them. Others retain their enthusiasm by becoming extremist ideologues and proponents of bad science, taking only cases in which they will not encounter these conflicts and suspending their judgment and integrity in the interests of churning cases and making money. For example, this is seen among lawyers who assert in case after case with different facts that their clients have been the victims of "parental alienation". (The father’s rights advocates also would lay this charge on the anti-abuse industry.) The lawyer resolves the cognitive dissonance by committing to propositions outside of law and outside of the lawyer’s academic expertise, and — maintaining a deliberate self-serving ignorance — carries these ideas into the media of the legal field. This conveniently furthers the propagation of the bad science, and it inappropriately encourages lawyers to adopt ideological positions of dubious merit.

Some lawyers caught in this vortex justify their lack of vigorous representation, and the coerced settlements they’ve foisted on some clients as really hailing from a motivation and concern for the best interests of children, or for taking a reasonable settlement position, or the high road, or as their commitment to helping people to just get along. They attempt to redefine their jobs, paternalistically, as dictators who must "control" their clients, not as agents for them. They may profess to themselves and each other and everyone else around a great affinity for mediation and therapy and collaborative resolution, and all manner of therapeutic jurisprudence in the interests of everyone, and similar specious posturing, encouraged in their self-delusion by a steady drip of MHP literature — and new referral retainers. This kind of thing is just not as pervasive in other areas of the law, no matter how heated the conflicts get, and it’s one substantial reason the public has such a generally dim view of the family courts and family lawyers. "Therapeutic jurisprudence" is a primary reason the family courts are seen as not working, unjust, and broken.

Given that clients are entitled to their choice of attorneys, and are entitled to independent, unconflicted agents at law who are committed to furthering their interests and goals (as the client, not the attorney, has defined them), one immediately viable solution is a rule of disqualification of any GAL or forensic expert who previously has been associated in any case with either of the lawyers in that case, and the striking and nullification of all testimony and reports of that expert, no matter at what stage of a case the lawyer is hired and may enter the case.

It also is time to substantially limit the use of forensic experts and GALs in family court altogether because for the most part, MHPs, including child custody evaluators and their related forensic offshoots, in fact are unneeded, unhelpful, and undesirable in the vast majority of child custody cases.

liz 01-08-08

Elizabeth J. Kates, Esq.
Pompano Beach, Florida

Information on these webpages is from ongoing research being conducted by the National Network on Family Law Policy, and by numerous scholars, professionals, and others around the United States who are investigating the workings of our justice system. For more information, contact sarah.

Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts

Custody Evaluator Quotes

Is Collaborative Law a Good Idea? Notes on Issues and Ethics

Other articles of interest:

The March issue of the Florida Bar Journal contains an article bolstering the position that referral relationships are indeed business relationships. See Business Is Business: Recognizing Referral Relationships as Legitimate Business InterestsProtectable by Restrictive Covenants in Florida, by Charles A. Carlson and Amy E. Stoll

An RSVP to Professor Wexler’s Warm TJ Invitation: Unable to Join You, by Prof. Mae C. Quinn

Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Embracing a Tainted Ideal, by Arthur G. Christean

Punishing Medical Experts for Unethical Testimony: A Step in the Right Direction or a Step too Far? by David B. Resnik, J.D., Ph.D.

Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice, by Margaret Hagen FREEdownload from Prof. Hagen’s website,

ACTION ALERT – CA. AB 2475 & Court Watch

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 28, 2010


CJE Web Header 600


We need your support for AB 2475 right now! Assemblyman Jim Beall has introduced AB 2475 that eliminates quasi-judicial immunity for private sector court appointees (minors counsel, custody evaluators, special masters, therapists, etc). If this bill passes, then private sector court appointees will no longer be protected from being sued when they violate the law, rules of court, or professional standards.
Please fax, e-mail or call in your support for this legislation right away to both Assemblymembers listed below. If you are a member of an organization, a church, or any other group that supports family court reform, then please be sure to send your support on your organizational letterhead.
A hearing for this bill in the Assembly Judiciary Committee is set for next Tuesday, May 4th! It will likely start at 8am or 9am. Please plan to come to Sacramento to add your voice to those who demand justice for the court appointees who are flagrantly violating the law. Be sure to check your email again before then, as committee rescheduling is quite common, and we have no control over what the Judiciary Committee decides to do.  
The cottage industry is already raising a ruckus about this bill, and we are being told that this bill doesn’t have as much support as it does opposition. We are counting on you to prove them wrong. Please show our state lawmakers that there is broad statewide support for eliminating immunity for lawbreaking court appointees.
The Honorable Mike Feuer –

click here to download a sample letter to Assemblyman Feuer
Chair, Assembly Judiciary Committee
State Capitol P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0042
PHONE: 916-319-2042
FAX: 916-319-2142
The Honorable Jim  Beall – click here to download a sample letter to Assemblyman Beall
State Capitol P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento CA 94249-0024
PHONE: 916-319-2024
FAX: 916-319-2124
Check the CJE website often for breaking news & action opportunities. We’ll be posting updates on CJE’s other legislative priorities & related hearings soon!


WHAT: Family Court Hearing – Barbara Monroe
WHEN: Monday, May 3rd & Tuesday, May 4th
WHERE: Empire College (law school) at 3035 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa 95403
Email Barbara for more info!
WHAT: Family Court Hearing – Mary Tessema
WHEN: 9:00am on Monday, May 24th
WHERE: Dept 123, Ridgeway Family Relations Court, 3341 Power Inn Road 95826

Together, we can rebuild public trust in our courts, reinforcing the judiciary as a well-managed model of integrity, justice and equality.


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What is PAS? and Why is it in our Family Courts?

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 28, 2010


by Jerome H. Poliacoff, Ph.D., P.A.,Cynthia L. Greene, Esq., and Laura Smith, Esq.*

Marriage and Divorce

In 1990 the marriage rate was just double the divorce rate (approximately 2.4 million marriages and 1.2 million divorces).  Following the literally millions of divorces during the preceding decade, approximately 35% of the minor children in the United States were affected by the divorce of their parents.

Despite the spousal conflicts leading to divorce, almost ninety per cent of divorcing parents are able to reach a mutual agreement regarding custody and visitation with little or no intervention from the Court.  Because the other ten per cent of the divorcing parents cannot agree on custody and visitation issues initially, they are likely not to be able to agree on parenting issues in the future.  Courts strive to help these families by creating flexible arrangements that will hopefully work as families grow and change.

Unfortunately the adversarial nature of the system that is supposed to provide relief serves only to become an alternate forum for the expression of conflict.

For instance, Sullivan (FN1) studied sixty-one divorcing families with children over a five year period.  After five years many of the parents were still fighting and nearly one third of the children continued to be subject to intense bitterness between the parents.

Children become the prize to be won or lost in what often becomes an escalating conflict. And the courts, often at a loss as to what determination to make for which children, turn to mental health experts for advice.

With increasing caseloads and limited time to assess a divorcing parent’s claim for designation as either residential or responsible parent the courts have responded to simplistic accusations which cast blame on one parent in order to make it easier for the other parent to prevail.

Notable among the allegations made by counsel in representing their client’s claim for "sole ownership" of the "prize" is that of "parental alienation syndrome."  The popularity of such a claim has been enhanced by theprolific writing and public appearances of Richard Gardner, M.D. as originator of this "syndrome" (FN2).

In this article we will challenge both the scientific and legal legitimacy of this syndrome.  After first defining "parental alienation syndrome" (PAS) we will review the criteria by which expert testimony may be accepted into evidence and explore the shortcomings of PAS under Frye and Daubert.  We will then delineate the mental health expert’s ethical obligation when serving as an expert before the court as it relates to PAS.  We will review the relevant case law as it pertains to the admissibility of PAS before the courts.  Finally we will offer alternative areas for inquiry into the source of impaired parent child relationships occurring in the context of child custody litigation.


Termination of a spousal relationship without attendant damage to the parental relationship is a difficult task.  When one parent refuses to allow the other parent to be involved in the child’s life, conflict ensues and a return to court becomes inevitable.  Where one parent sabotages (intentionally or unintentionally) the other parent’s role in the child’s life or a child becomes estranged from a parent the term "parental alienation" is used.

The term has its historical roots in the common law tradition where the tort of alienation of affection was a cause of action against a third party adult who "steals" the affection of the plaintiff’s spouse.

More recently Richard Gardner coined the term "Parental Alienation Syndrome" to describe the situation in which, he asserts, a child is brainwashed solely by an alienating parent’s actions.

Wood (FN3) (1994) notes that in developing the PAS "the criteria Dr. Garner uses to determine whether PAS is present are essentially borrowed from and built upon his earlier ? and now widely discredited ? objective test for determining whether children were fabricating allegations of sexual abuse, the "Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale" (SALS).

Gardner believes that PAS arises almost exclusively in the context of child custody disputes. Gardner further asserts that, while a child contributes to the development of the alienation process, the predominant source of alienation is one parent, generally the mother.

Unfortunately, again, too many courts and too many of the mental health professionals upon whom they rely have blithely accepted in toto Gardner’s theoretical writings without the critical examination requisite either under the law or the ethical standards of professional psychological practice.  Before accepting PAS as science in family litigation it behooves both the family practitioner and the court to have a clearer understanding of what is more hyperbole than substance.

Frye v. Daubert: A Consensus Nevertheless

Among the legal tools available to aid the court in determining the value and utility of expert testimony in deciding a particular case are the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Frye rule.

The Frye rule is derived from a 1923 Federal Court of Appeals (Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013, 1014, D.C. Cir. 1923) decision which holds that for scientific evidence to be admissible in court it must be gathered using techniques that have gained general acceptance in their field.

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 113 S. Ct. 2786, 2792-93,1993) (hereinafter Daubert) that provided a more clear cut, albeit sometimes ambiguous, set of guidelines for the admissibility of scientific expert testimony.

In setting forth the factors that should be considered when determining if a theory or technique qualifies as scientific knowledge that will assist the trier of fact the Court did not forgo Frye. The factors enumerated inDaubert are: (a) Is the theory or technique based on methodology that can or has been tested?  (b) Has the theory or technique been the subject of peer review and publication?  (c) What is the known or potential rate of error? (d) Does the technique enjoy general acceptance within the scientific community? (the old Fryerule!).

The court held that the Frye rule, including general acceptance as the primary determinant of admissibility of evidence based on scientific techniques, had been superceded by the revised Federal Rules of Evidence.

Rotgers and Barrett (FN4) cogently argue that the Daubert decision (and the Frye decision before it) has "important implications for… psychologists and other health care professionals… .whose professions have taken on the mantle of science."

They point out that mental health practitioners (psychologists, psychiatrists), despite the doubtful scientific status of many theories and assessment techniques in the field, have held themselves out to the public (and to the courts) as utilizing scientifically valid theories and methods of practice and therefor should be held to the same standards by courts as other professions that have
done the same.  What then are the courts’ standards?

In Daubert the Supreme Court sought to clarify the criteria for the determination of admissibility of expert testimony.  According to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence "If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise."

That the evidence must be reliable is implied by the use in Rule 702 of the term "scientific knowledge."  According to the Supreme Court the term "scientific knowledge" "implies a grounding in the methods and procedures of science". In a similar vein "the word ?knowledge’ connotes more than subjective belief or unsupported speculation."  In any case involving scientific evidence "evidentiary reliability will be based on scientific validity."

This approach allowed, in Daubert, sound science (based on sound scientific methodology) to prevail even though it was new science and not yet widely accepted among the scientific community from which it sprang.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Gold (FN5) and his colleagues warn that the implication for medical (or mental health) practitioners under Daubert , and Frye before it, is "first and foremost… .that there is a difference between science and pseudoscience, and that it is the judge’s role to ensure that testimony offered as ?scientific’ meets a minimum test of validity before it may be put to the jury".

How then does Gardner’s PAS meet the standard of scientific knowledge under the criteria set forth in eitherFrye or Daubert?

(a) Is the theory or technique based on methodology that can be or has been tested?

There are many competing theories of human behavior on which mental health professionals have drawn in reaching diagnoses and treatment recommendations. There is also a large scientific literature that has addressed empirically testable predictions based on those theories.

However, many theoretical constructs are presented by clinicians as expert testimony for which there is no scientific validation.  Gardner’s PAS is one of these "syndrome" theories for which the scientific basis is non-existent.

Rotgers and Barrett (Id.) note that "although it is possible to identify common behavior patterns among persons who are known to have suffered traumatic experiences of various types, syndrome theory, and often the testimony based on it, goes well beyond this possibility to state that ‘all’ persons who suffer particular types of trauma show characteristic behaviors."

These authors go on to cite Gardner’s PAS as the exemplar of "some practitioners (who) have been willing to engage in reverse logic and state that because an individual demonstrated a particular behavior pattern, trauma must have occurred."  They go on to acknowledge that the fit between syndrome theories and particular legal questions is often good but, they point out, these theories have not been scientifically tested.

Referring to the exhaustive and erudite critique of PAS by Wood (Id.), they note further that the lack of scientific testing "makes any conclusions or accounts of events that are based on syndrome theories problematic.  Even if the data relied upon are gathered using scientifically valid methods, if the theoretical explanation underlying the data is faulty, the data may be presented in a fashion that misleads the trier of fact."

(b) Has the theory or technique been the subject of peer review and publication?

Berliner and Conte (FN6) (1993) scathingly note "Indeed the entire scale (the SALS) and the Parental Alienation Syndrome on which it is based have never been subjected to any kind of peer review or empirical test."

Less kind have been comments such as Conte’s (FN7) (Moss, D.C., 1988) when referring to the SALS "… is probably the most unscientific garbage I’ve seen in the field in all my time… to base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedingly dangerous".

Stephanie Dallam (FN8) examined Gardner’s counter-claim that his work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, a list of which is provided at Gardner’s website.

She reports that two publications were chapters in books, two other articles were published in a newsletter of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, and the two remaining articles were published in legal journals ? none of these six being peer reviewed journals!

This author’s exploration of Gardner’s website reveals that he cites thirty (30) cases in which PAS has been introduced as evidence before a family court. A more thorough investigation reveals that one case (In the Interest of T.M.W., 553 So. 2nd 260, 262, Fla. Dist. Ct. App., 1988) is cited three times! and in fact PAS was not accepted as scientifically valid!

(c) What is the known or potential rate of error?

The known or potential rate of error refers to the psychometric properties of a test or assessment methodology.  In developing a predictive measuring tool one is concerned with both the reliability and validity of the instrument or theory.

As defined in classical test theory reliability consists of the extent to which an obtained score (or value or assertion) corresponds to the "true" (or real world) score.  Is what is measured being measured accurately (reliably)?  Are the results consistent when the same case is examined by different evaluators?  The "true" score is an abstraction that can never be known for sure, the obtained score is a statistical measurement of the combination of this unknowable score and some error variance.

The manner in which an estimate of a score’s reliability is derived (parallel form, split half, test-retest, and internal consistency methods), that is, whether it yields scores on which one can rely as providing a true picture of the property being measured, have crucial implications for forensic testimony.

Validity, as classically defined, consists of the extent to which it is known what a test measures.

A test is considered to have face validity if its items have some clear and obvious relationship to the purpose of the test (if for example the test is a measure of depression we would expect to see items like "Are you feeling depressed?" as indicative of it having face validity).

A more important measure would be criterion related validity.  This is a measure that consists of the relationship between a test or test score and some other measured (or known) variable.

Substantial correlation between test findings and current status, behavior or condition demonstrates concurrent validity.  Substantial correlation between test findings and future events, conditions or behaviors provide evidence of their predictive validity.  Finally construct validity consists of the extent to which observed relationships between test findings and present or future events, conditions or behaviors can be conceptualized in terms of a sound theoretical rationale that accounts for both the test findings and the extra-test behaviors or states.

Commenting on the poor test construction of the SALS Berliner and Conte (Id.) commented that "there are no studies which have determined if the Scale can be coded reliably. Many of
the criteria a re poorly defined. There have been no scientific tests of the ability of the SALS to discriminate among cases."

In assessing the SALS criteria for reliability Campbell (FN9) (1997) notes that the SALS criteria are "vague and ill defined" and that as a result they invite a wide range of subjective opinion and therefor "Gardner’s criteria cannot support expert testimony in legal proceedings".

Deed (FN10) applied Gardner’s SALS (Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale), from which PAS theory is derived, to confirmed cases of sexual abuse and found that the SALS produced inaccurate assessments.

Gardner (FN11) himself, in summing up whether PAS should be properly admitted in court, admitted that "PAS is an initial offering and cannot have pre-existing scientific validity."

(d) Does the technique enjoy general acceptance within the scientific community? (the old Fryerule!)

Gianelli (FN12) asserts that the principal justification for the Frye test is that "it establishes a method for ensuring the reliability of scientific evidence."  This serves to take the responsibility of determining the validity of a scientific principle away from the trial judge and leaving the determination to experts who know most about it.

In the case of PAS Gardner has based his theory entirely upon the observation of his own patients.  It is for the most part self-published which circumvents peer review, and has not attracted wide acceptance in the scientific community.

QUOTE FROM APA WEBSITE ARTICLEIn refusing to admit PAS into evidence a Florida court (In the Interest of T.M.W., 553 So. 2nd 260, 262 Fla. Dist. Ct. App., 1988) noted that "no determination was made in the order or on the record as to general professional acceptance of the ?parental alienation syndrome’ as a diagnostic tool."

The Court went on to caution that "when considering the theory of expert testimony… it is vitally important to avoid the confusion engendered by reference to syndromes… At the present time experts have not achieved consensus on the existence of a psychological syndrome… use of the word syndrome leads only to confusion, and to unwarranted and unworkable comparisons to battered child syndrome."

The Expert’s Obligation

For better or worse there is an inherent conflict between the goals of lawyers and the goals of ethical experts: the legal system is adversarial, science is not.  Attorneys need partisan experts to persuade the trier of fact, be it judge or jury.  Lawyers, according to Champagne and his colleagues (FN13) "seemingly want articulate, partisan experts with integrity."

Sales and Shuman (FN14) argue that "to the extent that ethics governs all scientific and professional behavior ? which it does ? it is only appropriate that it become the first metric against which to judge the expert witnessing of scientists and professionals."

Sales and Shuman point out that the most obvious case of the applicability of the ethics code to expert witnessing is the obligation to be competent (FN15).

By becoming familiar with the applicable ethical standards governing the professional behavior of psychologists and psychiatrists a more reasoned judgement can be made about the admissibility of PAS in the courtroom.  While we rely primarily on the ethical standards for psychologists (FN16) in the following discussion it should be apparent to the reader that these standards speak to expected ethical professional behavior of any designation when one agrees to appear as a mental health expert before the courts.

Section 1.06  Basis for Scientific and Professional Judgements calls for psychologists to "rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge when making scientific or professional judgements."  Not having met the standards inherent in Daubert and in Frye renders PAS unable to pass muster under this brief, but indispensable, ethical dictum.

Rotgers and Barrett (Id) have made an effort to guide psychologists in their considerations concerning serving as an expert witness.  They point out four standards of professional conduct that appear to be clearly applicable to psychologists’ expert testimony that are specifically reinforced by the Daubert decision.  These include, in addition to Standard 1.06, the following:

    Standard 2.02 "Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions" requires psychologists to select assessment instruments on the basis of research indicating the appropriateness of the instruments for the specific issue at hand and further enjoins psychologists from misusing those instruments.

    Standard 2.04 "Use of Assessment in General and With Special Populations" requires familiarity with the psychometric properties and limitations of assessment instruments used in the practice of psychology.

    Standard 2.05 "Interpreting Assessment Results" requires psychologists to directly state reservations they may have about the accuracy and limitations of their assessments.

As has been noted in the section above, PAS does not meet the courts’ threshold requirement to qualify as scientific.  Clearly then, the offering of PAS to the courts as an explanatory construct, let alone a basis for making recommendation about the future of children’s lives, does not meet the minimal set of ethical standards incumbent on experts appearing before the court.

The Courts View

While there are a few ?hold out’ jurisdictions which continue to preserve the notion of alienation of affection, most states have abolished the cause of action for alienation of affection and consequently a cause of action for parental alienation has effectively been precluded.  In their rejection of the construct of alienation of affection various courts have ruled in the following fashion:

The Minnesota Supreme Court, in Larson v. Dunn, 460 N.W. 2nd 39, 45-46 Minn. 1990, rejected an appellate court’s creation of the "Intentional interference with custody rights" noting that "children can be devastated by divorce" and that "the law should not provide a means of escalating intrafamily warfare" but that other remedies exist when a parent or other relative interferes with custody arrangements, and that "creating a tort of this nature is the job of the legislature, not the court."

Florida courts, for instance In the Interest of T.M.W., 553 So. 2nd 260, 262, Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989, have noted that there has been no claim of general professional acceptance of PAS as a tool for diagnostic evaluation, and in fact that there is no consensus by experts that such a syndrome even exists.

In Bartanus v. Lis (Bartanus v. Lis, 480 A.2nd 1178, 1181, Pa. Super. Ct. 1984) the court held that a cause of action for alienation of a child’s affection is not recognized in Pennsylvania. In so ruling the court quoted The Restatement (Second) of Torts para 699, "one who, without more, alienates from its parents the affections of a child, whether a minor of full age, is not liable to the child’s parents."

The Missou
ri Court of Appeals recognized a tort of alienation of affection of a minor or adult child (R.J. v. S.L.J., 801 S.W.2nd 608, 609, Mo. Ct. App. 1991) but in ruling opined that although the mother had a moral duty not to alienate the children’s affections with respect to the father, she did not have a legal duty.

Despite expert testimony by a psychologist who asserted that the situation in question was the" worst case of PAS he had ever seen," a Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that there was "limited research data" to support, as "a successful cure" for children suffering from PAS, the removal of such children from their mother’s custody in affirming the trial court’s refusal to transfer custody to the father (Weiderholt v. Fischer, 485 N.W. 2nd 442, 444, Wis. Ct. App. 1992).

The PAS criteria used by Gardner, as noted above, are essentially borrowed from and built upon his earlier (and now widely discredited) test for determining whether children were fabricating allegations of sexual abuse, the "Sexual Abuse Legitimacy Scale" (SAL Scale) (Id.)

The only appellate court to rule on the admissibility of the SAL Scale held it inadmissible because there was no showing that it had "some reasonable degree of recognition and acceptability among the spectrum of scientific or medical experts in the field" (Page v. Zordan, 564 So. 2nd 500, Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990).

Wood (Id.) very appropriately, comments that "although it might be argued that this court properly ignored the PAS testimony, the problem is that the court even admitted it at all.  The mere admission of unreliable and untested testimony into evidence in the first place means that courts admitting evidence of this theory may rule on it differently, creating results that range from potentially very dangerous to inconsistent."

Finally, in her comprehensive review of PAS Wood was unable to find a single reported case where PAS testimony was introduced on behalf of the mother.

Assessing the Utility of PAS

Dallam (Id.) exhorts in her review of Gardner’s theories that "all psychological evidence upon which a child’s safety will turn must be subjected to empirical testing."

As we have hopefully made clear, straightforward observation, confirmed by a consensus of experts, reveals that rather than subjecting his theories to scientific review Gardner has published through his own press or in nonscientific journals.  Because his theories are based on his clinical observations (not on scientific data) they should be understood in the context of his atypical views concerning parent child relations.

[For a greater explication on his theories concerning pedophila as a "part of the natural repertoire of human sexual activity" (Richard A. Gardner, M.D., True and False Allegations of Child Sex Abuse, 1992) or that child abuse allegations are "third greatest wave of hysteria" the nation has seen, following the Salem witch trials and the McCarthyite witch hunting for communists in the 1940’s the reader is referred again to the very excellent reviews by Dallam (Stephanie Dallam, The Evidence for Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Examination of Gardner’s Theories and Opinions, Treating Abuse Today, 1998) or Wood (Cherri L. Wood,The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Dangerous Aura of Reliability, 1994).]

It would be far better for the courts, in their deliberations as to parental fitness when making custody determinations, to utilize the work of Benjamin D. Garber (FN17). Garber has noted that PAS theory confuses cause and effect, whereas science has demonstrated that a cause can not necessarily be inferred from an effect. 

[In the realm of statistics "correlation does not imply causation."  It is often noted, with great fanfare in the press, that fashion hemlines or the winning league in the Super Bowl or the World Series correlate with either a rise or fall in the Dow Jones Industrial average ? but that correlation does not imply causation!]

He cautions that it is very easy for a presumption of alienation "to take on a life of its own without proper consideration of the many alternative (and often more likely) causes of a child’s distress during parental separation and divorce."

That parental conflict and the custodial parent’s ability to function have profound impact onchildren’s adjustment to divorce has been recognized in legal opinions.  For instance, In re: Marriage of Carney (598 P. 2nd 37, Cal. 1979), the California Court recognized the child’s need for stability in its primary parenting relationship.

Johnston’s (FN18) research finds that where there is high conflict, or evidence of domestic violence, between the parents, children can deteriorate dramatically.

The ambivalence towards or rejection of one parent may be related to any number of factors (FN19)and not necessarily the psychopathology of one parent.

Among the many alternative factors to PAS for an expert to consider are:

  • (1) developmentally normal separation problems,
  • (2) deficits in the non-custodial parent’s skills,
  • (3) oppositional behavior,
  • (4) high-conflict divorce proceedings,
  • (5) other serious emotional or medical problems of one family member,
  • (6) child abuse,
  • (7) inappropriate, unpredictable, or violent behavior by one parent,
  • (8) incidental causes, such as the child’s dislike of a parent’s new roommate or lover,
  • (9) alienation by third parties,
  • (10) the child’s unassisted manipulation of one or both parents, or
  • (11) fears for the absent parent’s welfare.

The value of an expert’s contribution to the courts’ deliberations regarding children’s welfare should be based on clinically sound reasoning formulated from empirically derived data that will serve the best interest of the child and not on unsubstantiated hyperbole.


1.  Sullivan, Matthew J., Parental Alienation Processes in Post-Divorce Cases, Association of Family Conciliation Courts Newsletter, Summer 1997, at 4. RETURN TO TEXT

2.   Gardner, Richard A. The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sexual Abuse, 1992.  RETURN TO TEXT

3.   Wood, Cheri L., The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Dangerous Aura of Reliability, 27 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 1367, 1994.   DOWNLOAD WOOD’S ARTICLE (156K) RETURN TO TEXT

4.   Rotgers, Frederick and Deirdre Barrett, Daubert v. Merrell Dow and Expert Testimony by Clinical Psychologists: Implications and Recommendations for Practice, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1996, at 467-474. RETURN TO TEXT

5.   Gold, J. A., M.J. Zaremski, E.R. Lev and D.H. Shefrin, Daubert v. Merrell Dow: The Supreme Court Tackles Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom, JAMA, 270, 2964.   RETURN TO TEXT

6.   Berliner, L. and J.R. Conte, Sexual Abuse Evaluations: Conceptual and Empirical Obstacles, Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, at 111-125

7.   See Moss,D. C., Abuse Scale: Point System for Abuse Claims, American Bar Association Journal, (December 1, 1988).  RETURN TO TEXT

8.   Dallam, Stephanie, The Evidence for Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Examination of Gardner’s Theories and Opinions, Treating Abuse Today, March/April 1988, at 25-34.  LINK TO DALLAM ARTICLES RETURN TO TEXT

9.   Campbell, T. W., Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse and Their Unreliability, American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 1997, at 5-18.  RETURN TO TEXT

10.  Sherman, R., Gardner’s Law, The National Law Journal, 1993, August 16.  RETURN TO TEXT

11.  Gardner, Richard A., M.D., Evaluate Child Sex Abuse in Context, N. J.L.J., at 16 May 10, 1993.  RETURN TO TEXT

12.  Gianelli, Paul C., The Admissibility of Novel Scientific Evidence: Frye v. United States, a Half-Century Later, 80 Colum. L. Rev. 1197, 1205, (1980).  RETURN TO TEXT

13.  Champagne, A., D.W. Shuman and E. Whittaker, The use of expert witnesses in American courts,Judicature, 375 (1991).  RETURN TO TEXT

14.  Sales, Bruce D., and Daniel W. Shuman, Reclaiming the integrity of science in expert witnessing, Ethics and Behavior, 223 (1993).  RETURN TO TEXT

15.  Principle A: Competence, and Section 7.02 Forensic Assessment (b) (c) of American Psychological Association, Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct, American Psychologist, 1597 (1992).  RETURN TO TEXT

16.  American Psychological Association, Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct,American Psychologist, V 47, 1597, (1992).  RETURN TO TEXT

17.  Garber, Benjamin D., Alternatives to Parental Alienation: Acknowledging the Broader Scope of Children’s Emotional Difficulties During Parental Separation and Divorce, New Hampshire Bar Journal, at 51-54 (1996).  RETURN TO TEXT

18.  See Johnson, Janet R., Ongoing post divorce conflict: Effects of joint custody and frequent accessAm. J. Orthopsychiatry, 576 (1989); Johnson, High conflict divorce, Future of children, 65-174 (1994); Children’s adjustment in sole compared to joint custody families and principles for custody decision making, Fam. & Conciliation Cts. Rev., 415-419 (1995). RETURN TO TEXT

19.  Garber, supra note 39; also see Waldren. K. H. and D. E. Joanis, Understanding and Collaboratively Treating Parental Alienation Syndrome, American Journal of Family Law, at 121-133 (1996).  RETURN TO TEXT .

Jerome H. Poliacoff, Ph.D., is a child, family, and forensic psychologist in private practice in Coral Gables, Florida, and a Florida Bar certified provider of continuing legal education, including the series of seminars entitled Psychology in The Courtroom: Challenging Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony.  He completed his pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training programs in Child and Adolescent Psychology at the Children’s Psychiatric Centers in Miami, Florida.


A different version of the foregoing article originally appeared in The Family Law Section COMMENTATOR, Vol.XXV, No. 4, June 1999, published by The Florida Bar.

Copyright 1999 Jerome H. Poliacoff, Ph.D., P.A.
This article may be freely reprinted for noncommercial use, provided
it is reproduced intact, along with this copyright notice and author identifying information.


articles listed on this website

by Pamela K. Sutherland and Delia J. Henderson

ARE PSYCHOLOGISTS HIDING EVIDENCE? Issues re Disclosure of Test Data
by Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D., and John C. Courtney, Psy.D.

by John E. B. Meyers, Esq.

by Collaborative Family Lawyers of South Florida, Inc.

What is "Parental Alienation Syndrome" and Why Is It So Often Used Against Mothers?

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 27, 2010

Children Need… THIS ? …or THIS ? …or THIS ?

· Disciplining Divorcing Parents: Social Construction of Parental Alienation by F. Besset PDF SCHOLAR

· Domestic Violence by Proxy by J. Silberg, Ph.D. (Leadership Council) off-site SCHOLAR

· Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome by J. Hoult PDF SCHOLAR

· Fairness and Accuracy in Evaluations of DV and Abuse by Smith and Coukos PDF SCHOLAR

· Friendly Parent Concept: A Flawed Factor by M. Dore PDF SCHOLAR

· NCJFCJ Judges’ Guide to Custody Evaluations in Cases of Abuse (it’s not PAS) PDF SCHOLAR

· PAS and Alienated Children — getting it wrong in child custody cases by C. Bruch PDF SCHOLAR

· Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Dangerous Aura of Reliability by C. Wood TXT SCHOLAR

· Parental Alienation Syndrome by A. Escudero RTF SPANISH SCHOLAR

· Parental Alienation Syndrome: Proponents Bear the Burden of Proof R. Emery, PDF SCHOLAR

· PAS and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews by J. Meier PDF SCHOLAR

· Retaliation Against Professionals Who Report Child Abuse by K. Hine SCHOLAR

· Richard A. Gardner pedophilia quotes orig. compiled by S. Dallam

What is "Parental Alienation Syndrome"
and Why Is It So Often Used Against Mothers?

by John E. B. Myers, Professor of Law,University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, California.

The following is an excerpt from a book titled
A Mother’s Nightmare: A Practical Legal Guide For Parents And Professionals.

Psychological and medical syndromes play an important role in understanding behavior and providing treatment to victims of abuse.  Unfortunately, there is one so-called syndrome that, in my opinion, does tremendous harm to many children and their parents, particularly mothers seeking custody in family court. I speak of psychiatrist Richard Gardner’s Parental Alienation Syndrome (1987.)  Gardner writes:

"One outgrowth of this warfare (over custody) was the development in children of what I refer to as the Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Typically, the child viciously vilifies one of the parents and idealizes the other.  This is not caused simply by parental brainwashing of the child.  Rather the children themselves contribute their own scenarios in support of the favored parent.  My experience has been that in about 80 to 90 percent of cases the mother is the favored parent and the father the vilified one." (1989, p. 2)

Gardner is an outspoken critic of certain aspects of the child protection system.  Apparently, Gardner believes America is in the throes of mass hysteria over child sexual abuse.

He writes that "sex-abuse hysteria is omnipresent" (1992, p. xxv).  In his 1991 book titled Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited, Gardner is harshly critical of an unspecified portion of the mental health professionals, investigators, and prosecutors trying to protect children.  For example, Gardner accuses some prosecutors of gratifying their own sexual urges and sadistic tendencies through involvement in sexual abuse cases.  Gardner goes so far as to say that "there is a bit of pedophilia in every one of us" (p. 118). It seem clear that Richard Gardner cannot claim to be balanced or objective when it comes to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Gardner’s Parental Alienation Syndrome has not, to my knowledge, been subjected to empirical study, research, or testing.  Nor to my knowledge, has the syndrome been published in peer reviewed medical or scientific journals.

Rather, the syndrome is simply Richard Gardner’s opinion, based on his clinical experience.  Of course, the fact that Parental Alienation Syndrome is based on one man’s experience does not imply there is something wrong with the syndrome.  Nevertheless, it is clear that the syndrome is not accepted as a scientifically reliable way of telling whether an allegation of sexual abuse is true or false.  Moreover, in my opinion, much of Gardner’s writing, including his Parental Alienation Syndrome, is biased against women.  This gender bias infects the syndrome, and makes it a powerful tool to undermine the credibility of women who allege child sexual abuse. Because parental alienation perpetuates and exacerbates gender bias against women, I believe the syndrome sheds much more darkness than light on this difficult issue.

Another term coined by Richard Gardner is "Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale."  Of this scale, Lucy Berliner and Jon Conte write:

"A specific and disturbing example of using (behavioral) indicators as determinative of true versus false cases is that of the Sexual Abuse Legitimacy (SAL) Scale.  This "scale" claims to be able to discriminate between ‘bona fide’ and ‘fabricated’ cases by indicating the presence or absence of a series of characteristics of cases.  There are 26 dealing with the alleged victim, 11 dealing with the accuser (usually the mother), and 13 dealing with the accused (usually the father).

The criteria are divided into those which are very valuable (worth 3 points if present), moderately valuable (2 points), and low but potentially valuable (1 point).  Separate scores are generated for the child, the accused, and accuser.  Scores in the range of 50 percent of the maximum or more are highly suggestive of bonafide sexual abuse and those quite low (below 10 percent) are fabricated.  Sample criteria are: for the child, very hesitant to divulge the abuse or if no quality of a litany; for the accuser, appreciates importance of relationship between child and father or initially denies abuse; for the accused, allegation not in the context of divorce or career choice involving children.  The SAL Scale suffers many of the problems that all indicator approaches suffer and a number which are unique.  It is based entirely on the author’s personal observation of an unknown number of cases seen in a specialized forensic practice.  Although reference is made to studies carried out "between 1982 and 1987" they are unpublished, not described, and are of unknown value.  There are no studies which have determined if the scale can be coded reliably. Many of the criteria are poorly defined.  There have been no scientific tests of the ability of the SAL Scale to discriminate among cases.  There is no evidence that the numerical scores have any real meaning. Indeed, to our knowledge, the entire scale and Parent Alienation Syndrome upon which it is based have never been subjected to any kind of peer review or empir
ical test.  In sum, there is no demonstrated ability of this scale to make valid predictions based on the identified criteria (1993, p. 114)."

In 1988, researcher and author Jon Conte wrote that Gardner’s Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale is "probably the most unscientific piece of garbage I’ve seen in the field in all my time. To base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedingly dangerous" (Moss, 1988, p. 26).

If you are a woman and you allege child sexual abuse, expect to be attacked with Richard Gardner’s Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Gardner’s writing is popular among attorneys who represent men accused of abuse, and among some mental health professionals.  Your attorney must be prepared to counteract the misleading and destructive effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale.


Berliner, L & Conte J. R. (1993). "Sex Abuse Evaluations: Conceptual and Empirical Obstacles," Child Abuse & Neglect, 17m. 111-125.

Gardner, R. A. (1991) "Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited." Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

Gardner, R. A. (1989) "Differentiating Between Bona Fide and Fabricated Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Children." Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. 5. 1-25.

Gardner, R. A. (1987). "The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricates and Genuine Child Sex Abuse." Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

Moss, D. C. (1988). "Abuse Scale: Point System for Abuse Claims. Journal of the American Bar Association". 74, 26.

[F]amily-law judges have denied some divorced mothers custody of their children, based on a "diagnosis" of "parental alienation syndrome," says Robert Geffner, PhD, a San Diego psychologist and expert on family-violence issues. New Jersey psychiatrist Richard Gardner, MD, coined that term back in 1987 to describe a parent who tries to turn his or her children against the other parent. While psychologists agree that some parents resort to such behavior, parental alienation syndrome is not a valid diagnosis and shouldn’t be admitted into child custody cases, Geffner says. See the APA Taskforce Report on Domestic Violence

and "Parental Alienation Syndrome"

by Trish Wilson
copyright 1998 Trish Wilson


In the Winter, 1989, issue of "American Fatherhood, The Voice of Responsible and Dedicated Fatherhood" (F.A.I.R. The National Fathers’ Organization, Camden, Delaware), Richard Gardner, in his article "Parental Alienation Syndrome," asks "why do some mothers do everything in their power to alienate the children from the father?  What can be done?"

Mothers are most often labeled with PAS, not fathers.  Gardner’s description of the mothers behavior under his three PAS categories of severe, moderate, and mild is not only his personal opinion, but it also exposes his sexism and bias against women.  PAS is designed to be used during a contested child custody hearing, particularly when allegations of child sexual abuse are made.  The ultimate goal is removal of the child from the home and custody of the mother, and award full custody to the allegedly abusive father. 

clip_image002The cards are stacked against the mother from the moment PAS is introduced in the courtroom.  PAS is set up in such a manner that the mother is guaranteed to be labeled with this dubious syndrome, and that removal of the child from her care is the only possible outcome.  She is guaranteed to lose custody of her children unless her counsel demonstrates the gaping flaws within PAS.  The court personnel must not only be made aware that PAS is not recognized as a valid medical syndrome by the AMA and the APA, but that use of this dubious syndrome as a means of removing custody from fit mothers alleging abuse will not be kept quiet.

PAS is designed to work in a court setting, otherwise "treatment of such families" (i.e.; removal of the child permanently from the mother’s care) won’t be successful.  Gardner emphasizes that "in many cases the therapy of these families is not possible without court support.  Only the court has the power to order these mothers to stop their manipulations and maneuvering.  And it is only the court that has the power to place the children in whichever home would best suit their needs at the particular time.  Therapists who embark upon the treatment of such families without such court backing are not likely to be successful.  I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough."

The mother is not only prohibited from having fair court representation, she is also prohibited from having fair and even-handed therapy.  Gardner finds it imperative that "… the therapist be court ordered and have direct input to the judge. This can often be facilitated by the utilization of a guardian ad litem or a child advocate, who has the opportunity for direct communication with the court.  The mother must know that any obstructionism on her part will be immediately reported to the judge, either by the therapist or though the guardian ad litem or child advocate.  The court must be willing to impose sanctions such as fines or jail.  The threat of loss of primary custody can also help such mothers ‘remember to cooperate.’" Mothers in these cases are forced to adhere to prearranged "treatment" regardless of whether or not they agree with any of the decisions being made.  If they voice objections, they will be labeled as uncooperative and/or mentally ill.

Under his category of "severe" PAS, he states that "… the mothers of these children are often fanatic. They will use every mechanism at their disposal (legal and illegal) to prevent visitation. They are obsessed with antagonism towards their husbands.  In many cases, they are paranoid. Sometimes the paranoid thoughts and feelings about the husband are isolated to him alone; in other cases this paranoia is just one example of many types of paranoid thinking.  Often the paranoia did not exhibit itself prior to the breakup of the marriage and may be a manifestation of the psychiatric deterioration that frequently is seen in the context of disputes, especially custody disputes."  Such generalizations are quite common descriptions under PAS, stigmatizing a mother who is attempting to protect her child if she believes that child is being sexually abused.

He continues with the opinion that these mothers project onto their husbands "… many noxious qualities that actually exist within themselves.  By projecting these unacceptable qualities onto their husbands they can consider themselves innocent victims.  When a sex-abuse allegation becomes part of the package, th
ey may be projecting their own sexual inclinations onto him.  In the service of this goal they exaggerate and distort any comment the child makes that might justify the accusation.  And this is not difficult to do because children normally will entertain sexual fantasies, often of the most bizarre form.  I am in agreement with Freud that children are "polymorphous perverse" and they thereby provide these mothers with an ample supply of material to serve as a nuclei for their projections and accusations."  All this from the man who said that there is some pedophilia in every one of us.

Not content with labeling the mother with a dubious mental disorder, Gardner goes as far as labeling the children as "similarly fanatic."  These fanatic children apparently "… have joined together with her [the mother] in a relationship in which they share her paranoid fantasies about the father."  The way PAS is designed, a child who acts out, discusses what he or she believes is inappropriate sexual behavior coming from the allegedly abusive father, or demonstrates fear when in the presence of the man identified as the abuser will immediately assume to have been coached by the offending mother.  These children will not be believed, and will not receive the care and protection they desparately need.  Gardner takes legitimate concerns such as a child exhibiting fear over the prospect of visitation with an allegedly abusing father, "blood-curdling shrieks, panicked states, and hostility so severe that visitation is impossible…," and creates the assumption that the child is either lying about the abuse or has been coached by the mother to behave in such a manner.

In "moderate" cases of PAS, Gardner makes more generalized and sexist comments such as "… the rage-of-the-rejected-woman factor is more important than the paranoid projection contribution."  He cites the mothers’ "… campaign of denigration and a significant desire to withhold the children from the father as a vengeance maneuver."  He states that a major difference between "severe" PAS in mothers as opposed to "moderate" PAS is that the mothers in the "severe" category "… have a sick psychological bond with the children (often a paranoid one)."  Mothers suffering from "moderate" PAS are more likely to have a " … healthy psychological bond that is being compromised by their rage." One wonders if the more likely a mother is to stand by her beliefs and principles and not acquiesce under pressure from her ex and others in the court in order to protect her child, the more likely she is to be labeled within one of the more "severe" PAS categories.  If she is fairly easy to manipulate and control, most likely her level of PAS will be on a milder side.

Children are not to be believed according to PAS, and the therapists, judges, lawyers, child advocates, and guardians ad litem who support it will ensure that the children’s needs are not met.  Gardner goes as far as to compare a child’s cries for help regarding sexual abuse to getting a polio shot.  The court’s therapist "… must have a thick skin and be able to tolerate the shrieks and claims of maltreatment that these children will provide.  Doing what children profess they want is not always the same as doing what is best for them. Therapists of the persuasion that they must ‘respect’ their child patients and accede to their wishes will be doing these children a terrible disservice. These same therapists would not ‘respect’ a child’s wish not to have a polio shot, yet they will respect the child’s wish not to see a father who shows no significant evidence of abuse, maltreatment, neglect, etc."  The most astounding statement Gardner makes regarding children who are alleging abuse is that "… to take the allegations of maltreatment seriously is a terrible disservice to these children."

Therapy is seen as the only means of treating PAS.  However, Gardner states that "therapy for the children … is most often not possible while the children are still living in the mother’s home."  Since therapy is the only treatment possible, and Gardner himself has stated that child therapy with "evidence" of PAS will not be successful as long as the child is living with the mother, court-ordered placement with the alleged abuser is 100% guaranteed.  He states that "… the first step toward treatment is removal of the children from the mother’s home and placement in the home of the father."  PAS is set up in advance to remove children from the mother’s care.  If PAS is introduced by the father, his attorney, his court-appointed and self-selected therapists, so-called child advocates, and the court-appointed guardian ad litem during a contested child custody hearing, the mother is guaranteed to lose custody of her children unless Gardner’s "Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale" is shown to be what University of Washington Professor John Conte has described as "[p]robably the most unscientific piece of garbage I’ve seen in the field in all my time."

Gardner states that if the mother has her own therapist, "… a mutual admiration society may develop in which the therapist (consciously or unconsciously) becomes the mother’s champion in the fight.  Women in this category have a way of selecting therapists who will support their antagonism toward the father. Most often, the mother chooses a woman as a therapist — especially a woman who is herself antagonistic toward men."  The mothers’ side of the story is guaranteed from the get-go to (1) not be heard, or (2) deemed sick.  If she does have a therapist, the courts view will immediately be tainted against that person under PAS because when therapists who supports the mother manage to have any contact with the alleged abuser, they — especially if female — "… typically will be hostile and unsympathetic."

Gardner encourages the court to prohibit the children from being "… ‘treated’ by her (as mentioned, rarely a man)."  He urges the court to order the mother to see the court’s therapist, "… even though her cooperation is not likely to be significant and even though she may be influenced significantly by her therapist."  Once again, the system is set up in such a way that the mother cannot protect either her own interests or that of her children.  If she attempts to do so, she will be severely penalized by removal of her children from her care and/or prohibition of any contact with her children whatsoever.

From "Issues and Dilemmas in Family Violence," published by the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence And The Family:

"When parents separate after an abusive relationship, shouldn’t fathers have as much right as mothers to be granted physical custody of and visitation rights with their children?

"Tensions exist between children’s needs for contact with their father and their need to be protected from the physical, sexual and psychological abuse that is common in families where there has been other forms of violence such as woman abuse.

"Although most people believe that fathers should have equal access to their children after the termination of a relationship between the parents, the equal-access option is based on the assumption that the fathers will act in their children’s best interests. However, that is a naive assumption in situations where family violence has occurred.

"Fathers who batter their children’s mothers can be expected to use abusive power and control techniques to control the children, too. In many of these families, prior to separation, the men were not actively involved in the raising of their children. To gain control after the marital separation, the fathers fight fo
r the right to be involved.  Often children who have been exposed to violence in the family are frightened to confront their father’s negative or abusive behavior, and mothers cannot protect them.  Sometimes the father tries to alienate the child from the mother by using money and other enticements, negative comments, or restricted access to the telephone during visitation with him.  Other times, fathers may threaten or actually kidnap the child to punish elieve that when a woman leaves a violent man, she will remain the primary caretaker of their children.  Family courts, however, may not consider the history of woman abuse relevant in awarding custody. Recent studies suggest that an abusive man is more likely than a nonviolent father to seek sole physical custody of his children and may be just as likely (or even more likely) to be awarded custody as the mother.  Often fathers win physical custody because men generally have greater financial resources and can continue the court battles with more legal assistance over a longer period of time.

"Family courts frequently minimize the harmful impact of children’s witnessing violence between their parents and sometimes are reluctant to believe mothers. If the court ignores the history of violence as the context for the mother’s behavior in a custody evaluation, she may appear hostile, uncooperative, or mentally unstable. For example, she may refuse to disclose her address, or may resist unsupervised visitation, especially if she thinks her child is in danger. Psychological evaluators who minimize the importance of violence against the mother, or pathologize her responses to it, may accuse her of alienating the children from the father and may recommend giving the father custody in spite of his history of violence.

"Some professionals assume that accusations of physical or sexual abuse of children that arise during divorce or custody disputes are likely to be false, but the empirical research to date shows no such increase in false reporting at that time. In many instances, children are frightened about being alone with a father they have seen use violence towards their mother or a father who has abused them. Sometimes children make it clear to the court that they wish to remain with the mother because they are afraid of the father, but their wishes are ignored.

"Research indicates that high levels of continued conflict between separated and divorced parents hinders children’s normal development. Some practitioners now believe that it may be better for children’s development to restrict the father’s access to them and avoid continued danger to both mothers and children."

Please note that Parental Alienation Syndrome is NOT recognized as a valid medical syndrome by either the AMA or the APA.  Gardner’s work has never been up for peer review. He’s able to get around this by publishing his own works.  Creative Therapeutics, the publisher of his books, including Parental Alienation Syndrome, is his own publishing company. PAS is based strictly on his own observation.

Trish Wilson


by Jerome H. Poliacoff, Ph.D. P.A., et al.

by Professor Carol S. Bruch


For much much more, and the latest research and articles on parental alienation syndrome
and related subjects, see The Liz Library Site Index.


Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 27, 2010

Page 2

clip_image001" …proof in itself why the rest of us NEED GUNS!

"We need them to KILL people who want to MOVE our money into the pockets of the criminals (like her) who want to take our money to foster her immoral ideas of how a society should be.

"Let’s make no mistake about why assholes like her want to see our guns taken away."

Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 11:33:48 -0700 From: Gary Clark <> To: Fathers Manifesto <> Cc: liz <>, Fathers’ Manifesto <>, Mark Hall <> Subject: Re: SMH

Las Vegas, NV

clip_image002". . . concerning the jailing of Christopher Robin, founder of the Purple Heart House in Hollywood, California. . . I have discovered the home address of the judge.  If you would, send a second copy of your letter to his home.  I want this man to know that we are paying attention to what he is doing, and that we intend to break through the barrier of anonymity that so many of these bureaucrats operate behind with impunity.

"We had originally planned to burn just our support orders.  But now, the first thing to burn will be a miniature effigy of Judge Schoenberg.  We hope he gets the message.  We’re watching, we’re paying attention, and we’re ready to fight back."

Threat of Jaks forwarded from ANCPR’s listserve by GREG DeBACKER (NCFC) to the men-law listserve owned and operated by Chicago attorney STEVEN D. IMPARL.

Received: (qmail 25567 invoked by uid 505); 24 Oct 1998 02:36:28 -0000 Mailing-List: contact Precedence: list X-URL: X-Mailing-List: Delivered-To: Received: (qmail 7472 invoked by uid 7770); 24 Oct 1998 02:04:38 -0000 Received: from ( by with SMTP; 24 Oct 1998 02:04:38 -0000 Received: from by (IMOv16.10) id XVTCa29185 for <>; Fri, 23 Oct 1998 22:03:39 +2000 (EDT) From: Message-ID: <> Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 22:03:39 EDT To: Mime-Version: 1.0 X-Mailer: AOL 3.0 for Mac sub 84 Subject: [men-law] Fwd: ancpr post, Chris Robin Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bitX-UIDL: 60fb809fa1f64c64dcefb62d0ac5a594

kidnapper and founder of ANCPR
9903 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 267
Beverly Hills, CA 90212



PAIDIKA: Is choosing paedophilia for you a responsible choice for the individual?

"Certainly it is responsible… Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. I am also a theologian, and as a theologian, I believe it is God’s will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of the flesh, between people. A paedophile can say: "This closeness is possible for me within the choices that I’ve made."

"Paedophiles are too defensive…. With boldness they can say, ‘I believe this is in fact part of God’s will.’

PAIDIKA: You are speaking mostly about paedophiles in the U.S. What tack should they take given the societal attitudes? What solutions do you envision for their lives?

"The solution I’m suggesting is that paedophiles become much more positive. They should directly attack the concept, the image, the picture of the paedophile as an evil, wicked, and reprehensible exploiter of children…

"I was in the courtroom for the case that Holly just cited and I actually heard the prosecutor say, ‘No man should ever be permitted to claim as an excuse that he was just being affectionate when a child says they were uncomfortable.’

"I don’t know; I don’t think, we can just label these attitudes ‘hysteria.’ Perhaps ‘madness’ is better, or ‘pathology.’ What we see going on in the United States is the most vitriolic and virulent anti-sexuality I know of in our history."

Read the whole interview in:
PAIDIKA: The Journal of Paedophilia
Vol. 3, No. 1, Issue 9, Winter 1993, Netherlands
MORE — from the courts of Minnesota…

clip_image005"Just how the shit would YOU know?  We
re you raped as a child? … You are one clueless bimbo…

"BTW, are your panteis in a bunch about the "Seinfeld Case" in Milwaukee?  Bet you’ll walk bowllegged for a year on that one.  $26.6 MILLION Miller will have to pay out, and the broad another $1.5 MILLION for being a bitch! HA HA!  We FRstersd are coming to get you HA HA!

"… there are TWO lying broads to every one who tells the truth!  Just all in how you want to look at the stats.  I really lopve it whjen Femiwhackos like you MAKE UP statistics! I love craming them right up your ass!  The biggest nightmare you have is when I ACCEPT your fabricated stats!

"BULLSHIT!  You sure can turn a phrase Liz."

Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 19:19:40 -0400 (EDT) From: To: Cc: Subject: Re: Questions About Divorce & Custody Nobody Asks

With DEAN TONG / "F.R.O.N.T." and "Abuse-Excuse"
NCFC vs ACFC and continuing FR in-fighting...

clip_image006Mug shot of Dean Tong, former allegedly falsely accused "forensic consultant", and PAS (parental alienation excuse) and therapeutic jurisprudence promoter, who after being accused in his own divorce case, started a business to help defend men accused of child sex abuse, domestic violence, and other charges, including as a freelance assistant to their lawyers.
Mr. Tong apparently was accused again of stuff (this time domestic violence and witness tampering) on January 28, 2008 per Hillsborough County, Florida sheriff’s website at

Self-styled false abuse expert arrested
The man is charged with domestic violence by the Sheriff’s Office after his wife calls 911.
By S.I. ROSENBAUM, Times Staff Writer
Published January 30, 2008

TAMPA – A Riverview man who has built a career as an expert on "false child abuse accusations" has been charged with domestic violence and tampering with a witness to avoid prosecution.

Dean Bryan Tong, 51, of 10246 Hunter’s Haven Blvd., was accused of grabbing his wife’s arm and slamming her foot in the bedroom door during an argument on Jan. 21, according to an arrest affidavit filed by sheriff’s deputies.

He then allegedly took her telephone as she tried to call 911 and told her he would "ruin her" if she called police, the affidavit states…

On his Web site,, Tong writes that he was accused of sexually abusing his then-preschool-age daughter during a contentious divorce; the charges were later dropped, he writes.

"Having seen the seedy underbelly of divorce law, Dean Tong decided to work to reform the system that tore his life apart," the Web site says.

LIZNOTE: Dean Tong was not originally included on the Pig Page when it first was published in 1998 because he managed consistently to comport himself politely in his emails and other communications with liz. However, this latest event, coupled with his performance in August 14, 2006, on Lisa Macci’s Justice Hour radio show has put him over the top. Congratulations, Dean — it took more than a decade but you’ve finally achieved your place on a shelf in the liz library..


clip_image007clip_image008[Wearing his Father’s Manifesto poloshirt.]

"Very eloquently and succinctly stated, Gary!  "There is no reason to dance around the issue. We are dealing with a slut who must be treated like and called a slut.  The word ‘slut’ has a very important meaning, and it was developed to describe people just like Liz."

Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 14:04:34 +0600 From: Fathers Manifesto <> To: Gary Clark <> Cc: liz <>, Fathers’ Manifesto <>, Mark Hall <> Subject: SMH

"… it is the act of adultery which led to the psychological problems which brought the majority … of those criminals to death row in the first place… this would put about 10.5 million American wives on death row.  Everything is feminists‘ fault."

Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 03:05:46 -0700 (PDT) From: Fathers’ Manifesto <> To: Asherah <> Cc:,, Subject: Re: common thread

"It is time to update our data base regarding the state of the 19th Amendment… the last survey… onwomen’s suffrage resulted in 80% of us advocating (in confidentiality) the repeal of this Amendment. This survey also will be held in confidence, so feel free to "vote your heart…"

"The Talmud played a key role in the destruction of America’s families."

"The appointment of Jewish judges contributed greatly to our current social pathologies."

The above two statements from John Knight’s "Talmud Survey" origi
nally published at:

Author of The Garbage Generation

clip_image009"family sex."

" The VAWA and VAWA II are blatant violations of the 14th Amendment…"
"We have forgotten that before we began calling this date rape… we called it exciting."

"…millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, andgenitally caressing their children, when that is really part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves."

as quoted in December 1977 Penthouse article, "Incest: The Last Taboo," by Philip Nobile

Author of The Liberated Man and Myth of Male Power
Ideological icon of AFC aka ACFC (Stu Miller et al. father’s rights lobbyists)
Against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

clip_image010clip_image011"The New Jersey Supreme Court executed a father because he wanted to accept his parental responsibilities… Alan Gubernat shot himself and his three-year-old son…

"Feminist women have almost completely destroyed the family and all associated with it that is holy.

"The Bible clearly states that the fathers are to be the head of the household.

"This is not to mention the Magna Carte, upon which all of our constitutions and institutions are founded. But the government, with its judicial henchmen, have propagated upon society a system that is diametrically opposed to the Word of God…

"It is interesting to note, not only the outrageousness of the NJ decision, but the gradual "move forward" in the judiciary’s attitudes, whereby women are no longer disgraced by bearing children outside of wedlock, men are. Men are also vilified by the Pimp and the Vice-Pimp of the United States. No longer are men warned not to fall victim to the wiles of "loose women."…

"…did a penis just fall out of the sky and impregnate you…"

Ranting on F.R.E.E.’s bit-listserve after unwed noncustodial father, Alan Gubernat, murdered his 3 year old son for the reason that the New Jersey Supreme Court would not let him change the boy’s last name. More…

Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 20:18:51 -0400 From: Stuart Miller <> Newsgroups:

AFC (Father’s Rights groups lobbyist)
Signer (among other AFC members), THE "FATHER’S MANIFESTO" —
Men’s Rights Lobbyists ANTI- welfare, -child support, -VAWA, -mothers

"If you go to jail, we will kick their butt so hard that they will be sorry ever messed with you!!!  Our advice to you Stuart?  Please accept their "sentence" and go to jail!  You will immediately be considered a political prisoner, and we will file a claim with the United Nations on behalf of all fathers in America…

"Stu, you got our words that we will publicize the heck out of this. "

Brouhaha on F.R.E.E.’s bit-listserve after Stuart Miller wrote that the judge in his divorce case was threatening to throw him in jail for contempt of court. More…

Subject: Put Stu in Jail and We Kick Your Butt From: fgj@ELECTRICITI.COM Date: 1995/06/03 Message-Id: <> Sender: "Fathers’ Rights and Equality Exchange"

San Diego, CA

clip_image012"Would you have the name of that judge handy?  And perhaps a residence?  Or a phone number?  A little education is in order.  RB"

Bigshottism or a veiled threat to a judge on F.R.E.E.’s bit-listserve after Stuart Miller wrote that the judge in his divorce case was threatening to throw him in jail for contempt of court. More…

Subject: Re: Stu in Jail? From: (Richard Bennett) Date: 1995/06/11 Message-Id: <3rdj4u$> References:>

"Governor Wilson signed SB 509 into law late last night… The femaroids fought t
his measure tooth and nail, resorting to dirty tricks at every step of the process… But this year we drew the line on domestic violence legislation by killing a bill granting custody to victims automatically, we ended welfare as we used to know it, and we ended lifetime alimony… "

Subj: The End of Idleness Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 4:31 PM EDT From: TALK-MAN@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU X-From: Richard@BENNETT.COM

Original Signer #147, THE FATHER’S MANIFESTO
Cupertino, CA

clip_image013”What I am against is the excessively moralistic and punitive reaction that many members of our society have toward pedophiles … (going) far beyond what I consider to be the gravity of the crime.”

"…there is a bit of pedophilia in every one of us."

Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited Creskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1991. p. 118.

a "diagnosis" generally applied to mothers who accuse fathers
Cresskill, NJ

clip_image014"There is every reason for men to feel threatened… if only a few "top-quality" males… remain in the gene pool due to the reproductive choices of women, regular guys do not get to perpetuate themselves into the next generation….

"Advocacy of lesbian childrearing practices and single motherhood as a desirable life-style choice undermines fatherhood. …

"Government is usurping the role of fathers/husbands… providing low/no-income women a financial security blanket, while forcing men to pay for it without receiving the benefit of the a wife’s company and services in return, a necessary element in the traditional marriage contract…

"As to "lack of men to fill the role" this is also in part a function of mate-selection and family formation behavior on the part of women. This is virtually never mentioned in the literature and in the public debate.

"The loosening of constraints on the sexual and reproductive behavior of women is in part responsible for paternal "irresponsibility". Secondly, the rejection of monogamy by women combined with no-fault divorce…

"Specifically, husbands no longer enjoy an assurance of a monogomous sexual relationship with the wife… not even a right to be informed of an abortion, much less a veto…

"The husband’s claim on the wife’s love is no longer recognized at all. Worse, it has been criminalized and is now known as "marital rape".

"Even a mere effort to maintain the nonsexual aspects of consortium can now land a man in jail for violation of a restraining or protective order, on charges of harassment, or for committing the new crime de jour, stalking.

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 22:05:32 -0600 From: Wolfgang Hirczy <> Reply to: To: Multiple recipients of list <> Subject: If only things were different ….


"Feminists should be charged with nothing less than Crimes Against Humanity, sentenced, and summarily executed in public squares."

St. Louis, MO

" [if women could marry women] … six income sources … from the two mothers, two sets of government entitlements, and two banished fathers … would be economically far superior … We must fight lesbian rights …"

A Winning Strategy For Fathers, by David R. Usher

"On the marriage market, men trade their social needs and women trade their economic needs.  Every … child support order weakens the marriage market …"

The National Playboy Boycott Page – Will Republicans change? by David R. Usher

"Dear John … why not E-mail the whole thing to all Congressmen and Senators on the Net, with a foreward by you as the organizer.  I think they should get the buzz from people, not the entitled feminist organizations … just ask Stuart Miller or Hugh Harrington about this …

"If I do a good job creaming the feminists, and they can see it, maybe they will have the political guts to do something more than flush the toilet."

From usher@mo.netMon Sep 25 14:37:57 1995 Date: Sat, 23 Sep 1995 02:28:33 -0500 From: Dave Usher To: fathers Subject: Debate purpose


clip_image015"What the radical Womens Rights (sometimes referred to as Mothers Rights but since the influx of lesbian leadership has been more likely to be referred to as Rights for Women, Women of Color, and Gay and Bi-Sexual Women) and the Radical mens groups (who sometimes also call themselves fathers groups) have in common is dislike of the idea of human rights."

Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 13:33:34 -0600 From: Dean Hughson <> Reply-To: To: Multiple recipients of list <> Subject: Re: Observance of Herstory Month

"You know you are an insider in the fathers movement when… your closest online friends have been accused in a court battle of child abuse as a ploy by their ex’s to win custody."

Subject: Top 10 Reasons You Know You are an insider in the Fathers Movement From: Dean Hughson <dean@PRIMENET.COM> Date: 1995/12/04 Message-Id: <> Sender: "Fathers’ Rights and Equality Exchange" <FREE-L@INDYCMS.IUPUI.EDU> X-Sender: Comments: To:, Newsgroups:

"My wife and I sat watching the TV and could only think……why do these people attack the legal system? When it puts men in jail for not paying child support or for false allegations, those same people cheer the actions of the court. The hatred towards men in general and fathers,such as OJ Simpson,specifically sickens me."

From owner-witchhnt@MITVMA.MIT.EDU Tue Oct 3 19:32 EDT 1995 Return-Path: <owner-witchhnt@MITVMA.MIT.EDU> Posted-Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 19:32:21 -0400 Received-Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 19:32:21 -0400 …From: Dean Hughson <> Subject: What I’ve Learned About Justice via OJ To: FREE <>, Multiple recipients of list WITCHHNT…

"Radical feminist… Liz… and her alleged husban Nick have posted pictures and quotes from some men,including Ralph Underwager and myself on her attack web site at "Thought that some of you might find it interesting to see the pictures. incidentally I stand by my post."

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 07:52:58 -0700 Reply-To: Dean Hughson <dean@PRIMENET.COM> Sender: Is there a child sex abuse witchhunt? <WITCHHNT@MITVMA.MIT.EDU> From: Dean Hughson <dean@PRIMENET.COM> Subject: pictures To: WITCHHNT@MITVMA.MIT.EDU X-UIDL: 81b7412e8726f1047ec191867a20b121

Self-proclaimed "Eggman" and "Internet Divorce Expert"
Author of’s "Ask the Divorced Guy"
BACKLASH! columnist (as is Stu Miller, John Knight, Armin Brott, Ken Pangborn…)
[as of 1998] "Director of Resource Management," Father’s Rights and Equality Exchange

clip_image016"And for the next two cents, per the below post, good Femnazi bitch Asyerass[Trish Wilson], I too say "ditto" and stay the hell out of where you’re NOT INVITED, NOR WELCOME!! … up yours BITCH!!!!!!!!!!

"…’fathers die at the hands of the Divorce Industry and the anti-christ/gender genocidal feminists… "KISS MY PURPLE BUTT" (OR KISS MY PURPLE ASHerah).’ "

Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 18:32:45 -0500 From: To: Cc: Subject: agendas, etc., up yours!

"[Sex offenders] … could serve a USEFUL purpose to society also, by being ordered, and they would probably happily comply, to go out and rape and pillage all the damn man hating Feminaz’s!!!!!!!!!!"

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 01:42:24 -0600 From: To: Subject: [men-law] Re: Gulag in MINNESOTA

the "proadvocate"
"Men’s & Father’s Rights!!" DOMESTIC RIGHTS COALITION
St. Paul, MN

"Her world is her husband, her family, her children, and home.  We do not find it right when a women presses into the world of men.  Rather we find it natural when these two worlds remain separate … Woman and man represent two different types of being.  Reason is dominant in man."

Mein Kampf
Adolph Hitler

"Shut the hell up you tired old hag… your fellow females are killing their kids for the same reason you lie thru your teeth, YOUR WORTHLESS, YOUR SPOILED, YOUR DECADENT, YOUR LAZY, …YOUR.


"It’s no wonder women are the brutes and kid killers they are today, look where they came from, rotten, filthy, scumball feminists like you!

"Earl!!!!!! "

Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 12:44:45 -0500 (CDT) From: To:,,,,,, Cc: Subject: Re: Another intact home?


"True gender equality will exist when, and only when the verbal and psychological abuse women often inflict upon their husbands is regarded as EQUALLY SERIOUS as the physical abuse men inflict upon their wives."

From: (Gary Clark) Newsgroups: alt.mens-rights,alt.feminism, Subject: Re: Men’s Movement Date: 28 Apr 1995 03:03:15 GMT

"If the slut feminists really want EQUALITY, I suggest DEATH IN THE ELECTRIC CHAIR to be the very first area in which such equality is achieved.  Once we’ve done that, I might be willing to listen to another one of their idiotic "equality" arguments."

Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 21:49:32 -0400 (EDT) From: Gary Clark <> To: liz <
; Cc: Fathers Manifesto <> Subject: Re: SMH






CHILD ABUSE Research, Statistics, ARTICLES AND INFORMATION that cut through the slop. Parental Alienation Syndrome, False Memory Syndrome

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 27, 2010

CHILD ABUSE  Research, Statistics,clip_image001
that cut through the slop. Parental Alienation Syndrome, False Memory Syndrome


||||| ACCURACY ABOUT ABUSE, a compendium of articles online



||||| THE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL, research and articles on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Parental Alienation theory, False Memory Syndrome, the politics of child abuse, and other issues. clip_image002The Leadership Council is a nonprofit independent scientific organization composed of respected scientists, clinicians, educators, legal scholars, journalists, and public policy analysts. Its mission is to promote the ethical application of psychological science to human welfare, and to provide the public with accurate, research-based information about a variety of mental health issues. Special Projects include examination of controversial meta-analysis by Rind et al., and examination of the use of "parental alienation syndrome" by the courts.

||||| NIS-3 THIRD NATIONAL INCIDENCE STUDYNational Clearinghouse on Child Abuse

||||| PANDORA’S BOX, by Nancy Faulkner, Ph.D.

clip_image003||||| SEXUAL ASSAULT articles from South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) False Memory Syndrome, by Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Center; Confronting Precedent and Prejudice, by Jocelynne A. Scutt; Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse – Accurate and truthful disclosures, false allegations, and false denials, by Kay Bussey; Children in the Legal System,by Jan Breckenridge & Moira Carmody; The Psychological Adjustment of the Rape Victim, by Lesley Hewitt; The Child Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, by Roland Summit; Mother/Daughter Rape, by Lee FitzRoy; Offending Women, by Lee FitzRoy; Offending Mothers, by Lee FitzRoy; How Do Children Tell? The Disclosure Process in Child Sexual Abuse, by April R. Bradley and James M. Wood; Is the Child Victim of Sexual Abuse Telling the Truth? by Kathleen Coulborn Faller; Breaking the Last Taboo: Child Sexual Abuse by Female Perpetrators, by Renee Koonin; Strategies for Dealing with Child Sexual Assault at the Point of Disclosure: A Personal and Agency Perspective, by Kay Churchill and Karen Cameron; Responding to Abuse: A Matter of Perspective, by Kate Sinclair.

ADDITIONAL WEBSITES THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST: Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse and The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

||||| TRAUMA INFORMATION PAGES, by David V. Baldwin, Ph.D. (best scholarly site)


clip_image004||||| THE BATTERER AS PARENT, R. Lundy Bancroft, Ph.D. Several good articles on Lundy Bancroft’s website, including "The Connection Between Batterers and Child Sexual Abuse Perpetrators," "The Batterer as Parent," "Critique of Janet Johnston’s Typology of Batterers" and others.



clip_image005||||| LEGAL RESOURCES — VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE, by Susan K. Smith, Esq. Sue Smith’s superb website with articles, forms, contact information for adult and child victims of sexual abuse.  Highly recommended.

||||| WHEN PARADIGMS COLLIDE: Protecting Battered Parents and Their Children in the Family Court System, by Clare Dalton, 37 Fam. & Conciliation Courts Rev. 273 (1999).

||||| CUSTODIANS OF ABUSE, by Kristen Lombardi. If you’re a parent, it’s your worst nightmare: finding out that your child is being molested by your spouse. If you seek a divorce as a result, or are already going through one when you make the discovery, you hope that family court will do the right thing: grant you sole legal and physical custody of your child. In fact, you can’t even imagine that there could be any othe
r outcome in the custody judgment. But for many parents –in nearly every instance, mothers — just the opposite occurs: the alleged abusers dont just get unsupervised visitation rights, they get full custody…

||||| MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT FATHERHOOD, MOTHERHOOD, CUSTODY: What the Research Really Says, ed. by liz



clip_image008||||| PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME, by John E. B. Myers, Prof. of Law, andcomments by Trish Wilson, others

clip_image009||||| PAS:  HAS PSYCHIATRY GONE PSYCHO?
by Kelly Patricia O’Meara. A pop-psychology theory, parental alienation syndrome, is being used in custody cases to defend fathers accused of incest by blaming mothers for being narrow-minded.

||||| RICHARD GARDNER: A SELF-MADE MAN, by Judith M. Simon. Richard A. Gardner is one of the most popular child psychiatrists in the country.  He has written scores of books, lectured internationally, served as an expert witness in numerous child custody disputes, and is regularly quoted in the press.  Soon, his authority will be formally acknowledged in what he has called a companion volume to the DSM-IV…

clip_image010||||| PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME: GETTING IT WRONG IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES, by Prof. Carol Bruch. The definitive article everyone wants to read on the so-called "parental alienation syndrome" and its misuse in child custody cases. Originally published in the Fall 2001 issue of the ABA Family Law Quarterly.

||||| PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME AND ALIENATED CHILDREN — GETTING IT WRONG IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES, by Prof. Carol Bruch. Originally published at 14 Child and Family Law Quarterly 381 (2002). Additional, English authorities. In particular, see pp. 390-392.

||||| COMPULSIVE TREE PLANTING SYNDROME, liznotes  Around July 8, 1999, Richard A. Gardner, M.D. put up awebpage entitled "MISPERCEPTIONS VERSUS FACTS ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF RICHARD A. GARDNER, M.D."  Some of his responses to the questions ("misperceptions") which he himself apparently wrote, leave a little to be desired… and so this time liz responds directly.

clip_image011||||| LIZ ON PAS, liznotes "One of the biggest reasons PAS has become so well-accepted is precisely because it relies on the observation of COMMON, however mean, insecure and obnoxious, NORMAL behaviors (‘symptoms’) that EVERYONE has seen, that nearly EVERYONE has done at one time or another (it’s only a matter of degree), and as to which nearly EVERYONE can say, why yes, yes, that’s so true!  I’ve SEEN it…"


||||| ARE FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME CLAIMS EMPIRICALLY BASED? by Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP, and other recommended articlesclip_image012

||||| FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME FOUNDATION: A REMEDY FOR A NONEXISTENT PROBLEM, by Judith M. Simon. |||||ALTERNATE URL False Memory Sundrome (FMS) purportedly arises from "recovered memory therapy," a theoretical practice said to be capable of creating memories of childhood sexual abuse in psychotherapy patients. The "diagnosis" of FMS was introduced in 1992 by Pamela Freyd… and her husband Peter… after their daughter… privately confronted them with memories of incest perpetrated by her father…"

||||| FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME, by Juliette Cutler Page, and more…

||||| GROUND LOST: The False Memory-Recovered Memory Therapy Debate, by Alan W. Scheflin, Prof. of Law. The recovered memory debate has been the most acrimonious, vicious and hurtful internal controversy in the history of modern psychiatry… the term recovered memory is used exclusively as a pejorative. In fact, by definitio
n, every memory is recovered. Furthermore, there are no known schools of recovered memory, no conferences on how to practice recovered memory therapy, nor are there any textbooks on the topic. The term was a clever rhetorical invention and, as such, it has even fooled many otherwise cautious scientists.

||||| "LOST IN A SHOPPING MALL" — A Breach of Professional Ethics, by Lynn S. Crook and Martha C. Dean.  The "lost in a shopping mall" study has been cited to support claims that psychotherapists can implant memories of false autobiographical information of childhood trauma in their patients.  An analysis of the mall study shows that beyond the external misrepresentations, internal scientific methodological errors cast doubt on the validity of the claims that have been attributed to the mall study within scholarly and legal arenas.



||||| ARE PSYCHOLOGISTS HIDING EVIDENCE? by Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D., and John C. Courtney, Psy.D.  "A growing problem… is the unwillingness of some psychologists to disclose their tests and test data to attorneys wishing to depose or cross-examine them." Article lays out a convincing argument against this position.


||||| CONFRONTING THE UNETHICAL FORENSIC COLLEAGUE, by Brodsky and McKinzey. Brodsky, S. L. & McKinzey, R. K., (2002). The Ethical Confrontation of the Unethical Forensic Colleague. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 33, 307-309. "In the course of clinical and forensic work, psychologists sometimes discover serious weaknesses in knowledge, performance, or ethics in other psychologists’ work. The APA ethical code mandates confronting such a psychologist prior to making a professional complaint. This mandatory confrontation typically is omitted because of a sense of awkwardness or a fear of insulting the other psychologist. Education and training in psychology does not cover this sensitive and important area. In this article, we suggest sample templates for an exchange of letters to meet that ethical requirement and to begin to resolve problem behaviors by colleagues."

||||| CURING THE THERAPEUTIC STATE, by Thomas Szasz. The medicalization of American life.

||||| PSYCHOLOGY ETHICS: Articles, reprints, research, and resources online written or collected by Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., and other recommended articles

||||| PSYCHOLOGY ETHICS: Rorschach and Forensics, by J. M. Wood et al. Wood, J. M., Nezworski, M. T., Stejskal, W. J. & McKinzey, R. K., (2001). Problems of the Comprehensive System for the Rorschach in Forensic Settings: Recent Developments. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 1 (3) 89-103. "The Comprehensive System for the Rorschach is currently the subject of heated controversy among psychologists. Much "common knowledge" about the test is either incorrect or in dispute. Psychologists who use the Rorschach in forensic settings can often be successfully challenged by well-informed attorneys and may risk becoming the subject of ethics complaints. This article identifies seven issues that are particularly relevant to use of the Comprehensive System for the Rorschach in forensic psychology."clip_image014

||||| REEVALUATING THE EVALUATORS: Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts

||||| RETALIATION AGAINST PROFESSIONALS WHO REPORT ABUSE, by Katharine Hine, Esq. Since before the time of Freud, professionals who report child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, have been subjected to various forms of retaliation. Although the 1970s produced federal and state legislation providing ostensible immunity to those who report child abuse, strong disincentives to reporting persist and new ones have emerged.



clip_image015||||| CIRCUMCISION, a Jewish Feminist Perspective, by Miriam Pollack."…the so-called hygienic arguments for circumcision still persuade millions of secular Jews and non-Jews to circumcise their baby boys despite the statement made by the American Academy of Pediatrics that "there is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn" (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1975). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists followed with a similar statement in 1978 (American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1983). The desperate arguments for circumcision include prevention of penile and cervical cancer, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Let’s examine these, one at a time…"

||||| CIRCUMCISION: A Source of Jewish Pain, by Ronald Goldman. "…Currently, circumcision is not universal among Jews either inside or outside the United States. The Circumcision Resource Center, a nonprofit educational organization, knows of hundreds of Jews in Europe, South America, and in the United States who either have not or would not circumcise a son. Even in Israel some Jews do not circumcise, and there is an organization that publicly opposes circumcision.3 The purpose of this article is to coherently explain a few of the contemporary reasons for the increasing doubts some Jews have about circumcision. Then I will apply Torah law and Jewish values to these reasons…"

||||| "If a woman is made to distrust her most basic instinct to protect her newborn child, what feelings can she ever trust?"

"My tiny son and I sobbed our hearts out… After everything I’d worked for, carrying and nurturing Joseph in the womb, having him at home against no small odds, keeping him by my side constantly since birth, nursing him whenever he needed closeness and nourishment — the circumcision was a horrible violation of all I felt we shared. I cried for days afterward."

"I have never heard such screams… Will I ever know what scars this brings to your soul?… What is that new look I see in your eyes? I can see pain, a certain sadness, and a loss of trust."

clip_image016||||| CIRCUMCISION – noharmm

||||| THE CASE AGAINST CIRCUMCISION, by Paul M. Fleiss, M.D. — also here.


||||| THE CIRCUMCISION PROBLEM, by James L. Snyder, M.D., F.A.C.S.

||||| CIRCUMCISION AND STDs, by P. M. Fleiss, F. M. Hodges, and R. S. Van Howe."Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity… In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision."

clip_image017||||| GENDER, SEXUAL AMBIGUITY, TRANSGENDERISM, by Prof. Lynn Conway. An excellent place to being to understand issues involving gender identity, intersexuality, transsexualism, more. Numerous links within the text. Touches on abusive sex assignment surgery in infants and young children, debunking John Money’s theories of gender as being purely socialization, and does a nice job of explaining the differences between homosexuality and gender identity, transvestism and transsexualism, although winds up focusing heavily on the adult issues of male-to-female transsexualism. Recommended for parents of adolescents who may be struggling with gender and sexual identity issues, or of intersexed infants and children who are grappling with conflicting advice regarding "fixing" their child’s gender with surgery. Also see The Intersex Society of North America on the issue of abusive sexual reassignment surgery in children.

||||| ADDICTED TO HATE, by J. M. Bell. The shocking expose of the Westboro Baptist Church, Inc.


clip_image018||||| A META-ANALYSIS OF THE PUBLISHED RESEARCH on the Psychological Effects of Nonmaternal Care, by Claudio Violato, Ph.D. and Clare Russell, Ph.D.

||||| THE PROBLEM WITH DAYCARE, by Karl Zinsmeister "There is no easy way, public or private, to buy for individual children the kind of loving concern that has never been for sale."

||||| TELEVISION AND CHILDREN’S MINDS, by Susan R. Johnson, M.D.
"As a mother and a pediatrician who completed both a three-year residency in Pediatrics and a three-year subspecialty fellowship in Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, I started to wonder: ‘What are we doing to our children’s growth and learning potential by allowing them to watch television and videos as well as spend endless hours playing computer games?’



||||| THE CRUEL EDGE, by Prof. Robert Jensen. What’s wrong with pornography, and why it’s a problem.

clip_image019||||| TALKIN’ TRASH, by Linnea Smith, M.D.

||||| NUDIST HALL OF SHAME, by Nikki Craft


clip_image020clip_image021||||| ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION

||||| AMERICA’S SCHOOLCHILDREN TREATED LIKE LAB RATS, by John W. Whitehead "In almost every state across the nation, schoolchildren are being subjected to behavioral exams and mental health tests, often without their parents’ knowledge or consent… One such program is the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). Currently used in at least 45 states, the YRBSS test takes approximately 35 minutes to complete, with questions on everything from how much television the student watches to thoughts on suicide, sexual activity and drug use. For example, the 2007 middle school questionnaire includes such questions as: "Have you ever seriously thought about killing yourself?" … "The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?"…[C]ritics of these risk assessment tests insist that they’re aimed at pushing antidepressant drugs…"

clip_image022 clip_image023

                        WORTH A LOOK:


clip_image026 clip_image027
Vaccine Injured Children

clip_image014[1] clip_image028

clip_image029There are some "researchers" around these days raising the question of whether adult-child incest et al. is truly "harmful," or whether much of the "psychosocial effects" attributable to it are because of laws, policies, strategies and social responses making this "experience" shameful and a trigger for consequent (but ostensibly unnecessary) negative repercussions (like the perp is thrown in jail, mom gets divorced from dad, etc. etc.) These researchers offer information to the effect that there are lots of "alleged former victims" who seem to be rather successful and well adjusted in their young adulthood, and notably among them, a significant portion of "alleged former victims" who didn’t "disclose" prior to, in college or something, getting the researchers’ research questionaire.

If we discovered through "research" that a significant majority of college students who had broken bones in childhood suffered no obvious long-term effects from it, would that then make it okay for adults to sock a kid on occasion and break a few ribs?

Child abuse does often cause lasting detrimental effects, but that doesn’t mean if there aren’t (obviously discernable) lasting effects, it wasn’t "abuse"!

Some real studies on the effects of child abuse are listed below:

Anda RF, Croft JB, Felitti VJ, et al. Adverse childhood experiences and smoking during adolescence and adulthood. JAMA 1999 Nov 3;282(17):1652-8.

Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Chapman DP, et al. Abused boys, battered mothers, and male involvement in teen pregnancy. Pediatrics 2001 Feb;107(2):E19.

Dietz PM, Spitz AM, Anda RF, et al. Unintended pregnancy among adult women exposed to abuse or household dysfunction during their childhood. JAMA 1999 Oct 13;282(14):1359-64.

Dube SR, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, et al. Adverse childhood experiences and personal alcohol abuse as an adult. Addict Behav. In press 2002.

Dube SR, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, et al. Childhood Abuse, Household dysfunction, and the risk of attempted suicide throughout the life span. Findings from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. JAMA 2001;286:3089-3096.

Dube SR, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, et al. Exposure to abuse, neglect and household dysfunction among adults who witnessed intimate partner violence as children: implications for integrated health and social services.

Edwards VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg DF, et al. Bias assessment for child abuse survey: factors affecting probability of response to a survey about childhood abuse. Child Abuse Negl 2001 Feb;25(2):307-12.

Edwards VJ, Fivush R, Anda R
F, et al. Autobiographical memory disturbances in childhood abuse survivors. In: Freyd JJ, DePrince AP, editors. Trauma and cognitive science: a meeting of minds, science, and human experience. Binghamton (NY): Haworth Press; 2001. Published simultaneously as a single-topic issue of J Aggression Maltreatment Trauma Vol 4(2), No. 8.

Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg D, et al. Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Am J Prev Med 1998 May;14(4):245-58.

Foege WH. Adverse childhood experiences: A public health perspective. Am J Prev Med 1998 May;14(4):354-5.

Hillis SD, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, et al. Adverse childhood experiences and sexually transmitted diseases in men and women: a retrospective study. Pediatrics 2000 Jul;106(1):E11.

Weiss MJ, Wagner SH. What explains the negative consequences of adverse childhood experiences on adult health? Insights from cognitive and neuroscience research. Am J Prev Med 1998 May;14(4):356-60.

The Fine Art of Institutional Grooming

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on April 27, 2010

    A very awesome article From: Australian Shared Parenting Law Debate

    Institutional Grooming Defined and Explained

    A lot of people will have heard of the term "grooming", but most will think of the term only as it is used in the context of child sexual abuse. What many people do not consider, is that grooming is an art that is practiced by most perpetrators of any kind of abuse, and, I believe, particularly by perpetrators of family violence.

    It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). The grooming of doctors, nurses, mental health carers, family support workers and other public servants is called "Institutional Grooming" and the perpetrator does it for the purpose of self-preservation.

    The targets of Institutional Groomers may include their victim’s General Practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, child health nurse, pediatrician, carers at a Family Day Care Facility, school teachers, counselors or therapists. The public servants targeted may be social workers, case workers, investigative officers or police officers employed by government departments such as the Department For Child Protection, the Police’s Family Protection Unit and the Department for Community Development. When done with enough finesse to be successful, institutional grooming ensures that any complaints alleged about the perpetrator are either disregarded outright, doubted and therefore not investigated thoroughly, or if acted upon, subsequently dismissed in a court of law.

    Why would a perpetrator go to such lengths to manipulate people other than their victims? Because when their victims, the victims’ family and friends, and the public service networks intended to support their victims are groomed successfully, the investment of all that hard work does not go to waste – the victims are then still available to continue to abuse.

    Some Thought Provoking Insights into a Victim’s Reality

    The scary thing about successful institutional grooming is that it substantially increases the harm done to the victims, not only because the abuse they face continues for longer, but because they lose their trust and faith in the world around them, in their family and friends, in the professional people who are meant to protect them, and most tragically, in themselves.

    The things that are said and done to hurt and manipulate a victim only occur behind closed doors, and it can be very hard to remember exactly what was said or done, where, in which order and at what time, when your world feels like it is caving in. An abuser will jump on this uncertainty to highlight a victim’s supposed insanity or make them seem dishonest, and to shift the focus away from his/her own appalling behavior.

    Once a victim’s memories of the abuse, the words said, things done and feelings felt during that abuse, have been twisted and distorted to deny, justify or excuse that abuse, one can understand why the victim begins to feel unsure about what really happened. Combine this with the common symptoms of complete and partial memory blocking and/or memory substitution in victims suffering from even mild cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one can see how it can all combine to compound a victim’s confusion and distress, and deter them from objecting or trying to report it the next time it happens. One can also see how these factors can pervert the course of Justice.

    Grooming by Perpetrators of Family Violence and Child Abuse

    In the context of family violence, institutional grooming is done to discredit the non- perpetrating parent (who is often also a victim), and the effects of successful institutional grooming in these circumstances are almost always tragic. In best case scenarios, it can ensure debilitating emotional trauma and devastating long term consequences as the perpetrator is free to continue their abuse of both the child(ren) and the abused parent. In worst case scenarios, the results can be overwhelming, and may include horrific physical abuse, soul destroying sexual abuse or even premature death of the victim(s). The death of such victim(s) may be due to suicide, manslaughter, murder-suicide or violent murder. The most prevalent and obvious consequence however, is once again perversion of the course of Justice, and the undeniable failure of the Legal System’s purpose.

    Damned If You Do & Damned If You Don’t

    For clarification, consider this generalized example: If a mother seeks help with protecting her children in a situation where emotional and physical abuse of both herself and her children has already occurred, and/or where there has been inappropriate sexual talk and behavior in front of her children (that may or may not be sexual grooming), and the children have displayed signs that indicate possible sexual abuse (that may or may not have happened, and may or may not happen in the future), but where the perpetrator is skilled at the art of institutional grooming, that mother will often then be subjected to accusations of parental alienation and of perpetuating feelings of fear in her children. Instead of being taken seriously, she finds herself having to defend her actions and her parenting skills, and sometimes may even find herself being the one accused of abusing her children.

    If she seeks legal advice, she is advised not to make an application to the Family Court because it is likely that any application will result in 50/50 shared care of the kids. Further more, she is informed that under current Family Law, if she makes any allegations of abuse that cannot be proven, she risks being found guilty of parental alienation and quite possibly faces losing her children to the perpetrator in the likely event that interim orders would award him full residency, and allow her only a couple of hours of supervised contact per fortnight, while her children are sent to live with their alleged abuser. She may also be required to pay the legal costs for both parties.

    On the other hand, if she does not do anything about seeking help from the authorities, either because she has circumstantial evidence but no substantiated proof, and no other witnesses to testify on her behalf (her own testimony would be considered hearsay, and therefore discounted), or perhaps because she has been doubted and/or counter-accused before, then at some point in the future she may find herself being found guilty of neglecting her duty of care to her children, and face the prospect of losing her kids to foster care.

    What Justice?

    While I have no doubt that there are indeed parents out there who do not put the best interests of their children first, and who are in fact guilty of alienating their children against the other parent and perhaps even of fabricating false allegations of abuse, whether for revenge or some other reason, surely they must be the minority? Wouldn’t the majority of parents want to put their kids first?

    Further more, I ask this question: What about the mother who, in spite of her own abuse, subjugation and degradation, somehow finds the strength to trust her own intuition, and manages to intervene before her children become the victims of more serious physical abuse or devastating sexual abuse. Instead of being supported and respected for the strength she has shown in the face of her adversity, she is instead victimized, subdued and humiliated to an even greater extent. Where is the justice for mothers such as she? Instead she becomes a victim of the system, and so do her children. What happened t
    o breaking the Cycle of Abuse?

    A Society-Sized Cycle?

    Has anybody even stopped to think that perhaps the term "cycle of abuse" now describes a far greater cycle of perpetual dysfunction than simply the personal relationships between perpetrators and their victims, a cycle that in fact occurs and continues on a much larger scale – one that encompasses modern society as a whole? I mean, who is more likely to be a liar? A victim or their perpetrator?

    Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases, what would a victim get out of being a liar? Any parent who has suffered as a victim of family violence, then chosen to speak out against their family’s abuser, and then been consistent in their commitment to the ongoing and endless process of attending appointments with social workers, lawyers, medical professionals, psychologists, counselors, art therapy and group therapy sessions (for both themselves and their children), would agree that the financial costs, physical energy requirements, mental strain and emotional drain of post traumatic abuse times could simply not be worth it.

    Proactive parents who choose to engage in such an involved process, due to their genuine desire to heal their family’s wounds, to protect their children from further harm, and to ensure a positive, healthy change in their life circumstances, will have often maintained such efforts for months before the matter is brought before the court, and they will have to maintain their efforts for many months or even years after the court makes final orders, even if orders are reasonably suitable.

    In stark contrast, perpetrators who engage in such therapy will almost always only do so after being questioned about allegations of abuse, or in the weeks and days leading up to a court hearing. They only do so to preserve their false reputations, and their energetic last minute efforts will seldom last more than a few weeks past the need to be seen as the "poor victim" of a "vengeful" or "jealous" partner, rather than be exposed as the selfish, unrepentant perpetrators of abuse that they are.

    Morality and Proactive Logic versus Passive Ignorance

    I think that the Family Law Courts and some government departments are missing the whole point of what is in the best interests of the child. I am not saying that a perpetrator should be guilty until proven innocent, or punished without sufficient proof, but what is wrong with protecting our kids BEFORE they become victims? Why should the only evidence taken seriously enough to warrant supervised contact be substantiated proof of past abuse? Surely prevention is better than a cure?

    They cannot say that the cost of supervised contact would be too great if they compare it to the long term costs of abuse to our society, considering how many victims of child abuse go on to have life long psychological problems, alcohol and other substance abuse issues, often grow up to become abusers themselves, or in some cases resort to suicide.

    Considerations of a Responsible Government

    The purpose of Family Law should be the protection of our children, who are not yet capable of making their own choices, rather than any irrationally perceived justice for those adults who have chosen not to take responsibility for the destructive effects of their abusive behavior, or the unjust persecution of those adults who are trying to shoulder responsibility for both their own and the abusive parents actions, by trying to fight a losing battle that must be fought if they are to honor the duty of care they have to their children.

    It is essential that any reforms implemented as a result of the review of the 2006 Family Law Amendments (and any future changes) ensure there are no violations of the first and foremost Rights of our Children – their right to be protected from harm, and to live with out fear, in the warm, safe embrace of unconditional love.

    Surely the Government can see the necessity of making well informed decisions regarding the specifics of any changes. Hopefully those responsible for making these decisions will question the effectiveness of a Justice System that only takes into account substantiated proof (scientific fact?) when making judgments that are guided by Laws which have been based on inductively reasoned generalizations drawn from the observation of limited numbers of specific instances (philosophical opinion?). Even the existence of the many heated debates over Australian Shared Parenting Laws highlights the fact that those generalizations were a misrepresentation of the prevailing truth.

    The Laws that govern the Family Court System need to be decided by using deductive reasoning to draw valid, logical conclusions from the overwhelmingly substantial amount of relevant empirical evidence available, and most people would agree that those facts can be easily found in the historically prevalent and devastating long term effects observed in children who have witnessed and/or experienced any kind of abuse.

    The proven reliability of empirical knowledge obtained by making specific, logical and valid deductions based on vast numbers of instances that demonstrate very clear and consistent long term trends is surely what is required to ensure that the changes made to Family Laws are effective. It is essential that once amended, Family Laws consistently achieve their purpose of effectively guiding judgments in those cases where in there is a need to protect children from a risk of probable future abuse but where most often there is no proof other than circumstantial evidence, victim testimony and professional opinion based on hearsay. It is the only viable path to follow if we are to build a Family Law System in which Justice will actually serve in the best interests of the child.

    Once all that is achieved, time will confirm the truth and future generations will prosper from the positive, healthy, and wide spread evolution of our society. Their enlightenment will ensure that the wondrous gift of human morality will finally manifest in every aspect of society, propelling mankind into the peaceful bliss of a Golden Age filled with warmth, love and Light!

    Posted by Audrey at 3:32 AM

    Labels: best interests of the child, Child Abuse, cycle of abuse, domestic violence, entrenched conflict, institutional grooming, protecting our kids, supervised contact

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