Sunday, January 24, 2010


I want to go over the January 15, 2010 Opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the case of Paul Shanley, former priest accused of assorted sexual charges against male youngsters, in which recovered or repressed memories played a great part.

The text of the Opinion is here.

The first point to make is that the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is only dealing with the points raised by Shanley in his Appeal, and is not engaged in a wholesale review of ‘recovered memory’ (also known as ‘repressed memory’ and connected closely with the formal psychiatric diagnostic term “dissociative amnesia”).

That being said, there is a lot here and it offers significant instruction to the concerned reader.

The SJC rejected Shanley’s appeal of his conviction.

To recall the essentials of the original matter: in February of 2005, Shanley was convicted of two indictments charging rape of a child and two indictments charging indecent assault and battery on a person under the age of fourteen. These acts occurred between 1983 and 1989 when the victim, between the ages of about 5 and 11, was attending church education classes at the parish where Shanley was serving as a priest.

The accuser (call it a personal tic, but I prefer not to use “victim”), a former Air Force police officer and now a local fire fighter, testified that he did not remember being abused until more than twenty years later, sometime after January 2, 2002 when his girlfriend called him at his post in the Southwest to tell him that one or several school acquaintances of his had just remembered being raped by Shanley, following the first articles in the ‘Boston Globe’.

As the Opinion succinctly puts it: “The victim’s testimony about what he remembered of that abuse constituted the core of the evidence against the defendant at trial”.

Shanley’s Appeal raised four points, only two of which are of significant concern to the SO community, as far as I can make out: that the trial judge erred in allowing testimony related to “repressed memory” and that the prosecutor made improper arguments during her closing.

I’ll focus on those aspects of the Opinion, although I will also discuss some of the Footnotes to the Opinion, which hold a few nuggets themselves.

In recounting the evidence presented at the original trial, the SJC reveals the problems that often arise in this type of case: “the Commonwealth’s case included the testimony of the victim as to his memory of the abuse; the testimony of witnesses who observed the victim during the period of time when he claims he recovered the memory; the testimony of an expert witness on dissociative amnesia and recovered memory; and the testimony of individuals who could corroborate that the victim both attended classes during the period of time he said he was abused and occasionally left those classes for behavioral reasons”. [italics mine]

As you can see, there is precious little solid to go on, and much that is widely open to – ummm – alternative explanations. Thus, the testimony of repressed memory is about as close as the modern era can come to the old Medieval ‘spectral evidence’, visible only to the one who reports it and it must either be taken on faith or rejected, since nobody else can see or otherwise examine the evidence.

Ditto, friends and relatives who testify as to how the defendant behaved after suddenly remembering may simply be an innocent – or collusive – audience at a play put on by the sudden-rememberer: there’s really no way to know if their testimony is of much use, since the core non-provability of the ‘memory’ may also corrupt the witnesses to the effects of the reputed memory.

Those who testified that the accuser attended classes simply establish his presence at a certain time and place.

I’ll talk about the experts a little later on in this Post.

Again, nicely if inadvertently, the SJC states that “setting aside the victim’s testimony regarding the alleged sexual abuse, and the testimony of the Commonwealth’s expert, the jury could have found the following facts” … that the defendant was stationed at such and such a parish as a priest during the years the accuser was a student; that the defendant would often check on the students in their Sunday religion classes; and that the students in the classes ranged from age six to fourteen. And those are the facts. Beyond that … well, you’ll see.

Born in 1977, the accuser had what used to be called a ‘broken family’ (now more or less considered as just part of the new-normal adventure of growing up). He was notable as part of number of children who “became quite boisterous” in class; the accuser and two of his friends were particularly notable for this deficiency, which required their being sent out of class and disciplined “often”. Occasionally, such admonishment fell to the defendant, quite in keeping with his overall responsibilities.

It was on January 31, 2002 that the accuser – stationed in the Southwest – received a phone call from his girlfriend telling him about the accusations made against the defendant, to which, the Opinion notes, the accuser made the immediate response “That’s weird, everyone liked him”.

Following the conversation, the accuser got onto the internet and did some serious looking around, and began remembering that he was taken out of classes, but nothing else.

But on February 11, 2002, the girlfriend again called to report that one of his old pals had made an allegation of abuse against the defendant. With stunning straight-face dryness, the Opinion then states that “the victim had a strong emotional and physical reaction to this news” and that “shortly after this conversation, the victim contacted his flight chief and said that he was not coming to work”.

The Opinion then notes that on the same day the accuser did not go to his duty assignment, he also called the old pal who had made the allegations [whose case the Commonwealth, at the last minute, would decide not to bring to trial]. The Opinion continues drily: “Then early the next morning, the accuser contacted a personal injury attorney, with whom he later entered into a fee agreement” [this means that the attorney would take the case for a percentage – usually around a third – of any monies achieved]. And then the accuser went to see the base psychiatrist where – rather remarkably – “he stayed … for ten or twelve hours and felt awful, confused, and sick”. [italics mine]

This is all remarkable. The timing and the clearly rational eye to financial gain are glaring; and in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM for short; a Fifth is in the works) it is specifically stated that “malingered [nice professional word for ‘faked’] amnesia is more common in individuals proceeding with acute, florid symptoms in a context where potential secondary gain is evident” – all of which would appear to apply here.

After a trip back home in the middle of February, the accuser went back and got himself an honorable discharge (not so hard to do nowadays) and never worked at his police job again, returning to Massachusetts to live with his girlfriend. He received a half-million dollar out-of-court settlement from the Archdiocese back in the days when they were settling in lieu of trying to defend their priests.

Things are not substantially improved as the Opinion gets to the actual sexual abuse allegations: the accuser testified based on memories he recovered after learning of the allegations made by others.

The Commonwealth’s main expert was a Dr. Chu, an expert in the recently-erected malady termed Dissociative Amnesia, who was not asked to diagnose the accuser (the accuser was never actually diagnosed by anybody as having it!) but rather “to assist the jury in determining the credibility of the victim’s testimony, that he had recovered memories nearly twenty years after the abuse, and their consequent reliability”.

Chu first pointed out that Dissociative Amnesia (popularly known as recovered or repressed memory) is in the DSM itself – and this I think is the key to the Court’s rejection of Shanley’s ‘recovered memory’ point: no Court – no matter how hard it had to work at keeping a straight face – could reject the legitimacy of a malady that the professional psychiatric-psychological community had placed in its official diagnostic manual. And this, I think is the heart of the problem with the use of ‘recovered memory’ in the courtroom context: the medical community has already undermined any rational objections to this hugely contested and on-its-very-face dubious theory by trying to keep the peace in its own house by letting the thing into its master diagnostic manual in the first place.

Yes, the 1994 edition of the Manual itself (pp.478-481) goes to credible length to note that the recent “increase has been subject to very different interpretations [italics mine] : some believe that the greater awareness of the diagnosis among mental health professionals [a very large and uneven group, covering a range from psychiatrists to assorted ‘therapists’] has resulted in the identification of cases that were previously undiagnosed” but that “in contrast, others believe that the syndrome has been over-diagnosed” [ it had originally been associated with combat experience and natural disasters and only as the sexual-abuse mania started was it suddenly applied to those “survivors”]. Individuals might well, the Manual notes, be “highly suggestible”, a polite way of saying that assorted unhappy folks could be convinced by therapists that they were suffering from it.

Later on in the Section (p.480) , the Manual warns about Malingering, that nice term for faking it; with spectral evidence, and symptoms that can only be accepted but cannot be directly examined – thus increasing the possibility that they can be faked, such a gambit is a very significant possibility.

The Manual also takes pains to note directly that this diagnosis is “especially difficult to assess in preadolescent children” because it may be confused with a host of other possible problems.

In discussing the Course of the malady, the Manual uses examples of soldiers in combat. In all cases, “care must be exercised in evaluating the accuracy of retrieved memories, because the informants are often highly suggestible”.

Then the Manual gets a little more specific about sexual abuse memories (p.480): “There has been considerable controversy [italics mine] related to reported physical or sexual abuse, particularly when abuse is alleged to have occurred during early childhood. Some clinicians believe that there has been an underreporting of such events … however other clinicians are concerned that there may be overreporting, particularly given the unreliability of childhood memories”. And then the Manual says outright that “there is currently no method for establishing with certainty the accuracy of such retrieved memories in the absence of corroborative evidence” (pp.480-1)[italics mine].

Which is not a problem that is ever going to be solved, because there is no way to ‘see’ a memory inside another person’s head, except in Star Fleet medical scenarios, or the Vulcan mind-meld. (Although I seem to recall that Dumbledore recently displayed some technology that enables a memory to be encapsulated in a liquid, then made visible if the vial is emptied into a certain type of bowl – but I’m no expert on things Hogwart.)

As you can see, while the clinical community covered its own bases by acknowledging that there is significant controversy among the professionals themselves, the very fact that this thing was allowed into the Manual creates a massive difficulty when attempting to raise rational objections in court.

Worse, then, has been the extension of this combat-and-natural-disaster malady to sexual abuse, where you get scenarios so obviously similar to the ‘spectral evidence’ of the Witchcraft Trial era that you ask yourself if the country’s jurisprudence hasn’t taken a huge step backwards to the 17th century. I think it has. Nor do I think it can reasonably be characterized as either ‘progress’ or ‘reform’.

And one criminal defense website makes note that ‘recovered memory’ is now not only a ‘diagnosis’ but a ‘prosecutorial strategy’: it constitutes what is politely called the prosecution’s ‘theory of the case’, meaning that this is how the prosecution thinks that their charges are reasonably possible. So whereas 20 or more years ago the prosecution could never come into court with a sex case and claim that their main or only proof is a ‘memory’ that the accuser suddenly discovered s/he had after a period of umpty years, now it is possible to do it with a straight face and courts will – thanks to the DSM inclusion – have to accept that the theory is at least possible. Such are the dangerous consequences generated by mania science upon mania law.

Further “Dr. Chu identified the ways in which a clinician would go about testing the validity of a memory recovered many years later, including determining whether a person's life changed abruptly at a certain time, whether the person has had the ability to begin and maintain interpersonal relationships, and whether the narrative of the person's life is believable and reasonable”. But as even the Court’s straight-faced recounting of the accuser’s personal history indicates, he had quite a few issues and difficulties very early on and it would be a verrrry difficult thing to figure what was caused by alleged abuse and what was already there.

And then “Dr. Chu acknowledged that it was possible for a new memory to be created in some people that has no basis in reality. He gave common examples of this phenomenon on a minor scale, but explained that there was "probably only a very small minority of people who are vulnerable to that kind of suggestion." As the Court here notes, the examples were “minor”, and thus didn’t reach the intensity of something like rape.

And while he’s legally accepted here as an ‘expert’, I’m not inclined to accept at face value his “probably” guesstimate as to how many folks have actually had new memories created by suggestion.

And I note that nobody – as far as the Opinion indicates – asked him for his opinion as to how many patients-accusers do that “malingering” thing; inquiring minds would like to know.

And then in conclusion “Dr. Chu concluded by estimating that dissociative amnesia occurs in approximately twenty per cent of the seriously traumatized population”. Now is this population comprised of soldiers and natural-disaster survivors, or only sexual abuse rememberers, or both?

The defense expert, Dr. Judith Loftus, explained how humans ‘remember’: we are not tape recorders or movie cameras; rather, we “construct” memories, and in that construction, mistakes are often made. There are many things that could affect the accuracy of a memory at all phases of the process: how you perceived the event as it occurred; deeply held assumptions that shape the ‘picture’ you have in your head; “the exposure to post-event information” – meaning that you may automatically adjust a memory upon hearing or reading certain information later; being confronted with leading questions … any or all of these may “distort or supplement” a memory.

She also noted that time’s passage made memories weaker and more vulnerable to “post-event contamination”. And that’s before you even get into the contamination caused by willful “malingering”.

Then she zeroed in: it’s “virtually impossible without independent corroboration” to distinguish between an accurate memory and a false one, either from inside your head or by somebody outside your head. And, as noted above, I would add that it’s never going to be possible to ‘see’ a memory from outside an individual’s head – except in Star Fleet and Hogwarts medicine.

She asserted that from all her work and research and understanding of the literature, there is “no credible scientific evidence for the idea that years of brutalization can be massively repressed”. And I’d have to agree. With the exception of those who were infants or the very elderly – whose capacity for memories is not robust in the first place, nobody in the Nazi camps seems to have forgotten that they were there. Certainly, Evolution would want to arrange it so that humans precisely DO recall the bad stuff, so they know enough to avoid it next time. (You may forget where you left your 25-foot ladder, but you never forget what happens if you fall off the top of it.)

(Think about that for a minute: a person claims in a court-case that over a period of 5 or 6 years he continually got up onto the top of a 25-foot ladder, forgot about gravity, fell off, and in each subsequent episode he had 'repressed' the memory of his prior fall ... until now, 20 years later, he wants to be reimbursed for the pain and suffering from the falls which he didn't recall until he read in a newspaper that another such person was collecting lots of money. Do We really think that there is such a mechanism for 'repressing the memory of the trauma' such that somebody could claim he had 'dissociative amnesia' and prestigious psychiatric professionals would back him up?)

So, she says, nobody in the field has come up with any mechanism that puts a traumatizing (however that is defined) memory into the unconscious, where it then resides, pristine and accurate and in one piece (as it were) until it suddenly pops back to the surface like Titanic, ready to continue on her journey to New York with the champagne still iced and the tables and chairs upright.

And she observed that there is an “inherent limitation” to any memory research and study, past, present, or future: all of it relies for its basic input information on “self reporting by patients”.

The sex-offender community will recall that it is precisely this problem that the so-called Containment Model of sex-offender management seeks to solve by using a lie-detector as part of the post-release ‘management’ regimen: a ‘managed’ sex-offender will have his reports to the parole officer and therapist (and victim advocate) subjected to a lie-detector. Alas, it’s considered bad clinical form to use a lie-detector on those asserting ‘repressed memories’, and courts don’t even trust the things enough to allow their results into evidence. But it’s the very thing to use on sex-offenders.

The Commonwealth also called a Dr. Brown as an expert. He is an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Harvard and an adjunct professor at Simmons School of Social Work, a School within the predominantly female Simmons College, who “specializes in treating patients who have been victims of trauma” – any sort of trauma, but I’m going to bet he doesn’t get as many natural-disaster survivors as he does sexual ‘survivors’. [The Opinion lists a book he has written – “Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law” – but I haven’t had a chance to look at it].

I will say that in a nutshell my take on a lot of these studies in support of ‘repressed memory’ is that they merely support the possibility of it; it’s theoretically possible, they say, although in science you then have to see if reality actually supports your theory – and few if any have been able to comprehensively ground the entire theoretical ‘memory repression and recovery’ process in actual proven facts. One study notices something in rats, another in how a person remembers or forgets under certain types of pressure, and so forth. But there is – and probably never will be because there cannot be – any study that puts it all together into a coherent, factually conformable theory.

And yet lives are being wrecked quite actually in civil and criminal litigation and sensationalist media stories, on the basis of a theory that nobody can actually prove exists. So you have a spectral theory, using spectral evidence, that has been embraced as a theoretical possibility by researchers and clinicians, but – given that very spectral-ness – has been deployed by prosecutors as a weapon against which there is almost no defense. Good grief.

Shrewdly, Dr. Brown asserts that in six surveys of “psychology professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and clinicians working with war veterans” 89% “of those surveyed accepted the validity or the possible validity of dissociative amnesia”. This says a lot less than it looks like it says. I accept the possibility that there is extra-terrestrial life in the universe, but that doesn’t mean I spend my money on home-defense and alarm systems designed to detect and fight off Martians. And all of these folks work with war veterans, whereas the CORE QUESTION in this case is whether ‘repressed memory’ and such applies to sexual abuse memories.

He acknowledges “that there is controversy surrounding the existence of dissociative amnesia and the difficulty of determining its existence in a particular individual”. How do you corroborate somebody else’s memory? How do you make a precise diagnosis in accordance with the DSM-IV (for all its description, it’s short on actual factual stuff)? How do you get around the fact that there are no known neurological or biological processes or entities in the body that could lead to dissociative amnesia? How do you tell the difference between a false memory and a lie masqueraded as a memory?

No answers to any of these. Yet the Manual has the Diagnosis in there, no judge is going to say he knows more about psychology than the psychologists and psychiatrists, and most juries (up until very recently, maybe) have been thoroughly soused by the sex-offense mania, and more particularly by the priest-sex-offense sub-variant of the mania. And the prosecutors love it, and you can see why.

So the Court has not actually validated ‘recovered memory’ – it has simply said that there are enough licensed professionals out there – and that Manual itself – that say it might exist, so that’s enough to present to a jury (thoroughly soused) and let the jury decide. This is the difficulty not only with jurisprudence in a time of mania, but also with a diagnosis with such huge theoretical and practical problems that is suddenly transferred from the academic and therapeutic forum to the legal and prosecutorial arena.

And this, the SJC Opinion asserts, even though “defense counsel utilized the DSM-IV in questioning Dr. Chu, focusing the testimony on the DSM-IV's cautionary language regarding the use of DSM-IV in forensic settings where the patient has been referred by an attorney, and in making a diagnosis of dissociative amnesia where there is ‘currently no method for establishing with certainty the accuracy of such retrieved memories in the absence of corroborative evidence’." [italics mine]

This is not a ringing judicial endorsement of the diagnosis or the theory.

And as to the prosecutor’s closing statement, this is what she said:

"[The victim] is a twenty-seven year old man. He's recently married. He has a job that he loves.... He has half a million dollars in his pocket. So why, ladies and gentlemen, did he come in here and tell you what happened to him? Why? What does your common sense tell you?

"You saw him on that stand for almost 14 hours day after day, hour after hour, he willed himself through that testimony. You saw it. What does your common sense tell you?

"He came in here and he told you what happened because that man, that defendant, that priest, raped him and molested him when he was a little boy over and over again. The defendant would have you believe it is all a lie. It's for the money; that people don't forget about things that happen to them and then later remember them....

"Was it all a lie? Was it made up? Did [the victim] come in here and just lie about it? Was it for the money? He has the money. He got the money over nine months ago. No strings attached. What did he get from coming in here? The opportunity to be on the stand? He sustained long, painful questioning, and what did he get from it? It's not about the money. Put that aside. Is it all a lie? ...

"And [an attorney] filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of [the victim], and [the victim] got a half a million dollars. True. But so what? It's all done, signed, sealed, delivered to the bank. And it's done. No more words need to be said. That's over. And it has been over for over eight months. That's what you know. That's what you know about what happened."

You can look here to get an idea of the entire gist of the accuser’s story as to how it all happened. And also on my Post on this site here.

The jury was asked to accept that a boy with some notable behavioral issues was abused, forgot it immediately, and underwent that same trauma or worse, repeatedly over the course of five years, forgetting that it happened each time and not remembering that it had ever happened to him previously, and then forgot the whole thing until he found out two decades and more later that other people were making accusations, whereupon he got a personal injury lawyer, spent a lot of time in a psychiatrist’s office, kept a journal of his feelings, got himself out of a military commitment, went home to live with his girlfriend who then became a witness to the ‘effects’ of his memories, and collected half-a-million in cash.

I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but there it is.

The prosecutor’s appeal to “common sense” is kind of remarkable. I think it is based on the shrewd perception that by that time (very early 2005, the date of the original trial) the jury was soused with the sex-offense mania and so its “common sense” would be shaped according to the tenets of the sex and priest-sex offense mania. Folks like to be flattered that they have “common sense” and the prosecutor clearly laid that flattery on with a trowel.

And part of the “common sense” of the mania is that it is insensitive to question the victim; “believe the children” was the mantra in the now thoroughly-discredited 1980s pre-school satanic-abuse ritual trials, if you recall.

What benefit would the victim derive from coming in here and lying, the prosecutor asks. After all, he already had a lot of money from his civil settlement – so what else could he be after? Well, one answer might be that he didn’t expect to be in there in a court of criminal law since he had only the money in mind when he started out – but now that the Commonwealth decided to bring the case what could he do? Say he didn’t want to testify? Say he couldn’t remember again? He was, perhaps, ‘stuck’, as they say.

And perhaps there was a psychological “secondary benefit”, as the DSM puts it: his whole messed up life and self is now explained by the fact that somebody else did it to him. The father of this accuser's friend - the one who first made an accusation but whose hugely problematic background precluded confidently putting him forth as a victim in the trial - said that precisely: “As soon as I heard about the memories, I knew it would explain everything and I was going to have all the answers”. That “everything”, Dad didn’t mean to reveal, meant his kid’s whole messed up life (and perhaps his own role as a father in causing it). That’s a pretty big benny – a sudden and complete excuse for everything you’ve ever made a mess of.

That’s my take on the text of the Opinion.

There are a some meaty points in the Footnotes (FN).

FN9 states that Dr. Chu assured everyone that a diagnosis gets into the DSM only after a "fairly rigorous process by which interested groups of people" may convene a task force or engage in field trials to test a new diagnosis of a specific syndrome. The diagnoses in the manual are subject to revision and evolve over time. The dissociative amnesia diagnosis first appeared as such in the third edition of the DSM, DSM-III”. Well, you can see something here: the process can’t be rigorously tested, clearly, since nobody except Spock and Dumbledore can ‘see’ other peoples’ memories and that’s not changing any time soon. Instead, different groups push or oppose a suggested Diagnosis, and then after a while they take a vote on it – and if there enough votes, the Diagnosis gets into the Manual. But again, after it got in through such a ‘rigorous’ process, it was applied not just to the original combat and natural-disaster sufferers, but also to those who had been sexually abused (however that is defined) back in those early 1990s when the abuse mania had reached white heat. It’s not impossible that the Diagnosis may be ‘revised out’ of the DSM – although where that would then leave persons convicted under it is one of those unlovely questions that always seep out of the underside of mania law.

FN21 states that “taken collectively, the articles further illustrated the controversy over repressed memory, that the theory was questionable because it could not be tested with scientific methods; that there was the possibility of false memories; that clinical techniques could lead to the formation of false memories; and that there was uncertainty about the neurological mechanism which caused repression”. The SJC is saying here that it acknowledges all the controversy, but that in law the only question is whether enough professionals go along with it so that a court would be imprudent not to accept their professional evaluation or opinion.

FN26 is verrrry interesting: “The defendant does not challenge on appeal the sufficiency of the evidence. We do not consider whether there could be circumstances where testimony based on the repressed or recovered memory of a victim, standing alone, would not be sufficient as a matter of law to support a conviction”. [italics mine] The SJC is saying here that it did not need to consider in this particular case the question of whether a conviction could legitimately be made only on the basis of ‘recovered memory’ testimony (although it had stated earlier in the Opinion that the accuser’s recovered memories were pretty much the whole case). But Shanley’s Appeal did not raise the point so the Court did not have to consider it. I get the impression that the SJC would not be too happy with a repressed-memory-only conviction. Although in this case, from what I can make of it, I can’t see what other evidence persuaded the jury to convict – but that’s law in a time of mania for you.

FN30 gives you a fine glimpse into prosecutorial rhetoric: in one of her arguments the prosecutor said "But, ladies and gentlemen, think about it for a minute. Hasn't it all happened to one of us: the walking down the street and you bump into someone, or you are at a high school reunion, just like Dr. Loftus said, and you see someone who you haven't seen in a long time and you start talking. And all of a sudden you remember the time that the two of you were out together and you ran out of gas and you got stranded by the side of the road, and then you got into trouble because you missed your curfew. Now, you hadn't thought about that 10, 12 years, but now you remember. Does it make it any less real that you hadn't thought about it? Does it mean that it never happened? No. Use your common sense."

So back to the “common sense” thing.

But look at her example: she compares a high-school reunion where in idle conversation with an old classmate you suddenly recall a minor point about an insignificant event that you hadn’t thought about in years. This, somehow, is supposed to be the same as remembering as if by inadvertence that you had been raped and abused serially over the course of years – years when any kid could be remembering a favorite athlete’s ‘stats’ down to the third decimal place . And the jury apparently bought it.

Well, there’s my take on the Opinion in the Shanley case.

I’d have to mention one other point. This Opinion was issued on the Friday before the Tuesday of a Special Election in Massachusetts, in which the Attorney General (a Democrat) who had brought this case was running in a hugely contested race for a US Senate seat (the President, if I am rightly informed, flew into Boston on Sunday the 17th to lend his support). Politics being what they are, I can’t help but notice the coincidence in timing.

But really, I don’t know if the Court could have decided differently. The problem is that the professional therapeutic community, through its premier national organization, had put its seal of approval on the ‘science’, and it was that placement of the Diagnosis – as grievously flawed as its theory is – into the DSM that undermined things. Perhaps one might have argued more cogently not as to the validity of ‘repressed memory’ in general but rather its validity as applied to sexual-abuse cases; but there are a lot of ‘professionals’ – especially in the lower ranges of that definition – who are happily conducting business under the aegis of this Diagnosis and its underlying theory, and I don’t know how much success you could achieve.

That’s law and science in a time of mania.

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