Thursday, April 07, 2005

Speaking of Junk Science...

"Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome," or CSAAS, is a prosecutor's new best friend:

According to CSAAS experts, not reporting abuse is thus consistent with suffering from child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. So is bad behavior, trouble in school, the failure to tell an accurate story, and even the recantation of the entire allegation of abuse. In other words, every criterion usually used by the defense to discredit a witness is actually transubstantiated into evidence that is perfectly consistent with abuse.

And here's the genius: Not exhibiting these signs of CSAAS doesn't mean a child wasn't abused—just that he or she didn't get the syndrome. In other words, a noncredible witness is suffering from the syndrome, but a credible one is merely a credible witness who was legitimately abused.

CSAAS is a prosecutorial silver bullet and a fabricator's best friend. Every mistake you make is consistent with it; every mistake you don't make further confirms your credibility. No wonder prosecutors rely on it to bolster disintegrating cases. By making credibility tautological, CSAAS makes it nearly impossible to present a defense or attack an incredible witness.


Not that California courts needed CSAAS to engage in previous witch hunts, of course. But every little bit helps.

And, before anyone jumps in, I don't think that prosecuting Michael Jackson is a witch hunt. I do think that nefarious legal tactics trickle down and hurt most those least able to defend themselves. And I am sure we can all think of unpopular groups of people who are most vulnerable through their children.

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