Book Review: The Politics of Child Abuse By: Brad Hicks THE POLITICS OF CHILD ABUSE Paul a

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Book Review: The Politics of Child Abuse By: Brad Hicks THE POLITICS OF CHILD ABUSE Paul and Shirley Eberle, 1985 After a rave review in a recent _Whole Earth Review_ and a rave review from Lilith Aquino, I finally went out and plunked down the bucks to special- order a copy of Paul Eberle's 1985 book on what he calls "the child abuse industry", called THE POLITICS OF CHILD ABUSE. And I will add to what these noteworthies have said my own voice: READ THIS BOOK. Paul Eberle, a professional journalist, set out to write a book about the explosion of allegations of multiple sexual child abuse by strangers in a day-care setting, which began in California in 1984 with the beginning of the investigation of the McMartin Pre-School in Manhattan Beach, California-- and investigation which led to a trial which as still not, as of late December 1989, been concluded. And this is entirely in line with the predictions Eberle made in 1985: he predicted that this case would never really EVER be settled, but would still be being debated hundreds of years from now. The appeals alone may well follow us into the next century. When he started his investigation, Eberle was neutral but leaning slightly towards belief in at least some of the accusations in at least some of the cases, a position that MagickNet readers may recognize as my own over the past few years. But when Eberle began his investigations of McMartin, of the Jordan MN cases, of the various Bakersfield trials including the now-famous Pitts case which resulted in seven defendents all receiving no-parole sentences of over 100 years (one defendent something like 270 years, if I recall aright), and others came to an even more startling conclusion. Paul Eberle attempts to establish via this book that NO accuasation of sexual abuse of multiple children by non-family members has EVER been true. Actually, to be fair, he by definition only documents accusations made up through 1985. Eberle's evidence is very persusasive. In case after case, he shows that children have only made accusations after months of vigorous interrogation. As he documents thoroughly, child abuse professionals now routinely force children to accuse strangers of sexual abuse using EXACTLY the same interrogation techniques used against American prisoners in Korea, methods that are in ANY OTHER CONTEXT clearly labelled as "brainwashing." He documents that almost every single child witness who was permitted to be cross-examined by defense attorneys cheerfully admitted that the stories were lies, fed to them by child abuse professionals, their parents, by police, or by prosecutors--and points out that even when juries heard this, they have decided repeatedly to ignore the recantation and STILL find guilt. One juror, afterwards: "Well, with all the publicity we figured there must be some guilt, somewhere." Perhaps the most disturbing facet of THE POLITICS OF CHILD ABUSE is Eberle's documentation that almost every single case was built first upon a framework of greed or political gain. The McMartin case was begun by a liberal District Attorney who was being attacked for being "soft on crime" who "coincidentally" timed his announcements on the case to the day before the primary and the day before the election. In another case, a judge admitted to the defense attorney that they "had" to find his client guilty, since they'd just let one obviously guilty child molestor (a friend of the judge and a powerful city official!) go free. In another case, the charges were brought by a parent who was on the Board of the school who had just gone through a bankruptcy and who had been seen the previous day verifying the liability insurance status of the school, who "coincidentally" sued the school for tens of millions of dollars afterwards. And on a more banal but very insidious level, Eberle traces the whole phenomenon to the Mondale Act, which tied state funding for social services to the number of people accused. Equally revolting is the account of the Jordan, Minneapolis case where anyone who questioned the evidence against the first round of suspects found themselves accused and their families destroyed. And ultimately, the most horrifying aspect of the child abuse witch-hunt that Eberle writes of is that in case after case, there have been families torn apart and lives literally destroyed, and people sent to jail for life, and not just without any evidence, but in the face of evidence that they could not have been guilty of the crimes they were accused of. In case after case, judges (and even more so, newspapers) have not just ignored but suppressed all evidence which would tend to exonerate the accused. If you care at all about liberty, you should read this book. If you are a parent, or are EVER around children, you MUST read this book. If you cannot obtain it from a library, scrape up the $20.00 or so it will take to buy one. It may be the most important book you read this (or next) year.


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