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
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
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
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.