Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Psycho expert in Jackson case

Yesterday had expert testimony in the Michael Jackson case:
The expert, Anthony J. Urquiza, who runs a medical and mental health treatment center for abused children in Sacramento, provided a portrait of a child sexual abuse victim that seemed intended to bolster the prosecution's case by explaining why such a victim might lie and not immediately disclose such incidents.

Dr. Urquiza cited research on what he called the "child sexual assault accommodation syndrome," in which the victim is enticed into sexual activity by threats or favors and is warned of dire consequences if he discloses it. The child feels helpless and learns to cope with the abuse because the child believes there is no alternative to acquiescence and silence, he said.

Abused children, particularly boys, Dr. Urquiza said, often become aggressive and lie about the abuse to cover their shame. Mr. Jackson's accuser admitted on the witness stand last week that he had had discipline problems at school and had denied to the authorities that he had been molested.

If the child eventually does disclose the sexual abuse, the information often comes late and in a piecemeal and at times unconvincing fashion, Dr. Urquiza said.

Mr. Mesereau, in cross-examining the witness, repeatedly raised the possibility that a child could be lying about sexual abuse either in retaliation or to win money in a court case. Dr. Urquiza said he had little experience with such cases. He said that most false claims of abuse arose from divorce and custody disputes.
Having seen court-appointed psychologists who are incompetent kooks, I am very skeptical of such testimony. The accuser gives conflicting accounts of what happens, and a supposed expert tries to say what is true and what is not?! I don't think the expert knows any better than anyone else.

Essentially the expert's argument is that kids (claiming abuse) frequently lie, that most of the lies occur in custody disputes, that the Jackson case is not a custody dispute, and therefore the accuser was telling the truth when he said that abuse occurred, and lying when he said that no abuse happened.

I don't buy it. I think that Jackson is going to get acquitted.

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