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#84910 - 07/26/02 11:17 AM Abuse board member against false memories
integrator Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 107
Loc: New York
This extremely sensitive subject has entered the situation with the entrance of this lay Catholic board member in the abuse proceedings.
Member of Sex Abuse Panel Upsets Some
By ANTHONY DePALMA and LAURIE GOODSTEIN

ith memories, some from long ago, at the heart of many reports that priests committed sexual abuse, the appointment to a national lay board of a prominent psychiatrist who has crusaded against the validity of repressed memories has upset victims' groups and reignited a fierce debate among psychiatric professionals.

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The psychiatrist, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, is former chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. He has been one of the strongest critics of psychiatric therapy based on the technique that traumatic experiences, especially in young people, can be subconsciously repressed for years.

Dr. McHugh has testified on behalf of accused sexual abusers, including at least one priest, who faced the statements of adults who said they had repressed memories of molestation for years before recovering them. In one case that went as far as the Supreme Court, Dr. McHugh testified that the accusers' memories of abuse were, in fact, false.

There are few issues in psychiatry more controversial than repressed memory. Other psychiatrists who work extensively with victims say Dr. McHugh's strong positions against repressed memory and his longstanding support for the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, an organization in Philadelphia that challenges statements that support repressed memory, will add skepticism to reports of clergy abuse.

"This appointment is an insult to victims and to professionals who have worked to present balanced and scientifically and theoretically sound paradigms of trauma," said Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in New York who addressed the Roman Catholic bishops who gathered last month in Dallas to lay out a plan for dealing with the sexual-abuse scandals that have shaken the church.

"The fact," Ms. Frawley-O'Dea said, "that he was affiliated with this organization to me disqualifies him for being on this particular panel at this particular time in the history of the church."

Another therapist, Dr. Richard B. Gartner, also of New York, said Dr. McHugh's appointment to the board set up by the bishops to review the plan on sexual abuse developed in Dallas sent a negative message to victims and to church members across the United States.

"Up until now, people have not been questioning the veracity of the victims' stories," Dr. Gartner, president of the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization, said. "This reveals the mindset of how the church intends to deal with this problem."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today restated its support of Dr. McHugh and the role he will have on the panel, which is to meet for the first time next week.

"Dr. McHugh is a distinguished psychiatrist and an administrator of one of our finest universities," Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco, a spokesman for the bishops' group, said. "It seems to me that his position on the board does not relate specifically to those theories about memory. He's not going to be evaluating individual cases, but evaluating whether the dioceses are responding to the standards set out in the charter adopted in Dallas."

Dr. McHugh is one of 12 lay Catholics appointed to the board, which Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma heads. Among the other panel members named on Wednesday are Jane J. Chiles of the Catholic Health Association; Pamela D. Hayes, a lawyer and former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn; and Nicholas P. Cafardi, dean of the Duquesne University Law School.

Victims' groups criticized Mr. Cafardi's appointment, because he was counsel for the Pittsburgh Diocese for 13 years and continues to represent a number of religious orders. The victims contend that those affiliations will prevent him from acting independently of the church.

The victims' groups also criticized the bishops for not including any of their members, although a victim not affiliated with the groups was named to the board. He is Michael J. Bland, a former priest who was victimized by a priest. Mr. Bland works in the Victim Assistance Ministry of the Chicago Archdiocese.

The victims' groups were especially critical of Dr. McHugh's appointment.

"The bishops said they didn't want anyone who was part of a group," said Barbara A. Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "Yet McHugh has a history of being involved with this very controversial group."

Ms. Blaine was referring to Dr. McHugh's connection to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which Pamela and Peter Freyd established in 1992 after their daughter, Jennifer, a psychologist, had accused her father of childhood sexual abuse.

Dr. McHugh said in an interview that he was proud of his support for the foundation, which he said had helped undermine the suppressed memory movement. But he said that most cases of clergy abuse did not involve recovered memories and that he believed that his work would not get in the way of his concern for the victims of priests.

"It is possible to be against false charges of abuse and to believe that true charges of abuse are deplorable, a crime, and ought to be done away with," he said.

Although he has testified on behalf of people accused of abuse, Dr. McHugh said, he will be able to look out adequately for the interests of the victims of priests who come forward. He has served on a lay board of the Baltimore Archdiocese that reviews child sexual abuse cases.

Dr. McHugh testified in 1995 at the trial in Baltimore of the Rev. A. Joseph Maskell. Two women said that Father Maskell had raped them 20 years earlier, but that they were unable to recall the incident for two decades.

Maryland courts rejected the use of recovered memory as evidence in the case. The women appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which declined in 1997 to hear the case.


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#84911 - 07/27/02 04:00 AM Re: Abuse board member against false memories
Broken Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 273
Loc: Huntingtun Beach, CA, US
I am so tired of "false memory syndrome". It is really just a front, it should be called the "pedophiles legal defense fund". Did you ever read that section in the back of courage to heal? I find it disturbing that a woman who was ritually totured, raped, and prostituted as a child can be denied validity because her abuser is a member of the FMS foundation. Fuck them!


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#84912 - 07/27/02 02:46 PM Re: Abuse board member against false memories
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I have no great personal experience of this, I remember all my abuse, but stuff does come back very occasionaly, so I lean towards believing we can recover memories.

If you want to get an idea of what kind of minefield it is though look at sex abuse cases in New Zealand a few years ago. Suddenly people were claiming all kinds of amazing incidents in their past, the rash of claims took on a life of its own. Eventually it became a beanfeast for lawyers and psycologists, and the argument raged on for years, mainly about the validity of recovered memory.
It's worth a look, it's all here on the 'net. And it makes interesting reading.

check out-
http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz for a starting place, then look for links to Dr Read, Dr loftus - ( University of Washington ) The organizations - COSA, MENZ, there's loads to follow through from here, and it's weird and interesting stuff.
Lloydy

_________________________
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#84913 - 07/27/02 03:32 PM Re: Abuse board member against false memories
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I can only say to these false memory people, I wish my abuse was a false memory, but it is real! I think it is just a way for pedophiles, child molesters and child abusers to attempt to justify their sick, screwed up and inhuman behavior!

Don

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#84914 - 07/27/02 09:11 PM Re: Abuse board member against false memories
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Don
I used to be VERY undecided about false / recovered memories, but like I said, I am now a believer that it is a fact, I believe there is evidence of recovered memories being proved true. I have had some myself after powerful triggers.

But the N.Z. thing does throw up a very scary scenario of people jumping on the bandwagon and claiming the most bizarre things- if ever half of it was true it would be truly awful.
But the thing that caught my eye in the whole mess was the infighting of the various "experts".
This was more scary than the cases at times, and the claims made against recovered memories sound credible, but I believe now that they only gain credibility in extraordinary cases like this - and in courtrooms.

We KNOW different, our therapists KNOW different, but there's always going to be two sides to an argument, and if you're on the defence- as a perp' - you're going to pay big bucks to find the "expert" that sides with your version of events.
Money talks...........
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#84915 - 07/29/02 03:50 PM Re: Abuse board member against false memories
integrator Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 107
Loc: New York
I have a strong initial revulsion to the whole false memory foundation thing myself. The pedophile legal aid fund! That's a good one.
On the other hand, in a culture where lying is endemic, why not false memories? Some fool who's psyche has been twisted by perpetrators could conceivably not be in therapy, and want to misdirect the phenomenon towards an innocent party. Could happen. Like those Menendez brothers who murdered their parents. Their memories may not have been false, but their act of murder is unconscionable and twisted beyond any abuse.
In this article, the doctor's account that he believes abuse happens, but that there are false memories is about as balanced a perspective as I've heard. Until the "false memory" foundation presents a balanced view, I'd tend to stick them in the Fascist perpetrator apologist pile.


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