Letters from readers

Date: 1986-05-25

Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN)

Letters from readers

Child abuse

Although Victims of Child Abuse Laws (VOCAL) has testified three times before the Attorney General's Task Force on Child Abuse Within the Family, the Star and Tribune has failed to print our position.

In 65 percent of all allegations of child abuse, an innocent person is falsely accused. For this person, the wheels of prosecution are put in motion, a reputation is permanently stained and thousands of dollars are wasted in court. The total lack of deference to other family members, especially grandparents, leaves dozens of lives scarred.

In addition to supplying the task force with research on theories and techniques currently ascribed to by state multidisciplinary child abuse action teams - research which invalidates many of those theories and techniques - we have also testified that experts in the field seriously question the techniques of some therapists, which are not only useless but even harmful to children.

You reported that at the last meeting of the task force "no listener challenged the view" of William Seals, who described a typical child-abuser as "bright, married, employed and (a) pillar of the community." As a panelist at that meeting, I expressed VOCAL's concern that a work record of long standing and integrity can be sacrificed to a generalization from the "experts."

Scott County is one of the reasons for the attorney general calling together this task force. Much havoc was caused in Scott County because of false accusations and by a multidisciplinary action team that prolonged an abuse of power unequaled in Minnesota history.

In the task force's mission statement, the question is asked, "How important is preservation of the family unit?" This question should be answered by people outside the agencies - that is, the parents who were falsely accused and who, together with their children, were victims of an abusive system.

It is likely that this task force will recommend legislative action, probably for multidisciplinary action in the courtroom even though this bloc of professionals is an obvious hindrance to due process. - Mary Lou Bauer, Hampton, Minn.

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