Tuesday, August 11, 2015
We Believe the Children - What Beck Left Out, Pakistan child abuse video case - 400 videos of 280 minors - 20 to 25 people abused the children
Richard Beck admits that his work is not investigative journalism. He describes it as history. But historians do not rely on secondary sources for major arguments and historians do not omit evidence for the sake of telling a simplified story.
a gang of 20 to 25 people had abused the children between 2009 and 2014
around 400 videos were made of 280 minors
What Beck Left Out
August 8, 2015
By Ross E. Cheit
The witch-hunt narrative, as described in my book, has deep roots in American culture. It ranges from Salem Massachusetts to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. The power of those cautionary tales, however, causes many people to drop their skeptical guard when told that something is a modern day witch-hunt. So it is with the conventional wisdom about the highly publicized day-care sexual abuse cases from the 1980s.
Richard Beck, a comparative literature major from Harvard who works at a literary magazine, is the latest one spreading the witch-hunt narrative about those cases. His book, We Believe the Children, based largely on secondary sources, reaches the same conclusions that Debbie Nathan and defense lawyer Michael Snedeker offered twenty years ago. In both instances, the authors repeatedly omitted significant evidence that contradicts the witch-hunt narrative. Consider some examples of what Beck left out:
Beck reduces all of the medical evidence in the McMartin case to a single paragraph and insinuates that there was no credible medical evidence substantiating sexual abuse (pp. 155-56). But Beck does not tell his readers that even defense lawyer Danny Davis allowed that the genital injuries on one girl were “serious and convincing.” Beck also did not mention that the vaginal injuries on another girl, one of the three involved in both McMartin trials, were considered as proving sexual abuse “to a medical certainty.” Beck also fails to mention that the case began when Judy Johnson saw a drop of blood. Beck allows that the boy was examined twice and, as he put it, both doctors reported suspected child abuse (p. 34). But Beck did not disclose the basis for those reports: the Emergency Room doctor observed the “red and roughened” area around the boy’s anus, concluding that there “appeared to be some friction like trauma to the rectal area.” The pediatric expert who subsequently examined the boy described discolored bruising patterns and said that his anal injury “was within the last week” (Cheit, p. 25). That is why Ray Buckey was arrested....
Beck discusses the Kniffen and McCuan case from Bakersfield, California, presenting them as victims of a witch-hunt (pp. 70-72). But Beck never mentions considerable medical evidence against the McCuans, including vaginal scarring and trauma to the lining of the anus, that occurred between 1980 and 1982 (when Rod Phelps was away). Debbie Nathan once wrote that this evidence “seriously weakened Alvin and Debbie’s protestations of innocence.” But Beck ignored this evidence entirely, also neglecting to mention that the McCuan daughters, unlike the Kniffen sons, have never recanted their claims against their parents. Finally, Beck notes that the convictions of the Kniffens and McCuans were set aside, but he does not reveal that the judge opined that “it may be that all of the acts reported actually occurred” (Cheit, pp. 119-123)....
Beck claims that “no pornography” was ever found in any of these cases (p. xvi). But he neglects to mention that Isabel’s Day Care, not far from the McMartin Preschool, had exactly that kind of evidence. So did the Rainbow Day Care Center case in Fort Lauderdale. So did Robert Shell’s case in Massachusetts. Also, two defendants in the Bakersfield cases were convicted partly because there was photographic evidence of their sexual abuse of children: Charles Bishop and Grant Self (Cheit, pp. 163-165).
Beck also claims that Jesse Friedman, who pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges, was falsely convicted (pp. 173-181). But he does not mention that Friedman failed two lie detectors, both arranged by his own lawyer, and that the psychological evaluation, also arranged by his own lawyer, concluded that Friedman was a “psychopathic deviant” who was “capable of committing the crimes with which he was charged.” Beck also does not mention that he has never spoken to a single one of the fourteen men who formed the basis for the case. This is significant since Andrew Jarecki, who directed the film, never spoke to the vast majority of actual complainants in the case, either. Nor does Beck acknowledge that two of those men wrote a letter in 2004, objecting to the movie, and attesting to sexual abuse by Jesse Friedman (Cheit, pp. 130-133)....
Beck acknowledges Frank Fuster’s 1982 conviction for lewd and lascivious assault on a minor, but he quickly adds, without any apparent skepticism, that “Frank had always maintained his innocence.” (p. 142). But Beck does not tell his readers that Fuster actually admitted the actions charged in that case, and then tried to minimize them, while testifying at his Parole Violation Hearing three years later (Cheit, p. 337). Here is how Fuster explained what he did to a 9-year-old while driving her home one night:
This is how I touch her chest area. I don’t see any sexual movement here. I also touch her in the vaginal area. That’s it. That’s the whole case.
Nor does Beck acknowledge Frank Fuster’s long record of documented lies about his manslaughter conviction. As I said in The Witch-Hunt Narrative: “one wonders how anyone could cite his denials with utter credulity and without any acknowledgment of the considerable evidence to the contrary” (Cheit, p. 338)....
Richard Beck admits that his work is not investigative journalism (p. xxv). He describes it as history. But historians do not rely on secondary sources for major arguments and historians do not omit evidence for the sake of telling a simplified story. A comprehensive examination of the actual transcripts—something that Beck did not do in a single case beyond McMartin—reveals a different picture. As I wrote last summer:
In many of the cases proclaimed to be witch hunts, looking closely at the record revealed substantial evidence of abuse and compelling reasons that jurors voted to convict. It’s true that I also found cases where people were charged who shouldn’t have been. Yet even in some of those cases, there was strong evidence of abuse. A crime was committed and a child was assaulted by someone who was never apprehended, but only the false accusation story lives on.
And so it is with Richard Beck’s history of these cases.
7 charged in Pakistan child abuse video case
By Sophia Saifi, Ralph Ellis and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Tue August 11, 2015
Kasur, Pakistan (CNN) Seven people accused of blackmailing scores of children into making sex videos and then blackmailing them again by threatening to sell the recordings have been arrested in Pakistan's Punjab province.
Police Officer Rai Babar Saeed said a gang of 20 to 25 people had abused the children between 2009 and 2014 in the village of Hussain Khan Wala in the Kasur district.
Chaudhary Hamid, a villager, said the gang blackmailed the children into engaging in sexual activity again and again to stop the videos from being leaked. Parents were also blackmailed, he said.
At least one CD shop in Kasur had been selling the videos, Saeed said. In most of the videos, the faces of criminals are not shown, but the child's face can be seen clearly, the officer said.
Latif Sara, a lawyer representing parents of the abused children and the head of a nongovernmental organization called Children Abuse Protection, said 274 videos had been circulated.
According to a survey by the group last week, one in three of the 500 households questioned in the district of Kasur had a child who had been sexually abused, Sara said.
CNN affiliate Geo TV reported higher numbers, saying around 400 videos were made of 280 minors.... http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/10/asia/pakistan-child-abuse/
Number of arrests in child abuse scandal rises to 14 August 10, 2015
KASUR: The number of accused arrested in the child abuse scandal has risen to 14 after police made two more arrests on Monday.
The arrests came after the interim bail extension of five accused was denied by a local court. Police said seven accused are on judicial remand.
Main accused confesses
Haseeb Amir, the main accused of Kasur child abuse scandal, has confessed to subjecting children to abuse and making their videos.
SP Investigation Kasur said that in a statement given to the police the main accused of the child abuse scandal admitted to committing the crime of sexually abusing children and capturing the same in videos.
On Saturday, the nation was shocked by reports of gang of criminals producing and selling illicit videos of child sexual abuse in Ganda Singh Wala area of Kasur in Punjab province for the last 10 years.
Investigations into the massive child sexual abuse scandal – termed the biggest in the country's history – revealed that around 400 videos were made of 280 minor victims of sexual abuse by the organised gang of over 25 criminals.
Several parents of victims were consistently blackmailed and coerced into paying hundreds of thousands of rupees with threats of releasing the videos in public. Reports said families in the locality were helpless as officials all along remained apathetic to the incident....