Re: “Believing the Children
” [News, March 27]: Your article is flawed and makes a number of incorrect assumptions. Since I was present for the trial and clearly you were not, let me address some of your concerns. Firstly, Randy Noblitt was originally asked to advise the prosecution. The Fran’s Day Care case followed close on the heels of the McMartin Preschool case. The prosecution was interested in avoiding the mistakes of McMartin. Randy advised the prosecution to appoint different therapists for each of the alleged child victims and to forbid parents from sharing information about their children and the case with one another. As a result, the children were able to disclose in their own time without pressure of danger of contamination, and therapists were free to draw their own conclusions without preconceived notions about what may or may not have transpired. Secondly, Randy informed the prosecution of the nature of ritual abuse and the fact that much of it is founded on duplicity – the deceit practiced by perpetrators to confuse the victim and to dupe them into believing that they (the perpetrators) have supernatural powers. Thirdly, Randy advised the prosecution to focus on the sexual abuse case for which there was ample evidence. It was the defense that raised the specter of ritual abuse in an attempt to discredit the child victims. The defense introduced Richard Gardner’s book Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited
(1990) into evidence. The prosecution called Randy to testify to respond to the allegations made in the book, including the one that all adults are potential pedophiles. Finally, there was considerable evidence to support the allegations against Fran and Dan Keller including their own testimony, their attempts to flee arrest, and other documentation that I cannot share since I don’t know what the prosecution’s position is on this matter. However, suffice it to say that the prosecution had a very strong case, with or without Randy’s testimony. To my knowledge, the defense was not denied access to any information or evidence. Rather, they appeared (to me) to take a rather blasé approach to their defense of the Kellers, perhaps operating under the assumption that the children would not be believed.