Polemic

There is currently an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse being conducted in the UK. It’s scope is to find out

“Allegations of the involvement of politicians in child sexual abuse are reported on the one hand as evidence of a paedophile conspiracy… and on the other as evidence of a modern-day witch-hunt.

“It is the role of this inquiry to move from the realms of rumour and speculation, allegation and counter-allegation, to the assessment of objective facts.”

 

this is a quote from Judth Herman

About a year ago, I received a phone call from Lawrence Wright, a reporter who was working on a sensational crime story involving allegations of cult rituals and incest. He was seeking my opinion because of my professional knowledge of sexual and domestic violence. We talked about the issues in the case for about an hour. Or, rather, we argued, for Wright made no effort to hide the fact that he strongly disagreed with my views. I was relieved to find that he eventually decided not to use any material from our interview in his two-part story, “Remembering Satan,” which appeared in The New Yorker in May 1993.
The facts of the case, briefly, are as follows: In 1988, Paul Ingram, a deputy sheriff in Olympia, Wash., confessed to sexually abusing his two daughters, corroborating their reports. Appeal courts have since ruled that this initial confession was properly obtained. On prolonged and repeated questioning, however, Ingram claimed to remember committing more and more horrific crimes. Police investigators, believing they had uncovered a Satanic cult, resorted to dubious methods of interrogation, pressuring Ingram, his daughters and other family members to come forward with increasingly grotesque allegations and to implicate others. Two men whom Ingram and his daughters named in their statements were arrested. The charges against them were eventually dropped when it became clear that the investigation was hopelessly muddled. Ingram, sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to the original charge of incest, has now recanted all of his confessions, contending that they were coerced.
“Neither of us will ever know what really happened in this case,” I pointed out to Wright. (I paraphrase our conversation from memory, since I did not take notes at the time). “Ingram might be innocent. He might be guilty of incest. He might be guilty of additional crimes. There may or may not have been a sex ring or a cult. How can you pretend to know the truth?” Wright acknowledged that the facts of the case were subject to more than one interpretation. But his mind was made up: some of the crimes that Ingram and his daughters described were so horrendous that he simply could not believe they might have occurred. Furthermore, Wright reasoned, if any of the allegations in this case were false, then all must be false, and if they were false in this case, then they must be false in numerous other cases. …
 

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