By Louis Rom
A ruling in the case of John Doe vs. Father Gerald Prinz sets a state precedent in the controversial use of recovered memory.
Fr. Gerald Prinz, circa 1982 On the surface, the civil damages lawsuit of John Doe vs. Father Gerald Prinz reads like many other priestly sex abuse cases splashed across the front pages of newspapers everywhere.
Doe, in a suit filed in 1995, alleges that as a prepubescent youngster and again as an adolescent, Prinz fondled him and sodomized him when he slept over at the rectory. What makes Doe vs. Prinz unique in Louisiana is that the lawsuit is built almost exclusively on the controversial use of Doe's "recovered memory" of these events -- making it the first such sex abuse suit seeking damages in the state.
On May 9, an appeals judge ruled that Doe could use recently recovered repressed memories of sexual abuse at the hands of Prinz in his effort to sue for damages. Last Wednesday, defense attorneys for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux filed for a re-hearing with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The ruling, if it stands, could trigger a flood of lingering sex abuse cases by alleged victims who claim to have blocked the painful events from their memory....
Tana Dineen, a veteran Canadian psychologist and author of Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry Is Doing to People -- a book that posits that psychologists "create" victims via the power of suggestion -- says it's easy to understand why even skilled psychologists and skeptical judges can find that an alleged victim's memories are authentic.
After all, the person believes what they're saying. "Judicial skepticism is something that seems to very often go out the window in these cases," says Dineen.
Copyright© 1996-2002 Tana Dineen,
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