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Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 19, 2007

Study Shows that many Sexually Abused Children Later Deny the Abuse

TlyonMore than 20 percent of sexually abused children who disclose abuse, later deny the allegations, according to a study by researchers at USC Gould School of Law and the University of California-Irvine; such as  USC Psych and CrimProf Thomas Lyon.

The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that denials were especially likely among younger children, children abused by someone living in the home, and children whose mothers were unsupportive.

“The results suggest that sexually abused children are highly vulnerable to various pressures to deny their abuse, particularly when those pressures come from people close to them” said Thomas Lyon, a professor of law and psychology at USC who co-authored the study.

The study, which looked at a large group of Los Angeles juvenile court cases, is among the first to look at recantations among children who are sexually abused.

“Some researchers have begun to question the assumption made by clinicians and others who work with sexually abused children that children are reluctant to disclose abuse,” said Lyon. “This study supports the classical view - even when children overcome barriers to disclosure, they are still susceptible to pressures.”

The researchers did not find any evidence to support the belief that retraction is a sign that the original allegations were false.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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I first noticed word of this study on CrimProfLog. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is described by Thomas Lyon, a professor of law and psychology at [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 11, 2007 8:12:40 AM


If 22% of child sex abuse victims in substaniated cases with physical evidence later say "nothing happened", that's certainly a subject for further study.

The materials I can access for free don't make clear the nature of the denial, specifically whether the victim is saying "it never happened," "it happened, but not the way I said," or "somebody else did it". I'm assuming it's "nothing happened", but would appreciate it if anybody who has seen the study can clarify that point. Also, noting that children who were as young as two at the time of the abuse were included in the study, it would be interesting to learn more about how age factors in.

Posted by: Aaron | Feb 20, 2007 5:10:36 PM


* If the sex offender laws are kept, why discriminate? If sex offenders must suffer for life and be on GPS, so should ANYONE with a criminal record. If this is not done, then it is discrimination. Anyone with a criminal record should be on a registry on the internet for the whole world to see, and be on GPS for life. DUI offenders should not be able to live XX feet from an alcohol store and should have their license revoked. Drug dealers should not be able to live XX feet from anywhere children congregate, so they cannot sell our kids drugs. Murderers should not be able to life XX feet from ANYONE, since they may kill again. DUI offenders kill more people than any other crime (I believe), and I'm sure the entire public would love to know if a murderer, thief, drug dealer, etc lives in their neighborhood. If all this was on the internet for all to see, I'm sure everyone would NOT leave their house at all. These people are everywhere. Why are sex offenders being "scape goated"? EVERYONE WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD SHOULD OBIDE BY THE SAME LAWS SEX OFFENDERS HAVE TO OR IT'S DISCRIMINATION!!

* When will people ever realize no matter how tough on crime, all the zero tolerance, all the registries in the world will not prevent a murderer from murdering, a thief from stealing, a dealer from dealing, a user from using, a rapist from raping....accusations on any sex crime, child abuse, or domestic violence will literally nail your butt to the wall! No DNA has to be present, No violence has to be present..... HEARSAY ALONE IS LITERALLY NAILING THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TO THE WALL BECAUSE OF THE BIASNESS IN THE LAWS.

* If we must keep the registry for sex offenders only, we need a multi-tier system (

* For all the people being charged with Child p**nography, is the law checking the computers to make sure they are not infected with a virus? Many people are ignorant when it comes to computers, and if they click on some attachment in an email, their machine can become infected with a virus, trojan, spyware, adaware program which stores child p**n on their machine. Are these so called "experts" checking this? Or ignoring this possibility?

* The issue with sex offenders Internet email addresses, IM names, etc being collected, this is another "feel good" law that will not stop crime. If someone wanted to commit a new crime, they'd create a new email address and commit the crime. This is stupid and won't work.

* Think!! Come up with solutions, not "feel good" laws, which make it harder and harder for sex offenders to get on with their lives.

* "Buffer Zones" are a false sense of security!

* "Buffer Zones" are banishing people from their town, state, and possibly the country!

* "Buffer Zones" create homelessness, which costs society lost productivity, individual dignity, and creates additional problems for enforcing any accurate registry!

* "Buffer Zones" do nothing, except banish! It could be 50 miles and if someone wanted to re-offend, they'd just get in a car and drive!

* It should be MANDATORY that anyone in prison get therapy, and out of prison, if needed. Therapy does work. If you just lock them up, when they get out, they will be worse off. Therapy teaches people how to not act out and help, regardless of what the general public thinks. Just ask a therpist.

* We need to STOP this hysteria and get sex offenders the help they need.

* You can pass all the laws you want but without therapy and this "mob" mentality will not solve anything!

* I am sick of politicians using children to get their laws passed! Who would want to vote against anything that is "for the children"?

* "Stranger Danger" is a smoke screen & hype! Most child sexual offenses occur by someone the child knows, like a family member or close friend!

* These laws are being passed by politicians using sex offenders as scape goats, for votes!

* Registries do NOT protect anyone or prevent crimes!

* Registries are punishing sex offenders as well as their families and children, and opening them up to vigilantism. DON'T THE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN OF SEX OFFENDERS COUNT? They are suppose to be "for the children", right?

* Registries are NOT being updated in a timely fashion, so the public is getting false information! How is this helping the public or protecting them when they cannot rely on them?

* Registries are putting families and children of sex offenders in a public position to be socially outcast and discriminated against with regard to employment, housing, schooling, etc!

* About 90% of the people on the registry are NOT sexual predators or pedophiles that these laws were for in the first place!

* These laws cost millions, if not billions to enforce, and they cause prison over-population, which is already a problem, especially in California! AND TAX PAYERS PAY FOR ALL THIS!

* GPS does not prevent sexual crimes! Another false sense of security which cost tons of money! Plus they are suppose to pay for this, which will eventually go homeless. MAKE THE TAX PAYERS WHO WANT THESE LAWS TO PAY FOR THEM!

* These laws cause sex offenders to go underground and into hiding, due to the strict nature of the laws! How is this protecting anyone?

* These laws are all abount money for law enforcement and votes for politicians. Prison is a business! Politicians are salaried and want elected/re-elected! Law enforcement get paid for people in jails, prisons or on the registry!

* These laws blatantly disregard the United States constitutional rights of all citizens! (i.e. ex-post facto, due process & others)

* These laws are cruel and unusual punishment! A sex offender cannot go to a fast food restaurant which has a playground! Why? We have just as must of a right as you to get a burger! Plus they cannot go anywhere kids congregate, which is endless (i.e. Amusement parks, Movie theaters, the list is endless)

* Sex offenders can go to church, but must leave immediately afterwards. If a sex offender owns a business and someone decides to put a church or school next door, they have to now sell their business and move. This is not right, move the church or school, the sex offender was there first!

* These laws continue to punish people even after a sentence has been served, and they are trying to get on with their lives! (i.e. ex-post facto)

* These laws are driven by fear-mongering, opportunistic politicians and will do nothing to actually protect children!

* There are over one million women and children whose lives are inter-twined with a sex offender in the United Stated. They should matter too!

* Follow the money trail, these laws are conveyor-belt laws to benefit law enforcement! They get paid for the number of people in jail, prison or on the registry!

* They are currently a one-size-fits all for sex offenders! Not all sex offenders are predators or pedophiles that these laws are suppose to be for anyway!

* They are modern day witch hunts and a scarlett letter!

* If Sex Offenders are re-offending, why does the registries grow each day? Because new people are being added daily for stuff like "public urination", "mooning", "concensual sex", "young children playing 'Doctor'" and various other minor offenses that we need not worry about. We need to worry about predators & pedophiles!

* Now they are trying to make it a law that a sex offender, if they have kids, cannot "take a picture" of anyone under 18. This is totally stupid! Can't even take Christmas pictures, birthday pictures, etc!

* Also, because a sex offender owns a business in town, many people are trying to get the business shut down! The sex offender had the business for awhile. If you don't like it, MOVE!!!!

* The Nazi' did this back when Hitler was in power, with the Jews, Turks, etc.

* The thing about pedophiles not being able to take pictures of kids is stupid. You'd better shred any pictures you have of your kids when they were babies, like diaper changing, baths, etc.

Posted by: ZMan | Feb 20, 2007 7:08:12 PM

The article says the study means kids are pressured, not lying, because:

Lyon explained: “If inconsistencies mean the child really wasn’t abused, then one should see a relation between inconsistency and other evidence of abuse. We didn’t see any such pattern.”

Sorry, but I call BS on that. In most of these cases eyewitness testimony is all there is to go on. If any other witness recants, it automatically calls into question their earlier testimony, no matter if it was videotaped or not.

Lyon's comment about the Michael Jackson case at the end of the article make me think he approached his study with his conclusion already in mind. He obviously thinks recanting child witnesses are more credible in their initial allegations than their later statements, but these are complex, emotional cases, and there are lots of reasons children lie.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Feb 23, 2007 8:27:35 AM

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