Oct. 7, 2013
“Today (in 2001), few contend that the interview techniques used at the outset of the Fells Acres child abuse investigation, in 1984, were proper and reliable. Middlesex County (Mass.) prosecutors admitted to appellate judges in the 1990s that those techniques – characterized by repeated suggestive questioning about molestation despite initial avowals by the children that nothing of that kind occurred – would not be employed today.
“In 1998, Superior Court Judge Isaac Borenstein ruled that under current Massachusetts law, the manner in which the Fells Acres children were first interrogated would have constituted grounds to have the case dismissed.
“That questioning included hundreds of taped episodes such as this:
- Pediatric interviewer (Susan J. Kelley): “Did the clown touch you?”
- Child witness: “No. …”
- Interviewer: “You said the clown took your clothes off. …”
- Child: “Yeah. …”
- Interviewer: “What happened?”
- Child: “Well, nothing really.”
- Interviewer: “Did the clown touch … Will you show me if the clown touched any part of you?”
- Child: “No, he didn’t touch me.”
“The child interviewed in the above example testified against Gerald Amirault at his 1986 trial, and believes to this day that she was molested by an ‘evil clown.’ ”
– From “Memories questioned, but victim still certain of ‘evil’…. Studies say kids can be easily led” by Tom Mashberg in the Boston Herald (July 8, 2001)
So what happens to the professional prospects of a “pediatric interviewer” whose ludicrously biased questioning led to the conviction of not only Gerald Amirault, but also his mother and sister? In the short term, Susan J. Kelley had to endure even her prosecutorial allies disavowing her “suggestive techniques.”
Soon, however, Kelley’s career was back on track, unimpeded by the tragedy wrought by her blindered incompetence. She has never apologized…. although her lengthy current resume does omit mention of her role in the day-care ritual-abuse hoax, either as a prosecutorial interviewer or as an academic apologist.