Nov. 14, 2012

“Prosecutors building these high-profile cases well understood the problems posed by the strange charges and the fantasy-riddled narratives of the child plaintiffs. How could they make credible to jurors the extraordinary prowess of defendants who could assault whole classes of preschoolers daily, dressing and undressing 20 or more, all accomplished in a half hour’s time, in a busy school, with no one noticing, no child ever sent home with mismatched socks?…

“Jurors had to be given a reason that 4-year-olds could be raped with butcher knives that left them uninjured, could be tied naked to trees and raped in broad daylight….

“The state’s solution lay with their experts – witnesses who could explain and render such mysteries comprehensible.”

– From “No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness and other Terrors of Our Times” by Dorothy Rabinowitz (2003)

Ah, those invaluable mystery-solving experts – such as Eileen Treacy of the Kelly Michaels trial, Kee MacFarlane of McMartin and of course Mark “Where there’s smoke….” Everson of Little Rascals.

What would prosecutors have done without them? (Probably, a helluva lot less harm.)