120709BurgessMarch 8, 2013

“Over 15 years ago, a number of children were sexually abused while attending three different day care centers sponsored by military services…

“This is the fourth follow-up interview with parents of 42 (of those) children….

“(In 1984 children at West Point day care) reported that the perpetrators wore masks and black robes. Pencils and fingers penetrated vaginas and rectums. Children were threatened with harm to themselves and their parents if they told that they witnessed the abuse of other children….

“After extensive investigation, the federal prosecutor declined to bring the case to trial due to the young ages of the children and the fragility of their memories….

“One lingering source of distress for the parents was that two of the criminal cases (Presidio and West Point) fell apart. It seemed to them as if reporting the abuse did not matter. This also added to the mystery of conspiracy that surrounded these two cases….”

– From “Children’s Adjustment 15 Years After Daycare Abuse” by Ann Wolbert Burgess and Carol R. Hartman (Journal of Forensic Nursing, Summer 2005)

Although Burgess’s career-making wrongheadedness isn’t news, I was still surprised to find her clinging to the ritual abuse hoax as recently as 2005. Prosecutors’ cases “fell apart”? – must be a “conspiracy”!

But it was Burgess, after all, whose conclusion that children in the West Point case had been ritually abused (with the obligatory “masks and black robes”) compelled the government to settle a civil suit by parents for $2.7 million. To acknowledge her error would require quite an “Oops!” wouldn’t it?

Footnote: I’ve got a previous commitment, but if you’re in Nashua, N.H., today, you can see Burgess honored by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.