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INTERVIEWING THE CHILDREN
The Controversy over Child Interviewing
This section from FRONTLINE's 1998 report "The Child Terror" contains video clips and transcripts of Laurie Braga's interviews with a child involved in Florida police officer Grant Snowden's child sexual abuse case, as well as commentary by Dr. Stephen Ceci, a nationally recognized expert on children's memory.
Interview with Noel Goodman
Noel Goodman is Frank Fuster's son. Following his father's arrest in 1984, prosecutors announced that 6-year-old Noel had tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat. The testing method, however, was later called into question. After Joe and Laurie Braga -- child experts hired by the Dade County state attorney's office -- questioned the 6-year-old Noel in a videotaped session, he reluctantly said that his father might have molested him while he was sleeping. Now 24, Noel talks about the Bragas' interviewing tactics and how they "were playing games with a 6-year-old's head."
Interview with Dr. Stephen Ceci
Dr. Stephen Ceci is a nationally recognized expert on children's memory and interviewing techniques. He was involved in the Florida day care sexual abuse cases of Bobby Fijnje, a 14-year-old babysitter, and Grant Snowden, a former police officer. Both convictions were later overturned. He believes the interview sessions conducted by Joe and Laurie Braga were rife with leading questions that prompted children to say what they thought the interviewers wanted to hear.
Techniques for The Child Interview and a Methodology for Substantiating Sexual Abuse
This chapter from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information's 1993 manual "Child Sexual Abuse: Intervention and Treatment Issues" discusses a variety of techniques for interviewing young children suspected of being sexually abused. It suggests: "The interviewer should assume the more open-ended the question, the greater confidence he/she should have in the child's responses." Regarding the use of anatomically explicit dolls, the manual says that although the use of such dolls has been challenged because of their suggestive nature, "research indicates that they do not elicit sexual responses from children who do not have prior sexual knowledge. ... However, many children believed to have been sexually abused do not engage in sexualized behavior with the dolls."

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