CLOSING ARGUMENTS: The Therapists

MR. SPIVEY (for the defense)   on Ms. Zimmerman, one of the therapists who saw many children

Now, I think any competent person doing this type of work, ah, if they're going to take children to evaluate for sexual abuse, you got these children coming out of this same situation, you got three right off the bat, you better start asking yourself, "How do I handle three children and keep the information separate. Can I be sure that when I go into an interview, I'm not going to take what I talked to Jamie about and have it in my mind when I talk to Brian? Am I going to mix up any of the information from Brian and use it with Dan?" It's going to be a tough job. You're going to have to be very careful to keep those issues very separate to make sure that you don't take a story this child tells you and just see if it's true by checking it with this child because then you're going to transfer it over to this child.

It's a question that doesn't trouble or bother Miss Zimmerman at all because she doesn't even slow down taking children at this point. Why should she? They're all abused. Everyone that comes to see her is abused. She told, ah, when Miss Hollowell went to her in April, one of the comments -- and this is from Miss Hollowell's testimony -- one of the comments Miss Hollowell made was that she told her, "Gee, I just can't really believe this about Bob and Betsy. I've known them a long time. I've known Betsy Kelly. You know, they're well-known people in the community. I just can't believe it." So what did Miss Zimmerman do? Did Miss Zimmerman say, "Well, we haven't evaluated your child yet. We don't know for sure if anything's happened to your child. We're going to have to go through this evaluation process. It's going to take some time. It's going to take some patience, and we'll see. But don't jump to any conclusions. No. Miss Zimmerman tells her, "Well, you know, I know about boy scout leaders who have done this stuff, and I can tell you about leading people in church and things like that, have done it." Why is she encouraging? Why is she pushing the Hollowells, "Don't pay any attention about how good a folks they are." At the first meeting, she hadn't done anything with this child yet. She hasn't evaluated this child. She hasn't questioned this child. She hasn't gained any information about these parents, about their home, about this child's background. And what she's doing is telling them already, "So what if they're good folks. That doesn't mean that they're not child molesters." Well, that tells you exactly where Miss Zimmerman is coming from. It tells you exactly what her bias is. It tells you exactly what her agenda is. It tells you what her program is. And she's going to stay in this case all the way through it...

MR. SPIVEY (for the defense)   on Ms. Abbott:

Judy Abbott comes in to the picture some time towards the end of February or the first of March, the best we can tell. ... Her contact comes in in two ways: She has a meeting with the S...., the S..., the B....., the Smiths some time towards the end of February, ...

Now, we again do not know anything except what we're being told, about what went on at that meeting, what Judy Abbott's role was at that point in time. What we're told is that she's telling people at the meeting that, ah, you can't expect anyone else to believe what you believe. They're going to have come it in their own time. You don't need to expect any thank you's or apologizes for anyone.

What does Miss Abbot know about at this point? Why is she telling these people that they're on some type of a crusade, that, "You're going to have to wait, it's just going to take time to make people believe." ...

Now, Miss Abbott also, by sheer coincidence, ...[attends] a rotary meeting in Edenton. ... Everybody testified she did not talk about sexual abuse or anything like that or about child sex abuse. ... And it's a long list of people that down the road here were saying when this gets rolling, it's going to end up with Judy Abbott, and person after person is going to tell you, "How did you what -- how did you get in contact with Judy Abbott? Did it have anything to do with the prosecutors in this case? Did it have anything to do with any investigators in this case?" "No, no, no. I went to a rotary meeting which she spoke and I remembered that she sounded like a good person so that's where I decide to go." And you got both crowds that ends up there out of that rotary meeting where apparently, from what everybody says, she didn't say anything to give anybody any idea that she knew anything about sexual abuse.

Miss Abbott, keep in mind, is going to run very much along the line as Miss Zimmerman. And you're going to see out of her work a lot of the animal stories about animals being killed, wild animals, and that sort of thing. And she's also into the satanic ritualistic charts and those kinds of things.

Doctor Raskin told you with regard to those charts that he considered them to be very harmful with a child. You don't get into this sort of thing with a child. There's no clear-cut reason to do that. Miss Abbott's idea of a clear-cut reason to do -- that when you have a child talking about being in out of space and babies being killed, that you start using ritualistic charts on them. Doctor Shopper looked at the work and he says there's no therapy in it. And what she considers to be the technique or doing things is just things he's never heard of.

MR. SPIVEY (for the defense)   on therapists in general

Nancy went to Betsy and Betsy said, "Get an evaluator. Just please don't go to the people that's already involved in this case. And she did. She had the children evaluated at Duke University. She never had her any problem with her children. These are children, ladies and gentlemen, that were in the same classrooms at the day care with the kids in this case.

Debbie Forrest went to Duke and an independent pediatrician up in Charlotte. She never had any problems with her child. This is a child that's in the same classroom in the same day care.

Now, if you can make people's blood kin develop doubts in that kind of situation, what do you think is going to happen to people who are not related to them in any way, who have no reason anymore to support them. And that's where one of the most important things in the world we have been is to have had some competent, professional people who understood what they were doing.

People who generally knew something about evaluating a child properly in a case where there's been an allegation of sexual abuse. People who generally knew something about therapy. People who genuinely knew something about what to look for. Not people that believe the myth that their children never tell. ...

Now, if you had those kind of people at that point in time to look at these children, you'd never had this

case. You've eased the fears of a lot of parents. You've saved a lot of trauma to a lot of children. Not trauma inflicted by Mr. Kelly. Not trauma inflicted by Miss Kelly. Not trauma inflicted by Shelley Stone. Not trauma inflicted by Robin Byrum. Not trauma inflicted by Nancy Smith. Not trauma inflicted by Scott Privott. Not trauma inflicted by any of the scores of people that have been named as being abusers in this case. A trauma is inflicted by a process of run-crazy therapists running around with witchcraft charges and messing with the minds of little children. ...

The end of May is when they went into the therapy process in droves. Ah, you know, you get different stores about how everybody got in touch with the therapist at that point; the Zimmermans and Abbott, ah, Miss Ambrose said she was given a list by Brenda Toppin to pick from. You had Zimmerman, you had Abbott Childers, you had Robinson. You got a list to choose from of who to go to.


MILLER ON TECHNIQUES   And ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that he told you like it was. He told you about this process, not of therapy, but of allegation and accusation collections of procedures and methods that don't qualify as therapy, of questions that are damaging or harmful of never confronting or reality testing a child, of having a single idea from the beginning to the end about what you're doing.

Now, maybe if you're in therapy, that's okay. It doesn't have any harm. Unless the therapy process is fueling the prosecution process. Unless the therapist is meeting in September to help them develop charges or to decide how to charge based upon what they've got in therapy. It ought not to work that way. It can't work that way. It was not done rightly in this case.

Now, the therapists, the people that we -- we looked at their work and we told you about their work. They didn't come here. They never told you anything about what they did or didn't do. They didn't answer questions on either side. And Miss Lamb can say, "Well, the children told you what went on in therapy, or the parents told you what went on in therapy." Don't you have some questions about what went on in therapy? Don't you have some doubts about what went on? Don't you have some real reason to be suspicious about what's occurring where a person makes up his mind without ever seeing the child, without ever hearing the child say anything? Who never ever contemplates or thinks about the differential aspect of the case. Maybe it didn't happen. Maybe this isn't true. Let's examine both possibilities. It was never ever done. It was always "draw me the touching at Little Rascals." It was always "tell me about how Mr. Bob touched you." And these children were shuttled there week after week to make statement after statement to a therapist. And on the way going there they talked to them about what they're going there for. On the way back they are talked to about what happened in therapy. Mom and Dad hug them, say they love them. It's, you know, its an unusual situation. And you have to judge the quality of those statements that were brought to you in this courtroom without ever hearing from those people.


Mr. HART (for the prosecution)   At various times throughout the evidence, including arguments, we've been on trial, the prosecutors. Brenda Toppin has been continuously been on trial, sitting over there. The therapists have been on trial, the parents, and the children. Everybody in this case that did anything, tried to do anything, involving the preparation or investigation of this case has been on trial.

....

If they actually thought there was a legitimate question about what was done by any of the therapists, if they thought that once the therapists got on the stand and were asked "how did you go about your therapy? How did you question them? What did you do?" If they thought that would have shown you that somehow the truth didn't come out from these children, they would have gotten on that witness stand under subpoena. And you know that they had stacks of paper. They had the notes and they had the reports of therapy. We provided them the notes, the individual therapy session notes, and reports of every therapist, for every child. And if there had been anything different -- you know they went through them. You know that every witness up here was questioned about them. You know their experts looked at them. If there had been anything in there where they could have made any question in your mind about what the therapist actually did, they would have brought those therapist in here to say, "Well, didn't you do this and didn't you do that? That's bad, that's wrong, that's leading." They could have done that if they thought it was legitimate. They could have brought in Laura Kelly, Leslie Smith, Joseph Smith, Frankie Forrest, Daniel Phillips. All the children that they have tried to say were okay and nothing happened to them. They could have brought all those children in if they wanted to. And I'm not saying they had to or that they should have. But if there's any question in your mind about what has or hadn't been done, they could have done that. They could have brought those 16 people in.

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