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LETTERS

As a single mother of two young children who is often concerned about what their world will look like, I appreciate your work.

Julie Henry
Littleton

Child's Ploy
For reasons I will not go into here (and for the same reasons I must ask you to withhold my name), I am very interested in the subject of allegations of child abuse. After seeing Michelle Dally Johnston's story "Do You See What I See?" in the August 2 issue, all I can say is "Wow!" She hit it right on the head. Although I have had no dealings with the Kempe Center, I have heard more than my share of psychobabble from people who are qualified to do nothing but ruin lives.

Name withheld on request

Hats off to Michelle Dally Johnston of Westword for her in-depth investigative reporting concerning false allegations and outright perjury perpetrated by the loose Kempe cannons aimed at innocent victims.

Any freshmen student in psych 101 can smell the rot of hype and hysteria in Denver.

How many innocent families are torn apart by such fabrications?
How many children are in foster care needlessly because of confabulations?
How many parents have not seen their child for years because of false allegations?

How many men are in prison on false or contrived charges?
The common thread throughout all of the circumstances is the lack of proper, thorough investigation. Courtroom decisions must not be made on the basis of the hocus-pocus of evaluators.

The Kempe Center is a "program" within the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, but the Hippocratic Oath--"Do no harm"--is not followed. This "program" is paid for by tax dollars and tax-exempt contributions.

Who oversees the opinions and speculations of the Kempe evaluators?
Where is Dr. Richard Krugman?
Where is the university chancellor?
Where is the Board of Regents?
Where is accountability?
Where is justice?
This "program" should be defunded by the legislature.
A.J. Byrnes
Englewood

I am appalled at Ms. Haynes-Seman's methods of assessing abused children. That she is one of the lead evaluators at the highly respected Kempe Center surprises me further. The American Psychological Association frowns heavily upon unlicensed psychologists practicing and diagnosing, let alone those unlicensed psychologists who have not been traditionally trained in clinical methods. The Kempe Center is risking a lot in according her the status of lead evaluator.

Your article mentioned that Ms. Haynes-Seman was trained as a developmental psychologist and came to the Kempe Center as a research assistant. Interesting, as it seems that she has forgotten any training in research and statistical methods that she would have presumably received in her graduate program. Where are the statistics that back up her claims? Have others in the mental-health community substantiated her methods? As a student of psychology, I know that research must be validated and revalidated before it becomes widely accepted theory, and that before one can make claims that his assessment method works, there must be statistically significant proof that it indeed does.

My final point of contention with her method lies in her assumption that whatever the child says about the identity of the abuser is incorrect or wrong. How do you think that child feels, Ms. Haynes-Seman, when you invalidate his or her words? The courage that it took for that child to name the abuser is something you or I cannot imagine. And worse, to have someone tell you that what you have said is not true!

The mental-health community has spent far too much time and effort breaking down the rules that tell children to keep their mouths shut about abuse; for Ms. Haynes-Seman to come along and destroy that by ignoring what the children say is unfathomable. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to those children, not to mention the families that were destroyed by her misattributions. Kempe Center directors, don't you think it is time to reassess Ms. Haynes-Seman?

Name withheld on request

Do you see what I see?
Salem witch hunt revisited! History does repeat itself...but just who belongs on the stake? Colorado taxpayers should not be asked to support bogus assessments and nefarious activities of "evaluators" engaged in quackery.

S.L. Espy
Douglas County

I want to thank you so much for your common sense, courage, interest and effort in the investigation, preparation and writing of your fine article about the Kempe Center and Clare Haynes-Seman. Both Haynes-Seman and the Kempe Center have caused untold human misery and millions of dollars in expense for innocent people whom they have falsely accused and convicted of the worst of crimes. The only evidence they presented to knee-jerk, feel-good, do-gooder judges and juries was their biased opinions.

Many children have seen their mothers and fathers go to prison for nasty crimes they never committed and, in many cases, never even took place. It has left them severely victimized, traumatized and disillusioned, to say the least. How in God's name can this ever be explained to the children?

I have operated the Dial 4-Lawyer Legal Referral Service here in Denver since 1989. During that time I have met hundreds of people who have been falsely accused of a variety of crimes. Sexual assault upon a child comprises the largest percentage of those who swear they are innocent.

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