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Monday, August 22, 2011

Symptoms of Abuse?

The point of this post is to highlight unacceptable imaginative leaps taken by the prosecution during Coy vs Texas, not to attack the complainant (plaintiff?). Regardless of what happened that night, she was a victim. Either something bad happened to her, or she was convinced by people that she loved and trusted that something bad happened to her.
But in order to understand what happened at the trial, she’s going to come up in conversation. I believe the Harris County District Attorney’s Office under Chuck Rosenthal believed that they could get away with this shit because they could make people look away. “Don’t ask questions, it’s for the children!” “How can you question us, we’re doing this for a child!” But I’m tired of taking their word for it. Given the track record of Rosenthal’s DA Office, I want to look at this case and make up my own mind. Excuse the fuck out of me if that bothers anybody.

During the trial, a social worker/therapist named Susan Szczygielski testified that the little girl in this case exhibited symptoms of having been sexually assaulted including problems sleeping, stomach aches, emotional sensitivity and headaches.

In 1995, a New Mexico Senator proposed a piece of legislation that would force any psychologist or psychiatrist testifying to competency to wear a wizard hat, a white beard, and hold a wand. While the bill did not pass, it highlights the silliness of taking the ‘soft science’ too seriously, especially when a person’s future is at stake. You can make an educated guess but you just don’t know what’s going on inside a person’s head. Although  Szczygielski seemed to have convinced the jury that the girl’s symptoms were the direct result of sexual abuse, you can see from the appeals linked below that even witnesses against Carlos Coy admitted that the girl had problems sleeping BEFORE the alleged incident, and the headaches magically disappeared when she was given glasses.

Szczygielski didn’t prove shit except that pretty much anything will be accepted by a court as evidence of sexual abuse.

Emotional sensitivity…Please, someone introduce me to a nine year old girl who is NOT emotionally sensitive. While that and the stomach aches may have been caused by the alleged abuse, they might also have been cause by the stress of being told by multiple adults that you were abused and being dragged into court to testify in front of a big crowd of strangers about something that you can’t really remember.

No kid wants to be forced to discuss their private parts in front of a court room; in cases where there is some convincing evidence that a crime has happened it becomes necessary, but this poor kid wasn’t even sure if anything had happened. Still, she got piled on at her ‘assessment interview’ by the investigative officer, her mom’s therapist, and an interviewer whose methods had caused problems in the past at the CAC. I’ll write more about that particular cluster-fuck on Thursday.

I look at this shit and I’m just amazed at the audacity of the prosecution team. If they wanted Carlos Coy so badly, why not prosecute the one case with evidence? Why pursue this fabricated bullshit? They had to know that once he was convicted he wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting an appeal in.
It was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now.


Angela said...

I am all for what you are doing. I was sexually abused growing up. I remember everything. No one had to clear anything up for me. I was 4. A teacher showed a video in class and told us it was okay for us to tell her if anything was going on. I was 8 when I got up and told my teacher I wanted to tell her something. I remeber everything. I remeber telling my story to the officer and to this day when I see him I picture him writting down my story and my father next to me. I remeber wearing a purple dress for court and pointing to a doll to show what was done to me. I remeber him looking at me and trying to scare me but I was no longer scared. My point is....I remeber what happened to me! I hope the truth comes out whatever the outcome. I hope when the truth come out some one reaches to that girl....either way she was a victim. If she was forced to lie....she was a victim. I can only imagine what a heavy burden that is and rest assured all children grow up. The can not be silenced forever.

Incandesio said...

Angela: Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate you taking an interest in this case, and I share your hope that, whatever the girl's roll in this, she gets the support she needs.