The scientific evidence marshaled against Coy, at least what we’ve seen of it, came exclusively from therapists, psychologists, and social workers. I have no doubt that it was presented as irrefutable, highly refined, and scien-tastic.
Forensic psychology seems to be a continually evolving discipline, much like the science behind arson investigations; and like the evidence used against Ed Graf, ‘facts’ can mean different things to different people:
The latter half of the 20th century saw a return to a focus on childhood sex abuse as the etiology of later distress and dysfunction. Fueled by the proliferation of scientific evidence, child advocates refused to back down when confronted by skeptics, and staunchly maintained the attitude that "children don't lie; if it hadn't happened, they couldn't report it." An attempt to make up for decades of ignorance and rejection of children's stories of abuse led to an unfettered and unexamined acceptance of every child's story of abuse as true. By the close of the 1980s, the negative repercussions of this attitude were obvious.
The negative repercussions are, indeed, painfully obvious, but have we admitted that we can’t know, with 100% certainty, if a child was truly abused? Without some kind of conclusive physical evidence (which presents its own trouble of interpretive bias), a jury still wants to know that they’re sending a guilty man to prison; the court brings in psychologists, dedicated professionals that can offer what appears to be proof.
“Yes, this child was abused. She drew a picture with hearts and pointy triangles, which is a red flag indicator of abuse.”
“Yes, this child was abused. When presented with anatomically correct dolls, she immediately tried to stick Tab A into Slot B, which only an abused child would do.”
“Yes, this child was abused; she told us that witches flew her into the air and killed a baby and cooked it, and then everybody had sex in a big vat of blood, and then they returned her to her home and her parents were none the wiser.” (<--Accusations like this are real, and were accepted without question during the satanic-daycare-panic. I shit you not.)
And so we are comforted by the reassuring presence of Science, which assures us that what we’re doing is sanctioned by reason, and logic, and common sense. When the science advances, and the professionals discover that, as in Ed Graf’s arson conviction, the scientists subjectively interpreted objective evidence and imprisoned someone who may very well be innocent, we gasp in horror and swear never to be fooled again...until the next outrageous case comes along.