Martha Coakley and the Amirault case

by Walter Olson on January 15, 2010

The Massachusetts attorney general and Senate candidate poses as the guardian of justice and civil liberties. Dorothy Rabinowitz knows better (earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here).

More (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft and Arthur Leonard); Dan McLaughlin, RedState; Dan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum.

{ 5 trackbacks }

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{ 21 comments }

1 Amirault was guilty 01.15.10 at 8:14 am

Amirault was found guilty by more than one judicial review by both political parties. There were physical findings of abuse in the children, the children exhibited strong sexualized behaviors after the abuse, nine children testified that they were abused and as adults they still continue to say they were abused.

Letters to the Editor: The Real Darkness Is Child Abuse WALL STREET JOURNAL 02/24/95 Hardoon
The three Amiraults — Gerald, Violet and Cheryl – were convicted after two trials before different judges and juries almost one year apart. They were represented by able and well-known defense counsel. The convictions were upheld after review by state and federal appellate courts…in Amirault, the majority of the female children who testified had some relevant physical findings, as did several female children involved in the investigation who did not participate in the trial. The findings included labial adhesions and hymenal scarring …The victims and their families in these cases have been irrevocably harmed by what was done to them by the Amiraults. Every argument raised by Ms. Rabinowitz was ably presented by the defense at the trials. The juries, by their verdicts, rejected these arguments. Justice was done.
http://web.archive.org/web/20010719201703/http://www.vocal-nasvo.org/hardoon.htm

Witness praises Amirault decision By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 2/23/2002 CAMBRIDGE
He said Amirault supporters are focusing on 2 percent of the children’s claims that ‘’seem inexplicable and they are conveniently ignoring the 98 percent of the case that was overwhelming” against Amirault. http://web.archive.org/web/20020224045327/http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/054/metro/Witness_praises_Amirault_decision+.shtml

2 Richard Nieporent 01.15.10 at 8:52 am

Amirault was found guilty by more than one judicial review by both political parties.

And so were the Salem “witches” convicted.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/salem.htm

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft; dozens languished in jail for months without trials until the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts subsided.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

3 Frank 01.15.10 at 9:42 am

I do not recall that there were any conclusive physical signs of abuse in the alleged vistims. The link from the poster who claims this is a “Warned” site inaccessible to me at this time.

Could you cite to some authoritative generally accessible source to support this claim?

Likewise the claim quoted that 98% of the case was “overwhelming” for guilt. This doesn’t tie in with my rec ollection of reports.
thanks.

4 L. C. Burgundy 01.15.10 at 10:53 am

If this case was anything like the McMartin preschool counterpart on the West Coast, the children were victimized – by their interrogators, who in the McMartin case repeatedly brainwashed and told young children’s that they had been abused, raped, molested, etc. and they needed to tell all the details, so, lo and behold, children came up with lurid stories of sexual abuse (along with completely ridiculous and bizarre stories).

These cases were relics of the 80′s. The fact that people still defend the outcomes is more than a little sad.

5 Patrick 01.15.10 at 11:42 am

Specifically, and I know even reciting this is going to horrify some readers:

Gerald Amirault was convicted of inserting a heavy blade butcher knife into the rectum of a four-year-old boy. A four-year-old boy who showed no sign of physical injury, much less scarring.

How a jury could buy that is beyond me, except that, as L.C. Burgundy points out, the nation was undergoing a media-induced hysteria regarding recovered memory of satanic ritual abuse. How a prosecutor could defend it, other than out of a callous “win at all costs” mentality, is equally beyond me. It’s as though Amirault had been convicted of a “Dungeons & Dragons” murder.

Recovered memory was junk science then, and it is now. The idea that Coakley could sit on the judiciary committee, as she certainly will if elected, is revolting.

6 B2theRight 01.15.10 at 1:06 pm

How could prosecutors be so stupid?! By itself, if that 4″ wide knife blade would have been inserted into that 4 yr old child…He would have bled to death in a matter of minutes. From reports, he didn’t. Due diligence needs to be done here. Knowing this, how could the stupid voters in MA make her the State AG? WAKE UP Mass! Don’t allow this Coakley woman to continue her parade of stupidity! You might want to also vote her out as the State AG, if not, you may end up on her radar screen someday and end up like the Amiraults.

7 Amirault was guilty 01.15.10 at 4:10 pm

There was no witchhunt, and this case has nothing to do with witches, this is propaganda.

The McMartin children were abused. The jurors believed they were abused and tunnels were found that backed up their stories. see:
http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/mcmartin-preschool-case-what-really-happened-and-the-coverup/

Amirault was found guilty by more than one judicial review by both political parties. There were physical findings of abuse in the children, the children exhibited strong sexualized behaviors after the abuse, nine children testified that they were abused and as adults they still continue to say they were abused. see http://eassurvey.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/fells-acres-%E2%80%93-amirault-case/ for more information

Recovered memory exists and has fairly high corroboration rates
http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Taubman_Center/Recovmem/archive.html 101 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory

8 Justin 01.16.10 at 12:37 am

Awesome. Thanks for posting those links Amirault was guilty. Now I know where the people who proclaim his guilt are getting all the information. And what wonderful, reliable sources they are.

I’m going to quote something here from the S.M.A.R.T. website:

“After seeing a variety of articles and letters on and off the web that I believed either knowingly or unknowingly used propaganda and/or mind control techniques, I thought it would be a good idea to print an article about this, so that survivors would be able to recognize these techniques and protect themselves against them or avoid them.”

The belief that people engaging you in debate are trained masters of the human mind, schooled in insidious methods of mind control? No, that’s not paranoid at all…

9 Amirault was guilty 01.16.10 at 1:11 am

Children can be terrified into believing things that aren’t true by child abusers. That can be shown a knife and told they are being raped by it and then are raped by something else. This is done to terrify the children further and discredit them if they ever are able to tell an adult about the crime.

About recovered memory, which once again was accepted in court:

Shanley lost his appeal today in the Mass Supreme Judicial Court.

“In its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court said a Superior Court judge made the right decision when he allowed repressed memory evidence to be used against Shanley during his 2005 trial.”
“”As the SJC recognized, repressed memories of abuse is a legitimate phenomenon and provided a valid basis for the jury to find that the victim, a child at the time of the assaults, repressed memories of the years of abuse he suffered at the hands of Paul Shanley, someone who was in a significant position of authority and trust.”
http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/01/sjc_rules_in_sh.html

Websites citing journal articles proving the veracity of recovered memory include :

http://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=Recovered_Memories
http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-data/
http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/~jjf/suggestedrefs.html
http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Taubman_Center/Recovmem/index.html
http://www.jimhopper.com/memory/
http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/tm/tm.html
http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/abuse/a/cooroborate.htm

10 Richard Nieporent 01.16.10 at 7:26 am

Now that I understand where you are coming from Amirault was guilty, as a public service I am offering you something that will be of great benefit to you.

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

There is no need for you to thank me.

11 Amirault was guilty 01.16.10 at 7:43 pm

The ad hominem and personal attacks from those above professing Amirault’s innocence do not prove that any of the above websites given showing his guilt are inaccurate. They do show that the debaters defending Amirault are unable to debate fairly.

You may criticize one website that discusses how to avoid being manipulated by propaganda techniques, but this in no way discredits the website, for the information from it is accurate. And propaganda techniques can be used to influence people.

And this poster never stated this in this debate: “The belief that people engaging you in debate are trained masters of the human mind.” The poster above that stated this is creating straw man to debate while attacking those that believe Amirault was guilty with ad hominems.

COMMONWEALTH vs. GERALD AMIRAULT. 404 Mass. 221 December 6, 1988 – March 6, 1989 Middlesex County
.The children’s descriptions of the sexual abuse varied in some details but were similar over-all. …
The parents of the child witnesses testified about their children’s behavior while, or shortly after, attending Fells Acres. The children complained and cried about the school; they complained of stomachaches, headaches, pain in their genital areas, and bowel problems. They began bedwetting, lost their appetites, had nightmares, used baby talk, became fearful of lights, of men, and of being left alone. The children also displayed sexually explicit behavior; some began masturbating. Two of the boys tried to stick their tongues into their mothers’ mouths

12 Walter Olson 01.16.10 at 7:49 pm

I’ve slightly abridged the comment above to remove some details of alleged abuse. Those who are curious about such details can readily find many of them via links at the “eassurvey” website that commenter “Amirault was guilty” is promoting.

13 L.C. Burgundy 01.17.10 at 12:52 am

AWG spends his/her time spreading stories of Satanic ritual abuse fantasy as fact. I hope people don’t associate with the individual lest they be called out as a “witch.” Also, factual disputation is pointless: AWG is on a religious journey of faith and aluminum foil where all children’s accusations are true. I certainly hope AWG doesn’t have regular interaction with anyone’s children, lest he or she attempt to recover a few memories and in doing so actually victimize the children, which is exactly what happened in this case.

14 William Nuesslein 01.17.10 at 10:47 am

According to AWG:
“Children can be terrified into believing things that aren’t true by child abusers. That can be shown a knife and told they are being raped by it and then are raped by something else. This is done to terrify the children further and discredit them if they ever are able to tell an adult about the crime.”

Clearly the knife would have left some sign of damage, like bleeding to death. So it had to be something else. But what would that be? It would have to be small as no physical damage was apparent. If somebody said it was a knife, and that is impossible, what credence should be given to the story.

In the Little Rascals case, a child swore that she was penetrated by Mr. Bob. When the doctor said her hymen was intact, the woman prosecutor then said that rape did not require penetration, completely ignoring the fact that the child was definite about an impossible act.

AWG depressed me.

15 Amirault was guilty 01.17.10 at 4:43 pm

L.C. B.’s post above simply continues the name calling and personal attacks of those defending Amirault on this board. The ad hominem and personal attacks from those above professing Amirault’s innocence do not prove that any of the above websites given showing his guilt are inaccurate. They do show that the debaters defending Amirault are unable to debate fairly. Readers should not fall for these tactics. Read the websites given above and make your own decisions.

In reply to W.N., the point is that children can be terrified into thinking a knife is being used on them, when they are being raped by something else. They were shown a knife, but then something else was used. Hence, no knife wounds.

The real witch hunt is against survivors of child abuse and the lies that are being repeated as “fact” are the ones against the victims in this
case.

16 Justin 01.18.10 at 12:46 am

I looked at more of your websites. They seem to all be made up of articles that are from 15+ years ago. Not exactly up to date research there.

I looked at more articles on S.M.A.R.T. as well, including rebuttals of… Wiki freaking pedia. Do you realize how pathetic your case needs to be if you feel the need to debate Wikipedia? Oh, and there’s a “Press Release” claiming the Wikipedia article promotes pedophilia simply because the (sane) writers of the article don’t buy into SMART’s garbage.

Yet another site cited Jeffery “Dalmer”. As an example of ritual abuse. Despite the fact that their very definition of ritual abuse bears no similarity to “Dalmer’s” actions. Oh, and his name is spelled Dahmer. Morons. But hey, why shouldn’t I trust a website that can’t even get the basic details and name of one of the most infamous serial killers correct.

And no, there never were any McMartin tunnels despite what lies your paranoid friends have told you. Try reading an article by someone who is actually sane. http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume7/j7_2_1_16.htm

Look, it has actual citations! How novel.

17 William Nuesslein 01.18.10 at 5:50 am

According to Ms. Rabinowitz:

“When a teacher in the school saw him in action with the knife, she asked him what he was doing, and then told him not to do it again, a child said.”

AWG’s theory that the children were terrified into thinking a knife was being used on them doesn’t square with the testimony.

What a ridiculous theory indeed; kind of like supposing the crop circles were caused by aliens from outer space.

18 Peggy McGilligan 01.19.10 at 6:24 am

That none of the prosecutors, “expert witnesses,” etc., in the Amirault and similar cases ever got brought to justice, is yet another travesty. I lived in Massachusetts as a child, as did many baby boomers. I attended a preschool, took naps, drank hot chocolate and, in winter played on the ice. It was pure hell. Seriously, when the allegations of molestations with butcher knives and devil worship surfaced, it was a real stunner. How could this happen? That the cops, the psychologists, and the prosecutors all believed it, validated the acts.

Encouraged by their mental health professionals, otherwise rational human beings from coast to coast, suddenly began dredging up primordial recollections of atrocities committed upon them. These accounts of ritual abuse were given even greater credence, when accompanied by some semblance of parental occult worship. Californians believed it wholeheartedly. Lord only knows what had been going on in Calif. But again, lives were destroyed. Once a suspect; always suspect. What happened was so egregious, such a deliberate and willful mischaracterization of justice, as to provoke ire in a reasonable person decades later.

If it’s taken this long to expose Ms. Coakley, I say give the woman her comeuppance. Justice demands no less.

19 Walter Olson 01.19.10 at 8:00 am

I’ve deleted a number of comments in this and the related thread as repetitious, superfluous, scurrilous, or needlessly graphic. Those who wish to learn more about the views of anonymous commenter AWG are free to follow the links that he or she has provided, but I believe that his or her dispute with other commenters has by now gotten all the airing it needs and intend to moderate accordingly.

20 Johnny Potatoe 01.19.10 at 9:54 pm

Coakley also prosecuted Louise Woodward. 99 % of prosecuters in all of the U.S. live by the credo: “Accusation is proof of guilt.” If you’ve never gone through it personally, you know nothing.

21 Frank 01.21.10 at 10:16 am

Old news I by now but my recollection is that there were never any tunnels found in the Amirault matter.

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