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Child Sexual Abuse Is Not Widespread (From Child Sexual Abuse, P 19-26, 1998, Bruno Leone, Brenda Stalcup, et al, eds. - See NCJ-171702)

NCJ Number
K L Billingsley
Date Published
8 pages
Concern over child sexual abuse has produced a form of hysteria and false accusations and unfair prosecutions have become common.
In some cases, such as the McMartin preschool case in Los Angeles, the work of manipulative therapists has encouraged young children to invent outrageous tales of abuse. In less-high- profile cases, child protective service personnel and civil prosecutors have violated the due process rights of accused parents and have torn families apart on the basis of unsupported suspicions and flimsy evidence. At issue is whether child sexual abuse is at epidemic levels, particularly since one estimate indicates the number of false child abuse accusations exceeds 1 million per year. False accusations are especially prevalent in divorce and child custody cases. Examples are provided of cases in which individuals were falsely accused and acquitted of child molestation charges, and deficiencies in the child protection system are identified.


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