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Effects of Delayed Molestation Accusations

November 19, 2017

I conducted a study among 100 respondents living in a religious community which had created a “Watch-List” to identify “pedophiles”.

The stated intention of the Watch-List was to protect the community from potential sexual predators living within the community.

To qualify as a sexual predator required any individual to anonymously identify the predator by filing a complaint up to 10 years following any incident of perceived molestation during summer-camp by older campers.

Accusations of sexual-molestation resulted in 15 men, with a mean age of 26-years appearing on a Public Web-Site referred to as “The Community Watch-List”.

The mean age of the accusers was 24-years. At the time of the study, 40% of the accusers were married compared to 80% of the identified molesters.

The mean income of the accusers was $30 K, while that of the so-called pedophiles was $75 K. While 80% of the cases were brought-up on criminal charges, only one ended in a conviction.

But the Psycho-Social consequences to those accused were devastating, including several losing their jobs and income, others being forced out of the community, and at least one suicide.

The most serious consequences to those appearing on the “Watch-List” was the stigmatization of their children who became community scapegoats, suffering from relentless social stigmatization and emotional abuse by their peers.

Of the 100 respondents from the close religious community studied, the predominant sentiment by peer-group observers was that envy and personal failure were the primary motivating factors behind these accusations, based on the inequality of social-standing, rather than actual molestation.

Friedman S, Smith L, Fogel D, Paradis C, Viswanathan R, Ackerman R, Trappler B “The incidence and influence of early traumatic life events in patients with panic disorder:  a comparison with other psychiatric outpatients”.  Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 16 (2002)

Sublette E, Trappler B.  “Cultural sensitivity training in mental health:  Treatment of Orthodox Jewish psychiatric in-patients”.   Int. J Social Psychiatry 2000 Vol 46 No 2

Trappler B “Identifying and Recovering from Psychological Trauma” New England University Press, published by Richard Altschuler, 2009.

Trappler B.  “The Impact of Early Lifetime Trauma in Later Life” poster presentation, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 19th Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 10-13, 2006.

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on davidbaisrebeinu and commented:

    A study in a close religious community of long-past allegations were seldom verified but led to unwarranted alienation and stigmatization of those accused who were placed on a community watch-list. Second-generational effects were still felt years later without the accusations being substantiated in the majority of cases. Accusers tended to belong to the lower socio-economic spectrum with less income and less social stability compared to those in the accused group and respondents tended to believe that the complaints had ulterior motives.

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