Ralph Underwager

Information on Ralph Underwager:

Interview in Amsterdam in June 1991 by “Paidika,” Editor-in-Chief, Joseph Geraci.

PAIDIKA: Is choosing paedophilia for you a responsible choice for the individuals?

RALPH UNDERWAGER: Certainly it is responsible. What I have been struck by as I have come to know more about and understand people who choose paedophilia is that they let themselves be too much defined by other people. That is usually an essentially negative definition. Paedophiles spend a lot of time and energy defending their choice. I don’t think that a paedophile needs to do that. Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. I am also a theologian and as a theologian, I believe it is God’s will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of the flesh, between people. A paedophile can say: “This closeness is possible for me within the choices that I’ve made.”
Paedophiles are too defensive. They go around saying, “You people out there are saying that what I choose is bad, that it’s no good. You’re putting me in prison, you’re doing all these terrible things to me. I have to define my love as being in some way or other illicit.” What I think is that paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness, they can say, “I believe this is in fact part of God’s will.” They have the right to make these statements for themselves as personal choices. Now whether or not they can persuade other people they are right is another matter (laughs).
http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/NudistHallofShame/Underwager2.html

WITNESS FOR MR. BUBBLES Transcribed from “Australia 60 Minutes,” Channel Nine Network  (Aired on August 5, 1990 in Australia) Produced by Anthony McClellan; Reported by Mike Munro….

(describes crimes)
Reporter: Six weeks ago (17 June 1990) we brought you a story that a number of people, including some in high places, wanted to keep secret: the case against Mr. Bubbles. In that report, parents named Tony Deren as the man who had sexually assaulted their children. Deren’s wife ran the kindergarten they attended. Tonight we investigate another crucial aspect of this disturbing case. You remember, police listed seventeen young victims, and more than fifty (54) criminal charges were eventually laid. But when the Mr. Bubbles case went to court, not one of the children was called to give evidence. The charges were thrown out, and Tony Deren was set free.

One of the key Deren witnesses was a hired gun from the United States, a psychologist named Ralph Underwager, who says he’s an expert in child sexual abuse. He testified that the children’s evidence had been contaminated, and they were too young to know what the truth was.

“Reporter: This is Ralph Underwager. Psychologist. He was paid $25,000, and gave crucial evidence in favor of Tony Deren. Evidence which helped Deren walk free….

Reporter: Always the same story. Three and four year olds being lured into bubble baths with a man who sexually abused them.

Professor Kim Oates: Having examined them, and talked with them, I’m absolutely convinced the children were sexually abused.

Reporter: There’s absolutely no doubt?

Oates: No doubt at all

(Voice over)
Reporter: That’s the evidence Professor Kim Oates wanted to give in court. But he was never asked. As head of the Child Protection Unit at the Camperdown Children’s Hospital in Sydney, he’s known around the world as an expert in detecting child sexual abuse.

(Back to what is being said with the Professor)
Reporter: So we have eighteen children who were examined, five of whom your staff say were definitely sexually abused, and all of them from the same preschool. What’s your reaction to that?

Oates: Well, I think if you look at the incidence of significant child sexual abuse in the community, significant enough to lay physical findings in the preschool age group, I think it’s extraordinary….

Reporter: This is Debbie’s medical report. Once again, it was positive; there was sexual abuse.

(Switch to interview with Debbie’s mother)
Debbie’s mother: I was entirely spun out on that because I, at that point, had been trying to tell myself that, no, this wasn’t happening, it wasn’t true, who would interfere with my child.

Another child (wasn’t identified): I put some things in his body, and he put some things in my body, but I didn’t want him to.

Reporter: Cindy’s medical report confirms she was abused. The doctor found signs consistent with traumatic dilatation of the anus….

Reporter: This is Boroko Court House, Port Moresby, New Guinea. In 1972, Deren was brought here, charged with the aggravated assault of two young girls. He’d interfered with them in a swimming pool. Something Deren admits. And both charges were proven….

Reporter: There’s no doubt scores of questions remain unanswered in the Mr. Bubbles case, and some of them relate to Ralph Underwager, the expert witness Tony Deren paid to testify on his behalf. Ralph Underwager was imperative to Tony Deren’s defense. As a supposed independent expert, he testified that the evidence of the Bubbles children had become contaminated. And, they were too young to understand their duty to tell the truth. But, here in America, we’ve certainly discovered Underwager’s reputation and credentials aren’t all they’re cracked up to be….

Dr. Anna Salter: Well, he is someone who makes his living going around the country and testifying against children in child sexual abuse cases. He says the same thing in essentially every case. Which is every . . .

(Voice over)
Reporter: And Anna Salter knows what she’s talking about. A Ph.D. from Harvard, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood. She says young children can be believed.

(Back to Salter)
Anna Salter: This is consistent with the literature. If you look at what is the best legal textbook in the country today on children as witnesses, “Child Witness: Theory and Practice”, John Meyers says clearly children as young as three can comprehend the duty to tell the truth.

Reporter: And this man is a highly respected legal scholar in America?

Anna Salter: I think he’s fairly clearly the chief leading scholar on child sexual abuse in the country.

Reporter: Six American states have given Dr. Salter a grant to check Underwager’s methods in court. And what did she find?

Anna Salter: That he isn’t accurate. That what he says in court does not necessarily fairly represent the literature.

Reporter: He distorts the facts?

Anna Salter: Uh, frequently. Sometimes he quotes specific studies, and he’s frequently wrong about what the studies say.

Reporter: So we thought we’d get Dr. Salter to analyze the evidence Underwager gave under oath at the Mr. Bubbles hearing, where he testified his qualifications had never been questioned. But in an American case, the Swann case, this is what the courts said about Mr. Underwager.

Anna Salter: The court remains convinced the psychologist did not have the qualifications to testify as a doctor. The trial court ruled that the psychologist’s proposed testimony was not proper because there was no indication that the results of the doctor’s work had been accepted in the scientific community.

Reporter: In the Mr. Bubbles case, he said his qualifications were never in question….

Reporter: Now, the second incident, in the Mr. Bubbles case, was where Underwager said that 90 percent of accusations against child molesters are wrong. Now, is that backed up scientifically?

Anna Salter: No, that’s gobbledegook. I don’t know of any study that would support that….

Reporter: Ralph Underwager was hired to defend Polly’s father. And as usual, he testified that nothing had happened. It was all a delusion, and Polly had simply made the whole story up. But then, Underwager was cross-examined by Polly’s lawyer, Charles Vaughan.

(Scene switch to Vaughan’s office)
Vaughan: He used the theory that it was a delusion of the child that she was doing a favor for the mother by saying this happened when it really didn’t happen, to gain the favor and to be the apple of the eye of the mother.

Reporter: A delusion that she was continually raped over four days.

Vaughan: That’s right….

Reporter: The jury took only an hour to decide Polly Barnes was telling the truth. And that Ralph Underwager’s testimony that nothing had happened, could be ignored. In fact, Underwager’s evidence was rejected so much, the jury awarded Polly three and a quarter million dollars.

(Scene switch to Underwager’s house)(Voice over)
Reporter: So while Underwager was being rejected here in America, he had no such trouble at the Mr. Bubbles hearing in Australia where he testified that the children were too young to tell the truth….

Reporter: Ralph Underwager has testified for the defendants in about four hundred child abuse cases.  http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/NudistHallofShame/MrBubbles.html

State of Minnesota v. Deloch, 1990 WL 48536 (Minn.App.), April 24, 1990 “After the state rested its case, it brought a motion in limine regarding Dr. Ralph Underwager, a psychologist the defense planned to call as a witness. Dr. Underwager’s testimony was directed to two issues: (1) the techniques used by Dr. Carolyn Levit in examining alleged child sexual abuse victims, and their impact on the child; and (2) characteristics of the memory process, especially learned memory versus acual recall of a real event. The trial court excluded Dr. Underwager’s testimony.
Appellant’s argument that the trial court erred in excluding Dr. Underwager’s testimony about Dr. Levitt’s examination procedures lacks merit. Before testimony by an expert witness may be admitted, the expert must be qualified by way of education or experience. Because Dr.Underwager is not a medical doctor, he does not have the expertise or qualifications to either evaluate Dr. Levitt’s examination technique for child abuse victims, or assess its acceptance or reputation in the scientific community.
The trial court did not err in excluding Dr. Underwager’s testimony about learned memory. The record does not establish that the scientific basis for his theory is reliable and broadly accepted in its field. Furthermore, the basic rule is that expert testimony, to be admissible, must be helpful to the jury, and we conclude that Dr. Underwager’s testimony….. would not necessarily be helpful. Dr. Underwager’s testimony would tend to inappropriately interfere with the role of the jury in assessing credibility. No evidence exists that Dr. Underwager’s testimony would add precision or depth to the jury’s conclusions.… Dr. Underwager’s testimony was excluded precisely because its helpfulness to the jury was seriously questioned. The trial court correctly excluded Dr. Underwager’s testimony. The evidence is sufficient to support the convictions.”

State v. Swan, 114 Wash.2d 613, 790 P.2d 610, May 3, 1990 At the trial of this case, the defense sought to qualify Dr. Ralph Underwager, a licensed psychologist, as an expert witness. The trial court ruled that the psychologist’s proposed testimony was not proper because there was no indication that the results of the doctor’s work had been accepted in the scientific community and because the testimony went directly to the credibility of the victims and invaded the province of the jury.
The court remains convinced [the psychologist] did not have the qualifications to testify as a doctor, and that the offered testimony, in any event, was within the common experience of all of us. The psychologist [w]as a researcher who did not have bona fide qualifications in the view of the Court. He was not involved in an independent research undertaking, but rather was approached to undertake research by an interested party with no interest [in] the outcome of the research. It is the Court’s memory [the psychologist’s] research was undertaken at the behest of the insurance industry relative to civil claims for child sexual abuse.
It was not shown at trial that the psychologist’s position on child interviewing was accepted by the scientific community. The psychologist’s proposed testimony did not satisfy the test for admissibility set forth in ER 702 and was properly refused. http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/NudistHallofShame/Underwager4.html

STATE OF MINNESOTA IN COURT OF APPEALS C0-97-55 In Re: Investigation of Dr. Ralph Underwager, Ph.D., L.P. by the Minnesota Board of Psychology. Filed July 8, 1997  Affirmed – Kalitowski, Judge Ramsey County District Court File No. C59612185….Appellant Dr. Ralph Underwager challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to quash a subpoena issued by the Minnesota Board of Psychology (Board) in connection with an investigation by the Board. We affirm….Further, the investigation is being conducted to determine whether Underwager violated the rule of conduct that requires the informed consent of a client before a diagnostic interview can be electronically recorded. The Board is requesting that Underwager produce the written informed consent of S.K.H. from her psychological sessions with him. This document is clearly relevant to the determination of whether Underwager violated the rules of conduct.

Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Anna Salter, Et Al., Defendants-Appellees., 22 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 1994)  Federal Circuits, 7th Cir. (April 25, 1994) Docket number: 93-2422

Psychologists Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield have written two books: Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse (1988), and The Real World of Child Interrogations (1990). They conclude that most accusations of child sexual abuse stem from memories implanted by faulty clinical techniques rather than from sexual contact between children and adults. The books have not been well received in the medical and scientific press. A review of the first in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that the authors took a one-sided approach: “it may be that the adversarial system has so influenced this discussion [about child abuse] that objectivity no longer has value. The book contains almost 420 text pages and the authors cite over 700 references, but they do not really review this body of literature, they cross-examine it. When a given reference fails to support their viewpoint they simply misstate the conclusion. When they cannot use a quotation out of context from an article, they make unsupported statements, some of which are palpably untrue and others simply unprovable.” David L. Chadwick, Book Review, in 261 JAMA 3035 (May 26, 1989)….

Salter had for some years doubted that Underwager’s books and testimony accurately reflected the clinical literature. After receiving a grant from the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors to finance an annotated bibliography of studies on child abuse interviews, Salter decided to concentrate on the papers Underwager and Wakefield had cited in their 1988 book. Over the course of 18 months Salter read the original works Underwager and Wakefield had discussed. In January 1990 she delivered to the New England Association a monograph titled: “Accuracy of Expert Testimony in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: A Case Study of Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield.” This unpublished monograph has been widely circulated; Salter sent a copy to the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, which has made it available to prosecutors and other interested persons. The monograph is highly critical of the 1988 book and of Underwager’s testimony. Like Dr. Chadwick’s book review, the monograph states that the book misrepresents the studies, rips quotations from their context (and misleadingly redacts them), attributes to scholars positions they once held but have repudiated in light of more recent research, and ignores evidence contradicting its thesis. While Chadwick’s indictment of the book advances conclusions but not the supporting evidence, Salter’s is packed with details. For her interview with 60 Minutes Australia, however, Salter compressed her conclusions into popular language, telling Munro that Underwager “distorts the facts” and that his testimony in the Mr Bubbles case that 90% of all accusations of child molestation are wrong is “gobbledygook” unsupported by any scientific evidence….

What, then, does the record show about actual malice? Did Salter or Toth know that the statements were false? Did either one harbor doubts about the statements’ truth yet plunge recklessly ahead? The record allows no doubt about the answer to either question, for either defendant.

Salter testified by deposition that she read every one of the more than 500 papers her monograph discusses, and that she believes that her interpretation of these studies (and her condemnation of the Underwager and Wakefield interpretation) is correct. Salter’s view of the scholarly literature is congruent with Dr. Chadwick’s, and all of the other reviews we could find take Salter’s side rather than plaintiffs’. Sandra Shrimpton, Book Review (of Accusations …), 14 Child Abuse & Neglect 601-02 (1990); David L. Chadwick, Book Review (of Real World …), 15 Child Abuse & Neglect 602-03 (1991); Lenore Olson, Book Review (of Real World …), 37 Social Work 276 (1992); John E.B. Myers, The Child Sexual Abuse Literature: A Call for Greater Objectivity, 88 Mich.L.Rev. 1709, 1711-17 (1990) (discussing Accusations … and two books by other authors). Some judges have reached a similar conclusion. For example, the Supreme Court of Washington held that Underwager’s analysis and conclusions are not accepted by the scientific community, making it appropriate for a trial judge to preclude him from testifying. State v. Swan, 114 Wash.2d 613, 655-56, 790 P.2d 610, 632 (1990). See also Timmons v. Indiana, 584 N.E.2d 1108 (Ind.1992) (sustaining a decision to limit Underwager’s testimony severely). Cf. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., — U.S. —-, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993). It may be that Salter, the judges, and the book reviewers all err in evaluating the Underwager-Wakefield work. Scientific truth is elusive. Nothing in this record suggests, however, that Salter either knew that she was writing falsehoods or feared that she might be doing so but barged ahead without checking….

Both Salter and Toth came to believe that Underwager is a hired gun who makes a living by deceiving judges about the state of medical knowledge and thus assisting child molesters to evade punishment. Persons who hold such opinions cannot be expected to look kindly on their subjects, and the law certainly does not insist that they shut up as soon as they are challenged. Van Straten, 151 Wis.2d at 917-18, 447 N.W.2d at 110-11 (repeated publication did not establish actual malice when the speakers believed their statements to be true). Underwager and Wakefield cannot, simply by filing suit and crying “character assassination!”, silence those who hold divergent views, no matter how adverse those views may be to plaintiffs’ interests. Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science rather than by the methods of litigation. Cf. Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, No. 89-2441 (7th Cir. Apr. 6, 1994), slip op. 8-11 & n. 1, 20 F.3d 789, 796-97. More papers, more discussion, better data, and more satisfactory models–not larger awards of damages–mark the path toward superior understanding of the world around us.  http://vlex.com/vid/36092881

Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter  DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_2   Published in:  Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 , pages 115 – 124  Abstract – In 1988 I began a report on the accuracy of expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases utilizing Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield as a case study (Wakefield & Underwager, 1988). In response, Underwager and Wakefield began a campaign of harassment and intimidation, which included multiple lawsuits; an ethics charge; phony (and secretly taped) phone calls; and ad hominem attacks, including one that I was laundering federal grant monies. The harassment and intimidation failed as the author refused demands to retract. In addition, the lawsuits and ethics charges were dismissed. Lessons learned from the experience are discussed.   http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/confessions-of-a-whistle-blower-lessons-learned/

ANNA SALTER, PH.D., is a psychologist in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1988, she began a study of the accuracy of expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases utilizing psychologist Ralph Underwager and his wife and practice partner, Hollida Wakefield, as a case study….Salter writes:  “The people who support and defend those accused of child sexual abuse indiscriminately, those who join organizations dedicated to defending people who are accused of child sexual abuse with no screening whatsoever to keep out those who are guilty as charged, are…not necessarily people engaged in an objective search for the truth. Some of them can and do use deceit, trickery, misstated research, harassment, intimidation, and charges of laundering federal money to silence their opponents.” — Confessions of a Whistle Blower: Lessons Learned, p. 122. http://fmsf.com/ethics.shtml