“The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him” (Prov. 20: 7).
Abuse must not blind us to the good in men.
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Detail from “Allegory of Justice” by Claude Laprade (1702), Museo Nacional Machado de Castro, Portugal, Author P.Lameiro (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)
Given the recent #MeToo Movement, the Roman Catholic Church sex scandal, and the growing frequency of child abuse allegations in the context of custody disputes, the issue of credibility is crucial.
False allegations – whether of rape or child abuse which did not occur – are a serious concern. Lives and careers can be destroyed by them.
Signs of Truthfulness
There are factors which tend to support the truthfulness of victims. These include the following:
- A complaint to authority, in close proximity to the alleged event.
- Documented physical injury, in close proximity to the alleged event.
- Changes in the behavior of a child, in close proximity to the alleged event.
- Detailed descriptions of sexual interaction by a young child.
- Multiple victims, unrelated to one another.
- Recurrent victims, when an accused relocates or is reassigned.
None of these factors, by themselves, assure that allegations are grounded in fact. Each, however, carries some weight. All are present in the Catholic Church sex scandal. Continue reading