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From: "Alex Constantine" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Ralph Underwager's "Expert" Testimony on Ritual Abuse
Date: Sunday, September 10, 2000 4:51 PM


     "Skeptics" of ritual abuse on the Internet often cite Ralph Underwager
as an "expert" on the topic. Underwager hails from NAMBLA and the FMSF, and
misrepresents facts wholesale to discredit abused children. This is the same
"expert" who once opined to newspaper reporters in the UK that rape is
"good" for women. Yet he is universally respected by Usenet trolls who are
constantly attacking anyone who supports the children in ritual abuse cases,
and frequently is interviewed in the "mainstream" press as a legitimate
expert. He is, in fact, the David Irving of organized child abuse, and is
deserving of the scorn most child therapists harbor toward him and his
widely published pupil, Debbie Nathan, who is equally disreputable. ‹ Alex

Ralph Underwager's "Expert" Testimony

The following are exerpts (verbatim) from opinions handed down in several
cases involving the "expert" testimony of Ralph Underwager:

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."

Timmons v. State of Indiana, 584 N.E.2d 1108, Jan. 27, 1992
"Appellant contends that his constitutional right to present evidence was
infringed upon when the trial court limited the expert testimony of Dr.
Ralph Underwager and did not permit Dr.Tyra Phipps to testify before the
jury. The trial court limited the testimony of Dr. Ralph Underwager and did
not allow Dr. Tyra Phipps to present evidence to the jury. At trial, Dr,
Underwager testified before the jury on the issue of interview bias in
general and specifically, Dr. Marilyn Shea's interview bias. Dr. Underwager
testified that Dr. Shea's interiew bias made T.T.'s statements unreliable,
and that subsequent interiews conducted by Kelly and Turnbloom were tainted
by Dr.Shea's interview bias. We do not feel the trial court erred in
excluding the testimony of Dr. Underwager..."

State v. Swan, 114 Wash.2d 613, 790 P.2d 610, May 3, 1990
ISSUE SIX. CONCLUSION. "The trial court did no abuse its discretion in
declining to allow a psychologist to testify as an expert witness. If
scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier
of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a
witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or
education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise. This
court has stated that the admissibility of expert testimony depends upon
whether '(1) the witness qualified as an expert, (2) the opinion is based
upon an explanatory theory generally accepted in the scientific community,
and (3) the expert testimony would be helpful to the trier of fact.'
     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
raher 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 underaken 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 acceped 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.

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