Unsubstantiated sex abuse claims backfire

On August 15, 2013 Justice Andrew Goodman from the Superior Court of Ontario handed down an unheard-of decision awarding a man, accused of child sexual abuse, an amount of $125,000.00 in damages, plus costs.

And it looks like a debunked bit of feminist-inspired literature could be the cause of this situation.

Before we get into that book, a quick walk through the events and people involved that lead up to this ruling are in order. (Much of what follows comes directly from the text of the ruling.)

Jack and Jim Vanderkooy are brothers from a large family with 10 other living siblings. In 1970 Jim married Christine (Chris) VanderBoom and shortly thereafter in 1973 Jack married Chris’ sister Margaret.

Jim and Chris have four children: Sheldon, Michelle, Patricia (Tricia) and Sarah. Jack and Margret also have 4 children, Steven, Tim, Rachel and Leisha. The children of both families are close in age.

In 1975 brothers Jack and Jim go into business together running the family farm. The 2 families live together for a short time at the farmhouse and in 1976 Jim and Chris’ family move across the road from the farm into a new house.

In 1981, there was breakup of the farming partnership between Jim and Jack, which caused the relationship between them to be strained. Jack started the breakup, wanting to farm on his own. Jim requested Jack buy him out, so that he could return to teaching full-time.

The families continue to live across from one another until 1986, at which point Jim and family move to the Hamilton, Ontario area.

During the time from 1975 to 1986 the two daughters Tricia and Sarah are frequently over at Jack and Margret’s house. At paragraph 12;

“…Tricia and Sarah slept over at Jack and Margaret’s house quite often. Although Margaret was primarily responsible for babysitting Tricia and Sarah, Jack would, on occasion, be left alone with the children at the farmhouse when Margaret had to leave the house to run errands or tend to other activities.”

Fast forward to March 2002.

Jim and Chris with daughters Sarah and Tricia travel to the Dominican Republic on holidays, given the time of year it appears this was spring-break vacation. During the vacation Sarah alleges she was sexually assaulted on a date with an employee at the resort where they were staying.

From the court report it is not clear whether Sarah informs her family of the events that happened in the Dominican. She does however assert that, from the alleged sexual assault, she began having ‘flashbacks’ which led her to believe she was sexually abused by her uncle Jack.

According to the report, at paragraph 56 ;

Sarah: ” …that since her near-rape experience in the Dominican Republic, she was having flashbacks of Jack abusing her in the upstairs bedroom of the farmhouse.”

The next event of importance is Sarah seeks therapy for panic attacks. We find this at paragraph 57 of the court report. The therapist she chooses is one Jessie Cooper.

“Sarah sought therapy from Jessie Cooper in early May 2005. Sarah testified that she did so because she had been experiencing panic attacks. Sarah testified it was not her intention to talk with Jessie about the abuse.”

Jessie Cooper is somewhat of an unknown to me thus far but I do know she wasn’t at the trial, even though her patient was on trial. In the footnotes the Honourable Justice Goodman does refer to Cooper as having a practice but does not indicate her credentials.

“[20] Jessie Cooper’s notes, transcripts and related materials were entered into evidence on consent, without the necessity of calling this individual as a witness. I am mindful that I can only conduct a limited evaluation of this evidence.”

I did find one article on the matter from Law Times where Cooper is called a psychologist.

There are a few things I find troubling about the Law Times article and I believe they are worth mention. For their feminist-inspired article on the situation the Law Times turns to three lawyers, two of whom appear to have a vested interest in keeping false accusers shielded from legal repercussions. I am not sure of the position of the third on shielding false accusers, but she is in tight with feminist dogma.

The first lawyer is Elizabeth Grace who according to the article and is quoted as saying; “Grace, who represents victims of sexual abuse in personal injury matters at Lerners LLP, says the decision is concerning.”

I have one question for Grace: how concerned are you, Grace, for the innocent men who are on the receiving end of a false claim of sexual abuse / assault?

The second lawyer is Susan Vella of Rochon Genova LLP, who states the ruling may have “unintentionally perpetuated a conspiracy of silence.” I somewhat agree with Vella. Where we differ is on what conspiracy of silence. The “conspiracy of silence” I see is the lack of legal remedy afforded to the falsely accused and legally wronged in cases involving sexual assault. The inability to mount a full answer and defense, in criminal cases, for those alleged to have engaged in sexual crimes is another ‘conspiracy of silence’, doubly heinous as this happens not only in the court of public opinion but in the courts that are accused of upholding of the rule of law. The lack of cross examination in those types of matters is a ‘conspiracy of silence’ as well, Vella. And the last ‘conspiracy of silence’, Vella, is the response from the Crown prosecutors holding people responsible for false abuse claims. (Sexual and domestic, in case you are wondering, folks.)

But from Vella’s statements in the article it looks like she is fine with those examples of a ‘conspiracy of silence.’

And last is lawyer Loretta Merritt whose cases involve civil sexual assault caseload at Torkin Manes LLP. No vested for her in this at all. Merritt’s take on the decision is “decisions like this one could encourage defendants of sexual assault allegations to make a defamation counterclaim.”

To which I reply: shouldn’t those wronged by malicious prosecution be afforded the right to legal remedy? But I digress, back to the case.

While in therapy with Cooper it appears Sarah starts to read a book. It s not clear from the court report how she came into possession of the book. The book is the piece of literature I mentioned in the beginning of this piece. It’s called “The Courage To Heal,” and again I’ll get to more on that feminist filth later on.

In January of 2006, Tricia’s marriage falls apart. Allegations of her husband being abusive are mentioned. At the end of January Tricia comes home and it is at this time that Sarah tells her sister that she was abused as a child, and asks if Tricia was abused, too.

In a letter dated the February 5 of 2006, Sarah writes to Cooper also in her ‘courage to heal’ workbook.

From the letter to Cooper we have her stating;

“So I told her I have been sexually abused as a child by Uncle Jack. I told her I wondered if it had happened to her and if that was why she was where she was. She looked at me and I don’t know if I will ever forget that look…She looked at me and said she has no distinct memory but always wondered if something had happened, if there was a way it was possible….I told her [Patricia] that I don’t have vivid memories but that God has given me enough. When I told Trish and she shared her dislike of this uncle, it gave me confirmation in my spirit that I have not made up a lie and that together we will heal….On Thursday (the day she went back to Miami) it became clear to me that Trish was turning a corner in her perception of the events. She told me she was having some memories (not of abuse specifically) that helped point her in the belief that something has happened.”

And from her workbook entry from the same day we have:

“I don’t have vivid memories”

Let that phrase sink in for a moment.

And then think about accusing someone of rape or sexual assault without vivid memories.

What are those memories that Sarah and Tricia have?

For the answer to that we have to go back a bit and give a brief description of the sleeping arrangements on the nights the two slept over.

They would be sleeping on the floor of a bedroom, between two twin beds, which would have Jack’s children sleeping in them. In the first incident Tricia claims that, “She remembers waking up but not being fully awake.” She remember Jack’s face and a feeling of being ‘pinned’ down. She claims to remember protesting to Jack, “don’t do this to me.” She also claims she had some pain either in her legs or vaginal area. She also states that in her memory ‘the pain did not make sense to her.’

She denies that the pain was related to a bed-wetting problem she had at the time.

Her second “memory” is as follows and found at paragraph 48;
” In Patricia’s second distinct memory, she recalled being on the floor in the same boys’ bedroom. She remembers Jack sitting on Tim’s bed and pulling her up by an arm. She remembers a sensation of something soft in her mouth which she asserted “may have been his penis”. She recalls the specific feeling. In cross-examination, she admitted that there is a degree of “speculation now looking back at the incident” and her believing that the soft object was a penis. She testified that she could only relate to the feeling of something soft in her mouth. As with the first memory, it was night-time and she had been sleeping on the floor. Patricia admitted that other children were likely in the room but doesn’t know how Tim would not have been woken up by Jack’s actions. Patricia testified that she has always remembered this incident as sexual and she does not know if the two memories are part of the same event or different.”

So she doesn’t know if the two ‘memories’ are the same, or how Jack’s son Tim could have stayed asleep. She can’t be sure what the soft thing was in her mouth. Was it possibly her thumb? She is about 6 years old at the time.

Sarah’s first memory is described like this at paragraph 51;

“Sarah admitted that she has no recollection of sleeping anywhere else but the boys’ bedroom in the farmhouse and has no recollection of sleeping alone in the boys’ room. Sarah testified that she has two memories of being sexually abused by Jack. In the first one, she remembers herself as a very young girl, in the boys’ bedroom. Sarah described the memory as a static image, like “a snapshot”, “an out-of-body experience”. It is dark and she sees the dark shape of a man lying on top of a small child. Sarah described looking down on herself, as if from the upper corner of the bedroom ceiling near the door, and seeing herself as a child on the floor with the dark shape of a grown man on top of her. She cannot see the child’s face or distinguish any features. Sarah also could not see the man’s face, or any other identifying features however, Sarah testified, “I know it is Jack”. She explained that in the memory, it is as if she is the little girl she sees and she knows where she is and the man on top of her. Sarah does not know if there are other children in the room. She does not know if the man had his clothes on or off or if she had her own clothes on or off. Sarah testified that she does not know if there was penetration, as there was no action to this memory and she does not recall experiencing anything.”

Sarah’s second memory happens when she is getting intimate with a partner in the Fall of 2006. According to her she would have a ‘sensation or feeling of Jack being on top of her.’ And that when her partner touched her vagina

“she would have a flashback and suddenly in the ‘snapshot,’ Jack was on top of her. Sarah testified that she would see Jack on top of her. Sarah testified that she does not see Jack’s face but, as with the first memory, she knows it is Jack. She described the memory as a sensation and she feels the weight of a grown man on top of her. Sarah does not know if there was penetration or fondling. Sarah added that the man on top of her is not the man she is being intimate with.”

Sarah’s testimony and sessions with Cooper come under more fire. At paragraph 116 we are informed that;

Sarah later admitted that throughout her therapy she advised Jessie Cooper that she had doubts and, at one point, she was worried that she might have identified the wrong perpetrator. Sarah admitted in cross-examination that through her therapy she acknowledged “there was a very real possibility that I was wrong, however the memory stayed the same”. She agreed that she told Jessie Cooper over the course of therapy that “I have lots and lots of doubts” [bolding mine]

Now if you are wondering how all this ended up in court, the answer is, Tricia and Sarah sent out emails to the extended family in August claiming Jack abused them and they did not want anyone else to be abused. This leads to Jack filing a civil suit, which in turn causes Tricia, Sarah and family to file a counter-suit claiming sexual battery.

Something interesting about the standard of proof required for the sexual assault battery claim. It was tried on the lowest standard of proof in the courts – on a balance of probabilities.

And even then it was found to be lacking.

Now, if I’ve managed to keep your attention it’s book time.

The book ‘The Courage To Heal’ has been the ruin of many innocent men and families. It is about recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. And from one of the authors’ website we discover how the writers composed the book;

We chose to avoid academic language, psychological theories, and statistics. The Courage to Heal grew out of the women’s movement, with its focus on empowering women both personally and politically.

No statistics, no psychological theories, and a focus on empowering women. Has your brain hit a dead-end wall built from feminist fuzzy bricks of logic after reading that?

Mine sure as hell did.

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