Friday, November 29, 2013

Fran Keller: Aftermath 2: The 2009 Austin Chronicle story by reporter Jordan Smith that led to the Keller's chance for "redemption." (The story addresses head-on the question of whether there really was any physical evidence of abuse); Must Read. HL.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Austin Chronicle, which did an outstanding job of reporting the prosection of Fran and Danny Keller and stayed with the story after they were convicted of satanic abuse - says that the following story, by reporter Jordan Smith, was instrumental in the chance for redemption of the Kellers. In addition to exploring the false witness against the Kellers, the story zeroes in on the erroneous "science" that stood for physical evidence of physical abuse - and the testimony  of a psychologist and self-described satanic ritual abuse  expert who was permitted to tell the jury that he had not found any evidence that the children were influenced by an outside source.  It's a great piece of journalism - and a "Must Read."

STORY:  "Believing the children: It's likely Fran and Danny Keller were innocent of charges of child sexual abuse, but they're still in prison after 17 tears," by reporter Jordan Smith, published by the Austin Chronicle on March 27, 2009.

GIST: "But was there really any physical evidence of abuse? Contacted for this story, Dr. Michael Mouw, who examined Christina at Brackenridge Hospital on Aug. 15, 1991, now says he's not so sure that what he saw during his genital examination was, in fact, abuse. "I'll be straight-up honest with you, I could've been wrong about [this]," he said. "At the time, in good faith, I saw something [I thought] was abnormal" about Christina's hymen. "However, in retrospect, knowing what I know now, [having] seen more detailed photos" of normal hymens and "knowing how to do exams" with newer, more precise medical equipment, Mouw said he isn't at all sure he would come to the same conclusion. He said he remembers sitting in a presentation several years after the Keller case where he was learning about advancements in the understanding of what "normal" genitalia look like "and thinking back to this case," he said. Mouw said he remembered being shown pictures of "normal variants" on the appearance of hymens, "and I remember seeing a picture that kind of reminded me of that case, and I said, 'Huh.' I hadn't seen it before, but it was described in that talk as being normal," he said. "I think that if I had that case now, I'd probably decline to [do the exam and would] send it to an expert. And I would decline to testify." Mouw said he had been unaware, but is concerned, that his was the only piece of physical evidence prosecutors had to back up the allegation that Christina had been abused. In part, he said, his conclusion might have been influenced by the guilt bias that tends to prevail in the emergency room: "In the ER it is always guilty until proven innocent. I'm serious. My attitude has evolved away from that," he said. "And I'm always interested in protecting children, but I think there is a lot of rush to judgment." Although Mouw said that he saw something that night that was not "normal to me," he might have been wrong. "This is my long way of saying that I wouldn't touch that [case] with a 10-foot pole now." Without the physical evidence provided by Mouw, the state's case against the Kellers would have been seriously weakened. Defense attorney Whitworth thought the fantastic allegations of the children – graveyard rituals, airplane flights to Mexico that could not have occurred, physically impossible actions – would undercut their believability. It didn't work that way in court.  Instead, prosecutors called to the stand a clinical psychologist and controversial "expert" in satanic ritual abuse. On the stand, psychologist and self-described satanic ritual abuse expert James Noblitt said that he had reviewed David-Campbell's files on Christina as well as the video interviews of the children and found no evidence that anyone was influencing them to make the allegations. Because of the level of detail in her allegations, Noblitt testified, "I don't think it is likely that [Christina] got these ideas from any external source." He testified about the "death and rebirth themes" in cult rituals and, without objection from the defense, laid out his version of the infamous Salem witch trials and described how this case was definitely different than those. In that situation, "little girls" were describing "fantasy events" that didn't happen. Here, the children have described real events. "This is no witch hunt," he said. Professor Wood was stunned that Noblitt's testimony was allowed into evidence: "Austin, you know, has a reputation for being progressive and an intellectually enlightened city. So it is really shocking to learn that a D.A. there put an expert on the stand to testify to the reality of 'witchcraft' – satanic ritual abuse – and that a judge allowed it into evidence. ... I've never seen that on any other case I've been on.""

The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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