Preface Part One: The Rise of the Witch-Hunt Narrative Chapter 1 Introduction: The Infamous Child Sexual Abuse Cases of the 1980s Chapter 2 The McMartin Preschool Case (1983-1990) Chapter 3 Scrutinizing the Evidence of a National "Witch Hunt" Chapter 4 History Ignored: Silence, Denial and Minimization Part One Conclusion Part Two: The Triumph of the Witch-Hunt Narrative Chapter 5 The Turning Point: State v. Michaels Chapter 6 Going to Extremes: State v. Fuster Part Two Conclusion Part Three: Recent Developments Chapter 7 The Legacy of the Witch-Hunt Narrative Acknowledgments Bibliographic Notes Acknowledgements
Ross E. Cheit is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Brown University.
"But what if the skeptics went too far? What if some of the children were really abused? And what if the legacy of these cases is a disturbing tendency to disbelieve children who say they are being molested? Those are the questions that frame this new book by Ross E. Cheit, a political scientist at Brown University who spent nearly 15 years on research, poring over old trial transcripts and interview tapes." --New York Times "The most important book on its subject in the last thirty years. Most legal efforts to address multiple sexual abuse of children have been strangled at birth since the collapse of the McMartin daycare trial and the assaults on child credibility that followed. Ross Cheit's exacting, calm, close inquiry into the early trials and the media firestorm around them uncovers both grounds for believing the children and the often despicable tactics of the deniers... Cheit shows that the real hysteria lies in the denial of the abuse. If evidence and logic matter, this book will change how allegations of sexual violation of children by adults -- ground zero of sexual abuse and arguably of gender inequality -- are socially understood and legally addressed." --Catharine A. MacKinnon, University of Michigan Law School and Harvard Law School "Ross Cheit has done masterful job of finding the facts buried in the mythology of what happened in the high profile sexual abuse cases of the 1980's and brings a degree of balance to our understanding of these sentinel events." --Charles Wilson, MSSW Senior Director and Sam and Rose Stein Endowed Chair in Child Protection, Chadwick Center for Children & Families, Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego "Ross Cheit has written a book that must be read by anyone seeking to go beyond the headlines of the multiple victim child abuse cases of the 1980's and 90's and the witch-hunt narrative that grew up around them. Through methodical research into the transcripts of the trials that apparently was never done by the purveyors of that theory, Cheit sheds light on details of the McMartin, Kelly Michaels and Frank Fuster cases that were ignored when they didn't fit the narrative... The book is not easy, but is required reading for all who seek to understand the dynamics of child abuse cases and the hysteria that can arise and lead to misinformation, skewed journalism and injustice for children who have been abused and for adults falsely accused of child abuse." --Judge Judith C. Chirlin, Los Angeles Superior Court (Retired) "[Cheit] recounts evidence with scholarly precision that is emotionally engaging and eminently readable... [his] book is a tour de force against the witch-hunt fabulists and those suggestible enough to believe them." --The Providence Journal "As Gloria Steinem has said multiple times, we can try to save people from drowning one at a time, or go to the top of the river where they are falling in, and prevent these mishaps from happening at all. Cheit is at the top of the river. Now, psychologists need to come together and get there too." --PsycCRITIQUES "Professor Cheit's thorough and informative tome certainly does its part to combat the overreaction and misdirection that it so carefully documents and criticizes." --Harvard Law Review