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“False Memory” Advocate Loses AG Election in Minnesota

November 3rd, 2010 Comments off

The Republican candidate for Attorney General in Minnesota this year was R. Christopher Barden, a lawyer and psychologist who has played a prominent role in numerous cases challenging the existence of recovered memories of abuse. Barden has argued that recovered-memory testimony should be rejected as unreliable even in cases where there is corroboration. One example of this extreme position was the Quattrochi case in Rhode Island—a case so strong that it is contained in the archive on this web site (Legal Cases, No. 24).

Barden, who lived in Utah for years, moved to Minnesota recently and obtained the Republican nomination for Attorney General as a virtual unknown. He launched a strong attack against incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson, challenging her ethics and accusing her of corruption. One newspaper described Barden’s charges as “over the top”; another noted that he “offered no significant proof” for his claims. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune concluded that Barden is “clearly an ideologue.”

In a year when incumbents were at a strong disadvantage and Republicans had momentum across the country, Christopher Barden was nevertheless soundly defeated, losing by more than 200,000 votes. Minnesotans apparently have the common sense to identify and reject extremism and over-zealousness.

Another Criminal Conviction from a Recovered Memory

September 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Calvin Huss, of Port Deposit, Delaware, pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl during a seven-month period in 1993. His confession, according to a news report, “came a month after the victim, now in her early 30s, contacted state police following a repressed memory breakthrough during psychological therapy.”

Huss also confessed to sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl between 2008 and 2010. His guilty plea was part of a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop related charges.

This case is important not only for adding to the number of corroborated cases of recovered memory of childhood sexual abuse, it is also important because the memory arose in therapy. Recent research, ignored by FMSF partisans, has concluded that memories recovered outside of therapy have a corroboration rate equal to continuous memories of abuse. But Geraerts et. al. (2007) reported that none of their subjects who reported recovering memories of abuse during therapy were able to obtain corroboration. This case challenges the generalizability of that conclusion.