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MSBP: Witch Hunt

Misguided Shield for a Witch Hunt

Misguided Shield for a Witch Hunt

In re: "Misguided shield for abusive parents" opinion by Darin Strauss, July 26, 2008

I would like to open my response to your opinion piece, which is egregious in so many ways, with the worst of your statements, "shouldn’t the law be slanted toward the protection of the child?"

I shouldn’t need to remind anyone what happened in New England in 1692 which ushered in the witch hunts for "the protection of the child[ren]". Before it was all over, nineteen men and women were convicted of practicing witchcraft and hanged. One man was crushed to death under heavy stones for refusing to go to trial for being a witch. Many more were thrown in prisons for months without trials, and there were hundreds of other people who were accused of being witches.

Again, I shouldn’t need to remind anyone in Boston of the terrible witch-hunts. Or do I? Your remark, "slanted toward the protection of the children," calls to mind the same practices of the late 17th century which are going on today; only today instead of Puritans they are called "Child Protective Services" (or a similar euphemism).

Like most CPS cases, your opening paragraph mentions a vague instance, while withholding important facts so we are to assume guilt. I have gone on line and found what I believe is a closely related story. It identifies a Seattle doctor that "… is paid for his consultations with CPS through a consulting contract funded by the state and managed by the University of Washington."

Another report shows where several families attempted to sue the same doctor for malpractice for falsely reporting Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), but because of "mandated reporting" protection laws, they could not.

The dissenting judge issued this statement;

"Dr. Feldman apparently has a penchant for diagnosing (or misdiagnosing) MSBP, notwithstanding its rarity and his questioned qualifications to make that diagnosis." In the last 25 years, this doctor has been involved in more that 100 Munchausen cases. With the worst estimate of 2.5 in 100,000, that would mean either the doctor has seen over 4 million children in that 25-years, or there is something in the water that makes this "syndrome" worse in Seattle (not beyond reason for the Northwest). Needless to say there are "other experts who have reviewed [his] cases and are convinced Feldman’s conclusions distorted the evidence…"

Oh, by the way, when the child was returned to the family, did this pattern repeat? Might it have been a simple case of the child sneaking into the medicine cabinet? Or were the "trace chemicals" so trace as to only provide a suspicion so CPS could take the children? Were they even validated tests? Like most CPS reports, you failed to mention that in order to support your case.

You also mention, "Munchausen by Proxy was identified 30-years-ago by the controversial British pediatrician Roy Meadow. (He was knighted for this discovery in 1998)." I can name a couple others who were knighted, Mick Jagger and Elton John. There are a couple of "distinguished knights." Oh, by the way, "The General Medical Council (GMC) struck off Meadow after he was found to have offered "erroneous" and "misleading" evidence in the Sally Clark case." This was overturned because he "didn’t understand the statistics" he provided as an "expert" in the conviction. So, as an "expert" he was supporting his assumptions and convincing juries using a tool he didn’t understand. With that kind of reasoning I could be a brain surgeon, or a CPS caseworker.

You might be asking why I would be willing to allow a child to die instead of turning them over to foster care and CPS. This is identified in a report by Senator Nancy Schaefer (Georgia), which highlights the malfeasance of CPS and the funding they receive from the federal government for taking children from families. It has turned CPS into a funding mechanism for local governments ($28 million for my county and $1.5 billion for this state last year). But, don’t just read my words, read her report "The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services" or go to or and read the horror stories of the victims of a CPS witch hunt.

Like you, I am reminded of something — but not of lepers without bells; I am reminded of witches without justice.

As a footnote from the witch trials and convictions, Reverend Increase Mather, the father of Cotton Mather, argued that it is "better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned." You want to destroy one hundred innocent families with the hope that one of them might harbor a witch.

Matthew Hampton
Manassas, VA

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