If three children were taken away from their parents four years ago, the state-funded group homes have already taken in 700,800 Euros (€160 per child per day), plus the earnings of psychotherapists (€120/hour), plus the sale of psychotropic drugs that the children are forced to take, plus the services of ambulance chasers and similar child “professionals.”
In recent years Italy has been accused of violating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in thousands of cases, including violation of the prohibition against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 3). Out of the countless Italian appeals made to the ECHR in 2020, the court reached judgments in 17 of those cases. Italy was acquitted in 3 cases, and convicted in 14 cases, 5 of which specifically for violation of the right to a fair trial (Due Process). In 2021 there are already hundreds of requests for the Court to hear appeals from Italian citizens who are accusing Italy of having violated their fundamental human rights. https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/CP_Italy_ENG.pdf
The trial has begun for 24 state employees and other accomplices accused of soliciting false accusations of child abuse in order to take Italian children away from poor parents and then sell the kids in the “foster care” system.
According to Il Giornale, a mainstream newspaper in Italy’s biggest city, a social work supervisor was the center of the ring that included her friends and acquaintances eager to get their hands on somebody else’s children. The investigation began when a courageous prosecutor noticed a suspiciously high frequency of child abuse allegations in the small city of Bibbiano, near Modena.
The accused psychologists, social workers, and even a mayor are now facing 107 criminal charges, with hundreds of thousands of Euros having changed hands. The current scandal has led to publicity of similar recent cases in other Italian cities, as well as further revelations by adults who grew up in the Italian foster care system.
A man in Forteto reports that when he was a child he too was forced to falsely accuse his parents of abuse. So evidently this horrific practice has been going on for decades, if not longer. La “paladina” delle coppie gay “regista” degli affidi dell’orrore – IlGiornale.it
There have been similar scandals in other Italian cities, sparking outrage and calls to dismantle the foster care system. Here’s a video in Italian (you can turn on English subtitles):
Laboratory research on the reliability of children’s testimony has revealed several principles of good conduct to avoid soliciting false accusations (1). The voluminous scientific evidence has been available for more than 20 years and is widely known in North America and Europe (2,3,4). So how is it possible that in 2020, court-appointed experts in some jurisdictions still behave as though they’ve never heard of such newfangled ideas? (5)
Careful experiments have demonstrated that many children, and even some adults, are highly suggestible. Human memory is so malleable that with the passage of time many people can’t distinguish what actually happened to them from what a bad actor persuaded them after the fact. Even the experts themselves, including trial judges, are unable to distinguish between a child who is telling the truth from one who is claiming something that is demonstrably false.
Should we assume some psychologists or other legal experts are simply ignorant, and repeatedly taint children’s testimony unwittingly? In cases where the expert violates not one principle of good conduct but ALL of them, is there cause to suspect a deliberate attempt to help win convictions regardless of innocence or guilt?
The very minimum of good conduct requires that children be interviewed not interrogated. The interviewers should be clearly neutral, and never express any bias in front of the child. The interviewers should not selectively reinforce certain words or phrases to confirm their bias, let alone praise accusations and criticize denials. The interviewers should not make repeated suggestions. The interviewers should not introduce peer pressure. The interviewers should not emphasize their own power or authority over the child. The interviewers should not conduct repeated interviews long after the historical period in question, so that the children may eventually confuse what they actually experienced from what the interviewers suggested after the fact (errors of attribution).
There is clearly a popular ideology of children’s purity, and a crusade to censor any and all criticism of traditional anti-sex indoctrination. That ideology and crusade are a threat to the more fundamental rules of the presumption of innocence and due process in criminal justice. Let’s get our priorities straight. When a prosecutor or state psychologist even lie to a judge or try to hide what a child witness actually said, it isn’t “justice” that they seek. Where repeated violations of good conduct in child sex abuse investigations are tolerated in courts of law, the authorities have clearly regressed to the era of witch hunts.
- Ceci, Stephen J., and Bruck, Maggie. Jeopardy in the Courtroom: a scientific analysis of Children’s Testimony. (American Psychological Association, 1995.)
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol: Interview Guide (U.S.A. 2000).
- Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 Code of Practice (U.K. 1996)
- Linee Guida Nazionali per l’Ascolto del Minore Testimone (Rome, Italy 2010)
- The Interrogators https://sexhysteria.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/the-interrogators/
There is documented evidence in at least one case that certain state employees tortured a child witness to solicit information, and there are several reasons to think that this is not a unique case but merely one instance of a pattern of conduct that has been going on for years in other cases as well. A preliminary judge had the evidence of child torture right in his hands but evidently he didn’t even see it, which indicates he sees similar cases so often he has become blind to the torture of children.
Another reason to believe there is a pattern of horrendous misconduct is that the videos of several interrogations of children were edited (cut) after the interrogations were over, obviously to hide the worst moments of degrading and inhuman treatment. Some of those videos were also hidden from the court records for more than a year. Nobody noticed that either.
Despite the clear judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that torture is NEVER justified, not even of adults, and not even to solicit information regarding very serious matters like organized crime or terrorism, child torture is being tolerated in Italy not only by the state perpetrators who do it, but also by some judges.
Despite 18 recorded threats against one child, the preliminary judge responded to the child’s attempt to recant by declaring angrily “I don’t believe anybody threatened you!” The preliminary judge in this documented case risks being accused himself of covering up the torture, or at least gross incompetence for failing to recognize it and do something about it.
The trial judge has refused my oral and written requests for a jury trial. According to Italian law, a jury trial is available only in cases where the possible sentence is life imprisonment. But since there are multiple charges against me, and considering my advanced age (68), the possible punishment in my case is in effect life imprisonment. Nonetheless, the judge dismissed my request.
As described in my previous posts, even though no parent or child came to the police voluntarily to report any crime, the hysterical investigation proceeded with “maximum urgency,” spiraling out of control and leading to the sadistic torture of at least one child. This case has called into question every child sex abuse conviction in Italy in the past, and legitimizes the torture of children in future inquisitions.
After 16 months in pretrial detention and despite clear evidence of my innocence, a preliminary judge and the appeals court in Palermo have refused to free me to prepare my defense for the imminent trial.
Claiming there is a “concrete and current” risk that a 68-year-old teacher will attempt to taint the witnesses or repeat the presumed crimes, in reality the presumed crimes go as far back as 2011, the taint hearings are already over, and the supposed evidence has already been tainted by the state psychologists, the prosecutor, the preliminary judge, and other state employees. According to Italian law, “concrete risk” means any hypothetical risk.
Almost all of the videos of the interrogations were interrupted, in some cases repeatedly, and some videos are being withheld from the defense so it cannot be determined whether the videos were interrupted during the interrogations – or worse – if the videos were doctored after the interrogations were over.
In realty no crimes ever took place, and no presumed victim or parent ever came to the police voluntarily even years after the supposed events. Only after long, repeated and coercive interrogations did the presumed child-victims invent impossible stories that contradict the objective, physical evidence. Both of my original accusers have already recanted their accusations: “All of the things I said weren’t true…He never did anything to me.” But their retractions have fallen on deaf ears in this “justice” system.
The entire investigation seems to be a stage play to demonize an American citizen and draw public attention away from repeated pedophile scandals in the Catholic Church, as well as distract the public from the massive government corruption and waste of tax money that have nearly bankrupted this country.
Since President Trump was very vocal in defending Amanda Knox when she was falsely accused and mistreated by the Italian courts years ago, I wonder if my prosecution is an attempt to provoke Mr. Trump to “interfere” in another foreign legal case now. Or the Italians are at least trying to embarrass Mr. Trump for losing his tongue in the even more outrageous mistreatment of an American citizen in Italy while he is president and a candidate in a bitter reelection campaign.
There is some evidence that the Italian secret services were involved in the story of so-called Russian interference in the 2016 election (via Prof. Joseph Mifsud), so my hypothesis of ulterior political motives for this new witch hunt is not unreasonable.
Since I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump in 2016 and I probably won’t vote for him in 2020, he doesn’t owe me anything. Vocal support is not what I need anyway. I can’t expect a fair trial in the local courts. Everyone here is afraid to even criticize the all-powerful state employees involved. I will be facing years of legal battles in the national and international courts, while suffering the isolation of pretrial detention and post-trial detention during the eternal appeal process, before this nightmare ends.
See previous posts for more detailed information.
The first time a fanatical Italian prosecutor tried to silence me through an accusation of “sexual acts with children,” there was a little obstacle: the police couldn’t find any victims. So to avoid losing that first case, the prosecutor made a desperate effort to create some victims. In the summer of 2019 after years of unrestricted fascist-style investigations, the state brought a ten-year-old girl to court and she said “He touched my private parts. I hate him.” An open and shut case? Not quite.
The accusation referred to 2014, when I visited a poor family every Sunday, brought them groceries, clothes, books and toys, took them to the beach and the zoo, and helped them with their homework. As part of my 30 years of volunteering with poor families, in some cases I have even registered children for school, got them out of bed every morning, fed them, brought them to school, then accompanied them home.
My regular contacts with the family lasted for a year, and then occasional visits over the next three years. In 2016 when the prosecutor ordered the police to illegally search my home and confiscate my computer and cell phone, the inquisitors saw my normal photographs of the children (never nude or in any sexual context) and identified their parents through my telephone records. Then they interrogated the father, who had nothing negative to say about me.
But in the fall of 2017 when it appeared that I would be acquitted of the ridiculous charge of “child pornography,” the prosecutor became desperate for evidence of some crime, any crime, so three little sisters were suddenly taken away from their parents and placed in state custody. The official excuse was that the father was unemployed and the family was now living as squatters in an occupied school. But in reality the father had been unemployed for years – not just in 2017, the children have grandparents they could have been placed with, and there were many other families living in the school whose children weren’t kidnapped by the state. (The classrooms had been converted into apartments with private bathrooms, kitchens and free electricity.)
In cases where the suspected perpetrator is a family member, teacher, or other person who is very close to the child, being isolated from the suspect may be more damaging to the child than the supposed abuse. But since there is mass hysteria over child sex abuse, state employees are rarely if ever prosecuted for being overzealous. Despite no reports of any kind of abuse, the prosecutor ordered the police to interrogate the sisters while in state custody. The children denied any abuse and had nothing negative to say about me. They even said they liked me and missed me. Frustrated, a few months later the prosecutor even interrogated the mother, who likewise had nothing negative to say about me.
Then in the summer of 2019, five years after the supposed crime the children were brought to court by the state. In theory it was a pretrial taint hearing, so the witnesses could confirm their previous accusations against me, except that the children hadn’t made any accusations against me or anybody else. The real motive for bringing the children into court was to coercively interrogate them again so they might make some accusation this time. Upon the prodding of the judge one child did make a 180 degree turn – accusing me of touching her. Note that in court the child was reluctant to say anything, probably because she had been forced to lie.
In state custody the conversation is always controlled, and the topic of sex is always related to investigation and prosecution, which may actually lead to more negative outcomes for the child such as suicidal ideation. Blind law enforcement is considered more important than the welfare of the child, and the assumed importance of assessment, “treatment” and other interventions that justify the salaries of victim advocates may be more than coincidental. At first the child refused to answer and began to cry, but the judge and state psychologist insisted that she answer suggestive questions, which indicates the state already knew that while in state custody the child had been persuaded to accuse me of something, anything, so she had probably agreed in exchange for being left alone after her testimony, and a promise of being freed from state custody eventually.
That isn’t a normal investigation, it’s an inquisition. The state can treat adult criminals like that, but not child witnesses who will eventually agree with whatever the kidnappers want the child to say. In this case the child who said “He touched my private parts” was actually five years old in 2014, and yet five years later she has a reliable memory of supposed abuse that she had denied before? She doesn’t even remember her previous statements defending me much more recently than the supposed abuse. Her accusation was made only after being in state custody for two years, after who knows how many hours of unrecorded suggestive questioning, promises, threats and other mental torture by state employees. After two years in “protective” custody the formerly happy little girl also declared “I hate everybody.” When asked if she ever lies, she replied “In school I always tell lies.”
According to Italian law, the accused is entitled to copies of all videos and transcripts or other supposed evidence, but so far I have received only half of the evidence, and always at the last minute when there isn’t enough time to prepare for the next hearing. An open and shut witch hunt, just like the many other wild west prosecutions that have gone before. I feel like the man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife and child. On top of losing his wife and child, the state then hanged him by the neck until dead.
A prosecutor in an ongoing case in Italy requested the precautionary arrest of an American teacher on charges of child sex abuse, citing recorded “interviews” of some children as supposed evidence. The preliminary judge approved the arrest without any acknowledgment that repeated threats of the witnesses were recorded, some videos of the interrogations are missing, the interrogators used blatantly suggestive questioning, and then the prosecutor even made false assertions of what the children supposedly said. Such witch hunt tactics were not unknown in the U.S. and other modern countries decades ago, but they are still being used in Italian courts today – despite the claims of Italian psychologists and other victim advocates that they are well-informed and up-to-date on the recent research on appropriate methods of treating children who are believed to be victims or potential witnesses.
Most modern nations have an adversarial system of judicial procedure, but Italy still clings to the ancient inquisitorial model. Italian judges and prosecutors are not elected by the people or appointed by elected representatives, but are colleagues who are hired by the state bureaucracy. There is no jury trial here. Despite the international consensus that a judge is supposed to be impartial between the prosecution and defense, a judge here may be virtually in bed with the prosecutor. You’ve heard of dirty politics. What about a criminal justice system in which prosecutors make unfounded accusations that contradict the concrete evidence, but preliminary judges and even appeal court judges completely ignore the concrete evidence and instead literally copy and paste the prosecutor’s unfounded accusations word-for-word into their pronouncements?
Welcome to the mass hysteria over child porn and child sex abuse. Everybody wants to be a hero, especially if being a hero has come to mean being on the safe side of the lynch mob. Where is the heroism in being on the same side as the lynch mob? The hysteria began long ago as a reasonable and courageous criticism of real child abuse, but due to the personal agenda of political opportunists and financial profiteers, children’s health and safety are now being sacrificed and the rights of the accused to due process are ignored for the convenience of the real psychopaths in government and business who are willing and eager to exploit a child for their own benefit.
The presumption of the innocence of the accused exists because it is very easy to make false accusations. Some evidence beyond the mere verbal accusation is necessary to substantiate any charge – except when the charge is sex crimes against minors? Quite the contrary, children are the witnesses most vulnerable to suggestive interrogations (1,2). When there is reason to believe there may be ulterior motives for making false accusations, corroborating evidence becomes even more important. How dare a prosecutor or judge ignore these plain facts?
In some states fabricating evidence is a felony punishable by over ten years imprisonment, but in this ongoing Italian case the evidence against the accused was clearly fabricated by the prosecutor, and the judge is an accomplice in failing to acknowledge the evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. In theory the state needs to protect children at all costs, but in reality no child or parent came to the police voluntarily. Rather than investigating a specific report of any crime, the prosecutor ordered the police to go out and round up potential victims for coercive interrogations. (It isn’t the first time such fascist “investigation” tactics have been used in Italy.) Then after threatening several children and suggesting accusations, the prosecutor made no effort to verify any accusations. The prosecutor and judge have merely provoked as many accusations as possible and then accepted those coerced verbal accusations at face value.
An interrogator in a modern, civilized democracy is not even supposed to mention the name of the suspect unless the child makes an accusation spontaneously or there is already strong evidence of abuse (e.g. a reliable witness to the abuse, a video of the abuse taking place, or an unequivocal medical report). In that case the interrogators should ask “Who/What/Where…?” If there is a known time when the abuse occurred, or the child herself alleges a time-frame, the interrogators should establish that the child’s accusation is credible by asking details of other events during that same period. In this case the supposed victims were prodded and terrorized by the arrogant authorities, so the children made elaborate accusations of abuse that supposedly occurred years ago, but they are unable to remember the accusations they claimed two weeks ago. As far as the prosecutor and judge in this case are concerned, that’s not a problem.
When an interrogator suggests specific accusations, and interrogators claim other children have disclosed abuse by a particular suspect who they label “a dangerous person,” then any claims the child subsequently makes are contaminated. In this case despite no concrete evidence to justify the interrogations in the first place, the interrogators refused to believe the children when they said nothing happened to them. The children were then called liars, the prosecutor threatened to arrest their parents, the videos were interrupted so someone could coach the child’s testimony while the video was turned off. But the preliminary judge whose duty it is to at least check the supposed evidence, himself denied the clear evidence that the children had been threatened, and he even refused to accept a retraction. The supposed victims have changed their stories multiple times to please the scary interrogators, inventing impossible scenarios that may easily be verified to be false, but the judge doesn’t see anything wrong with that.
This same prosecutor and judge previously accused my innocent video Buddy Massage of being “child pornography,” citing the title of one of my blog posts on Emotional Incest as if the text were evidence of sexual intent. But that post actually attacks sexual abuse as “damaging and reprehensible.” Even after the investigation ended and the trial began, the prosecutor prejudiced the judge by reopening the original investigation during the trial without any justification whatsoever. The prosecutor and judge are guilty of gross misconduct by not bothering to examine the supposed evidence carefully, e.g. by ordering a translation of the English text into their own language. Rather than presuming innocence, their approach to justice is to shoot first and ask questions later.
Section 351 of Title 28 of the United States Code allows any person to complain about a federal judge or magistrate who “has engaged in conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts” or “is unable to discharge all the duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability” (e.g. the judge is overcome by the mass hysteria over child sex abuse). This law also provides for the judicial councils of the circuits to adopt rules for the consideration of such complaints. Title 28 USC §§ 351 – 364 allows any persons to complain about a federal judge who they believe has committed judicial misconduct in the U.S. Evidently, there is no such provision in Italian law.
- Lamb, Michael E. et al. (eds). Children’s Testimony: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Forensic Practice 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
- Heaton-Armstrong, Anthony et al. Witness Testimony: Psychological, Investigative and Evidential Persectives. Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.