A Just Word
I sympathize deeply with Rael Jean Isaac’s frustration in reporting on Frank Fuster’s plight (“The Last Victim,” September 10). I hope she is not holding her breath for a just outcome.
I retired after 30 years as an investigator for various agencies of the State of Washington and was once involved in the investigation of similar allegations against a pre-school teacher. Quite frankly the assertions of child abuse were so outlandish as to be rejected out of hand. I learned very early in my career to ignore the legal outcomes of my findings if I was going to be able to sleep nights, and this was a good example of such a case.
A state social worker told me that the teacher’s sincerity in her denials, and the fact that she passed a lie-detector test, just demonstrated that she was a psychopath. Part of the evidence included a videotape of a therapist’s interview of the preschool child. As a former Naval officer, I am familiar with interrogation techniques designed to disorient a prisoner and warp the perception of reality. This video could have been used as an instructional guide for North Korean interrogators. It was embarrassing to watch this with educated attorneys who felt that despite the child’s previous denials, and since everyone knows children don’t lie, the child’s final statements must therefore be true.
Rael Jean Isaac responds: As a licensed court-appointed investigator hired to uncover the facts, Stephen Dinerstein in the Fuster case ran into the same infuriating roadblocks that Mr. Laney encountered in the State of Washington: Professionals with other agendas dominated the proceedings. In a sworn deposition, Dinerstein described Fuster’s lawyer declining to meet him and on the phone stating:
“He needed or requested no additional investigation for his client, Mr. Fuster, even though he was informed of the very positive information found. [This included] items such as documented proof of verification of alibi information as to many of the dates in question. Documentation as to lack of truthfulness of some prosecution witnesses. Information regarding possible misdeeds of prosecution staff. Information regarding false and misleading information regarding expert witnesses. Possibly tampering with or not disclosing evidence.”
The confident assertions on the witness stand by so-called experts that “children don’t lie” about sexual abuse convinced gullible jurors who never stopped to ask why, since the children initially denied anything had happened, they were not believed. It was only after they were subject to the interrogation techniques Mr. Laney so colorfully describes that they were believed.
Let’s hope that justice will finally win out, if not via a pardon by Governor Rick Scott then thanks to some determined lawyer in the State of Florida who will find a way to bring the case back into state court.
The Dalles Test
In “Google’s Unstable Empire” (Arthur L. Herman, October 1), I noticed a slight mistake of geographic nomenclature.
It’s “The Dalles,” not just “Dalles,” in Oregon. I sent a link to this piece to a friend who lives in The Dalles. The response: “East Coastie ignorance.”
“The Dalles” is part of a test we dreamed up to identify non-locals. Another part is to correctly pronounce “Colville,” “Puyallup,” and “Sequim.”
Mercer Island, Wash.