The excerpt below is from an article on AmeriCorps in Freedom Daily, a
publication of the Future of Freedom Foundation. The full article is at
http://www.fff.org/freedom/1100d.htm

If I am not mistaken (and contrary to what the official here says), about
two-thirds of the 3 million child abuse accusations reported annually in the
US are found to be unsubstantiated.

James Bovard, by the way, is a recent convert to our cause. Perhaps we can
expect more from him in the future.

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AmeriCorps: Salvation through Handholding
by James Bovard, November 2000


Maximizing false accusation

AmeriCorps has provided more than $600,000 in aid for the Child Victim Rapid
Response Program run by Florida’s attorney general’s office. This program
sends 19 AmeriCorps recruits into schoolrooms to lecture about child abuse
and domestic violence. The program’s 1999 AmeriCorps grant application
promised that, as a result of the program, “there will be an increase by 25
percent over last year in the number of incidents of child abuse reported
... as well as the number of domestic violence incidents reported to police
by the student population.” (The goal of a 25 percent increase in
accusations was mentioned several places in the application.)

The grant application also set a goal of a 25 percent increase — from 331 to
415 — in the number of students and families served with emergency
injunctions and child-custody orders as a result of AmeriCorps activism.
Once the accusations have been made and parents dragged into the dock,
AmeriCorps helps pay for the accusers’ court costs, including the costs of a
court reporter.

I called program director Cynthia Rodgers and asked whether there is any
kind of safeguard in the system to avoid encouraging false accusations. Ms.
Rodgers responded, “No. But if you look at reports out there, the number of
false accusations is low — the criminal justice system, and the people who
interview children, are very sophisticated, and certainly much more
sophisticated than a child’s mind.”

However, Florida was the site of some of the worst child-abuse witch-hunts
in recent decades, including the false child-abuse accusations in a case
spearheaded by former Florida State Attorney Janet Reno’s office and based
on a bevy of absurd accusations coerced out of young children by
psychiatrists. I asked how many of the charges of child abuse that resulted
from AmeriCorps activism were “sustained” — i.e., how many of the parents
were found guilty. Ms. Rodgers replied, “We would not even address that,”
and stated that she had no information on the results of the charges.

This practically implies that increasing the number of child accusations is
in the public interest, regardless of whether the charges are valid. (False
child-abuse accusations have become a national scandal in recent years.)



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Stephen Baskerville, PhD
Department of Political Science
Howard University
Washington, DC 20059
703-560-5138
202-806-7267