Kelly O’Meara released an expose entitled, “Pedophiles Get Child
Custody — Has Psychiatry Gone Psycho?” in a recent edition of The
Washington Times’ weekly newsmagazine, Insight.
The press often cheers the judicial award of children from normal
homes to that of homosexuals and AIDS carriers. Now, O’Meara documents a
series of “bizarre” cases in which convicted child sex offenders are
being awarded sole custody of the children they abused.
How could this happen? O’Meara cites “court acceptance” of a
pop-psychology fad, parental alienation syndrome (PAS) which has emerged
as a judicial backlash to the escalation of child sex abuse charges in
According to PAS theory, if a parent (usually mom) accuses the other
(usually dad) of sexual abuse, this “turns the child against the
father,” hence, mom’s “influence over the child should be halted.” That
is, even when the accused is a convicted sex offender, mom has lost
custody and visitation rights.
The theory, based on Gardner’s observations during child custody
disputes, largely discredits incest charges.
PAS was invented by Richard A. Gardner. Gardner is a Columbia
University clinical professor of child psychiatry and he defends his
theory in his 749 pages of “True and False Accusations of Child Sex
Inevitably, Gardner’s sole experimental authority for this PAS theory
is Alfred C. Kinsey. In fact, Gardner largely plagiarizes Chapters 5 in
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Female (1953) to show child
molestation is normal.
No reputable scientific organization has validated PAS. Even the
American Psychiatric Association rejects the scientific reliability of
Gardner’s PAS. O’Meara further quotes numerous professional critics of
PAS, typified by of Jon Conte, University of Washington psychologist,
“PAS is not research-based, and it has done a great injustice to the
family and the justice system.”
Legal scholars are also aware of PAS’ danger. To quote John E.B.
Myers, a professor at McGeorge School of Law, University of Pacific,
California, PAS “increases exponentially the skepticism of society
generally about whether child abuse exists.”
As a further indication that PAS is nothing but pseudo science we
need only look at some of Gardner’s other “scientific findings.” Gardner
uses recent “sonograms that showed baby boys holding their penises in
utero” as an example of such boys’ sexual desire or activity.
Gardner, a medical doctor who would know better, not only completely
discounts the infant’s common grasp of toes, arm, foot and nose, he also
seems to project his own desires or imaginations onto infants when he
says that “most, if not all, children have the capacity to reach orgasm
at the time they are born” and “children are not only naturally sexual
but that they may be the initiators of sexual activities.”
Like his mentor, Kinsey, pathologically suspect, Gardner implies that
infants sexually seduce their caregivers.
Having testified successfully in hundreds of custody cases, Gardner’s
PAS is cited by many in the justice system who make life and death
decisions for children.
Some mothers now hide the incest in a custody case lest the judge
declare she is “emotionally” abusing the child by reporting the
offender. Gardner told Insight his personal life and sexual orientation
But the personal life of a court sex expert is indeed “relevant.”
Because his closeted life was relevant to his data, Kinsey, a sexual
psychopath, told the world he was a conservative family man. Indeed,
claims of sexually lusty fetuses suggests that Gardner is significantly
disordered. His PAS testimony in child custody rulings can and should be
challenged and reversed.
Gardner’s website identifies a PAS lecture due June 5, 1999 at New
York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, another sponsored by the South Carolina
Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, then off to the Open
University to teach PAS in Breda, The Netherlands (the home of the
international academic pedophile movement).
Let’s hope that both the legal and health professions will soon take
PAS for what it really is, pseudo scientific garbage.