Baroness Butler-Sloss and her ‘valuable and important witness’

American ‘child abuse expert’ Ralph Underwager gave evidence, oral and written, to the Cleveland Child Abuse Inquiry in 1987 and was described by the chairman, Lord Justice Butler-Sloss as a “valuable and important witness.” In his oral evidence he asserted the following as proven by research:-

– Abused children are not secretive: cannot feel shame or embarrassment before the age of 9 or 11
– The recidivism rate for abusers is 1% to 2%
– Anal assault was the most rare and infrequent form of abuse and then only occurs with perpetrators who are “rather crazy”
– Abused children are not threatened
– 5% of claims of abuse are probably well founded, as judged by the conviction rate
– There is no therapeutic benefit in an abused child expressing their feelings afterwards to a psychiatrist. He said he regarded his views as mainstream.

Recently Dr Underwager said in an Internet exchange that he had treated victims of sexual abuse since 1953 and in all that time had never met one who blamed themselves for the abuse by thinking they had invited the abuse or was a bad person.

Ralph Underwager and his wife, Hollida Wakefield believe that “ill founded, intrusive, and destructive state intervention in the lives of families and individuals under the cloak of saving children from abuse is a serious widespread problem.”

(Accuracy About Abuse – Info Sheet 8, September 1995. By Marjorie Orr)


Ralph Underwager

Ralph Underwager was exposed by an interview he gave to a European paedophile magazine called Paidika, in which he said child sexual abuse was “God’s Will”.

Here are some extracts from the interview, which can be found here:

Underwager: Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love….Paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, “I believe this is in fact part of God’s will

Paidika: Is choosing paedophilia for you a responsible choice for the individuals?

Underwager: Certainly it is responsible. What I have been struck by as I have come to know more about and understand people who choose paedophilia is that they let themselves be too much defined by other people. That is usually an essentially negative definition. Paedophiles spend a lot of time and energy defending their choice. I don’t think that a paedophile needs to do that. Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. I am also a theologian and as a theologian, I believe it is God’s will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of the flesh, between people. A paedophile can say: “This closeness is possible for me within the choices that I’ve made.”
Paedophiles are too defensive. They go around saying, “You people out there are saying that what I choose is bad, that it’s no good. You’re putting me in prison, you’re doing all these terrible things to me. I have to define my love as being in some way or other illicit.” What I think is that paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness, they can say, “I believe this is in fact part of God’s will.” They have the right to make these statements for themselves as personal choices. Now whether or not they can persuade other people they are right is another matter (laughs).


See also: Ralph Underwager and the Cleveland child abuse inquiry



  1. Reblogged this on HG and commented:
    This is atrocious

  2. jpg said:

    I suppose the hope must now be that enough victims now come forward that new criminal investigations drive the process. The matter will not simply be in the hands of Butler-Sloss, and in any case, she will be forced to respond to events as they unfold.

  3. Squirrel nutcase said:

    I’ve written a letter to the Guardian about Cleveland.
    They never publish my letters! So I’m putting it up here so maybe someone will see it.
    In response to Letters, the Guardian, 15th July – False diagnosis in Cleveland abuse inquiry.

    Gavin Weightman writes that CSA in the Cleveland cases was a “false and cruel diagnosis that put a large number of quite innocent parents and children through a terrible ordeal.”
    As evidence he cites the findings of the barrister acting for 38 of the families whose children were removed, as follows:
    1. that no court has upheld their findings (of CSA)
    2. that in the vast majority of cases…the local authority dropped its allegations… or proceedings were allowed to lapse
    3. that in cases where children were already in care and the subject of allegations of other kinds of abuse, the diagnosis added nothing to the welfare of the children
    4. there have been no convictions of any offenders against children.

    It seems to me that, rather than proving the Cleveland diagnoses wrong, the barrister’s points underline a systematic failure by child protection authorities, where courts find in favour of the accused, local authorities ignore allegations and drop proceedings, and victims of CSA receive inadequate support when they try to testify against their abusers.

    Mr. Weightman attributes a dramatic increase in referrals to social services for CSA in the months following the removal of the Cleveland children from their homes to the “reflex anal dilation” RAD test.
    I would suggest that the increase could instead result from increased publicity giving victims the courage to come forward and testify, and increased recognition of CSA as a phenomenon leading to closer monitoring by child protection agencies.
    Rather than being unreliable, RAD has long been regarded as one of the signs that a child’s body has been sexually abused: “a simple clue which is suggestive of anal penetration from outside…recognised as a valuable weapon in the armoury of doctors examining children for many decades and endorsed by both the British Medical Association and the Association of Police Surgeons. *

    The Cleveland CSA cases were not however based solely on the RAD findings, but included in many cases prima facie evidence. Many of the families had been “known to social services for months or years, and there were histories of physical and sexual abuse of siblings and of prior discussions with parents about these concerns. In several of the cases the children themselves had made detailed disclosures of abuse; many of the pre-verbal children displayed severe emotional or behavioural symptoms consistent with sexual abuse. There were even some families in which a convicted sex offender had moved in with mother and children.”**

    According to Nicci Gerrard***, a 1997 Channel 4 documentary “the Death of Childhood” suggested that the original Cleveland CSA diagnoses had been largely correct, and that abused children had in many cases been returned home into the care of their abusers.
    Evidence cited in the documentary included the facts that:
    1. Of the 96 children that were returned to their homes, most of these were still kept under strict supervision.
    2. Of the ’19 innocent families’, seven included children who had previously disclosed abuse, three included an adult male who had already been charged with sexual abuse, two more involved families where the father was a convicted child sex offender.
    3. Independent experts in subsequent inquiries under the guidance of the Department of Health later found that at least 70 per cent of the diagnoses were correct.
    4. At least 25 of the returned children have been referred again, and five re-referred, for sexual abuse.
    5. Following a joint policy decision by the Department of Health, no further follow-up was carried out on the Cleveland children, and records relating to them as a group were destroyed.

    This has wider implications of course in terms of the forthcoming Westminster child abuse inquiry, and the series of current investigations which include:
    -Peter Robinson and Amnesty International calling for an investigation into
    “deeply disturbing claims – that MI5 turned a blind eye to child abuse and actively blocked a police investigation” into CSA at Belfast’s Kincora Boys’ Home.****
    -A full criminal investigation into claims of a Rochdale council/police cover-up over the Knowl View school scandal.*****
    -A report written by a senior detective revealing that a magistrate made ‘veiled threats’ to officers in attempt to cover up CSA claims against Cyril Smith******

    Certainly, compelling and credible evidence does exist, from former child victims and from whistleblowers, that allegations of CSA have been routinely ignored and/or suppressed by police, the security services, Whitehall whips, the courts and local authorities over many years.

    In such a climate I would suggest it is unwise to focus too doggedly on the rights of aggrieved parents at the expense of the historically discounted rights of child victims of sexual abuse.


    *Creative Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Quotes, Sue Richardson, 2001
    ** ibid





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