Quantcast
Connect with us

Los Angeles school district therapist: Low-IQ girls ‘suffer less’ trauma from sex assault

Published

on

An expert hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) argued in court that a 9-year-old girl seeking damages after she was sexually assaulted would be protected from emotional stress by her low IQ.

Court documents obtained by KPCC investigative producer Karen Foshay detailed forensic psychologist Dr. Stan Katz’s 2013 testimony in a trial to determine how much in damages the 9-year-old girl would receive after she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a boy at one of the district’s schools.

ADVERTISEMENT

The girl reportedly had an IQ between 64 and 70, but the boy was not developmentally disabled.

According to the transcripts, attorney David Ring, who represented the girl, asked Katz to explain what he meant when he said that the girl’s disability “acts as a protective factor.”

“There’s a relationship between intelligence and depression,” Katz replied. “What happens is the more you think about things, you can ruminate, you can focus on things, you can look at the complexities of the matter and become less depressed.”

“So because she may be less intelligent than a general education student, she’s going to suffer less depression because of it?” Ring pressed.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Very possible, yes,” Katz insisted.

He did agree that the girl would need therapy to cope with the trauma. But he said that he had interviewed the girl in 2012 — two years after the 2010 sexual assaults — and had determined that the crime was not connected to her emotional distress. Instead, he blamed her problems on a lack of a father in her life, and on her mental disability.

KPCC talked to two experts who said that there was no science to support Katz’s testimony.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have never seen developmental disability in a child that age used as a protective factor with respect to how they handle trauma,” University of California San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton explained. “In fact, developmental disability quite often puts them at risk for this type of trauma.”

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine associate professor Dr. Steven Berkowitz agreed that disabled persons may have difficulty “decision making or problem solving around the use of coping strategies to assist them in dealing with the stress or trauma.”

In the end, the jury awarded the girl $1.4 million in damages, even though her lawyer had only asked for up to $12,500 to pay for therapy.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The jury was offended, they were disgusted and they thought it was unbelievable that an expert witness could come in and say something like that,” Ring recalled to KPCC.

Katz, who was better known for his numerous appearances on reality television, was also consulting with LAUSD about another child abuse case that was scheduled to go to trial in February.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump blasted with ridicule for praising Ivanka and Jared on vacation: ‘Everybody works harder than those two’

Published

on

President Donald Trump was blasted with ridicule for praising his "incredible" daughter and son-in-law for taking a break from working in his White House.

Ivanka Trump shared photos on social media of herself and husband Jared Kushner -- both senior advisers to the president -- on a camping vacation trip, and Trump retweeted one post in a busy morning commenting on social media.

Two incredible people. I can’t believe they’re not working (few work harder)! https://t.co/tsh8KDS8Qs

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘It’s terrifying’: Vandals burn Virginia Beach military family’s car after long string of incidents

Published

on

On Tuesday, WAVY CBS 17 News reported that a military family in Virginia Beach, Virginia had their car set on fire, in the latest and most severe incident in a long string of vandalism targeting their property.

“It’s terrifying, hearing my kids scream this morning,” said Mendy Hanner. “I don’t see any reason to put anyone through this."

The incidents started last year, with nails left in their driveway. It escalated to graffiti on the garage door and rocks being thrown through their windows. The Hanners put up surveillance equipment, but the perpetrator knocked over their floodlights and spray-painted their camera.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump slurs media as ‘fake and corrupt’ for disputing his claims about Elton John

Published

on

President Donald Trump hyped his claims about selling out a New Hampshire rally in a new attack on the news media.

The president insisted Monday that he enjoyed "massive overflow crowds" at his rally last week at SNHU Arena in Manchester, and slurred journalists as "fake and corrupt" for reporting the venue wasn't filled to capacity.

The Fake and Corrupt Media is sooo bad for our Country, The Enemy of the People! https://t.co/GPiklem0u1

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image