The question of admissiblity is never in doubt – it’s more of a fact. The criminal justice system in the United States is perhaps the most credible and fair in the entire world. After all, this country is the epitome of democracy and the upholding of constitutional rights. But when it comes to cases of child sexual abuse, the entire system becomes biased and unfair.
Most of the states allow the testimony of an expert witness, say a child psychiatrist, to determine the guilt of a person accused of child sexual abuse or molestation. In many instances, the testimony is comprised of a sworn statement in writing that the alleged victim is actually suffering from CSAAS or Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome. This syndrome is a sum of all the observable traits of an abuse child. As soon as the “expert” witness proves in court that the alleged child victim possesses the traits, then she was definitely abused, leading to the conviction of the accused.
The admissibility of CSAAS in court can be admissible in court. However, it should not be regarded as the only weighing or determining factor in convicting the accused. Here are some reasons why:
1. Although CSAAS can be medically substantiated, the absence of the same will never tell who the perpetrator is. This means that if there is no semen, DNA, fingerprint, or any physical evidence linking the accused to the alleged victim, then there’s no use for CSAAS. Though the child may have been abused, the suspect can be anyone.
2. CSAAS is a flawed theory. It theorizes that if a child shows behavioral patterns as determined, then she is definitely abused. But the question is what those behavioral patterns are? For instance, when a child often cries, she must have been abused. If the child becomes withdrawn and isolated, she’s been abused. If she can’t sleep, she’s also abused. Now if we look closely, these signs are very vague – which means that any kid who encounter these issues cannot be generalized as having been sexually abused. The cause may be different. For instance, children who cry a lot may have emotional problems while those who become suddenly withdrawn may be experience bullying at school.
What we are trying to show here is the fact that CSAAS is not based on pure scientific proof. It is merely a summation of all traits and signs that most child victims of sexual abuse manifest. Because of this reality, CSAAS alone should not be regarded as a very influential factor in determining the guilt of a person falsely accused of child molestation or sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, majority of the states today still consider it as strong evidence in convicting people accused of child sexual abuse. While crimes committed against children must be given a severe punishment, it should not also serve as a determining factor of bias. We all should remember that any person accused of a crime, no matter how grave or heinous the crime is, should still be considered innocent (thus, must be given due process) unless proven otherwise in the court of law.