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Leonard D. Goodstein, Ph.D.                                                                                                Wilfred G. van Gorp, Ph.D.




January 3, 2010


Via Electronic Mail

Office of the Public Defender

Harford County, Maryland

Mary E. W. Risteau District Court/MSC

2 South Bond Street

Bel Air, Maryland 21014

Attention: John W. Janowich, Deputy District Public Defender for Harford County

                     Re: People v. Valerie Carlton


Dear Mr. Janowich:

I am writing this report to you as a preview of the testimony I am prepared to offer in the defense of Valerie Carlton against charges of felonious child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by her against Winnifer Carlton and Natalie Anders.

To prepare this report I have read and analyzed the following information: transcripts of two interviews (one of Winnifer Carlton done on March 23, 2009 and one of Natalie Anders done on April 15, 2009) performed by Leanda Daniels of Harford County Child Protective Services; the same two interviews recorded on DVDs that were prepared by Harford County; and a power-point presentation containing still shots of Natalie Anders as she answered the questions put to her in her April 15, 2009 interview. As you know, I also performed a forensic psychiatric evaluation of Valerie Carlton in August 2009 and issued a report after that evaluation.

It is my professional opinion, after this detailed and time-consuming work and my long experience in evaluating allegations of sexual abuse (and testifying in court proceedings on both “sides” of the issue)[1] in many cases in many states, that, in this case, there is no credible evidence of sexual abuse of either child by the defendant Valerie Carlton. I will be prepared to testify to that, should this case go to trial.

First, I will deal with my analysis and conclusions about the Winnifer Carlton interview.

General Observations about the Problematic Structure of the Winnifer Interview

Leanda Daniels (“Daniels”) comes into the room with Winnifer (“Winnie”) and they both sit down. Winnie is not asked if she knows why she is being interviewed, she is not given any explanation for the interview, and she is not asked any questions about whether she understands the difference between truth and falsehood. It be­comes apparent later in the interview that Winnie does know that difference and that she is truth­ful in giving her answers, but just as introductory material, nothing is said about those two areas: her understanding of the situation and her understanding of telling the truth. Daniels also does not tell Winnie why she has been brought in for questioning. Daniels explains that the interview will be taped and video-taped. Winnie has no ques­tions about this. Later, it becomes apparent that Winnie feels very much “on the spot” in this interview and that no bond is formed between interviewer and the child.

Winnie answers questions. She says she is six. Daniels says her own name is Leanda. (This is a little strange, in my experience, because usually a social worker will introduce herself, or someone will introduce her, when the child is first brought in. Since Daniels ushered Winnie into the interview room, it seems strange that she had not already given the child her name.) So to start off with, the interview has a slightly “staged” quality. Its purpose seems to be to create a transcript, not to find out if the child was molested.

Winnie pays attention and gives short truthful answers but does not elaborate most of the time. She knows what she’s talking about. By the end of page 1, she has given her vital informa­tion about name, age, school. The interview is transcribed on the official paper that is used for these inter­views, with the information from the case file on every page, like a proper legal tran­script. The transcript form identifies this as a “SUPPLEMENT,” but I was never given any other interview that was identified as the “ORIGINAL” to which this might have been supplementary. (I note at this point that the transcript of the interview performed with Natalie Anders was not transcribed onto this official paper, but was typed up on plain white paper. This discrepancy makes me wonder if the Natalie interview was completely “official” with the Child Protective Services office.)

Daniels conducts the whole interview as a set of questions posed to the child, after which Daniels often repeats the answer back to her or follows up with another question. She does not follow up on answers that do not interest her – that is, whenever Winnie tells Daniels something that could not possibly lead to a conclusion against the mother, there is no follow-up. This is a peculiar interview technique for an articulate six-year-old. But one must bear in mind that ordinarily, a child is only interviewed for possible sexual abuse if she has already disclosed a troubling experience or given a mandated reporter some cause for concern. In this case, it seems that there has been no prior dis­closure by the child. Per­haps grown-ups have wondered if Winnie was molested, but the child herself has never said so. So instead of doing an interview to find out what the child has been saying, and why, they are doing an interview to see if the child will say something she has not previously said. To accomplish this goal, Daniels tells Winnie that she needs her help. She is suggesting to the child that she, Daniels, needs to do something, so her questions to Winnie are designed to help her do something. This is an in­ap­propriate technique for a child sexual abuse interview because it puts the child in the position of a “helper” who must somehow provide information needed by the adult doing the interview. A child in this position will naturally try to help out by giving whatever infor­mation she thinks the adult needs.

Specific Anomalous Characteristics of the Winnifer Interview

There are several anomalous things about this interview. First, Daniels says that she has a friend watching (Miss Michelle) because she often forgets things. This is a very peculiar thing to tell a child, because it seems to indicate that there is some need to remember absolutely everything, and in view of the fact that there is a big pad of paper on the wall, markers, a tape recorder and a video, it seems bizarre and excessive. It also gives the interview an uncomfortable atmosphere. This is somehow a “test.”

Also, Daniels tells the child things that the child has not told her. Indeed, she tells Winnie that she has heard that Winnie touches her pee-pee, and that she once went to school with no underwear on. These are remarkable things to say to a child in a sex abuse interview from child protective services. They come very close to being allegations of improper behavior against the child, and they certainly do not help make Winnie feel comfortable. Furthermore, when Winnie answers Daniels and tells her that her underwear was in the laundry, Daniels does not accept that answer, but pursues the matter, as if the child has not answered. Daniels asks Winnie if she perhaps had her underpants on and then took them off, suggesting that the answer about the laundry was disbelieved.

Also, Daniels goes to the telephone twice during the interview to find out if she has asked all the questions she is supposed to ask. The first time she does this, Winnie actually expresses her surprise and asks why Daniels is calling someone. This is terrible interview technique, very obviously not geared to trying to find out if there is anything bothering the child, very obviously not geared to uncovering sexual abuse if there was any, very clearly just a set-up to try to get evidence against the mother. In a real abuse interview of a child of that age, you don’t have a set number of questions you’re supposed to ask. It’s not a deposition; it’s not a prosecution. It’s an interview, and you should let the child tell you what she’s worried about, what bothers her, what she wants your help with. You don’t fire a bunch of questions at her and make phone calls to get more questions. Furthermore, this is a smart child. She’s in an uncomfortable interview and the interviewer is making phone calls to get more and more questions. This is very poor technique.

General Information given by Winnifer about her Mom

Winnie’s Mom punishes her rarely, hugs her and kisses her a lot, and Winnie says very clearly that this is why she “love[s] her [Mom] so much.” Winnie’s Mom is Jewish and celebrates the Jewish Sabbath with her; she misses her Mom a lot and wants to see her more. Her Mom puts Desitin on her genital area when it gets red, and sends the cream back with Winnie to her father’s house, but her father throws it away. Her Mom cooks her favorite foods and plays with her. There was not a single negative thing said about the mother in this entire interview, and nothing to cause concern or suspicion.

Obviously, however, Daniels expected to get some negative information from Winnie about her mother. Perhaps someone prepared Winnie by suggesting that she should tell bad things about her mother, but it does not happen. When Daniels asks Winnie about people who baby-sit or spend the night with her at Dad’s house, Winnie does not mention any such visitors at Dad’s, but says she goes to visit her Mom. Daniels asks, “You visit your Mom? Why are you making such a long face?”[2] Perhaps she expected to get an answer that would be negative towards the Mom, but instead, she got, “I haven’t seen her in a while and I [inaudible].” This is actually not inaudible. The transcript identifies as “inaudible” most of the positive com­ments Winnie makes about her mother. In this case, the child said, very clearly: “I haven’t seen her in a while and I want to see her more. I only see her on the week­end.”

Daniels does not really acknowledge that Winnie feels deeply sad and is almost crying. She is showing the child that she doesn’t really care how Winnie feels; she is just there to extract information. She then asks who lives at Mom’s and now, there really is some inaudible material because Winnie feels bad, is sad, and is mumbling and fighting tears. She manages to keep answering questions and tells Daniels the name of the dog, which she is required to repeat several times. Winnie adds, “and me,” meaning she considers herself to also live at Mom’s. (This is interesting, since custody was given to her father quite a while back; it shows that her bond with her mother is still very strong.)

When Daniels asks Winnie what she does at Mom’s house, Winnie launches into the first really animated talk that we see from the child. She moves her hands around, answers in a colorful voice with whole sentences, and shows by her posture that she is alert and communicative. Whereas she looked quite depressed at first, her demeanor changes as she describes her time with her mother in glowing terms and with plenty of detail. She explains, first, that she is part Jewish and considers her Jewish part to be dominant “because I come from my Mom and she’s the Jewish part.” She describes the Jewish Sabbath which she calls “shabbos” and which the transcript leaves out as “inaudible.” She says her Mom cooks her favorite food for her. Daniels interrupts and asks if Dad also cooks that food, and we immediately see the cheerful animation recede and again, the depressed little girl says no, Dad “just can’t get” salmon. In fact, the transcript appears to get that answer written down wrong as well, and reports that the Dad “just can’t stand” salmon, something that the child did not say. In general, the only time in the transcript where Winnie happily and independently describes her life it is in this section when she is talking about her visits to her mother.

As an aside, it is pathetic to reflect on the fact that at the end of this interview, Winnie told the social worker directly that she wanted to see her mother more; after that day, I understand she was never allowed to see her mother again or even to speak with her or get a greeting card. This must be experienced by this child as a horrible punishment.

Specific Information about Mom

When they talk about touches, Winnie says she gets hugs “usually from her Mom” and then there is a comment written down in the transcript as “inaudible” but it was easy to hear that what the child said was,That’s why I love her so much!” When she is asked where, on her body, she feels hugs from Mom, she says she feels those hugs in her heart. Daniels persists: “How about on your body? Do you feel it anywhere?” Winnie says “my arms…on my back.” Kisses she also gets usually from Mom, and from Dad, she says, “almost never.” That is transcribed as inaudible. When Winnie says something that seems less complimentary to Dad than to Mom, the transcript says “inaudible.”  

Farther along in the interview we see the artful use of “inaudible” again. Winnie says she has a best friend, Mimi. She wants to talk about Mimi but Daniels diverts her, not interested in listening to what Winnie has to say about this friend. “We’ve known each other since we were babies,” Winnie says, and Daniels makes an off-hand comment: “Wow that’s a long time.” It would seem that if there was a question about Valerie molesting little girls, this girl named Mimi should have been interviewed by CPS right after the interview of Winnie.

Specific facts Winnie provided about her experiences with her mother and at her mother’s house, none of which were refuted, include:

  1. Mom has never touched Winnie’s private except to put on Desitin when the child complains that it’s red.
  2. Winnie has never seen her Mom’s pee-pee.
  3. When Mom gives Winnie a bath, she touches her hair and helps her rinse off the shampoo and conditioner; no mention of touches elsewhere on Winnie’s body.
  4. Winnie has never seen anybody else’s pee-pee at Mom’s house; at Dad’s house she has seen Isabella’s pee-pee.

General Information about Dad from the Winnifer Interview

When Daniels asks for help identifying who lives with Winnie at her Dad’s house, she names her grandmother (her father’s mother), her Dad, and her Uncle Kelly. At Dad’s house, Winnie mostly watches TV and doesn’t actively describe any enjoyable activities. She does not make complaints about her father but she does not spontaneously speak about anything she really loves or enjoys at Dad’s house, and she does mention some things that would cause concern, such as a friend “on my Dad’s side” who seems to be abusive and “mean” to Winnie but who comes to play with her and is apparently not being well supervised.

Specific Information about Dad from the Winnifer Interview

Dad spanks Winnie a lot and doesn’t hug and kiss her much. He doesn’t put Desitin on Winnie because he doesn’t know what it is and that’s why he threw it away. He thought Desitin was “a bad cream you’re putting in your pee pee.” This, interestingly, shows that the father is giving Winnie the idea that the Desitin is both bad and sexual. Now there would be no reason to imagine any sexual motive for putting Desitin on a child; this is all some idea on the father’s part, and he has managed to make CPS think it’s a sexual problem for Winnie or Valerie, when it is not. If you were to prosecute all parents who put Desitin on their children’s irritated skin, you would not have time to prosecute murderers or embezzlers.

Information about Possible Sexual Abuse from the Winnifer Interview

When Daniels says she needs help identifying body parts on drawings of a girl and boy, Winnie dutifully answers her questions with one- and two-word accurate answers. Winnie identifies body parts as boobies, pee pee, legs, back, butt. Daniels says they will then do the same with the boy, and Winnie identifies arms, mouth, penis, fingers, toenails, back, and butt. There are no areas she is hesitant to talk about. Nobody draws circles anywhere to guide her attention to body parts.

Good touch, bad touch

Good touches are hugs, kisses, high-fives. Spanking is a bad touch she gets “almost never from my Mom, a lot from my Dad.” A picture emerges of Winnie getting a lot of punishment at Dad’s and a lot of love at Mom’s, and feeling bad that she can’t go to Mom’s more. Then Winnie is questioned on what she gets spanked FOR, and there is a subtle change in the child’s story. She now says she hardly ever gets spanked (perhaps because now, the spanking is tied to misbehavior and she doesn’t want to admit frequent misbehavior in this interview) and then, finally, settles on a description of the punishment routine: once a month spanked by Dad, twice a year by Mom. If you think about it, this shows quite a bit of judgment and memory on the child’s part. She’s able to talk about frequency and consequences. She’s intelligent; she’s trying to be accurate and at the same time, not appear naughty or get herself in trouble.

Daniels asks Winnie to describe what happens when she gets a spanking. She says she starts to cry and her father says, “Don’t cry, keep it in,” and she makes a plaintive wail, “and I can’t do it!” Obviously she’s being asked to take a spanking without tears, and although she tries to be Spartan and stoical about it, she’s still a little girl and she cries. This is a very sad interview, and a betrayal of the child’s trust. In fact, hearing that the child is spanked a lot, is told to “hold it in” even when she cannot do so, it is my opinion that Daniels, as a mandated reporter, should have turned in a report of suspected psychological abuse – at the minimum, if not both physical AND psychological abuse -- against the father. If you have to use frequent physical punishment with a little girl who seems as courteous and well behaved as Winnie, then you should at least allow the child to cry. Telling her to fight her own emotions is bad parenting and very abusive. It can be expected to have negative psychological sequelae in the future for Winnie.

Then Daniels asks about spankings from Mom. She asks where they are administered on Winnie’s body, and Winnie says “my butt” but Daniels asks again, and the transcript says “[inaudible]” when it’s fairly clear. So Winnie answers again, politely, “my butt.”

Now a very important part comes up. Daniels asks her what happens when Winnie does get in trouble. The transcript says “(inaudible) and I always apologize.” It is, again, not inaudible. The child says clearly, “I feel very bad for what I did and I always apologize.” Here’s a child who not only is aware of what others do and how they act towards her, she already has a developing conscience about how she acts toward others. This is not a child who could be unaware if she were being abused.

            Touching of Private Parts

When Daniels directly asks Winnie if anybody has touched her and told her to keep it a secret, she denies it. Then Daniels asks her about parts of her body that nobody is supposed to touch. Winnie identifies pee-pee, boobs and butt. When Daniels asks if anybody has touched those parts of her, Winnie answers that a girl named Isabella, “my Dad’s friend on my Dad’s side,” has touched her boobies. She does not like this girl very much. “She always does stuff like that.” Daniels does not follow up. She does not even try to find out if Isabella has touched Winnie’s pee-pee or butt, or if Isabella has asked Winnie to touch her pee-pee or butt. She does not ask how many times this has happened or who was there at the time or whom Winnie told. She doesn’t ask any of the questions that a good interviewer would ask about something like this. (There is no evidence that an interview of Isabella was done by CPS.)

Then a peculiar conversation takes place. Daniels asks Winnie if she likes this little girl and Winnie says she doesn’t. “Well why not?” asks Daniels, as if it was not obvious. Winnie explains that usually Isabella is mean. Daniels asks what she does that is mean, right after being told that she touches Winnie inappropriately in the shower! This causes Winnie to have to try to come up with other reasons for meanness. In several more instances, we read “inaudible” when the speech is perfectly easy to hear. Winnie is saying that she does not like Isabella, that she does not want to play with her, etc., but she never says that she has told her father about what’s going on or asked him for help with this problem.

            With respect to “telling” if it happened:

When Daniels asks Winnie, again, if somebody else has touched her inappropriately, Winnie denies it. Daniels asks what Winnie would do if somebody DID that, and Winnie appropriately says she would tell them to back off. If they persisted, she would tell her mother. The rest of the line is transcribed wrong. The transcript says: “I would go tell my Mom and she would probably (inaudible) or my Dad.” The line actually reads: “I would go tell my Mom and she would probably make them leave…or my Dad.”

So in general, it is clear that Winnie trusts her mother and if somebody touched her inappropriately, she would tell her mother. It is possible she might also tell her father but there is no indication that she has told him that Isabella has already been inappropriate with her at his house. The inference is that even if Winnie told Dad about that problem, he would not make Isabella leave, indicating that perhaps Winnie feels unprotected at Dads house.

Examples of Daniels making Winnifer feel uncomfortable, sad, and humiliated

Daniels is insensitive during the interview, often puts Winnie on the spot, and makes her noticeably uncomfortable.   For example:

“Now I understand that…I’ve heard some things okay? That sometimes you touch your own pee-pee. Does that happen? [Winnie nods, uncomfortable but still honest] Yeah? What’s going on?”

Now, the child has been challenged because presumably she masturbates![3] She is told that Daniels has prior knowledge of it. Daniels has “heard some things.” Daniels challenges Winnie: “What’s going on?” Winnie tries to defend herself: “But it usually itches.” Daniels wants to know what Winnie does to “help it so it doesn’t itch.” Now a six-year-old is being asked to explain what she has done to make a medical, dermatological problem go away. Of course, this is not a child’s responsibility. If she has having some problem with her labia or her vagina and it itches, her custodial parent should get her medical attention to make it stop itching. But Daniels has put the burden on Winnie. Again, the word “inaudible” shows up for no apparent reason. Winnie’s answer is very clear on the DVD: “Well my, my Mom puts Desitin on it before I go to my Dad’s but he threw it away and it helps me stop itching it.” Her labia or vagina are irritated, and she touches them, and it gives her some relief, but Dad throws away the Desitin.

Daniels follows up on the Desitin issue, asking what it’s for, and Winnie says that her pee-pee is sometimes red. Daniels, again, asks her to explain something she cannot explain: “Do you know why your pee-pee gets red?” Winnie doesn’t know. Then Daniels questions her in detail about “putting on the Desitin.” Winnie is asked to give a lot of detail about how her mother applies the cream, and finally, whether her mother says anything when she puts it on. According to the transcript, Winnie’s answer is “inaudible” but I clearly heard the child say “I’m just thinking…no.” Since there is nothing remarkable about her Mom putting Desitin on her, when asked if her Mom “says anything,” Winnie has to think about it. If you ask any child of six if her Mom, Dad, teacher or baby-sitter “says anything” while putting on medicine or a band-aid, the child will have to think back to remember what was said, if anything. Winnie thinks back: Did Mom say anything when she put on Desitin? She’s giving accurate answers. If she doesn’t know what happened, she thinks about it carefully and tries to remember. In this case, she can’t remember anything her mother said while putting on Desitin. The application of an over-the-counter preparation for irritated skin is normal and non-criminal. There was no memorable comment made while the Mom was applying it. There is absolutely no hint of sexual content to this activity.

In answer to a question about how often Mom puts “the Desitin” on her, Winnie says it depends on how long it’s red, which makes perfect sense. Again, the transcript claims that this part is inaudible but I clearly heard: “Probably one day at night time. When I’m going back to my Dad she usually puts it on.” That makes sense if she has normal weekend visitation from Friday evening until Sunday. One of the two nights, Mom puts on the Desitin (if Winnie has reported that it is red), and then again before Winnie goes back to her father, so the redness won’t get so bad while she’s there. She’s apparently not receiving any treatment for any­thing at Dad’s house. Furthermore, Winnie gives a rationale for putting it on before her return to her father’s custody: “So if it starts getting red right there or at my Dad’s I will still have it on and it wouldn’t stop but it wouldn’t get as bad.” In other words, the pur­pose of the cream is not sexual pleasure on the Mom’s part, but skin protection for her child in view of the fact that when she goes back to Dad’s house, it will get red again. The “inaudible” portions of these answers are perfectly clear to me.

Now Daniels comes back to putting Winnie on the spot again: “Okay. I’m just wonder­ing why you keep getting red.” She already asked that question, and Winnie’s answer was that she did not know. Of course she doesn’t know; she’s not a pediatric gynecolo­gist or a dermatologist; she needs to be taken to a doctor. And if she is masturbating compulsively and cannot stop, even when punished, even when she’s in school, and even when her labia are red and irritated, she needs to see a pediatric psychiatrist or psychologist too. (Some children spend excessive amounts of time masturbating because they are anxious, upset or very lonely. There could be a psychological reason, a physical reason, or several reasons for this if it in fact occurs.) But it doesn’t seem like the CPS personnel are particularly interested in Winnie’s needs; they’re interested in building a case against Winnie’s mother. Winnie answers this second demand for information in an interesting way. She says, “We’re wondering the same thing too.” This is a very thoughtful answer. Not only does the child not know the answer, but she is showing that this is a concern and that obviously it would be very good to GET an answer.

When Daniels questions Winnie about her teacher seeing her masturbating (or just touching herself) at school, she asks what the teacher does. Winnie says the teacher tells her to go wash her hands. She is giving clear signs that she is uncomfortable, and Daniels is not picking up on that at all, and not making her feel more comfortable. Then Daniels gets up to make a phone call to “make sure I asked all the questions I was supposed to.” Daniels speaks briefly on the phone and the returns and asks a question that makes the little girl feel humiliated and upset, so that she turns away from the interviewer and the camera picks up a look of pitiful misery on her face. Daniels says: “I had heard that one day you went to school and you had a dress on but you didn’t have your underwear. What happened? Hmm?”

No matter what happened, several things are clear about this exchange. First, the child is feeling awful. Second, the interviewer has just let her know that she has incriminating information about her, which she apparently got in that phone call. And third, whoever “told on” Winnie on the phone is somehow participating in this interrogation. So the child is really “under the gun” now, and she is embarrassed, humiliated, and scared. If you wanted to show an interview of a child for purposes of teaching social workers what not to do, you could not find a better example of bullying, leading, invalidating, and tormenting a child. Then Daniels finally seems to understand that Winnie is terribly upset, and she recites the empty words that Winnie’s not in trouble, but obviously, Winnie is already feeling so vulnerable and upset that those words do not help. She tries to make an explanation about the underwear not being clean and then gives up and says, “I don’t remember. I can’t. I couldn’t tell you.” She’s visibly distressed. She probably got embarrassed in school for showing up without underpants on, and then perhaps again at home, and now again. If she does remember what happened, she’s too distressed to reveal it, and it doesn’t look like she feels any trust or closeness to Daniels, and for good reason, so there’s no likelihood she would share a humiliating experience with her now.

In spite of this great discomfort, when Daniels says she’s trying to find out why Winnie keeps rubbing herself, the child does come up with a plausible explanation, one that a physician should certainly check into. Winnie says that when she had chicken pox, it spread into her genital area, and her vagina itched and there were tiny bumps in there.[4] Daniels does not follow up on this, but returns to issue of the Mom and “the Desitin.” Obviously Daniels is trying to make the application of Desitin into a sex crime. Still, Winnie is answering logically. Does Mom look at her pee-pee? Yes, Mom looks at the child’s genital area to see if it’s really red – that is com­pletely and obviously normal; it’s not sexual abuse and it’s not sexual at all. In fact, if the application of Desitin were some sort of sexual activity instead of application of a skin remedy, then Mom wouldn’t have to look to check “if it’s really red” because she would be applying the Desitin for her own sexual pleasure and not for redness.

Winnifer’s credible lack of corroboration to suggestions made later by Natalie

Questioned about whether Winnie has seen her Mom’s pee-pee, she says no. This is significant because it effectively contradicts testimony the same interviewer later got from Natalie, whose interview was much less credible than Winnie’s. If Natalie and Winnie had put make-up all over Valerie when Valerie was naked, Winnie would have seen her Mom’s “pee-pee.”

Questioned about taking a bath and if her Mom touches her in the bath, she says that she needs Mom’s help washing out the shampoo and conditioner out of her hair. Also very significant because it is a direct contradiction of another piece of the later interview that this same interviewer got about an alleged incident in the bathtub. Natalie later claimed that she saw Valerie insert a rubber ducky’s beak into Winnie’s vagina in the bathtub. But Winnie reports that the only touching she experiences in the bathtub with Mom bathing her is help with the shampoo and conditioner.

Questioned about whether she has seen someone else’s pee-pee, she indicates only Isabella’s, when they undress for the shower, and thus she has specifically failed to corro­borate all three of the non-credible “disclosures” CPS later extracted from Natalie, for Winnie couldn’t very well have put a telescope into Natalie’s “pee-pee” without seeing it. Strangely enough, Daniels does not check to see if Winnie has seen anybody’s penis, although Winnie used the correct anatomical term to describe it on the drawing of a boy. It is obvious that the interview is not interested in establishing whether or not Winnie has been molested, only whether there is a way they can say she was molested by a woman. They had a suspect in mind before the conducted an interview to see whether there had been a crime, and that suspect did not have a penis.

The beginnings of some sort of disclosure, and Daniels’ Refusal to Attend to it

Toward the end of the interview, after Daniels has excused herself twice to make phone calls and check to see if she has asked all of her questions, Winnie does have a question for Daniels: “What is your job?” Daniels says it’s her job to talk to kids and make sure they’re OK, and to help them if they’re not OK. So they talk to her and then it’s her job “to help so things get better.” Immediately, when she’s told that the social worker can help so “things get better,” Winnie gives Daniels the crucial piece of information that is needed to make things get better:

“I just really want to see my Mom more.”

Daniels then does nothing to try to help Winnie “make things get better” and doesn’t even respond to her direct request for help to “make things get better”! Here is Winnie, being told directly what Daniels’ job is, and Winnie tries to get help, and gets none.

Daniels turns the attention back to Mom, asking if Mom has friends. Winnie mentions her friend Mimi again, but Daniels is not really interested in Mimi or in what Winnie is trying to tell her. She’s off to make another phone call to see if she needs to ask any more leading questions. When she comes back from the phone, several lines of conversation are described in the transcript as “inaudible.” They were perfectly understandable. Winnie was beginning to tell Daniels about some sort of sexual activities that she experienced at an aunt’s house with her boy cousins. Her comments include the following:

“I just KNOW we’re gonna get to my Aunt Molly’s. They have my cousins, I have my cousin Jacob – um – oh, well Jacob and (inaudible) and Carson, so that’s -- They’re ALL BOYS! But Carson, I probably like the most, because Jacob – he fiddles with HIS pee-pee too! [He’s the] Same age as Bella. [Jacob was apparently nine, but probably Winnie thought he was seven because perhaps she may think most kids slightly older than her are seven. This makes me wonder if Isabella is really seven; perhaps she is somewhat older.] Maybe I can tell them… game… by now.”

It sounds very much like Winnie is trying to make a disclosure about something uncomfort­able and of a sexual nature in “games” at the aunt’s house involving Jacob, whom she doesn’t like as much as Carson, but none of this is very audible because Daniels led her away from the recording devices as she spoke. In fact Daniels asks a few perfunctory questions about Cousin Jacob playing with his penis in front of Winnie, but this is not genuinely explored. If in fact there is no medical reason for Winnie’s genital area to be itching frequently, and if her touching herself is actually masturbation, then there would seem to be a very good reason to investigate thoroughly (please, not by Daniels) the “games” that Winnie was trying to describe at the house with her cousins. She made a point of saying that one of them, an older boy, masturbates in front of her. It would seem obvious that any genuine evaluation of Winnie’s problems would require a full investigation of that partial disclosure. Winnie is offering plenty of information and plenty of leads, but Daniels sounds uninter­ested and terminates the interview. It is my guess that none of these leads were followed-up and that these boys were not interviewed, the girl named Isabella was not interviewed, and Winnie was never taken in for a pediatric gynecological consult to rule out a medical probem.

Everything in the interview is about what Winnie is doing, how Winnie is doing something inappropriate, and what Mom does, and how it must be Mom’s fault. One last question comes out, in that Daniels checks to see if Jacob is asking Winnie to touch his penis, which, apparently, he is not. Then the interview ends. But this is probably where the interview should begin.

Recap of the Winnifer Interview:

Winnie wants her Mom, her Mom loves her a lot, hugs her so she feels it in her heart, puts a soothing cream on her vagina and labia when they’re red and irritated, takes good care of her, cooks her good food, provides wholesome and pleasant visits, plays with her, would protect her from someone if they tried to touch her inappropriately, only touches her hair when she bathes her, and has never showed her private parts to her child. In spite of the fact that this is the whole story, Daniels some­how concluded that the Mom sexually abused this little girl. The interview would not lead most rational people to that conclusion. The interview did, however, lead to some actual data:

1) Molestation: Winnie is clearly upset at being touched inappropriately in the shower by Isabella, an older child who visits at Winnie's father's house. Has Winnie complained to her Dad or Grandma? Do they encourage it? Do they try to stop it? In the Natalie interview, alleged child-on-child molestation is taken very seriously, and adult involvement is investigated. But not in the Winnie interview.

2) Exhibitionism: The same applies to the possibility of some form of exhibitionism on the part of her cousin Jacob who she says masturbates openly in front of her. She must find this troublesome because she reports not liking Jacob much as a result of this frequent activity; she likes Carson more. Questions come to mind. Where are the grown ups? What are they doing about it? Has Winnie told Dad or Grandma about that? And most important --- Why doesn’t Daniels follow up on these issues?

3) Emotional Abuse: Winnie says that her father spanks her frequently and forbids her to cry, telling her to “hold it in.” This is sadistic, even if you believe in spanking children. I would also consider it emotional abuse to prevent Winnie from having contact with her mother. Ten months is a long time in the memory of a child six years old, and Winnie was pining away for her mother in March when this interview took place. We do not know what she has been told about the disappearance of her mother from her life.

4) Emotional neglect: Winnie talks in glowing terms about the rich environment that she experiences at her mother's house, the games she plays, even on Sabbath when she is not allowed to play music or do creative things, but she still loves being with her mother. At her father's house, on the other hand, she just watches TV. She says she doesn't do anything fun with her father because he is too busy talking to other people in the family or doing other things; he is too busy to interact with her. He apparently doesn’t check into what’s bothering her or why she itches. It appears that perhaps the hygiene is not very good at Dad’s house or perhaps her clothes are too small, ill-fitting or uncomfort­able. Her problems are not being attended to at Dad’s house.

5) Physical neglect: Daniels asks Winnie about the time she went to school without underpants on. Winnie says she did not have clean underwear to put on because the clothes were in the laundry. Although Daniels does not establish whose house she was coming from, it seems that, since the father is the custodial parent and since she only goes to her mother on weekends, it was probably the father (or grandmother) who failed to clothe her properly.

6) Medical neglect: Winnie says her genital area itches. When asked why she itches, she doesn't know, but later guesses that it was because chicken pox “spreaded in [her] pee-pee.”[5] Her mother puts Desitin on to alleviate the itch, but the father does not believe in putting Desitin on. My question is: why is the mother -- whose intervention is totally appropriate and would be followed by any responsible caretaker -- being blamed for sexual abuse, when the father -- the custodial parent -- has failed to take the child to a doctor to get the problem diagnosed and treated. My other question is why Daniels -- a qualified professional-- does not see that, and instead of helping, turns the situation around and blames the mother, and not the custodial father, for the child’s problems.

Daniels also alternately leads, suggests and bullies the child throughout the interview until Winnie is actually in tears. There is no disclosure of sexual abuse in this interview -- not just “no credible disclosure,” but no disclosure at all. Any objective analysis of the interview would conclude that this child is being abused by being denied contact with her mother; her needs are being neglected, medically, psychologically, and even legally.

Attached to this letter is a breakdown of the various “inaudible” areas on the transcript of the Winnifer interview, and my own transcription of what I heard on the DVD in places where the transcript says the words are “inaudible.” Also, some corrections appear in this breakdown. (Please see page 20.)

Analysis of the Interview of Natalie Anders dated April 15, 2009

Much, if not most, of the interview of Natalie Anders is not only extraneous but nearly incomprehensible. Only three comments made by Natalie relate, even remotely, to possible sexual abuse by Valerie Carlton, and all three are questionable after even the most cursory review of this rambling, disjointed statement.  I have, however, created a chart that shows the many problems with the interview (please see page 26). In short, I do not agree with the theory that this interview provides evidence of sexual abuse of Natalie by Valerie. A quick view of the DVD gives the impression not only of a coached interview but frankly, of a rehearsed performance, which Natalie could not "pull off" very well at her age and level of maturity

General Problems with Interview Technique and Structure  

As the child and Daniels enter the room, we hear Natalie comment that it is the "coolest room in the world." This is an interesting and puzzling statement.  There is not much of interest to a five-year-old in this room. Most waiting rooms of pediatricians' offices have more of interest in them.  But Natalie already knows that the room is "cool" and she shows, shortly into the interview, that she knows how to manipulate the unusual chair she is sitting on. She doesn’t need to ask how to flip the chair; she just suddenly stands up and unfolds it. It is possible she has been practicing her interview in this very room or another room very much like it in this agency.  The interview is atypical in many respects.  The transcript was not put onto the normal CPS form such as the Winnifer interview transcript; it was typed on plain white paper.  Both the structure and the conduct of the interview are, in my opinion, somewhat suspicious.

Daniels tells Natalie that there will be a recording and a video made and she describes the equipment.  She does not speak about knowing the difference between truth and lies, or explain to Natalie why she is being interviewed.  Again, there is no indication that perhaps Natalie has expressed a problem, asked for help or made a disclosure. It is possible that Natalie’s mother or some other adult came up with the idea. It is my understanding that Natalie’s mother is hostile to Valerie Carlton and may feel vindictive towards her.

The interrogation begins.  Natalie appears to have an attention problem and Daniels has difficulty keeping her in line, making her answer questions, getting her to pay attention and tell a coherent story, and restraining her from hopping about, snatching the markers, grabbing the phone, and generally behaving in a disorganized and disruptive manner.  Natalie doesn't know when her birthday is, doesn't know when things happened, doesn't know the difference between a week day and a weekend, between school time and vacation, and cannot string together a set of events in a coherent manner.  Nothing she says really holds together.  Her interview is practically meaningless, except that it reveals a certain regrettable quality of parrot-like repetition of what she thinks she is supposed to say. She also changes her story whenever she sees that what she has said is not acceptable to Daniels. (See “Natalie Anders Interview” chart, below.) 

Natalie seems aware that she is on stage somehow, and at one point, Daniels reinforces this impression. What happens is that Natalie asks if Daniels is going to tell her (Natalie’s) mother what she has said. Daniels responds, "Well I have to tell them how you did."  In other words, Daniels is reinforcing in Natalie's mind the fact that her Mom expects her to "do well" in this interview, and Daniels will be reporting back as to whether or not the child met expectations.  What will she tell Natalie's Mom?  Natalie did well and disclosed plenty of sexual abuse?  Or Natalie did not do well and we can't use the interview?  The idea of reporting back to parents – or to anyone else -- on “how” a child “did” in a sex abuse interview is absurd on its face.

Another problem is revealed during the first part of the interview.  Natalie cannot remember and describe events very well, and it appears that she has been taught to draw circles or point to circles on pictures of bodies, to indicate where touches occurred.  So she seems to have learned that things have happened "in the circle" on the pictures of bodies.  For a five-year-old, this is possibly a good way to help them describe things, but it is very suggestive.  If, for instance, a five-year-old had a medical problem, and the doctor drew a circle around the affected part on a picture, and told her to let him know if it hurt there, the use of the circle would help the child describe her sensations.  But if you're asking a child many open-ended questions and you circle the genital area of the body on a picture, you're suggesting to her that the area in the circle is where she should concentrate her attention.  Especially with a child who has an attention problem such as the one exhibited by Natalie, that is an unacceptable level of suggestion. 

The Conduct of the Interview

Natalie is asked who lives with her and she reports a lot of people; we do not learn who all those people are or how they are related to her, if at all.  She reports that one woman living with her is pregnant, and that there is a man living with her who is, in her words, "a little bit pregnant."  Daniels -- remarkably -- does not try to find out what it means to this confused child for a man to be "a little bit pregnant."  Daniels asks Natalie about body parts and the child reports most of them correctly but will not say any word associated with male genitalia; she says that is a “bad word.” Natalie often anticipates Daniels’ questions about body parts, showing that this drill is not new to her. Then Daniels asks about good touch versus bad touch and Natalie reports various good and bad touches, commenting that she does not like to be kissed because people can kiss you “in the wrong place.”  Daniels asks who does this – Natalie says friends do it. No follow-up on this.  Then, in response to a question if anybody has touched Natalie in a private place, she responds in a quick and unaffected voice, without any hesitation, as if giving a correct answer in the classroom:  a friend named Winnie and her mother Valerie.  Upon investigation, however, the three incidents Natalie enumerates as instances of someone touching her privates are not actually cases of anyone touching her privates.

1. Valerie inserted "the beak of a dead duck" into Winnie, not into Natalie, in the bath­tub.  (It turns out that the "dead duck" was a rubber ducky.)

2. Winnie inserted "a telescope" on -- which she then corrects, upon prompting, to “in” -- Natalie's private; and

3. Valerie forced Natalie to put make-up onto Valerie while Valerie was naked. 

The “beak of a dead duck” incident 

Natalie claims that she and Winnie were being bathed together (by Valerie, although it is improbable, since they were next-door neighbors and she would probably bathe at home) when Valerie inserted the beak of the rubber ducky into Winnie's private.  Natalie is sure it went IN.  Then, she says, Valerie tried to put it into her as well but she "pushed her hand away."  Of course, it would not be possible for Natalie to see, under the water, between the legs of another child, in a bathtub, past the arm of the adult bathing the children, to actually witness a ducky going into the vagina of the other child.  It is almost impossible to design, ac­cording to the laws of physics, a way for this occurrence to have been visible to a different child in the same tub.  For her to know that the ducky’s beak went into Winnie's vagina, she would have had to be under water with her eyes open and watching closely from just the right angle.  The disclosure is absurd on its face.  Furthermore, there was no corroboration by Winnie of this allegation, since Winnie, questioned about being touched in her private area, never revealed any such event.  Furthermore, had this happened to Winnifer, one would expect physical evidence of forcible penetration, such as hymeneal injury, but none was reported.  This disclosure is not credible.

The Penetration by Telescope Incident

The next disclosure is an allegation of sexual – or other -- activity between two children, five and six years old respectively, but since Natalie claims that these things occurred a year before the interview, it would have been a four and five year old at the time.  The event, as described, is quite difficult to imagine because Winnie is said to have pulled down Natalie’s pants and inserted a "telescope" which was, apparently, a child's plastic doctor toy.  Here’s a child of six being able to physically overcome a child of five and insert a toy into her vagina. How? Wouldn’t the five-year-old, who was able to push away an adult’s hand as she allegedly tried to penetrate her with a duck’s beak, resist being penetrated with a plastic toy? Would polite little Winnie be able to hold her down and essentially rape her? Valerie's only part in this activity was said to have been her spoken words:  "That's who I want my girl," which Daniels then interprets as "That's HOW I want my girl."  Either way it is meaningless.  The idea, furthermore, that a child who cannot remember her birthday or what the question was, which was posed a minute earlier, can suddenly remember a sentence spoken by someone a year before, is patently ridiculous. 

In addition to these obvious anomalies, Natalie says at first that Winnie put the telescope ON her private, and said "hold it there," but then, a few seconds later, agrees with Daniel's leading suggestion that she actually put it IN her private.  The whole thing is a jumble of comments that do not describe any credible scene except, perhaps, two little girls playing "doctor" with a toy "telescope" and the Mom interrupting to say some other game might be more appropriate. 

Seven Versions of the Make-Up Incident

The description of Valerie forcing Natalie to put make-up on her shows just how imposs­ible it has become to understand what, if anything, happened. Natalie cannot tell a co­herent story and cannot describe any particular event within the story in a consistent and credible manner. To make matters worse, Daniels fires questions at the child that are sometimes repetitive, sometimes compound questions, often confusing, and often appear to be half question, half suggestion. If you try to reconstruct what Natalie actually says happened, as if you are the director working out the blocking of a stage play, you come up with the following highly improbable scene:

Natalie and Winnie were putting make-up on Valerie while Valerie was naked. They put the make-up on her “everywhere.” They put it “on this circle” (genital area) on Valerie’s body. Winnie put make-up on Valerie’s private. Natalie put make-up only on Valerie’s back (contradicting the prior assertion that Valerie made Natalie touch Valerie’s private). It was real make-up and it had to stay there. This happened in Valerie’s bedroom. Nothing else ever happened. Valerie then said, “Don’t tell your mother I’m telling you this.” Valerie never said anything else to Natalie. But yes she did, in fact (Natalie changes her story and adds) Valerie said, “Your mother’s rotten and you’ll never…your mother’s stupid and you’ll never see her again.” She said that while they put the make-up on her. Valerie made Natalie touch her (Valerie’s) private. Winnie was there; Valerie and Winnie had to close their eyes. Natalie picked up the wash cloth and touched Valerie’s back.

The scene doesn’t make sense. The only explanation that does make sense is that Natalie was coached to give a disclosure of sexual abuse but she couldn’t keep it straight in her mind and in spite of being helped out by being told that things happened “in the circle,” when she is asked to describe what happened, out comes a bewildering jumble of nonsense. If a skillful interviewer were to ask Natalie what happened, say, on the following day, it would be my guess that another set of incidents would emerge that would be just as confused and chaotic and that would also not “hang together” as a coherent story of any genuinely remembered event.

Indications of Coaching, Leading, and Suggesting

Natalie’s interview is replete with exchanges between Daniels and the child that indicate a strong possibility of coaching, leading and suggesting answers to her even while the interview is taking place. One of the most significant of these appears after Natalie has provided four different versions of the incident where she allegedly put make-up on Valerie. Daniels, it appears, is trying to get the child to say that she was forced to put make-up on Valerie’s genital area, but the child keeps getting the story wrong, and after saying many different things, Natalie says she put the make-up on Valerie’s back. Daniels tries to correct her, suggesting “gluteus maximus?” Natalie says no, “back.”[6] Then Daniels has to remind her of what she’s supposed to be revealing so she directly tells the child that she previously alleged that she touched Valerie’s private. Natalie, now, realizes she gave a wrong answer. At this point, Natalie is reported as saying “inaudible,” but I listened to the tape and to an enhanced, slowed-down clip of that exchange, and it is remarkable what the child actually said:

“hold on, I’m lying: CIRCLE!”

In other words, when Daniels reminds Natalie of what she is supposed to allege, she suddenly remembers her coaching (“hold on”), excuses herself for getting it wrong (“I’m lying”), and then corrects it (“Circle”). “Circle” of course refers to the genitals on the picture of the female. Now Natalie believes she has gotten it right. (To her, “lying” means saying the wrong thing. If she was told to say she touched Valerie in the “circle,” she was “lying” when she said she touched her “back,” so she corrects her disclosure.)

In any proper interview, if the child said for any reason, “Hold on I’m lying,” the interviewer would have to stop and try to figure out what was going on, what the child meant by “lying,” whether she understood the meaning of telling the truth (not at all clear in the case of this child at age five), and so forth. The interview is worthless without this, especially in view of the statement: “Hold on, I’m lying.”

An interesting point about this unintelligible interview is that Daniels keeps trying to drag certain admissions out of Natalie when Natalie believes that she has already given the information called for.  She is getting bored, distracted, and somewhat annoyed.  She has apparently said what she thought she was supposed to say and now she wants to play.  Her affect is not that of a child who has been sexually traumatized and is revealing it.  She's telling things as if she's reciting a lesson but she can't keep the words straight.  Not even the ideas are straight.  It is my guess that if anything as bizarre as the various events contained in this interview had actually happened to Natalie, she would have revealed it contemporaneously, not a year later.

Not to belabor the obvious flaws in this interview, suffice it to say that when questioned about when these events took place, Natalie (who is already tired of the questioning) claims they all took place on a single day a year before the interview.  It's hard to understand the order in which all this varied sexual abuse took place.  Either the girls took a bath and then dressed and went into a different room where Winnie violated Natalie with a telescope and then went to Valerie's bedroom to apply make-up "all over" her privates, on her back, or some other place, or some alternative illogical order of events took place.  Daniels is not too particular about getting the details straight; she seems satisfied that Natalie has pointed to the "circle" several times indicating a presumed sex abuse disclosure. Then, as Daniels repeats over and over what she wants the disclosure to say, she manages to get the now compliant but still confused child to agree by saying “um-hmm (positive)” to whatever she suggests.  Furthermore, the day in question started out warm but then there was a thunder storm.  It was "last year" but Natalie was only in school this year (kindergarten) and it might or might not have been a day starting with W.  Natalie enjoys hopping up and dialing the phone for Daniels to find out from "Mr. Bruce" -- the prosecutor -- if she has asked enough questions.  The interview is meaningless except insofar as it indicates coaching, inappropriate manipula­tion of a child to produce "evidence" in court, and what I would characterize as social worker incompetence verging on malpractice. 

Conclusions applicable to both interviews:

Winnie's interview tells me, as a psychiatrist and as an expert in distinguishing true and false allegations of child abuse, that she told the truth and made absolutely no disclosure of abuse against her mother.  Natalie's interview should never have taken place because there was no basis for suspecting that a woman who had not abused Winnie would have somehow abused Winnie's friend.  But "Mr. Bruce" is the prosecutor and this second interview, of the neighbor's daughter, took place in his presence, and it obviously was conducted to gather evidence. It produced a confused, illogical, hodgepodge of assertions and statements that did not, in the final analysis, provide any clear picture of sexual or other abuse. 

Furthermore, every possible incident of alleged abuse that Natalie valiantly tried to describe was uncorroborated by the only other witness to the events (Winnie herself), so as "evidence," it is grossly deficient. Two children were alleged to have been present when all this abuse took place. The older and more intelligent of the two has denied each and every bizarre incident that the confused little five-year-old has tried to allege. At most, what you have here is the uncorroborated statement of a five-year-old that is incredible on its face, and corroboration would have been possible had anything really happened, because Winnie could have been re-interviewed in April after Natalie told these stories. So even if you were to presume that Natalie had a grain of truth to these preposterous allegations, there would be only a 50/50 chance that anything happened, not even rising to the level of a preponderance of the evidence. Natalie tried to say something happened (it is almost impossible to understand what) but Winnie specifically denied that any of that happened.

If this does go to trial, I will be willing to testify both as to my analysis of the transcripts of the interviews, and as to my take on the DVDs, which should, of course, be played for the jury.  I do not believe that any jury, watching these two interviews and hearing my commentary on them, will be able to reach a verdict of GUILTY.

If you wish additional information, please let me know.




                                                     Mark J. Mills, JD, MD


Chart of Corrections and Fill-In’s, Interview of Winnifer Carlton



What the Tran­script says

Actual Quotation with­out “inaudibles”

3 of 22

You visit your Mom? Why are you making

such a long face?

I haven’t seen her in

a while and I (inaudible)

I haven’t seen her in a while and I want to see her more.

3 of 22

Oh. Who lives at Mom’s?


My dog Leah.

5 of 22

There is no question pending at this point. Daniels has asked Winnie what she does at her Mom’s house and Winnie was telling her, but Daniels interrupted and asked what Winnie did at her Dad’s house, and now, Winnie returns to describe her Mom’s house again, on her own, not in response to any more questions.

And mostly Jewish cause I was born from my Mom and she’s the Jewish part. And, and she cooked, um, have you ever heard of (inaudible) it’s a Jewish (inaudible). You do it on the weekends which is (inaudible). … (inaudible) turning on stuff that makes sounds. … (inaudible) … You’re not allowed to do or use that. And she took the (inaudible) the sun goes down.…That’s (inaudible) and she and she (inaudible) and she gave me my dinner. And my (inaudible) chicken and (inaudible).

And mostly Jewish cause I was born from my Mom and she’s the Jewish part. And, and she cooked, um, have you ever heard of Shabbos? It’s a Jewish thing. You do it on weekends, which is when I get to visit. You’re not allowed to do anything that’s creative like crafts or anything so we do other things, or turning on stuff that makes sounds or lights or heat, you’re not allowed to do that. And my Mom cooks the dinner before the sun goes down. … That’s why you cook first, and then she lights the candles and then she gives me my dinner. And my favorites are barbecued chicken and salmon.

6 of 22

your Mom makes you sal­mon but your Dad won’t? Does he not like salmon?

(inaudible) can’t stand it.

No, he just can’t get it.

6 of 22

Responding to Winnie’s info.

He just can’t stand it?

[transcribed wrong]

He just can’t get it.

8 of 22

Okay what’s this?


Back hair

9 of 22

Do you ever get hugs? Yeah?

Usually from my Mom.

No change.

“ “

Usually from your Mom?


That’s why I love her so much!

9 of 22

And on your back? Yeah, so you like to get hugs? How about, do you ever get kisses?

Usually from my Mom and my Dad (inaudible)

Usually from my Mom and my Dad almost never.

11 of 22

Okay. And you said that doesn’t happen too much. So what happens when you do get in trouble then?

(inaudible) and I always apologize.

I feel very bad for what I did and I always apologize.

12 of 22

Does she [Isabella] live with Daddy or is she just a friend?


Just a friend.

13 of 22

How old is Isabella?

(inaudible) she pushed me in the pool.

And once she pushed me in the pool.

“ “


And I (inaudible)

And I could have cut my lip open!

“ “

She’s seven. OK.

Nothing is written.

Winnifer is crying a little bit and it is not noted in the transcript.

“ “

She’s seven. Okay.

Nothing is written.

Winnifer interjects: “I just don’t like her!”

“ “

Do you have to play with her?

No. (inaudible) and not do it again.

No. Sometimes I ask my Dad not knowing she was going to be mean and, but I didn’t KNOW she was going to be mean and not do it AGAIN, but every TIME I…

“ “

Um hm (positive).

(inaudible) give her another chance and (inaudible) thinking I’m not going to…

(prior outburst from answer above this one is the part this is transcribed as “inaudible.” The contin­uation is): [from “every time I…”] Give her another chance and she keeps on being mean so I’m thinking I’m not going to--

“ “

Oh. [she has interrupted]


--go there any more.

14 of 22

What if they did touch you? What would you do?

I would go tell my Mom and she would probably (inaudible) or my Dad.

I would go tell my Mom and she would probably make them go home, or my Dad.

“ “


I have a friend (inaudible). She’s my best friend. She would never do anything like that.

I have a friend Mimi at my Mom’s. She’s my best friend. She would never do anything like that. I don’t know her to.

“ “

It usually itches? Okay.   So what do you do to help it so it doesn’t itch?

Well my, my Mom (inaudible) to my Dad’s but he threw it away and it helps me stop itching it.

Well my, my Mom sends this stuff to my Dad’s but he threw it away and it helps me stop itching it.

15 of 22

Your Mom does it? What does that feel like when Mom does that?

It feels good. It’s (inaudible) ticklish in there.

It feels good. It’s ticklish and I like it being ticklish in there.

“ “

Does Mommy ever say anything when she’s putting it on?


I’m just thinking…no.

“ “

How often does Mommy put the desitin on you?

Well, well it’s like how long it’s red (inaudible) puts it on.

Well, if it’s red, well if I tell her it was red then she (inaudible) puts it on.

“ “

…how many times do you think Mommy puts the Desitin cream stuff on you?

Probably one day (inaudible) time. When I’m going back to my Dad she usually puts it on.

Probably one day at night time. When I’m going back to my Dad she usually puts it on.

16 of 22

Um hm (positive)

So if it starts getting (in­audible) and at my Dad’s I will still have it on and it wouldn’t stop but it would­n’t get as bad.

So if it starts getting red right there, or red at my Dad’s I will still have it on and it wouldn’t stop but it wouldn’t get as bad.

“ “

Okay. So have you gotten in trouble at school or anything for, for touching yourself or while you’re in class doing things like that, like itching or anything?

Not really (inaudible) go wash your hands.

Not really. Miss Metcalf just says…says go wash your hands.

“ “

Ms. Metcalf tells you to go wash your hands? Okay.


At school.

“ “

So what are you usually doing when she tells you to go wash your hands?


I go wash them up. Usually doing my work.

“ “

Cause you’re itching?


She says wash it.

17 of 22

Um hm (positive)

But if it’s (inaudible) it feels bad.

But if it’s red at that time it feels bad. ***

“ “

Cause I just have to check and make sure I asked all the questions I was supposed to.

Nothing is transcribed about Winnie’s behavior or utterances.

Winnie climbs on the chair and faces Leanda, whose back is turned.   Winnie says: “But I really want to go with my Mommy!”

19 of 22

Leanda tells Winnie that she has heard that Winnie went to school without underwear one day, and Leanda wants to know what happened.

Well all my pairs of underwear was in the (inaudible). There wasn’t no washer or no dryer and there was nothing else to put on to cover it.

Well all my pairs of underwear was in the [climbing, turning and fidgeting] was in the washer or the dryer and there was nothing else to put on to cover it.

“ “

Did you have them on and then take them off?

Um um (negative)

I…Um um (negative)

“ “

They usually bother you? Okay.

They get stuck in my butt and it doesn’t feel (inaudible).

They get stuck in my…butt and it doesn’t feel good, nice.

“ “

Okay. [still sounds disbelieving]

And I don’t know.

And I don’t now, and…

“ “

And that’s why I’m asking, cause I wanna--

Well I had chicken pox and this is very, very odd but it started in my pee-pee.

Well I had chicken pox and this is very, very odd but it spreaded in my pee-pee [gestures].

20 of 22

You still feel tiny bumps in there?

Tiny, tiny.

Tiny, tiny. Like you almost wanna go—away in two, one days.

“ “

When your Mom put the cream on you does she look at your pee-pee or anything?

Um um (negative)

No change.

“ “

Cont’d… No? [sounds disbelieving]

I’m sure she checks to see if it’s really red.

Well, sure! She checks to see if it’s really red!

“ “

Have you ever seen anybody else’s though?

I try not to look but I usually turn around and (inaudible). I turn around (inaudible) the same way and…

I try not to look but I usually turn around and every way I turn around, it all turns the same way, and…

21 of 22

do you [go to the bath­room] all by yourself or do you need help?


All by myself.

20 of 22

Oh so with your hair? Yeah.

And putting it all over my hair. I can rub it.

And putting it – just putting it all over my hair.   I can rub it.

“ “

Do you have any questions for me?...What?

Um what are your jobs?

Um, what is your job?

21 of 22

Um hm (positive)

[we] are very good friends (inaudible)

we are very good friends. We know each other since we were babies.

“ “

Um hm (positive)

I mean, we’ve known each other since we were babies.   Bella, we’ve known each other probably since we were three.

I mean, we’ve known each other since we were babies.   Bella, we’ve know each other probably since we were three. [makes the “rasp­berries” sound with her lips, indicating disdain or dislike]

“ “

Let me make a phone call just to make sure I covered everything okay?


I just KNOW we’re gonna get to my Aunt Molly’s…

“ “

[they have not transcribed a question but, after Leanda speaks on the phone she says absent-mindedly to Winnie: “Oh? What are you doin’ there?”]

I have my cousin Jacob. Well Jacob (inaudible)

Here is a whole discussion that has been transcribed as “inaudible” but it is as follows (and Winnifer appeared to want to speak about it more, but wasn’t given the chance): They have my cousins, I have my cousin Jacob -- Um — oh, well Jacob and (inaudible) and Carson, so that’s--

“ “

So that’s (inaudible) your cousin?

Yeah. They’re all boys. (inaudible) because Jacob (inaudible)

Yeah. They’re ALL BOYS! But Carson, I probably like the most, because Jacob – he fiddles with HIS pee-pee too!

22 of 22



Same age as Bella.

“ “

You wanna go back out (leading Winnifer out of the interview while Winnifer is still trying to tell her about the sex games at aunt’s house with the cousins who are all boys.

Nothing transcribed.

Mm-hmm. Maybe I can tell them…game…by now. [It sounds like Winnifer is trying to make a disclosure about something uncomfort­able and of sexual context in “games” at the aunt’s house involving Jacob whom she doesn’t like as much as Carson, but none of this is very audible because Leanda led her away from the recording devices as she spoke.]

*** This is very significant. Natalie apparently touches her genital area even if it feels bad, so it is probably not childhood masturbation, which feels good to a child. In all likelihood, based on this piece of data, Winnie is touching herself because of some medical problem, because she does it even when it feels bad. She honestly answers that she touches herself frequently, says it is because of an itch, and says, furthermore, that it some­times feels good but, when the area is red and irritated, it feels bad. Thus, pleasure is not the motivation for this touching.

The chart printed below shows portions of the Natalie Anders interview, as well as commentary on the problems detected with that interview.




Problem Detected


Who lives at Natalie’s house?

…and Rachel, she’s pregnant, and Big Randy. He is a little big pregnant and little Randy.

Daniels does not even try to figure out what Natalie means by saying that the man named Big Randy is a little big pregnant.


What are those? [pointing to hands]

Hands. I know what the next one you’re gonna do.

How does the child know “what the next one” will be? The DVD shows that Daniels has not yet pointed to the genital area, which indeed is next. It appears possible that this child was rehearsed with the pictures and the circles and knows the drill.


And this? [pointing to rear end]

(inaudible) gluteus maximus.

This is not an accurate transcription of what the child said.   She said, “butt. I mean gluteus maximus.” I believe this means that she ordinarily calls that part of the body the “butt,” but now, she is calling it the “gluteus maximus” because she has been taught to call it that, in this interview.

4 – 5

Now we’re gonna do the same thing with the boy one, okay?

I don’t know what that’s called.

Natalie skips ahead again. Daniels says “We’ll get there.” Still Natalie skips ahead and Daniels cautions her “You’re jump­ing ahead of me.” Natalie is indeed; she’s been taught what to say and she’s trying to show she knows it all and can say it all.

5, bottom

What’s this?

Head. (inaudible) bad word.

Here, Natalie answers the question, “head,” but then, she points to the boy’s penis and says, perfectly audibly, “That’s a bad word.”

6, bottom

No question pending.

You forgot one. … Gluteus maximus.

This is interesting because actually Daniels did forget that on the boy. The reason is probably that she was not fishing for a sex abuse dis­closure against any boys or men; she was fishing for a sex abuse disclosure against a woman.   She is not very careful to make sure that Natalie can name all the boy’s body parts because she won’t need to know them in order to give the information she’s been taught to give in this inter­view.


Do you like to get kisses? No?   Why not?

Cause sometimes they kiss you in the wrong spot. … [mouth] … my friends.

Now here is a disclosure that should have been fol­lowed up. Natalie is clearly saying she is being kissed on the mouth by someone and she feels uncomfortable with that. Daniels doesn’t even ask which friends are doing it. Are the friends among those living in Nata­lie’s house? Are they adult friends, child friends, casual friends?   Daniels ignores that, but it could lead to finding out that there really has been some “bad touch” going on with this child.


Now there’s another kind of touch and that’s when somebody touches you and tells you to keep it a secret or not tell anybody. Has anything like that ever happened to you? Two times? What happened?

(inaudible) … He was (inaudible) me there (inaudible). Because I’m not really in trouble, Sissy is.

Now there really were in­audible parts of this inter­view.   Natalie was troubled, responding to that question, and she mumbled. Daniels did not follow up on this, but it sounds like a male touched Natalie “there” and something disturbing hap­pened. Natalie explained that she personally was not in trouble because of this incident; a person named Sissy was in trouble for the incident. Daniels ignores this. There is no indication that there has been any follow-up. It is quite pos­sible that Natalie has been molested by some male with or without the parti­cipation of someone named Sissy, but this interviewer probably did not try to in­ves­tigate that possibility.


Oh okay, But has anybody ever touched you on your body and then told you not to tell anybody? Yeah?   Who?

My friend. … (inaudible) … Okay what are we talking about?

This is an indication of just how befuddled this child has already become, and she has not yet even gotten to the part where she starts to deliver to Daniels the stor­ies about Valerie and Winnie. Daniels has just repeated a question, as if it was not answered.   It WAS answered, involving some male and “Sissy” – but Daniels continues as if that answer didn’t count.   She only wants an answer that names Valerie as a molester.


Now, the tables are turned. Daniels has been asked a question by Natalie, who is already confused.   Natalie has asked, “What are we talking about?”

Daniels must now completely reiterate that Natalie is supposed to tell her about being touched in private parts and who did it and so forth.   Natalie’s only response is that she doesn’t like getting tickled!

Natalie is losing the thread of what she’s supposed to say and what revelations she is supposed to make to Daniels. She is just answer­ing questions as if they are just questions.   Are people touching her in ways she doesn’t like? She doesn’t like getting tickled! She can’t remember her lines.


Oh you don’t like to get tickled? So you’re right nobody should touch your private or your gluteus maximus. Has anybody ever tried to touch you there? On your private or…

My friend (inaudible) did and her Mom Valerie.

Daniels had to ask the ques­tion four times to finally remind Natalie of what she should say: Winnie [which is what she did say, it was not inaud­ible] and her Mom Valerie. The first time Daniels had asked, she got a real answer and ignored it; the second time, she got “what are we talking about?” for an an­swer. The third time, she got “tick­ling” for an answer and now, finally, she’s getting what she wants for an answer.


The question was “who touched you there?”

One day when I was spending the night um, she took a beak and put it in Winnie’s private part.

The answer doesn’t answer the question. This answer says Valerie touched Winnie; it doesn’t say anybody touched Natalie.


Who took a beak?

Her Mom. A beak on a dead duck. A rubber ducky.

This is just bizarre. For a child to call a rubber ducky a “dead duck” is bizarre to begin with, but the disclo­sure is bizarre itself. It becomes more so.


The rubber ducky? And she put it in Winnie’s…where did she put it? On Winnie’s private?

No, in.


In it? Where did this happen at?

Um, it was a long time ago.

Now Natalie is at least talking about Valerie, on page 10 of the interview. But she’s not really lis­tening to the questions and she’s trying to give answers she thinks she should give. To answer the question “where,” she says “a long time ago.”


Did Winnie say anything?

She said ouch. And when she pulled my pants down and she put a telescope…

Again, Natalie jumps ahead of herself. She is being asked if Winnie said any­thing when Valerie put a ducky beak into her vagina, and she quickly says “ouch” but goes on to the next part of her disclosure in a dis­jointed and incoherent way, saying she pulled “my pants down and put a tele­scope …” So probably, Natalie was given several things to say happened, and she’s trying to get them all said. If she had really wit­nessed a distressing and painful scene in the bathtub, it is highly unlikely that she would suddenly begin to talk about something com­pletely different. Was she undressed in the bath-tub pushing away Valerie’s hand so as not to get pene­trated with a duck and then suddenly she was dressed in pants and somebody was pulling them down?

10 – 11

Who, who pulled your pants down?

Winnie. Wait a second. [She draws a circle around Winnie on the chart.]

Throughout Natalie’s interview, she circles things to demonstrate the story. It is an unusual thing for a child her age to do unless somebody has asked them to circle someone. But Daniels has not asked Natalie to draw circles in this interview. It suggests the possibility that Natalie was coached by someone drawing circles around the body parts they wanted her to speak about, and she is now doing what she thinks will be expected of her.


Where did she put the telescope? On your private? Did she say anything when she did that?

She said (inaudible) down.

This sounded audible to me. Natalie said, “She said hold it there.” Note: this time, when Daniels asks about Winnie putting the tele­scope “on” Natalie’s pri­vate, Natalie does not correct her, but adds that Winnie told her to “hold it there.”


Was there anybody else in the room when this happened?

No but her Mom. [Natalie circles the picture of Valerie.] And Valerie said that’s who I want my little girl.

First Natalie says nobody was in the room and then corrects herself to say, “but her Mom.” Valerie’s alleged comment also makes no sense.


Daniels re-states Natalie’s words, saying “That’s HOW I want my little girl” rather than “That’s WHO I want my little girl.”

Daniels repeats many of the things Natalie says but sometimes subtly changes them or enhances them.

Natalie is looking pretty bored by now.


Did Winnie do anything else? What else?


Now Natalie looks like she is finished “disclosing.” But Daniels is not finished yet.

12, top

Nothing? So we have the one time you were over there spending the night and you and Winnie were in the bathtub? And Valerie put a rubber ducky in Winnie’s private inside you said? And then she tried to put it in…

Wait, wait …

Natalie is being read a recap of what she “disclosed” and she is really not paying attention. It sounds like Daniels has finally gotten something out of Natalie that she can characterize as “sexual abuse” so she’s reading it back to get the child to agree to it – like a confession extracted by cops on “Law and Order.”



The transcript only says “(inaudible)”

The tape was perfectly aud­ible. Natalie said, “Which one of these do you want me to circle?” She was pointing to the pictures of the boy. In other words, Daniels wanting Natalie to circle things has happened in the past when they were trying to talk about sexual abuse. Natalie cannot remember what she is supposed to do.   She’s asking for a hint.


Natalie has again asked Daniels a question. Daniels answers, “Well I don’t wanna circle right now okay?   Can we finish talking about Winnie and Valerie?”

I just did.

This is a very significant piece of the interview.   First off, Daniels’ conduct shows that she is not there to talk about Natalie, or Natalie’s problems. She’s there to talk about Winnie and Valerie.   But Natalie thinks her job is done and she has already com­pleted her assignment. She has drawn circles, she has answered questions, and now she’s done.   She an­swers, “I just did.”   She’s done.


Daniels cannot let the interview come to an end. She must get more. She goes back and starts to reiterate the bathtub “disclosure” again, for no known reason.

Natalie’s fooling with the phone; Natalie’s done giving disclosures; Natalie’s done.

Daniels will not let the interview end. It is obvious that Natalie is not interested in telling her anything more.


Come here. [“Leave the phone alone” was omitted from the transcript but Daniels said it very clearly.] Okay did anything else happen?


Daniels is not accepting “no” for an answer.


Did Valerie ever try and touch you any other time?

One day when we were putting makeup on her, she had no clothes on.

Non-responsive and makes no sense. But it does show that Natalie seems to have remem­bered, suddenly, that she was supposed to say more. She had answered “no” and that answer was rejected so she came up with another answer.


The question remains the same: Did Valerie ever try and touch you any other time?

Answers will be put in order below.

This is the start of a long series of chaotic questions and answers defying comprehension. I will list them in the order they appear in, and assign num­bers to the various versions emerging.


You were putting makeup on her?


VERSION #1. Everywhere.

Everywhere on her body?

Um hm (positive)

Leading question.

And she had no clothes on?

“ “


Where was this at?

At her house and I’ll show you where. On this circle and (inaudible) on her body. That’s where Winnie--

VERSION #2. In this circle.

Her private?

Um hm (positive) That’s where Winnie put it.

VERSION #3. Winnie put the make-up on Valerie’s private. Coached.  

Where did you put make-up on her?

The back of her. That’s where I put it.

VERSION #4. Natalie put it on her back.

Oh on her gluteus maximus?

Natalie did not say that; she said back.


What kind of make-up was it?

Real….And it had to stay there.



Did anything else ever happen?


Again Daniels does not accept “no” for an answer.


Did Valerie ever tell you not to tell anybody? … What did she say?

She said don’t tell your mother that I’m telling you this.


Did she ever say anything that scared you?

Your mother’s rotten and you’ll nev­er…your mother’s stupid and you’ll never see her again.

Again Daniels got Natalie to change a “no” answer into another answer, this time one that looks very made-up by a five-year-old.


Did you ever see Winnie touch Valerie?

Oh – [she holds her hand up as if to say “Wait a minute” as if she forgot something] – she made ME touch her private.

Here Natalie appears to be remembering something without any emotion attached to it, yet what she is saying would make a child feel quite uncomfortable.



VERSION #5. “Valerie made ME touch VALERIE’S private.”


Where were you when this happened?

At her house…her bedroom when Winnie (inaudible)…she was in the bedroom with us … and they had to close their eyes … Um, I picked up the wash cloth…

VERSION #6. No make-up in this scene; Natalie suddenly has a wash cloth. Are they back in the bath tub?

Um hm (positive)

And I touched her…just the back of her. Her back.



On her gluteus maximum?

Um um (negative)

Daniels tries to get Natalie to change her answer.

15, bottom


Her back.

Still VERSION #7. Natalie is not changing her story this time.


On her back?

Um hm (positive)

Daniels seems incredulous; she is not satisfied with Natalie’s answer.

But you said that she made you touch her private.

Um hm (positive. The back.

Still VERSION #7. Natalie will not change her answer this time, although Daniels is actually contradicting her.

The back of her private?

Transcript says “(inaudible) circle.” But it is not inaudible. Natalie says, “Hold on, I’m lying, CIRCLE!”

Now Natalie has been corrected and coached and contradicted four times about her answer, and finally she appears to remember what she was supposed to say.   She says, “Hold on, I’m lying, CIRCLE” because she finally remembers she was supposed to say she touched Valerie in the CIRCLE – that circle she was taught to refer to, on the picture.  

Okay so here? Valerie made you touch her there?

Um hm (positive)

Now Natalie has salvaged her disclosure, and Daniels can make it all correct by repeating it the way she wanted to hear it to start with.

And she was…and was it in Valerie’s bedroom?

Uh huh (positive)

Now the safest course of action for Natalie is just to let Daniels do the talking, and she simply agrees. So after 7 different versions of what happened, Natalie agrees that Valerie made her touch Valerie’s private, and no further description is needed!


Did all these things happen on … the same day?

All the same day.



Was there anything else that happened?

Are you gonna tell Mommy anything?

Natalie either wants, or doesn’t want, her Mom to know what she said.

I have to talk to them to let them know how you did.

Very strange. Why would a social worker have to let parents know “how” a child “did” in an interview?

What else is there?

Natalie has to start making up more but doesn’t know what to say so she says Winnie pushed her.

“What else is there?” is a strange question for a social worker to ask a child. How does the child know what else there is? Is there an agenda?


Anything else ever happen I should know about?

Again, how would the child know what Daniels “should know about”?   Does she know Daniels’ agenda?


Daniels says, on the phone, “I can try again. I don’t know. Let me see what I can get.”

This sounds like dialogue from Law & Order. Obviously this is Daniels trying to “get” information out of a child.

17, bottom to 18, top

I need to try and figure out when these things happened. Do you remember how long ago it was?

How many years has it been?

This is a remarkable ex­change between social work­er and child. The child clear­ly doesn’t have these memories.   In fact, a 5-year-old doesn’t have a year of working memory. Natalie has to ask for guidance because all the information she has given came not from her own mem­ory but from information foisted upon her by others.


I don’t know. Well let me ask you this, what was the weather like? Was it warm outside, cold outside?

It was warm the first day when she took the rubber ducky but the rest of the day it was a thunderstorm.

The child is utterly confused. She’s just making things up now.


Many questions trying to establish WHEN this one day occurred.

Natalie answers as if it is a multiple choice test.

They establish that it was summer.


Was it a week day or a weekend? Do you know the difference?

What letter makes a W?

The child is utterly confused.


W. So was it a day where…


She hasn’t answered the question about whether she knows the difference. She had trouble naming a sea­son, and now she says she knows it was a weekend!


A weekend? Okay.   What days are the weekends?

Um, school.

She is tired, confused, and just saying anything that comes into her mind.


There’s school on the weekends? The weekend is a Saturday and Sunday when there’s no school.

Um hm (positive) Okay.   No school.

Here you have the flavor of the whole interview. Whatever the interviewer ultimately wants to hear, Natalie will agree to. Weekend?   Weekday? Summer? Thunderstorm? School?   No school? Sex abuse? Whatever!


So there was no school? It was on the weekend in the summer?

Um hm (positive) Why is there marks on here?

Natalie is bored, has done her job, is uninterested in the whole subject, and doesn’t care what conclu­sions Daniels reaches. Daniels also doesn’t care as long as she can report SOMETHING to the prosecutor that will result in a felony charge against Valerie Carlton.

19, bottom

And then I need to go back because when Winnie put the telescope inside of you, what did that feel like?

It hurt and I kept telling her to stop but she kept doing it.

Strange, when she first told this story, it wasn’t des­cribed as a repeated painful assault. Now it has changed in character and dimension. But of course, by now, Natalie has shown that she will say anything Daniels wants to hear.

[1]   That is, I have testified in some cases that I believed the allegations were true, and in other cases that I believed the allegations were false, unlike some experts who come to be known as experts who always believe allegations or experts who always disbelieve them.

[2]   Nowhere else in this interview, although Winnie often has plain misery showing on her face, does the interviewer comment, ask her about it, or comfort her.

[3]   Further information shows that perhaps she is not actually masturbating for pleasure, but scratching because her vaginal area is itching.

[4] To a physician, this suggests that the child needs a good work-up by a pediatric gynecologist who can determine if she is having a chicken-pox-related herpes-like chronic viral ailment in her vaginal tissue. Indeed, some children who have had chicken pox (herpes varicella) suffer a complication after the fact that causes pain and itching (herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles). She describes itching, redness, and “tiny tiny bumps,” all of which indicate a need for expert medical evaluation. Her problems may all stem from medical neglect rather than from any kind of sexual abuse or sexual activity.

[5] This was incorrectly transcribed as “started in my pee-pee,” which makes it sound preposterous. It is quite possible that it did spread into her genital mucosa, so her real description, “spreaded in my pee-pee,” is probably accurate.

[6] Natalie did know the difference between gluteus maximus and back when she was asked to identify body parts on the drawings.

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