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Expert witness: 9-year-old “protect[ed]” from the trauma of her abuse by her low IQ

[Content note: sexual abuse, ableism]

In 2010, a 9-year-old, developmentally disabled girl at a school in Los Angeles was sexually assaulted on five different occasions by a fellow student during an after-school program. Her family sued the Los Angeles Unified School District for money to cover the long-term therapy needed from the trauma she suffered.

At the trial, the school district’s expert witness, celebrity psychologist Dr. Stan Katz, testified that her low IQ — estimated at between 64 and 70 — reduced the amount of emotional stress the girl suffered, acting as a “protective factor.”

At trial, Ring asked Katz what he meant when he had testified that the girl’s mental disability “acts as a protective factor.” According to the court transcript, Katz answered, “There’s a relationship between intelligence and depression. What happens is the more you think about things, you can ruminate, you can focus on things, you can look at the complexities of the matter and become more depressed.”

Following up, Ring asked, “So because she may be less intelligent than a general education student, she’s going to suffer less depression because of it?” Katz replied, “Very possible, yes.”

Katz didn’t deny that the girl had suffered, and he said she would require therapy to deal with the trauma.

The assaults against the girl occurred in 2010, when she was 9 years old. Katz testified that when he interviewed the girl in April 2012, whatever emotional problems she may have had at the time were a result of not having her father in her life and her mental disability, not the molestation.

A rightfully disgusted jury ultimately awarded the girl $1.4 million in damages, approximately $1.3875 million more than the LAUSD lawyer, W. Keith Wyatt, had suggested.

In a past trial representing the LAUSD, Wyatt argued that a 14-year-old student was mature enough to consent to sex with her 28-year-old teacher, saying, “She wants to be paid for doing something that she knew was wrong, that she acknowledged was wrong, that she knew was from the beginning. She doesn’t want therapy, she wants money. That’s what they are asking you for.” While the district has said that Wyatt will no longer represent them in lawsuits, they have still retained the firm Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt — and expert witness Katz — on another child abuse case to be tried in February.

5 thoughts on Expert witness: 9-year-old “protect[ed]” from the trauma of her abuse by her low IQ

  1. He’s misusing that research. Yea, there is a link between intelligence and depression. But adjustment after a trauma is different. If anything, it could be worse for her because she will have difficult expressing herself and processing her experience.

  2. God I wish I could afford to be a hermit. I’m so sick of assholes I just want to remove myself from civilization. I think I’d end up being another una bomber though and people like that douche would get mail.

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