Child Abuser or Witch-Hunt Victim?

  • Share
  • Read Later
CAMBRIDGE: As the deadline for defense and prosecution appeals approaches, another war of words has broken out in the au pair case. In exclusive interviews with TIME, aggrieved mother Deborah Eappen says that in letting her go with time served, Judge Hiller Zobel showed "a total lack of understanding of child abuse" while defense attorney Harvey Silverglate insists the Woodward case is part of a pattern of child abuse "witch hunts" in Massachusetts.

"Louise took away Matthew, and the judge took away justice," Mrs. Eappen insisted. But Silverglate points to a deeper phenomenon: "In this country for the last decade or so," he says, "the child protection community has become a child abuse cult."

Citing a number of other Massachusetts cases "where abuse obviously didn't take place," the attorney and former state ACLU head suggests child care experts are using "complete hokum parading as scientific testimony" to win over well-meaning juries. That's unlikely to wash with Mrs. Eappen, however. She maintains that Louise shook her baby to death and was responsible for his broken arm. "It makes me wonder what else she did to him that didn't leave a mark," she said.