In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 7, 2014 / 7 Adar I, 5774

Woody Allen: Predator or Victim?

By Cathy Young

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The child sexual-abuse accusations against filmmaker Woody Allen, resurfacing more than two decades after the initial scandal in a statement by Allen's now-grown daughter, have re-ignited a debate on whether an artist's work can be separated from his or her moral failings. But the controversy raises even more pressing issues. How does one judge the credibility of sexual-abuse claims, particularly from long ago? How much of a presumption of innocence should there be in the court of public opinion? What does society owe the accuser — and the accused? This case illustrates how wrenchingly complex these questions are.

Allen was accused of molesting then-7-year-old Dylan, one of the two children he had adopted with longtime partner Mia Farrow, during a bitter custody battle in 1992. The Allen-Farrow breakup was spurred by her discovery of his affair with her adopted daughter from a previous marriage, 21-year-old Soon-Yi Farrow Previn. Farrow recorded a video of Dylan describing molestation by Allen. In 1993, a Connecticut prosecutor dropped the case, saying that while there was "probable cause" to bring sexual-abuse charges, Dylan was too "fragile" for a trial. Medical experts found no evidence of molestation.

Last October, Vanity Fair ran a feature on Mia Farrow's family in which Dylan (now 28, married and using a different name) discussed her alleged abuse. More recently, new honors for Allen — including a Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award — have prompted Mia and Dylan Farrow to speak out, accusing Hollywood of disrespect toward abuse survivors. On Saturday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a letter from Dylan on his blog with excerpts in his column.

Allen has always staunchly proclaimed his innocence.

For many people who have reacted passionately to the disclosures, the battle cry is, "Believe the survivor." In their view, Dylan's account settles the matter.

But does it? We now know much more than we did 20 years ago about how easily children can be coaxed into saying (and believing) they were abused. The 1980s saw a wave of cases in which one parent's suspicion of wrongdoing at a day care center would balloon into accusations of unspeakable acts toward numerous children. Dozens of men and women were convicted. In the mid-1990s, those cases collapsed, as it became clear that the children made the accusations under pressure from investigators and parents.

Many of these now-grown "victims" insist they were molested and describe having painful flashbacks — even when material evidence has shown the crimes to be virtually impossible.

While sexual-abuse allegations in child-custody disputes are actually fairly uncommon, a major study published in Child Abuse and Neglect journal in 2005 shows that about half of the charges made in such circumstances are found to be unsubstantiated. These are not necessarily deliberate lies; often, the accusing parent genuinely believes the child is being molested, reading malicious intent into horseplay or affection.

In Allen's case, the suspicions are facilitated by the fact that he was a 56-year-old man sleeping with his daughter's stepsister. While Soon-Yi was an adult, it was unquestionably a sordid affair that makes him look like a self-absorbed creep. Yet it's quite a leap from that to being a pedophile.

Kristof and others say that while a criminal conviction requires solid proof, the accusation should be enough to deny Allen honors because survivors deserve support. But that can be a slippery slope to a presumption of guilt that can also infect criminal justice. In this tragic case with no winners, uncertainty may be the lesser of two evils.


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JWR contributor Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine, Newsday and Real Clear Politics, where this first appeared. Comment by clicking here.

© 2013, Cathy Young. This originally appeared in Newsday.