Children's Institute International
Bowing to pressure from the parents, the District Attorney's office became reinvolved in the case under the direction of Jean
Matusinka, head of the DA's child abuse unit. Matusinka handed a major portion of the continuing investigation over to Kee MacFarlane, a past acquaintance who had just arrived in Los Angeles to work as consultant and trainer for Children's Institute International (CII), an agency that treated abused and neglected children.
Two of MacFarlane's primary tasks at CII were to build a child sex abuse program and to write grant applications. MacFarlane had worked from 1976-1982 for the federally funded National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) under the title of
"Child Sexual Abuse Specialist."11 She had a 1974 master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland and called herself a
"psychotherapist" from 1974-1976, but she was not licensed to do therapy in the state of California. She had also worked for a year in 1977, and then starting again in 1983, as a grant reviewer for the United States Department of Justice.12 Her double role as a CII grant writer and as the District Attorney's primary investigator posed a potent conflict of interest that would soon bring her and her struggling agency fame and great fortune respectively.
Matusinka originally asked MacFarlane to interview a mere handful of children. The interviews were to be videotaped, ostensibly to minimize the number of interviews and trauma for supposed child sex abuse victims:
An investigation is being conducted into allegations that several children may have been sexually molested. In order to reduce the number of times a child is interviewed and the consequent trauma that multiple interviews may create, I am asking your assistance in conducting and videotaping the interviews of these children (letter to Kee MacFarlane from Jean
Matusinka, October 17, 1983).13
MacFarlane went right to work, joining Matusinka and CII medical consultant Dr. Astrid Heger to encourage groups of reluctant parents to send their children to CII.14 Once the parents were convinced to make appointments for their children a standard procedure was usually followed.15 The children were interviewed with leading and suggestive questions and were rewarded for saying that they been sexually abused. The interviewed children at
first denied being abused but later gave the interviewers what they wanted to hear, often in the form of bizarre and unlikely stories. After the two-hour interviews, alarmed parents were told that their child had been abused and were shown selected and incriminating parts of the videotaped interview. It was crucial, they were told, to support their child's disclosures. MacFarlane also handed the parents lists of addresses scattered at various locations in the community that the parents were encouraged to investigate with their children.16
Dr. Heger also medically examined 150 of the children, concluding that 80% of them had been molested. Her
findings were based on unsubstantiated medical histories provided by parents and children and the belief that she was obligated to validate the given history
despite a lack of physical findings. "Any conclusion should validate the child's history and state clearly that the presence or absence of physical
findings is consistent with the history of sexual abuse," Heger once wrote. The purpose of the medical exam, in other words, is to validate the suspicion of abuse.17