Endorsement Letter From Mark Pendergrast
Dear Mr. Hoogen:
I am pleased to endorse Accused, your planned documentary to help educate the public about how prevalent and destructive false accusations of child sexual abuse are. It is an extremely important topic, since we are in the middle of what amounts to an extended modern witchhunt that has widely gone unrecognized, other than by those whose lives are destroyed by it.
The sexual abuse of children is, of course, abhorrent and inexcusable, but that does not mean that everyone accused should be assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. Your film will go a long way towards explaining how these false accusations arise and why the accused frequently do not receive a fair trial. Indeed, many are pressured into taking plea bargains, admitting guilt even though they are innocent, because otherwise they face a lifetime in prison for something they didn’t do.
As you know, I wrote Victims of Memory, a book about so-called repressed memory therapy for adults. In that book, I wrote a chapter about how young children could be led to make false accusations by leading interviews and other means. Fortunately, repressed memory therapy is now rare. But leading interviews of young children, particularly in conjunction with bitter divorce or custody proceedings, continue to put innocent people in prison. So do students who make false accusations in order to get back at teachers, and there are many other instances and circumstances.
I look forward to acting as a consultant for your film. Let me know how else I might help with this worthy effort.