A MOTHER’S WORST NIGHTMARE: Learning Her Child Is Being Sexually Abused

MARALEE MCLEAN – Prosecuted But Not Silenced
The Dr. Theresa Nicassio Show

After learning from a daycare worker that her young daughter was being sexually abused by her former husband, Maralee took steps to protect her child from further abuse. Unfortunately, despite documentation from her child’s pediatrician and other healthcare and childcare professionals that confirmed the abuse, McLean’s advocacy efforts for her daughter resulted in her being accused of creating “Parental Alienation Syndrome” and the loss of full custody of her daughter who was subsequently sent to live instead with the same man who Maralee was trying to protect her from.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Prior to his suicide in 2003, Dr. Richard Gardner independently created what he termed a “syndrome” after working on behalf of many fathers who had been accused of sexually molesting their children. It’s important to note that this so-called “syndrome” is not one that has ever been embraced and ratified by the mental health profession.

As described in PsychCentral, “Parental alienation syndrome is a term coined by the late forensic psychiatrist Richard Gardner to describe a phenomenon he witnessed where children were being turned against one parent, usually as the result of a divorce or bitter custody battle.”

~John M. Grohol, Psy.D. Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central.

In a press release in 2008, the American Psychological Association stated the following about the purported syndrome:

“The American Psychological Association believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called “parental alienation syndrome”, and raised concern about the term’s use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome.”

Though his work has been relied on by many courts, Gardener’s work was and continues to be very controversial and troubling for many mental health professionals and child rights activists, especially given some of the statements that he reportedly has made that suggested his perception of the normalcy of pedophilia, such as, “There is a bit of pedophilia in every one of us.” Gardner, R.A. (1991). Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics. (p. 118)ntly created what he termed a “syndrome” after working on behalf of many fathers who had been accused of sexually molesting their children. It’s important to note that this so-called “syndrome” is not one that has ever been embraced and ratified by the mental health profession.

Fighting To Help Protect Other Sexually Abused Children

From her experience of fiercely fighting the legal system for her own child’s rights to protection, Maralee discovered that this was not her nightmare alone. She organized a National Rally of Mothers at the Colorado State Capitol and has been involved in legislative work that spans over two decades. She testified before Congress to promote judicial accountability to better protect sexually abused children’s rights in U.S. courts.

Prosecuted But Not Silenced

Good Loving moms are losing their children to abusers in epidemic #"s help us at MFB #MeToo #childabuse #childsexualabuse #domesticviolence #parentalalienation

Posted by Prosecuted But Not Silenced on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Speaking Out For Protective Mothers & Their Children

Serving as Director of non-profit Moms Fight Back, Maralee has written several articles for the ABA Child Law Journal, Women’s E-News and other publications on the problems of family courts not protecting abused children. Maralee is with Women’s Media Center (WMC), SheSourceExpert, NPEIV (National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence) and is with APB Speakers and RAINN speaker bureau. She speaks at conferences, law schools and is a spokesperson for protective mothers. Maralee’s story has been covered by many media outlets and internationally on CNN.

PROSECUTED BUT NOT SILENCED: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children

Prosecuted But Not Silenced is a powerful documentary about a mother and daughter’s tragic involvement with the judicial system when there were allegations of child sexual abuse—a human rights and civil rights issue for women and children. It is an important educational tool for judges, lawyers, social workers, therapists, politicians, and the general public so that people realize what still occurs today. A National Health Crisis, Maralee’s story reveals the last taboo and a crime that needs the public’s attention, and emphasizes the need for training in the dynamics of maltreatment so that no more mothers have to suffer what happened to Maralee and her daughter.

(Book description from Amazon)

“In Prosecuted but not Silenced, Maralee McLean exposes the dirty secret that most of the public is blissfully unaware of. The secret is that our custody court system routinely fails to protect children from dangerous abusers and especially sexual predators. Although mothers make deliberate false allegations of abuse less than 2% of the time, 85% of child sexual abuse allegations result in custody to the alleged abuser which means the courts are sentencing many children to a childhood living with their rapists

~ Barry Goldstein, JD
Director of Research, Stop Abuse Campaign

Sexually Abused Children

Courts Must Open Eyes and Ears to Abused Children
by Maralee McLean | January 9, 2014

Family Court and the Catholic Church

Shattering the Last Taboos for Institutions That Fail our Children
by Maralee McLean | August 28, 2018

Under the law of the father

(Interview of Maralee McLean)
by Francine Sporenda | December 13, 2016

Young Boys Allegedly Abused By Air Force Colonel Now In His Sole Custody

by Tara Haelle | August 17, 2018 | FORBES Senior Contributor

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