SAMPLE AFFIDAVIT, OLDER CHILD RETRACTION

Affidavit of Ralph C. Underwager
and Hollida Wakefield

Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared Ralph C. Underwager and Hollida Wakefield, known to me to be the persons whose names are subscribed to the following instrument, and having been duly sworn, upon their oaths, depose and state as follows:

I. We have prepared this affidavit at the request of John Doe, attorney for Jane Roe. The issue is the importance of an interview and psychological evaluation of the child who made the original allegation which was later retracted.

II. (Updated biographical material added to establish expertise and basis for opinions. Current recent research also added as relevant.)

III. We have regularly published articles and books and given workshops and presentations at professional conferences on the topics of sexuality, psychology and law, interviewing child witnesses, sexual abuse allegations, and other professional issues. The curriculum vitae for each of us is attached which lists our presentations, papers, and books.

IV. We have regularly conducted psychological evaluations of persons accused of criminal offenses and we have also interviewed and/or evaluated many child witnesses. Trial courts in over 25 states have ordered that we be permitted to interview the child witness to conduct an adverse psychological evaluation.

V. The Minnesota Appellate Court upheld the discretion and appropriateness of the trial judge's order that Dr. Underwager conduct a psychological evaluation of two child witnesses (Minnesota vs. Cain, C4-88-665). The Montana Supreme Court ruled that it was proper for the trial judge to order a psychological evaluation of the complaining witness by Dr. Underwager (Montana vs. Malee, Cause no. DC-87-140). The Supreme Court of Louisiana ordered that Dr. Underwager be permitted to examine the child witness in order for the defendant to have the opportunity to adequately defend himself at his trial (Louisiana vs. Hero, 358-916/940, Section "C').

The issue in this case is the veracity of the original allegation of sexual abuse by the mother and the later retraction of that allegation. In order to make the most accurate decision as to whether the original allegation or the later retraction is true, all relevant information regarding these two statements must be considered. An evaluation of the child by a psychologist who is knowledgeable and experienced in conducting such interviews will provide useful information to the finder-of-fact in making the most accurate determination.

There is information in the science of psychology that will aid in evaluating the statements of the child by the finder-of-fact. This information can be used to evaluate both the original statement and the later retraction. This information is not known to the general public and is available to the finder-of-fact only through an expert witness.

The information obtained would enable the defense to present to the finder-of-fact an explanation for the original allegation without having to attempt to portray the child as a liar, perjurer, or deceiver. It would give the defense an opportunity to respond to the state's position that the retraction is false.

A psychological examination of the child will not only provide information that will allow the defendant to have an adequate defense, but is crucial in terms of the welfare and best course for the child. If a child, for whatever reason, becomes involved in the development of a false allegation of sexual abuse, this is not a benign or innocuous experience for the child. If this child's allegation that her mother abused her is false, the negative long-term consequences for the child if her retraction is not accepted by the finder-of-fact can be extremely serious. We are personally familiar with a case in which the teenaged child ultimately suicided after her false allegation led to her father's incarceration.

But if the original allegation was accurate, and the retraction false, it is also extremely important that the finder-of-fact recognize this in terms of the child's welfare. Whatever trauma this child has experienced will be greatly compounded by a mistaken decision by the finder-of-fact.

We declare the foregoing is true and correct.

Further your affiants saith not.

Executed this ___ day of_______, 199___, in Northfield, Minnesota.

__________________________ ____________________________
Hollida Wakefield, M.A. Ralph Underwager, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist Licensed Psychologist


Subscribed and sworn to before me by Hollida Wakefield and Ralph Underwager on this ___ day of ________, 199___ to certify which witness my hand and seal of office.

_________________________________
NOTARY PUBLIC


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