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Contribution to Book
7. Expert testimony on the suggestibility of children: Does it fit?
Children, social science, and the law (2002)
  • Thomas D. Lyon, University of Southern California
State v. Sloan (1995 [Mo. Ct. App.]) was a criminal case of child sexual abuse. AD., the 6-year-old alleged victim, was dropped off on Friday by her mother at her grandmother's house, where the child's aunt Evelyn and the defendant also resided. Two days later, on Sunday, the child's aunt Anita phoned the child's mother and told her that something was wrong. AD. then told her mother that the defendant had sexually assaulted her the day before. The mother called the child abuse hot line. On Thursday, 5 days after the alleged abuse, a social worker and a police detective interviewed the child at her school. AD. reported that her aunt Evelyn had allowed her to get into bed with the defendant and had then left the house. She stated that defendant had "placed his finger in her punkie," that she had touched his "wiener," and that defendant "had placed her on his wiener." Approximately 3 weeks later, the police detective reinterviewed the child, and she gave a similar report. The child testified at the trial, and her testimony was consistent with the testimony of her mother, the social worker, and the detective. The testimony of the child's aunt Evelyn and her grandmother (who both testified for the defense) as to the events subsequent to the alleged abuse was consistent with the child's.
  • suggestibility,
  • child witness,
  • expert t estimony
Publication Date
November, 2002
Citation Information
Lyon, T. D. (2002). Expert testimony on the suggestibility of children: Does it fit? In B. Bottoms, M. Kovera, & B. McAuliff (Eds.), Children, social science, and the law (pp. 378-411). New York, NY: Cambridge.