This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
LAUSD Expert Claimed 9-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim With A Low IQ Suffers Less
LAUSD's stomach-churning defense tactics in the courtroom are in the spotlight once again: court documents show that a psychologist hired by LAUSD testified that a 9-year-old who was repeatedly sexually assaulted wouldn't suffer as much because she had a low IQ.
This report comes from KPCC, the same outlet that recently reported an LAUSD attorney had argued in court that a middle-schooler could consent to sex with her teacher (that attorney was later fired by the district). The radio station now reports that Dr. Stan Katz, a psychologist with his own IMDb page, testified during a trial in May 2013 regarding the sexual assault of the young girl by a boy at her school. The girl has an IQ between 64 and 70. The boy, who was not developmentally disabled, assaulted her repeatedly at different locations around campus.
Her family sued the district, arguing that the girl was seriously traumatized and would require long-term therapy. Katz agreed that the girl would need therapy but he argued that the 9-year-old girl's low IQ offered a "protective factor" that would lessen the emotional repercussions of a sexual assault, according to court papers. The girl's attorney David Ring asked, "So because she may be less intelligent than a general education student, she's going to suffer less depression because of it?" Katz replied, "Very possible, yes."
It's not surprising that the LAUSD would want to stage a vigorous defense at trial. But besides the fact that this particular defense sounds callous and shameful for an institution entrusted to the care of children, a couple experts who spoke to KPCC said that it's wrong-headed from a psychological perspective. UC San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton told KPCC, "I have never seen developmental disability in a child that age used as a protective factor with respect to how they handle trauma. In fact developmental disability quite often puts them at risk for this type of trauma."
In any case, the jury didn't seem to buy the dubious theory. The jury awarded $1.4 million in damages, way more than the $10,000-$12,500 LAUSD argued she needed. Ring says jurors said they were "disgusted" by the expert witness' testimony in post-trial conversations.
Southern California's Snow-Capped Mountains Are Beautiful. Here's Where To Maximize The View (And Snap A Great Picture)It's been many, many years since we saw this much snow in our mountains. Going up there right now isn't safe, but here are some places where you can enjoy the view and snap a pic.
April Valentine died at Centinela Hospital. Her daughter was born by emergency C-section. She'd gone into the pregnancy with a plan, knowing Black mothers like herself were at higher risk.
A look at years past when snows creeped into our citified neighborhoods, away from the mountains and foothills.
In the face of a drier future, that iconic piece of Americana is on its way out in Southern California.
Another Missing Hiker Has Been Found Dead In San Gabriels As Search For Actor Julian Sands ContinuesBob Gregory, 62, went missing the same day as Sands. His body was recovered near Mount Islip.