THE CAIT FORENSIC INTERVIEWS
On November 5, 2003, at the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Center for Youth and Families, in Torrington, CT, Angela and Jesse were interviewed individually by the Child Abuse Investigation Team of Northwestern Connecticut (CAIT). The interviews were conducted by Kathi Legare, MSW, and were videotaped, behind a one-way mirror, by a camera in an adjoining observation room. [4A]
Jesse disclosed no information regarding incest, but Angela detailed numerous sexual acts with Carson, most of which occurred in Jeff’s and Julie’s bedroom bedroom, frequently when Carson babysat.
CAIT: What did Carson do to you?
ANGELA: Like, he’d put his private — like, the two flaps would be open, and he would put his — this is his private [holds out the index finger of her right hand], and this is the flaps that open [makes a V-shape with the index and middle fingers of her left hand] — and he’d do that, and then he’d rub it up and down [motions that his penis rubs up and down against her labia].
CAIT: The flaps of what, sweetie?
ANGELA: My private.
CAIT: The flaps of your private. And how many times did he do that to you?
ANGELA: Lots of times.
CAIT: Lots of times. And who was there when he did that to you?
ANGELA: Nobody. ‘Cause I was being babysat and Dad was at work.
CAIT: And who was babysitting you?
When asked by the interviewer to define “sex,” Angela responded with what sounds like a parent’s explanation: “It’s a way you show your love with another person. It’s kind, and it’s supposed to be nice.” Repeating sentiments expressed by her mother and brother in police interviews a week prior,[4B] Angela tried dutifully to describe being molested by her brother as just another form of love. It appears important to Angela that the interviewer should understand this “love” is different than what was supposed to have happened with Jeremy.
CAIT: What did Carson say to you when he did that stuff to you?
ANGELA: He said, ‘I’ve fallen madly in love with you,’ and all that.
Unfortunately for Angela and Jesse, CAIT was uninterested in further investigating factual incest in the _X_ home. CAIT was seeking only to corroborate fictional allegations against Jeremy Barney.
This should not have been the case. The very day before the interviews, the State’s forensic medical examinations showed that Angela still retained her hymen. This proved that she had not been raped, and it should have also cast grave doubt on the rest of the allegations made by Jeff and Julie. The forensic medical exam had further shown that Carson’s anal and rectal injuries had increased in number and severity after his last contact with Jeremy, which should have aroused suspicions as to who was injuring all three of the children’s anal and rectal areas.
Moreover, in the seventeen days between Megan Barney’s call to the hotline on October 19, 2003, and the children’s forensic interviews on November 5, Jeff and Julie _X_ kept all three of their children home from school, during which time — as evidenced by their phone calls to DCF and police — Jeff and Julie “questioned” them, literally day and night, regarding fictional sexual assaults by Jeremy. [4C]
Despite the medical findings, however, and despite the children’s seventeen days of parental coaching, CAIT would subject both Angela and Jesse to hours of interviews in which they were forced to “recall” dozens of rapes and other violent assaults invented by their parents.
That said, for all the at-home preparation, little Jesse, come time for his interview, was still somewhat confused about the story he was supposed to tell.
CAIT: What did [Jeremy] do to you, honey?
JESSE: He did gay stuff to me.
CAIT: He did gay stuff?
JESSE: Mmm hmm.
CAIT: What does that mean?
JESSE: I don’t know, but I — I can’t really remember.
CAIT: Well, when did you hear the word “gay”? What does “gay” mean?
CAIT: It means “sex”?
JESSE: Mmm hmm.
CAIT: Do you know what sex is?
JESSE: No. Uh, well, I know that he did it to me.
CAIT: Okay. So, what do you do sex with? What do you need to do sex?
JESSE: Hmm? I don’t really get that.
CAIT: You don’t really get that? You said that he “did sex to you.”
JESSE: Mmm hmm.
CAIT: What did he use to do sex to you?
JESSE: His body.
CAIT: His body?
JESSE: Mmm hmm.
Not to be discouraged, the CAIT interviewer went on to help Jesse name various body parts that might be used in “gay stuff” and, with the use colored markers and an illustration of a naked child,[4D] the interviewer was soon able to construct a nearly plausible story of the alleged assaults.
CAIT: Did [Jeremy] ever touch you anywhere with his private?
CAIT: Okay, can you use a different color — or any color — I won’t pick a color for you. But can you use a different color, and can you circle on the pictures where he touched you with his penis? Or, his private — sorry.
JESSE: It’s okay. I don’t care…. [Inaudible…]
CAIT: Did he touch you anywhere else with his private?
JESSE: This one, twice. [Circles something on the paper.]
CAIT: And where else did he touch you with his private–anywhere?
JESSE: Uh uh. [Meaning, no.]
CAIT: Did he have you use your hands to touch his private?
CAIT: Can you circle your hands for me?
JESSE: [Holds hands out to interviewer.]
CAIT: On the picture.
JESSE: … [Inaudible] different color?
CAIT: No, ‘cause that’s what, that’s what touched his private, right?
JESSE: Oh. [Giggles.]