Saturday, February 23, 2013
Statement Analysis: Molestation Interview
I encourage journalists and therapists to take LSI's course on SCAN (Statement Analysis) as it is invaluable in the Interview process. Here's an example of just how valuable it is.
It is the seeking of information, obtaining the "pure version" of what happened against the tide of natural human resistance and denial. In other words, the interview is a fight against an often guilty conscience.
Who will win?
The victor is the seeker of information, whether it is an investigator, a social worker, a journalist, therapist, junior high school principal, human resources worker, blogger, jilted girlfriend...
The victor can gain the information through the lens of Statement Analysis, which will help show the missing information in a statement and bring the interviewee to the place of truth.
In analytical interviewing, the interview is based upon open-ended questions, such as "What happened?" and "the accusation is....how do you speak to it?" to allow someone to give a reliable denial.
A reliable denial has not only three components, but it also must be given during the Free Editing Process, that is, when the subject is speaking for himself, not using another's wording, nor entering into the language of the Interviewer.
1. Pronoun, "I"
2. Past tense verb "did not" or "didn't"
3. Specific to the allegation
This must come when the subject is speaking for himself, and not part of a question such as, "Did you touch her sexually?" where he says, "I didn't touch her sexually." This is reflective language and is not reliable. This is why we give opportunities in abundance for the innocent to simply say so.
Here is a portion of an interview of a man who had sexual contact with a minor. The first portion set the pace:
3. How long have you worked here?
4. Describe a typical day of your duties here...
and so on. This set a tempo of answers making it "impolite" for the subject to suddenly become silent or shorten his answers. After this, more direct questions are asked, and as you will see, eventually, the allegation's specifics are introduced. He knew, all along, the allegation, but specifics have been withheld from him.
He has been unable to bring himself to say "I didn't do it" throughout the interview.
Interviewer: The allegation is that you had sexual contact with her.
Here, we note that the subject 'agreed'; that is, it is "okay" with him that the wording "you had sexual contact" was used.
We find that innocent people will not find this to be "okay"as there is no agreement between the subject and the allegation. There was a pause here, so the subject was now shown that the Interviewer has a specific detail to present. This often unnerves the subject and depending upon the constitution of the subject, and how long and how much guilt is being felt. For this subject, it was about 24 hours that he knew authorities had been contacted.
The Interviewer allowed for the silence to continue a few moments.
"I love my wife. I love my son."
The subject now introduced his wife and his son. This is almost always an indication that sexual activity took place, legal or illegal, including on cheating spouses.
The skilled interviewer has recognized that he has given his 'agreement' to the allegation by the word "okay" and is now thinking that an admission is about to arise:
Interviewer: Well, one of the allegations is that you had oral sex with her.
Analytical Interviewing (Interviewing based upon Statement Analysis) seeks to avoid introducing any word at any time. Here, having exhausted all the open ended questions, the Interviewer is now relying on the words of the victim and introduces "oral" into the interview. This is only done when everything else has been covered and it is done in as small a portion as possible.
Subject: Okay. (pause).
The Interviewer allowed the silence to continue this time. It was uncomfortable for the subject who finally, after what seemed to be a long time, spoke. In time, it may have been almost 60 seconds:
No. I've never even even seen her naked.
Here, the subject used the word "no", which is not a stress-inducing word when deception is present. Yes or No questions are easiest to lie to.
The Interviewer wrote down the word "naked", slowly, and in a deliberate manner in which the subject was allowed to see it.
Our tendency is to be polite and fill in the gaps of silence, but here, the Interviewer did not.
The Interviewer went through more details. The Interviewer knew that "naked" was important enough to introduce, but it was presented with "never" and "even" making it unreliable. The Interviewer now recognized that he and his victim being "naked" is sensitive.
Interviewer: The allegation is that you kissed her.
Subject: No, I wouldn't do that.
The subject is unable to say that he did not, only that he "wouldn't" do that. The word "that" shows distancing language from the allegation. It is an unreliable denial.
The subject will now be presented with something else that he does not know is known. This is where he cracks.
Interviewer: The allegation is that you sent sexual text messages.
The under-aged victim had deleted the text messages, but they can be retrieved; it just takes time. The Interviewer is betting that the subject is not smart enough to know that in 24 hours, the Interviewer would not have them retrieved as of yet.
Subject: I know that looks bad.
Long pause. The Interviewer let him struggle. He sagged in his seat, as if to protect himself, going deeper and deeper into the couch. He needed 'protection' and could not comfort his body. The Interviewer recognized this and pounced:
Interviewer: Is there anything you want to tell me.
Subject: Yes, it happened.
Interviewer: what happened?
Subject: I kissed her. We kissed.
Admissions come, often, in small increments. The guilty conscience fights natural denial. Often, even in an admission, there is a portion of denial.
He began with some responsibility. "I kissed her", which uses the strong pronoun, "I", but then quickly moved to sharing responsibility with "we", plural. The pronoun "we" indicates unity, cooperation, and sharing. This is his perspective, not the law's.
Subject: We were naked in the bedroom and there was some petting.
Note that he re-introduces the word "naked" into the Interview. Recall his unreliable statement above, where he was not asked "Were you naked?" but instead, in an open statement, that is, one in which he is choosing his own words, he used the word "naked."
Notice also that the procedure is continuing:
1. I kissed her
2. We kissed
3. There was some petting
"There was some petting" is passive language. Passivity seeks to conceal responsibility.
The Interviewer stayed on top of the passive language leading the subject to admit the sexual contact that took place between him and his victim.
Victory came due to truth.
There was no bullying, no screaming or yelling, no sitting on top of someone to intimidate them.
It was, however, a very lengthy interview that went on for hours while the subject talked about his day, his life, his wife, his children and was, in anyone's description, boring.
Yet it is in this method that we get to the truth. We don't need bullying tactics. In our country, we don't need false confessions and false convictions. Recall Kevin Fox, falsely accused of murdering his daughter. He said, of his own volition, "I did not kill her" but the bullying detective, busy congratulating himself, was not listening.
Statement Analysis gets to the truth.