Thursday, November 12, 2015

Deceptive Language in Sexual Assault Cases

"I categorically deny these charges and intend to vigorously defend

 myself against these allegations.  I am confident that I will be 

completely exonerated when these allegations are addressed in a 

public courtroom."

Although this sounds 'strong' to the ear, it is a carefully constructed statement to avoid saying the most simple of things that an innocent will say...

"I didn't do it."

When investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct, from sexual assault to harassment, including abuse of children, the subject will readily guide the investigator, with no need for prompting.

Sexual abuse is common in our society, which researchers say is not simply due to more reporting, but a 'hyper-sexualized' society in which children have access to pornography in an unprecedented manner.  Acting out, therefore, on what may be an influence during developmental years, has left police officers, social workers, human resource investigators, and others investigating claims involving the element of sexual activity more than ever.

Preparation is not a luxury.

The psychology behind the words is of no surprise to school teachers.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse sometimes find an association with water:  one may suddenly wash his hands 6 times per day, while another, usually clean, will not allow anyone to bathe her.

"Water" enters the language just as it enters the mind and life.

"Lights" are often indicative of sexual energy; an energy in life closely associated with sex.  I do not recall any samples where "lights" were related to energy outside of sex.

"Doors" also make sense as those molested in childhood sometimes use "doors" unnecessarily as they remember the opening of their bedroom door leading to sexual abuse.

"I opened the door, turned on the light, and there she was."

John Ramsey    

It is of no surprise that a recent interview would not include the indictment of "death by child abuse" handed down by the Grand Jury to John and Patsy Ramsey.  

Here are some red flags:

1.  "I am a normal person."

If this statement is heard while the subject is freely speaking, and you, the interviewer, has not used the word "normal", it is a red flag that says:  The subject has considered himself not normal, or the subject has been told by someone else that he is not normal. It is very closely associated with guilt. It should not be considered exact, but should raise suspicion.

"I am a normal man" is not a necessary response to an allegation, for example, of child molestation.  For one to say this, they are offering a reason why they 'would not' molest a child.

Those who did not molest the child say so, without equivocation.

"I did not touch her!" is not something that the interviewer will need to wait to hear if the allegation is clearly known.

2.  "I am a happily married man",

This is stated as if being in a happy marriage precludes someone from sexual assault of another.  This, too, is to avoid issuing a denial, and attempt to build a reason why he should not have committed the act.  This, too, is closely related to guilt and sans a reliable denial, is of concern.  If someone has given a reliable denial and still uses this, they are signaling internal thought:  perhaps they might do something like this if they were unhappy in marriage.  This is often not a consideration for those who did not do it.

3.  "She's always saying this stuff."

Degrading the Victim 

In many sexual abuse cases, the victim will be blamed by the perpetrator, including subtle, small ways.  It is not just the perverted, "look how she walks!" while pointing to a child.  It is generally much less bold. 

"She's, you know, going through puberty" which is to avoid saying, "I didn't touch her; she is lying" instead an attempt to attack the credibility of the victim without a denial.  

"She's done this before you know. "

"She has done what?"

"She's said that everybody has touched her.  You can ask anyone.  She's, you know, like that.  She likes to see people get in trouble."

"She's not, you know, the most moral girl..." and so on.  

This, when void of a Reliable Denial, is another indicator of guilt that piles up over the course of the interview.  Yes, there are some who will, for whatever reason, make false claims and those with mental health issues may make serial false claims but although this is part of the overall investigation, it must follow the Reliable Denial and not supplant it.  

The Reliable Denial stands on its own strength, with a "wall of protection" that shows a confidence:  The investigation will never show guilt; it is impossible; I did not do it.  This is sometimes not only a sense of strength, but a fearlessness.

Question:  Should this fearlessness move into an actual challenge?

Answer:   No.

Innocent people are still nervous because they may not trust the intellect of the investigator, or in worst case scenarios, may not trust the integrity of the investigation.

The verbal challenge is something that Marion Jones issued which made some journalists react as if they were highly impressed with her.  I prefer quiet confidence, with one suspicious eye upon me, not knowing if I am smart enough to discern.  Some challenge?  Perhaps, but once the challenge to look deeper is issued, like the word "no", I will begin to count how many words are added to the challenge and this will cause me to pause to wonder, 'how deep is the need to persuade me?'

Over the years, I have experienced the following many times:

Analysis of a statement indicates guilty knowledge.  

The investigator conducts a lengthy interview and concludes, "He didn't do it!"

I ask, "Did he issue a reliable denial?"

The answer is generally:  "Yes, over and over!"

I then obtain the recording for transcription and carefully review them with the investigator who is then able to see for himself or herself:

Not once did the subject every issue the reliable denial and the strategy is set for the follow up interview, specifically employing the subject's own language, at the point of deception or lack of Reliable Denial, for the purpose of obtaining the admission.  

In sexual assault cases, admission is far more likely than confession and it is all we need for prosecution.  We do not need for them to say that they did it, and that it is morally wrong;  most do not go into the morality, but acknowledge sexual contact itself.  

As we go through rather lengthy transcripts, we note:

1.  There is no Reliable Denial Issued.  There are plenty of unreliable denials, but the length of the interview afforded the person many opportunities to deny the allegation. 

2.  There are phrases that are commonly found in sexual assault or abuse cases, including "water", "doors" and "lights."

3.  There is within the interview a subtle insult, or subtle shifting of responsibility away from the perpetrator, towards the victim. 

There is a need within the guilty mind to portray the victim in some form of negative portrait. 

4.  There is a justification for the 'denial', such as "normal male" or "happy in my marriage", while avoiding the denial. 

The list of "unreliable denials" is lengthy, and if the interaction is short, "I would never" is not reliable, but we cannot conclude deception on it, by itself 

If the interview is lengthy and the allegation clear, with ample opportunity to issue the reliable denial, not only do we have someone unwilling or incapable of saying "I did not do it", but we then are able to look at other portions of speech which affirm to us the reason why the accused was incapable of simply telling us he did not do it:



Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"It’s impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process. My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these. As deeply as I am hurting I am hopeful and confident that good things will come of this. I rest in the truth of Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose."

"Thank you for understanding my desire to take these next few days to continue to grieve for Amanda Grace. My focus right now is to let The Lord minister to my heart as I continue to shepherd little Weston’s. I’ll be taking this time to focus on being a great follower of Jesus, dad, family member, and pastor to our growing church."

"Amanda made it her life’s calling to love and serve everyone she knew. Even more, she has made it her life’s mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we’ve started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come"

Tania Cadogan said...

"I categorically deny these charges and intend to vigorously defend

myself against these allegations. I am confident that I will be

completely exonerated when these allegations are addressed in a

public courtroom."

I noticed the dropped pronoun in relation to vigorously defending himself.
The qualifiers vigorously, completely and i also include the word public, since most cases are in a public courtroom unless for reasons of national security or something else important it is held behind closed doors.
I also note he says confident in relation to being exonerated rather that the stronger know since he didn't do what he was accused of.

When i hear the phrase public courtroom it makes me think of the court of public opinion and the media rather than a court of law.

He may manage to get the public to believe he didn't do the crime, after all the ramseys, amanda knox and the mccanns are prime examples.
With enough money,PR spokesmen, fame/celebrity/doer of good deeds and even threats to sue, anyone disproving their claims of innocence can be shut down and silenced.
Even if they manage to fool a jury as casey anthony did, it doesn't mean theyhave gotten clean away.
Dirty secrets may come out as a means to provide alibis/lack of motive/why they could not have done it.
The expense of hiring very expensive lawyers and PR.
Subsequent civil actions where there is a lower standard of proof required (oj simpson)
Depending on the legal system of the country/state, double jeopardy may not apply (UK) or there are multiple levels of appeal before the verdict is ratified(Italy)

Time also plays a part.
Laws change, forensics and technology advance almost monthly,loyalties change, even a guilty conscience can cause a case to be reopened or retried.

There are criminals today who believe they got away with the perfect crime however long ago.
They may not have been found legally guilty even though they did the crime they were accused of, they may not even have been charged due to a lack of evidence or poor forensics technology, even due to expensive lawyers and PR and threats to sue.
They, though, are living in a prison of their own making.
They wake up wondering if today is they day they get arrested/rearrested.
They go to bed wondering if they will hear the dreaded early morning knock or call saying they need to come to the station.
Each day they wonder if they are being tailed, bugged or atched covertly.
Always wondering who the people around them are, if they are undercover, private detectives or other.
Always wondering if someone saw something and has told the police, wondering if something incriminating was left behind that due to modern technology, will point the finger of guilt at them.
The fear that someone involved may talk due to their own guilty conscience, or someone they confided in will speak out.

A prison of their on making.

For some who murder, they thought getting rid of their 'problem' would solve everything and they could now live the life they wanted (bella vita)and instead find out that their 'problem' has not gone away, it is now an ever bigger problem and a crime once done cannot be undone.

No wonder some crack and confess or commit suicide.
A lifetime sentence either behind bars in a prison or behind bars in the prion cell of their mind

JenB said...

Anonymous: I was just about to post the same thing. This statement strikes me as sketchy for so many reasons. For one thing, I don't think his wife had been removed from the ventilator yet when this was posted.

Betty said...

Off Topic: New case...

JenB said...

Re: the Blackburn case... Does it remind anyone else of Chris Coleman?

Anonymous said...

Re JenB. I am new to learning about statement analysis, but a few things really jumped out at me:

- I didn't like that he used the word "prepare" in his statement. Also he uses it in a sentence where he uses the universal "you"
- I didn't like that he didn't say "my wife Amanda" in the beginning of the statement. Was there martial strife? If he didn't kill her, is he glad she is gone?
- A majority of the statement is about himself and not the victim.
- I didn't like that the husband never defines himself as a "husband" in the statement
- "Good things will come of this" made me uncomfortable; referencing the death as "this" - does that imply closeness?
- I didn't like that her labelled her murder as a "circumstance" - surely it is more than just a circumstance? Is that belittling his loss of her?
- He doesn't give a proper introduction of his child - does this mean he doesn't really like being a father?
- Calling her "Amanda Grace" sounds cold
- Calling her first a ministry partner, support and then best friend, but not wife?
- He is taking the time to focus on being a dad, etc... but not a grieving husband?
- The best is yet to come... very creepy. Red flag. Your wife just died and all he talks about is the future without her. And that it will be GOOD.

Anonymous said...

A commenter on the CBS article made a very important point: The husband never mentions his unborn and murdered child in the entire statement.

Carnival Barker said...


Does the use of "doors," "lights," "water," signify the person was the molester or the molested? I thought it was language used commonly by the victims, but your example of John Ramsey's quote confused me.


John Mc Gowan said...

Re Pators' wife OT

Husband "100% cleared" in murder of pregnant Indianapolis mother

Sus said...

Re the pastor's wife:
There is something glaringly missing in his statement. He didn't mention his wife as a mother. He didn't mention his son losing his mother, or losing an unborn child.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Carnival Barker said...


Does the use of "doors," "lights," "water," signify the person was the molester or the molested? I thought it was language used commonly by the victims, but your example of John Ramsey's quote confused me.

It is an association, so I am glad you asked.

It enters the language of victims, perpetrators, adult perps who were victimized in childhood, as well as:

social workers, pediatricians,....even some college students taking courses on child abuse sometimes use one of these words unnecessarily.

It means for the investigator to explore sexual abuse.

In John Ramsey's case, it indicates sexual abuse is part of this equation.

He has talked about being abused in childhood so if someone wants to dismiss guilt from him with this, they can, but they cannot explain all the other indicators of guilty knowledge and so on.

I think Patsy Ramsey also said she had been sexually abused in childhood.

For some, it leaves them less than protective, while others become hyper protective.

Some school teachers will use this language as they may work with children at risk, so we must be careful.

The door and light in one sentence...rare! "There she was", 100% true. He knew she was there. He did not "find" her.

I am thinking of doing some deep, intense work on the ransom note.



Statement Analysis Blog said...

A different site says it is targeting Facebook.

Statement Analysis Blog said...




BERLIN (AP) -- Berlin police say they've raided 10 buildings in the German capital as part of a crackdown on far-right hate speech on social media networks.

Police said Thursday that the morning raids involved 60 officers, who confiscated smartphones and computers as evidence, which are now being evaluated. They didn't have any immediate information on arrests.

They say the raids are part of an ongoing investigation into hate speech spread over social media meant to incite people against asylum-seekers and refugee housing.

Berlin's top security official, Frank Henkel, says authorities "won't turn away if racism or incitement is being spread on the Internet."

He says that the authorities alone can't police hate speech online and appealed for social networks themselves to combat it more effectively.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Without knowing exactly how many migrants are flooding into a nation, making certain planning assumptions — such as the amount of emergency accommodation needed — can be made difficult. Having run out of migration centres, filled up gymnasiums with camp beds, and turned over city parks to tent cities, German councils are now looking to new sources of migrant housing.

Some German cities are now passing emergency legislation permitting the state to confiscate property for migrant accommodation without the owners permission. Hamburg can now seize vacant commercial land to create housing, and Berlin is considering going even further.

In a proposal put forward by left-wing Social Democrat Party mayor Michael Müller, the Berlin senate would suspend key parts of the national constitution to allow police to forcefully enter residential property to assess suitability for seizure against the will of the owner.

Under the plan, the city would add another paragraph to the law governing public safety in Berlin, which at present allows police officers to enter a home without a warrant in order to ward off imminent danger and prevent serious crimes.

In future, as well as preventing imminent danger, the police could also force their way into a residential property to “prevent imminent homelessness”.

The new law has been prepared in secrecy with no public discussion or publicity, reports German daily tabloid BZ-Berlin, with proposals having “disappeared” since a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party pointed out “open preparation for breach of the constitution”.

John Mc Gowan said...


Are "lights on" and "lights off" the same, or is there a difference in analysis?


lynda said...

Peter..say the statement was, 'I put her to bed, turned off the lights and shut the door as I left." Would that be a statement saying the person who turned off the lights, etc was molested as a child OR that they were possibly abusing the child they just "put to bed"

elf said...

In the book that John and Patsy co-wrote with a ghost writer (I think. It's been months since I checked it out from the library) Patsy portrayed her younger years as wonderful and ideal and everyone was a beauty queen < not actual quotes, but close> it was all too good.. that sent a red flag to me as I was reading the book. No ones childhood is perfect.

Anonymous said...

"There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstance like these". Circumstances like these? What? You mean the brutal murder of your wife and unborn child?

I guess one way to "prepare yourself for circumstances like these" would be to give yourself an alibi, like say, being at the gym, while someone else does your dirty work.

You can almost guarantee that he has a lover - (" I'm confident that good things will come of this......the best is yet to come" ) sounds like a not-so-cryptic message to her.

Cherchez la femme.