Child Sexual Abuse

Does the nation face an epidemic - or wave of hysteria?


Almost overnight, the national consciousness has been jolted into confronting a disturbing possibility: Incest and child molestation may be far more common than previously thought. Victimized celebrities have come forward, courtroom battles involving multiple victims and defendants have dominated the news and the number of cases reported to authorities has steadily risen. But the growing movement to root out child sexual abuse has also provoked a backlash. Individuals who claim they were falsely accused -- sometimes after children were prompted by overzealous prosecutors -- have organized to counter what they fear is a hysteria that is shattering innocent lives. Finding the truth rests with caseworkers, physicians, lawyers and judges, all of whom face a maze of obstacles peculiar to this growing area of concern.

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