A rebuttal of Wendy Murphy's 12 May 99 letter

Copyright © 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham

first posted 990527
last major update 990527
last minor update Y10302

This is derived from a posting to Usenet newsgroup ne.politics

Dan Kennedy wrote:

>For an analysis of the Fells Acres verdicts that is sympathetic to the
>prosecution's case, see my Boston Phoenix story of April 28, 1995:

> http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/archive/news/quote/FELLS_ACRES.html

>Four years down the road, I think it's held up remarkably well.

>Also, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy had an excellent letter to the editor
>in Thursday's Boston Globe, showing how advocates for the defense have
>made the evidence against the Amiraults appear more spectacular -- and
>thus less believable -- than it actually was.

The letter was in the range 200-250 words, and protested against what she considered undue skepticism in a 4 May "Metro/Region" article (I believe by reporter Sacha Pfeiffer) on the then-upcoming SJC hearing.

Let's have a look at her letter in the Thurs 12 May 99 "Boston Globe" (p. A20):

Here again, like prosecutor Catherine Sullivan at the 6 May hearing, Ms. Murphy is arbitrarily excluding parents and other family members from her definition of "anyone." At a notorious public meeting at Malden Police station on 12 September 1984, panic-stricken parents were told to assume the worst, and to start questioning their children about sexual abuse. Judge Borenstein's brief description of this meeting can be seen at URL

Ms. Murphy warns readers not to swallow the canard about

Ms. Murphy (and her co-conspirator Larry Hardoon who made the same statement earlier) remind me of a certain religious order (let us call them the "Jovians") who had a reputation for (1) shrewd scholarship, and (2) ethical gymnastics on behalf of temporal patrons. Supposedly, if accused of murdering three men and a dog, the "Jovians" would "triumphantly produce the dog, alive!"

Similarly with the "butcher knife" -- maybe the prosecutors did not use the precise phrase "butcher knife." (Others more familiar with the trial record may amplify this.) But, as Chief Justice Paul J. Liacos noted, they did put this inflammatory testimony in front of the jury:

In his article "Junk Science. Junk Justice. The Fells Acres Daycare Case," available at URL
Jonathan Harris noted the following:

Ms. Murphy continues
The parents did not videotape their original interrogations of the children (Would any parent have thought to do so?). The children were already worn down by the time they were put in front of video cameras with the egregious Susan Kelley, yet even at that late stage, the improper and suggestive nature of her questioning was still obvious.

Ms. Murphy:

"Meek" is about the last word I would apply to Ms. Murphy.

Ms. Murphy:

Does Ms. Murphy mean the "objectivity" of 1997, when a nationally-recognized "Day of Contrition" at Salem MA was blacked out, and when a supporter of the Amiraults was smeared as an advocate of child molesting?

Read about Wendy Murphy's advocacy of junk science in the "American Bar Association" journal.

Return to index of Fells Acres articles.

Return to Bob Chatelle's Fells Acres report (most up-to-date coverage)

Return to index of "Fells Acres and the Boston Press."