We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Dissociative Disorders - Part 17

About five years ago the state of New York, like other states have done in the past, tried to extend the Statute of Limitations allowing child abuse survivors to sue their long-protected abusers. As usual, they ran into tough resistance from, you guessed it, the Catholic Church. And who did they have as their strong ally? Paul McHugh from Johns Hopkins. But he has been their ally for a long time. Let’s look at some relevant articles.

Article 1

“Dr. Paul McHugh would be an asset to just about any truth-seeking panel or committee I can imagine. But it doesn’t look as if the victims of sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests will believe that. A psychiatrist, researcher and teacher, McHugh was appointed last week by U.S. bishops to a 12-person lay Catholic board that will oversee the church’s response to molesting priests.1 That news has been deemed “an insult to victims and to professionals” who work with them and has landed McHugh, 71, on the victims’ official enemies list.”

“Among the many areas of psychiatry to which his work has taken him—he spent 26 years as the director of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Because McHugh had long treated convicted (and admitted) rapists and pedophiles at Johns Hopkins, he was tapped as an adviser in 1992 for the fledgling False Memory Syndrome Foundation.”

Article 2

“If you found the clergy sex abuse scandal shocking, prepare for another jolt:  the Catholic bishops are getting their “expert” advice on pedophilia from people who have covered up or even defended sex between men and children.2 The bishops recently chose Dr. Paul McHugh, former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as chief behavioral scientist for their new clergy sex crimes review board. Yet Dr. McHugh once said John Hopkins’ Sexual Disorders Clinic, which treats molesters, was justified in concealing multiple incidents of child rape and fondling to police, despite a state law requiring staffers to report them.” (Dissociative Disorders - Part 11)

“We did what we thought was appropriate, said Dr. McHugh, then director of Hopkins’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, which oversaw the sex clinic. He agreed with his subordinate, clinic head Fred Berlin, who broke the then-new child sexual abuse law on the grounds that it might keep child molesters from seeking treatment.”

Article 3

“The appointment of a Baltimore psychiatrist to a national board charged with overseeing the Roman Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis has drawn criticism because of his work debunking the theory that adults can recover long-suppressed memories of abuse in their childhood.3 

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, former director of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, was appointed this week by the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to a 13-member panel of laypeople that will monitor the church’s execution of a newly adopted policy to deal with child sexual abuse.”

“Two psychologists who work with abuse victims object to his membership on the board of the Philadelphia-based False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a group that opposes recovered memory in sexual abuse cases. It was established in 1992 by several physicians and Pamela and Peter Freyd, whose daughter Jennifer, a psychologist, accused her father of sexual abuse when she was a child, an accusation her father denied.”

“McHugh said he was proud of his work with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and of his efforts to combat what he called the irresponsibility of some mental health professionals.”


So, I have to say to all survivors who wonder why you can’t sue your perpetrators, especially those protected by the Catholic Church, when you have a so-called expert with the Johns Hopkins name behind him, unfortunately, that seems to hold more credence with lawmakers than the plight of millions of survivors.

That is why this series on Dissociative Disorders is so important. Not that every survivor develops DID, but rather to make public the pedophile-like behavior that permeates some aspects of the psychiatric community. This was stated very well by the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.4

“Our colleagues coined a word – backlash – to name this complex of science disinformation, action in the media, and defamatory rumors. In such unfair contexts, health professionals conscientiously treating victims are attacked even in the intimacy of their private lives by those who defend a negationist point of view on pedophile crimes... After long decades of silence, recognizing the phenomenon of “dissociative hysterias” as well as their traumatic etiological theory is not a marginal position today, but the most common position of trauma specialists all over the world.”


1 “Victim’s enemy isn’t one,” San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 2002

2 “Strange Bedfellows,” by Judith Reisman and Dennis Jarrard, The Washington Times, August 21, 2002

3 “Baltimore doctor’s post on bishops’ panel is criticized; Critics say work refuting repressed-memory theory should disqualify him,” by John Rivera, The Sun, July 27, 2002

4 The International Society for the Study of Dissociation News, Volume 19, Number 4, July/August 2001, “International Column,” by Vedat Sar, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Istanbul University


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Dissociative Disorders - Part 16
Cycle of Child Abuse Trauma—Part 1


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