POISON - Episode 6 - Mousetrap
That of "false memory" is one of the great dangers in which you risk falling when interviewing a child who could be abused. Especially if you use the wrong approach. What method has been used by psychologists to collect the testimonies of the children removed from Massa Finalese and Mirandola?
Live phone calls
Live Pablo: I wanted to ask you something. What does the Queen of Snow White say in the mirror?
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings, who is the most beautiful in the realm?"
Live Pablo: Are you sure?
Live friend: Eh, I've always known it this way!
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm".
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm?"
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm?"
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm?"
Live Pablo: Are you sure?
Live friend: Yes 99%, I don't have the book in front of me, but yes ...
Live grandmother: Laughs "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm".
Live friend: "Mirror, mirror of my longings ... who is the most beautiful in the realm" ... no? Come on, what are you doing to me?
Live Alessia: What if I tell you that it says "mirror servant of my longings"? Live friend: Eh, you open a world to me ...
Live Snow White cartoon: "Mirror, servant of my longings, who is the most beautiful in the realm?"
"Mirror, servant of my longings". This is the true phrase pronounced by Snow White's stepmother in one of the main scenes of the Disney cartoon. And it is also in the text written by the Grimm brothers. But for some curious reason most of us remember the phrase incorrectly.
Strange, isn't it?
The mirror one is one of the many small short circuits we have in our heads. Nothing serious as long as we talk about a cartoon.
But our brains can go wrong even in far more dangerous circumstances.
For example, in memory of a crime.
Live video boy: ... to the first child I had to throw a knife in his heart, then to another, to the second I had to tie him around a block of concrete ... a stamp in focus I had to leave it above the fire a ' now ... and then on the third I whipped him, and then he was dead, and I had to pull a knife in his back ... Psychologists have been studying this phenomenon for years, to flush out the big black beast hidden in the dark corners of our memory : the 'false memory'.
A memory is never a precise photograph of the past. It is more like a drawing made by us. We choose the colors, we decide where to place the objects, in practice we carry out a reconstructive process, influenced by our emotional perception.
The memory, in fact, is shaped by our vision of the world, by our past experiences, since we are living. And from the imagination, which can contaminate it, sometimes only in details, but others in such a radical way as to create memories of events that we have never experienced.
It is an innate and completely involuntary process, which sometimes however comes from external influences from other people.
This is why academics of international fame today travel the world to explain to colleagues and professionals the enormous risk associated with the 'false memory' syndrome in court cases, because often, especially when children are involved, the testimonies can even be completely false.
We talked to some of these experts.
Giuliana Mazzoni, which you have already heard in the previous episode ...
Live Mazzoni: I am full professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Hull, England.
Angelo Zappalà ...
Live Zappalà: Psychologist, criminologist, specialist in cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy
One of the greatest experts in legal psychology in Italy, Guglielmo Gulotta ...
Live Gulotta: I am a lawyer, professor of psychology and psychotherapist
And finally Chiara Brillanti, a doctor who followed the case of the Bassa Modenese with the qualification of defense consultant.
Live Brillanti: I was simply a clinical psychologist, but this case marked my career, that is, from there I decided to become a legal psychologist.
Live Pablo: Doctor Zappalà, is it possible to implant a memory in a person's head?
Live Zappalà: Then it is very possible and the possibility of implanting false memories has been experimentally tried over and over again, and this can be done through an intentionally suggestive interview.
And if it is possible to do it on adults, let alone how much easier it is when it comes to children ...
Live Gulotta: Children are educated in the sense that they don't have to respond badly to adults and they don't have to be rude
This is Professor Gulotta.
Live Gulotta: If an adult who has a certain authority says one thing that takes another for granted, the child does not dare to say "but look it's not true"
World-renowned psychologist Professor Stephen Ceci of Cornell University concentrated his studies precisely on the reliability of children's testimony.
One of his most famous tests is that of the 'mousetrap'. Together with his team, Ceci met once a week with some children, with whom he talked about the plus and minus. During each meeting, however, he threw a question there, one and only once.
Live experiment Ceci: Was there a time when you got your finger caught in a mouse trap and had to go to the hospital?
"Did it ever happen that you put your finger in a mousetrap and ended up in the hospital?"
Initially the children had denied.
But after hearing the same question three or four times, in some cases the no became yes, and curious psychologists added more questions.
Live experiment Ceci: Who went with you to the hospital?
"Who came to the hospital with you?"
Live chickpea / baby experiment: My mummy, my dad, and my brother Colin…
"My mother, my father and my brother Colin"
Live experiment Ceci: So where in your house is the mouse trap?
"And where's the mousetrap in your house?"
Live chickpea / baby experiment: It's down in the basement! It's next to the fire wood.
"It's down in the cellar, near the wood for the fireplace"
The children had created an experience from scratch, even enriching it with details.
And when they were told that the mousetrap didn't actually exist, and that it was just a game, the memory of the episode was now so deeply rooted that it had become indelible.
Live chickpea experiment / baby: It wasnt 'a story! It really happened!
"It's not a story, it really happened!" Just repeat a question.
Here is Giuliana Mazzoni:
Live Mazzoni: These techniques not only push the child to say yes yes at the moment, it is okay, therefore to be complacent, but they actually change the memory.
It is an almost imperceptible process, in which even a simple article can make a difference.
Live Zappalà: Saying to someone "have you seen the cat?" For example, using the definite article 'the' already presupposes that the cat has been there, that he has passed from there. And you only have to answer yes or no, if you've seen it.
Live Gulotta: In fact, we do experiments in which we show that by asking suggestive questions we make the children say substantially what we want, then we do another experiment teaching the children to resist the suggestions.
Live Mazzoni: One of the fundamental premises within an investigative interview is to remind the child that he can say "I don't know" ...
Live Gulotta: If you don't remember something, say it! If I ask you a wrong question, you say it!
In the 80 hours of video of the interrogations of the children of Massa Finalese and Mirandola, not too much weight has been given to these measures.
Psychologist: You are telling very frightening things and they are very scary and you are all calm ...
Girl: Eh ...
In this video, ruined like many others unfortunately, a little girl has just finished telling a court consultant, the psychologist Cristina Roccia, what happened to her at the cemetery. He is doing it without showing the slightest suffering, it almost seems like he is telling a fairy tale. Sometimes he even smiles. Yet the psychologist insinuates that the girl is probably masking her true mood.
"Are you really quiet, or do you pretend to be quiet?"
Live Rock: Are you really quiet or do you pretend to be quiet?
The little girl, alone in the presence of an adult, is cornered and repeats the sentence that the psychologist has just proposed to her.
"Not so quiet ..."
Live girl: Not so quiet ...
Live Rock: Ehh ... pretend you're quiet!
"Pretend you're quiet!"
Here is an example of a highly suggestive interview. The psychologist got exactly what she expected.
We asked Giuliana Mazzoni for an opinion:
Live Mazzoni: Here you see this is a type of intervention that I have to say ... (sighs) makes all the antennas stand up and really must be evaluated in an extremely negative way. That is, what does the adult do? The adult notes that the child's behavioral signs would contradict what the adult expects, and makes the child feel uncomfortable.
What we are about to hear is emblematic.
In the video in front of me there is a little girl sitting in front of the psychologist Sabrina Farci, consultant for the Court of Modena. The girl has a red sweater. She is small, she should be between 8 and 9 years old, and right now she is telling her that after several months she returned to the city where she lived before being removed.
Little is understood, but says this: "We also passed through the square"
Live girl: We also passed through the square
Live Farci: Did you go through the square? And what effect did it make you see?
The girl replies "A little emotion"
Live girl: A little emotion.
Live Farci: A little emotion ...
"Can you name this emotion?"
Live Farci: Can you tell me ... give a name to this emotion?
"For joy," says the girl.
Live girl: For joy!
Live Farci: For joy? For joy ... So did you enjoy it? Live girl: Yes
Live Farci:… See this square again? Live girl: Hm hm
At this point, however, the psychologist suggests to the girl an alternative version ...
Live Farci: Maybe there is also another emotion together with joy? Is there another emotion or not?
"No, just a little joy"
Live girl: No, just a little joy. Live Farci: A little joy ...
The girl confirms for the second time that she is happy to have reviewed her city. She seems calm, apart from the obvious embarrassment of the situation she is in.
The psychologist continues. And this time, he asks her if she has experienced suffering: "Maybe there can be a bit of suffering coming back here too, can it be?"
Live Farci: Maybe there may even be a bit of suffering to come back here. Could be?
"Except it's hard for you to say"
Live Farci: Except it's hard for you to say.
"Maybe things have also happened that makes you suffer to remember"
Live Farci: Maybe things have also happened that makes you suffer to remember ...
The girl nods.
Here is the same method that reappears: it makes no sense for you to return to the city where you lived when it was sold to pedophiles. He must necessarily feel bad, and tell this.
We talk about it with the psychologist Chiara Brillanti:
Live Brillanti: That is, the psychologist must be a psychologist, he must not be a policeman, he must not push children to speak. It must be a neutral figure. In this case, neutral has never been.
We make you hear yet another video.
Psychologist Cristina Roccia is talking to one of Lorraine's children that her mother is about to give birth to her fifth child in France. The boy just said that maybe it would be better to get him away too, to avoid doing bad things to him. The doctor asks him to specify better:
Live Rock: Yes but you said 'do bad things' ... but bad things can be ... don't feed him, give him two slaps ... ehhh ... what do I know ... don't change his diaper ... or ... take him to the cemetery ... there are so many bad things ...
Live baby: Take it to the cemetery!
In the question there is already the ready answer, the child just has to repeat it. So who's the story? Of the child or the doctor?
Live boy: When blood fell, my mother immediately cleaned up because she didn't want any traces left ... Is what I said okay?
"Okay what did I say?"
The boy is seeking the psychologist's approval, as if someone had taught him a lesson to repeat.
The big suspicion of many is that these dramatic events not only never happened, but that it was the psychologists who first introduced the stories of the abuses and cemeteries.
After months, the children convinced themselves, and gave the doctors what they expected.
Live Mazzoni: In the end, the child's account becomes a sort of cauldron in which there is everything and more, from the most abstract and bizarre things to the most fabulous things, some real elements. But then cleaning up all the junk that was created by inadequate investigative methods becomes impossible.
Live Zappalà: Because then the process is not done on what happened, but on what is said to have happened.
The mechanism here was: I have a suspicion, I take your son away from you even though he never said anything, I make him understand that there is a danger, I insist until he begins to remember, and in the end he will accuse you. And he will never want to come back to you.
Lawyers from families and other accused people insisted a lot on this manipulation.
This is the lawyer Marco Ferraresi:
Live lawyer Ferraresi: The children were invited to say more because then they would have been better: "You say what you know, free yourself, and you will see that in the end you will be better". And you listened to them with this attention ... That was exactly what was expected of them, that they said things.
And in fact the children were rivers in full flow, they kept talking, adding accusations over accusations, so much so that defending their parents became practically impossible.
Live lawyer Micai: That is, this has irreparably polluted this process
You are Patrizia Micai, the lawyer who defended Lorena and the Giacco family.
Live lawyer Micai: This is a diabolical process, you had to bring the diabolical proof, that is, you had to bring the proof that you had not done it.
I am innocent, you are the one who must prove that I am guilty. Why is it exactly the opposite in this process? Evil proof, I have to prove that I didn't ... I challenge anyone!
What has left us very perplexed is that the children of these families have been turned away without even the investigators were sure of the threat from which they should have defended them. This little girl explained by the judge Alberto Ziroldi explains it well.
Live child: Immediately they told me "you are protected, now we have to understand well from what" because I had not yet told.
Live judge: Here ... you asked yourself "but who do I have to be protected from?" "Why do I have to be protected?" Did you ask anyone?
Live child: I was asking myself, but it is as if I could not find the answer.
Valeria and I started to understand it when (Live judge: you and Valeria?) I started to tell
"Valeria and I started to understand it when I started telling stories." The "Valeria" he speaks of is once again Valeria Donati, the first to have suspected that Dario - and then all the other children - had been abused.
But what method did Dr. Donati use to help children remember? Many have asked.
Doctor Donati was always among the first to talk to the children, but there are no videos and no transcripts of her talks, which are fundamental for understanding how the story came from nowhere.
The VHSs we have heard so far were recorded months later, by other psychologists, called by the judges of the Tribunal when the trial had already started.
And when by now, say the parents and their lawyers, the manipulation had already taken place.
But those very first interviews, which no one was able to hear, Donati described them, in the course of her testimonies.
We have already told you how it all started with Dario, our zero child, who initially had also spoken about other children, but without remembering their names.
Among these, Donati had managed to identify the little Elisa Scotta, 3 years old, with dark hair and slightly elongated eyes.
But the method he used is quite singular. Hear what he said at trial:
So it was enough that the child asked if the Chinese had yellow skin, so that she immediately read between the lines of that harmless question a reference to the other victims of the pedophile network: the little almond-eyed Elisa, who, moreover, Dario could hardly have known , since she lived in Mirandola, 20 km from Massa Finalese.
The psychologist's habit of looking for clues about this criminal organization in the apparently insignificant tales of a seven-year-old boy also appears on other occasions.
Dario was often accompanied to talks with Donati by his foster mom, Mrs. Tonini, who had been the first to suspect the abuses committed by her father and natural brother.
Tonini, this very evident in the minutes, was an anxious woman, and she watched Dario 24 hours a day, to pick up any signs of being unwell. He was in very close relations with Donati, he told her everything about the child, and he confronted her on the questions to ask him.
One day, always at the beginning of this story, Dario at home had told her that when he was with his natural family he had attended a funeral. The psychologist had been informed immediately.
Then when, during a meeting, Dario had revealed his "fear of burning in hell", Donati had immediately put the two together.
Here is his report:
The history of the satanic rites of the Bassa Modenese starts from here.
A 7 year old boy who talks about his fears and a psychologist who asks him if by chance they are dealing with a funeral.
And who was the leader of the 'devil gang'? Dario had said it: it was 'Giorgio the mayor', who, however, was perhaps a doctor. And this doctor according to the boy had a tunic.
But are you sure he wasn't a priest? "Oh yes," replied Dario. From here to get to Don Giorgio Govoni the road is short.
Dario initially says he doesn't know him, but some time later he changes version and accuses him. He will do the same with other people: first he doesn't know who they are, or he doesn't know their name, or he confuses them with others. Then suddenly everything becomes extremely clear in his head.
Most of the children involved will behave like this: first they will say they don't know, or they won't remember, and then, as if by magic, here are the faces and names of people who will find the police at home.
The most significant example of this mechanism is that of a girl who talks about the head of the sect.
It is the little girl we heard during the inspection at the cemetery of Finale. In the car with her, remember, there are the PM Andrea Claudiani and Valeria Donati. The girl is asked who the adults were at the rites, and she talks about the parents. But they weren't the only ones. There was a priest with them. Pay close attention to what he is about to say:
Live girl: Giulio ... Don Giulio ... Live Claudiani: Who?
Live policeman: Gio ...
Live girl: Ehhh ... Don ... wait ... Don Giorgio!
If it is not clear to you, I read the transcript of the conversation. The girl first says "Giulio", then specifies "Don Giulio".
"Who?" Claudiani asks.
And immediately a voice corrects her: "Gio ..." The little girl hesitates, and then ...
Live girl: Ehhh ... Don ... wait ... Don Giorgio!
It was not the first time that Giulio had called him. Why correct it?
And what does the police discover when he goes to Don Giorgio's house? The boots that the kids talked about. Too bad they were two smaller sizes than the priest's foot, who used to collect clothes and shoes for the poor of the community.
But they also find a computer with an ambiguous history. Three words you look for at different times: 'girl', 'hard', 'friends of children'.
The expert report requested by PM Claudiani, however, shows that they are not related to child pornography.
'Hard', for example, could have meant even "Hard Disk".
'Amici dei Bambini' is not a keyword to connect to a clandestine pedophilia site, but the full name of Ai.Bi., An association that has been dealing with adoptions since 1983.
And the famous bar in the area where Don Giorgio met with prostitutes? The manager will declare that he has never seen it.
We could cite other dozens of similar contradictions that we found in this story.
The testimonies of the children are full of contrasting versions, second thoughts, and reports that challenge any logic.
Satanic rituals done in the afternoon, or rather not at night.
Abuses committed in crowded places, which nobody has ever seen.
Live brother Lorena: I would take my granddaughter out of the school, rape her with a meter long branch, then return to Finale Emilia at work and resume work normally. Basically I would have done 160 km in 42 minutes.
And what about the child pornography videos ever found, and the corpses of dozens of people who never even disappeared?
Live Brillanti: These psychologists did not know the dynamics of the mind. We are talking about young psychologists who have just graduated, who are not yet specialized, who had neither legal nor clinical interview techniques, who interpreted the events personally, in personal terms.
The explanation you give to those stories is totally different:
Live Brillanti: Removing a child from the family in a traumatic way, and saying to him "your parents do bad things", means putting it in the head of the children that the parents do bad things. You shouldn't have thought that what the kids were telling was the truth.
We looked for the two doctors who appear in the videos, Dr. Roccia and Dr. Farci.
Live Farci: I am not making any statements ... because the matter is absolutely delicate ... If you want to send me a written request, I will leave you my email and in the meantime I will evaluate ...
This was Dr. Farci, we sent her an email but she reiterated that she doesn't want to talk about it.
Live Pablo: Hello, am I talking to Dr. Roccia? Live Rock: Yes it's me, good morning.
Live Pablo: Good morning doctor, I'm Pablo Trincia ...
We explain why we are calling you.
Live Rock: No look, I don't want to talk about that story, because I was denounced, I had parliamentary questions, honestly I'm really tired of that story. So if you want
writing negative things about me or saying them, can say them, that is, they have said so many, one more or one less, it changes me little.
La Roccia refers to the fact that while carrying out consultations for the court of Modena, she had been denounced for abusive practice, because not yet registered in the register of psychologists. She categorically denies that it was true. But many of the auditions and evidentiary incidents in our possession were filmed months before his registration, which took place on May 12, 1999.
Furthermore, three years earlier, Dr. Roccia had been involved in a very controversial case, in which 4 adults of the same family from Biella had committed suicide on the accusations of abuse made by two cousins. One of the little ones, after several talks, had told of a secret trap door under the parents' bed which led to a room of horrors. Neither the trap door nor the room of horrors ever existed.
Live Pablo: You don't want to clarify once and for all? Because I imagine that, how can I say, I am convinced of the goodness of your work ... right?
Are you really convinced that what those children have told is true?
Live Rock: Everything I wrote, even after many years, I am convinced that I wrote it correctly, and that I wrote something that I thought was right.
But more does not say.
But if the testimony of the children is so questionable, how solid is the other fundamental pillar on which this process was based, namely the medical reports that demonstrated the abuse?
The forensic visits to the girls had been made by the gynecologist Cristina Maggioni of the Mangiagalli Clinic in Milan, who in virtually all cases had encountered violence of all kinds.
During the trials, however, the doctor's reports are severely challenged by other court and defense consultants.
There is a particularly significant moment. Maggioni, in a relationship, defines the hymen of one of the girls 'disappeared' due to the rapes. In the hearing, however, all his other colleagues, analyzing the photographs taken by the doctor and shown in the classroom, agree that that hymen actually exists, and that it is also clearly visible.
The first to notice this error is Dr. Cristina Cattaneo, a nationally renowned anatomopathologist, who teaches Legal Medicine at the Milan State University, and who is often entrusted with well-known murder cases. According to Cattaneo there are no obvious signs of abuse on that girl.
Maggioni, however, defends herself at that point, with a declaration that leaves all her colleagues speechless: that is, the hymen, previously torn by an act of rape, can 'grow back' with the onset of the first menstruation. A colossal absurdity from a medical and scientific point of view.
An infinite controversy breaks out in the classroom. Defense lawyers ask who this doctor is, how competent she is and how reliable her other relationships are, on the basis of which all the girls involved have been removed from home.
A few months later, her name ends up in all the newspapers because of another court case in which Maggioni acts as a consultant, this time at the Court of Milan: the trial against a father accused of sexual abuse on his daughter.
The father will not see the baby for 3 years, until the Public Prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano asks for his acquittal, and launches a very harsh indictment against the gynecologist.
Here are just some of the things the PM says:
The father is eventually acquitted.
Everyone talks about this story, newspapers and television programs such as the Maurizio Costanzo Show
Maurizio Costanzo Show
The man's lawyer is interviewed during the broadcast.
Live Costanzo Show
Live lawyer: I discovered that there is a technical consultant who has done something like 368 technical consultations in perfect solitude without contradictory ever, in 9 years. I also found that 13 parliamentary questions had already been lodged against this technical advisor covering 13 different cases.
Doctor Maggioni is fired from her clinic. Other cases appear in newspapers where some of his assessments are heavily criticized by other experts.
Live Maggioni: I made 380 of appraisals….
This is Dr. Maggioni
Live Maggioni: ... and I started out of pure kindness towards the poor. I have never become rich, I have always been an office expert. This tells her that mine is a Christian service to the poor. Children in this case ... because nobody wants to do it I'm shitty, everyone wants to be a part expert ...
The doctor alludes to the fact that a court expert like you earns much less than a party expert, that is, the one called by the defendants.
Live Maggioni: The prices range from 10 thousand euros upwards to say that there is nothing, of course, the abusers who have money pay ... I am an ex officio expert and I am paid by the Court.
Live Pablo: Excuse me, but because you call them the abusers who have money, that is, until proven otherwise one ...
Live Maggioni: The abusers are the adults, compared to a child who certainly does not have the money ...
So even suspected adults are called "abusers who have money".
Live Maggioni: ... then the expert reports were viewed by 17 other experts, who all confirmed the very serious injuries. Except for one, one, who said they thought they were normal.
We checked the court papers, and it's not at all true that the other 16 experts agreed with her. Rather. Some of them expressed doubts, if not downright criticisms of his work.
Maggioni claims that among the experts there was only one who disagreed with her. It is precisely Dr. Cattaneo, the anatomopathologist with whom she had clashed on the theory that a torn hymen could grow back. Hear what it says now:
Live Maggioni: ... this Cattaneo arrived who then made a wonderful career ... but in the first degree, when she appeared in the classroom, she had made fakes.
Live Pablo: In what sense?
Live Maggioni: Well, as you know, you can reconstruct something on the computer, can't you? It can make montages. It has been exposed. In the first instance sentence it is written that this is not removed from the order for writing a fake thing just because he is a coroner.
So, according to Dr. Maggioni, that is, the consultant of the Public Prosecutor, Cattaneo, or the consultant of the Judge for the Preliminary Investigations, would have even altered the photographic documents that portrayed private parts of girls, in order to maintain that there was no sign of abuse. And she would have been exposed, but then not expelled, as a coroner.
This statement, besides having no logical sense, is totally false. Nothing of the sort was ever written in the ruling.
Live Pablo: ... And I have the documents in front of her, so she can't tell me that everyone had agreed with her ... there were ...
Live Maggioni: Very well, look, I'm an imbecile in bad faith, if you want ... what do you want now, to get rid of order?
Live Pablo: No, but why are you doing this, I'm just asking you some questions ... Do you think you've done your job well?
Live Maggioni: Do you want to get rid of order? Live Pablo: I don't care ...
Live Maggioni: Do you want to stop me from being a doctor for the rest of my days?
Live Pablo: But doctor, I never said that ...
The confrontation with Dr. Maggioni was rather complicated.
He did not give pertinent answers to our questions and often changed the subject.
Since his interpretations and those of the court consultants and partisan experts were diametrically opposed, a college of doctors had been summoned, who had finally established that there were 'non-specific, suspicious or indicative' signs of abuse on the children. But in no case certain and unequivocal signs.
Translated into plain English: the children may have been abused. Or maybe not.
The scientific community today agrees that detecting certain signs of sexual violence, especially on children, is very difficult, unless it concerns very serious sexual acts.
A fissure on the butt, a redness in the genital area, an injury or an erythema, are all signs that can be the result of sexual abuse, but also very normal physical problems that many children and many adults have. The only clues that leave no doubt are evident tissue lacerations, pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
And this is obviously a problem, because if many pedophiles can get away with it, it is equally true that many innocent people can be sentenced.
What makes the difference are the declarations of minors. And here we return to the starting point.
In this video, Dr. Roccia says to one of the girls: "Certainly someone has hurt your bottom and potato chip, and that's for sure, because the doctor says so ...". Listen carefully:
Live Rock: Certainly someone has hurt your bottom and potato chip, and that's really safe because the doctor said so ...
"Certainly someone has hurt your bottom and potato chip and that's for sure because the doctor says it ...": here is the real diabolical mechanism.
In many cases, psychologists communicated the results of the gynecological visits to the girls, who often were not even 10 years old. "If a doctor says they hurt you, then it must be true." A practice that is contrary to any basic ethical rule.
But perhaps the most paradoxical thing in this whole story is that Dario, the zero child from whom everything started, after the very first revelations, had been visited by a pediatrician who had not detected any signs of abuse.
The violence against Dario, for which his family members ended up in prison, has never been demonstrated.
In January 1998, a few months after accusing anyone, the boy is literally out of control. He is too young to cope with that stress and sees monsters everywhere. Mrs. Tonini, foster mother, believes in any of her words.
The family within a year and a half moved to three different cities to escape pedophiles, which Dario now finds in any new school where he is enrolled. He condemns an elderly primary school teacher, accuses the father of a classmate of taking him to cemeteries, and even goes so far as to involve the bishop of a distant city in the process.
It is clear to everyone now that he is no longer able to distinguish reality from fantasy. And therefore the Court decides that his credibility must have an expiration date: April 1999. Since then nobody has known anything about him.
After several searches, we managed to find an address where Dario should live with the Tonini family. Alessia goes there with Giulia, Oddina's daughter, who hasn't seen him for twenty years.
Live Alessia: What color is the house?
Live man: If you go to that courtyard you will find it immediately ... Live Giulia / Alessia: Ok thanks, hello!
Giulia brought an album with photos of Dario as a child when he lived with them. In front of the house there is a boy, Dario's custodial brother. We will call him Matteo.
Alessia and Giulia introduce themselves and ask him where his brother is.
Live Alessia / Giulia: Hi!
Live Giulia: I came here from Massa Finalese because I wanted to greet him ...
Live Matteo: You can talk to my mom ...
Mrs. Tonini looks out onto the balcony, goes down and opens the door.
Live Giulia: I am the daughter of Oddina ... of the Odina!
Live Tonini: Now I remember ... You shouldn't even know where he lives, and this is a very worrying thing, so I ask you to leave immediately from this house. Don't add anything else, don't show me photos, don't tell me about anyone. I don't want to have to retrace roads that I've already traveled very heavy ...
Live Alessia: No he was alone ...
Live Tonini: Absolutely not, go away or I'll call the police!
Live Alessia: No but we would miss another lady, we will leave ...
Live Tonini: Well, get away immediately, do not add anything else, I am calling the police.
Live Alessia: We didn't think ...
Live Tonini: I'm calling the police! Don't add anything ... really ... really ... get away! Get away ...
Live Alessia: Ok ... Hello lady ...
Did Dario remove everything? Or do you still remember your natural family, Massa Finalese, the talks with Donati? How much fog is there in his mind?
Let's wait a few weeks.
Then Alessia and I lurk again in front of that house.
After a long wait, in the distance, a boy with blond hair, round glasses and a hint of beard appears ...