Cheit 2001 Legend

Title Information

Author: Ross E. Cheit

Title: The Legend of Robert Halsey

Subtitle: -

Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Volume: 9

Issue: 3-4

Year: 2001

Pages: 37-52

ISSN: 1053-8712 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1547-0679 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Cases: Offenders / Robert Halsey; Prosecution: False Accusations, Wrong Convictions; Types: Child Sexual Abuse; Victims: Boys

Full Text

Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Additional Information

Author: Ross E. Cheit, Department of Political Science, Brown University

Abstract: »This article examines the criminal conviction of Robert Halsey for sexually abusing two young boys on his school-van route near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Halsey’s name has been invoked by academics, journalists, and activists as the victim of the “witch hunt” in this country over child sexual abuse. Based on a comprehensive examination of the trial transcript, this article details the overwhelming evidence of guilt against Mr. Halsey. The credulous acceptance of the “false conviction” legend about Robert Halsey provides a case study in the techniques and tactics used to minimize and deny sexual abuse, while promoting a narrative about “ritual abuse” and “witch hunts” that apparently requires little or no factual basis. The second part of this article analyzes how the erroneous “false conviction” narrative about Robert Halsey was constructed and how it gained widespread acceptance. The Legend of Robert Halsey provides a cautionary tale about how easy it is to wrap even the guiltiest person in a cloak of righteous “witch hunt” claims. Cases identified as “false convictions” by defense lawyers and political activists deserve far greater scrutiny from the media and the public.« (Source: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse)


  Debunking the Legend (p. 39)
  Deconstructing the Distortions (p. 44)
    The Prestige of MIT.EDU (p. 44)
    The Power of Denial (p. 46)
      "Language 'Games'" (p. 46)
      Re-Frame the Issue, Attack the Source (p. 48)
  Conclusion (p. 50)
  Notes (p. 50)
  References (p. 52)

Wikipedia: Child sexual abuse

Added: February 21, 2015 – Last updated: February 21, 2015