Archive for December, 2012

It’s Not Too Late…

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

…to get a tax-deduction for your year-end gift to the National Center for Reason and Justice.

Again, here is the appeal letter:

Click here to donate.


Please Donate to the NCRJ

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Dear Friend of Justice,

Many of you are donors to the National Center for Reason and Justice. If you are not currently a donor, please consider becoming one.

To donate, send a check to:

POB 191101
Roxbury MA 02119

To donate via credit card, click here.

Here is our current appeal letter:

November 26, 2012


Dear Friend,

On November 2, after 12 years, Anna Vasquez walked out of prison in Gatesville, Texas. Many people have helped her. But without the National Center for Reason and Justice she would still be behind bars.

Anna is one of four Chicana lesbians who were languishing in prison on fabricated charges of sexual molestation—until NCRJ learned of their plight three years ago. NCRJ helped build a support committee, worked with the media, including a reporter whose in-depth investigation garnered national interest, and found a great pro bono lawyer.

This year, the Texas Four moved closer to freedom. The Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT) joined the team. After 20 years, one of the accusers recanted. A documentary filmmaker is bringing passionate support to the case. The Facebook page gains members daily. Polygraph tests, paid for by NCRJ, persuaded authorities to release Anna on parole. The local newspaper called for a new trial.

NCRJ was there with money, expertise, and encouragement at every step. We are still fighting to exonerate the Texas Four—and we’re confident we will win.

It’s a tragic and inspiring story—and an impressive organizational effort. But the world is full of both. Why support the National Center for Reason & Justice?

Because NCRJ is the only organization that connects the dots between social hysteria and a broken criminal justice system—and knows that you can’t fix the latter without exposing the former.

That’s why we support people falsely accused of crimes against children—and we are the only organization that does. The bogeyman of the social panic is sometimes the communist, sometimes the African-American teen, the immigrant, or the terrorist. But for nearly three decades, he has been the sexual predator, whose prey is children. Every teacher, coach, clergyperson, teenage lover, homosexual, or divorcing spouse is under suspicion. And once accused, you’re as good as guilty.

With claims of protecting children, this hysteria has fueled ever-harsher punishment of sex offenders. And with such penalties as longer sentences and post-prison registries on the books for sex criminals, it’s easier for lawmakers and prosecutors to slash away at the human rights of everyone else who enters the criminal justice system, innocent or guilty.

Laws and policies driven by panic just fan more panic. They don’t protect children. When kids and their parents mistrust all other adults, no one feels safe and kids cannot grow independent. Hysteria about malevolent strangers also effaces real abuse, which is most likely to happen at home.

NCRJ fights the hysteria and the bad laws it produces. We fight both for reason and for justice.

NCRJ is accomplishing what we promised you last year we’d do—and doing more of it. We’re looking to expand our collaboration with IPOT to other Innocence Projects. Our board members have been traveling, linking up with academics, artists, and activists outside our usual circles, such as the National Coalition Against Censorship and Queers for Economic Justice. Toward the goal of changing those bad laws, we proudly welcome Mary Sue Molnar to our board, who leads the 500-member sex law reform organization Texas Voices.

We’re also focusing this year on clarifying our message and media presentation to broaden our base, strengthen our board, and boost our budget. By winning justice for some, we are working for a fairer and saner future for all.

Please make a tax-deductible donation of $500, $250, $100, or whatever you can to support this important work. We urge you to become a sustaining member by pledging a monthly contribution. To donate, send a check or go to

With sincere thanks,


Mike Snedeker

President, Board of Directors


Please Send a Card to a Prisoner

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Dear Friend of Justice,

This is the most difficult time of the year for those — innocent or guilty — who are behind bars.

Prisoners always love to receive mail. Some — too many — are forgotten and receive little or none. They are especially appreciative at this time of year.

Here is a list of a few addresses:

I hope you will find it in your heart to include a few on your holiday list.

-Bob Chatelle

Panic in Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

A study of past cases reveals startling similarities: The accusation always begins with a single complaint and is always parent-driven. The children’s accounts contain fabulous or impossible elements—magic tunnels, bullets that find their target, walls and people that disappear, and so on. The conspiracies being alleged are far-reaching and highly improbable. There are untrained professionals involved driving the investigations. There are nearly always claims of video recording and of being forced to watch porn and adults having sex.

This history is relevant because, to borrow Lanning’s term, a multi-dimensional sex ring has never once been substantiated. Never, despite the enormity of the crimes in question, and despite the numbers of times they’ve been alleged, has any independently corroborated evidence been found. Many of the children who testified in these cases have, as adults, recanted their testimonies, and courts have, over the years, turned over convictions that were based purely on children’s testimonies. In the most famous of these cases—the McMartin preschool trial in California, which ran from 1984 through 1990 and in which more than 350 children claimed they had been abused at their daycare center—every single allegation was thrown out.