From: Louise <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: David Prichard <email@example.com>, Freedom For Kids
Subject: Re: commentary on National Post coverage of ECMAS
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 20:06:46 -0400
[Though this e-mail's header does not show it to have been sent to the reporter, it was among the e-mails she turned over to my lawyer in the course of the lawsuit. It continues Ms. Malenfant's accusations against me by wildly accusing other activists who objected to her dragging their movement into a nasty media affair--FC]
I read your analysis of Donna Laframboise' recent article on the strange
doings of Edmonton ECMAS as posted on EPOC, which was forwarded to me.
While I understand everyone's concerns that it is not helpful to see an
article critical of an organization in the father's rights movement, I have
been working for fathers for nearly a decade, and am far more concerned by
the fact that certain groups seem to be tolerant of, shall we say,
controversial ideas about sex in childhood. Given the potential legal
action, the National Post was quite careful about what it is they did
publish regarding Christensen's book, but reading this book itself is far
more troubling. How an individual can purport to represent the falsely
accused while at the same time actively advocating for the early
introduction of sex to children, is beyond me.
Since this controversy began, I have received emails saying that as long as
you don't hurt a child, what is the harm of sex in childhood? I have
received email accusing me of being "intolerant" of child abuse, because I
am horrified by the idea that any adult could believe that any sex with a
child is a good thing. All in all, I now understand why the father's rights
movement has been ineffective in persuading the powers that be, if they
tolerate and welcome these controversial views about sex in childhood. We
will get no where until we clean up our own backyard.
year old client for sex, while he represented her incarcerated boyfriend, so
why is it alright to encourage this person to be a consultant for desperate
families currently being torn apart in the family court? Ecmas Edmonton had
every opportunity to distance themselves from these controversial views, but
chose instead to ignore the sexual controversies, and the Post article is
the result of that decision. Take note that Ferrel Christensen had ample
opportunity to defend his book, as the media was calling him for weeks. He
chose not to answer. [I received only two calls, from reporters at The Journal and The Herald on the day the first Post article appeared. The former asked briefly about my ECMAS involvement but not my book, then hung up to call ECMAS regarding Mr. Adams; the latter did ask about the book and I answered. Ms. Malenfant's idea that various media people phoned me about my book--despite the first article's not mentioning me or it--can only reflect her efforts to get them to do so.] [Back] This book can not be associated with the father's rights movement, not if we want to have any credibility. The bottom line is that we
cannot be effective speakers on behalf of the falsely accused if we
simultaneously advocate that sex with children is a good thing.
While Christensen's book purports to eliminate all arguments against porn
and the desires that inspire them, he does not mention the problem of adult
sex with children anywhere in his book, a glaring absence, given that child
porn and adult sex with children is the biggest problem people have about
porn and sex. So the book fails, certainly, in its objective, because it
does not deal with these issues. Still, the idea expressed in the book is
that we are hurting children by depriving them of sex, that there is merit
to the idea of giving children porn materials to counteract society's
disapproval of sex and nudity, and that even coercing children into sex is
no worse than denying them sex. Christensen even says that the people who
express the trauma of their childhood sex experiences are not hurt by the
sex, but by society's attitudes towards it. Such sweeping statements
dismissing the harm caused by sex in childhood are not helpful to our cause,
in my view. This from a man who has never had a child, and taught the
history of science in his university career, hardly an expert on childhood
sexuality. At the very least, the people who seek out this man's help
should at least be well informed about his views, so they can make an
informed decision about accepting his help. I am still flumoxed by comments
below, which says that our movement is about bringing equality and fairness
for both parents in family law, yet, we are to accept and even encourage
those who hold the view that sex in childhood is a good thing as leaders in
the father's rights movement. Am I the only one who sees the stupidity of
allowing these controversial views to survive in the movement, and how it
harms our main objective? If so, then no wonder we have failed so miserably
to bring fairness to family law.
I have cleared nearly a hundred men of false allegations over the past nine
years, and reunited nearly 200 children with their paternal families. But
no one will ever convince me that the way to help the falsely accused is to
minimize the harm caused by sex in childhood. All the research and also, my
own experience as an interviewer, have shown me that childhood ends when sex
begins. This was a very difficult experience, perhaps the most difficult,
but I felt very strongly that such sexual controversies have no place in the
father's rights movement, and I moved to expose it so that it could be
eliminated. On the other hand, if the majority of father's rights groups
feel that minimizing the harm of child sex is the way to go, then I am
obviously in the wrong movement. All I know is that no one in the system or
in the government with the power to change things, will ever give us the
time of day so long as we promote the idea that sex in childhood is a good
Parents Helping Parents, Edmonton
> = = =
> FFK: COMMENTARY: E.TARKINGTON: re: "POST ARTICLE: `Scandal taints
> fathers' rights group' "
> Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 07:55:49 -0400
> From: David Prichard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com
> My patience has been rewarded...
> An excellent and analytical post by Eric Tarkington regarding recent
> adventures in reporting. My initial emotional response were vivid and
> descriptive adjectives i.e.. "witchhunt", "...overzealous activist feeds
> national reporter", "...Anne just fainted", etc.
> I have seen this backlash/crusade before. Some of us attempt to
> other's perceived dirty laundry. Canadians must, once again, be saved
> [FILL IN BLANK]! Similar events have happened locally, but eventually
> intelligent and reasonable people made informed choices as to whom to
> associate. We ALL have accepted legal business cards and gently laugh
> their owners leave our meetings with delusions of future posterity due
> informed and destitute members.
> Funny thing is...another Canadian child just lost their Father as I
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Eric D. Tarkington" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: "EPOC NEWS" <EPOC NEWS@topica.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 15:25 PM
> Subject: [EPOC NEWS] Scandal taints fathers' rights group
> Whether I like it or not, this is news. It may be painful, because it
> concerns people we know.
> When I heard yesterday about the article quoted below, I wondered
> the fact that it hadn't turned up on EPOC NEWS by the end of the day.
> It's hard for me to imagine that our tenacious watchers had missed a
> news story so widely anticipated, and so important to the
> father-friendly group that may have the best reputation for
> effectiveness of any in the country. I decided to wait one day, to see
> what would happen.
> So far, nothing. Are we simply frozen, unable to react?
> For a couple of weeks now, we have been awaiting an article from Donna
> LaFramboise of the National Post about recent developments a ECMAS.
> father-friendly activists, LaFramboise has one of the better reputations
> among journalists in Canada. She has been willing to see the father's
> ECMAS Edmonton is in trouble over two controversial members, outed by
> LaFramboise based on information provided by another Alberta activist
> who may have fallen out, earlier, with at least one of the spotlighted
> The article is a mixed bag. On the one hand, we have [Tim] Adams, who
> resigned as vice-chairman of ECMAS Edmonton shortly after his election
> in March of this year. Adams was convicted and disbarred in 1998 for
> approaching a 16-year-old prostitute for sex in an apparent sting
> operation targetting him. Obviously, this looks bad. Publicity about
> Adams led to the resignation from ECMAS of its Calgary executives.
> On the other hand, we have Ferrel Christensen, a retired academic and
> free speech advocate, and a long-struggling critic of the family
> courts. His reported sin is that he published a 1990 book containing
> "controversial" views on sex between minor children.
> Christensen seems to think that there may be serious negative effects
> from repressing the sexuality of minors who take an interest in sex. (I
> recall holding a similar opinion when I was 14 or so.) He also thinks
> that social reactions to precocious sexuality may be more harmful than
> the precocity itself.
> Based on the LaFramboise quotes from Christensen's book, I'd probably
> find that he goes a little too far in his alarmism about social
> attitudes toward child sexuality, but LaFramboise is careful to say that
> he does not condone pedophilia. LaFramboise is undoubtedly right that
> the views are controversial among parents, but she has a lascivious way
> of bending quotes that reveals a pretty nasty (and sadly typical)
> approach to journalism.
> For example, Christensen says that repressing teenage sexuality may
> render minors vulnerable to pedophiles, and LaFramboise infers from this
> that he "equates loving parents,..., with pedophiles" -- a pretty
> obvious smear.
> There are controversies and controversies. Father-friendly groups exist
> to promote the controversial idea that children need both parents
> equally, and should not be orphaned from one of them by divorce. We
> have seen people trying to smear that idea.
> In family courts and domestic violence courts, we have also seen men
> entrapped and forced into plea bargaining (which may or may not have
> been the case with [Tim] Adams, most of us just don't know). Despite the
> LaFramboise spin, ECMAS Edmonton may be acting honorably, we just
> know (and we ordinarily wouldn't wonder).
> LaFramboise apparently sees a moral obligation for ECMAS Edmonton to
> cancel the membership of the members that she has made so
> controversial. Her article doesn't give us the Edmonton organization's
> reasons for their decision to continue the memberships, probably because
> ECMAS didn't trust her to carry their response fairly.
> She concludes by "following the money" - a piddling amount, it seems -
> involved in paralegal business gotten by Adams, sometimes with the
> encouragement of Christensen. Lawyers and paralegals who work with
> interest groups often get business due to their visibility in the
> groups. Most groups are smart enough to reject any formal relationship
> with professionals, just because it can look bad.
> Since the story doesn't say that Christensen is an officer of ECMAS, his
> support of Adams doesn't deserve much ink
> The LaFramboise probes for unethical practices in the informal
> relationships, using "confidential" interviews with unnamed ECMAS
> members, would make almost any group look bad, regardless of their
> ethics. It's possible that ECMAS allowed some cronyism to go on, but I
> don't know any group that couldn't be besmirched by these investigative
> tactics. So, again, we don't know, and we ordinarily wouldn't wonder.
> LaFramboise's main source seemingly received "a modest salary" from
> Christensen before they had a falling out. How would confidential
> probing affect the appearance of this money trail? We don't know, and
> it would be ethically questionable to try it. The approach can make
> anybody look bad.
> I can't find one person here, including the informants and the reporter,
> who doesn't look suspect now that the news has taken it's course. I
> also don't know where the real substance of this story lies, if
> The big tragedy here, regardless of the truth about things that we still
> don't know, is the harm to ECMAS. We need mature and ethical activists,
> and mature and ethical reporters, to hasten the end of the family court
> horrors. I only hope that everybody concerned is learning something
> useful, now, about what is ethical and prudent.
> What do you say to a friendly reporter who's floating accusations
> against another activist? A hostile reporter? Asking about an activist
> that rubs you the wrong way personally? Floating accusations against
> How much business promotion should you allow from the professionals in
> your group, formally or informally?
> Assuming that you are innocent and convicted, or that you copped a plea,
> what role should you expect to play thereafter in an advocacy group?
> What if you are guilty but reformed? Are you being fair to the cause
> that you support?
> What obligations does your group have to you?
> Did ECMAS Calgary do the right thing, or did they just stampede?
> What if you were unfairly accused, but never convicted? What if you
> have published controversial opinions on related topics?
> Welcome to the real world, everybody!