Supporters rally behind the freshly-booked Dr.
James McLeod - downtown Minneapolis, Spring, 2004
In our recent exchange I got quite justifiably roiled--and regrettably suggested that your father-in-law 'is a pedophile'. Upon reflection, I am in fact agnostic on that point. Since you have such a close relationship with the McLeod family, I wanted to ask you:
Two accusers came forward against Dr. McLeod. One of the cases went to a trial which resulted in acquittal. (As always, if I have anything incorrect here, by all means set me straight.)
As a juror, one would presumably be asking oneself 'Is Dr. McLeod guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?' So for the acquittal, jurors reached a unanimous verdict: They had not been persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that Dr. McLeod molested (to wit: masturbated and fellated) the then-adolescent patient. (The jurors were unaware a second accuser waited in the wings.)
I'm curious to learn what a well-informed McLeod defender would say, in describing the entire matter to an intelligent outsider. The inquiring outsider would be asking questions somewhat different from those which were addressed within the courtroom, of course. She'd want to know how two accusers would be coming forward, making claims that Dr. McLeod had molested them.
Has Dr. McLeod put forward any persuasive theory on this? (If not, please forward this entire email to Dr. McLeod--I'd like his response to all these various questions.)
I was unable to attend the trial; the matter created quite a stir within our family and within the larger community. Everyone I spoke with was curious about the matter. The media reporting on the issues was circumspect; I don't recall any reporter really offering an opinion on what he observed, at the trial, so people had essentially no basis for assessing the credibility of the accuser.
Not long ago, I purchased a transcript of the trial. The transcript is about 1,000 pages long and arrived at my doorstep in six volumes, of which I've only read the first--which includes the testimony of the accuser and defense attorney Bill Mauzy's cross-examination.
Reading volume # 1 of Minnesota v. McLeod, I wanted to share a few impressions. The upper middle class accuser strikes me as being well-spoken, exceptionally level-headed and internally coherent: The accuser is highly credible. Mauzy attempts to attack the accuser's trustworthiness with appeals to age-old popular prejudices--against artsy types and those still developing in the sexual-identity department. (Both of these lines of attack are irrelevant and unmoving, no?) And a great amount of the courtroom discussion examines the accuser's admission of having cheated on his diet, as if such cheating ['lying'] would indicate some predilection towards inventing molestation claims against the family doctor! (This line of argument also seems incredibly stupid to me. Does it impress you?)
After the acquittal, Dr. McLeod had his license to practice medicine reinstated. So parents are now taking their children for medical care with Dr. McLeod. Presumably these parents find Bill Mauzy's courtroom rhetoric quite persuasive--that 'actors' are untrustworthy, that sexually-confused youth are liable to concoct stories about being molested by their doctors, that sneaking a bag of potato chips indicates Jekyll/Hyde-level psychic imbalance. In your observation, has Dr. McLeod ever expressed embarrassment over the moronic statements made in his defense, in court, by his own lawyer?
Before I'd allow my child in Dr. McLeod's care, I'd need to review a much more comprehensive explanation of Dr. McLeod's views on the entire matter. As a parent, I'd be in a very different position than a juror: I'm not determining whether reasonable doubt of Dr. McLeod's guilt exists--I'm trying to decide whether significant doubt of Dr. McLeod's innocence exists. So I'd need someone to explain to me why two accusers came forward, with similar charges--and why the accuser is so poised, internally-consistent and even relaxed. Does Dr. McLeod have incredibly bad luck? Does he believe the two teens organized a conspiracy? If the latter, does Dr. McLeod think anyone other than the two teens was in on the conspiracy? What for?
If Dr. McLeod is unable to speak on these questions, then your opinion will be very welcome--since I'm confident you're up-to-speed with the McLeod family's line. I'd like to publish a blogpost on this matter--and therefore I'd appreciate any fact-checking you can offer on anything in this email.
All the best,