Child Sexual Abuse Allegations Against a Lesbian or Gay Parent in a Custody or Visitation Dispute: Battling the Overt and Insidious Bias of the Experts and Judges

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Denver University Law Review


child sexual abuse, gay, lesbian, expert witnesses, expert testimony, child custody


This article examines the critical role played by experts in the legal battles which erupt when child sexual abuse is alleged. In light of the courts' reliance on expert testimony to determine the veracity of the charges, additional safeguards must be utilized to test the qualifications of a proffered expert and the admissibility of the expert's opinions. As more thoroughly explained throughout this article, such safeguards are especially critical when the accusations are leveled against a gay or lesbian parent. Indeed, many of the safeguards proposed herein are designed to detect the existence and corresponding impact, if any, of an expert's anti-gay animus on the opinions she offers to the trier of fact. Some of the suggestions, such as requiring that the expert have sufficient familiarity with the empirical data on lesbian and gay parents, are aimed at eliminating heterosexual partisanship which may inappropriately influence an expert's decision even absent a specific anti-gay bias.


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