Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).

NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at), and I'll post it for you.

Notice to readers of my Kindle book: I recently noticed that, on certain devices (though not all), the Table of Contents begins with Chapter One and omits the Introduction and Preface. Since the Introduction is especially important, I urge everyone to make sure to begin reading at the very beginning of the book, not the first chapter in the Table of Contents. Thank you.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Child Sexual Abuse -- Some Facts and Figures

According to the essay, "Child Sexual Abuse. Challenges Facing Child Protection and Mental Health Professionals," by David Finkelhor*, the majority of victims are female, and roughly 90% of offenders are male:

The peak age of vulnerability for sexual abuse is between seven and 13, but about 20% of cases involve even younger children. . .
About half the victimization of girls occurs within the family. For boys only 10% to 20% occurs in the family. . .
We also see a few cases of young children, themselves 5 through 10 years old, who victimize their peers. In most instances, these are victims of sexual abuse, who are repeating against others the acts hat have been perpetrated on them . . .
Female perpetrators are rare, but of some clinical interest, so they constitute a fourth group of importance. They are a diverse group that include some very isolated mothers, some adolescent girls under pressure to acquire sexual experience, and some women manipulated into joining the abusive activities of their boyfriend. . .
Interestingly, social and economic deprivation are not primary risk factors. Sexual abuse of children appears to be much less concentrated among children of disadvantaged social classes than other forms of child maltreatment. But sexual abuse in higher social classes is often overlooked because professionals assume it is rare. . .
The most important thing that psychologists, therapists and educators can do is to improve their ability to identify sexual abuse. But because of the shame, fear , and secrecy, most sexual abuse is still not diagnosed. When it is diagnosed, most often (two-thirds of the time) it is as a result of the explicit disclosure by a child. The child will mention the abuse to a parent, relative, friend, physician or school official, or the child will ask questions, mention activities or have sexual knowledge that will clearly signal the child’ s involvement. .  .
There are certain behaviors that more than others can signal the presence of sexual abuse, but they are not specific to it. The primary one of these is sexualized behavior. . . In older children, it can mean promiscuous sexual behavior or unusually eroticized ways of dressing and acting. .  .
As I said before, perpetrators are sometimes very unlikely individuals, with good reputations and a seemingly positive relationship with the suspected victim. The professional may find the accused person very likable and charming. Having a positive relationship with the child is not at all inconsistent with the possibility of sexual abuse.

*In the book,  Childhood and Trauma, 1997, 1999. David Finkelhor is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Family Research Laboratory and the Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire, USA.


  1. Excellent post - fits the R's to a tee! The last italicized comment especially brings to mind the repeated reports we have of JB being "Daddy's girl", and wanting her dad home more often. Whereas, it was reported that JB had been demonstrating defiant behavior against Patsy. Which, I understand, is often the case in children who feel that their mother (or other responsible party) is not doing enough to protect them from their molester. MWMM

  2. This just gave me chills.

    It's easy with all this speculation about handwriting and broken windows to forget the humanity of this little girl who died so horribly. The more I read this blog and consider the issue, the more convinced I become that JonBenet was sexually abused, chronically, by her father.

    I know it doesn't really matter why he killed her, whether his disgusting sadistic lust got out of hand, or if he became enraged at something she said or did, such as threatening to tell. But I often wonder what could cause a man to do that.

    I know there seem to be conflicting opinions about which injury came first: the blow to the head or the ligature strangulation. If it was the blow, it seems very likely to be a rage blow rather than premeditation. If it was the strangulation, it could have been a sex act that went too far.

    Do you believe he assaulted her somewhere else and then moved her to the basement? If so, where do you think the assault took place? I believe it's very possible he fed her the pineapple. Maybe she said she was hungry and he wanted her calm and compliant. It may have even been a ritual. So they were downstairs. It's hard to imagine him taking her back upstairs, with B & P asleep, to kill her. But it is possible. Also - didn't they collect her bedclothes? Did her scalp at least not bleed from the head blow?

    If it was premeditated, though, I can see him taking her to the basement. I think Kolar mentioned the ends of the train track sections matching the marks on her back. I haven't read his book yet, but I believe to him this implicated Burke, but to me it could also mean simply that JR assaulted her in the "train room" and at some point her back was on top of or against a piece of track, assuming of course that's what caused the mark.

    Lots of details and questions. But I do believe you're right. I believe JR did it, and I believe he was hurting her for some time. It's heartbreaking and horrible to contemplate.


  3. Yes, it's heartbreaking and horrible for sure. But father-daughter incest, once considered almost unthinkable, is now widely documented. So it happens. And in the "best" families, as we now know.

    As far as exactly what happened, where, and in what order, these are questions I prefer to stay away from because the evidence and the "expert" opinions, point in so many different directions. For whatever it might be worth, my best guess is that John initially could have struck her on the head, with the intention of stunning her. He struck from behind, so she might have never known what, or who, hit her. Then, to make sure she was dead, he strangled her. If that's how it happened, then her death would have been painless and clueless, which could have been his intention. A sort of "mercy killing."

    Fibers from the "garotte" were apparently found in her bed, so that's possibly where it all happened, but it's really hard to say for sure. What's especially telling was the need to hide the body in the most remote place in the house, the windowless room in the basement. A sex crazed intruder would have had no reason to hide the body. A father who had just murdered his child, and was planning to remove her body from the house at the first opportunity, would.

  4. After I wrote my last comment, I continued reading more about the head wound and the order of injuries, and I can't say I disagree with your assessment. It also seems very likely the assault took place in her bed.

    If you were going to hide a body in the house, the windowless room would be exactly the place. Wrapping her in a blanket also makes sense. He was going from the house to the garage, so he wouldn't need to worry about being seen, but he would need to worry about transference to his trunk if it were ever searched - hence the blanket. (I'll never see the word "hence" again without thinking of the Ramsey case.) ;-)

    I've always wondered how the blanket was situated around her, how she was arranged in the closet, but we'll never know now. And honestly, like you said, it doesn't matter. None of these details do. When you pull back and look at this case on a macro level, focusing on the known quantities (911 call, ransom note, lack of intruder evidence, window setup, hidden body) rather than the unknown (which are many) it becomes absolutely clear who did it.

    Since I've discovered your theory I've gone back and looked at a lot of different ones, and a lot of still unanswered questions, etc. Not one thing has shaken my belief that John did it. It's the only thing that makes sense now. It's like those magic eye puzzles in the newspapers. At first you're staring so intently, and you can't see the hidden picture. Then you step back, and look at it just just right, and it becomes perfectly clear. And once it is clear, you can't unsee it, and you wonder how on earth you didn't see it before.

    Thanks a million for this blog.


  5. An intruder is not only a viable theory, but practically the only viable therory.

    The DNA that was found on her panties was later found on her long johns. A match. From a single male. This means that the DNA wasn't from the manufacturing process of the new, just unwrapped panties and that it wasn't a mixture. Found on two separate pieces of clothing. Thus, it had to be from the killer. This is a DNA case, evidence that is so specific and powerful, that all other observations, evidence, etc have to take a back seat to and be seen in light of it.

    The killing was a rage killing. Powerful blow struck to the back of the head and strangulation by mafia means. A revenge killing, not a parent killing.

    The house was so large and occupied by so few people that the intruder could spend time there having a sense of isolation and safety. And entry is not an issue. Multple sets of keys of the house were floating about, and between open houses, maintenance and project work, anyone could have obtained access. Locked doors came from Ramsey. His assertion. Who knows if he didn't miss one. What about the windows. And if the killer locked them on the way out, well that's what the DNA said he did.

    Killing JonBenet was the plan for revenge against Ramsey.

    Ramsey collected an enemy somewhere along the way. ONE person. Probably someone with pedophile tendencies, and had stalked JonBenet at some of her beauty queen performances. Someone who didn't make himself known to anyone, including the Ramseys, but who had it in for JR. Some very obscure employee or real distnt acquantance or just someone maybe Ramsey didn't even know, but the killer had it in his head that Ramsey had done great wrong against him in some way. Didn't even have to do too much investigative work to find out about JR. Ramsey's bonus amount was published in the paper.

    The ransom letter was long and weird because the killer had to vent his rage against Ramsey even more than killing his daughter. Starts off demonstrating some regard for Ramsey, then gradually shows more disdain and bitterness against Ramsey. May also have been an attempt to implicate Ramsey. He left the body hidden away in the house, knowing the likely consequence. Maybe he locked the door on the way out, with this idea in mind - implicating Ramsey. He really didn't like Ramsey.

    All the profiling, behavior analysis is just stultifying. The 911 call was genuine. If it wasn't, then just how is a person suppose to act. The call shows JR objecting to the call, but not in a way that would indicate that she had just locked him up in a prison cell for the rest of his life. She responded "we need him hon" or something like that in a mild voice evidently in response to a mild objection. He was stoic, she wasn't .. so what.

    JUST Ramsey. That's why the MO hasn't been repeated.

    Also case was botched from the beginning. And making it publicly known that parents are prime suspects in some attempt to get them to "crack" backfired badly. What happened to "no comment" and just pursuing a professional investigation.

    1. The argument you present above is the sort of thing a defense lawyer might well present if John is ever put on trial. You make what appears on the surface to be a reasonable case, and, as a plea for "reasonable doubt," it might just work -- though I doubt it, because when we consider all the evidence, NO intruder theory makes sense.

      NO kidnapper would have arrived at the Ramsey home without preparing his "ransom note" in advance. And no intruder with some other motive would have bothered with a pointless ransom note in the first place. Someone out to frame John would not have left a hand-printed note unless there was an obvious intent to forge John's hand -- and here again if that was the intent the note would have been prepared ahead of time, and look a lot more obviously like John's writing.

      As for the DNA evidence, an intruder not wearing gloves would have left both his finger prints and his "touch" DNA all over the place and special, advanced techniques would not have been necessary to find it. On the other hand, an intruder wearing gloves would not have left any "touch" DNA at all. The miniscule traces of "touch" DNA that were found could easily have been the result of indirect transfer via the victim herself. If JonBenet petted a dog that had recently been petted by someone else, some of that "touch" DNA could have gotten onto her hand, and been transferred into her crotch when she went to the toilet and onto her long johns when she pulled up her pants.

      DNA of that sort is useful ONLY when a match is found, because otherwise it can easily be explained as the result of some innocent transfer from an unknown source. It is by no means obvious that it came from her attacker, and since no intruder theory makes sense in the first place, it's almost certainly the result of an innocent transfer from some previous encounter.

      As for means of entry, there was no sign of forced entry, and someone with a key would not have bothered to lock the door behind him after he left. John reported the doors were locked because he'd staged the basement window as the point of entry and exit. (When he realized the police weren't buying it, he then panicked and claimed he himself had broken the window earlier.)

      Finally, someone eager to "vent his rage" against John would have attacked John, not his daughter. And if he had to vent his rage in a note, he'd have prepared one in advance, using a typewriter or printer, NOT his own hand, which could be used as evidence against him.

    2. I don't think the prosecution could convincingly argue that the same DNA from an unknown male that was found on a newly unwrapped piece of clothing (panties) and was then found on a second piece of clothing (long johns)was from benign transfer due to the miniscule amount or for any other reason.

      The new panties were intricately involved with the murder scene with little opportunity for benign transfer outside manufacture. That DNA, having little opportunity for transfer, matches with the DNA on the long johns. Both separate pieces of clothing involved in the murder. That the long johns had way more opportunity for some type of benign transfer inclines toward irrelevancy since it matches the unknown male DNA from the panties with little or no opportunity for transfer. To suggest that the DNA was transferred from the long-johns to the panties within that short time that the panties were exposed to DNA transfer begs the question as how a miniscule amount would transfer in this short timeframe and leave another miniscule amount. Maybe if DNA on the panties was such a miniscule amount it should have transfered as an insufficient amount to be detected at all. Possible the sufficient transfer occurred in this short time period, yes, but, in imho, engaging in the fanciful.

      Thus, the DNA on the panties and longjohns, not from benign transfer, was due to the murder. That the DNA hasn't been matched to some individual is because that individual is not some serial killer but a one-time Ramsey-obsessed only offender. Even if it were a serial killer, just means that serial killer hasn't been caught yet. A non-match with the DNA databases means nothing except the unknown male doesn't have his DNA in it yet.

      The murderer WAS probably wearing gloves, making meticulous efforts not to leave any evidence behind, but maybe that wouldn't prevent him from leaving a miniscule amount of DNA from a source other than his hands (saliva, skin cells from some other source). Maybe it wouldn't because it didn't. Would not have a clue as to what is the most probable amount(0?) to be left behind other these circumstances (a killer trying not to leave any evidence), and don't think anyone would. Way to many variables to even make some study valid. Nor does evaluating probability mean that one can make definitive statements on the matter regardless.

      The DNA, if not exonerative, makes the case unprosecutable against either Ramsey. Wouldn't take a criminal defense attorney two seconds to institure significant doubt as to Ramsey's guilt. And no DA will ever take this case against the Ramseys to court in the first place. And no DA ever has.

      No evidence of entry. Not sure exactly what that means. Someone turning a key wold have to be photographed to leave evidence.

      I think it makes more sense to ascribe to some outside intruder some not entirely rational actions and thoughts than to ascribe to two seemingly normal, sane, apparently moral people the kind of depravity it would take to kill their child in the way it happened - not for naive reasons but because of the DNA. Thoughts and actions I've ascribed to the intruder killer imho makes way more sense than the hypothetical irrational actions ascribed to the parents.

      Will say, that, the case against PR makes absolutely no sense, whereas, at least, the one you propose fits the general outline of a conventional family abuse-killing case, with the unique circumstances nicely packaged into a cohent scenario where JR's actions don't appear irrational at all. But the DNA renders it an exercise only.

    3. Again, I'll say you make a case that seems reasonable enough -- but does not bear up under close scrutiny of the facts. First of all the DNA was NOT found in her panties per se, but in her blood. True, it was from a bloodstain found on her panties, but the source was her blood, not (necessarily) the panties. It could not be associated with any particular cell, such as a skin cell or a saliva cell. It was just some fragmentary molecular material that was mixed with molecular material from JonBenet's DNA. This in itself strongly suggests it had an old source. If it were fresh, it's far more likely that complete strands of DNA would have been found, not incomplete fragments, and also likely that the cell from which it originated would have been identifiable.

      How did it get there? At first it was thought it could be from someone in the panty manufacturing plant sneezing. But when matching "touch" DNA was found on her pullups that possibility seemed pretty unlikely, since that DNA was based on at least one skin cell. More likely is the scenario I presented in my previous comment, with JonBenet petting a dog, or having some other contact, either direct or indirect with someone she met, either in school or on the street or in any number of possible ways, all perfectly innocent. Don't forget, we are talking about the shedding of microscopic skin cells which can easily be transferred in any number of ways.

      Once some of these cells are on her fingers, then they can easily be transferred to any other part of her body, including her private parts. That would explain the presence of those molecular fragments in her blood, since once her blood had been shed, it could have mixed with any such fragments from the same innocent source that had been anywhere near her vagina. Unfortunately, because DNA has played such an important role in so many criminal cases, the public tends to have a knee jerk reaction to this type of evidence, so it's easy for people to assume that any foreign DNA found on a murder victim has to mean something. It most certainly does NOT.

      And no this would not be a deal breaker for the prosecution, because it would not be difficult at all for the DA to demonstrate how easy it is for "touch" DNA to be transmitted from one person to another, either directly or indirectly. The DNA is, in this case, very simply, a red herring. Such "evidence" could be used in literally any similar case, where someone on the inside is claiming "an intruder did it."

      The truth of this case is what it seemed to be from day one: a staged kidnapping, complete with a staged window breakin and a staged "ransom" note. The problem was never the identification of an intruder since there obviously was no such person, but the question of why "the Ramseys" would have called the police and thus undercut their own staging. I believe I've answered that one.

      If you have any lingering doubts, I suggest you read what I've written regarding the scene at the basement window, and John's obviously fabricated testimony regarding how he broke that window months (or years?) earlier. (See and the following three posts.)

      For more on the DNA "evidence," see and the following 3 posts.

  6. i say house keeper friend.or dad sexual abused child.his first daughter died after she told mom she been played with.