We confess that when we saw that the latest letter from the IPCC included questions about the way in which Dr Deborah Hodes’ medical reports for the police had been handled, we groaned. Dr Hodes’ findings are one of the main pegs upon which the hoax pushers hang their metaphorical hats. Because she chose to submit the children to a second examination in which she looked for “reflex anal dilatation”, which most physicians believe is a discredited finding in cases of child sexual abuse, and found it in one of the children, the hoaxers feel justified in claiming that a “respected medical expert found conclusive evidence that the children’s allegations were true”.
Last spring, when Abe and Ella released the IPCC investigation report on their blogs, we were interested to read that there was some confusion as to when Dr Hodes had released the full findings of her forensic medical examinations to the police. The problem seems to lie not in the conclusions Dr Hodes drew, but in when the police learned of those conclusions.
So the information that the police had at the time when the children retracted their allegations was that the medical findings were “inconclusive”; the final report did not become available until 8 January 2015.
Interestingly, Dr Hodes did find that the female child had “no damage to her vaginal area”, which is strange considering that the report Ella had given the police at the outset stated that the cult was “doing sex to boys’ bottoms and girls’ front private and bottoms:
By 14 November 2014, when Sabine uploaded Ella’s “victim statement” to her Dropbox, the story had changed, and was now more closely aligned with Dr Hodes’ findings:
In the November 2016 IPCC letter, Ms Alderson expresses concern about the medical report timeline, stating that there is some confusion about precisely when Dr Hodes’ report findings were made available.
Ms Alderson says, “An entry on the CRIS dated 13 September 2014 states ‘DS Fernandez spoke to Dr Hodes re CP (child protection) medical who said she was alarmed at the account from the children and had grave concerns'”. This information conflicts with the information in the report from last spring, and the discrepancy does seem to require some further explanation.
It does seem to us that this timeline discrepancy ought to be ironed out, if for no other reason than to ensure that the police investigation dots all its i’s and crosses all its t’s.
We do know that it was Dr Hodes who recommended that the children be taken into police protection, as a result of the physical injuries which they had sustained while in Abe and Ella’s care—injuries including facial bruising, hearing loss, and a ruptured eardrum in the little boy.
This is an element of the case that the hoaxers rarely mention.
They prefer to fixate on the fact that, having found no conclusive evidence of sexual abuse during her first examination of the children (using the exam technique recommended by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Review 2008), she conducted a second medical examination four days later, in which she found evidence of “reflex anal dilatation” in one of the children. RAD is found in a large number of non-sexually abused children, and so has been discredited as a diagnostic sign, but Dr Hodes nevertheless persisted in claiming that it ought to be taken seriously.
It should be noted here that the IPCC does not take issue in any way with the medical findings, nor with the ultimate outcome of the investigation. The problem is one of clashing timelines.
Dr Hodes’ role in this case cannot be underestimated, and we believe it will be important for the IPCC and the officers involved in the criminal investigation to resolve any timeline discrepancies. To be sure, this won’t change the outcome of the investigation, but public confidence in the police is eroded when issues like this remain unclear.