Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial Program Transcript



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Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
Program Transcript
NARRATOR: Psychologist Phillip Thomas is testifying in a civil trial involving the
termination of a parent-child legal relationship between a father and his two
children, a son and a daughter.
MALE SPEAKER: Mr. Thomas, you’ve been a forensic psychologist for a number
of years.
PHILLIP THOMAS: Yes. I’ve been a practicing forensic psychologist for about 19
MALE SPEAKER: And during your years as a practicing forensic psychologist,
you’ve been involved with child custody proceedings.
PHILLIP THOMAS: That’s correct. I’ve been asked to participate in some 30
cases that involved child custody. I don’t have the exact number in front of me.
However, I can produce it if needed.
MALE SPEAKER: Are you familiar with this particular case, involving the Wilson
PHILLIP THOMAS: Yes, I am. I was asked to consult and perform a
psychosexual evaluation on the father.
MALE SPEAKER: Why were you asked to perform such an evaluation?
PHILLIP THOMAS: As part of the Family Services plan to reintegrate the children
with their parents, the father underwent a domestic violence polygraph
examination to rule him out of a reported sexual assault on the daughter. I was
told that the polygraph was inconclusive, and the reason why I was contacted.
MALE SPEAKER: Are you certified to perform a psychosexual evaluation?
MALE SPEAKER: Can you explain what that is?
PHILLIP THOMAS: A psychosexual evaluation is an assessment usually
performed on persons convicted of a sexual offense. However, this was not the
case here. The father agreed to take this evaluation is a way to help clear up a
suspicion of sexual assault.
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Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
MALE SPEAKER: Are there any certifications in using this evaluation on persons
who have not been convicted of a sex offense?
PHILLIP THOMAS: I am not aware of any certifications.
MALE SPEAKER: Please, explain a little about the assessment.
PHILLIP THOMAS: I administered an evaluation called Abel Screen, which is an
assessment based on data collected from a large number of convicted sex
offenders to predict recidivism.
MALE SPEAKER: And based on your findings, did you make any
recommendations as to the type of contact the father should have with the
PHILLIP THOMAS: Yes. I recommended caution in allowing him to have
unsupervised contact with his daughter until some of the issues could be made
clear, the issues namely being he had two failed polygraphs that were specificissue polygraphs. And then, in my testing on the Abel Screen, his sexual interest
was determined to relate to adult females, adolescent females, as well as
younger females.
MALE SPEAKER: So let’s talk first about the failed polygraphs. The use of the
polygraphs was done in a therapeutic context, isn’t that correct.
PHILLIP THOMAS: That’s correct.
MALE SPEAKER: How do you use issue-specific polygraphs?
PHILLIP THOMAS: The way they’re used in the therapeutic setting is as a
probability statement. In other words, through a lot of experience with individuals
that have been involved in sexual behavior with children, it’s become quite clear
that most individuals have difficulty talking about the reality of that behavior, and
very often are in denial. So in this state, polygraphs are used regularly in
treatment to help people break through possible denial if, in fact, that’s occurring.
The way I view it, as a treatment provider, is as a probability statement, not a
statement of fact. And it typically is used to encourage someone to be more
truthful about what might have happened.
MALE SPEAKER: No further questions.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Ms. Gere, your witness.
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Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Thomas, you testified that you
were made aware during the referral that the daughter had made some
accusations against her father, is that correct?
PHILLIP THOMAS: That’s correct.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And were you also made aware that those accusations had
been investigated twice by the department and determined to be unfounded?
PHILLIP THOMAS: No, I was not aware of that.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So based on what you did know, you could not recommend
denying the father unsupervised contact until some of the issues were made
more clear.
PHILLIP THOMAS: I did not make a recommendation to deny the father
unsupervised contact with his daughter. My recommendation was caution in
allowing unsupervised visitation.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And you did not develop any sort of treatment for the father
based on your evaluation, correct?
PHILLIP THOMAS: That’s correct. There is no formulated treatment. I did provide
some general treatment recommendations. The key issue in making a treatment
recommendation in this case is not so much the psychosexual evaluation itself as
it is the fact that there is an open question of an allegation, and then the failed
polygraphs. You can make treatment recommendations based on that, but
they’re different.
In this case, you have to deal with the client, specifically the father. Based on the
evaluations, you have to deal with the father as a possible denier, or as someone
who may have possibly committed an offense and is denying it, which is a
different treatment. You’ve got to deal with the denial first, or resolve the question
of denial before you can actually begin with treatment.
Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
Additional Content Attribution
Angela Rae
as Defense Attorney Amy Gerr
Cari Stein
as Judge Jane Solomon
© 2017 Laureate Education, Inc. 3








Psychology in the Courts: Civil Trial
Chris Patrick
as Forensic Psychologist Phillip Thomas
Jonathan Williams
as Prosecuting Attorney Ken Edwards
Stephen Martin
as Forensic Psychologist Ryan Pierce
Ron Snow
Creative Support Services
Los Angeles, CA
Dimension Sound Effects Library
Newnan, GA
Narrator Tracks Music Library
Stevens Point, WI
Signature Music, Inc.
Chesterton, IN
Studio Cutz Music Library
Atlanta, GA
© 2017 Laureate Education, Inc. 4

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