«Psychology professor» exposed as paedophile

PHOTO: Illustratsioon: Martin Perens

A foreigner, posing as internationally recognised professor of psychology, sexually abused his child a few years old. Convicted in circuit court by now, the case has reached Supreme Court.

In mid 2000ies, the guy arrived in Estonia from the UK poor as a beggar. Soon enough, his stories found their way into Estonian mainstream media from Eesti Ekspress to ETV and Vikerraadio.

Truth be told, no-one bothered to check his background and existence of any serious diplomas. And why did he use three Christian names anyway?

Recently, Tartu District Court opted not to alter county court ruling stating said man abused his child in 2009–2012. When it all begun, the child may have been a couple of years of age. Having sentenced to six years imprisonment, the guy is still at liberty, having purposed to contest the decision at Supreme Court.

Guilt denied

The man admits no guilt. According to the psychiatrist acting as witness in court, the child talked about the child telling him, with discomfort, contempt and confusion, that he was unwilling to go to his dad, the latter hurting his bottom and talking to him about «the tail» that needs to be touched. The child also told the same to other experts and witnesses present at court.

Since 2010, the mother and father lived separately, thus the child only saw his father at times of visitation. To know what was going on with the child, the psychiatrist met him immediately before and after the latter visited with his dad. To begin with, the kid promptly followed the psychiatrist to the playroom and was open and trusting while playing. After 24 hours with the father, the child behaved different, clinging to his mother, silent and insecure.

Though the counsel defendant claimed the child was manipulated in court and asked leading questions, the court was convinced after watching and listening to video recordings of interrogations that the father was guilty. «There is no substantiated reason to believe that, in the presence of two adults – total strangers to him – a small child would start talking about events that traumatised him,» found the county court. «Interrogating the victim, the substantiated question arises: why should a child (four years of age at interrogations – N. N.) repeatedly mention activities with sexual character, if these never happened,» added the district court criminal college. «In the child’s statements, «fondling daddy’s willy» repeatedly comes up.»

A witness at court, psychiatrist-sexologist Imre Rammul noted that a third of paedophiles will totally deny what happened, and a third denies partially.

An argument of the lawyer for the accused was the man had no such crimes under his belt from the past. Regarding that, police investigator sent inquiries into Poland, the UK and Israel – the man has citizenships in all three. Indeed, the man has never been convicted in said countries; even so, his Israel-story is worthy of a separate book. The question of why, in 1988, he left Israel in haste for UK is still waiting to be answered, and why his visit to Israel brought about a thorough questioning at the airport.

The child being really small during the interrogations, the experts had to toil hard at picking expressions out of his phrases. «Unanimously, the experts arrived at the conclusion that the victim was aware of the facts of sexual abuse towards him, and able to issue statements regarding that,» says the decision. «Meanwhile, he is unable to understand this is not allowable, being done to him by a person close and dear to him – the father.»

Restoring trust

For years, the child is being helped in recovery by a children’s’ psychiatrist who claims 120 percent conviction in what the child has said. Even three years after the events, the child is fearful and does not trust strangers. Therefore, going to 1st grate at school got postponed.

Currently, twice a month the child is attending game-therapy. «You will not sit a child behind a table to tell about unpleasant things,» explains the therapist. The therapist says it is impossible to pinpoint at which age the abuse begun, as a really small child has difficulty in assessing time.

The psychiatrist says the main aim is establishing a relationship of trust and support with the child. «He has the option to talk about his unpleasant emotions, but is never forced to do so,» explains the psychiatrist. «In addition to the mother, the child has a safe professional who may receive his thoughts and feelings and offer explanations and solutions.»

The earlier the age at which the abuse happens, the longer-term the trace of it, says the expert. «This child was manipulated by a person who also masters hypnosis and other psychological approaches. The father knew that the smaller the child when this is started, and the more frequently applied, the more natural it would feel for the child and the fewer the questions asked. During his activity, the father was insinuating to the child that his mother did not love him and would abandon the child.»

According to the psychiatrist, it is most tragic for the child that such deeds were done to him by his own father whom he would want to trust above everyone else. «A terrible inner conflict is created: why this by a person who was supposed to love me most?» says the psychiatrist. «The distrust and insecurity will end up applied to the whole world.»

The psychiatrist said the father even attempted to enter the therapy rook, but he managed to avoid that. «The father knows really well that thus he would rob the child of his place of safety,» he explains.

In spite of it all, the child still worries for the fate of his father. «He is interested what prisons are like – in the fairy tales, prisons are dark and cold, with rats running around. He has been placed in a situation where he understands that his statements affect his father’s wellbeing. It is difficult for a child to say anything against his parent.»

Till today, the child’s father continued to offer his services as psychologist, advertising private séances to adults and children of varying ages. By the way: during the court process, his did offer training to the judges.

For the children’s psychiatrist, the case at hand is special for several reasons – firstly, the deeds were committed by a person known and a psychologist. «Secondly, the deeds were committed in an especially refined manner, then flagrantly attempting to wash one’s hands. Craftily, he tried to affect the court’s stand when experts were no longer in the hall. He is an excellent manipulator.»

For years, the psychiatrist has worked in Norway where he came in contact with incest and other sexual crime. «In the Norwegian society, I got the picture in a concentrated form,» says the expert. «Why should such things happen in a country well off economically, and with such beautiful nature? Alas, there’s no difference between Norway and Estonia; these stories do not depend on beauty, wellbeing or level of education.»