Elizabeth Ellis is a forensic psychologist in Gwinnett County who makes a very lucrative living as an “expert” witness in cases involving allegations of child sex abuse, especially sex abuse against very young children. In this capacity, she has provided testimony in countless cases.
As one of Gwinnett’s only forensic psychologists and a court-appointed custody evaluator, her findings are regularly relied upon by Gwinnett County judges to determine whether young children who report abuse will be protected from their abusers.
Because of her incompetence it is estimated that more than a hundred children in twelve different counties who have reported sex abuse at their fathers’ hands were not only ordered to continue visitation with the abuser, but many times all custody has also been removed from the mother.
Elizabeth Ellis is one of today’s leading proponents of an outdated & thoroughly debunked theory called “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” a theory that claims almost all sex abuse claims by women against men (as much as 90%) are false. (No, we’re not exaggerating.)
Ellis has published numerous papers in works like the Journal of Child Custody and the Journal of Family Therapy promoting Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). She herself calls the theory “controversial” several times in her article entitled “A Stepwise Approach to Evaluating Children for Parental Alienation Syndrome.”
Parental Alienation Syndrome (often confused with an actual legal term called Parental Alienation, but nevertheless very different from that concept) was first advanced as a psychological theory by a man named Richard Gardner in the 1980’s.
Gardner claimed PAS is a psychopathic pathological disorder affecting women during custody disputes that causes them to fabricate sex abuse claims against the father in order to gain leverage in the custody battle.
Gardner claimed that he had proven through actual case studies that 90% of sex abuse claims by women were fabricated, and he taught that in such cases the mother was actually the abuser. He further stated that, because this was a psychopathic disorder, courts were thus required to remove all access to the children from the mother and grant full custody to the accused father – or as Dr. Ellis would describe him, the “alienated” father.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is:
- Unscientific – i.e. universally recognized as having NO scientific basis (Click here to read more)
- Not a recognized syndrome by the American Psychological Association in the DSM (even after thirty years)
- NOT admissible in any court of law in the United States (Click here to read more)
- Officially rejected as unscientific and inadmissible by the highest courts of Canada, the United Kingdom, & the European Union
In other words, PAS is a joke.
Yet, it’s a cruel one. As things typically play out in the practical world, incompetent therapists like Elizabeth Ellis who still believe Gardner’s crazy theory and serve as “expert” witnesses to lower-level family courts inevitably interpret Gardner’s “90%” statistic as a virtual 100%. Therefore, every mother entering one of her sessions is pre-judged as having fabricated the sex abuse claims before she has even opened her mouth. (ATL Trafficking is already aware of dozens of such cases.)
In her writings, Ellis repeatedly refers to Gardner and his work with respect and reverence. In her article entitled “A Stepwise Approach to Evaluating Children for Parental Alienation Syndrome,” she cites Gardner’s writings more than any other author.
Unfortunately, Richard Gardner himself has been proven to be a pedophile. He believed that pedophilia was a natural expression of love from a father to his child and that it was only the influence of Judeo-Christian morality that had made such incest taboo – a situation he rued and longed to change. His views are indistinguishable from those of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association).
Gardner later committed suicide by plunging knives repeatedly into his neck and chest.
Below are a few quotes from the man that Elizabeth Ellis considers her psychological mentor:
“There is a bit of pedophilia in every one of us.” ~ Richard Gardner, Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited (p. 118)
“It is because our society overreacts to it [pedophilia] that children suffer.” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (pp. 594-5)
“Children are naturally sexual and may initiate sexual encounters by “seducing” the adult… [later] the child is likely to fabricate so that the adult will be blamed for the initiation.” ~ Richard Gardner, Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals (p. 93)
“Special care should be taken to not alienate the child from the molesting parent… [removal] should only be seriously considered after all attempts at treatment of the pedophilia…have proven futile.” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (p. 537)
“Older children may be helped to appreciate that sexual encounters between an adult and a child are not universally considered to be reprehensible acts. The child might be told about other societies in which such behavior was and is considered normal. The child might be helped to appreciate the wisdom of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who said, ‘Nothing’s either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.'” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (p. 549)
“In such discussions the child has to be helped to appreciate that we have in our society an exaggeratedly punitive and moralistic attitude about adult-child sexual encounters” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (p. 572)
“[The mother’s] own diminished guilt over masturbation will make it easier for her to encourage the practice in her daughter…and her [own] increased sexuality may lessen the need for her husband to return to their daughter for sexual gratification.” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (p. 585)
“[The father] has to be helped to appreciate that, even today, it [pedophilia] is a widespread and accepted practice among literally billions of people. He has to appreciate that in our Western society especially, we take a very punitive and moralistic attitude toward such inclinations. He has had a certain amount of bad luck with regard to the place and time he was born with regard to social attitudes toward pedophilia. However, these are not reasons to condemn himself.” ~ Richard Gardner, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (p. 593)
“Judges too may have repressed pedophilic impulses over which there is suppression, repression, and guilt. Inquiry into the details of the case provides voyeuristic and vicarious gratifications…Incarcerating the alleged perpetrator may serve psychologically to obliterate the judge’s own projected pedophilic impulses.” ~ Richard Gardner, Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited (p. 107)
Considering the quote above, is Judge Rodatus, who presides over the Juvenile Courts in Gwinnett, aware that one of his regular court-appointed custody evaluators, Elizabeth Ellis, believes he is a closet pedophile?
Sources say that Ellis is attempting to pick up Gardner’s banner and follow in his footsteps professionally.
In the article previously mentioned, Ellis asks “(1) Is there a readily identifiable reason for the alienation? (2) Or do the allegations appear to be false and/or highly exaggerated? (3) Third, is the child(ren)’s rejection of the other parent severe and does the child acknowledge no love, affection, or positive feelings for that parent at all? If the answer is no to the first question, and yes to the second and third questions, then the child is most likely an alienated child.”
Therefore, Ellis has essentially written that if she is not presented hard evidence of the sex abuse up front, she will always rule the allegations false and the mother to be an alienator.
A response to Ellis by Neustein & Lesher was also published in the Journal of Child Custody. They write: “Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a hydra: chop off its head, and new ones sprout up to take its place. For 20 years, critics of PAS theory have debunked its flawed assumptions, its self-serving methodology, and its inadequacy to assess allegations of child sexual abuse (e.g., Bruch, 2001; Hoult, 2006; Niggemyer, 1998; Neustein & Lesher, 2005). Now, Dr. Elizabeth Ellis, a defender of PAS theory, concedes the most damning of the objections, yet contends that the theory may be salvaged by standardizing the methods by which evaluators detect the elusive syndrome…”
The problem in Gwinnett may be much larger than Ellis alone. Sources say that other Gwinnett court-appointed therapists have opened their initial sessions by stating things along the lines of “We know that the majority of these allegations are false, therefore the goal of our sessions is simply to help you [the mother] move on.” Given Ellis’ level of influence, she has likely been involved in their training.
Evaluations from Ellis and other evaluators are treated as Gospel by court officials like the guardian ad litem, who in the end is the one that makes the official custody recommendation to the judge.
However, if court-appointed custody evaluators are presuming fabrication of sex abuse claims and write their reports along those lines, then the recommendations of the guardian ad litems are essentially pre-determined… and judges tend to follow the recommendation of the guardian ad litems in most cases.
In such a system, what hope does a mother have whose child is being sexually abused? None.
ATL Trafficking is aware of similar problems in family courts across the United States due to incompetent custody evaluators having swallowed the Gardner kool-aid, but the special problem in Gwinnett is that their resident “expert” is one of the leading proponents of PAS, and she has had untold influence on its courts.
Worse, she is apparently a certified “expert” witness in at least a dozen other counties. (One can only imagine how scientific & thorough such a certification process must be.)
CALL the offices of Judge Rodatus (Juvenile Court) and Judge Rich (Superior Court) and demand that their courts no longer refer cases to Elizabeth Ellis because of her incompetence and lack of professionalism.
CALL your Gwinnett County Commissioner today and demand that official training begin immediately for all court-appointed therapists, guardian ad litems, and SVU detectives to review the unscientific nature and legal inadmissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome.
PRAY for the children who have been forced into the arms of their abusers by such a system.
SEND: If you have any additional information regarding injustices in Gwinnett or elsewhere by Elizabeth Ellis or anyone associated with the family courts, please use ATL Trafficking’s contact form today. (We protect the identity of all sources of information.)
More outrageous quotes by Richard Gardner can be found here.