by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Dr. David Ayoub, a radiologist who has testified in court on numerous occasions during Shaken Baby Syndrome cases testifying that other medical conditions can explain symptoms often used to accuse parents of child abuse, has stated that by his calculations there are about 50,000 parents currently in prison suffering from wrongful child abuse convictions.
On July 26, 2019, one father, Clayton Allison, who was in his fourth year of a 30-year prison sentence in Alaska, had his conviction reversed by the Alaska Court of Appeals.
Like many cases that are being overturned in recent years where a parent or caregiver is falsely accused of harming a child due to the medical theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a theory many are now calling “junk science,” the original judge gave more credence to the State’s doctor who was said to be “an expert in the medical evaluation of suspected abuse,” then to the medical experts presented by the defense.
The doctor whose testimony allegedly brought about this father’s wrong conviction, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, is listed as a “Primary Care Physician” on the Providence Hospital website. Her specialty is said to be “Family Medicine.” A search in the American Board of Pediatrics website turns up a negative result when searching to see if she is certified as a “Child Abuse Specialist.” She is apparently not even a pediatrician.
She is, however, the medical director of Alaska CARES (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services) in Anchorage, Alaska. She has apparently won awards from the “Sisters of Providence” for her dedication “to helping abused children.”
Her qualification for this role is reportedly that she took a single course on “how to evaluate children for signs of sexual abuse.”
Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson never wanted to become an expert back in 1994 when she took a course on how to evaluate children for signs of sexual abuse; she just wanted to do a better job of taking care of her young patients in her practice in Alaska.
“But when people learned I had gotten the training, the floodgates started to open,” she recalled.
A former Providence employee in the Primary Care Clinic at Providence Matanuska Health Care in Palmer, Alaska, she currently is medical director of Alaska CARES (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services), part of the Children’s Hospital at Providence Alaska Medical Center. (Source.)
Medical Testimony Contradicting Child Abuse Specialist Not Allowed
The Court of Appeals decision to reverse Clayton Allison’s conviction was based on the fact that his defense attorneys’ own medical experts who had determined that his daughter suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, was not allowed to present this evidence to the jury at the original trial.
From the court decision:
Although the State’s experts concluded that J.A.’s death was the result of physical abuse, Allison’s experts presented the opposite opinion — that there were plausible, and far more likely, alternative explanations for J.A.’s death.
One of these possible explanations was that J.A. suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome — a neurogenetic disorder that is associated with collagen abnormalities and excessive bleeding.
But the trial court precluded Allison’s experts from discussing, or even mentioning, the possibility that J.A. suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. On appeal, Allison argues that this was error.
For the reasons explained here, we agree with Allison that it was error for the trial court to exclude this evidence and error for the trial court to restrict Allison’s questioning of the experts on this matter. We also conclude that the error affected Allison’s ability to present his defense and was not harmless.
Accordingly, we reverse Allison’s conviction and remand this case to the superior court so that the State can determine whether to retry Allison.
Family and Community Always Maintained the Father’s Innocence
Clayton’s wife, Christiane Allison, was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome after her daughter’s death by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and fought for her husband’s innocence. There is a website documenting their whole case:
Here is a video summary of the case:
Christiane was only 22 years old at the time, and once the “diagnosis” was made that her child died as a result of SBS, police tried to coerce a confession from her against her husband in a 4-hour interrogation, where they showed her autopsy photos of our baby cut up.
They accused her of not loving her daughter, and wanted her to wear a wire to record a phone call with her husband to try and trap him. She refused.
Some of this interrogation is captured in a video posted on the Free Clayton Allison website and is also on YouTube:
How Many Lives Have Been Destroyed By Child Abuse “Doctors”?
Like many of these cases we have covered here at Health Impact News, more credence was given in a court of law to a medical doctor to convict a parent of “child abuse,” and in this case “murder,” than to investigators trained in forensic evidence.
The testimony from family members and friends as to the character of this father was ignored, as was competing testimony from other medical experts explaining that there are other medical reasons for why the child died after a fall.
Until we as a society wake up and stop giving so much power and authority to medical doctors, medical kidnapping will continue, as will false convictions that put innocent parents in prison destroying families.
More stories where Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is present in false SBS accusations:
Stories about attorneys being trained today to fight false SBS charges: