Martha Coakley is a crank.
If this were the year 1692 in Massachusetts, the Democrat Senate candidate would fit in perfectly with Puritan hysterics accusing innocent women of witchcraft. After all, she built her career by putting innocent people in jail--based on charges about as credible as those levied in the Salem witch trials. Not nearly enough has been said about Coakley's unique mix of fanaticism and incompetence.
In 1990, a Massachusetts woman named Shirley Ann Souza had a dream that her parents and brother raped her. She was in therapy for "repressed memories," the since-debunked theory that people can forget incidents of sexual abuse. She called her sister-in-law and announced that her parents were child molestors. Both women hauled their daughters to professional cranks (oops, I mean "child therapists") who coerced the girls into making ludicrous accusations.
"During her testimony, seven-year-old Cindy revealed that her grandparents routinely locked her and her first cousin Nancy in a basement cage," scholar Mark Pendergrast reported in 1996. "Six-year-old Nancy then told Judge Dolan how her grandparents had stuck their entire hands and heads into her vagina, where they would wiggle them around. They also abused her, she said, with a huge multicolored machine, as big as a room, which was kept in the cellar."
There was no physical evidence that either girl had been abused. Although they claimed to have been raped by hands, machines and other large objects, their hymens were intact. Needless to say, the cage and enormous molesting machine were never found. But no matter: the Souzas were convicted and sentenced to 9- to 15-year prison terms.
The prosecuting attorney? Martha Coakley.
After ruining the Souzas' lives, Coakley went on a personal crusade against Gerald Amirault, a former daycare worker jailed 18 years for child abuse. Amirault was convicted on the testimony of toddlers who claimed, after years of browbeating by child psychologists, that they'd been raped with swords, molested by clowns and robots, and tied naked to trees. As in the Souza case, there was no physical evidence and no witnesses, even though the alleged abuse took place in a crowded school.