Judianne Densen-Gerber

From BoyWiki

SOURCE: PAN Magazine, n.3, pp.28-30


She testified, endlessly, it seemed, before the U.S. Congressional Judiciary Committee investigating child pornography. She appeared on CBS 60 Minutes television, looking like a powdered pink pig who had got hold of jangly earrings and an eyebrow pencil and pulled her hair back into a bun. She wrote books, pamphlets, even papers appearing in respectable professional journals. For three years now Judianne Densen-Gerber (J.D., M.D., F.C.L.M.) of New York has been the expert on paedophilia of the U.S. scientific community.

During the terrible years of 1977 and 1978 it was her outraged, near hysterical voice which carried all before it. She was quoted endlessly. Psychiatrists and researchers who disagreed (there were a few) either held their tongues or, when they published a protest, were either told to shut up by their superiors or fired from their jobs. The Kinsey institute, which is supposed to have a huge amount of information on this subject, kept its cautious and characteristic silence. Densen-Gerber has come a long ways in a short time. Barely ten years ago she started Odyssey House, a small clinic for drug addicts, and subsequently promoted it into a national chain with facilities in thirteen different states (and one in Australia) and a budget in excess of three million dollars a year.

But curing addicts seems not to have been big enough business for her; looking for new worlds to conquer, she and Odyssey jumped into the Great Paedophile Witch Hunt at its inception in 1977 and all but turned it into her own crusade. She visited Australia; working with Mary Whitehouse, she galvanized the press there into starting a kiddy-porn suppression movement (she was totally successful). In 1978 she came to England and again teamed up with Mary Whitehouse to bull-doze through a prudish Parliament the so-called 'Protection of Childhood' Act.

There was one big problem (two, actually -- see box): she didn't really know what she was talking about. Slowly people realized she had no command of the basic literature in this area of sexuality and she showed no familiarity whatever with even the most general concepts of psychiatry and psychology. Her strong statements swarming with debatable premises, effective in verbal presentations to American politicians and the gutter press, looked bad on the written page, and especially in technical journals. In the last months we have been hearing, mercifully, less and less from Judianne Densen-Gerber.

No one, surely, can have plowed through all of her turgid writings. The typical D-G product can be sampled in the recent 'Sexual and Commercial Exploitation of Children: Legislative Responses and Treatment Challenges (in Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 2, p 61-66, Pergamon Press, 1979). She and co-author Stephen F. Hutchinson, J.D. get off to a dubious start by plunging right into incest in the first paragraph: 'The use of the child as an adjunct or tool in fulfilling the parent's aberrant personal desires or needs is a form of child abuse distinguishable from the traditional formulation, yet often more devastating to the child.' Aside from the dreadful syntax, this contains a number of assumptions which range from the horrifying to the unproved: that it is often better for a parent to batter a child within an inch of its life than to have sexual contact with it; that the child is never a willing participant in these acts and that the parent's desires are 'aberrant'.

The word 'sexploitation' (which the authors claim to have coined rather than copped from the gutter press) is now defined as 'physical or emotional harm to the child arising from 1) use of the child by the parent or someone in loco parentis for his or her own sexual needs, and 2) the use of the child in explicit sexual performances, whether for the purposes of prostitution, sexual exhibition or the production of pornographic materials.' Again the fractured grammar ('sexploitation' might cause harm; it could never be harm); again the unexamined premise that 'sexual performances' damage the child. In the same paragraph we learn that 'the sexual use of children' has spread from the U.S. to Asia and the rest of the world, a statement that shows Densen-Gerber woefully ignorant both of history and sexual customs in non-Christian societies.

'Pre-pubertal sexual
activity is highly destructive
to the child's psychological
--Judianne Densen-Gerber

Now it is time for the authors to drag out some of the sacred numbers of the anti-child-sex league. Once again we learn that 'by recent count there are at least 264 different magazines being produced and sold each month in adult book stores across the country dealing with sexual acts between children or between children and adults.' (See PAN 2, Page 25) Next comes the Sgt. Lloyd Martin figure: 'Los Angeles Police estimate that adults in this city alone exploited over 30,000 children under seventeen in 1976, and photographed many of them in the act.' (Strangely enough we are not told of the 70,000 copies supposedly sold of the elusive Where the Young Ones Are.)

Glancing down the page of this 'scientific' article, whopper after whopper leaps out at one. 'A growing body of information about the children involved confirms that psychological scarring and emotional distress which occur in the vast majority of these cases lead to significant other problems, many of which include the illicit use of drugs to deaden memories and desensitize present experiences.' When we look up the footnote to this statement we discover that the authority is none other than gutter journalist Robin Lloyd, author of Playland (see PAN 2, page 24). 'Pre-pubescent sexual activity... is highly destructive to the child's psychological development and social maturation.' How this information would have amazed Freud. Most ridiculous, we learn that a certain gynecologist in Sydney by the name of Malcolm Coppleson (private communication) 'has shown' that the 'vaginal pH' of the pre-pubescent is 'not sufficient' to 'neutralize' infections that come from intercourse, at which point we might be forgiven for wondering whether any of these people remember their high school chemistry, understand what pH is and what 'neutralize' means. 'It is obvious,' the authors conclude nonetheless, 'that children were not meant to satisfy the sexual needs of adults, and such use of them is like rape, a crime of power and abuse.'

And so it goes. Kiddie-porn is now a 'billion dollar' industry (according to the American gutter press it was only a multi-million dollar business when last we heard). We learn that one porn magazine tells fathers how to attach a lock to the labia of their young daughters so that no other man can get into her. 'Such sadomasochistic and snuff activities are an integral part of the


n.3, p.29


The gradual erosion of her professional credibility may be the least of Judianne Densen-Gerber's worries. Last August 9th the New York Post revealed that she had been accused of financial fraud by a former executive of her Odyssey House, which subsists solely upon government funds and private charitable donations. In addition, her husband, Dr. Michael Baden, was recently fired under suspicious circumstances as New York City's Chief Medical Examiner by Mayor Edward Koch.

A certain John Malik was Odyssey House controller during 1974 and 1975. He has publicly charged that during those two years:

  • Odyssey House paid over $ 15,000 for Densen-Gerber's unsold books.
  • It paid more than $ 2,200 for her parking violations.
  • Densen-Gerber authorized a $500,000 insurance policy for herself paid for by Odyssey House but didn't inform the board.
  • Odyssey House paid out over $100,000 for Densen-Gerber's personal expenses, which included such items as furniture repair, tuxedos, birthday parties, massages, cheese baskets, candygrams, social directories and hairdos.

Odyssey House deducted taxes and insurance expenses from employees' salaries but did not pay them. Densen-Gerber pressured two senior Odyssey House executives into 'lending' her $6,000 each in order to meet the down payment on a Connecticut shorefront estate for herself, and then raised their salaries by the same amount.

To accomplish most of this, Densen-Gerber set up a certain 'Account 13' in which she was able to 'short stop' contributions and direct them away from the therapeutic work Odyssey House was supposedly doing and into her own hands. She alone could sign cheques on Account 13. When questioned about Account 13 by a New York Post reporter, she said it was 'a development fund'. Malik is not the only one charging irregularities. A New York City controller recently completed an analysis of Odyssey House books and found 'serious accounting and internal control deficiencies'. He also discovered that '72% of total expenditures for the period were for goods or services not authorized in the budget.'

State Attorney General Robert Abrams has at last launched an investigation. Former staff members of Odyssey House have added some bizarre details of their own: D-G ordered male staff members to parade around in their bathing suits and have their waist sizes measured by her for the winning prize, which was a jock-strap. When a patient at Odyssey House committed suicide, Densen-Gerber ordered 'Jingle Bells' to be sung at the funeral. When a black male resident was accused of fondling a white female resident while she slept (a charge he denied), he was forced to sit in a chair for 30 minutes while a group of white women were ordered to spit on him.

The incredible career of this woman, among other things, establishes beyond reasonable doubt that much of the big money in kiddie porn is being made by its denouncers. With the government and private charitable donations providing her an annual salary of $95,000, an expense account of $50,000 and enough odds and ends to purchase an estate on the most expensive residential shorefront in North America, she is currently riding high. But American courts don't like embezzlers, and Judianne Densen-Gerber, M.D., J.D., F.C.L.M., professional opportunist, kook and possible thief, might one day be meeting in prison some of the victims of her anti-paedophile crusade. Perhaps they will sing 'Jingle Bells' as she puts on her striped suit.

n.3, p.30

'kiddie porn' market,' the authors inform us grimly. What are D-G's solutions? Prescribe 'harsh criminal penalties' for offenders (as though 40 years in prison isn't harsh enough). Same for promoters and distributors of child pornography. As for the children, she feels that we should 'develop intervention and treatment models for children victimized by this process.' Good sex education, of course, is needed, but 'anatomy and warnings about masturbation are not a substitute for dealing with the very real concerns and frustrations of adolescence.'