Some things are planned. Others not. I never intended to be an expert witness. Never even heard of the term. Yet, within two months of arriving at UCLA in 1976 – as a twenty-six year old Assistant Professor of Psychology – I was retained as an expert witness. It snowballed from there: child sexual molestation, obscenity, rape, sexual harassment, clergy sexual abuse, sexual assault of the developmentally disabled, child pornography, teacher sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. Little did I know that possessing a highly credentialed expertise in human sexuality and a detailed understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder at a renowned university was a magnet for attorneys throughout the United States.
This all predated the Internet. Attorneys discovered me the old fashioned way. They read my books and articles and then contacted me thereafter. My students who became attorneys – or law clerks – also informed their employers about my work.
When I created the Sex and Law class at UCLA – which addressed criminal, civil and constitutional issues relating to sex – the floodgates opened further. Now, nearly forty years later, I’ve seen it all: rape murders, child pornography in a preschool, sexually abusing clergy, teachers, scout masters, and so forth. Exclusively PTSD cases arrived as well, such as the civil side of the Chatsworth Metrolink Train tragedy. (In the later case, I also helped Judge Peter Lichtman write his opinion on post-traumatic stress disorder.)
Though I’m usually a plaintiff’s expert in civil litigation, I’ve done criminal and civil defense expert witness work too. For the past eighteen years, I’ve also been the pro bono expert witness for the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office. I value community service as well.