Child psychologist takes stand in Mineola child sex ring trial

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The defense took the stand on day six of the trial for one of the men accused of being involved in the Mineola child sex ring.

Dennis Pittman, 47, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and engaging in organized criminal activity. He is the fourth defendant in the case.

The state rested their case on Monday. Dennis Pittman looked on as his defense took the stand Tuesday first questioning a woman who claimed she visited the Mineola swingers club while it was open in 2004.

She testified that there were no children at the club. But, the main focus of the day was on Dr. Marc Lindberg, a clinical psychologist, specializing in child cognitive development. Dr. Lindberg sited research that looks at the way memory is influenced by outside factors. These include: the way a question is asked, how many times it is asked, and when it is asked.

"Kids about seven or under and younger pre-schoolers are particularly susceptible to this kind of influence," said Lindberg. "In some studies, kids do remember that their clothes had been removed when in fact they hadn't been. Just asking the right questions gets this kind of information coming out of them."

The psychologist testified that he has reviewed transcripts from the Mineola child sex ring cases. He critiqued the interviews between the alleged child victims and law enforcement. Dr. Lindberg admitted that the initial interviews in 2005 were done correctly.

"She asked all of those questions in the way in which we try to teach interviewers to ask questions," he said.

But, when defense attorneys asked about recent interviews the psychologist said they were "very bad."

Pittman's defense will continue Wednesday at the 241st district court.

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