If a girl happens to have a low Intelligence Quotient (IQ), she isn’t likely to suffer much from mental trauma, said a psychologist hired by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The expert testified last year that a 9-year-old girl’s low IQ provided a “protective factor” that could reduce the amount of emotional stress she experienced from a sexual assault.
Though the incident happened over a year and a half ago, documents in the possession of KPCC have just revealed the seemingly bizarre testimony the expert offered to clearly provide a cushion of protection to the school district. Dr. Stan Katz was speaking during a trial over how much in damages the girl was entitled to, after being repeatedly sexually assaulted by a boy at her school.
The girl in question has a very low IQ, between 64 and 70. But the boy who assaulted wasn’t developmentally challenged, showed the court transcripts. The boy allegedly abused the girl at various spots around the school campus, said the girl’s attorney David Ring. Upon learning of her ordeal, the girl’s family sued LAUSD and demanded damages. They argued that the girl needed financial compensation because she has suffered significant trauma and would need long-term therapy, reported Raw Story.
When Dr. Katz said in court that the girl’s low IQ acted as a ‘Protective Factor,’ Ring asked him to elaborate. According to the court transcript, Katz answered:
“There’s a relationship between intelligence and depression. What happens is the more you think about things, you can ruminate, you can focus on things, you can look at the complexities of the matter and become more depressed.”
In simpler words, people tend to constantly rummage through memories and become depressed. On the contrary, people with limited mental abilities, may not overthink. When Ring asked, “So because she may be less intelligent than a general education student, she’s going to suffer less depression because of it?” Dr. Katz calmly answered, “Very possible, yes.”
Fortunately for the girl, Dr. Katz did acknowledge that the girl must have indeed suffered, and would certainly require therapy to deal with the trauma.
However, what’s surprising is that Dr. Steven Berkowitz, an associate professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University Of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine, agreed with Dr. Katz.
“A mentally disabled person who has undergone a traumatic experience may have a ‘compromised’ ability to fully understand why something may have happened or the consequences for themselves and others,”
Apparently, the jury did not buy the argument and awarded the girl $1.4 million in damages.
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