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Friday, April 6, 2018

Man accused of raping his autistic son is found not guilty

Por Damian

Recently the State withdrew all charges against José Cordero, a father of Hialeah accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old autistic son. The hearing, which lasted 10 minutes, ended a six month saga since Cordero's arrest in October, after the result of a controversial treatment technique suggested that the father might have abused the child. In the interim, Cordero was imprisoned for 35 days and was denied seeing his family for half a year.

The son of Cordero is autistic, almost does not speak and can’t write. The child identified only as J.C. due to his age, never directly accused his father of abuse. The allegations came from a specialized primary school teacher who knows J.C. and was helping him communicate in class during the last two years.

Saúl Fumero, a special education teacher, used a controversial method called "hand on hand" with J.C. When that technique is used, the specialist guides the child's hand as he writes. The allegations against Cordero came out of several of these collaborative sessions.

At the end of October, Fumero reported that J.C. had described acts of sexual abuse during one of the sessions. Fumero told detectives he had no official training in the use of that technique and confirmed that J.C. had not described anything similar with his other therapist or teacher. However, the following week Fumero accompanied the child to an interview with the Child Protection team at the University of Miami, where the child offered more details about abuses related to his mother and sister. The descriptions were very detailed and he used advanced language to describe body parts.

"All this is horrible but true!”, expresses one of the supposedly written things by the minor with the hand-over-hand technique. Due to the lack of witnesses, little coherence in the statements and the controversial method used, prosecutors decided that the story was not true.

The hand-over-hand technique is part of family treatments called "facilitated communication", which serves as a way to help patients talk, write or otherwise communicate. Experts in Psychology have described this as a pseudoscience and it is compare with the use of a Ouija for therapeutic purposes.

In the arrest report, state prosecutors indicated that all family members expressed great astonishment at the allegations. The father, who declined to comment, vehemently denied the charges.

"The victim's mother almost fainted when she talked about the allegations with the detectives and seemed to know nothing about any abuse", the report said. "The victim's 25-year-old sister seemed equally surprised and had no idea that the child could communicate."