The Norman Transcript

Local news

October 31, 2013

Psychologist says it’s possible that witness filled in memory gaps with fabricated events

NORMAN — Testimony continued Wednesday with heavy analysis and questioning of one girl’s allegations of child sex abuse against former OU professor Dwain Pellebon.

The girl’s allegations against Pellebon are the most serious in the case with three counts of child sex abuse. The other six charges allege that Pellebon touched several different girls in a lewd or lascivious manner.

The girl, 15 at the time of disclosure, has confirmed mental disabilities. In this case, her disclosure of sexual abuse is being analyzed to determine whether the alleged sex abuse actually occurred or whether it was confabulated as a result of her mental disabilities.

Local psychologist Dr. Raymond Henry McCaffrey Jr., who led testimony Wednesday, described confabulation as fabricating information to fill in gaps in memory.

McCaffrey evaluated the girl in 2009 per requirement by the girl’s school to see if she needed to continue with special education classes, which she did, he said.

He reported that the girl’s overall cognitive function is closer to that of a 7- or 8-year-old child. He noted that the girl confabulated twice during the two-hour evaluation.

McCaffrey said her confabulations were easy to identify because they were events that would not likely happen. For example, she talked about a pony who came to have lunch with her at school in the cafeteria.

He said if he had confronted her about the story of the pony, he was not sure if she would’ve said the story wasn’t true.

The psychologist also testified that sometimes a person might confabulate because they want to engage with someone socially, please people and make a connection with people.

“I thought that she was a youngster you’d want to be quite careful with because she was susceptible to outside influences,” said Dr. Phillip Esplin, another defense witness who testified Wednesday. Esplin has researched, authored books and testified in many child sex abuse cases for more than 20 years.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Bad year won’t dampen peachy tradition

    PORTER — A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.” Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Union Market opens this fall on campus

    Shelves are being stocked as employees buzz around like busy bees and activities are in the last stages of prep as the University of Oklahoma anticipates the opening of its new eatery Union Market, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union in ...

    July 26, 2014

  • OU football recruit under investigation in assault case

    An attorney representing Joe Mixon confirmed Friday evening that the highly-recruited Oklahoma running back is being investigated by Norman Police in connection with an incident in which a woman suffered multiple facial fractures early ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Campus Cornerassault

    Norman Police responded to an alleged aggravated assault at the Campus Corner Pickelmans Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning....

    July 26, 2014

  • OU physicist receives $1M grant

    A University of Oklahoma physicist has received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to develop a quantum enhanced plasmonic sensor. The emerging field of physics known as quantum plasmonics will enable technology for sensing ...

    July 26, 2014

  • OU awarded Mellon Grant

    The University of Oklahoma has been awarded a $572,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of a digital library of Latin texts of all eras. The Digital Latin Library — a Linked Open Data resource — represents a ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Veterans’ breakfast set

    Veterans are invited to a free breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m. Tuesday as Tiffany’s Restaurant, 101 S. Main St., hosts the second annual David Bolser Veteran’s Appreciation Breakfast....

    July 26, 2014

  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014