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Kids Get XXX Evaluation
July 2, 2008 permalink
When family court sends your child to a psychologist, the shrink may have to make his diagnosis by getting into the little girl's pants, or even the little boy's pants. Philadelphia doctor Jerry Lazaroff has been caught fondling girls and at least one boy sent to him for evaluation.
Posted on Tue, Jul. 1, 2008
Moms tell of kids & accused fondler
Hearing on how children will testify
By STEPHANIE FARR, Philadelphia Daily News, firstname.lastname@example.org 215-854-4225
A mother who suspected that her daughters were fondled during a court-ordered counseling session testified yesterday that her divorce lawyer told her not to report her fears about the counselor, Jerry Lazaroff, then-director of Delaware County Court's family-intervention program.
"He said, 'Don't make any allegations about Jerry Lazaroff because he's very highly respected by the court,' " said the woman, whose name is being withheld by the Daily News to protect her child's identity.
That same lawyer called her about a month later on the day that news outlets reported that Lazaroff had been accused of fondling another child, she said, but this time he told her to contact the police.
Yesterday, three mothers spoke at a hearing to determine how their children - who were patients and alleged victims of Lazaroff's - will testify against him in court.
Lazaroff, who also served as a clinical psychologist for the county's juvenile court, has been suspended without pay from his county positions. He faces numerous charges of indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.
Chester County Judge Charles Smith is overseeing the case because of the potential for conflict of interest due to Lazaroff's work with Delaware County.
Lazaroff was arrested in May following allegations that he indecently assaulted a 10-year-old girl during a session.
That girl's mother said yesterday that her child often would emerge from Lazaroff's office looking "disheveled," but would brush it off by saying that she and the doctor were "playing."
It wasn't until the child's final session, when she emerged with tape in her hair and looking like "a deer in headlights" that she told her mother that Lazaroff had "touched me inappropriately." The mother said that she called police immediately from outside Lazaroff's office.
The second mother to testify, the one whose fears were originally rebuffed by her attorney, said that she was ordered by the court to send her child to Lazaroff as part of a custody evaluation, she said.
Only one session occurred where her daughters, ages 5 and 7, were left alone with Lazaroff, she said.
The mother said that after the session, her daughters told her that "Dr. Jerry" hit them on their bottoms and was flicking the younger child's butt and tickling her all over.
"I think they were confused [by his actions] because they saw doctor in front of his name," the mother said.
The mother of the fourth alleged victim, a 7-year-old boy, said that her son still breaks down sobbing when they drive by Lazaroff's Upper Providence office.
She said that she was present with her son during most sessions, and noted that Lazaroff did a lot of touching and tickling "all over" her son's body.
"I was told this was play therapy," she said.
In February, her son had his first one-on-one session with Lazaroff, after which he told his mother he never wanted to be alone with "Dr. Jerry" again.
"I didn't think in my wildest dreams that it was what it was," she said. "I trusted him 100 percent that he was a doctor and he was doing what was right"
When news of the first allegation broke, the mother took her son to a pediatrician, where she testified that the boy said: " 'Dr. Jerry gives bad touches.' "
The boy said that Lazaroff would tickle his penis so hard it hurt and that when they played marbles and Lazaroff won, he grabbed the child's penis and said: "I win. You lose. Score!"
Smith ruled that the girl who first came forward will testify in court, since her mother said that she has been open and vocal with many people about the experience.
The boy will testify either via closed-circuit television or his testimony will be taken from statements already given to police, Smith said, citing the child's sensitivity to the situation as described by his mother.
Smith said that he will rule at a later time on how the two sisters' testimony will be taken at trial. *
Source: Philadelphia Daily News