The Kinsey Coverup | Posted: December 1, 2004
Kinsey's Dirty Secrets
Stonewalling sex researchers. Evasive Hollywood executives. What don't they want this grandmother--and the public--to know?
WARNING: This story contains some graphic and deeply distressing passages
It was the shortest movie screening Dr. Ted Baehr had ever experienced. Just 10 minutes into the preview of Fox's Kinsey, the projection halted abruptly and Baehr and his two companions blinked as the lights unexpectedly came back on.
What was up? Apologetically, the projectionist explained that they'd just gotten a call from Fox Searchlight to stop the film about the famous sex researcher Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey and pack it up. Baehr got on the phone and was told that the screening had to be canceled because one of the reels was "damaged"--a claim that left the projectionist scratching his head. That was news to him.
But orders were orders: The show must not go on.
Baehr, publisher of the Christian family film guide Movieguide, had never experienced such a thing in nearly 20 years of advance-screening literally hundreds of movies. But he had little doubt as to what was happening.
"It was you, Judy," Baehr told one of his companions, Dr. Judith Reisman, a Kinsey critic who'd accompanied him to the preview. "They just didn't want you to see the film."
Later he issued a press release taking Fox Searchlight to task. "Why would there possibly be all of this anxiety about showing the movie to two reviewers and one grandmother when it had already been screened at the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival?" he wanted to know. Baehr suggested it was because the "grandmother"--aka Reisman--knew a version of the truth that the film was not telling.
Reisman, too, was bemused. "So, why is such a huge conglomerate so afraid of a 69-year-old lady?" she asked.
Woman with a Mission
There could be a reason for that. Dr. Judith A. Reisman is not exactly your average grandmother. She has flown around the world, headed roundtables, written books, launched a Web site, jawboned apathetic friends, held her ground on Phil Donahue's show, endured threats and abuse from the other side, done organizing work and been roundly vilified, all in the service of her cause.
Reisman is a woman with a mission--exposing what she calls the lies and fraud of Alfred Kinsey, the founder of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Bloomington, Ind. But Reisman wasn't always like that. Years ago she played the role of smiley "Cousin Judy" alongside Bernie Bear, complete with guitar and children's songs, on the Captain Kangaroo show. She's always loved children.
Her steel was acquired the hard way. In 1966, her 10-year-old daughter was raped, she says, by a 13-year-old neighbor boy who, it turned out, was in the process of becoming a sexual predator. Reisman's daughter wasn't the only victim. "My heart was broken for all the families involved," she wrote in the preface to her book, Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (The Institute for Media Education, Inc., 1998).
A stranger shock was yet to come. When brought into Reisman's confidence, both her aunt and a close friend separately suggested that her daughter may have been asking for it. After all, they said in oddly similar language, "children are sexual from birth."
Reisman was stunned. Where did such a bizarre idea come from? "I did not know it then, but as a young mother, I had entered the world according to Kinsey," she said.
She eventually learned the answer to her question. Her aunt and friend had acquired that strange notion from popular culture--which, in turn, had acquired it from "Kinsey and his modern disciples through the sex profession," Reisman said.
Thus began an odyssey of discovery. She had corresponded with Kinsey co-author and former Kinsey Institute Director Dr. Paul Gebhard to find the source of the child sexuality data in Kinsey's Tables 30-34. (See "Really bad science," Citizen, November 2004, page 24.) Gebhard wrote to her that the information had been obtained from parents, school teachers, male homosexuals and others, who used "manual and oral techniques" to determine how many "orgasms" infants and children could experience in a given amount of time.
Armed with her discoveries, she spoke at the Fifth World Congress on Sexuality in Jerusalem in 1981, but the lecture failed to generate the kind of moral outrage she'd expected. It amazed her that intelligent scientists could fail to see the evil that was "right before their eyes" in Table 34.
The Kinsey Institute on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University has been shrouded in secrecy for decades.
Alfred Kinsey's unorthodox research project brought him to the attention of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Kinsey and Hoover jousted for years over the director's requests for the sources of Kinsey's growing pornography collection, which Kinsey adamantly refused to divulge.
Kinsey also fought with postal and customs authorities over the transportation of obscene materials, a fight that Kinsey eventually won, but only after his death: A federal court knocked down a Civil War-era law prohibiting the trafficking of any "obscene book, pamphlet, picture, print or other publication of vulgar and incedent character," a ruling that opened the way for the modern multibillion-dollar pornography industry.
A Congressional committee led by Congressman B. Carroll Reece in 1953-54 used the Kinsey controversy as one reason for a formal investigation of major American tax-exempt foundations.
Reece, a Tennessee Republican, was criticized by the media and liberals, who called the exercise a waste of time and money. Congressman Wayne L. Hays, a Democrat from Ohio, was particularly incensed by the Kinsey investigation and managed to put a stop to the investigators' work.
The Kinsey Institute has been shrouded in
secrecy for decades.
Renee A. Wormser, the committee chief counsel, called what happened next "most mysterious and disturbing." According to Reisman's Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences, the committee research chief suggested that "Mr. Hays take the entire Kinsey file and lock it in his personal safe so that he would know that the material could not be used without the express consent of the Committee. This Mr. Hays did. The file remained in the safe throughout the hearings. ... he may still have it."
Its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.
Hays later resigned from Congress amid a lurid scandal over sex and misappropriation of funds.
Later attempts to investigate the Kinsey Institute were short-lived.
Notable was the Child Protection and Ethics in Education Act of 1995, sponsored by Texas Congressman Steve Stockman, a conservative Christian. The bill called for the U.S. General Accounting Office to determine if Kinsey's two books on human sexual behavior were "the result of any fraud or criminal wrongdoing." If so, federal funding could be denied to any organization or school that used the results of that research--such as sex education programs--without disclosing its "unethical and unscientific" basis.
Stockman's bill failed to win sufficient support, and Stockman himself lost his bid for re-election to the House.
More recently, several congressmen, including Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., have complained about continued federal funding to the Kinsey Institute. In just the past five years, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development alone has provided $263,000 for Kinsey Institute research, according to Souder. (See "Taxpayer money and the Kinsey Institute," below.) Several legislators objected to a grant to the Kinsey Institute in 2003 for a study to "assess the ... arousal of 180 lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women as they watch erotic video clips." Translation: pornography.
The U.S. House came within two votes that year of amending a Department of Health and Human Services funding bill to delete money for several projects, including a two-year grant of $474,076 to the Kinsey Institute from the National Institute of Child Health and Development for a study of "high-risk sexual behavior." In a letter to the director of the National Institutes of Health, Rep. Souder alleged, "Kinsey and his associates, at the very least, encouraged the rape and molestation of children in the name of 'science.' "
Attempts to open Kinsey records to the public also have been made at the state level. In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of the first groundbreaking Kinsey book, Indiana State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, introduced a resolution to cut off funding to the Bloomington institution unless it agreed to disclose 12 items of information. These included "experimental subjects who were minors, identified by gender, age and location of experimentation" and the identity of researchers who conducted such experiments and whatever payments had been made to them.
Again, the effort failed, Burton laying the blame on party-line politics. Burton told Citizen that it was one of several unsuccessful attempts in the Indiana Legislature, and the entire experience left him with hard feelings.
Burton remembers it was 1998, and he was concerned about a $666,000 appropriation--a number that stuck in his mind--for the Kinsey Institute. "They were doing a lot of things that I thought were improper ... the manipulation of children, sexual stimulation," he said. "So, I was trying to cut off the funding."
That brought a personal visit from Dr. John Bancroft, then director of the Kinsey Institute. Julia R. Heiman has been Institute director since Bancroft's retirement June 1.
"At that time [Bancroft] indicated I didn't know what I was talking about," Burton said, "and I asked if I could see the films that were made in Kinsey's attic, and he said that 'wasn't for public consumption.' " Burton was referring to films starring Kinsey, his wife Clara and Institute staff members and their wives, engaged in various sexual activities with various partners for "research purposes." Kinsey biographer James Jones reported that the cast included more than a few outsiders, too--"about twenty homosexual couples, ten heterosexual couples and approximately 25 men and women engaged in masturbation."
Burton recalls telling Bancroft, "Well, I'm a legislator, and I think I have a right to see it." Then things got heated. Burton said an assistant for Bancroft took offense and became "real belligerent."
" 'How dare you talk to Dr. Bancroft like that?' " Burton quoted the man as saying. "I said, 'What do you mean? I have a right as a legislator to know what you're doing with taxpayers' dollars, and I have a right to see what those films are all about. For you to hide those from me is wrong.'
" 'You don't have a right to anything,' is what they told me. I was just amazed at those guys." They exhibited an "elitist" attitude, he said.
When questioned again about the attic film, Jennifer Bass, a spokesman for the Kinsey Institute, told Citizen, "These research films were only intended for research purposes, and are not available." Responding to questions about the Burton incident and how a tax-supported institution can deny access to the public, she said:
"The collections, which include data, archives and library materials, are owned by The Kinsey Institute. The Institute was originally established in 1947 as a nonprofit institute under [Indiana University] President Herman Wells, in order to guarantee absolute confidentiality to individuals who contributed their private histories. We continue to uphold this principle of privacy and confidentiality. Rep. Burton is most welcome to visit the Institute for a tour and to meet with the Director and staff."
Burton said he might take them up on that. He expressed concern that the Kinsey Institute reportedly had devised a scheme to destroy sensitive files within minutes in the event someone obtained a subpoena to search for records of sex crimes. Wardell Pomeroy, a Kinsey co-author, had made such a thinly veiled threat in a book he published in 1972. The assertion was confirmed in an interview with Kinsey co-author and retired Institute Director Paul Gebhard for the 1998 British television documentary, Kinsey's Paedophiles:
"When they [Burton] start talking like that, then we seriously think what would happen if we started facing court orders and if the search people came in with a warrant to seize what we had. ... All we have to do is destroy the code and some card files, and that does it. Then the case histories are absolutely unreadable."
"All we have to do
is destroy the code and some card files, and that does it. Then the
case histories are unreadable."
--Former Kinsey Institute Director Paul Gebhard
"In other words," Burton observed, "they're above the law."
For the record, the Kinsey Institute denies any such intentions. "Oh, no," Jennifer Bass told Citizen with a laugh. "We're just an academic research institute."
Reminded of the assertions of people like Gebhard, Bass said, "Paul Gebhard is not the director at this time. Whatever he said, he said. That's certainly not our policy today. We have no intention of destroying anything."
As for those explosive films, she confirmed reports that the Institute has moved them off-site to an undisclosed location. But she downplayed the significance of the move. "A number of our things are off-site because we're a small institute, and we don't have room to store them," Bass said. "So, I can't tell you where they reside."
But, she added, one thing's for sure: "Those just will never be seen by anybody. They are locked up, and nobody has access to them."
Getting out the Truth
The Judith Reisman misadventure with Fox Searchlight over the Kinsey movie almost had a happy ending. Ted Baehr thought he'd had the screening worked out with Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch when it fell apart the first time. So, another screening was arranged for Oct 5. Baehr, jet-lagged and underslept, flew into Hollywood from Bangkok, Thailand, where he had been attending a conference. Reisman, just returned from England, flew in from Scottsdale, Arizona.
The screening was arranged for 2 p.m. One hour before showtime, Baehr and Reisman were eating at a nearby restaurant when they got a phone call from Baehr's secretary: "Sorry, but they called and said the screening has been canceled."
"What?" Reisman exploded. "I think my voice was a little bit raised," she recalled dryly the next day.
They were told to wait for a fax that would come and "explain everything." They waited the rest of the afternoon, in fact--but no fax.
Reisman was convinced that Ted was right--she was a "whistleblower," and someone at the studio definitely did not want her to see the film. "I have never felt like such a threat in my life," she said. "And I'm such a nice lady."
She also suspected that filmmakers were running scared because, just the day before, the Sunday New York Times and the Sunday Times of London had published surprisingly frank articles about the real man behind the Kinsey legends--and they weren't entirely flattering.
The New York Times reported that Kinsey had written to a serial child molester who apparently had contributed data for Table 34. He wrote: "I rejoice at everything you send, for I am then assured that that much more of your material is saved for scientific publication." The Sunday Times reported that Kinsey had "relied in part on the evidence of a Nazi pedophile, Fritz von Balluseck, who was tried for the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl in 1956. The two men kept up a correspondence, with Kinsey once warning him to 'watch out' in case he was caught." It was Reisman who had dug up this information in the first place.
The Kinsey Institute's Jennifer Bass dismissed the significance of such assertions as nonsense. "Well, that's just ridiculous to think that Kinsey would have encouraged anybody to do anything. We just don't support that."
Still, the general public had to be left with the inescapable impression that Alfred Kinsey was to some degree, at least, suborning pedophilia--encouraging pedophiles to molest children for scientific purposes. And that's something that Reisman has been trying to tell people for years. She certainly believes it had everything to do with her getting shut out twice at the movie screenings.
"They are just not about to let me see the film before it comes out," she said. "My suspicion is they were very upset by these two articles and they don't want to give me any more ammunition."
The Kinsey Institute, sensing a groundswell of critical interest, canceled its public tours for November in advance of the Kinsey movie (See Citizen movie review, "Kinsey cover-up," November 2004, page 27.)
But Reisman believes the truth will all come out eventually. "Kinsey is really the weakest link," she said. "Nobody can stand with Kinsey if they know the truth ... because once they show the graph (Table 34), once the people see that, you don't need a Ph.D." to know it's wrong. And not even the Kinsey Institute, she believes, will be able to hold it off forever. ●
TAKE ACTION: For further information, visit Focus on the Family's abstinence Web site at www.family.org/cforum/fosi/abstinence, or the Kinsey Web site of Concerned Women for America at www.cwfa.org/Kinsey.asp. For a copy of the Family Research Council video The Children of Table 34, log on to www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=VC001 or call 800-225-4008.
Also see Judith Reisman's Web site at www.drjudithreisman.org
Since 1986, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given grants totaling more than $5 million to the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Bloomington, Ind.:
TAKE ACTION: Several Indiana Congressmen have been willing to challenge the Kinsey Institute's refusal to make public its records of child sexual abuse, as recorded in Table 34 of Alfred Kinsey's book Sexual Behavior of the Human Male. Thank them for their efforts and encourage them to continue pressing for full disclosure. Though Congress is in recess until January 2005, congressional staff members are available by phone and e-mail:
Rep. Mike Pence, phone: 202-225-3382; Anderson district office: 765-640-2919; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mark Souder, phone: 202-225-4436; Ft. Wayne district office: 260-424-3041; e-mail: email@example.com
Rep. John Hostettler, phone: 202-225-4636; Evansville district office: 812-465-6484; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dan Burton, phone: 202-225-2276; Indianapolis district office: 317-848-0201; Web: www.house.gov/burton
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