Normal Topic Unprofessional Polygrapher (!) (Read 2720 times)
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Unprofessional Polygrapher (!)
Jul 16th, 2002 at 9:59pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
I am seeking some advice for a friend who recently took his first "full-disclosure" polygraph. In order to begin the process of supervision with his PO, my friend had to take and pass a "full-disclosure" poly. Unfortunately, he failed.

This poly was his second one, the first being done at the request of his lawyer during his trial. He passed the first test without any problems. I had found this site just prior to his first poly, but after he had passed, had ignored it for a while. I was brought back to the site after he found out he would have to submit to the second one. Unfortunately, we did not practice any countermeasures, but in our ignorance, we both felt he would pass because of his first experience and because he had nothing to hide. 

Just a few weeks prior to the test, he was given a packet of over 100 prep questions for the test. He and I went over all of them, from the absurd to the disgusting, and felt there would be no problem being truthful. However, that seems to be the reason he failed.

The day of the test, he met with the polygrapher and they began going over the 100+ questions. After the polygrapher read one particular question about my friend's past that he had answered "yes" to, the polygrapher asked him to provide more information. The question was in regard to my friend being victimized at a young age. After giving the polygrapher the facts, the polygrapher immediately confronted my friend and asked why he had never turned the victimizer in and asked my friend how he could be so SELFISH. The polygrapher then stated that it was a FACT this person was still victimizing and was essentially implying that my friend was responsible for that because he did not turn this person in.  When my friend told the polygrapher that they were "off-base," the polygrapher asked who my friend's counselor was and told him that the counselor would turn the person in on his behalf. Essentially, throughout this exchange, my friend began to defend someone who he had been victimized by--which was a difficult and humiliating experience. 

After the harrassment ended, and after my friend had nearly lost all his composure, he was hooked up to the machine. The polygrapher then began to tell him that he was trying to hide something because the charts don't lie. Then, the polygrapher followed up by questioning my friend's responses with disbelief: "you've NEVER done -----??" To which my friend emphatically said "no." Also, the polygrapher kept telling my friend to breathe through his mouth, which he found was hard to do since he normally (and involuntarily) breathes through his nose.

During the post test, the polygrapher told him he had failed by a long-shot and was no doubt trying to cover up for a fellow criminal or a family member. The polygrapher also said that it appeared he was not being honest, or was repressing, something that happened to him prior to age 5 (most people I know have only limited memories regarding anything that took place at age 4, 3, 2, or 1).  The problem I have with this person's "techniques" is that they were making statements regarding issues that needed to be dealt with by a qualified counselor and not someone with an 8-month certificate in interrogation. And further, even the professional community has issues with repressed memory, however I guess the polygrapher knows something that everyone else doesn't (because the machine doesn't lie).

I need to know what the best course of action would be for my friend. He is in the process of contacting his lawyer, but that is often challenging (since all his fees are paid up). Everyone else he has talked to has suggested getting a second polygraph from someone else ASAP. I don't disagree with this, but am concerned at how difficult it will be to employ countermeasures because my friend is so freaked-out about another test (since his entire future hinges on it). Further, he will be subjected to maintenance polygraphs for the next few years, and cannot afford to fail.

Because there is a small community of polygraphers where we live, I fear what might happen if he files a formal complaint against this polygrapher based on his word against theirs. Many people on the polygraph board who would do the investigation into the claim are also in private practice and may well blackball my friend. This is a very frustrating process.

Can anyone help with some advice? It would be much appreciated.

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Re: Unprofessional Polygrapher (!)
Reply #1 - Aug 9th, 2002 at 1:28am
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Unfortunately I do not know of a way to help you, but I did want to tell you that you and your friend are by no means alone.   

My brother was molested repeatedly by the dean of our church when he was 11.  He never told anyone until he was 26 years old.  Needless to say, we were shocked and wanted him to get therapy.   

Unfortunately, he did not get therapy, and he sexually touched the sons of his girlfriend, who told the police.  He was arrested.  Neither he nor his family had the money for an attorney.  We were dependent on the public defender, which turned out to be a total joke.

My brother told us he was telling the truth during his polygraph tests, and we believed him.  Like your friend, he never turned in his victimizer--for several different reasons.  He said that he found him and confronted him, and the man broke down and said how sorry he was, that he was a new person, blah, blah, blah.  My brother believed him.  If I knew his name, I would turn him in.  I do not care if he has a new life or not.  He needs help.  He was harassed about that, and the examiner even had the nerve to suggest that he had killed someone.  Needless to say, this made my brother very upset.

My brother was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence--I don't know if you have heard of that, but it is basically up to the prison as to when you are released.  He could be there for the rest of his life, and I am not exaggerating.  Of course, mandatory therapy is part of his treatment.  As part of the therapy, polygraph tests are administered.  If an inmate fails the polygraph, he is kicked out of this MANDATORY therapy!!!
You would think they would suggest more therapy, but they are not interested in rehabilitation.  What is even more ironic is that even after my brother failed the polygraph a couple of times, he passed what is called Phase I of his therapy.  They moved him to a lest restricted prison where he had more privileges, such as a window.  He filed a lawsuit against the judicial system for something else--I won't get into it--but it was clearly a violation of due process and his civil rights.  Two days after he filed, he was subjected to a mandatory polygraph test, which they said he "manipulated."  They kicked him out of the program and are sending him back to Phase I.  He has been kicked out of this MANDATORY therapy and has to start all over again.  What I don't get is why they didn't kick him out of therapy in the first place, when he failed his first couple of polygraphs?  I sincerely believe it was to give him some false sense of hope.  Then they retaliated against him filing a lawsuit against them by kicking him out of the program.  I feel so helpless in this situation.  I have no idea how to help him.  I feel like I will never see him again outside of prison, and it tears me up inside.

I was the same as everyone else--I thought that sexual offenders, particularly child molesters, deserved the worst treatment possible and I could have cared less if they were put to death.  I have children of my own and I know what I would do to anyone who hurt them.  However, when my brother told me what had happened to him, it brought a whole new twist to my viewpoint.  My doctor explained to me that unfortunately, most people who have been molested never receive therapy, and they continue the cycle.  They continue it because subconsciously they are trying to be in control of the situation--as opposed to being victimized when they were younger.  The same thing happens with alcoholics, drug addicts, etc--but, it is different for them because they are still accepted by society.  I also believe that sex offenders should not be grouped into one big group.  My brother did not prey on children.  This was a one-time incident.  There are many others in his same group therapy who have violently molested children, their own children, other children over and over again.   

What my brother did was wrong.  I am not excusing it.  I guess I just wish there were more people out there who understood what was behind why people do the things they do--not to let them get away with those things, but to give them the treatment they need in order to break the cycle.   

I wish you best of luck with your friend.  Personally, I would read everything possible about beating the polygraph test and practice. Remember, the polygraph test cannot measure if you are lying or telling the truth--it can only give the indication of your body's reaction to questions and harassment by the examiner.

One suggestion--is it possible to have your friend's tests videotaped?  Probably not--but maybe you can talk to his attorney and see if there is any way the tests can be monitored by someone unbiased.   

Please let me know how this turns out.  Best of luck to you and your friend.
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