Dr. McNaught’s Forensic Experience
Deep Insight and Neutral Metrics
Dr. McNaught has been in private practice for over 35 years. Until recently, she maintained both a clinical and forensic practice. Currently, in her forensic practice, Dr. McNaught is hired on an approximately equal basis by both the defense and plaintiff, in addition to being frequently appointed as a neutral examiner by the court.
Forensic Expert Witness, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD in the context of civil, criminal, and family law cases.
Civil Suits for both Plaintiff and Defense, involving adults and children. Areas of expertise: PTSD claims related to sexual and physical abuse as well as physical injury; and civil suits involving PTSD, Claims of Pain and Suffering, and/or Emotional Distress. Examples of Dr. McNaught’s expert evaluation and testimony: Wrongful Death; Infant Death; Burns; Amputation; Traumatic Brain Injury; Workplace Suits involving Sexual Harassment /Gender/ or Age Discrimination; Allegations of Institutional Sexual Abuse in: schools, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, and treatment centers; and Medical and Psychological malpractice cases involving PTSD.
Prosecution and Defense Cases involving juveniles and adults include: Sexual Misconduct, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues that may impact sentencing.
Retained expert in U.S. Army and Navy criminal cases involving PTSD.
Testimony regarding interview techniques used with alleged victims; recantation; delayed reports of abuse; and reliability issues with adult and child victims.
Parental fitness and capacity; termination of parental rights; criminal sexual misconduct charges against juveniles; recantation; and children’s memory.
Dr. McNaught’s forensic work in the area of Family Law included conducting high-conflict custody evaluations that involved special issues such as: sexual or physical abuse, parental alienation, and personality disorders.
Currently, Dr. McNaught continues to critique the custody evaluations of other professionals. She has extensive experience diagnosing parents with “Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self,” as well as “Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another”. In addition, clients are often referred by their attorneys for coaching as they go through custody evaluations.
Dr. McNaught is frequently hired by attorneys to consult with them on a variety of issues related to high-conflict custody and post- decree matters i.e. allegations of parental alienation, Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another. Dr. McNaught’s extensive experience also enables her to testify as an expert in standards of care related to custody evaluations, as well as other special issues related to family court matters (sexual and physical abuse; parental alienation; and personality disorders affecting parenting ability).
Dr. McNaught has additionally been appointed as a rule 706 expert in high- conflict post-decree matters.
Dr. McNaught has been qualified as an expert by the United States Army and the United States Navy in the area of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD often occurs when an individual is exposed to a life-threatening event or one that the individual perceives as an extreme trauma or potentially life threatening. PTSD was first identified in Viet Nam veterans returning from combat. PTSD now is a diagnosis often used for adult and child victims of sexual assault and personal injury. PTSD is often also alleged in the context of civil suits involving discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination.
Dr. McNaught uses psychological testing and thorough review of medical and counseling records to determine the evidence and extent of PTSD. As a result of her years of clinical experience, Dr. McNaught is well-versed in the type and duration of treatment required to treat PTSD victims.
Only 25 percent of individuals exposed to a traumatic event experience prolonged PTSD. Careful evaluation and documentation of symptoms and collateral information must be obtained to determine if the plaintiff is suffering from PTSD. If so, causation must also be determined.
Dr. McNaught specializes in employment evaluations, and psychological damages related to an accident or injury. In evaluating the impact of the injury, she is skilled in the use of psychological testing, as well as the review of medical records to detect the genuineness versus exaggeration or malingering of psychological and neuropsychological symptoms. Her extensive background in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in children and adults contributes to Dr. McNaught’s effectiveness in the trial setting, either for consultation or trial testimony.
Dr. McNaught is well-versed in workplace requirements for dealing with sexual assault/sexual harassment. She works with both the plaintiff and defense and provides consultation to attorneys regarding such cases, and often is asked to critique other professional’s reports. In other cases, Dr. McNaught conducts a psychological evaluation of the alleged victim to determine the nature and extent of the alleged emotional injury, as well the impact on functioning. Psychological testing is used to assess malingering in the context of such complaints. Additionally, Dr. McNaught obtains a complete family history and reviews medical, counseling and employment records, to assess the plaintiff’s prior existing condition as well as post-injury history.
In tort cases involving age, sexual, or gender discrimination, Dr. McNaught can assist plaintiff and defense lawyers by evaluating the emotional impact of such events. The various forms of workplace discrimination can result in depression, feelings of hopelessness, financial loss, and intense grief. However, these same symptoms can be caused by other factors. Psychological testing, review of the medical and counseling records, family history, and employment records are used to evaluate the cause, impact, and credibility of such complaints.
Although rare, false allegations of sexual and physical assault, in the context of divorce and criminal cases, are devastating to both the victim and alleged abuser. On college campuses, as well as high schools, victims can make false allegations in search of attention or due to personality disorders or impaired reality testing. If sexual assault or inappropriate touching has occurred, the victim needs to be protected. However, identifying false allegations of abuse is critical to the welfare of the victim, as well as the falsely accused defendant.
Dr. McNaught is a nationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of child sexual assault. She has provided consultation and testimony in many criminal, civil, and family law cases involving such allegations, for both the prosecution and defense. Evaluating the disclosure and reliability of child victims is a specialized area of expertise. Dr. McNaught’s long history of experience and training in this field means that she is knowledgeable in the research as it relates to child disclosure of abuse, recantation and false allegations of abuse.
Dr. McNaught has frequently consulted with Minnesota State Policy Boards related to the sexual abuse of children. She also has made presentations at numerous national seminars and has been interviewed on Public Radio about the diagnosis and treatment of child sexual abuse victims. Additionally, because of her expertise in performing custody evaluations, she has conducted numerous evaluations where false allegations of sexual or physical abuse are made in the context of custody cases.
Dr. McNaught’s specialty in this area is evaluating allegations of sexual impropriety or assault occurring within the school, hospital setting, and other institutional settings. She has conducted evaluations of children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults alleging abuse or inappropriate boundaries by a school, hospital, or facility employee. Her experience in this area involves numerous school districts and hospitals, as well as other care facilities for people with handicaps throughout Minnesota, as well as other states.
In the current DSM-5, Parental Alienation is now referred to as Child Psychological Abuse. Dr. McNaught provides consultation on this issue within the State of Minnesota, as well as nationally. On some occasions, she is asked to review the pertinent records and provide an opinion as to possible parental alienation. In other cases, she has been authorized by the court to evaluate both the parties, as well as the children, to determine potential parental alienation and recommendations for treatment. Finally, Dr. McNaught has frequently been asked to serve as an expert witness in explaining Parental Alienation/Child Psychological Abuse to the court.
A recent emergence in the context of family law cases is a phenomenon known as “Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another.” This is the intentional production or feigning of physical or psychological signs or symptoms in another person, typically a child under the adult’s care, in order for the adult to indirectly assume the sick role. Although rare, parents can use factitious symptoms of a child’s physical or psychological condition in the context of parenting and custody disputes. Dr. McNaught has conducted evaluations where Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another has occurred, within the context of family law cases. These evaluations require an understanding of the research underlying this complex issue, as well as the special skills needed to identify factitious allegations of sexual or physical abuse.
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