top of page

Franklin v. Stevenson



Type of Case:


Location (State or Country): 


Civil or Criminal: 

Other victims, Previous conviction

Form of Corroboration: 


Franklin v. Stevenson was a 1996 civil case from Utah based upon Cherise Franklin’s memories of sexual abuse by Kenton Stevenson. As documented at trial, Franklin was in and out of therapy; her flashbacks were not recovered during a therapy session. “After recording her [recovered] memories in a dated journal, Franklin hired a private detective, found Stevenson’s former wife and learned that Stevenson had been found to have abused his own children as well. At trial [in August 1996] in Salt Lake City, Stevenson’s 16-year-old daughter, Rayne Burtchin, testified that her father had sexually abused her. A stepdaughter testified that he had mutilated animals in front of her. The accounts were supported by a 1986 family court divorce and custody ruling, finding that Stevenson had sexually abused his son and two daughters and had raped one with a coat hanger.” (Katy Butler, “The Latest on Recovered Memory,” Family Therapy Networker, Nov/Dec 1996: 36, 37). The Findings of Fact established that Stevenson abused all three of his children in the other marriage, corroborating Franklin's memories. In a highly unusual move, the judge entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, in favor of the defendant. The case appealed to the Utah supreme court, where Franklin's expert testimony about recovered memory was found inadmissable under Colorado state law. "Accordingly," said the court, "we reverse both the trial court's order for j.n.o.v. and the judgment against Stevenson." This reversal does not dismiss Franklin's well corroborated testimony, however: Question No. 2 in the Special Verdict form, in which the jury gave its opinion on the factual findings of the case, asked “Did Cherise Franklin produce corroborating evidence in support of the allegations ofabuse against Kenton Stevenson?” The jury responded: Yes.


1. Butler, K. (1996). The Latest on Recovered Memory. Family Therapy Networker, 36-37.


bottom of page