Hoult v. Hoult was a 1993 civil suit from Massachusetts against David Hoult for sustained child sexual abuse of a daughter, Jennifer Hoult, who recovered memories of the abuse in adulthood. Ms. Hoult’s claims were supported by something her mother witnessed (her father on top of another sibling in bed) and by a 13-year-old babysitter who testified that David Hoult had sexually molested her. “Other family members remembered Jennifer’s father grabbing her breasts" (Kandel). Ms. Hoult’s family sided with her, and the jury verdict was unanimous. David Hoult has since sued Ms. Hoult for libel over her subsequent statements that he had “raped” her. A federal district judge recently dismissed that suit after reviewing the trial record and concluding that “the issue of rape was decided [in Ms. Hoult’s favor] by the jury” (Hoult v. Hoult Slip opinion, p.6). Update: On May 13, 2002, the federal district court found that David Hoult had fraudulently conveyed over $130,000 in assets to avoid paying part of the $500,000 judgment that he owes to his daughter Jennifer. Two weeks later, the court entered an order requiring him to deposit all his income in a designated Massachusetts bank account and to limit his withdrawals from that account to cover his reasonable living expenses. David Hoult has since been found in civil and criminal contempt for refusing to comply with the order. This is the First Circuit’s most recent decision, which goes largely against David Hoult. Jennifer Hoult has launched a website that documents the errors about her case that are contained in “Remembering Dangerously,” an oft-cited article by Elizabeth Loftus in the Skeptical Inquirer. See Jennifer Hoult, “‘Remembering Dangerously’ & Hoult v. Hoult: The Myth of Repressed Memory that Elizabeth Loftus Created” (2005).
1. Kandel, M., & Kandel, E. (1994, May). Flights of Memory. Discover.
2. Hoult v. Hoult (Civil Action No. 96-10970-RCL) (Slip opinion, p.6).
3. See Jennifer Hoult, “‘Remembering Dangerously’ & Hoult v. Hoult: The
Myth of Repressed Memory that Elizabeth Loftus Created” (2005).