Debbie has been a journalist, editor and translator for almost three decades. She specializes in writing about immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border, sexual politics and sex panics, particularly in relation to women and children. Her work has been published in venues as varied as The Village Voice, The Nation, MS., Playboy, The Texas Observer, The New York Times, Social Text, Redbook and Counterpunch.
Debbie’s work has won numerous national and regional awards, including: The H.L. Mencken Award for Investigative Journalism, PEN West Award for Journalism, several prizes from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for feature journalism, the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award for Journalism, and the John Bartlow Martin Award (from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism) for Public Service Journalism.
Debbie is author and co-author of three books. She has been involved in translating two others into English — one from Spanish and the other from Latin American Yiddish. Her essays appear in several anthologies.
Debbie’s latest book is Pornography: A Groundwork Guide. For more information about the book and for a link to order it, click here.
In the late 1980s, Debbie was the first journalist to do in-depth critical work for the national press about the “ritual sex abuse” panic that peaked in the United States in the mid- to late 1980s. Her writing about these sex-abuse scandals helped free some falsely convicted defendants, including Kelly Michaels in New Jersey.
This work led Debbie to write Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt, with co-author and appellate attorney Michael Snedeker. Click here to find out more about the book and how buying it can help free people falsely accused and convicted of harming children.
Debbie appears in the Academy Award-nominated documentary Capturing the Friedmans, the story of accused child molesters Arnold and Jesse Friedman. Read Debbie’s article “Complex Persecution” in The Village Voice. It reviews the documentary and defends the Friedman’s claims of innocence.
Debbie is a board member of the National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ). This non-profit organization is an “innocence project” for people falsely accused of harming children. NCRJ challenges panic, political opportunism and hyperbole about the problem of child abuse. The group works to promote rational, constructive approaches to assist victims and deal with offenders.