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October 22, 2014

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Minnesota

Minnesota dioceses sign abuse settlements, pledge to protect children

by CNA Daily News

St. Paul, Minn., Oct 21, 2014 / 07:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two dioceses in Minnesota have reached undisclosed financial settlements with a victim of clergy abuse, promising to implement and abide by policies intended to protect children, and to report perpetrators.

“I am deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for the pain suffered by victims, survivors and their families,” Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said Oct. 13. He added that the agreement is a “significant step closer” to help survivors heal and “to restore trust with our clergy and faithful.”

He said that the archdiocese's agreement with an abuse victim is “a historic moment in our efforts to assure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”

Bishop John Quinn of Winona said his diocese is “ashamed of the horrific crimes” that former priest Thomas Adamson perpetuated against children.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of the children entrusted to our care in our schools and in our parishes,” he said Oct. 13.

Bishop Quinn said that the diocese has committed to child protection protocols as part of the settlement which will “further help to ensure the safety of all of God's children.”

Both the settlements, from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and from the Diocese of Winona, concerned a lawsuit from a victim of Adamson. Adamson admitted to the sexual molestation of at least ten teens while working as a priest in both dioceses. He said he attempted to abuse even more, the NBC affiliate KARE11 reports.

Although the abuse of the plaintiff took place in the 1970s, the lawsuit could proceed because of a change to state law in 2013. The change expanded a three-year window in the state's statute of limitations for sex abuse lawsuits, the Associated Press says.

The lawsuits alleged that Catholic leaders created a public nuisance by failing to warn parishioners about Adamson's sexual abuse.

The legal agreement with the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney Jeff Anderson means the dioceses will abide by a set of child protection protocols developed by diocesan officials and by Anderson's law firm, Jeff Anderson and Associates.

Archbishop Nienstedt said the agreement will strengthen collaboration to address sex abuse.

“I pray that this local Church will continue to be inspired by the Word of God to respond to the needs of those who have been harmed and seek healing as we move forward toward a new day for this archdiocese as well as for our local community.”

Some of the archdiocese's existing policies are already more extensive than the settlement's protocols; these will remain in place.

The agreement requires “ongoing” public disclosure of substantiated allegations of sex abuse. It bars the dioceses from conducting their own internal investigations of abuse and them from interfering with law enforcement investigations.

The agreement also requires the two dioceses to work to secure a signed statement from every member of the clergy in each diocese affirming that they have not committed sexual abuse of a minor. The clergy must also affirm that they have no knowledge of abuse of a minor by another priest of the archdiocese or employee of the archdiocese that has not been reported to law enforcement and to the archdiocese. The protocol exempts knowledge of abuse learned in the confessional.

Bishop Quinn said most of the protocols were previously adopted and implemented by the Winona diocese. He said the agreement “demonstrates our resolve and conviction to take every possible step to ensure the safety of all God's children.”

The bishop said the Diocese of Winona is committed to providing support and healing for “those who have been tragically abused by clergy.”

“We encourage anyone that has been abused recently or in the past to report the abuse to civil authorities.”

Representatives of both dioceses said that they could declare bankruptcy due to future abuse-related litigation or legal settlements.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/catholicnews/2014/10/minnesota-dioceses-sign-abuse-settlements-pledge-to-protect-children/

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United Kingdom

In Britain, Child Sex Abuse Defies Easy Stereotypes

by KATRIN BENNHOLD

LONDON — First there was abuse at the hands of a popular BBC host. There were scandals at private schools and in the church and talk of a pedophile ring in Parliament. Then there was Rotherham: over a thousand teenagers sexually exploited as the authorities looked away.

Over the past two years, high-profile revelations of sexual abuse of children have painted a picture of Britain as a place where such abuse is not just endemic but systematically covered up — either because the perpetrators are of the very highest status or because the victims are of the very lowest.

There are two lessons here, scholars and officials say. The first is that sexual abuse is far more common than previously believed: Currently, 2,500 children in England have child protection plans because they are deemed to be at risk of sexual abuse. But the police now speak publicly of “tens of thousands” of victims a year.

The second lesson is that the main driver of abuse is impunity: “Abuse happens in a context of permissibility,” said Helen Beckett, an expert on the subject at the University of Bedfordshire.

Whether Britain's lingering class system has made abuse more permissible is an open question, she said. But fixating on a particular stereotype — the white celebrity or the pedophile priest or the Pakistani taxi driver — may allow other perpetrators to go undetected.

In 2012, it emerged that Jimmy Savile, a former children's television host and BBC staple who died in 2011, had raped scores of children as colleagues and the police turned a blind eye. Mr. Savile, who was a friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, used his charity work to gain access to his victims in schools and hospitals. Since then, Rolf Harris, 84, once a popular television entertainer; Max Clifford, 71, a well-known publicist; and Stuart Hall, 84, another former BBC broadcaster, have been among those convicted for offenses involving children.

Meanwhile, in July, Britons learned of allegations that Cyril Smith, a former member of Parliament who died in 2010, abused boys in a care home in his constituency. The allegations against him and others were detailed in a file prepared three decades ago by a crusading lawmaker who described a pedophile ring of “big, big names.” But the file mysteriously disappeared.

Nothing, it seemed, could still shock this country — but in August an outside report on the northern town of Rotherham exploded in the headlines: At least 1,400 white girls had been abused, raped and trafficked by groups of men, mostly of Pakistani heritage, from 1997 to 2013.

Simon Bailey, the lead officer on child abuse for the Association of Chief Police Officers, last week warned of “many more Rotherhams to come.”

The abusers relied on powerful stereotypes, said Alexis Jay, the author of the Rotherham report, most prominently the idea of lower-class girls being problematic and promiscuous. The police routinely referred to 12-year-old victims as “prostitutes” or worse.

Now, of course, another powerful stereotype risks taking hold: that of the Asian perpetrator and the white victim. The legacy of Rotherham, Ms. Beckett warned, must not be to replace one set of blinkers with another. “If we focus too much on the race factor, we inadvertently give the message that you don't have to look at risk anywhere else,” she said.

Sue Berelowitz, the deputy children's commissioner, recounted how during a visit to a police station the top search term on the internal profiling system was “Asian male.” She asked what would happen if the perpetrator was non-Asian and was told, “We're not looking for those,” she recalled in an interview.

“The blindness is fascinating,” said Ms. Berelowitz, adding that the same was true for victims. “Ethnic minority victims are falling through the cracks.”

Her concerns were echoed by Mr. Bailey, who warned that “an unhealthy focus” on the Asian-on-white model of abuse overshadows the bigger picture. “That bigger picture is that 90 percent of child sexual abuse takes place in the home,” he told The Guardian last week.

But when it comes to child abuse, stereotypes die hard. “It's easier to report that a particular ethnic group is guilty or that victims are troubled,” Ms. Beckett said. “No one wants to believe this could happen to someone near them.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/world/europe/in-britain-child-sex-abuse-defies-easy-stereotypes.html?_r=0

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New York

Child abuse cases on rise

Comptroller says rate of recurrence in 6-month period increased to 21.5%

by Dennis Yusko

Saratoga County needs to do more to combat child abuse and cases of repeated neglect, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an audit. The county's Social Services commissioner disputed the findings, saying the state review did not account for multiple variables.

The recurrence rate in Saratoga County, or percentage of abused children who were neglected more than once in a six-month period, increased to 21.5 percent in September 2012 from 14.9 percent in March 2008, according to the state Comptroller's Office in a report released last week. An annual average of 361 child mistreatment cases were recorded in the county during the four-and-a-half years, with an average recurrence rate of 18.6 percent, according to the state. That was far higher than the state's 12.4 percent rate and more than three times the national standard of 5.4 percent in 2012, the comptroller said.

"The county's actions have not been sufficient to reduce its child abuse and neglect recurrence rate," the audit stated.

The audit reviewed Child Protective Services in Saratoga, Washington, Ulster, Dutchess, Livingston, Niagara, Oneida and Rockland counties to determine if the units were working to lower their recurrence rates.

It said the Saratoga County Department of Social Services did not fully implement a program improvement plan designed to reduce recidivism, and should better track substantiated allegations of repeat child abuse so it can reduce its recurrence rate. While the county began tracking repeat cases in May 2012, it should fully analyze data from the cases to provide more proactive measures to reduce neglect, the comptroller's report said.

State auditors interviewed county workers and supervisors to learn what they might have done differently to prevent recurrences of maltreatment.

"These caseworkers and supervisors often told us that the caregiver or other individual residing in the home had mental health issues or a drug-use condition," the audit states. "However, in all cases, the caseworker and supervisor could not think of any other actions they may have taken to prevent a recurrence. The county does not require re-examination of recurrence cases and does not do so."

Tina Potter, commissioner of the Saratoga County Social Services Department, told DiNapoli's office last year the county would prepare a corrective action plan to improve its performance. But in an interview on Monday, she defended her office's work. She said state auditors had incorrectly included some non-abuse reports in the county's recurrence numbers and wrongly compared state statistics with other states that operate under different reporting standards.

"The report does have some misrepresentation of reality because recurrence is such a complex issue that is impacted by many factors," Potter said.

The county did not fully implement its program improvement plan because of significant delays in attaining required training from the state Office of Children and Family Services, Potter noted. The county applied for the training in October 2009 but did not receive it until September 2010, according to the audit. Additionally, the county's family meeting facilitator was promoted to a new position, which caused additional delays, according to the state.

County caseworkers counted 328 child abuse and neglect cases from November 2013 to September 2014, and its recurrence rate dropped to 9 percent during that time, Potter said.

"It takes time to have a result," she said.

The audit also found Washington County made "significant progress" in reducing its child abuse and neglect recurrence rate to 11.6 percent from 20.3 percent over the same four-and-a-half-year period. As with Saratoga County, the report noted Washington County's rate is nearly double the national of 5.4 percent.

The comptroller's office similarly suggested Washington County analyze its cases to better understand recurrences.

In January 2010, Washington County implemented a state-approved alternative response program but the audit said the county has not formally evaluated the program to determine if it reduced recurrences.

A spokesperson for the state comptroller's office could not be reached Monday to discuss the audits.

For more information

For information about child abuse preventive services in Saratoga County, call the Department of Social Services' Children's Services Unit at 884-4151 or 884-4152. To make a report, call the Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline at 1-800-342-3720.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Child-abuse-cases-on-rise-5836073.php

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California

Yolo County hosted statewide conference on helping child abuse victims

by The Woodland Daily Democrat

More than 130 child abuse professionals attended the Children's Advocacy Centers of California Annual Summit "How Ongoing Trauma Affects Children and Child Abuse Professionals" at the Woodland Community & Senior Center last week.

The workshop offered information from experts on how to avoid inflicting additional trauma on child victims of abuse and sexual assault and was attended by police officers, child welfare social workers, therapists, child forensic interviewer specialists, deputy district attorneys, and probation officers.

In addition, there was discussion on dealing with the trauma that professionals experience when working with these crimes. Participants traveled to Woodland from Southern California and there was an international five-member team from Zambia. This Global Alliance for Health-sponsored study group is spending the month visiting California courts, district attorney's offices, police departments and child interview centers to observe best practices for investigating child abuse and domestic violence crimes.

Al Killen-Harvey, clinical supervisor at the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in San Diego, spoke during the morning session of the conference.

He stated that a lack of awareness and formal training in trauma can cause additional inadvertent trauma to these very vulnerable victims. He indicated that sounds, smells, or even a simple question can trigger another traumatic event for these victims.

Killen-Harvey noted that, "It is crucial that we understand how the kids feel and avoid dehumanizing them. We are asking them to describe to us something that was not a pleasurable event and which was overwhelming," and that these children are especially vulnerable because the crime caused them to lose control over their lives and bodies and the mere asking them what happened can cause more trauma.

Killen-Harvey encouraged the participants to look for ways to give these victims some choice or control. He says it can be as simple as allowing the child to select their seat, taking a break when they want, and letting them know that it is OK to break down emotionally.

He stated, "A little piece of control can be enough when they currently feel that they cannot control anything."

He also said that trauma experienced at a young age is the most damaging. Infants who are exposed to the sounds of domestic violence are known to later show related trauma-induced behavior. He said those exposed to domestic violence can actually be worse off than those physically assaulted in a domestic violence incident.

The afternoon workshop featured Dr. Nancy Bohl-Penrod, of the Counseling Team International based in San Bernardino.

Bohl-Penrod has been providing trauma support services and training to law enforcement since 1983, including natural disasters and Sept. 11 survivors in New York She stated that "repeated exposure to suffering children" is among the four top police officer stressors.

Dr. Bohl-Penrod noted that many people do not realize the impact of stress until they are burned out with "compassion fatigue." Compassion fatigue includes having calloused indifference towards others, losing interest in life, work and love ones and having difficulty sleeping and making decisions.

This state of anhedonia — inability to experience pleasure — needs to be addressed, Dr. Bohl-Penrod said. Having terror dreams can help because it may mean that the brain is trying to make sense of the situation. She told the audience that a supportive workplace network is important.

The Children's Advocacy Centers of California is a membership organization helping local communities respond to child abuse allegations while putting the needs of the child victim first.

The Oct. 16 conference was hosted by the Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center and Yolo County District Attorney's Office.

http://www.dailydemocrat.com/breakingnews/ci_26772563/yolo-county-hosted-statewide-conference-helping-child-abuse

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Alaska

Victim blaming isn't the answer

by Dawn McDevitt

There has been a lot of media coverage about domestic violence since the release of the Ray Rice video in which he punched his then fiancé, Janay Palmer, in the face. It seems no matter what you turn on; from sports channels to talk shows, both local and national news to the President; our local schools, dinner tables and grocery store, people are weighing in on this issue. Some discussions have been in a positive light while others have not. What disappoints me is that this is not a new concern, but one that gets ignored, overlooked, or passed off as someone else's issue, until a video is released.

In 2012, Kansas City Chief's Linebacker Javon Belcher, shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, in front of his mother and 3 month old baby. He then left his residence and drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he shot and killed himself in front of his coaching staff. Why didn't we hear more about this? Simply, there was no video, people didn't actually witness this tragic event. If you look at professional sports and domestic violence you will find a very long list of athletes charged with assault; stalking; rape; and homicide, some have been homicide/suicide. Until the video of Ray Rice was released NFL players were only punished with a 2 game suspension for beating up their significant other, while marijuana possession cost them a 13 game suspension. Sadly it has taken a video for the sports arena and the world to take notice. And what about Janay Palmer Rice? She not only was a victim of domestic violence, but has been re-victimized over and over again by the media and the public. I have heard so many victim blaming statements such as; “He lost his career because of her”; “she got what she deserved”; “if it is that bad why did she marry him, or why doesn't she just leave”'. This truly saddens me, and it reminds me that there is a lack of education on the issue of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is not an anger issue. Perpetrators of violence do not go around hitting their friends or co-workers, they don't just “lose it”, they pick a specific and safe target. They tend to suffer from low self-esteem, they are jealous, possessive and need to be “in control”. Domestic violence is all about the power and control over another person. It is a pattern of assaultive, controlling and coercive behaviors that include physical, sexual, verbal, and psychological attacks against a victim and children. Domestic Violence is not just an issue that the National Football League or other professional sports team face, it happens every day to people of any race, color, religion, economic status, ethnic background, or gender. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States.* One in 5 women (22%) and 1 in 7 men (14%) reported experiencing severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 1.3 million women each year are victims of domestic violence.

To bring this closer to home almost 75% of Alaskans have experienced or know someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. Alaska has the highest rate per capita of men murdering women. According to the current Seward, Alaska Population Demographic stats for 2013 & 2014 the total female population in Seward is 1,024. Of these 1,024 females 117 of them are between the ages of 15-24 years old. Statistics show that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, what does that mean for our community? Out of the 117 females ages 15-24, 29 of them will be victims of domestic violence.

What about the children who grow up in domestic violence homes? Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. Girls who grow up in abusive homes tend to be abused as adults because that is what they are taught as children. That is what they experience, that is what they observe, and what is reinforced to them. 68-80% of children witness domestic violence and 80-90% of children that witness domestic violence can give detailed descriptions of those violent incidents. Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in households where domestic violence is present, and children who witness abuse often display the same emotional responses as children who have been physically and emotionally abused. Children who witness domestic violence can regress to earlier developmental stages, such as bed wetting, they have medical problems, they identify with the aggressor, worry, have difficulty concentrating and paying attention, nightmares or having trouble sleeping, temper tantrums, fighting with others, hurting other children or animals, depression, they withdraw from others, they have excessive fear and anxiety, and suicide attempts. The impact of violence is different for children depending on the type of violence, pattern of violence, and age of the child.

In honor of October being domestic violence awareness month it is my hope to give you a better understanding of what a victim of domestic violence endures; to help you understand why they stay in their abusive relationships, and how dangerous it is for them to leave. 4 survivors, myself included, will share our stories. I hope you listen with your heart to the seriousness of what domestic violence is, not only to the victim but the children as well. I want you to look at the stats above and think of the females in your life that matter to you. Would you want them to be safe and someone to help them if they were in danger instead of turning the other way and ignoring it? Domestic violence will not go away if we continue to not address the problem. We must speak up, let others know that this behavior is not acceptable and we will not tolerate it in our communities. It is time for us to talk to our children and teach them about healthy relationships and respect, and model that behavior in our own lives. It is time to say no more to domestic violence. Victims should not have to hide behind closed doors or feel shame. Instead of people asking “why doesn't she just leave” we should be asking “why does the perpetrator batter”!

If you or someone you know are in a domestic violence relationship and need help- we are here for you. SeaView Community Service's Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program offers a variety of services which include: shelter nights, help accessing legal services, accompaniment to court proceedings, help with legal documents, emergency transportation, help with the following applications: housing, WIC, Food stamps, Denali Kid Care, etc. We can connect you with Counseling, substance abuse programs, and we work with the Child Advocacy Center and OCS. If you need help or more information please call our office today at 907-22-5257 or our 24-Hour Crisis Line at 907-224-3027. If you are in immediate danger please call 9-1-1

http://sewardcitynews.com/2014/10/victim-blaming-isnt-the-answer/

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Maryland

Ursula's story: Know the signs and accept that you are being abused

by Paula Carrasquilllo

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 21, 2014 — Ursula* is a survivor of domestic violence and pathological abuse living, raising her child and healing in The United States.
My relationship started off wonderful. I thought I had met the man of my dreams. He was nice, charming, always buying me gifts and we had this crazy chemistry.

After we started living together, things slowly changed. If I wanted to spend time with my friends, he would talk bad about them and make me feel guilty for hanging out with them. He almost ruined one of my friend's marriages, and I lost her friendship. She had been my best friend since we were 3; I was 22-23 at the time.

I also lost another lifelong friend because of him. He caused a huge fight between the two of us, and she stopped speaking to me. He convinced me that both of my two best friends were horrible friends and were not there for me like they should have been. By the end of our relationship, I only had one friend who stuck it out with me.

Other things came about during our relationship. He wanted to start doing online porn. This was something I never, ever wanted to do. I kept refusing for months. Right before we were to get married, he purchased both of us new vehicles. Shortly after buying the cars, he brought up the website again and told me that I could not have the wedding I wanted without doing the website, claiming we did not have the money since we had new vehicles. I felt as though I had no choice.

He had an extreme sexual addiction. At the time, I was so confused and did not realize what was actually happening. He used to be obsessed with increasing his penis size, always wanted his friends to join our relationship and there was no way I allowed to ever refuse him sex.

During our marriage, things got even worse. I was told what to wear and eat, when to sleep and shower and how to fold and wash clothes. Everything. I was also never allowed to go anywhere without him. I could never just have two minutes of peace.

Eventually, he sold the house we were living in because he wanted to buy a lot and build a home near his family. We had to move in with his Grandma. We had a nine-month old baby, living in his Grandma's duplex. He told me it would only be for a year. After the one-year mark, we had so many problems, and I moved out.

After leaving, I discovered he became a member of an “adult” website to look for sex. I filed for divorce two weeks later and that is when my real nightmare began. He threatened me over the phone that our daughter would go from having two parents to having zero. I would not let him see our daughter the next day, because he was too angry. I told him that once he was calm enough to speak to me, he could see her. My intentions were never to keep her from him. I just was afraid I would not get her back, as he would take advantage of the situation using my daughter to get what he wanted.

The next day, social services came to my apartment. I told my husband that our daughter was staying with my parents while I was at work. He told social services that my daughter was being sexually abused by my mom. My mom was a victim of sexual abuse in her past, and he tried to use that knowledge as the reason behind his false claim. My daughter was almost two at this point.

After he accused my mother, I filed a restraining order. After a year and half, we finally went to court for trial. He prolonged everything and ordered me to do a custody evaluation. He claimed I was an unfit mother and that I was crazy. It was a nightmare; custody evaluations are a joke.

After three days in court, which I spent a day and a half being attacked by his attorney who was just as nuts as him, I won primary care of my daughter. Currently, he is on his third appeal. This process and trying to get away from him has cost me close to $50,000 but has been worth every penny.

During the relationship, we would get along great until I wanted to do something he did not approve. He fought with me and turned things around and tried convincing me that I was the one who started the arguments. We argued in circles. I am an easygoing person and normally just go with the flow, but arguments with him ended with me giving up. It was easier. Then, after a big blow up, he would give me flowers or buy a massage for me. He would then say, “See. I am a great guy, and you just don't know how good you have it.”

I was constantly criticized about my weight, while simultaneously being told I should be proud of my body and that I needed to wear more skimpy clothes and shorts. Everything was just always so confusing.

It took me awhile to figure this out, but I loved him with everything I had. He did not love me in return. He acted the part very well; but if he really did love me, he would not have forced me to do things I did not want to do sexually or otherwise. Plus, He blamed me for everything in our relationship. His favorite line was, “You always tell me no.” Even if I said yes 199 times and on the 200th time said no , he accused of me always saying no .

He often embarrassed me in front of his friends and was always the clown of the group. He had this thing with getting naked and showing his body off to his friends or my friends; it was very embarrassing.

After our daughter was born, he made me feel like I was not good enough at being a mother to her. When I was pregnant with her, he would not let me pick colors for the bedroom. We argued so much that he threw a glass of water at me; and when I started crying he said, “Oh, come on. Water doesn't hurt. Why are you crying?” Even on the witness stand when asked if there was one thing I do better than him as a parent, he said, “Well, she could breastfeed, and I couldn't.”

I started to see a counselor on my own, because things were such a mess and at the time; I did not understand what was happening. I thought I was a terrible wife and mother. I confessed everything to the counselor, because everything was eating me up inside. She explained to me that the things I was describing were not about me.

After the counseling, things got worse. I hoped that he would eventually outgrow certain behaviors, but things kept getting worse and worse. I started to call out the things he was doing and that upset him. He used to poke me in the car just to torture me. The counselor said that was abuse, which shocked me. When confronted, he started laughing and said he was joking and that I, of course, blew it out of proportion and could not take a joke.

We went back to the counselor one more time after this, and he convinced me he was sorry and that we could work this out on our own. He suggested that we talk over coffee, because he knows that is my favorite.

To escape the pain, I turned to food and excessively cleaned.

My biggest challenge since the end of the relationship has been trying to communicate with him for the sake of my daughter. Every time I have let my guard down a little, it turns out to be a set-up to involve his lawyer. Thankfully, these set ups have not worked for him. He now claims he is a changed and Godly man. I hate to say it, but I know it is just an act. He is extreme with Church; everything about him is to the extreme.

I still do not think I have fully recovered. Some days, I feel really good; other days, I am angry and so very sad. I attend counseling and am refocusing my thinking and attitude on myself. The one wonderful thing since moving out is having my freedom. Unfortunately, at the same time, I am paranoid. There are times when I feel like he is there or watching me. It is very odd.

I used to keep everything to myself, because I thought I was the one who caused all the problems in our relationship. Now, I find that talking about what happened and constant things he is doing is helpful.

My advice to someone experiencing and struggling with a similar situation is to first believe and realize that abuse is happening to you. After the counselor said the word abuse , a light turned on in my head. I could not get that thought out of my head, so I went online and looked for books trying to see what this was about. I ordered two books and had them sent to my friend's house. I read them and kept them at work. I was stunned at some of the things I was reading, describing exactly what I was going through.

I feel I was taken advantage of and that I finally came to a breaking point. Not until you are at that breaking point can you make the next step. Once you stand up to your abuser and are firm, your abuser will become more angry. So prepare yourself. If at all possible, distance yourself quickly and keep communication minimal.

Once you are away and not living in that environment, you tend to forget the bad. It is easy to get sucked back in, but they never change.

http://www.commdiginews.com/life/ursulas-story-know-the-signs-and-accept-that-you-are-being-abused-28344/

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Texas

Teacher Ashley Zehnder Faces Sex Charge After Nude Photo Emerges: Cops

by Simon McCormack

Accusations of teacher-student sexual contact emerged after nude photos of the teacher made the rounds at her high school, cops said.

Ashley Zehnder, a 24-year-old biology teacher and assistant cheerleading coach at Pasadena High School in Pasadena, Texas, faces the felony charge of having an improper relationship with a member of the cheer squad, according to Click2Houston.com.

Authorities began investigating after Zehnder came to school administrators, upset about a naked picture circulating amongst students, KTRK reports.

Under questioning by police, the 17-year-old said he and Zehnder engaged in sex between May and August of this year.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Smoking Gun, the victim told police he received the Snapchat photo of Zehnder and sent it to friends.

Zehnder initially denied the allegations, but, the affidavit said, she later admitted to having sex with the student after she was shown text messages between herself and the student.

KHOU got reaction from parents and students to Zehnder's arrest.

"I think it's wrong. You're of age. You should know better," Mary Leyha, a parent in the community, said. "I mean, there's lots of men. Why you gotta go get a kid and get in trouble for it? I think it's stupid."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/21/ashley-zehnder_n_6022266.html?utm_hp_ref=crime

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Canada

Dead Infants Found In U-Haul Storage Locker In Canada

by Andy Campbell

Police in Winnipeg, Canada say that the bodies of several infants were found in a U-Haul storage locker on Monday night.

CBC News first reported the "gruesome scene," where four bodies were discovered in various states of decomposition. An employee at the facility originally called police after the remains caught his or her attention. It wasn't immediately clear how long the bodies had been in the locker, but police told reporters that a woman who was renting the locker has been interviewed.

Winnipeg police said at a press conference that the incident is "suspicious," but it wasn't immediately clear if there was foul play involved. That said, it's illegal to store human remains without authorization, police spokesman Const. Eric Hofley said.

"Obviously, you're not allowed to store or conceal human remains. That in itself would be a charge," he said. "Until the autopsies have determined what is the cause of this, we won't know what the full extent of the charges may or may not be."

The Winnipeg Free Press reached out to U-Haul:

"U-Haul team members made a disturbing discovery when taking inventory of a delinquent storage locker on Monday. They immediately contacted law enforcement who believed the locker contained human remains," said Razmin Mansoub, marketing company president for U-Haul Company of Central Canada.

"U-Haul is deeply shocked and saddened by this discovery."

The babies' ages and causes of death weren't released pending autopsies. Police wouldn't release any more details citing an ongoing investigation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/21/dead-babies-storage-locker-u-haul_n_6021804.html
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