JUNE - Week 1
||Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.
We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.
Your Honor, I object ...
by Randy Ellison
June 5, 2011
Just when it seemed we were starting to "get it" on child sexual abuse, along comes a court trial that reminds us just how far we have to go. Last week in Jackson County, Circuit Judge Tim Barnack allowed a 10-year-old child to be revictimized.
First, the girl was repeatedly characterized as precocious and attention-starved. I have two granddaughters and I would describe both of them as precocious and they definitely seek adult attention. "Watch this, papa." "Will you play with me, papa?" It takes a pretty sick mind to view this normal child behavior as an opening for sexual advance, much less use it as a defense in a court of law.
This next part is so unbelievable as to defy reason. Judge Tim Barnack allowed the bed the girl has stated she was abused on to be brought into court, and she is told to stand beside it and show what happened to her.
WHAT? I really want someone to say this didn't really happen in Medford, Ore. But it did. The judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney and observers all sat and watched a 10-year-old girl, holding her doll, stand next to the mattress as the defense attorney re-enacted her abuse in open court. Then the defense attorney described the 10-year-old child's overt trauma as an "act" and says she has never been traumatized by anything in this case. Somebody needs to check this man for a pulse! This is far worse than reality TV; at least they have censors.
Is this really the standard we want for dealing with accusations of child abuse? When a child gets the strength to come forward and report alleged sexual abuse should they have to suffer having their character attacked and be made to publicly re-enact the abuse? I sincerely hope not. The system failed this little girl. You and I failed this little girl.
In the last decade we have finally woken up to the extent of sexual abuse and exploitation of our children and are doing something about it. Now it's time to bring our legal system in line with our values. If we consider it morally wrong for adults to sexually abuse children, then why would it be OK for our courts to do so?
It happened once, shame on Judge Barnack and his court. If we allow it to happen again, then shame on us. This is our community and our court system. It should reflect our values and morals. If we don't want our children to be revictimized after reporting abuse, then we, you and I, need to speak up with our voice and vote to see that it doesn't happen again. Our judges are elected. In theory they enforce our laws, but they also have discretion. Let's elect judges that use that discretion wisely.
Our laws are made by the state Legislature and enforced by our attorney general. We can contact Sen. Alan Bates and Attorney General John Kroger to make sure this is not allowed in the future and ask them to make sure it isn't.
With 20 percent of our children suffering sexual abuse, we know we have done a lousy job of protecting them. Now that we are beginning to understand that fact and the impact of abuse, let's take the next step. Let's open our ears and hearts to the suffering these child victims are enduring and do what we can to ease their pain and the difficulty of reporting the abuse.
I know we can do better. For the sake of our children we must do better.
Randy Ellison of Ashland is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse and board president of the Oregon Association of Adult Sexual and Incest Survivors.
Opinion (concerning the above case)
A delicate balance
A defendant's rights don't disappear just because child abuse is alleged
June 5, 2011
Part of the genius of the American system of government is the notion of balance — in government, the balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches; in the courts, the balance between the right of the state to maintain order and punish lawbreakers and the right of the accused to a fair trial and a vigorous defense.
Sometimes a vigorous defense angers the public. That was certainly the case in the recent trial of Sunshine Sweetwater Bucy, accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl.
Bucy's attorney, Peter Carini, brought into the courtroom the mattress on which the alleged abuse reportedly occurred, and asked the girl to describe how she and Bucy were positioned on the mattress.
Advocates for abuse victims were outraged. How dare Carini put the girl through such an ordeal, they asked. The tactic victimized her all over again, they said, inflicting unnecessary trauma.
There is no question that testifying in a courtroom full of people, in front of a judge and a jury and being questioned by attorneys, is difficult for a child, and even more so when the child is accusing an adult of abusing her. Adding the mattress that was allegedly the crime scene makes the experience even more intimidating.
But was it wrong? Did it cross the line between defending a client and intimidating a witness?
You be the judge.
Bucy was facing more than six years in prison for a Measure 11 crime. Public sentiment automatically favors a 10-year-old female alleged victim over a 38-year-old male alleged abuser.
In criminal trials the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But in Oregon, except for murder trials, prosecutors need to convince only 10 of 12 jurors. In some states, felony convictions require a unanimous verdict.
The prosecutor in this case did not fulfill that burden. The jury deadlocked, 6-6.
We have no idea whether the girl's testimony or the presence of the mattress in the courtroom were factors in the jury's failure to reach a verdict. We do know that not every person accused of a crime — including sex crimes — is guilty.
Some critics have asked why the girl's testimony could not have been conducted in private — say, in the judge's chambers. That certainly would have been easier for the girl.
But the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants the right "to a speedy and public trial." Testimony taken in private does not satisfy that requirement.
We find it difficult to imagine how it would be possible to craft legislation that protects young children — many if not most of whom have indeed been assaulted — while at the same time protecting a defendant's right to a full defense.
It is beyond unfortunate that any child has to testify in public about something as disturbing as sexual abuse. It is also unfortunate when advocates for abuse victims approach every case as though the defendant is automatically guilty.
The balance between society's right to punish criminals and a defendant's right to a fair trial is one of the things that makes America the great country that it is. But that doesn't mean it's easy.
Bucy is scheduled to be tried again this week. We hope all concerned reserve judgment until the court has done its difficult but vitally important job.
Blue ribbons for Sasakwa Public School
The Ada Evening News
June 4, 2011
Sasakwa — Twenty-six students in grades 10 to 12 from the Sasakwa Public School participated in tying blue ribbons on six trees on the school campus, April 6 in recognition of this month being Child Abuse Prevention month. Debbie Carroll, school counselor and faculty, had two of her classes in “Family Consumer Science” carry out this task as part of the class content. This blue ribbon effort is a nationwide project to call attention to this need which is a very great concern about the welfare of children in the nation and in the local area. Carroll's students learned about statistics pertaining to child abuse, signs to observe for evidence of child abuse, the several kinds of abuse - physical, sexual, emotional and neglect, and ways in which abuse can be prevented.
Carroll also teaches a class to high school students on parenting skills and child growth and development. In the “Family Consumer Science” class, students learn adult life skills. In both classes, the content addresses issues of self-respect, self-esteem, respect for authority and discovering one's purpose in life.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines child abuse in terms “child maltreatment” which includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role such as a coach, a teacher or in the clergy.” The CDC considers using a child for pornography as an example of abuse. Using a child for human sex trafficking and prostitution is another serious form of abuse. Thirteen years of age is the documented average age for girls being involved in this kind of abuse. Boys are victims of these same kinds of abuses. Child abuse is considered an American epidemic. In 2005, there were more than 3.5 million children reported as victims of child abuse or neglect. For every incident of child abuse or neglect that is reported, it is estimated that two incidents go unreported. Child abuse statistics for 2010 in Oklahoma included 621 reported incidents of child abuse with child neglect abuse being the top type of abuse. Oklahoma state and Seminole County rank significantly high in abuse occurrences. Often child abuse of the four kinds stated earlier can cause permanent damage to the child's body, soul and spirit. This damage may even result in the child's death as has been reported by the CDC. The official number of children killed from abuse or neglect nationwide in 2008 is 1,740, increased from 2001. Eighty percent of the children are under four years of age. Between 2001-2008, seven years' span, the official number of child abuse and neglect fatalities was 12,180. This figure is reportedly on the increase. In thousands of these cases, people reported the danger facing a given child to authorities, but protective agency budgets and staff capacity stretched dangerously thin in comparison to the problem so that the authorities' response failed the child. Now a harsh economy combined with a steadily weakened safety net in many states along with unprecedented slashes in child protection spending in some states threatens to put even more children at risk.
Of the 715,760 children confirmed as abused and neglected in 2008, 71/1 percent did not receive proper food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, education, medical care or protection. 16.1 percent were listed as physically abused, 9.1 percent were sexually abused, 7.3 percent suffered from emotional abuse, 2.2 percent suffered from medical neglect, 9 percent suffered from other mistreatment such as abandonment, threats to their life, and congenital drug addiction, while 60 percent of people in drug rehabilitation centers report having been abused or neglected as a child. Of the millions of children reported abused or neglected each year, several thousand are in life threatening situations. Fortunately, the present systems of child protection successfully intervene in many of these situations, but for nearly 2,000 children, whatever response may be done it is too little, too late and the children die.
A study in October 2008 by Ben Fenwick and Scott Cooper found that “Oklahoma abuses more children to death than any state in the nation per capita. The study, titled “Geography Matters: Child Well-Being in the States” reported that children in Oklahoma die from child abuse at a rate of 4.8 per 100,000 or nearly 1 in 20,000, making Oklahoma the state with the highest death rate in the nation.
Human trafficking facts include two types of trafficking - labor and sexual. Sexual trafficking is accomplished by means of fraud, deception, threat of or use of force toward a person who is defenseless and vulnerable. The U.S. State Department estimates at least 600,000 to 800,000 human beings are trafficked across international borders annually, but within national borders, the number is much higher. Approximately 80 percent of the victims are women and girls, 50 percent are children and 70 percent are forced into sexual servitude. In February 2001, Interpol announced that human trafficking generated $19 billion annually. The United Nations claims that the human trafficking industry surpassed the drug trade to become the largest source of money for organized crime, after the illegal arms trade. Pornography contributes to the powerful and lucrative sex trafficking. Oklahoma, with its interstate routes, Interstate 35 North-South and Interstate 40 East-West, is especially valued for trafficking purposes.
Two programs, one public and one private, which focus their resources on prevention are the Children First program administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Innocence Lost Campaign. The Innocence Lost Campaign was launched on March 30, 2010 to help raise awareness and funds for child abuse prevention and recovery. The Innocence Lost Campaign reported nationwide statistics such as: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old. They found that nearly 70 percent of all reported sexual assaults are on children 17 and under, while 80 percent of child abuse victims have been maltreated by one or both parents. There are more than 40 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America today. Proceeds from the Innocence Lost Campaign fundraising go directly to promoting a healthy recovery of a child. Anyone can go to the National Child Abuse Hotline to report a real or suspected situation of a child being abused. Call 1-800-4-a-CHILD .
Monterey Diocese sued over alleged abuse in the 1960s
Lawsuit says man was molested by priest 50 years ago
by LARRY PARSONS
Painful memories of being molested as a young altar boy by a priest came flooding back for a Monterey County man now suing Roman Catholic church authorities for his alleged abuse 50 years ago.
As he watched a television show last November about men who were abused as children by priests, the man's eyes filled with tears and a new period of his life began — a time plagued by nightmares, shame and anger, his suit says.
"Upon seeing that program, plaintiff began crying and had to turn off the television because he became so distraught," the suit says. "He has had nightmares and trouble sleeping since then and, as a result, he has sought counseling to help him deal with the trauma."
The suit filed in Monterey County Superior Court doesn't yet name the priest, the church or the diocese where the sexual abuse allegedly occurred between 1960 and 1964. The victim, now in his 60s, is identified as John RF Doe in the complaint that seeks general and punitive damages.
The Diocese of Monterey, in a statement, said it became aware of the allegations in November and reported them immediately to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.
The priest involved in the allegations today "is very elderly and has never been accused of any other incident of sexual misconduct," the diocese statement said.
"He is a priest of the Diocese of Fresno and lives in a retirement community," the statement said. "The bishop of Fresno has been informed of the allegation, and we have been assured that he is not in the ministry."
A diocese spokesman said the priest worked in the Pajaro-area parish in the 1960s, but he didn't know which church.
The suit also alleges that church and diocese officials covered up the priest's sexual abuse and shuffled "pedophile priests to different parishes where they could continue to abuse young parishioners."
As to that allegation, the diocese said, "We take exception to these statements among others."
The involved priest was assigned to the parish where the molestations allegedly occurred from 1953 to 1967, the diocese said. He was assigned to the Fresno diocese in 1967 after the former Diocese of Monterey-Fresno was divided in two.
Until November, there were no allegations leveled against the priest in either the Fresno or Monterey diocese, the statement said.
The diocese said it has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding child abuse, and said there are no priests or deacons currently with the diocese who have any credible claims of abuse against them.
In January, the diocese suspended the Rev. Edward Fitz-Henry, a priest in San Juan Bautista, amid allegations that he molested a former altar boy at a Salinas church in 2004 and 2005. The alleged victim filed suit in February.
The victim in the new suit alleges that the unnamed priest molested him over a five-year period when he was 10 to 14 years old. The victim lived near the church and the priest would call him over and sexually abuse him on the church grounds, said the suit.
The priest told the boy not to tell anyone about what was happening or he would get into "big trouble," the suit says.
The trauma of being molested was buried for nearly five decades, said the suit.
Lawrence Biegel, the alleged victim's attorney, said he kept the childhood trauma "tamped down" all those years.
"He lived the kind of life ... that it was central to his being that he not deal with it," Biegel said.
State law allows victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil charges within three years after they discover that the abuse caused psychological injury or illness.
They first must be examined by at least one licensed mental health practitioner who finds a "reasonable and meritorious" basis for a suit.
Bishop Richard Garcia, the diocese leader, met with the plaintiff and "offered him pastoral outreach and counseling," the diocese said.
Biegel said the bishop was "very sensitive in the way he treated my client." The suit, he said, is not about the way the diocese currently is being run.
"I respect Bishop Garcia," he said. "(The bishop) wrote my client a very beautiful letter, saying that he was keeping him in his prayers, and he completely believes that."
The suit says it will be later amended to name specific defendants. Before that can happen, the plaintiff must file information with the court about corroborative evidence, according to state law.
Decades after abuse, someone finally listened
Woman's drive for justice changed state law
by Sharon C. Fitzgerald
For years, Malinda Kail wondered if her childhood memories were skewed.
The 42-year-old Ruckersville woman remembered years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, but he wasn't criminally charged, despite in the 1980s admitting the abuse to child protective service workers.
As an adult, Kail wrote letters and sent emails to every county and state official she could think of and anyone still alive who worked the original case. But no one had any record or memory of the accusations against her father, Richard Clinton Moore Jr., and those who did would not speak to Kail about her case.
It would take 22 years and two of her letters getting into the right hands to start turning the wheels of justice for Kail.
But by then, it was nearly too late, she said.
“I wanted some answers to why they didn't do anything to him all those years ago,” Kail said. “Then they went and arrested him and didn't give me a chance to have a say in anything. I feel like they took the power away from me all over again.”
Old records found at the Region Ten Community Services Board offices in Charlottesville in the summer of 2008 showed Moore admitted to abusing Kail and another of his daughters from the time they were preschoolers until they were teenagers.
Moore, who was arrested in 2009 and later pleaded guilty to charges of sodomy and taking indecent liberties with Kail, received a 13-year prison sentence, of which some seven years were suspended.
Virginia Department of Correction records show Moore is scheduled to be released on parole in September after serving just a little more than two years of his sentence.
But her father's conviction and a change in state law requiring jurisdictions to keep records of substantiated child molestation cases for at least 25 years have done little to ease Kail's suffering or answer her questions.
“I still want to know what happened all those years ago,” Kail said of the handling of her case. “I want to make sure it won't ever happen again.”
Growing up, Kail saved her pocket change for the day she could leave home for good.
The oldest of four children, Kail describes her family home as being a powder keg ready to explode at any moment. She believes the abuse from her father started when she was just in diapers, and Region Ten records from 1987 that Kail provided to The Daily Progress corroborate her memories.
Kail and her younger sister fled their family home in Louisa County on Oct. 24, 1987, after years of abuse from Moore and what she considered disregard from her mother, court records show.
“Dad ruled with an iron fist in our house,” Kail said.
The three sisters were taken out of the family home for good after meeting with social service workers and talking with Louisa County sheriff's deputies.
“We went into foster care and that seemed to be it,” Kail said. “After that night we didn't see the sheriff's investigator again. I felt like we were on our own.”
Looking for answers
Kail tried to make a life for herself in the years after leaving her family's home.
She eventually aged out of the foster care system and went to live with her boyfriend and his family. The couple eventually married, had a daughter and then divorced.
Kail would later marry her current husband, Clay Wilcher, and have two children with him. Although she would see her nuclear family from time to time, she said they remained fairly distant. Over the years, she would ask questions about why her father wasn't charged with a crime.
“I wanted some straight answers as to what happened,” Kail said. “I was digging in my brain and I couldn't leave it alone because things didn't add up to me.”
At first, Kail said she contacted Louisa County social services in search of her records. When those leads fell dead she started a letter-writing campaign that would last more than six years.
“I just couldn't give up,” Kail said.
In the summer of 2008, Kail wrote two letters — one to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Services Council and one to Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle — sharing details of her story and her need for answers on what didn't happen long ago.
Those two letters would open a criminal investigation and lead to new legislation.
Louisa County sheriff's Maj. Donnie Lowe was a rookie deputy in the police academy in 1987, but he remembers stopping by the office on the night Kail and her sister were brought in after running away from home.
He sat and talked with the two young girls and left them his business card, something the soon-to-be deputy said he gave to all residents he came in contact with.
Lowe was surprised to see that card more than 20 years later when Kail came to talk to him about her case.
“I had completely forgotten about that night,” Lowe said. “When she came back and told us what was going on it freaked me out because I thought I would have remembered that case.”
Lowe could not find any records of Kail's case at the Sheriff's Office. And the deputy who worked the original case was dead and the investigator had moved on to another job.
“I never heard another thing about the case when I came back from the academy,” Lowe said. “I don't know if we'll ever know why it wasn't prosecuted.”
Louisa's commonwealth's attorney, Tom Garrett, said his office was just as surprised when Kail's letter was passed along from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Services Council, a state agency that provides training to commonwealth's attorneys across the state.
Garrett, who had been in the office for less than a year, said he had never heard of Kail before getting the letter.
According to Kail's handwritten notes, she reached out to the Louisa County commonwealth attorney's office in May 2008. Kail said she met with Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Rusty McGuire only after her father's sentencing and never met with Garrett.
Once Kail's letter arrived, Garrett said he asked the sheriff's investigators to look into the case. Because there were no case files and only old records from Region Ten, the case had to be built from scratch, Garrett said.
Moore was arrested Feb. 25, 2009 — more than 21 years after he first admitted to social service workers that he had sex with his daughters.
“He was totally surprised,” Garrett said. “I don't think he ever expected to be arrested for having sex with his daughter even though he signed a confession years earlier.”
State law mandated Morris be sentenced under the guidelines he would have faced if he was convicted in the 1980s. He pleaded guilty in July 2009 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison, most of it suspended.
If he had been arrested under current law, Moore would have received more time and more charges, Garrett said.
Kail's two sisters and brother declined to work with prosecutors on the case in 2008, although in interviews with sheriff's investigators at the time all of them admitted abuse took place in the house.
Investigators found no solid evidence Moore molested anyone other than his own children, Garrett said. No one has come forward since his prosecution to say they were molested by Moore.
“You don't roll out of bed one morning and decide to sexually prey on children,” Garrett said. “You don't go to bed that night and wake up the next morning and feel any differently. When we find someone like Richard Moore, even if it's 22 years later, we need to prosecute him and make sure that when he gets out he's on the Sex Offender Registry because scientists will tell you he'll still be a threat to children.”
‘The ball was dropped'
Malinda Kail logically knows her father deserved prison time for the crimes he committed against his children.
But she wasn't exactly ecstatic when Moore was sentenced to prison.
“I wasn't going there to get him in prison,” Kail said. “I wanted some answers. He should have been in prison years ago. But they didn't ask me what I wanted.”
Garrett said the circumstances of Kail's case obligated his office to bring charges against Moore.
“This is a casebook example of why there should never be a statute of limitations on this type of crime,” Garrett said. “We had two signed confessions from him that he did this … that is why it was so easy to get a conviction almost 23 years later.”
In his interview with a social services counselor in 1987, Moore admitted to having sex with his daughters. He also said he had been abused in his childhood and that his attraction to his daughters began when they were toddlers.
Although the girls told family members and talked to their mother, the abuse continued for years, records show.
Moore told investigators that he stopped physically having intercourse with them after his wife confronted him for a third time, but he never lost the desire to do so, reports said.
Both Lowe and Garrett said there is no explanation as to why Moore wasn't charged in 1987 and why there were no records of the case at either agency.
While Lowe declined to speculate on what might have happened, Garrett said he finds it hard to believe a case file was ever turned over to the commonwealth's attorney's office.
Henry A. Kennan, who was sheriff in Louisa County in 1987, and then-Commonwealth's Attorney John Garrett (no relation to Tom Garrett) both are deceased.
“The ball was dropped, there's no doubt about that,” Garrett said. “One could wonder how it happened, but I just wasn't there. Our responsibility is to prosecute the crimes of which we're made aware, and when this case came to us we prosecuted it vigorously.”
Kail has created several large notebooks detailing her life story.
In them are the documents detailing her family's interviews with social services about the allegations of abuse and notes detailing her long search for answers.
There are also copies of the handwritten notes and emails she sent looking for answers and the few replies she received in return.
A few years ago Kail sent several notebooks out to attorneys around the state, but no one was willing to pursue a civil case against Louisa County or state officials.
But just like prison time for her father, Kail said she was never hoping to make money off her years of abuse. She just wanted some answers as to what happened and gain some hope that it wouldn't happen to someone else.
Last year, Kail worked with Bell on legislation that extended the number of years agencies must keep records of substantiated sexual abuse cases from seven to 25 years after the original complaint.
Bell said Kail's story resonated with him and his staff and inspired them to help in whatever way they could.
“She had been so dogged in trying to get answers,” Bell said. “It's a major credit to Malinda that she fought for those records. She just wouldn't give up.”
The legislation will help in future cases, but Kail still wonders if it's enough to keep other cases from falling by the wayside.
“I just want to know this won't happen to someone else,” Kail said. “I want people to know that if something like this happened to them they should be able to get answers.”
Victim becomes full-time advocate against domestic abuse
by SAMARA KALK DERBY
Three years after her ex-boyfriend killed her 5-week-old twins, Susan Bird-Winbun has become a full-time advocate for protecting children from abuse.
She recently started a nonprofit, Murder is Murder, which is lobbying for stiffer punishment against child abusers. She's also in the process of opening a domestic violence shelter in Sauk County.
Bird-Winbun, 31, who recently moved from Baraboo to Reedsburg, is speaking out about the abuse she suffered at the hands of David Yates, who in October was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of their twin infants, Savannah and Tyler Yates. The babies were found beaten to death in their father's condominium in April 2008.
"One of the goals of me speaking out is to save people from living with the blame that I carry on myself," said Bird-Winbun, who also is writing a book about her experiences with domestic violence. "I am speaking so people know what to do before it turns into a situation - a tragedy - like it did with my children."
Bird-Winbun said she had to be silent until Yates' trial was over.
David Yates, 18 years her senior, was her boss when the two worked for a resort company in Wisconsin Dells. He had been her boyfriend for 3 1/2 years, and she said he was good with her three children from a previous marriage.
The couple had been dating for six months when the verbal abuse started, Bird-Winbun said. Soon he was grabbing her and throwing things at her, she said.
"Over time it began to escalate," Bird-Winbun said. "That's one of the biggest myths about domestic violence, that it begins as full-fledged violence. He didn't knock me unconscious or break my nose the first time he hit me."
By the time she recognized what was happening to her as domestic violence, she said, it was so overwhelming she didn't know what to do. She finally had what she describes as "an awakening" and left him one week after the birth of their twins. They were murdered one month later.
Interestingly, before that, Yates never acted out against any of her children. He yelled at her older son once, but wouldn't even put the kids in a "time out" without checking with her first, she said.
At the time she figured that if her older children were safe with him, it followed that his own infant children would be safe, too.
She knows now that someone who is violent with one person will be violent with others. "Chances are high they don't discriminate against who they are violent against," Bird-Winbun said.
Child abuse is a hidden epidemic, according to Childhelp, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.
Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse, most of them under the age of 4, the group reports. More than 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States, but each report can include multiple children.
Hanna Roth, co-founder of the Rainbird Foundation, a Madison nonprofit that works to end child abuse, has her own history of abuse. Her father was a teacher and a convicted pedophile. She said she doesn't know how many children he hurt, and he went to prison for his crimes against them. But he never served time for the abuse he committed against Roth and her siblings.
"The fastest way to end child abuse is to take it out of the closet and talk about it," Roth said.
It's important that children know that violence is never OK, whether it's against an adult or a child, Bird-Winbun said. "This is something you can talk about with your family at the dinner table or in the car on the way to soccer practice."
In school, children are taught about safe sex and not doing drugs, she said, "But I don't remember one single instance when it was discussed what to do if your boyfriend hits you or how to help a friend who's been abused."
Breaking the cycle of abuse Comfort kits help children cope
June, 4 2011
by Trina Kleist
When child abuse attacked former Nevada County resident Averen Bareggi's family, she turned her pain and healing into a mission for helping other children recover from their experiences.
Now a resident of Orangevale in the Sacramento area, Bareggi and her mother-in-law, Sherri Stromlund, are creating child-size knapsacks stuffed with toys and tools for processing and recovering from violence.
Bareggi grew up in western Nevada County and attended schools in Grass Valley, so Grass Valley Police Department was the first recipient of comfort kits from Break the Cycle, Bareggi's organization dedicated to offering support to children who are brought into contact with police and other agencies because they have been abused.
After surviving her family's encounter with child abuse, which she did not want to discuss, Bareggi began to read what she could about it.
She was alarmed to find statistics showing some victims grow up to victimize others.
And often, children think the abuse was their fault, she added.
“The purpose of the bag is to let the kids know they're good people, and the awful thing that happened to them doesn't have to continue,” Bareggi said. “They can break the cycle.”
Contents from the kits will be used as ice-breakers for children who are interviewed by law enforcement because they have been a victim of or a witness to a crime, Grass Valley Police Det. Alex Gammelgard said.
Bareggi, a hair stylist and mother of three young boys, makes and sells pendants, key chains and bracelets in her spare time to support the project.
She also has friends and colleagues collecting recyclable materials that she returns for cash to help pay for each kit, which costs $50 to $60, she said.
Her goal is to make five kits each month and deliver them to area law enforcement agencies.
Healing contents Unable to contain her own childlike enthusiasm, Bareggi unstuffed a rucksack to display its contents: A soft, little toy leopard; a box of red, green, yellow and blue modeling clay, and a bottle of bubbles that even grown-ups want to grab. The bubbles made her giggle.
“A Koosh ball,” Bareggi said, giggling again and putting the blue-and-yellow wad of rubber filaments on the table. “It's a good destressor, and (children) can throw it when they're mad.”
She pulled out more items, all of them tested by her own family and proven for their therapeutic value: A soundtrack CD from the “Curious George” movie; a slim, child's journal and a smiley-face pencil to write with; a bottle of purple finger paint, to remind children they can change the world with their own two hands; and simple books about character traits such as kindness and honesty.
The kits also include a gift certificate to some recreational activity for the child and guardian to enjoy together. Bareggi and Stromlund are working on a resource list to include for parents and guardians.
Another item she wears around her neck: A shiny copper disk Bareggi has hand-stamped with the words, “Break the Cycle,” and a silver peace-sign pendant hanging with it, a circle within a circle. The pendant is included with every kit, and is for sale on her website.
“It creates awareness and is a conversation-starter,” Bareggi explained.
As a stylist, she gets to talking with clients, and has been shocked at how many people bear the scars of childhood abuse.
“It's definitely out there.”
Battle of the sex trade
Concerns over prostitution and the welfare of victims are slowly prodding a toughening of Hawaii laws
by Vicki Viotti
It's called the world's oldest profession, and it's not exactly a new phenomenon in little Waikiki, either.
What is new is that Honolulu is about to move under the white-hot glare of international attention, and prostitution is not exactly what Hawaii leaders want to have front and center.
The advent of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November has left Waikiki residents anticipating that the influx of some 20,000 attendees will create a surge in prostitution. And advocates for legislation to protect the victims of sex trafficking are afraid that the Waikiki sidewalk crowds will include some who were pressed into service against their will.
Kathryn Xian probably has the pressure of that impending event to thank for the legislation that finally was passed in the 2011 session, after years of her lobbying. Xian is director of advocacy for the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, which this year pushed for passage of House Bill 240, the first measure that attempts to address the issue of sex trafficking in some way.
“We've been at this with them for six years,” Xian said. “The previous administration's view was that if it (the law) was not broke, don't fix it. And also because the victims were viewed as part of the problem.”
HB 240 is still under review by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has until July 12 to sign it or veto it; otherwise it becomes law without his signature.
This measure wasn't what Xian and other advocates first proposed, either this year or in previous years. What they wanted was the creation of a new section of law to deal expressly with sex trafficking, establishing a set of new criminal terminology in which the person drawn into the sex trade is defined as a victim, not as a prostitute.
But Xian's complaints about the Linda Lingle administration notwithstanding, the current city prosecutor agreed with the former governor that the sex trafficking bill offered both in 2010 and 2011 was the wrong approach. New legal definitions often get challenged in court, Keith Kaneshiro said, so he found Lingle's veto to be based on sound reasoning.
Instead, Kaneshiro's staff worked with state Sen. Clayton Hee and other lawmakers to craft a bill aimed at working within tried and tested legal definitions.
“We thought, ‘Why don't we try to take the concerns of the human-trafficking people and look at how we can address the concerns?'” he said. The result was a law that offered witness protection to those coerced into prostitution if they testify against those profiting from their work; hardened penalties against the people who got them into it; and toughened penalties for the “johns” who frequent prostitutes.
The term “sex trafficking” never appears in the bill.
Hee believes it will work, because it focused on the needs of people affected.
“It's always one thing to construct laws in the abstract,” he said, “but this law resulted from real-life people sharing real-life examples.”
The Polaris Project is a national nonprofit that bird-dogs all the state legislation aimed at curbing the trafficking of youths and adults into the sex trade. In the eyes of its policy counsel, Hawaii is beginning a long trek upwards from the absolute bottom of the heap.
It's not taking a path the group generally prescribes, said Jim Dold, but maybe that's OK. Whatever works.
"Sometimes the best approach is just going in there and increasing penalties," Dold said. "Each state has its own issues, and each state is responding differently."
That charitable assessment aside, Polaris still officially has Hawaii listed as one of the "Dirty Dozen": the 12 U.S. states lacking in large measure the laws it favors as weapons in the war on sex trafficking.
It's hard to know how or whether Hawaii's grade will improve once the fate of House Bill 240, as well as some other measures, is decided. HB 240 is the primary measure dealing with the issue that passed in the recent legislative session, and it's unknown whether Gov. Neil Abercrombie will shepherd it finally into law.
The 2011 bill takes a different approach from legislation that passed last year, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle. At that time lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2045, which created a new section criminalizing "sexual human trafficking."
The veto dismayed its advocates, but upon taking office, Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro examined the issue and ultimately agreed with Lingle's reasoning.
"Using the word trafficking, we never had trafficking defined," Kaneshiro said. "And there's going to be all kinds of interpretation, so of course it's going to delay. It's going to go to the Supreme Court for a firm definition.
"It's in vogue to use the term, it's politically correct. That's the term that's going around, and everybody's using now," he added. "For us in the legal system, it may be in vogue but now it has to be tested. It's going to cause more problems for us."
Instead, Kaneshiro's staff worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman — Sen. Clayton Hee — and other lawmakers to toughen up existing statutes that target the demand side of the prostitution problem, adding penalties for the "johns," as well as for those making the biggest profits.
Groups worried about the state's approach to human trafficking were uneasy that there was no terminology in law distinguishing the pimps for willing prostitutes from those engaging in what they view as a modern-day form of slavery. But Kaneshiro is resolute on that point.
"One of the things the human trafficking people wanted: ‘Can't you use, instead of calling it "promoting prostitution," can you call it "sex trafficking?"' And I said no. It's going to deflect from what we're trying to accomplish."
The focus of HB 240 is the "promoting prostitution" section of the statute, and if the bill becomes law, people who coerce or push people into prostitution through fraud will be considered to be committing the offense. These are people who are sex traffickers by another name, Hee said.
"This is the best effort by lawmakers to put together broad-based approach to sex trafficking," he added.
Hee's counterpart chairman in the House, Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, agreed, but acknowledged that hardening the statutes won't be enough. Whether it's sex trafficking or any other kind of human trafficking — such as the Thai slave labor being prosecuted in federal court — better training of law enforcement and government agencies is an important component.
"One of the lawyers for the Thai laborers said one of the victims of trafficking at the farms went to an official at the labor department to complain, but (the official) didn't look into it any further," Keith-Agaran said.
The actual impact of legislative changes is hard to gauge, given that there are no clear numbers on trafficking to serve as a baseline. Kaneshiro said getting a better idea of the scale will be one job for his office.
Also unknown: whether providing witness protection to the victims of sex trafficking will help.
"For all these people who testify and say they're victims, not too many have come forward to say, ‘Can you come and prosecute the people who fostered this?'" Kaneshiro said.
Some people have their doubts. Tracy Ryan, who chairs the Libertarian Party of Hawaii and who has favored the legalization of prostitution, does not object to prosecuting those who are truly in the trade against their will or through misrepresentation of some kind.
But there are many cases of prostitutes who were convinced their pimp loves them, she said, and not many of them are willing to step up as witnesses for the prosecution.
Among her other objections are that prison populations and costs will increase; that few johns are repeat offenders, making the new "habitual solicitation" offense pointless; and that many offenders are engaging in a consensual act.
"The rational bases for the whole set of ideas is not supported by any real understanding of the sex industry and seems primarily aimed at pandering to the wishes of radical feminists who have zero expertise," she said in an emailed response to the Star-Advertiser.
One of the primary advocates of sex-trafficking legislation is Kathy Xian, and she takes exception to that characterization. Xian said her Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery organization has intervened for six years on behalf of those she prefers to call "prostituted persons." Very little about what they do is consensual, she added.
"After you establish trust with them, they all say the same thing: ‘Nobody in their right mind would do this,'" Xian said.
"The unfair bias against women is the assumption that a woman would want to engage in prostitution," she added. "Reality says to us that that is not the case, but that these people have been relegated to a very small choice, and we would argue that it isn't a choice. These traffickers steal these girls' lives away."
Xian agreed that better statistics would help, but she predicted that new protections for victims will drive better prosecution.
"Come July 1 when they take effect we will see more traffickers come to justice," she said. "And we will see more victims come through our doors, so social services better get ready."
Fairfax Officials Applaud New Va Human Trafficking Law
Three bills signed by Governor at Dulles Airport
by Andre L. Taylor
Tina Frundt was forced into prostitution at the age of 14.
She blamed herself for being raped and felt angry toward herself for not listening to the man she thought loved her when he told her to have sex with one of his friends.
On Tuesday, Frundt, founder of Courtney's House — a nonprofit organization committed to providing a safe place for child sex trafficking victims — was at the Washington Dulles International Airport to watch Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sign three bills that would prevent human trafficking.
“I am just so happy they're recognizing that Virginia has a problem with human trafficking,” said Frundt, who manages a staff of four at Courtney's House, and one case manager. “We have a long way to go, but this is a start.”
Delegates, various law enforcement agencies from around Virginia and several nonprofit corporations that aid victims of human trafficking packed a conference room Tuesday at the airport to see the McDonnell sign the three bills.
State Sen. Janet Howell (D-McLean, Reston) said she is glad to see initiatives that will provide services to the victims of human trafficking. She said she wants offenders involved in human trafficking in Virginia that they will be held accountable for their actions.
“We need to focus on the ‘Johns',” Howell said. “We'll prosecute and you'll probably go to jail for life.”
House Bill 1893 is the most stringent of the three bills McDonnell signed Tuesday. The bill, trafficking of a minor, is reclassified as a class two felony now. A penalty of 20 years to life in prison goes to anyone convicted of abducting a minor for the purpose of manufacturing child pornography or prostitution.
McDonnell also signed Senate Bill 1453, which requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to advise law enforcement agencies of human trafficking issues and House Bill 2190 which requires the Department of Social Services to develop a service plan for victims of human trafficking. McDonnell said between 4 million and 27 million people are said to be trapped in modern-day slavery around the world.
There are 46 states, including Virginia, that have specific laws against human trafficking, said James Dold, policy counsel for Polaris Project, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that combats human trafficking.
Del. Tim Hugo (R-14th District) had no idea Centreville allegedly has a problem with human trafficking. A father of four young children, Hugo said something had to be done about human trafficking in Virginia.
“You don't think this happens here but it does,” Hugo said. “Sometimes these people get off with no charges.”
Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen Simpson said law enforcement agencies need help from the public and human trafficking advocacy groups to help identify potential victims. He said groups like Courtney's House and Polaris Project feed information to law enforcement agencies that otherwise would go unheard.
“It's very hard to get into this underground world of groups,” Simpson said. “The advocacy groups are the ones who give us the information to be able to prosecute the offenders.”
Sara Pomeroy, founder of Richmond Justice Initiative, a grassroots faith based organization of modern day abolitionists committed to ending modern day slavery, said the three bills are a great step forward for Virginia. She said the bills were a result of a collaboration of advocacy groups, law enforcement and elected officials. The goal now is for all of the groups to continue to work together.
“The best way to handle this is to close all of the loopholes,” Pomeroy said.
Frundt said she gets three to five referrals a week from Northern Virginians looking for a place to help young victims of human trafficking. She said the 20 young women she's currently helping regain their lives were trafficked by gangs for sex. Frundt said she is glad there are now tough laws that will possibly prevent human trafficking in Virginia. She said her program will continue to serve young men and women who have been victimized by human trafficking.
“I know their situation,” Frundt said. “We don't have kids that run from our program.”
Arizona judge sets bond: $75 million. Cash only.
by FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — When a Brazilian man was charged in Arizona with a dozen felony counts alleging sexual misconduct with his minor children, he wasn't eligible for bond under state law.
Those charges were replaced with an indictment last year alleging two counts of continuous sexual abuse, and the father could be free if he posted the following bond:
$75 million. Cash only.
The bond, which must be paid in full to secure the defendant's release, is perhaps one of the highest on record in U.S. history. In comparison, Osama bin Laden's bounty was $25 million, and BTK killer Dennis Rader's bond was set at $10 million. Jeffrey Dahmer's bail was $1 million.
"It was almost like an 'up yours' deal," said Bruce Griffen, who is defending the man. "It's so out of the ballpark, it's offensive. It's wrong. It's mean spirited."
Prosecutors in Yavapai County wouldn't comment on the case but argued in court documents that the man is a flight risk. If he left to Brazil, there's no guarantee that country would extradite him to the United States to face the charges. His ex-wife further argued that she and the children fear for their safety.
"Not only would it be an endangerment to the children and I, but he will also run," she told a judge during a hearing last month. "He is highly manipulative, secretive and a gifted liar. He easily sways people to feel sorry for him."
The Associated Press typically does not identify victims of sexual abuse and is withholding the names of the parents to protect the privacy of the children.
The allegations of sexual abuse arose after the couple initiated divorce proceedings in 2007, according to court documents. The defense claims the children's mother and a psychotherapist manufactured the charges to keep the father from seeing his three children.
Prosecutors say that the mother was in denial when the therapist first told her that the youngest child possibly was a victim of sexual abuse because of the way he acted. The mother "is NOT the accuser, the state and the children are," prosecutors said in court documents.
Dozens of people in and around Sedona, where the family lived for the past 15 years, have rallied around the defendant and are urging his release from the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde where he's been held since late 2008.
The trial is scheduled to begin July 7, but a judge has put the case on hold while Griffen takes his concerns over the bail amount to a higher court. In a special action filed this week, Griffen is asking to have the judge disqualified for bias and a reasonable bond set. Griffen says the amount is "unconstitutional and unjustified."
An earlier motion for a change of judge was rejected, but the court noted that it did not seem to be within a normal range for Yavapai County. The prosecutor said he did not want to negotiate the amount, according to a court transcript.
An Associated Press search of news databases over the past 10 years turned up no bond higher than $50 million cash only. In that case, a man was charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence in the death of a Utah sheriff's deputy.
Higher amounts have been set, but defendants have been able to post a portion of them to be freed. For example, a hedge fund manager charged in an insider trading case was able to secure a $100 million bond with $20 million in collateral.
In setting the Brazilian man's bond, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley said she considered the nature of the charges, the weight of the evidence, that the defendant is not a U.S. citizen, the community support, his financial resources and the view of the victims' representative, who had argued for no bond.
"It's completely out of proportion," said Brazilian deputy consul general Ellen Barros in Los Angeles. "We are afraid it might be some sign of bias or prejudice, and the Brazilian government is concerned. We cannot intervene in a judicial system, that's not what we want. What we want is to know that his rights are being respected and he has due process."
Griffen says his client should be afforded a reasonable bail because he has no criminal history, no history of drug or alcohol abuse and enjoys substantial community support. Nearly 130 people in and around Sedona have signed a petition urging his release. They characterize him as a loving, kind and solicitous father, and the mother as vindictive.
Sedona dentist Kirk Westervelt said he offered to put up his house as collateral, figuring it would satisfy 10 percent of a $1 million bond but did not expect to hear it set at $75 million cash only. He told a judge he would also allow the defendant to stay in the house with his daughters while he awaits trial.
The Brazilian government likely would not extradite the defendant if he reached his native country, said attorney Douglas McNabb, whose firm specializes in international extradition law. Under a treaty signed by the U.S. and Brazilian governments, the charges he faces aren't on a laundry list of extraditable offenses.
"What the state prosecutors and the judge are concerned about is if they let this guy out on bond and he does take off, it's going to be difficult to get him back," McNabb said.
The defendant has said he has no intention of fleeing and voluntarily surrendered his passport. He's rejected plea agreements that offered him a sentence of time served.
Meanwhile, a website counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds that he's been in jail awaiting trial. Friday marked the 896th day.
State to pay $7.3 million to 3 abused as foster children
The state of Washington has agreed to pay $7.3 million to three former foster children who were sexually or physically abused in a Redmond home.
by Queenie Wong
Seattle Times staff reporter
The state of Washington has agreed to pay $7.3 million to three former foster children who were sexually or physically abused in a Redmond home.
Details on the settlement won't be available until it is approved by the court, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
Despite receiving at least 28 complaints of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and licensing violations between 1996 and 2006, DSHS still left the three girls in the care of Enrique Fabregas, according to the lawsuit the girls' attorney filed in 2007 in King County Superior Court.
In 1998, DSHS discovered that Fabregas had lied on his foster-care license application about his criminal record, but it failed to hold him accountable, according to court papers. Fabregas had a long history of arrests, drug abuse and criminal convictions, the lawsuit says.
Finally, in June 2006, Fabregas was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
In May 2007, he pleaded guilty to reduced charges of one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. He was sentenced to four years in prison by a King County Superior Court judge. DSHS said in a Friday news release that he had been deported.
During the criminal trial, the former foster children told the court they had been abused by Fabregas for years.
One of the victims told Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie in 2007 that she had flashbacks of Fabregas sexually and physically abusing her and threatening to kill her if she told anyone. She told the court that he made her feel like garbage.
Her sister said Fabregas would make her copy Bible verses for hours, often on topics such as lying and stealing. He would then present her "confessions" to Child Protective Services when she later made allegations against him.
Another victim said Fabregas would force her and another of the girls to kneel for hours on the floor with their arms in the air. When he left the house, he told the girls he was videotaping them and if they flinched they would be killed.
Fabregas' victims described being beaten, choked and emotionally abused.
DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley said in a news release Friday that the agency believes the $7.3 million settlement "fairly compensates the plaintiffs, who can use the settlement to meet any special needs they may have in the future."
"We take to heart any situation in which harm is inflicted on a child with whom we've had contact, take each child's situation personally and use each child's case as a lesson to evaluate our training and practice," the statement said.
Innocent Children Victims Of Aggression
MANILA, Philippines — Today is International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression (IDICVA).
The purpose of the observance is to acknowledge the pain experienced by children worldwide who are victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. It affirms the United Nations commitment to protect the rights of children.
It was on August 19, 1982, that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, decided to observe June 4 each year as IDICVA.
UN statistics reveal that over two million children have been killed in conflict in the last two decades; about 10 million child refugees were cared for by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); and in Latin America and in the Caribbean region, about 80,000 children die annually from violence that breaks out within the family.
Child abuse has become the focus of global attention and the UN is exerting its serious efforts to help protect children around the world.
Of all the victims of aggression, poverty, injustice, and abnormal and pervert behavior, it is the children who seem to be in the most disadvantaged situation – unable to defend themselves; seldom, if at all, given the opportunity to be heard; and have difficulty coping, especially those who are caught in war and conflict-stricken areas.
They get caught in situations not of their doing; they turn out gullible victims of unscrupulous adults who distort their values for their own selfish gains.
As we observe International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, we are all called upon as individuals and as members of organizations to do our part in safeguarding the rights of our children at home and in our communities and countries.
Despite the significant gains in the area of child protection, much remains to be done in order to firmly put in place a framework of international standards and commitments that will be honored by all countries of the world toward upholding and protecting the rights of children. It is these children who will take our place in the future. We owe it to them and their progeny to prepare them well for the task at hand.
Anti Child Abuse Group Wants Pepsi Refresh Grant
June 3, 2011
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- Help, Inc., a leader in Eastern Idaho's fight against child abuse, is sending out a plea for help to the community in its effort to win a grant to support and expand its operations in a ten-county region.
On June 1, the Agency was notified that it has been selected to participate in the final stage of the Pepsi Cola Refresh Everything Program, making it eligible to be awarded a grant of up to $50,000 from the Pepsi Cola organization.
But, it needs community support to make it possible. The world of non-profits isn't what it used to be.
Many of the usual sources of support for non-profits are drying up as national and state governments battle to balance budgets in these times of economic difficulty. As many of the traditional funding sources disappear, agencies like Help, Inc. have had to lean more heavily on the generosity of donors within the communities it serves.
But, Help has found a way that community members can support it without reaching into their pocketbooks. Help, Inc. now finds itself in competition with other caused and programs from around the nation for these funds. It is asking the generous people of Bonneville, Jefferson, Madison, Fremont, Teton, Butte, Custer, and Lemhi Counties to help it “win” this grant money by casting their votes in support of its cause.
Voting runs from June 1st to June 30th, ending at 11:59:59 that evening. Every person is allowed to vote once a day from now until June 30th.
Those who drink Pepsi products may be able to give an additional boost to Help Inc.'s efforts by “power voting” on the site.
If the agency is able to win grant dollars from this competition, the funds will be use to maintain and expand all the programs currently offered that work collectively toward the prevention and ultimate eradication of child abuse from the communities it serves, to include serving and supporting families at special risk of abuse, providing family and victim-friendly conditions and properly trained personnel to interview and conduct forensic exams of the victims of alleged child abuse.
A personal plea from the Board and Staff of Help, Inc.: We humbly ask the support of our neighbors and friends by logging on to the Refresh Everything website (see below) to cast their votes in favor of our cause.
We encourage you to do so. We hope that everyone will consider the serious nature of child abuse and the adverse affects it has on our communities. There is a crucial need for the services offered by Help, Inc.
Please take the time to vote on our behalf. We are grateful for the support we receive from our neighbors in Southeast Idaho and commit to you that your efforts, if successful, will be honored by the trustworthy use of these funds to continue the fight to prevent and remediate child abuse in our communities.
To vote: click here
For additional information about Help, Inc.: click here
Sex trafficking: helping girls like Lacy
The "Do you know Lacy?" national ad campaign brings much-needed visibility to issue of sex trafficking of American girls. We may not know Lacy but we can help girls like her. NEW in-your-face billboards in Seattle raise awareness about sex trafficking and are a welcome approach to amplifying an oft-hidden issue.
Sex trafficking of young girls has grown into a billion-dollar industry hidden from public view. It is time to shine the spotlight.
The billboard ads feature a young girl. Her name, Lacy, is a pseudonym representing every American girl lured into the sex trade.
The "Do you know Lacy?" ad campaign comes from Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Linda Smith in 1998. After leaving office, Smith put her trademark tenacity and courage toward this issue. Smith's fearless voice and sharp grasp of trafficking is needed to amplify calls to end this heinous crime.
The commercial sexual exploitation of children, via the Internet, strip clubs, escort services or street prostitution — is awful stuff. Washington has been a leader in using public policy and law-enforcement methods to crack down on traffickers and rescue victims.
Credit law enforcement, social-service providers and lawmakers, including Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess and state Rep. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, for coordinated and resourceful efforts. The Seattle Police Department has become a regional and national resource on combating sex trafficking.
Seattle innovatively blended a mix of public and private funding to open a long-term residential and recovery program for young victims.
Trafficking is prevalent along the Interstate 5 corridor and King and Clark counties have been aggressively targeting pimps and johns. Seattle police rescued 81 young victims last year. Enhanced sentencing rules were used recently to convict two pimps and sentence them to lengthy terms.
Suburban cities constrained by small budgets and police departments must creatively employ an array of fresh tools, including wiretapping and increased penalties for pimps, recently approved by the state Legislature.
Federal funds may come from a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate, the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act, which will give grants to law-enforcement agencies and to services that help victims.
We may not know "Lacy" personally but all of us must help her and others in her predicament
Bay area victims of child sex trafficking on the rise
Tampa, Florida - A 20 year old woman who doesn't want to reveal her identity says she became a victim of child sex trafficking when she was just 15 years old when someone reached out to her online.
She was vulnerable. Her father who she took care of her was dying. She says she would learn later, "They were like twice the age they said they were."
The adult told her they'd take care of her and seemed to do that at first by taking the teenager out to eat and spending time with her. But she says when her father died the adult started to control her and even beat her but that wasn't the worst of it she says. Later the adult forced her into, "Stripping, prostitution, drugs - everything basically."
Michelle Walker is the executive director of a Bay area non profit agency. One of the programs she works with helps children who are victims of sex trafficking. Walker says of the kids, "They're looking for that father figure - someone to take care of them."
Walker says in the past four years they've helped several children as young as 14 years old and they've seen boys victimized too. The children are targeted in all sorts of ways, she says. Many are recruited into prostitution by their friends, who may have been approached by an adult.
Walker adds, in many instances, it's not an older man but a woman who is trying to manipulate the child or teen. She says in the past police have even broken up a prostitution ring in a local high school.
Walker says, "Some are runaways - some are from your average family - most are just looking for love and finding it in the wrong place." She adds, most times, children and teens who are having problems at home are considered easy targets. If the children go unsupervised, it's easier for them to fall prey.
She says parents must be involved in their children's lives to keep them from being recruited into sex trafficking.
Walker says it's critical that parents know who their children's friends are and where they are going. She says if your child comes home with a new cell phone, shoes, clothes and electronics that you didn't buy, you need to start asking questions. She says, "You cannot judge - you just have to be really careful and learn the warning signs and be aware that is really is happening."
You can learn much more about child sex trafficking at an event on Sunday, June 5.
It's being held at: The St. James House of Prayer Parish Hall at 2708 N. Central Avenue in Tampa from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Speakers include: Bernice Powell Jackson, who is the Pastor of First United Church of Tampa; June Wallace, the facilitator for Tampa Bay "Community Campaign against Human Trafficking"; and former retired juvenile court judge Irene Sullivan, as well as Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor. There will also be a question and answer session.
The event is open to the public and is being sponsored by Women of Faith Building Community and Soroptimist International.
Police: Child Sex Abuse Case May Have Multiple Victims
Raphael Mosqueda, 56, out on bail in a child molestation case, was arrested Wednesday after police learned of another victim.
Union City police are asking asking community members to contact them if they have had contact with a man arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child sexual abuse.
At the time of his arrest, Raphael Mosqueda, 56, was out on bail after being charged with an unrelated sex crime against a child. He was arrested on suspicion of continuous sexual abuse of a child and taken into custody Wednesday after new allegations were reported by another victim, according to police.
According to court records, Mosqueda was previously arrested on March 6, 2010, on suspicion of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.
Police believe there may be more victims and are asking parents to check with their children if they have had contact with the suspect.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Roberta Paul or Sgt. Jared Rinetti at 510-471-1365 . Anonymous tips may also be left by calling 510-675-5207 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Sex Abuse Case Shakes Faith Of Idaho Attorney
by Jessica Robinson
June 2, 2011
One of the largest clergy sex abuse cases in the country has turned into the case of a lifetime for one Northwest attorney. The settlement between the Northwest Jesuits and abuse victims will soon go before a federal judge in Portland for confirmation. The north Idaho attorney who helped negotiate this $166 million deal says he was a small town "nobody" before the case.
But as correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, his battle against the Catholic Church shook up his own long-held beliefs.
Leander Lee James is standing next to a big red barn. Mud clings to his rubber boots.
"Hey Louis, did you get your eggs yet?" James shouts to his son.
Three of James' young kids play nearby. James was raised Catholic and when he was about their age, he was an altar boy. And as he grew up, he was skeptical about the claims of widespread sexual abuse in the church.
That was before he started representing people making those claims.
"Fifteen, 20, 30 people, who are abused by the same abuser. And they tell you the same story over and over and the same 'MO.' You know for an abuser who's 'MO' was to you know put the child on his lap and ...," James said.
James, suddenly aware of how close his children were to the conversation, told them, "Hey guys! You know, I'm talking, so you gotta -- Why don't you go up because it's cold."
It's actually not that cold. James doesn't want his kids to hear the horrific stories he's been hearing over the last three years.
"You talk to the people and they describe... I mean they can't make this stuff up," he said.
James announced compensation for these victims back in March.
"I'm not all that used to these things."
A crisp suit replaced James' farm clothes on the day he told the press the Northwest Jesuits and their insurer had agreed to pay more than 500 sex abuse victims across the Northwest, Montana and Alaska.
"Today is historic for child sexual abuse survivors, and I think the Catholic Church," he announced at the press conference.
What was unusual about the case was that many of the victims were Native American. Before this, James didn't have any experience working on clergy abuse cases. But he did have personal experience working with Native communities.
For one, his farm is on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation. A few years back, a Nez Perce woman came to him, saying she had been sexually abused as a child by a local Jesuit priest and he filed on her behalf. After her story hit the press more victims opened up to him.
"Probably 80 percent or close to of the folks I talk to, I'm the first person they told in their life. They haven't told their spouses. And then they get on the phone and they tell me," James explained.
At times, he was part counselor. And the picture that began to emerge was a disturbing one.
From the stories he heard, it appeared the Jesuits had sent problem clergy to reservations and native villages, dating back to the 1950s. This, from a Catholic Order that James associated with humanitarian work and scholarship.
The Jesuits established some of the first universities in the West. James went to one -- Santa Clara University in California. Afterwards, he taught at a Jesuit school in France.
"I've had friends throughout my life who are clergy. Priests and Jesuits. I have clergy in my family. How could this have happened, you know?" James explained.
Tim Kosnoff is a Seattle attorney who specializes in child sex abuse cases. He was involved in the Spokane Diocese bankruptcy settlement in 2005. And he asked James to join his team in the Jesuit case.
"For somebody like Lee to come to see that much of what went on on these mission schools was at least in part a lie, I think that was very difficult at least initially to accept," Kosnoff said.
"I'm sure a lot of myths which he had been carrying around his whole life got shattered," Kosnoff explained.
"I'm just a little attorney in a small town. I had no idea I'd be swept into a case of this magnitude," James said.
James no longer considers himself Catholic -- a change he says was already underway, but which the Jesuit case solidified.
He says he still has faith though. To James, one of the most troubling parts of the case is that many of his clients don't.
"I have clients time and again tell me the same thing in the exact same words. 'I can't have faith anymore. I can't believe anymore.' And it's because they were taught this sense of belief in this man. And then he violates them. It eviscerates that belief, so they can't believe anymore. It's profoundly sad," James said.
James says he'll probably use some of the fees he'll get from the settlement to fix up his house -- maybe repair some of the deer fences he's neglected. He also got a call not too long ago from the alumni office of Santa Clara University, his Jesuit alma mater.
James says he'll probably give them a little money too.
Suspect in Elderly Sex Attack Avoided Parole
Leader of victims' advocacy group calls for better communication between states.
The man accused in a brutal sexual attack on an 85-year-old woman on the Upper East Side earlier this week flitted about from state to state, despite being a known sex offender in Arkansas, because he served a full six-year prison term and thus avoided parole.
Now authorities are investigating whether Jeffrey Ritter may be involved in a sexual assault against another woman in New York City. This is why the leader of a victims' advocacy group says better communication between states is critical in preventing convicted sex offenders from slipping off the radar.
When Ritter, 22, moved to Polk County, Ark., the troubled tattoo artist did not fill out the mandatory sex offender registration form. Court records show the child predator paid dearly for that mistake.
On June 11, 2004, a judge sentenced Ritter to six years in state prison. He served every day.
Because Ritter was denied early release, Arkansas parole officers had no power over him when he finally did emerge from behind bars.
Though the ex-con was at that point registered as a sex offender in Arkansas, there was little stopping Ritter from driving to dozens of other states where police departments were unaware of his past.
That's exactly what he did.
"He served his full term, so we had no authority over him," said Diana Tyler, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Correction.
For about 49 weeks after his release from the Delta Regional Unit prison in Dermott, Ark., Ritter's whereabouts were unknown to law enforcement. He was discovered in Brooklyn after a neighbor called the NYPD, believing surveillance video broadcast in a television crime report resembled Ritter.
Erin Runnion, who established the Joyful Child Foundation, a victims' advocacy group, says Ritter's case illustrates how timely communication between states is critical in keeping track of sex offenders.
"It varies from state to state," Runnion says. "There's no inter-state coordination."
Runnion's daughter Samantha was kidnapped and killed by a sex offender in 2002. She wants federal law enforcement officers to take a larger role in monitoring sex offenders so they can't escape notification requirements.
"You are asking people who are obviously liars - that's how they gained access to victims -- to be honest about relocating so they can notify their new communities that there is a sex offender in the neighborhood," Runnion said. "They don't do that unless you force them to."
One of teacher Kevin Ricks's abuse victims describes methods, effects of sexual abuse from 1980s private school in Georgia
by Josh White
Robert Burzee was 15 years old when he met Kevin Ricks at an exclusive Atlanta-area private boarding school. A teenager who had just left his home in Florida for the first time, Burzee was looking for guidance, support, and a role model.
“He was really sharp, he dressed really nice, he was someone you wanted to take seriously,” Burzee said, remembering Ricks — then 25 years old — in 1985. “I had been ripped from my family. I was very, very fragile. I felt like he cared about me.”
Burzee, 41, is the latest victim in Ricks's 30-year trail of abuse to come forward publicly. He has lived – and suffered — with his secret for more than two decades.
The sexual molestation he suffered at Ricks's hands was life-altering. The teenager's path spiraled into drug use, separation from his family and, ultimately, prison in Colorado, where he is now serving a six-year sentence for theft.
Burzee's detailed story of abuse at the hands of a now-convicted sex offender provides an instructive look at how Ricks operated, gained boys' trust, plied them with alcohol, and then took advantage of them.
It also shows how private and public schools either failed to see what Ricks was doing — or turned a blind eye to it. And Burzee said the same thing happened to other boys under Ricks's watch in Georgia.
Because he is in prison, Burzee's was unaware of Ricks's longtime abuse of boys until I reached out to him last week. As such, he did not hear of other stories and could not conform his story to them – yet his take is nearly identical to descriptions of Ricks's pursuit of boys both before and after Burzee.
“It started incrementally, with extra food, some extra money, a lot of extra attention,” Burzee said. “Then he became more and more controlling about it. Then there was the sexual contact. I was very uncomfortable with it but felt powerless to stop it.”
First known case of Ricks abusing a student
In Burzee's case, the abuse happened 26 years ago in Ricks's dorm room, in a bathroom, and in a place known as “the round room” – all under the roof of the Brandon Hall School in Dunwoody, Ga., where Ricks taught and supervised teenagers.
It is the earliest known case of Ricks abusing a student of his. It came just a few years after Ricks abused two young boys in his care, one a boy he met at a summer camp and the other a boy he watched while a student at the University of North Carolina. Ricks has admitted molesting nine boys, and prosecutors believe there could be numerous others.
Ricks worked at two other private schools prior to Brandon Hall – one in Hampton Roads and the other in North Carolina – and despite allegations that he stalked at least one student at the Virginia school and was ultimately fired, no evidence has yet surfaced of any sexual abuse there.
Burzee's abuse came to light in the days prior to Ricks's sentencing in Alexandria federal court: He is listed by the initials “R.B” in court documents prosecutors filed. Ricks admitted to performing sex acts on Burzee in interviews with the FBI and local investigators. In those interviews, pursuant to a plea agreement, Ricks had to come clean about prior abuse lest he face further charges.
As described in court documents, Ricks said Burzee came to his dorm room and willingly participated in sex acts with him there. In a journal entry authorities found among Ricks's belongings, he wrote in 2000 that he had performed a sex act on Burzee and “could've done anything with him at one brief point.”
In a telephone interview last week, Ricks said he did have sexual contact with Burzee but characterized it as being at Burzee's insistence. Ricks said he was confused at the time, did things he never had done before, and was taken by surprise.
“He came into my room, it got emotional on his part, and I was trying to be understanding of it,” Ricks said. “He very much wanted me to do it, and I did.”
Burzee's memory of what happened is quite different, calling Ricks's version “insane” and “a lie.” He said he was coerced into being molested, in part because of Ricks's “friendship” with him but also because he was afraid of Ricks at the time. He said the sexual contact was entirely unwanted – and that he tried to stop it in each instance – but that because Ricks supervised him he felt he had no choice.
Ricks started by allowing Burzee and other boys to congregate in his dorm room after hours, at times bringing in pre-mixed alcoholic beverages in fruit juice containers. Burzee said boys would occasionally pass out on Ricks's bed.
During trips to the mall, Ricks would share extra cash with Burzee, treat him to gifts, and buy him concessions at movies such as “Back to the Future.” They were the same things Ricks would do for decades with other boys, according to interviews with victims, parents, teachers, friends and Ricks himself.
Burzee was wary of Ricks -- who also taught him English one-on-one per the school's unique curriculum – but he endured at least three molestations. In one, Ricks took Burzee to a room, undressed him, and performed sex acts. In another, Ricks repeated the same scenario in a bathroom.
“There was increased pressure, and I was trying to avoid him,” Burzee said. “Then he started causing me problems, trying to get me in trouble.”
Abuse was reported to school
Burzee said he went to school officials to report the abuse. He said they didn't believe him, leading to his being ostracized, sent home to Florida and ultimately labeled a liar by family members who also did not believe his story.
“They said to keep my mouth shut, mind my own business,” Burzee said. “Then they kicked me out of school. They put me on a bus and sent me home. My complaints went with me.”
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Harrison W. Kimbrell, who was president of the school at the time, said he had no specific memory of Ricks or the circumstances surrounding his departure 26 years ago.
“I never would have dismissed an accusation like that, and I don't have any recollection of it,” Kimbrell said. “If anyone came to me with that kind of accusation, it would have been investigated thoroughly. It is inconceivable that no action would be taken.”
Ricks was admonished in writing for hosting boys in his room for late-night gatherings – a violation of school policy – but Ricks said it was not for Burzee but for contacts with another boy. Ricks ultimately was forced out of the school.
Burzee said he knows of at least one other boy at Brandon Hall who Ricks sexually abused and said he has strong suspicions that at least two others might have been abused as well. He said Ricks regularly watched them while they showered to “supervise” them and hosted many boys in his room.
The report was an opportunity to stop Ricks in his tracks, but Ricks picked up and moved on. He later lived in Japan, where he molested at least two boys, then moved back to Virginia and Maryland, where he admits to molesting foreign exchange students and a high school student in Manassas.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said last week that Ricks is every parent's worst nightmare: a child predator hiding behind the veneer of trusted teacher. James McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, said authorities need to work harder to identify and stop people like Ricks.
“We urge parents and others to be more vigilant in protecting our most innocent of citizens, our children,” McJunkin said. “It's easy sometimes not to hear or believe our children because their statements are too vague or too few.”
Disbelief was ‘devastating'
Not being believed is what hurt Burzee the most, he said.
“It was more devastating than anything,” he said. “Just the fact that no one wanted to acknowledge it, that no one would believe me.”
His life derailed. He got caught up in drugs, moved to Colorado to get away from his family, and fell into criminal activity. On Nov. 7, 2005, the day he was convicted of theft by receiving stolen goods, Burzee escaped from custody because he was afraid of being sexually assaulted in prison: His mind immediately went to his experiences with Ricks, he says.
He was caught four days later and has been behind bars since.
Though Burzee had thought of Ricks at times throughout his life, he had heard nothing of him until last week, when I contacted him about Ricks's sentencing. Burzee said he was elated to hear from me, because it allows him to finally put the episode to rest. He felt vindicated.
“I don't think I could fully express how this has impacted my life, and to know that he will never be able to hurt others is a big relief,” Burzee wrote in a letter I received this week.
In a series of telephone interviews, Burzee said he has achieved a certain calmness about the whole situation and wishes no one any ill, especially knowing what Ricks will face in prison.
Burzee, who has dated women throughout his life, has lived as an openly gay man while incarcerated, even appearing on an MSNBC documentary about relationships in prison. He said he knows what Ricks has in his future.
“I've been raped, I've been beaten within an inch of my life,” Burzee said. “Me being a compassionate person, I don't forgive him, but I know for a fact what he's going to go through and I can't wish horrible things on people. He's going to pay it all back.”
Free exhibit called ‘heart wrenching'
by Vince Rembulat
Not too long ago, Gary and Sukie Stagno noticed The Lisa Project was coming to town.
The Manteca couple logged on Google to research this free interactive exhibit at the corner of Atherton Drive and Union Road in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.
The Lisa Project was made possible by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County along with the support of businesses and various agencies, including Court Appointed Special Advocates – or CASA – for Children, First 5 San Joaquin Children & Families Commission, and Children's Services Coordinating Commission.
The portable exhibit officially opened Thursday for its month-long stay in Manteca.
“It was heart wrenching,” said Gary Stagno at the conclusion of the 25-minute self-guided tour that included the use of an iPod.
He and his wife went through the five rooms that told of disturbing stories involving children – namely, Evan, Michael, Maria, Kenny, Ashley, and, of course, Lisa – who were victims of violence, abuse or neglect.
All but Lisa were actual cases that took place in San Joaquin County, according to Gene Hardin, director and creator for the Lisa Project.
He helped start this project that made its debut in April 2010 as part of Child Abuse Prevention month, with the City of Stockton allowing free use of a downtown building located near the Regal Cinemas.
“We had 5,000 people who showed up last year,” Hardin recalled.
That was enough to get the word out about The Lisa Project. An agency from Tulare County called to inquire about bringing the exhibit there, thus, planting the seed.
Hardin and his group – included is his wife, Lindy Turner-Hardin, who is the executive director for the Child Abuse Prevention Council of SJC – obtained modular or, in this case, two 12- by 50- foot classroom-type portable units.
“The rooms were decorated by seven different people,” said Hardin, who is further supported by a dedicated group of volunteers, including Sgt. Jerry Alejandre, who handles child abuse and sexual assault cases at the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.
The exhibit includes a bathroom scene. That's where Maria, 17, and Kenny, 3, were both victims of sexual abuse involving a parent.
Evan, 8, lived in a disheveled room that depicts that of a crack house.
As a fifth-grader, Michael was an honor student. Ashley was the girl next door. While both appeared stable – at least from the appearance of their respective rooms – they were victims of mental and physical abuse from their parents.
Meanwhile, Lisa was the 6-year-old girl from San Diego who called 9-11 some 27 years ago to report the horrific domestic violence incident that involved her drunken stepfather, with her mother and siblings as victims.
“If you listen, I'll tell my story,” she said.
Hardin indicated the actual emergency call was edited down for the exhibit.
“We didn't want to sensationalize it but, at the same time, we needed to tell the truth,” he said.
The Lisa Project recently made stops in Visalia and Bakersfield. Next up is Sacramento in July. Hardin mentioned that folks representing counties such as Orange, Humboldt, Santa Cruz and San Diego also expressed interest in the exhibit.
Those involved with The Lisa Project are hoping that visitors will gain enough insight and awareness to report child abuse in their communities.
“I think everyone, especially parents, should go see it,” said Sukie Stagno. “It's reality.”
The Lisa Project is scheduled through June 30, including Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 209-644-5308 or log on to www.thelisaproject.org.
Joshua Carrier Facing 78 Counts
by Deb Stanley
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- More young people are coming forward to say they were sexually assaulted by a Colorado Springs police officer.
Officer Joshua Carrier, 30, is charged with 78 counts of various sexual offenses against six children, including sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.
Carrier could be responsible for sexually assaulting as many as 15 children, according to an attorney who plans to sue on behalf of several alleged victims. That allegation was reported by the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Carrier had a number of assignments that placed him in situations with youth, including working as a school resource officer at Horace Mann Elementary, a coach for the Police Athletic League and as an adviser to youth in the CSPD Explorer Scout program, police said.
Carrier worked for the Colorado Springs Police Department for seven years. He was suspended from the police force last month.
The original investigation began on March 28, when the department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit received information that Carrier may have made purchases from a child pornography website, police said.
In court on Tuesday, Carrier's attorneys asked the judge try to lower Carrier's $500,000 bond. The bond issue will be taken up in court again next Tuesday. A preliminary hearing is set for June 28.
11% Falsely Accused of Abuse, Survey Shows
WASHINGTON , June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national survey of 10,000 Americans reveals 11% report they have been falsely accused of abuse. The first-ever survey of its type probed persons' first-hand experiences with false allegations of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. The study was commissioned by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a victim advocacy organization.
The survey results headlined a False Allegations Summit, which was held today at the Fairfax Hotel in Washington, DC.
Conducted May 2-4, 2011 , the survey also found 15% of respondents personally knew someone who has been falsely accused of abuse. In 81% of the cases the falsely accused person was a male, and in 70% of cases the false alleger was a female. Twenty-six percent of the wrongful accusations were made in the context of a child custody dispute.
"This survey shows tens of millions of Americans have been falsely accused of abuse," explains SAVE spokesperson Natasha Spivack . "These persons were stamped with the scarlet Abuser label, leaving them to wonder whatever happened to the notion of 'innocent until proven guilty.'"
The Summit featured statements by leading stakeholder organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Home School Legal Defense Association, American Coalition for Fathers and Children, National Coalition for Men, and Encounters International.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers statement spotlighted the "immense, often irreparable harm caused to our clients by false allegations, not only to reputation and personal relationships, but often to the accused individual's livelihood and even heath."
The Summit also included the emotion-wrought testimonies by four victims of false allegations of abuse.
The False Allegations Summit is being held in the wake of a recent Washington Post front-page article about Sean Lanigan , a local school teacher who was falsely accused of sexual molestation by a 12-year-old student. The article triggered editorial commentaries and citizens' expressions of disbelief and outrage.
The full survey results can be viewed here: http://www.saveservices.org/false-allegations-awareness-month/survey-results.
The False Allegations Summit is the kick-off to False Allegations Awareness Month in June.
More information on the observance can be found here: http://www.saveservices.org/false-allegations-awareness-month.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner abuse: www.saveservices.org.
SOURCE Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
Sex trafficking scars lives and stains souls
by Greg Johnson
June 3, 2011
Almost 20 years ago, I walked through the red-light district of Amsterdam. Recently, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof rode with the International Justice Mission into the red-light district of Kolkata, India. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation last month released a study. Our conclusions match: Human sex trafficking scars souls and stains the hands of humanity.
My walk with a missionary through the red-light district was emotionally painful, and the TBI report on sex trafficking picked at a heart-hurt that has never quite healed. The missionary said his wife worked with the women behind the windows - the women sat in negligees like department store mannequins - and learned their stories.
Many came from Latin America, were promised a path out of poverty and arrived in Europe to find they had to "work" to pay their passage. When a Greeneville grand jury last month indicted three Knoxville residents, three from Morristown and two from Louisville, Ky., on sex trafficking charges, my mind went back to Amsterdam.
"The women were enticed to come here and paid to enter on the pretense they had an upstanding job or at least a law-abiding job," said Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin. "Once they got here, they'd realized they'd been tricked. They're here, they're hungry, they don't have any friends and have been threatened to cooperate."
All of the accused are Hispanic and, according to the Louisville Courier Journal, they recruited Spanish-speaking women who had entered the United States illegally. The women and girls were forced to perform up to 30 sex acts per day.
Kristof details the freeing of 15-year-old Chutki and four other girls, including Raya, a 10-year-old. IJM workers had identified the brothel, worked with local police to coordinate a raid and went along to pose as "johns." Kristof described Raya as "giggly and carefree" after they left the brothel. He wrote, "She behaved like a silly little girl - which was thrilling."
It is easy, here in our East Tennessee hills and hollows, to dismiss sex slavery as an international issue. There is, in fact, often an international link. Tennessee law enforcement officers surveyed said language barriers and the insularity of immigrant communities make detecting sex slavery difficult.
But the TBI report makes it clear sex trafficking is here. Knox County reported or investigated more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in the past 24 months. Sevier County had more than 16 incidents, Blount and Jefferson counties more than six and Loudon County up to five cases.
The TBI report tells the story of "Carrie," a Middle Tennessee girl. Carrie grew up in an alcoholic home, was beaten by her mother and, at 13, hitched a ride to Nashville to escape the abuse. She was serially sexually assaulted until, eventually, her brother came for her. Her mother beat her. Carrie left again.
Befriended by a young man, Carrie was taken to Washington, D.C., where her "friend" told her she had to "work" to support him. Carrie was moved from state to state, turning tricks and suffering violence. By 16, she was pregnant. After years as a sex slave, Carrie finally made her way to Nashville, to a women's shelter, where she was able to begin to put her life back together.
The TBI report offers several serious recommendations. Victims need help to find a way out and a place to recover. Pimps must be prosecuted. Johns must be punished. Awareness may be the beginning of ending this atrocity among us. But without action, souls will continue to be scarred and our hands will be forever stained
Swanson bill will help nail sex traffickers
Oakland Tribune - editorial
FOR THE last five years, Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, has led the fight in the state Legislature to crack down on child prostitution. The East Bay lawmaker's district includes Oakland, which is a hub for the peddling of children for sex. The booming business is a stomach-churning example of the law of supply and demand. Adults are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to have sex with children -- the younger the child, the more money people are willing to pay.
Swanson has shepherded a series of bills designed to combat the problem on two fronts. First, by trying to reach out to minors and give them alternatives to the streets. Secondly, by setting tougher criminal penalties for the adults who pimp the children and the Johns who procure their services.
Assembly Bill 499, which was signed into law in 2008, required authorities to begin treating child prostitutes like the victims that they are rather than criminals. Instead of shipping minors off to Juvenile Hall, authorities began to divert those arrested in stings to social service agencies.
Swanson followed that up with two bills aimed squarely at the peddlers and their customers.
The Human Trafficking Penalties Act increased the criminal sanctions for pimping, trafficking or paying money for children for sexual purposes. Most important, those offenses were upgraded to felonies. That means that they now count as strikes under California's "Three-Strikes Law."
The Human Trafficking Accountability Act enabled judges to impose fines ranging from $200 to $250,000 on individuals convicted of pimping minors or buying sex from them. Even more important, it gave judges the authority to confiscate and sell the property of those found guilty.
On Wednesday, the Assembly passed Swanson's latest bill to help prosecutors nail adults who engage in the trafficking of minors.
AB90 stipulates that prosecutors, to win a conviction in a child prostitution case, no longer have to prove that a suspect used physical force, fraud or coercion. Under the bill, a prosecutor would only have to show that the adult persuaded the child.
As Swanson stated, many children are lured into the trade through mental manipulation, rather than physical force. It is standard operating practice for pimps to brainwash young girls into believing that they are their "boyfriends," then turn them out on the street to solicit Johns.
"It is shameful that our state relieves a criminal of punishment simply because he used mental force rather than physical force in capturing a child," Swanson said.
The Assembly voted 79-0 to pass the bill. We now urge the state Senate to do likewise and offer its unanimous approval.
This is one issue we should all be able to agree on.
Riverside County man accused of sexually assaulting girl more than 100 times
June 1, 2011
A Riverside County man has been booked on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl more than 100 times, authorities said.
Alonso Ramon Pedro, 22, allegedly attacked the Moreno Valley girl after breaking into her bedroom, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.
He was arrested and booked earlier this week on more than 100 counts of sexual assault on a child, authorities said.
The girl told police that she had been assaulted repeatedly since January. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (951) 247-8700.
Duck Derby supports Child Advocacy Center
Agency provides assistance in child abuse situations
The Daily News Journal
MURFREESBORO — When complaints surfaced about a grandson's possible abuse, a caring grandparent sought guidance from the Child Advocacy Center.
"The Child Advocacy Center was a wonderful help in a dark time and provided support and advice needed to make good decisions," the grandparent said this week in reflecting about the services offered.
Executive Director Sharon DeBoer said CAC unites with the Department of Children's Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute child abuse cases and help children and their families heal from the trauma and victimization of the abuse.
Since 2000, the team investigated and prosecuted over 6,000 cases of child abuse in Rutherford and Cannon Counties.
For the grandparent, CAC's staff referred the family to people who understand child abuse and the issues involved. After years of battles, the grandson moved forward. He's earning straight A's in school and enjoying his childhood.
Area residents can support CAC's mission to help children and families heal by adopting rubber ducks for the Child Advocacy Center Duck Derby June 11 at the Sportsman's Club on Medical Center Parkway.
Adopting a duck for $5 makes you eligible to win a $5,000 grand prize or 13 other prize packages. Chances to win are increased by buying more ducks. People may donate $25 for a six-quack, $50 for a Quacker's Dozen of 12 or $100 for a Flock of Ducks with 25 adoptions.
Ducks may be adopted at Demos' restaurant, US Bank, FirstBank, Top of the Block, Bell Jewelers, Reeves-Sain, Mills Family Pharmacy, The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro Post, the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and First Bank. Ducks may also be adopted in Cannon County at the Child Advocacy Center at 214 W. Water St., First Bank at 101 W. Main St. and First National Bank at 801 W. Main St. in Woodbury.
Ducks may also be purchased online at www.duckrace.com/murfreesboro. Information about the race is also available on Facebook at Child Advocacy Center Duck Race.
Duck Derby events will kick off at noon with the Family Fun Festival where families can enjoy food, entertainment, children's games and activities outside the Sportsman's Club at 1231 Medical Center Parkway. Auctioneers will sell large rubber ducks autographed by celebrities at 4:30 p.m. Ducks will hit the water for the derby at 5:23 p.m.
Queen of the Quackers Kristin Demos predicts 10,000 adopted ducks will be afloat during the race. The person who adopts the first duck to cross the finish line will win a $5,000 prize.
For more information, contact Executive Director Sharon DeBoer of the Child Advocacy Center at 615-867-9000 .
Does machismo cause rape?
As France reexamines its sexual mores post-DSK, we ask an expert to explain how culture influences assault
by Tracy Clark-Flory
The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and the conspiracy theorizing and sympathy he garnered in response, has reportedly inspired some cultural soul-searching in France. We're told that French women will no longer put up with the sort of machismo that celebrated a man nicknamed the Great Seducer -- not to mention Georges Tron, the junior minister who was accused of sexual assault by two women promptly after DSK's arrest. At the same time, feminists have been quick to point out that there is a world of difference between womanizing and rape. Seduction is not sexual assault, not even in Puritan America.
All of this raises the question of whether there is an actual connection between an environment of machismo and rape. And that question taps into an even bigger query about how cultural mores influence sexual assault.
I went to Owen D. Jones, a professor of law and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, for some insight. "Biology and culture are inextricably intertwined," he told me by email. "While sexual aggression therefore cannot be disentangled from biology, cultures that disinhibit sexual aggression against women will have more of it." To put it more simply: Cultures that accept sexual aggression against women will have more sexual aggression against women.
That seems incredibly straightforward, doesn't it? Things get much more complicated, though, when trying to clearly define something like sexual aggression, which encompasses a vast spectrum of behavior. French philosopher Genevieve Fraisse, author of "On Consent," told the New York Times, "Womanizing and rape are of course two different things," but, as the Times paraphrases, "on a sliding scale from aggressive courtship to harassment to sexual assault to rape, the borders between each of the categories are much harder to pin down."
I asked Jones, who has written extensively about how biology and culture influence sexual aggression, whether we might expect rape to be more common in a culture that embraces machismo. "Yes, if all else were equal," he said. "But ... all else is not always equal. For example, just to illustrate, you could have a culture of heavy machismo but also heavier than average penalties." As it happens, there are more reported rapes per capita in the United States than in France. Of course, cultural mores also influence the reporting rate -- which not only skews the data but also can affect the perceived risk to perpetrators, which in turn affects the likelihood of assault.
Jones explains that perps are influenced by the extent to which they think "they'll actually be reported" and, if so, "investigated and charged." There's also their perception of the likelihood "that jurors might convict, as well as an estimate of for how long, if at all, a perpetrator might be sentenced. " He says, "Although no one is suggesting that sexual transgressors think it through like a calculating machine, it is likely the case that the holistic assessment of how risky it is to assault someone is -- for better or worse -- affected by a wide variety of cultural factors."
On the one hand, it seems only natural to assume that culture would have a significant impact on sexual violence. On the other, it can seem a disturbing excuse for inexcusable behavior; just consider the recent report blaming child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in part on the sexual revolution of the '60s, or the claim by Roman Polanski's wife that his "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor" was simply a product of the "sexual liberty and permissiveness" of the time. Then again, what purported explanation for sexual violence isn't in some way unsettling? Perhaps the most disturbing answer of all is that there isn't any one cause.
Hampstead man gets 40 years in prison for sex abuse
by Ryan Marshall
Carroll County Times
A Hampstead man faces 40 years in prison for abusing children to make child pornography, to be served concurrent with a 30-year federal sentence in a related case.
Daniel Walter Blake, 33, was sentenced Wednesday in Carroll County Circuit Court. Judge Michael M. Galloway sentenced Blake to 60 years on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of sexual abuse of a minor as part of a continuing course of conduct.
Blake pleaded guilty to the charges in March.
Galloway suspended all but 40 years of the sentence, which will be dated from the time of his arrest March 10, 2010.
On Tuesday, Blake was sentenced to 30 years in federal court in Baltimore on two counts of sexually exploiting a child to produce child pornography.
Maryland State Police investigators who searched Blake's home in March 2010 found images of child pornography on computers, cellphones and other electronic devices they confiscated.
Several boys told investigators that Blake touched them inappropriately and engaged in sexual activity with them over the course of several years.
A forensic examination of his laptop and hard drive revealed more than 1,000 images and 500 videos of child pornography, which Assistant State's Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo described as one of the largest collections she's ever seen.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has already gotten reports of the pictures Blake took being further distributed, she said.
In letters, Blake has expressed extreme regret for what he's done, his mother Betsy Senett told Galloway Wednesday.
He suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a learning disability, and suffered sexual abuse himself as a child, she said.
After she finished speaking, Galloway granted Senett's request to give Blake one last hug before he was taken away.
What's a clear line between right and wrong for most people isn't always as clear for Blake, his brother John told the judge.
"I know what Danny did was inexcusable," he said.
Given a chance to speak, Blake told Galloway he realizes he'll have to live with his actions for the rest of his life.
He said he wanted to express, "how truly sorry I am for the things I've done."
Galloway also sentenced Blake to five years of supervised probation following his release from prison.
As part of the probation, Blake must register as a sexual offender and is prohibited from having any contact with the victims in the case. He may not have contact with any children younger than 18 without appropriate supervision or possess pornography of any sort.
Ocampo and defense attorney Brian Green said that despite the federal sentence, they expect Blake to serve his sentence in the Maryland prison system.
Editorial: N.J. child abuse case show failures to protect the innocent
by Times of Trenton Editorial Board
The Times, Trenton
We have failed two helpless 8-year-olds.
As a state and as a society, we failed to protect them from the people who should have loved them most of all. Even as we have become adept at the self-protective practice of glossing over accounts of abuse, reading the words but not absorbing their meaning, the agony of these little girls is palpably clear.
A child in Trenton suffered severe cuts to her arms, wrists and legs from being tied to a banister and doorknob. She could not remember the last time she had something to eat. She begged police to be taken from her mother, who is accused of the abuse, and from the rat-infested house where she lived with three younger siblings. “We have never, ever seen a case of child abuse this horrendous,“ said a Mercer official.
In North Jersey, Christiana Glenn was found dead of an untreated broken leg, her little body emaciated from malnourishment. Her 7-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother were found locked in a bedroom, alive, but with similar broken bones. They were also severely malnourished.
While it's too late for Christiana, the Trenton girl's physical injuries may heal. With enough help, she might even recover from the psychological trauma. But how do we prevent another child from suffering such torture?
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg is reviving a previous plan to charge New Jersey with checking on children in home-schooling situations . The state is now only one of 11 that are regulation-free zones for home-schooling families. It does not require parents to file any paperwork with the school district. Would such a law have prevented the death of Christiana, who was not enrolled in school? It's hard to say, but it would have been one more safeguard in place. Sen. Weinberg's idea of requiring home-schooled children to get an annual physical and pass standardized tests merits consideration.
On the other hand, the Trenton girl was enrolled in school but could not recall the last time she was there. What went wrong? Shouldn't a truancy officer have investigated her absence?
Even more baffling is that no neighbors, no friends alerted authorities to the stench of rotting food and feces, the smell of something so obviously wrong.
Instead of merely shaking our heads and waiting until the horror of the torment these two little girls endured recedes, we must be vigilant and vocal in safeguarding these young lives. There is help available; it's a matter of making the connections.
Until then, we run the risk of failing yet another defenseless child.
Reports Of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse On The Rise In SF
by April Siese
According to San Francisco's Family Violence Council, the city has seen a dramatic increase in domestic violence 911 calls and reports of child abuse in the past three years.
As the Ex notes, domestic violence-related 911 calls has trended upwards from 6,538 in 2007-08 to 7,311 in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
Reports of child abuse have also increased. 2007-08 saw 513 cases, with 74% of them prompting investigation. That number has increased to 564 cases reported to SFPD's Child Abuse Unit, with 91% prompting investigation. Compare that to 2007-08, with 513 cases reported and 74% investigated.
According to the report, "this represents a 3-year high for felony child abuse cases, up 13% from FY08-09."
You can read the entire report here.
The Family Violence Council will present their Comprehensive Report on Family Violence in San Francisco 2010 to the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee at 10:30AM Thursday.
Two indicted in Lubbock for child sex trafficking
A Lubbock man and woman face multiple federal charges related to selling an underage teen for sex.
by LOGAN G. CARVER
A Lubbock man and woman face multiple federal charges related to selling an underage teen for sex.
A federal grand jury Wednesday handed down a three-count indictment charging Chanze Lamount Pringler, 25, and Megan Lee Norman, 19, with perpetrating a child sex-trafficking conspiracy.
Pringler and Norman were arrested by Lubbock police in March after online ads led investigators to an Overton Hotel room where they found Norman and an unnamed juvenile.
Pringler was arrested during a traffic stop in the 100 block of Zenith Avenue.
According to court documents, Pringler and Norman used a website to advertise a prostitution business, in which Norman and a juvenile engaged in sex for pay.
According to court documents, the juvenile was a runaway and began working as a prostitute for Pringler in early March.
Pringler gave Norman and the juvenile food, shelter and marijuana to prostitute themselves for him, according to the indictment.
The indictment details multiple occasions where Pringler drove Norman and the juvenile to hotels and motels around Lubbock to offer prostitution services.
At least twice - including the day Norman and the juvenile were arrested at the Overton Hotel - the "customer" they were meeting was an undercover police officer, according to court documents.
Both defendants remained at the Lubbock County Detention Center on Wednesday evening and face a count each of: conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, sex trafficking of a child and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child.
32 teens freed in Nigeria "baby factory" raid
Police have raided a house in southeast Nigeria being used as an illegal "baby factory," where young women were allegedly forced to bear children to be sold into the sex trade and for manual labor, according to French news agency AFP .
Police commissioner for Abia state, Bala Hassan, told AFP the house in Aba was raided over the weekend, "following a report that pregnant girls aged between 15 and 17 are being made to make babies for the proprietor."
"We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes," Hassan said.
Some of the pregnant teens taken into protective custody during the raid said their children fetched prices of about $192 on the human trafficking market, which is rife in Nigeria.
Hassan told AFP the proprietor of the alleged "baby factory" could face a prison sentence of 14 years for the buying or selling of children.
According to the report, a network of such illicit homes was busted in 2008, revealing the extent of the problem in the West African nation.
She's 10 and May Be Sold to a Brothel
by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
M. is an ebullient girl, age 10, who ranks near the top of her fourth-grade class and dreams of being a doctor. Yet she, like all of India, is at a turning point, and it looks as if her family may instead sell her to a brothel.
Her mother is a prostitute here in Kolkata, the city better known to the world as Calcutta. Ruchira Gupta, who runs an organization called Apne Aap that fights human trafficking, estimates that 90 percent of the daughters of Indian prostitutes end up in the sex trade as well. And M. has the extra burden that she belongs to a subcaste whose girls are often expected to become prostitutes.
M. seemed poised to escape this fate with the help of one of my heroes, Urmi Basu, a social worker who in 2000 started the New Light shelter program for prostitutes and their children.
M., with her winning personality and keen mind, began to bloom with the help of New Light. Both her parents are illiterate, but she learned English and earned excellent grades in an English-language school for middle-class children outside the red-light district. I'm concealing her identity to protect her from gibes from schoolmates.
Unfortunately, brains and personality aren't always enough, and India is the center of the 21st-century slave trade. This country almost certainly has the largest number of human-trafficking victims in the world today.
If M. is sold to a brothel, she will have no defense against H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. Decisions about using a condom are made by the customer or the brothel owner, not by the girl. In one brothel I slipped into to conduct some interviews, there was not a single condom available.
The police make more effort to help girls like M. than they did a few years ago, and in a column a week ago I described a police raid on a brothel and the rescue of girls inside ages 5, 10 and 15. Yet the police force's progress is uneven, with one prostitute explaining why brothels hide young girls from police: “Because when the police come through, they confiscate the very young girls, and then the brothel owners have to pay a bribe to get the girls back from the police.”
Now at age 10, M. is running out of time. Her parents have pulled her out of her school in Kolkata and are sending her back to their native village hundreds of miles to the west.
“Our family situation is such that we have to take her back,” said her mother. She is vague about the reasons, except to say that the girl's grandfather insists upon it. M. has a scholarship through New Light to study free in Kolkata, so the cost of M.'s education is not a factor.
This leaves Basu and me with an extremely bad feeling, fearing that once she is back in the village and away from her protectors at the New Light shelter, her grandfather could sell her to a trafficker for transfer to a red-light district anywhere in India.
When we ask M. what she thinks, she looks down and says in a small voice that she worries as well. But she says she will never give up: “I will not stop my studies,” she told me firmly.
Then again, she is unlikely to be consulted. And traffickers offer families hundreds of dollars for a pretty girl.
I'm here in Kolkata with America Ferrera, the actress from “Ugly Betty,” to film a television documentary. Ferrera fell in love with M., and M. with Ferrera; they spent much of their time giggling together.
“When I look at her, I see all the 10-year-old girls I've ever known,” Ferrera said. “She's bubbly, silly, and optimistic. It would be heartbreaking to lose such a beautiful spirit to a life of violence and prostitution.”
Ferrera, Basu and I jammed into M.'s one-room shack to beg her parents to let her stay in school in Kolkata. “I'm pleading with you,” Basu said. “Let your daughter have this opportunity!”
We got nowhere. Her parents have bought M. a train ticket back to the village in a week's time.
I don't know how this will end up. Ferrera said she will be writing letters to M. in hopes that this may make her family nervous about a sale. And Basu is counseling M. on what to do if she is sold to a trafficker. We just don't know what else to do.
What I do know is that it is surreal that these scenes are unfolding in the 21st century. The peak of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the 1780s, when just under 80,000 slaves a year were transported from Africa to the New World.
These days, Unicef estimates that 1.8 million children a year enter the commercial sex trade. Multiply M. by 1.8 million, and you understand the need for a new abolitionist movement.
Sex offender arrested on suspicion of raping two women in Vista
May 31, 2011
A 33-year-old convicted sex offender was arrested Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of raping two women in Vista and kidnapping one of them.
San Diego County sheriff's deputies arrested Jeremy Ryan Stutzman without incident outside a motel in Oceanside. He is suspected of raping a 19-year-old woman and a 21-year-old at an apartment in Vista on Monday night, then kidnapping one and stealing her car. The woman was found alive.
Stutzman was convicted in 2002 of sexually assaulting a woman in Escondido and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is on parole, according to the Sheriff's Department.
McDonnell signs law to fight human trafficking
Raises penalties, drops victim testimony requirement
Sex traffickers in Virginia can now be prosecuted even if their victims dont testify against them under a new law signed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Tuesday.
The law, contained in a package of legislation aimed to thwart human trafficking, expands penalties for sex traffickers by upgrading the offense to a class-two felony punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000. The law expands the definition of abduction to include commercial sexual activity involving minors, among other things.
Mr. McDonnell held a ceremonial signing of the legislation at Washington Dulles International Airport — an international hub that provides an entrance point to the United States for sex traffickers.
“What were talking about here is a vile and despicable offense for one person through drugs, extortion, forced fraud or some other means to exert an unconstitutional dominion over another person and force them to do things that are horrible and degrading and uncivil,” Mr. McDonnell said. “Thats why this is so important.”
Until now, sex traffickers have been prosecuted in Virginia under charge of abduction — which requires a victim willing to testify. But the nature of sex trafficking means that victims are often unwilling to speak out against the person who provides their only livelihood, said Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson.
“This is a situation where the only means of support they have is the person who brought them from some other country and sold them into slavery,” Mr. Simpson said. “Theyre not going to testify against the guy whos their bread and butter, so to speak.”
Mr. Simpson said sex traffickers in Loudoun County have most often been found running massage parlors where the owner is licensed but workers are not. By the time law enforcement officers learn of illicit activity, the businesses have often vacated the building. He said he's seen an increase in those types of cases over the last few years.
“We need to be able to interfere with that,” Mr. Simpson said. “We need to be able to charge the person whos running the outfit.”
Co-sponsoring delegates Vivian E. Watts , Annandale Democrat, and Timothy D. Hugo, Clifton Republican, said the new law sends a no-tolerance message to sex traffickers.
“It says to people who would abuse our children, who would traffic our children, you are not welcome in Virginia,” Mr. Hugo said.
Until now, Virginia was one of only a few states lacking a comprehensive law against human trafficking, according to the advocacy group Richmond Justice Initiative. Mrs. Watts said the new law puts Virginia in a much stronger position to prosecute offenders.
“The message I want to send out loud and clear to law enforcement is that Virginia has very tough laws and we want to make sure anyone engaged in trafficking sees that we do,” she said.
Passing with broad and bipartisan support, the package of legislation also includes bills that direct the Department of Criminal Justice is to begin training local law enforcement on human trafficking and the Department of Social Services to develop a plan to help victims. Mr. McDonnell also signed a resolution designating Jan. 11 as a day of awareness of global human trafficking.
Statistics on sex trafficking in Virginia are largely unavailable and estimates of how much sex trafficking occurs in the U.S. vary broadly. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 20,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year, mainly to enter the sex trade.
One available indicator is a hotline operated by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Virginia ranked 10th out of the states for calls received on the hotline from 2008 to 2011, Mr. McDonnell said.
“The unfortunate reality is sex trafficking is still alive and well in America and were doing something about it in Virginia that makes a difference,” he said.
After ex-Burnsville Scoutmaster convicted of sex abuse and other cases, Scouts add self-protection to their skills
June 1, 2011
Camping, boating, fishing, and swimming are just a few skills 11-year-old Cody Skrypek picked up since joining his Boy Scouts troop in West St. Paul.
And then, there was that video....It showed kids being inappropriately touched by an uncle, a coach, and stalked online.
"It was just what I needed to learn, you know," the fifth-grader said.
Today, Scout officials say teaching about sex abuse, online stalkers and date rape is just as important as mastering the outdoors. Youth protection has always existed in Scouts, but recent reports of sexual abuse by its leaders are putting a spotlight on the topic.
As the latest area Scout leader accused of child sexual abuse is sentenced this month, the Boy Scouts of America will announce today a new partnership to further protect youths, said Deron Smith, a spokesman for the national organization in Irving, Texas.
The Scouts this year also launched a new campaign, "Youth protection begins with you," which stresses that parents, volunteers, leaders and council staff all play a role in keeping children safe. In addition, the Scouts adopted new social media guidelines.
"This is part of the continuing improvement process we've always had" since the group began 101 years ago, Smith said. "Youth protection is paramount importance."
But even with more rules, child abuse cases continue to surface in the Scouts.
At least four boys have accused a Burnsville troop leader, who will be sentenced this month, of sexually
abusing them from 2003 to 2008. Another man is suing the Boy Scouts in Ramsey County court, alleging abuse by a former counselor at a Wisconsin camp.
Last year, the national organization paid nearly $20 million to a reported victim in Portland, Ore., after losing a similar lawsuit - and more suits are in the works.
"The issue of the sexual abuse of Scouts - it's clearly one that's been going on for a long time," said attorney Paul Mones, who represented the victim in Portland.
Campaigns and guidelines for youth safety are just the tip of the iceberg
The Scouts have tried to combat child molestation by requiring registered volunteers to complete online youth protection training every two years, Smith said. They also submit to criminal background checks, and undergo new ones when changing roles.
Parents who occasionally help out but are not registered volunteers are not subjected to the checks and training.
Last year, the organization also created a new youth-protection director position, hiring a former Texas police officer specializing in child-abuse investigations for the job.
Leaders talk about sex abuse with the boys, too.
The Scouts encourage troops to watch three videos, which show boys how to spot sexual abuse, what to do if they're being abused and how to avoid situations that might lead to abuse. The videos are geared to specific age groups in Cub and Boy Scouts.
In Cody's Troop 248, the boys watched "A Time to Tell."
The video shows a boy being plied with Xbox games, beer and pornography to be molested by an uncle. In another scene, a basketball coach touches one of his players inappropriately. In the last scene, a man stalks a boy after meeting him online.
The video stresses the three R's: recognize, resist and report.
Cody said his great-grandmother, who is his guardian, has talked with him about good touch/bad touch. He doesn't remember learning much about it in school.
A video for younger Cub Scouts teaches how to check first with an adult before going somewhere, to always go with a friend, to say no to inappropriate touches and to report abuse.
Older teen Scouts learn about date rape, suicide, bullying and staying safe online.
Some parents have complained that the videos are too raw and graphic, said John Andrews, scout executive for the Northern Star Council in St. Paul. But he said viewers are supposed to feel uncomfortable so that they stop and think about what's happening.
They're meant to show kids what "a bad thing looks like," Andrews said.
Cody's great-grandmother, Darleen Hekrdle, also watched the video with the troop.
She liked how the Scouts stressed that anyone can abuse kids, including teachers, instructors and family members. Hekrdle said the video should be shown at schools.
"I was really impressed with it," she said.
FOLLOWING THE RULES
Rules prohibiting adult volunteers from being alone with Scouts have existed for years, Smith said. But it's up to the troop leaders, volunteers and parents to follow those rules.
In 1987, the group adopted the two-deep leadership policy, requiring two adult leaders at all activities. In 1991, the Scouts prohibited any private one-on-one contact between adults and Scouts. The rule changed this year to include one-on-one electronic communication between adults and Scouts, such as through emails, texting and instant messaging.
Former Scoutmaster Peter Robert Stibal II, 46, reportedly often broke the two-deep rule.
Stibal, who led Troop 650 in Burnsville, was convicted last month of four felonies of criminal sexual conduct involving one Scout. Stibal still faces three second-degree criminal-sexual-conduct charges involving other Scouts. In a separate case, he faces six felony counts of possessing child pornography. A settlement hearing for those cases is scheduled for today.
According to a parent volunteer and the victim, Stibal was alone with boys in a tent and an SUV during two Scouting trips. His four alleged victims also said he spent time alone with them outside of Scouts at his cabin, his house, the movies and a drive-in theater.
The Scouts were never notified that Stibal violated any policies, said Northern Star Council spokesman Kent York. The allegations came out when one of the boys told police in 2009 that Stibal assaulted him - six years after the first alleged incident.
"Had we received notification or information from any source of Scout policy violations, we would have removed him immediately and followed other established procedures to prevent him from any contact with Scouts or Scouting," York said.
Those who break the rules are added to the Scouts' national "ineligible volunteers" list, said Mike Johnson, director of youth protection. Some have ridiculed the list - which remains private - calling it a database of known child molesters.
But Johnson said its purpose is to keep dangerous and potentially dangerous people out of Scouting, even if they were never convicted of a crime. The files remain confidential to encourage victims to report abuse and to protect victims' identities, Smith said.
The Oregon Supreme Court is deciding whether to force the Scouts to release the files.
Most lawsuits alleging abuse in the Scouts are settled, attorney Mones said.
In his client's case, a jury ruled that the Scouts knew sexual abuse existed in its organization and did nothing to protect the victim from being harmed.
The nearly $20 million in damages ordered in the Oregon lawsuit is the largest ruling against the Scouts in a sexual-abuse case, said Mones, who now has cases in at least seven other states alleging child molestation within the Scouts.
Since the verdict, the Scouts changed their youth-membership application to alert parents that abuse can occur "even in Scouting." It also included its two-deep policy in the form.
"The Boy Scouts are definitely making some changes now or are in the process," Mones said. "There's no doubt that they're making an attempt to respond to a problem."
More Victims Allege Sexual Abuse By Police Officer
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- More young victims are coming forward to say they were sexually assaulted by a Colorado Springs police officer. Officer Joshua Carrier, 30, was back in court Tuesday for a bond hearing.
Carrier was charged with 78 counts of various sexual offenses against six children, including sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Several kids have come forward with allegations against officer Carrier. Investigators said there could be more victims.
“It's difficult to put their concerns into words,” said attorney Rick B. Levinson, who is representing the families of three male victims.
“It's obviously a parent's and grandparent's worst nightmare,” said Levinson. Carrier, a volunteer wrestling coach and Horace Mann Middle School resource officer is accused of possessing kiddie porn, and sexually assaulting at least six students.
“It supposedly happened in a school with a trusted member of the police department who was working in the school,” said Levinson. “You can imagine their shock and dismay.” Carrier's attorney was in court Tuesday to try to lower his client's $500,000 bond.
“We objected on behalf of our clients, because we hadn't received formal notice,” said Levinson. “And it's my belief my clients will want to make a statement at any bond reduction hearing in opposition to the reduction.”
The bond hearing was rescheduled for next Tuesday. A preliminary hearing is set for June 28.
Talking To Your Kids About Sexual Abuse
With the case of former Colorado Springs Police officer Joshua Carrier in the spotlight, parents may be asking how to know if their kids may have been a victim of abuse.
11 News spoke with an expert who says to open a dialogue with your children as early as 3 or 4.
A non-profit organization called Safe Passage in Colorado Springs says they work with almost one thousand felony child cases every year.
Interim Director of Safe Passage, Tammi Pitzen, says it's not out of the ordinary to learn that when children are violated, it's by someone they know.
"Generally 90 percent of cases of child sexual assault are people that they know, people that they trust or people that's authority in their lives," Pitzen said.
Pitzen says watch for signs that are concerning. If your children don't want to go to places they're used to, don't have the same group of peers they normally do, if they radically changed their eating habits, or even have trouble sleeping, those could be signs that something is wrong.
"I think if you have concerns you can ask (your kids), 'is there anything you want to talk to me about? Has anybody done anything to you that makes you feel uncomfortable?' If yes, just ask them simply to tell you about it," Pitzen said.
Pitzen also points out that parents shouldn't wait for a case like this to start talking to their children, keeping an open dialogue is a major preventative measure.
Kidpower and Safe Passage are non-profit organizations that offer resources to families who may be in a similar situation.
You can contact Safe Passage at (719) 636-2460 or on their website - http://www.safepassagecac.org/
You can contact Kidpower at (719) 520-1311 or on their website - http://www.kidpowercs.org/
One-a-day toll of child abuse in Dorset
June 1, 2011
A SHOCKING total of 358 child sex crimes were reported to Dorset Police last year including rape, incest and gross indecency.
This was revealed in a damning new report by the NSPCC who have used Freedom of Information powers to establish what the situation is in each county.
For the first time ever the children's charity has obtained facts showing that a total of 88 known suspects were aged 11 or under.
The national picture also shows nearly a quarter – 23 per cent of sex offence suspects – were under the age of 18.
Now the NSPCC head of service for the South West, Sharon Copsey, is calling for more to be done to address harmful sexual behaviour in minors as well adults.
She said: “Thousands of people come forward every year to report sex crimes against children.
“But many victims are too young to ask for help.
“Others are too scared to tell anyone about their suffering until years later. The rise in recorded sex offences against children is a real concern and we need to find ways to help victims and change the behaviour of young offenders.
“More than 88 suspects in these cases in Dorset were under 18.
“It's clear we need more services that address the harmful sexual behaviour of young people, as well as adult offenders.” This year the charity is launching two UK-wide programmes to help prevent young people from sexually harming others. Another programme will test therapies for helping children recover from sex abuse.
Mrs Copsey added: “We urge everyone to be vigilant and report any concerns they have about a child.” As part of the report the NSPCC found that across England and Wales, girls continue to be around six times more likely to be sexually assaulted than boys with over 86 per cent of female victims recorded. The figures also showed a rise in the number of recorded offences across England and Wales from 20,698 in 2007-08 to 21,618 in 2008-09 and 23,390 in 2009-10.
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “Protecting children from harm is a key concern for Dorset Police and we work tirelessly with our partner agencies to ensure that vulnerable people are protected and that offenders are brought to justice.
“Our message to victims is ‘don't suffer in silence' – we can't help unless incidents are reported to us. We know that much abuse goes unreported, and it is conceivable that some increase in recorded crime may be attributable to victims, particularly those who have suffered historic abuse, having greater confidence to report these matters.”
Most reports concerned children aged 12-15 years old. However, seven victims in the region were pre-school age and 68 were aged 11 or under.
'Sexualisation' of children a huge problem
THE Director of Kidscape has said the sexualisation of children is a problem that needs to be tackled immediately.
Responding to the number of children 11 or under carrying out assaults Kisdcape director Claude Knights said: “I am very concerned about the number of children indulging in inappropriate sexual behaviour.
“It all has a knock-on effect and I'm afraid that is what we are seeing.
“We hear about it on the helplines and through our work.
“Even the use of sexualised language has now spread to children in primary schools.
“Although it is still a minority of all the sexual abuse figures – it is still a growing concern.”
She called on parents, teachers and groups to take responsibility to ensure that the sexualisation of children at a young age is prevented as a way of tackling the problems.
The number of suspects under 18 is major worry
A MOTHER whose child was sexually abused by a man in Dorset three years ago has pleaded for more to be done to stop the figures rising.
She said that the untold destruction that sex abuse causes should never be underestimated and that it is the biggest evil worrying parents today.
Speaking to the Echo anonymously she said: “It's the great void in society that no one wants to talk about.
“But unfortunately I have had to, and long after the police investigation and the court case finished it stayed with us.
“It breaks your heart and destroys every piece of trust you ever have.”
“The number of suspects under 18 worries me and I urge the authorities, social services who deal with troubled youngsters to do everything they can to identify who could offend.”
Crack down on sex trade of the young
The Massachusetts House is set to debate a bill designed to crack down on those involved in the sex trade of young people.
The legislation would create the crime of human trafficking in Massachusetts, one of just five states without its own trafficking law. The House is expected to pass the bill Wednesday.
Attorney General Martha Coakley has pushed for tougher laws targeting the fastest growing type of criminal enterprise in Massachusetts.
Coakley says sex trade is flourishing in part because state penalties are relatively light and the young people pressed into prostitution - often teenage girls - can be forced to engage in sex repeatedly.
A human trafficking bill passed the Senate last session, but died in the House.
The Senate could debate the bill later in the week.
Campaign seeks to raise awareness of domestic minor sex trafficking
A national campaign to raise awareness about sex trafficking of American girls was launched Tuesday during a news conference at the Space Needle. Billboards recently went up on the streets below Seattle's most iconic landmark, where girls and women still walk "the track," an area of prostitution bordered by Lenora and Mercer streets, between Fifth Avenue and Westlake.
by Sara Jean Green
The billboard features a girl, hugging her knees on a bed. She sits on a blue bedspread covered with cartoon animals.
The caption reads, "TRAFFICKED AND TORTURED NIGHTLY"
The billboard, at the corner of Denny Way and Taylor Avenue, is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about what's come to be known as domestic minor sex trafficking.
The campaign, called "Do you know Lacy?" is being spearheaded by Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking organization based in Vancouver, Wash., that was founded by former U.S. Rep. Linda Smith in 1998. Lacy, a pseudonym Smith gave to one young victim in her book, "Renting Lacy," is now an every girl of sorts, representing every American girl lured into the sex trade.
A news conference to announce the campaign and release a 60-page assessment on how well Washington state is investigating and prosecuting pimps and customers, providing long-term services to sexually exploited girls and training police and social-service providers to recognize the signs of prostitution was held Tuesday at the Space Needle.
Washington is a national leader "in the arrest and investigation of those who buy and sell our kids," Smith said. She singled out King and Clark counties as being especially aggressive in going after pimps and customers, and credited the Seattle Police Department for investigations that have led to several convictions of pimps, including one man who in March was sentenced to 26 ½ years in prison for pimping out a 15-year-old Auburn girl.
Shared Hope is also sponsoring a daylong training session on Friday for law-enforcement officers, social-service providers, youth advocates and members of the public at Overlake Church in Redmond. The hope is that each person who attends the training will in turn train his or her colleagues and friends on how to identify girls involved in prostitution, Smith said.
The location of the news conference was deliberately chosen: In the shadow of Seattle's most iconic landmark, girls and women still walk "the track" that last year was the focus of a six-month Seattle police sting operation known as "Operation Fast Track." Thirty men were arrested, including Jerry Lewis Smith, 47, who is now standing trial in King County Superior Court, accused of attempted promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor.
Last June, a Seattle Times reporter and photographer accompanied a team of police officers who arrested Smith (no relation to Linda Smith) when he allegedly arranged to pick up a 17-year-old girl who had agreed to work for him as a prostitute. But the so-called girl was, in fact, a Seattle police officer who had been working as a decoy near Sixth Avenue North and Thomas Street.
According to charging documents filed in Smith's case, the Seattle Center track is known for "a younger and cleaner class of prostitutes" and is referred to on the streets as "The Fashion Show" because "prostitutes dress in a bolder, more revealing manner."
Seattle police Lt. Eric Sano, who attended Tuesday's news conference, said last year's operation "put a huge dent" in prostitution activities along the track, the area bordered by Lenora and Mercer streets, between Fifth Avenue and Westlake. "But I think they're getting smarter," he said of pimps, who are increasingly moving to cities outside Seattle.
Seattle police recovered 81 juveniles last year, but the numbers so far this year are down, apparently because pimps are migrating to the Eastside and to cities such as Kent and Federal Way, Sano said. Still, police arrested seven customers on Aurora Avenue North on Thursday night, and five others were arrested on Rainier Avenue on May 20, he said. No juveniles were found in either sting.
According to Smith, Seattle enjoys a culture of "innovative tenacity," in which the criminal-justice system, social-service providers and others have banded together to fight the sex trafficking of girls. Still, she said, "most people ... don't know much (about it) and there lies a lot of our problem."
An estimated 100,000 girls — both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents — are lured or forced into prostitution each year, Smith said.
To learn more
A training session for law-enforcement officers, social-service providers, youth advocates and members of the general public is being held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Overlake Christian Church, 9900 Willows Road N.E., in Redmond. Participants can register online at DoYouKnowLacy.com ; or at the door, beginning at 8 a.m. Cost is $25.
Shared Hope International's "Rapid Assessment on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Washington" will be available online this week at www.sharedhope.org .
Governor signs Sears-backed trafficking bill
by NEAL P. GOSWAMI
May 31, 2011
BENNINGTON -- Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a human trafficking bill into law Tuesday that creates stiff penalties for offenders and protections for victims.
Proponents are hailing the new Vermont law as among the strongest in the nation. It offers state law enforcement and prosecutors tools to build cases in Vermont by criminalizing labor and sex trafficking in the state. The law also lays creates a program of services for human trafficking victims.
Shumlin, a Democrat sworn into office earlier this year, said during a signing ceremony that it was important for the state to have a comprehensive set of criminal laws dealing with labor and sex trafficking.
"The new law now ranks among the strongest anti-trafficking laws in the nation, allowing Vermont to continue our legacy of fighting slavery within our borders and around the world," Shumlin said.
Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears has advocated such a law and first introduced the measure four years ago. The legislation at that time created a task force to study the issue of human trafficking. The information was used to craft the law, Sears said.
"We built on their work, and I think came out with one of the most positive bills of the session," Sears said.
Sears, a Democrat, said his interest in the topic arose from a local construction project several years ago that had undocumented workers. "Part of my interest in this bill is from when they were building the Hampton Inn and there were a number of undocumented workers. I think it's naive to think that with the number of undocumented workers that some of them aren't the victim of human trafficking," he said.
The new law "creates a very serious [state] crime for those who are involved with human trafficking," Sears said. "It makes it a very large felony with significant fines in the $100,000 range and ... 25-year sentences," he said.
Creating a state crime category and giving local law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to go after offenders is necessary because the federal government is often "too slow to respond," Sears said. Victims are often "scattered" by the offenders before federal authorities act, he said.
"Not only do you lose the ability to help the victims, but you lose the ability to prosecute the offenders. That's why it's important to have the Vermont law," Sears said. "Part of the problem is that when it occurs we're not able to respond to it. Frequently, we leave it to the feds, and typically the victims are gone before the feds even begin to prosecute."
The law also creates a "safe harbor for children," according to Sears. Children under the age of 18 who are involved in prostitution or other prohibited sexual acts because of their status as a victim of human trafficking will not be held criminally liable, he said.
"So many of these kids are involved in prostitution because of human trafficking," he said.
Heartfelt trek across England
May 31, 2011
HEARTFELT House director Larry Rawstorne hopes to raise $10,000 for the Northern Rivers-based organization with a 17-day trek across England.
Mr Rawstorne, along with daughter Jo, son Scott and Scott's partner Janelle, plan to walk 320km from St Bees on the western side of the island to Robin Hoods Bay on the Yorkshire Coast.
The trek was inspired by Jo, who proposed a trip to England to revisit places of importance to the Rawstorne family and developed to include the fundraising bid.
Heartfelt House would use the funds to carry on its work providing critical support to the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
For more details, go to www.heartfelthouse.org.au.
Shane Alexander donates proceeds from his song “Look Out For Me” to Darkness to Light charity
Shane Alexander donates proceeds from his new song “Look Out For Me” to Darkness to Light – an organization to help prevent child sexual abuse, whose mission is to end childhood sexual abuse
May 30, 2011 – LA based singer/songwriter/ guitarist Shane Alexander is paying it forward. He has written his latest song “Look Out For Me” to help the charity Darkness to Light, whose ultimate mission is to end childhood sexual abuse through education and awareness. CEO of Darkness to Light Anne Lee says, “Shane Alexander's “Look Out for Me” is a beautiful, melodic reminder that our children need us and depend on us to protect their only childhood.”
Possessing a singularly evocative voice, Shane Alexander writes songs that Performing Songwriter Magazine has called “stunning,” and The Los Angeles Times described as “beautiful.” Shane has opened multiple US tours for Jewel and Seal and performed in Europe with Bon Iver and Suzanne Vega, among many others.
Since his debut in 2005, he has released 4 solo albums, including his latest effort Mono Solo, on his own BuddhaLand Records imprint. No stranger to the road, he tours the US and Europe constantly. This fiercely independent artist has amassed a global fanbase and has nearly one million plays on MySpace to prove it. His popularity has been driven in part by over 50 television and film placements, including the season finale of MTV's highly rated "My Life as Liz" (aired April 29th 2011).
He has recently signed with Warner Chappell Publishing and Rough Trade Distribution in Europe.Even with all this success, Shane Alexander is finding the time to help others; he has a huge talent but a big heart to matchit.
Shane Alexander's current efforts have been directed at raising funds and awareness for the charity Darkness to Light (D2L). This is a cause Shane feels strongly about: “I believe in giving back as much as possible, and to lend my voice to an organization with such a noble mission just felt right. The statistics of childhood sexual abuse are pretty staggering, and Darkness to Light is working so hard to help prevent the suffering that these kids might face. It's a real privilege for me to be working with such great people.”
Shane Alexander was so compelled by what the charity stood for that it inspired him to write this touching and poignant song and to donate proceeds to the charity upon its release. Anne Lee believes that Shane Alexander's song “has captured the pure essence of childhood that every adult needs to hear.”A portion of the proceeds from Shane's US summer tour will be donated to the Darkness to Light as well.
Child sexual abuse is regarded as an epidemic. According to statistics from D2L, There are more than 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America and they estimate that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the time she is 18. More than 90% of abusers are people children trust love and know.
Darkness to Light was founded in 2000 by Anne Lee, now President and CEO. The ultimate mission of D2L is to end childhood sexual abuse and empower adults through awareness and educational programs to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. Recently featured in April 4th 2011 issue of People Magazine's Heroes Among Us, Anne Lee shared her story of abuse and how it led her to launching Darkness to Light.
A true “hero among us,” Anne says, “Darkness to Light is honored to have had Shane write this song for our organization and we are excited about his working with us to raise awareness.” Darkness to Light and Shane Alexander are both dedicated to preventing sexual abuse in this lifetime.
To purchase the song please go to
http://www.shanealexandermusic.com/ look_out_for_ me/sa_d2 ...
Shane Alexander tour dates are as follows. For up to the minute info please check: shanealexandermusic.com
|July 6 The Pour House - Charleston, SC.
July 7 The House 5 Points -Columbia ,SC .
July 8 Smith's Olde Bar -Atlanta, GA.
July 9 Private Show Frederickburg,VA.
July 10 The Globe Theater- Berlin MD.
July 13 The M Room –Philadelphia, PA.
July 14 Milkboy Coffee – Ardmore, PA
July 15 The Living Room- New York, NY
July 16 Club Cafe – Pittsburgh,PA .
July 18 Latitude's-Cincinnati,OH.
July 19 Natasha's -Lexington KY
July 20 Southgate- Newport, KY.
July 21 343 Tavern- Columbus ,OH
July 22 Uncle Slayton's –Louisville,KY.
July 23rd Uncle Slayton's -Louisville ,KY.
July 24 The Rutledge Theater- Nashville ,TN.
About Darkness to Light -
Darkness to Light provides a light to the end of the tunnel and has the world's only evidenced based child sexual abuse prevention program, Stewards of Children. Stewards were even honored as the 2007 National Crime Prevention Program of the Year. With over 3,200 plus trained Steward's Educators (we call them Facilitators) in 49 states and 15 countries, D2L has already protected hundreds of thousands of kids from sexual violation.
Learn More: www.Darkness2Light.org
Internet paedophiles thwarted in 'record' numbers
Ceop's Chief Executive Peter Davies says there is far more abuse going on that can be brought to light
More than 400 children have been identified as victims of abuse over the past year by the UK's national centre for child protection.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) said the children had been safeguarded or protected as a result.
And it said more than 500 people had been arrested for child sex offences.
But the "great tragedy" is that much child abuse goes unreported, said its chief executive Peter Davies.
Ceop was set up in 2006 to track online paedophiles and bring them to court.
In its annual report, the centre said 414 children were helped, 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. This is a record number of children and a record number of arrests for the centre.
Over a five-year period the agency said it helped to dismantle more than 394 high-risk sex offender networks and arrest 1,644 suspected paedophiles.
'Suffering in silence'
According to the report, images on the internet appear to show that younger children are increasingly becoming victims of abuse.
Mr Davies told the BBC: "The great tragedy and the great challenge for us is that so much child abuse goes unreported.
Read the full report
PDF download Ceop annual review [2.5MB]
"One of the unique things we do is use the internet to identify people who pose a risk to children and identify children who are at risk who otherwise would have just carried on suffering in silence.
"There is far more child abuse going on out there than ever gets reported. It's a major concern, it's something everyone needs to pull together and do something about."
He added: "Our contribution to that is to highlight it and do what we can using our technical expertise and our partnerships to stamp out the offending.
"And make sure that children and young people, and their parents and whoever cares for them, have the best possible advice and guidance so that they can empower themselves."
Mr Davies said Ceop was trying to stay ahead of developments in technology, including in the area of social networking sites.
Jon Taylor, an internet safety expert and former police officer who went undercover posing as a 12-year-old girl, said it was relatively easy to pose online - either as a child who may be groomed or as a sexual predator - to "mingle" and find out what people were doing.
But he said it was difficult because the internet is not "proactively policed", and instead reacts to intelligence and information.
"The big problem arises from the fact that we are dealing with what we call a non-statistical crime because you have to understand that the police do police through statistics.
"If it's reported it'll get a reaction, and that's one of the biggest problems with child abuse, especially online child abuse, that it doesn't really get reported," he said.
He said it was also important for people to understand the "whole picture" of how children use the internet, including chat rooms and webcam chats.
"There are all these different areas that sexual and child predators will use for their own benefit," he said.
Ceop is currently affiliated to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), but is to be merged with the new National Crime Agency when it is formed in 2013.
The move prompted the resignation of Ceop's former head Jim Gamble over concerns that the changes were motivated by a desire to cut the number of quangos rather than improve child protection.
Mr Davies insisted that, as well as retaining its own budget, the unit would also keep "its own brand, its own approach and its own dedication to putting the safety and well-being of children first".
He said the agency was "bringing this crime more into the open and are working collectively with many others to break down the taboos and obstacles that stop children getting the help and support they need".
A spokeswoman for child protection charity NSPCC said: "This impressive work by Ceop underscores the constant and serious threat to vulnerable children.
"Latest figures from our helpline show a record number of children had to be given immediate protection because they are at risk of harm.
"But the good news is more people are no longer standing idly by but are reporting these cases."
Mother Of Fatally Beaten Infant Twins Speaks Out
Bird-Winbun Encourages Others To Be Vigilant About Child Abuse
BARABOO, Wis. -- The Baraboo mother whose husband was convicted of killing their infant twins three years ago is breaking her silence.
At just 5 weeks old, twins Tyler and Savannah were victims of a savage beating that ended their lives, tore a family apart and subsequently landed their father in prison.
Susan Bird-Winbun, the mother of the twins, said that child abuse can escalate quickly. She said she is telling her story in hopes of helping to end child abuse once and for all. She said she doesn't want what happened to her children to happen to others.
"What most people don't know or understand is that violence can turn to homicide overnight," said Bird-Winbun. Bird-Winbun claims that the cycle of abuse that left her children dead started before they were even born, although she hasnt always known that.
"I thought it was just me that made him angry," she said.
The "him" Bird-Winbun is referring to is the children's father, David Yates, who is now serving two consecutive life sentences for the twins' deaths.
Bird-Winbun said she only gained the strength to end her abusive relationship in the week after she delivered the children. She said she hoped for a successful co-parenting relationship with Yates, but never in her worst nightmares did she think the situation could go so wrong. Making matters worse is the blame she carries with her to this day.
"I can only say to people who say I never should have left Tyler and Savannah with him, that they are absolutely correct," said Bird-Winbun.
While the story of the twins' deaths is an extreme one, it isn't an isolated case of abuse, experts said.
Hanna Roth is founder of the Rainbird Foundation, a group committed to ending child abuse once and for all. She said she believes that statistics don't tell the whole story, because they can never be current, nor exhaustive.
"The truth is, we don't know how bad it is," said Roth. "I see parents take a hand to their child, and smack them upside the head, or on the fanny, on the streets. It's so acceptable they don't even hide it."
Both Roth and Bird-Winbun are encouraged by the recent passage of a bill by the state Senate that requires all school employees to report child abuse if they even suspect it. They said that the legislation is a single yet huge step in a journey of a thousand miles.
"I sit here today because Tyler and Savannah weren't allowed to live long enough to leave their own footprint on the world," said Bird-Winbun. "So I'm going to spend the rest of my life leaving mine big enough to cover what they would have accomplished as well."
Roth stresses that the mindset of hitting a child in the name of discipline, especially considering if the same adult were to hit another adult, it would be considered battery, has to change.
She also said she believes that the general societal acceptance of yelling and screaming at children also has to be modified.
She is also asking for the public's help. She is participating in a rally to help end child abuse set for Sunday, July 31, at the Capitol Square in downtown Madison.
David Yates plans to appeal his conviction. Yates had until the Friday before Memorial Day to formally file that appeal.
It is unknown at this time if that has happened. Calls to his attorney were not immediately returned.
Report Suspected Child Abuse - Hotline Calls Are Confidential
May 31, 2011
The Department of Health and Human services reports that a lot of questions have come up about when someone should call the state's Child Abuse / Neglect Hotline.
State law says that anyone who has reasonable cause to believe a child has been subject to abuse or neglect, or observes conditions that reasonably would result in abuse or neglect, is obligated to report the situation to law enforcement or the DHHS hotline.
“When in doubt, always call the child abuse hotline at 1-800-652-1999 ,” said Kerry Winterer, chief executive officer of the department.
When a call come into the hotline a trained worker goes through an extensive list of questions to determine whether an investigation should occur.
Names of callers are kept confidential.
Because investigations are also confidential, the caller may not know if action is taken or an investigation is conducted.
“Please keep reporting it if you think a child is in danger,” Winterer said. “DHHS keeps all reports, so even if one situation doesn't meet the definition of abuse or neglect, you can help establish a pattern over time that may in itself trigger an investigation.”
The hotline number is: 1-800-652-1999.
MS-13 member indicted in sex-trafficking case
A member of the MS-13 gang has been indicted on accusations of trafficking girls for sex in the D.C. area.
The 21-year-old Fairfax resident is accused of running a prostitution business and transporting girls he knew were juveniles to have sex with male clients.
A federal grand jury in Alexandria indicted 21-year-old Alonso Bruno Cornejo Ormeno on charges of sex trafficking of children and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The indictment alleges that he trafficked the girls between February 2008 and October 2010.
Cornejo Ormeno would rent hotel rooms for the girls to meet with clients and would also drive the girls to his clients' homes, according to court documents .
The documents say he set up about six to seven appointments a day, earning $400 to $500 a day on weekdays and $800 to $900 a day during weekends.
Other admitted MS-13 members -- including at least one other who engaged in sex trafficking -- told federal investigators that Cornejo Ormeno had "an extensive list" of prostitution clients in Alexandria, Fairfax, Woodbridge and Maryland, court records say, and his "prepaid phone rang constantly with clients calling for prostitution appointments." Cornejo Ormeno allegedly admitted to his MS-13 associates that he knew the girls he was trafficking were juveniles.
Court records say Cornejo Ormeno would tell clients a girl was young, and advertise her as a "high school girl" and "fresh out of the box." He would also give the girls alcohol and drugs, and encourage them to finish appointments faster to "move onto the next client more quickly."
Cornejo Ormeno is in custody pending a June 3 arraignment. His attorney, Travis Tull, declined to comment on the case.
MS-13 members in Northern Virginia have been associated with prostitution activities in the past.
Another gang member, Alexander Rivas, was charged in February with running a prostitution ring using girls who had run away from their homes.
In July 2009, three MS-13 members fatally shot a pimp in Alexandria who refused to be extorted by the gang. The MS-13 members demanded that Claros Luna pay "rent" for running his prostitution business on their turf, court records say. Those gang members, Eris Ramon Arguera, Adolfo Amaya Portillo and Alcides Umana have all pleaded guilty to their roles in the slaying.
Where did the McStays go?
On Feb. 4, 2010, Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young sons got into their Isuzu Trooper and drove away from their Fallbrook home. Then they vanished. Life had been normal up to that point.
by Scott Kraft, Los Angeles Times
May 30, 2011
Reporting from Fallbrook, Calif.
Joseph and Summer McStay's home sat on a quiet cul-de-sac, beneath a mountain thick with avocado trees. The fenced backyard was perfect for Bear, Summer's Akita, and there was plenty of room upstairs for their two toddlers.
Soon after they moved in, in late 2009, Summer had launched a big renovation — paint, tile flooring and granite countertops. She also adopted a puppy.
Six weeks later, on a chilly Thursday evening in February, the family piled into their Isuzu Trooper and drove away. Then they vanished.
Photos: A Fallbrook family vanishes
When Det. Troy Dugal walked into their living room 11 days later, he saw two bowls of popcorn sitting on futons in front of the TV. A half-empty popcorn bag was beneath the microwave. On the counter was a carton of eggs and a banana, which had gone bad.
"It looked like somebody left in a hurry," he recalled. "Not frantically, but in a hurry."
There were no signs of a struggle or forced entry. They couldn't have intended to be gone long.
It is exceedingly rare for a family of four to disappear in America.
Most missing-persons cases involve children. When adults go missing, they get less attention from police departments — absent signs of dementia or foul play. It's not illegal, after all, for adults to take themselves and their children away without telling anyone.
About 1 million people are reported missing every year in the United States, and 95% of those cases are resolved in the first 24 hours. The likelihood of being found shrinks with every day, every week, every month that passes.
The McStay mystery began with a call to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department on Feb. 10, 2010, six days after the family's last contact with friends and relatives.
It was from Dan Kavanaugh, who ran the website for Joseph's business, Earth Inspired Products, which installs water fountains. He hadn't been able to reach Joseph for several days. The McStays occasionally had gone away for a weekend without telling anyone, but it was unusual for him to be out of touch for this long.
Four days later Joseph's brother, Mike McStay, also called the sheriff's office. By then, Joseph's family had been unable to reach him for 10 days. The next morning, sheriff's detectives met Mike at the Fallbrook house. Dugal, 50, a homicide detective and the son of a career policeman, was the lead investigator.
They found paintbrushes and cans in the living room. Most of the furniture, Mike told him, was in storage, and the family appeared to be living out of suitcases.
Dugal didn't see any obvious sign of a struggle.
He went door to door in the neighborhood. No one had seen the McStays in more than a week. Neighbors said they'd grown worried about the dogs and started feeding them.
He interviewed friends and family, all of whom had the same story: "The bottom line," he concluded, "was that life was normal for the McStays up to Feb. 4, and on that day they just vanished."
Dugal ran a check on the family's vehicles. Their green truck was parked in the driveway, but their Isuzu Trooper was missing. Investigators examined a surveillance recording from a neighbor's security camera. It showed an Isuzu Trooper driving away from the McStays' house at 7:47 p.m. on Feb. 4.
Within hours, Dugal found the Trooper. The SUV had been towed on Feb. 8, four days after the family disappeared, from the parking lot of a strip mall in San Ysidro, an hour's drive from the McStay home and a short walk from a pedestrian crossing into Mexico.
Dugal spoke with the two security guards who had been on duty that night. They had first noticed the vehicle in the lot shortly after dark and, because the hood was cold, concluded that it had arrived around 5 p.m. When it was still there at 11 p.m., they called a tow truck.
The SUV yielded few clues. It was found locked, and fingerprints found on it matched the McStays'. Two child-restraint seats were in the back and some new toys, most still in their packaging, were in the rear storage area. Family members said one of the boys had a birthday a week before the disappearance.
Had the McStays parked and walked into Tijuana? Dugal thought it was a possibility.
He got surveillance footage from the border crossing. Volunteers from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children helped him study hours of video, looking for the family among the 100,000 people who walked across the border that Monday. They all agreed that one particular clip, with a time stamp of 7 p.m., was worth closer examination.
It was a rear view of a man holding the hand of a young boy in a beanie cap. Walking behind them was a woman holding the hand of a smaller boy, also in a beanie cap. All four were walking toward the border gate.
The woman had a small handbag draped over her shoulder, and the man carried what appeared to be a small plastic grocery sack in his free hand.
Relatives looked at the video clip, but no one was certain that it was the family. The woman wore a white jacket with a fur lining similar to one Summer owned. Summer also often wore Uggs, just like the woman in the video. But Joseph's mother and brother thought the man seemed too tall and slim.
Over the next few weeks, Dugal had the computers in the house analyzed by the FBI forensic lab and came up with a piece of circumstantial evidence.
A week before the family disappeared, someone used the desktop computer to research travel to Mexico. One search specifically asked: "What documents do children need for traveling to Mexico?"
"The family didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to believe it," Dugal said. "But the truth is, it was evidence. A possibility had changed into a probability."
But Dugal knew there were several problems with that theory.
For one thing, as the answers to the computer search questions made clear, adults need a passport to enter Mexico and re-enter the United States. Joseph had a passport; Summer did not. (The children needed birth certificates, and though one boy's birth certificate was found in the home, the parents could have made copies.)
And, even if the family did enter Mexico, where had they been the previous four days?
Dugal thought it likely that the family had spent those four days in Southern California. But what were they doing? Why didn't they answer their cellphones?
Dugal began to scour the family's records. The last call Joseph made on his phone was shortly after the Trooper left the neighborhood on Feb. 4. He called one of his employees, who said they talked business.
The detective checked their bank accounts. The McStays had $20,000 in savings in a joint account and Summer had $20,000 in another. There'd been no unusual withdrawals or deposits.
The activity in Joseph's business account, which had a balance of about $65,000, seemed consistent with business operations. Some withdrawals were made after his disappearance, but Dugal determined those were transactions conducted by Joseph's employees.
"The bottom line is that life is normal until that day," Dugal said. "And after that day, neither Summer nor Joseph existed on paper."
By this point in a missing-persons investigation, detectives would expect to have some solid evidence of what happened. But this "was one of those head-scratchers," Dugal said. "The totality of it didn't make sense."
For one thing, the McStays seemed very settled.
Joseph, 40, spoke several times a week with his brother in San Clemente as well as his mother in Corona and his father in Houston. More significant, perhaps, Joseph was close to a 14-year-old son from his first marriage who also lived in northern San Diego County.
Summer, 43, was a stay-at-home mom whom friends described as fiercely protective of her boys, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3. She also was in regular contact with her family, including a sister, Tracy Russell, in Big Bear.
On the morning of Feb. 4, Summer had talked with her sister, who had recently had a baby, and promised to bring her boys up for a visit soon. That afternoon, Summer used a credit card to buy baby clothes.
Russell said Summer had been preoccupied that week with her home renovation. The couple had put $30,000 down to buy the $300,000 home, and she'd just spent $4,000 on new flooring.
Summer had enlisted one of the couple's friends, McGyver McCargar, to help her paint. As McCargar left the house on Wednesday, Feb. 3, he and Summer agreed that he'd return Saturday. When he texted Summer that night to confirm, she replied: "Yes, we'll see you Saturday." He still has the text on his phone.
On Friday night, Feb. 5, McCargar sent several texts to Summer asking whether she still needed him on Saturday. When she didn't reply, he assumed she had gotten someone else to finish the job.
Dugal thinks it's most likely that the family left their home voluntarily on Feb. 4 and intended to return. But he doesn't think the McStays would break off contact with family members for 15 months. He now suspects foul play.
The mystery weighs especially heavily on Joseph's and Summer's families.
Joseph's father, Patrick, has been sharply critical of the investigation, contending that it hasn't been aggressive enough.
Joseph had given his father the passwords for both his and Summer's email accounts, and last fall Patrick went through thousands of their messages in a search for clues. He learned that a few months before they disappeared, Summer had ordered a Spanish-language program. Was it to prepare the family to go to Mexico?
Patrick doesn't believe so.
"Why would my son, as smart as he was, take his family to a place that is so wildly dangerous right now?" he said.
Joseph's brother Mike maintains a website with photos and home videos of the family, and tips arrive in waves every time television programs featuring the case are rebroadcast. Last week, Dugal investigated a sighting in Indiana; a few weeks earlier it was Burbank. None panned out.
Last year, a waiter at a restaurant in Baja said he had served the family, whom he recognized from posters put up in the region. But the FBI investigated and could find no corroboration.
Family members can only speculate. Did someone force the family to go to Mexico? Did someone hurt Joseph and then abduct Summer and the kids? Were both parents attacked and the kids abducted?
Weeds grow knee-high in the frontyard of the McStays' home on Avocado Vista Lane.
On the welcome mat by the front door recently was a letter: a foreclosure specialist offering his services. When the bank learned the couple were missing, it froze their accounts, pushing the house into foreclosure. It's due to be auctioned off next month.
Face-to-face with child abuse
The Lisa Project offers graphic depiction thru June 30
by Jason Campbell
The strong smell of marijuana penetrates the air and drug paraphernalia is evident throughout the room.
Pill bottles, snubbed out joints and a makeshift meth lab litter the disgusting apartment, and the small refrigerator in the corner of the room is open and completely empty.
And what's most horrifying is that this drug den is the home to Evan, a young boy whose haunting story is told as part of The Lisa Project – a multi-sensory exhibit started by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County to show the multi-faceted sides of child abuse and how it exists in our society today.
Rather than just telling Evan's story, The Lisa Project – located in the corner of the parking lot of JC Penney near Union Road and Atherton Drive – will give people a chance to both see and feel the conditions in which child abuse can take place. The exhibit opens on June 2 and runs through June 30.
“It's really like taking a child by the hand and having them lead you through it,” said Child Abuse Prevention Council Director Gene Hardin. “This gives people a chance to see it and feel it and smell it, and that's something that opens the eyes of a lot of people. It really promotes awareness about these situations.”
The self-guided tour through the modular building utilizes an iPod that tells the story of a handful of children that are being abused in a myriad of different ways – physically, sexually and emotionally. It's neglect in the case of Evan. And just to set the scene of what these children face, an emotionally taxing 911 call from a six-year-old girl named Lisa – for whom the exhibit is named – starts everything off.
Because the experience is so vivid, counselors are on hand at the end of the 25-minute tour to help people break down some of the feelings experienced if they need help. It's not uncommon, Hardin said, to have people who have been victims of abuse recall the feelings and experiences that they went through.
“There's a lot of shame and guilt that people associate with being abused, even when you're the victim. People who have been victims don't often talk about it,” he said. “That's why we have resources available for people who may need it.”
The Lisa Project debuted last year in a building in Downtown Stockton, with the individual scenes separated by set walls instead of the fully encased rooms used today.
It was a phone call from an agency in Tulare County that planted the seed for the exhibit – which had been worked on for over a year before it was ready to go – to go mobile. A modular was obtained, the scenes were built, and the rest is history.
Visalia and Bakersfield have both been stops in the past, and the project came to Manteca after spending a month in Sacramento.
And it takes a lot to make it happen.
For the month that it'll be in Manteca, anywhere from 150 to 200 volunteers will be utilized to staff the building – which will be open five days a week during that time frame.
Independent donations from local businesses and support from other agencies help make the project possible, and Hardin – who works with his wife to operate the non-profit agency – says that the group is thrilled to receive the support that they do from the communities that they've traveled to.
“This is about raising awareness and we're glad that we're able to do that with this,” he said. “It really is like having a child take you by the hand and having them tell you their story, and hopefully this shows people that there are things that they can do to get involved.”
Because of mature themes the organizers have rated the experience “PG-13.” The exhibit will be open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
For additional information call (209) 644-5308 or visit www.thelisaproject.org
Man jailed for smuggling child porn images
A man who smuggled hundreds of movies and still images showing children as young as two-years-old being sexually abused has been jailed
Andrew Floyd Williams, 43, was sentenced to one year and 11 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to 30 charges of knowingly importing objectionable publications.
He received a 25% reduction of his sentence for an early guilty plea.
Williams was stopped at Auckland International Airport in 2009 after returning from a holiday in Thailand.
Customs officers found 14 discs showing the sexual abuse of children hidden in legitimate movie covers.
A search of his Hamilton home uncovered more than 800 images and movie files containing child abuse.
Customs Acting Controller John Secker said Customs will continue to investigate such cases.
"Our communities need to be educated that the online movement and trading of child sexual abuse material is regularly happening throughout all corners of our society," said Secker.
"The worrying aspect of this activity is that it is not a victimless crime, it is increasing in volume, numbers of offenders, and seriousness of content.
"Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused."
Linn lawsuit shines light on the troubles they can cause
by Jennifer Moody
Americans in the 1980s were gripped by well-publicized cases of day care workers accused of abusing, murdering and even cannibalizing small children in satanic rituals all over the country.
The accusations were based on memories extracted from people through a psychotherapy technique dubbed “RMT,” for recovered or repressed memory therapy.
By the 1990s, many of the charges based on RMT had been refuted, recanted or just plain dropped. A national support group for families affected by the cases coined a new term — false memory syndrome — as people who were counseled began suing therapists for planting ideas in their heads.
For most of the nation, those stories were over decades ago. But in Linn County, a lawsuit and a book accusing Lebanon farmer and gospel singer Marion Knox of instilling false memories of sodomy and ritualistic abuse has brought them back into the spotlight.
Former Albany resident Stephan Skotko filed the suit last August in Linn Circuit Court, saying Knox's work with Skotko's wife and teenage children prompted the wife to file unsubstantiated criminal charges against Skotko.
The charges were dropped, but Skotko lost his wife, children, job and reputation over the situation. In March, he self-published “A Heart Held Ransomed,” a book he co-authored with family friend Teila Tankersley, about the experience and the potential dangers of RMT.
RMT proponents argued that victims are so traumatized by a particular type of abuse in their youth that they bury the memory completely, for decades, and split their personalities so that the day-to-day mind remembers nothing of the trauma.
Only specialized therapy can bring such memories to the fore, supporters claim. The therapist uses a combination of techniques, including hypnosis, guided imagery, dream work and sometimes medication to allow the client to “regress” in time and to see and describe events.
Clients undergoing the treatment were told to beware of people who expressed skepticism or asked for proof, dismissing them as unsupportive or part of the conspiracy. Thousands of people, mostly women, became convinced they had been ritualistically abused.
Researchers agree child sexual abuse itself is real, underreported and crosses all ages and economic lines. But it wasn't long before the kind of abuse RMT clients were describing, and the methods used by the counselors who led them to describe it, began to strain credulity.
Memories are more malleable than people would like to believe, according to research by Elizabeth Loftus, a memory scientist and professor, considered an expert witness in debunking cases of RMT.
“You've gone into counseling because you have a problem,” Loftus said in a phone interview from her office at the University of California, Irvine. “You want an explanation, you want to get better, and here's an authority figure telling you this is what you need to do, you have to remember your abusive childhood to understand what's happened to you.”
“Even very intelligent people have been led down this path.”
The 1983 trial of caregivers at the McMartin preschool in California is among the most famous cases of RMT. Children at the center accused their caregivers of taking them into underground tunnels where they sexually abused them and mutilated animals to intimidate them into keeping quiet. The trial ended in 1990 with no convictions and all charges dropped.
FBI agent Kenneth Lanning spent years leading investigations into ritual abuse reports but found no bodies or other physical evidence to support the claims. Moreover, he concluded in a 1992 report, “It is simply too difficult for that many people to commit so many horrendous crimes as part of an organized conspiracy.”
“Two or three people murder a couple of children in a few communities as part of a ritual, and nobody finds out? Possible,” Lanning wrote. “Thousands of people do the same thing to tens of thousands of victims over many years? Not likely. Hundreds of communities all over America are run by mayors, police departments, and community leaders who are practicing satanists and who regularly murder and eat people? Not likely.”
But although the credibility pendulum has swung away from claims of ritualistic torture, the nation hasn't come to a definitive conclusion as to whether to trust the memories of people who claim to suddenly realize, through therapy, they were abused decades ago. Adherents of both recovered memory therapy and false memory syndrome claim studies, statistics and scientists on their side.
In a position statement on techniques used to elicit memories of childhood abuse, the American Psychiatric Association warns: “Research has shown that memory does not always record events accurately. In the presence of severe or prolonged stress, people may suffer significant impairment of the retention, recall and accuracy of memories. Memories can also be altered as a result of suggestions particularly by a trusted person or authority figure. No specific unique symptom profile has been identified that necessarily correlates with abuse experiences. In general, psychotherapy focuses on the patient's perceived experience, and does not customarily search for proof of veracity of memories.”
The statement tells therapists that bringing their own abuse beliefs to the table may compromise a client's treatment and that they must remain nonjudgmental.
However, it states: “When no corroborating evidence is available to confirm or refute reports of new memories of childhood abuse, treatment may focus on assisting patients in coming to their own conclusions about the accuracy of their memories or in adapting to uncertainty regarding what actually occurred. ... Further research and education regarding memory and childhood abuse are required in order to enhance psychiatrists' ability, on the basis of empirical evidence, to assist patients struggling with these profoundly difficult issues.”
Michael Shinn of Portland, a retired attorney who has helped some half a dozen clients obtain settlements against therapists who convinced them they'd been victims of ritual abuse, is much more blunt. “There is definitely a cult out there,” he said. “It's the therapists engaging in this stuff.”
One of Shinn's cases was linked to Knox, although he was not named as a defendant.
The four defendants who were named in the two-part case — therapists Debra Lacey and Peter DePaoli and spiritual leaders Clifford Baker and Rhonda Earle — were among Knox's colleagues in RMT “deliverance” efforts about a decade ago. DePaoli spoke in his deposition about the work he and Knox had done together to “deliver” people from satanic possession caused by childhood abuse. Lacey referred at least one client to Knox for further work. Earle told clients Knox had trained her in RMT methods.
The plaintiff in that case, Diane Lackey Brooks, received settlements totaling $1.4 million. She wrote Knox a letter in 2005 noting her settlement and warning him to change his counseling methods or face a similar damage claims.
Of the cases Shinn handled, all but one resulted in a settlement. That one, Delaney v. Clifton, was similar to the Skotko case in that it involved a man who sued his wife's therapist for damaging his life via her counseling.
The judge in the Delaney case dismissed it, saying in essence the husband didn't have the grounds to claim harm because he wasn't counseled himself.
But third-party RMT lawsuits are possible to win. The 2011 issue of the False Memory Foundation newsletter documents such a case in depth, a verdict this past Jan. 23 for the parents of a woman whose therapists had prompted her to “remember” satanic rituals her parents had forced her to undergo.
The case took 15 years to work its way through the court and the daughter fought access to her therapy records. In the end, the jury returned a verdict that the therapists had been negligent in their treatment and awarded the parents $1 million.
It isn't easy to win a suit accusing someone of implanting false memories, Shinn said. It helps if the accused is a licensed therapist, both because of professional codes that are to be followed and because insurance companies are involved. Knox's status as a neighborhood Bible study leader doesn't fit that bill.
But Shinn said he believes lay people still can be held accountable, similar to people who practice medicine even if they aren't doctors.
“Just because you don't have a license, if you're holding yourself out as such, you're going to be accountable just as if you did have a license,” he said.
DCJS Video On Child Sexual Predators Wins Award
May 27, 2011
A video created by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to provide parents with crucial information about protecting their children against sexual predators has won two prestigious awards.
DCJS was recently informed that it has won a Telly Award, which honors “outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films,” and a Communicator Award. The Communicator Award “is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring the creative excellence for communications professionals.”
Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger was created by DCJS as a result of legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and then-Senator Dale M. Volker directing the agency to create a video to instruct parents on how to protect their children from sexual predators.
The video includes extraordinary footage of four paroled child molesters who provide candid insight into what they did, how they did it and how parents can protect their children from people like themselves. Also featured are three survivors of childhood sexual abuse – a woman who was repeatedly molested by a 17-year-old neighbor when she was about six- years-old, a man who was abused by a priest when he was a teenager and a young woman who was molested by her own father.
Additionally, the video includes a demonstration by an FBI agent who, posing as a 15-year-old girl in Albany, enters a readily accessible online chatroom. Within 30 seconds, a 47-year-old man on Cape Cod is flirting with who he believes is a teenage girl in Albany; within 30 minutes, seven potential predators have zeroed in on the girl. One of them – “Superhero129” from Florida – sends the “girl” a picture of himself half-naked and asks her: “Would you fool around with me?”
Acting DCJS Commissioner Sean M. Byrne said the awards “are a great honor, but really recognizes what we have known all along: That this is a very compelling, very informative and very important tool that parents can use to protect their children from the nightmare of sexual abuse.”
Acting Commissioner Byrne noted that individuals who sexually abuse children are almost always known to the child and trusted by the parents, “which makes them all the more dangerous because often they have ready access to the victim.”
“Child molesters are extremely manipulative and resourceful, and it is imperative that parents be on the alert for signs that may indicate that the individual bestowing attention on their child has a very ulterior and very evil motive,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said.
Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger was produced by New York Network, a service of the State University of New York.
Below are descriptions of the offenders and victims who appear in the video and excerpts from their comments. The names of the offenders are all pseudonyms:
“Pete,” a respected member of his community and beloved uncle, molested his 10 and 11-year-old nieces when they stayed at his house. When they told their parents, the parents believed Uncle Pete – not their own children. “Pete” was arrested after he attempted to entice online someone he thought was an underage girl, but was really a police officer.
“What turned me on about the children, the young teenage girls that I was chatting with online, was their innocence and the idea that what I was doing with them, talking sexually with them, was taboo to society and it excited me.”
“Fred” used his role as a teacher and coach to gain access to his victims. He focused on emotionally needy boys, and sexually exploited their need for affection.
“I got involved in activities where children … were involved. I became good at what I did in those fields, coaching junior football, junior basketball and so on. It wasn't usually the athletes, it was the wannabes, the hang-arounds. The athletes, they were self-sufficient usually. They had to have some guts in order to turn out for a team and play, but the kids that hung around … I would make friends with.”
“David” was a child therapist who specialized in treating children who had been the victim of sexual abuse. He molested three young boys and two girls, typically in his office and occasionally while their parents were in his waiting room. “David” would essentially blackmail his victims, threatening to disclose their secrets if they disclosed his.
“One boy said that he was experimenting sexually with a neighbor girl. They were both about ten, nine at the time. Rather than doing what I should have done, which was to report this to the parents…I'm storing this information to say, ‘Well, when I begin to sexually offend against him, now I have this little thing in the back of my pocket.'”
“Jack” molested both his 13-year-old stepdaughter and eight-year-old stepson. The girl told her mother, who didn't believe her; “Jack” told the boy that if he said anything, the police would come and the child would be taken away from his mother.
“I started grooming her by becoming a part of the family and taking her to amusement parks, to movie theaters… I would put my arm around her shoulder, just to see where I could go. Eventually, I'd move my hand down towards her breast… I proceeded to do the same thing to my 8-year old stepson.”
Laurie was repeatedly molested when she was six or seven-years-old by a teenage neighbor. It was years before she told her mother, and decades before she recognized that what this boy had done to her was a crime.
“When I told my mother when I was 12 what happened, I didn't feel it was a crime. I felt at that time that it like I had done something terribly wrong by letting this happen to me. I didn't view it as a crime because it wasn't violent, it wasn't hurtful … He didn't hurt anybody.”
Mark suffered abuse by a priest, starting when he was 12-years-old. The priest lavished Mark and other boys with praise and attention and brought them on special trips to his hunting cabin deep in the wilderness, where the boys were served alcohol and abused over many years.
“I was trying to minimize what had happened because I didn't want to be a molestation victim. I didn't want to be perceived as having sexual encounters with a priest, or any male… To this day I feel very guilty that I didn't speak up. It would have prevented these younger kids from getting molested.”
Jessica was abused by own father. But it was Jessica, not her father, who was barred from her home. Jessica's mother chose to believe her husband, not her daughter, and Jessica was banished from her home when her father got out of jail.
“The closure for me would be if he[her father] stood up and apologized …That is the closure I need. But I need closure from my mom more than anything. I need her to say, ‘I am sorry for sticking up for your dad while I should have been a parent.' That is what I need. My dad hurt me. But my mom hurt me more.”
Indo-American Woman Honoured For Work Against Sex Trafficking
NEW YORK – Ruchira Gupta, founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an NGO working against sex trafficking, was honoured by the United Nations Association's New York Chapter at the “Spring Luncheon” in New York City, last week.
The honour was in recognition of Gupta's unrelenting effort to end human trafficking; in particular the sexual exploitation of women and children
This is the second year the UNA-NY's “Spring Luncheon” has focused on human trafficking. It is the first year that the association has conferred an award. It has also decided to make the award an annual feature.
This year's theme is women fighting against human trafficking and is inspired by the UN's recent launch of the Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking.
Under Gupta's leadership, Apne Aap has worked working tirelessly for the past 25 years to end human trafficking by empowering girls and women to resist and escape sex slavery.
In 1992, while traveling in the hills of Nepal , Gupta discovered that poor girls were trafficked to Indian brothels from Nepal . She single-handedly began a campaign to publicize the trade by making a documentary ‘Selling of the Innocents' with a Canadian broadcasting team. The film won an Emmy in 1997 for outstanding investigative journalism.
Apne Aap started working in the slums of Mumbai and other cities by mobilizing and mentoring community-based groups of trafficked and vulnerable girls and women to empower each other.
Today, the different centres of Apne Aap provide a safe space for girls and women. They also offer the opportunity to develop legal, education and livelihood training and skills that help these women resist traffickers. So far, Apne Aap has formed 146 groups and put 814 daughters of women in prostitution in school.
Over the years, Gupta's work has garnered international recognition. In 2009, she won the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Commitment to Leadership in Civil Society at the Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting and was chosen in 2010 to be part of “CGI Lead”, a high-level group within the Clinton Global Initiative whose mission is to bring together a select group of accomplished young leaders to develop innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. In 2007, she was given the coveted Abolitionist Award by the House of Lords of the United Kingdom.
The organization is currently been leading a campaign in India to amend the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (IPTA) calling for the enforcement of stricter penalties against recruiters and clients. At its first-ever international meeting of survivors of the sex industry in New Delhi in April, survivors and activists from 25 countries of the Asia Pacific region met to discuss and publicize issue surrounding sex trafficking in Asia. The conference was organized along with the Coalition against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATW AP).
Now in its ninth year, Apne Aap women Worldwide has reached over 10,000 girls and women, has put 800 at-risk children in school, and provides education, healthcare, legal protection, and economic empowerment to 2,500 women and girls by forming 150 self-empowerment groups. Apne Aap brings out its own newspaper, Red Light Despatch, which is written by women and girls in prostitution The Gandhian self-empowerment model of small groups of women rescuing each other has now been adopted in the Langa township of Cape Town , South Africa .
Through the work of the United Nations Association of New York and the over 175 community-based chapters around the country, UNA-USA creates a powerful national constituency for a United Nations that advances American interests in a global system.