The scourge of child abuse in America: A Q&A
November 6, 2011
by Star-Ledger Staff
How can America have so many children dying of abuse? And how can we protect our most vulnerable citizens?
We worry about our soldiers abroad, but not so much our kids who die at home.
Over the past decade, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That's nearly four times the number of U.S. forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, says Michael Petit, a national advocate for children's rights.
The United States has more child abuse deaths than any other industrialized nation, according to Petit, founder of the nonprofit Every Child Matters Education Fund. Our death rate is three times that of Canada and 11 times that of Italy.
Petit, a former human services commissioner for Maine and deputy of the Child Welfare League of America, spoke to editorial writer Julie O'Connor about why America has such a big problem with child abuse, and why it's so often ignored.
Q. Why do so many more children die from abuse in the United States?
A. Two reasons, I think. One is that there are behaviors in our culture that are not as pronounced in other cultures. For example, we have the highest percentage of children being raised by a single parent and the highest teenage pregnancy rate among all the rich democracies — meaning most of Western Europe, Japan and Canada.
So there's a climate in the United States in which large numbers of people are not prepared to be parents. That's the beginning of the problem. When you combine that with poverty, and high degrees of self-medication with drugs and alcohol, and imprisonment issues — all of which are disproportionately concentrated among the poor — it doesn't add up to a very receptive environment for children.
There's also a very weak social safety net in the United States. It varies state to state, but is far below what we see in the other rich democracies. We don't have universal health care; they all do. We don't have widespread home visiting to new families; virtually all of them do. In the United States, we have similar services, but not to scale. These other countries tend to serve all families. We just do it with certain families, excluding others with the same needs.
Q. Do you think Americans realize child abuse is such a problem?
A. Americans read about it all the time and they shake their heads. But what they don't know is that the problem is much smaller elsewhere in the industrialized world, and why. What you end up with in the United States is a high level of blame directed at parents for not taking what is believed to be personal responsibility.
But you can help nullify that by bringing in services to help the families, many of which are seriously troubled. You're not only protecting an innocent child, you're also protecting the larger society from a potentially dangerous person if that child, as a young adult, is not emotionally healthy.
Q. How does New Jersey compare to other states in terms of the number of child abuse deaths?
A. It's one of the better states, relatively speaking, but still worse than other rich democracies. New Jersey ranks about 17th in the United States. There were 24 deaths due to child abuse in 2009, and the death rate per 100,000 children was half the national average. The states with the highest death rates include Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. Most of these are poor states, with large populations of poor families.
States like New Jersey have somewhat stronger social safety nets. They insure many more children, have better-financed child welfare systems with generally lower caseloads and more trained workers. They have better housing and schools, and tax themselves at a higher burden.
When you consider overall child well-being, which includes factors like infant mortality, births to teen mothers, child poverty, uninsured children and juvenile incarceration, New Jersey ranked 13th in one report.
For its total tax burden, it ranked third. New Jersey is a high-taxed, high-service state. Texas, on the other hand, is a low-service, low-tax state. What you will see is that the states that have the highest tax burden generally tend to have the best overall ranking for children: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut. Resources invested in kids matter.
Q. Why should more children should be included in the nation's official death toll?
A. Because there's a lack of uniformity in determining causes of death among very young children. So many deaths get classified wrongly. Say a mother passes out from taking drugs and her 2-year-old walks out into the street and gets run over. In most states, that's classified as a pedestrian death, even though 99 out of 100 grandmothers would say that is a neglect death. Or if a neglected kid lights a match and dies in the blaze, it could simply be ruled an accidental fire.
We're undercounting these deaths by at least 50 percent, experts say. Instead of the 1,700 or 1,800 children a year officially reported as having died from abuse and neglect, the true number was at least 2,550 children a year nationally.
Q. What should be done?
A. We know the basics. We need to reduce poverty and teen pregnancy, and work with parents to prevent child abuse in the first place. But beyond that, in some states, there isn't enough collaboration between child welfare and law enforcement. We also need to modify the confidentiality laws that prevent information from being released about child abuse deaths. That's protecting child welfare agencies instead of children.
And we should be adopting national standards: Our kids are American children first, not New Jersey or Mississippi children first. They ought to be equally protected.
Child neglect cases harder to handle
by Mary K. Reinhart
Nov. 5, 2011
There was a time when Phoenix mother Jessica Power chose heroin over her son.
Her addiction led her to abandon the child, then 3 years old, with his grandmother and prompted state Child Protective Services to launch a neglect investigation.
Months later, authorities jailed Power for violating probation, and she learned she was pregnant with her second child. Prosecutors offered residential drug treatment to the mother and Caden was born, addicted to methadone, five months later.
Power, 25, and her children are now on their own. It took nearly three years, commitment from caseworkers and counselors, and Power's dedication.
Child abuse gets most of the headlines, but neglect cases dominate child-welfare work. Two out of three CPS reports and investigations involve neglect, and neglect is the reason more than 85 percent of all children are taken into Arizona's foster-care system.
Neglect cases, typically tied to parents' or caregivers' drug addiction, mental illness or poverty, can be the most difficult to resolve.
As with Power and her boys, it takes time, patience, funding and a team of supporters to work through often intractable issues.
The sagging economy has made matters worse, experts say, causing CPS to take more children into Arizona's overwhelmed child-welfare system. At least in the short term, they expect the number of neglect cases to keep rising because of the continued financial strain on families and lack of services that may have helped them in the past.
“There's no question that there are a lot more vulnerable families than there were a few years ago,” said Richard Barth, dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. “And there's no question that economic hardship creates more neglect.”
Parents or caregivers are considered neglectful in Arizona if they are unable or unwilling to provide a child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter and medical care and if that failure “causes unreasonable risk of harm to the child's health or welfare.”
Child neglect is often more difficult for caseworkers to assess than abuse, CPS officials say.
Just being homeless or using drugs, for example, aren't enough to prove neglect, much less separate kids from their parents.
Even babies born to mothers who use drugs, which typically triggers a CPS investigation at the hospital, could go home with them if someone, like a grandmother, can assure the child's safety.
Likewise, sloppy housekeeping, poor hygiene or mismatched clothing don't necessarily rise to the level of neglect.
“We get a lot of calls of neglect that are more lifestyle issues vs. the children are really at risk,” said Esther Kappas, senior policy adviser for the division of children, youth and families at the Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS. “The house might be dirty, the dishes haven't been done for a couple of days. But it looks for the most part like it's safe.”
CPS workers could have grounds to take kids into custody if their living situation were unsafe. Examples include a home with exposed wiring, access to dangerous objects or harmful substances, such as drugs or weapons, or exposure to extreme weather elements.
Caseworkers also may deem children at risk of medical neglect if their basic health needs aren't being met, such as a child infested with lice or suffering from severe tooth decay. Malnutrition is also indicative of neglect.
Among the most common neglect investigations are children left unsupervised, Kappas said.
Arizona has no age requirement for when parents or guardians can leave children alone, but CPS policy considers children at risk if they're “not capable of caring for self or other children.”
In abuse and neglect cases, the law requires CPS to consider the likelihood the child would be harmed and how severe that harm might be.
How it's investigated
Initially, CPS caseworkers handle abuse and neglect investigations in much the same way. CPS trains workers to approach every case with a broad view of the family's strengths and weaknesses, ensuring the safety of all children in the home in addition to looking into the allegations that prompted the hotline call.
Caseworkers base their investigations on a 24-chapter policy manual and seek to immediately determine whether the child is safe. They consider dozens of factors from their observations and interviews with children and caregivers.
Abuse is typically easier to see than neglect and the threshold for removing a child from their home tends to be more clear cut. For example, officials could immediately remove a child who showed evidence of physical or sexual abuse if the suspected abuser still lived in the home.
CPS workers have some relatively easy calls with neglect, too, such as children found in a meth lab or left alone in a vehicle while a parent drank in a bar. Those cases also could be prosecuted as criminal conduct under state law.
How it's resolved
A CPS team decides how to proceed: ask a juvenile-court judge for permission to immediately remove the children from their home or proceed with an investigation while the family remains together.
Neglect cases can be more complicated, lengthy and costly to solve than child abuse.
Therapists have developed treatment for parents and children that's been shown to prevent future abuse. But there is no consensus on how to address the root causes of parental neglect, Barth said, largely because their origins are so varied and difficult to treat, such as with mental illness.
“Kids in abuse cases tend to go home more quickly,” he said. “There's no clear evidence-based practice that works with neglect cases.”
A family can stay together if parents accused of neglect get help meeting the needs of their children, such as medical care, housing or assistance with an incorrigible teen they can't control, said Jacob Schmitt, who was administrator for the state's child-welfare program until his reassignment last month.
“Our first goal isn't to go out and remove a child. Our first goal is to keep children safe,” Schmitt said. “If we can keep that child in the home, that's what we would love to be able to do.”
If kids are unsupervised because their mother works and can't afford child care, the CPS caseworker might open an investigation to temporarily qualify the family for state-paid child care.
But if the investigation determined the mother wasn't supervising her children because of substance abuse, the investigation would take a different turn.
The sagging economy has made it harder for families to find help, whether through state-funded programs, non-profits or neighbors.
Longtime child-welfare experts say some of the responsibility for helping families on the edge rests with relatives, neighbors, community groups and churches.
But the recession has been felt everywhere, forcing reductions in state, local and non-profit services for children and families, and leading to job losses and foreclosures in virtually every neighborhood.
Decades of research have shown poverty to be the single most common factor in child abuse and neglect, in part because families are less able to provide for their children's basic needs.
Just within CPS, cuts to the state Department of Economic Security to help balance budgets since 2009 have reduced programs for abuse prevention, family preservation, homeless youths and housing.
“The economy was hard for all the agencies,” Schmitt said. “Child welfare wasn't immune to that. A lot of these families might not have come to our attention because they would've gotten help ahead of time.”
More government bureaucracy isn't the answer, said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative Christian-based group.
“It's time for church and community to step up and take care of these needs,” Herrod said. “There's a tremendous opportunity for the private sector and the faith-based sector.”
Schmitt said relatives, neighbors, community groups and churches have rallied around some families.
He cited several cases where volunteers pitched in to clean and repair homes so the state could return their neighbors' children.
But on the whole, child-welfare agencies have replaced a broader, deeper network of friends, family, neighbors, churches, schools and other community groups that supported families in years past.
“We used to go knock on the door and say, ‘Tommy's coming over every day. Is there something I can do?' ” said Karin Kline, a 26-year CPS employee now with Arizona State University's Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy.
“The communities have evolved … to think that CPS is going to take it on.”
Impact on children
Neglect can have a devastating and lasting impact on children.
Babies and small children whose parents are addicted to drugs or suffering from depression or other mental illnesses may not get the care and interaction they need for normal physical, emotional and social development, experts say.
These children often have delays in speech and motor skills and may have behavioral problems stemming from their inability to communicate or get the attention of their parents. They also may suffer from attachment disorder, which prevents people from forming normal relationships.
At the Center for Hope, a residential drug-treatment program for pregnant homeless women, mothers work on kicking their drug habit as they repair broken relationships with older children and learn how to parent their newborns.
“Primarily what we see is a lack of attachment and bonding between women and their children,” said Kimberly Craig, vice president of women and children's programs for Community Bridges, which runs the Mesa center.
Jessica Power is working hard to provide that nurturing environment for her young sons.
She's fairly sure she'd still be in jail, or at least still using heroin, were it not for the Center for Hope and her CPS caseworker, whom she calls “the most amazing person.”
“She helped me and gave me all the resources,” Power said. “She never once tried to hold me back.”
Her oldest child, Seth, offers a visitor a quick smile and solid handshake.
Two-year-old Caden just wants to be held by his mother, who scoops him up.
“This age I kind of missed, because I was always using,” Power said. “I was always high and nodding out on the couch. It's so much more rewarding to be a mom.”
Reducing sex abuse of children
by JOLIE LOGAN
November 6, 2011
Last week's allegations of child sexual abuse against a local assistant principal and coach have brought shock, dismay and outrage.
The accused was in a position of trust, and our tri-county community is in search of answers. There may be a rush to question the motives of anyone who works with children. We ask how crimes like these could go unnoticed. And, for many parents, a pressing concern is "what do we say to our kids to help keep them safe?"
There are no simple answers. But we know from experience that public dialogue and education can help reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. The more we talk openly about this subject, the more insight we have so that we can be a vigilant community.
Prevention requires open discussions in our schools, our faith centers, our sports leagues, our communities and our homes. Knowledge is empowerment.
Parents should not feel helpless from the shock of this week's news.
And no parent or victim of abuse should ever blame themselves; perpetrators are to blame.
Instead, we should take action by talking with each other and with our children.
We should use this as an opportunity to talk to our children about sexual abuse, regardless if the child had any interaction with the accused.
The most important thing we can do is give our children the opportunity to openly express their feelings. They need the comfort of a safe place to share anything, particularly something they may have been previously afraid to disclose.
There is no common or typical profile that we can use to identify a perpetrator.
In fact, the accused cited in this week's news actually participated in one of our workshops just hours before his arrest.
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Perpetrators will find ways to have access to children and seek to establish close and trusting relationships with parents and children alike.
Perpetrators of child sexual abuse are master manipulators who are highly skilled at winning trust and hiding their intentions.
We encourage the public to continue the dialogue that has been started and find hope in the fact that there are things we all can do to reduce the risks in our own homes and organizations.
Get involved in your local school, church, youth service organization, youth camp or sports league to ensure that prevention is being addressed and comprehensive policies and training are in place to identify potential problems. It is our hope that this news continues to emphasize the societal value in public dialogue and the importance of prevention education.
Darkness to Light is here as a resource to any parent or organization who wants to get involved in making our community a safer place for children.
If you believe that your child has been victimized in any way please get immediate help by calling the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center or the Dorchester Child Advocacy Center.
Jolie Logan is chief executive officer of Darkness to Light, a Charleston-based national non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse.
Fed grant allows Fresno to target sex predators
by George Hostetter - The Fresno Bee
Nov. 05, 2011
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he fears a toxic combination of declining budgets, the uncertain future of overcrowded state prisons and Fresno's already burgeoning sex-offender population could create a surge in molesters preying on children.
To help combat the expected problem, his department received a nearly $500,000 federal grant to create a Child Sexual Predator Task Force. The City Council signed off on it last week.
Dyer said the two-year grant will help police bolster already substantial efforts to monitor sex offenders, teach youngsters how to avoid trouble and find victims too scared to report abuse.
Dyer said combating child sexual predators is a priority even if it forces him to siphon scarce money from other services, such as patrol.
"I can't think of a better place to commit our resources than in protecting our children from the hands of a child molester," Dyer said.
To the council on Thursday and in an interview on Friday, Dyer painted a picture of local trends that, he said, suggests serious challenges ahead.
The Police Department has lost about 10% of its sworn officers through attrition due to the city's nearly three-year financial crisis. Dyer said his smaller department is charged with monitoring about 1,600 registered sex offenders.
In more economically flush times, Dyer said, many sex offenders emerging from state prison would have moved into state-funded housing as they transitioned to a self-sustaining life. With that funding slashed because of the state's own budget woes, Dyer said, many sex offenders are going straight from prison to Fresno's homeless encampments.
City Hall is breaking up homeless encampments throughout the city and trying to move their inhabitants into permanent housing. The rub, Dyer said, is that federal money for homeless housing can't be spent on giving sex offenders a roof.
With nowhere to live and faced with the legal mandate to register their whereabouts with law enforcement, Dyer said, sex offenders often list the Fresno Rescue Mission as their home.
"The reality is there's no way to know where they're at," Dyer said.
Even before the grant, Dyer said, he had assigned three detectives to full-time duty in the department's sex crimes unit. Among other duties, the detectives made routine visits to homeless encampments to monitor sex offenders and make sure they're registered. With the scattering of the camps, Dyer said, the detectives now must track down people who want to stay in the shadows.
The Rev. Larry Arce, the mission's chief executive officer, said there are about 35 registered sex offenders staying at the mission. Many more come to the mission for clothes or a meal, then return to the streets, he said.
Arce said society in recent years has been more diligent in requiring sex offenders to stay in touch with law-enforcement agencies, making it almost impossible to say whether Fresno's population of sex offenders has grown in the past decade.
"You notice them more now because you can identify them," Arce said.
Arce said Dyer's grant is good for Fresno. He said the mission works with officers searching for specific offenders.
Complicating matters is the age of the victims, Dyer said. All too often, he said, the children are too young to recognize dangerous situations and too frightened to report abuse.
Dyer said he added it all up and decided he must expand his department's focus on sex predators while prudently but clearly sounding the public alarm.
For example, he said, the grant includes $40,000 to pay for specially trained chaplains who will work with elementary schools to educate children.
"We don't want to take away a child's innocence," Dyer said. "But we do want to make them aware of the fact that they need to be careful."
Dyer said the two-year grant for $496,606 will pay for another full-time detective plus three part-time employees. The part-timers will be retired detectives, he said.
Child Abuse is a Crisis in Arizona
Abuse is on the rise and is more violent each year
PHOENIX - A funeral was held on Saturday for 3-year-old Dani Mayo. Police say the little girl from Phoenix was beaten to death by her stepfather last week.
Fox 10 is taking a closer look at the child abuse epidemic plaguing Arizona.
She's another beautiful child being talked about in the past tense. Her grandfather said the family is devastated.
“She was just a typical 3-year-old. She was like the Energizer Bunny -- wound up,” he said.
Dani Mayo lived at an Ahwatukee apartment complex with her mother and 20-year-old Corey Daniels, a man her mom had just married 6 months ago.
On Thursday, while Dani's mom was at work, Daniels basically beat the little girl to death.
Court papers say he was angry because she wouldn't eat her hot dog.
“That's not snapping. That's not something a normal human being would reach the point of frustration. This is most likely something an individual would have learned is an appropriate way to deal with a frustrating child,” said Robert Bell, of Childhelp.
Bell said the severity of abuse in Arizona does seem to be increasing -- along with the numbers.
In 2008, 51 children died from child abuse in Arizona.
In 2009, 64 children died from abuse.
And in 2010, the number to be released soon is 70. Seventy children in Arizona died from injuries related to child abuse.
Childhelp in Phoenix is where children who have been abused come to start healing, and where parents can turn when they're at the end of their rope.
There is a therapy dog named Paisley, and kids can talk to child psychologists and leave their fears on a special wall called the Worry Wall.
Some of the worries left by the kids are heartbreaking.
One worries about not being believed.
Another child worries that “next time, he will kill me.”
Another writes, “He hits me really bad.”
Though it's a place of healing and hope, Childhelp can be a sad place.
But no place is as sad as where Dani Mayo is -- a statistic, and one of the Arizona children who didn't survive the epidemic of child abuse.
“Child abuse is a very complex social problem, and it deserves a complex solution,” Bell said.
The community seems to understand this but has not yet addressed the crisis. Until it does, Arizona is a dangerous place for some children.
“People always say, ‘It takes a village,' right? And that's what it is. If you see something going on, you have to say something. You can't go and blame it on CPS and the police because they are there to fix something that has happened. To get to the root of it, it's a societal issue. I think we have to go figure out why,” said one father.
That young dad is right, according to our Childhelp expert who said child abuse is cyclical. The people who abuse have been abused themselves or have seen abuse in their families.
To break the cycle, experts say agencies and communities have to work together.
It does take a village to raise a child.
Help Prevent and Treat Child Abuse : www.childhelp.com
Jaycee Dugard urges vigilance to keep children safe
Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped and held captive by a sex offender for more than 18 years, released a public service announcement Friday, urging people to exercise constant vigilance to help keep neighborhoods safe.
In the 20-second video released on her foundation's website, Dugard asks people to speak out if "something looks wrong or amiss." Behind her, images of children walking the streets and an empty swing flash by.
"You might be wrong," she narrates, "but you might just save someone's life."
Dugard was 11 when she was kidnapped from her Lake Tahoe neighborhood in 1991. Her captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, held her in Antioch, Calif., for 18 years, and both are serving life sentences.
Dugard has written a best-selling memoir about her experience and received a monetary settlement from the state.
Child Sex Charges Rock Penn St. Athletics
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 6, 2011
An explosive sex abuse scandal and possible cover-up rocked Happy Valley after former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, once considered Joe Paterno's heir apparent, was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period. Among the allegations was that a graduate assistant saw Sandusky assault a boy in the shower at the Nittany Lions' practice center in 2002.
Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school's facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids. The state grand jury investigation also resulted in perjury charges against Tim Curley, Penn State's athletic director, and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business. The two administrators were accused of failing to alert police — as required by state law — of their investigation of the allegations.
"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," state Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday in a statement.
Paterno, who last week became the winningest coach in Division I football, wasn't charged, and the grand jury report didn't appear to implicate him in wrongdoing.
Under Paterno's four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game, and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America's best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Paterno's teams were revered both for winning games — including two national championships — and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky, whose defenses were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers — hence the moniker "Linebacker U" — spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.
Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, were expected to turn themselves in on Monday in Harrisburg.
The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual advances to touching to oral and anal sex. The young men testified before a state grand jury that they were in their early teens when some of the abuse occurred; there is evidence even younger children may have been victimized. Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence.
"He's shaky, as you can expect," Amendola told WJAC-TV after Sandusky was arraigned. "Being 67 years old, never having faced criminal charges in his life and having the distinguished career that he's had, these are very serious allegations."
A preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday would likely be delayed, Amendola said. Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, as well as single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.
No one answered a knock at the door Saturday at Sandusky's modest, two-story brick home at the end of a dead-end road in State College. A man who answered the door at The Second Mile office in State College declined to give his name and said the organization had no comment.
The grand jury said eight boys were targets of sexual advances or assaults by Sandusky. None was named, and in at least one case, the jury said the child's identity remains unknown to authorities.
One accuser, now 27, testified that Sandusky initiated contact with a "soap battle" in the shower that led to multiple instances of involuntary sexual intercourse and indecent assault at Sandusky's hands, the grand jury report said.
He said he traveled to charity functions and Penn State games with Sandusky, even being listed as a member of the Sandusky family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl and 1999 Alamo Bowl. But when the boy resisted his advances, Sandusky threatened to send him home from the Alamo Bowl, the report said.
Sandusky also gave him clothes, shoes, a snowboard, golf clubs, hockey gear and football jerseys, and even guaranteed that he could walk on to the football team, the grand jury said, and the boy also appeared with Sandusky in a photo in Sports Illustrated. He testified that Sandusky once gave him $50 to buy marijuana, drove him to purchase it and then drove him home as the boy smoked the drug.
The first case to come to light was a boy who met Sandusky when he was 11 or 12, the grand jury said. The boy received expensive gifts and trips to sports events from Sandusky, and physical contact began during his overnight stays at Sandusky's home, jurors said. Eventually, the boy's mother reported the allegations of sexual assault to his high school, and Sandusky was banned from the child's school district in Clinton County in 2009. That triggered the state investigation that culminated in charges Saturday.
But the report also alleges much earlier instances of abuse and details failed efforts to stop it by some who became aware of what was happening.
Another child, known only as a boy about 11 to 13, was seen by a janitor pinned against a wall while Sandusky performed oral sex on him in fall 2000, the grand jury said.
And in 2002, Kelly said, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy, estimated to be about 10 years old, in a team locker room shower. The grad student and his father reported what he saw to Paterno, who immediately told Curley, prosecutors said.
Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half later, Kelly said.
"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said.
There's no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said.
Curley denied that the assistant had reported anything of a sexual nature, calling it "merely 'horsing around,'" the 23-page grand jury report said. But he also testified that he barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised Penn State President Graham Spanier of the matter.
The grand jury said Curley was lying, Kelly said, adding that it also deemed portions of Schultz's testimony not to be credible.
Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used.
But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002," the jurors wrote. "No one from the university did so."
Lawyers for both Curley and Schultz issued statements saying they are innocent of all charges.
In response to a request for comment from Paterno, a spokesman for the athletic department said all such questions would be referred to university representatives, who released a statement from Spanier calling the allegations against Sandusky "troubling" and adding that Curley and Schultz had his unconditional support.
He predicted they will be exonerated.
"I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years," Spanier said. "I have complete confidence in how they handled the allegations about a former university employee."
Sandusky, once considered a potential successor to Paterno, drew up the defenses for the Nittany Lions' national-title teams in 1982 and 1986. The team is enjoying another successful run this season; at 8-1, Penn State is ranked No. 16 in the AP Top 25 and is the last undefeated squad in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions were off Saturday.
As the head football coach, Paterno has spent years cultivating a reputation for putting integrity ahead of modern college-sports economics. It's a notion that has benefited Penn State's marketing and recruiting efforts over the decades and one that the Big Ten school's alumni proudly tout years after they leave.
"We're supposed to be one of the universities to follow after, someone to look up to," said sophomore Brian Prewitt of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. "Now that people on the top are involved, it's going to be bad.”
A Guide To The Sexual Child Abuse Charges Against Jerry Sandusky, And To Penn State's Alleged Willful Ignorance
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office has made public the entire 23-page grand jury report that is the basis for former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's indictment. The report is a graphic, disturbing account of the litany of sex crimes that Sandusky is accused of committing against eight boys from the mid-1990s until the late-2000s. It also details the sequence of events that led to charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse (the latter is a summary offense in Pennsylvania) against two Penn State administrators, including athletic director Tim Curley.
The allegations against Sandusky were handed down Friday, and he was arrested Saturday. Curley is expected to turn himself in Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Sandusky, 67, coached at Penn State for more than 30 years. He spent the final 23 of those years—the last of which was 1999—as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator. From 1977 until his retirement last year, Sandusky had also run a foster home in State College, Pa., for troubled children called The Second Mile. (The photo above is from a Sports Illustrated story published in 1999 and depicts children from The Second Mile program. We've blacked out the faces, since the grand jury report identifies one of them as a victim of Sandusky.) The Second Mile, according to the report, "gave [Sandusky] access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations." After his retirement from coaching, Sandusky also still had full access to Penn State's football facilities.
What follows is a summary of the grand jury's report.
• Sandusky's victims all reported a wide array of sexual abuse allegations. Sandusky, who is married, met many of them through The Second Mile. Many spent the night at his home. He brought them to Philadelphia Eagles games, plus Penn State practices, tailgate parties, and home games. One of the victims traveled to the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Alamo Bowl as a member of Sandusky's family's party. That same victim often stayed with Sandusky at a State College-area hotel on the night before home games. He also frequently dined with the coaching staff and accompanied Sandusky to numerous charity outings. Sandusky had lavished this victim with a variety of gifts. According to the report, "Sandusky even guaranteed [this victim] he could be a walk-on player at Penn State. [The victim] was in a video about linebackers that featured Sandusky, and he appeared with him in a photo accompanying an article about Sandusky in Sports Illustrated." Sandusky later tried to bribe this victim with cigarettes and marijuana after this victim began refusing his advances.
• Also: "[This victim] remembers Sandusky being emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State and which preceded Sandusky's retirement. Sandusky told the victim not to tell anyone about the meeting. That meeting occurred in May 1999."
• Sandusky was investigated by university police in 1998 after a mother reported to them that her 11-year-old son had showered with Sandusky. A university police detective and a municipal police detective later eavesdropped on a conversation between the mother and Sandusky in which Sandusky answered "I don't know ... maybe" when the mother asked him if he had touched her son inappropriately . He also admitted he had showered with the boy to an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The university police detective advised Sandusky not to shower with a child again, and Sandusky promised he would not. No charges were filed.
• In March 2002, a graduate assistant stumbled upon Sandusky and a boy showering together at Penn State's football facility. The grand jury report included the horrifying details of what that graduate assistant saw and heard:
|As the graduate assistant entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and the showers on. He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He believed the sounds to be those of sexual activity. As the graduate assistant put his sneakers in his locker, he looked in the shower. He saw a naked boy ... whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both [the victim] and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught.
• The graduate assistant informed Joe Paterno the next day, and Paterno told Curley the day after that. About a week and a half after that, the graduate assistant met with Curley and Gary Schultz, Penn State's Vice President for Finance and Business and the other school administrator to be charged with perjury and failure to report an allegation. The graduate assistant described what he saw as being of a "sexual nature." Paterno said the graduate assistant had told him Sandusky's actions were "disturbing" and "inappropriate." Curley acknowledged to the grand jury that he was told Sandusky's actions were "inappropriate" and that they had made the graduate assistant "uncomfortable"; however, Curley denied under oath that he was told Sandusky had done anything sexual . Schultz conceded under oath that the graduate assistant had told him of inappropriate sexual conduct. But he also testified that the allegations were "not that serious" and that he and Curley were unaware any crime had taken place .
• It is worth noting here what Paterno did upon hearing a first-hand story from a "very upset" graduate assistant, in the words of the report, about "Jerry Sandusky ... fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy": Paterno took no action except to tell his athletic director .
• Curley and Schultz did tell Penn State president Graham Spanier what they had heard, but Spanier told the grand jury that Curley and Schultz had described Sandusky's actions to him as mere "horsing around in the shower." Spanier also denied any knowledge of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky by university police. Spanier issued a statement Saturday saying Curley and Schultz had his "unconditional support."
• Schultz's duties included oversight of the university police. He testified that he was aware of the 1998 incident and acknowledged similarities between it and the 2002 allegations. But according to the grand jury report, Schultz "never sought or reviewed a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002. No one from the university did so. Schultz did not ask the graduate assistant for specifics. No one ever did. Schultz expressed surprise upon learning that the 1998 investigation by University Police produced a lengthy police report. Schultz said there was never any discussion between himself and Curley about turning the 2002 incident over to any police agency." The graduate assistant was also never questioned by police.
• Sandusky was told he could no longer bring children into Penn State's football facility in light of the 2002 incident, and the executive director of The Second Mile was made aware of that fact, in addition to the incident. Schultz testified that Spanier had approved this decision. Schultz also said he believed he and Curley had informed a "child protection agency" about the 2002 incident. Curley also admitted "the ban on bringing children to the campus was unenforceable," in the words of the report.
• Records show that the 2002 incident was never reported to the Department of Public Welfare, Children and Youth Services, or the university police, in violation of state law.
• The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported Saturday that a source close to the investigation said Paterno would not be charged and that he would testify against Sandusky at trial.
• One of Sandusky's victims told the grand jury Sandusky had brought him to Penn State's preseason practices in 2007— a full five years after Paterno was made aware of sexual activity involving Sandusky and another boy.
You can read the entire grand jury report here:
SAFE program sees abuse reports double
by Stella Davis
CARLSBAD — Since rolling out the #SAFE program in April - a user friendly hotline number for public reporting of child abuse and neglect — the state's Children, Youth and Families Department has seen the number of calls it receives more than double.
CYFD Secretary Yolanda Deines — who is traveling around the state to get the word out to local communities about the new reporting number — stopped in Carlsbad Thursday to talk about the program and public response.
Deines said reporting child abuse and neglect has been made easier. Callers can dial #SAFE from any cell phone, or 1 (855) 555-SAFE (7233) using a landline.
"There are no easy answers, but working together and increasing our awareness strengthens our ability to protect children," Deines said. "There are 561,318 children in New Mexico under the age of 19. In any given year, CYFD receives an average of 72,000 calls to their state-wide reporting system."
She explained that calls to the hotline from anywhere in the state go to CYFD's statewide central intakes unit located in Albuquerque.
"The calls are immediately reviewed by a supervisor, screened in or out for investigation, assigned a priority response level and rerouted to the county office where the child resides," Deines said. "Some calls are screened out for various reasons, including calls that are not allegations of child abuse. You would be surprised at some of the calls. We have
had people call on the hotline asking how to cook a turkey or they can't get their computer to work."
Deines said her department strongly discourages co-called malicious reporting such as individuals who falsely accuse neighbors, ex-spouses or others.
"Every hour we spend sorting out false and malicious allegations is an hour taken from a frightened child who truly needs our help," Deines said.
She said calls to #SAFE are also being reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
"For example," Deines said, "a call about a parent dealing drugs from the home may or not be a child abuse call, but will always be cross-reported to the local enforcement agency. A child in the home of a drug dealer may be well-cared for and loved. But the parent or parents are breaking the law."
Providing figures for Eddy County for 2010, Deines said her department received 17,791 calls from around the state concerning child abuse or neglect. Of that number, 631 came from Eddy County and 555 were investigated and 123, or 22 percent, of the cases were substantiated. Statewide, CYFD investigated 16,794 reported cases and 3,779 cases, or 22.5 percent, were substantiated.
"About 25 percent of substantiated claims are for physical abuse and only 1.6 percent of cases are for sexual abuse," Deines noted.
Recurrences of maltreatment of child victims within six months if substantiated in Eddy County numbered 13, or 6.3 percent. Statewide, that number was 360, or 7 percent.
Deines said Eddy County had no cases of maltreatment of children in foster care. However, statewide, there were 13 cases.
In the area of adoption, there were 18 children in Eddy County who were in state care and were successfully adopted.
Deines said CYFD works hard to reunite children with their families and in Eddy County, 73 percent were reunited with their families after being in state care for 12 months or less.
As of Dec. 31, 2010, there were 1,725 children in state custody, of which 69 were from Eddy County. Another 238 children in Eddy County were receiving in home services through CYFD.
Deines said that she and Gov. Susana Martinez are serious about stopping child abuse and neglect. She said CYFD has hired 40 more people to help with the case loads in the state.
"We have 20 that have already gone through the training and 20 more should complete their training by the end of the year," Deines said, adding, "Keeping kids safe is a team effort. We need the community to take this responsibility very seriously because our social workers can't even knock on a door unless we get a call first. Calling #SAFE from you cell phone doesn't get any easier than this."
Law enforcement, child advocates share expertise
by DENIS J. O'MALLEY
November 5, 2011
Lackawanna County Detective Chris Kolcharno had one question for a volunteer stand-in victim at a regional roundtable on child abuse intervention for law enforcement professionals and children's advocates at Community Medical Center on Friday.
As if he was testifying in court, describe for the group before him his most recent sexual experience in as much detail as possible, Detective Kolcharno asked the volunteer.
But before the "victim" opened up, the detective came to his point.
"We ask kids to do the same thing we just asked an adult to do and he got very upset," Kolcharno explained as he began his presentation on the methods investigators, trauma therapists and forensic interviewers employ when questioning children about an episode of abuse.
Invasive, uncomfortable and painful to revisit, the stories gleaned in such interviews are one of the most crucial steps in any investigation into child abuse, Julie Kenniston, a social worker specializing in sexual abuse and domestic violence from Ohio, explained during her presentation.
"The interview itself is part of a bigger process," she said.
On Friday, representatives from law enforcement and social service agencies in 10 Northeastern Pennsylvania counties met to discuss the steps officials take to create a "coordinated response" of multi-disciplinary teams convened to investigate and prosecute suspects in child abuse cases, said Mary Ann LaPorta.
"A lot of these people used to have to handle child abuse on their own; now it's coordinated," said LaPorta, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center for Lackawanna County and president of the state chapter of Children's Advocacy Centers and multi-disciplinary teams, of the group of legal and social service professionals.
When a child is brought to a Children's Advocacy Center for a forensic interview, a multi-disciplinary team - made up of forensic interviewers, detectives and prosecutors, among others - is assembled so that a child need only tell their often tragic stories once, she said.
"The sanctity of the process rests in the fact that there is one forensic interview and the child is not retraumatized by 10 to 12 disclosures," LaPorta said.
The idea is to have all the players in an investigation present to watch an interview so that all perspectives can be taken into account to make the interview most complete, said Abbie Newman, director of Mission Kids in Montgomery County.
"All of a sudden they each get to see shades of gray that they wouldn't have seen if they weren't sitting together," she said.
Friday's meeting comprised representatives from Children's Advocacy Centers ranging in development from the very early stages to the most advanced, such as Lackawanna County's, LaPorta said, to help them better accomplish the overall goal of forensic interviews that Kenniston laid out.
Forensic Nurses Week
NOV. 04, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md., -- "You are safe" are often the first words heard by survivors of violent acts when Forensic Nurses are present to provide care in hospitals, clinics, jails and community settings around the world. Forensic Nurses are nurses with advanced education and training, giving them the skills to deal with the immediate health care consequences of violence. On November 7-11, the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) will celebrate "Forensic Nurses Week" to recognize these nurses who provide exceptional care to victims and perpetrators of abuse and violence.
The World Health Organization reports more than 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence each year and many, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems. "WHO reminds us that violence places a huge burden on national economies, costing countries billions each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity," said Eileen Allen, president of IAFN. "The 3000 members of IAFN work alongside fellow nurses and other professionals in more than 25 countries worldwide to address all aspects of violence including prevention, intervention and reduction of further harm."
During Forensic Nurses Week, IAFN will recognize the nurses who focus every day to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children who have experienced the physical and emotional trauma of violence. IAFN members have written letters to elected officials, put up posters in their facilities, and will wear lilac—the official color of Forensic Nursing.
To support this effort, the IAFN has created a documentary about the Forensic Nursing profession, highlighting nurses from around the continent for their exceptional care and compassion. Watch it now (3 parts) on http://www.youtube.com/forensicnurses.
More About Forensic Nursing: Forensic Nursing is a fast growing nursing subspecialty. Forensic Nurses are professionals who provide nursing care to patients as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, Death Investigators, Legal Nurse Consultants and in many other roles where both victims and perpetrators of violence require the specialized care of a nurse.
More About IAFN: The IAFN's mission is to provide leadership in Forensic Nursing practice by developing, promoting, and disseminating information internationally about forensic nursing science. IAFN also offers certification for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in both Adult/Adolescent (SANE-A) and Pediatric (SANE-P) patient care.
Visit our Press Center to learn more at www.ForensicNurse.org.
Child abuse case judge caught beating daughter
Daughter makes video public but regrets it; Father is now subject of a police investigation
The daughter of a Texas judge who posted a YouTube video of the savage beating she received at his hands says she has experienced an outpouring of support, but feels some regret for making it public.
Hillary Adams said that until last week, only a couple of close friends knew about the 2004 beating by her father, Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, who handles child abuse cases. He is now the subject of a police investigation.
The 8-minute video showing her father lashing her 17 times with a belt and threatening to beat her "into submission" had been watched more than 1 million times by early Thursday.
"I'm experiencing some regret because I just pulled the covers off my own father's misbehavior after so many people thought he was such a good person. ... But so many people are also telling me I did the right thing," she told The Associated Press outside her mother's home in the town of Portland, on the state's Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi.
"He's supposed to be a judge who exercises fit judgment," she said.
Police in Rockport, where the 51-year-old judge lives, opened an investigation Wednesday after receiving calls from several concerned citizens, Police Chief Tim Jayroe said. William Adams has been receiving threatening phone calls and faxes at the courthouse since the video went online, Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said.
"People are upset, understandably upset. But emotions can't really run this thing," Mills said.
No one answered the door Wednesday at the judge's home, repeated calls to his office rang unanswered and his attorney did not respond to phone messages seeking comment. A neighbor said she saw Adams and his girlfriend packing luggage, a briefcase and rifles into their truck, as if to leave for a while.
Corpus Christi television station KZTV caught up with the judge while he was getting into his vehicle Wednesday, and he confirmed it was him in the video. But he said it "looks worse than it is" and he doesn't expect to be disciplined.
"In my mind, I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing," Adams said. "And I did lose my temper, but I've since apologized."
When told of her father's comments, Hillary Adams said, "it's a shining perfect example of his personality and he believes he can do no wrong. ... He will cover up rather than admit to what he did and try to come clean, which is what I really want him to do."
She stressed that she did not post the video as revenge and does not want her father punished. Rather, she did it because she thinks it will force him to seek help, and because he has been harassing her and she thought posting the clip would make that stop.
"We need to reach out to victims and the abusers themselves to get people to realise what it actually is," she said.
Hillary, who was 16 at the time, said she secretly videotaped the beating in her bedroom because she "knew something was about to happen." She says her parents were angry at her for using her computer to download pirated content over the Internet.
In the clip's opening seconds, William Adams is heard telling Hillary's mother, "Go get the belt. The big one. I'm going to spank her now." With belt in hand, he turns off the light and tries forcing his daughter to bend over the bed to be beaten, but she refuses.
"Lay down or I'll spank you in your (expletive) face," Adams screams while he lashes her with sweeping blows across the legs, ignoring her wails and pleas for him to stop.
A few minutes into the video, Hillary's mother barks at her to "turn over like a 16-year-old and take it! Like a grown woman!" For about a minute, the ordeal appears to have ended after both parents leave the room and shut the door. But the judge then storms back into the room and the beating resumes.
Child advocates roundly condemned the beating as abuse. But investigators may decide that the judge's actions, while shocking, weren't criminal.
The lines between what's deemed child abuse and what's considered an acceptable level of discipline differ in various parts of the United States and among various social groups, though the use of objects such as belts and sticks is usually seen as beyond any normal physical punishment, said David Finkelhor, a University of New Hampshire sociology professor who heads the school's Crimes against Children Research Center.
Jim Hopper, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a child abuse expert, said there is no doubt that the judge's actions crossed the line.
"This is an act of brutal violence," Hopper said. "To beat someone into submission is not discipline. To beat a child into submission makes it harder for that child to take in rules and the values that the parent believes they are imposing on the child."
Adams, Aransas County's top judge, was elected in 2001 and has dealt with at least 349 family law cases in the past year alone, nearly 50 of which involved state caseworkers seeking determine whether parents were fit to raise their children.
Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the state Department of Family and Protective Services, said in an email that the agency is aware of the video and "will take the appropriate steps in this matter." He said the agency would have no further comment.
Steve Fischer, a longtime attorney in Rockport, called Adams fair and a "better than average" judge. He said Adams sometimes showed anger, but not in a way that would be considered unusual.
Hillary, whose parents divorced in 2007 after 22 years of marriage, said she waited this long to post the video because she didn't know what would have happened to her had she posted it just after it happened.
"If this had blown up when I was a minor who knows where I would be. I wouldn't be able to escape."
While Hillary is close with her mother, she suspects the video will only further alienate her from her father's side of the family. Still, she says she believes it was the right thing to do.
"I'm very relieved that these things have been brought to light and not because I want to see my father burn or anything like that. That's a hideous way of thinking and I don't want to inflict that upon him," she said. "I cannot stress enough — I cannot repeat myself enough, that he just needs help."
Child abuse high - More than 5,000 cases reported this year
Clarke urges more people to report child abuse
by NADINE WILSON, Observer staff reporter
Saturday, November 05, 2011
SINCE the start of this year, the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) has received more than 5,700 reports of child abuse and over 800 cases of child sexual abuse, but Jamaica's first children's advocate, Mary Clarke, fears these statistics are not reflective of the actual number of children being ill-treated across the island.
"There is a disconnect between the number of cases reported and the number of actual cases and actual incidence of child abuse," Clarke said during Thursday's launch of a Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Project (CSAAP) by the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Young Adults Action Movement (UCYAAM) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
There have been 20,000 reports of child abuse and 5,743 incidence of sexual abuse reported to the OCR since it was established in 2007 to receive reports of all cases of abuse against children.
But Clarke, even while commending the police and other agencies for the work they have done in curtailing incidence of child abuse, believes more needs to be done to encourage people to report cases.
"I want to challenge the Office of the Children's Advocate — as I have done before — to tell us more about the reports that have come in to them. How many of them that have been investigated have been valid? How many arrests have been made? How many perpetrators have been removed from the homes as the law makes provision for, and in trying, how many convictions have been made? This will encourage more and more persons to report," said Clarke who demitted the office earlier this year.
The CSAAP was launched in an effort to heighten awareness of sexual abuse and reduce fear associated with the reporting of child abuse. The project is part of the church's response to the social and economic needs as well as to social issues affecting the most vulnerable within the society.
Clarke said overcoming fear continues to be one of the major challenges in the fight to end the sexual exploitation of the nation's children. Added to this, she said, is the fact that children are at times disbelieved by parents and others in authority.
"The fear of reprisal and the 'informer fi dead' culture; the fear of embarrassment and the guilt of the victim; the children's fear that nobody will believe them," said Clarke, are some of the reasons for children not reporting sexual and physical abuse.
"Family members are telling children, 'you get what you are looking for'; 'You pretending like you're a big man or woman so you get big man or woman something'; 'you invite it on yourself'," Clarke said.
In pointing out that most incidences of sexual abuse of children occurred in the afternoons after school and before parents get home from work, she called on guardians to provide safer after-school care for children.
In light of the increasing reports of child abuse, Greg Smith from the OCR said the church-affiliated project was timely.
"The fight against child abuse cannot be the job of any one individual or agency, it has to be a collaborative effort by all relevant stakeholders," he said.
Retired NYPD officer sentenced to 35 years
A 66-year old retired NYPD officer was sentenced to 35 years in jail on Thursday for sexually abusing his two adopted sons and another child.
William Fox from Staten Island pleaded no contest back in August to nine charges that included incest and corruption of minors.
In 1981, Fox was named "Father of the Year" after taking in Michael Buchanan, a suicidal teen who Fox had convinced to not jump off a rooftop building on Bowery. Later, Fox and Buchanan wrote a novel about the incident and their relationship titled "The Cop and The Kid."
The story enthralled the public, and Fox went onto make television appearances and magazine interviews.
While Fox is not being charged with molesting Buchanan, he will be behind bars for sexually abusing two other adopted sons and another youth. One of the sons, Shane Fox, testified that he decided to put an end to years of abuse after he caught his father molesting his younger adopted brother who is 16-years old.
Fox came under a two year investigation partly because a "concerned individual" claimed that Fox had molested him multiple times as a Boy Scout from 1978-1980.
Fox will have a chance at parole when he becomes 83-years old.
Garden of Truth tells stories of Native victims of prostitution and sex trafficking in MN
by SHEILA REGAN, TC DAILY PLANET
November 04, 2011
On October 27, the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) and Prostitution Research & Education (PRE) released a new report called Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota, the first-of-its-kind based on interviews and surveys with more than 105 Native women aged 18-60 in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Bemidji. The report was written by Melissa Farley, Nicole Matthews, Sarah Deer, Guadalupe Lopez, Christine Stark, and Eileen Hudon.
The study found that of the 105 women, about half had been victims of sex trafficking, 92 percent had been raped, 84 percent had been physically abused during prostitution, 72 percent had suffered traumatic brain injuries from prostitution, 98 percent were currently or previously homeless, and 39 percent entered prostitution before age 18. In addition, the study found that 62 percent of the women saw a connection between prostitution and colonization.
Prostitution Verses Sex Trafficking
The research for the report was conducted about women involved with both prostitution and sex trafficking in part because of the “multiple legal definitions at the federal, state, and tribal levels and the varying degrees of understanding among those working on social justice issues and the general population” of sex trafficking, according to the report. The federal definition of sex trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act,” while the Minnesota statutory definition of sex trafficking is
|(1) receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of the individual; or
(2) receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from an act described in clause (1).
According to Sarah Deer, one of the authors of the study and a professor at William Mitchell College of Law, a lot of women who have been prostituted meet the more stringent federal definition of sex trafficking, because many of them began prostitution before the age of 18.
“A young woman may be a runaway,” she said, “or having difficulty at home. She will be approached by what she thinks is a boyfriend. He shows her attention, buys her presents, buys her alcohol or drugs, becomes a part of her life. She thinks he is the man of her dreams when in fact he's grooming her, and sells her.”
The report offers this quote from a woman who had been, by both federal and state definitions, trafficked:
My dad was very abusive to my mother and I ended up running away to Chicago. When I was 17 I was stranded in Chicago and had to get home to Wisconsin. I went to a party, there were lots of drugs, I got left there, and I was roaming around. A pimp was nice to me, he gave me this, gave me that. Then he took me to someone's place and he said this guy – age 40 – he's interested in you. Then he started hitting me after I said no. I was so scared I just did it. After that I kept doing it because I was afraid to get hit.
Another author of the study, Nicole Matthews from MISWAC, said one of the reasons for including both people who have been prostituted as well as sex trafficking victims is in order to not get into the “good victim, bad victim game,” she said. “We see them all as victims. We see them both as crimes against victims.”
Suzanne Koepplinger, from the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, has conducted her own research about prostitution and sex trafficking among Native American women. She said that in the case of women who are over 18, with no education, living in poverty with no work experience, who found the only way to make money was to go into the streets and who did not have a pimp, they aren't legally defined as sex trafficking victims. “That's a woman who is a victim of something else,” she said. However, from her perspective, even women who have been prostituted but do not fit into the legal definition of sex trafficking are also victims. “This is clear evidence that prostitution is a crime of violence,” she said.
A History of Violence
The report shows that violence is very much a part of the lives of the women who were prostituted and sex trafficked. Not only did most of the women (92 percent) say they had been raped, and physically assaulted in prostitution, 79 percent had been physically abused as children, by an average of 4 perpetrators, with more than half (56 percent) abused by caregivers.
Additionally, the report states that 72 percent of the women suffered head injuries (described as traumatic brain injury) including broken jaws, fractured cheekbones, missing teeth, punched lips, black eyes, blood clots in the head, hearing loss, memory loss, headaches and neck problems.
The women also suffered from various mental and emotional problems. Sixty-five percent of the women had been diagnosed with a mental health problem, according to the report, including depression, anxiety disorders (including PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar and, less commonly, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, sleep problems, schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder.
Prostitution and Homelessness
One of the most startling findings of the Garden of Truth report was that they found that 98 percent of the women were currently or previously homeless. “We need to do a better job at providing housing,” said Nicole Matthews, “including transitional housing for homeless youth.” Particularly, Matthews stated that more housing was needed for Native women.
The report notes past research that links homelessness to poverty. It notes Native people are significantly over-represented in the homeless population in the United States, and that when state and private agencies fail to offer women and children shelter, pimps provide housing via prostitution.
Sarah Deer said that the loss of a home, or a place to be is tied to the historical precedent of colonialism, with the Native Americans losing their land. Women need, she said, “not just a studio apartment in a bad part of town but a community.”
According to the report, the data suggests “compelling evidence of the lack of alternatives for the women, as well as the connection between poverty and prostitution.”
Prostitution within the context of colonialism
Sixty-two percent of the women interviewed saw a connection between colonization and prostitution of Native women. “I'm doing what I can do to survive, just the way Native Americans did what they could to survive with what was given to them by the government: disease, alcohol, violence,” one interviewed woman was quoted in the report. The authors of the study outline how this colonization manifests itself within the context of prostitution in a number of ways.
First of all, there were women in the report that believed prostitution didn't exist until the colonists invaded.“Our Native people weren't aware of anything about prostitution until the British came and started raping our Native women and had them as slaves and using them for sex,” a woman is quoted as saying.
The paper makes the argument that a history of colonization against Native Americans has worsened the problem of prostitution and trafficking of Native women. As an example, more than two-thirds of the 105 women had family members who had attended boarding schools. The relatives who attended the boarding schools were grandmothers (42%), mothers (35%), grandfathers (26%), sisters (17%), fathers (17%), cousins (17%), brothers (14%), great grandmothers (7%), great grandfathers (6%), aunts or uncles (6%), and a daughter (1%). The report states that of the relatives who attended these boarding schools, 69 percent were know to have been abused there, including 94 percent of those being physically abused and 27 percent sexually abused.
Nicole Matthews said that the boarding schools led to a loss of cultural identity and a loss of “who we are as a Native people and with each other.”
Suzanne Koepplinger said that the Garden of Truth 's findings mirror her own organization's research about historic trauma and colonialism. “This really is multi-generational trauma we can trace back to the boarding school era.” The schools, she said, were meant to “eliminate Indian people or forcibly assimilate them into main stream culture. They were abused, sexually abused, told they were bad. This created a lot of anxiety, depression and confusion for these kids, who often didn't know the language. When they became parents they didn't know how to be parents… that begins the multigenerational cycle.”
Sarah Deer noted that some of the quotes of the women indicate an enduring racism of the johns that can be very colonial. For example, one woman is quoted as saying: ““A john said to me, ‘I thought we killed all of you.'”
Where to Go from Here
Based on the findings from their research, the authors of The Garden of Truth state that it is “crucial to understand the sexual exploitation of Native women in prostitution today in its historical context of colonial violence against nations.”
The authors recommend increasing state and federal funding for transitional and long term housing for Native women and others seeking to escape prostitution as well as an increase in Native women's programs such as advocacy, health care (both physical and mental) job training, legal services and more research.
In addition, the authors recommend a change in policy to focus on sex buyers, not their victims. They also state that all but 10 percent of the women interviewed did not believe that legalizing prostitution would help them resolve some of the problems in their lives, and only 17 percent believed that legalizing “sex work” would increase their safety.
10-year-old boy is grabbed from Monrovia-area backyard, escapes
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are trying to find a man who snatched a 10-year-old child from his backyard in unincorporated Monrovia and carried him to a nearby apartment complex.
The child escaped by biting the man and ran home to his mother. She was inside the house when the boy was abducted shortly after 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, Lt. Michael White said. Deputies were still interviewing the child and have not identified the suspect or his location, White said.
The suspect had covered the boy's mouth to keep him quiet but dropped him after the boy bit him in the hand, White said. The boy ran home.
Authorities were working with the boy to get a sketch of the suspect, White said. Temple Station detectives are working with patrol deputies on the case.
Purported 'dad' who sexually abused Calgary teen in his care gets 8 1/2 years
CALGARY — A man, who had sex an estimated 1,000 times over a period of more than three years with a teen he raised as a daughter, impregnating her three times, has been sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik said in sentencing J.F.K. on Friday that he was relentless in his sexual abuse of the teen, who called him 'dad,' starting from the time she was just 14 years old.
The man got her pregnant when she was just 15, resulting in the premature birth of a daughter, now six. She initially claimed it was the result of having sex with a boy in her school. The other two times he got her pregnant resulted in abortions.
J.F.K., 41, gave the girl money and sent her by bus to have the abortion that had to be performed over a two-day period because the fetus was already 18 weeks old.
"This is a serious child sex-abuse case," said Eidsvik, noting there were numerous aggravating factors. "J.F.K. abused his position of trust. It took place over an extended period — three years — and the sexual behaviour resulted in three pregnancies, resulting in one birth and two abortions.
"The sheer number of sexual assaults occurred on almost a daily basis, with only a short break after the first pregnancy and birth means there were approximately 1,000 assaults. The unprotected sexual conduct exposed her not only to pregnancies, but to diseases. The psychological abuse, or callousness of J.F.K. in his control, failing to acknowledge the birth of his daughter and forcing (her) to lie about it, and only ending the abuse when authorities finally intervened."
Eidsvik said the girl's mother had dropped her off with J.F.K. and his wife when she was very young and she spent much of her childhood with them before she finally reported to her 'mom' that her dad had got her pregnant the third time.
"(The abuse) ruined the fragile family life (she) came to know," said the judge.
The sexual assaults occurred between Jan. 1, 2000, and May 27, 2008, primarily in the latter three years. He also admitted unlawfully touching her sexually while in a position of trust between Aug. 4, 2006, and May 27, 2008.
Crown prosecutor Pamela McCluskey, who had sought a sentence of eight to 10 years, said the man never stopped, even after impregnating her three times.
"Mr. (J.F.K.) took the complainant into his home. He established himself as her protector and her provider. She called him dad," McCluskey had argued earlier.
"In the most fundamental way possible, Mr. (J.F.K.) exploited his parental role. He abused the child, who had come to see him as a father, for his own sexual gratification."
The girl, in her victim impact statement, spoke of her "loss of her childhood innocence," inability to have normal relationships and anger over what had happened to her.
Defence lawyer Norm Kelly, stressing his client's guilty plea and remorse, argued for a sentence of five to six years.
Eidsvik also ordered J.F.K. to be registered as a sex offender for life, provide a DNA sample and not attend any park, swimming pool or other such public place where children might be present, unless in the company of his own teenage son.
Former Catholic priest arrested on parole violation
Michael Stephen Baker, a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of molesting two boys and released on parole in late September, was arrested on a parole violation Wednesday in Costa Mesa.
Baker served more than five years of a 10-year prison sentence for his 2007 conviction and was scheduled to be released in August. But the Los Angeles district attorney's office filed a petition to have him committed to a state hospital indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.
He was held until Sept. 30, when the district attorney's office asked the judge to dismiss the petition because the two incidents he was convicted of didn't fit the criteria for a sexually violent predator, Deputy Dist. Atty. Tracy Watson said.
Costa Mesa police were contacted Wednesday by Baker's parole agent to assist in his arrest at a local hotel, where Baker was apparently staying, said Lt. Mark Manley. Manley said he did not know how the former priest had violated parole.
Baker is expected to be transferred back to Los Angeles in a few days.
He ranks among the Los Angeles Archdiocese's most prolific child molesters, authorities have said. In his 26 years as a priest, he allegedly abused more than 20 youngsters and had confessed to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in 1986. Mahony, who was then a bishop, sent Baker to a treatment center in New Mexico and later reassigned him to a series of other parishes, where he allegedly victimized other children.
Heber charity co-founder sent to prison for sexually abusing daughters
by Emiley Morgan
HEBER CITY — Whatever else he may have been, whatever good deeds have been attributed to him, it was clear Wednesday what Lon Kennard Sr.'s family thinks he is.
"Monster." "Predator." "A disgusting man." "A beastly person."
"You've ruined memories, cursed lives and broken dreams," one adopted daughter told the man.
"He brought these sweet, innocent girls here under the guise of charity and turned them into personal sex slaves," a biological son told 4th District Judge Derek Pullan.
Family member after family member — some sobbing, others defiant — stood before Pullan and demanded that Kennard, 70, receive the maximum punishment — consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison for three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.
And Pullan, after deliberating for nearly an hour in his chambers, delivered the desired sentence, chastising Kennard for going after victims who were "especially vulnerable."
"You were their father and spiritual leader and you groomed them to fulfill your desires," Pullan said, adding that Kennard also told the girls the behavior was normal. "You forced children to carry crushing burdens of guilt and shame not of their making."
The courtroom was packed with friends and family members — most of them now estranged from Kennard — as prosecutor Tricia Lake and Kennard's victims detailed the abuse. They described how Kennard would wake them by rubbing their bodies with lotions and oils, how he had to be "persuaded" with kisses and touching just so the girls could go to soccer practices, how bedroom and bathroom doors were to remain unlocked.
"They were made to believe that if they felt uncomfortable, they were the ones who were perverted," Lake said, reciting Kennard's response to the girls' questions or doubt: "Don't be silly. I'm your dad."
The girls would try to wake up early or layer on their clothes to avoid Kennard's touching, which often preceded the family's prayers, Lake said. One adopted daughter detailed how alone and confused she felt and how she felt Kennard targeted "children desperate for love and hungry for food."
"I was your sex toy, not your daughter," she said. "You never wanted me as a daughter. ... I know I will never know what normal feels like. ... You were getting pleasure from my pain."
Kennard kept his head lowered as his wife and two of his biological children first addressed the judge and recounted lives of fear and emotional and physical abuse.
"This is a man who once had everything," his wife, DeAnna, said. "His disgusting desires and selfish choices have destroyed his life as well as so many others."
She questioned why he was allowed to plead guilty to fewer charges than he had victims. Kennard was originally charged with 47 counts — including 24 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; 17 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony; and witness tampering, a third-degree felony.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop all other charges. The child victims in the case are now adults. Court records indicate Kennard abused six girls related to him and a seventh victim — an Ethiopian 14-year-old — and made videos of the abuse. The abuse of the 14-year-old occurred in Africa.
Prosecutors say the sexual abuse began in 1995, around the time Kennard was serving as bishop of his LDS Church ward and one year after he and his wife founded Village of Hope. The nonprofit organization provides services to destitute villages in Mexico, Central America, Ethiopia and the Caribbean.
One adopted daughter explained how she had always admired Kennard and looked to him for guidance. She said she couldn't believe that, at times, she encouraged her sisters to comply with his requests, not knowing that what was going on wasn't normal.
"I protected you from the time I got here," she said. "How you raised us was completely wrong and unhealthy."
In addition to the touching, Kennard apparently made one of his daughters model lingerie while he filmed her and placed mini tape recorders in two clocks placed in the bathroom, according to Lake and the victims.
Before he was sentenced, Kennard tearfully begged his family for help.
"They've all said how sick I am and I agree, but I need help and I can't do it by myself," he said. "I need a family. It's horrible to be without a family."
Kennard apologized to his wife, his children, the members of the LDS ward, and the community in Wasatch County.
"I've betrayed my church, my religion, my God. ... I'm trying my best to repent," he said. "It's a big job. A massive job. ... I love my daughters. I'm so ashamed, so embarrassed, so amazed that I could do such a thing."
Kennard's attorney, Matthew Bartlett, said his client "struggled" to understand how his life had become what it is and pointed to the man's age and lack of criminal history. He also said Kennard saved many lives through charity work.
"Don't give in to the temptation that may exist, because of his good works, to seek unjust retribution," Bartlett said.
Pullan noted Kennard's history of hard work and humanitarian efforts, but said he is still a man who abused his adopted children.
"All have come to see that Lon Kennard the depraved, and Lon Kennard the upright are shockingly, and disturbingly the same," the judge said. "You are what you have done and what you have done is destructive and evil."
Sex abuse researchers tout rehab, not prison
by Tom Blackwell
As North America's top experts on sex abuse gather in Toronto this week, a philosophical debate about how to treat some of society's most reviled criminals is coming into stark focus.
The U.S. and Canadian specialists converging for their annual meeting say evidence is mounting that a “public health” approach centred on treatment, rather than lengthy incarceration, stands the best chance of curbing the sex offenders' fearful urges and protecting the public.
Victims groups and the current federal government worried about what they consider lenient courts are pushing a more punitive approach, embodied by proposed new legislation that would force many sexual “predators” to spend at least five years in prison.
U.S. and Canadian delegates to the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse conference say Canada has been among the world leaders in championing an evidence-based, balanced treatment of the sexual-abuse problem, though they worry its progressive reputation among treatment professions is becoming “tarnished.”
Countless studies show that therapies including a Canadian-developed “circle of support” to ease offenders back into society will reduce repeat offences, said Dr. James Cantor, a Toronto psychologist who works with abusers. New MRI-imaging research he is pursuing even suggests pedophiles have unique brain abnormalities, pointing to the potential for diagnosing them and preventing abuse before it ever happens.
“The research overwhelmingly supports a health-care approach and a community-safety approach as opposed to a punitive approach,” said Dr. Cantor, with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. “It's the prevention and public education that seems to have a … less direct but stronger ability to prevent sexual abuse.”
Some supporters of a law-and-order direction, though, say judges swayed by the testimony of such treatment professionals are handing out too many conditional or otherwise lenient sentences, and question the repeat-offending statistics that underpin the whole treatment model.
“The … system we have in Canada, often leaves [accused abusers] feeling that they've won, even if they were convicted,” said Roz Prober, whose group Beyond Borders raises awareness about child sexual exploitation. “Some way you have to get a message through to people that what they are doing is entirely wrong and hugely damaging.”
She said her group wholeheartedly supports treatment, coupled with stiff sentences, but complained that the data on repeat offences touted by Canadian professionals as proof their techniques work are often based on criminal-conviction statistics and underestimate the problem. Government “victimization” surveys suggest that much sexual abuse goes unreported or does not lead to charges and convictions, said the Winnipeg-based victim advocate.
Canadians lose confidence in the justice system if the punishment fails to match the crime, said Julie DiMambro, press secretary to Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister.
“Sexual exploitation of children causes irreparable harm to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society,” she said in an emailed response to questions. “This means putting the rights of victims before the rights of criminals.”
The more correctional-oriented philosophy is getting a significant prod with the Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act, a government bill that would impose mandatory minimum sentences for several existing offences, as well as creating two new crimes. Judges, for instance, would have to mete out a penalty of at least five years to those found guilty of incest, aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault with a weapon involving a child under 16.
Ironically, Dr. Cantor said, many of the American treatment specialists coming here for the association's annual meeting would like to see the States move to the less-correctional stance that has been the Canadian tradition in the past.
“For probably the last 15 or 20 years, the system in Canada has been the envy of the rest of the civilized world,” said Dr. Robin Wilson, a prominent Toronto psychologist who relocated to Florida. “[Now] our friends in the U.S. are saying ‘What's up with Canada? Why are you trying to fix a system that is not broken?' ”
Lengthy, automatic prison terms for sex offenders only create hardened criminals who are beyond being fixed by treatment, making them more dangerous when they get out, he charged.
Dr. Cantor said the public's image of sexual offenders has been skewed by television crime shows that tend to depict extremely rare stranger abductions and torture, while the vast majority of abusers are related to or know their victims, often teenagers part of a generally “chaotic” family.
The $85,000 a year spent on each additional sex offender held behind bars could be better invested in treatment and research that will ultimately make society safer, he argued.
A Canadian innovation that Dr. Wilson helped develop — the circles of support and accountability — are proving effective by giving abusers motivation and help to stay on the straight and narrow, the psychologists said. One study compared a group of offenders who took part in a circle with a group who did not, suggesting that the program shrunk re-offence rates by 70%.
Preventing domestic violence must begin with the children
by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Brian Martin
Domestic Violence Awareness Month officially ended Nov. 1, and October brought troubling headlines on the issue.
The City Council of Topeka, Kan., voted to repeal its domestic violence law in order to avoid the cost of prosecution due to a budget crisis. We have seen moves like this before. In 2009, the state of California eliminated all funding for domestic violence programs and services because of budget cuts. Only after a great and lengthy debate in the state legislature was partial funding restored. There are recent examples of positive steps to address the intractable problem of domestic violence. On Oct. 12, the Makers of Memories Foundation participated in a special congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to educate policymakers, leaders and the public about the children affected by domestic violence, which UNICEF has called “one of the most damaging unaddressed human rights violations in the world today.”
Children who are raised in homes with domestic violence are 50 times more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs and six times more likely to commit suicide. Shockingly, 90 percent of prison inmates report that they experienced domestic violence as children. This epidemic costs the United States more than $600 billion annually in direct and indirect costs, including hospital ER visits, workplace absenteeism, criminal justice expenses, substance abuse treatment, shelter support, mental health services and child-protection costs. But the truly staggering price is the loss of human potential. More than 40 million adults in this country were such children and are still struggling with the self-destructive falsehoods that they learned and internalized from their experience.
While it is common to hear calls for an “end to the cycle of violence,” it cannot logically end without a substantial focus on the children
Domestic violence programs throughout the country are focused primarily on adults who are involved in violent relationships. A range of services are offered, including temporary housing, crisis counseling, legal assistance, health services, vocational aid, substance abuse programs and anger management and other behavioral modification initiatives for perpetrators. The focus on children comes as a distant second concern. And yet children who are raised in violent homes are at great risk, because more than 75 percent of them will go on to repeat what they learned in adulthood.
Take the story of a man we'll call Rod, a successful personal and corporate training entrepreneur. Rod witnessed his father abuse his mother regularly during his childhood. As a teen he resolved to become a Navy SEAL to learn to kill his father. Fortunately for Rod, his father died one week before he executed his plan.
His story is not unique — the Department of Justice has reported that 63 percent of convicted murderers between the ages of 11 and 20 who commit homicide killed the man abusing their mothers.
Why does experiencing domestic violence put children at such risk? Using data that have only become available in the last decade, leading researchers have discovered that these children's nervous systems and brain chemistry are often altered, changing who they are. Scientists have shown that the brains of children who are exposed to violence and trauma are flooded with the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, triggering a series of physical and emotional reactions by the body that impairs the brain's logical response to stimulus. These patterns become hard-wired in the brain, leading children who experience chronic violence to have heightened and unhealthy levels of fear and anger. Their brains change in ways that can fundamentally alter their self-concept and behaviors, with lifelong consequences.
These children and the adults who once were these children desperately need a voice. They need to know that what they went through is an experience shared by millions and that it can be discussed openly. They need an adult to step into their lives to tell them “this is not your fault” and “you can have a compelling future.” They need to know that adult role models exist. People like former President Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry and countless others have overcome a childhood filled with violence. Practical ways to help children living with abuse are to engage teachers, counselors, clergy, mental health providers or other trusted members of the child's protective network. Best practices vary by situation.
At the congressional briefing, as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, I, John Conyers, called for an oversight hearing to assess where we are in our work on the impact of domestic violence on children, and what more can and should be done. Two congressional colleagues, Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), also called for more action from the federal government. Following months of collaboration with colleagues and more than 20 local and national advocacy organizations, I will introduce this month a Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill that increases focus on addressing the needs of youth affected by domestic violence.
While this is a start, the dialogue needs to continue.
The panelists who participated in the briefing, a cross section of pre-eminent scholars, survivors and nonprofit leaders from across the United States, have pledged their support to begin a national campaign to generate awareness about the problem of childhood exposure to domestic violence.
Conyers is ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Martin is founder and chairman of the Makers of Memories Foundation.
Upset at teen (as in judge video)? Step back, not toward
A YouTube video featuring a Texas judge repeatedly striking
his 16-year-old daughter with a leather belt has gone viral on the Internet this week — racking up 2.4 million views since it was posted Oct. 27, and eliciting angry reactions from people around the world.
The video was posted by Hillary Adams, the girl being beaten in the 7-year-old video. Adams is now 23. In a note accompanying the video on YouTube, she says that her father -- Aransas Judge William Adams -- was hitting her because she had been illegally downloading games and music.
It is generally accepted by the psychological community that physically punishing a kid, especially a teenager, is almost never a good idea. But what do you do when your teen is engaging in illegal, or dangerous, or infuriating, activities -- and the positive parenting you'd like to practice has not changed the behavior?
Rohini Ross is a licensed family and marriage therapist, who works as a parent coach at Vive, an organization that helps families of adolescents and young adults who are having social and behavioral challenges.
We asked her how parents can change their child's behavior, without turning to the belt. Here's an edited transcript of that exchange:
Many parents can probably relate to the feelings of rage the father exhibited in the video, even if they would never dream of taking up a belt. What should parents be aware of when they start feeling this way?
One of the things we do with parents at Vive is look at when they get outside of their window of stress tolerance. When we get overstressed, our thinking gets distorted. We become all or nothing, we see the world in black-and-white, and we go into survival mode. The behavior we exhibit then is not what we would do when we are in a calm, grounded space. Self-awareness is key.
Does it ever make sense to hit a teenager? Or scream? What if nothing else you've tried works?
When we get to that place, we are feeling out of control ourselves. We want there to be a change, and violence is what we think might make a difference. But what we find is that type of punishment is not really going to get sustainable change.
It may produce some short-term results because the child is afraid, but ultimately it will reinforce bad behaviors -- make them better liars, better at hiding.
And that's not just with hitting; that's with other kinds of punitive consequences that are being used to try to create change.
So what can parents do to get a kid to stop acting a certain way?
Figure out how to help them get their deeper needs met. We can't be there all the time for them, and the punitive approach only works when we are there.
For example, if they do drugs they are probably feeling anxious, or feel like they don't belong. When they themselves are feeling good, they behave like good kids. They may still be impulsive and do crazy things, but we all make mistakes.
To be clear though, I'm not against consequences and boundaries, I'm just saying don't use that as the only way.
Final question: You're ready to throttle your kid -- blinded with anger -- what do you do?
Take care of yourself first. Get yourself grounded -- it could be taking a few deep breaths, it could be walking around the block -- whatever it takes to help you get your nervous system to calm down and your brain to get back online.
But keep in mind, your child may not be ready at that point -- he or she may still be in an emotionally reactive place. You are going to get the best results when there are two people who are able to hear themselves and each other. That's when problem-solving can happen.
Video of child abuse raises concerns
A disturbing video of a Texas Judge beating his daughter 7 years ago is posted on Facebook. Nearly 3 million people have seen the video since it went viral earlier this week. FOX 23 spoke to a Trauma specialist in Tulsa who says the abuse could have long term effects.
Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams won't face any charges because the five year statutes of limitations expired.
But it doesn't take away from what the video shows.
In 2004, then 16-year-old Hillary Adams secretly videotaped her father beating her with a belt numerous times as he cursed Hillary out because she was downloading illegal music.
“I will beat you into submission," said Adams in the video.
However, Adams ' attorney says Hillary, who is now 23, released the video to get back at her dad because he stopped financially supporting her.
Regardless of the reason, the video has sparked a national debate about child disciple.
Family and Children Services Trauma superviser Roy Van Tassell, told FOX 23 that abuse like what is seen in the video can destroy a parent and child relationship.
"A person may become dangerous or violent to a child it typically is going to impair trust and their ability to feel safe," said the Clinical Superviser.
Van Tassell says this could be an isolated incident and other factors in the house must be taken into account.
However, he told FOX 23, a parent's job is to teach their children how to cope and solve their problems but adds the trauma of abuse can hinder that.
"When children feel fearful and aren't able to talk to their parents it makes it difficult for them to turn to that parent or caregiver for advice, said Van Tassell."
He won't speculate on why Hillary Adams waited so long to release the video but he says if abuse is expected, people should speak up sooner than later.
"Keep telling until someone listens and looks into that situation," said Van Tassell.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network finds children age's 4 to 7 and 12 to 15 are most likely to be abused.
Experts say if you suspect a child being abused to call the child help hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
Texas judge won't face charges in beating, police say
A Texas judge who was secretly videotaped lashing his teenage daughter with a belt 17 times won't face charges because the beating took place too long ago, the Rockport Police Department told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Aransas County Court-at-law Judge William Adams could have been charged with causing injury to a child or assault if the video had come out within the 5-year statute of limitations, Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe told the AP. But the video, made in 2004, is seven years old.
His daughter, Hillary Adams, uploaded the video to YouTube days ago, where it has generated nearly 2.7 million page views and more than 87,000 comments -- most of them condemning his conduct.
Adams, 51, has temporarily stepped aside from his post -- which includes hearing child-abuse cases -- while authorities conduct an investigation. He told local media that the beating is "not as bad as it looks on tape" and added: "In my mind, I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing."
Late in the day, he issued a statement in which he accused his daughter, now 23, of posting the video because he was reducing her financial support and taking away her Mercedes, the AP reported.
Hillary Adams said Thursday morning that she had released the video now because she'd finally had enough. In an interview with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show, she said that "the disputes and the harassment were escalating, and finally it was just the straw that broke the camel's back." She added: "I told him I had the video and he brushed it off. ... He didn't seem to think anything of it, and basically dared me to post it."
The video has gone viral, eliciting outrage from around the globe and sparking debate about when corporal punishment and discipline go too far.
In the video, William Adams is cursing at his then-16-year-old daughter and using a belt to whip her for illegally downloading music and games.
Hillary Adams told Lauer that she had set up the video camera on her dresser to capture the discipline that routinely occurred in the household.
"It did happen regularly," she said. "I waited seven years [to release it] because back then I was still a minor and living under his roof, and releasing it then, I don't know what would have happened to me, my mother, my little sister. So waiting until today, seven years later, has allowed me pull away and distance myself from the consequences."
Judge orders Kentucky to release records on child-abuse deaths
For the second time in 18 months, a Franklin Circuit Court judge has ordered the state to release records pertaining to child-abuse deaths and serious injuries, finding that there is “no legal basis” for withholding them.
“The court must conclude that the (Cabinet for Health and Family Services) is so immersed in the culture of secrecy regarding these issues that it is institutionally incapable of recognizing and implementing the clear requirement of the law,” Judge Phillip Shepherd said in his ruling, issued Thursday.
The decision comes after a lengthy court fight by The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader to obtain the records — and more than a year after Shepherd first ruled that the cabinet must disclose the material.
After that decision, the cabinet released some information about the death of a Wayne County toddler who drank drain cleaner at an alleged methamphetamine laboratory. But the cabinet refused to provide the newspapers with information about other child-abuse deaths.
A 2009 Courier-Journal investigation found that nearly 270 Kentucky children had died of abuse or neglect during the past decade — more than half in cases in which state officials knew of or suspected problems.
Thursday's ruling is a major open-records victory for the newspapers and the public because it forces the cabinet to disclose details of how well the state does its job of protecting children from severe abuse, said Jon Fleischaker, a lawyer for The Courier-Journal.
“It's about time the cabinet recognizes that it is not above the law,” Fleischaker said. “It has to comply with the mandate of state and federal law. This is not a difficult issue.”
Cabinet officials released a brief statement Thursday saying that they are reviewing the ruling. They gave no indication when they would release the records.
Fleischaker said the cabinet could appeal but added that he doubts it would succeed because Shepherd found for the newspapers in the virtually identical case last year. The cabinet did not appeal that ruling, making the decision final.
Victims of Sexual Abuse Can Speak Up, Urge Police
November 3, 2011
DETECTIVES are urging victims of historic child abuse to come forward – with a guarantee their claims will be fully investigated.
The promise was made after paedophile pensioner John Maxwell Rennie was jailed for 11-and-a-half years for sexually abusing four youngsters in the 1960s and 1970s.
The investigation into the 72-year-old was prompted by an anonymous letter, sent to police after an Evening Mail interview with a child abuse victim.
Last Friday the ex-soldier was imprisoned after being found guilty after a two-week trial of a string of serious sexual assaults.
Detective Constable Cheryl Smith, an officer on the case, said: “There is no doubt this case wouldn't have come to court if it hadn't been for the bravery and courage of the victims.”
“If it had not been for the anonymous letter, we would never have spoken to these people.
“The staff from all the agencies who worked on this case were brilliant because it must has been very harrowing for them at times.
“Historic abuse cases involving children are never easy to deal with. Just because people have waited a long time to speak out does not mean they won't be believed.
“We have specialist officers that will listen and even if you don't want to make a formal complaint you can be referred to other agencies that can help.”
In a separate case on Monday, Peter Cook pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a girl aged 12 and indecent assault.
The 38-year-old also admitted a further two counts of indecent assault against another girl, also aged 12.
The offences all took place in Barrow in 1998.
Cook of Grizebeck, Kirkby, will be sentenced at a crown court on November 29.
lIf you need to talk to an officer in confidence, call Barrow police on 08345 3300 247.
You can also speak to someone at South Cumbria Rape and Abuse Service – support for child and adult survivors of rape sexual abuse and incest – at 60 Hartington Street, Barrow, or call 01229 820828 between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
Notre Dame to host events about human trafficking
South Bend Tribune Staff Report
November 3, 2011
SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame will host several student-organized events this month to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
All events are open to the public:
-From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a gathering in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center to discuss the pervasiveness of modern slavery.
-Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraising event at Five Guys, 1233 N. Eddy St., to benefit Second Chance, a social service program in Toledo, Ohio, that provides services to victims of domestic sex trafficking and prostitution.
-At 8 p.m. Nov. 21, there will be a poetry slam and open mic night in the LaFortune Student Center ballroom. Proceeds from donations and the sale of jewelry at the event will go to Second Chance.
-At 7 p.m. Nov. 29, the film documentary "Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth" will be shown in the Geddes Hall auditorium. A discussion afterward will feature staff from South Bend social service agencies involved in prevention of prostitution and sexual violence.
-At 7 p.m. Nov. 30, there will be a discussion in Room C-103 of the Hesburgh Center on "Human Trafficking and Development."
Human trafficking 'is real, it's in North Carolina'
It's something seen in made-for-TV movies – women, often from other countries, forced into prostitution, tortured and held against their will in brothels. But it's not just a movie storyline – it's happening in North Carolina.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the country, but the victims' stories are hard to tell. Many don't want to come forward to authorities, or the media, for fear that they might be killed for telling what they know.
One woman, a 35-year-old mother of two little girls, agreed to tell her story to WRAL Investigates, as long as she was not identified. She says she was flown to the U.S. from Mexico after answering an ad online that promised a work VISA and an education scholarship, but that's not what happened when she arrived in Georgia in 2005.
The woman says she was taken from the airport to a home, where she was held captive and forced to perform sex acts. She says other women and children, some of whom spoke languages she was not familiar with, were also held there.
“They raped us anytime they wanted to,” she said. “They began to beat us, and I received a lot of hits in my head. When I began to come to and realize what was happening, I didn't have clothes and I was in chains.”
The woman says she remained a prisoner for three months.
“There was a lot of torture,” she said. “They fractured my arms. They burned me. They burned my legs.”
The woman was able to run away, but another woman fleeing with her was not able to escape.
“When we ran from the house, we were stabbed several times, and one of my friends was stabbed in the back and her lung, and she died,” the woman said.
After fleeing her captors, the woman was so severely injured, she was in the hospital for months, didn't speak for almost two years and was in a wheelchair for almost three years. Finally, she reached out for help. It's help that she hopes others will now get at places like the Salvation Army, thanks to an increasing amount of attention to this very serious problem.
Human trafficking isn't just about victims from other countries. Cumberland County authorities charged Antoinette Davis with human trafficking after investigators said she sold her 5-year-old daughter, Shaniya Davis, into sexual servitude in 2009.
Authorities found the child dead in a kudzu patch near the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009. An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that her injuries were consistent with a sexual assault. Mario Andrette McNeill, 30, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the case.
Authorities believe Antoinette Davis was complicit in her daughter's death. Arrest warrants stated that she "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya." A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.
People who work with human trafficking victims say the problem is intensifying. In 2010, the national human trafficking hotline – called Polaris Project - received nearly 12,000 calls.
“A lot of the traffickers are finding their way here to the United States. And when I say ‘a lot,' I mean hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases are coming out every day,” said Paige Bagwell, director of operations and communications for the Salvation Army of Wake County.
After hearing more and more stories about human trafficking, The Salvation Army of Wake County hired two case managers to focus on identifying and providing services to victims.
“We started to see some of the stories that came through our doors and just knew that we needed to find our place in getting this eradicated,” Bagwell said.
Caitlin Ryland, an attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina, says human trafficking does not always involve the sex trade. Some people are forced to perform other labor, such a farm work.
“Essentially, individuals are held somewhere against their will, and through force, fraud or coercion are forced to perform a commercial sex act or do labor,” Ryland said.
“Human trafficking is real, it's here, it's in North Carolina,” she added.
Douglas Coasey says he has worked on three farms in North Carolina and lived in labor camps where workers slept on the floor or in unsanitary beds with bed bugs. They also lived with leaky roofs and had rudimentary bathroom facilities and little access to food. The camps are often deep in the woods where workers are isolated and have no transportation to leave.
“They promise you these different things, but you don't ever get it,” he said. “You end up sleeping on the floor. You end up taking a bath outside in the woods because of the crowdedness.”
Coasey says he finally left farm work last year and went into construction. He snuck away when his boss left the farm and was able to call a friend to help him escape from the camp.
“The only thing they know are dollar signs – how they make a dollar over you,” he said. “You make $5. They make $25.”
Local law enforcement agencies say they're trying to get a handle on human trafficking cases. Often, many victims are afraid to come forward. That's why non-profits, like the Salvation Army, are trying to take the lead in helping people get away and transition into safe situations.
For the woman who escaped her captors and is now raising her two little girls, she says painting and playing the piano has helped her to heal.
“I've started to paint about a world that you can live (in) happily – very different from the world I was living in,” she said.
For others who are victims of human trafficking, the woman encourages them to “never lose your faith.”
“It was my faith in God and the Bible that helped me,” she said.
Do you have information about a potential trafficking situation? Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or email NHTRC@polarisproject.org. Phone services are available toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Koster Asks for Federal Funding to Stop Human & Sex Trafficking
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — The Missouri Attorney General is requesting millions of dollars to fight human trafficking and slavery across the U.S.
Chris Koster joins 43 other state attorneys general in asking for 15.8 million dollars to stop human and sex trafficking.
Deputy Attorney General Joe Dandurand says that human trafficking is a serious problem in Missouri and is very expensive to combat.
Also Missouri's central location makes it especially vulnerable. “Missouri is an easy place for this to be a breeding ground, the St. Louis and Kansas City areas especially with the major interstates that go through them,” Dandurand said.
If appropriated, the Department of Justice will distribute funds to federal task forces to aid anti-slavery programs and victim services.
Church presents class on preventing child sexual abuse
Gail Tierney, from Bellingham’s Brigid Collins Family Support Center, will speak at 11 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, at the Free Church Unitarian, 1218 Harrison Avenue in Blaine, about the center’s Stewards of Children/Darkness to Light class.
The class will be held at Free Church Unitarian in early 2012. Its focus is educating adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Participants will learn how sexual abuse affects communities nationwide and will leave the class with simple, proactive strategies for protecting children from abuse.
Those interested in the class can sign up following the program Sunday, or call Free Church Unitarian at 360/384-6248 for information.
Child sex trafficking websites pose serious dangers to local children
by Karen Grace
(Video on site)
Websites that promote child sex trafficking are now on the radar of local authorities. They say children are being sold into prostitution, and the problem is only getting worse.
Only Eyewitness News has inside information on why that is and what you need to know about a new danger lurking in cyberspace.
KENS 5 is not providing the name of the actual websites. Officials fear that would encourage more traffic for websites that are already flooded with pimps using children as their meal ticket.
"They are set up for johns...by johns," said Chris Burchell, President of Texas Anti-Trafficking In Persons. He asked that KENS 5 not not reveal the names of the websites to help keep more children from being victimized.
The website and identities of the featured clients have been disguised. He says this undisclosed website is a portal to the local underground industry of child sex trafficking. And the victims are getting younger and younger.
"The higher the money, the lower the age will go," said Burchell.
In fact, he says 12 and 13 year-old girls are offered top dollar. He says if you think it's only an industry in third world countries... think again. He says little girls and boys are going missing in our own backyard.
"It's right here in San Antonio. It's in every major city in Texas," said Burchell.
"There's a method called 'Romeo and Juliet.' They're luring young girls that are dropped off at a mall," he said. "It's very common to see runaways sold into prostitution."
In fact, Tuesday afternoon San Antonio police arrested a group of men for allegedly raping and forcing a 12-year-old runaway into prostitution. Unfortunately, it's a growing market and child advocates are combing these websites locally and nationally for clues.
"They can click on any town for sex tourism. There are actually blogs they can go into," he said. "Go to this club... They have a backroom upstairs."
"Violent rapes, beatings and tyings," are some of the ways Burchell says the children are tortured and controlled. He also says the children are even advertised like livestock and they're forced to service 50 to 60 johns a night to meet a quota.
"They may get a quota of $500 one night," said Burchell. "And on a Friday or Saturday, $700 to $1,000."
"We're talking about someone who thinks of human beings as a reasonable commodity," said Burchell.
He says local authorities are now flagging runaways who have left home more than once to investigate whether sex trafficking is at the root.
If you have any tips for authorities, you are urged to call the Polaris Project national hotline at 1(888)373-7888 or learn more at polarisproject.org.
Rally: Stop human trafficking
Seeks greater oversight of the parlors in Warren
November 3, 2011
by ADAM FERRIS
WARREN - Members of the area's grassroots development organization and a City Council member led a rally Wednesday to press the city law department into passing tougher restrictions against the 10 massage parlors in the city.
But the city law director said the same councilwoman shelved legislation he drafted that included most of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative's recommendations.
Several members of MVOC and Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold led an hour-long rally in front of about 50 people Wednesday in Courthouse Square, stating they want the law department to draft legislation that includes seven ways they can cut out any potential human trafficking or prostitution concerns at the parlors.
None of the 10 massage parlors has ever been charged with prostitution or human trafficking.
Members of MVOC said they believe prostitution and human trafficking occur because parlors in other city's where prostitution occurred had similar characteristics, including late or 24/7 hours, boarded up windows, buzzer-only entries and refusing admittance to women.
"We do not know with 100 percent certainty that there is trafficking in these parlors, but they have all the signs," said Isabel Seavey, the president of the Warren-Trumbull County branch of the American Association of University Women and an MVOC member.
"Every other county in Ohio is known to have sex trafficking operations. I don't think Trumbull County is the exception," she said.
Law Director Gregory Hicks said his department spent countless hours researching the recommendations and drafted legislation in early October that included five of MVOC's recommendations. He said Saffold, who sponsored the legislation, told him to shelve a first reading at City Council meetings because she wanted all seven recommendations enacted into law.
Members of MVOC said only two of the seven recommendations were met and that the city law department made no attempt to tell them why. Hicks, however, said he left only two recommendations out of the legislation because they were unenforceable and unconstitutional.
"Keep in mind, just because they request it doesn't make it legal or constitutional," Hicks said after the rally. "Keep in mind Cheryl Saffold isn't the only member of council. It was a perfectly good ordinance, but she has refused to introduce it."
He said he cannot legally impose business restrictions unless there is overriding governmental concerns. Because no formal complaint has ever been made or substantiated, certain business restrictions are unconstitutional, Hick said.
"Am I for massage parlors? No. But I work in the legal world where facts and law take precedent," Hicks said. "My job is to see if laws are constitutional and enforceable. Why would I want to subject the city's coffers for frivolous lawsuits we knew going in were not defendable? That's nonsense."
MVOC Human Trafficking Core Team co-chair Jean Waris said the Niles Law Department enacted all seven recommendations and were passed within two months. Niles has one massage parlor and the legislation is expected to take effect in 2012.
Among the recommendations include requiring massage parlor employees to have at least 100 hours of massage training at certified schools; valid immigration and work authorization, if applicable; and professional masseuse liability insurance.
"We have been paid lip-service with two of the least powerful recommendations having written into ordinances and returned to council," Waris said. "The law department refused to respond to the legal opinions we have provided or to give a reason why they will not follow the will of the duly elected council members."
Hicks, however, said he met with members of MVOC numerous times and that cannot recommend legislation he believes to be unconstitutional because it would open the city up to costly lawsuits.
Professor advocates for human trafficking victims
by Nick Sobecki | IDS
November 02, 2011
Her fingers flew across the keyboard with machine gun-like chatter as she typed another email and sent it to one of many allies.
Professor Stepanka Korytova, a visiting scholar-in-residence at IU’s Center for the Study of Global Change, combats human trafficking.
“It’s a crime that doesn’t have enough coverage,” Korytova said. “If there’s any coverage, it’s sex trafficking and it’s usually about some really violent cases.”
Human trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction” and other techniques to gain control of a person and exploit them, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
“But I think it’s more than that,” Korytova said.
Korytova said she is passionate about the study of immigration and the migration of undocumented workers. She started a multi-disciplinary faculty study group, The Many Faces of Trafficking, which has met at least twice.
Associate Professor Lynn Duggan, who has a Ph.D. in economics and studies class, race and gender in the workplace, is one of Korytova’s recruits for the study group.
“She is a versatile person,” Duggan said. “She’s very interesting and well-organized. Being from Eastern Europe she is even more knowledgeable because there’s a lot of human trafficking there.”
Korytova is from the former Czechoslovakia and lived through the Soviet Union takeover. She then moved to England and then the United States. She has also taught in all three countries.
Korytova is the 2011 recipient of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies Zirin Prize, awarded “in the hopes of encouraging and supporting her study of sex trafficking in Central and Eastern Europe, and recognizing her past scholarly accomplishments,” according to a College of Arts and Sciences press release.
“I think they all sort of appreciated that I’m academically active,” Korytova said.
She has written a chapter in a book titled “To Reap a Bountiful Harvest: Czech Emigration Beyond the Mississippi River, 1850-1900”. Her chapter is about Slavic emigrants and another book about Slovaks’ ties to the Homeland.
Korytova will travel to Washington, D.C., to pick up the award for her book on Nov. 19.
“I’m very happy about it,” Korytova said. “It’s not only a personal award, but it’s also a tribute award for letting me teach this course.”
Aside from getting published and starting a study group, Korytova is much more active as a leader.
“I’ve formed a closer relationship with her, as a professor, this semester than any other professor,” said Justin Kingsolver, president of the Indiana University Student Association. “She is passionate, interested in her students and engaging.”
Kingsolver is a student in Korytova’s international studies course.
“She has caused me to see beyond (the United States’) boundaries,” Kingsolver said. “I’m a very American-centric person, but now I’m more globally minded.”
Korytova has been invited to teach another class during the spring 2012 at the IU campus. Korytova said she will teach here as long as faculty members continue to invite her to do so.
However, she said she wants to start a research center at IU that would focus on compiling statistics and reports about human trafficking in all of its forms. One of her ideas is for the center to take a look at trafficking in the Midwest.
The center would involve several IU departments as well as undergraduates and graduates to establish internships and raise awareness in Bloomington.
“It’d be a great thing to do,” Duggan said. “I think Indiana needs that center and Bloomington would be the obvious place.”
Korytova has brought different leaders together to combat human trafficking. These individuals include Rachel Irby, the executive director of the nonprofit Unchained Movement, as well as Peggy Welch, District 60’s representative in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Korytova and her students will assist Welch in writing a new human trafficking law for Indiana, which will appear before a committee and in hearings sometime early next year.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Working with Our Partners to Reduce Domestic Violence
by January Contreras, Ombudsman for Citizenship and Immigration Services and
Margo Schlanger, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Last month, as part of
Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we met with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who work on issues related to victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes. The meeting provided an opportunity for Department of Homeland Security officials and NGOs to discuss ways we can continue to improve programs and services to protect victims.
During the meeting, we discussed the progress DHS has made in protecting the safety and security of victims of domestic violence and other crimes, including the development of a training program for DHS personnel explaining the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The training program, which will be available to DHS personnel this month, will cover the obligations under federal law of DHS personnel to protect victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes that they encounter. The training was created by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), in coordination with an intra-agency work group including representatives from the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), the Ombudsman’s office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Furthermore, this month, DHS is scheduled to release a resource guide for local law enforcement on U visas, which provide immigration protection to eligible victims of crime who are willing to assist with criminal investigations and prosecutions. CRCL is also working with ICE to produce briefing materials for state and local law enforcement including information on victim protections.
All of us at DHS take the issue of domestic violence seriously. We are committed to continuing to work with our partners -- and with employees -- to protect victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes.
Operation Boo: It's too broad
Halloween-night prohibitions on sex-offender parolees do more to address fears of the unlikely than they do to protect children.
November 2, 2011
Society tends to fear the most dramatic dangers rather than the most likely ones. Abductions in which a child is killed, for instance, often prompt a wave of fear and some new get-tough-on-crime legislation. Yet many people might be surprised to learn that about 40 children each year are kidnapped and killed by a stranger, according to the U.S. Department of Justice — while close to 1,000 children each year die in a car accident in which the driver is drunk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Similarly, Operation Boo, which prohibits sex-offender parolees in most of California from decorating their homes or offering candy on Halloween and requires many homeless sex offenders to spend the evening in designated "roundup centers," strikes us as a program that does more to address fears of the unlikely than it does to protect children. The recidivism rate for sex offenders is relatively low, though it varies depending on many factors; not all sex offenders are pedophiles; and the state cannot point to any higher risk of sexual molestation on Halloween that would justify its decision to adopt these measures.
Operation Boo has been around for 18 years, but this year, the rules were broadened to include the roundup of transient parolees. About 2,000 of the state's sex offender parolees are homeless, in part because of tight restrictions on where they can live. In some communities, it's nearly impossible to find housing far enough away from a school or park to meet the dictates of state law.
Parents have a right and a responsibility to keep their children safe, and state and local governments must do what they can to help. But there is little if any evidence that Operation Boo and similar crackdowns are effective or efficient. There could be more to fear from a familiar neighbor who invites a child into his or her home than from a registered sex offender who puts a jack-o'-lantern on the front walkway. An Ohio study found that most sex offenders in its prisons had never been convicted of such a crime before, and the California Sex Offender Management Board found that 90% of child molestations are committed by someone the child knows. There might be reason for the state to restrict the activities of at least some paroled child molesters, but it should fine-tune its over-broad rules. Of the nearly 9,000 sex offenders affected by Operation Boo, it's unknown how many are child molesters.
A more effective approach might be to educate parents about Halloween safety measures. Young children should be chaperoned by adults. Older children should travel in groups. All should be cautioned to stay out of people's houses. But even on Halloween, we don't have to give in to outsized fears.
Sexual abuse of teenagers a 'very large problem'
by Mark Davenport
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Innocence can be lost in a blink of an eye.
Libby Ralston says she's seen it all at The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center. Last year, Ralston says just under 1200 kids and their families came through the front doors of the center that were sexually abused.
Ralston says the numbers have gradually risen over the 20 years she's worked at the center but they're nowhere close to the actual amount of children who are sexually abused in Charleston, especially teenagers.
"Adolescents tend to be more reluctant to tell," says Ralston. "Especially boys."
Over the weekend, three teens found the courage to speak out against 32-year-old Louis Reville, a former principal at the Coastal Christian Preperatory School in Mt. Pleasant, who admitted to sexually abusing the teens in court documents Saturday.
"Perpetrators are masters at manipulation," says Jolie Logan, Chief Operating Officer at Darkness to Light.
The group works under the mission to prevent child sexual abuse in the Lowcountry and she says its not rare to see teenagers in these situations.
"This grooming process could have taken years to get them to that point," says Logan. "In most situations, it's something that's happened over a long period of time. Perpetrators are fabulous at breaking down a child's instincts so some of those natural things that are happening to a 12, 13, 14-year-old... they can easily take advantage of that."
Logan says one of the best ways for parents to prevent their kids from falling victim to sexual abuse is communication.
"One of the things parents can do is talk to their child and help them understand what's happening to their bodies," she say. "Helping them understand what the boundaries are for what's OK and what's not OK is very important."
Ralston, who operates the treatment side of child abuse just a few miles down the road, says no matter the age or situation seeking help is important.
"The bad news is kids get abused," says Ralston. "The good news is that we have great resources in our community to help those children and those families work through what's happened to them and help them heal."
Members from Darkness to Light and the Lowcountry Children's Center will speak to parents of students at Coastal Christian Prep Tuesday night, giving them guidance and help in dealing with the sexual abuse of children and teens.
Fugitive Serial Child Molester Caught
The U.S. Marshals Service has tracked down and arrested a serial child molester who had been on the run since April 2010. Richard Heeringa, a convicted child molester on the agency's 15 Most Wanted list, was taken into custody this weekend in Detroit.
Heeringa was convicted in Colorado April 15, 2010, of 17 counts of sexual assault on a 12 year-old-girl, among other crimes. As a repeat offender, Heeringa faced a potential 500-year prison sentence. He ran on the night of his conviction and kept running until the weekend.
The U.S. Marshals Service says Heeringa, 55, has two other sex-assault cases pending in Colorado, and previously served 12 years in prison in Michigan after a sex-assault conviction there. The 2010 charges stem from Heeringa's relationship with the daughter of a single mother whom he met in 2005.
Heeringa met the single mother from Colorado shortly after being released from prison in 2004, according to authorities. He moved to Colorado in 2005 and began living with the mother and her daughter. He soon began sexually abusing the 12-year-old and continued the abuse until January 2008, when the child came forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
“Richard Heeringa is a predator, who has a track record of preying on young girls,” said Geoff Shank, acting assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Investigative Operations Division.
Finding Heeringa was challenging because of his self-sufficiency and ties to many areas of the country, the agency said. Heeringa has a history of working in construction and had his own construction company in the past.
He could make a living as a handyman. He is skilled in martial arts and has been a hunter in the past, so he could live in the wilderness for a while. He was born in Michigan and has family there. He also has ties to Georgia and California.
DCF says child deaths are rising
by Jacqueline Fell
November 1, 2011
They're fighting to protect children who all too often fall victim to abuse by the hands of their own parents.
Child abuse investigators with Department of Children and Families are the first on the scene, and often the only ones to follow a child's story from start to finish.
News 13 took a closer look at their day-to-day work and explains their heartbreak of investigating an innocent child's death.
Katie Guemple is one of the first people to respond when a child is abused or even suspected of being abused.
Her job as a child protective investigation supervisor with the DCF isn't pretty. She analyzes every broken bone, bruise and unfortunately, death.
Even though she's investigated hundreds of cases, Guemple said it doesn't get any easier. Even for this veteran investigator, her emotions got the best of her.
"These are innocent children who have done no wrong," Guemple said. "There is no action a child could take that would cause them to deserve to have their life ended or deserve to be abused by someone."
Guemple also testifies in court against the person suspected of the abuse. Many times she's the only voice for the innocent child.
DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner works with Guemple and her investigators all the time.
"They're quiet heroes," Hoeppner said. "They do not do this for any recognition. They do it to save one child at a time. They do it to improve the life of a family. They're all heart."
In recent years, DCF said the abuse is more horrendous. Guemple and her six investigators had 24 child deaths last year. This year, they are already at 21.
In recent years, Guemple said the abuse appears to be widespread. Before, there would be one area where the abuse showed.
Hoeppner said a child's injuries are normally from family members or the boyfriend of the child's mother. While there is no typical case, alcohol and drugs are a common denominator.
"When the children are so young, sometimes the only thing they know is a life of abuse," Guemple said. "But the satisfaction comes when those children have siblings and we're able to protect them and provide a safer home for them, if that's what needed."
In the death of Noah Fake, a 3-year-old boy allegedly beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend, Guemple said her heart breaks.
"I picture that child like looking up at his mom and asking her to save him," Guemple said holding back tears. "She then partakes in the abuse and in his death, and things like that are very frustrating and I don't understand why they occur."
While this case is far from over, you can expect Guemple to be there for Noah's day in court. She'll be there for all the children she says, hopefully the ones she is saving from a life of abuse.
What about the women? Sex trafficking victims need comprehensive health services
The main issue in dealing with those who have been subject to human trafficking, “a form of modern-day slavery” that often includes sexual exploitation, is what is in the best interest of the victims. All victims of trafficking clearly need health care services to recover. Women and girls who have been victimized by sex trafficking must be given comprehensive health services, and that includes reproductive services. But this is more than health care; it is the restoration of a woman or girl's human dignity, the right to determine what will happen to her body and how in terms of reproduction.
Yet, in the recent controversy over the Department of Health and Human Service's decision in late September to end funding to the U.S. Catholic bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, a program to help these victims of trafficking, the issue is framed as “Obama versus the Catholic Church,” and cast as an issue of religious liberty.
Where do the women and girls who have been sex trafficked and their well-being fit into this framework? I have spent years studying the horrendous system of sexual exploitation of women, children, and men, and writing about it with Rita Nakashima Brock in Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States. I have done Bible studies for more than a year with women seeking to leave the sex industry in Chicago. Sex trafficking, a particularly “loathsome,” crime-ridden aspect of the systematic sexual exploitation of women, children and vulnerable men of what we call the “sex industry,” is callous sexual cruelty systematized for profit.
I have talked to women of all ages who have been trafficked in this system, and I have concluded that what is evil about this system, besides the criminality of kidnapping, torture and enslavement, is that it turns a human being into a thing, a commodity for sale. The Westminster Catechism instructs us that the “chief end” of a human being is to “glorify God” and “enjoy” God “forever.” But instead of human beings destined for a God-relationship, sex trafficking makes people into bodies that are disrespected in the most appalling ways, and the human will is deliberately destroyed.
Women and girls victimized in this sex trafficking system need health care; that is beyond dispute. But what they also need is a restoration of respect for them as people capable of ethical decision-making where their bodies, minds, and spirits are concerned. Reproductive services, including contraception and legal abortion, are part of that restoration for them, to choose or not to choose as part of their journey toward wholeness.
There was “no reason given” by the Department of Health and Human Services for non-renewal of the grant to the Catholic agency, yet it has been interpreted through the written instructions by HSS to groups requesting grants through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act that “strong preference” will be given to organizations that offer referrals for the “full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care” to mean the Catholic group “could have been denied funding under those instructions because of the Church's opposition to abortion and contraception.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the contract, saying it was unconstitutional because the bishops would not refer pregnant sex-trafficking victims for abortions, applauded the Obama administration decision to deny the grant. Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU lawyer, told Bloomberg: “We applaud the federal government for recognizing that trafficking victims need reproductive-health series and making awards based on those needs. This has little to do with religion and everything to do with what the trafficking victims need.”
In September 2009, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the ACLU lawsuit is “without merit and an affront to religious liberty.”
Those seem to me to be the parameters of the debate. Is this an issue of “religious liberty,” or “what the trafficking victims need”?
Religious liberty is not the freedom to impose one's religious views on others. We must ask, “when does religious liberty shift from the freedom to practice one's faith to the imposition of that faith on a diverse public?” as Sally Steenland of the Center for American Progress asks us to consider. “Or,” she adds, “to put it another way—when does liberty for some become discrimination against others?”
If the Catholic Church will not, because of its theology, provide the full range of reproductive services these women and girls who have been sex trafficked need, then indeed the contracts should be awarded to those who can offer them. The women and girls who have been sex trafficked and their needs come first.
Religious liberty means respecting the conscience of a believer; it does not mean that any one religious faith has the right to impose its views on an entire society.
My interpretation of this decision by Health and Human Services is that it is not discrimination against the Catholic Church; instead, I believe HHS is rightly advocating for some of the most exploited women and girls on earth.
Lost Boys: New child-sex-trafficking research demolishes the stereotype of the underage sex worker
And sparks an outbreak of denial among child-sex-trafficking alarmists nationwide.
by Kristen Hinman
November 03, 2011
Life is life, and you gotta do what you gotta do. It's like everybody can't be a doctor, a teacher, or have rich parents take care of us. And it's gonna teach us, like — when we get older, we're gonna be stronger, 'cause we know life experience and stuff like that. And we're goin' to know what to do in certain situations because of what we've been through when we were younger. You gotta do what you gotta do to survive.
— female, age 16
The first night Ric Curtis and Meredith Dank went looking for child prostitutes in the Bronx in the summer of 2006, they arrived at Hunts Point with the windows of Curtis's peeling Oldsmobile, circa 1992, rolled down.
Curtis, who chairs the anthropology department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, had done research on the neighborhood's junkies and was well acquainted with its reputation for prostitution (immortalized in several HBO documentaries). If the borough had a centralized stroll for hookers, he figured Hunts Point would be it.
But after spending several hours sweating in the muggy August air, the professor and his PhD student decided to head home. They'd found a grand total of three hookers. Only two were underage, and all three were skittish about climbing into a car with two strangers and a tape recorder.
Dispirited though they may have been, the researchers had no intention of throwing in the towel. They were determined to achieve their goal: Conduct a census of New York City's child sex workers.
Even before they'd begun gearing up for the project two months prior, Curtis and Dank knew the magnitude of the challenge they had on their hands.
No research team before them had hit on a workable method of quantifying this elusive population. For decades, most law-enforcement officials, social workers, and activist groups had cited a vast range — anywhere from tens of thousands to three million — when crafting a sound bite pegging the population of underage hookers nationwide. But the range had been calculated with little or no direct input from the children themselves.
Over time, the dubious numbers became gospel.
In similar fashion, monetary outlays based on the veracity of those numbers began to multiply.
The $500,000 the federal government had allotted for this joint study by John Jay and New York's public-private Center for Court Innovation was chump change compared to the bounty amassed by a burgeoning assortment of nonprofit groups jockeying to liberate and rehabilitate the captive legions of exploited and abused children.
Now Ric Curtis intended to go the direct route in determining how many kids were out there hooking: He and Dank would locate them, make contact with them, and interview them one-on-one, one kid at a time. If the research team could round up and debrief 200 youths, it would be able to employ a set of statistically solid metrics to accurately extrapolate the total population.
It took two years of sleuthing, surveying, and data-crunching, but in 2008 Curtis and Dank gave the feds their money's worth — and then some.
The results of the John Jay survey shattered the widely accepted stereotype of a child prostitute: a pre- or barely teen-age girl whose every move was dictated by the wiliest of pimps.
After their first attempt flopped, the two researchers switched tacks. They printed a batch of coupons that could be redeemed for cash and which listed a toll-free number that kids could call anonymously to volunteer for the survey. With a local nonprofit agency that specialized in at-risk youth on board to distribute an initial set of the coupons, the researchers forwarded the 800 line to Dank's cell phone and waited.
It took almost a week, but the line finally lit up. Soon afterward, Dank met her first two subjects — one male, the other female — at a café near Union Square. Both were too old to qualify for the study, and the man said he'd never engaged in sex for pay. But Dank decided to stay and interview them.
The woman said she had worked as a prostitute and that she was confident she could send underage kids Dank's way. The man said he was 23, just out of jail and homeless.
"Out of the two of them, I thought she would have been the catalyst," Dank says now. "But his was the magic coupon."
Within a day, her phone was "blowing up" with calls from kids who'd been referred by the homeless man. Almost as quickly, word got around that two professors were holding late-afternoon "office hours" at Stuyvesant Park and would pay half the going rate for oral sex in exchange for a brief interview. Before long, the researchers found themselves working long past dark, until they'd covered everyone in line or the rats got too feisty.
Nine months later, Dank and Curtis had far surpassed their goal, completing interviews with 249 underage prostitutes. From that data, they were able to put a number on the total population of New York's teen sex workers: 3,946.
Most astonishing to the researchers was the demographic profile teased out by the study. Published by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2008, Curtis and Dank's findings thoroughly obliterated the long-held core assumptions about underage prostitution:
- Nearly half the kids — about 45 percent — were boys.
- Only 10 percent were involved with a "market facilitator" (e.g., a pimp).
- About 45 percent got into the "business" through friends.
- More than 90 percent were U.S.- born (56 percent were New York City natives).
- On average, they started hooking at age 15.
- Most of them serviced men — preferably white and wealthy.
- Most deals were struck on the street.
- Almost 70 percent of the kids said they'd sought assistance at a youth-service agency at least once.
- Nearly all of the youths — 95 percent — said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.
In other words, the typical kid who is commercially exploited for sex in New York City is not a tween girl, has not been sold into sexual slavery, and is not held captive by a pimp.
Nearly all the boys and girls involved in the city's sex trade are going it alone.
Ric Curtis and Meredith Dank were amazed by what their research had revealed. But they were completely unprepared for the way law-enforcement officials and child-advocacy groups reacted to John Jay's groundbreaking study.
"I remember going to a meeting in Manhattan where they had a lot of prosecutors there whose job was to prosecute pimps," Curtis recalls. "They were sort of complaining about the fact that their offices were very well staffed but their workload was — not very daunting, let's say. They had a couple cases, and at every meeting you go to, they'd pull out the cherry-picked case of this pimp they had busted, and they'd tell the same story at every meeting. They too were bothered by the fact that they couldn't find any pimps, any girls.
"So I come along and say, 'I found 300 kids' — they're all perky — but then I say, 'I'm sorry, but only 10 percent had pimps.'
"It was like a fart in church. Because basically I was saying their office was a waste of time and money."
Jay Albanese, a criminologist at Virginia Commonwealth University who headed the Justice Department's research arm for four years, says the findings of the John Jay study are among the most interesting he has seen.
"Whether you are a kid or an adult, the issue becomes: To what extent is this voluntary?" Albanese says. "Because you make more money in this than being a secretary? Or because you really have no choices — like, you're running from abuse or caught up in drugs? The question becomes: If Curtis is correct, what do we do with that 90 percent? Do we ignore it? How hard do we look at how they got into that circumstance? You could make the case that for the 90 percent for whom they couldn't find any pimping going on — well, how does it happen?
"It's a very valid question," Albanese continues. "A policy question: To what extent should the public and the public's money be devoted to these issues, whether it's child prostitution or child pimping?"
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the only agency that keeps track of how many children the legal system rescues from pimps nationwide. The count, which began in June 2003, now exceeds 1,600 as of April of this year, according to the FBI's Innocence Lost website — an average of about 200 each year.
Through interviews and analysis of public records, Village Voice Media has found that the federal government spends about $20 million a year on public awareness, victims' services, and police work related to domestic human trafficking, with a considerable focus on combating the pimping of children. An additional $50 million-plus is spent annually on youth homeless shelters, and since 1996, taxpayers have contributed a total of $186 million to fund a separate program that provides street outreach to kids who might be at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.
That's at least $80 million doled out annually for law enforcement and social services that combine to rescue approximately 200 child prostitutes a year.
These agencies might improve upon their $400,000-per-rescued-child average if they joined in the effort to develop a clearer picture of the population they aim to aid. But there's no incentive for them to do so when they stand to rake in even more public money simply by staying the course.
At the behest of advocates who work with pimped girls, along with a scattering of U.S. celebrities who help to publicize the cause, the bipartisan Senate tag team of Oregon's Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Texas's John Cornyn, a Republican, is pushing for federal legislation that would earmark another $12 million to $15 million a year to fund six shelters reserved exclusively for underage victims of sex trafficking. (In an editorial published this past July, Village Voice Media expressed its support for the initiative, now folded into the pending Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.)
Though the language of the bill is gender-neutral, some advocates point to the disproportionate influence wielded by groups that direct their efforts exclusively at pimped girls. They worry that anti-sex-trafficking funding might increasingly ignore boys and transgender youths, not to mention kids of any gender who aren't enslaved by a pimp but sell sex of their own volition.
Jennifer Dreher, who heads the anti-trafficking program at Safe Horizon, a New York nonprofit whose Streetwork Project has targeted juvenile prostitutes and homeless youths since 1984, says if federal lawmakers took the time to read the John Jay report, they would better grasp the complexity of the issue.
"We have been seeing and talking about this population for so long, but that kind of tug-at-your-heartstrings narrative was the only one focused on," Dreher says, referring to the stereotype of the pimped little girl.
Certainly those girls are out there, Dreher says, and they're in need of help and compassion. But they're only a small segment of the underage population commercially exploited for sex. If you want to eradicate the scourge, argues Dreher, "you have to recognize the 90 percent of other types of people that this John Jay College study found."
Curtis couldn't agree more. "All of the advocates are focused on girls," he fumes. "I'm totally outraged by that — I can't tell you how angry I am about that. The most-victimized kids that I met with were the boys, especially the straight boys. I felt so bad for those who have no chance with the advocates."
More than three years after publishing his study, the researcher still smarts from the cold shoulder that greeted his work.
"[Initially] there were a lot of people enthusiastic in Washington that we found such a large number," he recounts. "Then they look more closely at my findings. And they see, well, it wasn't 300 kids under the yoke of some pimp; in fact, it was half boys, and only 10 percent of all of the kids were being pimped. And [then] it was a very different reception."
Dank, who now researches human trafficking and commercial sex at the nonpartisan Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., is equally baffled at the study's lack of traction outside the halls of the Justice Department.
"We're not denying that [pimped girls] exist," she emphasizes. "But if you were to take all the newspaper, magazine, and journal articles that have been written on this, you'd come away saying, 'Oh, my God! Every child-prostitution incident involves a pimp situation!' It's this huge thing. Where really, at the end of the day, yes, that is an issue, but we're at the point where we need to look beyond this one subgroup of the population and look at commercial sexual exploitation of children as a whole."
About a year after the John Jay study commenced, the Justice Department set its sights on Atlanta, awarding a $452,000 grant to Mary Finn, a professor of criminal justice at Georgia State University. Finn's 2007 study had two goals: first, to calculate the population of the metro area's underage sex workers. And second, to evaluate the work of an assemblage of government agencies and nonprofits that had joined forces to combat child prostitution.
The coalition Finn was to assess had formed several years earlier with $1 million in Justice Department funding. Heading it up: the Juvenile Justice Fund, a child-advocacy agency allied with the Atlanta Women's Foundation and the Harold and Kayrita Anderson Family Foundation. The trio of nonprofits had commissioned a child-prostitution survey whose alarming findings were destined to be regurgitated nationwide by an unquestioning media — and whose methodology, in turn, would be exposed as entirely bogus and discounted by a veritable who's who of child-prostitution researchers.
To kick off the project, Finn arranged a meeting with representatives of the collaborative and invited Curtis along to help break the ice. It seemed like a good idea: Curtis had accrued a wealth of experience thanks to his one-year head start, and the researchers would ultimately share their findings in a final report. But what was intended as an exercise in diplomacy quickly devolved into a debacle.
The get-together began to unravel when Finn explained that the Justice Department's guidelines required her team to gather its data without regard to gender or motive — in other words, they would be calculating the prevalence of commercial sex among both boys and girls, and that both trafficking and so-called survival sex were fair game.
At that point, Finn recounts, a Juvenile Justice Fund board member angrily objected, insisting that no child would engage in prostitution by choice. Throughout the debate that ensued, not a single representative from the Atlanta advocates' contingent uttered a syllable of support for Finn's approach.
Curtis stepped in, noting that Finn's methodology made sense in light of his preliminary findings.
The group wasn't having any of it.
"The members of the collaborative felt the data couldn't be accurate — that maybe that's the case in New York, but it's certainly not how it is here in Atlanta," Finn recalls. "That's when I sensed that they had far more invested — that there was a reason to be so standoffish, to resist so aggressively or assertively, that I wasn't privy to. What was clear to me was the silence of everyone else: There was some issue of control and power."
To this day, Finn says, she's not sure what was behind the hostile reception. But she does provide some compelling historical context.
Back in the late '90s, she explains, Atlanta women had galvanized to prevent child prostitution. One juvenile-court judge in particular provided a catalyst when she instituted a screening process in her courtroom that was aimed at identifying kids who were engaging in prostitution.
The only children who were questioned about sex work were girls. Boys were never screened.
"The problem was very narrowly defined from the outset," Finn says.
"I'm a feminist scholar," she continues. "I understand the importance of these advocates — who are predominantly women, predominantly concerned about the plight of girls — wanting to retain that focus on that issue. But as a researcher, knowing that this is labeled as 'child exploitation,' and knowing that there are numbers in other cities showing boys are being victimized, I had to argue that this was maybe a small but significant population we had to look at."
Finn soon found herself facing a dilemma on the research front as well.
When Curtis and Dank put out the call for underage sex workers in New York, they were confident they'd be able to find space in an emergency shelter if they encountered an interview subject who appeared to be in immediate peril. Atlanta, on the other hand, was equipped with no emergency shelters for homeless youths. In the absence of any such backstop, Finn concluded, it would be unethical to go hunting for kids to interview.
So she went with Plan B: interviewing law-enforcement agents and social workers, examining arrest records, and mining a countywide database of child-sexual-abuse cases.
Despite the less-than-satisfactory secondary-source approach, Finn figured she would have plenty of data to mine. After all, she had seen breathless media reports of trafficking in Atlanta. "The overall market for sex with kids is booming in many parts of the U.S. In Atlanta — a thriving hotel and convention center with a sophisticated airport and ground transportation network — pimps and other lowlifes have tapped into that market bigtime," a 2006 New York Times story blared.
"I walked in thinking, This is going to be a huge priority for any agency that is dealing with at-risk youth. I mean, goodness, this must be at the top of their agenda for training, protocol — all of it."
On the contrary, Finn found that most organizations, whether nonprofit or government run, were not systematically documenting cases of child prostitution. Apart from 31 juvenile arrests police had made over a four-year period, there were virtually no numbers for her to compile.
"It was almost like nobody wants to document their existence," Finn says. "Whether it's because they don't want to label the youth, or they don't want other agencies to know they're aware of them because then the call comes — 'Well, what are you doing about it?' — I just don't know. It was very odd. The environment we were seeing in the media just looked so different from the environment we walked into."
In September 2008, just as Finn was preparing a summary of her scant findings, the Juvenile Justice Fund announced an ongoing statewide study based on "scientific probability methods," whose results pointed to "a significant number of adolescent girls being commercially sexually exploited in Georgia, likely ranging from 200 to 300 girls, on the streets, over the Internet, through escort services, and in major hotels every month from August 2007 to May 2008."
Published in 2010, the final report was nearly as ambiguous, though there were more — and even bigger — numbers. According to the Justice Fund's "scientific research study," underwritten with money from the Anderson Family Foundation, each month in Georgia, 7,200 men pay underage girls for 8,700 sex acts, "with an average of 300 acts a day." The report's authors updated their 2008 stat, increasing their underage-hooker count to 400.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution trumpeted the report's findings under the headline "City's shame remains; despite crackdowns, Atlanta is still a hub in selling children for sex."
The Journal-Constitution did not, however, inform its readers that the "scientific study" was undertaken not by researchers adhering to rigid academic standards, but by the Schapiro Group, an Atlanta public-relations firm hired by the Justice Fund.
Despite the claims to the contrary, there was nothing remotely "scientific" about the research. In order to gauge the number of men who pay for sex with underage girls, the PR firm observed activity at major hotels and on streets thought to be frequented by sex workers. Staffers also called escort services, posing as customers, to inquire into the possibility of hookups with adolescent girls. And they created online ads featuring photos of young-looking females and inviting prospective customers to call a phone number — a line answered by PR firm "operators" posing as pimps and madams. (For more about the Schapiro Group's dubious methods, see "Weird Science," written by Nick Pinto and published in the March 24 issue of New Times .)
Mary Finn is troubled by the murky provenance of the statistics, but more so by the time and effort wasted on sensationalizing a problem instead of addressing it.
"This shouldn't be a race to the top," she contends. "We should be mobilized for a single victimization . Why do we need 300 or 500 or 1,000 to mobilize as a community?
"I guess that's what is most disheartening about the [dubious] numerical information that's coming out: We may not be putting resources where we need to put them, because we don't have a clear grasp of what the underlying problem is."
Anyone curious about the underlying problem in New York City can find numerous clues within the 122-page report documenting the several hundred in-person interviews at the core of the John Jay College study.
There are, for instance, the state-run group homes for orphans and kids whose families have kicked them out:
"[H]e was like, you know, the little leeches that linger around," a girl said of being picked up by a pimp outside the group home where she resided at age 15. "And I was sittin' on my steps and I was cryin' because they're givin' you allowance — $20-sumpin' a week — and then you're not allowed to do certain types of jobs because you have a curfew. And if you miss curfew, they shippin' you somewhere else. So it was like, I was just at my rope's end. And the things that he was sayin' to me, it sounded good."
And the potential pitfalls of the foster-care system:
"My mother died and I was placed in foster homes," said a girl who started hooking at age 15. "My foster father would touch me, and I ran away. I ended up coming to New York, and I was on the streets; nobody wanted to help me. And I ran into this girl, and she was like 38 when she passed away last year, but she taught me everything I know. She taught me how to do what I have to do — but not be stupid about it — to play it right and be smart."
Not to mention youth homeless shelters:
"I've been raped at Covenant House three times," one young man stated. "It was by guys in the men's ward." (The three other youths interviewed for the study who spoke specifically about the New York-based nonprofit, whose mission is to care for kids in crisis, made no mention of sexual assault; they described the shelter as a place where kids shared knowledge about how to sell sex and/or characterized it as a popular place for pimps looking to recruit.)
One recurring theme is economic desperation:
"The fact that people think that I'm doing it because I want to — I mean, I get replies all the time on email, and they tell me: 'You know, why don't you just get a job?'" reported a boy with three years' experience selling sex. "Well, no shit, Sherlock! Honestly! I don't know, I would like someone to be able to offer me something."
Law-enforcement personnel, the kids say, are not always helpful:
"One cop said, 'You're lucky I'm off duty, but you're gonna suck my dick or I'ma take you in,'" a transgender youth stated. "This has happened to me about eight times."
"Police raped me a couple a times in Queens," said a female who had worked as a prostitute for four years. "The last time that happened was a coupla months ago. But you don't tell anybody; you just deal wit' it."
Though many kids said they developed buddy-system strategies to stay safe and fed on the street, nearly all wanted a way out:
"I really wanna stop now, but I can't 'cause I have no source of income since I'm too young," said a girl who'd begun hooking at age 12. "So it's like that I have to do it, it's not like I wanna do it. As I say, I'm only 17, I got a 2-year-old daughter, so that means I got pregnant real young. Didn't have no type of Medicaid... Can't get a job, have no legal guardian, I don't have nobody to help me but [friends], so you know, we all in this together."
In late 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice called on the Center for Court Innovation and John Jay professor Ric Curtis to expand their research to other cities nationwide, backing the project with a $1.275 million federal grant. Now Curtis and Jennifer Bryan, the center's principal research associate, direct six research teams across the United States, employing the same in-the-trenches approach that worked in New York City: respondent-driven sampling, or RDS.
The method was developed in the '90s by sociologist Doug Heckathorn, now on the faculty at Cornell University, who was seeking a way to count hidden populations. It has since been used in 15 countries to put a number on a variety of subcultures, from drug addicts to jazz musicians. Curtis and his research assistant, Meredith Dank, were the first to use RDS to count child prostitutes.
For the John Jay study, Curtis and Dank screened kids for two criteria: age (18 and younger) and involvement in prostitution. All subjects who completed the study's full, confidential interview were paid $20. They were also given a stack of coded coupons to distribute to other potential subjects, and for each successful referral they were paid $10. And so on.
RDS relies on a snowball effect that ultimately extends through numerous social networks, broadening the reach of the study. "The benefit of this is that you're getting the hidden population: kids who don't necessarily show up for [social] services and who may or may not get arrested," Bryan says. "It's based on the 'six degrees of separation' theory."
To calculate their population estimate, the John Jay team first culled the interview subjects who didn't fit the study's criteria but had been included for the potential referrals they could generate. The next step was to tally the number of times the remaining 249 subjects had been arrested for prostitution and compare that to the total number of juvenile prostitution arrests in state law-enforcement records. Using a mathematical algorithm often employed in biological and social-science studies, Curtis and his crew were able to estimate that 3,946 youths were hooking in New York.
David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, calls the New York study significant, in that it "makes the big [national] numbers that people put out — like a million kids, or 500,000 kids — unlikely."
Finkelhor's single caveat: While RDS is efficient in circulating through a broad range of social networks, certain scenarios might elude detection — specifically, foreign children who might be held captive and forbidden to socialize.
Still, says Finkelhor: "I think [the study] highlights important components of the problem that don't get as much attention: that there are males involved and that there are a considerable number of kids who are operating without pimps."
The John Jay study's authors say they were surprised from the start by the number of boys who came forward. In response, Dank pursued new avenues of inquiry — visiting courthouses to interview girls who'd been arrested, and canvassing at night with a group whose specialty was street outreach to pimped girls. She and Curtis also pressed their male subjects for leads.
"It turns out that the boys were the more effective recruiter of pimped girls than anybody else," Curtis says. "It's interesting, because this myth that the pimps have such tight control over the girls, that no one can talk to them, is destroyed by the fact that these boys can talk to them and recruit them and bring them to us. Obviously the pimps couldn't have that much of a stranglehold on them."
The same, of course, might be true of the elusive foreign-born contingent Finkelhor mentions.
Curtis and Dank believe there is indeed a foreign subpopulation RDS could not reach. But with no data to draw on, it's impossible to gauge whether it's statistically significant or another overblown stereotype.
And as the researchers point out, the John Jay study demolished virtually every other stereotype surrounding the underage sex trade.
For the national study, researchers are now hunting for underage hookers in Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and interviews for an Atlantic City survey are complete.
Curtis is reluctant to divulge any findings while so much work remains to be done, but he does say early returns suggest that the scarcity of pimps revealed by the New York study appears not to be an anomaly.
A final report on the current research is scheduled for completion in mid-2012.
"I think that the study has a chance to dispel some of the myths and a lot of the raw emotion that is out there," says Marcus Martin, the PhD who's leading the Dallas research crew. "At the end of the day, I think the study is going to help the kids, as well as tell their story."
At the end of the day, if the work Ric Curtis and Meredith Dank began in New York will indeed help the kids, it will do so because it tells their story. And because it addresses the most difficult — and probably the most important — question of all: What drives young people into the sex trade?
Dallas Police Department Sgt. Byron Fassett, whose police work with underage female prostitutes is hailed by child advocates and government officials including Senator Wyden, believes hooking is "a symptom of another problem that can take many forms. It can be poverty, sexual abuse, mental abuse — there's a whole range of things you can find in there.
"Generally we find physical and sexual abuse or drug abuse when the child was young," Fassett continues. "These children are traumatized. People who are involved in this are trauma-stricken. They've had something happen to them. The slang would be that they were 'broken.'"
Fassett has drawn attention because of his targeted approach to rescuing (rather than arresting) prostitutes and helping them gain access to social services. The sergeant says that because the root causes of youth prostitution can be so daunting to address from a social-policy standpoint, it's easy — and politically expedient — to sweep them under the proverbial rug.
And then there are the John Jay researchers' groundbreaking findings. Though the study could not possibly produce thorough psychological evaluations and case histories, subjects were asked the question: "How did you get into this?" Their candid answers revealed a range of motives and means:
- "I can't get a job that would pay better than this."
- "I like the freedom this lifestyle affords me."
- "My friend was making a lot of money doing it and introduced me to it."
- "I want money to buy a new cell phone."
Though the context is a different one, Dank and Curtis have, not unlike Fassett, come to learn that their survey subjects' responses carry implications that are both daunting to address and tempting to deny or ignore.
For example, the John Jay study shows that when asked what it would take to get them to give up prostitution, many kids expressed a desire for stable, long-term housing. But the widely accepted current social-service model — shelters that accommodate, at most, a 90-day stay — doesn't give youths enough time to get on their feet and instead pushes them back to the streets. The findings also point to a general need for more emphasis on targeted outreach, perhaps through peer-to-peer networks, as well as services of all kinds, from job training and placement to psychological therapy.
Regarding that last area of treatment, Curtis believes that kids who have made their own conscious decision to prostitute themselves might need more long-term help than those who are forced into the trade by someone else.
"Imagine if you take a kid off the street and put them in therapy," he says. "Which do you think is easier to deal with: the kid who's been enslaved by another human being, or the one who's been enslaved by him- or herself — who only have themselves to blame? In my view, healing those kids is a steeper hill than the one who can point to somebody and say, 'He did that to me; I'm not that kind of person,' and who can deflect the blame."
Which raises the question: Who's willing to pay the freight to guide kids up that hill?
Sex trafficking must be stopped
by Jessica Guinyard
Even in the U.S ., the fight for freedom is not over.
This sad reality was revealed to many this week in MSNBC's premier of "Sex Slaves: Motor City Teens." The show follows the FBI's Crimes Against Children Unit, which conducts a sex trafficking sting operation several times a year entitled Operation Cross Country, demonstrating that juvenile prostitution is a very prominent problem in the U.S .
Child slaves want and very desperately need someone to fight for their rights, and it is time for more people to stand up for them.
The Polaris Project is one of the movers and shakers fighting for America's slaves.
According to the Polaris Project, 100,000 minors are in the commercial sex trade in the U.S . Currently, there are more people held in slavery than at the peak of the transatlantic slave trade, according to the project's website. Slavery is very much alive and well in America, yet most people will not even notice.
Young women and girls, of various races, are being bought and sold in the U.S . Carrie Rosetti , executive director for The Kansas City Alliance Against Human Trafficking, said to MSNBC that "a trafficker can make $632,000 a year by selling four women or children" — hot commodities in the sex market.
Some slaves come from broken homes and often are sexually abused. MSNBC profiled Caroline Germann , who was not even in kindergarten before she was molested by a neighbor. At the very vulnerable age of 13, Germann began using sex as a tool to survive.
There is an issue here that goes beyond sex. Women and girls are using sex as a means to survive. Too many people are ignoring this very disturbing issue, and we must call upon government officials to bolster efforts to crack down on sex trafficking and provide more support for victims.
The Polaris Project highlighted a girl named Keisha, who was 14 when she ran away from her foster family because of sexual harassment. She was taken in by a man who forced her to engage in commercial sex with his friends to help support them financially.
Victims do not always come from broken or poor families. According to the Polaris Project, some may come from middle- and upper-class families. Clearly, the reasons why women enter the sex trade are diverse. While some may enter it voluntarily, most likely see it as their only option. Once in, it's hard to find their way out.
Modern slavery is an issue that Americans must join together to help destroy. The very foundation of our nation is rooted in the right for all to experience freedom and equality.
This is not just a problem for women and children. According to the Polaris Project, men have also been reported victims.
Interested students can get involved with groups such as the Polaris Project or the Clearwater/Tampa Bay area Task Force on Human Trafficking. Federal and state governments should channel more resources into enforcing anti-trafficking laws, as ignoring the issue won't help. Americans should not turn their backs on those in need and should join the fight to end modern day slavery.
Jessica Guinyard is a senior majoring in poiltical science and sociology.
Speaking out to stop sexual abuse
by Cheryl Clock, Standard Staff
He prepaid the hotel room for three nights.
After work on a Friday, a limo rolled up to the Holiday Inn Express in Stoney Creek and dropped him off.
His plan, on Monday, was to check out in a different way.
In a body bag.
These days Glenn Allan is a 47-year-old husband and father of three, a guy who is sports to the core.
His grandfather, Stu Allan, was a long-distance runner and held a Canadian running record for 25 years. His father, Fred, began his 50-year TV/radio broadcasting career behind-the-scenes at CKTB. And he had an uncle who travelled with Team Canada to Russia in 1974 when the World Hockey Association took on the Soviets.
As a kid, growing up in Stoney Creek, he starting playing hockey and baseball as young as he can remember. He loved the outdoors. Fishing with his grandfather and dad. And often ignoring his sister's pleas to come home as he played ball hockey with his buddies.
He's been a chaplain for the Hamilton Bull Dogs. He's a little league T-ball coach. And he works as an executive producer and host, creating his own TV programs.
Glenn lives for sports. It's part of his very being.
It was also so inextricably wrapped up in the worst, most degrading time of his life.
Glenn is a guy who talks as openly about his attempt at suicide as he does about any sports topic you throw at him. So, on this day, as he sits in a room inside the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre, he shares a story that he knows many other men had lived.
Glenn was sexually assaulted by the man who was his hockey and baseball coach.
A man who these days, Glenn calls The Abuser.
"He has nothing to do with me today," says Glenn. "I didn't ask for him to be part of my life. I stopped giving him that power a long time ago."
That weekend in January 1998, Glenn was 33 and already dead inside.
He'd just come from an interview with Ron Lancaster, CFL quarterback turned head coach of the Hamilton Tiger Cats, for a program on Cable 14.
Fact is, Glenn had enough alcohol and cocaine to kill himself. He orchestrated a web of lies so no one knew where he was. He did not want to be saved.
Somehow, on Sunday, he was still alive.
Glenn is a survivor.
Something only he can explain happened in that hotel room that weekend. He is protective of the story. Suffice to say, he's put his faith in God for saving his life.
Early Monday morning, police arrived at his hotel room to investigate a noise complaint.
He was taken to hospital. And lived to help himself. And others.
These days, he lives in Burlington and runs a support group in St. Catharines and Hamilton for adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. And he speaks to Niagara boys in grades 7-8 about male victimization through a pilot program of the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre.
"I want to let people know they don't have to live the way I was," he says. "If you've been abused, you don't have to live in the trap. There are places and people who want to help you."
* * *
The 1971-72 season was an odd time for Glenn. In his words: "A lot of things changed."
He lost his baby-of-the-family status with the birth of his little sister.
Paul Henderson scored the winning goal in the last seconds of play for Team Canada to beat the Soviets in the Summit Series.
And the ice monitor at the arena molested him.
Glenn was seven.
He was at a public skate with his two older sisters. He fell, banged his knee on the ice then slid into the boards.
His sisters were helping him back up when the ice monitor, a man in his late teens or early 20s, came along.
He offered to take Glenn to the First Aid room to check out his knee.
He led Glenn to the room and pulled the door shut. He asked Glenn to take down his pants to have a better look at his knee.
Then he pulled down his own pants. And underwear. And masturbated in front of Glenn, at some point pulling down the boy's underwear, touching his genitals.
When he was done, he offered: "'C'mon, we can do the same for you."
Glenn was frozen. "I'm just a little boy who wants his dad," he says. "I felt dirty. Just a feeling of filth."
He told Glenn not to tell.
* * *
Glenn did tell. Twice.
The first time was to his sisters, in the arena. They told their parents. Nothing was done.
It's still an awkward, sensitive point between them.
The sexual abuse didn't end in the First Aid room. The ice monitor became his hockey coach, his baseball coach.
He partied with boys on his team, including Glenn. Invited him to his van to drink alcohol and flip through porn magazines.
Glenn went along with it. His coach was well liked in the community. Years later, after he was charged and convicted, parents of kids he'd coached wrote letters of support to the judge. He had power over him.
He sexually assaulted Glenn in the van. On the baseball diamond at night. In hotel rooms on road trips. In the passenger seat of his car as he drove Glenn to a game.
"There's a control," says Glenn. The second time he told was at 15.
It was to an assistant coach.
Nothing was done.
"When you've told, especially as a young person, and no one did anything, what message did that send to me? My words weren't validated. Nothing matters. Nobody cares."
Glenn was desperate to play hockey. He had dreams of making pro. Didn't want to get kicked off the team. "No one was taking my back," he says. He was caught.
"What was I supposed to do? In order to play the game I loved."
He went on to major midget. The next year was juveniles. The man would once again be his coach.
By then, he was fighting at school. Drinking. He needed to stop what he calls the noise between his ears. "The guilt, the shame."
And he was very, very angry.
* * *
On the outside, he was brute force. Big. Tough. A schoolyard bully.
"He took power from me and I tried to regain that power by picking on other people," he says.
On the outside, he was athletic. Cool. A leader.
He tells a class of grade 7-8 boys: "In Grade 7, not one person knew I had been sexually abused. "As much as you think you know someone, you don't know."
He looks at pictures of himself from back then. He's about eight in his red-white-and-blue hockey jersey, hockey stick parked on the ice. Again, a similar shot at age 12. There's his Grade 7 school portrait. Grade 10.
Glenn sees who he really was. On the inside.
His self-esteem was broken. His self-worth, zero. He desperately wanted to fit in, but never really felt that he did.
"I was a follower deep inside," he says. "If you took an X-ray of me, what you'd find was a scared little boy."
* * *
That scared little boy became a scared adult man.
Only, the external facade fooled everyone.
He was a sports broadcaster. Had his own shows, Sports Wrap, on Cable 14 and radio CHML in Hamilton. He rubbed shoulders with big-name sports personalities.
He kept an emotional distance in relationships with women. (A "jerk" by his own admission.) "You might find out stuff too close, you might make me vulnerable and I can't have that," he says.
He acted tough. Looked tough. He was the loudmouth who never turned down a bar brawl.
It almost got him killed. In December 1987, he was stabbed in a bar fight. He watched as air bubbles came out of his chest.
All because he just couldn't leave well enough alone. He was 23.
"I reacted like I was still in Grade 5," he says. "I couldn't have people think that I just walked away. I needed them to like me. If people didn't like me, then what would I have? I would be left with me. And I didn't like me."
* * *
It would take a second brush with death -- this time by his own hands -- to turn his life around.
His dry date is Jan. 19, 1998 -- the Monday that he planned on being dead.
He did detox, a drug and alcohol treatment program and spent more than five months at a recovery centre for men.
He started to take care of that scared little boy inside him.
"That little guy didn't have to worry anymore because the big guy had his back," he says. "That little guy wasn't going to get hurt anymore."
He found mentors, many who are still his friends. He attended Bible studies, prayer groups. He met his wife, Colleen.
He puts it like this: one hand was with God, the other in recovery.
He tells boys that it's OK to ask for help.
"Don't listen to the macho BS," he tells the class. Then, he adopts a deep, rough voice and adds, half-smiling, "Men never talk."
* * *
The classroom of boys is silent. Transfixed on his every word.
The conversation turns to bullying.
He tells them how he's met a few people whom he bullied in the past.
"You know what tough is?" he asks. "Tough is when you walk up to them, put your hand out like a man and tell them you're sorry and you won't do it anymore. That's tough. Got the jam to do that?"
The room is silent as he continues. "I don't make fun of people today," Glenn tells them, then adds with emphasis to dispel any lingering doubt, "I'm serious. Because I'm OK with me."
* * *
For more information on the education programs in the schools, call the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre at 905-682-7258. Visit the website at www.sexualassaultniagara.org to watch videos of Glenn and other survivors.
- - -
IF YOU ARE BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED
Remember that it is not your fault. The abuser is always to blame.
It is important to tell an adult you trust to get you help. If you tell someone and that person doesn't get you the help you need, tell an adult at your school.
If a friend tells you he is being sexually abused:
Let him know you believe him and it is not his fault.
Tell him to get help from a trusted adult to stop the abuse. Offer to go with him to tell an adult about the abuse.
Be a good listener if your friend wants to talk about it.
WHERE TO GET HELP
Niagara Regional Police. Call 911 if you are in danger.
Kids Help Phone. Call 1-800- 668-6868 or go to kidshelpphone.ca for variousissues including abuse, drugs, suicide. It's anonymous.
Your school. Talk to your school counsellor, a teacher or principal.
Family and Children's Services (FACS). Call 905-937-7731 to report abuse.
Crime Stoppers. Call 1-800- 222-8477 to report abuse anonymously.
For questions and answers about male victims of sexual abuse, see Cheryl Clock's article on our website:
- - -
WHO WHERE WHEN
Peer support group for adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Glenn Allan, a survivor, facilitates the group that shares experiences, strength and hope. He runs similar programs in Hamilton.
John Howard Society of Niagara, 210 King St. (Job Gym), St. Catharines.
Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.
Information For more information, call the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre at 905-682-7258 or Glenn Allan at 905-975-6455 or glenn16@bell. blackberry.net
Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre Quiz
for Boys Program Grades 7 & 8
1. What is the definition of child sexual abuse?
Anything that is being done to you in a sexual way – not just sexual intercourse. Ranges from touching, taking pictures or films of a sexual nature, exposing himself or asking the child to touch him or perform sexual acts on him.
2. Do you think sexual abuse mainly to girls?
Yes, but it happens to just as many young boys as young girls. One out of three girls and one out of six boys are sexually abused or assaulted before the age of 18, according to a recent study in Canada. The numbers are higher for girls because more teenage girls are sexually assaulted than teenage boys – but for younger children – the same numbers of girls as boys are being abused. Statistics show that 94 per cent of abusers are men, so we will usually be referring to abusers as “he.”
3. Who do you think is more likely to sexually abuse children – strangers or someone you know?
Almost always someone you know, and usually someone you love and trust. ie. family member, neighbour, babysitter, coach or friend. 85 per cent of the time, the offender is someone you know.
4. Why do you think so many children keep the abuse a secret?
They don't want to get the a buser into trouble, they are afraid of what might happen to them or their family, they still love or like that person although they don't like that behaviour, scared, afraid they won't be believed, especially if the abuser is well-liked and respected or part of the family. Some kids think this behaviour is normal – don't know anything about sexual abuse.
5. Why do you think it is hard for children to stop abuse from happening?
Children are taught to obey adults – not talk back or refuse to do what they are told. Smaller than adults – hard to fight back. Abusers use bribes or tricks to gain trust – special game, gifts. Don't know what sexual abuse is, may think this is normal. Some abusers tell children this is normal way to show love.
6. Do you think males who sexually abuse boys are usually gay?
No. The majority of abusers are not gay. Almost 90 per cent of them are
heterosexual. Sexual abuse is not about sex. Abusers are using sex as a tool to gain power and control over their victims. Men who abuse children are pedophiles whether they choose girls or boys.
7. Do you think boys who are sexually abused by a male are gay or will become gay as a result of the abuse?
No. Some boys may feel confused about whether they are gay or straight. They may enjoy the attention i.e. going to ball games, playing video games, and have a close relationship with the abuser. Many boys wonder if something about them attracts males.
8. If a boy gets “aroused” - meaning his body has a physical reaction – during the sexual abuse, does this mean he was enjoying what was happening to him?
No. the bodies of males can respond physically sometimes even in sexually abusive or other scary situations. That does not mean that you enjoyed what was happening. When this happens, abusers often use this reaction against a victim by telling them that they liked it and they wanted it. Victims feel guilt and shame and are often less likely to tell anyone what happened.
9. Do you think boys who are sexually abused will become abusers themselves when they grow up?
No. Many men who abuse children were sexually abused themselves, but it is not true that most victims grown up and abuse others.
10. Do you think most sexual abusers are mentally ill and can't stop themselves from molesting children?
No. Most child molesters appear to be ‘normal' people – many of them have wives and children, good jobs, respected in the community - and do not have a mental illness. Although their behaviour is very disturbing, they do not have a specific mental illness. They make a choice to act on their desire to abuse children. They spend a lot of time selecting and grooming their victims and are aware that what they are doing is wrong. They can choose not to act on their impulses by staying away from children, taking drugs to lower their sex drive or getting therapy.
11. Do you think children usually tell the truth when they report that they have been sexually abused?
Yes. Most children do not know about sexual abuse unless it is happening to them. Same with adults – only about 2 per cent of adults lie about being sexually assaulted. Only six per cent of
sexual assaults against children or adults are ever reported to the police. It is very hard for victims to talk about what happened to them, especially if they have to do it court, so it is rare for someone to make up a story about that.
12. Do you think children are always believed when they tell someone they have been sexually abused?
No. Some children have to tell several adults before they are believed. Sometimes when you tell someone in your family, it is hard for them to imagine that someone they know so well, and probably love, would hurt you. If you tell someone at home and they don't believe you, tell an adult at school. They have to get you help to stop the abuse.
13. What would you do if someone tried to touch you or ask you to do something that made you feel uncomfortable?
Try to get away from the person if you can. It is ok to say no to an adult and scream and try to fight to get away. If you are not able to stop the person from hurting from you, then go and tell someone as soon as you are in a safe place away from the abuser. There are a number of people you could go to tell and get help. Can anyone think of any? Any trusted adult i.e. family member, adults at school – teachers, counsellors, principal, neighbour, adult at church. If you want to talk to someone anonymously, you can call the Kids Help Phone. It is on page 2 in the phone book under emergency numbers. You can also report abuse to Crime Stoppers – page 1 in the phone book. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911. We will give you a handout with this information before we leave today.
14. If a friend told you he was being sexually abused, and asked you to keep it a secret, what would you do?
Tell your friend that you cannot keep this secret. Offer to go with him to tell a trusted adult about what has happened so the abuse will stop and your friend will get some help in dealing with this. It's okay for friends to keep secrets where no one is getting hurt i.e. surprise parties, birthday gifts, when you have a crush on a girl.
A look at the front lines in the battle to protect children from abuse
by Anne Thompson, CINCINNATI, OH
Hamilton County voters will once again go to the polls Nov. 8 and one issue before them will be Issue 38, the Children's Services Levy that pays for the care and protection of abused and neglected children.
The death of 2 year-old Damarcus Jackson, who authorities say was beaten to death by his father, Antrone Smith, has brought renewed attention to the situation facing Hamilton County's Department of Job & Family Services. Severe budget cuts and staff reductions have taken their toll. Damarcus Jackson was removed from his parents care and had been raised by foster parents since he was 8 days old. He died just a few months after being reunited with his biological parents.
FOX19 spoke to Dr. Robert Shapiro, director at Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children. Dr. Shapiro has specialized in the treatment of young abuse victims for 30 years.
"Since I started doing child abuse pediatric work, we've become more knowledgeable in recognizing and differentiating child abuse from abuse look-alikes," he said. "But the fact remains that when children are injured, it's done in secrecy. It's something that's hidden. And rarely do we hear anyone tell us about what happened to a child, or how a child's injuries came to be, so we've all gotten better at identifying fact from fiction. One of the major changes that has happened here over the last 10 years is a tremendous increase in the collaboration that occurs between physicians and social workers and police officers within our community."
Despite those advancements, the job of protecting children is still incredibly hard. Dr. Shapiro said he hopes that if voters take away anything from the story of Damarcus Jackson, it is that there is still much work to be done.
"The recent tragedy of Damarcus Jackson's death highlights the need for competent and funded child services within our county…what we don't see so clearly is all of the tragedies that are prevented by good social work and investigation," he said.
Issue 38 first went before voters in 1981 and has been renewed every five years since then. On this current ballot, the millage rate is the same as in years past, however, due to a drop in property values, the Department of Job and Family Services will get $1.7 million less in 2012.
More Arizona kids died of abuse in 2010
by Mary K. Reinhart, Arizona Republic News
November 1, 2011
More Arizona children died from abuse or neglect in 2010 than in the previous year, including five with open state Child Protective Services cases.
The total number of child deaths from all causes declined over that same period.
The Arizona Child Fatality Review Program's annual report, to be released by Nov. 15, will show that 70 children died from maltreatment last year, compared with 64 in 2009.
More than half of the children were younger than 1 year, and 20percent had special health-care needs, according to pediatrician Mary Rimsza, who has chaired the state fatality-review team since it began in 1993.
“It's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of child maltreatment, because we're just looking at deaths,” Rimsza said. “It was the major area where we saw any increase at all.”
Fewer of the children who died had prior contact with the state's Child Protective Services in 2010: 18 compared with 23 children with previous CPS involvement in 2009. In both years, five children who died had open CPS cases.
Under the fatality-review program, 12 local teams review autopsy reports for children younger than 18 years. The group, overseen by a state team, determines how the death could have been prevented and makes annual recommendations to the governor and the Legislature.
The findings are not yet finalized, but Rimsza said better reporting to CPS and additional aid for struggling families likely will be among the report's recommendations.
Rimsza and other child advocates said job losses and other impacts of the sagging economy, coupled with reduced services to families and children, have stressed parents and caregivers beyond the breaking point. State and local budget cuts since 2009 have reduced or eliminated child-abuse prevention, drug treatment, child care and mental-health services.
“Cutting services for children has severe consequences,” Rimsza said. “At a time when we need the services the most, we have less of them available.”
CPS had not been notified in at least one-third of child-maltreatment deaths, according to the report, even though those who knew the children died of abuse or neglect were required by law to notify the agency. Those so-called mandated reporters include police, medical personnel and teachers.
Rimsza said police and medical staff may fail to report a child's death from abuse or neglect when they're the only child in the family, reasoning that the child-welfare system no longer has a role to play. CPS learns about several cases each year through the fatality-review program.
Child-welfare advocates say it's critical for CPS to have records of these children in case the parents eventually have or care for other kids.
The fatality-review report this year will recommend that CPS allow mandated reporters to submit online reports of child maltreatment.
Law-enforcement officials use a separate child-abuse hotline so their calls go through to CPS immediately. But other professionals must wait on hold with the general public and those waits can exceed 30 minutes. In 2009, more than 12,000 of the 123,000 callers to the child-abuse hotline hung up before they spoke with anyone.
CPS officials refused to comment on the report. The agency has been under increasing scrutiny in recent months following a string of high-profile child-abuse deaths and injuries, including several children who had prior CPS involvement.
Phoenix Children's Hospital has seen eight child-abuse deaths so far this year, including two in the past two weeks, compared with eight during all of in 2010. December was the hospital's worst month ever, with four children dying of child abuse, said Alaina Raetz, a forensic social worker who helps evaluate child abuse and neglect.
“Most of these are not malicious, thought-out deaths,” Raetz said. “These are, ‘I've lost my temper and I've snapped.' It's a momentary lapse in judgment.”
She said the hospital already has made 550 reports to the CPS hotline this year, nearly 100 more than all of last year.
“We're seeing more abuse. We're seeing more neglect. We're seeing more substance-exposed newborns,” Raetz said.
Gov. Jan Brewer created a child-safety task force more than three weeks ago but has yet to name its members. The group will have less than two months to convene and issue a report by its Dec. 31 deadline.
Half of the children who died in 2010 were infants and many involved drug or alcohol abuse, a statistic that should give policy makers a clue about where to start, said Rebecca Ruffner, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona.
Ruffner said the combination of financial stress and substance abuse is deadly, especially with babies. The No. 1 trigger for injury to children is crying, Ruffner said, and newborns can cry up to six hours a day.
“We cannot investigate our way out of child abuse and neglect,” Ruffner said.
“The numbers really call for attention,” she said. “The child-welfare system has been starved in the 25 years I've been involved with it. And never more than it is today.”
More Indiana Children Die From Abuse, Neglect, Report Says
Child Advocates Chide Backslide In Children's Services
November 1, 2011
Federal statistics show that Indiana has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the nation, though Department of Child Services officials claim their statistics show progress.
Recent cases of child abuse deaths are indicative of how some Indiana children fall through the cracks, and federal reports obtained by Call 6 Investigator Joanna Massee are counter to DCS claims that the child welfare system is improving.
Some child advocates said they've seen some progress recently, but others said they are gravely concerned about recent abuse and neglect deaths and what they consider backsliding services.
Deaths Of Children Spur Concern
The cases of Devin Parsons and Christian Choate highlight what many consider to be the failings of DCS.
Greensburg police found Parsons, 12, fatally beaten in June. His mother, Tasha Parsons, and her boyfriend, Waldo Jones, were subsequently charged with murder.
Randy Parsons, Devin's great-uncle, said he wasn't aware of the extent of abuse that police said went on in the boy's home.
"You just never expect anything like that," Parsons said, adding that he didn't realize a DCS employee visited the boy's home days before his death. "I think the job wasn't finished."
Christian Choate, 13, also had a long history with DCS before his death earlier this year. According to the agency's records, Christian lived in a cage and received regular beatings during the last months of his life.
In May, investigators pulled Christian's body from a shallow grave in Gary. His father, Riley Choate, and his stepmother, Kimberly Kubina, were charged with murder.
Records obtained by the Call 6 Investigators showed that the families of both children had a long history with DCS.
DCS Director James Payne said he thinks his agency is better at protecting children than ever before, and he cautioned against using child fatalities as a measuring stick.
"First of all, nobody in the system looks at fatalities as a measure of whether or not the system itself is doing a good job in helping protect children," Payne said. "Often the fatalities occur without any contact before. Often they happen in circumstances that were unpredictable."
Child Welfare Tracking Systems Inconsistent
Nationwide, child safety workers criticized an inconsistent tracking system for child deaths.
Because federal and state reports cover different time periods, the numbers don't match, and that means the number of deaths can look like it's going up in one report and down in another.
For example, the most recent Child Maltreatment Report released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed an increase in the number of child deaths from 2008 to 2009. The federal government counted 34 deaths in 2008 and 50 deaths in 2009. The federal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
The state's most recent Child Abuse and Neglect Report of Child Fatalities showed a decrease in the number of child deaths from 2008 to 2009. The state government counted 46 deaths in 2008 and 38 deaths in 2009.
The state year runs from July 1 through June 30.
Payne said a better way to evaluate the system is to look at statistics, such as fewer children being placed in residential treatment.
"The system is much better now," Payne said.
DCS is focused on helping children thrive in the home because taking them out is very traumatic, Payne said.
But the cases that involved Devin and Christian indicate that leaving abused and neglected children in a home can also be devastating.
Child Advocates' Opinion Mixed
Privately, leading child advocates and service providers told Massee they disagree with Payne's claims that the system is improving. Publicly, they choose their words carefully if they say anything at all, fearing retaliation.
Massee asked Payne if the culture at DCS discourages criticism within the agency.
"I suspect there is at some level," but not at the executive level, Payne responded.
David Sklar, who leads the Children's Coalition of Indiana, an organization that works to support and lobby for children and families, said child advocates and service providers fear retaliation for voicing concerns about DCS.
"They're afraid to advocate for those clients because they're afraid that the state might look somewhere else to provide those contracts," Sklar said.
Sklar added that advocates are also concerned that the state is spending fewer dollars on therapeutic services that help address and prevent child abuse and neglect.
"We are starting to see a backslide," he said.
Last year, DCS gave back nearly $104 million to the state general fund, money that could have been used for children. Payne said the agency did not need the cash.
When Massee asked Payne about these spending decisions, he granted RTV6 unprecedented access to the agency, adamant that his system is working.
During a roundtable discussion with DCS employees, Massee asked case workers about the difficulties they face on the job.
Supervisor Melissa Clark said she has seen positive changes during her 17 years with DCS, but she also said the work comes with challenges.
"It can be a life and death decision that we're making," Clark said. "We do see some turnover. It is a stressful job. It's emotional. We deal with the crying child that's being removed from their parent."
Denise Brightman said she has spent 21 years working with families and worries about making a mistake "every day."
While workers such as Brightman and Clark can only control the cases assigned to them, State Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, said he is concerned with decisions being made at the top. Crawford criticized the state's decision to spend less on services for abused and neglected children in need.
"There are too many child advocates from around the state of Indiana who are crying foul," Crawford said.
Child advocates said the unspent funds could be used for services such as counseling for young abuse victims, clothing and food for foster kids and toward other services for families, such as those in which Christian and Devin once belonged.
Speaking privately, one leading child advocate told Massee, "This needs to be a call to action. The system will succeed when the private sector and public sector work together."
South Korean pastor tends to flock of abused children
YANGPYEONG, SOUTH KOREA -– The 7-year-old girl arrived bruised and battered, with red marks across her face. Her ankle and wrist were shattered.
But the real damage, Hwang Chum-gon was soon to learn, was on the inside: The girl had been regularly beaten by her own parents, her body and spirit crushed by people she loved and trusted.
"The entire staff was speechless at the sight of her body," Hwang recalled of the 1999 incident. "It was too horrible. But we were later shocked to learn that her condition was worse than it appeared."
For more than two decades, the 46-year-old minister has run a group called the Open Center Youth Foundation, which rescues South Korean children abused by their parents and other relatives.
From a nonprofit effort that started out of his home in 1990, Hwang went on to establish a series of nationwide centers to temporarily house and counsel 500 abused and homeless children.
"Children who come here have gone through unspeakable abuse and torture," said Hwang, a suntanned man with a easy smile. "They have been physically abused from their own parents and relatives, neglected, some even sexually abused from their own father."
The 7-year-old, for instance, shied away from other people. “She couldn't make eye contacts with the staff and had to sleep in the closet," said Hwang. "But what was so terrible was that this little child had an unresolved anger in her heart. One day, she took out a fish from the fish tank and cut it with the scissors to express her anger. None of us scolded her, but we gave her a warm hug and held her."
It is one of South Korea's best-kept secrets: The society has a high rate of physical abuse against children, yet the problem has received limited public and professional attention, according to one Columbia University study.
A 2002 World Report on Violence and Health showed that high levels of child abuse in South Korea persist even though corporal punishment has been banned in schools and health professionals are required to report child abuse they encounter.
In one study, more than half of South Korean children polled said they had been beaten by their parents. In another, two-thirds of parents reported whipping their children and 45% confirmed that they had hit, kicked or beaten them.
Hwang says abuse in South Korea stems from attitudes among many parents that children are possessions to be treated as they see fit.
Hwang sees the results of such violence, with most children referred to him by governmental organizations, churches, or the victims' own parents. In one such encounter, a father pleaded with Hwang to take custody of his young son, saying he was afraid he might someday soon kill the child.
"I see so much sorrow and anger in the kids who arrive," Hwang said. "If these children grow up with such anger, they will be more prone to anti-social activities."
Hwang hails from a humble family background, but says he was not abused. He worked hard throughout high school and college and worked to support himself for his own education. "While going to college, I was driven with the motivation to be successful," Hwang said. “Achieving that was No. 1 priority for me.”
But then disaster struck. In his sophomore year in college, Hwang developed a mysterious lung disease that doctors at first mistakenly diagnosed as leprosy.
During his three long years of convalescence, Hwang decided that becoming successful in business wasn't enough. He developed a deeper faith and decided to dedicate his life to those less fortunate.
One night, walking in his Seoul neighborhood, he noticed a number of children wandering the street after dark. "I saw many kids sleeping on park benches, with newspaper as the blanket," he recalled.
Many told him they could not go home because they were afraid of physical abuse by their parents.
Hwang estimates that 85% of child abuse in South Korea comes at the hands of a victim's biological parents. "I realized, then, that this was my calling," he said, "caring for the abused children, to heal them, and help them to stand on their own feet."
In Yangpyeong County, about 100 miles south of Seoul, Hwang operates one of his shelters –- a multistory building where 15 children live and receive counseling while attending school in the area.
In the rural center, youths work on gardening projects, chase chickens and eat fruit from nearby trees. The buildings are filled with windows.
"I wanted the children to be able to get a sense of the light and nature," said Hwang, who along with his youth counselor wife does not have children. "The nature itself is the best healer. It cures the heart."
The 7-year-old girl Hwang saved from the abuse by her parents is now 19 and this year began college to study art counseling for abused children.
In a recent NGO newsletter, she described how Hwang's center helped her overcome the pain of her past.
"Now I am standing at the starting point of the race," she wrote. "I can't wait to learn more about the art counseling and helping children overcome obstacles, just like I did."
California rounds up sex offenders for Halloween
Halloween 2011 in California was marked an aggressive crackdown by state and local officials on sex offenders.
It started in the last few weeks, when Riverside County supervisors and several cities approved measures prohibiting all registered sex offenders from decorating their houses or distributing candy to trick-or-treaters.
The state, which has long required sex offender parolees to stay in their homes on Halloween night, added a provision for homeless sex offenders in most of the state: They were ordered to spend Halloween night at “transient sex offender roundup centers.”
Under state law, sex offender parolees with homes are subject to strict rules on Halloween night. From 5 p.m. Monday until to 5 a.m. Tuesday, they are required remain indoors with no exterior lights on. They are forbidden to putting jack o' lanterns or other seasonal decorations outside their homes and banned from opening the door to anyone but law enforcement personnel.
But about 2,000 of the state's nearly 9,000 sex offender parolees are homeless, partly because of restrictions that prohibit them from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools.
So this year, as part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's annual Operation Boo crackdown on sex offenders, homeless sex offender parolees in three of the four state parole regions were ordered to report to designated centers to remain there under supervision from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Halloween night.
Luis Patino, a spokesman with the corrections department, said homeless sex offender parolees were notified of the requirement in their mandatory weekly meetings with parole officers, and that agents were able to track down those who didn't comply through the GPS devices on their ankle bracelets.
He said that the restrictions are intended to protect children and families on the holiday and that it's more efficient and cost-effective to have transient sex offenders report to centers than to track them individually.
“If you bring them all together for a few hours, it frees up some of our agents to do other things, like compliance checks,” he said.
Some groups cried foul, calling the Halloween sex offender restrictions a costly waste of time that violate the civil rights of people who, in many cases, have not committed a crime against children.
“As far as we can tell, no trick-or-treater has ever been sexually assaulted on Halloween,” said Janice Bellucci, state organizer for California Reform Sex Offender Laws.
She called the curfew center plan reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
Internet, Too Few Services Make Child Sex Trafficking Tough to Combat
November 1, 2011
by Amita Sharma
On Backpage.com, you can buy a lawn mower, a refrigerator or you can buy a young girl for sex. And this website is hardly the only one with barely disguised ads of sex for sale.
“Literally, there are hundreds. Cityvibe.com. There's Erotic City," said James Hunter, a detective with the San Diego Police Department. "There's even websites that name themselves after Craig's List, that name themselves Bitches of Craig's List. We have located several underage women off of every single one of these websites.”
Anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 American children are forced sex workers. Hunter said it's not known how many children are in the San Diego region sold for sex by pimps. But he calls it a growing problem and one that is tough to combat because of the Internet. Pimps still make girls work the streets.
“When she receives a call off the Internet, then she will call her pimp. Her pimp will pick her up and he will take her to that John," Hunter said. "She will do that date. She will exit that and then he will drive her right back out to the street to continue to work until she meets her quota which could be anywhere from 500 to 1,500 a day.”
The earnings go straight to the pimps, many of whom are gang members. They not only view sex trafficking as a huge money maker but a low-risk crime.
“We have a law on the books for human trafficking which is unfortunately a weak law at this time," Hunter said. "It's actually probation eligible so you can be a human trafficker and walk away without going to jail.”
Cultural glorification of pimping has also made the business mainstream in some circles.
“We have become as a culture very hypersexualized," said Deputy District Attorney Gretchen.
"If you look at the music industry, rap industry, the standards of fashion…what is cool and what is not cool revolves around the debasement of our sexuality,” said Means.
Means said some teenage girls are easy prey for the pimps.
“To be a teenage girl already means to be vulnerable," Means said. " Girls want to be loved. They want to be thought of as pretty. They want to be popular. To be in a pimp's car. To go through the neighborhood with him and to be known as his girls makes her feel like they're something.”
But for many, the luster only lasts so long. Kim, not her real name, became a prostitute when she was 12 after she was gang raped. The work eventually filled her with shame.
“And I had never felt that way before," Kim said. "I don't think a lot of girls do in the beginning but most of them end up on drugs or you end up drinking or you end up half crazy because you cannot sell your soul every single day and not pay a price for that.”
She left after someone passed along scripture.
“I remember just reading that and I like I didn't want to be a harlot anymore," Kim said.
But leaving is daunting. Pimps beat the girls into such a deep submission that even if there are opportunities to escape, they don't. Since most are school dropouts, they don't have the skills to make it on their own. And there are few treatment centers to help them.
Generate Hope is only one of two shelters in the county that helps girls transition out of prostitution. They have just a dozen beds. Yet federal authorities rescued 30 girls in just one child sex trafficking investigation in Oceanside this year. Generate Hope Executive Director Susan Munsey said societal ignorance and denial are part of the problem.
“It's a still a taboo subject," Munsey said. "I still get a lot of blank stares and shocked responses. People tend to look away and really not want to look at it.”
The men who pay these girls for sex run the gamut from doctors and lawyers to plumbers and undocumented workers. They come from all ethnicities and ages as Kim recalls.
“I had a regular who was 90 years old and on an oxygen tank," Kim said. "I think I was 16 maybe.”
California auditor criticizes agencies for failing to check sex offender registry
Vulnerable people ended up in state-licensed facilities that harbored sex offenders — either residents or employees — because regulators failed to screen them out.
by Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
October 28, 2011
Vulnerable people across California have ended up in state-licensed facilities that also harbored sex offenders because regulators failed to check the state registry for such offenders, officials acknowledged Thursday.
State Auditor Elaine M. Howle said the California Department of Social Services failed to check the sex offender registry even after her office advised the agency to do so in 2008.
"Both social services and county [child welfare services] agencies need to better ensure that these placements are safe," auditors reported in an examination that also looked at child welfare operations in three California counties in particular.
The facilities statewide with persons on the registry of sex offenders included foster homes, group homes and day-care centers for children, as well as facilities for adults with special needs and the elderly.
The auditor informed state social services regulators in July that addresses for more than 1,000 licensed facilities were also listed on the sex offender registry. Since then, regulators said, they investigated each instance. Their findings resulted in eight licenses being revoked or suspended.
Regulators also issued 31 orders barring individuals from licensed facilities, including 11 people in Los Angeles County and three in Riverside County, said Michael Weston, spokesman for the Department of Social Services.
Weston said that the vast majority of 1,000 sex offenders registered at the licensed homes and facilities had actually moved on.
"Some of the hits were years or even decades out of date," he said.
In addition to the sex offender finding, the audit also found:
|• Although county child welfare agencies generally performed required background checks of applicable individuals and quickly removed children if a home was found to be inappropriate, they did not consistently notify Social Services of deficiencies or forward required information to justice officials.
• The percentage of children placed with private foster family agencies has continued to increase over the last decade, which has resulted in spending an additional $327 million in foster care payments between 2001 and 2010.
The audit was ordered earlier this year at the request of state Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno). It was also intended to compile data on deaths of children in Fresno, Sacramento and Alameda counties who were under the oversight of child protective services to ensure that social workers properly review the cases for systemic problems and implement reforms.
Auditors had sought to include data from Los Angeles County, but the county Board of Supervisors rebuffed subpoenas for child death information and hired outside lawyers to fight the inquiry, arguing that many of the records were subject to attorney-client privilege.
In response, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said the county's decision to litigate imposed "unnecessary cost onto taxpayers" and delayed work that could save lives.
Lara noted that the governor, attorney general and other frequent auditees regularly recognize the state auditor's right to access privileged information, and he sponsored legislation that was recently signed by the governor to clarify that existing law requires Los Angeles County to turn over the records.
Los Angeles County's attorney, Daniel P. Barer, informed the state earlier this week that the county will now comply with the subpoenas and state officials expect to produce an audit of those records in January.
CDC Director Arrested for Child Molestation and Bestiality
by Dr. Mercola
October 28 2011
Dr. Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey, a top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been arrested and charged with two counts of child molestation and one count of bestiality.
Dr. Lindsey, who joined the CDC in 1999, is currently the deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office. She's second in command of the program office.
Prior to that role, she was the senior health scientist in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, an office that oversees the allocation process for $1.5 billion in terrorism preparedness.
According to CNN:
"Authorities also charged Lindsey's live-in boyfriend, Thomas Joseph Westerman, 42, with two counts of child molestation.
The two are accused of 'immoral and indecent' sexual acts involving a 6-year-old ...
The bestiality charge says Lindsey 'did unlawfully perform or submit to any sexual act with an animal.'"
Between January and August last year, Dr. Lindsey and her boyfriend allegedly involved the child during sex, and DeKalb County police claim they discovered photographs of Lindsey performing sex acts on a couple of her pets.
Some of you may wonder why I've chosen to discuss this story. Some may think it's in poor taste and doesn't belong in a newsletter about health. However, I believe it's relevant to be aware that someone in charge of your child's health is allegedly engaged in child abuse. Her actions raise serious questions in my mind about her level of concern for the health and well-being of children in general.
When women dress as Halloween candy
A faux-ho dressed (or mostly undressed) for Halloween might want to be careful where she turns tricks or treats.
by Charlotte Allen
October 30, 2011
What do "SlutWalks," the anti-rape demonstrations that have been held in nearly every major city, and Halloween parties have in common? A lot. Both feature phalanxes of females flaunting scanty clothing that typically involves lingerie.
As everyone knows, the perennial favorite among Halloween costumes for women is "ho," followed by "sexy witch," "sexy nurse" and "Lady Gaga." So it's hard to spot the difference between the young woman marching down the street clad only in a lace corset and high heels for a SlutWalk and the young woman clad only in a lace corset and high heels for an evening of Oct. 31 club-hopping. The only real difference is signage: The demonstrators often have the word "Slut" penciled on their foreheads or carry signs saying something like "My Clothes Are Not My Consent."
Here's an irony, though: The same feminists who promote SlutWalks as a protest against our supposed "rape culture," in which society always "blames the victim" for sexual assaults, are urging their sisters to cover up for Halloween. Take, for example, the feminist blog Feministing. Here is Feministing's founder, Jessica Valenti, writing in the Washington Post on June 3, not long after the very first SlutWalk, in Toronto: "[Y]es, some women dress in short, tight, 'suggestive' clothing — maybe because it's hot outside, maybe because it's the style du jour or maybe just because they think they look sexy. And there's nothing wrong with that."
But here is Feministing contributor Jessica Fuller, in an Oct. 19 post titled "Eight Alternatives to 'Sexy' Halloween Costumes": "This Halloween try dressing for yourself, not the crowds." The eight "feminist" costumes listed by Fuller include Rosie the Riveter, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Annie Hall. (A photo depicts a model attired like Annie in a fedora hat and a man's baggy pants, long-sleeved shirt, vest and tie: about as sexy as a bag of CornNuts.) If you must don a corset for that Halloween shindig, Fuller suggests you go as Gloria Steinem during her undercover stint as a Playboy bunny and "plan on using the inspired quotes you're sure to collect to write your own revolutionary essay."
The contradictory modes of the two women stem from a fundamental contradiction in the very idea of a SlutWalk. Back in the old days there were — as there still are — "Take Back the Night" rallies against the very same male-controlled culture that supposedly condones the sexual abuse of women. Since old-time feminists were in charge of Take Back the Night, the dress code was old-time feminist: bluejeans and T-shirts. Then this past spring a police constable in Toronto teaching a personal-safety class at York University said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
The admonition, if crudely put, was practical, rather like advising someone walking through a dangerous neighborhood at night not to flash expensive jewelry or leave a wallet hanging out. Sure, it's not your fault if you get mugged while flaunting your wealth, but you could have taken steps to reduce the risk.
A group of women in the class didn't see the remark that way, though, which led to the galvanizing of a young cohort of feminists, who accused the officer of "slut-shaming." Hordes of them painted "Slut" somewhere on their persons and took to the streets wearing little more than their push-up bras (and sometimes not even that). They waved signs reading "Don't tell us how to dress. Tell men not to rape." They wanted to make a point, as Valenti wrote, that "the sad fact is, a miniskirt is no more likely to provoke a rapist than a potato sack is to deter one."
The SlutWalkers got all huffy when people — including some old-time feminists — pointed out that their attire might be sending mixed signals, especially to men. A New York City SlutWalker who decided to protest rape culture by performing a pole dance on the sidewalk was quickly surrounded by male gawkers filming her on their phones.
As illustrated by Valenti's remark, the SlutWalk feminists are in denial of a reality that is perfectly obvious to both the women who favor "sexy" for Halloween parties and (although perhaps not consciously) the SlutWalkers themselves. The reality is that men's sexual responses are highly susceptible to visual stimuli, and women, who are also sexual beings, like to generate those stimuli by displaying as much of their attractive selves as social mores or their own personal moral codes permit. In Victorian times that meant flashing an ankle every now and then. Now, it means … whatever. It's no wonder that SlutWalks have quickly outstripped (as it were) Take Back the Night as anti-rape protest. Women get another chance besides Halloween to dress up like prostitutes!
The other reality that feminists tend to deny is that rape and sexual desire are linked. Rape, in that view, is a purely political act of male dominance. This ignores the fact that the vast majority of rape victims are under age 30 — that is, when women are at their peak of desirability.
Rape is a criminal act, and it is a crime most men won't commit regardless of how short a girl's skirt is or how lovely her legs. But the fact that rapists tend to target young women rather than grandmotherly types suggests that in the real rape culture (in contrast to the imaginary rape culture of some feminist ideology), the faux-hos of Halloween and their SlutWalker counterparts marching in their underwear — like a man walking at night with a bulging wallet — should be careful about where they flash their treasure.
Charlotte Allen is a contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute's Minding the Campus.
Truth & Reconciliation Commission comes to Halifax
We have a moral obligation to address the continuing effects of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School
by TIM BOUSQUET
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit related to the native residential school system in Canada. The purpose of the commission is to take testimony from the thousands of native people who were victimized by the residential schools (both directly, at the schools, and the continuing effects of that victimization), to give voice to people who have been voiceless for too long, to encourage the perpetuators of the wrongs to come forward to apologize, to provide a historic record and, crucially, to link native and non-native people in a process of reconciliation.
The Commission held its Atlantic meeting at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax last week, in order to provide an opportunity to specifically address the wrongs done at and through the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, which operated from 1922 to 1968 in the small town of Shubenacadie, about 50 kilometres north of Halifax. The school was run by the Catholic church---first, directly by the Archdiocese of Halifax, then by the Sisters of Mercy and Jesuits.
Like other residential schools, the purpose of Shubie school was to “take the Indian out of the Indian”---that is, to commit cultural genocide. Students were prisoners---with the help of the RCMP and Indian agents, the children were taken from their parents and, should the children attempt to escape, were severely beaten. They were forbidden to speak their native tongue, the language they spoke at home, and likewise beaten if they didn't comply.
Testimony given by hundreds of people in Halifax last week relates a horrific institution operated by sadists. Children were regularly beaten and sexually assaulted, and sometimes murdered. I've collected much of that graphic and unsettling testimony in a separate blog post, here.
Just as there are Holocaust deniers, there will sadly always be a handful of racists who deny the ugly truth of the residential schools, but the totality of evidence is overwhelming and documented in horrific detail, and the broken lives and communities that resulted from the schools speak for themselves.
Yes, this is a horrendous truth, but it shouldn't much surprise anyone. We now know that the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia (and pretty much the rest of the world as well) was excusing, covering up and even facilitating (by simply moving offending priests to a different church) the sexual abuse of children in parishes around the province. It should be obvious that even children under the watchful eye of loving parents are often exploited when there's a trusted religious authority figure around. Take that child away from all watchful eyes, and the exploitation multiplies by an order of magnitude. Put in the context of the child being considered worse than worthless---evil, even, because of his or her ethnicity---and the exploitation multiplies by another order of magnitude. Add an isolated rural location with no meaningful institutional oversight, stir, and you've got the recipe for the torture chamber of Shubenacadie.
There were some monsters at Shubie---in particular Sister Mary Leonard and Father Mackey, both of whom raped and murdered children, according to testimony given in Halifax last week.
But we can't simply write off the horrors of Shubenacadie as the work of a few sadists and wash our hands of it. In the first place, the attempted genocide of native people was part and parcel of the European colonization of North America; that genocide moved much closer to its ultimate goal in what is now the United States, but Canadians are fooling themselves if they think they are somehow clear of that history---as the scalp bounty issued by Edward Cornwallis, founder of Halifax, attests. The repeated attacks on native peoples, the intentional spreading of disease among them (by the namesake of Amherst, Nova Scotia, just 140 kilometres from Shubenacadie) and policies purposefully enacted to destroy native communities, culture and wealth did not achieve complete genocide, but they certainly left the Mi'kmaq in such desperate straits that they could put up little effective resistance when Indian agents showed up to kidnap their children.
Secondly, the Sister Mary Leonards and Father Mackeys of this world can not go about their ugly business without the complicity of the broader society. It is simply impossible to believe that the thousands of responsible adults who interacted with the school over five long decades----the police officers returning frightened escapees, the federal agents signing inspection reports, the church officials presiding over the place, the nuns, priests and staff people working there, the businessmen delivering supplies and buying the produce of the institution, the doctors setting broken bones, the coroners filling out death certificates and on and on and on---it's simply impossible to believe that not a one of these upstanding citizens suspected anything was amiss. No doubt, some people raised concerns, but no one in a position of authority responded appropriately. The goal was to destroy “Indianness,” and if some children were beaten up, raped or murdered, well, white society could turn a blind eye.
Thirdly, the effects of the crimes of Shubenacadie are ongoing. Sure, the institution closed in 1968 (although, the last residential school, White Calf Collegiate in Saskatchewan, closed only in 1996), but the personal and social calamities continue to this day. The former students call themselves “survivors,” which is entirely appropriate and rightly puts the emphasis on their incredible resilience, but there's no denying the continuing tragedies of alcoholism and drug abuse, family violence, broken relationships, distrust of each other and of white society, suicide and spiritual confusion---each of which is the fruit of Shubenacadie. Survivors have bravely faced these tragedies personally and collectively, but they need and deserve our help; the society that wronged native people is morally obligated to help make the situation right, at least as far as possible.
Missing from the TRC meeting
Which leads to the most disappointing part of the TRC meeting in Halifax: the poor attendance of non-natives. Prime minister Stephen Harper was noticeably absent; he was in Australia, meeting the queen. Nova Scotia's premier, Darrell Dexter; was likewise not at the meeting, having decided to instead travel to Israel to promote trade. Halifax mayor Peter Kelly was in town---his City Hall office is across the street from the World Trade and Convention Centre, and his parking space is about 10 metres from the centre's front door, but there's no indication that Kelly crossed the street and spoke with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
And while my blogging of the TRC meeting was well received, there were relatively few white faces present in the convention centre itself. By and large, non-natives missed experiencing the impact of hearing survivors' stories directly, and to that extent, can not completely understand them. For many non-natives, the day-to-day struggle of school survivors is simply off the radar screen, not an issue. So long as that ignorance continues, we won't rise to the responsibility to help make things right.
Fighting Over Online Sex Ads
by DAVID CARR
What if the price of having a vital, well-financed string of newspapers included rare, but inevitable, sexual predation of minors?
Not a tough call, right? But maybe more complicated than you think for the businesses involved.
Before you head out for the lanterns and pitchforks, it's worth remembering that a free press is not free. One of the offshoots of free speech is that it will be used to pernicious ends. In this instance, Village Voice Media has a classified network called Backpage.com that includes a section labeled “adult” with categories like “escort” and “strippers & strip clubs.” The vast majority of ads involves one consenting adult seeking another, but there have been instances in which the section was used to offer minors for sexual ends.
Village Voice Media, controlled by Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, whose weeklies include The Village Voice, Westword and Phoenix New Times. It has an anything-goes approach to advertising, but in a digital age, that policy has new implications.
In September 2010, Craigslist, which hosted a great deal of sexually related advertising, bowed to pressure and banned that advertising in the United States. A number of crimes, including several murders, had been linked to ads on the site, and many critics, including a number of state attorneys general, suggested that Craigslist was enabling the trafficking of minors.
A significant portion of the estimated $44 million in sex-related advertising on Craigslist found a home on Backpage.com. Like a lot of newspapers, Village Voice Media's chain of 13 weeklies has struggled through the terrible economic cycle and big changes in advertising spending, so the revenue from Backpage.com, much of it unrelated to sex, has played a critical role in its survival.
But in August the country's 51 attorneys general sent a letter demanding that the site close its “adult” section, and now a coalition of religious leaders has joined that effort. Last Tuesday, Groundswell, an interfaith social justice group sponsored by Auburn Seminary in New York, published a full-page ad in The New York Times that was signed by clergy members of all stripes and cited the arrests of adults who had sold minors for sex using Backpage.com. The ad stated, “It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex.”
“While we empathize with your business challenges and the increasingly difficult marketplace in which Village Voice Media competes,” the letter went on, “we trust that you are committed to running your business without compromising the lives of our nation's boys and girls.”
The Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, the president of Auburn Theological Seminary, said that while the issue was complicated, the bottom line was not.
“On Backpage.com, you can buy a toaster, a car or a girl for sex,” she said. “We agree with the attorney generals on the legal issues, but we are raising this as a moral issue. Even if one minor is sold for sex, it is one too many.”
Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey are accustomed to having people come after them. They were harassed and arrested in the middle of the night in response to the coverage by one of their newspapers of Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. Mr. Lacey, who has made a career out of tweaking the powers that be, sees this battle as no different.
“I am beginning to like our odds,” he said. “We have all these practicing politicians and concerned clergy after us. We must be doing something right.”
In a phone call, he and Mr. Larkin pointed out that Web sites like Backpage.com are not legally responsible for posted content and added that the company had spent millions on both human and technological efforts to screen ads that feature minors. They said they had worked with law enforcement officials and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in an effort to make sure Backpage.com's “adult” section included only adults.
Both men see the debate as a free speech issue.
“We have always had a very libertarian approach to advertising,” said Mr. Larkin, adding that classifieds represented 30 to 35 percent of their business. “We don't ban cigarettes, we take adult advertising. We take ads that sell guns.”
From their perspective, the claims of their opponents are wildly exaggerated and all the money being spent trying to wipe out advertising would be better spent on the root causes of the problem, including drug addiction, poverty and family abuse.
“There is a lot of mythmaking around the issue and I think it's a way of avoiding the real problem,” Mr. Lacey said.
Rob McKenna, the attorney general of Washington State and the head of the association of attorneys general that went after both Craigslist and now Backpage.com, says the issue goes beyond minors.
“I think we have to be careful to protect the First Amendment rights of publishers, but free speech does not extend to the knowing facilitation of criminal activity,” he said. “This is not just about children being prostituted, this is about human beings being trafficked into the sex trades, as adults and as children.”
It's no news to anyone that sex is an integral component of the Internet and much of the mainstream media. Early on, AOL included lots of raunchy backrooms. The brand-name cable channels make a great deal of money on sexually explicit content, and if someone is looking to buy sex, there are any number of Web sites that cater to all manner of interests.
It's worth remembering that while pressure from the attorneys general and Congress led to a change at Craigslist, the whack-a-mole on the Web continues. If Backpage.com retreats — not likely given the predispositions of its owners — some other alternative will immediately take its place.
It reminds me a great deal of the early 1990s, when I was the editor of The Twin Cities Reader, an alternative weekly in Minneapolis. At the time, we were under fire for publishing ads for strip clubs, escort services and massage parlors. The staff and the publisher at the time, R. T. Rybak, were keenly attuned to the community and always looking for points of difference from City Pages, our weekly competitor. With support from the staff, Mr. Rybak announced that we would no longer take ads that “objectified” women, a bold move. It was thought that beyond the good will we earned in the community, other, nonracy advertisers might find our paper to be a more suitable platform.
Our critics, including many women's groups, were thrilled at their victory and congratulated us on our sensitivity. The policy went into effect, wiping out, as I recall, about 15 percent of the bottom line. City Pages left its ad policy unchanged. Some of what we lost went to them and little in the way of new ads materialized to fill the hole.
City Pages eventually became the dominant paper — in part because it was very good and run by smart people — and when, yes, Village Voice Media decided to enter the market, it bought both papers and closed The Twin Cities Reader. I was gone by then, but I thought the decision to be selective about ads contributed to its demise.
I called Mr. Rybak, who is now the mayor of Minneapolis, to ask if he regretted the decision.
“It was absolutely the right move,” he said. “When you engage in a certain kind of journalism that is designed to be an alternative to the mainstream, you have a special obligation to have your editorial, your values and your advertising align.”
“If we had more time, I think it may have worked out,” he said. “But I often think about what would have happened if we had those two pages of ads in the back. Would the paper still be around? It wasn't the only reason it went out of business, but it played a role.”
Although Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey hardly agree, they are taking their own version of a principled stand. And just because it aligns with their business interests doesn't mean it isn't valid.
Ga. educators to attend Zorkshop on human se[ trafficking in schools
Atlanta -- Educators from across the state will gather in Atlanta for a seminar on human sex trafficking and how it affects schools.
The seminar Monday and Tuesday will feature two officers from the New Scotland Yard who are considered among the top law enforcement experts in the world on the issue.
Experts say 400 girls under age 18 are trafficked in Atlanta each month.
Many of those children spend at least some time in a school and interact with teachers. The officers will help teachers learn the warning signs for a victim of human trafficking and how to help them.
The seminar is the first in a series of workshops on the topic to be held between now and February.
SNL's Darrell Hammond Reveals Child Abuse, Drug Addiction
(Video on site)
Funnyman Darrell Hammond is opening up about dark secrets of his past abuse which led to him turning to drugs and alcohol in his disturbing new memoir (video below).
The former Saturday Night Live star seems to be the epitome of the sad clown and details his childhood and addictions in his book “God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F**ked”.
In an excerpt, Hammond writes, “I kept a pint of Remy (Martin cognac) in my desk at work. The drinking calmed my nerves and quieted the disturbing images that sprang into my head… when drinking didn't work, I cut myself.”
In 1998, Darrell was in such bad shape that he was hospitalized in New York after being taken from the NBC studio in a straitjacket.
Hammond's addictions just went from bad to worse in 2002, when he added cocaine to his binges.
He writes, “I'd started adding an obscene amount of cocaine to my binges… I had to be creative about how I did it without other people catching or letting it interfere with the work. At least too much.”
Hammond had treatment in rehab in but relapsed in 2009 when he had the “brilliant idea” to try crack. He even hung out at a crack house in New York City before finally getting clean.
In an interview with CNN, Darrell talks about being abused by his mother.
“I was a victim of systematic and lengthy brutality,” Darrell stated. “My mom did some things which have cost me dearly.”
Crackdown on Child Sex Abuse Unravels
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Freed on Bail as Brooklyn Case Crumbles
by Paul Berger
One of the most high-profile convictions of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi for sexual abuse in recent times may be in danger of reversal, according to new disclosures in court records obtained by the Forward.
When Baruch Lebovits was sentenced last year to up to 32 years in jail, victims' rights advocates hailed it as a turning point in the battle against sexual abuse in the insular Orthodox community.
“From now on,” Joseph Diangello, an abuse victim turned advocate, told The Jewish Star at the time, “victims of sexual abuse in the Hasidic community that have no voice with the people that are supposed to protect them will have a voice in the court of law.”
There was a sense that the wall of silence that had protected abusers in the ultra-Orthodox community for so long was finally crumbling.
But Lebovits's 2010 conviction is now unraveling amid allegations of perjury, conspiracy and extortion.
Lebovits was destined to spend, at minimum, 10 years in prison. Instead, he was released on bail in April and placed under house arrest pending an appeal.
Lebovits's release was prompted by revelations suggesting that some of the witnesses whose grand jury testimony helped indict him were actually engaged in a plot to extort him. Since then, prosecutors have insisted that the testimony offered by a key witness who testified at Lebovits's trial remains untainted.
But new evidence submitted by Lebovits's defense team — which awaits a response from the prosecution — suggests that this may not be the case.
Lebovits, a travel agent who once taught at a yeshiva in the Munkatch synagogue in Brooklyn's Boro Park, was arrested in 2008 on charges of abusing two boys. Later, a third victim came forward.
Rather than prosecuting the cases as a group, a state judge ordered that each be tried separately.
The case involving the third victim was the first to go to trial. Lebovits appeared in court in March 2010 on charges of sexually abusing the boy over a period of 10 months.
The four-day trial heard how the boy — now a 22-year-old man — stole money from synagogue charity boxes to fund a drug addiction fueled by his abuse.
The prosecutor alleged that on numerous occasions during 2004 and 2005, Lebovits invited the boy into his car, where he abused him while parked in various public spots around Boro Park, a largely Orthodox neighborhood. The jury found Lebovits guilty on eight counts of sexual assault.
During sentencing in April, the courtroom was packed. Lebovits's supporters, dressed in black suits, lined the benches on one side of the room. On the other side, an array of abuse victims and their advocates waited anxiously to see the outcome. A long pattern of suppression was seen as hanging in the balance.
For years, advocates have railed against leaders of the ultra-Orthodox community whom they blame for covering up for molesters.
Leading rabbis invoke Judaic religious laws such as mesirah — a prohibition against informing on a fellow Jew to secular authorities — and the prohibition against lashon hara , evil gossip, as justification for not reporting abuse to secular law enforcement authorities.
But advocates for sex abuse victims say there are myriad reasons that the Orthodox leadership wants to suppress abuse claims. Their motives are said to include fear of litigation, a desire to shield the community from unfavorable attention and the protection of individual reputations. Even defenders of the ultra-Orthodox acknowledge that sometimes, concern for a child's safety is overridden by fear that Child Protective Services will place an Orthodox child in a nonkosher home.
For years, rabbis have acted as a firewall against the secular world. Victims and their families have heeded religious courts and rabbinic leaders who warned them against reporting incidents to the police. Even today, Agudath Israel of America, the largest American ultra-Orthodox umbrella group, insists that Jews should consult a rabbi before reporting abuse to the police.
In Brooklyn, home to an estimated 180,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, District Attorney Charles Hynes has vowed to crack down on abuse in the community, even launching a special hotline for Orthodox victims. But advocates have scorned Hynes, charging that he has dragged his heels on some investigations and allowed other abusers to get away with generous plea deals. Hynes, they say, avoids aggressive prosecutions for fear of the political influence that Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox rabbinic leaders wield over their bloc-voting followers. Hynes has heatedly denied this criticism. And the severe sentence he obtained against Lebovits in this case at least seemed to reflect a genuinely aggressive stance.
Speaking after the sentence was handed down, Joel Engelman, an abuse survivor turned advocate, said the case sent a message to the Orthodox community that protecting abusers was no longer possible.
But today, Engelman warns that if Lebovits is acquitted, it will be “disastrous” not only for those who claim they were abused by Lebovits, but also for the way the entire community perceives the issue of abuse.
“It would basically tell anyone and everyone, abusers and abuser protectors, ‘You can go on doing what you've been doing,'” Engelman said.
When Lebovits was released on bail in April, Engelman called a community hotline, Kol Mevaser, to hear how the news was reported.
“They said that today is a very special day and a very happy day,” Engelman said, “because a member in our community convicted of very heinous crimes… was released and shown to be not guilty.”
The hotline reported that Lebovits's release illustrated that even if members of the community are convicted in a secular court, “the system isn't trustworthy.”
Lebovits's conviction was thrown into doubt when another Brooklyn rabbi, Samuel Kellner, was arrested in April on charges related to the first two victims who reported Lebovits to the police.
Hynes accused Kellner of paying one of the victims $10,000 to falsely testify that he had been abused.
Hynes also accused Kellner of trying to extort $400,000 from Lebovits's family in return for the two boys dropping their cases and preventing the third victim from coming forward. After Lebovits refused to pay, the third victim reported to the police.
Kellner pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted grand larceny, perjury and conspiracy and was released on bail.
At a press conference held soon afterward, Hynes said he was confident that Lebovits's conviction, based on the testimony of the third victim at trial, would stand. That testimony was untainted by Kellner's alleged extortion scandal, he said.
But court papers submitted in April, May and August by Lebovits's defense team seem to show that the third victim — referred to in court papers as Y.R. — was very familiar with the alleged extortion scheme.
In the papers, the Brooklyn D.A. admitted that it was Kellner who brought the third young man to law enforcement authorities. Jerry Schmetterer, the D.A.'s spokesman, declined to comment because the case remains open.
In an affidavit, an individual referred to as “Witness B” told Lebovits's lawyers: “[Y.R.] said he had a ‘guilty conscience' about making a case against Baruch Lebovits. Community pressure from ‘powerful people' was forcing Y.R. to go forward with the complaint.”
Witness B continued: “Y.R. asked me to contact the Lebovits family to ask them to pay him not to proceed. He asked me to get involved because he did not trust Kellner and was afraid Kellner would keep all the money.”
Another witness, one of the first two alleged victims who admitted he was given $10,000 by Kellner, said in an affidavit, “I saw [Y.R.] last night, July 21, 2010, and he said, ‘Kellner gave money to everyone and he [Kellner] is going to get in trouble.'”
In a tape recording also entered as evidence by Lebovits's attorneys, Y.R. is heard telling a friend, “A man is sitting in jail because somebody [Kellner] had a premeditated plan not to put him away but to make money, and manipulate me to back off.”
In an interview with the Forward, Y.R. refuted the defense team's allegations.
“My whole life has been ruined because of this,” he said. “I put myself out there and I went out and told them what happened.”
Y.R. said he was confident the D.A. had enough evidence to support the conviction. That evidence, he said, includes a recording of a conversation he had with Lebovits during the abuse investigation.
Y.R. said that he wore a New York Police Department wire during a meeting with Lebovits. “I told him, ‘What should I do because the NYPD are questioning me about what's happened,” Y.R. said.
“He [Lebovits] answered me, ‘Just tell them leykenen shteyn un beyn' ” or deny completely.
Nathan Dershowitz, a lawyer for Lebovits, said he had never heard of such a recording.
“If that were on tape, don't you think it would have been introduced in evidence?” he said.
“I can only tell you that in the trial, as far as I know, nothing was ever introduced that suggested there was an admission here, ever,” Dershowitz said.
Although Lebovits's conviction rested almost entirely on Y.R.'s testimony, the prosecution was aided by a court appearance by the sole defense witness, Rabbi Beryl Ashkenazi. But here, too, Lebovits's defense team argues, the court was misled.
Ashkenazi was called by the defense to testify that Y.R. had offered to drop his sex abuse allegations against Lebovits in exchange for money. But Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory dropped a pre-emptive bombshell when she turned on Ashkenazi in the courtroom, accusing him of sexually abusing two boys during the 1990s.
Gregory said that the statute of limitations was the only thing that prevented charges against Ashkenazi.
But in court papers, Lebovits's defense team — which was joined by high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz last year — argues that those abuse claims should never have been made. They present an affidavit from one of Ashkenazi's alleged victims, referred to as “Y.E.,” who denied having been abused.
Y.E. stated that Detective Steve Litwin of the New York City Police Department came to his home, accompanied by Kellner, at 2 a.m. a few nights before Ashkenazi took the stand.
“I advised Detective Litwin that Mr. Ashkenazi had not molested me,” Y.E. stated.
Lebovits's defense team singles out Litwin for particular criticism.
“Why Detective Litwin would visit a potential witness at 2 a.m., and why he would take a civilian, Kellner, with him to speak to Y.E. is beyond understanding,” Lebovits's lawyers say in court papers.
Some of Litwin's case notes, which came to light only midway through the trial, showed that Litwin was aware of Y.R.'s links with Kellner during the police investigation into Lebovits.
According to his notes from two interviews conducted in January 2009, now entered as evidence in Lebovits's appeal, Y.R. told Litwin that Kellner instructed him to hold out for $200,000 in exchange for dropping the charges. Y.R. also told Litwin that Kellner was working to raise a $50,000 payment.
“Detective Litwin's notes of his conversations with Y.R. establish that Y.R. told him about Kellner's efforts to get him money,” Lebovits's defense team argues in the court papers.“But Detective Litwin did nothing with this information.”
Litwin declined to comment because the case is still being litigated.
In its motion for a new trial, Lebovits's defense team argues that it is “fundamentally wrong for convictions to stand when the jury that convicted the defendant did not know the defendant was himself the victim of an extortion plot in connection with the very charges that the jury is considering.”
“Worse still,” it continues, “the complainant was ‘recruited' as part of that extortion plot, received money to testify against Lebovits and denied it.”
Engelman said the claims and counterclaims are indicative of an insular community where insider dealing is the most common method of resolving disputes. Financial payoffs or threats of throwing people's children out of school — rather than recourse to secular law enforcement officials — are often used to coerce people into settling disputes within the community.
“It's a part of the sad phenomenon that's going on,” Engelman said. “Whatever you see in court papers is a smidgen of the tip of the iceberg.”
Dershowitz said his colleagues have filed an appeal and a motion for a new trial, based on the “newly discovered evidence.”
He said Lebovits would remain out of prison and under house arrest, on bail, as long as he continues to file his papers on time.
This fall, Lebovits applied for permission to leave his house arrest to attend synagogue during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
The request was granted.
Swim coach admits molesting 15-year-old student over 10 months
An Irvine swim coach pleaded guilty in court Friday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while working as her swim instructor, authorities said.
Todd Robert Sousa, 37, will serve 16 months in state prison after agreeing to an offer to plead guilty to 13 counts of lewd acts on a child, three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a news release from the Orange County district attorney's office.
Sousa was working as an instructor at Swim Venture when he began assaulting the 15-year-old girl, according to prosecutors. The D.A.'s office said that the assaults occurred between April 2010 and February 2011 in the Swim Venture office, an equipment closet and his car, according to the Daily Pilot.
During the sentencing Friday, the victim's mother and stepfather said the assaults left the once-avid swimmer depressed and uninterested in the sport, and Sousa's actions have ruined their lives, according to the D.A.'s office.
Navy commander sentenced in sexual assault of two sailors
A Navy commander Friday was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two female sailors while he was the captain of the guided-missile destroyer Momsen.
Cmdr. Jay Wylie was also sentenced to be dismissed from the Navy, under a plea bargain with military prosecutors. Wylie was relieved of command of the Everett, Wash.-based ship in April when the allegations surfaced.
Wylie, 40, a 19-year veteran of the Navy, pleaded guilty to rape, aggravated sexual assault, abusive sexual content and conduct unbecoming an officer.
One incident occurred while the ship was at its home port, the other during a visit to the Seychelles. During one of the incidents, Wylie was drunk, according to court documents.
The trial was shifted to San Diego after Wylie was reassigned to a command here. He was immediately taken to the brig at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station after Friday's court hearing.