|DON'T TURN AWAY
Be suspicious of adults in youth programs who take a special interest in a specific child, particularly if that interest includes gift-giving and/or overnight activities, said Marlene Mish, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Jackson County.
Signs of abuse can include both physical and emotional changes. Withdrawal or aggressive behavior are red flags, Mish said. Bed-wetting, loss of bowel control and genital rashes, irritation or discomfort can also indicate abuse.
If you suspect child abuse, call child welfare at 541-776-6120. Or call the police, Mish said.
"Be calm. Be prepared. Have your information ready," Mish said.
|'People chose to be silent ... and that created more victims'
by Sanne Specht
Local advocates say the Penn State University child sexual-abuse case is an opportunity to create change and protect potential victims.
The acts allegedly perpetrated by the university football team's former defensive coordinator Gerald A. Sandusky against young at-risk boys enrolled in his charity program, The Second Mile, appear to be "textbook" pedophile behavior, said Marlene Mish, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Jackson County.
The stated mission of Sandusky's charity was to help children with "absent or dysfunctional families," according to a grand jury report. As the number of Sandusky's alleged victims continues to climb, the reality of the situation is "right out of a sex-offender playbook," Mish said.
Many serial pedophiles are well-respected, high-profile men who have groomed the adults to believe they are above reproach. They will groom susceptible children with gifts, bribes and special attention, she said.
"They will be likeable. They will garner the trust and adoration of both the adults and their child victims," Mish said. "The children in this nonprofit have no status, no voice and no one to believe them."
The grand jury report lists eight victims of Sandusky who ranged in age from about 7 or 8 years old to mid-teens at the time of their abuse. The contact was always initiated by Sandusky in the guise of play which ended in sexual assault. The report also says Penn State's then head football coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and business director Gary Shultz were informed of Sandusky's molestation by eyewitnesses.
Ashland resident Randy Ellison, board president of Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. Molested by a Portland minister, Ellison did not speak about his abuse for decades. The physical, mental and emotional scars inflicted on children who are abused never fully heal, Ellison said.
"These are life-changing, life-destroying acts of violence," he said. "These kids are going to have scars for the rest of their lives."
Mish and Ellison said Sandusky's alleged acts, if true, are both morally heinous and criminal.
Equally upsetting is the knowledge that so many adults chose to look away, instead of standing up for these child victims, Mish said.
"People chose to be silent and people chose to do nothing. And that created more victims. And all of that was avoidable," she said.
Simply taking away Sandusky's privileges to bring Second Mile children to Penn State was not only ineffective, it was reprehensible, Ellison said.
"What are they telling him? Go rape them down the street?" Ellison said, adding he believes the list of Sandusky's victims will continue to grow.
"The oldest case is from 1998. But this man started a program for at-risk youth in 1977," he said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know there are more victims."
As the story has expanded, Ellison said has been angered by the watered-down language media are using to describe violent sexual attacks.
"They put in writing that he had oral sex with a boy, that he had sexual intercourse with a boy," Ellison said. "This implies intimacy between consenting adults. Why would we be using these terms? This isn't sex. This is assault."
Recent rioting by some Penn State students over the ousting of Paterno by the University board of directors concerns Mish and Ellison.
"This sends a terrible message to victims and their families and to anyone who might be thinking of coming out, especially for a young man," Mish said.
But both say the Penn State students likely will come to support the victims.
"Nobody likes to deal with sexual abuse. Nobody likes to realize their heroes have feet of clay," Mish said. "They weren't thinking it through. As the days and months go by, it will shift to support of the victims."
Mish and Ellison are also hoping the national discourse over this case will help create better awareness and more opportunities for education.
Parents need to teach their children no adult has the right to violate them, regardless of their societal position, Mish said.
"We teach our kids to mind," Mish said. "We need to teach them to get out, if they can. And to tell (an adult), if they can't. And we need to tell them we're going to make sure somebody does something."
Mish said local community members should not be taking false comfort in this case because it is happening on the other side of the country.
"People are probably telling themselves, that's over there," Mish said. "But the truth is this is probably happening here with someone we trust and believe in. We need to use this as an opportunity to open our eyes and be aware."
Survivor of childhood abuse shares his story
by Matt Bodenschatz
We are a campus currently overtaken by a very particular kind of crisis; with one topic dominating our discourse and coloring our atmosphere. And certain people, those with a particular vantage and voice, need to speak up — if they are ready do so.
Am I ready? Probably not. But this situation has become completely incompatible with silence.
I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
My trauma is decades old, and is not connected to our university except by fact of my current membership within it.
My openness will not bring down a revered public figure or shake the foundations of any institution. Its context and key figures are insidiously ordinary. My story simply involves an old man who has been dead and gone for some time now, and the consequences of where I randomly sat during the hours of a lightless, late-night summer holiday hayride.
The man that violated me, that murdered the version of me that was in progress until that one single day of my life when my path crossed his, is dead now. But though it may be hard for anyone outside of the victim/ survivor community to believe, I find that almost irrelevant.
My abuser, like the abuser of the group of young people at the center of these recent crimes, did not steal money or some other tangible thing from me that he can replace as means to restore balance and to bring about justice. Our abusers did not create conditions that can be righted by firings, trials, executions or jail terms.
They introduced unnatural acidic conditions into the ground where delicate seeds were growing. They uprooted and destroyed natural growth processes meant to be a part of a very deliberate evolution into full, rounded, healthy, personhood. They murdered developing versions of people even before they got the fair chance to exist.
Retribution alone does not fix that. Nothing fixes it — not even the death of the abuser. It's something that becomes its own independent burden. Something that is dealt with, heavily. Not something that gets repaired.
This group that has been victimized by a man of Penn State (and then re-victimized by the repulsive inaction of other men at Penn State) has my attention, my respect and my admiration. I had one feeble, slow-moving old man to resist, to confront, to report — and I didn't do it.
They were allegedly assaulted by a known, respected and revered man who had positioned himself as a pillar of his community — and they spoke out. I am in awe of them.
The secrecy surrounding my experiences was self-inflicted. No one knew what had happened except for me and my abuser. For them, though, the secrecy surrounding their abuse was institutionalized.
What I have been through has been awful. But I strain to sufficiently imagine what it must have been like for these current victims to know that there are adults out there who were aware of the abuse yet maintained secrecy about it. Add to that crushing knowledge, for some of them, that their abuse was witnessed directly, stumbled upon in real time by an adult who did not immediately intervene — I doubt I could carry that load without descending into hopelessness and rage.
We as a community are struggling now, having to accept that we are not separated here, despite our supposed prestige, from the realities of the human condition. We are susceptible to tragedy. And not only were some of our key figures unable to shield us from it, they are capable of being the reason why it was visited upon us at all.
And the point where we now find ourselves — mired in simple, damning phrases, voicing fragments of fury— is understandable, but it must be surpassed. These reactions must evolve, must give way to sentences. And those sentences must contribute to thoughtful paragraphs. Because we may think we understand what happened recently and why. But we don't. Because we want to feel like our expressions of outrage, and our righteous bluster, and our acrimony toward the offenders will all, in and of themselves, accomplish something. But they won't.
In circumstances like these, acrimony comes easy. Given the heightened state we're now in, bluster can be harder to suppress than to voice. Knowing of the obvious horror that these boys went through, outrage is justly assumed. These reactions aren't the end of our obligations. They are the start.
We must now ask questions of ourselves and of each other. Ugly, uncomfortable questions that have no easy answers. And we must act. Appropriately. Thoughtfully. As intelligent individuals who show themselves worthy of regard.
If we never move beyond where we are right now, stuck within a mode of strictly symbolic acts, then we have failed. Because Jerry Sandusky didn't allegedly commit crimes against symbols. He, along with those other men who did nowhere near enough to stop him, didn't fail an emblem, a mascot, or a cat statue found at the northwestern tip of the campus. They failed young, vulnerable, trusting, promising human beings.
Continuing on in the aftermath of that requires the capacity to bear human frailty, profound grief, and the long-term, ever-present nature of the consequences of what has happened.
You'll graduate someday, and will eventually come to be separated from Penn State by years and by miles, and you won't think about this tragedy very much. And even when you do, you'll have the luxury of picking those thoughts up and then setting them back down at will.
The people on the receiving end of this abuse have no such luxury. No matter where they live, how old they get, or what they do, this is a piece of them at all times. Yes, they could possibly still have fulfilling lives. But if they do, will that be partly because of what we as a community did, or will it be fully despite what we didn't do?
You are outraged. Angry. Feeling betrayed. Yes those reactions are far better than their opposites, better than apathy or indifference. But this isn't about you. It's not even about me. Until and unless you find a way to do something genuine, lasting and sincerely sympathetic for someone at the receiving end of these very real, crippling crimes in our headlines — even if you never get to meet them or to know any of their names — then your indignation is unearned and misplaced.
I know you lost a football coach. But the people that really matter in all of this are at risk of losing their core identities. They have to try to thrive despite the fear that constantly lingers just outside of anything and everything, eager to shatter any hints of peace.
As I've written above, if we are to achieve any real understanding of what has happened and to move forward from here, then we must ask some uncomfortable questions of each other and acknowledge some ugly truths.
I will start us off, because I have something unpopular to say. I see everywhere — in your editorials on your social media pages, in your subversively-written chalk messages printed all over campus — your desperate insistence that “We are still Penn State.”
And each of these that I come upon creates in me a feeling of isolating sadness and emptiness. It reinforces in me what I have long felt -that the realities of victims and the realities of observers are worlds apart.
Because my community — the survivor community, the victim community — doesn't get to boast of being unchanged. If we do so, we become complicit in our own demise, because the worst thing for us to do is to pretend we weren't uprooted.
The worst thing for us to do is pretend that we won't miss the part of us that was violently ripped away. The worst thing for us to do is to deny that we have holes in ourselves. Holes that make us constantly, mournfully aware of what was supposed to be there. Holes that we can't fill with blue and white, even if we wanted to.
Matt Bodenschatz, 38, is a sexual abuse survivor, current Penn State student and native of Cambria County.
Sex abuse survivors and advocates talk about Penn State scandal & the victims
End Zone: A time for healing
by Michael O'keeffe
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Daily News has been chronicling sexual abuse in New York sports for nearly a decade, ever since we were the first to report in 2002 that the Manhattan District Attorney's office was investigating allegations that Ernest Lorch, the powerful founder of the Riverside Church basketball program, had sexually abused players.
Manhattan prosecutors were stymied by statute of limitations issues, but the Massachusetts grand jury that indicted Lorch on a sex abuse charge in October 2010 was not. Lorch is scheduled to appear in Westchester court later this week to determine if he is competent to stand trial in the Bay State.
Lorch is certainly not the only coach who has been accused of sexual abuse.
Former Christ the King High School basketball coach Bob Oliva pleaded guilty to abuse charges in a Boston courtroom in April. Robeson High School basketball coach Larry Major committed suicide in September 2005, two days after he was charged with raping a female student.
A lawsuit filed by former Poly Prep students say longtime football coach Phillip Foglietta “sexually abused dozens, if not hundreds, of boys,” between 1966 and 1991. At a December 2008 press conference outside Brooklyn's Nazareth High School, former city cop Phil Repaci said he was sexually abused by the school's former baseball coach, Robert Mistretta. Other men soon stepped forward to say, they, too, had been abused by Mistretta.
These are hard stories to report. But they also provide an opportunity to hear the stories of sexual abuse survivors and their advocates, men and women who appreciate the good in people because they've seen another side of human nature. So when Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly's office made public the 23-page grand jury report that suggests Penn State coach Joe Paterno failed to act after he learned that his assistant Jerry Sandusky abused children, the first calls we made were to the survivors and advocates.
We asked them to review the raw, graphic and disturbing grand jury report with us and share their thoughts with readers.
“Every time they say ‘We are Penn State,' people will think about the children that were raped on that campus,” says Father Robert Hoatson, a sex-abuse survivor and the founder of Road to Recovery, an organization that offers support to victims. “It goes to the heart of Penn State fans' faith. It goes to the myth of Penn State: Joe Pa, Happy Valley, the white uniforms. We're dealing with ordinary human beings here, and some human beings choose evil over good.”
* * *
“Victim 1 testified that he was 11 or 12 years old when he met Sandusky through The Second Mile program in 2005 or 2006 …Victim 1 testified that ultimately Sandusky “performed oral sex on him more than 20 times through 2007 and early 2008. Sandusky also had Victim 1 perform oral sex on him one time and also touched Victim 1's penis with his hands during the 2001-2008 time period. Victim 1 did not want to engage in sexual conduct with Sandusky and knew it was wrong.” - Grand jury report
“I look at little girls and little boys and I wonder ‘How could anybody do anything so horrible to someone so precious?' I can only guess that they are hardwired differently from the rest of us, and that something terribly traumatic must have happened to them. Maybe they are doing it because they were abused, too. I'm not giving pedophiles a pass. We should put them in a mental hospital and study them so we can understand what is wrong with them.”
- Jimmy Carlino, survivor who first reported sexual abuse by Bob Oliva.
* * *
“On March 1, 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant who was then 28 years old entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus. As the graduate assistant entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and showers on. He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, 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 Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught. … The graduate assistant went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. His father told the graduate assistant to leave the building and come to his home.” - Grand jury report
“All I can think about is what that boy must have thought when he saw (then-graduate assistant, now-receivers coach Mike) McQueary. He must have thought ‘Salvation is here, a rescuer is here.' And instead, the rape and the violation continued. That moment must be as damaging as the abuse itself. How do you look into the eyes of somebody who is suffering like that and walk away?”
- New York filmmaker Chris Gavagan, who is working on a documentary about sexual abuse in sports and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his roller hockey coach.
* * *
“The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to promptly report what they had seen to Coach Joe Paterno, head football coach of Penn State. The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno's home, where he reported what he had seen. Joseph V. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate assistant's report at his home on a Saturday morning. Paterno testified that the graduate assistant was very upset. Paterno called Tim Curley, Penn State Athletic Director and Paterno's immediate superior, to his home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.” - Grand jury report
“People who are crying for Joe Paterno are saying ‘He did the right thing, he passed it along to his boss, it wasn't described as a rape, it was described as something of a sexual nature.' Well, isn't that enough to go to the police? A guy you employ is doing something of a sexual nature with a 10-year-old boy in a shower on campus and you don't go to the police? He was the most powerful man on that campus. The bottom line was Paterno was protecting one thing: Penn State and his legacy. That's all he cared about. He didn't care about the victims. The most insulting thing wasn't the rioting. The most insulting thing for me was watching Joe Paterno after he was fired saying, ‘Let's pray for the victims.' Well, there wouldn't so many victims if he had done something.”
- Anonymous, New York man who told the Massachusetts grand jury that indicted Oliva that the basketball coach had abused him, too.
* * *
“(Athletic director Bill) Curley testified that he advised Penn State University President Graham Spanier of the information he had received from the graduate assistant.Spanier testified to his approval of the approach taken by Curley. Curley did not report the incident to the University Police.” - Grand jury report
“Adults don't report because they diminish the impact the abuse has on a child compared to the impact reporting will have on the accused and their organization. They refuse to consider the lifelong impact abuse has on the child. Child abuse is often at the core of self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, sex and gambling addictions, depression and suicide.”
- Marion White, founder of the Child Abuse Prevention Program, a New York organization that teaches children to resist and report abuse.
* * *
“The investigation revealed the existence of Victim 4, a boy who was repeatedly subjected to Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse and Indecent Assault at the hands of Sandusky. The assaults took place on the Penn State University Park campus, in the football buildings, at Toftrees Golf Resort and Conference Center in Centre County, where the football team and staff stayed prior to home football games.Victim 4 became a fixture in the Sandusky household, sleeping overnight and accompanying Sandusky to charity functions and Penn State games.Victim 4 stated that Sandusky would wrestle with him and maneuver him into a position in which Sandusky's head was at Victim 4's genitals and Victim 4's head was at Sandusky's genitals. He testified that Sandusky also attempted to penetrate Victim 4's anus with both a finger and his penis. … Eventually, Victim 4 began to intentionally distance himself from Sandusky, not taking his phone calls and at times even hiding when Sandusky showed up at Victim 4's home. Victim 4 had a girlfriend, of whom Sandusky did not approve. Sandusky tried to use guilt and bribery to regain time with Victim 4. Victim 4 also said that Sandusky once gave him $50 to buy marijuana at a location known to Victim 4. Victim 4 smoked the marijuana in Sandusky's car on the ride home. This was when Victim 4 was trying to distance himself from Sandusky because he wanted no more sexual contact with him.” - Grand jury report
“I think from the time it happens until you are in your 20s, you have no understanding of it. You block it out. I know I blocked it out. As I got old enough, I began to understand all the things that were going wrong in my life - alcohol abuse, fights, all these things that were going on, when I looked back, I realized I wasn't going after the person I was fighting, I was going after the person that abused me. All that anger was misdirected. That's why people come out about it later in life, in their 30s. They are adults at that point. They understand things. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about it. When our case was over, people said, ‘I'm glad it is over for you.' I don't even bother to answer. No matter what happens, it is never over. You have to work to be happy and enjoy your life, but it is never over and you never forget it.”
* * *
“Victim 6 recalls being taken into the locker room next to Holuba Hall at Penn Sate by Sandusky when he was 11 years old, in 1998. Sandusky picked him up at his home, telling him they were going to be working out ... They then lifted weights for about 15 or 20 minutes. ... Then Sandusky began wrestling with Victim 6, who was much smaller than Sandusky. Then Sandusky said they needed to shower, even though Victim 6 was not sweaty. Victim 6 felt awkward and tried to go to a shower some distance away from Sandusky but Sandusky called him over, saying he had already warmed up a shower for the boy. While in the shower, Sandusky approached the boy, grabbed him around the waist and said, “I'm going to squeeze your guts out.” Sandusky lathered up the boy. Sandusky bear-hugged the boy from behind. Victim 6 testified that the entire shower episode felt very awkward. Looking back it as an adult, Victim 6 says Sandusky's behavior towards him as an 11-year-old boy was inappropriate. … When Victim 6 was dropped off at home, his hair was wet and his mother immediately questioned him about this. She reported the incident to University Police, who investigated.” - Grand jury report
“The first thing I would say to the victims is ‘You are my heroes.' They are my heroes because they took on a powerful establishment that wanted to hide this and push it under the rug. I know the courage it took to go forward. I had a lot of anger for years after my abuse. There was a wall around me - ‘Nobody can ever know about this. I'll be ridiculed. I'll be called a liar.' And that's exactly what happened. I remained silent for 23 years, but I was proud to be out and be public about it. I want these kids to know that I am available, that I will travel to Pennsylvania to help these boys. I've been sober for five years now. I'd be happy to stand by their side and let them know they can survive this.”
- Phil Repaci, former Nazareth High School student, first reported abuse by Mistretta.
* * *
“In the fall of 2000, a janitor named James “Jim” Calhoun observed Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch Building with a young boy pinned up against the wall, performing oral sex on the boy. Jim reported that he had seen Sandusky, whose name was not known to him, holding the boy up against the wall and licking on him. Jim said he had ‘fought in the (Korean) war, seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered. I just witnessed something in there I'll never forget.' And he described Sandusky as performing oral sex on the boy. In discussions held later that shift, the employees expressed concern that if they reported what Jim had seen, they might lose their jobs. No report was ever made by Jim Calhoun.” – Grand jury report
“I feel sorry for McQueary and the janitor. They had to witness it. That must have been traumatic. I'm tired of hearing people say what they would do if they saw this going on in the shower. Everybody says they would do the right thing. But how many people are willing to put their job on the line to do the right thing?”
- Jimmy Carlino
Always report suspected child abuse
by Dan Hillman
Penn State University. Joe Paterno. Cover-up. Those are captivating names and images – but this is not about them. This is about children, and about the fact that we are not protecting them.
We are not protecting children very well at all. When Darkness to Light: Stewards for Children – a leading child abuse prevention organization – reported last year that there are 39 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse, I was stunned. The Penn State “scandal” is captivating, yet it is not at all significant in the whole picture of child abuse.
It is more common for child abuse and child sexual abuse to not be reported. Children are threatened by perpetrators of abuse to not tell anyone. It takes tremendous courage on the part of child victims to make disclosures about their abuse. Adults owe it to children to be courageous, too.
The “scandals” of authorities going to great efforts to cover up child abuse and child sexual abuse within their organizations are common. Protecting alleged perpetrators – often predators who torture children – is common. We see this every week in our work at Child Enrichment.
PERSONALLY, I HAVE failed to gain any community or societal momentum in confronting the epidemic of child abuse. I do not know why our society has not risen up and crushed this insidious epidemic that is ruining the lives of millions of children and their families in the United States each year.
The two most important things about the Penn State story:
• The graduate assistant. Even though he is the only one who acted and reported, albeit one day later, he is being set up to be the bad guy now, 10 years later. This graduate assistant reported the sexual abuse of that innocent child to his superiors. That is more than most adults ever do in our society. He could have done it better and more effectively, but, he reported it.
• The words and sentiment of Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan: “I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach, or a university president, or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us.” That is the truth – irrefutable, simple, total and fully functional.
YOUR FEARS – OR whatever you may be thinking that keeps you from calling law enforcement if you know or suspect that a child is being mistreated – is mostly cowardice. If you fail to report, you are helping protect perpetrators of abuse and enabling more child victims to be tortured.
Sex offenders, some of whom have dozens of victims, are very careful and clever about finding opportunities to have access to children, and all parents should be very concerned if any adult – friend, family member, teacher, coach, clergy or other – seeks to spend significant amounts of time alone with your child.
All that matters in this simple decision about reporting is this: Do you suspect that a child is being abused, severely neglected or put at serious risk? If the answer is yes, make the call to the law enforcement office where the child abuse is happening, or to the local office.
Besides reporting suspected abuse and neglect, anyone can help abused children by supporting your local Child Advocacy Center, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. In Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties, you know us as Child Enrichment, and for our work to help child victims recover from abuse, trauma and torture. We work with law enforcement and the district attorney on many cases of child abuse or child sexual abuse. Last year, 695 child abuse victims received the specialized services of Child Enrichment.
CHILD ENRICHMENT is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit charity, and we need donations. We need volunteers, too. You can become a CASA and work with abused children until a safe permanent home can be found. You can also attend a Darkness to Light child abuse prevention program.
Look for a January 2012 presentation at www.ChildEnrichment.org. Also, support the fund-raisers Cookin' for Kids in March, and Art of Chocolate in the fall.
I beg you to summon the courage to report any suspected child maltreatment, and help save the emotional or physical life of a child today.
(The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment, the Child Advocacy Center and Court-Appointed Special Advocates.)
Scandal cries out for tougher child-abuse reporting law
by Michael Smerconish, Inquirer Columnist
Among the many things that need to change in the aftermath of the Penn State scandal is Pennsylvania law.
First, the commonwealth needs to require that any witness to child abuse must call the police. Second, the statute of limitations for civil claims against child abusers needs to be expanded.
Consider that when Mike McQueary saw a 10-year-old boy being raped in the shower at the campus' Lasch Football Complex, he was under no legal obligation to dial 911 - much less intervene. According to the grand jury report, on March 1, 2002, McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky, a retired Penn State coach, raping a boy believed to be about 10 years of age. The report makes no mention of any intervention.
Instead, the report says the 28-year-old graduate assistant told his father, and the father suggested he tell Joe Paterno, which he did the next day.
Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law was put on the books in 1975. The law imposes a child-abuse reporting mandate on any individual who comes into contact with children in the course of his or her work or professional practice - medical professionals, child-care workers, teachers - and has "reasonable cause to suspect" that the minor has been abused. The law requires these "mandatory reporters" to notify a person in charge or a designated agent, not the police.
Arguably, applying the law to McQueary, he discharged his duty when he reported what he'd seen to Paterno, his supervisor, not law enforcement.
"Shouldn't we all be mandatory reporters?" asks Mary C. Pugh, executive director of Montgomery Child Advocacy Project. "Who is expected to take care of abused and neglected children? I think everyone."
She notes that aside from "mandatory reporters" mentioned in the state law, Pennsylvania does not require the report of any crime against a child, however heinous.
"Common decency and the moral conscious dictates that a person try to stop the commission of a vile crime, like the rape of a child, or at the very least a report to authorities," Pugh said. "As a child advocate, I see too many children who have been abused physically and sexually, and many people knew or should have known. . . .
"Sadly, there is still a stigma about sexual abuse where people do not want to get involved - it is too dirty. Everyone needs to take ownership and protect the children who are being harmed by those whom they trust. It is our duty as people."
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden agrees with the idea of mandatory reportage for all. He has made the prosecution of child sex abuse a top priority. Next week, his efforts will be recognized by the national Darkness To Light Foundation for his work with the Stewards of Children program, which trains adults to recognize the signs of child abuse. In an e-mail, Biden told me:
"It is not a child's job to protect himself or herself from abuse, it is our job as adults. That is why in Delaware, everyone has a mandatory responsibility under the law to call our Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-292-9582) when we see a child in danger. When only one in 10 abused children reaches out for help, we know that it falls to the adults to see the signs and make the call."
In Pennsylvania, the law is insufficient when it comes to the civil recourse available for child sex-abuse victims.
State law generally provides that a claim for personal injury must be brought within two years of the wrongful act. However, if the victim was a minor when the wrongful act occurred, the two-year limitations period is extended until the age of 20. For example, in a medical-malpractice case, an injured child can file suit up until he turns 20.
In cases involving child sexual abuse, the victim has 12 years (not two) after turning 18 in which to file an action. But to get the benefit of these extra 10 years, there must be a showing of "forcible compulsion."
A 1988 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling demonstrates the deficiency.
In that case, the guardian of a 14-year-old girl threatened to send her to a detention home if she didn't submit to his demand for sex. The court said the threat did not meet the "forcible compulsion" test, making the victim ineligible to file a claim after she turned 20. In order to apply the shorter statute of limitations, the same defense might be tried against some of the Penn State victims.
"Some courts have interpreted 'forcible compulsion' narrowly, throwing out cases that should be allowed to proceed," explains Shanin Specter, a Philadelphia trial lawyer at a law firm where I maintain an affiliation. "But we all know that it can take years for a victim of child sexual abuse to be ready and able to vindicate their rights in court. So anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse should be allowed to bring their claim until 12 years after they become an adult - that is, by the age of 30."
Report any child abuse to police. Expand the time victims can have to seek justice. No one who reads the 23-page grand jury report can deny those changes are needed.
North Carolina Programs teach adults how to prevent abuse
by Gregory Childress
CHAPEL HILL –While it's good to teach young children what kind of touching and interaction is inappropriate, an official with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA said last week that adults must also learn techniques to prevent, recognize and act responsibly when children are sexually abused.
Tricia Smar, a prevention specialist who has been conducting training sessions to teach adults in Orange and Chatham counties how to prevent and recognize child abuse, said children need help protecting themselves from sexual predators.
Smar said young children, especially those under age 9, are especially vulnerable to predators because they are reluctant to tell adults no.
“Children are taught to respect adults and to listen to what they have to say,” Smar said.
Like the rest of the nation, local YMCA officials have been watching closely the events at Penn State where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been accused of sexually molesting eight boys.
“The allegations of abuse at Penn State are a tragedy -- they're heartbreaking,” says Kim Grooms, branch executive director of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA. “Our prayers are with the victims and their families.”
The scandal caused Penn State to fire legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who has been criticized for reporting the incident to his boss, but not the authorities.
And Penn State President Graham Spanier was also let go.
To better inform adults about ways to prevent child sexual abuse, last February the Y joined forces with Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization that attempts to prevent child sexual abuse by raising awareness and educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent child abuse.
So far, Smar, along with 21volunteer facilitators, have trained more than 500 adults in Orange and Chatham counties using Darkness to Light's award-winning prevention program, the “Stewards of Children” initiative. The three hour workshop is designed to teach adults how to recognize, prevent and responsibly react to incidents of child sexual abuse.
Smar said the adults that have undergone the training include YMCA staffers, targeted school personnel, day-care workers, church organizations and Big Brother and Big Sister mentors at UNC.
She said the statistics behind child sexual abuse illustrate the need for such programs:
|-- Nearly 70 percent of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
-- More than 90 percent of abusers are people that children know and trust, often someone in a position of authority.
-- There are an estimated 42 million survivors of sexual abuse living in the U.S. today.
In addition, Smar said one in four girls will experience sexual abuse and one in six boys.
Grooms said that while the allegations of abuse at Penn State have been heartbreaking, they have brought much-needed attention to a subject many adults are reluctant to discuss.
“But it's also a reminder that we must broach a subject that has long been considered too delicate to discuss,” Grooms said. “The only way to recognize, react and ultimately prevent child sexual abuse is to talk openly about it, as a community.”
Trainings are free and open to the public and include an interactive workbook and companion brochure titled “7 Steps to Protecting our Children.”
Youth sports organizations, coaches, camp counselors, teachers, schools, faith centers, other service organizations, and parents are especially encouraged to take advantage of the training.
And continuing education credits for professionals in various fields can also be obtained through this training.
For information about upcoming trainings and to sign up contact Kim Grooms at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 919.442.9622.
Child abuse prevention workshop offered Tuesday
by SARA PLUMMER
The nonprofit organization Empowering Adults - Protecting Children is offering a free presentation to families, teachers and child care workers this week on preventing child sexual abuse.
The presentation, "Deliver them from evil," is being offered Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Heart Church, 6215 S. 107th Ave. East. It is free and open to the public.
EAPC founder Sharon Doty is leading the presentation, which is an interactive theatrical program that aims to educate parents on 10 signs and behaviors of a potential sexual predator and how they groom children to be victims.
It also provides information on what to do if someone suspects abuse is happening and how to intervene.
Doty and a team of experts developed a prevention program for the U.S. Catholic Diocese. She founded Tulsa-based EAPC and now conducts trainings across the country.
For more on EAPC and the free presentation, go to tulsaworld.com/eapc
Too late to punish: Hillary Adams wants to extend limits on child abuse prosecution
Seeks change in limits on prosecution
by Mark Collette
CORPUS CHRISTI — The young woman who was 16 when she secretly recorded her father striking her with a belt said she hopes to see changes in laws that limit prosecution of past child abuse cases.
Hillary Adams, 23, said that in the days since the video she uploaded went viral on YouTube, garnering more than 6 million views, she struggled with whether her father, Aransas County family law Judge William Adams, should be prosecuted.
Despite her uncertainty, she wants abuse victims to have the option of pursuing criminal cases, she said, because she knows firsthand that children and teenagers don't always have the wherewithal to speak out until they're older, if ever.
"I want to change the statute of limitations to help some other people out of the situations they've been in," Adams said.
While many of her national TV appearances have focused on why she released the video and her hopes that her father eventually will participate in family counseling, Adams said she wants to use her notoriety in the long term to advocate against child abuse and lobby for changes to protect victims.
Part of the public outcry over the Adams video stems from the lack of prosecution. District Attorney Patrick Flanigan said he couldn't prosecute based on what's in the video because it happened seven years ago and the statute of limitations has expired.
Callers from around the world jammed Aransas County Courthouse phone lines with demands that something be done.
But determining time limits for prosecuting crimes is a weighty responsibility, said Pete Winckler, legislative aide to state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, whose district includes Aransas County.
Hegar will study the issue with input from Hillary Adams and could craft a bill for the next legislative session.
"Obviously this has been a pretty shocking event and case," Winckler said. "It's a sad situation, and you want to fix something like that, but you want to not create other problems in doing so."
Statutes of limitations are "a matter of legislative grace," said John Schmolesky, a law professor at St. Mary's University in San Antonio and editor of the Texas Criminal Practice Guide. "There's no constitutional entitlement to them, but there are a number of policy reasons why you might have a statute of limitations."
Evidence and witness testimony may be more scarce and less accurate over time, he said.
"Videotapes like this are indelible, and that's a pretty good record of what happened, but it's not always the case," Schmolesky said.
And limitations, in general, offer a measure of protection against a never-ending threat of prosecution.
"The prospect that you might be prosecuted is a terrible thing to live with, and it puts a limitation on that," Schmolesky said. "That seems to me to be a worthwhile limitation on prosecutorial power."
Winckler said determining limitations is a balancing act.
"The idea behind (limitations) is consistent with our notions of having a speedy trial and a fair defense," he said. "It's going to be more difficult for someone to defend themselves because memories fade."
State law has a catchall limitation of three years for felonies and two years for misdemeanors. But some charges carry different limitations or no limitation at all, as in the case of murder or certain sexual assaults.
Limitations sometimes factor in the quality of the evidence. For example, a sexual assault in which DNA evidence was collected has no limit on prosecution. And crimes in which solid documentary evidence is likely to be factor, such as forgery, are given intermediate limits of seven or 10 years.
If lawmakers debate whether to modify limitations for cases dealing with physical assault of children, they may consider whether they're making the law too complex or more difficult for law enforcement to apply, Schmolesky said.
In 2007 the state Legislature eliminated or extended statutes of limitations for many crimes against children, acknowledging that children may not be in a position to speak out until they're older, Winckler said.
"In Ms. Adams' case, I'm not sure what her recommendation should be," Winckler said. "We're about a year away from the next legislative session, so there's a lot of time to evaluate these things."
Adams said she wants to do more research.
"There's no doubt that the constituents raised the issue, and we need to at least look into it," said state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi.
There's uncertainty because different cases merit different charges that may carry different limitations, Winckler said.
Determining whether the charge would be a first- or second-degree felony, such as injury to a child, or a misdemeanor, such as assault, hinges on variables such as the victim's age, whether the victim is disabled, the nature of any injuries, and whether a weapon is used.
There's often no obvious reason why a certain limitation applies to an offense. Arson, for example, has a limitation of 10 years from the date of the crime, placing it on par with injury to an elderly or disabled person.
"Somebody 17 years, 11 months old can't be given the death penalty no matter how heinous a murder is committed, but if you're 18 years and one hour, you can be," Schmolesky said. "There are often arbitrary lines that have to be drawn in the law."
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
by Mary Lutz-Priefert, Family & Parenting Examiner
The very sad events surrounding the arrest of Jerry Sandusky and subsequent firing of Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier over Sandusky's alleged molesting of at least eight boy will be even more tragic if nothing is learned from it.
This offers parents of young children a strong teaching moment.
Traditionally child sexual abuse is thought of as mostly a crime where girls are victim, when in fact, according to a 2011 study by Jim Hopper, Ph.D one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 16.
Parents and educators should take this opportunity to teach their children about good touch and bad touch as well as stranger danger. However, it is most important here to realize that most sexual abuse of children is by someone that they know.
The messages for the child should be: “You have the right to keep your private parts private. If someone does touch you, it is NEVER your fault, no matter what the other person says. If someone touches you, TELL someone right away and if they don't listen keep telling until someone does believe you.
There are a number of good programs and resources for parents. Jan Hindman's, “A Very Touching Book” is a superb read. The Boy Scouts puts out a wonderful video called, “It Happened to Me”! In addition, the Boy Scouts has a “Youth Protection” training program that groups may borrow and really should use as part of staff and volunteer training.
Sandusky's alleged behavior makes the world feel less safe. It makes parents feel wary. There are things to keep in mind. Teaching your children to protect themselves helps keep them safe. Also, just as parents want to know everything about the people their children date, so must they know everything about the adults who are involved in their children's lives.
Pedophiles often groom the entire family, not just the child. In addition, choosing good programs increases this also. Good mentoring programs have safeguards that 2nd Mile did not.
The Team Mates program started by former Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne has rules in place to prevent this type of abuse. Mentors meet with their match once a week at the student's school.
The only exception is a group activity like going to a basketball game on a bus. Occasionally they can meet off campus, but only with a third party present. The Boy Scouts also forbid one-on-one meetings.
We all pray for the victims. We must assure them that all of the fallout this week is not their fault! Rather, it is their abusers fault. We must guarantee them that, from now on, we will ALWAYS report suspected abuse.
Finally, sexual abuse need not ruin a child's life. There are many very good therapists and programs that specialize in treating victims of child sexual abuse. Seek out a child advocacy program or mental health program in your community to access these services.
We have a responsibility to never ignore the suspicion of child abuse
With child sexual abuse being catapulted into the headlines with the Penn State University cover-up of alleged child sexual abuse, and the failure to report being so blatantly exposed, it is incumbent upon us to realize the magnitude of such a failure.
The Alabama Mandatory Reporting Law calls for criminal and civil penalties associated with the failure to report child abuse. The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention trained more than 1,200 health care providers, educators, professionals and para-professionals last year on the responsibility of those charged with the protection of children as it relates to the reporting requirements of child abuse.
Now we ask ourselves what damage has been inflicted upon these children who will now stand a greater risk of premature sexual involvement, teen pregnancy, mental illness, substance abuse and suicide. If you are not an active child advocate then simply look at the direct and indirect cost to the system --$520 million a year for taxpaying Alabamians.
Child sexual abuse is the most insidious form of child abuse in any culture, often the dirty family secret in more affluent families and ignored in the more depressed socio-economic demographic sectors of our society. It is now the time to become enraged about child sexual abuse and the scars it inflicts upon our children and communities.
The bottom line is children should not be tasked with the responsibility of protecting themselves. We are the adults and it is our responsibility to protect the least of ours. Child abuse is a problem that has affected up to 80 percent of individuals who populate our prison system. There will never be any accurate numbers on how many children are sexually abused in our society due to delayed disclosure (if ever), and the stigma associated with being a victim of child sexual abuse.
Let each of us learn a stark lesson from Penn State; do not ignore the suspicion of child abuse, do not ignore your obligation to Alabama's children.
We all want healthy families, healthy communities and it begins with each and every one of us.
Kelley Parris-Barnes is direc tor of the Alabama Department of Child Abuse Prevention Chil dren's Trust Fund.
Child Sexual Abuse Facts for Families
The Penn State scandal might have you thinking about the safety of your children. Child therapists say the best way to prevent abuse before it strikes is by working to create open and honest communication.
Licensed Counselor Wendy Summer of Charlottesville Counseling Services says the most important thing parents can do is open up lines of communication with their children, and check in with them early and often in a matter of fact way.
"When children know that they can come to their parents and talk to them, then that door is open and that right there is prevention," she stated.
Children who have experienced abuse often exhibit social withdrawal, sleep problems, and a variety of other issues. But Summer is quick to point out these warning signs don't always indicate abuse.
Click here for a list of common warning signs, and advice to help you start a conversation with your children.
Effects of abuse linger
by Columnist Michael Kelly
A friend from my youth has an idea how the child-abuse victims at Penn State must feel he himself was sexually abused for four years by his parish priest.
My friend, I'll call him Tim, came from a physically abusive home, his father an alcoholic. The parish priest groomed Tim, befriended him, allowed him to count out the Sunday collection.
The abuse started around fifth grade. Tim couldn't tell his parents; they'd never believe it. The priest tried to make the man-boy relationship seem holy.
"A weird part," Tim said, "is that he would pray before taking me into bed."
The abuse lasted through eighth grade, when the priest was transferred to another parish. When Tim was in his mid-40s, at times having suffered from anxiety and depression, he confronted his abuser, by then in his 80s.
"All I wanted him to say was, 'I'm sorry,'" Tim said. "When I told him how I felt about what had happened and what it had done to my life, even then he couldn't say he was sorry. He wrote me a letter that began, 'How can you embarrass me in front of the archbishop?'"
His mistreatment, amazingly, did not turn Tim away from the church. In fact, he himself became a priest, and by all accounts a good one. He is 63 and nearing retirement. Even as a boy, he was drawn to a career in the priesthood, and felt that his faith was "life-giving."
But the abuser seized upon the fact that Tim's parents were not churchgoers, saying that would prevent him from being accepted into a seminary unless the priest interceded. He would be a trusted mentor who would "help" the boy. I have seen Tim occasionally over the years and remember him as a teenager ² a great guy. Friendly, kind, fun, active.
As he explains: "It's amazing what a front you can put on." I hadn't a notion of his nearly lifelong pain until I innocently asked a year and a half ago how he'd enjoyed his career as a priest. Sitting at a picnic table with several friends, he said it was mostly good, but then, so to speak, he downloaded his story and stunned us.
I called him Friday to ask his reaction to what happened at Penn State, a former assistant coach, widely known and respected, accused of sexually abusing boys for years. And no one at the university stopping him, despite suspicions and even an eyewitness account.
The uproar over those failures, and the cover-up, led to the firing of the school president, Graham Spanier, and the legendary football coach, Joe Paterno. And to another national conversation about child sexual abuse.
"It just boggles my mind how that whole situation at Penn State was handled," Tim said. "I can't imagine somebody walking into a shower room, seeing what was going on and not doing something about it right then. For me, this stirs up a whole lot of feelings."
In his own case, the abuse took place behind locked doors in the bedroom of the parish rectory. The priest told him not to tell anyone. Tim wouldn't because he was ashamed and didn't think anyone would believe him.
"Who would ever think of a priest doing something like that?" Tim asked, reflecting the naive mindset of most of us in that era. "I was afraid if I told my parents, I'd get in more trouble at home."
And so, even though it wasn't his fault, he carried his perceived disgrace silently.
"For years and years," he said, "I felt shame, a lack of image and self-worth. So I was a real driven person. I tried to prove myself to people. I never wanted anybody to know about this."
Only years later, he said, did he find out that the priest also had sexually abused other grade-school classmates.
"My best friend growing up, he was abused, too. Neither of us knew about the other." In the seminary in the 1970s, Tim told his story to a psychologist. No one called authorities. Tim said he didn't even think of doing so because "that's not how it was handled back then."
And so the abusing priest moved from parish to parish. "That's what they did in those days ² they transferred them from one place to the next." Even as Tim served and counseled families at important times in their lives, from baptisms to marriages to funerals, almost no one knew his story.
In the early-to-mid 1990s, though, he finally "got up the courage" to tell authorities in his archdiocese. At first, he was told there were no other reports about the priest, but Tim didn't believe that. He persisted, angrily.
Sure enough, he said, previous reports were found. The old priest had retired, and a meeting was arranged. The abuser, who had given absolution to many for their sins, was unrepentant.
Tim stood to leave, saying final words to his abuser: "I feel sorry for you." Despite what he had experienced and learned, the breadth of the priest sexual-abuse scandal that became public a decade ago stunned Tim. "It was like a bombshell," he said. "I was shocked at some of the priests, particularly at my old high school."
Children today are educated about "good touch, bad touch," and aren't as clueless as earlier generations. Laws have been passed requiring that suspicions be reported to authorities. You think we have a handle on the problem. And then Penn State happens. Another authority figure, in this case, a man who had started a mentoring program to help children from struggling families ² is charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse.
"They protected the institution," Tim said. "That's part of what was going on with the church." My old friend has endured health problems of late, including a leg infection that left him hospitalized and two mini-strokes, but says he feels better. His evil, sick abuser is dead.
The general awareness of child sexual abuse is heightened. But as Penn State shows, the problem is not behind us. The effects, Tim said, will be felt for at least another couple of generations. And victims will continue to hide their pain. Why men prey sexually on boys and in some cases, even pray fervently over them before violating them is difficult to fathom.
"I don't know if anybody understands it," Tim said. "Even after all this time, I can't say that I understand it. People don't realize what longterm effects something like this will cause."
Joining the fight against exploitation
by ATTY. GENERAL MARTHA COAKLEY
Right now, there are millions of people across our country being bought and sold for sex and labor. They are as young as 11 years old, from all backgrounds and ethnicities, from cities and suburbs, and, yes, from right here in Massachusetts.
Will you help put an end to it?
Human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations that we see in our world today. It is a heinous crime of exploitation that involves forcing people to work for others for profit, whether through labor or sexual exploitation. Experts estimate that, world-wide, 27 million people are trafficked annually bringing in $32 billion dollars, making it the second largest and fastest growing black market in the world.
The average age of entry into the sex trade is children, often domestic young girls, between the ages of 11-13 years old. They are lured into the life at these frighteningly young ages, and then forced to stay there by their pimps — often through extreme violence and threats — to meet the demand for the commercial sex trade. I have met many of these young victims. One girl described how she was lured into the life at age 12 by a pimp who promised to care for her and love her. She was then repeatedly raped, beaten, and abused by her pimp while he forced her to sell her body on the streets for years.
The growth of the Internet has only made this kind of exploitation more extensive by taking it off the streets and out of our sights into hotel rooms . Pimps can easily recruit child victims online, and then use websites to sell them to any John with a computer or an iPhone. These girls no longer solely walk the streets of the former “combat zone,” but rather are bought and sold out of the sight of law enforcement and social services.
Each of us can be part of the solution to end the sale of others for profit.
First, you can support legislative efforts to give law enforcement the tools to go after these egregious crimes and offer critical victim services. Today, Massachusetts is one of just three remaining states in this country that does not have a Human Trafficking law. Our office, along with a coalition of advocates, including lead sponsors Senator Mark Montigny and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene O'Flaherty, filed a comprehensive bill to correct that.
It attacks the problem by addressing three aspects of the issue — traffickers who supply victims, johns who create demand, and victim services. The bill creates the crimes of sex and labor trafficking and increases the penalties for those who purchase trafficked sex or labor. Additional provisions create a “safe harbor” to allow trafficked children to be treated as victims and establish a process to ensure that young victims receive the necessary support to move forward in their lives.
The bills have passed the House and Senate and are currently in conference committee, and we are hopeful that it will be passed into law soon.
Human trafficking is a far-reaching issue, however. The solutions go well beyond this legislation and will be achieved only by action from many different individuals.
You don't need to be an expert in human trafficking to make a difference.
You can offer your time or financial support to charities that provide services to victims. You can join the call for sites such as backpage.com to pull down their adult services sections that help facilitate the sex trade. Men can speak out against Johns who purchase young girls for sex — if there is no demand,there is no need for supply. Parents individually and through PTO's can help educate children on how to protect themselves online. Nurses and hotel or restaurant workers can seek to get trained to identify victims and help them access services.
Everyone has an opportunity to use their skills and talents to end this exploitation and help its victims. Let us all join that fight.
Martha Coakley is the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Obama: "Soul-searching" from Penn State scandal
CORONADO, Calif. - President Barack Obama says the Penn State sex-abuse scandal should lead to "soul-searching" by all Americans, not just Penn State.
"Obviously what happened was heartbreaking, especially for the victims, the young people who got affected by these alleged assaults," he told Westwood One Radio in an interview Friday night, in his first public comments on the scandal.
"And I think it's a good time for the entire country to do some soul-searching — not just Penn State. People care about sports, it's important to us, but our No. 1 priority has to be protecting our kids. And every institution has to examine how they operate, and every individual has to take responsibility for making sure that our kids are protected."
The Penn State scandal has cost several university officials their jobs, most notably longtime football coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier. They were fired because trustees felt they did not do enough to alert law enforcement authorities after an alleged assault in March 2002 by Jerry Sandusky, Paterno's former assistant and onetime heir apparent, who has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years.
Penn St. trustees seek way forward amid scandal
Penn State's McQueary put on administrative leave
Obama said that the scandal shows that "you can't just rely on bureaucracy and systems in these kinds of situations. People have to step forward, they have to be tapping into just their core decency." When kids are mistreated — or anyone, for that matter — "all of us have to step up, we don't leave it to somebody else to take responsibility."
Obama spoke at halftime of a college basketball game — the Carrier Classic — between No. 1 North Carolina and Michigan State, held on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The president, a huge basketball fan, also discussed the NBA lockout.
"It's killing me!" he said. But he said he had no plans to intercede.
"My attitude is that, in a contest between billionaires and millionaires, they should be able to figure out how to divvy up their profits in a way that serves their fans who are allowing them to be making all this money," Obama said. He made a similar comment about the NFL lockout a few months ago.
The president was also asked about a new policy approved by the NCAA allowing conferences to add up to $2,000 annually to athletic scholarships to help cover the full cost of attendance. While saying he wasn't familiar with the specific proposal, Obama said he supported the general idea that student athletes stay amateur but also have all of their expenses covered.
"They're bringing in billions of dollars into all the institutions that they support," he said. "I hope that we're able to preserve that sense of amateur athletics that makes college sports so terrific."
Obama said that even though he plays golf, basketball remains his favorites sport.
"I play golf for two reasons. One, it's my only excuse to get outside, and two, I'm getting too old to play basketball," the 50-year-old chief executive said. "But when it comes to true love, basketball will always be first in my heart."
Blueout to focus on victim support
UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State football fans will have a chance today to show their dedication to the victims of the university's alleged child sex abuse scandal and to all victims of child abuse.
Instead of attendees being encouraged to wear white to today's game - a traditional whiteout - the official Penn State football Facebook page has urged its fans to participate in a blueout instead.
The post is littered with hundreds of comments that support the decision while others denounce it as purely a public relations move.
For one of the event organizers, Laura March, a PSU graduate student and assistant at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, it's simply about taking a tragedy and doing something constructive. March and some friends read about the sexual abuse charges on Sunday and decided to take action.
"The more we read, the more emotional we got and the more distraught we became," March said. "In my studies with art education, one of the things is trying to come up with constructive ways to channel your emotions and making something positive and looking toward the future when tragedies happen like this."
March knew that the coming football game on Saturday was an official whiteout.
After learning that the color for child abuse awareness was dark blue, it became clear what needed to happen. March's friend Therese Jones, Class of 2009, had created the Facebook event and through social media, the event took off.
"By the second day, I think we had 800 people who had confirmed to attend and the third day it was over 2,000," March said.
As of Thursday evening, the event had more than 10,000 confirmed attendees and counting.
March, Jones, and fellow event organizer Stuart Shapiro, a graduate student, approached McLanahan's Penn State Room, 414 E. College Ave., about designing an official shirt for the blueout. Proceeds will go to Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, an organization aimed at preventing child abuse by raising awareness.
McLanahan's was glad to carry the shirts, store Manager Jennifer Schoch said.
"We've done things like this before. We did a Virginia Tech shirt. We currently sell scarves for kidney cancer, so this is just one more good thing to do," Schoch said.
When the store announced they'd be selling the shirts on Wednesday, student demand went through the roof, she said. So much so that they couldn't allow students to reserve the shirts.
"It was just an overwhelming response so it's just first-come, first-serve," Schoch said. "We probably had 15 phone calls in 10 minutes."
Theresa Olsen, acting director of Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, said she learned of the fundraising efforts through social media.
"I think it's great that people are talking about it and, by virtue of Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania being named as the beneficiary, I hope people really are focusing on prevention," Olsen said. "We definitely see this whole Penn State situation as an opportunity [for parents] to talk with their children about child abuse."
Kristen Houser, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, said she hopes this event will bring more focus to victims, including the alleged victims involved in the recent scandal, instead of focusing on the administration and the end of former head coach Joe Paterno's career.
"Something like the blueout helps bring the focus back to showing support for sexual assault survivors. This is about creating a culture that will be open and supportive to hearing kids tell what's happened to them," Houser said. "The message we're really trying to get out is that protecting kids from sexual abuse is an adult responsibility that every adult in the country needs to take seriously."
The coalition works at the state and national levels to prevent sexual violence. Houser said the organization operates the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Vision of Hope fund, which assists birth mothers in need.
Houser said national sexual abuse incidents like this most recent one can lead to positive and negative consequences when it comes to reporting sexual abuse.
"When major stories hit the national media, we see two things happening depending on what that case looks like. Sometimes people come out and do report because there's been such an outcry and it's been supportive," Houser said.
But in other instances, it can cause silence for fear of backlash. In this particular case, Houser said, the sight of student riots in response to the firing of someone involved with the scandal could deter victims from reporting.
"I think we had a horrible demonstration Wednesday night," Houser said. "There are an awful lot of people that value other things more and that's not a very welcoming environment to disclose something as personal and traumatic as being sexually assaulted."
Besides the blue shirts available at McLanahan's, those attending the game will be able to find blue ribbons and educational materials being distributed outside the stadium on game day by Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, March said.
"I personally was hoping to organize something and work with others to foster a constructive voice," March said. "I feel that creating that positive, or at least constructive, use of our time and energies will hopefully work toward a greater good, and work toward not having this happen again."
Sexual abuse survivors react to Penn State scandal
(Video on site)
DENVER - Survivors of sexual abuse have watched the images and the heard the words coming from Penn State this week. Some say it has been painful to watch.
Others say the sexual abuse revelations against former coach Jerry Sandusky have given them a new voice.
"I actually feel like this is a chance for people to look at this, to look at this issue," Kemi Chavez said.
Chavez was abused sexually as a young child and into her teenage years.
She is now a survivor who speaks about her experience to help others.
Chavez is a stay-at-home-mom and a wife, and runs an online effort called Protecting Childhood, to help prevent childhood sexual abuse.
She is also a member of the WINGS Foundation, another organization supporting the prevention of childhood sexual abuse.
She has watched the events at Penn State this week closely.
"There's a lot of kids out there who have been sexually abused," Chavez said. "And there's a lot of Joe [Paternos] out that know what's going on, and are doing the minimum or nothing about it. And it hurts to know that people can be that insensitive to another human, particularly a child."
Chavez also says schools must be doing more to educate young people.
She is not the only sexual abuse survivor speaking out this week.
David Jensen has worked with the WINGS Foundation since 1999. Jensen was abused by his father at a young age.
"If they could just hear the stories, the horrible things that happen to men as children sexually, I mean literally, the hard core facts and the horrific things that people have done to us as little kids," Jensen said. "Then you can understand that it's time to do everything we can to work on this and put an end to the horrible suffering of children that are defenseless."
Jensen says his work with the WINGS foundation will continue, as he speaks more about preventing abuse.
The WINGS Foundation serves anyone 18 and older who has experienced childhood sexual abuse. They also help loved ones and professionals to educate them on how to handle abuse.
Protecting Childhood is an online effort to promote childhood sexual abuse awareness.
"We don't have pictures of the millions of defenseless children that have been abused," the website says. "We don't have a song that can haunt you with heartbreaking images every time you hear it. We only have the desire to protect children, which we can't do without your help."
Boise man speaks out about growing up with child sexual abuse
by Tina Jensen
November 10, 2011
In the wake of the Penn State scandal, one local man is speaking out about growing up in the dark shadow of child sexual abuse and why he says it's everyone's job to speak up.
27-year-old Matt Pipkin was only 5 years old when he was sexually abused. He was angered at the images of Penn State students rioting in the streets over Joe Paterno's exit.
“I was pretty upset that there are all these kids who were abused in terrible ways and all they're thinking about is football,” he said. “I read that Grand Jury testimony and it is awful.”
It's the same frustration shared by local Penn State alum, who say what happened to the lives of the victims and their families is more important than football.
“I was deeply disappointed and saddened for the victims of this alleged crime,” said Boise attorney Kahle Becker. “I grew up with Penn State being an institution that stood for honor and integrity.”
The same thing that caused the Penn State scandal – silence - is why Pipkin started the organization Commit 65. The goal is to get victims, as well as anyone who knows anything, to speak up. He's using an upcoming 65 day world record flight to bring awareness to the issue.
“I'm really glad that people are getting upset, really thinking about it and speaking up,” he said. “If people start to just speak up – things are going to change.”
Penn State tragedy shines light on child sexual abuse
After the arrests, firings, riots and implosion of an icon, is there any good to be found in the Penn State scandal?
Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, eavesdrop on the table next you at lunch. People are talking about the most hush-hushed problem in America.
Child sexual abuse is everywhere, yet it is nowhere. We suspect it, but we don't. We know it, but we look away.
“The cover-up and deception among officials has the effect of changing the proud name of Penn State from Nittany Lions to Nittany Liars.”
That was the statement from Lauren's Kids, an organization that promotes awareness and prevention of child sexual abuse. This week's scandal has given the movement a rallying cry.
Everybody is asking how such a thing could happen. If we realized how big the crime wave is, maybe we'd be more inclined to do something about it.
Various studies show 40 to 60 million Americans have been sexually abused. It is estimated that nearly one out of every three girls and one out of every six boys will be assaulted by age 18.
Sexual abuse is the nation's most under-reported crime. At best, 10 percent of the violence gets police attention. And even when reported to police, it is the crime that keeps on giving.
“I learned at an early age not to trust anybody.”
So read an email from a victim. “Katherine” wrote me as all hell was breaking loose in State College.
While Penn State students tried to turn Joe Paterno into a martyr, people like Katherine had no problem identifying the real victims.
They will suffer various degrees of depression, self-loathing, guilt and shame. If they're lucky, they learn to cope and overcome like Katherine.
If they're not, they end up like Ashley Billasano. Before committing suicide this week, the Texas teenager sent out 144 tweets detailing years of sexual abuse by a family member and other adults.
Statistics say 90 percent of victims knew the perpetrator. A youth pastor molested Katherine. She said church officials ignored her story and just moved the pastor along.
It's all too typical. People can't believe a respected figure would molest a child. Or they don't want to believe.
Jerry Sandusky was certainly a respected figure. Like all those convicted Catholic priests, he had a feeder system. His Second Mile program ostensibly aided underprivileged children.
Kids get nurturing, gifts, overnight trips and subtle manipulation. Tickling sessions turn into fondling and worse. There's a lack of supervision. The kids become confused and petrified.
Victim 1 was 11 years old when he met Sandusky. His mother didn't know the ex-coach was pulling her son out of school, much less what they would do next.
“I didn't know what to do,” the boy told her. “You just can't tell Jerry no.”
Organizations like Lauren's Kids say look for warning signs. Sandusky was “clingy” and “very controlling with the mentoring relationships,” according an assistant principal.
Parents should assure children they can talk about anything and not get in trouble. They should check the background of would-be mentors.
“I want to scream to parents that they must protect their children,” Katherine said. “If they won't, who will?”
Certainly not the Penn State Athletic Department. All the red flags were there with Sandusky. If people thought he was knocking over 7-Elevens, the crime spree would have ended years ago.
You can't have a common thief around campus. But a suspected child molester? People bury their suspicions or look the other way.
“They are not innocent bystanders,” Katherine said. “They actually become part of the problem and enable the abusers to continue.”
Nobody's looking away now. The nation's eyes and ears have been transfixed on sudden fall of the Paterno Empire.
It's sadly ironic that the lack of action has raised such outrage. That future victims might be saved because Penn State officials turned their backs on these.
At least the Nittany Liars are good for something.
Penn State puts Mike McQueary, who reported sexual abuse, on leave
Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, whose grand jury testimony led eventually to public disclosure of the child sex-abuse allegations engulfing the school, was placed on administrative leave Friday afternoon.
The news came after the university said McQueary, who has received numerous threats, wouldn't be attending Penn State's game Saturday against Nebraska.
For some — including Penn State fans who blame McQueary for costing legendary coach Joe Paterno his job and damaging the football program's reputation — an indefinite administrative leave is not good enough. They want him fired — now. "How is it Mike McQueary, who saw the incident, [is] still employed and JoePa, who never saw anything [is] out of the job?" asked one commenter on Twitter.
DOCUMENT: Read the grand jury report
McQueary told a grand jury that he witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in a campus shower in 2002. McQueary did nothing to interrupt the violence and instead reported it to Paterno, who relayed the account to Penn State's athletic director. The school never reported the information to law enforcement.
The athletic director and Penn State's president have been charged criminally in the case for amid allegations that they tried to cover up the alleged abuse to protect the school's reputation and its football program.
Paterno, who the state attorney general has said isn't a target in the case, also was fired in a move the board of trustees depicted as an effort by Penn State to put the scandal behind it.
Sandusky now faces 40 charges of child abuse and assault allegations and up to 460 years if convicted. He maintains his innocence.
As for McQueary, who reportedly is being paid while on administrative leave , some are asking why he wasn't fired outright, given that he didn't stop the assault or call police. Neither the school nor the police are saying.
One theory is that McQueary is being protected in exchange for his testimony. Another theory is that McQueary's job is protected by whistle-blower laws.
Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, told ESPN that there is a higher standard for the head coach than a then-28-year-old graduate assistant: "You have to look at where the employee is on the totem pole," Kohn said. "There are different expectations at different levels. ... The last thing you want to do is create an environment where people don't even tell the supervisor."
Missoula woman reported sex abuse suspect despite firing warning
A 23-year-old Missoula woman earning $10.50 an hour said she did what anyone would have done when suspecting potential child abuse.
Michelle Lewis called police.
"I just didn't think I could have made a morally different decision," Lewis said.
That's despite the fact, she said, that her supervisors at Three Rivers Mental Health Solutions warned she'd lose her job if she made the report about one of the counseling center's clients.
Police charged that client, John Gribble, with sexually abusing a child.
And Three Rivers fired Michelle Lewis.
As has become painfully clear with the revelations about an apparent cover-up of child sex abuse allegations against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, Lewis was wrong in assuming her sense of duty was universal.
Penn State wasn't on the national radar when Lewis called Missoula police on Oct. 17. But the paperwork outlining the child pornography accusations against Gribble was filed Nov. 7, two days after the news about Sandusky broke.
Lewis said she hasn't been paying much attention as Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and president Glenn Schultz resigned, and then famed coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were fired. On Friday, Penn State placed assistant coach Mike McQueary - who told Paterno but not police that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy - on administrative leave.
Lewis, meanwhile, has been busy looking for work to replace the only job she'd held since graduating from the University of Montana.
She was a member of Three Rivers' rehabilitation and support staff, helping clients with tasks such as shopping and going to doctors' appointments. Sometimes, she said, she went to their homes for "socialization" - basically, keeping them company.
"A lot of the clients are depressed" and risk becoming too isolated, she said.
Gribble was one of those clients.
In an interview Friday, Lewis reiterated the account outlined in the affidavit of probable cause against Gribble, filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks.
She was at Gribble's house one day when he told her he wanted to show her something on his computer, which is hooked up to a 52-inch TV screen. Even from her seat across the living room, she said, she could read the words in his browser window as he clicked through it, looking for a previous site.
She read "female child nude" and "preteen nude girls by themselves."
"I wrote it down real quick," she said. "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I'm not a counselor. I brought it back to the owners of Three Rivers."
But, she said, "they just told me that it wasn't my place to report it."
Earlier this week, Three Rivers administrator Shea Hennelly said the incident, along other concerns about Gribble reported by Lewis, did not meet the criteria mandating a police report. Hennelly did not respond to a message from the Missoulian on Friday.
But Lewis said Gribble's behavior "has been an issue for a while," with other employees.
Melissa Worthan of Missoula, who worked as a personal care assistant for Summit Independent Living Center, said that company had dropped Gribble as a client after she and other workers complained about him two years ago.
"He would talk about how he enjoyed and got excited to spank little girls across his knees when they were naked," she said.
Worthan said she took her concerns both to supervisors at Summit, and to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, but that at the time there was no evidence that Gribble had contact with children. The sheriff's office confirmed that Worthan had contacted them.
Summit immediately dropped Gribble as a client, she said.
Missoula police executing a search warrant at Gribble's home last month found a DVD with photos of children, "some prepubescent in a state of undress," according to the charging documents. The charge against him of sexually abusing a child specifies that he possessed child pornography.
Montana law requires certain professionals and officials to report actual or suspected abuse or neglect of a child.
When Lewis cared for Gribble, he told her that he was baby-sitting for two single mothers, each of whom had young daughters. "Lewis feels very apprehensive about this family's safety, which is one of the reasons she is telling authorities about Gribble," the affidavit said.
Hennelly, the Three Rivers administrator, said that while Three Rivers had warned another mother about Gribble in the past, Lewis couldn't supply the names of the families for whom he recently baby-sat.
Hennelly said Three Rivers requires five criteria before breaking patient confidentiality - involvement of a client, communication to a professional, a threat to a child's safety, an identifiable third party, and the apparent intent and ability to harm a child. In Gribble's case, "we ultimately determined we shouldn't do it," he said earlier this week.
Hennelly said Lewis' report to police was among several reasons she was fired.
Lewis said Friday that was the only reason she was given.
She reported Gribble to police on a Monday and was called in to Three Rivers the following Sunday, when she was fired, she said. She said she requested notification in writing and received a one-sentence letter saying she'd been terminated for violating company policy.
Chris Nygren of Milodragovich, Dale, Steinbrenner & Nygren said he's exploring legal action on Lewis' behalf.
Meanwhile, said Lewis, she's living off her last paycheck and the generosity of "a very supportive boyfriend and family."
After the Missoulian reported the charges against Gribble, she began to hear from friends who'd read the news on various websites around the country. Meanwhile, a stream of emails, telephone calls and online comments to the Missoulian, also from around the country, repeatedly termed Lewis a hero.
She rejects the label.
"If I were in that same situation as those kids, I'd appreciate it if somebody would have talked about it," she said.
Paterno and company didn't.
But Michelle Lewis did.
Bringing a difficult issue to light
Workshop to help adults identify signs of child sexual abuse
by TRACI L. WEISENBACH
HURON COUNTY — The statistics are alarming. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before age 18.
It's something people don't want to think about, let alone talk about. We'd like to believe this type of horrendous behavior doesn't exist. We don't want to believe there are people who will take a child's innocence away in such an abominable manner.
However, it does happen. The recent headlines about former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and the ensuing controversy bring the issue of child sexual abuse right in the middle of the national spotlight. Children around the nation — and in the Upper Thumb — are becoming victims by those they thought they could trust. Some cases get reported, but many do not. The abuse can carry on for years, shrouding a child's life with dark clouds of guilt and emotional pain, robbing him or her of the sunny childhood every child should have a right to enjoy.
While child sexual abuse may not be able to be completely stopped, a community can take action on lessening the number of incidents as well as the severity of the incidents. Huron County is doing so with a program called Stewards of Children — Darkness to Light.
Darkness to Light is a prevention training program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for organizations that serve youth and for individuals concerned about the safety of children. It is the only nationally distributed, evidence based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors.
The first workshop is scheduled for 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at North Huron School. Melissa Stirrett, a parent educator with the Huron Intermediate School District, is the authorized facilitator. She has trained more than 70 community members, including EMTs, clergy members, social workers, teachers, parents, grandparents, social workers and others who wished to learn more about protecting children.
A free dinner will begin at 5 p.m. Free childcare also is being offered. A grant from the Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) Council made the free dinner and childcare possible.
People can register for the workshop by calling Shirley at (989) 269-6406.
The workshop will include a three-part DVD presentation integrating commentary from sexual abuse survivors, experts in the field and other concerned adults, all providing practical guidance for preventing and responding to sexual abuse. An interactive workbook, also included in the workshop, is designed to facilitate discussion, reinforce key concepts and serve as a resource guide and personal action plan for resolving child sexual abuse.
Stirrett will lead discussions during the workshop about important issues in sexual abuse prevention and the relevance of these issues within the community and organizations that serve children.
The Stewards of Children program will be offered quarterly throughout the year.
“As a parent, it is not enough to teach your children that there are places on their bodies that are private,” Stirrett said. “You need to take it a step further. It is your responsibility to protect your children from situations where abuse can take place. You also need to know what to do if your child tells you that they are being abused or if one of their friends confides in you that they are being sexually abused. ... We can no longer act like this isn't affecting our children and their friends.”
Stirrett said providers of programming and services for youth can play a critical role in protecting the lives of children as well as helping to put an end to child sexual abuse by implementing a comprehensive child protection program and training staff and volunteers.
“Ask any organization that has experienced a case of sexual abuse and they will tell you that knowing what they know now, there is no amount of time that would have been too great to spend on prevention and educating their staff and volunteers,” Stirrett said. “Now is the time to set a new standard within our community. Make the commitment for the long term well being of your organization and for the precious children in your care. You can be a leader to our community as well as a leader among other youth serving organizations by setting a higher standard and showing that you will do whatever it takes to keep children safe when they are with you.”
Stirrett noted out of those children who are victims of sexual abuse, 90 percent are abused by someone they know and trust.
“Perpetrators go out of their way to earn the trust of their peers, parents and children,” she said. “They are often the model employee or volunteer, perhaps even considered ‘the best.' We cannot assume that someone's role in the community will make them a safe caretaker.”
Stirrett said organizations without child protection policies and procedures are easy targets for potential abusers.
“Now is the time to put actions behind your intention of keeping the children you serve safe,” she said. “The only way you can ensure your organization will always be abuse-free is to put preventative measures in place immediately.”
For more information on the upcoming workshop, call Melissa Stirrett at (989) 269-3489 or email her at email@example.com
. People also can visit www.D2L.org
for more information.
An assistant principal in a Mount Vernon elementary school watched as a father hit his son in the head twice.
As part of that allegation, according to police reports and a civil lawsuit, the administrator, Ralph Burts, left the father, a custodian in the school, and son alone in the room where the boy ultimately ended up with a fractured skull.
Burts never reported the 2009 incident to police, one of several cases in recent years in the Lower Hudson Valley that mirrors the controversy embroiling Penn State University: authority figures failing to report serious allegations of abuse.
"It's institutional cover-up," said Laura Schwartz, executive director of the White Plains-based Child Abuse Prevention Center of New York. "The fact that they couldn't put the children first, whatever their priorities were, that they couldn't protect these children, it's horrendous."
The controversy at Penn State — in which beloved football coach Joe Paterno did not report to police allegations that his defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, had raped several boys — has left the public asking the same question: Why?
Why would someone not immediately report suspected abuse, particularly of a child?
Experts say the issue goes beyond the national and common cover-ups involving the Catholic Church hiding acts of rape committed by priests and colleges not reporting on-campus sexual assaults. Individuals, even those in dozens of professions considered "mandatory reporters," who by law must report all suspected abuse, may not divulge it out of deference to a venerable institution.
Supervisors may fear the loss of their job if the perpetrator is a subordinate, while other people keep quiet out of a sense of friendship or loyalty.
But it's crucial for those who learn of abuse to report it quickly, even if victims choose not to, said Thomas Zugibe, Rockland County's district attorney.
"A person who has been victimized is not in a position to make that decision on their own," he said. "There's an element of domination and control by the offender over the victim, who is absolutely petrified and doesn't feel they can go forward."
In a civil lawsuit about to go to trial, Laura Bliss of Putnam Valley claims that, as a child, she was drugged and raped in a middle school classroom by a teacher, Dennis Tave, in 2001.
The suit, in U.S. District Court in White Plains, which seeks $17 million in damages, contends school administrators knew of allegations that Tave had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with other female students but failed to report them. Bliss' alleged abuse continued for two years until she finally came forward, according to the suit.
There was no criminal indictment in the case, and a 2008 state Commission of Investigation report criticized how school officials, police and prosecutors handled it. Tave declined comment, and school officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
At Penn State, it's alleged that Paterno and other athletics officials were made aware of Sandusky's alleged crimes but, instead of reporting it to police or university officials, they took only minor steps to monitor him and attempted to limit his access to children in an outside youth program.
"Penn State had a reputation that they had to uphold. The football team is very powerful," said Schwartz, a member of the Westchester Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. "They end up with tunnel vision that the most important thing at the time is the institution (and) they don't protect the children."
In December 2005, an official at Bedford Hills Elementary School became aware of allegations that a young female student had sex with an adult male.
The girl had told other students, at least one of whom told a parent. The parent is said to have informed Principal Victoria Graboski, who didn't pass it along, and the abuse continued another six months.
Graboski later faced criminal charges for not reporting the allegation.
The misdemeanor charges against her were ultimately dismissed. She was later rehired by the district as a special-education teacher and agreed to take part in a public education campaign about reporting suspected abuse.
Jere Hochman, Bedford's superintendent, said the district trains all of its staff on abuse-reporting requirements. He was not with the district at the time of the incident and could not say whether employees regularly received such training in the past.
When abuse victims are not believed or don't receive immediate help after divulging their abuse, the psychological damage can be deepened, Schwartz said.
Worse, said Zugibe, silence empowers abusers.
"You're allowing more victims to be created going forward if you don't act on it," he said.
Prosecutor: Child sexual abuse severity on the rise
by TRACI L. WEISENBACH
November 11, 2011
HURON COUNTY — While Huron County is revered by people in the area as a wonderful place to raise children, it doesn't make the area exempt from child sexual abuse. Contrary to what some may believe, cases of sexual abuse don't just happen in low income families or split families.
“It really runs the gamut,” said Huron County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Rutkowski. “It's happening in all walks of life.”
Because of the seriousness of child sexual abuse and its prevalence, Rutkowski hopes people will attend the upcoming Darkness into Light workshop from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at North Huron Schools. Melissa Stirrett, a parent educator with the Huron Intermediate School District, is the authorized facilitator. A free dinner, compliments of a grant from the Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) Council, will be offered from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Free childcare also is offered.
Rutkowski said the workshop is important to the community because it brings to light important aspects of sexual abuse that shouldn't be ignored, because ignorance of the issues won't make them go away. In fact, it only makes it worse for those dealing with it.
“When people hear about sexual abuse, they often cringe and squirm. They don't want to hear about it,” he said.
He's heard prospective jurors say they can't hear a case dealing with child sexual abuse because the details would be too difficult to bear.
The workshop can help strengthen the community's ability to responsibly take action when child sexual abuse takes place, Rutkowski said.
“People can learn about clues to look out for, so the victims can get help sooner, before the abuse goes on for years,” he said. “I hope people come and take advantage of this (workshop).”
Rutkowski said the prosecutor's office hasn't noticed a sharp increase in child sexual abuse cases in recent years.
“The number of sexual abuse cases we've had hasn't increased as much as the severity of the cases,” he said.
The cases the prosecutor's office deals with often involve abuse that continues for many years and/or cases with multiple victims, he said.
Rutkowski said there are two different aspects of child sexual abuse cases the prosecutor's office deals with — the criminal side (the criminal sexual conduct charge) and the probate court for abuse and neglect issues.
The prosecutor's office only can deal with the cases that are reported, and a large percentage of cases are not, Rutkowski said. This is because of a variety of reasons.
In many cases, the abuser tells the victim not to say anything, because it will break up the family or some other type of consequence.
“The children take that to heart,” Rutkowski said. “This is why children don't report it, and why the abuse goes on for years.”
While dealing with abuse is frightening, the thought of reporting it can be just as scary for children and young adults. Thinking about how they'll be perceived in the community often keeps them from talking to someone about the abuse, Rutkowski said.
However, for some children, they hit a breaking point, he said. They don't want to take the abuse any longer and they report it to someone.
After a child suffers from sexual abuse, it's very difficult for him or her to “feel normal,” Rutkowski said.
“They try to figure out what they did wrong, but the truth is, they did nothing wrong,” he said. “They also sometimes try to figure out, ‘Why me?'
Sexual abuse is very difficult for a child to deal with because the abuser is someone who is supposed to protect him or her. That's why many children blame themselves for the abuse, Rutkowski said.
The ramifications of child sexual abuse can last for the rest of a person's life. Rutkowski said when an abused child grows up, it can be hard for him or her to develop healthy relationships with people.
Rutkowski said a woman who was sexually abused as a child oftentimes finds herself in relationships with other abusive people. A man who was sexually abused as a child has an increased likelihood of becoming an abuser himself.
Other problems abuse victims face include addictions, mental/emotional disorders, suicidal feelings and low self esteem, among others.
Counseling is important for victims because it can help them realize they didn't do anything wrong, which often is a difficult issue for victims to wrestle with, Rutkowski noted.
When sexual abuse comes out into the open, community members usually don't say, “Oh, I'm not surprised that was happening.” On the contrary, people are often shocked, Rutkowski said, because they know the people involved and they would've never suspected abuse was going on.
He said that's why the upcoming Darkness to Light workshop is so important, because education is the best way for a community to deal with such a difficult issue.
“We're all defined by our experiences in life and by how we address them,” Rutkowski said. “A community is defined by how it addresses issues, and in the case of sexual abuse, how we approach these cases (and) how we reach out and provide services to the victims. We want them to know we want to help them.”
Surviving Child Abuse
(Video on site)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- Cheryl Jackson has a beautiful smile. But there was a time in her life when she resented her looks. She blamed herself for what a male teacher did to her.
"They stand behind you and they press themselves against you," Cheryl says.
She thought she could trust a teacher, but surely, her pastor would be an honorable man. She was wrong.
"He said he was gonna go in and talk to me about the different things we would be doing at the (missionary) convention and that I needed to come to his room," she says. "So I went to the room."
Cheryl was only sixteen when her pastor made sexual advances toward her. An estimated 90 percent of child sex abuse victims know already know their perpetrator. That's why it's essential for children to know that it's ok to talk about it.
"Teach them that their body is a sacred space and that no one should violate that space," Therapist Carol White explains. She says adults who were abused as children are more likely to be involved in sexually reactive behavior, addictions and repeated unhealthy relationships.
"You grow up and you carry that shame and self-doubt and it alters the way you see the world," White says.
But Cheryl is adding something positive to the world. She runs a non-profit dedicated to educating the community about child abuse.
"Share with the children to let them know that it's not their fault and that it's ok to go and talk to someone," Cheryl says.
That's Cheryl's mission -- promoting awareness so that child abuse doesn't remain a secret.
Recognizing the signs of child sexual abuse
The scandal at Penn State begs the question, when should you report suspected child sexual abuse and to whom?
Laura Miller is the proud mother of four.
She takes her children to the park to get them out of the house, but she doesn't take her eyes off of them for a second.
I asked her if she had ever witnessed child abuse.
“No, I have never personally witnessed anything like that, but I think if someone did they should say something right away,” says Miller.
But many people don't report it and may even look the other way by not wanting to think the worst.
"Fear is a reason and it's always my word against yours, and I think it's probably a little bit hard to prove it and those predators are pretty smart,” says dad of three, Ronnie Miller.
Child abuse experts say don't ever hesitate to file a report.
“Anytime you have a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused, you have to speak up,” says child sexual abuse prevention expert, Sharon Doty.
An abuser has ways of luring young victims.
"You want to look at things like someone you trust who is now isolating your child, or spending more secluded or alone time with your child, or if they give gifts to children without permission,” says Doty.
Here's what to look for if you think it may be happening to your child.
"There are people that children don't want to see anymore and they have behavior changes, they become withdrawn or even angry,” says Doty.
Lauren's friend Monica is also a mother to four children. She's passionate about protecting children.
“You know with child abuse, you really just can't take that chance. You really have to confront that person and you can't look away from it,” says Monica.
Sometimes children can't communicate if something bad is happening.
The experts say if you suspect abuse, you should try asking specific questions like these:
| 1. What do you like best about being with this person?
2. Is there anything you're scared to tell me?
3. What do you like least about this person?
4. If somebody asked you to do something you shouldn't, what would you do?
5. If something bad happens, who would you tell?
PCAR Chief Executive Officer Issues Call to Action to Protect PA Children
November 10, 2011
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) Chief Executive Officer Delilah Rumburg today issued an urgent call to action on behalf of Pennsylvania's most at-risk and vulnerable children and youth.
Included in Rumburg's call to action is a re-dedication to the fact that preventing child abuse is a community responsibility and that we all have a role to play.
Vulnerable children require that we shift the responsibility of child protection from the child to adults. In recognition of adult responsibility, PCAR has created a nationally recognized and respected HERO campaign. The campaign utilizes compelling public service announcements about child sexual abuse to spur adults to act, to become heroes for a child. The campaign provides adults with the tools and confidence they may need to report suspected child abuse. Concerned, but potentially unprepared citizens who suspect a child is at risk can speak to specially trained sexual assault counselors at 877-874-HERO for resources and assistance in reporting abuse. To learn more about the HERO project, visit www.heroproject.org.
“We are shocked by the brutality and apparent public nature of the alleged incidences of child abuse that occurred on the Penn State University campus, but abuse is not always so graphic,” reminded Rumburg. “Child sexual abuse thrives because it often takes a path of more subtle, yet still blatant, actions which is why training about recognizing and reporting child abuse is fundamental.”
“There are ways in which Pennsylvania law and child welfare practices have left children exposed, including too often the absence of accountability,” says Rumburg. “Willingness by policy makers -- and voters -- to directly and indirectly sanction the erosion of investment in critical prevention, legal, and therapeutic interventions available to children brutalized by sexual abuse has led to systemic failures.”
“We cannot be shocked and frustrated by the fact that young children were so victimized and then turn a blind eye to the fact that they absolutely require counseling, legal advocacy, and support as they struggle to move from victim to survivor,” stressed Rumburg. “Prevention must be prioritized and community-based programs critical to the healing journey can only come with increased state and federal funding.”
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is the oldest and largest state anti-sexual violence coalition in the U.S. The organization represents 51 sexual assault centers that serve the state's 67 counties. Each year these centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to more than 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual abuse.
All adults have duty to stand up for children being abused, Theo Fleury says
November 10, 2011
by Daniel Girard
For Theo Fleury, there is no grey area.
The former NHL star, who accuses his junior hockey coach, Graham James, of sexually abusing him, says there can be no rationalization for Joe Paterno and the rest of the Penn State University brass not stopping alleged abuse.
“I have one stand,” Fleury writes on his website, www.theofleury14.com. “If an adult has even the slightest suspicion that a child is being abused it is your duty as an adult to stand up for that child and do something now!”
Paterno was sacked by the Penn State board of trustees Wednesday night after reports emerged that the 84-year-old didn't alert police when a graduate assistant coach came to him in 2002 and told the coaching legend he'd witnessed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in a school shower.
Paterno's supporters, including scores who staged a mini-riot after the news broke Wednesday, have called the firing harsh. They say the case against Sandusky — who was last weekend charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of children — remain allegations and further note that Paterno met his legal obligations by alerting his superiors to the eyewitness claims.
Fleury, a former member of the Calgary Flames, was particularly upset by a Twitter post from Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris, who wrote: “If Paterno had seen it happen with his own eyes he should report it but he didn't! He received info from someone who (said) he did! What to do?”
Fleury, who is one of three complainants in an on-going sexual exploitation, sexual assault and gross indecency case against James in Manitoba, shot back: “Ok so they talked covered it up and allowed Sandusky to keep molesting boys. Come on Hank. (You're) better than that.”
Fleury continued the discussion on the blog on his website: “It's a silly argument to say that an adult has to see with their own eyes the actual incident(s) or abuse. It's a baseless argument to say that since he bears no responsibility — (an) absolutely ridiculous thing to say, and Henry Burris should be ashamed of himself.
“To be clear: I will always stand up for the victims, the survivors and ultimately the victors over this disgusting epidemic of sexual assault and abuse. I will always speak up. It's my duty as an adult.”
After practice Wednesday, Burris said he was not an apologist for Paterno and that he was glad Fleury and he got into the discussion on Twitter.
“For me to get people here today and talking about it, that was my main point because I want people to know that's not acceptable,” said Burris, the Canadian Press reports.
Fleury, now a motivational speaker and the best-selling author of his autobiography Playing With Fire , has taken to the radio in Canada and the United States this week to discuss the Penn State case and child sex abuse.
“It's the biggest epidemic we have on the planet, bar none,” Fleury said of the sexual abuse of children on The X, 105.9 FM in Pittsburgh.
Children suffer in drug abuse crisis
by Dale White
November 11, 2011
This time, it was a 6-year-old boy found living in a Charlotte County home this week with clothes piled upon excrement, rotting food in the refrigerator and a syringe within his easy reach.
Last month, three children — including two premature babies — were found at 1:30 a.m. under the care of a 10-year-old girl in a Venice home where one child was sleeping in his vomit. Again, hypodermic needles and open alcohol bottles were scattered about.
And in September, a 6-year-old boy and his 3-year-old sister were found in a North Port home where the sewage system had backed up and saturated the the carpet. There, too, syringes were found lying about inside the home.
Across Southwest Florida, and statewide, children are increasingly becoming collateral victims of the prescription drug abuse crisis.
Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families, said the child protection agency is seeing an rise in child abuse and neglect cases lately. The agency is being called more to help law enforcement find a safe place for children after adults are often arrested first on drug charges, then abuse or neglect charges after further investigation of their homes.
"It's throughout the state," Durdaller said. "There certainly is a connection between substance abuse and child neglect."
Several local cases have followed that pattern.
On Thursday morning, Charlotte County sheriff's deputies arrested a Port Charlotte grandmother on a child neglect charge. Deputies said Donna Jean Mahoney, 53, allowed her 6-year-old grandson to live with her in "absolute squalor."
The grandson, of whom Mahoney had custody, is now in the care of the DCF.
Shortly after midnight Thursday, deputies responded to a call about a possible burglary in progress in the 22000 block of Bahama Avenue in Port Charlotte. Two people with flashlights were reportedly seen climbing through a rear window.
Deputies say Erin M. Mahoney, the 29-year-old mother of the boy, and 34-year-old Paulo Guiseppe Mannino, a neighbor, entered through a rear window because the front door was locked.
"Upon entry there was an immediate and overpowering smell of dog urine and feces," deputies reported. "There was no running water and every room was found profoundly filthy, cluttered and smelled ... Clothing was found next to or on top of excrement. Pathways through the rooms were filthy; the kitchen had dirty dishes and trash on the counter, in the sink and on the floor. The refrigerator revealed outdated items and had a distinct odor of decaying food."
Deputies said they found scattered syringes and that a needle on the bathroom sink was within easy reach of a child.
Charlotte Sheriff's Lt. Randy Horner described the child neglect case as "the worst I have ever seen in 27 years of law enforcement."
The boy was reportedly discovered to be sleeping on a couch at a neighbor's home, with dog excrement on his sneakers. Animal Control removed a pit bull and a chow from the Mahoney residence.
In October, a Venice couple being questioned by police in a suspicious vehicle case at a gas station claimed five children in their care were at home with a baby-sitter.
When officers went to the home, however, they reportedly discovered a 10-year-old girl in charge of four children, ages 5 and 3 and two 1-month-old premature infants who were hooked to heart monitors and had soiled themselves.
The 3-year-old boy had been sleeping in vomit, according to an arrest report. Officers say they found open containers of alcohol and two used hypodermic needles within reach of the children.
Joseph M. Castaneda, 31, and his wife, Vanessa C. Geraty, 19, were each jailed on five charges of child abuse and neglect.
Also in October, North Port Police discovered a 6-year-old girl living in a Budget Inn motel room with her parents. They described the room as being in total disarray, with feces in the tub and two uncapped syringes in the child's bag.
Officers arrested Misty Dorwart, 35, of Fort Myers, on child neglect and drug charges and Jeremy Dorwart, 35, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
In September, Sarasota County sheriff's deputies serving an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court on their mother discovered a 6-year-old boy and his 3-year-old sister in a stench-filled Venice home with a backed-up toilet, sewage in the carpet and scattered syringes.
James McArdle, 29, and Kristina Lee Reilly, 26 — who reportedly admitted to being addicted to opiates — were arrested on multiple charges that include child neglect and cruelty to animals. Animal Control officers seized the family's emaciated dog.
Local Security, Policy, Evaluated after Penn St. Child Sex Abuse Allegations
MINNEAPOLIS, NISSWA, Minn. (KSAX) - Sexual abuse of children is under a spotlight after former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of abusing young boys. The scandal has lead to the firing of coaching icon Joe Paterno, and the university's president.
Coaches and youth organizations are being evaluated to see if policy changes are necessary.
In Minnesota, youth coaches are required to report child abuse and neglect, but there's some question as to whether that applies to volunteer coaches or club team coaches as well.
Concerns of a Nisswa hockey camp arose this summer, after 69-year-old Thomas Erickson, who lives about two miles from the camp, was charged with sexually abusing young boys, dozens of times, over the past forty years.
But Minnesota Hockey Camp owner Clairene Grillo said in their camp's 30 years of operation, there have never been any reports of abuse.
"We haven't had a problem here. We're not looking for a problem. And I think with all of our security we have here, we're doing our job," Grillo said.
Authorities said Erickson admitted to having sexual contact with about ten boys, but he told KSAX Thursday, that those reports are wrong.
None of the allegations were related to the camp and Grillo said they know all of their staff personally, and all undergo background checks and watch kids closely to keep them safe.
"We don't just hire somebody that applies for a job that we don't know. We also have, as far as all of our living quarters here; there's a counselor that lives in every building with the kids and they are assigned to a counselor that goes with them to all the activities," she said.
"If we have had somebody, like a neighbor will ride their bike in here; we see that and we go right down there and ask them what they're doing here. And we do tell them it's private property. They get disgusted with us, but we do check on those that come in that shouldn't be here."
Erickson is out of jail after posting bail and said he plans to plead not guilty at his next court appearance later this month.
Smart: Child victims of abuse have options
November 10, 2011
LAYTON -- Protecting the children protects the future, says children's advocate Elizabeth Smart.
Smart spoke before 250 people Wednesday at the closing luncheon of the 24th annual Conference on Child Abuse & Family Violence at the Davis Conference Center.
"Children are our most valuable assets," she said. "They are our future. We need to protect them. We need to empower them."
She talked briefly about the nightmare she lived after Brian David Mitchell abducted her from her Salt Lake City home June 5, 2002, when she was 14. Nine months later, after being humiliated, repeatedly raped and almost starved to death, Smart was returned to her family.
Police found Smart on March 13, 2003, along with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Illeen Barzee, walking down State Street in Sandy.
Mitchell was convicted in 2010 of kidnapping Smart and is serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Smart, who is now 23, said the best advice she received was from her mother, Lois Smart, the morning after she returned home: "My mom said, 'What the man did to you was terrible, evil and wicked. But do not let him take another minute of your life.'"
Smart credits her parents' unconditional love for her, plus her faith in God and her love of music, for helping her move forward with her life, which has included college and serving a mission in France for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"And I'd like to add, there's no therapy like retail therapy," she quipped to laughter.
Smart is now president of The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which has partnered with radKids, a nonprofit organization that teaches children across the country that they have the power to stop others from hurting them.
"Yes, education is the key to success," Smart said. "But you can't be successful if you're not alive."
Smart said she was taught as a child to respect adults and do what they said without question. That is why she left her home with Mitchell when he threatened to kill her and her family.
"I believed then I had only two choices: Stay in bed and get killed, or get up and go with him," Smart said. "There were other options, but I didn't know them."
The program, which is taught in some Utah schools, teaches students they have options when faced with abduction or abuse.
Smart thanked those at the conference for the difference they are making in children's lives every day.
When asked what they could do to help children who may have been abused, Smart and her father, Ed Smart, both said it is important for prosecutors, social workers and police officers to explain the court process and the choices the victims face.
"Otherwise, the families and the victims will be revictimized," Ed Smart said. "We didn't know what the process was or what our choices were."
Forget-me knot service
by Andy Parks
November 10, 2011
There are estimated to be more than two million survivors of childhood abuse living in Australia, yet it is still one of the most taboo of topics. The group ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse) will be holding a special ceremony at St Mark's Anglican Church in Casino this Sunday, November 13, to mark and celebrate 'Forget-me-knot' Day which acknowledges the struggle many survivors have to overcome in their lives.
The symbology of the knot acknowledges that when children are abused they become confused and as adults, their lives can become tangled and chaotic.
Local organiser Bernard (not his real name) said he was 15 years old when a school teacher he trusted abused that trust, and for 20 years he felt as though he had done something dirty and bad.
For Bernard, the abuse led to a loss of self esteem and a lifestyle of drinking, drugs and risky behaviour. Eventually he was referred to a councillor who put him on to a 12 stage program for self-esteem where they talked about numerous causes, including the effects of sexual abuse on children. For the first time in his life he was able to say "that's what happened to me" and confront his demons.
It was a turning point for Bernard and eventually it led to a successful prosecution of the teacher who served time in jail.
"That was incredibly powerful, knowing that I had hopefully stopped a predator from harming somebody else," Bernard told The Echo .
The service at Casino is open to sufferers of all forms of childhood abuse, whether it is sexual, physical or psychological. Bernard said it will not be a traditional church service but aims to be welcoming and healing. The service begins at 9am.
Adults have the duty to report and prevent child abuse
by Jenna Mehnert
AS THE nation turns it eye to the commonwealth in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky
sexual abuse allegations, this is a time to raise awareness about the potential of sexual abuse in our communities.
Children are sexually abused at alarmingly high rates. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. While strangers do abduct children, the rate of stranger abductions is only about .0017 per 1,000 children. The real danger for children comes from neighbors, relatives, coaches, priests and teachers.
As soon as a parent trusts the well-being of their child to another adult, that adult has the ability to abuse. Sexual abuse knows no socio-economic, racial, religious or cultural limitations. White, wealthy, heterosexual men with families and wives sexually abuse more than any other group of people. Sex offenders are charming, skilled deviants who take time to groom their victims into submission or at least silence.
Our society sexualizes everything from toothpaste to soda in advertising. But, we fail to prepare children to respond to sexually abusive acts. Victims, who are children, are made to feel responsible for the acts of adults. Childhood abuse does immeasurable damage to self-esteem and one's ability to trust.
Sexual abuse is the silent epidemic that is damaging generation after generation of our children. It is time we stop allowing our own fears about discussing sexuality and criminal behavior to create fertile ground for sex offenders to prey on the trust of our children.
This latest case, like every case of child sexual abuse, deserves an immense public outcry. According to news accounts, children were raped and nothing was done about it. Most startling, an adult supposedly witnessed a child being raped and did not stop that assault.
Listening to the news accounts, this story seems almost as much about Penn State University and its football program as it is about a child or children being raped by a grown man. In fact, the news media are coding the alleged rapes in nice words such as “sexual abuse,” “sexual assault” or “inappropriate touching.” These are violent acts.
Minimizing the truly violent nature of child abuse fuels the messages that offenders often tell themselves. Offenders often have groomed their victims so well that the offender thinks the abuse is a consensual act. This delusional justification is part of the pathology that allows sex offenders to continue preying on children for decades.
The most important lesson we can take from this case has nothing to do with football or coaching, but is simply that adults can prevent child sexual abuse.
We do in fact have a collective moral responsibility to prevent, stop and report suspected abuse. It is law enforcement and child welfare's responsibility to determine what legal actions to take, but it is your responsibility to make that call to Child Line at 1-800-932-0313.
In every case of child sexual abuse that I know, some adult knew something was not right long before a call was made. Step up and do what is right, send a message that you will not tolerate child abuse in your community.
Jenna Mehnert is executive director of the National Association of Social Workers – Pennsylvania Chapter. Visit www.nasw-pa.org
Rape victim founded group, authored book to help abuse victims
by KATHY VAN MULLEKOM
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
Rosemary Trible, author of "Fear to Freedom," which details sexual abuse earlier in her life, has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping others who suffer similar situations.
The organization, called Fear 2 Freedom, assembles aftercare kits for adult-age sexual abuse victims and Bear Gear kits for abused kids. The goal is to show compassion for victims and to provide basic toiletries and clothing since those items are kept for evidence.
"It is through my own dark road of pain that I have become so passionate about helping victims and fighting against abuse," says Trible, also wife of Christopher Newport University President Paul Trible in Newport News, Va. She is president of Fear 2 Freedom.
"In 1975, I hosted a morning TV talk show in Richmond (Va.) called 'Rosemary's Guestbook.' I did a show on sexual assault never realizing I would be the next victim raped at gunpoint three days later," she says.
Since Trible's book came out in March 2010, she's traveled nationwide sharing her story.
"Never have I spoken that so many women have come whispering to me, 'I was molested as a child or I was raped by a neighbor and no one knows my pain,' said Trible.
"I'll never forget an older woman in California who came up crying after I had spoken. As I held her, she said, 'I am 85 years old and I was raped as a 6-year-old. Till this moment I have never told anyone until you, and it has destroyed my life.'
"I have discovered that the greatest pain comes from those who have held their sexual abuse inside and have never gotten the help they need to find hope for their woundedness," said Trible. "If kept in the dark, it is like bacteria that grows, but brought out into the light this terrible trauma can have new healing so that a victim's past does not have to control their present and future."
In a January 2010 interview with Trible, just before her book was released, she talked about the internal trauma she personally endured after the December 1975 rape that robbed her of the joy she found in everyday life. She and Paul had married four years earlier, and he was stepping into his political career, winning the commonwealth attorney position in Essex County, Va., and later becoming a U.S. senator in 1983. To this day, no one, including law enforcement officials, knows who the rapist was.
"I remember tearing up Paul's old T-shirts because that helped me physically release the burst of fear and anger," she said. "I wondered if I would ever feel normal again."
Her book tells the story of how she reclaimed that joy and has been quietly reaching out and helping women living in fear from sexual abuse and other problems such as eating disorders and panic attacks. Her website - www.feartofreedomjourney.com - sells the book through amazon.com, and shares her story and the stories of other women.
"I can walk through a hotel lobby and sense a woman in fear," she said in that interview.
"It's almost like a fragrance. ... I can sense other women who have been broken. It's been my ministry all these years, to help women so they don't stay a victim."
It's also her mission to help children who have been abused or exposed to violence, using the Bear Gear book bag that includes crayons and paper to describe what has happened as well as other items.
"When victims of violence come to a hospital after trauma from sexual abuse, domestic violence or child abuse, the evidence collection and treatment is now performed by dedicated nurses of SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners," says Trible today.
"Sandi Reinholdt, the coordinator of SANE nurses at Riverside, indicated how valuable the Fear 2 Freedom kits would be to a victim because all of their clothes are kept to become evidence.
"She said patients often leave in paper scrubs and she collects toiletries from friends so they can take a shower. Sweat pants, T-shirt and cotton underwear would be part of the kit, which would also include toiletries, toothbrush, hairbrush, mints, washcloth and journal."
In March, CNU students will take a spring break trip to the Honduras, where they will deliver aftercare kits to two orphanages where so many children have been abused or trafficked for sex, according to Trible.
The organization also hopes to get Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., to work with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, which had 1,100 cases of abused children last year, said Trible, and encourage Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., to work with the Medical College of Virginia, where forensic nurses reported 823 cases of childhood abuse last year.
"These statistics are truly frightening," said Trible.
"The 2 in Fear 2 Freedom is for the fact that every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in America.
"Our hope is these aftercare kits and the Where is the Line program will become a movement seeking to bring renewed joy to those affected by sexual abuse."
ABOUT FEAR 2 FREEDOM:
Learn more about Fear 2 Freedom at fear2freedom.org
Child Abuse Victims Often Hushed by 'Secrecy,' Social Worker Says
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP)— It happens more often than not -- child abuse cases go unreported for years before the victims come forward.
Social workers said part of the reason is that offenders lure kids into a sense of secrecy that children easily buy into.
Beth Johnson, a victim of child abuse, said it took her about 14 years just to realize it wasn't her fault.
Johnson was 6 years old when she was abused by an adult she trusted, but she was 20 and in college when she first talked about it.
"You don't see yourself that way. You blame yourself and think you are bad, so why would you talk about it?" Johnson said.
Susan Vaughn, who works with Family Services of the Piedmont in Greensboro, interviews children who have been sexually abused.
"They'll say because I was embarrassed, because I thought I'd be in trouble, my mom would be mad at me," Vaughn said.
Vaughn said it's more common for kids to keep the abuse hidden for years rather than telling someone as soon as it happens, oftentimes because they're told to keep it a secret.
"Who believes who? Grown-ups believe grown-ups. Grown-ups don't believe children. Kids get that idea in their head, so they're less likely to talk about it," Vaughn said.
Family Services of the Piedmont has 120 sexual abuse cases with child victims on record for 2011, which is up from the same time last year.
"There's probably a fair amount that's out there. What we do see and what were able to arrest, we probably barely touch it," Vaughn said.
If you think a child you know is being abused, the Child Abuse and Neglect hotline can be reached at (336) 641-3795. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or you can call (800) 378-5315 at any time.
Countering Child Sexual Abuse Amidst a Scandal: A Wake Up Call
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright
Like every Penn Stater, I'm absolutely heartbroken by the child sexual abuse charges being levied against former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. I am sickened and disgusted by the perjury charges being faced by the university's athletic director, Tim Curley, and vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, both of whom are accused of failing to alert police of sexual abuse allegations.
This weekend's initial shock and anger has been replaced by a deep sadness and a sense of betrayal. As an alumna and somebody who spent her formative years (10 to 21-years-old) in State College, this is very personal. My seemingly idyllic community has been tarnished; my cherished football team is being shamed and disgraced; and my alma mater's slogan of "Success with honor" is being mocked.
Yet, worst of all, all indicators are that at least eight boys were violated over 15 years by Sandusky, with the system, at every level, failing to protect them. An outraged community and nation want answers and justice. The debate has just begun as far as who is guilty for what they did, or rather, what they did not do in preventing more abuse.
While we may not be able to right any wrongs, in addition to letting the judicial system run its due course, there's a lot that can be done in combating future incidences of child sexual abuse. There's plenty that can be done in positively moving forward, and beginning the process of healing.
Donate to an organization that seeks to end childhood sexual abuse via awareness, education, and advocacy, e.g., the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children. Don't overlook supporting groups that assist victims of all ages, of all types of sexual violence, like RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
Talk to your children. If you're a parent or caregiver, take the time to educate your child about good touch/bad touch, people who make them uncomfortable, people who give them special gifts, and times that it's not okay to keep a secret, even if they've made a promise to do such. Take advantage of the fact that troubling headliners offer teachable moments. Whether or not you realize it, your children are not immune to what they're seeing and hearing about this scandal, especially if it involves their heroes. They want and need your guidance, and they need to learn how to effectively communicate about sex and inappropriate sexual advances.
Support comprehensive sexuality education programs. The lesson plans of such curricula often include informing youth that no one else is to see or touch their private parts. Workshops also encourage them to report sexual abuse to a trusted adult.
Become an advocate. Learn what you can do to assist those who have been sexually abused by contacting local or national groups that seek to protect children. (See the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway in getting started.)
If you're a Penn Stater, stay proud. Yes, this is one of the university's darkest moments, and the actions of a few have brought dishonor upon us all. But the bad apples in the bunch should not take away from the many things we have to be proud of in saying "We are Penn State." We are a community that does not and will not tolerate sexual wrongdoings of any kind. We are also a community that contributes positively to society in so many ways, like Dance Marathon, which raises millions of dollars ever year to fight pediatric cancer.
If you're not a Penn Stater, don't judge. Sadly, you need to do no more than look in your own backyard to find that the same wrongs are being committed against other children. According to the National Resource Council, at least 20-24% of the U.S. population has been sexually abused. It's an issue affecting every community, and more needs to be done about it everywhere.
Support the victims. People who have shared with me that they were sexually abused as children have also stated that others' reactions are sometimes as bad as the violation itself. Failure to withhold one's shock, horror, and repulsion can leave a survivor feeling guilty, dirty, and, as an adult, undesirable. So keep how appalled you are in check and strive to provide assistance.
Continue to stand behind PSU students and athletes. They are not at fault. They have done nothing wrong. Whether studying for their next big exam, acting as a student ambassador, or preparing for their next major sporting event this weekend, those currently at the university and representing it need your support more than ever.
Practice compassion. While it's hard not to get caught up in the lynch mob wanting to hold people accountable for what they could've, should've done, it's important to remember that -- guilty or not -- people's lives are being ruined. Family members of those involved are being branded with a scarlet letter as well. A lot of good people who have done no wrong are hurting and need your empathy.
Resist publicly charging anyone as guilty until it's proven so by a court. From opinion columns to blogs to Facebook conversations, there are a lot of strong opinions out there about this scandal amidst misinformation and speculation. And while everyone is certainly entitled to give their two-cents' worth, let's not forget that reputations are on the line -- ones like JoePa's, which have proven themselves exemplary until this story broke.
Become legally informed. Learn not only what the law in your state requires when it comes to reporting suspected abuse, but also know who to contact and how, e.g., a ChildLine Service, should you ever learn of a potential or definite violation. Inaction is often bred by ignorance.
Take care of yourself. Sexual abuse is an emotionally charged, incredibly difficult travesty to process and deal with. There is no shame in finding somebody to talk to, whether a religious leader, counselor, or support group.
With swimming being my sanity and writing my way of dealing with all of this, the two are helping to keep the tears at bay. Hopefully, every one of you can find ways to constructively handle this situation. Doing something positive, in the face of adversity, can ultimately have all of us doing our part in protecting our children.
Paterno Is Finished at Penn State, and President Is Out
by MARK VIERA
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Joe Paterno, who has the most victories of any coach in major college football history, was fired by Penn State on Wednesday night in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving a prominent former assistant coach and the university's failure to act to halt further harm.
Graham B. Spanier, one of the longest-serving and highest-paid university presidents in the nation, who has helped raise the academic profile of Penn State during his tenure, was also removed by the Board of Trustees. When the announcement was made at a news conference that the 84-year-old Paterno would not coach another game, a gasp went up from the crowd of several hundred reporters, students and camera people who were present.
“We thought that because of the difficulties that engulfed our university, and they are grave, that it is necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction,” said John Surma Jr., the vice chairman of the board.
The university's most senior officials were clearly seeking to halt the humiliating damage caused by the arrest last Saturday of the former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky had been a key part of the football program, but prosecutors have said he was a serial pedophile who was allowed to add victims over the years in part because the university he had served was either unable or unwilling to stop him.
Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, and two top university officials — Tim Curley, the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business — have been charged with perjury and failing to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations. Neither Paterno nor Spanier was charged in the case, though questions have been raised about if they did as much as they could to stop Sandusky.
Paterno had announced earlier Wednesday that he planned to retire at the end of the football season, but the statement was apparently released without the approval of the board.
“At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status,” Paterno said in his statement. “They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
Yet the board unanimously declined to let him finish out the season, his 46th as the head football coach and his 62nd over all at the college. The defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will take over as interim head coach. Paterno was told of his firing by telephone, according to Surma, who is the chief executive of U.S. Steel.
Late Wednesday night, Paterno issued another statement.
“I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees' decision, but I have to accept it.
“A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value,” he said in the statement.
“This university is a large and complex institution, and although I have always acted honorably and in the best interest of the university, the buck stops here,” Spanier said in a statement. “In this situation, I believe it is in the best interest of the university to give my successor a clear path to resolve the issues before us.”
Rodney A. Erickson, the executive vice president and provost, will serve as acting president.
After the announcements about Spanier and Paterno, the news conference immediately took on a frenzied and somewhat vitriolic tenor. Angry questions were shouted at Surma, who responded to them while the other board members sat behind him and to his sides. One cameraman repeatedly said, “Your campus is going to burn tonight.”
The scandal, and the fallout from it, has left Penn State's normally placid campus in a state of shock. Scores of students poured into the streets downtown in the immediate aftermath of the news conference. Many held up cellphones to take pictures and others blew vuvuzelas and air horns. A few climbed lampposts, tried to topple street signs and knocked over trash cans. Others set off firecrackers from the roofs of buildings, and a television news truck was flipped on its side. A lamppost was torn down and police pepper-sprayed some in the crowd.
“I just don't think it's right that JoePa's losing his job,” Corey Davis, a 23-year-old senior studying international politics, said. “All the facts aren't out, we don't even know he's done anything wrong. Joe's the fall guy.”
Kathryn Simpson, 20, a junior studying graphic design, was weeping as she walked away from the university's administration building, Old Main, with a friend.
“This is devastating for us,” she said. “I never in a million years thought I'd see this.”
A number of students went to the coach's house, where Paterno and his wife, Sue, spoke with them.
Dressed in a baggy gray pullover sweater, Paterno waved his hand and started to walk back inside. A student yelled, “We are Penn State,” the frequent rallying cry. Paterno stopped and turned around to say: “That's right. We are Penn State, don't ever forget it.”
Many students have shown their support for Paterno with large rallies outside his home and at Old Main. After Paterno was fired, thousands of people gathered in front of the administration building, throwing objects and chanting “We want Joe!”
A grand jury said that Spanier, the university's president since 1995, was made aware of a report of an incident involving Sandusky. Upon learning about a suspected 2002 assault by Sandusky of a young boy in the football building's showers, Paterno redirected the graduate assistant who witnessed the incident to the athletic director, rather than notifying the police. Paterno said the graduate assistant who reported the assault, Mike McQueary, said only that something disturbing had happened that was perhaps sexual in nature. McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky having anal sex with the boy.
The Department of Education announced Wednesday that it would investigate the university's handling of the abuse allegations.
Paterno has had a contentious relationship with some members of the Board of Trustees. In 2004, Spanier, Curley and select board members twice went to his house in efforts to get him to retire. Paterno declined, and the moment was looked at in the narrative of Paterno's career as an instance of his overcoming adversity. He revived the program, including victories in the Orange Bowl over Florida State in the 2005 season and the Outback Bowl over Tennessee in the 2006 season.
Spanier, 63, has helped to raise the academic prestige of Penn State during his tenure. A trained therapist with a Ph.D. in sociology, he was known among the students for playing the washboard with local bands and performing magic tricks at certain functions.
Yet it was Paterno who remained the public face of the university. He met with his team Wednesday in a gathering that players described as emotional. Stephon Morris, a junior cornerback, said Paterno was near tears when he told the team he was leaving. “I've never seen Coach Paterno like that in my life,” Morris said. Still, Paterno's talk was not all about the turmoil. Morris said Paterno's main message was “Beat Nebraska,” referring to Penn State's next opponent. When he left, his players gave him a standing ovation.
Woman held in death of baby found hidden at Christian school
A Shasta County woman has been arrested on suspicion of failing to feed her newborn daughter until she died, authorities said Wednesday.
Jessica Nicole Bradford, 23, kept the baby hidden after she was born Sept. 19 and allegedly neglected the infant, who died four days later, the Shasta County Sheriff's Department said.
"Bradford admitted she neglected to care for the baby by not feeding it or being able to provide breast milk for feeding," Sgt. Steve Grashoff said in a statement.
Bradford made a court appearance Wednesday, but she did not enter a plea and was assigned a pubic defender, according to online Shasta County Superior Court records.
After the baby died, Bradford allegedly hid the body in a laundry basket in a vacant room at the Julian Youth Academy, a Christian boarding school for troubled teens in Whitmore, where she worked, according to the Sheriff's Department. The body was found about six weeks later by a worker at the school.
"The baby was in a mummified state of decomposition," the statement said. "Bradford stated she did not name the baby so there was no personal attachment."
Bradford allegedly told investigators that she checked on the infant periodically and gave her water when she cried. The department said Bradford kept her pregnancy secret, including from her boyfriend of three years "because she did not want to affect his life and her life."
Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and Child Safety
Expert Keith Smith Shares 5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe
A Penn State Football Coach has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing 8 boys, the youngest just ten years old. Concerned about your kids or kids you know? Read "5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe."
November 8, 2011
Child safety expert Keith
Smith says, "It saddens me to say that I believe sex crimes committed against children will never stop. The life altering physical, emotional, behavioral and social side effects of sexual abuse, suffered by children into adulthood, last a lifetime. With the personal and societal cost of childhood sexual abuse so high, it's necessary for parents, grandparents and anyone with responsibility for the health and safety of a child to be aware of 5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe."
Step 1. Know the Facts
· According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members; parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
· An incremental 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone known to them, including neighbors, teachers, coaches, clergy, instructors, camp counselors, baby-sitters, step-parents, older kids in the neighborhood and friends of the family.
· 90% of sexual assaults perpetrated against children are committed by someone known to the child. Since that's the case, the risk you face may not be from the stranger at the park, but from the very person you allow to take your child to the park.
Step 2. Know the Signs
· There are physical, emotional and behavioral signs that could indicate sexual abuse.
· Bruises, swelling, pain, rashes, cuts, bed wetting, self-mutilation, excessive weight gain or excessive weight loss; prolonged sadness, depression, sleeplessness, nightmares; combative, defiant acts, avoiding contact with friends and relatives, age inappropriate sexual behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.
· While the presence of some of these physical, emotional or behavioral signs may be associated with, or dismissed as “adolescence,” we should be aware they are well known, documented warning signs of sexual abuse.
Step 3. Know What to Do
· With 90% of sex crimes committed against children committed by family members or someone known to the child, we should minimize the amount of alone time any child spends in one-on-one situations with an adult.
· Demand that adults with school time and after-school access to children are subject to mandatory background checks.
· Don't leave children in the care of adults with known alcohol or drug problems.
· Understand why a child might not tell. Children remain silent because of manipulation and misplaced guilt, shame, fear and to protect others. If you suspect abuse and your child won't tell, don't assume abuse isn't happening. If you suspect abuse, trust your instinct.
· Use positive stories in the news as a catalyst for discussion. When you hear about the next Amber Alert, discuss it with your child. Let kids know there is a system in place that alerts adults and law enforcement that a child needs help. The next time the news reports a missing child being reunited with their family, talk about it. As scared as a child may be during an assault, or an abduction, if they know that people are looking for them, if they know people are going to help them, the child may find some peace and hope in those thoughts.
Step 4. Know Where to Go
· If you suspect child sexual abuse, anonymous and confidential help is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Consider reaching out to ChildHelp at 1-800-4-A-Child or call RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE.
Step 5. Know What to Say
· One way perpetrators manipulate their child victim is by telling the child no one will believe them. If a child knows before they're abused, that you will believe them, that they can trust you and that you will help them, you've taken away the perpetrators leverage over the innocent child. I pray that you'll never, ever need to know what to say, but should a child ever disclose to you that they've been sexually abused, the child needs to hear you say, "I believe you. You can trust me. I will help you."
About Keith Smith; Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault. The story of Keith's assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television. Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to programs serving children and he's testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil action relating to sex crimes against children. Keith was one of 200 men who appeared on Oprah Winfrey's award-winning show on Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
(609) 731 0245
Child Abuse Cases Not Fully Reported by Primary Health Care Providers: Study
Primary care providers (PCP) fail to report a substantial number of cases of child maltreatment, report a team of researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC).
The study, which is scheduled to appear in the November-December issue of Academic Pediatrics , is the first to examine the validity of a PCP's decision to suspect child abuse as the etiology of an injury and their decision to report a suspicious injury to child protective services (CPS).
Identifying that a particular injury was caused by child abuse can be difficult. Typically, only the responsible person and child witness the injurious event, and the child may be preverbal or afraid to describe the abuse. The physical abuse of a child may be suspected after a careful history and physical examination, when the clinician determines the injury is not consistent with the history provided, or when the pattern of injuries is highly suspicious for maltreatment.
This study examined the validity of PCP assessment of suspicion that an injury was caused by child abuse and their decision to report suspected child abuse to CPS. By using a subsample of injuries drawn from the national Child Abuse Reporting and Experience Study, PCPs completed telephone interviews using a stratified sample (no suspicion of abuse; suspicious but not reported; and suspicious of abuse and reported) of 111 injury visits.
According to the researchers two techniques were used to validate the PCPs' initial decision: expert review and provider retrospective self-assessment. Five child abuse experts reviewed clinical vignettes created by using data prospectively collected by PCPs about the patient encounter. The PCPs' opinions 6 weeks and 6 months after the injury-related visits were elicited and analyzed.
Upon analysis of the data, the researchers found that PCPs and experts agreed about the suspicion of abuse in 81 percent of the cases of physical injury. PCPs did not report 21 percent of injuries that experts would have reported. Compared with expert reviewers, PCPs had a 68 percent sensitivity and 96 percent specificity in reporting child abuse.
Reporting suspected child physical abuse is a two-step process: assessment of the likelihood of child physical abuse and the decision to report. "Child abuse experts and PCPs are in general agreement concerning the assessment of suspected child physical abuse, yet this study demonstrates that primary care providers decide not to report a substantial proportion of child physical abuse cases," explained lead author Robert Sege, MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at BUSM, and director, Division of Ambulatory Pediatrics at BMC.
These results point to several opportunities for improvement in the training of physicians as well as the diagnosis and management of child physical abuse. "To become more certain of their suspicions, PCPs need better education about the recognition of injuries that are suspicious for child abuse, particularly bruises and fractures, and the role of state CPS agencies in investigating the child's circumstances," added Sege.
Know Your Legal Duty To Report Child Sexual Abuse
Winston-Salem, NC -- A child sex abuse scandal is rocking Penn State University.
Tuesday the university cancelled coach Joe Paterno's weekly news conference, as critics call for the coach and the university's president to step down. It stems from the charges against Paterno's former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a period of 15 years. Paterno has taken heat for not going to police after a graduate assistant told him he saw Sandusky assaulting a young boy in 2002. Paterno told his bosses, but no one alerted police.
Paterno does not face charges because the law only required he report it to superiors and he did that.
What would you do if you witnessed or heard about child sexual abuse? What do you think you're obligated to do? What if it was at your workplace? News 2 asked people in downtown Winston-Salem Tuesday night.
"I think my first reaction would be to call the local police department," said Naomi Obutu.
"I think I have a moral obligation if I saw it to immediately get a policeman, someone in authority, but if I heard it, I don't know what I'd do. I might think about it," said Dan Williams.
"If you just hear about it I would say you just need to report it to the supervisor or whoever's in charge of that facility. Going to the police for just hearing about a situation, I don't know that that would be appropriate," said Barry Taylor.
"I would probably go to the next person in charge like a supervisor or I'd call personnel hotline and speak with them about it," said Rebecca Owusu.
Lieutenant Ed Reese with the Winston-Salem Police Department said, "It's morally the right thing to do. If you even hear about a child being sexually abused or assaulted you really need to come forward to law enforcement officers."
North Carolina General Statute 7B-301 says, in part, "Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused...shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services..."
Read The Statute
Reese said you can also reach out to police.
He said, "There are no penalties in the statute. However, you do have a duty to report abuse or neglect. There is a common law misdemeanor charge if you fail to report so."
Coach-Player Sex Abuse Under-Reported
Colorado 'Behind The Curve' Says CHSAA
by Tyler Lopez
ARVADA, CO --
Colorado's high school coaches aren't required to take any child sexual assault training before they work with kids, 7NEWS has learned. But that may change as a result of the Penn State scandal, still evolving, with an assistant football coach accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the school shower area.
"It's important. It has to be addressed," said Paul Angelico, CHSAA Commissioner. "But we certainly are behind the curve. This doesn't come to us. I read about it in the newspaper before I know it's happening."
The Colorado High School Activities Association provides the oversight to some 170,000 student athletes and band members participating in after-school activities each year, Angelico said, adding that CHSAA does require criminal background checks of head coaches.
And while he's quick to point to the recent changes added to high school sports regarding concussions, Angelico agrees the subject brought forward by Penn State is often ignored here. He expects the board of directors to discuss the subject of suspected sexual assault and reporting at their next meeting.
When contacted Tuesday, Angelico was interested to hear more about the Respect Group, Inc. Founded as a result of former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy's sexual abuse at the hands of a youth hockey coach in the 80's, the Respect Group offers interactive, online training for youth sports coaches.
They learn what to look for in cases of suspected abuse and how to report it to the proper authorities, Kennedy said.
"There's a huge grey area there where people that are involved in organizations don't want to get involved because they're not sure how to get involved," Sheldon Kennedy said, noting his program trains "more than 100,000 people per year", including parents of gymnasts, hockey players and boxers.
It's a model one child advocate says is clearly missing in Colorado.
"The one thing I tell parents when I go out is we can get it if we demand it," said Don Moseley, executive director of Ralston House in Arvada, who believes communication can make a difference.
"If we take it seriously and we're willing to be uncomfortable with the idea of talking about kids being sexually assaulted."
A quick survey of area youth sports leagues Tuesday found one group did ask coaches to take sexual assault awareness training, another did not. The one that did also saw a coach convicted of sex assault on a child within the past three years, 7NEWS found. Neither league informed parents about warning signs or reporting protocol.
7NEWS also contacted representatives at three metro area district attorney's offices Tuesday, asking how many coaches had been convicted of sex crimes and whether those cases were increasing or not. None of the offices tracks those statistics.
7NEWS found the state's mandatory reporter statute includes public school teachers and coaches, psychiatrists, even chiropractors, who are reqired to report suspected cases of child abuse, including sex assault, but the youth sports coach is missing from the list. The problem certainly isn't going away on its own.
The sheer number of abused children seen by the non-profit Ralston House in Arvada will set another record in 2011.
"We'll do over 800 (child interviews) here in Jefferson County. We're too busy. If we can catch perpetrators on the front end, if we can make places safer for kids we're willing to do that just to slow our business down," Moseley said. "And we know we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg."
Moseley said he would gladly provide free training to sports leagues if it would help keep children safer.
Call to Ban Sex Trafficking Ads Gains Momentum
by MALIA ZIMMERMAN
Hawaii's attorney general joined 45 other attorneys general across the nation to ask Village Voice Media to stop publishing classified advertisements that promote child trafficking and sex trafficking on BackPage.com back in August.
Now teachers across the nation are joining at least 60,000 others on Change.org in a related campaign that has attracted support from parents and grandparents in all 50 states.
“I am a high school teacher and know what this does to the lives of impressionable young people,” said Brooklyn teacher and father Martin Haber. “It's not hip or cool, it's a betrayal of our youth. I have an 18-year old daughter who noticed the graphic nature of Backpage.com the other day. She asked, ‘How is it even legal?'”
“I am a retired teacher and child care worker,” said California resident William Boosinger. “I spent most of my career trying to heal children who had been violated in this foul manner. It's time to shut down this web site.”
They are asking for more people to long onto Change.org to join the campaign to pressure law enforcement to step up its efforts and for the company to stop publishing the ads.
The 46 attorneys generals had ordered Village Voice Media, the owner of the site, to prove it is preventing children from getting trafficked through its classified advertisements. After a delay, Village Voice responded by saying the company is actively weeding out illegal activity that may have been publicized on its web site, and there has been no information released by law enforcement since.
Backpage.com openly promises to connect its clients with everything from escorts, body rubs, strippers, strip clubs, and domination and fetish to transsexuals, male escorts, and pornographic web sites its adult services section.
Investigators in Washington state, Missouri and Connecticut say they have uncovered hundreds of ads on its regional sites for illegal services. And they have documented more than 50 cases in 22 states that involve the trafficking of minors.
Hawaii Attorney General David Louie called the site a "beacon for human traffickers.”
Specifically the letter sent on August 31 asks that the company "substantiate the claim that the company enforces policies to prevent illegal activity, describe its understanding of what constitutes illegal activity, and clarify whether advertisements for prostitution fall into that category."
States signing on to the letter include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and the territory of Guam.
Authorities in Arizona are already raiding one so called "temple" advertising on Backpage.com.
On September 9, law enforcement officials arrest 30 people at the "Phoenix Goddess Temple" in what they are calling the largest prostitution bust since 2008.
The 10,000 square-foot alleged brothel claimed to offer religious services in exchange for donations, the police told ABC News.
ABC News reports: "Temple Goddess employees had been trained to use evasive vocabulary... teachings were described as 'body centric' ... . The homepage "invites" customers to 'relax deeply' in a 'candle-lit Transformation Chamber,' and 'feel the magnetic polarity between men and women' ... 'sessions' claim to heal sexual blockages ... the 'temple' offered Friday night sex-ed classes, featuring such topics as 'Tantra 101' and 'Toys for Big Girls and Boys.'"
After multiple ads for sex trafficking victims were identified on Backpage.com, Groundswell, the social action initiative of Auburn Theological Seminary, said it convened a coalition of leading clergy and religious leaders to launch Change.org. They say the campaign has attracted support from teachers, parents and grandparents in all 50 states.
“By joining this campaign, teachers like Martin and William are using the power of technology to stand up for their values - that boys and girls shouldn't be sold for sex on Backpage.com,” said Change.org Director of Organizing Amanda Kloer. “Change.org seeks to empower people to take action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch these teachers advocate for kids.”
Live signature totals from the Groundswell's campaign:
For more information on Groundswell, please visit:
TOP STORY: Industry partners play a crucial role in investigations
Law enforcement agencies across the globe work tirelessly to end child exploitation, but they can't do it alone. They rely on assistance from private sector companies to successfully accomplish their mission.
"ICE Homeland Security Investigations is involved in a multitude of investigations," said Matthew Dunn, child exploitation section chief at the agency's Cyber Crimes Center. "Partnering with industry leaders not only extends our reach, but also our effectiveness as a law enforcement agency."
Just this week, PayPal joined U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce. The taskforce is an alliance of international law enforcement agencies and private sector partners who are committed to ending online child abuse. PayPal employs multiple sophisticated models to detect and remove accounts involved in the distribution of child pornography.
"PayPal takes its role as a leader in online payments seriously. We are dedicated to providing a safe and secure payments infrastructure to our millions of customers and merchant partners across the world whilst actively working with global law enforcement agencies to combat illegal activity," said Andrew Rechtman, director of strategy for PayPal Australia.
The company has policies and procedures in place to combat online child exploitation and has a long standing history of active cooperation with international law enforcement whenever illegal activity is detected or suspected. From 2006 to 2009, during Operation Flicker, PayPal helped law enforcement dismantle a criminal organization by identifying thousands of individuals who subscribed to child pornography websites.
Learn more about ICE's efforts to end child exploitation.
Questions plague hunt for Washington toddler; foul play suspected
The case of a toddler missing in Bellevue, Wash., after, his mother said, she left him unattended in a car for an hour has turned into a search through the parents' troubled marriage, with accusations of beatings, lies and mental illness vastly complicating the search for 2-year-old Sky Metalwala.
"She's done something with Sky -- I don't know what," a distraught Solomon Metalwala told reporters as police moved from searching the area of the car where Julia Biryukova said she left her son to combing the trash bins around her Redmond, Wash., apartment.
"What is she thinking? If she's not in her right mind, anything can happen," Metalwala said at a news conference at his lawyer's office.
Metalwala said he was available for a lie detector test Tuesday, a day after police said his emotionally distraught condition had left him unable to produce conclusive results Monday. Biryukova refused to take a test, sources familiar with the case said.
The case of the toddler allegedly left strapped in his car seat has gained international notoriety even in an unfortunate time when it can be hard to keep track of the various instances of missing children.
Biryukova told police that her car quit running Sunday and that she left Sky in the car at the side of the road as she walked with her 4-year-old daughter to a gas station. She said she returned about an hour later to find him gone.
But several questions have plagued the investigation. Why did the car start easily when police tried it? Why was at least one door left unlocked?
"Given the limited amount of information we have, the fact that there's really no solid leads to follow up on in regard to where he might be, absolutely, we suspect foul play," Bellevue Police Maj. Mike Johnson told KING 5 television in Seattle.
"Someone close to this family knows what happened to this child," he said.
It turns out that the child's disappearance came just two days after Biryukova sent word that she would not agree to a shared custody and visitation arrangement negotiated a week ago during a 12-hour mediation session in their contentious divorce, said her husband's lawyer, Leslie Clay Terry III.
Instead, Terry told The Times, Biryukova wanted Metalwala, whom she has accused of beating her and abusing the children, to give up any significant visiting privileges until he underwent further parenting classes.
The couple already had been ordered by the court to take 10 weeks of parenting training after leaving Sky in a vehicle in the parking lot outside a Target store in 27-degree weather for 55 minutes in December 2009. The incident was reported after a passerby found the child crying in the vehicle, according to court records.
The records show a tumultuous history, with Biryukova filing for a protection order against her husband in March 2010, at the same time they began to dissolve their 14-year marriage. She alleged then that Metalwala had beaten her and told her she should be working on the street as a prostitute; later, she accused him of harming the children as well.
A state Child Protective Services case worker initially sided with Biryukova. But Terry said the case against his client eroded when it was more thoroughly investigated, and that Metalwala passed a polygraph examiner's questions about whether he had hit or sexually abused his children.
The protection order was dismissed, he said, and Metalwala was officially allowed to see his children again, though he hadn't succeeded in doing it through much of the last year.
Metalwala has said the marriage began to disintegrate when Biryukova developed what appeared to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder that finally landed her in the hospital for a mental evaluation.
"They were very happily married and everything seemed to be going very well, and then suddenly something happened to her," Terry said. "She would clean the same thing over and over again. She got to the point where she would not let her husband and children in the house because she claimed they would make it dirty." Metalwala and the children, he said, would often have to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant.
"She wasn't even feeding them. She didn't want to cook in the house, because she didn't want the kitchen to get dirty," the lawyer said. "She threatened to kill herself. She said she had dreams of the children dying."
In 2010, he said, Biryukova was committed for a mental health evaluation, and released some time later with a doctor's conclusion that she was capable of caring for her children. It was when Metalwala filed for divorce that March and tried to get custody of the children, Terry said, that Biryukova filed for the protection order.
In court papers, Biryukova said her husband attacked her in front of her daughter.
"He became furious like I have never seen him before, he grabbed me by my hair in front of our daughter, dragged me into our hallway, threw me down on the floor and then threw me against a decorative column we have in the entrance of our home," she wrote in her application. "He continued to assault me with his feet -- by kicking me and then he took out his car keys and contrived to scratch me in any area that he could."
Terry said that although courts routinely grant such orders on a temporary basis, this one was dismissed after it was subjected to a full hearing.
Terry said his client is hoping desperately that his son can be found. "We want the child back," he said. "Although we have concerns about the validity of the story of the mother, we can't discount the fact that it may be true," he said.
"This is the important thing. Although we find the story to be extraordinary in its content, because there's a possibility that it's true, someone may have kidnapped this child, and someone else may have seen something that would give us a clue."
Presiding judge prepares to open L.A. County dependency courts
The presiding judge of Los Angeles County's juvenile court is preparing to open proceedings for dependency court in an effort to improve accountability and transparency for a branch of the legal system that handles child abuse, child neglect and foster care placements.
Members of the media and the public are barred from entering dependency courtrooms without court permission, but Judge Michael Nash is proposing a blanket order that would make the hearings presumptively open unless someone objects and a judge chooses to close the hearing.
A similar effort to open juvenile courts in Sacramento failed earlier this year following objections by the union that represents social workers and some foster children. But Nash —an advocate of government transparency—believes that the courts can be opened without new legislation.
"There is a lot that is not good [in the dependency courts], and that's an understatement," Nash said earlier this year at a hearing in Sacramento on legislation that would have opened dependency courts. "Too many families do not get reunified ... too many children and families languish in the system for far too long. Someone might want to know why this is the case."
Before the order is made final, however, he is soliciting opinions from interested parties by the end of the month.
Janis Spire, executive director of the Alliance for Children's Rights, said her organization was supportive of Nash's order but hoped that it could be adjusted so that too much identifying information about children is not released, including last names and Social Security numbers.
Huntington Beach bans sex offenders from parks
November 8, 2011
Huntington Beach has voted to forbid registered sex offenders from entering city parks.
The City Council vote Monday makes the law even more stringent than Orange County's ordinance that bans registered sex offenders in county parks, the Huntington Beach Independent reported.
Huntington Beach Mayor Joe Carchio and Councilman Matthew Harper asked the City Council in May to consider adopting an ordinance similar to the one approved by the county in April.
The county's ordinance gives the Orange County Sheriff's Department the discretion to issue permits for registered sex offenders to temporarily enter county parks on a case-by-case basis.
Huntington Beach's ordinance, which takes effect in 30 days, does not have any room for flexibility.
It would bar parents who are registered sex offenders from entering city parks with their children, regardless of their type of violation or how long it had been since they committed the offense.
It also would prohibit employees or contractors who work in city parks and are registered sex offenders from entering city parks, even for work purposes.
Offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
The law could limit constitutional rights and opens the door for lawsuits, said City Atty. Jennifer McGrath.
McGrath and Police Chief Ken Small opposed the ordinance and suggested that exceptions be made for parents and park employees, or apply only to violent sex offenders.
The Orange County Register reported Laguna Hills will vote on its own version of a sex offender ban Tuesday.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and county supervisors had asked cities to consider their own bans after the county passed its ordinance.
Mother locked girl in closet for 6 hours over bad grades
A Costa Mesa woman is accused of hitting her daughter and locking her in a closet because the child earned bad grades, according to court records.
The 32-year-old woman is charged with one misdemeanor count of child abuse, Costa Mesa police told the Daily Pilot, which has decided not to name the mother to protect the identity of her daughter, a minor.
Authorities alleged that on Oct. 29 the mother hit her 13-year-old daughter three times with a stick and then locked her in a closet for six hours as punishment for "bad" grades, said Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Phil Myers.
He did not know the grades the girl earned.
A concerned party called police after the incident, he said.
Police arrested the woman within a couple of hours of the report. She was in custody at Orange County Jail until early Monday morning, when she posted bail and was released, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department records.
What should you do if you suspect child abuse?
by Jay Hermacinski
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - High-profile cases like the one developing out of Penn State serve as important reminders when it comes to child abuse reporting laws and child abuse prevention.
Under Indiana law, any individual who has a reason to believe a child is a victim of abuse or neglect must report it by either calling police or placing an anonymous call to the state's Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-800-85556.
Failing to report carries a penalty.
In November 2010, a 16-year-old Muncie Central High School student was raped in a school bathroom. The principal never called police. Someone else did, and an arrest was made. The principal was later charged with failing to report child abuse.
For many victimized children, reporting abuse can be difficult.
"Over 90 percent of children who are victimized know their perpetrator,” said Sandy Runkle-DeLorme, who helps run Prevent Child Abuse Indiana. "The perpetrator intentionally gets to know the child, gets to know the family. Gains the trust of the family, and gains the trust of the child. You need to teach children from a very early age about their bodies, about sexual boundaries. You need to be very clear about that."
Runkle-DeLorme said that should be an ongoing discussion between parents and their children - a discussion that starts at an early age and continues through the teenage years.
Child Abuse: Beyond the beating
by Tonisha Pinckney, Philadelphia Social Issues Examiner
Is spanking child abuse? If not, where should one draw the line between the two? These questions are important in the standing debate among parents, religious leaders, psychiatrists, therapists, and children on acceptable forms of child discipline. The perceptions vary dependent upon background, history of abuse for the parent or the child, culture, religious beliefs and affiliations, and more. Recently, a video of Aransas County, Texas, Court-At-Law Judge William Adams beating his daughter in 2004 was released causing outrage. In the video, Judge Adams says, “I will beat you into submission!” He repeatedly used expletives when addressing her. The horror of a mother agreeing with the verbal and physical abuse leaves one near, if not in, tears thinking of the possible ramifications on the future of the then 16 year old girl. Surely it is clear to both sides of the argument that the judge and his wife crossed all lines.
This series on domestic violence and abuse brings to light the lesser known affects of abuse from the mouths of the victims. Through the series it becomes apparent that the actual beatings in their individual moments were not the worst part of the abuse experience. This was common to all victims covered ( Connie Elder -- TV Personality, Hanz Medina – Asian Actor, Brian Martin -- Founder of Makers of Memories, Steve Pemberton – Walgreens VP, and Patrick Dati -- Gay Advocate). The real trauma is found in the days or moments leading up to the beating, the harsh words said during, being told that the beating is his/her fault, and the subsequent lasting sense of shame, betrayal, and brokenness.
Dr. Drew Stevens, adjunct professor at several universities and international business and sales strategy consultant, is a survivor of 17 years of severe mental and physical child abuse. Watching the video of Judge Adams is a glimpse into the lives of victims such as Dr. Stevens. It is not until recently, after Dr. Stevens' parents died, that he could put the effects of the abuse into proper perspective. His parents' deaths seem to snatch the scab off an infected wound. He was left with unanswered questions as to why the abuse, why the severity of the abuse, and why he was “cast away” by his parents. Unlike the adult victim of domestic violence, child victims cannot simply walk out.
During the dual healing process, dealing with grief and abuse, Dr. Stevens identified 3 areas where abuse over 30 years ago still affects him today.
|(1) Self-esteem: “Abuse always makes me wonder, even at 49, [if] I am good enough. Do I serve my purpose? Can I love myself for my contributions? This is especially poignant when you are told since age 5 you will never amount to anything.”
(2) Competitive: “I am more competitive and goal oriented due to abuse. The goals keep me as they did as a child, moving forward. I could have turned to drugs, violence or homelessness but goals made me move in an upward direction.” He also says he finds himself competing against his own emotions. A track and field star in high school, his parents never showed up to any of his games. Track and field became an outlet through which he can gain personal validation and acquire a sense of control over his body and mind.
(3) Unsolicited feedback: “Due to abuse I suffer from PTSD. I cannot accept feedback good or bad. The past history of violence always offered something negative, and when I receive it presently I get withdrawn and depressed.” Interestingly, Dr. Stevens also has a difficult time with positive feedback.
Dr. Stevens recounts going to gym after being horribly abused and having to hide is body in the locker room so other students did not see the bruises. He says he “made the distinct promise that I would not become [his] father.” As a husband and father he works daily to make positive decisions which disallow teenage children the agony portrayed in the Judge Adams video.
When asked what is needed to help adult victims of child abuse in their healing process, Dr. Stevens noted the need for support groups which actually address the affects of abuse on individuals in the group rather than limiting the groups to child abuse awareness funding. As an outspoken victim he calls for policy change. He passionate exclaimed, “[It] takes too much paperwork to prove you are a victim!” Listening to Dr. Stevens, it appears that current policy and procedure considers the offender innocent until proven guilty and the victim a liar until proven a victim.
As a source of encouragement and admonishment, Dr. Stevens is writing a book about his story of in-home terror, survival, and healing. In the interim, he urges child abuse victims to “stop hiding behind the walls!” Your empowerment begins when you “communicate – find a confidant – a mentor – anyone you can trust.”
Listen to the full interview here.
Child abuse bill closer to becoming law in Wisconsin
School workers would have to report crimes
Advocates say a bill passed by the state Assembly last week expanding the list of those required to report child abuse will help prevent cases such as the one against a former Appleton teacher charged with abusing disabled students.
The bill, which passed the state Senate by a 31-1 vote in May, would require all school employees to report suspicion of child abuse to law enforcement or child welfare officials. The mandatory reporting law currently extends only to teachers, school administrators and counselors.
The bill moved through the Legislature as a felony case against former Janet Berry Elementary School teacher Mary C. Berglund progressed through Calumet County Court. The measure passed the Assembly on a voice vote Thursday and now requires Gov. Scott Walker's signature to become law.
Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick, managing attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, referenced Berglund's case last week in a letter to Assembly members seeking support of the measure. He said the bill is a positive step to better protect children.
"One would hope that those who might abuse kids in school realize now that everybody in the building is a mandated reporter," Spitzer-Resnick said Monday. "If (abuse) happens, we're more likely to get reports and stop it faster."
Calumet County Dist. Atty. Jerilyn Dietz couldn't be reached for comment.
Berglund, 54, was charged in March with nine felony child abuse counts and one felony count of strangulation stemming from classroom incidents involving cognitively disabled children that occurred from 2009 into January.
Berglund's charges stem from documentation provided by a teacher's assistant relating to five students. On Jan. 6, the assistant said Berglund lay across a 9-year-old child, grabbed his throat and pushed his head back. In other incidents, police say Berglund grabbed children by their heads and necks and forced them to put their heads down during "time-out" punishments, the criminal complaint stated.
In the wake of the allegations involving Berglund, the Appleton Area School District changed its policy to meet the bill's goal by requiring all of its employees to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
The school board last month also created an ombudsman role to assist employees or serve as an alternative source for staff if they are uncomfortable telling their building principal.
Although Berglund's case was cited in support of the mandatory reporting bill, another 2011 case inspired it. In Racine, former teacher's aide Lewis Givens is charged with four counts of sexual assault in connection to incidents involving a 9-year-old girl on Dec. 21, 2010, and Jan. 6 and Jan. 10 of this year, the criminal complaint says.
In that case, a substitute teacher, an educational assistant and another staff member told police of witnessing incidents of inappropriate touching. Police, however, weren't contacted until Jan. 11.
Meanwhile, Berglund's case is on hiatus as attorneys wait for the appointment of a judge.
Judge Donald Poppy initially presided over the case. Attorneys planned to resolve the case by plea agreement in August, but Poppy — serving as a reserve judge — declined to accept the deal out of concern that a substantial reduction in charges wouldn't meet the public interest.
When Poppy retired, the case was assigned to Jeffrey Froehlich, who was appointed to Calumet County's judicial seat. It went to Fond du Lac Judge Peter Grimm based on a conflict of interest involving Froehlich, who was previously Calumet County's assistant district attorney.
Last month, a request was made for judicial substitution.
Why Are All These ‘Respectable' People Abusing Children?
by BARRY NOLAN
They all seemed so nice, all those respectable people who are now in the news for abusing children or failing to report it.
Last week, there was the sensational YouTube video of Judge William Adams, the rat-bag family court judge down in Texas. In a video that went viral, he savagely beats his disabled 16 year-old daughter with a heavy leather belt for almost 8 minutes. The video has had almost 6 million views. The story went national, and the beleaguered Adams finally issued a statement about it. He clearly sees himself as the victim. He believes the problem is not the savage beating he administered to a girl with cerebral palsy, but that his vindictive daughter had the unmitigated gall to be unhappy about being beaten. As a judge, he makes rulings on issues of child custody and child welfare, so he must know what's right in such matters.
And this weekend, reports of alleged child sex abuse by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky engulfed the storied football program at Penn State University. As with so many scandals, it's not just the crime, it's also the cover-up that causes problems. Tim Curley, athletics director, and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for business and finance, have stepped aside and face charges stemming from their failure to report suspected child sex abuse to authorities. Maybe neither one of them has read a newspaper for the past decade and simply did not know about the grief surrounding the cover-ups of sex scandals in the Catholic Church.
Before the announcement of their stepping aside, Penn State president Graham Spanier tried to make things better by declaring that the two administrators have his “unqualified support.” Support for what? Not reporting sexual abuse of children to police? A qualification or two just might be in order.
And today, we have a story in the New York Times about Michael Pearl, a Tennessee evangelical preacher who wrote a book titled To Train Up a Child that cheerfully waxes on about beating infants with sticks. The Times story revolves around the death of three children who were beaten to death, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept Pearls' book in their homes.
You can buy your own copy of Pearl's guide to punishment for just $7.95 on Amazon. You will also find helpful reviews of the book such as these:
“Probably the best guide I've seen for creating either:
|a) a life-long bully,
b) someone afraid of their own shadow, or
c) someone who's good at not getting caught.”
“… it's like I hitched a ride to crazy town! I am a pro-spanking parent. I understand a swift pop on the hand or leg, but there is a line between discipline and abuse. So when I get to page 74 is when I really thought these people are CRAZY!! They recommend to a mom, who has a 7 month old, to ‘switch' him on the bare bottom or leg 7 to 8 times for getting angry.”
Or if you feel you still need even more peer support for your desire to beat children, you can just go to any number of pro-spanking websites, such as Adequacy.org, where they will tell you how those softy liberals are leading us all to hell in a hand-basket and how:
When I was growing up, there were three levels of misbehavior in our household:
Now here's the thing that liberals can't stand to hear: I am a better man because of it. When I was in school, I never once opened fire on a cafeteria full of my peers.
Goodness. What could a liberal possibly say in reply to that? The author certainly does set a high standard of personal responsibility for himself — restraining himself from committing an act of mass murder and all. I bet it was interesting sitting next to him the in the school cafeteria back in the day. “I wonder if this will be the day Bobbie Joe goes postal over the cold tater tots?”
But the problem for the pro-beating crowd is that a meta-study (a study of many other studies) published in the Psychological Bulletin in 2002 on the issue of corporal punishment found that while beating children may be useful for achieving short-term compliance, the use of corporal punishment is:
|“associated overall with decreases in children's moral internalization, operationalized as their long-term compliance, their feelings of guilt following misbehavior, and their tendencies to make reparations upon harming others.”
— Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, Columbia University
In normal English, that means people who have been beaten as children may have a less sensitive moral compass, may be more likely to act out against others, may feel less guilty about doing bad things to others (like beating their children), and may have a problem ever saying they're sorry.
Those who commit acts of child abuse, those who cover up for it and those who facilitate it do an injury to us all. Whether they be judges, or coaches, or ministers or online book sellers, they do us injury. It's time to call them out.
A Typical Story on Childhood Sexual Abuse
by J. Michael Sharman - Editorial Columnist
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office on Nov. 4 charged retired Pennsylvania State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 67, with 40 counts of sexual molestation against eight young boys from 1994 to 2009.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” said AG Linda Kelly. “It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention.”
The university's athletic director and vice president are being charged with perjury and failing to report the molestations.
This headline news, unfortunately, tracks the pattern of a very typical Childhood Sexual Abuse case.
In a survey of incarcerated sex offenders, the average sex offender had only two known charges and five known offenses on his criminal record. But by the end of the second round of polygraph testing, each sex offender had confessed to an average of 110 victims and 318 offenses. Their confessed history of offenses went back an average of 16 years before they were first arrested.
Therapist Dr. Carla van Dam says the molester's process is that: “[T]here must first be sexual attraction to children. Second, molesters must justify having sex with children to themselves, at which point they groom the adult community to gain access to children. Finally, they must groom children to maintain security.”
In 89% of the cases, the molester is either a relative or a person known to the victim.
Sandusky had founded a nonprofit organization for at-risk youth called the Second Mile Foundation. All of the boys Sandusky is accused of molesting were involved with his Second Mile Foundation.
Why did it take so long for Sandusky to be charged with any of these crimes?
An article published in the journal Psychology, Public Policy and the Law studied multiple retrospective surveys and found that 60% to 70% of adults who were survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse reported that they did not disclose the abuse during childhood. An astonishing 38% of those who reported Childhood Sexual Abuse on the survey said they had never told anyone until asked in the survey.
In those infrequent instances when a child does confide in an adult that someone has molested them, 24% of the adults don't pass on the information to anyone else.
Incredibly, even a third of parents, about 31%, are nonsupportive of their children after a molestation. Despite proof of the abuse, they continue to believe that the abuse complaint was a lie, a misunderstanding, or the child's fault. These parents rarely support pressing charges against the molester.
A 1998 Penn State security staff investigation of sexual behavior between Sandusky and young boys in the locker room showers was reported to school officials but not to local law enforcement. In 2002, a graduate assistant reported to head coach Joe Paterno that he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting yet another young boy in the showers. That eye witness account was also not reported to police.
One study estimates that only 3% of child sexual abuse cases are ever reported to the police.
Perhaps one positive result of the Penn State scandal will be that those persons who are required to report abuse will now see it is in their own self-interest to consider a child's safety as more important than professional reputations or personal friendships.
A child abuse victim speaks out about PSU scandal
November 8, 2011
by Cathleen Palm
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I'm deeply saddened and equally outraged by the criminal charges filed not just against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky but also high-ranking officials in the university community.
The charges provide a powerful reminder that too often the response to child abuse is doubt or inaction versus urgent steps to ensure the alleged abuse is reported and the child's safety assured. During my own healing journey, I questioned whether what I knew to be true could have been real.
The doubt crept in as I tried to understand how a person my parents believed would look out for my best interest, a person whom the community so respected, could have manipulated that trust.
Over the years, I've also had to make amends with adults whom I had told about being abused. I can remember being told I must be confused. What confused me was that the disbelief was directed at me, not the person who was betraying everyone's trust.
As a child, I was asked to bear the burden of protecting myself. As a survivor, I've been asked by adults to understand why they felt they needed to overlook my words or their gut feelings.
Together we share this certainty — we all wish that my life story could have been written differently. We also now share a dedication to ensuring that every child is protected, nurtured and believed.
If you suspect a child is being abused, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Your decision to speak up might be their only hope, the lifeline they desperately require.
Amazon selling child abuse how-to guide?
Amazon customers call for the removal of a book advocating abusive parenting "techniques"
An unorthodox parenting book is getting a lot of attention following a spotlight in the New York Times today. “To Train Up a Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl is, by all appearances, something of a child abuse training manual that advocates the use of “switches” on babies as young as six months old. The first question you're probably asking yourself is, Good God—who would publish a book like this? That one's easy. It's self-published. The second question you're probably asking yourself is, Good God—who would sell this book? That one is also easy: Amazon.
Yes, the Pearls' book on how to whip your child into shape—literally—is on Amazon, along with their 14 other books, which include such telling titles as “Created to Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious” (which, interestingly enough, has three and a half stars), “Preparing to Be a Help Meet,” and “The Help Meet's Journey.” Picking up on a pattern?
The book was self-published by the Tennessee-based Pearls in 1994 and currently has more than 600,000 copies in circulation. The book is currently available on Amazon for $7.95 (plus free two-day shipping for Prime members!) or $3.99 for the Kindle edition, and it's drawing quite a bit of outrage from Amazon customers.
The book has received over 1,200 reviews—virtually all of which are either five stars or one star—and review titles say it all pretty clearly:
“Horrible, I wouldn't treat my dog this way”
“Please stop selling this book!”
A quick glance at the book makes it pretty clear why so many Amazon customers are up in arms. “To Train Up a Child” takes the “spanking vs. no spanking” debate to a whole new level as it advises parents to whip their unruly, rebellious, short-skirt-wearing six-month-old babies with a wooden spoon, spatula, or—the Pearls' favorite—a piece of quarter-inch tubing that you can roll up and carry in your back pocket. The Pearls like the tubing because it doesn't leave bruises. (Don't want those debil-worshipping social workers on your back!)
Among the other punishments the Pearls advocate: “fasting” (i.e. food deprivation, or—in layman's terms—starvation), as well as taking the hose to kids who have potty training accidents.
If your child responds to your spanking/switching/hosing with anger rather than the appropriate fear and submission, the Pearls offer a simple solution to your problem: spank him again. If that makes him angrier, just keep spanking.
As Michael Pearl boasts in the book: “I could break his anger in two days. He would be too scared to get angry.”
If that demonstration of masculine authority and virility doesn't turn you on, maybe this will: Michael Pearl is also a champion knife and tomahawk thrower.
Amazon was not immediately available to comment, so it's not clear whether the company has any plans to remove the book from the Amazon.com website. It wouldn't be the first time Amazon has had to remove a controversial title from its selection. This time last year, Amazon came under fire for offering a how-to guide for pedophiles, which it promptly removed.
PayPal joins virtual global taskforce to combat online child sexual abuse
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) welcomes PayPal, the fifth industry partner to join the VGT alliance, to provide an even stronger presence world wide in the ongoing fight against online child abuse.
Chair of the VGT and Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, said that combating online child sexual exploitation cannot be done by law enforcement alone.
“Law enforcement agencies cannot work in a silo, partnerships need to be formed with industry, academia and the NGO community. I am proud to say that the VGT now does this,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan.
“We need to work on solutions outside of police action to stop the hideous crime and prevent or at least minimise the distribution of child exploitation material across the internet.
“By joining the VGT as an industry partner, PayPal has demonstrated its commitment to helping reduce the threat to children online and will continue to provide support to international law enforcement.”
Director of Strategy for PayPal Australia, Andrew Rechtman, said “As a global enabler of online commerce, PayPal takes its role as a leader in online payments seriously. We are dedicated to providing a safe and secure payments infrastructure to our millions of customers and merchant partners across the world while actively working with global law enforcement agencies to combat illegal activity.”
PayPal is committed to combating the sexual exploitation of children and supports the VGT's mission, which is to build a global capacity to deter, prevent and respond to this crime against children anywhere and anytime. PayPal provided valuable assistance in Operation Basket, a VGT operation that came to resolution in December 2010 and dismantled a network of more than 200 commercial child sexual abuse websites under the control of one criminal organisation.
As a payment processor, PayPal employs multiple sophisticated models to detect and remove accounts that are involved in the distribution of child sexual exploitation material. PayPal is also a member of the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography and the Asia Pacific Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography.
The company has policies and procedures in place to combat online child exploitation and has a long standing history of active cooperation with international law enforcement whenever illegal activity is detected or suspected.
A key outcome from the 2010 VGT Conference was to build stronger alliances and expand the VGT membership with organisations outside law enforcement. In pursuit of this outcome, the VGT has now developed strategic partnerships with the End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes network (ECPAT International), International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The AFP became chair of the VGT for a three-year period in December 2009. The VGT is an alliance of international law enforcement agencies and private sector partners, working together to combat online child sexual exploitation.
Other members of the VGT include the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (UK), the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Italian Postal and Communication Police Service, INTERPOL, the Ministry of Interior for the United Arab Emirates, the New Zealand Police and Europol.
For more information visit the VGT website: www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com
AFP National Media Team, Phone: (02) 6131 6333
The VGT aims to make the internet a safer place, identify, locate and help children at risk and hold perpetrators appropriately to account. The Report Abuse button on the VGT website is an effective way to report suspicious online behaviour.
Attorney applauds change at child abuse conference in Layton
November 8, 2011
LAYTON -- Crime victims have more rights today than they did 25 years ago, said the keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Conference on Child Abuse & Family Violence.
"We needed to recognize the needs of the person we were protecting," said Reed Richards, chairman of the Utah Council on Victims of Crime and a former Weber County Attorney.
The three-day conference has drawn attendees from across the state. They include police officers, educators, attorneys, social workers, victims advocates and medical providers, said Anne Freimuth, executive director of the Prevent Child Abuse Council. Richards said that while serving as Weber County Attorney he learned that even though victims appreciated the convictions and sentences handed down to the perpetrators, they did not like the court system process.
"We thought the process to get (to the convictions) was the pits," Richards said the victims told him.
Richards said victims of a rape case, and of a murder case, told him they did not like being treated like evidence. They did not think it was fair that the defendant's friends and family could be in the courtroom, but the victims were kept out of the courtroom.
They also said they did not like learning from newspaper that the accused had been released from jail on bail. They told Richards that someone from the courts should notify them.
Richards said, as a prosecutor 25 years ago, those victims helped him realize how important it was to change the state's constitution so defendants who were at risk of fleeing or that pose a danger to the community could be held in jail on no bail.
It also took a change in the state's constitution that has given today's crime victims rights.
Richards said he hopes that someday the federal constitution will also protect victims.
Richards said changing the state constitution took several years of work, but those changes were approved by a 95 percent of voters. Now, crime victims have the right to be present during hearings, as well as be treated fairly and with respect.
"There is still a lot to be done," Richards said. "Many things work well now, but some of it doesn't work as well as it should."
Another change Richards was instrumental in bringing to Utah's court system was the creation of children's justice centers.
Richards said he became acutely aware as a prosecutor that children who were crime victims had no child-friendly place to tell their story. He remembers walking into the Ogden Police Department to talk to a 7-year-old girl. She was sitting in a detectives' room filled with desks, officers and other suspects and victims, all adults.
"The officer said we have a report of abuse, but she won't talk to us," Richards said. "Duh. She was scared to death."
Richards began looking for a different way for officers, social workers and others to interview children who had been abused.
He attended a national conference and learned about children advocacy centers. When he returned to Utah, he and others worked to get children's justice centers built in Utah. There are now 18 children's justice centers in Utah with more than 700 children advocacy centers throughout the country.
Richards said, 25 years ago victims of violent crimes or domestic violence could not be protected, because there were no protective orders. Now judges can order a defendant to stay away from a victim while the case is in court.
Richards urged those who attended the conference not to just do their jobs, but "to look at what can be changed and be one of those aggressive, pushy people."
Rosemary Trible launches nonprofit group to help abused
Fear 2 Freedom organization spinoff from book about her own sexual abuse in 1975
by Kathy Van Mullekom
Rosemary Trible, author of the 2010 book, "Fear to Freedom," which details sexual abuse earlier in her life, has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping others who suffer a similar situation.
The organization, called Fear 2 Freedom, sponsors one of its first major programs, "Where is the Line? Celebration Night," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Christopher Newport University's David Student Union ballroom. Debbie Smith of Williamsburg, abducted from her house on March 3, 1983, will kick off the event for students, staff and faculty; Smith now travels, speaking for her own nonprofit organization HEART, which provides assistance to sexual assault victims and advocates for the expanded use of DNA resources.
During Wednesday's program, students will assemble aftercare kits for sexual abuse victims and participate in a "Heal a Heart Walk" to take the F2F kits and "Bear Gear" kits for children to nearby Riverside Regional Medical Center. Chick-fil-A, music and giveaways will be part of the event. The goal is to show compassion for victims and to provide basic toiletries and clothing since those items are kept for evidence. On Nov. 2, the organization jump-started its mission with a CNU program that featured three women sharing their personal stories of abuse.
"It is through my own dark road of pain that I have become so passionate about helping victims and fighting against abuse," said Trible, also wife of CNU President Paul Trible, in a press release at the nonprofit. She is president of Fear 2 Freedom.
"In 1975, I hosted a morning TV talk show in Richmond called 'Rosemary's Guestbook.' I did a show on sexual assault never realizing I would be the next victim raped at gunpoint three days later," said Trible.
Since Trible's book came out in March 2010, she's traveled nationwide sharing her story.
"Never have I spoken that so many women have come whispering to me, 'I was molested as a child or I was raped by a neighbor and no one knows my pain,' said Trible.
"I'll never forget an older woman in California who came up crying after I had spoken. As I held her, she said, 'I am 85 years old and I was raped as a six-year-old. Till this moment I have never told anyone until you, and it has destroyed my life.'
"I have discovered that the greatest pain comes from those who have held their sexual abuse inside and have never gotten the help they need to find hope for their woundedness," said Trible. "If kept in the dark, it is like bacteria that grows, but brought out into the light this terrible trauma can have new healing so that a victim's past does not have to control their present and future."
In a January 2010 Daily Press interview with Trible, just before her book was released, she talked about the internal trauma she personally endured after the December 1975 rape that robbed her of the joy she found in everyday life. She and Paul had married four years earlier, and he was stepping into his political career, winning the commonwealth attorney position in Essex County. To this day, no one, including law enforcement officials, knows who the rapist was.
"I remember tearing up Paul's old T-shirts because that helped me physically release the burst of fear and anger," she said. "I wondered if I would ever feel normal again."
Her book tells the story of how she reclaimed that joy and has been quietly reaching out and helping women living in fear from sexual abuse and other problems such as eating disorders and panic attacks. Her website — http://www.feartofreedomjourney.com -- sells the book through amazon.com, and shares her story and the stories of other women.
"I can walk through a hotel lobby and sense a woman in fear," she said in the Daily Press interview.
"It's almost like a fragrance …. I can sense other women who have been broken. It's been my ministry all these years, to help women so they don't stay a victim."
It's also her mission to help children who have been abused or exposed to violence, using the Bear Gear book bag that includes crayons and paper to describe what has happened as well as other items.
"When victims of violence come to a hospital after trauma from sexual abuse, domestic violence or child abuse, the evidence collection and treatment is now performed by dedicated nurses of SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners," said Trible.
"Sandi Reinholdt, the coordinator of SANE nurses at Riverside, indicated how valuable the Fear 2 Freedom kits would be to a victim because all of their clothes are kept to become evidence.
"She said patients often leave in paper scrubs and she collects toiletries from friends so they can take a shower. Sweat pants, T-shirt and cotton underwear would be part of the kit, which would also include toiletries, toothbrush, hairbrush, mints, washcloth and journal."
In March, CNU students will take a spring break trip to the Honduras, where they will deliver aftercare kits to two orphanages where so many children have been abused or trafficked for sex, according to Trible.
The organization also hopes to get Old Dominion University to work with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, which had 1,100 cases of abused children last year, said Trible, and encourage Virginia Commonwealth University to work with the Medical College of Virginia, where forensic nurses reported 823 cases of childhood abuse last year.
"These statistics are truly frightening," said Trible.
"The 2 in Fear 2 Freedom is for the fact that every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in America.
"Our hope is these aftercare kits and the Where is the Line program will become a movement seeking to bring renewed joy to those affected by sexual abuse."
Conference: Human trafficking, sex slavery thriving in U.S., abroad
WASHINGTON -- One hundred and fifty years after the United States fought the Civil War "to cure this country of the scourge of slavery," said the archbishop emeritus of Washington, "this terrible scourge" continues today, even in the United States.
Around the world, "800,000 [new] people are being trafficked annually, half of whom are children," as involuntary slaves in forced labor and prostitution, said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.
Today, 14,000 to 18,000 people are brought into the United States each year as sex or labor slaves, he said.
One-third of the foreign-born are children, he added.
"Slavery -- to own another person … a person who was born to be free … I can't put my head around it," said McCarrick, a leading social justice advocate in the U.S. hierarchy who retired in 2006.
He was the featured closing speaker at a daylong conference Oct. 26 at The Catholic University of America on human trafficking and slavery, which experts say involves millions of men, women and children around the world, including millions of women and children forced into a life of prostitution or coerced labor for which they receive little or no pay.
McCarrick's talk closed a conference that included a panel of Ethiopans who had escaped sex slavery or torture in their home country and eventually made a circuitous route into the United States as asylum seekers.
Also featured at the conference were keynote speaker Luis CdeBaca, the U.S. ambassador-at-large who heads the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and a panel of experts involved in fighting human trafficking and sex and labor slavery.
The experts' panel also included Hilary Chester, associate director of the Anti-Trafficking Services Program of the Migration and Refugee Services department of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
An important political subtext of the conference -- only recently introduced long after the conference plans had been made -- was the recent denial of a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contract to the MRS anti-trafficking program.
Since 2006, the MRS program had assisted some 2,700 foreign-born victims of U.S. sex slavery and had formed a major national network of Catholic and non-Catholic service providers to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.
But in 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the HHS contract with MRS because it did not require MRS to include a full range of reproductive services, including referrals for abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception, in its anti-trafficking program.
The ACLU lawsuit appears to have been a decisive element in the government's decision to switch its funding for major anti-trafficking programs from MRS to other agencies that are willing to offer full contraceptive and abortion services to all clients, though the Obama administration has refused so far to declare the reasons for its shift in funding.
In his closing talk, McCarrick, referring to the nonrenewal of the MRS contract, sharply rebuked HHS for what he called an "illegal" repudiation of numerous U.S. laws protecting the conscience of social service providers who object for religious reasons to abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception.
Earlier, in response to an NCR question about the nonrenewal of the HHS contract, Chester said MRS in coming months and years will try to build innovatively on the network it has created with federal funding over recent years to continue combating human trafficking and sexual slavery in the United States, even though the federal funding has been cut off.
In a conversation following the meeting, however, she acknowledged that the denial of a new contract is forcing the bishops' agency to regroup and see what it can do with vastly reduced resources to continue the work it has begun.
She said MRS is also concerned about how to continue services to clients previously served within the network it had developed. She said it has urged agencies within the network to establish relationships with the newly HHS-funded anti-trafficking organizations in order to continue the anti-trafficking service work they are already engaged in.
Continuing service to clients who have been receiving assistance under the previous federal contract is a significant point of concern, she said.
The ACLU lawsuit that appears to have prompted the HHS denial of a renewed contract to MRS is another signpost in the church's growing political struggle with the Obama administration over narrowing definitions of what church social services to the poor and disadvantaged may be eligible for federal funding, despite a an overall administration policy of federal collaboration with faith-based social services.
On the same day the human trafficking conference was being conducted at Catholic University, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the bishops' new ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, gave testimony on Capitol Hill urging Congress to investigate the new requirements of reproductive services being demanded in federal contracts with religiously based social service agencies -- requirements that he said are "illegal" under existing federal statutes.
"This may call for a congressional hearing or other form of investigation to ensure compliance with the applicable conscience laws, as well as to identify how these new requirements came to be imposed," Lori told a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.
At the Catholic University conference, Demissie Abebe, director of TASSC -- the Washington-based Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition -- introduced several fellow Ethiopian survivors of torture and sexual abuse who had successfully escaped to the United States and are currently seeking asylum.
Abebe told NCR he was imprisoned twice in Ethiopia -- first for four months and then for two months -- and beaten and tortured there, for filing reports on government corruption, before he escaped and eventually made his way to the United States.
The Ethiopian panelists who followed, who did not want to be photographed or identified by their last names for fear of serious repercussions for family members still living in Ethiopia, included two women and a man who said their asylum pleas have been met with extreme skepticism and dehumanizing treatment by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administration.
CdeBaca delivered an unusually blunt plea from an administration official for action to end human slavery practices around the world.
The recently adopted terminology of "'trafficking in human persons' is a euphemism for slavery," he said. "There are 30 million people being held in forced labor and sex labor around the world."
In 1990, CdeBaca led the prosecution of one of the first cases of modern human slavery in the United States, in which 56 deaf or hearing-impaired Mexican nationals were forced to beg daily in New York for contributions. He also successfully prosecuted a slave labor case in which about 300 Asian workers were enslaved in a textile mill in American Samoa.
John Chance, an American intelligence expert long involved in human slavery issues, described cases he had been involved in, including an American sweatshop in which he said 16 women were chained for 16 hours a day to sewing machines and beaten or raped by their Chinese-born guards if they complained or failed to produce their daily quota of garments.
Chance also described a New Jersey case in which his federal task force followed a daily exodus of undocumented eastern Asian workers from Philadelphia to a chicken-processing plant in New Jersey. One day, one of the workers severed a thumb while cutting up chickens, he said, and fellow workers rushed him to a local hospital. Within minutes, a leader of the illegal labor-lease group showed up at the hospital and said the worker's health care could only apply in Pennsylvania, he said.
He said the worker was then transferred back to Philadelphia, where a member of the labor-lease group cauterized the stump of the severed thumb with a hot soldering iron, ignoring medical possibilities of reattaching the thumb.
Sara and Saba, two young Ethiopian women who spent months escaping torture and sexual exploitation in their native country, said they encountered new forms of torture upon their arrival in the United States, where ICE officials forced them to live for months in crowded, unsanitary conditions in California as their asylum cases were being processed.
Another Ethiopian-born panelist, Adil, described his experience of four years in Texas detention centers as he tried to press his case for political asylum.
The Ethiopian panelists declined to give their last names for fear that family members still living in Ethiopia might face severe recriminations from the government there if their full identities were revealed.
The lead figure in the Ethiopian group, Abibe, told NCR during a break in the conference that his exile stemmed from his efforts to stop corruption in which U.S. development aid funds were being diverted to private accounts of Ethiopian officials instead of the projects for which they were intended. When he refused to file false audit reports, he was arrested and jailed, and after his second imprisonment on fabricated charges, he fled to the United States after escaping prison, he said.
He said he still bears scars on his body from the beatings and torture he suffered while imprisoned in his homeland. If the corrupt government there were ousted, he would return to Ethiopia as soon as he could, he said.
"That's where I belong," he said.
A darker side: Speaker shares stats about human trafficking in state
by Cindy Allen, Managing Editor
ENID — Most Oklahomans don't know about the burgeoning business of human trafficking in their state.
But Mark Elam, coalition director of a new group called Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH), knows, and he shared some startling statistics with Rotarians at their weekly meeting Monday
“I'm going to talk to you about a difficult subject,” Elam said. “My intention is to try and traumatize you in the endeavor that you won't sleep tonight and will tomorrow get up and call our organization to help us change these graphic statistics about Oklahoma.”
Elam said he learned about human trafficking several years ago when he watched a documentary about rescuing children out of a brothel in Cambodia. The next year, a young lady from his faith community who had been serving in a Christian orphanage in India told her congregation children there were being sold out into labor and sex trafficking.
Since that time, Elam said he has learned about the global situation he hadn't known existed. Human trafficking isn't just an issue that is happening in underdeveloped countries in the world; He said it is happening right here in the United States, second in size only to drug trafficking as a criminal industry.
Millions, mostly women and children, are forced into labor and sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking is a $32-billion industry, and more than 1 million children currently are involved in sex trafficking in the United States, which now is considered the No. 1 destination for child sex trafficking.
Elam said many people thought slavery ended after the Civil War. However, today's slaves aren't in physical chains, but are bound by coercion and vulnerability.
“It's an issue of vulnerability, so most of this happens to women more than men,” Elam said. “Children are more vulnerable than adults, so about half of it is against our children. Just about every country on the planet is involved.”
Today's slavery is the loss of freedom due to the control of another through force, fraud or coercion.
A much larger issue is fraud, and foreigners who want to come to the United States for opportunities are vulnerable victims. Often, they are enticed by what they believe is a credible opportunity for education or employment, only to find out once they get to the United States their documents have been confiscated, and they now are under someone else's control.
“Now they're trapped,” he said. “They're threatened and under coercion or psychological control.”
In the United States, there are two categories of victims: U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. The latter includes not just those who are in the U.S. illegally, but also those with visas.
“They're in a new culture, new land, new language,” he said. “(In the) Oklahoma and Texas area, over the last 10 years, there have been people freed from labor or sex trafficking that come from 122 different countries around the world.”
On the U.S. side, it's also about vulnerability. It's about the sex industry and sex trafficking involving women and children, those who are not doing well or are uneducated, runaways or throwaways.
“Almost 300,000 children are moved into the sex industry every year here in America,” Elam said.
Illegal aliens are among the most vulnerable population: More than half a million children go missing, and no one contacts law enforcement.
“They're terrified to call the police,” Elam said. “All types of crimes happen against them, (and) they won't call anybody. Traffickers have learned they can take their kids, make huge money and no one comes looking for them.”
Oklahoma is listed as one of the most problematic states because of its location in the crossroads of the country and along I-35 and I-45. While port cities, such as Houston and Portland, are big trafficking states, Oklahoma has become well known as a high-trafficking state because of its number of truck stops.
“Our trade routes are our highway systems,” Elam said of Oklahoma.
Also contributing factors are the state's number of incarcerated women and high divorce rate. Broken or dysfunctional families often lead to children being abused or neglected, and they often run away. Their situation at home may be bad, but running away from home makes them even more vulnerable to sex trafficking.
“If you think about where would I go to find poor and uneducated, vulnerable women and children, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas are hot spots in the nation,” Elam said. “We have a vulnerable population in three major trafficking routes through the heart of our state.”
He said some of the largest national cases of labor and sex exploitation have occurred in Oklahoma.
“FBI did a string operation at truck stops in 2004, where they arrested young girls in forced prostitution as young as 13,” Elam said. “They were so shocked at what they learned, they developed an entire new invention in their agency called ‘Innocence Lost' with special agents operating throughout the United States, rescuing kids out of the sex industry.”
Elam said the trucking industry has become more proactive in trying to prevent this kind of sexual exploitation by forming its own task forces and helping identify girls or children they see at truck stops soliciting for sex. He said many truckers did not know the circumstances under which these children became prostitutes. Truckers Against Trafficking has gone nationwide at trade shows, helping other truckers understand the problem and how to try to prevent it.
“In the last six weeks, we have had over 200 truckers calling and reporting young girls at a truck stop or rest stop area,” Elam said.
Elam went on to talk about how the Internet and social networking have contributed more and more to young victims being coerced into human sex trafficking. More human traffickers also have learned how to target young girls or teens who may be disillusioned or living in difficult situations at home.
“They're recruiting now from rural areas, suburban areas, middle class and upper class, and they are doing their recruiting online through social networks, so that is the new playground,” Elam said. He said these criminals are more patient and will even spend several months “grooming” their victims, eventually talking them into leaving the home.
He said one third of young people online will go and meet a person they've only talked to online, but have never met in person.
“That makes them extremely vulnerable to any type of exploitation, and this is one area the FBI is really paying attention to,” Elam said.
Elam said he is hoping people in communities like Enid start to become educated about the problem and become more proactive in getting involved in trying to stop human trafficking. For more information, go to www.OATHcoalition.org or call (800) 995-0128, or call the Oklahoma Trafficking Safeline at (800) 522-SAFE (7233).
Woman accuses Herman Cain of unwanted sexual advances while she was seeking help getting a new job
by Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson
A former employee of the National Restaurant Association's educational foundation accused presidential contender Herman Cain on Monday of making an aggressive sexual advance 14 years ago, for the first time putting a name and face with claims of harassment that have plagued Cain for more than a week.
The accusations from Sharon Bialek, a single mother from Chicago, threw Cain's campaign into another day of turmoil when she described how he allegedly sexually harassed and groped her while the two sat in a car together in Washington. At the time of the alleged incident, Bialek said, she had recently lost her job at the restaurant association, where Cain was chief executive, and was seeking his help finding work.
When she told him to stop touching her, she said, Cain replied: “You want a job, right?”
“I was very surprised and shocked,” Bialek said, choking up as she spoke to reporters at a news conference in Manhattan. “I said, ‘What are you doing? You know, I have a boyfriend. This isn't what I came here for.' ”
Cain's campaign quickly issued a statement denying “all allegations of harassment” and accused Bialek's celebrity lawyer, Gloria Allred, of “bringing forth more false accusations” against the Republican candidate. The campaign said Cain would hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix to address the allegations.
Cain went on ABC's “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Monday night and vowed to fight the claims head on. “There is not an ouce of truth to all these allegations,” he said.
The stark details of Bialek's account added a new dimension to a scandal that has dominated the news since Politico first broke the story on Oct. 30. Her allegations moved the controversy beyond the realm of misunderstandings or jokes that several Cain operatives have suggested are at the root of other harassment claims. Bialek said Cain forcefully touched her, putting his hand up her skirt, reaching for her genitals and pushing her head down toward his crotch.
Allred said that Bialek had come forward not for personal gain but to give a “voice” to the other women who alleged harassment, and that Bialek had chosen not to sell her story or file a lawsuit. Bialek had told two people — a former boyfriend and a businessman in Chicago — her story at the time of the alleged incident, Allred said. She held up two pages that she said were sworn affidavits from the two men supporting Bialek's account.
Bialek was born and raised in Chicago and has lived there most of her life, according to Allred. She is a Republican, a stay-at-home mother of a 13-year-old son, and a college graduate who has worked as host of a cooking show, an account manager at Revlon and a director of corporate development at the Easter Seal Society, Allred said.
Three other women have alleged that Cain harassed them at the National Restaurant Association, which he led from 1996 to 1999. He had previously served as CEO of Godfather's Pizza. The association reached settlements with two of the women, providing a payment for each when they left their jobs. In at least one instance, Cain was not a party to the agreement and admitted no guilt, according to the organization.
A third woman told the Associated Press last week that she also was harassed but did not file a complaint.
Joel P. Bennett, an attorney for one of the women, released a statement from his client Friday claiming she was harassed over a span of months. He said Monday that Bialek's account is remarkably similar to his client's experiences, although he would not elaborate.
“I consider it corroborating evidence,” Bennett said.
He said he believes Bialek called his office last week and left a message saying she wanted to go public. When he returned her call the next day, she had changed her mind.
“Our client is very brave to have come forward,” Allred said. “She knows that stepping out into the light, she will face public scrutiny.”
It is unclear whether Bialek's account will hurt Cain's popularity among Republican voters. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday showed that Cain's status alongside former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the front of the Republican field was intact.
Debra S. Katz, a Washington lawyer specializing in workplace discrimination, said the behavior described by Bialek is “coercive and physical” and cannot be explained away as a misinterpretation. “This is abuse of power. This is sexual battery.”
Public records of Bialek's personal financial circumstances show a woman who has been intermittently in financial straits. She has filed for bankruptcy twice, in 1991 and 2001, and she has an Internal Revenue Service tax lien of $5,176. When asked at the news conference, Allred said Bialek is not on public assistance.
A man who identified himself as her fiance, Mark Harwood, told WBBN radio in Chicago, “My heart of hearts says the reason she's come forward is to be the voice of these other ladies .?.?. vindicate herself a little bit.”
Bialek's father, Chester “Henry” Bialek, 86, described his youngest daughter as politically conservative and an “outgoing person, kind and considerate.”
“She is involved in PTA and drives her son to his football games,” Chester Bialek said in an interview with The Washington Post. “She's independent. She's had some bad luck, but she overcame adversity, mostly in the romance angle. Just unfortunate relationships, but otherwise everything is okay.”
At the news conference, Bialek emphasized that it was her then-boyfriend who had urged her in 1997 to seek Cain's help in finding work after losing her job at the National Restaurant Association's educational foundation in Chicago, where she had worked for about six months. She had met Cain three or four times and, about a month before losing her job, she and her boyfriend had sat next to him at a hospitality industry event. She said she had found his speeches “inspiring” and had asked him when he was going to run for president.
In July of that year, she called Cain, who agreed to meet her in Washington during a trip she was making to visit family on the East Coast. She said her boyfriend booked her a room at the Washington Hilton, and Cain suggested they meet at the hotel bar.
When Bialek checked into the hotel, she found she had been given a “palatial” suite and assumed her boyfriend was responsible. But when she met Cain in the lobby, he asked her how she liked her room. “Mr. Cain kind of smirked and said, ‘I upgraded you,'?” she said.
He became aggressive in the car after they went out to dinner, she said.
Bialek said she saw Cain again about a month ago at a tea party conference in Chicago. She approached him, she said, and asked, “Do you remember me?”
“I guess I wanted to see if he was going to be man enough to own up to what he had done some 14 years ago,” she said. “He acknowledged that he remembered me from the foundation, but he kind of looked uncomfortable. And he said nothing as he was whisked away for his speech by his handlers.
“I really didn't want to be here today and would not have been here were it not for the other women who have alleged sexual harassment,” Bialek said at the end of her remarks Monday. She then addressed Cain directly: “Just admit what you did. Admit you were inappropriate to people. And then move forward.”
Darrell Hammond Book: Comedian Reveals Childhood Abuse, Psychiatric Treatment
(Video on site)
In God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked , Darrell Hammond offers an unbelievably raw and powerfully honest account of his life. The gifted comedian, who became famous on "Saturday Night Live" for his brilliant impressions of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Chris Matthews and Sean Connery, has also led a life filled with hardship and despair.
Raised by a mother who was physically and emotionally abusive, Hammond spent decades in and out of psychiatric hospitals, being misdiagnosed while self-medicating with copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. His new book is alternately hilarious, heartbreaking and emotional and Hammond spoke about his trials and tribulations with The Huffington Post.
Someone else with your problems could have ended up losing their job, their home and ended up homeless. How did you avoid that fate?
I'm sure it was a tricky thing for ["SNL" producer] Lorne Michaels. He knew on one hand, I needed this show and the time to survive the trauma therapy that I was going through. Then on the other hand, he wanted to protect his show and I was sick. We actually had a conference in his office. We all decided that if this didn't level off, I would leave the show for my own health. But the fact is I was putting together solid performances at that time. I never went out there drunk or on drugs -- at least during the show -- and big things were happening for me and the show at the time while I was going through flashbacks and trauma therapy.
You had flashbacks because your mother was extremely abusive while you were growing up.
I think the psychological component of it was the most abusive. Saying to me, "I know what you did and I know who you are." That's a way of saying, "I've hurt you, but I'll kill you." I think I wanted to write a book about the relationship between the victim and perpetrator in which the victim agrees to remain silent.
Do you think your dad knew about the abuse?
I don't know. He was mired over the torment of serving in World War II and all the guys he killed. I grew up in a house where the head of the house was obsessed with Nazis. Fighting Nazis kind of drove him mad, in a way.
As an adult, weren't you angry with him?
[I was] absolutely furious at him for a number of years, even rageful, at both parents. On his deathbed, he had laid his war medals across his chest and he said, "I'm sorry I wasn't a better dad." Every fiber of my being knew at that moment he had done his best and even if his apology was ... let's say heavy-handed ... it was an apology. He was trying to say, "I was a soldier and it cost me everything."
You also used to cut yourself?
In my case, it was a signpost; it was a billboard. It was saying, "Something's horribly wrong here and I'm afraid of my oppressor. I'm afraid of my torturer."
Your last rehab stint was for three months and that's when you say you hit a turning point?
I ran into an extraordinary doctor. He got up inside my head and figured out how my brain processed things, what my core values were, what my inner dialogue was. He stressed the high price of staying angry and what that cost me. He helped me understand the concept of forgiveness. ... It was the breakthrough.
How were you misdiagnosed throughout your life?
Yes, schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar...
But really, you are a child abuse survivor.
It's funny, when I went to these major mental health institutions, they put me in with prisoners of war and people who had been tortured and raped. Everyone always told me that I had the symptoms of a P.O.W. I called my mother up and I said, "You know, I've been to the best doctors in the world and I've spent almost half a million dollars and they're telling me I have symptoms of a P.O.W. and all I did was grow up in your home." She dropped her Southern accent and in a very husky tone said, "Don't ever call us again." I didn't speak to her again until she was on her deathbed, seven or eight years later.
During one "SNL" show, why were you taken away in a straight jacket?
They were doing a Mother's Day show and they were dressing me to look like my mother and when they started lowering the wig on my head I flipped out. The thing was, they felt I was disorientated and didn't know where I was and I think that was the truth.
Moving on to lighter topics. Your most famous impersonation is probably Bill Clinton. I loved the thumbs up and lip biting you'd do.
I know, which I never saw him do. I did it one night in Greenwich Village and the audience responded to is so hugely that I knew I was onto something.
I think because it summed up his "Slick Willie" persona.
Maybe so. The thing is with Clinton, he was really gifted. He was a really good guy who had gotten himself into some trouble that the rest of us could have gotten into. He was always really nice to me, as well.
Well, it's flattering to be impersonated.
I don't know if it's flattering or not. I played him during the Lewinsky scandal as a man, a gifted man, a sensitive man, who had done something that anyone else in the world would do and who regretted it. I always try to give all those guys a fair shake that I'm playing.
You were once told by a reporter that your Al Gore impression cost him the election.
Yeah, I was devastated. I liked him very much and I knew that he had been overcoached and that's all. There was no pathology there. There was nothing weird about him. There's a photo of him out dancing with his wife and he has a sweaty brow and his tie loosened and a Heineken in his hand. If the country had seen that, not the product of overcoaching ... I'm fascinated with what the results would have been.
Catholic bishops' lesson for Penn State: Call the cops!
by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY
A trusted adult, respected by the community, offers special programs for vulnerable boys -- then sexually abuses them. Word travels up to higher authorities but no one calls the police. They handle it within...
Sound familiar? It's the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal rewritten on a university campus.
FOLLOW:Faith & Reason blog on Twitter
This time it's Penn State officials playing the role of the bishops from Boston to Los Angeles and scores of cities in between, from the 1950s to 2002 when the scandal exploded into national headlines. Now, instead of a priest as serial child molestor, a grand jury alleges that former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky preyed on boys he met through his youth foundation and enticed into his control with special access to the university's facilities.
According to our coverage: Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts based on alleged sexual abuse of eight boys, the state attorney general's office said.
Athletic director Tim Curley, 57, and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, 62, whose position includes oversight of the university's police department, were charged with perjury and failing to report what they knew about the allegations in a case that prosecutors said uncovered a years-long trail of a predator and those who protected him.
Meanwhile, according to our coverage, the winningest coach in college ball history, Joe Paterno, did report the abuse -- to Curley, not to cops, "but the grand jury report did not appear to implicate (Paterno) in wrongdoing."
Mike Wise at The Washington Post, looses a barely-controlled scream over Penn State's shocking silence.
You want to grab hold of and shake those who reported the crime only to their superiors, washed their hands of responsibility and then let it go, treating a kid's life as if it were a football that slipped through their hands.
You can't read the 23-page grand jury report and come to any other conclusion; Penn State football and its pristine reputation apparently superseded the alleged sexual assault of a young boy -- perhaps as many as eight young boys -- over 15 years by Sandusky.
Joe Pa knew, if the charges are true. They all knew. And they never told police.
Sadly, those who have
read gut-wrenching grand jury reports on the Church's pre-2002 dealings with predatory priests will see echoes in accounts from New York, Boston, Philadelphia and more posted at Bishop Accountability.org.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of that website. which archives documents related to the Catholic abuse scandal, Sunday called the Penn State story ...
| .. a disgrace and a tragedy. What's rare and encouraging in this case is that the grand jury chose to hold the enablers as well as the perpetrator accountable. Let's hope this trend continues. When managers in ALL institutions know they will be arrested for hiding sexual predators, children in our society will be much safer.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- in nearly a decade of confronting the abuse horrors with a zero tolerance policy on credibly accused priests and child protection training for every employee and volunteer -- commissioned three major studies on the scope of abuse within the church. The latest one, released this spring, a look at
the causes and context of sexual abuse of minors.
Its conclusions didn't spare the leadership. According to their press release:
|The study also found that the initial, mid-1980s response of bishops to allegations of abuse was to concentrate on getting help for the priest-abusers. Despite the development by the mid-1990s of a comprehensive plan for response to victims andthe harms of sexual abuse, diocesan implementation was not consistent or thorough at that time.
The Penn State echo was evident to David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Saturday he told the New York Daily News:
|Every adult knows you tell the police, preferably first, but especially if your supervisors in the workplace are not taking action. We are grateful that criminal prosecution is happening but school officials clearly have some explaining to do.We hope that Joe Paterno will be investigated for possible criminal activity.
Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston in 2002, withstood nearly a full year of increasingly
shrill calls for his resignation for gross mismangement before finally stepping down.
But coverage of Law was only the beginning of years of revelations -- thousands of priests, thousands of victims, millions of dollars in settlements and the immeasurable losses of victims who suffer for decades or choose suicide.
And it put the white-hot light on the coverup: What did bishops know, and what did they do? What did Penn State officials know and what did they do? What is the right thing for Paterno to do now?
Child molester: A community comes to grips with the monster who lurked in its midst
by Gene Sapakoff , Glenn Smith
Louis "Skip" ReVille prayed with, and preyed upon, vulnerable kids he coached and groomed over a decade in the Lowcountry.
He taught school, led sports teams, guided Bible studies and took kids into his home as a foster parent. In nearly every area of his life, ReVille positioned himself to be close to children, to share their time and win their trust.
ReVille, 32, of Mount Pleasant is accused of sex acts with at least five boys in a case that continues to unfold.
Authorities say he used that access to carry out dark fantasies with adolescent boys. Just how many remains unclear. Mount Pleasant police have charged the 32-year-old educator with molesting five teens, but investigators have indicated that more counts are on the way, led by ReVille's own confessions.
ReVille's reach extended over years and across county lines, from the rigid confines of The Citadel to the suburban corners of Summerville to the finest neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant and Daniel Island. He literally had hundreds of kids at his fingertips.
But just how did he keep his sexual advances secret in a region well-versed in the threat of molestation? The area has seen a string of coaches, teachers, ministers and priests charged with similar crimes, including infamous predator Eddie Fischer, who molested more than 40 students during his teaching career. Charleston also is home to Darkness to Light, a national group that has trained some 300,000 people in ways to prevent child sexual abuse.
Despite these efforts and high-profile arrests, new molestation cases come along all the time. In part, that's because predators are crafty, manipulative and adept at covering their tracks, taking advantage of people's trust and institutions' disdain for being tainted by the stain of pedophilia, experts say.
"Child sexual predators get away with it for a combination of reasons," said William Burke, a Summerville clinical counselor who works primarily with men accused of child sexual abuse. "First, they are pretty good at what they do. Then there is what we call 'passing the trash,' where a school or church gets rid of someone by sweeping things under the rug and he goes on to another place."
Some early warning signs seem to have emerged in ReVille's past, including a 2007 complaint from a summer camper at The Citadel about inappropriate behavior on ReVille's part. A former official at Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, where ReVille taught and coached for four years, said faculty and parents there talked about his odd predilection for spending copious time with boys ages 12 to 14. It appears that none of this information was passed on to future employers.
But folks in Mount Pleasant, where ReVille made himself a ubiquitous presence in youth sports, said they didn't see this scandal coming at all. The revelations about ReVille have shaken fellow coaches and left parents wondering just who they can trust with their kids.
'He is very, very remorseful,' Louis 'Skip' ReVille's attorney, Craig Jones, said of his client. ReVille is being held in Charleston County jail in lieu of $1,000,075 bail.
"Everybody is very shocked and disappointed," said Skip Stasky, president of the Wando All Sports Booster Club. "We are always looking for good people, good coaches, good role models for the kids, and Skip seemed to be all of these things."
A passion for youth
ReVille (pronounced RUH-vell) is a California native who graduated from Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Ala., before arriving in the Lowcountry to attend The Citadel in the late 1990s.
By most accounts, ReVille distinguished himself at the military college, where he was an English major and a member of Delta Company. He led Bible studies, worked as a summer camp counselor and mentor, and chaired the school's Honor Committee in 2002, his senior year. That same year, he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition of "high thought and noble endeavor."
ReVille, who aspired to attend seminary school and become a middle school teacher, got his first break at Pinewood, where he worked as an English teacher and basketball coach from 2002 to 2006. He was well-liked among many parents, and some withdrew their children when his contract wasn't renewed, said a former Pinewood official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official reason ReVille didn't get renewed was that his handling of administrative paperwork wasn't up to snuff, the official said. But there was another, unofficial, reason, concerning "where he chose to spend his time and with whom," the official said.
"He put himself around 12- to 14-year-old boys all the time," the official said. "There was talk ... 'isn't it weird that he does that.' "
Pinewood's head of school and its board president did not return calls for comment last week.
The year after he left the school, one of ReVille's former campers accused him of inappropriate behavior at The Citadel camp five years earlier. The school has said the incident didn't involve physical contact, but officials have refused to release details. In any event, no action was taken at the time.
ReVille continued to be drawn to young boys as he cycled through a variety of coaching and educational roles at private schools, churches and recreational programs. Most of ReVille's employers did background checks, which came back clean. And he left various positions with favorable reviews.
He seemed to particularly blossom in Mount Pleasant, a tight-knit, affluent, sports-oriented town with a steady crop of talented, young athletes and over-booked families who, at times, needed help getting kids to and from events. ReVille's reach was such that nearly every kid now between the ages of 12 and 16 who participated in sports in Mount Pleasant crossed paths with ReVille at some time.
Ken Ayoub, director of the town's Recreation Department, said parent surveys after tennis and basketball seasons consistently gave ReVille high marks.
"Even the best coaches sometimes get a bad review from one parent," Ayoub said. "(ReVille) got better reviews than most of our coaches."
ReVille always seemed to be available to mentor kids, give them rides and otherwise be generous with his time, parents recalled. At times, he was there when parents couldn't be.
A youth leader at Eastbridge Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, ReVille often held Bible studies for boys at Dunkin' Donuts on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. And at Coastal Christian Preparatory School, where ReVille was just fired as an upper school assistant principal, he took boys off-campus on "ice cream runs."
Biography of Louis ReVille
NAME: Louis Neal 'Skip' ReVille
DATE OF BIRTH: July 16, 1979
Residence: Lohr Drive, Mount Pleasant
MARITAL STATUS: Married
CHILDREN: Recently born triplets
EDUCATION: The Citadel, English major, 2002
HOMETOWN: Birmingham, Ala.
CHARGES: Fondled and/or performed oral sex on five boys in their early teens. Court documents say ReVille has confessed to the acts of molestation. Police say additional charges are expected.
REVILLE'S ATTORNEY: Attorney Craig Jones said ReVille is 'very remorseful' for his actions and plans to continue cooperating with investigators in his molestation cases. 'He is sorry for all the pain he has caused,' Jones said.
WHERE CRIMES WERE COMMITTED: The crimes ReVille is charged with occurred on the roadways of Mount Pleasant or at ReVille's home.
JOB WHEN ARRESTED: Vice principal at Coastal Christian Preparatory School since 2010. Fired after arrest.
Access to children OVER PAST DECADE:
Youth summer camp counselor at The Citadel — 2000-2004
Teacher and assistant coach at Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville — 2002-2006
Foster parent for the S.C. Department of Social Services — 2004-2006
Coach at the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department — 2007-summer 2011
Travel league basketball coach — 2007-summer 2011
Tennis coach at Bishop England High School — 2008-2010
Coach at Velocity Sports Performance in Mount Pleasant — 2008-summer 2010
Basketball coach at Moultrie Middle School — 2009-spring 2011
Volunteer basketball coach at Rollings Middle School of the Arts in Summerville — Occasionally
Youth group leader at Eastbridge Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant — ReVille and his wife were members.
WHERE IS HE NOW?
Charleston County jail in lieu of $1,000,075 bail.
Among the young - A look at the places Louis Neal “Skip” ReVille had access to children across the Lowcountry: CLICK HERE
"It seemed fun and OK," said the mother of a boy who went along with ReVille and two friends. "Now, I have nightmares that I let that happen without saying a thing."
The mother, like most other parents interviewed, would speak only on the condition that her name not be published. These parents fear that their kids will become the subject of gossip or teasing. Only in retrospect, they said, have they begun to question some of the actions and methods employed by the seemingly affable, enthusiastic coach.
At Velocity Sports Performance, for instance, ReVille hosted "lock-in" sleepovers for groups of boys at the elite training facility. Parents would drop off their kids with ReVille for all-night sessions that mixed basketball, Bible study and other activities.
"Skip continuously texted my son," said a man whose son played basketball for a team ReVille coached. "He nagged him about coming to his Bible study."
ReVille sometimes also insisted on having "closed" basketball practices at Moultrie Middle School, parents said. He eagerly offered overnight baby-sitting duty to parents of his tennis and basketball players. He was head coach of a travel team, taking out-of-town trips to tournaments some parents were unable to attend.
"Thank God, nothing happened to my son," said the stepfather of a Daniel Island teen who played tennis for ReVille at Bishop England High School. "But Skip got very close -- unusually close -- to the boys and, looking back, we gave him plenty of opportunities for ... well, whatever."
ReVille also regularly provided car rides to and from practices and games, parents said.
Arrest affidavits indicate the sexual assaults ReVille is accused of occurred in his car on "the roadways of Mount Pleasant" or at his home on Lohr Drive, just down the street from Jennie Moore Elementary School. He is accused of fondling, masturbating and performing oral sex on various boys -- some on 10 or more occasions, according to arrest affidavits.
ReVille admitted to the allegations when confronted by police on Oct. 28, affidavits stated. He was arrested the same day, shortly after attending special training to help teachers and administrators prevent child sexual abuse.
Investigators are now digging deep to find more potential victims in Mount Pleasant and other towns.
The news stunned many in the area who worked closely with ReVille. Just days before his arrest, ReVille and his wife welcomed cheerful visitors into their home to celebrate the Oct. 18 birth of their triplets. Friends arrived with well-wishes and home-cooked meals, dubbing the new arrivals the "Skiplets." ReVille's wife Carrie, a midwife by trade, was busy but beaming.
"If she knew any of this horrible stuff was going on," said a close friend of the ReVille's, "she put on one heck of an act."
ReVille is locked up in the Charleston County jail, his bail set at more than $1 million. His lawyer has indicated that ReVille is deeply sorry for the pain he has caused and that he fully intends to continue cooperating with detectives working his molestation cases.
"He is very, very remorseful," his attorney, Craig Jones, said.
Meanwhile, the town where ReVille lived and worked is left to pick up the pieces. Parents are having awkward talks with their kids, trying to figure out who has been victimized. Coastal Christian brought in experts last week to give parents tips on how to go about that process. And other organizations are talking about getting sexual abuse prevention training from groups such as Darkness to Light.
Some coaches feel under suspicion. Athletes wonder who among their friends fell prey. Phone lines are hot with fresh rumors and concern.
Stasky, of the Wando booster club and a volunteer coach himself, worries that it will be even harder to find good, qualified coaches to work with kids. He recalled how a young soccer coach made a big difference in his youth, giving him another role model to look up to. He hates to think of today's kids not getting that chance amid a climate of suspicion and volunteers second-guessing their decision to get involved.
"It's very frustrating to see, and I'm not sure how it will affect things in the future," he said.
Wando teacher and volleyball coach Alexis Glover said the episode will likely change the way coaches go about their jobs. She said she probably won't meet with a student unless another adult is present "to cover ourselves," nor give kids rides home unaccompanied, even though her own three children got rides from coaches when they played sports around town.
"You hate to see this," Glover said. "We still have a tight-knit community here in Mount Pleasant. It's not Mayberry. But you don't expect things like this to happen here."
Gregg Meyers, a lawyer who represented victims in the Eddie Fischer scandal, said that if anything positive is to be found in this case, it's that victims have spoken up when they are still young rather than holding their pain inside for years and letting it ruin their lives. Unlike years ago, organizations are in place to help them get treatment and overcome the damage of sexual abuse, he said.
"They are talking now, and someone has reacted in a positive way to what they are saying," he said. "It's progress of sorts. It's just not enough progress."
Child abuse Sri Lanka records over 7,000 complaints
Colombo—Sri Lankan authorities said Sunday that over 7,000 complaints of children being abused have been recorded this year.
The National Child Protection Authority said most of the complaints included children being sexually abused or molested by their parents, guardians or people known to the victims.
Sri Lanka has a national telephone hotline to report child abuse and most of the complaints had been received on the hotline and they were authenticated, said Anoma Dissanayake, the chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority.
Dissanayake said people with political links in Sri Lanka are also believed to be involved in child abuse but the incidents go unreported owing to the political connections of the suspects.
The Sri Lankan police on Sunday reported two incidents of 15- year-old girls being raped by their lovers.
Both incidents had taken place in remote areas far from the capital Colombo and similar incidents had been reported last week as well, the police said.
Dissanayake said that there are concerns over the rising number of child abuse cases being reported both to her organization and the police.
The Sri Lankan government minister in charge of the welfare of women and children Tissa Karaliyadda told Xinhua that stiff laws need to be introduced to address child abuse cases in Sri Lanka.
Campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse
ČTK | 7 NOVEMBER 2011
Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) - The Czech government's human rights commissioner Monika Simunkova Friday presented a new national campaign against child sexual abuse.
"Sexual abuse of children is still a taboo, especially behind the doors of families. It is there that the children are threatened the most. These cases tend to be downgraded. Children often are not trusted. Most of the cases remains secret," Simunkova said.
The Labour Ministry registered 786 cases of child sexual abuse in 2010, she said. The perpetrators of sexual abuse were mostly relatives and friends.
The government approved the campaign on Wednesday. Its aim is to raise awareness among adults and teach both girls and boys how to defend themselves against adults' unwelcome and unacceptable intimate touch and behaviour.
Simunkova said the campaign should help make people more sensitive to the problem and to help improve the relevant Czech legislation.
A conference is to be held within the campaign and discuss the issue from the legal point of view, among others.
The Czech campaign uses materials from the campaign that the Council of Europe launched a year ago. According to the Council's data, about one of five children is the target of sexual violence in Europe.
Czech media recently reported that Education Minister Josef Dobes plans to reduce sexual education at schools, but the ministry dismissed it.
Czech abused and maltreated children may address the Child Crisis Centre that was established in 1992. The centre has dealt with some 5000 cases until now. One fifth of the children were victims of sexual violence and four-fifths of them were girls.
Advocates: Human Trafficking Awareness Week Needed
by Kim Gebbia
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's an unthinkable crime that happens every day in Tennessee: children and adults bought and sold in an underground sex trade. Human trafficking is now the second fastest growing crime in the country, and in just the past two years, thousands of cases were reported to law enforcement and the Department of Children's Services.
It's why Governor Bill Haslam declared November 6 through November 12 the first ever Human Trafficking Awareness Week. It starts with a disturbing Public Service Announcement that will air throughout the state. It shows images of teens and children being forced into the sex trade right here in America, in Tennessee and in Davidson County.
View the entire video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbbcw-TkUy0
"I think we just turn our eye. We don't want to look at it, but right now the climate is ripe for people to embrace it," said Yvonne Williams with the Trafficking in America Task Force.
She's hoping the video will get people's attention to recognize the problem and stop denying it.
In Tennessee in just the past 24 months, officials reported 4,000 cases of human trafficking. Those reports came from 78 of the state's 95 counties. Advocates for change say the majority is made of teenage girls. Many of them are the one-third of runaways who never return home.
"That one-third that doesn't go back home are victims of human sex trafficking and within 48 hours they are usually picked up by a pimp, bad guy, whoever, and forced into prostituting themselves within 48 hours," said Williams.
She said they are transported easily on the mid-state's four major interstates and pimped out at trucks stops, motels and even blatantly on web sites like backpage.comwhere men will post pictures of girls hoping to lure clients in for some quick cash.
But, the awareness campaign is hoping to bring a culture of change, first by acknowledging that a problem exists.
"I do think it's something we need to raise awareness of because the average citizen doesn't think it happens," said Governor Bill Haslam.
Across America, human trafficking is a $32 billion industry.
The sex slave next door
by Julie Nardone
ASHLAND —I bet you didn't know that the global slave trade has returned with a vengeance and that more slaves exist than at any other time in history.
According to the organization Free the Slaves, 27 million people around the globe live as slaves, half of them under the age of 18. While most toil in domestic or industrial servitude, as many as 2 million women and children get trafficked throughout the commercial sex industry in each year. They are bought and sold like any other consumer product.
Want to experience their lives?
Imagine being a 13-year old girl so poor that your parents decide to sell you for $50.
Imagine being so poor that you answer a job ad you knows sounds too good to be true, a job that promises to send you to Western Europe and a better life. You pack your bags and go with the nice couple.
Imagine waking up after being drugged by these slave traders to discover you've been sold as a commercial sex slave and your passport has been confiscated.
Imagine being starved, tortured, beaten and gang raped until you accept your new fate.
Imagine being kept drunk and drugged to get through your new job requirements - servicing up to 30 men a day, 7 days a week.
Imagine being in so much genital pain that your "owner" shoots you up with animal tranquilizers to meet your daily quota.
Imagine being asked to perform sexual acts so depraved I can't write them in this the column or it wouldn't get published.
Imagine being kept locked in a filthy apartment with nothing but a bodily fluid-caked mattress for two years until you pay off the "transportation charges" incurred during your kidnapping.
Imagine being returned to your owner after escaping because the corrupt police force frequents the local sex establishments.
Imagine being freed only to discover that your family and village refuse to take you back because you're not a virgin.
Imagine being murdered by your owners because you become sick, injured or less marketable.
Despite laws in every country outlawing human slavery, children as young as 3 years old from poor nations such as Albania, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, Moldavia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Romania find themselves imprisoned within the multi-billion dollar, criminally organized sex trade industry.
The root cause of this inhumanity?
A vicious profit-driven global economy that promotes, "every man for himself." If you've been conditioned to maximize profit and minimize loss without regard to others, then you'll have no problem using and abusing the defenseless to get "yours." The ability to express compassion or feel empathy gets assigned the "irrational" label. It's too damn expensive to care about other human beings. Let those lazy folks take care of themselves.
The next time you see a group of 13 year-old American girls giggling in the mall, imagine those same girls being abused 24/7/365 by men so devoid of conscience they don't care under what circumstance their sexual urges get relieved.
Now before you think this human degradation only happens in other countries, rest assured that it also happens in the good ole' USA. Girls from outside the USA get trafficked to interstate trucks stops, migrant worker's camps, massage parlors, apartments and brothels.
To truly grasp the savage plight of these children, I ask that you read the following excerpts from Siddharth Kara's Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. Mr. Kara volunteered at a Bosnian Refugee camp during his junior year at Duke University. He learned that Serbian solders transported large numbers of young Muslim girls to European brothels. Four years later, he left the corporate world to investigate the commercial sex trade industry.
Maria, a sex slave trafficked to Florida from Mexico, confides, "We worked six days a week and twelve-hour days. We mostly had to serve 32 to 35 clients a day. Weekends were worse. Our bodies were utterly sore and swollen. The bosses did not care. We worked no matter what."
And Ines, a 13-year old Albanian girl kidnapped on the way to her aunt's house, said, "Most of the men were very cruel. They shouted at me and would beat me if I did not please them. Whatever they wanted to do, I could not say no, or the pimp would torture me. If I was sick or bleeding or in too much pain I still had to work."
Understand that life has become a living hell for the millions of impoverished children sold into sex slavery. Know that those who manage to survive rarely live past the age of 35 due to debilitating injuries, contracting HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, extreme psychological trauma, and few prospects for self-sufficiency. Believe that you can stop it by supporting economic policies that place human dignity before profits.
To find out how you can join the abolitionist network to end human slavery, please visit Free the Slaves at http://www.freetheslaves.net, Not For Sale at http://www.notforsalecampaign.org, or GEMS at http://www.gems-girls.org.
Julie Nardone is a freelance writer from Ashland, Masssachusetts