National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse


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EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.

We present articles such as this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
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Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.

We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.
November 2011 - Recent Crime News - News from other times

November - Week 4

MJ Goyings
Many, many thanks to our very own "MJ" for
providing us the majority of the daily research
that appears on the LACP and NAASCA web sites.
Ms. Goyings is a Registered Nurse and lives in Ohio.


Marshall's proposed law targets child abuse

by Jim Nolan

The trauma and tragedy of the child sex-abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University has inspired a Virginia lawmaker to take legislative action.

School coaches and athletic directors would be required to report child abuse or neglect to Virginia authorities under legislation proposed by Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William.

The legislation, detailed in House Bill 4, was filed by Marshall on Monday. If passed by the legislature and signed into law, it would apply to all public and private schools in the commonwealth, as well as “institutions of higher education.”

A separate bill filed by Marshall, House Bill 3, would include coaches and directors of private sports organizations and teams as among those required to report abuse.

Currently, Virginia law requires a number of professionals to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services, including: doctors, nurses, social workers, probation officers, child-care workers, mental-health professionals, police officers, emergency services workers and public assistance workers.

The law also requires teachers and “any other person employed in a public or private school, kindergarten or nursery school” to report suspected abuse or neglect. But Marshall said that in light of the Penn State scandal, he felt it necessary to add to the law a specific reference to coaches and athletic directors and expand it to cover colleges and universities.

“You want unconditional clarity in there — to let the public know in no uncertain terms that what is a moral obligation is also a legal obligation,” Marshall said in an interview.

This month, Penn State and its football program were rocked by the indictment of its former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse. Over 15 years, Sandusky is accused of abusing eight boys, including one assault in 2002 that was not brought to the attention of police despite evidence that university officials were aware of an accusation.

Athletic Director Tim Curley has been charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to notify police. Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 football history, had been told of the 2002 incident but apparently did not notify authorities, was fired.

“Most people were shocked to learn that the Pennsylvania law was unclear on the duty imposed on coaches in such situations,” Marshall said. “Pennsylvania is toughening its state laws, and Virginia needs to do the same.”

Under Marshall's legislation, failure to report an instance of abuse within 72 hours would be subject to a fine of up to $500 and fines of up to $1,000 for any subsequent violations.


What does the Penn State child sex abuse scandal say about our society?

WASHINGTON, November 26, 2011—Sage voices reiterate with strong words the ramifications of a society that condones, or at the very least ignores, abuse of its weakest and youngest members: the children.

“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children,” said Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Nazi-era German Christian theologian.

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime,” said Herbert Ward, writer.

John F. Kennedy acknowledged the sanctity of children to society when he stated, “Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

In light of such knowledge, how can children become victims of the most appalling form of abuse - sexual abuse?

What does this say about a society in which such abuse exists?

In the recent scandal at Penn State University, where numerous boys were allegedly sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach and the founder of The Second Mile, a program for disadvantaged youth, questions immediately emerged regarding how much was known about the abuse prior to its public disclosure. Could men of prominence and stature, men who were revered by football fans, as well as those in academia, have known of these heinous crimes and yet not spoken out?

Such horrifying questions bring to mind the words of Confucius: “To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.”

As a result of questions regarding inadequate actions by those who may have known more yet done little, P.S.U. head coach, Joe Paterno, found himself on the firing block. Penn State University former president, Graham Spanier, was likewise dismissed from his position.

Meanwhile the Pennsylvania Grand Jury has issued 40 charges of sexual abuse of minors against assistant football coach and director of a program for disadvantaged youth, The Second Mile, Sandusky.

The Grand Jury Report also contains charges against P.S.U. Athletic Director Tim Curley and a P.S.U. Vice-President, Gary Schultz who are now defending themselves against accusations of perjury, as well as not reporting a crime against a child.

While this scandal rocks the world of Penn State fans, students, and Central Pennsylvania area residents, not everyone in the foray is forgetting the victims. Child advocates are speaking out in support of the victims, calling them “heroes” for reporting the crimes and naming the perpetrator of those crimes.

Similarly legislators are introducing bills calling for mandated reporting of child abuse to law enforcement and child protective agencies.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) introduced the most recent bill, “Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act,” on November 21 and with Republican support.

In addition, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) I request that a Senate committee hold a hearing regarding ways to better protect children from neglect and abuse. In a statement released by Casey, he said that the hearing's purpose would provide “an opportunity to protect children from dangerous sexual predators.”

The strong stance being taken by lawmakers, as well as people we meet on the street, reinforces the belief that there are those who do care and who do choose to do what is right.

Due to the secrecy and seeming lack of empathy surrounding the Penn State case, it is difficult to not feel anger toward those who did not choose to stop the abuse years ago. How could anyone put prestige or glory of any type above the life of a child - a child whose life is invariably forever tainted by a predator?

As a mother and a human being, the heinous crimes that took place are mortifying. I cannot fathom the torture that the victims must have suffered during and long after their innocence was torn from them.

To my chagrin, there are people who would prefer to see this type of crime brushed under the proverbial rug rather than speaking out against it. I, for one, am willing to speak out and say I am sorry for the victims. Sorry that they had to suffer; sorry that adults failed them; sorry that people in power looked away instead of reporting the incidents to the proper authorities.

If we were not aware in the past, this case has brought to the forefront the fact that adults in Pennsylvania and 18 other states are required by law to report suspected child abuse.

If any good comes of this tragedy, it is that more people will be propelled, legally and morally, to report incidents of child abuse, thus ending needless suffering of “our world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” (President John F. Kennedy)


United Kingdom

Child abuse case monk in secret trip to Vatican while on the run

A monk wanted by police over child abuse allegations at a leading Catholic school secretly visited Rome to empty his Vatican bank account while on the run.

Father Laurence Soper, a former teacher at St Benedict's, West London, disappeared in March and failed to answer his police bail.

The school is attached to the Benedictine monastery Ealing Abbey and old boys include comedian Julian Clary and BBC chairman Lord Patten. It has been at the centre of a scandal since claims surfaced last year that pupils had suffered decades of sex abuse from monks, prompting a high-level Vatican inquiry.

Fr Laurence, known as ‘St Benedict's banker' because of his financial acumen, had gone on to be treasurer at St Anselmo in Rome, the headquarters of the Benedictine Order, but as the investigation closed in on him he vanished.

However, The Mail on Sunday has been told that after hiding in Montenegro on the Adriatic coast – where the European Arrest Warrant is not valid – he secretly returned to the Vatican to empty his account.

Fr Laurence, 68, who worked at Barclays Bank between 1960 and 1964 before becoming a monk, is said to have several thousand pounds in investment portfolios and also a ‘large inheritance' from his parents.

He was quizzed after a former monk at Ealing Abbey, Fr David Pearce, was jailed for eight years in 2009 after being charged with indecent assaults against youngsters dating back to 1972.

Fr Laurence, who taught at the school between 1972 and 1984 and was Abbot at the abbey until 2000 before moving to St Anselmo, was questioned in London in September 2010.

He was arrested on suspicion of historic sexual assault and bailed, but was allowed to keep his passport to return to Rome. He should have returned to a West London police station in March but failed to do so.

A Catholic Church source in Rome said: ‘He emptied his account at the Vatican Bank some time over the summer. One thing that everyone did notice in the run-up to his disappearance was that he was drinking heavily.'

Ealing Abbey has been the subject of an inquiry by Lord Carlile QC and an internal Vatican investigation following disclosures of abuse at St Benedict's.

Lord Carlile named Fr Laurence as one of five clergy who have been tried or are wanted for questioning in relation to abuse at the Abbey involving pupils.

Yesterday, Father Elias Lorenzo, a prior at St Anselmo, said: ‘We have no idea where Laurence is.' Italian police said: ‘We are continuing to investigate the disappearance of Soper.'



Child abuse cases up almost 30 percent in Ventura County

by Kathleen Wilson

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Child abuse cases have risen by almost 30 percent in Ventura County, an increase officials tie to the lackluster economy and rising domestic violence.

County social workers were monitoring a little more than 1,000 neglected and abused children in a 12-month period ending in August, compared with 775 in the previous 12 months, a county report states. The figures reflect what is called the ongoing caseload — children in foster care and those whose safety is monitored as they stay with their families.

Human Services Agency chief Barry Zimmerman cited the growth last week when he argued for and got permission to add four social workers and six case aides. He said similar caseload increases are occurring statewide and he sees little chance the numbers will fall off in the coming months.

"We've been 18 to 24 months with no change at this point in time," he told the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

Not only are abuse cases going up, but it takes more time to investigate them because the families' problems are more complex, officials said.

"Families are experiencing multiple problems often complicated by substance abuse or domestic violence," said Judy Webber, who oversees the agency's child protection unit.

The new hires won't make much of a dent in the average of 30 children to one social worker for ongoing cases. It's a ratio that doesn't meet the goal of 22 set out in state legislation, a target rarely achieved by any California county, Webber said.

Still, the new hires will improve oversight, she said. Webber expects quicker and more thorough investigations, cutting the chance that children will be abused again.

"We will be able to assess for all needs, not just what's alleged," she said. "We know that when a family is referred, there's more often than not multiple issues affecting the family."

Webber suspects domestic violence is triggering much of the growth for two reasons: who's reporting it and the type of abuse.

Referrals from police — who often respond to homes where adults are battering each other — have grown more than any other source of referral, including from school and medical personnel. The number of police referrals that resulted in open cases grew from 71 to 108, an increase of 50 percent.

Social workers often find emotional and physical abuse of children in homes where the adults are battering each other. Webber said the data suggests both types of abuse are increasing.

About 10 percent of substantiated allegations made from August 2010 to August 2011 in Ventura County involved emotional abuse, compared with 2.6 percent in the previous period. Parents are accused of emotional abuse when their conduct results in severe anxiety, withdrawal or aggressive behavior in a child.

Physical abuse accounted for 10.7 percent of substantiated allegations from August 2010 to August 2011, but only 4.5 percent in the previous year.

During the Board of Supervisors' deliberations last week, Chairwoman Linda Parks asked Zimmerman whether the jobs being added should be temporary posts rather than permanent ones. She was hopeful, she said, that when the economy improves, the need for additional workers would decline.

In the next fiscal year, the change will cost $722,000, half of it covered by the federal government and the other by the county general fund.

Zimmerman said he saw no signs of a decline in cases and believed it would be difficult to recruit qualified social workers to a temporary position of perhaps 18 months. The board has more latitude to eliminate temporary positions than permanent jobs under union contracts, Parks said.

Supervisor Steve Bennett said the expense was no place to economize, citing issues the board dealt with last year regarding child protective services.

In one case, an 8-year-old girl drowned in her Ventura apartment. Her mother, who has pleaded not guilty, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and murder. In the other case, an Oxnard girl had been sexually abused for years by former Rio School District trustee Brian Martin.

Social workers investigated complaints of abuse to both girls, but did not remove them from their homes. Since then, the Human Services Agency has tightened its procedures.

"I don't think this is one area where we want to be cutting corners either in terms of the quality of people we're hiring or being overly aggressive and thinking this is going to be temporary," Bennett said. "This is one of our most critical missions — to protect children. You saw the public outrage when despite very good and professional efforts, we were not able to protect a child, so I think it is a solemn responsibility we have."


New Nationwide Training from TAALK Helps Youth Serving Organizations Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

First of its kind program from TAALK teaches organizations to create an environment where child molesters can't succeed.

Orange County, California (PRWEB) November 26, 2011

Pennsylvania State University has been in the news lately, after former football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of child sexual abuse. Several members of Penn State's staff allegedly knew about the abuse, and yet it was allowed to continue. The scandal has many wondering: What could have been done to prevent such atrocious events? Why did no one speak up? and What would I have done?

What happened at Penn State is not an isolated event; abuse continues to happen in faith organizations, sports leagues, schools and non-profit organizations. In fact, research shows that fully 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 18 (1). Since molesters seek access to children, youth serving organizations are magnets for predators. Now, there is a way for organizations to transform themselves into a place where molesters can't – and don't want to - work.

TAALK, (Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids), a worldwide organization fighting against child sexual abuse and helping support sexual abuse survivors through their healing processes, is launching a first-ever, proprietary program. CSA Best Practices(TM) Training is specifically designed to combat the “grooming behaviors” that child molesters commonly use to gain access to children.

Child abuse is preventable. 39 million cases (2) and years of research have proven that there are distinct patterns that child molesters exhibit before any abuse takes place (3). With the right training, individuals and organizations can learn to set and enforce boundaries that make it virtually impossible for those grooming behaviors to be used. Predators will choose to go elsewhere.

CSA Best Practices Training targets youth serving organizations. But because everyone plays a part in the solution, future trainings will be released to target additional segments of the community. When adopted as a formal policy, Best Practices enable objective enforcement of boundaries. The policy applies equally to all, without the opportunity to be swayed by any individual based on trust, respect, power, status or money.

“Establishing and documenting best practices policy takes the subjectivity out of the decision,” says Diane Cranley, Founder of TAALK. “The policy is made before emotion comes into play and the consequences are already outlined. So much of what we've seen at Penn State is based on emotional reaction. Think about how much different the outcome would have been if guidelines had already been in place.”

CSA Best Practices Training will empower organizations to create an environment where molesters can't and don't want to work; model safe and appropriate behavior for the children in their care; set up an accountability team between staff and parents; and teach kids to expect boundaries to be set and honored.

(1) Doll, L.S., Koenig, L.J., & Purcell, D.W. (2004). Child sexual abuse and adult sexual risk: Where are we now? In L.S. Doll, S.O. O'Lear y, L.J.

(2) Abel, G., Becker, J., Mittelman , M., Cunningham- Rathner, J., Rouleau, J., & Murphy, W. (1987). Self reported sex crimes on non-incarcerated paraphiliacs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(1), 3-25.

(3) van Dam, Ph.D., C. (2006). The socially skilled child molester: Differentiating the guilty from the falsely accused. (p. xi). The Hawthorne Press, Inc.

For more information, contact:

Diane Cranley
TAALK Founder and Creator of CSA Best PracticesTM Training
949 / 495-5406

TAALK is a US-based, federally approved 501©(3) non-profit organization with a core belief that child sexual abuse is predictable, preventable, and we all play a part in the solution. TAALK is an acronym for Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids. The TAALK dream is to eliminate child sexual abuse in communities around the world. Until then, TAALK will vigilantly carry out its mission to reduce children's vulnerability to child sexual abuse and to support survivors through the healing process. For more about how TAALK is impacting the world and how you can impact your community, visit



Center to offer sexual abuse class

Education course soon available to parents, children

As the headlines are still saturated with the news of the Penn State University sexual abuse scandal, the Center for Children and Families would like to educate parents about how to protect their children from similar dangers.

The Center for Children and Families will soon offer a free sexual abuse education and prevention class for parents, teachers, child care workers and anyone who cares for children and is interested in learning how to protect them. The curriculum, called "Darkness to Light," gives parents the education necessary to know how to better protect their children and recognize the signs of sexual abuse.

The Center for Children and Families is a nonprofit organization that promotes safe, healthy environments for children and families through advocacy, counseling, education and prevention. The center is home to programs such as CASA, or court-appointed special advocates, which trains volunteers to be a voice in court for children who have been abused or neglected.

Adam McDonald, community development coordinator for CASA of Northeast Louisiana, said the class serves to remind parents and guardians of the dangers posed to some children.

"Adults need to be aware there are risks out there," McDonald said. "Our goal is to keep parents and guardians aware and educated."

McDonald said the class will be taught by Erin Stokes, a CASA volunteer, who he said recently became certified to teach the course.

"Anyone can sign up for this class," McDonald said. "We are willing to meet with groups, churches or individuals. We think this is a great way to help kids in a positive way."

McDonald said Family Foundations provides therapeutic services for families in crisis, including at-risk and impoverished families.

The Children's Advocacy Center specifically serves children who have been sexually abused by providing forensic interviews in a safe, child-friendly environment. This guarantees that a child will only have to tell his or her story once, in a way that can be used in court, without having to relive the trauma in repeated interviews.

McDonald said with the arrival of the holidays comes the Center for Children and Families' annual Christmas Project, which he said is well under way.

"Sponsors are needed for the more than 570 children anxiously waiting for Christmas gifts," McDonald said. "Through the Christmas Project, members of the community can provide Christmas to a child who has been displaced from his or her home due to abuse and neglect."

McDonald said each year, the Center for Children and Families strives to provide each child served through the CASA program, and many other needy children served through the Center's other programs, with one new clothing outfit as well as at least one age-appropriate toy.

"Many local businesses and organizations have already joined in the efforts to make a difference in the lives of local children in need," McDonald said. "Chase Bank has taken responsibility for the wish lists of 158 children, Ouachita Christian School has taken on 60 wish lists, Northminster Church has taken on 35 wish lists and First United Methodist Church of West Monroe has taken on 40 wish lists."

According to McDonald, with a case load that is continually on the rise, the Center for Children and Families needs more people, businesses and groups to participate this year than ever before. He said there are still more than 150 children's wish lists available for sponsorship.

"By contacting the Center for Children and Families, businesses and community members can make a difference in the life of a child right here in Northeast Louisiana," McDonald said. "It's always great to see the community step up and and help those children in need."



Moral Obligations Were Shirked in Sandusky Case

Penn State officials obeyed the law, but ignored their ethical responsibilities when abuse charges against Sandusky were passed "up the chain.

The controversy surrounding Penn State and Jerry Sandusky is far from settled. With 40 charges of sexual misconduct in a span from 1995 to 2005 from the eight victims who have come forward, the question on every parent's mind is, why didn't anyone stop this?

According to David Gilgoff, PhD, CEO of Valley Youth House, “all sexual abuse of children is not covered under child sexual abuse laws but they are covered under criminal statutes.”

Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) will investigate a case against an alleged “perpetrator,” which is defined by the law as the child's biological or adoptive parent, the paramour of the child's parent, an individual 14 or older residing in the same home as the child or a person responsible for the welfare of the child which includes childcare providers, therapists, doctors, etc.

Sandusky would not be considered a "perpetrator" under the child protective services law because he did not have a direct connection to the welfare of children according to child abuse law.

Child sexual abuse laws speak to child custody and, in the case of Sandusky, his was a criminal act. The reporting methods used for criminal acts often follow a chain of command up the institutional hierarchy.

“They were not mandated reporters — the college student population is 18 and older, they are not generally people working with minors. Penn State reporting up the scale is not unusual,” said Dr. Gilgoff.

While witness Mike McQueary reported to Joe Paterno who reported to Athletic Director Tim Curley who reported to the Vice President of Business and Finance Gary Schultz, they were only obligated to hand off institutional responsibility up the chain of command. Legally they performed their duty.

Dr. Gilgoff said, “The system of going up the chain of command has two disadvantages in the law: one, the more the facts can be confused and the more institutional review process takes over; and, two, when institutional personnel are involved the investigation has to be independent rather than internal.”

Athletic coaches like Sandusky form a powerful bond with the athletes as mentors and at times surrogate parents. His victims may not have wanted to damage Penn State's reputation, thinking it could best handle the situation internally. Sexual predators are successful because of the willingness of those around them to keep the secret.

“Anybody can make a report to ChildLine,” said Dr. Gilgoff.

“There are those who are mandated reporters, anyone who works in child welfare — doctors, nurses, teacher and therapists — the law is such that if you have a suspicion not necessarily evidence, that you should report to ChildLine.”

Back to the question, why didn't anyone stop this? From the bottom to the top, only the minimum requirement to satisfy legal obligations and institutional policy, reporting to a supervisor, was accomplished.

Child abuse should be a collective responsibility, an ethical obligation to protect children. Doing the minimal requirement might satisfy the law but it in no way exonerates one of his or her moral responsibility to confront systems that would otherwise shield abuse and sexual predators.

Even if you are not a mandated reporter, you can directly report the suspicion of child abuse, to the ChildLine and Abuse Registry by calling 1-800-932-0313 or the police.

About this column: Tara M. Zrinski, was graduated summa cum laude from the Master of Pastoral Counseling Program (2007) and the Master of Theological Studies (2005) from Moravian Theological Seminary. She is the former Director of Life Span Religious Education for Children, Youth and Adults at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley and currently is an adjunct professor of Philosophy at Northampton Community College. As a mother of three boys ranging from ages 18 months to 11 years of age, she has a great deal of hands on experience in parenting in addition to the courses and research she has accomplished in co-parenting, positive parenting and child welfare.


Ignorance of child sex abuse enables revictimization

It is incomprehensible to think that someone such as Jerry Sandusky, former football defensive coordinator at Penn State University, would rape a 10-year-old boy in a campus locker room shower, as authorities have alleged.

More disturbing is how many bystanders reportedly “knew,” and how long authorities say that Sandusky was able to continue victimizing young boys. The betrayal that the youths experienced in that victimization, and what they continue to experience since it has been revealed, is deplorable.

It is rare to have a non-offending witness to most child sexual abuse incidents. How could anyone watch a rape in progress, and not step in to stop it? Why would a legendary coach such as Joe Paterno not demand the administration report the rape? Why would students riot about the firing of Paterno, knowing that he did nothing when university administrators looked the other way? Ignorance.

If we want to prevent future victimization of children, and if we truly want to support victims of child sexual abuse instead of revictimizing them with thoughtless behavior, we have to understand it.

Offenders are not the creepy stranger in the trenchcoat we normally think of. They are usually someone the child knows, trusts and loves, and can be an upstanding member of the community. Offenders put themselves in situations where they have access to children and work to gain trust from the child and the parents. Offenders “choose” their victims: Who can be controlled? Who yearns for adult attention? Who may be at risk or have behavioral problems? Because who is going to believe a troubled child over the adult if they do tell?

The offender grooms the child, plays wrestling or touching games to break down resistance to touch, showers them with gifts and kindness. When sex abuse allegations are made, people who know the offender just can't believe it. The person they know would never be capable of that kind of action, and the offender uses that equity, sadly, to gain belief over the child.

Perversely, bystanders may ignore the victimization because of the offender's good reputation, or because the child had a troubled history; they may rationalize that because the act didn't “physically” hurt the child, what's the big deal? The big deal is that child sexual abuse has a devastating, long-term impact. It changes the way the child views the world, and more importantly, how they view themselves. It makes them feel dirty and worthless, setting up a life of low self-esteem, relationship problems, anger issues and self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, addiction and promiscuity if not treated.

Statistics indicate one in four girls and one in seven boys will become victims of child sexual abuse, and these are only reported numbers. Believe the child. They rarely lie about child sex abuse, but sex offenders are expert liars.

Abused children often exhibit symptoms; changes in behavior, anger, nightmares, self-abuse, depression, drop in grades, perfectionism, regressive behaviors, bedwetting (know the symptoms; check our website at for a list).

Pedophiles rarely have only one victim; they can have hundreds if not stopped. Tennessee law states anyone who suspects child sexual abuse is mandated to report, and the person with the direct information must make the report, not their supervisor. Let's strive to be appropriate bystanders who will report suspected abuse and not revictimize the victims with ignorant words and actions. The 24-hour reporting hotline is 1-877-237-0004.

Verna Wyatt is executive director of You Have the Power.


The Penn State Scandal and Florida's Child Abuse Reporting Laws

It takes a village to protect a child; here are your responsibilities under the law if you suspect a child is being abused.

by Jeremy T. Simons, Esq.

As the NCAA football season winds down, the biggest story of the year is not who will win the BCS Championship, where Urban Meyer might be coaching next (does anyone know what a buckeye is anyway?), or even where Andrew Luck will be playing next year.

The entire 2011 college football season will forever be remembered for the child abuse scandal at Penn State involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Of course, Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty, but it appears he is already guilty in the court of public opinion. Let me be clear on my position: child sexual abuse is a disgusting, despicable and unforgivable act. However, this is not an article on the act of child sexual abuse by the abuser. This is an article on who Florida law charges with protecting children when it is suspected a child has been abused.

There has been an equal amount of media attention directed towards Penn State, its athletic department personnel (including of course coach Joe Paterno) and other members of the football staff for failing to bring the suspicions of Sandusky's alleged child sexual abuse to the proper reporting agency. Specifically, there is significant attention to one graduate assistant's personal observation of alleged child sexual abuse in 2002 and what the graduate assistant, the football program, the athletic program and the school itself did in response.

What does Florida law require in this situation? Here is an outline of the basic structure of child abuse reporting requirements in Florida. In other words, here is what the graduate assistant, Paterno and Penn State would likely have been legally required to do if this were a Florida institution.


According to section 39.201(1)(a), Florida Statutes:

Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare, as defined in this chapter, or that a child is in need of supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative immediately known and available to provide supervision and care shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department in the manner prescribed subsection 2.

The first term that should jump out at you is “any person.” Any person includes you, me, teachers, counselors, doctors, hair stylists, carpenters, brothers, sisters, coaches, and graduate assistants. As such, if any person has actual knowledge or “reasonable cause” to suspect there is child abuse, that person must report the abuse.

At first glimpse, under Florida law, the graduate assistant who actually saw the alleged child abuse by Sandusky had an affirmative obligation to notify the Department of Children and Families. Our analysis is not over, however. In the Penn State case, there are no allegations that Sandusky was a parent, legal custodian, or caregiver of the child. We also know that the graduate assistant supposedly told Paterno and perhaps other school officials.


Florida law included the term “other person responsible for the child's welfare” as an apparent catch-all. According to Chapter 39.01, Florida Statutes, other people include adult sitters of minor children. As such, I believe that the law tries to place special emphasis on reporting child abuse caused by parents, child-care employees, school employees, and so forth. However, if you have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse by anyone, you must report the abuse.


The statute requires that reports be made to the Department of Children and Families. Absent in the definition of “Department of Children and Families” are any alternatives. We do not see the terms “your immediate supervisor” or “your next of kin” or “the child's parents” as an alternative reporting entity. Florida law is clear: if you know or have reasonable cause to suspect there is child abuse, and you ask yourself who to tell, call the Department of Children and Families. Do not believe that telling your neighbor, the head coach or the school will suffice.


Additionally, under Florida law, if you suspect child abuse, you must report the abuse even if you know or suspect that someone else already did. Florida encourages and mandates that every single person that knows or has reasonable cause to suspect there is child abuse must report it. Multiple reports are encouraged!


What if you have “reasonable cause” to suspect there is child abuse but you don't actually suspect it has occurred? This situation occurs all the time. Take the following situations into consideration:

  1. You are a medical doctor who gives a child a physical and you notice unusual bruises that appear to be more severe that simply rough-housing or allowable parental discipline. You think the bruises were caused by a spanking, but they seem too dark for reasonable parental discipline and in a shape not consistent with a child simply being clumsy.

  2. You are a teacher and the child comes in with an unusual bruise on the child's eye. However, you know the parents and they would never do anything to this child in your opinion. In fact, they are the most caring and loving parents you have ever known and you in fact strive to model your parenting after them.

  3. Your child is at a youth camp and the director is a pastor. Your young child comes home with a story of inappropriate touching and can describe with some degree of detail where he or she was when it happened. You assume that the child is mistaken because the pastor could never engage in such conduct.

These are based on real stories that have been in the paper or before the courts. In every scenario, you as the receiver of the information have an affirmative duty to report the alleged abuse even if you do not suspect it actually happened. Your personal belief on whether the abuse actually occurred or did not occur does not matter whatsoever.


The one part of this article that gives me so much trouble and concern is the use of the term “reasonable cause” to suspect that child abuse occurred. What is “reasonable cause?” I am a father of two, and my children are very active and honestly a bit clumsy at points. I cannot report every bruise my daughter gets from falling on the playground.

One of the translations that I tend to use that makes some sense of the perfectly vague legalese term “reasonable cause” is that it is something above a hunch where the person has some specific information about the alleged abuse. If my daughter has a handprint on her bottom from a teacher, I would report the incident, especially if she told me her teacher did it. If she has a scrape on her knee and said her teacher pushed her during a soccer game at recess when the teacher was playing too, I may have to reconsider my position.


Some professionals have been in trouble either criminally or professionally because they failed to report the alleged abuse based on a privilege. There are many types of privileges that prevent a professional from disclosing certain information disclosed to them: the attorney-client privilege, the counselor-patient privilege and, among others, the pastor privilege.

A legal confidentiality privilege generally protects the disclosure of certain bad or harmful information from public or legal disclosure so that the disclosing party can be honest in seeking certain services. For example, if an attorney had a DUI client, and the DUI client said the attorney, “I am an alcoholic” under privileged circumstances, then that is not admissible in court.

Likewise, if there is a husband who discloses to his therapist that he had an affair, and there is an issue in a divorce involving the affair, the therapist could not disclose this information.

The privileges that otherwise prevent disclosure of this type of information does not usually apply to child abuse, elderly abuse, or about the future commission of a crime. If an attorney, counselor, therapist, doctor, pastor or other profession learns of abusive situations and has a reasonable cause to suspect it is true, they have to still report the incident.


I will be the first to admit that there is no fine line between what is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse and what is not. If you are having trouble deciding, please report the incident.

You will have immunity from any repercussions so long as you make the report in good faith. If you report a deep bruise and the Department of Children and Families investigates and determines that the bruise was caused by a playground accident, you are safe. If you don't report the deep bruise and it is found out that it was a result of child abuse, you can get in trouble.


This gets us back to the moral of the story behind Penn State. Sandusky will get his day in court. I anticipate it will not turn out well (did you see the interview with Bob Costas?). However, one reason why the Penn State Board of Trustees may be cleaning house with its personnel and football program is because those who knew or had reasonable cause to suspect the child sexual abuse occurred failed to err on the side of caution.

For child protection, let us accept that it takes a village to raise a child. I am not certain what percentage of child abuse investigations are closed with a finding of no abuse. I anticipate that a large percentage of reported child abuse incidents are closed without a finding of abuse. But why take the chance? Reporting suspected child abuse is not an attack on the alleged abuser, but an affirmative legal and moral obligation to protect our youth.

The Department of Children and Families can be contact in the following ways:

Phone : 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873 )

Fax : 1-800-914-0004

Online :

You can go the DCF website for more information on what constitutes abuse, who must disclose their names when reporting, the process of the investigation, and false reporting by clicking here.


Abuse Claims Less Likely to Be Ignored


The sexual-abuse investigation at Penn State marks the latest in a string of high-profile child-molestation allegations in recent decades, but experts say that doesn't mean such crimes are becoming more common.

Instead, they say, society has become more aware of the threat of child sexual abuse, and far more aggressive about investigating and punishing it. Sentences have grown longer, and the number of people listed on sex-offender registries has jumped.

"A lot more untoward behavior towards kids is recast as a serious felony when maybe in the past it would be sloughed off as, 'There goes that crazy uncle again,' or variations on that theme," said Douglas Berman, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law who specializes in criminal sentencing.

The subject of child sexual abuse has also edged more into the open as institutions such as the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church have been forced to confront molesters in their midst.

"We've made some pretty good progress at breaking the code of silence," said Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. "We know we have to talk about it."

The indictment of former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing boys—allegations Mr. Sandusky has denied—appears to have emboldened victims of sexual abuse in unrelated cases to come forward. State and private hotlines say they have been flooded with calls.

It seems to have prompted soul-searching at other institutions, too. Days after the Penn State case came to light, Syracuse University in New York placed longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave following allegations that he molested former ball boys more than 25 years ago. Syracuse had previously investigated and dismissed similar complaints about him. Mr. Fine, who hasn't been charged, denies any wrongdoing.

In South Carolina, administrators at the Citadel military college publicly apologized for failing to investigate a 2007 complaint by a teen who said a counselor at the school's summer camp had enticed male students to watch porn and masturbate with him. The college didn't report the allegations to police. The counselor, Louis ReVille, went on to work as a coach and educator and was arrested in late October on charges of molesting five boys.

Mr. ReVille is cooperating with investigators and hasn't entered a plea. His attorney, Craig Jones Jr., declined to comment.

But these high-profile cases don't necessarily mean that sex abuse is on the rise.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn't specifically track child-sex-abuse arrests. But Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit group, said confirmed cases of abuse have declined over the past 20 years, because perpetrators are being more aggressively identified, imprisoned and monitored through sex-offender registries.

Prosecutions weren't common 25 years ago, but today, "more of these guys are going away" to prison, Mr. Allen said. There are about 740,000 registered sex offenders nationwide, up from about 600,000 in 2006, according to Mr. Allen, who said studies indicate that the majority of those registered offenders victimized children.

In the past 15 years, many states have strengthened laws dealing with sex crimes against children, making it easier to prosecute abusers who are identified years after their assaults. "There is a growing recognition that minors are slow to report abuse," said Corey Rayburn Yung, a professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

States have also increased the penalties for convictions. The median prison sentence for sex abusers was 70 months in 2006, up from 44 months in 1996, according to the most recent data from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. A federal law enacted in 2006 created a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years for the aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. There was no mandatory minimum sentence under prior federal law.

Law enforcement has also become more sophisticated in dealing with child-abuse cases, including refining techniques for interviewing children and using social media to determine whether suspects have established contacts with alleged abuse victims, said Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys Association.

Still, experts believe sexual abuse of children remains widely under-reported, experts say, for both psychological and legal reasons. There is a natural tendency to assume the best of family members and authority figures, who make up a significant percentage of abusers. Plus, the legal duty to report sexual abuse remains unclear in many instances, including what sorts of conduct should trigger a call to authorities. Mr. Dion said national surveys have shown that less than 10% of abuse cases are reported to police.

States typically have laws that require the reporting of sex crimes against children, but often the reporting requirements apply only to designated classes of people, such as doctors and educators. Several states, including Pennsylvania, are now considering broadening their mandatory-reporting laws.

"There's been a slight increase over time in our willingness to believe that a popular, charismatic adult can be a predator," said David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "But it's been a painfully slow process."


North Carolina


Penn State University pedophilia scandal and cases involving Catholic priests

by Lewis W. Diuguid

Nov. 26, 2011

In the Penn State University pedophilia scandal and cases involving Catholic priests, many wonder how the perpetrators got away with the crimes for so long and how the sexual assaults on children went unreported for years.

Often, only victims come close to providing answers. The Penn State case forced me to relive incidents that I had buried decades ago of boys like me being molested on a school playground.

The school no longer exists, but the traumatic memory of what an older, larger, muscular, teenage boy did remains unforgettable. The boy had flunked repeatedly, leaving him in elementary school when he should've entered high school long ago.

He was in seventh-grade when I transferred to his school in the sixth grade. The boy liked to pretend he was the main character in the cartoon, "Birdman." He'd swoop down on smaller, unsuspecting boys, grab us around the neck and mimic a sex act on the school playground.

Teachers, as playground monitors, saw the assaults but looked the other way. None of the other boys would go to any victim's aid fearing the big boy would beat and then hump him, too.

When the big boy swooped, kids screamed and scattered. Past victims would tease new ones, and everyone laughed.

The big boy didn't bother the girls, just boys, and we were powerless against the attacker who deserves the label pedophile. Boys are easy targets for abuse. Their silence is certain because anyone who protested got the unwanted label of "punk."

It kept everyone defenseless and quiet, allowing him to prey on us unchecked. No one reported the molestation mostly because we thought teachers feared the big boy, too. It was hard to know what to do, and for kids it always seemed easier to put it out of our young minds and let it go.

That happens repeatedly in cases of pedophilia involving predators whether they're older boys, men, Catholic priests or Penn State officials. The sad part is good people - because of friendships, fear or cognitive dissidence - become paralyzed by inaction, giving wrongdoers an open playground - just like at the school of my youth.

The crimes only get worse if not stopped. That happened the next year, at the school in the seventh- and eighth-grade boys' gym class.

We had to change clothes in the locker room at the gym across the street from the school and then change back after the workout.

With the big boy in the eighth grade, none of us was willing to risk taking a shower. It was a lot safer to go back to class smelly. It was a fitting revenge against the teachers and other school officials who did nothing to protect us.

But one day, an eighth-grader decided to shower after gym class. The predator quickly stripped off his clothing and swooped onto the boy, yelling "Birdman."

A stampede of seventh- and eighth-grade boys followed, running from the gym to the safety of the school. I'll always remember as we ran past the showers the boy's frightened face. He was dwarfed by the attacker, who grabbed him from behind.

None of us talked about what happened that day, and the victim never said a word either.

A couple of years passed, and some of us joined the victimized boy in high school after we'd finished the eighth grade. The predator went to a different high school. I could only think good riddance.

The victimized boy seemed his usual upbeat, jovial self. Several of us from the same grade school were on the high school's track team.

But we lost track of each other after we graduated. It wasn't until our 25th high school reunion in 1998 that I learned what had happened to the boy assaulted in grade school.

He had committed suicide. The circumstances were unclear.

But I will always wonder whether that ill-timed shower and the assault on him were responsible, whether the victim's death could've been prevented if teachers or kids acting in concert had stopped the assailant. The Penn State and priests' sexual assault cases bring back those and a million other questions from incidents going back 45 years.

I hope the lesson everyone takes from the current scandals is to take a stand against child abuse. You don't want to live with regrets later.

Lewis W. Diuguid is part of The Kansas City Star's Editorial Board. Write to him at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413. Email:



Child Sexual Abuse Does Happen Here

by Bob Grover

The Penn State child abuse scandal is a tragedy for all involved: the victims, the university students, faculty and administration, and, of course, for football coach Joe Paterno.

Often stories that dominate the headlines seem distant, and we may think that they couldn't happen here in Emporia. Child sexual abuse does occur — perhaps more than we know and more than we care to admit. One of the tragedies at Penn State was the lack of action; when sexual abuse was discovered, too little was done.

I talked with a local resident — I'll call her Madeleine — who as a young child experienced sexual abuse by an adult male relative. Abusers can be anyone who can get close to a child — family members, neighbors, teachers, and others who gain the child's initial trust. Madeleine's abuser had been abused as a child, a frequent pattern whereby abused children becomes abusers. Her abuser told her that his fondling of her was a secret, and she did not feel free to talk to her family about it; her family did not talk about anything intimate — certainly not sex. She recalls feeling shame, fear, and revulsion.

When she became older, Madeleine became a verbal abuser, and as an adult, she said that rage — unresolved, irrational anger — was sometimes her overreaction to an event. She suspected that this anger went back to her feeling of helplessness to react or to or talk about the abuse incidents. Madeleine believed the abuse was her fault, and she found it difficult to trust anyone.

Many years passed before Madeleine encountered another adult who revealed abuse when a child, and she was able to face her secret past for the first time. Through prayer sessions with a spiritual mentor, Madeleine was able to work through the abuse and shame to begin healing. Many adults work through childhood abuse with secular counselors.

Incidents of child sexual abuse do happen here. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Family and Child Tracking System reports that 27,501 reports of suspected family maltreatment of children were investigated in Kansas from July 2008 to June 2009. During this same period, SRS received 56,207 reports alleging suspected maltreatment. (A Guide to Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Kansas 2010, 17) While “maltreatment” is not limited to sexual abuse, the numbers are disconcerting, especially when many abuse incidents are not reported.

The State of Kansas defines sexual abuse as “any contacts or interactions between a child and an adult in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the adult or any other person.” (A Guide to Report Child Abuse, 4)

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that children can be victims of sexual abuse regardless of their economic status or race, and girls are abused more often than boys. Studies also show that men are the most frequent perpetrators of child sexual abuse, although women have been reported as offenders in some cases. Homosexual men are not more likely to abuse children than heterosexual men. (

Children are reluctant to talk about sexual abuse, and parents, teachers, and others who work with children should be alert to regressive behaviors like bed-wetting and to eating problems, behavior problems, and nonparticipation in school and social activities. Negative effects of abuse can result in such destructive behavior as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety disorders, insomnia, and problems with adult relationships. The APA cites research that shows childhood sexual abuse victims are more likely to be involved in physically abusive relationships as adults. However, there is no one symptom or set of symptoms resulting from sexual abuse; some children report little psychological distress from abuse. Some children will not experience effects until later in life.

If you suspect abuse, give the child a safe environment in which to talk to you or another trusted adult. Reassure the child that he or she did nothing wrong, and seek mental health assistance for the child. Arrange for a medical examination, and select a medical provider who has experience examining children and identifying sexual and physical trauma. (APA website)

In Kansas certain professionals are required to report suspected child abuse. These mandated reporters include doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses, mental health professionals, teachers, school administrators or other school employees, chief administrative officers of medical care facilities, therapists, counselors, child care service providers, social workers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, juvenile intake and assessment workers, and law enforcement officers. Mandated reporters and any person suspecting child abuse are to report incidents to the SRS through the Kansas Protection Report Center at (800) 922-5330 and/or to a local law enforcement agency or by calling 911.

For more information, see “A Guide to Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect in Kansas” Abuse Reprting Guide.pdf

Child abuse does happen here.


United Kingdom

Paedophile with HIV, 30, caught in police sting after arranging online to have sex with children

by Daily Mail Reporter

A paedophile with HIV who arranged online to have sex with three young children has been jailed after not realising he was talking to an undercover policeman.

Steven King, who worked in the accounts department in a solicitors' office, made the two hour journey from his home thinking he was going to abuse the children aged five, six and 10.

The sick 30-year-old also bragged to the undercover officer that he had already raped a young boy aged just 13 years.

In a twisted message he told the policeman: 'Any age, younger the better.'

King was jailed for four years after admitting arranging the commission of child sex offences and two further counts of possessing indecent images.

The judge, sitting at Southwark Crown Court, was told how King began talking to the undercover officers in July this year when the officer claimed to have three young children.

During the online chats the defendant revealed how he had previously raped a 14-year-old, who he later claimed was just 13.

On July 19 he said 'any age, younger the better'. in a message and told the officer he was willing to travel the 80 miles from his home in Southampton to London in order for the pair to meet.

When they met at Waterloo Station on July 27, King confessed that he wanted to abuse the five-year-old boy and six year old girl.

A second meeting was arranged when the paedophile believed he would be taken to the undercover officer's home and be allowed to abuse the children.

On August 2, King was arrested and in interview confirmed he planned to go to the policeman's home and sexually assault the children.

He said he had lied about abusing children in the past during his conversations with the undercover officer.

When he was arrested he was in possession of flavoured condoms and some toys for the children.

A number of items were also seized from his home, including a laptop, USB stick and external hard drives, which contained indecent images of children.

King of Southampton, Hampshire, was jailed for four years.

Speaking after the sentencing Detective Chief Superintendent Reg Hooke, head of the MPS Child Abuse Investigation Command, said: 'The plotting of child abuse over the internet is a sickening crime and one that poses a serious and ongoing threat.

'Officers from the Met's Paedophile Unit conduct operations, such as the one that caught King, on a weekly basis.

'Luckily, this time, King's appalling intentions remained just that. The result reflects the Met's continued commitment to fighting child abuse in all its forms.'


Ending Sex Trafficking One Brothel At A Time

by Ximena Ramirez

Tis the season to give thanks to those special people in our lives so in that vein today I'd like to give thanks to Nicholas Kristof.

I've been a huge fan of his writing for quite some time, especially his willingness to cover women's and human rights issues in such depth. I was reminded of this recently when I came across his New York Times op-ed “Fighting Back, One Brothel Raid at a Time.”

Now I am thankful too for Somaly Mam, a woman who has dedicated her life to putting an end to forced prostitution. Sold herself as a young child, Somaly is now an anti-trafficking activist working to close brothels in Cambodia where girls as young as 12-years-old are raped and tortured every day.

Her work is heroic and dangerous. She has received death threats, had a gun held to her head, shots fired at her car, and worst of all, had her 14-year-old daughter kidnapped by traffickers who gang raped her with a video camera rolling. Her daughter was luckily recovered in a brothel and has now joined her mother's crusade to save other young girls.

Both women are an inspiration, like Kristof who brings their stories to readers around the world. Kristof recently joined Somaly on a raid of a brothel in Cambodia where five girls and one young woman were rescued, the youngest a seventh grader trafficked from Vietnam. The girls were placed in a shelter run by Somaly to recover. The brothel manager is now expected to be prosecuted and the brothel will presumably be shut down.

Human Trafficking: A Global Crisis

Human trafficking is not an isolated problem. It happens in every country, rich or poor, around the world. In fact, it is the second largest, fastest growing organized crime in the world. Around the globe there are currently 27 million people working as modern day slaves.

Here's another horrifying statistic. 1-2 million children will be sold into prostitution in the next 12 months. In Cambodia, where Mam works rescuing and rehabilitating survivors of human trafficking, at least 30,000 children are enslaved in the sex trade.

These are devastatingly high numbers – depressing really – but with women like Mam and her daughter I'm certain this is a problem that we will overcome little by little as small victories such as these add up.

As Kristof said in his op-ed, “In the 19th century, the world conquered traditional slavery. And in this century, with leaders like Somaly, we can emancipate the victims of human trafficking.”

I certainly hope so.

What do you think? Is an end to human trafficking possible?


A voice for the silent


Currently, under existing law, there is no requirement for any lounge or high-traffic business to post any type of awareness for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRCH).

For many, they may have no idea whom or what this hotline is for.

Victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts and anyone forced into different forms of "labour or services," such as domestic workers held in a home or farm-workers forced to labour against their will.

You may think that human trafficking is not in your city or does not affect where you live, when, in fact, it could be happening right down the block. Millions of victims are trafficked every day.

Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world and generates billions of dollars in profits, so how come no one is talking about it?

The state of Alabama is one of the few states currently in the process of enacting a law that requires that any hotel that has been cited, any massage parlour where an employee has been cited or any airport, train station or bus station - and any business that provides entertainment commonly called strip-teasing or topless entertainment - shall be required to place, in a location conspicuous to the public at the entrance of the business or where such posters and notices are posted, a poster with information and resources about the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and the number to call in order to receive help, gain information, or report a tip or suspicious person.

Failure to post the NHTRCH poster would result in high fines - up to $2,000.

Michigan and Ontario, as well as other states and provinces, should follow suit and push for prevention and awareness of the growing trend.

Anyone can be a victim to human trafficking, but typically traffickers often prey on people who are hoping for a better life, lack employment opportunities, have an unstable home life or have a history of sexual abuse (Polaris Project, 2010).

Certain populations are highly vulnerable, such as homeless youth, runaways, refugees and immigrants.

Immigrants are typically lured by promises of a brighter future, dream job (i.e., model) and a stable home and employment - only to be faced with the harsh reality of the human-trafficking industry upon their arrival and nowhere to turn and no one to talk to.

This is why advocating for the awareness of NHTRC is so crucial.

How can you help?

Educate yourself about the signs of human trafficking by going online to and report any type of suspicious behaviour you notice in your neighbourhood or community.

Human trafficking is an unspoken social issue that Canada and the U.S. need to speak out against and give a voice to the many men and women, girls and boys who silently suffer each and every day of their lives.

Canadian number: To report human trafficking in Ontario, call the RCMP, at 1-800-387-0020 (24 hours).

Amanda Pasionek lives in Detroit. Ashley Spinney lives in Windsor. Both are master of social work students at Wayne State University.


FLDS may see more charges

International sex trafficking suspected

by Matthew Waller

November 25, 2011

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Canadian law enforcement is coming to Texas to investigate allegations of crimes that may have been committed on Canadian soil related to human trafficking for sexual purposes by a polygamist sect.

Officials from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are scheduled to come to Texas on Dec. 11-16 to conduct investigations into operations of the polygamy-sanctioning Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said.

"We were provided with information generated as a result from the RCMP receiving information from the attorney general in British Columbia and from Texas with respect that young girls were being transported across the border," Moskaluk said.

"In essence, it's human trafficking in connection with illicit sexual activity," Moskaluk said.

British Columbia has a community of FLDS members at Bountiful, a community near Creston in the southern Kootenay Mountains a few miles from the Idaho border.

The British Columbia Supreme Court was involved in considering whether to uphold Canada's anti-polygamy laws, a process which required several months and came to a conclusion this week with a ruling that the laws are constitutional but children under 18 involved in polygamous relationships should be exempt from prosecution.

"Having found a reasoned apprehension that polygamy is associated with numerous harms, it follows that criminalizing the practice is one way of limiting those harms," the court decision states.

Part of the evidence in the case listed 31 underage girls who were taken across international borders to be married to FLDS elders. The girls were connected with British Columbia either by having been born there or having given birth there.

To aid the B.C. court, the attorney general of Texas sent affidavits from Texas Rangers and thousands of pages of evidence collected from the raid on the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch in April 2008 that investigated allegations of child sexual assault.

"We're certainly willing and able to cooperate in any way possible," Attorney General's Office spokesman Jerry Strickland said Friday. "We'll continue to provide assistance if there is evidence that could aid additional investigations."

Evidence for the investigation also has come from the attorney general of British Columbia, Moskaluk said.

"The RCMP is going to Texas in part to conduct interviews with witnesses or victims who could provide evidence," Moskaluk said.

The timing of the investigation is not connected to the B.C. Supreme Court decision issued Wednesday, Moskaluk said. The trip to Texas was just confirmed this week, he said.

The investigation is not necessarily targeted at FLDS leader and prophet Warren Jeffs, he said.

Jeffs was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls ages 12 and 15 and sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison.

Even so, the investigation could result in criminal charges in Canada against Americans, Moskaluk said.

Eleven FLDS men, including Jeffs, have been criminally prosecuted in Texas for crimes such as sexual assault of a child and bigamy using evidence seized in the YFZ Ranch raid.



Confront child sex abuse

Penn State scandal exposes a shameful epidemic that too often goes ignored

by Emily Samuelson

November 25, 2011

Child abuse demands that we choose sides. The victim demands that we speak up and take action; the perpetrator demands that we remain silent. Do-nothing bystanders collude with the abuser, enabling him to continue devouring children. That's what is alleged at Penn State. Football trumped the lives of children.

Sexual predators will always plague us, out there scanning for prey. The tragedy is that many were victimized as children. They were not protected, no one recognized the traumatic aftereffects, and they had no treatment. Even more malignant are bystanders who averted their gaze. They keep the abuse cycle grinding the next generation. Shame on all of us.

It's time to stop deluding ourselves that we can protect children by focusing on "Chester the Molester," the creepy man in the raincoat with lollipops in his pockets. There is no way to spot a predator based on social class, appearance or intelligence.

Pedophiles are exquisitely skilled. They are masters of disguise, knowing how to place themselves amid children so they have easy pickings, without arousing suspicion. They "groom" the most vulnerable ones with expert precision, rendering those children even more defenseless. That appears to be what alleged abuser Jerry Sandusky did. He was especially clever in growing a crop of vulnerable children in his "charity." If he is like many pedophiles, he might have abused dozens or even hundreds of children.

Some abusers live right in the middle of a family. Finding victims is the easiest for them. They just walk down the hall or into the basement. Other family members close their eyes. The abused child is sacrificed on the altar of family "loyalty." As an adult, the abused may come forward to spill the family secret. The rest of the family circles the wagons to protect the family name. Often, the truth-teller is labeled crazy and banished from the family.

Institutions protect their reputations (or "brand names") by shielding sexual abusers. Loyalty to the institution supersedes the moral imperative to protect children. That describes what is alleged at Penn State. Many students rallied around the head coach, Joe Paterno, as if he were the victim. Like others in the administration, Mr. Paterno apparently chose Penn State football over the bodies and souls of little boys. If only it were limited to that institution.

For the past 20 years, we've read about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and how it protected the perpetrators instead of the parishioners. In South Baltimore, a Catholic middle school teacher, John Merzbacher, violated students — sometimes at gunpoint. During school. Other teachers (i.e., nuns) saw him smacking students and grabbing boys' bottoms, heard him calling boys "faggots" and girls "rotten crotches." No adult did anything, until 20 years later when some of those students grew into adults who bravely joined together to take legal action. They couldn't all be there — some became addicts, some were too terrified, and others had committed suicide. The church did not lift a ringed finger to help the victims. In criminal court, Mr. Merzbacher received a life sentence plus 10 years. The statute of limitations protected the church.

This scenario played out many years ago at Boys Town in Nebraska. You remember — the place for orphaned and troubled youth? In this case, a boy was sodomized by a gang of other boys. He had tried to run away from the ringleader before but was caught by a police officer and driven straight back to Boys Town. No questions asked. He was covered in bruises and stayed at the infirmary. No questions asked. When the boy became a man, he told Boys Town what had happened to him. "It was such a long time ago," they responded.

It happened at the American Boychoir School outside of Princeton, N.J. Dozens of boys were sexually violated by a series of adults. One choir director was fired over a "love affair" with a boy. A love affair? Maybe he loved abusing the little boy, but I doubt it was reciprocated.

The list goes on. And on.

We need to be hypervigilant to protect children — not just our children but all children. This will require comprehensive tactics. We must teach adults to recognize the symptoms of sexual abuse, provide trauma treatment for all sexually abused children and adults, provide therapy for people with sexual behavior problems, hold institutions accountable for abuse under their purview, and eliminate the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse. That is just the beginning.

Children are not objects. No one owns them. They have basic human rights. Until we begin to value children, not in the sappy picture-postcard way but deeply and authentically, perpetrators and bystanders will leave a pile of mangled bodies and souls behind. But who's counting?

Emily Samuelson, a psychologist in Towson, is director of "The Soaring Project," an oral history/photography project and book-in-progress about thriving survivors of sexual abuse. Her email is,0,431193.story


Missouri needs law requiring citizens to report child abuse

Turkey and football. They are forever intertwined on Thanksgiving Day, and yesterday was no exception. But this year, with the Penn State sex abuse scandal just beginning to lose momentum, football seemed a bit more heavy-hearted. While we are accustomed to the partying antics of football stars off of the field, that is a far cry from football fans being accustomed to coaches who allow a child to be molested in their locker rooms.

This deplorable scandal was one of the catalysts provoking Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to propose changes to Missouri's mandated reporting laws. Koster has stated he wants to help protect Missouri children from the type of horrid abuse which allegedly took place on the Penn State campus by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. In this particular scandal -- where Sandusky was allegedly seen raping a child in the men's locker room on the campus -- the suspected abuse was witnessed and never reported to police.

As Missouri law currently reads, only those who work with children regularly are mandated reporters (teachers, etc.). Koster is proposing that all Missourians be required to report the suspected abuse of a minor to proper authorities. While this law would have its drawbacks, it is absolutely necessary.

According to Every Child Matters (, Missouri ranks as the fifth worst state for child deaths due to child abuse. And our children don't fare much better in regard to nonfatal abuse, either. On a variety of scales, Missouri's children consistently come up on the short end of the stick when it comes to their overall welfare.

If Missouri lawmakers pass the law requiring every citizen to be a mandated reporter, we will become the 19th state in the union to do so. Sadly, a law should not be needed requiring citizens to report/take action on the abuse of children. And perhaps even more pathetically than that, had former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and others used simple common sense in dealing with a person who was widely believed to be a child predator, there would have been -- presumably -- one less pedophile on the street. Do we need laws dictating simple common sense to protect our children?

Apparently. The clear drawbacks of this proposed law are twofold: first, resources across the state are already spread ludicrously thin. Asking authorities to investigate more cases of possible child abuse is like asking firefighters to fight another house fire with the garden hose -- nearly impossible. Additionally, there is the small possibility that the already overzealous among us will feel more compelled to report trivial nonissues, casting suspicion on innocent citizens.

However, any drawbacks of a changed law will be worth the trouble if children are better protected from predators. While Missourians currently may report child abuse anonymously if they so choose (800-392-3738), we may soon be required to. Let's hope so. Maybe by Thanksgiving next year, we will be able to enjoy our turkey and football while breathing just a little bit easier.

Christopher Dixon lives in Springfield. He may be reached at


United Kingdom

Online child abuse 'not a freedom people should have'

November 25, 2011

by Matthew D'Arcy

Despite an exponentially growing threat, inadequate law enforcement capacity, unresolved resource issues and the challenge to balance online freedom and security, the new National Crime Agency will put Ceop in a stronger position to tackle the spread of child abuse over the internet, argues Peter Davies ahead of the government's new cyber security strategy

The UK put forward a pretty clear message at the London Conference on Cyberspace – freedom on the internet must prevail. This was the strong view of Foreign Secretary William Hague who sought consensus on this fundamental issue arguing that governments must not control the web.

But ahead of the UK's new cyber security strategy, Peter Davies, the UK's most senior child protection police officer, warns that online freedom can present one significant "downside" - the freedom to send child abuse images and other material around the world. "That's not a freedom people should have," he says.

Davies, who heads the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) says it is possible to allow "every other kind of freedom imaginable" and at the same time restrict people's ability to create and circulate child abuse images.

"That is legitimate because of the different types of harm that they cause and I think it's proportionate because there cannot be a reason to abuse a child," he says.

The solution to making the internet a difficult place to distribute child abuse imagery is not one that rests in his hands, but he is convinced it is possible. Government has a role to play here, he says. But the real answer lies with industry. Part of Davies' job is to encourage those with power over the internet to "sign up" to the basic idea that the internet can not be a place where child abuse images can be freely exchanged.

He recognises that some industry led organisations like the Internet Watch Foundation have already done a "sterling job" of removing images. "But the fact is I believe there is more that could be done," he says. "Probably the most significant contribution to that would come from large corporations."

He admits that the balance between freedom and having to monitor people's internet activity is not straightforward. But Davies believes internet based businesses must be able to generate a great deal of information about their customers. Advancing technology can be an answer to the challenge and he says his own organisation is able to take advantage of emerging technologies that examine material in sophisticated ways to identify imagery as it is exchanged.

Ceop itself does of course play a very active and direct role in safeguarding children, tracking suspected paedophiles and leading major international operations to dismantle criminal networks dismantled and bring offenders to justice.

From this experience Davies says there remains an "exponentially" growing threat. While older types of offending are receding he says new types that are harder to detect start to emerge.

This growing threat he says is compounded by an "inadequate" capacity of law enforcement to protect children and bring criminals to justice. "I think there is a gap between the capacity required and the threat that is out there. And I don't think that is unique for the UK."

But within the UK he does have reason for optimism. The government's decision to integrate Ceop into the National Crime Agency saw Davies' predecessor Jim Gamble resign as the centre's chief. Gamble complained of arbitrary decisions from government and warned the move into the NCA was "not in the best interests of children". He argued the move would result in a change in culture, differing from Ceop's current continual focus "on what's best for children".

Davies says the concept of what the new agency will stand for has "developed very significantly" since Gamble's resignation, with the organisation set to retain its own brand, budgets and operational control. He says he is "encouraged" by the creation of the NCA and the creation of a specific cybercrime function within the agency.

"The close links there will be there not just between Ceop but other parts of national law enforcement which depend on the cybercrime capability to do their job. I am optimistic the structure which is being put into place now will significantly improve on what we have currently and what we had before.

"Creating that capacity and capability takes a certain amount of time, but its urgent work, its being treated urgently, I am optimistic that it will move us to a better place."

Davies also says his views have been taken on board in the NCA creation. "They have listen to a lot of people but I feel we get a very fair audience and get no sense at all that Ceop has anything to worry about in terms of the NCA," he says.

"My personal professional view is that our mission would be far better achieved within the new National Crime Agency rather than outside it.

"I detect very strongly, a genuine belief in the Ceop model and genuine desire on the part of key decision makers to not only conserve it but to expand its influence and perhaps take some of the great things we do and apply them to other areas of criminality with the NCA."

But that's not to say that Davies hasn't got any unresolved issues for the Home Office to deal with. He may not have concerns about his views being heard by the government. But he does have concerns about resources.

"What we have is a not an unkind budget settlement but of course we are faced with exponential growth in demand, that's an issue we haven't had chance to resolve," he says.

"The demand is growing, the level of access to the internet and use of the internet and some of the risk areas like social networks are increasing, not just in this country but around the world and that generates more reports for Ceop. It generates more referrals of risky content."

Ceop, he says, is only able to deal with these pressures in accordance with the resources it has.

"My biggest concern at the moment is a large growth in demand at a time, not unlike many other public sector organisations, when we are not expecting exponential growth in resources."

Budget pressures can be mitigated to some extent by Ceop drawing on its partners across corporations, the private sector, and NGOs such as the NSPCC. "We already depend on them for a substantial amount of the effect we can have".

And so looking forward, the government's new crime response set up will, for Davies, strengthen the capacity to protect children on the internet. But he still feels that matching resources against the growing threats to children online will be continue to be "a tricky one".



Wear blue on Black Friday for child abuse prevention

Statement issued Thursday:

INDIANAPOLIS – As shoppers begin planning their Black Friday shopping strategy, the Indiana Dept. of Child Services (DCS) is encouraging Hoosiers to wear blue as they hit the stores. The national attention the Penn State child sex abuse case has received has caused state child welfare agencies, child advocate organizations and concerned Americans around the country to raise awareness about the child abuse problem in this country. Since 1989, the color blue has been worn during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April as a reminder about the bruises too many innocent children endure.

“Recent events have brought the topic of child abuse into mainstream conversations,” said James Payne, DCS Director. “It is important we continue to not only discuss abuse and neglect, but as a community, develop more ways we can protect children and prevent families from entering the child welfare system.”

The problem of child abuse in America cannot be overstated. In Indiana alone, about 150,000 calls a year come into the child abuse/neglect hotline. Currently more than 9,000 Hoosier kids have been removed from their own homes and living in foster care because they were victims of abuse or neglect. It seems nearly every day there are more news stories about child abuse, neglect, abandonment and even death. For some of those children, no one could have prevented or even predicted what eventually happened. But in the vast majority of cases, if someone had been involved early to offer help, a tragedy could have been avoided. Thirty eight innocent Hoosier children died from abuse or neglect in State Fiscal Year 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

Hoosiers are encouraged to step up today to help a child. While parents and family members must accept responsibility for the care of their children, everyone and anyone can help keep children safe. Zero tolerance of child abuse and neglect should be the goal. The mission of all Hoosiers should be to serve the children of Indiana. They are our future and deserve the best we can provide; a future in which they are safe from abuse or neglect.

Help raise awareness about child abuse. Wear blue on Black Friday.

About Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS):

DCS is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. The Agency's primary goal is to safely keep these children at home with their families by offering appropriate support services. If safety continues to be a concern, relative or foster care placements are necessary. DCS also oversees adoptions from the foster care system and manages the Child Support Bureau. The Kids First Trust Fund, supported by the sale of ‘Kids First' specialty automobile license plates, subsidizes child abuse and neglect prevention programs. In collaboration with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, DCS' Books for Youth initiative is targeting a Super Goal for the Super Game: collect 750,000 books for foster kids by Feb. 2012. Child abuse/neglect hotline: 800.800.5556.




A community's shame: child sexual abuse

The nation is focused on the shameful, horrific details coming out of the Penn State child-abuse scandal. The world can now read the 23 pages of the grand jury report, which give such graphic details of the coach's alleged acts that most cannot be described on TV. A trusted leader and supposed mentor to disadvantaged youth is accused of raping eight boys over a decade, and more victims are coming forward.

How could this happen? The epic tragedy is not just in the terrible details themselves but the apparent cover-up by high-level officials. Why didn't anyone intervene? Why didn't the university even attempt to identify a child victim allegedly raped and sodomized in its own locker room? Because no one took strong action, many other boys subsequently suffered the same terrifying fate.

While from a distance we in San Diego can criticize what happened in the now ironically nicknamed “Happy Valley” university town of State College, Penn., that is not the point. We all must see that child sexual abuse – as deplorable as what is alleged – happens every day in every big city, small town and rural community across our nation. And it happens here in San Diego.

Nationally, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. What's worse, only one in 10 will ever tell anyone. And the tragedy continues across generations. According to a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 30 percent of abused children will later abuse their own children, continuing the cycle of abuse.

The overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse is not committed by monsters – the prototypical dirty old man in a raincoat, trolling for children to abuse. In truth, most child sexual abuse takes place by someone the child knows – a parent, other family member, coach, teacher, religious leader, baby sitter, family friend.

Thousands of San Diego children are taken away from their homes and into foster care because they were being sexually abused by someone within their close family orbit. Disadvantaged children and foster youth are at particularly high risk.

States have varying child-abuse reporting laws and some federal legislators are now raising the possibility of unifying them under one federal law. Clearly, more needs to be done. Since 1963, California has had laws against child abuse, and names the persons required to report it to authorities, such as physicians, teachers and caregivers. Child abuse must be reported when a legally mandated individual “has knowledge of or observes a child in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect” (California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law).

Despite the laws, however, it is sadly true that reporting is not widespread. Among the most frequently identified reasons for not reporting are lack of knowledge about child abuse and lack of familiarity with state reporting laws. But others are afraid or unwilling to get involved, worried that a report will make matters worse, or reluctant to risk angering the family. Some just believe that “someone else” will report it.

Every adult has a moral, ethical responsibility to stand up for a child – to report suspected cases of child abuse, to intervene if such abuse is witnessed.

All adults need to know the signs of abuse and be vigilant. Parents may warn their children about “stranger danger,” but all statistics show that most sexual abuse is committed by someone the family knows and trusts. The most vulnerable are those without parents to care for them – the more than 5,000 foster children in San Diego County – and we all must speak up for them.

Voices for Children is working diligently every day to recruit, screen, train, and closely supervise volunteer court-appointed special advocates – CASAs – who can be that voice for abused children living in the county foster system. Last year, we had more than 800 such dedicated volunteers who provided important information about their case children to the judges making critical decisions about these children's lives, but we need hundreds more – everyday citizens who can stand up for children who have no adult to watch over them.

Our children count on adults to keep them safe and it is our moral obligation to do so. Let's hope the lessons of Happy Valley resonate throughout our country and especially right here in America's Finest City.

Lawrence is president/CEO of Voices for Children, San Diego. Sahba is chair of the board of directors.


Fleury calls child sexual abuse ‘biggest epidemic on planet'

by Ryan Bowman, for The Record

November 24, 2011

KITCHENER — When Theo Fleury was a young boy growing up in Russell, Man., he thought his purpose in life was to play in the NHL. Today, despite having played over 1,000 games in the big league, collecting a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal along the way, he realizes he was wrong.

Fleury, who is now a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and full-time advocate against the sexual abuse of children, wants to help others.

“I want to get as many victims of child sexual abuse into recovery as possible,” said Fleury, who spoke at Conestoga College Thursday. “I want to empower them, I want them to take control of their lives.”

“Child sexual abuse is the biggest epidemic we have on our planet,” Fleury said, adding that one in five boys is abused before the age of 18.

His presentation, titled Don't Quit Before the Miracle, encourages victims of sexual abuse, both past and present, to come forward and seek help.

Fleury alleged in his 2010 memoir Playing With Fire that former coach Graham James had sexually assaulted him more than 150 times over a three-year span when he was a teenager. The reason it took him 27 years to come forward, said Fleury, is that there is a stigma attached to sexual abuse.

“We have to get rid of the stigma around not telling,” Fleury said. “The more we keep the secret inside, the sicker we get.”

The book, which Fleury wrote in an attempt to help others, ended up going a long way in defining his own future. “I was just trying to write my book and get as honest as I could and then all of a sudden I find the purpose of my life.”

Fleury is also pushing adults who know about, or even suspect, sexual abuse against children, to come forward.

“You would think it's kind of odd that one of your players would be spending two or three nights a week at the coach's house. That's not normal,” he said of his own case. “At the end of the day, I wanted somebody who knew to come forward.”

In a recent post on Fleury's website, he addressed the current Penn State scandal.

“I have one stand: 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! It's simple.”

“It's important when these types of stories come out, that we try to protect the victims as much as we can,” said Fleury. “We protect the abusers and re-victimize the victims. It's backwards.”

Parents also have to be more proactive in their children's lives, Fleury said. “If your kid suddenly becomes quiet, uninvolved or he's acting out, it's a good sign he's suffered some kind of trauma.”

While Fleury has not seen a reduction in sexual abuse over the years, he said more people than ever seem to be coming forward. “I've seen a shift in a short amount of time, but we still have a long way to go.”

The key, said Fleury, is to never give up hope.

“We all have miracles,” he said, “we just gotta go find them.”




Child victims bill deserves passage

Victims of child sexual abuse often take years to come to terms with that abuse. They deserve more time to do so.

For the third time in recent years, advocates for victims of child sexual abuse in Wisconsin are pushing legislation that would widen the doors of justice for those victims. We hope this time the full Legislature grasps the importance of this measure and widens those doors.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) announced they will introduce a Child Victims Act that will remove the civil statute of limitations in sex assault and rape cases involving children. It also opens a two-year window to file civil suits in cases in which victims were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Current law bars victims from filing suit after they turn 35.

Pasch told us this week it takes many victims years to come to terms with the abuse and to feel safe in reporting it. "Thirty-five is inadequate," she said. "We're not doing enough for the victims."

She also pointed out some chilling facts: 70% of reported sexual assaults in Wisconsin were perpetrated against children; nationally, one in five children fall victim to abuse; estimates place the number of reported cases at only 10% of the actual total; several leading mental health experts say that most children who have been abused are so traumatized that they can't speak about the attack until well into adulthood, if ever.

"There is a silent tragic epidemic in this country," Pasch said. She also pointed to the recent example of the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State as an example of that epidemic. And she's right: Sexual abuse is widespread, and hardly limited to any particular institution.

Giving victims more time to file their claims, more time to come to terms with the terrible things that happened to them as children is simple justice.

Past efforts to pass a child victims bill ran into opposition from religious leaders in Wisconsin and their insurers. Concerns that small churches, in particular, might have to go bankrupt and close their doors because of financial claims from past victims have some merit and deserve consideration.

But Pasch argued that closing doors has not been the experience in other states where such laws have been passed, California and Delaware. The Lassa-Pasch bill is modeled on those laws, and there is no reason to expect a different outcome here.

And in the case of the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese, that boat has sailed. The archdiocese is already in a bankruptcy proceeding as a result of claims from victims of clergy abuse but has assured parishioners that church doors won't be closed as a result.

The partisan divide in Madison is deep and bitter, but the Child Victims Act is not a partisan measure. It's a measure aimed at helping past and future victims of abuse. Even though it is being introduced by two Democrats, all legislators should see beyond the divide and support this bill.



Raising Awareness of Sex Trafficking, One Lecture at a Time


Chicago just hosted an infuriatingly insightful show and tell on sex trafficking, with a West Side pimp providing the sordid show and a prominent legal scholar providing the tell.

It happened last week as Catharine MacKinnon packed a University of Chicago Law School auditorium for a lecture on “Trafficking, Prostitution and Inequality” just as a federal courtroom revealed the thankfully short run of United States of America v. Datqunn Sawyer, a k a “Daddy,” “P,” “P Child,” “Pharo,” “Pimpin' P” and “Rabbit.”

When I mentioned this later, Ms. MacKinnon wasn't aware of the coincidence. It didn't matter. Worldwide, she's encountered many people like Mr. Sawyer — who was convicted Monday of running a prostitution ring — and their mostly female victims.

“The underlying allegations fit perfectly into the world I study and engage,” she told me. “Going after this pimp is exactly what should be done, and the facts are standard,” she added, alluding to Mr. Sawyer's violent ways.

Ms. MacKinnon is a charismatic, even intrepid, scholar and feminist activist who helped pioneer the legal claim for sexual harassment. She serves as special gender adviser to the International Criminal Court, she helped win a case establishing the rape of Bosnian women by Serbs as an act of genocide, and she is one of the most-cited legal scholars in the English language, said Michael Schill, the law school dean.

“She is one of the most dynamic, creative and influential legal thinkers of the past 30 years, having had extraordinary influence raising consciousness about international human rights violations in the realms of rape, prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse,” said Geoffrey Stone, a prominent University of Chicago law professor.

Richard Epstein, a colleague of Professor Stone with a libertarian and contrarian bent, is more qualified: “She is an angry feminist with a strong sense of right and wrong. In some work this manifests itself in libertarian directions by seeking out the perpetrators of mass violence against women. In other cases she is a strong egalitarian in favor of equal wage policies and the like. Always passionate, sometimes informed.”

The lecture was sponsored by the university's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Ms. MacKinnon, who once taught at the university, had rock star trappings and she did not disappoint. Now at the University of Michigan, she mixed compelling analyses with dark-suited elegance and the air of a tall and graying Katharine Hepburn.

She eviscerated distinctions we tend to make — between adult and child prostitution and forced versus voluntary labor, for example. She pilloried some academics' notion of prostitutes as “sex workers” who act voluntarily and gain a certain liberation, even sexual equality, by being compensated.

Legalization only accelerates illegal prostitution, she said, and most prostitutes never exit poverty. Such exploitation was clear in the Sawyer trial, where David Peilet, a defense lawyer with a hopeless task, did not contest the core allegations.

Testimony showed that nine females who worked for Mr. Sawyer were often homeless and destitute; one was a chronic runaway with bipolar disorder. He impregnated three of the mostly underage girls. They often worked along Cicero Avenue, beside railroad tracks, in cars and alleys, and occasionally in hotels, including a W.

He beat them with a studded belt, his fists, a hammer and the heel of a shoe. In her lecture, Ms. MacKinnon spoke of a diabolically effective strategy by which pimps enforce dependence by “distancing the body and psyche” through brute force and drug addiction.

Mr. Sawyer took in from $100 to $1,000 from each one daily and kept them impoverished, as detailed by Michelle Nasser and Marc Krickbaum, the prosecutors. If they did well, he might let them sleep in a bed with him. Otherwise, it was on a couch or the floor of a small apartment.

Like many Americans, I associate sex trafficking with faraway lands.

“Trafficking happens here and men are spending tiny sums of money, relative to their incomes, to get sexual profits and pleasure out of people who would not be there were it not for child sexual abuse, domestic violence and destitution,” said Kaethe Morris Hoffer, legal director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

When I spoke with the prosecutors after the quick verdict, I wondered about Mr. Sawyer's victims.

The government is trying to help them. Yet, as Ms. Nasser said with fittingly tragic understatement, “It messes them up for a long time.”


Sandusky accuser part of coach's family

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A source close to the case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky told CBS News that at least one of the children who recently came forward with new claims of sex-abuse is a member of Sandusky's family, CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports.

The source said the accuser came forward after Sandusky, 67, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing eight boys during a period of 15 years. The accuser also said that the alleged inappropriate contact happened before prosecutors filed charges, according to the source.

A lawyer for Sandusky denied the new claims from two children and continued to maintain his client's innocence. Sandusky has said he showered with some boys but never sexually abused them.

Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, told CBS News that one of the new accusations was made by a family member who has been involved in a divorce and custody proceeding and that they are "totally unfounded." He said Sandusky "adamantly denies" the allegations.

Amendola characterized the other allegation as an example of people trying to mimic other allegations.

"That doesn't surprise me because we believe there would be a number of copycat allegations, people who really maybe not even had direct contact with Jerry but ... try to jump on the bandwagon," Amendola told The Associated Press.

He said the accusations, should they result in charges, would be vigorously contested.

"We'll defend those if and when they become charges," Amendola told the AP in a phone interview Wednesday. "We'll defend those just like we're defending the other charges."

The Patriot-News newspaper of Harrisburg has reported that the pair of new claims were brought within the last two months.

Lawyers for two other people arrested earlier this month as a result of a grand jury investigation into allegations against Sandusky are asking prosecutors to turn over material to help them prepare for a preliminary hearing next month.

Attorneys for Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz wrote to state prosecutors Tuesday asking for grand jury testimony and other information related to their cases. They both faces charges of perjury and failure to properly report suspected child abuse; they maintain their innocence.

The request appears to be a long shot, since such disclosures aren't required so early in a case's trajectory. But the letter also hints at a likely defense strategy: questioning the testimony of a graduate assistant who said he reported seeing Sandusky rape a child in 2002.

Among other things, they asked for corroboration of statements by assistant coach Mike McQueary that he told Schultz and Curley he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the football team showers nine years ago. They said such corroboration is needed to meet the relatively low legal standard required for the perjury charge to advance from the preliminary hearing to county court for a full trial.

"The presentment states no such corroboration," wrote Caroline Roberto, who represents Curley, and Thomas J. Farrell, Schultz's lawyer. "Please provide any in advance of the hearing or specify there is none, thereby saving the court and us considerable time and inconvenience."

Roberto and Farrell acknowledged that Pennsylvania's criminal procedure rules don't require the disclosure they are seeking but told state prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach she had the discretion to provide it. A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the letter Wednesday.

The lawyers have previously said their clients are innocent of the charges and vowed a vigorous defense.

The letter suggests a key element of that defense is likely to be a challenge to the testimony of McQueary, who a grand jury report said told the administrators during a meeting "that he had witnessed what he believed to be Sandusky having ... sex with a boy."

Schultz and Curley said that McQueary was not that specific when he told them what he saw, according to the grand jury. The panel concluded that portions of the testimony by Schultz and Curley were not credible but that McQueary's testimony was "extremely credible."

Roberto and Farrell said in the three-page letter that they want an email from McQueary to Penn State players saying he stopped the alleged 2002 sexual attack on a child by Sandusky and a statement that he notified police.

McQueary, now on administrative leave from his coaching job, wrote in an email to friends that he had "discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police" about what he saw.

He did not specify whether he spoke to campus or State College police. State College borough police Chief Tom King has said McQueary did not report to his department, and campus police have said they were unable to find a record of a report filed in 2002 by McQueary.

Amendola said he plans to attack each allegation, with the 2002 report "the biggest one we've decided to attack first." A man who Amendola said told him that he might to be the alleged victim in 2002 went in to talk to the lawyer after the grand jury report was released Nov. 5.

"He says Jerry didn't do anything sexually to him, not only that night but any other night, so we're attacking that one first," Amendola said.

The lawyers for Curley and Schultz asked for any criminal record and deals that prosecutors may have made regarding McQueary and information about any contacts between McQueary and Sandusky after the alleged attack.

"Apparently, Mr. McQueary golfed and socialized with Mr. Sandusky after March 1, 2002, conduct that is inconsistent with Mr. McQueary's testimony: Most people do not socialize with individuals they believe to be child-rapists," the lawyers wrote.

They said the state should provide any interviews with the person called "victim 2" in the grand jury report issued Nov. 5, the day charges were filed against Schultz, Curley and Sandusky.

They also sought copies of grand jury testimony by their clients, McQueary and football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired in the wake of the scandal. And they said state investigators may have leaked grand jury details, asking the attorney general's office to "halt and investigate these abuses" and report them to the proper disciplinary authorities.

Copied in on the letter was William Wenner, the district judge in the Harrisburg suburbs who is set to preside over next month's hearing.

Paterno, who has been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer, has not been charged and is not a target of the investigation.

A source close to the family confirmed to the AP on Wednesday night that Paterno's wife, Sue, was asked to leave a campus pool, leaving the avid swimmer saddened. School spokesman Bill Mahon said he had not heard of such a directive.

Paterno was focused on beating his illness and seeing the "full truth emerge," the source said. The family was getting calls, letters and visits from ex-players and friends, even though the Nittany Lions this week said their former coach didn't want sympathy.

Amendola said he didn't believe "for a second" that Curley, Schultz and Paterno were told that McQueary saw Sandusky engaging in explicit sex and simply told him "Don't go in the showers with kids anymore."

"Who in their right mind would believe that those three very responsible people would respond that way to that sort of information?" Amendola said. "It makes no sense."

Sandusky's modest home at the end of a dead-end street in State College has been staked out by camera crews since the scandal began. A window has twice been broken at the house, and police patrol the area regularly.

Amendola said it's a "very difficult time" for Sandusky and his family.

"It's just heartbreaking from their perspective, to see these allegations basically result in the crumbling of his life's work," he said.

Sandusky is essentially homebound, and the family fears facing people who might "take some sort of assaultive-like actions," Amendola said. Asked if Sandusky feared for his safety, the lawyer said, "Well, he does, yes, of course."

The scandal also resulted in the departure under pressure of President Graham Spanier and has brought shame to one of college football's legendary programs. Curley has been placed on administrative leave, and Schultz, who was in charge of the university's police department, has stepped down.



L.A. County's backlog on child abuse probes called largely resolved

Permanent and temporary workers were added to the investigations unit and administrators simplified the requirements to close an inquiry, official says.

by Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times

November 24, 2011

Los Angeles County's severe backlog of child abuse investigations is largely resolved — ending a crisis that once involved more than 15,000 children and contributed to the ouster of a Department of Children and Family Services director.

A recent report by the department said roughly 2,000 children remain involved in cases that have not been resolved within the state's deadline for completion, but many of have complex circumstances that require more time.

"This has been accomplished by the hard work of so many staff," said Philip Browning, the department's interim director, noting that the agency will continue to employ special temporary staff to contain the problem.

The county Board of Supervisors moved to oust former department director Trish Ploehn shortly after a report criticized the backlog last year.

At the time, four out of 10 child abuse investigations were overdue, and the county chief executive called it a "crisis" that was "contributing to poor outcomes."

Since then, the department has added permanent and temporary workers to the child abuse investigations unit. Administrators have simplified the requirements to close an inquiry. State regulators also temporarily extended the deadline from 30 days to 60 days — a provision that is slated to expire in 2013.

Browning took over the department in August, shifting from the county Department of Public Social Services, and has focused largely on quality assurance efforts to raise agency standards.

Previous directors had diverted workers from such reviews in order to meet pressing needs elsewhere in the resource-starved department.

Browning is the third temporary director to oversee the department since Ploehn's removal in December, but he has stressed that he intends to return to his former job.

County supervisors are still working to find permanent leadership and began another round of interviews this month.

Mentioned for the job have been James Beougher, former director of Maine's Office of Children and Family Services; Eric Bost, who oversaw the federal food stamp program during the George W. Bush administration; and Barry Zimmerman, director of Ventura County's Human Services Agency.,0,2889282,print.story



Our children deserve a real fight against child abuse

by Diane Dimond

November 19, 2011

Those who fight to stop child abuse need to get some pizazz in their campaign. They need a marketing strategy. They've got no slogan or badge or colored ribbon for supporters to display to acknowledge their solidarity in trying to wipe out this criminal scourge.

As everyone knows, the crippling psychological effects of childhood abuse and neglect often lasts a lifetime. And if the abuse is of a sexual nature, a victim can grow up to victimize others in a similar fashion. It's an awful cycle.

Those on the front line of this fight - abuse survivors, law enforcement's first responders, social workers, prosecutors and medical experts need an enthusiastic movement like the one launched by the family of the late Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980.

The Komen family spread the word about the fight against breast cancer so far and wide that today we see that ubiquitous pink ribbon for breast cancer everywhere! Big, burly football players and Major League Baseball players are wearing pink gear to remember loved ones who succumbed to the disease.

Gee, I remember when speaking about a woman's breast in public was rare. But today, this is a stylish cause. The fight against child abuse? Not so much.

Every year, there are pink-swathed Komen-sponsored 5k runs 'For the Cure' in communities across the nation that raise millions of dollars for research and education. Yoplait Yogurt's 'Save Lids to Save Lives' program donates up to $2 million a year.

Walgreens Pharmacy contributes an annual $1 million to Komen's Treatment Assistance Fund. Other corporate sponsors include: American Airlines, Caterpillar Tractor, the Ladies Professional Golf Association and Microsoft. Every mention is adorned with that dainty little pink ribbon.

What color do you associate with child abuse? That's right -- no color. No slogan, no major celebrity-hosted events to raise money to fight the homegrown epidemic that devours so many of our children.

Not to diminish a single breast cancer victim in any way, but let's compare the at-risk numbers.

This year will see about 230,000 new invasive breast cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society's latest report. Tragically, 39,500 women and 450 men are expected to die this year of the disease.

Compare that to the more than 3 million child abuse and neglect cases expected to be reported during the same period. And that only tells part of the story because, according to, a group that keeps track of these devastating numbers, "(Each) report can include multiple children."

For example, "In 2009, approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children." The organization's saddest statistic: More than five children die of abuse every single day.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry puts the annual number of reported child sex abuse cases at 80,000 but is quick to add, "The number of unreported instances is far greater because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened."

Again, this is not to suggest the attention given one cause over another is misplaced -- but when as many as 6 million children are abused every year in this country, at least 80,000 of them sexually, perhaps a bit of reshuffling of priorities is in order?

At the very least, we need to start openly talking about the problem of these battered children and solutions to solve their plight. That's how the Komen juggernaut got started. One family convinced another, and then another and another that it was vital to find a cure for breast cancer. The message spread, awareness was raised, and so were tens of millions of dollars for victim assistance and research.

So, where's the public campaign for our most at-risk children? Why are people and corporations so reticent to embrace a problem that so profoundly affects millions of children -- and in turn has such a profound impact on our society? The answer is simple: It is a decidedly ugly and dreadfully intimate problem to discuss.

We need to make abusing children not only criminal but completely socially unacceptable.

Decades of research shows that abused and neglected kids are more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction, and they often have criminal records and poor overall health. They account for many of the unwanted teen pregnancies.

When will we get wise to the fact that we all, ultimately, pay tomorrow for what we ignore today?

People seemed stunned at the unique demonstration of concern for kid victims recently when a stadium full of more than 100,000 football fans at Penn State, many of them spontaneously wearing the color blue, fell silent for a few moments of reflection over the plight of sexually abused kids.

That shouldn't be a rare event.

Let's start a movement now to make it fashionable to wear those Penn State inspired blue ribbons (next to the pink ones, if you wish) and pause at each and every public gathering -- from City Council and Kiwanis Club meetings to sporting and theater events -- to collectively remember the silent torment these children live in.

Let's see some caring corporations start donating to this cause!

And let's make a pledge to someday do as much for them as has been done for those suffering from breast cancer.

Examiner columnist Diane Dimond is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate. She maintains an official website at:



Child-abuse victims would get more time to sue

MADISON (WSAU) The Penn State case is being cited as a reason to let Wisconsin child sex abuse victims file civil lawsuits against their molestors -- no matter how long it takes for the victims to come to grips with it.

Senate Democrat Julie Lassa of Stevens Point and Assembly Democrat Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay said yesterday they would try again to pass the Child Victims Act. It would end the statute-of-limitations in which child sex abuse victims cannot sue their perpetrators after the victims turn 35. And it would provide a two-year period for victims to re-file their cases if they were previously turned back by the statute-of-limitations.

Lassa and Pasch held a news conference about the bill yesterday, and they were joined by members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. They called adult sex abuse of children an epidemic.

And as the Wisconsin Badgers play Penn State in football this weekend, they cited the case in which former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with molesting eight boys for over a decade in the 1990's. The bill's supporters say many abuse victims need years to get the courage to challenge their perpetrators in court. And they say an age limit of 35 for civil suits is arbitrary.

But previous efforts to approve the Child Victims Act were met with opposition by concerns it would bankrupt churches, violate due process rights of adults, and treat government workers less harshly due to the sovereign immunity they have. G-O-P legislative leaders say they have not seen the bill, and have not commented on it. Lassa and Pasch promise support from lawmakers in both parties.


The Uphill Battle To Expose Abusers

by Ben Hirsch

Before 2005, I knew little about child sexual abuse. That year, I was approached by a friend, now 44, who was molested as a teenager by two prominent figures in the Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Jewish community: a teacher in a respected yeshiva, and a renowned chasidic therapist.

When my friend reported the teacher's abuse to the school's dean, my friend and his family were intimidated into inaction. A communal taboo against reporting a Jew to the secular authorities meant calling the police was not an option.

My friend remained haunted by the fact that the teacher was still teaching and asked for help in getting him removed. (The therapist had fled to Israel in 1984, where he remains free.) As a businessman and sometime community activist, I had the financial independence and enough knowledge of the workings of my community to try to help. With a few other committed activists, I did just that. It was, to say the least, an informative process.

I approached rabbis and Jewish communal leaders nationwide for help. None was willing to get involved, even those who privately acknowledged they knew of these allegations for decades, and believed them to be true. My friends and I took matters into our own hands and in May 2006, after six months of intense efforts that included the filing of two federal lawsuits by victims (four more followed) and a major New York magazine feature on the case, the yeshiva was forced by its lawyers to place the teacher on “leave of absence.”

During this process, talking to others, I learned details of cover-ups that had protected these men who had, it turns out, molested dozens of others but were never reported to the authorities, let alone removed from their positions, despite repeated complaints against them. I also learned that these were only two among hundreds of molesters preying on children in ultra-Orthodox communities worldwide.

The stories I heard were devastating: boys raped in mikvehs; students coerced into empty yeshiva classrooms and fondled or forced to engage in sex acts by their teachers; campers enduring nighttime “visits” by staff; boys molested by bar mitzvah tutors and cantors; children violated by a parent, sibling, uncle or Shabbat guest who charmed the rest of the family while subjecting the child to a private hell. And in most cases where a victim spoke out — not even to police, but to a trusted rabbi or leader — he or she was met with the full force of a communal machinery bent on silencing the accuser and protecting the perpetrator and the community's reputation.

I concluded that the only way to deal with this was to take allegations directly to the authorities. In 2008, I co-founded an organization to empower Orthodox victims to report these crimes to the police. Slowly, we are making progress. Not surprisingly, we are also encountering strong resistance.

Agudath Israel of America, a national ultra-Orthodox lobbying organization, recently reasserted its policy — at a law conference it sponsored in New York for which attendees were granted Continuing Legal Education credits — that allegations of abuse must be reported first to rabbis, and only to the civil authorities if and after a dispensation is granted. That this in many cases violates New York State's mandatory reporting statute has not been addressed by Agudath Israel, nor by the Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes, who has a history of going “easy” on Orthodox sex criminals. Given that the Brooklyn Orthodox community members tend to vote in blocs, it is clear why Hynes might prefer to remain silent. Indeed, Agudath Israel's vice president, David Zwiebel, has openly cautioned the DA not to “be seen as making a power grab from rabbinic authority.”

Hynes has taken heed. He employs an Orthodox Jewish “liaison” whose role is justified by an ostensible need for “cultural sensitivity.” But in practice, the liaison is said to pressure victims into not pressing charges. And when victims have done so anyway, the DA has often offered pleas that do not require jail time or even sex-offender registration. Those who have intimidated witnesses have not been charged.

We continue to deal with the fallout created by institutions like Ohel Children's Home and Family Services, a large national ultra-Orthodox social services agency that has, with its longstanding practice of treating unreported pedophiles, served as a bulwark between the community and law enforcement. In addition, the Boro Park Shomrim in Brooklyn, a volunteer patrol, reportedly maintains a list of child molesters it does not share with police.

Orthodox victims agonize over the lack of attention given this problem by mainstream media and government, particularly compared to the Catholic abuse scandal and, now, the situation at Penn State. While Jewish newspapers such as The Jewish Week, and blogs, have done hundreds of stories on this issue, the same cannot be said for the mainstream media. In five years The New York Times has published two stories; Orthodox Jewish children are being raped in the paper's backyard but it appears that this is news not fit to print.

What happened at Penn State has hit us hard; respected figures behaved egregiously. But once the story broke, people were held accountable. This could not have happened without extensive mainstream media coverage.

Left to its own devices, the ultra-Orthodox leadership will continue covering up child molestation and harshly enforcing its version of “omerta.” In the name of “cultural sensitivity,” the Brooklyn DA will allow predators to devastate more lives.

While we work to empower Orthodox children and families, we also need the national media to shine a brighter light on this problem, and we need state legislatures, attorneys general and the federal government to strengthen and enforce the laws designed to protect our most vulnerable. We need clear and unambiguous laws nationwide mandating every adult, without exception, to report all suspicions of child abuse directly to the authorities. As importantly, we need enforcement of these laws, absent which there will be no accountability.

As President Obama said in response to the Penn State scandal, “when kids are mistreated, all us have to step up; we don't leave it to someone else to take responsibility.”

It is high time we all stepped up.

Ben Hirsch is a co-founder and president of Survivors for Justice, an organization that advocates and educates on issues related to sexual abuse and child safety (



Institutions need to take the lead on the issue of sex abuse

November 22, 2011

by Ed Stannard, Register Metro Editor

The risk of sexual abuse against children increases when an institution's image is all important and adults use their power to manipulate the defenseless.

That's the lesson of the clergy abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which went unheeded by officials at Penn State University, say several people with knowledge of the issue.

Those working within the church to prevent abuse, as well as a onetime victim of priest abuse, say university athletic officials need to pay attention to the hard lessons learned by the church and adopt the safeguards that Catholic and other religious institutions have done.

The message: Everyone has responsibility to stop predators and report anything they've witnessed to law enforcement.

“I don't believe the sexual abuse in college athletics is anywhere near the problem as in other organizations, for example the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, the Mormon Church, etc.,” said Thomas McNamara, who has represented numerous sexual abuse victims.

“However, the cover-up in the Penn State case is what we have seen in these other organizations.”

Penn State's legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, and its president, Graham Spanier, lost their jobs after charges became public that defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had forced himself sexually on a boy in the locker room shower. The man who witnessed the attack and reported it to university officials, Mike McQueary, was put on leave while his claim that he stopped the assault and called police is investigated.

Late last week, Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine also was put on leave amid accusations that he molested two former ball boys for years, which he denied.

“One of the first things I thought of is this sounds very familiar,” said Beth McCabe of Canton, a member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “I think it's similar in the abuse of power and the issue of how money plays into that,” she said of the Penn State scandal.

While she sees similarities with the clergy sexual abuse scandal, McCabe also sees differences. “I think there's been an outcry from the alumni and some of the student body … that were screaming for change,” she said. That took too long in the church, she said.

“It's a crime,” she said. “It shouldn't matter whether it happens on a college campus or in a church or in a rectory or someone's home. A crime's a crime.”

According to McNamara, McQueary, as well as anyone who witnesses a sexual assault, should take immediate action. “First of all, he should have interceded and stopped the rape. … absolutely, physically stopped the rape, called the police and helped the boy.”

Besides police, state authorities and parents should be brought in, he said, “to make sure, if one entity decides to turn their eyes away, hopefully the other ones won't.”

Allen Sack is interim dean of the College of Business at the University of New Haven, director of the Institute for Sports Management and a critic of “big-time college sports.” He played football at Notre Dame and earned his doctorate at Penn State.

Sack believes McQueary felt pressure not to come forward, based on the examples of others who have reported cheating or other wrongs and lost their jobs or worse.

“The history of big-time college sports has been if you say anything … they're going to ruin you,” Sack said.

“Big-time college sports has taken on the aura of a religious entity, something that you don't question or you're taken out and burned at the stake.”

Sack said he was shocked to hear the news about Penn State, especially since he had held up Paterno and his Notre Dame coach, Ara Parseghian, as “paragons of virtue.” He had called for Penn State to cancel last week's game against Nebraska, saying the university should have said, “The game cannot go on, the show cannot go on today because we're going to stop and reflect. … It would have had an effect across the entire nation.”

Instead, the Penn State team walked arm in arm into their home stadium and a Nebraska coach said a prayer in the center of the field before the game, which the Nittany Lions lost.


Michael Strammiello, spokesman for the Diocese of Norwich, said the church has taken the lead in the last decade, calling the Catholic Church “the most proactive institution in the country on this issue.”

“Whether it's Penn State or Syracuse or whatever we're all reading about, I think a good place is to look to the church to see how an organization the size and scope of the church has really had the fortitude to handle this,” Strammiello said.

Brian Wallace, spokesman for the Diocese of Bridgeport, pointed out that Bishop William Lori was one of the authors of the Dallas Charter of 2002, which brought about “a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of abuse.”

The diocese conducts criminal background checks on anyone who works in the church and “we've trained about 20,000 people in the state of Connecticut,” Wallace said. Both dioceses follow mandatory-reporting requirements, bringing in law enforcement and child-protection services to ensure “an immediate, impartial and unfiltered response (to) protect the innocent.”

McNamara said he believes the Catholic Church hasn't done enough, despite its efforts to create a safe environment.

“I have never ever seen the Catholic Church contact the victims to offer help to these victims,” he said. “They have been without a doubt more concerned about the welfare of the abusing priest and the image of their church.”

He also said the church did not comply with mandatory-reporting laws when child sexual abuses came to light, although spokesmen for the dioceses of Norwich and Bridgeport said those laws are strictly followed.

Michelle Cruz, the state's victim advocate, said what priests, coaches and other adult mentors have in common is the respect and authority they project. It is difficult for children to reject a trusted adult's advances, “especially children who are often intimidated, scared and often threatened … they aren't going to be able to tell somebody,” she said.

Even when adults in official positions are given background checks, there may be others who have not been vetted, Cruz said: a hot dog vendor at the ball game perhaps. “We need to look at who are we allowing around the kids. … There's an expectation that everyone working with our kids has a background check and that's not the reality,” she said.

Erin Neil, director of the Bridgeport diocese's Office of Safe Environments and victim-assistance coordinator, said she sees similarities between the church scandal and Penn State's. “It's very much what we discussed in our training, that it is everywhere,” she said. “We just hope that every institution will take it as seriously as we have.”




Reporting child abuse

While investigators continue to examine who knew what when at Penn State regarding a former assistant coach and child molesting, Hoosiers can take some solace in knowing the Indiana law regarding the obligation to report suspected child abuse is clear.

“An individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect shall make a report,” the law reads, making clear that report must be made “immediately.”

While other states apply their laws only to teachers and other professionals who work with children, Indiana is one of 18 where everyone is required to report the suspected crime.

And while the Pennsylvania law requires only that the report be made to a supervisor, Indiana law unambiguously makes clear the report must be made to the police or the Indiana Department of Child Protective Services.

The legalities are more than an academic reminder of Hoosiers' duties. A Muncie principal faces trial for stalling the report after a student told an assistant principal she had been sexually assaulted. The principal decided first to conduct his own investigation and informed police about four hours later, after the girl had left school.

Ironically, in a motion to dismiss the charge against him, the principal cites his efforts to inform superiors, rather than the police. He even cites the Jerry Sandusky case, with the motion stating: “Recent events at Penn State demonstrate that even when law enforcement agrees that an individual properly reported a case of child abuse, as the Pennsylvania State's Attorney acknowledged was done by Coach Joe Paterno, the court of public opinion may nevertheless cause one to suffer serious consequences.”

The principal asks that his case be dismissed, in part, because the requirement for immediate reporting “is so vague in its application that no ordinary citizen could determine when criminal culpability might attach, thus leaving the definition of the term to the whim of the prosecutor.”

While that case moves through the courts, it remains a fact that when Hoosiers have reason to believe a child has been abused, they must report it to the police or the specific state department responsible for investigating such reports.

Had Pennsylvania had a similar law, there would be no question whether reporting the suspected crime to one's boss was good enough. It would not have been.



Effects of Physical, Emotional Abuse Can Linger Long into Adulthood

EDMONDS, Wash., Nov 23, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Amid a national debate about corporal punishment and child abuse set off by a sensational video posted on the Internet, therapist and author Dr. Gregory Jantz reminds families that child abuse of all kinds -- physical and emotional -- leaves lasting scars that can affect victims throughout their adult lives.

A 23-year-old Texas woman, Hillary Adams, posted hidden-camera footage on YouTube that shows her father punishing her by hitting her with a belt during a seven-minute ordeal that took place in 2004, when she was 16. The video has been viewed well over 6 million times in just three weeks and led several national news and talk shows to interview Adams recently.

Although the video has sparked discussion about the appropriateness of corporal punishment for teens and children, and about what differentiates legitimate punishment from physical abuse, Dr. Jantz says much of the reaction to the video ignores the fact that it unquestionably documents verbal abuse, which is a form of emotional abuse and can be just as damaging as other forms of abuse.

In the video, Adams's father screams and swears at her as he strikes her repeatedly with the belt.

"Emotional and verbal abuse denigrate their target's personhood," says Dr. Jantz. "A parent who abuses a child this way is attacking him or her as a person, calling into question the child's worth and value."

Dr. Jantz says that emotional abuse and physical abuse reinforce each other, and that the combination can be even more damaging to a child's well-being than either form of abuse alone.

Many adults who seek counseling for a variety of psychological disorders and even physical symptoms suffered abuse as children. Studies have shown that an abused child stands a greatly increased risk of growing into an adult who must contend with one or more psychological problems such as severe anxiety, clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Jantz is founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, Wash., which offers whole-person treatment for those facing major life challenges. Dr. Jantz is the author of many books including Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse and his latest title for parents of adolescents called The Stranger in Your House.

SOURCE: The Center for Counseling & Health Resources



Children's Alliance Center helps victims of child abuse

HEREFORD TWP., Pa. - A Hereford Township man is facing charges after police said he sexually assaulted two young girls in a motel room.

The two alleged victims are now in the custody of Children and Youth Services. And the Children's Alliance Center supported them while they told their story.

State police said 39-year-old Richard Marsolick took a boy and the two young girls with him to the Cab Motel on Route 29 in Hereford Township after the recent snow storm knocked power out in his home. Police said the alleged assaults took place at that motel.

"The incident was reported by the nine year-old victim's mother on November the 15th," said Trooper David Beohm.

The Children's Alliance Center is where children go to tell their side of the story. April Reed Schmehl, the Vice President at Children's Alliance said she would not get into the specifics of this case, but she did explain how the center supports the alleged victims and conducts interviews with the children.

"What we do is we coordinate that everybody be there," said Schmehl, "We coordinate for the families to be there, we coordinate with children and youth to be there and that way the child doesn't have to tell their story over and over and over again."

According to affidavit of probable cause, the alleged victims were interviewed by a forensic interviewer from Children's Alliance and both said there was sexual contact between Marsolick and them. In the report, Marsolick said he didn't force the girls to do anything, but didn't stop it.

"Small children are relying on an adult to guide them in the right way of life," said Beohm, "And now, you have an adult that is doing this to small children, it's very disturbing."

"It's hurtful to them and it's very confusing to them," said Schmehl, "They know it's wrong, but they don't know why it's wrong cognitively yet."

But through the Children's Alliance Center any child abuse victim finds a group to help them through the process legally, medically, and emotionally.

"They're going to come through this on the other side because they know that someone took the time to listen to them, to believe them and went out for them to get justice for them," said Schmehl, "That's what they need. They need that time to heal."



Wayne County's Kids-TALK helping to fight child abuse


For child and family therapists, the Penn State sexual abuse scandal was especially heartbreaking, says Laura Huot, director of children's behavioral health at The Guidance Center in Southgate, "because we know it's happening all over."

And yet, as tragic as the victims' suffering is, Huot sees a silver lining. "Sometimes it takes something like this to bring (sexual abuse) to the attention of the general population," she says.

According to the National Children's Alliance, one in every four girls and one in every six boys in this country are sexually abused before age 18. That means more than 112,000 of Wayne County's children.

"It's staggering to even imagine," says Huot. "And we see it every day."

How to combat such an entrenched and vicious foe? In January, thanks to the fortitude of several staff members at The Guidance Center, Kids-TALK Children's Advocacy Center opened its doors, the first and only multi-agency of its kind in Wayne County. In a super-cozy, child-friendly house on Ferry Street in Midtown, representatives from law enforcement, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, children's protective services, medical professionals, mental health professionals and child and family advocates all work together under one roof to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse cases.

Instead of telling a teacher at school, then repeating it to a principal, then to a caseworker, followed by an emergency room physician and, further, to a cop at the police station — each retelling an intimidating and humiliating experience for a child who has already been victimized — children come to Kids-TALK and tell their story once. And only once. To someone they trust.

Telling their story — once

Specially designed forensic interview rooms and observation rooms are equipped with closed circuit televisions, cameras and microphones. In the interview room, a trained forensic interviewer talks with a child, while in the observation room, police, a prosecuting attorney and a caseworker can feed questions or concerns they would like addressed into an earpiece worn by the interviewer.

"The beauty is that child has told their story, and they don't have to tell it again," says Alanna Coronado, forensic interview and advocate support specialist at Kids-TALK.

In addition, the child and family receive advocacy services, counseling, and — in the near future — medical treatment all under one roof for as long they need it.

As one of only a handful of major cities without a children's advocacy center, Kids-TALK was long overdue, especially in light of the fact that as poverty rises, so do the numbers of neglect and abuse cases.

"It was with a sense of urgency that we needed to do this," says Huot. "We kept hearing it's not going to happen because of the economic climate, which made us even more determined to make it happen because of the economic climate."

Still in the works is a medical facility in the renovated former carriage house out back and staffed by two Children's Hospital of Michigan physicians specializing in traumatized children. The kids won't have to be examined in the frightening setting of a chaotic emergency room, like they are now.

But as Al Sebastian, director of marketing and public relations likes to point out — especially to any potential private donors out there — they are still $70,000 short of completing the project. As such, there are no assurances the estimated 900 kids per year who should receive medical evaluations will actually get them.

And yet the kids just keep on coming. Last month alone, 104 came through these doors; that's more two dozen kids a week. "It increases every month," says Huot.

While 90 percent of Kids-TALK's intake is sexual abuse cases, the program also sees severe physical abuse, severe neglect and witnesses to violent crime. "Detroit police, in particular, bring a lot of kids to us where they witness murder-suicide in the family or witness a shooting in the neighborhood," says Coronado.

Reporting abuse urged

Ever mindful of the lessons of Penn State, Huot issues her own clarion call. "Before we can see children or help them, somebody has to report the abuse," she says.

"People need to be diligent and suspicious of anybody who wants to spend an unusual amount of time with a child who is not their own. That may sound cynical, but it is true. Even if someone just suspects abuse and doesn't have any hard evidence, they need to report it to the police or child services.

"Then we can get the children in here, find out what really happened, and maybe give these kids a real chance at leading productive lives."


Shamed Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky hit by two new allegations of sexual abuse

Two new allegations of child abuse have been brought against Jerry Sandusky as a grand jury indictment has revealed shocking details of accusations made against the football coach.

Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Penn State football team, is accused of molesting at least eight boys over a 15-year period, in a case that has shocked the nation.

If the two new allegations are found to be credible they will be the first involving alleged victims who are still under the age of 18.

Significantly because they are classified as minors, their accounts will be investigated by the state's Children and Youth Services rather than the police.

Sandusky, who has always maintained his innocence, faces 40 criminal counts involving the sexual abuse of eight boys beginning in the mid-1990s.

Yesterday a judge delayed his preliminary hearing in the Centre County Courthouse until December 13.

Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola told ABC's Good Morning America that he was concerned there would be new criminal allegations against his client.

He said: 'My concern is, if they bring new charges based upon new people coming forward, that bail's going to be set and he's going to wind up in jail.'

The grand jury indictment has revealed a shocking account by the mother of one former Central Mountain High School Pupil who claims her son was routinely taken out of class to be abused by Sandusky.

Known to the court as mother one, she claims her son was frequently taken off school grounds by Sandusky despite no parental permission having been given.

She claims since her son, an all-star athelete, known by the court as victim one, came forward he has suffered verbal abuse and threats of violence from fellow students and the high school's football coach, who also serves as the assistant principal.

According to the mother's account, the school's principal Karen Probst repeatedly urged her not to report the allegations to the police.

She claims neither Probst nor the school counsellor, both women, took her son's complaints seriously and that she was forced to storm out of a meeting after they refused to act.

She said of the principal and school counsellor: 'They were not helpful. They wanted me to go home and forget all about it.'

Mother one, who has since removed her son from the High School, said he first met Sandusky in 2005 or 2006 through his children's charity The Second Mile at the age of 11 or 12.

She recalls meeting Sandusky at the Charity's annual Parent Awards Ceremony as well as frequently seeing him hanging round the school.

She said towards the end of the eighth grade her son's behaviour changed and he began 'lashing out' and becoming 'mouthy and nasty at home.'

She said she was alerted to the possibility that something was seriously wrong one evening when her son asked her how to look up 'sex weirdos'.

Believing he was just playing a game she asked him who he wanted to look up and he replied 'Jerry'.

He then went on to tell her that he was being taken out of school several times a week, sometimes on a daily basis by Sandusky.

According to both the victim and his mother, Steve Turchetta, the football coach and assistant principal had authorised Sandusky to do this, despite there being no parental permission given.

Realising the seriousness of the situation she arranged to meet with the school counsellor.

She said: 'I didn't know how to start the conversation with the high school counselor because I didn't know how to come out and say "I think Jerry Sandusky is doing something to my kid".

'I finally said to the counsellor "you're a mother. I'm a mother. I have a gut feeling that something isn't right".'

But she claims the school shrugged off her concerns with principal Probst saying: 'You know it's Jerry. He's around the school a lot and talks a lot with the Second Mile kids. He has a heart of gold.'

Later she managed to convince the school counsellor to agree to talk to her son after which she was telephoned by the school and arrived to find him crying uncontrollably in what she described as 'absolute meltdown'.

After her son told of the abuse he had received she suggested to both the consellor and principal that they should call the police immediately however they were reluctant to do so.

She said: 'I repeated the line three times. I said let's call the police right now. Let's do it. And they continued to stare at me.'

She recalled the principal telling her: 'Jerry has a heart of gold, he's been around all these kids and you really should go home and think about what this is going to do to your son and your family if you do that.'

The allegations have already rocked Pennsylvania and led to the ousting of its celebrated football coach, Joe Paterno.


Child abuse advocates share possible reasons for flurry of child sex cases

by Jordan Smith

Child abuse advocates say there may be several reasons behind this recent flurry of sexual abuse cases.

"When one child finds the courage to disclose, and is believed and protected, other children then find the courage," said Libby Ralston, executive director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center.

Ralston said sometimes it takes just one child to report sexual abuse to encourage other victims to do the same. She said this could be one reason behind the recent increase of reported child sexual abuse cases.

"This is a greater risk to kids than cancer or car accidents," Ralston said.

She said one in four girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse and said another possible reason the recent abuse cases have come to light is because more adults are taking notice.

Ralston said what these cases show, is the majority of sexual abuse victims know their abusers. For example, admitted child predator Louis Skip ReVille was an educator, camp counselor and coach.

Convicted sex offender Tyrone Moore was a pastor at Full Word Ministries in North Charleston when he molested two children. Fernando Rivas, a Sesame Street composer and former jazz teacher at Porter-Gaud School, has been charged with three counts of child pornography.

"The people who sexually abuse children are not the stranger in the trench coat. It's people the child knows, very often in a position of authority, and it's an individual that the family knows and trusts," Ralston said.

She said child sexual abuse is a bigger problem than most people even realize, both locally and nationally.

"I invite our community to be aware and to know this is a possibility, and when they suspect or hear a child has been abused that they seek help for that child," she said.


Texas Judge William Adams suspended over beating video

The Texas Supreme Court suspended an Aransas County judge whose daughter secretly videotaped him whipping her with a belt when she was a teenager, the Associated Press reported Tuesday night.

Court-at-law Judge William Adams was suspended immediately with pay while the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigates his behavior. His duties included hearing child-abuse cases.

Adams' now 23-year-old daughter, Hillary, made the video in 2004 and uploaded it to YouTube in late October. It has generated more than 6 million page views and 150,000 comments -- most of them condemning his conduct.

In the video, Adams curses at his daughter, then 16, and uses a belt to whip her 17 times for illegally downloading music and games.

Adams told local media recently that the beating was "not as bad as it looks on tape" and added: "In my mind, I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing." He said his daughter posted the video because he was taking away her Mercedes.

But Hillary Adams told Matt Lauer on the "Today" show that she had released the video because "the disputes and the harassment were escalating, and finally it was just the straw that broke the camel's back." She added: "I told him I had the video and he brushed it off. ... He didn't seem to think anything of it, and basically dared me to post it."

She told Lauer that she had set up the video camera on her dresser to capture the discipline that routinely occurred in the household.

"It did happen regularly," she said. "I waited seven years [to release it] because back then I was still a minor and living under his roof, and releasing it then, I don't know what would have happened to me, my mother, my little sister. So waiting until today, seven years later, has allowed me pull away and distance myself from the consequences."

Her parents have since divorced, and her mother has custody of her 10-year-old sister. William Adams is fighting a court order that requires him to get permission from his ex-wife before visiting the younger girl.


New Jersey

Mendham church memorial to sexually abused children will be replaced

A borough man charged with destroying a memorial for sexual abuse at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church with a sledgehammer has applied for a public defender and has a hearing scheduled for after the new year, according to court records.

Meanwhile, Paterson Diocese officials said Monday that the memorial, a black basalt millstone considered one of a kind because of its location at a Catholic church, would be replaced without significant changes. That statement came one day after the St. Joseph's pastor, Monsignor Joseph Anginoli, said a replacement would take a different form.

Ken Mullaney, the diocese attorney, said the church pastor wants to add something to the memorial that would be “a symbol of hope for the future,” like a statue of Jesus embracing a child. “He has no intention of replacing the millstone, that's for sure,” Mullaney said.

Gordon Ellis, 37, has been charged with criminal mischief, defacement of property, desecration of a memorial and possession of a weapon, the sledgehammer, for an unlawful purpose. He remained at the Morris County jail Monday in lieu of $25,000 bail and was scheduled for a Jan. 3 early disposition conference. He has not yet been assigned a public defender.

Police said a witness told them he watched Ellis destroy the memorial Friday evening and then drop the sledgehammer before walking away. The witness called authorities and followed Ellis down the street until police arrived to make the arrest, said Mendham Detective Chris Gobbi.

Police Chief John Taylor said Ellis was an out-of-work cook who grew up in the borough and moved back a couple of years ago. Authorities declined to discuss motives and said they could not get into details about a statement Ellis gave to police.

Neighbors said he lived with his mother in an Orchard Street house and helped with chores. A woman who answered the door at Ellis' home declined comment.


North Texas man admits enticing child to engage in deviant sexual relations
Defendant had condoms, cash and diapers in vehicle when arrested

FORT WORTH, Texas РA North Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday before U.S. District Judge John McBryde to one count of enticing a child to engage in sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Salda̱a of the Northern District of Texas. The Fort Worth Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are investigating.

Johnathon D. Caudill, 24, of McKinney, Texas, faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for March 2 before Judge McBryde.

According to documents filed in the case, an officer with the Fort Worth Police Department, working undercover, posted an advertisement on the miscellaneous romance page on Dallas' Craigslist advertising his girlfriend's two minor daughters. Within 20 minutes of posting the ad, Caudill contacted the officer by emailing a sexually explicit photograph of himself to the officer. The officer informed Caudill that the girls were 11 and 13 years old and sent images of two minor girls to Caudill. Caudill then asked if the girls would engage in sexual intercourse and deviant sexual intercourse, to which the officer responded that they would. Caudill informed the undercover officer that he would use a condom and wanted the girls to wear diapers during the sessions of sexual intercourse and deviant sexual intercourse.

A meeting was arranged and Caudill arrived at the meeting place in north Fort Worth as planned. When he did not receive a timely response from the officer to a text message, Caudill left the parking lot and was arrested shortly thereafter. Condoms, diapers and a $100 bill were located inside his vehicle.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex C. Lewis, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE and its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or



New ASCA group starting

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Support Group, 8 to 9:30 p.m. at the Broward County Library Fort Lauderdale branch, 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Room 135, Fort Lauderdale. Contact Avi at,0,5436851.story



The New Civil Rights Movement: Child Sexual Abuse

by Tommy Bottoms


November 21, 2011

ATLANTA -- In wake of the of Pennsylvania State University's alleged cover up of child rape by a former defensive coordinator, as well as the similar accusation coming out of Syracuse University, the subject of child sexual abuse once again has reached the mainstream of the American conversation. Though most people are sickened at the idea of pedophilia and sexual crimes against children, as a nation we constantly turn a blind eye to this epidemic. We rationalize our apathy because we see it as something that other people do, or something that affects other people's kids. But the perverts live among us, attend church among us, and even have blood ties with us. It's because of our apathy that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes typically live their lives as respected members of the community while their young victims live in a cloud of secrecy, shame and a loss of innocence.

Of course, we are all shocked when we hear stories about the molestation and rape of children. But should we be surprised? How many episodes of "To Catch a Predator" do we need to see before we realize there is no shortage of men looking for sex with young boys and girls? The NBC cameras have given us a glimpse into Any City, U.S.A. where doctors, lawyers, police officers, and youth ministers participate in a lifestyle that most of us believe is reserved for creepy men in trench coats and shades.

Are we really supposed to believe that Pennsylvania State University was willing to risk their reputation as institution of athletic and academic excellence in order to conceal the perverted actions of one man, Jerry Sandusky. According to the reporting of Mark Madden, the journalist who originally broke the story, it seems to me that its more likely that Pennsylvania State is trying to cover up the actions of an entire network of men whose wealth, power and standing in the community provided them the perfect cover for their perverted lifestyle. I'm always shocked when I hear about incidents of sexual assaults against children, but I'm never surprised. That is because we have become nation of enablers of the perverted.

For example, we are fascinated with a Hollywood culture encourages grown women to starve themselves until they have the frames of prepubescent girls. At the height of their fame, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritche and even the Olsen Twins looked more like 12-year-old boys in drag than grown women in their early to mid-twenties. A 15-year-old Miley Cyrus was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair partially nude and wrapped in a sheet as if she had just finished a romp in the bed. We watch adults parade their toddlers around in "beauty" pageants complete with full make up, evening gown and high heels and never question why the hell someone is making high heel shoes in toddler sizes! We even support a billion dollar porn industry that is saturated with titles like "Sexy Teens" and "Barely Legal." Are these examples an indication that as a society we condone child rape and molestation? No. That would be a bit of a stretch. But I do see them as examples of how we have come to condone sexualizing children in the media.

Whether its immigration activist or advocates for gay marriage, it seems everyone is jockeying to brand their cause as the "New Civil Rights Movement." I think we can all agree that children are the truly voiceless and the most vulnerable of society. It is time we fight the battle for the Civil Rights of children. Over the decades long struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans, we have attacked what we feel are images in the media that contribute to the racism and prejudice in our society. We should be equally outraged when we see images of children being sexualized as well.



Protecting youth from sexual abuse is shared responsibility

Hardly a week goes by when I don't think of her. Alex represents the one in four girls and the one in six boys who experience sexual abuse before reaching age 18.

She was a young woman hospitalized for chemical dependency, running away, auto theft and legal issues. Her hospital record was a volume literally several inches thick. The nursing staff had been worn down by her abrasive posturing.

In our first meeting, she glared at me as if to say "What are YOU going to do with me." I welcomed the invitation and told her I was sure the fat file was an interesting read, but I was much more interested in getting to know her.

A tentative beginning, but nonetheless one where she took a chance on the helping process. Later, she recalled, "I had nothing to lose, I was miserable".

Fewer than one victim in 10 will tell someone. Alex had chosen to hurt a lot of people and continued to do so.

It's a dynamic that often goes with a history like hers. She had been victimized badly, sexually abused by a relative. Consequently, she trusted no one. Drugs, impulsive behavior and hostility toward others kept emotional pain at bay.

Recent headlines have been full of reports about leaders who likely didn't act to protect young people in their domain. It's not the first time leaders in a system have let down our youths, but it is complex. Jerry Sandusky was an assistant coach of 30 years at Penn State and the developer of The Second Mile, a not-for-profit to assist at-risk youths.

In recent days he's been indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, including eight identified victims and one 15-year-old whose parents came forward, leading to the three-year investigation. It's been reported that other leaders had evidence of his behaviors but didn't contact the police.

Statistics show that nine of 10 abusers either are relatives (34 percent) or trusted friends of the family (59 percent).

Sexual abuse perpetrators will gravitate toward opportunities where young children are present. They single out the most vulnerable, those who have no one else to turn to. Perpetrators often give gifts, create false security and hope, then later demand sexual favors in return.

I think of Alex and so many others — children who draw frightening images with a black crayon, play out scenes of being hunted, have unexplained anxiety, bed-wetting, nightmares and phobias. Some develop addictions to numb the searing pain. Others steel their emotions, struggle with self-esteem and body image and struggle in relationships. Healing is possible but often is a long journey.

Adults need education on how to identify indicators or "red flags" of potential sexual abuse and what to do if they are noted.

In Indiana, any individual can contact the Department of Child Services hot-line 24 hours a day at 800-800-5556. An anonymous call can be made and hard evidence isn't required. If abuse is suspected or unusual behavior is observed, a call should be made.

In Evansville, the Lampion Center offers "Stewards of Children," a training program for organizations who serve youths. This is beneficial for churches, schools, clubs and agencies to provide appropriate policies to protect children from sexual abuse harm. For more information, call 812-471-1776.

Victims of intimate crimes can contact Holly's House at 812-437-7233 for assistance in making a report. Both resources are valuable to our community.

The bottom line is: Perpetrators will molest children if opportunities exist. Being proactive will help ensure the safety of young people in our community and protect them from the devastating consequences sexual abuse leaves behind.

Davi Stein is director of social work for Youth First, an Evansville nonprofit organization focused on youth substance-abuse prevention, healthy behaviors and success in school. Contact the organization at 812-421-8336 or at



Here's how to help prevent or respond to child sexual abuse

by Katie Hanna

The recent media attention at Penn State is a reminder of the importance of both prevention of sexual abuse and the need for victim services to support survivors.

Sexual violence happens in every community. We all have a responsibility to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. This includes forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. This, of course, includes sexual contact. It also includes noncontact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet. Sexual abuse is a crime punishable by law.

Both boys and girls are vulnerable to the abuse. Research shows that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.

Most people who sexually abuse children are adults (about 23 percent are juveniles), and 93 percent of victims know their perpetrator. Reports show 96 percent of people who have sexually abused a child are male.

Here's what we can all do:

• Learn more about child sexual abuse and how to talk about it.

• If you suspect that a child is being abused, call police.

• Contact your local rape crisis center for support, advocacy and more information.

• To get connected with resources across the state, call our toll-free number at 888-886-8388 or contact our statewide outreach manager, Kara Porter, at

• Request a program on primary prevention and bystander intervention in your community. Contact our statewide prevention coordinator, Jasmine Finnie, at

Be an active bystander. If you see or hear something that is suspicious, say something.

The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence provides support, advocacy and policy information to organizations working to advocate for the rights and needs of survivors of sexual violence.


Senate to examine child abuse laws in wake of Penn State scandal

Stepping up Washington's response to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, a Senate committee plans to hold a hearing on whether stronger laws are needed to protect children from child abuse and neglect.

Word of the hearing comes as lawmakers from both parties have gotten behind legislation to require that anyone witnessing child abuse report it to law enforcement or a child protection agency. The latest bill, called the Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act, was introduced Monday by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) with Republican support.

It also comes on the heels of Monday's announcement that former FBI Director Louis Freeh would launch an independent investigation into the Penn State scandal.

A number of bills have been introduced in the Senate, including the Child Abuse Reporting Enforcement, or CARE, Act by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). That bill would require states to mandate the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement and child protective services in order to receive federal social services funding. It also would require a penalty of at least a year in prison for anyone failing to report abuse.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension subcommittee on children and families, called the Dec. 13 Capitol Hill hearing, saying that she and others in Congress have been "troubled and distraught about the child sexual abuse allegations" coming out of Penn State. A list of witnesses was being prepared.

In the Penn State scandal, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period, and two top university officials have been charged with lying to cover suspicion about him.

The university's president, Graham Spanier, and its football coach, Joe Paterno, have lost their jobs amid the unfolding allegations and as questions have arisen about who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did, or didn't do, with the information.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who requested the hearing, said in a statement that it would provide "an opportunity to ensure that our federal laws are protecting our children from dangerous sexual predators.''

A similar hearing has been requested in the House by Rep. George Miller of Martinez, Calif., top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. A spokeswoman for the panel's chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), said: "The committee is monitoring the situation at Penn State carefully and will assess the need for congressional action after the Department of Education concludes its investigation into the matter."


Ex-FBI director Louis Freeh takes reins of Penn State inquiry

A besieged Penn State on Monday bowed to demands for an independent investigation into the child sex-abuse scandal engulfing the school, and announced that the former head of the FBI -- Louis Freeh -- would take over with unlimited authority to investigate anyone and anything.

"No one is above scrutiny," university trustee Kenneth Frazier said in announcing the appointment Monday at a news conference, adding that Freeh will be empowered to investigate employees up to and including the board of trustees itself. He also promised that the results of the investigation would be made public, according to the New York Daily News.

Freeh led the FBI from 1993 to 2001 and then later formed Group International Europe, a private investigation firm.

FULL COVERAGE: Penn State scandal

The scope of Freeh's investigation is expected to center on what school officials knew about allegations against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, and what they did -- or did not do -- with such information. Sandusky faces 40 charges that he sexually abused eight children over a 15-year period.

The Associated Press reports that Freeh's inquiry will go as far back as 1975, suggesting a much longer period of suspected abuse than was outlined in a grand jury report issued earlier this month.

Sandusky maintains his innocence, but admits: "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."

There are allegations that some Penn State officials were well aware of suspicions about inappropriate behavior involving Sandusky and young boys, yet took no action and may even have actively covered up such reports.

The unfolding scandal has already destroyed several careers, including that of former head football coach Joe Paterno, who was forced to step down.

Previously, the school had appointed two of its own trustees to handle an internal investigation into the matter, headed up by Frazier, who is the chief executive of Merck pharmaceutical company, and by state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis.

But that was met with repeated demands that the probe be handled by an outsider with no perceived conflict of interest -- and with an investigatory background.



Penn State scandal draws attention to child abuse

by MORGAN YOUNG Staff writer

While the accusations of alleged sexual abuse against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky are difficult to stomach, they are helping to highlight the issue of child abuse.

"We want people to already know this information, but I think it's made them wake up and kind of pay attention," said Lisa Dougherty, director of community services at Franklin and Fulton County Women In Need.

Sandusky has been charged with sexual abuse of children, alleged to have occurred over many years. The alleged incidents are associated with a charity for troubled children, The Second Mile, and numerous victims have come forward.

Former university President Graham Spanier and long-time head football coach Joe Paterno were fired over the scandal.

WIN has been providing free services, including housing and children's counseling, to victims of violence in the community for more than three decades. Dougherty said that, to her knowledge, no calls have come in from community members regarding the Penn State scandal, but she is sure that it has opened many eyes to the problem.

"I very much think that it will be a catalyst. It's unfortunate that this has to be the push for (national attention) but I do think this will be a catalyst," she said. "I think since the scandal broke and people are reading how egregious it was, they're understanding how power, control and authority worked together to keep it happening."

Brian Bornman, solicitor for Franklin County Children and Youth services, said that those wishing to assist victims don't need to look very far.

"The unfortunate part of this is that it's high profile because of the scandal, but the reality is this is an ongoing circumstance," he said. "We're constantly getting calls about suspected child abuse. We probably get 10, 15, 20 calls a week that we are out investigating."

Bornman said he hasn't seen any difference in the volume of abuse calls since the scandal broke.

"I'm constantly overwhelmed with how this could happen," said Russ Smith, Penn State graduate and member of the Exchange Club of Chambersburg, a nonprofit organization focused on the prevention of child abuse. Smith organizes the club's annual spring Comedy and Magic Spectacular, which benefits local groups who help abuse victims.

Smith said he hopes the increased media attention on the issue will motivate magic show spectators to contribute a bit more to the local show this year.

"(Child abuse is) the hottest cause on the street, now more than ever," he said.

Warning signs of child abuse can include drawing away from family and friends, a basic lack of trust, an inability to focus and a child acting out in a sexual manner. Dougherty said growing pains are different from the symptoms of abuse in one key way.

"The difference is going to be a collection of these symptoms over a period of time," she said. "The effects of sexual abuse on a child are long term. This is a very intimate crime, this not a thing were they can have a few sessions of counseling and then they are better."

More than giving assistance after the fact, Dougherty said that she hopes the scandal highlights the importance of prevention and reporting.

"My biggest thing through all of this is people should have reached out, this is not OK," she said. "No one wants to be in that place, and I think it's a collective effort of community members. People need to come together and help each other."

The local group speaks to local businesses and schools about abuse as part of their preventative program.

"I would rather do prevention education than providing services after the fact to sexual assault victims," Dougherty said. "If we do good preventative work, we may see less clients."

Along with the County's Children and Youth Services department, Borman cited several hotlines, including the state's Department of Public Welfare line, 1-800-932-0313, that those who suspect child abuse can call to report an incident or gather information.

"If people don't want to leave their names, it's their prerogative, but if you do give your name it does make it easier for the case worker to get more information to track the person down," he said. "The referrals are confidential by statute."

Dougherty said she has one plea to those who suspect abuse in their community.

"Please call," she said. "(Women In Need is) very able and open to relaying information about domestic abuse and sexual assault."



Child abuse survivors ‘need more support'

Dr Cathy Kezelman was a Sydney GP and mother of four when she plunged suddenly into darkness.

She began battling suicidal thoughts and suffered severe depression for nearly ten years.

The death of a beloved niece in a car crash catapulted Dr Kezelman from grief to panic attacks and finally a series of terrifying flashbacks of childhood abuse.

Dr Kezelman says she is one of the lucky ones.

"I was able to receive the support I needed to make sense of my life and to reclaim my health and find a life that was worth living," she told a NSW parliamentary briefing in Sydney on Tuesday.

Dr Kezelman, who is director of Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), is calling for a co-ordinated public health response to trauma and for recognition, treatment and funding.

In Australia, trauma tended to be categorised as being a result of a single incident, Dr Kezelman said.

"Yet the majority of people who experience trauma-related problems have experienced multiple, unresolved traumas from childhood," she said.

"The trauma of childhood is generally intentional, prolonged, repeated and extreme."

While many survivors of child abuse are resilient in adulthood, others struggle to cope.

According to ACSA, adults abused as children are up to 18 times more likely to commit suicide, three to five times more likely to suffer depression, and more likely to abuse substances, be welfare dependent and experience homelessness.

Child abuse survivors also fill prisons, hospitals, detox units and welfare queues.

But with the right support, adults abused as children could make sense of their lives and reclaim their health, Dr Kezelman said.

"(Health professionals) are not looking at the underlying cause because trauma doesn't fit the medical model," she said.

"The government needs to adopt a public health response to trauma (and) understand the impact of trauma on individuals and communities."

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.



Commentary: Childhood sexual abuse causes life-long damage

by Lewis W. Diuguid

The Kansas City Star

In the Penn State University pedophilia scandal and cases involving Catholic priests, many wonder how the perpetrators got away with the crimes for so long and how the sexual assaults on children went unreported for years.

Often, only victims come close to providing answers. The Penn State case forced me to relive incidents that I had buried decades ago of boys like me being molested on a school playground.

The school no longer exists, but the traumatic memory of what an older, larger, muscular, teenage boy did remains unforgettable. The boy had flunked repeatedly, leaving him in elementary school when he should've entered high school long ago.

He was in seventh-grade when I transferred to his school in the sixth grade. The boy liked to pretend he was the main character in the cartoon, “Birdman.” He'd swoop down on smaller, unsuspecting boys, grab us around the neck and mimic a sex act on the school playground.

Teachers, as playground monitors, saw the assaults but looked the other way. None of the other boys would go to any victim's aid fearing the big boy would beat and then hump him, too.

When the big boy swooped, kids screamed and scattered. Past victims would tease new ones, and everyone laughed.

The big boy didn't bother the girls, just boys, and we were powerless against the attacker who deserves the label pedophile. Boys are easy targets for abuse. Their silence is certain because anyone who protested got the unwanted label of “punk.”

It kept everyone defenseless and quiet, allowing him to prey on us unchecked. No one reported the molestation mostly because we thought teachers feared the big boy, too. It was hard to know what to do, and for kids it always seemed easier to put it out of our young minds and let it go.

That happens repeatedly in cases of pedophilia involving predators whether they're older boys, men, Catholic priests or Penn State officials. The sad part is good people — because of friendships, fear or cognitive dissidence — become paralyzed by inaction, giving wrongdoers an open playground — just like at the school of my youth.

The crimes only get worse if not stopped. That happened the next year, at the school in the seventh- and eighth-grade boys' gym class.

We had to change clothes in the locker room at the gym across the street from the school and then change back after the workout.

With the big boy in the eighth grade, none of us was willing to risk taking a shower. It was a lot safer to go back to class smelly. It was a fitting revenge against the teachers and other school officials who did nothing to protect us.

But one day, an eighth-grader decided to shower after gym class. The predator quickly stripped off his clothing and swooped onto the boy, yelling “Birdman.”

A stampede of seventh- and eighth-grade boys followed, running from the gym to the safety of the school. I'll always remember as we ran past the showers the boy's frightened face. He was dwarfed by the attacker, who grabbed him from behind.

None of us talked about what happened that day, and the victim never said a word either.

A couple of years passed, and some of us joined the victimized boy in high school after we'd finished the eighth grade. The predator went to a different high school. I could only think good riddance.

The victimized boy seemed his usual upbeat, jovial self. Several of us from the same grade school were on the high school's track team.

But we lost track of each other after we graduated. It wasn't until our 25th high school reunion in 1998 that I learned what had happened to the boy assaulted in grade school.

He had committed suicide. The circumstances were unclear.

But I will always wonder whether that ill-timed shower and the assault on him were responsible, whether the victim's death could've been prevented if teachers or kids acting in concert had stopped the assailant. The Penn State and priests' sexual assault cases bring back those and a million other questions from incidents going back 45 years.

I hope the lesson everyone takes from the current scandals is to take a stand against child abuse. You don't want to live with regrets later.




Pledge to protect children from sexual abuse

by Michelle Loranger - Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County

We have known for years through national statistics that one in four girls and one in six boys will be the victim of child sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. We also know that a child telling of their sexual abuse is underreported due to the shame and fear they feel about reporting the heinous acts against them. The fear, shame and entrapment are created because 90 percent of children are victimized by someone they know, trust and love. More than 60 percent are known to be family members.

I am often asked how many children are victims of sexual abuse in our community. We know it is underreported for the reasons stated above, but we just don't know exactly by how much. During the past four years, the Bristol County Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) has provided care for almost 1,400 families. The title of an article on the center when it opened said, “The good news: it's here, bad news: it's needed.”

CAC staff knew child sexual abuse was a problem, and we have learned a lot in four short years. What has never changed is that child sexual abuse is an adult problem, and we need to do something.

It frustrates me to no end that it takes national news headlines to get the issue of child sexual abuse in the news and on peoples' minds. Bristol County's children have been affected by sexual abuse and the numbers served at the CAC alone speak for themselves.

Child sexual abuse has been a societal problem for a long time and Bristol County is not spared. This issue is not about big universities and so called icons: it is and should be about children. It is uncomfortable to talk about it and hard to conceptualize that an adult would do such a thing and rob a child of their innocence.

Child safety is the job of an adult. Teaching children how to keep themselves safe from abuse is important for them to learn, but there is no substitute for the responsibility we have as adults. Mandated reporting laws in Massachusetts help in so far as the adults take the responsibility and action needed to report the abuse. We should be troubled as a community to know that non-reporting and non action from adults happens.

The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is the agency in Bristol County that provides a coordinated response to child sexual abuse allegations once a report has been made to the state child welfare agency (Department of Children and Families) the police, or the District Attorney's Office.

We are a safe place for children to talk about what happened to them and we assist the child and family to begin the healing process. We know all too well the impact and effects of child sexual abuse on children and their families.

The implications and consequences are far reaching for the child and family as well as for our society. We are part of, and maintain a partnership with, the numerous agencies that must be involved with the complexities of child sexual abuse. All involved work toward the goal of justice and healing.

Child abuse is preventable. Learn the facts and the realities of child sexual abuse. Talk about it and educate yourself. Awareness is the first step toward prevention. Please take action in Bristol County to support our children.

I leave you with this important message and challenge: “Raise your right hand and repeat after me. If I see, hear, suspect or in any way become aware that a child is being abused, I will NOT keep silent. I will have the courage to help that child break free of the silence, secrecy and shame that should NEVER define a child's life.” (Quote used with permission from a colleague from Philadelphia Children's Alliance).

To learn more about the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County visit

Michelle Loranger is executive director The Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County.


Chief executive of Scouts Canada resigns unexpectedly

The chief executive of the Canadian scouting organization resigned unexpectedly over the weekend, citing “philosophical differences” with the board of trustees over the future of the volunteer youth organization, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

Janet Yale said in a statement that her departure was not connected with a recent CBC News investigation into the organization's handling of sexual abuse cases over the years.

In October, the CBC and L.A. Times published a joint investigation that found both the Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada, its independent counterpart, had failed to stop a sexual predator from molesting more than a dozen children and at times helped to cover the pedophile's tracks.

In response to that story, Yale denied the organization kept records about suspected abuse. But after the CBC published a copy of a form used by the organization in the 1980s, Scouts Canada clarified that it did maintain a confidential record of suspected or terminated scouting leaders.

Another story reported Scouts Canada had settled more than a dozen abuse cases confidentially, keeping the cases from public view with confidentiality agreements.


New York

Victim rights activist calls Jim Boeheim 'cowardly'

by Marlen Garcia, USA TODAY

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A leader from a sexual abuse recovery group had harsh words Monday for Hall of Fame Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who has strongly defended long-time assistant Bernie Fine against allegations of child molestation and condemned Fine's accusers, calling them liars and saying they are looking for money.

Multiple groups are standing up for Bobby Davis , 39, and Mike Lang, 45, step-brothers and former Syracuse men's basketball ball boys who have accused Fine of sexually abusing them in the 1980s and 1990s. Last week Fine called the allegations patently false in a statement issued through his attorney. The university placed Fine on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Syracuse city police.

The Rev. Robert M. Hoatson, founder and president of the New Jersey-based non-profit Road to Recovery, said Boeheim is trying to intimidate the alleged victims and other potential victims who want to come forward.

"We would like Syracuse to change its mascot (color) from orange to yellow because Jim Boeheim has been cowardly," Hoatson said. "(He) hasn't said a right thing yet. He just wants to protect his program, and the program isn't worth a hill of beans if it has exposed children to pedophilia."

The gathering was touted as a rally but was more of an informal news media gathering at an intersection on Syracuse's campus. At Hoatson's side were former Marine and New York police officer Dick Regan, 68, who began speaking publicly in the last seven years about being sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a child, and Marianne Barone Trent, a former Catholic school teacher in Oswego, N.Y., whose two sons were abused by a Catholic priest in 1987. Richard Tollner of the NY Coalition to Protect Children, which lobbies for tougher laws on sexual abuse against children, also joined Hoatson.

Hoatson criticized Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

"She should have gone back to Boeheim and said, 'You are not going to speak like that,' " Hoatson said.

USA TODAY has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach Cantor.

Lost in the back-and-forth between Boeheim and Fine's accusers is loyalty owed to Davis and Lang, according to Hoatson.

"They were part of the program," he said. "For these guys to give service to the university and be treated this way is unconscionable."

When ESPN's Outside the Lines reported the allegations by Davis and Lang, Boeheim told the network: "I know this kid, but I never saw him in any rooms or anything. It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he has told. You don't think it is a little funny that his (relative) is coming forward."

Boeheim should measure his comments because he is an influential figure, according to Hoatson.

"A lot of people listen to him and victims go into further silence," he said.

Barone Trent said her testimony is proof that multiple members of a family can be sexually abused. Regan said he and five siblings were sexually abused as children.

"They need support," Regan said of Davis and Lang, "not sarcasm and retribution."

After his team defeated Colgate on Saturday, Boeheim said: "I've said everything I needed to say and probably more than most people would like me to say. I'm very confident I've taken the right stance and said the right things. Now we'll let this thing play out."



Gov. Patrick signs bill against human trafficking

by Steve LeBlanc

BOSTON— State Attorney General Martha Coakley is warning that a new law designed to crack down on pimps while casting children and others who work as prostitutes as victims will take a shift in thinking for police and prosecutors.

Coakley made her comments Monday moments after Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill against human trafficking. The law is designed to change the focus of police and prosecutors from targeting prostitutes to going after the men who pay for sex with them and the pimps who profit from the transactions.

The law establishes the state crime of human trafficking for sexual servitude, punishable by at least five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 upon conviction.

It imposes a life sentence for anyone found guilty of trafficking children for sex or forced labor and includes a safe harbor provision allowing prosecutors to look at first-time offenders under 18 as victims rather than criminals. A company that traffics people for sexual servitude or forced labor services would face a $1 million fine.

Coakley, who pushed for the changes, conceded that the state's existing criminal justice system has been too lax on those who pay for sex and left "unpunished those who would make money off of trafficking" -- all the while arresting and prosecuting those most exploited by the sex trade.

"We have focused on the very people who have been victimized the most," Coakley said. "What the bill does is change the lens around on that. That's why implementing this is going to be difficult. I think we can do it. It's a real change in the way we've approached it."

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said the new law may take some getting used to, but he said his office has already begun to make that change.

In 2004, the county launched a program to divert prostituted youths out of the criminal justice system and into programs designed to help them escape the cycle of prostitution.

"We have to lift the veil of anonymity that protects the pimps and johns who exploit them, and we have to commit ourselves to a long-term policy that protects the true victims and holds the true offenders accountable," Conley said.

The bill also addresses the demand side of human trafficking by increasing the punishment on those who pay for sex.

Anyone soliciting a prostitute would face a prison sentence of up to two and a half years and a fine of up to $5,000 upon conviction. Someone who agrees to pay for sex with anyone under 18 would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The new law also allows someone who has been forced into sexual servitude or forced labor to sue those who exploited him or her, while another section creates a fund to support community-based programs that provide services to victims of human trafficking. The money for the Victims of Human Trafficking Trust Fund would come from property including airplanes, cars and land seized from those convicted of trafficking.

To respond to the growing use of the Internet as a human trafficking tool, the new law also creates the crime of enticing a child into prostitution by electronic communication.

The law also creates another new crime, organ trafficking. Those found guilty of enticing someone to have an organ or body part removed for sale would face up to 15 years in state prison or a fine of $50,000 or both.

The main sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mark Montigny, said putting the focus on pimps and johns while treating those being prostituted as victims was the top priority of the law.

"No longer will children that are having sex with adults for money be treated as child delinquents. They are in fact being raped by the very nature of the act," said Montigny, D-New Bedford. "It's making sure that everyone in society, when they see a child on the corner who doesn't look quite right or see a woman being prostituted, they stop the thinking that it's simply a petty crime and start the thinking that it is in fact trafficking and enslaving a human being."


Pennsylvania Child advocates push awareness of sexual abuse

by Brigid Beatty

November 21, 2011

KITTANNING — The prevalence of sexual abuse of children in the United States is staggering and often goes unreported, according to child advocates in Armstrong County who say they want to change that and are fighting back.

"We have to stop it," said Jo Ellen Bowman, executive director of HAVIN (Helping All Victims in Need).

Bowman has been working with District Attorney Scott Andreassi and Dennis Demangone, administrator of the county's Children, Youth and Family Services. They have been focusing efforts on educating the public and promoting discussions.

The very nature of the crime, which involves a perpetrator targeting the community's most vulnerable, is shrouded in secrecy and shame.

It is vital to speak about it, Bowman said. Not discussing it only allows more victims to be abused, she said. And contrary to what some adults believe, talking about it will not make children invent stories of sexual abuse, she added.

In 2010, Armstrong County investigated 41 reports of suspected child sexual abuse, said Demangone.

However, the majority of cases go unreported, according to experts.

Bowman said the actual number of annual incidents is believed to be about 10 times the number documented — coming in closer to at least 400 victims countywide per year.

According to the National Center for the Victims of Crime, it is estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.

"Very often the offender is someone others look up to, and who is respected in the community," said Bowman, adding that offenders often put themselves in situations where they can gain access to children.

She said research shows 96 percent of sex offenders are male and identify themselves as being heterosexuals. According to research, Bowman said, most sex offenders are not pedophiles but are "situational offenders who sexually abuse children simply because they have the opportunity and power to do so."

An offender uses a position of power to build trust with a victim, often giving gifts and winning favor with the victim's family members, Demangone said.

"It's a very opportunistic crime," Andreassi said.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a significant amount of time to occur between the onset of sexual abuse and the time when the crime is eventually reported, he said.

There are a number of reasons for this.

When very young children are victims of sexual abuse, they might not be able to articulate what has happened, Bowman said. Or they might not understand that they are being victimized.

In almost all cases, the offender intimidates and manipulates the child to keep silent, Andreassi said.

Sometimes threats can be as subtle as the perpetrator saying he will lose his job, targeting the victim's sense of guilt and need for security. In other cases, children are terrified into submission and silence for fear of their life, or the life of a family member or pet, Andreassi said.

He said offenders may engage their victims in illegal behaviors by getting them to use drugs or alcohol and later blackmailing them by threatening to expose them to authorities if they tell.

Another reason why sexual abuse goes on for so long is because people don't want to believe it, Demangone said.

Most people's reaction is that it's none of their business, Bowman said. They are afraid of repercussions.

That's why it's important to remember that it's rare for a sex offender to prey on just one child, said Bowman, who added that sex offenders typically have a 150 victim average.

If something strikes you as not being right, it probably isn't, Bowman said.

First and foremost "follow your gut," she said, adding that people can call Childline, HAVIN or CYS anonymously.

Indications of sexual abuse very often come up in casual conversation, Demangone said. A child may be testing reactions to see how much he or she can tell.

"Kids reveal in pieces," he said.

Bowman, Demangone and Andreassi want to let sex abuse victims know that there are people in the community they can go to for help.

They are urging victims to go to an adult they trust.

"If the first person you go to doesn't help or listen, tell someone else," Andreassi said.

If a child indicates that he or she has been sexually abused, Bowman said, it's important to stay calm and help the child feel safe and reassured. Don't try to be an expert, but contact someone who is trained in dealing with child victims of sexual abuse, she said.


• Do not force the child to talk

• Do not require the child to tell others

• Do not be suggestive in your questioning

• Do not teach body parts

• Do not challenge the child's honesty

• Do not ask "why"

• Do not try to "prove or disprove" child abuse

• Do not demand details

• Do not use words such as "good/bad"

• Do not use dolls or stuffed animals

• Do not try to change the child's mind

• Do not touch the child without asking the child's permission

• Do not make promises to the child that you cannot keep

Source: Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance



Damage from childhood sexual abuse can last a lifetime


The Kansas City Star

In the Penn State University pedophilia scandal and cases involving Catholic priests, many wonder how the perpetrators got away with the crimes for so long and how the sexual assaults on children went unreported for years.

Often, only victims come close to providing answers. The Penn State case forced me to relive incidents that I had buried decades ago of boys like me being molested on a school playground.

The school no longer exists, but the traumatic memory of what an older, larger, muscular, teenage boy did remains unforgettable. The boy had flunked repeatedly, leaving him in elementary school when he should've entered high school long ago.

He was in seventh-grade when I transferred to his school in the sixth grade. The boy liked to pretend he was the main character in the cartoon, “Birdman.” He'd swoop down on smaller, unsuspecting boys, grab us around the neck and mimic a sex act on the school playground.

Teachers, as playground monitors, saw the assaults but looked the other way. None of the other boys would go to any victim's aid fearing the big boy would beat and then hump him, too.

When the big boy swooped, kids screamed and scattered. Past victims would tease new ones, and everyone laughed.

The big boy didn't bother the girls, just boys, and we were powerless against the attacker who deserves the label pedophile. Boys are easy targets for abuse. Their silence is certain because anyone who protested got the unwanted label of “punk.”

It kept everyone defenseless and quiet, allowing him to prey on us unchecked. No one reported the molestation mostly because we thought teachers feared the big boy, too. It was hard to know what to do, and for kids it always seemed easier to put it out of our young minds and let it go.

That happens repeatedly in cases of pedophilia involving predators whether they're older boys, men, Catholic priests or Penn State officials. The sad part is good people — because of friendships, fear or cognitive dissidence — become paralyzed by inaction, giving wrongdoers an open playground — just like at the school of my youth.

The crimes only get worse if not stopped. That happened the next year, at the school in the seventh- and eighth-grade boys' gym class.

We had to change clothes in the locker room at the gym across the street from the school and then change back after the workout.

With the big boy in the eighth grade, none of us was willing to risk taking a shower. It was a lot safer to go back to class smelly. It was a fitting revenge against the teachers and other school officials who did nothing to protect us.

But one day, an eighth-grader decided to shower after gym class. The predator quickly stripped off his clothing and swooped onto the boy, yelling “Birdman.”

A stampede of seventh- and eighth-grade boys followed, running from the gym to the safety of the school. I'll always remember as we ran past the showers the boy's frightened face. He was dwarfed by the attacker, who grabbed him from behind.

None of us talked about what happened that day, and the victim never said a word either.

A couple of years passed, and some of us joined the victimized boy in high school after we'd finished the eighth grade. The predator went to a different high school. I could only think good riddance.

The victimized boy seemed his usual upbeat, jovial self. Several of us from the same grade school were on the high school's track team.

But we lost track of each other after we graduated. It wasn't until our 25th high school reunion in 1998 that I learned what had happened to the boy assaulted in grade school.

He had committed suicide. The circumstances were unclear.

But I will always wonder whether that ill-timed shower and the assault on him were responsible, whether the victim's death could've been prevented if teachers or kids acting in concert had stopped the assailant. The Penn State and priests' sexual assault cases bring back those and a million other questions from incidents going back 45 years.

I hope the lesson everyone takes from the current scandals is to take a stand against child abuse. You don't want to live with regrets later.


Advocacy groups call on Pennsylvania leaders to strengthen child abuse reporting laws

by Michael Gorsegner

November 21, 2011

HARRISBURG -- Protecting children is the number one goal for organizations that deal with kids. Child advocacy groups along with state legislators are calling on tougher laws to make sure cases of child abuse are reported.

Child advocacy groups are calling on state legislators to tighten child abuse reporting laws. Many groups want to see stronger reporting laws to make sure everyone reports possible abuses. Those groups are gathering at the state capitol this morning to push for tougher laws.

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky alleged sex abuse scandal, many people are calling on Pennsylvania to tighten its child abuse reporting laws. Advocacy groups and state representatives are taking the first step towards making those tougher laws.

"People are wondering that something might have happened to their child are now having the courage to pick up the phone and call. We're also seeing a four times over calls by adult survivors - that we never got before," said child advocate Joan Mills.

Child advocacy groups are seeing an increased volume of calls as the Jerry Sandusky saga unfolds. Sandusky is charged with molesting eight boys over a 15-year period while at Penn State. Two high ranking officials are charged with trying to cover up the allegations for years. Now, groups like Protecting our Children Committee, along with State Representative Scott Petri, are calling for a thorough review of the current laws and practices for protecting kids from abuse.

"You have to think kids that going bed at night really fighting some demons, and some innocence lost, and that heart wrenching when you think about that, it goes on in this country, it should not happen to anybody," said Jay Paterno during an interview with ESPN.

The POCC will ask the state to strengthen the mandatory reporting laws with who is required to report and how reports are made to the authorities. The group is also asking for more resources to be dedicated to investigation and child abuse services. Finally, the POCC would like to see more accountability and transparency in the child protection system.

As the cases against Jerry Sandusky and the two top ranking PSU officials head to court there is word this morning that the NCAA is looking into whether Penn State violated any rules during this scandal. The news conference asking for stricter laws for child abuse reporting is scheduled for 9 am in the Capitol Rotunda.,0,1983890,print.story


North Carolina

Suspect child sex abuse? Call the police - always


One sad lesson of the child sex abuse scandal still unfolding at Penn State is this: Strong laws requiring that anyone who witnesses or reasonably suspects such abuse to report it are essential.

Depending on the judgment of institutions and individuals to do the right thing can leave the most vulnerable among us - children - in horrific pain and suffering. That's shameful, and the consequences should be more than belated apologies.

Depending on "internal reviews" within organizations when crimes are alleged or suspected are particularly troubling. Law enforcement should always be called in such cases. It should never be an option.

The deepening scandal at Penn State, where former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse against children, shows why. More alleged victims are stepping forth to accuse him. If the charges are true, imagine how many children could have been spared assault if those who saw or reasonably suspected abuse had been required to call police and had done so?

The Citadel in Charleston is another example. Recently, the S.C. military academy lamented it failed to adequately pursue sexual misconduct charges lodged against one of its camp counselors four years ago. The school conducted its own "internal investigation" and found nothing. The man, Louis "Skip" ReVille, has now been charged with sexually abusing five boys in Mount Pleasant. He is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement.

ReVille's time at the Citadel camp overlapped that of Michael Arpaio, who was charged with assaulting minors at the camp. Campers said the Citadel did nothing to investigate but he pled guilty in military court and was sentenced to 10 years.

This year, N.C. lawmakers made troubling changes in the state's law about school principals' reporting allegations of child sex abuse.

The new legislation does the right thing by expanding the standard by which a principal must report a suspected crime. The standard now is that principals have a "reasonable belief" that child sex abuse has occurred, and not just "personal knowledge" as the law required previously. But the law eliminates punishment for failing to report. It was a class 3 misdemeanor, which is the lowest criminal offense on the books. Instead, the new law states that a principal who doesn't report a crime could be fired or demoted.

Supporters say the new law will encourage principals to report more legitimately serious crimes without fear of being prosecuted themselves for not passing along every rumored instance of misbehavior. But critics rightly note that eliminating the penalties for failure to report gives principals too much leeway to decide issues that should be left to law enforcers. Notes Marjorie Menestries, executive director of the Raleigh-based abuse-prevention group SAFEchild of NC: "Law enforcement needs to be the investigator, not the principals. Law enforcement is trained in that."

Of eliminating the penalty, she adds: "I think failing to report criminal behavior, especially involving child abuse, needs to be considered a crime for which the person would be held accountable, regardless of who he or she is."

We do, too. N.C. lawmakers should rethink those changes.

It should never be left to the discretion of individuals or institutions to investigate or decide about pursuing charges in child sex abuse cases. Penn State and the Citadel show what happens. Children pay the price.



Children's Advocacy Center serves as ‘go-to' agency for victims of child sexual abuse


Taunton — As allegations of abuse at Penn State University continue to dominate the news, a local nonprofit organization is continuing to work on behalf of local child victims of sexual crimes.

Over the past four years, the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County has served nearly 1,400 victims of child sexual abuse and their families, according to the group's founding executive director, Michelle Loranger.

“We're the primary point of contact for families to get the information they need,” she said. “We also do follow-up calls with all families to make sure they were able to access the services we've referred them to. We're sort of their go-to person. We don't always have the answers, but we know who to call. We do a lot of case management.”

The Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County describes itself as an agency for community partners with a collective expertise to participate in the investigation of reported allegations of sexual abuse, witness to violence and abuse of disabled persons. The agency gets referrals from the Department of Children and Families, local police departments and the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.

“It is like a one-stop shop,” Taunton Police Detective Dora Treacy said. “You go there and you get everything. They have forensic interviewers, they resource out counseling, they help the parents with the testimony, they help prepare kids for court. It's a real good agency to have.”

After there is an initial report of abuse, the victim will typically go to the CAC's Fall River office to be interviewed by a specially trained forensics interviewer. The interviewers are employed by the DA's office but work at the CAC. A multidisciplinary team will typically observe the interview, which prevents the child from having to recount traumatic events multiple times to the various entities involved in the investigation.

“Child sexual abuse is such a complex issue, and so many people need to be involved,” Loranger said. “We're child-focused. It's about the victim and the family and not having them have to tell their story again and again to all involved.”

The CAC's role extends far beyond the investigation.

“Once the investigation pieces are done, we're the ones helping families get connected with appropriate support services in the community,” Loranger said.

Getting the victims early access to mental health services and counseling is a vital step in the healing process, she said.

There are many challenges, Loranger said, in working to end sexual abuse of children.

“Child sexual abuse, we know, is very under-reported because the victims are fearful, have shame or feel somewhat trapped by the people abusing them,” she said. “Ninety percent of perpetrators are someone known to the victim, someone the victim has known, loved and trusted.”

The first step to prevention, Loranger said, is generating awareness and getting people to have an open dialogue about an uncomfortable subject.

“It's not easy to talk about an adult who would commit such a heinous act,” she said.

By having a dialogue and creating awareness, parents will hopefully recognize the need to be increasingly vigilant about the adults they leave their children with. Perpetrators, Loranger said, can be caretakers, family friends or even relatives.

While parents should still educate their children about inappropriate touching and the potential dangers posed by strangers, adults must ultimately be responsible, she said.

“Prevention of child abuse is an adult's job,” Loranger said.

In addition to providing services to child victims, witnesses and their families, the CAC also offers training to school professionals, first responders and other professionals.

Treacy has personally investigated many cases of child sexual abuse. Beyond the physical trauma, victims, she said, often experience deep psychological scars.

“They will live with that for the rest of their lives,” she said. “That's why we highly recommend they get counseling. It's a lifetime trauma you have to deal with. It's very important that you get professional counseling … We recommend that to victims of any age.”



Child abuse reporting

by Tammie Smith

Q: Who by Virginia law is required to report suspected child abuse?

A: Anyone can report suspicions, but the law mandates that some professionals report it when they suspect a child is being abused or neglected.

Those mandated reporters include physicians, teachers, nurses, social workers, probation officers, day-care workers, mental-health professionals, law-enforcement officers, animal-control officers, court mediators, employees of child-treatment facilities, court-appointed child advocates, emergency medical workers and others.

The law requires reports to be made within 72 hours of the first suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected. The law covers people who learn about possible abuse or neglect as part of their jobs.

Reports are to be made to Child Protective Services.

Child abuse/neglect reporting hotline numbers are: toll-free (800) 552-7096 or (804) 786-8536.

Virginia Department of Social Services collects data on who makes such reports. Data for July 2009-June 2010 show there were 67,296 reports of child abuse or neglect.

Law enforcement was the source for 11,013 reports. Public schools were the source for 7,832 reports, followed by parents, relatives, counselors/therapists, school staff and hospitals/clinics. The reporting source was unknown for 8,388 reports.

Of those reports, there was evidence to support a finding of abuse or neglect of 6,234 children. In some cases, more than one type of abuse was present.

Physical neglect, such as failure to provide food, clothing, shelter or supervision to the child to the extent that the child's health was endangered, was the most common finding.

In about 26 percent of cases, there was physical abuse. Sexual abuse was involved in about 13 percent of cases. Mental abuse and medical abuse were also proven in some cases.


Mich. congressman denies sex abuse 50 years ago


WASHINGTON (AP) - A Michigan congressman is denying allegations by distant relatives that he sexually abused a then-12-year-old second cousin several decades ago.

Democrat Dale Kildee released a statement Sunday evening calling the 50-year-old allegations "completely false and shameful." The Washington Times first reported the allegations and posted on its website video interviews with the alleged victim's mother, stepfather and sister.

Kildee is planning to retire next year after 34 years representing his hometown of Flint and the surrounding area. He says he suspects political opponents are using the allegations in an effort to win the open seat. He also alleges the accusations are a blackmail attempt.

The alleged victim is named but not quoted in the newspaper story. The Associated Press was unable to reach him or his relatives for comment.


Police detective in Mississippi charged with felony child abuse after baby's death

by Associated Press

November 21, 6:25 AM

JACKSON, Miss. — A Jackson, Miss., police detective has been charged with felony child abuse following the death of a 1-year-old girl.

Police spokeswoman Colendula Green tells The Clarion-Ledger ( officers were called on Sunday to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where they found Aubrey Brown had injuries to her abdominal area. The baby died about two hours later.

Green says police arrested 36-year-old Natyyo Gray, who is assigned to the department's vice and narcotics unit. An autopsy is planned, and charges could be upgraded depending on the results.

It's unclear whether Gray has an attorney.


Hiding in Plain View: Sex Trafficking and Massage Parlors in Northern Virginia

An in-depth look at the challenges faced by those combating human trafficking.

Below are links to a three-part series that looks at sex trafficking and illegally operating massage parlors in Northern Virginia.

In a recent interview, Arlington Police Detective Crystal Nosal said officers in this county have not raided massage parlors since at least 2009 -- that vice officers, when they are able, typically scour online ads and target individual instances of prostitution on a case-by-case basis.

The Arlington County Board on Nov. 29 will vote on repealing an ordinance that allows for the local regulation of massage parlors. The ordinance was established in 1975 in an effort " to professionalize massage practitioners and to control prostitution that was taking place at massage parlors." The repeal is on the table because state law doesn't grant that regulatory ability to localities.

If repealed, massage therapists still must be licensed by the state and parlors still must obtain general business licenses.

Part 1: Meet Jessica Johnson, Annandale's Anti-Trafficking Crusader

Part 2: Authorities: Sex Trafficking a Problem at Some Local Massage Parlors

Part 3: Police, U.S. Attorney's Office Take Action on Local Sex Trafficking

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