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.
December 2011 - Recent Crime News - News from other times

December - Week 1

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.

15 Ways to Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan

It is difficult to obtain an accurate picture of how prevalent child sexual abuse is because it is a crime of secrecy. Many children who have been abused do not disclose what happened to them until many years after the abuse occurred (if ever).

Many children are traumatized to the point that they are not able to remember the abuse until much later in life. In some cases, even if the child informs his or her parents about the abuse, the child's parents are unwilling or un­able to take steps to report the abuse. However, the statistics are frightening. Some child abuse studies have reported that as many as 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males report experiencing some form of sexual abuse before age 17.

Fear & Trauma Prevents Disclosure

There are many reasons why childhood sexual abuse remains a secret. an abuser may be in a position of trust or power and may threaten, manipulate or bribe a child to prevent them from disclosing the abuse. Depending on the child's age or cognitive development, they may simply not be capable of communicating what is happening to them. The shame associ­ated with abuse is often a huge barrier to disclosure.

The effects of childhood abuse may surface immediately or may not become apparent until the child becomes a teenager or adult. Childhood abuse frequently results in long-term psychologi­cal, emotional and physical damage and can cause long-term problems, includ­ing difficulty in relationships, substance abuse and loss of education and income-earning potential.

While there are no hard and fast rules, experts agree that boys and girls tend to react differently to childhood abuse. Studies of abuse survivors have shown that girls tend to internalize the effects, resulting in eating disorders, suicidal ideation and esteem issues. Boys tend to externalize their reactions, resulting in increased aggression, delinquency and inter-personal conflicts.

It's Usually Someone You Know

In 2001, the Canadian Centre for Justice statistics released a report of Family Violence in Canada. The authors of the study reported that in more than 90 percent of reported cases, the alleged abuser was a family member or relative.

15 Ways to Protect Your Child

1. Listen to your child and believe what they tell you. When your child tells you he or she doesn't want to be with someone, pay attention!

2. Participate in your child's ac­tivities and get to know your children's friends and their parents.

3. Get to know the people where children gather in a community , such as churches and sports facilities.

4. Never leave your child unat­tended , especially in the car.

5. Be open when your child asks questions about sex . make sure the answers are age ap­propriate. Be alert for any talk that shows premature sexual understanding.

6. Pay attention to changes in your child's behavior or at­titude . Look for any dramatic and persistent changes in your child's behavior.

7. Pay attention when someone shows what seems to be greater than normal interest in your child.

8. Make unannounced visits to your child's babysitter , day care or school. make certain they will release your child only to you or someone you officially designate.

9. Check to see if your child's school includes sex-abuse prevention training .

10. Let your child express affec­tion on his/her own terms . Do not insist that your child hug or kiss people.

11. Pay attention when an adult uses social occasions to focus on befriending your child or taking your child away for private time that seems out of the ordinary.

12. Do not allow your child to go alone on vacation , drive around or spend the night with anyone that has not proven to be trustworthy.

13. Do not assume that a person is trustworthy because of their position , title or because they work in a place where children gather.

14. Trust your instincts.

15. Pay attention!

John McKiggan is a partner at Arnold Pizzo McKiggan in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He's also the author of “Breaking the Silence: The Survivor's Guide to Abuse Claims.”



Abuse Victims Need Support When Allegations Go Public

As more victims of Sandusky and Fine come forward, victims need to be reassured they will be heard.

As if the Penn State Sandusky scandal hasn't caused enough drama in college athletics, three more victims have come forward with accusations of alleged sexual abuse against Syracuse assistant basketball coast Bernie Fine.

“These are not isolated incidents,” said Suzanne Beck, executive director of Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley, “for every Joe Paterno who didn't follow up there are thousands of people who know or have suspicions of abuse.”

In both instances, there was a common thread of administrative denial in the face of multiple victims coming forward, but, unlike PSU or Paterno, head coach Jim Boeheim has made apologies for defending his former assistant coach.

"I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that, and I regret any harm that I caused," said Boeheim in his post game press conference on December 2.

According to Beck, questioning victim's motives is “extremely common” in abuse cases because it is hard to believe or acknowledge even for the parents of victims, a reason so many victims refrain from making allegations sometimes well into their adulthood.

The number one reason children don't report is because they believe or have been told that no one will believe them. Many believe it was somehow their fault.

“People assume that children are small adults. They don't have the same thought processes,” said Beck. “They are taught to trust and listen to adults.”

The sense of trust that develops in a child who has been sexually abused by any adult in a position of authority becomes warped by the relationship their abuser has convinced them is appropriate. Children are vulnerable to perpetrators that hide in positions where they have access to children.

“Perpetrators depend on a child's trust and reliance,” said Beck.

Beck recommends to all parents that they enact diligence in examining the relationships between their children and the volunteers that might take a “special” liking or whose interactions are suspicious. The grooming process starts off benignly but, over time, the attention, the special favors and the gifts can erode a parent's better judgment.

“Trust your gut,” said Beck.

Remember, while coaching and volunteering with children often require background checks, these checks only indicate whether or not a perpetrator has been caught. They do not prevent perpetrators from gaining access through volunteerism.

If you child does come to you with an allegation, it is important to be supportive and remain calm. “Say I believe you , this wasn't your fault ” said Beck, “then make a report to ChildLine.” Listen with your full attention.

To be proactive, parents should teach their children about “safe space” and appropriate boundaries in their interactions with adults to help them identify and report when they feel that an adult inappropriately touched them or has attempted to coerce inappropriate participation in sexually explicit acts.

The CVCLV assists victims with individual counseling and support groups among other services for victims including a 24-hour hotline, 610-437-6611, whether the victim is a child or an adult whose memories are surfacing for the first time in adulthood.

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.


West Virginia

Scary numbers

by Sarah Plummer Register

Just For Kids Inc. serves Fayette, Raleigh and Wyoming counties by spreading awareness about child sexual abuse and helping children and families after abuse occurs.

The organization offers preventative training as well as child advocacy centers where trained forensic interviewers talk to child victims, aiding the investigation and minimizing further trauma.

According to Scott Miller, Just For Kids executive director, the organization interviewed 287 children across three counties last year.

“The latest research shows that only one in 10 children tell. If you extrapolate our statistic, it is likely that there have been 2,870 children sexually abused in Fayette, Raleigh and Wyoming counties last year. That is a pretty scary number — 287 is scary — but nearly 3,000 is so much more so,” he said.

Miller said that when he tells people that one in four girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse, people really react, but he does not see it motivate them to do something about it.

“I think sometimes it is so terrible we don't want to think about it,” he explained.

Particularly in the aftermath of the Penn State investigation, with people talking about it, he wants to see more people becoming trained to recognize and be aware of signs of child sexual abuse.

In a conversation with a woman from the division of rehab centers, Miller discovered that many people who come to the rehab center discover through their medical history that they have been victims of child abuse or child sexual abuse.

“The abuse does not end when you get the perpetrator out of the way. Child abuse is a lifelong trauma. It is something they carry with them throughout their life. For many of the kids who are traumatized, the potential is there for them to have negative futures,” he said.

This is one reason why counseling offered by Just For Kids is so important.

Just For Kids is in the process of having its counselor trained in a new, research-based therapy called trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

In addition to continuing to work with child sexual abuse victims and law enforcement agencies, Just For Kids is looking for ways to improve resources for reporters of all kinds of child abuse.

Miller met with a Child Abuse Committee of the Family Resource Network recently.

One of their major concerns is that there is not a help line that provides information and support for reporters of child abuse.

“What happens now is that if you call the 1-800 number to report abuse, you get someone in Charleston that gives you the number of a CPS worker in your county. If an individual gets brave enough to call and they tell them to call someone else, how many don't make the next call?” Miller asked.

“This is just a dream right now, but wouldn't it be great if that person could call a help line and tell their story and the help line would give support to that person and follow up on the abuse?”

Just For Kids is also starting a new TV campaign all year long that highlights what sexual abuse is and how people can reduce instances in the lives of people around them, he said.

“It is just 30 seconds at a time, but we have the opportunity to reach so many people. Hopefully, it will be impactful,” Miller expressed. “Awareness is the key. Having more people in the community keep in the mind that children are being sexual abused all the time and they can take simple steps to stop it can protect a lot of kids.”

Just For Kids is planning a second conference in May to focus on physical, emotional, sexual and neglect abuse.

A collaboration among many organizations, this conference will host speakers who will discuss the different forms of abuse.

The conference is funded though Healthy Families Healthy Children Coalition.

Miller also thanked United Way of Southern West Virginia for its generous support.

“Their support is so much more than financial,” he concluded. “Executive Director Margaret O'Neal's passion for children and promotion of the work that we do is a really big piece of how they help our organization.”

What constitutes sexual abuse?

Cindy Waddell, forensic interviewer for Just For Kids Inc., points out that many individuals may not be sure what constitutes child sexual abuse, or they feel that it only, or mainly, includes intercourse.

“There are many different aspects of child sexual abuse and there are a lot of things that lead up to it, including extra attention and grooming,” she said.

Often times an abuser offers to buy the child something before abuse begins.

In addition, fondling, digital penetration, exposure to pornography and taking explicit photos of a child constitute sexual abuse.

“A lot of times child sexual abuse incorporates administering drugs to children or threats to prevent them from telling. Often they are not a direct threat of harm, but a threat that bad things will happen if the children do tell,” Waddell explained.

The age-old idea of “stranger danger” is also a misconception, she said.

“Our statistics show that it is almost always someone that a child knows. Child predators work to gain the trust of the child and the parents. If someone is very eager to watch your kids all the time, that is a sign to be wary,” she added.

Attend a public forum

Individuals can make a difference to help stop child sexual abuse, said Scott Miller, executive director of Just For Kids Inc.

Just For Kids will sponsor a public forum from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 10 at McBee's Irish Pub in Uptown Beckley. The purpose of the forum, “The #1 Question. Is it Good for Children,” is to find out what public concerns are and what issues the public would like to see addressed by policy makers and the Legislature, said Miller.

Just For Kids has invited mayors, county commissioners and policy makers from Fayette, Raleigh and Wyoming counties to attend, and the public is welcome.

Another way to help protect children is to become a Steward of Children by taking a three-hour workshop and learning the seven steps to protect children.

“Research has shown that for every person who is trained, 10 children will not have to suffer the trauma of sexual abuse,” he said.

“We are working with organizations in the community, like churches, schools, and athletic programs, to train staff with Stewards of Children training. I know from personal experience and from talking to a lot of teachers, that they really don't know what their responsibilities are. There has to be better awareness and more training for every mandated reporter,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can get to the place where it will never be acceptable for Joe Paterno to say ‘I thought I was doing what I needed to do,'” expressed Miller.

Individuals can also make a difference through their donations.

Just For Kids is funded 50 percent by state and federal funds and 50 percent by private foundation grants and individual donations.

“All our services are free and we really do rely on community support for the work that we do,” he said.

The West Virginia Development Office has recently given Just For Kids Neighborhood Investment Program Credits for tax credit on donations over $500, he added.

For information on donating or attending the Stewards of Children workshop, call 304-255-4834.



Reporting child sexual abuse 'a tough call to make'

by Bill Utterback

MONACA — Halfway through a presentation on preventing child sexual abuse, facilitator Marilyn Chesko's question drew a nervous silence from more than 20 people gathered in the cafeteria at St. John the Baptist school in Monaca.

“How many of you would feel confident calling youth services (to report possible abuse)?”

Few hands, and no voices, were raised.

“It's a tough call to make,” said Chesko, a Monaca resident and director of religious education at Our Lady of Fatima school in Hopewell.

As investigations into accusations of child molesting by former assistant coaches at Penn State and Syracuse universities continue, several tough questions have emerged: Didn't anybody see? Didn't anybody say anything?

The national Roman Catholic Church, in part in response to its own problems, designed its “Protecting God's Children” workshops to address the questions that frame cases of abuse. The workshops are mandatory for all employees and volunteers in Catholic churches and schools in the Pittsburgh Diocese, regardless of whether they have contact with children.

Ushers, for example, are required to take the workshop.

“Ushers see everything,” Chesko said.

In a three-year period between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2011, the Pittsburgh Diocese trained 25,023 people in 832 workshops in schools and churches, according to Ron Ragan, director of the program.

The goal of the workshops is simple, according to Chesko, who has led approximately 25 workshops since being trained by the diocese.

“When this is over, we'll have 40 more eyes watching out for our children ... That's why you're here: We need two more eyes.”

Beyond vision, there is a need for voice.

“You're morally mandated to report abuse. There is always someone to whom you can turn,” Chesko said.

Diane Broniszewski, a mother from Freedom who attended the workshop in Monaca, said recent headlines underscore the need for the workshops.

“We need more awareness. It's too easy to stick your head in the sand. When you hear what happened at Penn State and Syracuse, you realize what an overwhelming amount (of abuse) is out there, and we all have to keep our eyes open for it.”

“We all need to recognize our responsibility and be more vigilant,” said Lou Farkas, a lay minister from Beaver Falls who attended the workshop.

The presentation includes video interviews with victims (“I felt dirty and ugly” and “I tried to kill myself”); parents (“Please don't let anybody suffer the way my little girl suffered”); and abusers (“If I had the chance, I know I could abuse again”).

Discussions provide direction in many areas:

Recognizing potential abusers: Are there adults drawn to touching, giving gifts and meeting with children in unsupervised or secluded places?

Recognizing changes in children's behavior and moods, such as failing to maintain proper hygiene. Victims try to seem unattractive to abusers, Chesko said.

For parents, monitoring computers, cell phones and video games is recommended.

For supervisors, using criminal background checks and references for employees and volunteers is recommended. Multiple adults should be involved with children at all times, and supervisors should make regular classroom visits to monitor activity

Parents and leaders should develop “sign-in” and “sign-out”procedures.

Empty and unused rooms should be locked.

Listen to what children are saying.

“It's more about parenting than anything. Everybody has to be a parent, whether you have children or not,” Chesko said.

And make a call if necessary.

“Report it to someone and stay on it,” Chesko said.

As a teacher, Chesko said she has reported child abuse seven times, and three of those reports proved to be unfounded.

“We all have children in our lives, in our families, in church, in schools, in our neighborhoods ... we need to take a more proactive stance to protect them.”



Calls to child abuse hotline doubled after Jerry Sandusky's arrest


Child Line, the state-run hotline for reporting suspected child abuse on average receives about 2,300 calls a week. In the wake of the charges of child sexual abuse charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky , the number of calls to the hotline doubled.

Between Nov. 7 and 11, the days immediately following the initial Sandusky arrest , Child Line received 4,832 calls of suspected physical, mental or sexual child abuse.

The following week, Nov. 14-18, the hotline logged 2,866 calls.

The dramatic events that have toppled the biggest names at Penn State, including legendary coach Joe Paterno , have thrust the issue of child sexual abuse front and center and have led to an increase in the reporting of suspected abuse and actual abuse.

“It's more of a guess than anything but when you have a high profile case such as the one that happened in Penn State. It got national attention. Our guess is that that increases awareness,” said Carey Miller, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Welfare, which runs Child Line . “It's in the front of their mind. If they happen to see something that they might question as suspected abuse they are going to call it in.”

Officials at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape say calls to its 51 rape crisis centers hotlines have spiked in the past month.

“Clearly this case has made a lot more people in the state say I need to learn more about this topic and I need to know what to look for,” said PCAR spokeswoman Kristen Houser.

A significant volume of the calls were made by mandated reporters seeking information on prevention, education and resources, Houser said.

The trend is even reflected nationally.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network , which runs a national hotline and an online instant messaging service through its website, has had its busiest month in its five-year history.

“We've heard from victims nationwide that have been encouraged by the outpouring of support for (Penn State and Syracuse) victims and they are taking the step to report their abuse,” said Katherine Hull, spokeswoman for the organization. 

Calls increase

In the weeks following the Penn State news, RAINN's hotline saw a 54 percent increase in demand. Hull said calls to the hotline typically increase anytime a high-profile sex abuse case is in the eyes of the media — such as last year's disclosure by actress Mackenzie Phillips that she was a victims of incest.

RAINN does not track data on what spurs reporting of abuse, but Hull said staff at the receiving end of the calls have drawn fairly strong conclusions of their own.

“Anecdotally the hotline staff have been hearing from victims or survivors mentioning Syracuse and Penn State as the reason why they are coming forward,” Hull said. “It's very encouraging news that out of a tragedy many people are taking steps to get help.”

New York authorities are investigating allegations that former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine molested at two ball boys in 2009 and 2010 when they were 13 and 14 years old. A third man has filed a lawsuit claiming he too was molested by Fine.

The effect these high-profile cases have on survivors or victims of abuse is particularly poignant.

“I can say in the past whenever we have a big case that makes the media that when somebody sees that someone else has the strength to come forward that it encourages others to find that strength in themselves to report it or to recognize that it needs to be reported,” said Sean McCormack, chief deputy district attorney in the Dauphin County District.

“I think it plays a role. Looking back, I think you would be able to see clearly that the Sandusky-Penn State situation has helped other people find the strength within themselves.”

The Carlisle Area School District has even logged calls from parents whose children had attended programs sponsored by The Second Mile, the charity at the center of the Sandusky charges. Prosecutors believe Sandusky, founder of the organization, used the charity to prey on victims.

Carlisle district superintendent John W. Friend said no Carlisle parents had made reports of child sexual abuse in connection with The Second Mile program.

The firestorms surrounding Syracuse and Penn State have provided a windfall for organizations such as RAINN. Last month, two Penn State alumni, in response to the Sandusky allegations, launched a fundraiser, collecting $1 from Penn State alumni. The fundraiser has met its goal of $500,000 and has even expanded nationwide.

“The outpouring has been tremendous,” Hull said. “Even people not affiliated with the Penn State community have gotten involved. These recent new stories about Penn State and Syracuse have been about specific cases but this is a crime that effects thousands of individuals across the country.”

Houser said funding for PCAR has remained flat for 10 years.

“We could use public help,” she said.

But the increased traffic to hotlines does not always translate to due justice.


Cathleen Palm, executive director of the Protect Our Children Committee, said the state places great emphasis on mandatory reporting, in particular, but that system in place to handle the reports is rife with inconsistencies and inadequacies.

In its 2010 Child Abuse Annual Report, the Department of Welfare noted 24,615 reports of suspected child abuse last year, a decrease of 727 from the previous year. Of those, 3,656 reports were substantiated. Even so, 33 Pennsylvania children died from abuse in 2010.

Child Line, for instance, she said, does not keep track of how many calls pertain to a caller's uncertainty as to what his or her role is in a particular situation, or, indeed, what he or she is supposed to do. The Child Line number, she said, has become a clearinghouse number for all kinds of questions pertaining to child abuse.

“People call Child Line many more times than an investigation is ever opened,” said Palm, who has spent the past couple of years lobbying lawmakers to improve the state's Child Protective Services Law. “We know the volume of calls is up. The question is: Is the number also translating into a higher degree of actual reports. Do they translate into investigations?”

Last year, Child Line phones rang more than 120,000 times. Investigations were opened into 24,615 cases, said Palm, who in April called on Gov. Tom Corbett and leaders of the General Assembly to create a Child Protection and Accountability Task Force.

Palm described Child Line as incapable of handling the volume of calls. Callers, she said, often complain of busy signals and long holding periods. The Child Line has a high staff turnover rate, and in general, an under-trained staff, Palm said. It has a missed-call rate of 9 percent.

“It's a weird situation,” Palm said. “We are all focused on protecting children — who should call and when. But we've been disconnected from the fact that those calls need to be answered. We can't ask people in the front line to make the phone calls and then have people not be prepared or trained.”

Advocates for victims of child sexual abuse refer to Pennsylvania as a statistical outlier, Palm said. Nationally, the rate of investigation is 40.1 for every 1,000 children. In Pennsylvania, that ratio is 8.3 investigations for every 1,000 children.

In 2009, Pennsylvania substantiated 1.4 cases of abuse for every 1,000 children. Nationally, the numbers were 9.3 substantiated per 1,000 children.

Proposed legislation in the state Legislature would broaden the requirements for reporting suspected abuse and dramatically change statutes of limitations.

“We've all talked for many years but those conversations have always happened behind close doors,” Palm said. “I think in the wake of Penn State one positive thing will be it appears the governor and the General Assembly are now committed to a commission that looks at the fundamentals of child protection that I would say a month ago we didn't have a chance.”

Palm said the Penn State scandal offers a rare — albeit unfortunate — opportunity to push forward agenda victims advocates say can level the playing field for children.

“We all feel the urgency and outrage but we have to be cautious that we are deliberate and intentional,” she said “Many of the same threads that happened at Penn State — who reports, what they report, what investigation happens — they are the same. The reality is that thousands of kids face this in Pennsylvania every day. Let us not squander this opportunity. While we are Penn State focused now, the fact is so many more kids are suffering in the shadows and in silence.”

Reporting Abuse

  • The Child Line hotline is available 24 hours to receive reports of suspected child abuse: 800-932-0313
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at:


Child Sexual Abuse: It's Bigger Than Penn State

by Alexis Lauricella, Ph.D., Founder of

All parents want to protect their children. That's why we read baby books when we are pregnant. That's why we take babies to doctor's appointments monthly when they are infants, not just when we think something is wrong. That's why we screw TVs, dressers and bookcases to the wall and why we put up baby gates at the top of the stairs. Parents want to protect their children and they will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

So why aren't parents protecting their children from child sexual abuse? It's not that parents aren't trying to protect their children, but most parents don't know enough about child sexual abuse and who abusers are to adequately protect their children. Here are some basic facts that all parents should be aware of:

First, parents need to know that child sexual abuse happens and it happens WAY too frequently. While statistics are difficult to compile because children don't always report and few abusers are accused or convicted of a crime, reports indicate that between 24 and 37 percent of female children and 27 precent to 30 percent of male children have been victims of sexual abuse (Salter 2003, page 10). Note as a comparison, the rates of Autism are about 1 percent ( CDC website, n.d. ).

Second, people who sexually abuse children don't look any different from people who don't sexually abuse children. This is the very scary part. I wish there some sort of warning photo that we could put out there to help parents know who to protect their children from, but as we have seen in the media all too often, these guys (statistically, they are much more likely to be men) look just like anyone else.

Third, people who sexually abuse children are most often people that you and your child know and have a relationship with. The cases of strangers grabbing a child and molesting him are rare. Unfortunately, the abusers tend to be very personable and find ways of connecting and forming relationships with both the child and the parent(s) so that when an accusation from a child happens, parents are often unlikely to believe the child.

As parents, we need to be aware of dangers that surround our children. Bikes are dangerous, so we insist (and many states require) that our children wear helmets, and car accidents can be deadly so children are always securely buckled into their car seat. Does your child fall off her bike every time she rides? Do you smash your car every time you drive? Thankfully, no. But do we still make our kids wear helmets and buckle their seat belts every time, just in case? While there is no concrete object like a helmet to protect our children from child molesters, there are things that parents can do to help protect their children all of the time, even if we don't think it's going to happen to our child. Here are some tips:

  • Teach your children about basic sexual education. Children should know the parts of their body and that people shouldn't touch them in their private areas.

  • Work to increase communication and openness in your house with your children. Talk to children about things in your day that made you feel sad or uncomfortable and encourage your children to do the same. Even if these things are very small events, like I felt sad today because Sarah wouldn't play with me, these discussions help to teach your child that she can talk about how she is feeling and what happened each day.

  • Get to know all of the adults in your child's life: soccer coaches, priests, piano teachers, doctors, friends' parents, etc. Introduce yourself to them, speak with them, learn about their professions, backgrounds, families, etc. While pedophiles can be anyone and can come from any background, by showing adults that you are involved and active in your child's life you are helping to indicate to any potential pedophile that your child will not be an easy target.

  • Know some general signs and odd behaviors to look for:

    1) Men who are overly involved in youth activities and do not have children of their own or relationships with other adults.

    2) Be aware of situations or experiences that may be attractive for pedophiles: Churches, camps, Boy Scout overnight trips, etc. Not every man involved in these organizations is a pedophile, but be careful and cautious and stick to your gut feelings.

    3) As we saw with the recent Penn State sex scandal, people that give toys, money, or gifts to young children unnecessarily are strange. Pedophiles try to win over their victims and create relationships with them, presents and gifts help to win these children over.

Rates of child sexual abuse are unacceptably high. As scary as this is for parents to think about, we owe it our children to be aware of the rates of child sexual abuse, some of the signs pedophiles display, and some ways in which we can increase protection for our children. Below are some resources that ALL parents should read.

A special thanks to Anna Salter, author of Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists and Other Sex Offenders: Who They Are, How They Operate and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children, for her dedication to this topic and her help with a previous post on this subject for

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry - Fact sheet: child sexual abuse

American Humane Association - Stop child Abuse fact sheet

The American Psychological Association Website - Understanding child sexual abuse: Education, prevention, and recovery

Bivona Child Advocacy Center - If you suspect a child is being abused

National Center for the Victims of Crime - Child sexual abuse

Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists and Other Sex Offenders: Who They Are, How They Operate and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children
by Anna Salter (2003) New York: Basic Books

My Body Belongs to Me. by Jill Starishevsky & Sarah Miller

Video ABC News:
Talking to your kids about sexual abuse



School Board to Support Tougher Laws for Child Sex Abuse Witnesses

Members voted Thursday to add the issue to its legislative platform for the coming year.

by Marge Neal

The Howard County Board of Education voted Thursday to support any future state legislation that would criminalize having knowledge of sexual abuse to a minor and not reporting that information to law enforcement authorities.

School board member Brian Meshkin asked his colleagues last month to consider adding such a concern to the body's annual legislative platform.

The high-profile child sex abuse case involving former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky motivated Meshkin to research Maryland law, which he found to be lacking.

Maryland law requires educators, health practitioners, social workers and police officers to report suspected cases of child abuse, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun.

But, the state has no power to prosecute when the law is not followed.

Upon Meshkin's request last month, the board asked the school system's attorney to draft language for the board to consider adding to its legislative platform.

On Thursday, the board voted to support "legislation that would make it a crime for an individual, who has knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor, to fail to report such knowledge to law enforcement authorities."

Meshkin said Friday he was pleased that his colleagues voted unanimously to support proposed legislation.

Harford County Sen. Nancy Jacob has announced she intends to introduce such a bill when the Maryland General Assembly convenes in January.

"As a school board, we are in a unique spot to protect children, to look out for the children of Howard County," Meshkin said. "And we are the one body that has a constituency that does not vote, so it's even more important for us to look out for them."



Stephens drafts legislation to require reporting child abuse

by Rep. Todd Stephens

State Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151, wants anyone who withholds knowledge of child abuse to face accountability similar to that of the alleged abusers. That's why he has written legislation proposing tougher reporting requirements for anyone suspecting the abuse of a child.

“I have no sympathy for someone who does not support a child being abused,” he said.

According to Stephens, his bill includes three key components: requiring anyone who suspects child abuse to report it to law enforcement, increasing the penalties for those who fail to report abuse from a third-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, and increasing the statute of limitations for those who fail to report any abuse.

“The idea is to make it very clear that anyone who suspects a child is in trouble has an obligation to report it to authorities,” he said.

Samantha Cauffman, who succeeded Stephens as captain of the sex crimes unit in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, said stricter mandatory reporting and increased statute of limitation laws would “only help me do my job better.”

Cauffman said certain classes of individuals — which include teachers and school administrators — have been legally deemed as mandatory reporters, meaning they must call the proper authorities if they become aware of child abuse.

The legislation — expected to be introduced this week — appears to be gathering support in the state House, according to Stephens. He said 40 colleagues have agreed to co-sponsor the bill, including state Rep. Bob Godshall, R-70.

“I'm willing to go along with whatever Rep. Stephens comes up with,” Godshall said. “He's the expert. I thought there was a need. These are horrible crimes, and we have to do what we can to try and keep them from occurring.”

The bill's main thrust is to help protect children from sexual abuse, according to Stephens. He said incidents of emotional abuse and neglect could be included if they rise to the level of a crime.

The maximum sentence for a guilty plea on failing to report child abuse is between six months and a year in prison, according to Stephens. He said his bill would increase those penalties to three-and-a-half to seven years. Stephens also said his bill would permit the statute of limitations for non-reporters to mirror, and be made consistent with, the underlying crime against a child. He said that in certain crimes against children, charges can be filed until their 50th birthday.

State Reps. Marcy Toepel, R-147, and Matt Bradford, D-70, expressed similar support for legislation that would include a mandatory reporting requirement.

“I appreciate what Todd is doing,” Bradford said.

Stephens said his legislation, and at least two similar bills, might not receive serious legislative consideration since Gov. Tom Corbett recently called for a statewide commission to examine the issue.

“The good news is this subject matter will be thoroughly studied in a comprehensive manor,” Stephens said, “which means we will eventually provide well thought out legislation for the governor to sign.”



Abuse images database bigger scandal for state

by Grier Weeks

Since the Penn State scandal broke, there's not much that hasn't been covered on the subject of mandated child abuse reporting… except a much bigger, simmering scandal: Pennsylvania's governor and attorney general know where thousands more Jerry Sanduskys are, and they have failed to report them to law enforcement.

Gov. Tom Corbett has been on notice about Pennsylvania's unreported child predator suspects since at least 2009, when the National Association to Protect Children and Pennsylvania child abduction survivor Alicia Kozakiewicz briefed him on it and asked him to take action.

As the state's top cop, Attorney General Linda Kelly has known at least since she entered office earlier this year.

If you're a member of the Penn State community and feeling like the national poster child for tolerance of child rape, I hope you have a big problem with this.

Here's what Corbett and Kelly know, and how:

For centuries, criminals who preyed on children hid in the shadows. The only way anyone knew a child was being abused (unless he happened to walk in on the crime as Mike McQueary allegedly did) was when the victim came forward with a cry for help. Sadly, such disclosures are rare, and typically come long after the abuse has started.

But today, for the first time in history, adults with a sexual interest in children are hiding in plain sight. Their identities and locations can be readily pinpointed by a distinct marker: the presence of illegal child abuse images, or child pornography. This can be done by police online.

Not all individuals who possess these illegal images are hands-on offenders who have raped children. Research indicates that number could be anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of all possessors. (Digital forensics may prove Jerry Sandusky was one of these “dual offenders.”)

But all are criminals, whose crimes turn children into sexual commodities and contribute to a flourishing black market, supplied by the rape, abuse and torture of children.

Make no mistake, the material being called “child pornography” today has nothing to do with snapshots of babies in the bathtub. These are brutal crime scene recordings of children— many very young—being raped and hurt.

Which brings us back to what Corbett and Kelly know. Each day across America, law enforcement investigators log online using a national system called RoundUp. They locate thousands of criminals trafficking in child abuse images online. These suspects are geo-located, evidence is collected on their activities and they are logged into a central law enforcement database.

That database is hosted on servers at the Pennsylvania State Police.

The RoundUp database contains evidence on as many as 20,000 suspects in Pennsylvania alone. The vast majority are never investigated or referred to local law enforcement agencies.

So if Pennsylvania really cares about arresting predatory criminals who target children, it's easy to stop them. They're sitting in the RoundUp database.

State Reps. Dan Deasy, Mike Sturla and Dan Frankel plan to introduce a bill to make Attorney General Kelly a mandated reporter of these crimes, and their campaign is gathering momentum. Attorney general candidate Patrick Murphy said he would welcome this mandated reporter status.

Now, apologists for Corbett and Kelly will want you to believe this is all a far cry from covering up abuse at Penn State. Yes, child pornography is terrible, they'll say privately, but failing to report rape of a child and failing to round up every pervert in the Keystone state are two different things.

But even if Corbett and Kelly don't want to pay what it costs to stop the sexual exploitation of children in Pennsylvania, that's not the only crime they're covering up. The truly explosive secret of RoundUp is that it contains vast volumes of evidence about which suspects are the hands-on offenders, actively raping children.

There are so many of those suspects that it is entirely safe to predict that every night in Pennsylvania, a child will be raped by a predator who was on Attorney General Linda Kelly's radar screen.

That might not make the pages of Sports Illustrated, but it should enrage Pennsylvanians to action.

Grier Weeks is executive director of the National Association to Protect Children ( in Knoxville, Tenn.


Sexual abuse cases on the rise in Pa. and Schuylkill County


Even after more than 30 years, Anna Capelle, Tremont, still suffers nightmares and flashbacks to a time she was sexually abused.

A family friend who took advantage of her in 1978 in Connecticut was arrested and sentenced to jail in the 1980s, but Capelle said such justice doesn't always heal the emotional wounds.

"And you can feel that pain not just emotionally, but physically," Capelle, 41, said Wednesday.

Since the incident, she said she attempted suicide several times - the most recent on Feb. 16, 1998.

Recently, the mother of two has been on the rebound, speaking about her experiences with specialists at the Sexual Assault Resource Counseling Center of Lebanon, which has an office in Pottsville.

"I've dealt with the issues of being a victim and a survivor. Now I want to be a thriver. I don't want to let it affect me as it has in the past," Capelle said.

In May, she got a tattoo on her right wrist, a symbol of her desire to move on with her life - a green dragonfly.

"Dragonflies are fragile, but they're also strong. They have to fight all of their enemies to try stay alive. The birds and frogs try to eat them. They have to be strong to make it in life," Capelle said.

Child sexual abuse has again come into the national spotlight since the Nov. 4 arrest of Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach who allegedly sexually abused at least 10 children over a period of at least 15 years.

Such crimes are also an unfortunate fact of life in Schuylkill County, according to Jenny Murphy-Shifflet, president and executive director for SARCC.

"From the statistics, you can see child sexual abuse is prevalent here," Christina Filiash, child abuse supervisor for Schuylkill County Children and Youth Services, Pottsville, said Tuesday.

But local experts are not sure why.

Murphy-Shifflet isn't sure if there have been more incidents over the past few years or if more people are simply stepping forward to report them.

"I wish I had a good answer. It would certainly help in prevention efforts," Lisa Stevens, executive director of Schuylkill County Children and Youth Services, said Wednesday.

"I think it's because people are becoming more aware that it is an issue. It's an epidemic in our country and worldwide," Capelle said.

"We believe we see more cases due to an increased focus on reporting. The schools offer good touch/bad touch programs and there are more advertisements and programs on television that address sexual abuse. I think the more attention that is given to the problem, the more cases seem to be reported because people are aware. In addition, we offer trainings to groups throughout the year regarding mandated reporting criteria. I know this is a generic answer, but unfortunately I don't think there is a clear cut answer," Stevens said.

Child sexual abuse is a violation of trust and power usually conducted by an adult the victim knows, experts said.

"It happens every day in our communities and can be in many forms, including sexual acts such as rape and other types of inappropriate touching, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pornography, child sexual exploitation and internet-based child sexual abuse," Murphy-Shifflet said.

Local experts offered perspectives on the problem. It is best is to take action. If someone suspects a child is being abused, they should report it, according to Murphy-Shifflet.

"Reporting suspected abuse may keep a child from further harm," she said.

Incidents rise

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Office of Children, Youth and Families, reports of suspected child abuse have been rising in Pennsylvania since 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, there was an 8 percent increase.

In 2000, there were 22,809 cases of child abuse in the state filed with official organizations. Of those cases, 21.9 percent or 5,002 were substantiated and 50 percent of the substantiated cases involved allegations of sexual abuse.

In 2010, there were 24,615 cases of child abuse filed. Of those cases, 14.8 percent or 3,656, were substantiated and 54 percent of those substantiated cases were linked to sexual abuse, according to the department's statistics.

Schuylkill County Children and Youth received 362 child abuse reports in 2010, and 105 of them were sexual abuse cases.

"And 31 of those were 'indicated' and 'founded,' " Filiash said.

"An 'indicated' status means there is enough evidence to support the allegations being true. A 'founded' status is issued by the court. Typically we can get a 'founded' status if the perpetrator is convicted," Stevens said.

In 2011, children and youth services has received 302 child abuse reports, 100 sexual abuse cases.

"So far, 26 of them were indicated and founded," Filiash said. "As you can see from these statistics, there continues to be an increase in reports, however the substantiation rate has decreased from 30 percent in 2010 to 26 percent in 2011. This may be accounted for by an increase in calls received from mandated reporters. The substantiation decrease may be due to the criteria needed according to the state's Child Protection Services Law," Filiash said.

SARCC's statistics also show an increase in sexual abuse against children from the county.

"In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, SARCC saw close to 190 children from Schuylkill County. And between July and October, we've seen 160 children. But it's difficult to say if the problem is increasing or if the work we've done to increase awareness is making a difference," Murphy-Shifflet said Monday. The Children's Resource Center at PinnacleHealth, Harrisburg, recently stated it treated "more than 880" child victims of physical and sexual abuse and exploitation. Of those "nearly 50" were from Schuylkill County, Jean Allegrini, a member of the Friends Committee of the Children's Resource Center of PinnacleHealth.


Educators, social workers and legislators are all trying to find solutions to the problem.

"Adults must watch for the signs of sexual abuse. Sometimes the signs are obvious, but most often, they are not. Physical symptoms of child sexual abuse can include bed wetting, headaches, mood and emotional changes, inappropriate sexual behavior or increased talk about sexuality in an age-inappropriate way. However, most people who sexually abuse children try not to inflict obvious, physical injuries to avoid being detected," Murphy-Shifflet said.

She encouraged people with questions to contact her at 570-628-2965 or 877-874-HERO.

"If you know or suspect that a child is being sexually abused, there are resources to help you. You do not need to prove abuse is happening to make a report. If you aren't sure what to do and would like to talk to a sexual assault counselor, you can contact the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center," Murphy-Shifflet said.

The Penn State scandal has spurred state legislators to develop proposals to expand and strengthen reporting requirements.

"We need to revisit the laws," state Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-123 said Nov. 18.

State Sen. David Argall, R-29, said he's co-sponsoring legislation to establish a special Child Protection and Accountability Commission to examine proposed changes to such laws.

Argall and Goodman are among the supporters of a bill which would waive the statue of limitations, allowing alleged victims all the time they need to file lawsuits.

For criminal cases involving alleged victims who turn 18 on or after Aug. 27, 2002, prosecutors now have until his or her 50th birthday to file charges for abuse that occurred before the victim turned 18.

For civil cases, an alleged victim has 12 years from his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Mike Tobash, R-125, is supporting House Bill 1397, which aims to increase criminal penalties on officials with sports programs, including coaches, umpires and managers, found guilty of abuse.

Meanwhile, Filiash said social workers who visit elementary schools to talk to students have also been making a difference.

"I believe we do have a great good touch/bad touch program within the county that teaches children about abuse within the school settings. We typically receive quite a few reports when this program is taught and children realize what is inappropriate," Filiash said.

In July, SARCC offered local youths who were victims of sexual abuse a new program through which they can express their feelings about the horrors they have undergone and help themselves and others to recover from them.

The Through Your Lens Project of the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center will incorporate photography into the counseling and therapy it provides to sexual abuse victims in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties, according to Murphy-Shifflet.

"I know that our prevention education programs are making a difference and are available to every school district in Schuylkill County at no cost. A certified sexual assault counselor and trainer provided last year 830 programs to 21,901 residents. We have heard from children and parents that they remember the programs and seek our assistance as a result of this program," Murphy-Shifflet said.

Capelle said she hopes one day she can be a SARCC volunteer.

If a child is being abused and believes they have no one to turn to, Capelle said there's always hope.

"Keep looking for someone, anyone, who will listen, because there's always someone who will believe what you have to say. Sometimes children feel they can't trust their parents. They might want to talk to a teacher," Capelle said.


North Carolina


Laws won't make adults more responsible

December 10, 2011

In November, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period, and head coach Joe Paterno was fired for not doing enough to stop it. Now Sandusky is facing new charges about the same kind of incidents. And Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine is now being investigated for alleged child molestation.

Shouldn't somebody do something? Maybe we need more criminal laws. How about a law that makes it a crime to witness child sexual abuse and not report it to the proper authorities?

That's the gist of a bill by Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from California: Withhold federal money from states until they pass laws imposing on all adults a new duty to report child abuse. Adults who see or hear something that suggests child abuse would have to report it, not merely to the alleged abuser's supervisor or someone in a position of authority but to a peace officer. And if the adult failed to do so, he or she could face prison time.

We all want to protect children from molestation, and we all would prefer that adults who believe they have witnessed such abuse report it to law enforcement authorities. But adding a new crime with which to charge and incarcerate witnesses creates unnecessary and unproductive new problems without resolving the underlying concern. The so-called Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act isn't a well conceived measure. It's more the result of headlines and media frenzy than a well-considered policy initiative.

We saw something similar earlier this year with the various iterations of Caylee's Law, which were reactions to public outrage over the not-guilty verdict rendered by a jury against a mother who failed to report that her child was missing. Making it a crime for a mother not to report her missing child within 24 hours may satisfy public demands on lawmakers to “just do something,” but it won't make parents more responsible.

The Caylee bills would limit the population of people subject to the new criminal laws, so at least they have something in common with sensible laws that impose special duties on teachers, police officers or others in particular positions of trust or authority. Bass' bill would impose new duties, and potential criminal penalties, on everyone in the nation over 17.

There are laws in place to protect children from sexual abuse, including laws against aiding and abetting, or misprision of a felony — cases in which witnesses become accomplices by actively thwarting investigations or enforcement. We don't need to send people to prison for not reporting things they think they see. We need adults to think and act responsibly — things that no number of new criminal penalties can secure.


More Sports Child Sexual Abuse Allegations: Memphis Sports Official Accused of Molesting Two Youths


Yet another sports child abuse sex scandal is breaking and whether it turns out to be valid or not, it's clear sports officials will face very hesistant parents in the future and that organizations will start to put a bunch of safeguards in place. This time the allegations are coming via ESPN from Memphis. CNN reports:

The Memphis police and the Amateur Athletic Union have launched an investigation after two players alleged that the leader of a local youth sports organization molested them decades ago.

The two players were interviewed by the ESPN's show “Outside the Lines” and the story is scheduled to be aired at 10 a.m. Sunday.

A story on said the players allege that Robert “Bobby” Dodd inappropriately touched them and abused them sexually while they slept in hotel rooms during tournaments.

CNN could not reach Dodd for comment despite repeated attempts. ESPN also could not immediately get a comment from Dodd.

Readers of this story should also be aware that this story contains sexually graphic content.

The athletic union released a statement saying the allegations against Dodd dated back several decades.

“The AAU has opened an independent investigation into these matters and also has contacted local law enforcement in Memphis, where the activities allegedly occurred. We will actively cooperate with any and all authorities to determine the facts and the truth.”

Dodd is dealing with colon cancer and would not be returning as president and chief executive officer of the youth organization, the statement said.

Memphis authorities said they take “allegations of child sexual abuse very seriously. Although this case has its challenges due to the amount of time that has passed, it will be thoroughly examined; and if the investigation reveals the law was violated, the person responsible will be held accountable.”


Ex-coach Sandusky, Penn State police chief who closed '98 sex abuse inquiry were once neighbors

McClatchy Newspapers

The head of Penn State University's police department who oversaw a 1998 investigation of possible sexual abuse by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky once lived three houses down from the defensive coordinator, property records show.

Chief Thomas Harmon took over leading the department just one month before a detective began looking into whether the chief's former neighbor sexually abused two 11-year-old boys in a campus shower. Harmon later ordered the case closed when the Centre County, Pa., district attorney decided not to file criminal charges.

Sandusky retired from Penn State a year later.

The personal connection between the chief and the architect of "Linebacker U" now has lawyers for Sandusky's alleged victims questioning what role those ties may have played in closing the 1998 investigation, which they argue was a missed opportunity to stop Sandusky from assaulting more children.

"It reflects how incestuous the cast of characters are," said Michael Boni, who represents the person identified as Victim 1 in the Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month. "It's circular. The fact that they were neighbors ought to be investigated. Did Harmon think 'I shouldn't pursue this matter' because he's a friend or neighbor? These things have to be looked at."

Sandusky faces more than 50 charges of child sex abuse involving 10 young boys over a 15-year span. Most of the assaults detailed in two grand jury reports allegedly occurred after the 1998 investigation was closed.

Sandusky has steadfastly maintained his innocence. He is due in Centre County court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing, where he is expected to face his accusers.

Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president Gary Schultz, who were charged with covering up one instance of alleged abuse, return to court in Dauphin County, Pa., on Friday.

The lack of charges following the 1998 investigation has contributed to criticism that law enforcement and school officials didn't do enough to stop the alleged assaults.

"It seems clear to us that PSU as well as other institutions in the community had several opportunities to stop Sandusky's sexual abuse of children and failed to do so for decades," said attorney Justine Andronici, who is representing one of the alleged victims.

According to the grand jury report, Harmon ordered his detective, Ronald Schreffler, to close the Sandusky case after then-District Attorney Ray Gricar decided not to file criminal charges.

In 1977, Harmon moved onto Norle Street, a small tight-knit community in Centre County where residents described neighborhood kids playing together, including Sandusky's and Harmon's children. They rode bikes together in the cul-de-sac. Sandusky also hosted kickball games in his backyard. Several neighbors said they were shocked by the allegations and described the Sanduskys as a loving family and great neighbors.

Colleagues said the two families attended the same church, St. Paul's United Methodist Church in State College.

Harmon had been director of Penn State police since 1990. In April 1998, he assumed more responsibilities when David Stormer, an assistant vice president who oversaw the department, retired and his position wasn't filled. Stormer couldn't be reached for comment.

Harmon, now retired, sold his home in August and moved to Pittsburgh. He declined to speak about the investigation, including his relationship with Sandusky, citing the state attorney general's ongoing investigation.

The Sanduskys moved from Norle Street in 1984 to the home they built on Grandview Road, less than two miles away.

The State College Police Department denied requests for copies of the 1998 investigation, including reports on two calls Sandusky had with a victim's mother that police were listening in on. Police cited the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know laws that exempt investigative records and information on juveniles.

On Thursday, the state Office of Open Records ruled that Penn State police do not have to release any records of the investigation.

Nils Hagen-Fredericksen, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said the 1998 investigation is only one part of the substantial amount of evidence and testimony that has been presented to the grand jury, including "hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents."

"More of that information will become unsealed as that court process moves forward," he said.

The grand jury found that details of the '98 investigation include allegations that match many of those made by other alleged victims. And, according to people with knowledge of the 1998 case, only a fraction of what was uncovered during the two-month investigation is included in the grand jury report.

The full 1998 report is roughly 130 pages chronicling "down-to-the minute" details of Sandusky's interactions with two alleged victims.

The two 11-year-old boys at the center of the 1998 investigation are identified in the grand jury report as Victim 6 and B.K. The latter, the report states, was "subjected to nearly identical treatment in the shower as Victim 6."

Sandusky met Victim 6 at a picnic at a College Township, Pa., park in the mid-1990s. It was organized by The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky formed in 1977 to help troubled youth, through which prosecutors say he met all of the alleged victims.

The 11-year-old boy told authorities Sandusky took him to several Penn State football games, where he tailgated with the Sandusky family.

The boy recalled Sandusky taking him to the showers at a Penn State locker room. The boy, who is now 24, said he tried to pick a spot farther away from Sandusky to shower, but Sandusky called him over, saying he had already warmed up a shower for the boy.

Sandusky lathered the boy's back, saying the boy would not be able to reach it, according to testimony to the grand jury.

"I'm going to squeeze your guts out," Sandusky told the naked boy embracing him in a bear hug, according to the report.

University Police Detective Ronald Schreffler and State College Police Detective Ralph Ralston worked with the boy's mother to secretly tape a conversation between her and Sandusky.

According to the grand jury report, she asked Sandusky whether his "private parts" touched the boy when he bear hugged him. He replied: "I don't think so ... maybe." He admitted to her he was wrong and asked for forgiveness, and is quoted in the report saying, "I wish I were dead."

Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, interviewed Sandusky on June 1, 1998, along with Schreffler. During the interview, Sandusky admitted to showering naked with Victim 6 and hugging the 11-year-old boy while in the shower. Sandusky admitted his behavior was wrong.

Lauro said the findings of the 1998 investigation did not meet the state's definition of child abuse. Lauro said he made his decision based on "available evidence at the time."

He said their investigation included nothing like the accounts of oral sex and alleged rape that have since been made by other alleged victims in testimony to the grand jury.

"All I had were boundaries issues," he said. "It didn't rise to the level of child abuse by the laws of Pennsylvania."

Attorney Howard Janet, who represents Victim 6, declined requests for an interview citing next week's hearings.

Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment. He said last month that Sandusky's showering with a boy was not a crime "unless the commonwealth can show some intent on his part to make it a sexual incident."

Karen Arnold was the assistant district attorney who handled child abuse cases for the Centre County District Attorney's Office and was involved in the 1998 investigation. She declined to discuss the case, but when asked why charges were not filed, she said it was District Attorney Gricar's decision.

Gricar went missing in 2005. He was legally pronounced dead this summer.

Former colleagues have defended Gricar, saying he never shied away from high-profile cases and was not swayed by Penn State's influence.

In two media interviews, Sandusky has admitted showering with boys, but denied any sexual conduct or that he was sexually attracted to children. Referring to the 1998 investigation, Sandusky told The New York Times he remembered the mother asking him about showering with her son.

"Yes, I said nothing happened," Sandusky said. "I said to her can we get your son and maybe just talk ... . I said 'I feel bad about that perception that he had something that bothered him.' I'm sure I said 'I'm sorry.' "



Lagging on Sex Trafficking Laws, Legislators Hope to do Something About it

New laws would increase penalties

by Stacy Brown

HARRISBURG — The sex trafficking of minors in Pennsylvania could become a first-degree felony under new legislation that targets traffickers and protects their victims.

"The issue of human trafficking certainly is one that not a lot of people are aware of, but it is happening right here in Pennsylvania," said state Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler.

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation or harboring of people for commercial sexual exploitation through deception, threat of or use of force, and other forms of coercion. Specific statistics on sex trafficking of minors in Pennsylvania is not available.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Butler's proposal, House Bill 2016, that would make sex trafficking youths younger than 18 a first-degree felony.

Currently, it is a third-degree felony, according to the Pennsylvania Crime Code.

HB 2016 also would allow for second-degree felony charges to be filed against parents who sell or transfer custody of a minor, or simply make a child available for sex trafficking. Pennsylvania law only allows for third degree felony charges in such cases.

The bill now moves to the state House for consideration later this month.

First-degree felonies carry 20-year maximum sentences, while second-degree felonies have 10-year maximum sentences, according to the Pennsylvania Crime Code.

Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Pennsylvania has been plagued by sex trafficking in recent years.

Children as young as 12 were among 150 victims of a sex trafficking ring in Harrisburg, in which 24 people including two Pennsylvania state troopers were arrested. The two-year investigation beginning in 2005 was known as Operation Precious Cargo.

"Human trafficking has been in the shadows for too long and we definitely have a problem in Pennsylvania and it's time we did something about it," said state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny.

"Human trafficking is a euphemism for slavery. It's hard for the average citizen to understand that we have a problem."

Organizations that assist victims have been lobbying for changes in law for some time, they said.

"When we hear the words human trafficking, we think of countries such as Thailand or (in countries in) South America, but it's here in our backyard," said Debbie Colton, founder of Oasis of Hope Ministries in north central Pennsylvania, a faith-based organization, which helps child victims of crimes.

"Sex trafficking is viewed as a victimless crime for both boys and girls whose ages range from 12 to 15," Colton said.



Program opens eyes to human trafficking

by Perla Trevizo

Tennessee Human Sex Trafficking and Its Impact on Children and Youth 2011 view full details download pdf

Human trafficking is not an unfamiliar problem in the nation or in North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee, authorities say.

"We are on the corridor that traffics children and adults in the Atlanta area," said Beverly Cosley, director of Chattanooga's Office of Multicultural Affairs.

About 375 young girls are trafficked each month in Georgia, with Atlanta being the focal point, according to Street Galvanizing Resources Against Child Exploitation, an Atlanta nonprofit.

From there, girls get trafficked all over, including Chattanooga, said Margie Quin, assistant special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Cosley's office commemorated Human Rights Day on Friday with a program on trafficking that included a panel discussion and a film.

She said the event aimed "to open our eyes, to look out for each other and know what's happening in our city, our state and our nation."

"The Candy Shop" is a 30-minute film about child sex trafficking told through the story of a little boy who decided to do something about it and rescue children.

The average lifespan for a child after getting into prostitution is seven years, said Amy Walters, director of Street GRACE

Though most people think human trafficking involves primarily foreigners, 81 percent of sex trafficking victims are U.S. citizens, said Scott Winne, with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

A TBI and Vanderbilt University study showed 85 percent of Tennessee counties reported at least one case of human sex trafficking in the last 24 months. That's compared to 72 percent of the counties affected by gangs, said Quin.

One study, "Tennessee Human Sex Trafficking and Its Impact on Children and Youth 2011," said Hamilton County had reported more than 100 adult sex trafficking cases. But that study's reliability has been questioned.

In November, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the TBI has never investigated any cases of sex trafficking in Hamilton County. Local police also said they've never been called to investigate trafficking allegations.

Southern Adventist University student Aimee Burchard, who attended Friday's event, was surprised to learn that Tennessee ranks seventh nationwide among states with comprehensive policies against human trafficking.

"I was glad to hear we are working on it as a state and a community," she said. "It's good to hear we are not last."


About 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually.

Federally funded task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010.

85 percent of Tennessee counties reported at least one case of human sex trafficking in the last 24 months.

Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics and Governor's Office for Children and Families in Georgia



Ky. lawmakers want changes to human trafficking law, say state should be safe harbor

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Two Kentucky lawmakers would like to make the state a safe harbor for victims of human trafficking with changes to the law when the General Assembly meets again in early 2012.

State Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, who sponsored human trafficking legislation in the House in 2007, and state Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, are behind the push.

Tilley told The Daily News in Bowling Green that the criminal code can be enhanced to better deal with the issue (

"The safe harbor is essential," Tilley said.

State prostitution laws don't specifically apply to adults. A child prostitute could be charged criminally and found delinquent in the juvenile court system rather than treated as a victim. Laws that identify child prostitutes as victims of sex trafficking are typically referred to as safe harbor laws. Fewer than 10 states have enacted such statutes.

Besides identifying child prostitutes as victims of human trafficking, safe harbor laws also provide assistance to human trafficking victims.

"The challenge is going to be to find the funding for the shelter for these victims," Westrom said.

There is also no way of knowing how many human trafficking victims the state would have to serve because there are no studies that show definitive numbers, Westrom said.

National experts estimate the national number of child sex trafficking victims to range from 100,000 to 300,000 annually. Those numbers don't include adults or people trafficked for labor.

Tilley backs forfeiture laws that would allow the government to seize anything traffickers buy with money made from the crime.

"When somebody is profiting from what is modern-day slavery ... it's unthinkable, and the fruits of their labor need to be stripped from them," Tilley said.

The American Center for Law & Justice and Shared Hope International conducted a national yearlong analysis of state laws. The study found that Kentucky takes a tough stance on human traffickers, but pointed out a number of deficiencies, including the lack of safe harbor laws and the lack of state-mandated law enforcement training.

Tilley and Westrom support state-mandated law enforcement training so that police officers are better trained on how to recognize victims of human trafficking.

Victims of human trafficking don't self-report the abuse for a variety of reasons, and law enforcement questioning of people to try to determine if they are victims of that crime requires specialized training, said Staca Shehan, director of the case analysis division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

"It's a skill they have to acquire through education," Tilley said.


Human Trafficking is a Crime Against Humanity

State Rep. Tom Murt weighs in on potential PA legislation to address the growing crime that exploits over 60,000 adults and over 100,000 children each year in the U.S.

December 9, 2011

Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by State Rep. Thomas Murt (R-152).

The trafficking of human beings is one of the most heinous of crimes imaginable. It is frequently called 'Modern Day Slavery' or ‘Dead Bondage.'

Human trafficking occurs around the world in the most developed, as well as in third-world nations. Despite our collective affluence as a society, human trafficking is sadly alive and well in our nation and also in our Commonwealth. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal endeavors in the world. After drugs, humans are the second most trafficked item on the planet.

It is a $9 billion dollar a year operation which uses force, physical restraint, violence, fraud, coercion, and threats to force victims into various forms of slavery.

In child prostitution, over 100,000 children are exploited each year in the U.S alone. Across the U.S., over 60,000 adults are enslaved as victims of human trafficking each year. The actual numbers are much higher due to a gross under-reporting of the crime.

This under-reporting is due to the victims being kept physically and socially isolated from the general public. Frequently, the victims are mistakenly believed to be prostitutes who have chosen the lifestyle, or simply illegal immigrants whom society has chosen to ignore.

Victims are relocated frequently, and even when being rescued, are reluctant to cooperate with authorities. They have been taught to fear law enforcement and are unaware that they have rights under U.S. law. Sadly, the supply of human trafficking victims from around the world is seemingly endless.

In our Commonwealth, victims of sex and labor trafficking include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals as well as children and adults.

In sex trafficking, the activities in which the victims forcibly participate include criminal-controlled prostitution, massage parlors, closed network residential brothels, and mail-order brides. Victims are often advertised on Internet sites and placed in hotels or truck stops where they are made available to customers.

A recent human trafficking case in Pennsylvania involved girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who were forced into sexual activity at truck stops.

Traffickers usually withhold passports and immigration papers from foreign-born victims, requiring them to ‘work off' debts as prostitutes or as slave labor. Many women believe they are legally emigrating from their home country, only to find out when they arrive, they owe additional fees to the trafficker and must work off their indenture as prostitutes.

Victims of labor trafficking are usually found in settings such as domestic servitude, agriculture, nail salons, factories, and in travelling sales crews selling candy and magazine subscriptions. In western Pennsylvania in Armstrong County, 20 males from Thailand were recently discovered slaving away in the mushroom industry.

Pennsylvania, although primarily a 'pass through' state for human trafficking, is also a destination. In addition to commercial front businesses and agricultural operations, traffickers utilize the many highways of the Commonwealth to move victims between locations in Ohio, New Jersey, and New York, and to connect with the I-95 corridor where victims are easily moved along the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Maryland, DC, Georgia, and Florida.

In Pennsylvania, truck stops, especially along the 'Miracle Mile' are well-known for playing host to sex trafficking.

A legislative effort is gaining momentum in Pennsylvania to address the crime of human trafficking, but more importantly, to reach out and save the victims. These bills are designed to give our law enforcement professionals more weapons to use in their efforts to find and stop traffickers, and to rescue victims.

It is tragic and heartbreaking that in a civilized nation such as ours, forms of slavery still exist. It is appalling that we have not done more to stop it. It is past time to stop this crime and rescue the victims. A human selling other humans into slavery is a crime against humanity and it must be stopped.

Rep. Thomas P. Murt serves the 152nd Legislative District. The 152nd Legislative District includes the townships of Lower Moreland, Upper Moreland, as well as the Boroughs of Hatboro and Bryn Athyn. The district also includes portions of Upper Dublin, Horsham Township, and the Philmont Heights section of Northeast Philadelphia.



Man held in boy's disciplining with metal rod at parents' request

A man who allegedly struck a 15-year-old Irvine boy with a metal pole after the boys' parents asked him to discipline the youth on their behalf has been booked on suspicion of felony willful cruelty to a child, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators said the boy's parents found a lighter in his possession and suspected that he was smoking. The boy, who was not identified because he is a minor, was taken to the home of Paul Kim, 39, of Chino Hills, who attends the same La Habra church as the boy's family. Authorities said Kim had been used by other families to discipline their children.

Kim reportedly questioned the boy about the lighter and suspected that the teen was lying to him.

"After receiving permission from the victim's father to use corporal punishment, Kim struck the child approximately 12 times with a metal pole, which was about 1” in diameter, on the back of the legs, causing injuries,” the department said in a statement Saturday.

Authorities were tipped off to the incident Dec. 6 when a school official in Irvine noticed that the boy had severe bruising on the back of his legs.

The school official filed a reported of suspected child abuse with Child Protective Services and officers with the Irvine Police Department went to interview the boy and his parents at their home.

Kim was later arrested by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's crimes against children detail. He was released on $100,000 bail Dec. 8.

The Sheriff's Department has asked that anyone with information about similar alleged acts by Kim, or who believes he or she was a victim, to call investigators at (909) 387-3615.



Ex-teacher charged with having sex with boy, 17, arrested again

A former middle school teacher charged with having sex with a 17-year-old boy has been arrested again after she allegedly texted and called the alleged victim.

Westminster police arrested Gay Davidson-Shepard, who retired this spring from Mesa View Middle School, after investigators determined that she had contacted the 17-year-old boy, violating terms of her restraining order, according to Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Angela Hong.

Davidson-Shepard and her husband, former Westminster High School teacher Daniel Shepard, were arrested in April on suspicion of having sexual relations with a male Westminster High student, the Huntington Beach Independent reported. They are charged with multiple felony counts, including oral copulation of a minor, sodomy of a person younger than 18 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

After Davidson-Shepard's arrest Wednesday, she faces an additional misdemeanor charge of violating a protective order, Hong said.

The former teachers pleaded not guilty to the felony charges in June.


New York

Give your child the ability to prevent sexual abuse

Lewis W. Diuguid's Nov. 26 commentary reveals several critical issues that remain as much of a problem today as they did decades ago in the author's painful narrative of his personal devastating experience. What still remains missing is the essential information too often not given to children by their parents to help prevent the abuse before it ever happens.

The reason most victims do not tell anyone is because they do not know how to comfortably reveal it, or they may have been told, bribed or threatened to keep it a secret. This is probably true of the Penn State survivors of sexual abuse as well as the molestation at the hands of the Catholic priests years ago. The photograph accompanying Diuguid's article, of a candlelight vigil at Penn State in support of the victims there, serves what purpose for any child who has experienced this horrendous act? I understand the value it offers those who wish to pray for them but what happens when the light is extinguished?

Faculty members and other witnesses to Diuguid's abuse allowed it to happen with permission since they did not intervene. No one told the perpetrator to stop it or held him responsible for his predatory behavior. No reaction is indeed a reaction. These are some prevention suggestion for parents:

From 18 months of age to age 5, teach your children the names of their body parts. Make up comfortable, fun names for the genitals if uncomfortable using the correct anatomical label.

At age 5, introduce “The No Touch Zone” — the area between the waist and knees all the way around and the chest for a girl.

Create a permission list of only those who may ever touch you child's No Touch Zone. The child and parents make up three people and it may very well end there. The only additions to the list can take place if the person is added by the parent giving permission in front of the child. No exceptions. When appropriate, additional names may be added. A 5-year-old who asks why no one else may touch them there may simply be told, “It's against the law.”

Once learned, the child needs to learn eight words — “You are not allowed to touch ME there” — to be told to anyone not on the permission list, or “I am not allowed to touch YOU there” to anyone attempting to make inappropriate contact with a child. In my 20 years of experience teaching my concept of the No Touch Zone, parents have shared with me that their children over and over again have stopped a pedophile or child molester. Why? Because they do not want to get caught. Realizing a child has been properly taught will scare the predator away. Your child then needs to tell you what happened. The rest is up to you.

Children must be taught that secrets are not allowed in your family. No secrets of any kind may be acceptable. Once learned by parental modeling the “no secret” concept, it will alert your child if someone is attempting to create a secret with them.

Lessons must be taught by parents — expect no one else to do it. Teaching names of body parts, identifying the No Touch Zone, explaining the no-secret concept gives your child the tools of prevention. Good luck.

The writer is the retired executive director of Hawthorne Cedar Knolls Residential Treatment Center and consults nationally on issues of child sexual abuse. He serves as a member of the board of directors of



Child Advocacy Center gives abuse victims help and hope

Brentwood resident Pam Paul knows what it's like to commit to causes for which she is passionate, especially family.

The former corporate trainer for HCA devotes her time to being a wife, mom and caretaker to immediate and extended family. She is also part of the family at the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center, where her behind-the-scenes volunteer efforts help sexually and severely physically abused children smile again.

She will never know the names or faces of the children she helps, nor will they know hers. While recognition is not her motivation, her service certainly warrants the appreciation she receives from the center and the children it serves.

The center serves children younger than 18 who are sexually and/or severely physically abused in the four-county service area encompassing Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties. An independent, 501c3 nonprofit organization with a budget of $353,000 and a small staff, the advocacy center counts on volunteers like Pam Paul to provide non-direct service work so that the center can concentrate on providing forensic interviews, case management, victim advocacy and counseling to victims of child abuse.

Statistics are daunting

And yes, there are victims of abuse right here in Williamson County. The national statistics are staggering but true. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Only one in 10 cases is reported.

The Williamson County Child Advocacy Center served 412 children last fiscal year, 202 in Williamson County alone.

“Pam knows that these traumatized children are not just statistics, but precious treasures to be loved and helped. She gives so much of her time, talent and resources so that our staff can concentrate on delivering direct services to an ever-growing number of children in our community who need our help,” says Marcus Stamps, executive director.

Volunteer service for Pam is an all-in process as she helps the center accomplish its mission to “combat child abuse by coordinating services to children and their families in crisis and providing community education focused on prevention and early intervention.” It began when she joined the board of directors a few years ago, providing her expertise to the corporate governance aspect of the center.

She now also volunteers regularly by providing marketing and donor database support, inputting charitable contributions and deposits, preparing correspondence and hosting tours of the center for prospective donors.

Training background used to help

Paul's experience as a corporate trainer is a tremendous resource. She answered the call to help the center's goal of training 6,500 adults in the community during the next several years for the center's flagship child abuse prevention training program.

“Pam paid all costs associated with the necessary training for her to become an authorized facilitator of our Stewards of Children prevention program, and now helps us accommodate growing demand for training by leading classes,” Stamps said. “She is a great facilitator and well prepared by training and background to lead these classes. Her volunteer efforts allow us to provide this training by a highly qualified facilitator with no personnel costs.”

All in all, Pam's work frees valuable time for the center's staff to do what it does best: help these child victims smile again.



Child abuse reports decrease in Franklin County

by BRIAN HALL Staff writer

FRANKLIN COUNTY -- Reports of child abuse in Franklin County are down, and less than those in similar counties, according to a new report on child welfare.

But the number of substantiated cases is higher.

Pennsylvania released its annual State of Child Welfare report earlier this week.

"We're not seeing an increase in repeat foster care placements," said PPC President and CEO Joan Benso of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "That corresponds to data in Franklin and Fulton County. We're not seeing an increase in the number of kids getting placed again in congregate care setting when a child is removed from their own home from a safety and abuse issue and got moved into another home."

Congregate care is a group home or institution.

The state's report also separated counties into similar groupings. Franklin County is described as a rural mix county -- which could have up to a 49 percent urbanized population. Fulton County is described as rural, due to no urbanized population.

Reports of child abuse in Franklin County decreased from 221 in 2010 to 194 in 2011. The rate per 1,000 children age 0 to 17 in the county (5.8) was lower than like counties (9.1) and the state average (9.0).

Child abuse substantiations increased from 20.4 percent of reports filed in the county in 2010 to 24.2 percent of reports in 2011. That figure is higher than the group (16.8 percent) and state average (14.9 percent).

Children receiving in-home services in Franklin County increased from 2,237 to 2,459 over the past year.

The report showed an increase in the number of Pennsylvania children and families being helped through in-home services that allow children to remain with their families and out of foster care. Children receiving in-home services increased by more than 4,700 from 2010 to 2011.

The PPC would like to see the number of children ages 13 or older who are in foster care decrease.

For instance, 57 percent of foster children in Franklin County were 13 or older last year.

"Too many of these young adults end up 'aging out' of the foster care system without the support of a permanent family to help them cope with the often stressful transition to adulthood," Benso said.


Pacific discussion on child abuse vs child discipline

Child protection workers from across the Pacific are meeting in Fiji to share their success stories and to set goals for the next year.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund which has organised the gathering says the aim of the five days of workshops is to to ensure children are increasingly free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

Johanna Eriksson Takyo, UNICEF's Chief of Child Protection, says there are sometimes differences of opinion over what is normal disciplining of children, and what constitutes actual child abuse.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Johanna Eriksson Takyo, UNICEF's Chief of Child Protection

TAKYO: Of course, not just Pacific Island countries, we know that in all countries around the world that children do experience violence and abuse and exploitation in various forms, both at homes, in schools and in communities and we have through research that we have completed over the past few years, we have confirmed a pattern of quite systematic and high levels of violence and abuse of children, so that's definitely an area that we're trying to address. In terms of the more systematic challenges there's whilst there is an increased recognition of child protection as a concern and an issue that we need to address, there are sort of institutional systematic shortcomings in the sense that there are gaps in the legal and the policy frameworks, there are shortcomings in terms of the child and welfare support and service systems and of course the fact that for many, child abuse is still not seen as an issue that should be talked about or should be reported. So there are also some behavioural and attitudinal challenges that we must address.

HILL: In many parts of the Pacific, Polynesia as well as Melanesia, attitudes towards child discipline it would be fair to say are pretty robust and probably more robust than they are these days in Australia and New Zealand. Do people necessarily see discipline as child abuse or do they see it as just ordinary discipline of their children and not really anyone else's business?

TAKYO: Parents in the Pacific as parents in other countries want very good things for their children. They want children to grow up knowing what is right and what is wrong and you're right that physical punishment or corporal punishment is not always seen as abusive when it's done in the interest of the discipline and bringing up children. But I think through the discourse that UNICEF and others are able to have, we are able to also discuss the impact that physical violence and physical punishment and also what the impact of emotional and verbal abuse, the impact that it actually has on the child and through that dialogue, we're able to I think slowly by surely change some of those attitudes.

HILL: The reason I ask that is that do you sometimes come up against resistance when you talk about child abuse and physical punishment being problematic. Do you run across people from the Pacific saying well, hang on a second, you're talking about Australia and New Zealand, Europe and America, that's one thing, but here we just do things differently. Different doesn't necessarily mean wrong or bad?

TAKYO: Yeah, and I think in the conference that we've just had we did discuss a lot about this, about the language and the terminology and the words that we used and I think for UNICEF and the Child Protection Program that I'm representing and with the partners we have been discussing this issue. It's about finding the right language and not to present child protection issues and protecting children from violence and abuse and exploitation, not at a foreign concept, but in fact point out and to start to see that what is good for children and what is positive parenting practices, that is non-violent forms of parenting practices is something that is very embedded already in Pacific culture. It's where the child is part of the family unity and so we're trying to tap into those positive practices where they exist, of course highlighting where there are challenges that we still need to address, but to start from the strength based approach and to start with the positive practices that actually exist.

And it was interesting just recently in one of the countries in Vanuatu where we were doing a workshop with some church-based organisations and we tried to map out what people already arguing and what work is already going on around families and communities and what we found is that they may not call it child ? protection work, they may not call child rights work, but in essence, a lot about supporting families and supporting communities is about strengthening families and assisting those in need and it's very much very much there. We just need to strengthen it and we need to continue the dialogue and to make sure that we also highlight and address the shortcomings and where children's well being is actually at risk.


Head of Canada's Boy Scouts apologizes to victims of sexual abuse

Steve P. Kent, chairman of the governing board of Scouts Canada, also announces an independent review of confidential files it has long kept on leaders accused of molestation.

by Jason Felch and Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times

December 8, 2011

The head of Canada's Boy Scouts has apologized to victims of sexual abuse in the organization and announced an independent review of confidential files it has long kept on leaders accused of molestation.

"Our sincere efforts to prevent such crimes have not always succeeded, and we are sorry for that and saddened at any resulting harm," said Steve P. Kent, chairman of the governing board of Scouts Canada.

Kent said he has asked an outside auditing firm to review confidential records that Scouts Canada, like the Boy Scouts of America, has maintained for decades to keep known molesters out of its ranks. The two organizations are independent of each other.

Kent said the moves were sparked by recent media attention. In October, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and the Los Angeles Times published a joint investigation that found Scouts Canada and the Boy Scouts of America had failed to prevent a convicted child molester from abusing Scouts over two decades on both sides of the border, and at times had helped him cover his tracks.

Scouts Canada Chief Executive Janet Yale denied that her organization kept confidential records. She resigned abruptly in November after the CBC published proof of their existence.

The Boy Scouts of America has fought in court to keep its files from public view, arguing they contain no information of value. On Thursday evening, a spokesman said the BSA has in the past apologized to victims both publicly and privately.

"We believe perpetrators of abuse should be punished to the fullest extent of the law; even suspicion of abuse must be reported by members and volunteers to law enforcement and result in immediate removal from Scouting," the organization said in a statement.

In recent years, the BSA has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits alleging it mishandled cases of sexual abuse. Last year, an Oregon man was awarded nearly $20 million when a jury found the BSA had failed to protect him from a known molester.

Paul Mones, one of his attorneys, said he hoped the Boy Scouts of America would issue a blanket apology like their Canadian counterparts — and back it up with "substantial reparations" to victims.

"The vast number of victims will never come forward. This will on a certain level, for those who feel they can't come forward because they are too embarrassed or blame themselves, be of some solace," he said of the Canadian apology.,0,5102639,print.story


Sandusky's wife defends husband on abuse charges

by Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The wife of ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky said Thursday her husband is innocent of the child sex abuse allegations made against him and that his accusers are making up their stories, including one suggesting she was home while Sandusky attacked a boy who screamed for help.

Dottie Sandusky's comments defending her husband were the first she has made since Sandusky was arrested last month and accused of molesting boys he met through a charity he founded for troubled youth. He faces more than 50 charges and has maintained his innocence.

She released the statement through her husband's lawyer a day after a grand jury report detailed claims of two new accusers, among them the testimony of one who said he cried out for her help while Sandusky assaulted him in a basement bedroom.

"I am so sad anyone would make such a terrible accusation which is absolutely untrue," she said. "We don't know why these young men have made these false accusations, but we want everyone to know they are untrue."

Earlier Thursday, Jerry Sandusky was released after a night in jail when he posted bail stemming from the latest child sex-abuse charges filed against him. A judge has ordered him subject to electronic monitoring.

Sandusky faces criminal accusations from 10 young men who claim he molested them.

Sandusky, 67, has said he showered and horsed around with boys but never sexually abused them.

Until her statement, Dottie Sandusky, 68, had kept largely out of sight since the charges were filed.

The grand jury report that accompanied the 12 new charges Wednesday said one alleged victim testified Jerry Sandusky kept him in a basement bedroom during overnight visits to the home, fed him there, forced him to perform oral sex and attempted on at least 16 occasions to anally penetrate him, sometimes successfully.

"The victim testified that on at least one occasion he screamed for help, knowing that Sandusky's wife was upstairs, but no one ever came to help him," the grand jury report said.

In her statement, Dottie Sandusky disputed his claims.

Penn State plans to cooperate with the Big Ten after the conference said it would review the child sex-abuse scandal at the school and reserved the right to hand down sanctions pending its findings.

The 12-member league also announced Thursday it would begin an immediate review of institutional control of athletics at its schools, including the possibility of a common set of "stress tests" to ensure accountability and oversight.


Gobsmack an Internet porn troll
Want to see a herd of Internet porn trolls? Post an article about the link between child sexual abuse and child porn: the porn trolls will come flocking. They are tirelessly illogical in their defense of child porn. Want to do something to help the children of the world? Red State Gal has the answer to that question in today's Conservative Feminist.
  Sexual Abuse of Children: Internet Porn Trolls Tirelessly Defend Child Porn

December 8, 2011

by Red State Gal

Conservative Feminist


From the Red State Feminist Blog:
Gobsmack a Porn Troll Today

Red State Feminists have seen it, and you've seen it, too. Every time a new study comes out that links porn use to acting out in illegal and abhorrent ways, the porn trolls come online to comment. This happened recently in connection with an article entitled, “Link Between Child Porn and Sex Abuse is “Frightening and Powerful.”

A study by the Department of Justice is cited. In this study, “up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.” The article goes on to say that, “The study also found that for every known victim, the convicted sex offenders, responding anonymously, listed dozens more that were unknown. Of the 155 child pornography offenders in the study, investigators knew of 75 victims at the time they were all sentenced. But those offenders reported crimes against a total of 1,777 victims in the course of the study.”

Law enforcement officials are also cited: “Ken Wallentine, chief of law enforcement with the attorney general's office, said it was “unusual” for investigators and prosecutors to find a child sex abuse case that didn't originate with or involve child pornography. “Every time we find a child predator, almost without fail you can track back and find that pornography and child pornography was part of the picture,” the chief of law enforcement with the Utah Attorney General's Office said. “The links are frightening and they are powerful.”

The article even interviews an incarcerated child abuser: “Seager said he'd never touched child pornography until an accidental search of the history on a friend's computer showed him how simple file-sharing was — and how much child pornography there was to access. “It was incredibly easy,” he said. “I saw some terrible, terrible things out there and as I kept searching, those things weren't so terrible anymore.”

Ah, but then you go to the comments section, where the porn trolls live. These men–for they are all men, and all users of child porn themselves–feel absolutely driven to tell us there is nothing wrong with pornography. Take this “jewel” appended in the comments section of this article:

I find this rather ludicrous and irresponsible fear mongering hate. First they have to define pornography which has never been done and can't be done. Normal human behavior cannot be classified as pornography, at least not be people who still have some sanity and a sane mind. However, this mass induced paranoia can be forced on the unsuspecting to believe what a few want you to believe. Child abuse and pornography have no correlation and its time to put this paranoid idealist to rest. All people have some level of pornographic mind but not all people are child abusers that this man implies. Without a pornographic mind there would be no sex and no sex means no population. It's fine to believe this man if you want to induce population limits and controls but he is a wild card paranoid who hates himself for his own pornographic paranoia.

Uh, sure. Can this porn troll be any more transparent? Apparently, anyone who has ever had sex is a pornographer. So it's totally natural. And if we don't get on board, we won't have any more babies. Riiiiigggghhhhhttttt.

Here's the next porn troll. This one uses the standard sophistry of “there may be a correlation, but it's because those who would abuse children are also attracted to child porn. Child porn itself does not cause abuse. Just a certain personality type is at work.” Here's this guy's explanation:

It's chicken and egg thing. Do people become abusers because of child porn or are abusers attracted to child porn? I think the latter is more common. It is like the anti-gun lobby claiming that all people with guns are criminals when in fact most people who have guns never violate. Or saying that water will kill you because all people who have died drank water some time in there lives.Yes, child porn in it's raw form is exploitation of a child, but many legal definitions would make most parents felony violators with that picture of little baby Billy in the buff in the family album. Cases should be based on what the person has done to a victim, not what they haven't done to a victim.

So now all parents are pornographers. So it's totally natural. Yeah.

We must not overlook the archteypal porn user's response. This one always takes the cake:

I could think of a number of things that are ‘strongly liked” to sex abuse: breathing, eating, walking, traveling, shopping, driving, etc. Afterall, all sex offenders probably do all of the above. When attempts are made to find cause and effect most times the desired result colors the “research”.

Amaaaazing. The link between child porn and child abuse is apparently completely ridiculous, because child abusers also all breathe! The illogic is stunning.

It's time for the mothers of the world to stand up and expose these porn trolls for what they are–utter sleaze bags. Hound them, keep commenting bak at them until they realize that the mothers of our children are not going anywhere, and are not going to give in to the stupidity and evil of the trolls. Show them how tenacious you are, because what they are counting on is that no one will care enough to follow through on efforts to crack down on these sleaze bags. Show them YOU care.

Want to do something to help the children of the world? Gobsmack a porn troll online today. And do it in the name of Red State Feminism.



Sex abuse victim launches website to reach others


The Penn State sex abuse scandal has drawn important national attention, but victims and advocates are working to shine light on the local reality of child abuse.

Zoie Brown is one such victim, and she launched her website, Victims Get Vocal, last month to encourage others to share their stories and direct them to the help they need.

The Child Abuse Listening and Mediation Center also launched the “I Will Not Be Silent Campaign,” this month to encourage community members to pledge to speak up if they witness or suspect abuse.

Zoie, 19, said her father drugged her and sexually and emotionally abused her from the time she was 11 to 14. He was also found guilty in a 2009 adoption fraud case for which he served under two years in jail.

In the years after she came forward, she struggled with problems of addiction and eating disorders. She only reached the stability she has today after extensive therapy, she said.

Zoie hopes she can help others find the support they need before it is too late, she said. She pointed out that many who are abused go down the same avenue of self medication, and some even turn to suicide. She was inspired to launch the site by the story of victim Ashley Billasano, a Texas teen who committed suicide in November.

“If you find that good support system and you can be heard, you can get help,” Zoie Brown said.
Through her website and Facebook page, she says she receives about three messages a day. She responds to each of them and encourages them to report their case and seek therapy, which she said is the only real way to handle the trauma.

“It doesn't go away,” she said, “until you deal with it.”

Before she really faced down her problems with proper therapy, Zoie said she “just chose drugs.”

She experimented with everything — marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin — trying to cure the pain, and was barely passing her high-school classes.

After she was pulled over for speeding 90 miles an hour on the freeway while under the influence, her older brother inspired her to seek treatment.

“He said ‘You need to go or you're going to die,'” Zoie recounted. She checked herself in to a residential treatment facility in Montana for 15 months, and since then has sought regular therapy.

Unfortunately, Zoie said, many stay silent far too long before getting the help they need. She said she underwent years of abuse before she came forward.

Finally, at the end of her eighth grade year she informed a teacher of what was happening.

“I got sick of it and I wanted someone to hear me,” she said. “I wanted something to happen so I could feel safe.”

Like so many other victims, her abuser had kept her silent with threats. Zoie, who was adopted when she was one, said her father hid a knife under his bed and threatened to kill her and her mother if she ever told anyone.

Another reason abuse goes unreported is because it is so uncomfortable to talk about, and unfortunately victims are embarrassed, she said.

About half of the girls in the facility she stayed at had been molested, she said, but none of them were comfortable sharing their stories.

Her mother, Christen Brown, said opening up about abuse is rare, and only an estimated one in 10 ever do.

“She's very brave, I'm very proud,” Christen Brown said.

But for all her bravery, her father walks free of the alleged crimes Zoie accuses him of, adding to her suffering and fueling her anger.

To this day she is waging a campaign to get her father put on trial, this time to face her accusations.

The District Attorney has reviewed Zoie's case twice: first in 2008 when Zoie first sought legal action, and again this year when her psychologists and therapists wrote letters on her behalf.

In April she was told that the case was again dismissed due to lack of physical evidence.

To Zoie and her mother, this reasoning is absurd and suspect.

For years she relived her abuse, waking in the middle of the night in a panic with her father's threats echoing in her head.

To this day both she and her mother live with the fear that he will find where they are living.

Both demand that he is brought to trial to abolish this fear and to see him brought to justice.

“I think he deserves to go to jail,” Brown said. “I don't think any molester deserves to walk free — its a whole new violation of that individual.”

Her mother said she has been told by multiple lawyers that there is no reason they can see why her case cannot be tried.

Zoie's inspiration, Billasano, felt hopeless that her alleged perpetrator would be brought to justice and sent over a hundred tweets detailing the abuse in a last cry for help and vindication before she took her own life.

Zoie said her rejection in April made her feel like turning right back down the track she had just gotten off of.

She said that, unfortunately these are not isolated incidences. From what she's researched, incest cases are the hardest to try. She has been circulating a petition to have her case heard and has gathered over 900 signatures so far, she said.

She said having the site up has helped her to feel constructive which helps deal with her frustration.
She hopes to expand the site into a foundation someday, and sees herself as a spokesperson for the issue, perhaps visiting classrooms to tell her story.

Despite all the messages she has received, the Web site is still fairly young, with only a few members and a handful of stories posted. But Zoie is confident momentum will build.

“I think they will start reaching out,” she said. “I respond to all of them. I feel like if that site can help just one person, it's all worth it.”

To sign Zoie's petition, visit

To visit Zoie's website go to

To sign the petition for CALM, visit


New York

N.Y. must toughen sexual abuse laws

State's children deserve better

by Cynthia Grant Bowman

Many years ago, I was sexually abused by a family friend. It went on over a long period of time and I, like most good little girls, kept it a secret. My revenge was to grow up and write about remedies for adult survivors of child sex abuse, and my research has been published in the Harvard Law Review and elsewhere.

As a result of my scholarly expertise, my phone was ringing off the hook last week with calls from reporters asking for comments about the allegations that the assistant Syracuse basketball coach had sexually abused adolescent ball boys. The charges alleged involve what is frequently called "fondling," a misnomer that implies affection.

I was shocked to discover that this very common type of abuse is classified as a misdemeanor in New York, the state in which I spent my childhood and to which I have recently returned. If the victim is older than 12, penalties are so minor as to be almost trivial.

What is alleged to have occurred — masturbation or mutual masturbation with a minor — is classified under New York law as "sexual contact," defined as "touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party." If the victim is over the age of 12, this sexual offense is either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, with a maximum possible penalty of a year in prison. In order to raise the offense to a felony, New York requires some type of penetration.

The Syracuse abuse took place a long time ago, and the boys, like me, kept it secret. So when the first to come forward contacted the Syracuse police, he was told that any criminal prosecution was barred by the statute of limitations — two years for misdemeanor sexual abuse in New York and five years for a felony. (If there is penetration of any sort or the victim is younger, New York would impose no statute of limitations at all.)

Widespread coverage and public outrage over the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State encouraged the Syracuse victim to renew his claim, and more victims came forward with allegations. They had never forgotten the abuse, but now felt empowered to speak, even if their cases were time-barred and perhaps not worth the agony of pursuing them under New York law.

New York's trivialization of child sex abuse is not only an outrage but also a deviation from the law in other states and the federal system. In Pennsylvania, child sex abuse law includes offenses not involving penetration and protects children up to the age of 18. The survivor may sue up to the age of 50. Under federal law, sexual acts with children under 16 are punishable by sentences up to life in prison.

Dr. Thomas Roesler, an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, has extensively studied the effects of child sex abuse. According to him, unwanted sexual contact of the sort alleged by the Syracuse victim has been found to be "clearly deleterious in study after study. The damage comes from the violation of trust and the distortion of supposedly trusting relationships, not from the degree of physical contact." The long-term effects include depression, diminished self-esteem, trauma symptoms, sexual dysfunction and dissociation.

I could cite study after study, but I can also attest to the impact of similar abuse on my own life, the years of painful psychotherapy required to repair the damage and the effect on those dear to me.

I urge the legislature of New York to rethink its classifications, statutes of limitations and penalties for child sex abuse. The law as it stands trivializes this severe crime against children and adolescents.

Public outrage is intense in these cases involving boys, even though abuse of girls is more common. But if this causes the citizens of New York to press their representatives for changes in the law, I will be content. Indeed, I will feel some sense of vindication for what happened to me 50 years ago.

Bowman, who grew up in Binghamton, is the Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School.


To Report or Not to Report Abuse? That is the (Wrong) Question


The recent child sexual abuse allegations involving Jerry Sandusky and other university officials at Penn State have opened up the floor for policy makers, journalists, and others to debate whether or not laws should require all adults to report known or suspected cases of child abuse.

This debate is not new. However, with the topic of child sexual abuse in the nation's spotlight, it may be the first time the issue has gotten this much public attention.

Currently, only 18 states have broad reporting laws that require all adults, not just professionals who work with children, to report suspected or known cases of abuse.

Proponents of broad mandatory reporting laws argue that such laws could make people more likely to report incidents that typically go unreported to law enforcement, such as those outlined in the Grand Jury indictment against Sandusky. Conversely, opponents argue that such measures inundate the child welfare system with false and unsubstantiated claims, causing overwhelmed child protection agencies to leave many victims unaided.

Although it is important to generate improved ways detect and report child abuse, prevention efforts that center on procedures for detecting and reporting may perpetuate the tendency for adults to be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to keeping children safe from abuse. After all, by the time adults are faced with the challenge of whether or not to report, in most cases, there is reason to believe that abuse has already occurred.

It may benefit more children if this debate expands to include more discussion about 'primary prevention' strategies, which are strategies that are intended to stop child sexual abuse before it occurs. Primary prevention initiatives include child abuse education programs, public awareness campaigns, parent education programs, and school and community-based programs that support families. Primary prevention approaches that emphasize strengthening families and increasing protective factors in children's lives have been found to be the most effective in combatting child abuse.

Sexual abuse education programs for children may include age-appropriate lessons that teach children how to identify situations where sexual abuse could occur, how to refuse sexual advances or break off physical contact, and how to summon help from nearby adults once inappropriate contact has begun or seems like it could occur. Studies have shown that children who participate in sexual abuse education programs may even show less self-blame than non-participants if they are subsequently sexually abused.

Immediately after the Penn State case appeared surfaced in mainstream media, the Penn State Board of Trustees issued an action plan, which proposed enhanced educational programming around the issues of child sexual abuse. It will be interesting to see how the Board executes their plan. Hopefully, there will be some form of accountability to ensure the implementation and monitoring of these initiatives.

Those of us who are not members of the Penn State community must also advocate for primary prevention efforts. We can start by working within our communities and collaborating with policy makers to encourage advocacy and the funding of primary prevention programs in order to reduce the chances of being faced with reporting.


2 new accusers, 12 new sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky

Jerry Sandusky was arrested Wednesday on 12 new sexual abuse charges brought by two new accusers, authorities said.

With his previous charges, that's a total of 52 counts of sexual abuse of children for the former Penn State football coach.

Sandusky, 67, was arrested in State College, Pa., by state police and transported for preliminary arraignment before a district judge, said Pennsylvania Atty. Gen. Linda Kelly in an statement.

DOCUMENT: Details on the new Sandusky charges

The charges were brought after two new alleged victims testified before a grand jury, Kelly said. Like other alleged victims, the two new accusers met Sandusky through the Second Mile, a charity for at-risk children he founded in 1977.

One of the victims said he was abused by Sandusky after meeting him in 2004, when he was 11 or 12 years old, Kelly said. The second victim says he was also assaulted in 2004.

“As in many of the other cases identified to date, the contact with Sandusky allegedly fit a pattern of ‘grooming' victims,” Kelly said. “Beginning with outings to football games and gifts, they later included physical contact that escalated to sexual assaults.”

Sandusky is charged with four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, all first-degree felonies. He also is charged with two counts of indecent assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of children and two counts of corruption of minors.

Sandusky is already facing 40 counts of child sexual abuse of eight boys over a 15-year span.

Sandusky has repeatedly denied being a pedophile and said he would fight the charges. In interviews with NBC and the New York Times, he has admitted to showering with boys but asserts that he never sexually abused them.


Penn State justifies child-abuse reforms

by Barbara Clark and Maria D. McColgan

Pennsylvania's laws and policies simply don't go far enough to protect children from the sort of abuse that allegedly took place at Penn State. That's why we're among the many advocates, experts, and organizations that have been calling for the creation of a state child protection and accountability task force to review and recommend changes in the way the state deals with child abuse.

We first urged Gov. Corbett and state legislators to form such a body in April, and we renewed the call before a state Senate committee in August. We envision a commission that brings representatives of the administration and the legislature together with experts to examine and make timely recommendations about the commonwealth's child protection efforts. The task force should consider such issues as:

Defining child abuse.

Strengthening and clarifying mandatory reporting laws.

Improving the state child-abuse hotline, ChildLine.

Simplifying the multiple paths to investigation and services for children who are abused or at risk.

Increasing accountability and transparency in Pennsylvania's child protection system.

Substantiating child abuse is not easy in this state, which is a statistical outlier in this area. The commonwealth investigates only 8.3 abuse cases per 1,000 children, compared with a national average of 40.3 per 1,000. And it substantiates only 1.4 cases of abuse per 1,000 children, compared with 9.3 per 1,000 nationally. Why?

The state's approach to child neglect is often cited to explain the discrepancy. Pennsylvania distinguishes between child protective services and general protective services, with the latter applying to cases generally considered to involve "nonserious injury or neglect" - e.g., inadequate shelter, truancy, inappropriate discipline, abandonment, and other problems that threaten a child's healthy growth and development but are not defined as abuse.

However, a growing body of research and reports suggests a gap between what the state's children are experiencing and what is officially determined to be abuse under state law. That means Pennsylvania's child protection system could be full of cracks that vulnerable children are slipping through.

Acknowledging these cracks and the children who fall through them is far from an exercise in niggling over statistics or ascribing labels. Nor should it be interpreted as a push for the removal of more children from their homes for placement in foster care - which, like other adverse childhood experiences, can lead to a lifetime of negative consequences.

Rather, this is an opportunity to critically examine the core elements of our child welfare system and to ensure that our laws and practices are sufficiently focused on children, child safety, and the prevention of child abuse.

As the nation has been tragically reminded too many times, reports of child abuse and investigations by child protection agencies have not always been enough to stop abuse. The Penn State case underscores the need for an objective review of the state's core child protection laws and practices, including its definition of child abuse. Vulnerable children have already waited too long.

Barbara Clark is executive director of Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) in Bucks County. Dr. Maria D. McColgan is director of the Child Protection Program at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.



Coach Graham James pleads guilty to sexual assaults on players

by Chinta Puxley

December 7, 2011

WINNIPEG — It was another dark moment in one of the blackest chapters in Canadian hockey.

Former junior coach and convicted sex offender Graham James pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexual assaults involving two of his former players, including NHL star Theoren Fleury.

A soft-spoken, emotionless James entered the plea in a Winnipeg courtroom via video link from Montreal.

The disgraced coach was originally facing nine charges of sexual assault involving three players between 1979 and 1994, but only pleaded guilty to charges involving Fleury and another victim, who name remains under a court-order publication ban.

Charges related to a third complainant, Greg Gilhooly, were stayed.

James has been out on bail for almost a year and is living in Montreal.

He is to be sentenced Feb. 22 and will have to appear in Winnipeg for that. There has been no deal struck on how he will be sentenced, but he remains on bail for now.

James already served a 3½-year prison sentence for abusing other former players he coached, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy.

An agreed statement of facts read out in the Winnipeg courtroom by Crown Colleen McDuff said James's abuse of Fleury started in September 1983 and lasted until August 1985. The statement said the encounters began with James fondling Fleury while he slept and escalated to the coach performing oral sex.

The statement indicated it was much the same with the second victim. Those attacks took place between 1989 and 1994.

The most recent charges came after Fleury published an autobiography in which he described the abuse he suffered.

In the book Playing With Fire the former Calgary Flame told of how James recruited him at 13 to play in Winnipeg and then in Moose Jaw. He said James would visit and abuse him on the road — fondling him or performing oral sex. James obtained Fleury's silence by threatening the youngster's dream of one day playing in the NHL.

Fleury detailed how James took him and Kennedy to Disneyland where he said James would take turns molesting them in motel rooms. James pleaded guilty to the charges involving Kennedy in 1997, but Fleury stayed silent until 2009.

Gilhooly called Wednesday's ruling “a fantastic deal” from a legal perspective — even though the charges involving him were stayed.

“The Crown gets a guilty plea,” said Gilhooly, a one-time junior hockey player who is now a corporate lawyer. “The Crown gets agreement to the statement of fact without opposition.

“And the Crown didn't have to cut a deal on sentence. Everybody gets what they want but me.”

But at a news conference in Calgary, Fleury criticized the justice system for how it handled the James case.

“Graham James pled guilty years ago, and then he was granted a pardon, after he was found in Mexico and brought back to Canada on these charges,” he said. “He was given bail...this is what the mighty Canadian justice system allowed a previously convicted child rapist to do.”

Fleury said a convicted pedophile like James doesn't change.

“I believe what people show me — he showed me he was and is a rapist. There is no changing a monster like that.”

He criticized the fact James remains on bail and suggested he should serve a lengthy sentence.

“It took me 27 years to get comfortable in my own skin,” Fleury said. “To me, that's a pretty decent sentence.”

Both Kennedy and Fleury spiralled downward as adults despite their professional success on the ice. They were both divorced, and both abused drugs and alcohol.

Fleury said the sexual abuse in his teen years transformed him from a confused young man into an angry, self-loathing boozer who blew millions on cards, drugs and lap dancers.

Kennedy said he was suicidal and couldn't sleep for fear he would be taken advantage of again.

Both have become outspoken advocates for abuse victims.

Fleury said he has no plans to attend James's sentencing.

“I would rather be in a room full of survivors and victims.”

He was planning to travel to High Prairie, Alta., after speaking with reporters to meet with a victims services group.

He said he's already moved past the trauma.

“Even before I went to Winnipeg to file a complaint with the Winnipeg Police Service, I was already at the point of victor in my life, so I never put any stock or end point to what was going to happen through the legal system.

“What the legal system has shown me is that it's flawed, very, very seriously, and that we have to change.”

James was quietly pardoned for his crimes in 2007 — something that didn't come to light until it was reported by The Canadian Press last year. The pardon, which was called “deeply troubling and gravely disturbing” by the prime minister's office, sparked widespread anger among James's victims and the public.

The pardon didn't erase his criminal record but meant the information was kept in a separate file and doesn't show up on checks of the Canadian Police Information Centre, the key law-enforcement database used by the RCMP and other police forces.

The Conservative government has since overhauled the pardon system, increased fees and banned pardons for those convicted of sexual offences against a minor.

Even so, Fleury said, the damage James has done remains untallied.

“There's six of us who came forward, but there's probably 140 guys out there, who, I can pretty much write their stories from start to finish, and where they are today and what has happened in their life.”


DA says ex-Syracuse assistant left many victims

by MEGHAN BARR, Associated Press

December 8, 2011

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Many of the key names in the sex abuse investigation of ex- Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine are well-known by now: Bobby Davis , Michael Lang , Zach Tomaselli .

All three say they were molested by Fine when they were boys. Two, Davis and Lang, were ballboys for the team.

On Wednesday, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said he believes Davis and Lang were abused by Fine. He said some records may call into question Tomaselli's account that he was abused by Fine.

The DA said the statute of limitations has expired on the Davis and Lang accusations. Tomaselli's claims are within the federal statute of limitations.

Fitzpatrick lashed out at Fine and added other names to the list of what he says are victims: Fine's longtime friend, Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim , the university and the city.

"Hasn't Bernie Fine caused enough pain in this community?" Fitzpatrick said.

Davis went to the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper in 2002 and ESPN in 2003; neither media outlet could corroborate his claims. He went to the police, too, in 2002, and a detective told him the statute of limitations had expired. Three years later, he went to the university; Syracuse had its lawyers do an internal investigation and says it, too, couldn't verify Davis' accusations.

Then, on Nov. 17, with the country still caught up in the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, where a former assistant football coach is accused of molesting 10 boys, Davis came forward on ESPN. Then Lang came forward. Ten days later, Tomaselli spoke out. That day, Nov. 27, ESPN aired a tape in which a woman it identified as Fine's wife tells Davis she knew "everything" that was going on.

The university fired Fine that day.

Fitzpatrick called the tape "devastating."

Fitzpatrick expressed regret he couldn't bring charges against Fine on the Davis and Lang accusations because the statute of limitations has expired. While he said he couldn't say whether the coach would be found guilty of any charges, he said flatly that if the claims had been brought within the statute, and if law enforcement knew of the tape, it "would have resulted in the arrest of Bernie Fine for child molestation."

Fine, who was fired Nov. 27, has denied the charges.

"Bobby, I'm sorry it took so long," Fitzpatrick said. "I wish I had met you as a prosecutor in 2002. Even more importantly, I wish I had met you as a prosecutor back in the 1980s. We wouldn't be here today."

When he went public again last month, Davis was maligned by Boeheim as an opportunist and a liar, accusations the coach later apologized for, saying he was defending a friend out of loyalty without knowing all the information. Victim advocates called for him to quit or be fired. Fitzpatrick said Boeheim, one of the top college coaches in the nation whose team is currently ranked No. 3, was victimized by Fine, too.

"He let his friend go out and attack the victims, never once warning him they were telling the truth," Fitzpatrick said. "Then stood by and did nothing while that friend was vilified."

Fitzpatrick also said calls for the resignation of university Chancellor Nancy Cantor were baseless.

The statute of limitations expired five years after Davis and Lang say they were molested. But the federal statute of limitations in place in 2002, when Tomaselli says he was abused by Fine in a Pittsburgh hotel room, allowed a victim to bring charges until he was 25; Tomaselli is 23.

Fine's lawyers, Donald Martin and Karl Sleight , said in a statement that it appears the records Fitzpatrick mentioned show "that there is proof that Tomaselli fabricated this allegation."

Tomaselli's phone rang unanswered Wednesday.

Tomaselli also is charged in Maine with molesting a teenage boy and said this week that he'll plead guilty.

The 65-year-old Fine had been Boeheim's top assistant since 1976. The U.S. attorney's office is investigating and has seized computers, cameras, phones and records during searches of his office, home and locker.

Even with the support of the district attorney, whose words wouldn't be admissible in a civil lawsuit, neither Lang nor Davis can bring civil action against Fine.

The statute of limitations in New York on bringing a civil suit for child sexual abuse is five years after the victim turns 18. New York lawmakers are again considering a measure to lift it or open a one-year window for older incidents that, if approved, would open the way for a civil suit by Davis or Lang.

Repeated attempts by The Associated Press to contact Davis and Lang have been unsuccessful. Knocks on the doors of their two houses were unanswered Wednesday after Fitzpatrick's statement.

A woman hanging Christmas lights outside the Fines' house said the couple is in Florida.

Fitzpatrick said the case can't be compared to Penn State, where head football coach Joe Paterno and college administrators knew of the accusations against Jerry Sandusky , who maintains his innocence.



Kids learn where to get help

by Limakatso Khalianyane

Children in Soweto spent the day with the City. But it was not all about fun. The serious message was about dealing with child abuse.

M PHO Hlabolwa, a 10-year-old from Entokozweni Drop-in Centre, said she learned that when a person touched her inappropriately, she should tell an adult.

She was at a fun day for abused and vulnerable children at the Moletsane Sport Complex in Soweto on 7 December. Some 50 vulnerable children from five drop-in centres in the township were invited to the day by the City's department of urban management in Region D. It was part of activities for 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

The children, who were aged from six to 14, included those from very poor families. The drop-in centres give them meals each day and help with homework. They also offer the children extramural activities.

Centres invited to the fun day were Noah Orphanage in Mzimhlophe, Entokozweni in Moletsane, Red Cross in Rockville, Carl Sithole in Klipspruit, and Photselerengwa in Mapetla.

Leli Mohlabane, the regional manager of programmes and strategy in Soweto, said the department wanted to ensure that from an early age, children knew the different aspects of abuse and how to deal with it, even if they saw it from afar.

“As a department we needed to play a role to show that this campaign is important to all of us,” he said.

The day was held to raise awareness of abuse and support survivors of abuse. Children, who were accompanied by guardians from the centres, were told about different kinds of abuse and what they should do if they or their friends experienced any kind of abuse.

Mohlabane, who was one of the educators, encouraged the children to report any type of abuse to their parents. If their parents were not available, their teachers should be an alternative. “If children are abused they turn to be abusers when they are adults,” he added.

Do not accept sweets if you did not know where they came from, especially from strangers, because usually there was something they wanted. Be aggressive when people tried to abuse you, Mohlabane urged the children.

There was also a dance competition for the children, with prizes awarded to the best dancers. The dance floor was buzzing with youngsters doing their best moves to impress the judges.

First prize was a school bag. The second and third prizes were a pencils case and a lunch box. There was also a jumping castle, but the highlight of the day was the gifts of school bags and monopoly games for each child.

An annual campaign, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children raises awareness about gender violence and the abuse of women and children.



Child sexual abuse in the Panhandle

by Lindsey Stiner

AMARILLO, TEXAS -- W herever you get your news, in the last few months, you could not avoid this subject. The headlines concerning child sexual abuse has been everywhere.

With that in mind, we wondered if the caseload has been changing for our local experts who deal with that problem.

With the investigations at Penn State and Syracuse Universities, the recent Amarillo Independent School District teacher investigation, many people are talking about child sexual abuse.

According the the National Center for Victims of Crime, 90,000 child sexual abuse cases are reported a year. It is estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys will have experienced an episode of sexual abuse while younger than 18 years.

Pronews 7 spoke to Family Support Services to see if more cases are being reported in our area.

"On an average I would say that there are over 300 forensic sexual exams done each year that's on children and adults as well , " said Angie Stovall, Crisis Service Coordinator.

Stovall says the 300 cases are their average, and they have not seen a huge increase, or decrease. But she does have a warning for many parents, especially during the holidays.

"Over 90% of the time children know the offender in some way, friend, family, neighbor."

If you suspect your child or a child you know has been sexually assaulted, there are a few common symptoms to look for.

If you suspect your child or a child you know has been sexually assaulted, there are a few common symptoms to look for.

"You're going to notice that they're acting out sexually, that maybe they're using language that they haven't used before maybe drawing pictures of a sexual nature . A lso with younger kids there maybe a regression in some of their behaviors, maybe going back to bed wetting, thumb sucking , " said Stovall.

She says older children will skip school or have a poor self image. Also, all it takes is a watchful eye to keep them safe.

"It's important to keep an eye on your kids all the time in public places stay with your kids don't let them go to public restroom by themselves. Know who they're with do some research."

Research and extra steps that could save a child from becoming a victim of sexual assault.

Stovall also says your child is never too young to be taught about safe boundaries and to report if someone crosses them.

If you suspect a child has been sexually abused, contact police and take the child to the hospital for an exam.


New Accuser Steps Forward in Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal

A 19-year-old man has filed a complaint with state police alleging he was sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky after the former coach gave him liquor on the Penn State campus in 2004, the accuser's lawyer said Tuesday.

Charles Schmidt said the client, whom he did not identify, went to his law firm about three weeks ago, after Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.

"He suffered one incident of abuse, to use the legal term -- involuntary deviate sexual intercourse -- allegedly at the hands of Mr. Sandusky," Schmidt said. "That occurred on the Penn State campus, we believe in the area of the football facilities."

Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, said he was unfamiliar with the allegations Schmidt was making.

The new claim came the day a lawyer for another young man who accused Sandusky of sexual abuse said he expects his client and at least five other accusers to testify at a preliminary hearing next week.

The lawyer said he has information that the six young men whose testimony before a grand jury contributed to a report detailing allegations against Sandusky will be called to testify next Tuesday. The attorney spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he said he is trying to ensure his client's identity isn't revealed publicly.

Sandusky is charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, and prosecutors allege he met his victims through a charity he founded in 1977 to help at-risk children, The Second Mile. Sandusky, 67, denies being a pedophile and has vowed to fight the charges. In interviews with NBC and The New York Times, he has said he showered and horsed around with boys but never sexually abused them.

The existence of Schmidt's client was first reported by WHP-TV in Harrisburg.

Schmidt told the AP that his client was 12 years old, dealing with the death of his mother and suffering emotional issues at the time of the campus incident. The lawyer said the two met through The Second Mile and his client claims Sandusky gave him liquor while in the office on campus. The grand jury report did not allege any instances of Sandusky giving boys alcohol.

Schmidt said his law firm is conducting its own investigation into the client's claims.

"We hope to have it wrapped up within another week. We believe him to be credible," Schmidt said. "Everything that we've been able to unearth since has corroborated what he told us, but we'll continue to do our due diligence."

The preliminary hearing, at which a judge would determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial, could last a day or more since the defense has the right to cross-examine the state's witnesses.

The state attorney general's office would not comment on the evidence authorities plan to offer to show probable cause the crimes occurred.

Amendola said Tuesday that a police officer witness should not be able to testify in the place of the accusers, based on evidentiary rules that pertain to hearsay.

"Our position would be that these people have to testify," Amendola said. "And one isn't sufficient, because you have eight separate incidents ... with eight separate alleged victims or accusers."

Prosecutors listed eight victims in the grand jury report but didn't know the identities of two of them when they issued the report in early November. The report said one of those two was a boy seen being sodomized by Sandusky in a Penn State football complex shower in 2002.

Amendola has said he believes he knows the identity of the boy in the shower and that the person dined with Sandusky this past summer.

Amendola said he's looking forward to questioning the prosecution witnesses -- including any accusers.

"We will, for the very first time, have the opportunity to face Jerry's accusers and question them under oath about their allegations," he said in a statement Monday. "We look forward to this opportunity."

Former sex crimes prosecutor Richard DeSipio said prosecutors may have to call the six known accusers for the judge to uphold the 40 counts. Defense lawyers sometimes waive preliminary hearings if they are worried about publicity for their clients, but DeSipio said he is not surprised Amendola is demanding the hearing.

"This is their first and only opportunity before trial to actually see the witnesses ... to hear their tone and demeanor and to question them and see how they respond to questions and also to flush out details," said DeSipio, who is now a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia.

Assistant football coach Mike McQueary, who has been identified as the witness to the 2002 shower encounter, could also be called to testify. McQueary's account wasn't immediately brought to the attention of authorities even though high-level people at Penn State apparently were told about an incident in the showers.

In the wake of the scandal, the university last month fired coach Joe Paterno and accepted President Graham Spanier's resignation. Paterno has said he wishes he had done more about allegations against Sandusky.

Athletic Director Tim Curley has been placed on administrative leave, and Vice President Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the university's police department, has stepped down. Schultz and Curley are charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to report to police. They maintain their innocence.

Also Tuesday, Penn State President Rodney Erickson told skeptical faculty members not to worry that school trustees would "whitewash" their own investigation. Erickson pledged to the University Faculty Senate that investigators will have unfettered access to and cooperation from the school. He said the leadership of a committee checking into the allegations should lend confidence "that there will be no whitewash ... no sweeping under the rug."

Trustees have appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to lead the probe for a committee spearheaded by trustee Kenneth Frazier.

Erickson said he would urge trustees to have the committee members meet with faculty.

Since taking over for Spanier, Erickson has vowed to make Penn State a leader in raising awareness of issues related to child abuse following the scandal that has tarnished the school's image. The effort includes using football bowl revenue that typically goes back to the athletic department to causes related to such issues.

The total revenue, Erickson said Tuesday, will reach at least $2 million, $500,000 more than the amount the school promised last week would be donated for programs at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

The additional revenue will now go toward helping to establish a Penn State institute that would work in the treatment and prevention, as well as research into, child abuse. The first piece to the institute would be a Center for the Protection of Children to be based at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Erickson said.

"We're taking both steps to (create) change immediately as well as a longer-term goal in which our faculty can be very much involved," Erickson said.



Penn State child abuse allegations shed light on difficult issue
by Jonathan Morales

For Carol Carrillo, if there's a silver lining to the horrifying allegations of child abuse at Pennsylvania State University, it's that people are now talking about a difficult issue.

"It raised the awareness of child sexual abuse, and that's pretty important awareness," said Carrillo, executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County. "With child abuse, most people think that it doesn't happen in their communities, it doesn't happen in their families, it happens out there somewhere else, when indeed it crosses all cultural, racial, economic boundaries."

The Child Abuse Prevention Council, which gets funding from the county and state and through private donations, works with schools and other organizations throughout the county to provide educational outreach, child safety information and training for those state law designates as required to report suspected child abuse.

"Pretty much where parents gather, that's where we like to be," Carrillo said. She hopes the Penn State situation will shine light on the issue of child abuse and make people aware of local resources to help prevent and respond to it.

More than 11,000 children were affected by child abuse in 2010, according to data from Contra Costa Children and Family Services. Of those, 1,063 were victims of sexual abuse. Carrillo says the numbers are likely higher in reality because much abuse goes unreported.

California law requires anyone who comes into contact with children during the course of their job to report suspected abuse to Child Protection Services or the police. That group includes teachers and school employees, law enforcement officials, social workers, physicians and clergy.

"I don't go to my supervisor and say, 'Johnny came to school today and I suspect that something might be happening at home and I'm suspecting that he might not be safe and I'm going to report it,'" Carrillo said. "That principal cannot say, 'don't worry about it, I'll take care of it.' "

Pennsylvania, however, allows those who work with children who suspect abuse to report it to their supervisor, upon whom the obligation to contact authorities then falls. That's what former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno did in 2002 when he was told former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had molested a boy on campus. Paterno has not been charged with a crime, but two administrators have been charged with lying to a grand jury.

Sandusky has been charged with molesting eight boys over several years but maintains his innocence. Penn State officials have drawn fire for not doing more to stop the alleged abuse.

"It was, 'We'll deal with it within our own community,' " Carrillo said. "They were protecting the adults in that situation and not the children, and they were protecting the reputation of the college."

A pair of California lawmakers introduced legislation last week aimed at preventing another Penn State-like situation. One bill would hold public and private university coaches responsible for reporting sexual abuse; the other would strip nonprofit organizations -- Sandusky founded a nonprofit, Second Mile Foundation, for at-risk youths -- of their tax-exempt status if they are caught hiding, fostering or failing to report child sexual abuse.

Carrillo favors broadening California laws to require more people to report suspected abuse.

"Why not? Why can't we all protect children?" she said. "Why can't we all be required to protect children and to be involved in children's' lives."

"It's important that we raise healthy, emotionally, physically healthy children, because they are our future. I know I want healthy children growing up to be healthy, productive adults in our society."


The All Too Common Truth of Sexual Abuse Victims

It may take until adulthood for victims to gain the awareness that abuse was not their fault.

As if the
Penn State Sandusky scandal hasn't caused enough drama in college athletics, three more victims have come forward with accusations of alleged sexual abuse against Syracuse assistant basketball coast Bernie Fine.

“These are not isolated incidents,” said Suzanne Beck, executive director of Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley, “for every Joe Paterno who didn't follow up there are thousands of people who know or have suspicions of abuse.”

In both instances, there was a common thread of administrative denial in the face of multiple victims coming forward, but, unlike PSU or Paterno, head coach Jim Boeheim has made apologies for defending his former assistant coach.

"I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that, and I regret any harm that I caused," said Boeheim in his post game press conference on December 2.

According to Beck, questioning victim's motives is “extremely common” in abuse cases because it is hard to believe or acknowledge even for the parents of victims, a reason so many victims refrain from making allegations sometimes well into their adulthood.

The number one reason children don't report is because they believe or have been told that no one will believe them. Many believe it was somehow their fault.

“People assume that children are small adults. They don't have the same thought processes,” said Beck. “They are taught to trust and listen to adults.”

The sense of trust that develops in a child who has been sexually abused by any adult in a position of authority becomes warped by the relationship their abuser has convinced them is appropriate. Children are vulnerable to perpetrators that hide in positions where they have access to children.

“Perpetrators depend on a child's trust and reliance,” said Beck.

Beck recommends to all parents that they enact diligence in examining the relationships between their children and the volunteers that might take a “special” liking or whose interactions are suspicious. The grooming process starts off benignly but, over time, the attention, the special favors and the gifts can erode a parent's better judgment.

“Trust your gut,” said Beck.

Remember, while coaching and volunteering with children often require background checks, these checks only indicate whether or not a perpetrator has been caught. They do not prevent perpetrators from gaining access through volunteerism.

If you child does come to you with an allegation, it is important to be supportive and remain calm. “Say I believe you, this wasn't your fault” said Beck, “then make a report to ChildLine.” Listen with your full attention.

To be proactive, parents should teach their children about “safe space” and appropriate boundaries in their interactions with adults to help them identify and report when they feel that an adult inappropriately touched them or has attempted to coerce inappropriate participation in sexually explicit acts.

The CVCLV assists victims with individual counseling and support groups among other services for victims including a 24-hour hotline, 610-437-6611, whether the victim is a child or an adult whose memories are surfacing for the first time in adulthood.

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



State panel backs expanding protections for reporting abuse

The task force expanded its scope after the high-level firings at Penn State

DES MOINES — A task force looking at Iowa's child sexual abuse laws will ask legislators to protect from employer retaliation anyone who reports inappropriate activity similar to scandals that have been uncovered at colleges in Pennsylvania and New York.

Members of the Iowa Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force also approved proposals for a model policy in educational settings aimed at protecting young people from sexual abuse by adults or peers, as well as increased funding and emphasis on training and awareness for a broad range of adults.

The panel plans to hold one more meeting to consider expanding mandatory reporting requirements for top college professionals and coaches, clergy members and possibly others, and a separate proposal to seek legislative approval to extend or eliminate the statute of limitation for civil or criminal sanctions for felony sex crimes against children.

“Exempting clergy or any other like professionals from mandatory reporting requirements fosters and accommodates these cultures of secrecy and sends the worst message possible, that they are not subject to the same laws that govern the rest of us,” Bill LaHay, a survivor of child sexual abuse, told the task force members. “In doing so, it guarantees that more children will be victimized.”

The task force, which initially focused on developing policies to train professionals who are required to report suspected abuse to the state Department of Human Services, has expanded its scope in the aftermath of unfolding abuse scandals that have led to high-level firings at Penn State University and Syracuse University.

“It doesn't matter how many mandatory reporters you have, if there's no follow-up, it doesn't matter,” said task force member Carol Hinton. “If nothing else, the Penn State thing has brought the issue out of the closet.”

Stephen Scott, director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa and head of the task force, said Iowa law provides civil liability protections for people who submit reasonable reports of child sexual abuse but those protections do not extend to employment repercussions. Members of the panel believe that loophole should be addressed in the 2012 legislative session.

“What we see at Penn State were people who didn't act bravely in serious circumstances — all the way from janitors to assistant coaches up to the very top,” Scott said. “We have to make people more aware but also make it easier for them to take the right step.”

Last month Gov. Terry Branstad said a discussion about extending Iowa's mandatory reporting requirements to include college-level officials is warranted in light of allegations of sexual abuse at Penn State.

Rep. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, an ex-officio task force member who sits on the House Judiciary Committee and a House-Senate justice systems budget subcommittee, expressed concern that some areas of state law regarding sexual abuse of children are “nebulous,” ambiguous and lax in his opinion.

“There's internal reporting that's required, but it just seems to me that gives the potential ability to sweep things under the rug that shouldn't be swept under the rug,” he said.


West Virginia

Report critical of state's sex trafficking laws

by Ben Adducchio

A new report gives West Virginia a failing grade on laws protecting children from human and sex trafficking crimes.

Shared Hope International compiled the research, which examines each state's approach to preventing sex trafficking. Only ten states received a grade of C or higher.

No state received an A, and West Virginia is one of more than 25 states that got an F.

One of the report's authors, Alicia Wilson, says it's surprising so many states, got failing grades.

"The grade is not a reflection on legislators, on attorney generals, or anyone in the state particularly; it's just more of a call to action to say, hey, these 26 states that failed, along with every other state since no one got an A, has room for improvement and needs to make that improvement," Wilson said.

The report states West Virginia doesn't have stand-alone human or sex trafficking laws, which leaves those
crimes to be prosecuted under other criminal statutes.

Wilson says none of those statutes identify the victims as sex trafficking victims, which can prevent access to special protections and services.


"It's problematic in being able to identify the traffickers, buyers and facilitators, and achieve the criminal prosecutions and penalties that can serve as a deterrent to those crimes," she said.


"Frequently, trafficking victims are treated as offenders of prostitution offenses, and without treating them as a sex trafficking victim, by having a sex trafficking law that lays that out, that leaves gaps to where the victims will not receive services and the offenders will be prosecuted as they should be."


Each state's report card includes a list of recommendations from Shared Hope to achieve better grades and increase protection.


Wilson says there are multiple steps West Virginia can take.


"The biggest thing that West Virginia can do first is to enact a human trafficking law that includes a sex trafficking, and I would encourage legislators in West Virginia to do that. And for individuals in West Virginia, who are interested, I would encourage them to reach out to their legislators and make them aware of this issue," she said.


Kanawha County Sen. Corey Palumbo chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.


He says trafficking is an issue he wants to follow more closely.


"You never like to see anyone grade our laws as failing, but you always need to sort of look behind that and assess it on your own. In the report, they indicated we have several things that sort of crack down on commercial sexual exploitation of children, but nothing specific that hones in on this sex trafficking act," Palumbo said.


Palumbo says he's looking into the efficiency of the state's statutes and also looking at what other states are doing.


He says he's open to offering legislation in this upcoming regular legislative session.


"It's definitely an issue that would be within the typical scope of the judiciary committee so I think it's certainly appropriate for us to take a close look at it.


I would like to think we have plenty of time between now and the end of the session to assess it and come forward with some additional legislation if that's what is deemed necessary," he said.


The legislative session begins in mid-January.


What is Canada to do about its sex trade?

THE spotlight swings around and the debate, once hushed, grows loud: What happens to sex work in Canada now?

There's only one thing everyone knows for sure. "The public does not want to see any more bodies in pig farms," said Nikki Thomas, executive director of the Sex Professionals of Canada. No more Picktons and no more exploitative pimps. But how best to stop the violence?

This is where the dialogue, even in exclusively feminist circles, suddenly diverges. Split into passionate but incompatible paths it goes: abolitionists on one side and the sex-worker rights advocates on the other.

Generally, abolitionists consider sex work inherently exploitative and find the answer in seeking to end it entirely. "Our feminist plan is to identify prostitution and trafficking as violence against women," declares Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, a self-declared abolitionist collective, on its website. "When we see prostitution as violence, it is clear that we should simultaneously make it illegal for anyone to profit from prostituting others."

On the flip side, sex-worker rights advocates point to the fact customers are already pressured under current anti-prostitution laws -- and, they say, it hasn't appeared to deter violence against vulnerable members of the sex trade. Instead, rights advocates call for an entirely new approach, one that would legitimize the profession while strengthening safeguards to protect children and those forced into sexual slavery. After all, they point out, many empowered men and women choose to sell sex of their own free will.

"The best solution would to provide some sort of regulatory system that allows people the freedom to choose... with a little bit of oversight to ensure that everyone is doing so legally and everyone is of age," said Thomas, who started her own journey in sex work four years ago. "I do think it would be possible to make this job as safe as any other form of employment."

Across the world, governments have gingerly picked their way forward on the issue of sex work. But no one approach has completely paved the way. In the Netherlands, sex work is legal and regulated. But the country is also one of the top destinations for human traffickers, and the last decade saw the sex-work industry increasingly infiltrated by criminal gangs, which push women and children into sex work.

In Sweden, a 1999 law cast sex workers as victims and criminalized the purchase of sex; it enjoys high public support and versions of the law later spread to Norway and Iceland. This "Nordic model" proved the inspiration for Winnipeg Tory MP Joy Smith's petition to the House of Commons. But many critics allege the law has done nothing to alleviate the stigma that forces some street-involved sex workers into vulnerable situations.

In Canada, most sex-worker rights advocates point to New Zealand, where a 2003 bill largely decriminalized sex work, legitimized contracts between sex workers and clients and put sex work under the umbrella of workplace health and safety laws.

So which way will Canada go? And how will it unfold? Whatever happens, Thomas knows one thing: Somewhere along the way, the Canadian public will need to take a long look at sex work and the diversity of stories therein. "We're mothers, we're daughters, we're fathers, we're sons," Thomas said. "Everybody in the industry has some sort of story about their lives and everybody has a different reason for getting involved in the trade... what we're trying to do is increase visibility."


Kidnap Survivor Shares His Story & Tips for Protecting Kids

( - Each new generation of parents keeps its children closer to home, supervises them more carefully, and guards them from both neighbors and strangers alike. With the rise of the Internet, they're even running background checks on babysitters and troop leaders.

And still, children go missing.

Every day in the United States, 2,000 youngsters are reported missing, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Each year, 58,000 are taken by people unrelated to them and 200,000 are snatched by members of their own families. Sadly, there's no relief in knowing the child may be with family.

George Molho knows that only too well. As a 7-year-old in 1978, he was taken to Greece from his home in Houston by his father, a man with a brutal temper, an obsessive need for control and a sadistic desire to inflict pain. No one, not even his mother, believed him when he anticipated his father's plan to spirit him away and tried to warn them, Molho writes in his new memoir, Scarred (

Now a passionate advocate for child kidnapping and abuse victims, Molho says awareness of the problem and efforts to develop solutions that protect children should be a top national priority.

“One thing every parent can do to protect their children comes right from my own experience – and I don't think parents know how very important it is,” Molho says.

“My mother thought I was being paranoid when I shared my worries with her. She took me to a psychologist, who said I was making up the story because I was upset that my parents weren't living together anymore.”

When young children express fear or concern about even a close friend or family member, adults tend to chalk it up to shyness, a ploy for attention, or fantasy, Molho says.

“Trust your child's instincts,” he says. “If they act uncomfortable around someone because they can't verbalize their feelings, or if they tell you they're uncomfortable, trust them. No matter who it is, if they tell you a person scares them, protect them.”

Molho offers these other lesser-known tips for protecting children from kidnappers, whether they're friends or family:

• Teach children how to fib on the phone. If they're home alone, for instance, and someone calls asking to speak to their mother or father, they might say, “My mother's busy in the kitchen right now and asked me to answer the phone and take a message.” Put them to the test by having someone they don't know, one of your friends or co-workers, call.

• Make approved lists of people who will deliver any important news to them. If Mom or Dad is in trouble or hurt, only these people will know and will tell the child. Even if Uncle Bob tells them Mom is in the hospital and the child needs to go with Uncle Bob, if he's not on the approved list, the child should not go. This is a common ploy.

• Teach them, train them and give them permission to defend themselves. This is very important and it saves lives. Most children are taught to be polite and respect adults; it's far safer to risk offending an adult – even if it turns out the adult meant no harm. Screaming, kicking and running away are perfectly acceptable if a stranger grabs your arm – even if the stranger is smiling sweetly.

About George Molho

George Molho worked as a health-care consultant for 15 years before becoming a writer and public speaker, addressing domestic abuse, child abduction, and recovering from trauma through self-reflection. He lives in Houston, where he has volunteered as a board member for several Texas charities and agencies that assist children and the elderly.


Silence common in child sexual abuse cases

by Donna Leinwand Leger

As police investigate allegations of child molestation by coaches at Penn State and Syracuse, nagging questions linger about signs that may have been missed — or ignored.

Experts say many bystanders who witness inappropriate behavior or even obvious sexual abuse remain silent, too horrified to report what they have seen.

"It's not that it's so invisible. It's that it remains a silent crime. People worry if they say anything they could ruin someone's life," said Maia Christopher, executive director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers in Beaverton, Ore. "Now everyone is asking what did you see and who did what (at Penn State). We know that people did see things and did not respond in a way that could help."

Police arrested former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on Nov. 5 on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. He says he is innocent.

Court papers describe a long list of people who may have had knowledge of possible abuse. They include the university's president, senior vice president, athletics director and legendary football coach Joe Paterno. A janitor, high school assistant principal and wrestling coach, campus police officers, and officials with Second Mile, a charity founded by Sandusky to help disadvantaged boys, also may have witnessed or been told about abuse or unusual behavior, the grand jury report says.

Paterno, fired by Penn State's trustees for failing to do more, never spoke to Sandusky about possible misconduct, Sandusky said in an interview with The New York Times.

Reluctance to report abuse is common, said Jennifer Marsh, hotline director for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN. Calls to the hotline rose 54% in the two weeks after police arrested Sandusky.

"Reaching out to the authorities in itself can be scary. People may be intimidated because they don't know what process will follow," Marsh said.

Whistle blowers may fear criticism for accusing someone who is well-liked in a community, said Carol Beebe Walser, a clinical and forensic psychologist with practices in San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C.

"It can be fear of ruining someone's life and their family. It can be fear of disrupting a community or an institution and being faulted for that," Walser said.

Mike McQueary, the Penn State wide receivers coach, received death threats after court papers disclosed that as a graduate student in 2002, he had witnessed Sandusky having sex with a boy in a shower. Police and McQueary have not disclosed the nature of the threats.

"I've been going over it in my mind a number of times, but I never really noticed anything different about Jerry," said former Penn State head football trainer Jim Hochberg, 78, who retired in 1992. "He was an overgrown big kid who liked to horse around with the players."

Hochberg said the allegations stunned him. In more than a decade at the school, he said, he never heard even a whisper of anything untoward.

A Pennsylvania child welfare investigator who helped review initial misconduct complaints about Sandusky in 1998, which did not result in prosecution, now wishes he had known more.

Jerry Lauro said he believed that it was "inappropriate" for Sandusky to have showered with the child — now designated by a Pennsylvania grand jury as "Victim 6." But he said there was no apparent evidence of abuse beyond that.

Lauro said he viewed it at the time as a "boundary issue."

According to the grand jury report, the alleged victim's mother became suspicious when her son returned home from an outing with Sandusky with wet hair. She confronted Sandusky with two police officers listening in, according to the grand jury report, when the coach allegedly admitted his actions were wrong.

Lauro said police never shared what was said in that confrontation. "I feel really badly that I didn't have more red flags," he said. "You can bet that if I felt child abuse occurred (at that time) something more would have happened."

Some people may fail to report abuse because they don't want to believe what they saw. "There's a sense of horror that can result in emotional shutting down. The horror causes denial and disbelief," Walser said.

When people do report, the community may be so aghast that it rejects the allegations and the person who delivered them, Walser said.

"Society's horror at the issue, the repulsion, produces a type of prejudice," she said. "No one wants to believe that this kind of thing happens, so there's a real internal drive to make it untrue."

Last week, Syracuse University fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine after three men alleged Fine molested them as children. Fine, who has not been charged, says he is innocent.

As at Penn State, a number of people had knowledge of possible abuse for years. Former ball boy Bobby Davis said he told Syracuse police in 2002 that Fine molested him in the 1980s and 1990s. Davis also gave ESPN and the Syracuse newspaper a recording of Fine's wife allegedly admitting knowledge of the abuse. Police said they told Davis that it was too late to pursue criminal charges. Davis in 2005 complained to Syracuse University, which investigated but could not find any evidence to corroborate Davis' claim.

When Davis went public with his allegations Nov. 17, coach Jim Boeheim defended Fine and said Davis was probably after money.

After the university fired Fine, Boeheim said he regretted his statement and urged anyone with information about the allegations to come forward without fear. "I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged," Boeheim said.

Deborah Donovan Rice, executive director of Stop It Now!, which works to prevent child sex abuse, said the "ick factor" can influence how child sex abuse cases are handled.

"We don't like to think that these things go on and are done to people we know and love," Donovan Rice said. "I think people recognize it more than we are willing to admit. We're not honest with ourselves about how many times we have felt uncomfortable about what another adult is doing. It's time we get honest with ourselves."


Child Abuse May Alter Structure of the Brain, Research Shows

December 5, 2011

Teenagers who were abused as young children show changes in their brains that put them at risk for behavioral problems in adulthood, according to research from Yale University.

Brain scans of adolescents who suffered physical abuse and neglect showed differences in the part that controls executive function -- mental processes such as planning, organizing and focusing on details -- according to a study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Changes were also seen in brain areas that regulate emotions and impulses, the study said.

About 3.7 million U.S. children are assessed for child abuse or neglect each year, but the number may be higher as many cases don't come to the attention of professionals, the authors said. The research, which evaluated teenagers who hadn't been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, suggests abuse or neglect victims be monitored to reduce the risk of disorders like depression and addiction, researchers said.

"What these findings show is that experiences that people have early in life can really subsequently and fundamentally alter the way their brain develops," said Philip Fisher, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal. "These kids, in spite of the fact that they didn't have actual disorders, have the potential to be very vulnerable for problems over the course of their development."

Human brains continue to develop through early adulthood, particularly the area that regulates emotions and executive function, said Fisher, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Oregon and a senior scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene, in a Dec. 2 telephone interview.

Gender Differences

The study included 42 kids ages 12 to 17 who didn't have a psychiatric diagnosis. The researchers used questionnaires to determine if the children suffered from physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, emotional neglect and sexual abuse. They then took images of their brains using MRI.

Scans showed that girls were more likely to have differences in brain areas related to emotional processing, making them more vulnerable to mood disorders like depression, while boys had changes to areas for impulse control, which could make them more vulnerable to drug and alcohol addictions, said study author Hilary Blumberg, an associate professor of psychiatry and diagnostic radiology in the Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Neglected Children

Brain alterations occurred in both adolescents who suffered abuse as well as neglect, the research found. The study didn't show distinct patterns in the brains of children who were sexually abused, although Blumberg said that may be because the number of children who were sexually abused was small.

"It was very important to see the findings with regard to neglect," Blumberg said in a Dec. 2 interview. "That was an area that had been little studied."

Researchers are continuing to follow these teens to see if they develop behavior problems like depression or substance abuse and to understand why some may develop issues while others don't, she said.

--Editors: Angela Zimm, Bruce Rule

Child advocacy center helped Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim understand young victims of sexual abuse

December 06, 2011

Syracuse, NY -- One of the hardest things about Julie Cecile's job is making people understand child sexual abuse without being able to show them a face or tell them a name. The victims, like the crime, are a secret. She sees the tiny victims -- 143 of the people helped by her center last year were under the age of 6 -- but most people just hear about it in the abstract.

Jim Boeheim used to be one of those people. Over the summer, the Syracuse University head basketball coach and his wife, Juli, gave more than $20,000 to the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site, where Cecile is the director. Juli Boeheim is the cochair for the center's fundraising campaign.

But when Jim Boeheim's longtime friend and assistant coach, Bernie Fine, ended up the target of a child sexual abuse investigation last month, the issue became personal for Boeheim. Three men have accused Fine of abusing them when they were youths. Fine has not been charged and has denied the allegations.

First Boeheim lashed out at Fine's accusers, saying they were looking for money. But as more information emerged and another victim came forward, Boeheim asked Cecile for help. The Boeheims went to meet with her at the child advocacy site, which is a one-stop shop for victims of child sexual abuse. Roughly 60 people -- from medical workers to law enforcement -- are under the same roof. Children come there to tell their terrible stories just once.

Last Thursday morning, Boeheim went there to understand. "It was his heart," Juli Boeheim said. "He said, 'Let's go to McMahon/Ryan to figure this out.' "

The couple has been struggling since the accusers came forward in the Fine case, she said. "It's got to be one of the hardest things we've been through," Juli Boeheim said. "I feel like a weight is dangling from my heart."

When Jim Boeheim was in the conference room at McMahon/Ryan, he said he wanted to help. Not just in the way that earned his foundation a star on the wall in the waiting room, Cecile said. He wanted to figure out a way to reach out, to educate people about this cycle of abuse that is so difficult to understand, Cecile said. She said it's not clear what that will be yet.

On Thursday, she didn't talk to Boeheim about whether he would apologize after the game Friday night. Cecile watched along with everyone else, wondering what he would say. Boeheim was ready with a statement.

"I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives," Boeheim said. "I am really sorry that I did that, and I regret any harm that I caused. It was insensitive to the individuals involved and especially to the overall issue of child abuse." He went on to say that he acted out of loyalty without thinking. He planned to support the investigation and help the McMahon/Ryan center any way he could.

"He was sincere with us. He was sincere Friday night," Cecile said. "He is learning." Boeheim's words will go a long way to help any adult victims of child sexual abuse that were watching, Cecile said.

Juli Boeheim said she didn't know what her husband was going to say. She watched like everyone else. When he came home, he said he struggled to keep his composure at the podium. "He looked and me and said, 'I almost cried,' " she said. "He was definitely broken down. It was so emotional."

She said she knows the two of them have a lot more to learn about child sexual abuse. But she hopes preventing child sexual abuse becomes one of the family's causes, just as raising cancer awareness has. Strangers come up to her in Wegmans and tell her their stories about cancer because of the work she and her husband, a cancer survivor, have done.

"I have a feeling this is going to be the same," Juli Boeheim said of child sexual abuse. "If I can be an ear or help in any way, I'm ready and willing." Juli Boeheim said they've received calls and emails from people around the country, asking if the Boeheims want to help with charities that assist child abuse victims and thanking the coach for his apology.

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said he's seen an angry reaction like Boeheim's before. Boeheim's apology was heartfelt, he said. "He manned up," Fitzpatrick said. "He's the only guy that's said, 'I've screwed up. I'm sorry.' "

Fitzpatrick hopes more people will focus their attention on McMahon/Ryan and the good it can do. He's on the fundraising campaign committee there with Juli Boeheim and Helen Marrone, wife of SU football coach Doug Marrone.

Helen Marrone, an attorney, used to prosecute child sexual abuse cases in Nashville. She was at the meeting Thursday with the Boeheims. "They were suffering with the realization that they might have hurt sex abuse victims by what Jim had said," Marrone said. "It made sense that they chose the child advocacy center for information and guidance."

Marrone said Boeheim's remorse was genuine. "I've advocated for child sex abuse victims for a long time and what I saw in Jim Boeheim's initial reaction was the exact same thing I've seen hundreds of times before from people who are being told that someone they think they know very well may be a pedophile," Marrone said. "It's very difficult to grapple with that with cameras in your face."

Marrone said she's hopeful this will encourage the community to become more informed about the complex and secretive nature of child sexual abuse. The child advocacy site is the perfect place to help people get that information, she said. When Marrone prosecuted cases, she worked in a center much like McMahon/Ryan.

McMahon/Ryan is a one-stop shop: two pediatricians, detectives from Syracuse police and the Sheriff's Office, mental health workers, child advocates, attorneys from the district attorney and the county attorney offices, advocates from Vera House and social workers from county Child Protective Services are all in the same place. They just moved into the new building in June.

Having everyone in the same spot means kids only have to tell their stories once.

This, Cecile said, is so important because every time children tell about being sexually abused, they relive the trauma. At McMahon/Ryan, they tell it just once and everyone who needs to know is listening. Advocates follow them through the whole process and refer them to specially trained pediatricians and mental health counselors in the same building.

The rooms are friendly with small, happily painted furniture. The therapy often takes place in a playroom with bean bag chairs and puppets. The waiting room has an Xbox and a big-screen TV, along with books and toys.

Coming forward asks so much of a child. The kids have to be brave enough to come. Brave enough to wait. Brave enough to tell. Last year, the center did medical evaluations on 242 children.

Cecile sees many of those faces. She knows their names. She goes to the waiting room and offers snacks. Juice and Scooby Snack cookies. She wants them to feel welcome and comfortable because what comes next is unfathomable. They have to tell a story that is hard to tell about someone they might love. And it's possible that someone else they love might not believe them, Cecile said.

Downstairs from the conference room where the Boeheims sought advice is a pediatrician's exam room. It was empty Monday morning. A child's urine sample sat on the counter. It will be tested, along with blood, to see if the child has any sexually transmitted diseases. The exam room looks mostly normal except for an odd camera on a tripod: It can magnify a hundredfold a bruise or tear on a tiny body. It's for collecting evidence.

A child's voice chirped from behind the closed door of a nearby waiting room. For the workers who hear the stories, another name and face.

To give: The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center needs to raise $3 million for the new home it moved into in June. About $750,000 of that has to be raised by this June

To donate
: contact Patti Giancola at (315) 701-2985 or Donations can also be mailed to 601 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, 13202

For more information:

For victims: call 701-2985


Pennsylvania lawmakers seek reform of child sexual abuse laws

December 5 2011

by Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) - Two Pennsylvania lawmakers said on Monday in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University they would propose legal reforms to give abuse victims more time to press claims in civil court.

The proposed reforms would also make witnesses of child abuse legally obligated to report it to authorities, not merely to a supervisor, state Representative Dennis O'Brien said.

"As a result of these recent events at Penn State, child abuse survivors are seeking -- and needing -- an opportunity to share their experiences and to have them validated," O'Brien said at a hearing by the House Children and Youth Committee, which he chairs.

At Penn State, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged in November with multiple counts of sexually abusing eight young boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky has denied he abused the boys.

Another coach, then a graduate student, had told head coach Joe Paterno in 2002 that he had seen Sandusky having sex with a boy in an on-campus shower, according to a grand jury report. Paterno, in turn, told his boss.

The board of trustees fired Paterno and Penn State's president for failing to tell police about an allegation of abuse once they learned of it.

Under the proposed reform, victims of child abuse and child sexual abuse would have until they are 50 years old to press a civil suit, O'Brien said.

Currently victims have until they are 50 to press criminal charges but only until they are 30 years old for civil suits.

The proposed reform also would create a two-year window to revive cases in which the statute of limitations has expired, he said.

Similar reforms were adopted in Delaware in the Child Victim's Act of 2007 which eliminated the civil statute of limitations on sexual abuse and allows a two-year window to file civil suits for victims for whom the statute of limitations had passed.

Under the Delaware law, 14 men who said they were sexually assaulted as children in the 1970s and 1980s announced last week they reached a $7 million settlement with three Catholic church institutions that employed and supervised their predators.

O'Brien, a Republican, said he and Democratic committee chairman Louise Bishop would introduce the proposed changes in the Pennsylvania legislature.

Several victims of child sexual abuse who became advocates for legal reform testified before the committee, as did attorney Marci Hamilton who represents one of the alleged victims in the Sandusky case.


Penn State scandal prompts senator to tweak Missouri's child abuse law

December 5, 2011

by Stephanie Ebbs

JEFFERSON CITY — It is not a crime in Missouri for a regular citizen to walk away from a child being abused under current law — but a bill filed for the upcoming legislative session would change this.

The change would add a single sentence to the state's mandatory reporting law, which has been in place since 1975, that would expand current reporting requirements to include anyone who witnesses sexual abuse of a child.

The current law only requires people who care for children in an official capacity, such as teachers or medical professionals, to report suspected or witnessed abuse to the state Department of Social Services or a superior.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, said that recent national events prompted him to evaluate Missouri's law regarding child abuse. The scandal at Penn State includes a witness to Jerry Sandusky's alleged child sex abuse who did not to report it to authorities.

Missouri would join 18 other states that require any individual who sees sexual abuse to report it, Schmitt said.

"These are pretty heinous crimes," Schmitt said. "And when somebody witnesses that, I think we ought to require people to report that to law enforcement, and those people ought to be punished."

Schmitt specified sexual abuse in his proposed addition to law, and he chose not to include suspicions of abuse, which eliminates confusion about what qualifies as abuse or neglect. Because social services is required to investigate every report, it could become overburdened if everyone with suspicions called.

"Sen. Schmitt seems to be going the right way here, by narrowing it to a specific area," said Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, the most senior legislator in the General Assembly.

Joy Oesterly, the executive director of the child abuse advocacy group Missouri Kids First, said she supports the law but still doesn't think all incidents will be reported to the authorities.

"It's easy to sit here in our offices and in our homes and say, 'I would have reported had I seen that,' but we really don't know what we would have done," Oesterly said.

She said a better solution would be to train everyone on how to identify and report child abuse.

"It makes it clear to every Missourian that they are responsible for protecting children," Oesterly said.

Failing to report abuse would become a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in prison or a fine, Schmitt said.

Schmitt said he expects more aspects of this issue to be discussed during the legislative session, which begins on Jan. 4.



Sheriffs Urge More Child Abuse and Neglect Programs

by James Swierzbin

A group of sheriffs from across Iowa urged the state on Monday to invest in programs to help prevent child abuse, and in turn, reduce crime.

"Juvenile crime is a top priority for law enforcement in Iowa. I'm convinced that if we're serious about preventing youth crime, we need early interventions to help make sure kids get a healthy start in life," said Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner.

According to a report released Monday by the organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, children who are abused are 29 percent more likely to become violent criminals.

Sheriffs across the state have come together to urge the state to put more of a focus on programs that encourage abuse and neglect prevention.

"If we can break the cycle of violence early with smart interventions we will save children from abuse, improved safety and save taxpayer dollars," said Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope.

Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa in Polk County runs one of these prevention programs.

"In total, over the 18 months that we've been operating we've touched base with about 150 women," said Visiting Nurse Services' Zoe Prevette.

The home visits are voluntary and happen about every two weeks. They follow babies from the time they're still in the womb until their third birthdays.

"They're with the clients and their babies and making regular visits and working on all sorts of goals,"said Prevette.

And if there's more funding for programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership, even more families could be positively impacted, moving forward.

These programs also have a positive effect on the community as a whole. They estimate that for every one dollar spent on prevention programs the greater community saves $5.



Safe Haven hosting “Town Hall” on child sexual abuse for parents

In light of the recent media coverage regarding child sexual abuse, Safe Haven, Inc. of Pike County is hosting a Town Hall meeting to present the community with the facts about child sexual abuse and to dispel the myths surrounding this crucial issue. Participants in this meeting will learn:

• How to discuss sexual abuse with children at any age

• How to recognize “Red Flags” of child sexual abuse

• How offenders manipulate or “groom” their victims and how to help children recognize these tactics.

An expert panel will share information and answer questions from the audience; the panel will include representatives from Safe Haven, Eastern Pike Regional Police Department, Pike County Children and Youth Services, and the Victim Services Division of the Pike County District Attorney's Office.

The “Town Hall” meeting will occur on Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dingman Township Volunteer Fire Department, 680 Log Tavern Road outside Milford. No RSVP is necessary. This meeting is open to the public. Please contact Safe Haven, Inc. of Pike County at (570) 296-2827 for further information.

Safe Haven, Inc. of Pike County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to restoring dignity to individuals dealing with issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse through crisis intervention, advocacy and support, prevention/education, and community outreach.

From June 2010 to July 2011, they provided 1,374 hours of one-on-one support and 834 hours of support groups to 920 women, children, and men. Safe Haven is committed to non-violence and individual dignity for all residents of Pike County.




A wrongheaded bill on child sexual abuse
A bill that would make not reporting child sex abuse illegal goes too far.

December 6, 2011

In November, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period, and head coach Joe Paterno was fired for not doing enough to stop it. Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine is now being investigated for alleged child molestation. Shouldn't somebody do something? Maybe we need more criminal laws. How about a law that makes it a crime to witness child sexual abuse and not report it to the proper authorities?

That's the gist of a bill by Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from Los Angeles: Withhold federal money from states until they pass laws imposing on all adults a new duty to report child abuse. Adults who see or hear something that suggests child abuse would have to report it, not merely to the alleged abuser's supervisor or someone in a position of authority but to a peace officer. And if the adult failed to do so, he or she could face prison time.

We all want to protect children from molestation, and we all would prefer that adults who believe they have witnessed such abuse report it to law enforcement authorities. But adding a new crime with which to charge and incarcerate witnesses creates unnecessary and unproductive new problems without resolving the underlying concern. Bass is a champion of children and has devoted her career to thoughtful legislation to protect and support them, but her Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act (HR 3486) is in a different tradition: It's a bill more the result of headlines and media frenzy than a well-considered policy initiative.

We saw something similar earlier this year with the various iterations of Caylee's Law, which were reactions to public outrage over the not-guilty verdict rendered by a jury against a mother who failed to report that her child was missing. Making it a crime for a mother not to report her missing child within 24 hours may satisfy public demands on lawmakers to "just do something," but it won't make parents more responsible.

The Caylee bills would limit the population of people subject to the new criminal laws, so at least they have something in common with sensible laws that impose special duties on teachers, police officers or others in particular positions of trust or authority. Bass' bill would impose new duties, and potential criminal penalties, on everyone in the nation over 17.

There are laws in place to protect children from sexual abuse, including laws against aiding and abetting, or misprision of a felony — cases in which witnesses become accomplices by actively thwarting investigations or enforcement. We don't need to send people to prison for not reporting things they think they see. We need adults to think and act responsibly — things that no number of new criminal penalties can secure.,0,5928304,print.story


New York

Child Sexual Abuse on Tuscarora Being Covered Up by Leadership?

Powerful interests accused in horrific molestation case

by Mike Hudson

Allegations concerning the sexual abuse of young girls on the Tuscarora reservation by individuals linked to the powerful "Gang of Four" ruling clique there continue, despite efforts to sweep the matter under the rug.

Numerous Tuscaroras have come forward to identify two male members of a family related by blood to at least one of the Gang of Four in connection with an ongoing pattern of sexual abuse stretching back at least 30 years and continuing to the present day.

The Gang of Four, which controls nearly every aspect of life on the reservation, consists of tribal Clerk Leo Henry, Neil Patterson Sr. and his son Neil Patterson Jr., and their legal counsel, Kendra Winkelstein, a Grand Island attorney who is not Native American but who sits in on Tribal Council meetings that even respected Clan Mothers are forbidden to attend.

Ken Dougherty, a former Niagara County Sheriff's deputy and accredited counselor for those suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, says he became aware of the allegations a few years ago when several Tuscarora women came to him for help in dealing with sexual abuse that occurred to them as children.

Because of confidentiality and ethical standards, Dougherty said he could not give the names of the women, but said they all told fundamentally the same story.

A powerful Tuscarora man, now getting up in his years, raped and abused the women as young girls when they were between the ages of 11 and 16, he said.

"We're talking about an evil man," Dougherty said. "It's kind of surprising no one's shot him yet."

In fact, Dougherty said, the father of one of the girls in question had to be physically restrained after he took off after the alleged perpetrator with a shotgun.

"He was lucky that day, and he's stayed lucky."

The women waited years before coming forward with their allegations because of the perpetrator's close ties to those in the Tuscarora government, Dougherty added.

"They didn't say anything out of fear," he said. "Fear that they would be removed from the rolls, that their parents would be removed from the rolls, losing their property, or not having the ability to buy property."

Indeed, removal from the rolls of the Tuscarora Nation is a harsh punishment that the Gang of Four has regularly used with impunity. Aside from property seizures, those taken off the rolls can be denied the most basic human services, such as health care, electrical service to their place of residence, the ability to dig a well or install a septic tank on their own property, or even to have their children educated at the Tuscarora school.

Concerning the most recent allegations, which center on sexual molestation of young girls at the Tuscarora Health Clinic by a member of the same family, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center spokesman Pat Bradley told the Niagara Falls Reporter that the hospital has launched its own investigation.

NFMMC administers the program at the Tuscarora Health Clinic.

"We're aware of the identity of this individual and have determined he was not one of our employees," Bradley said. "Still, these allegations are so serious that we're doing everything in our power to determine what exactly is going on."

Sources on the reservation, where the current allegations were the topic of a meeting at the Health Clinic in September, say that one of the victims is the niece of the alleged perpetrator.

Once again, they add, the primary factor in the victims and their families not stepping forward is the fear of retribution on the part of tribal leadership.

The Gang of Four has a history of secretive dealings and coverups that would never be tolerated in an open society.

Together, Henry, the Pattersons and Winkelstein have kept secret the full amount of the 2007 state Power Authority relicensing settlement ($100 million), the amount received from the Power Authority thus far ($12.5 million), and the amount of money they pay themselves (nobody knows).

The Pattersons receive considerable additional funding from state and federal environmental agencies for their private company, the Tuscarora Environmental Program, and they along with Henry recently spent $7 million building a new community center appraised at $2 million.

Neil Patterson Sr. received $87,000 for three months' "work" as a consultant on that project, despite a total lack of credentials or experience in construction work, and the land where the community center sits was leased or purchased from Henry for an unknown sum.

Henry had previously used the site as a resting place for his favorite outhouse.

The Gang of Four has postponed all tribal business at least until February, so Henry can winter in Bradenton, Fla. Neil Patterson Jr. is said to be spending less and less of his time on the reservation as well, preferring to stay at the lavish new home he built for himself near Syracuse.

But subpoenas issued in a class action, civil RICO lawsuit being prepared by prominent Niagara Falls attorney John Bartolomei on behalf of numerous Tuscaroras may shed some light on the ultimate fate of millions of dollars earmarked by the state and federal governments for the benefit of the Tuscarora people, as well as any possible coverup of child sexual abuse being perpetrated by powerful members of the tribe with links to the current leadership.


Iowa Focus on preventing sexual abuse


Focusing on preventing sexual assault trumps stricter mandatory-reporting policies, one state official said.

After an alleged sexual assault controversy broke at PennState University last month, Gov. Terry Branstad asked the State Board of Regents to review its sexual-assault policy during its meeting this week.

Stephen Scott, the head of the Iowa Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force, said tightening the University of Iowa and state mandatory reporters' law might not be the solution to solving sexual-assault cases.

Scott said colleges and high schools should enforce strict policies to prevent sexual assaults altogether.

"If facilities aren't open for use to coaches with a child or youth, that very easily stops [sexual assault] from happening," Scott said when referring to the Penn State sexual-assault scandal. "It wasn't so much the reporting, but it was the access given."

Regent Robert Downer said the review is necessary in light of the Penn State incident, though he wanted to review the laws before further commenting on specific changes.

Iowa Code states that mandatory reporters, including social workers, certified psychologists, licensed school employees, counselors or mental-health professionals, must report sexual misconduct "in the scope of professional practice or in their employment responsibilities."

"But if a teacher is out at Target and sees something happen, you aren't required to report it because it is not happening during your professional practice," Scott said.

He said policies should be enforced to restrict children from being alone with an adult on a college campus and making sure high schools do not let adults take unrelated children home without parental permission.

The UIoverhauled its sexual-misconduct policy two years ago after university leaders were heavily criticized for mishandling sexual abuse allegations between UIstudent-athletes. A third-party report found two administrators mishandled the case. The university fired those men shortly thereafter.

Monique DiCarlo — the UI's sexual-misconduct-response coordinator whose position was made full-time in the wake of the UI's 2008 alleged sexual assault — said the UI's mandatory reporter code does not concern minors.

According to the UI's Operational Manual, mandatory reporters, referred to as academic and administrative officers, include UI administrators from department heads to the university president.

The officers are required to report any kind of sexual misconduct to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity if it involves staff or faculty and DiCarlo if it involves students.

But DiCarlo said UI academic and administrative officers are not required to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement unless they are deemed necessary under the Clery Act.

DiCarlo said the security authorities are required to report the misconduct if the assailant is unknown.

University police then review the risk and decide whether a HawkAlert should be issued, but if authorities find out it was an acquaintance, the warning may not be issued.

"The greatest risk is an acquaintance, because they let your guard down," DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo said she could not specifically pinpoint what changes might occur to the sexual-assault policy, but often, reviews bring changes.

"This type of issue requires an ongoing commitment of education and policy," DiCarlo said. "It's something we should continue to collaborate with staff, faculty, students, and community members."

Scott said it's important for officials to go beyond their required duties to report incidents of misconduct.

"It's more of a moral failure than a legal failure," Scott said. "People do not go beyond their required duties."



Spotting and Stopping Sexual Abuse

In the wake of two high-profile child sexual abuse scandals, a local lecturer and survivor will discuss preventing abuse Monday at the Meriden Public Library.

by Laurie Rich Salerno

Child sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic, acknowledges speaker and survivor Roberta Dolan, but given statistics that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys in the U.S. will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday - it's one that demands discussion.

On Monday night at 6:30 p.m. Dolan will give a talk at the Meriden Public Library about child sexual abuse - discussing everything from how to spot possible predatory adults, notice signs of abuse in children, talk to children about the subject in kid-friendly ways and design a family safety plan.

"We talk to the kids about fire safety - but parents don't know how to talk to their children about this," Dolan said.

Dolan, a Meriden resident, is a childhood sexual abuse survivor who retired early from her 33-year job as a special education teacher in New Britain in 2007 to focus on writing an inspirational book and lecturing on the topic of abuse. She also has a master's degree in counseling and is a health and wellness columnist for Meriden Patch.

Her work is particularly topical considering two recent molestation scandals at Penn State and Syracuse University that have garnered national attention in the last month.

Dolan's hope is that the methods she talks about can help parents stop abuse before it happens.

"Ninety percent of these children are abused by someone they know and trust -- it's not the guy in the bushes that grabs the child," Dolan said. "A pedophile gains a child's trust, really reels them doesn't happen right away, generally speaking, so there is time..."

The key is for parents to pay attention to adults who lavish an unusual amount of attention on their children -- as well as teaching clear boundaries for kids and opening up lines of communication with them. "You've got to develop this family connection that it's OK to talk about those things," Dolan said.

In addition to parents, the talk is also for childcare workers, grandparents, and anyone else who deals with children, Dolan said.

She said that some fear the topic will be too hard to hear about, but Dolan said she makes the discussion as comfortable as possible.

"We all put our heads in the sand on this," Dolan said. "But you know it happens. If we educate ourselves, we take the power away from (pedophiles)."



Learn to spot the signs of child sexual abuse

by Louis Cooper

The news that a former assistant coach at Penn State University stood accused of molesting boys shocked many.

Unfortunately, though, coaches or other adults in a position of authority taking sexual advantage of children in their care is something that child advocates at the Gulf Coast Kid's House in Pensacola deal with on a regular basis.

In fact, the Gulf Coast Kid's House offers training to parents and others with frequent contact with children.

The program, called "Stewards of Children," is designed by the Darkness to Light child welfare organization. The training is offered to professional groups, such as nurses and mental health workers, in their work and educational settings. However, the Gulf Coast Kid's House also offers it to the general public six times a year.

The next "Stewards of Children" training session for the general public is set for Jan. 10. Cost is $15. For details, call 595-5800.

Gulf Coast Kid's House Executive Director Stacey Kotevicki and "Stewards of Children" training facilitator Debra Bond recently talked with the News Journal about child sexual abuse and the "Stewards of Children" training.

Q: How common is it for a coach to sexually abuse a child?

Kotevicki: It's not that typical. It's something that a parent needs to be concerned with, but in the cases that we see, about 89 percent of the perpetrators are a family member or a close family friend.

You need to be vigilant with knowing where your children are. It is not acceptable to send your child with an uncle, even, for a day without having some other adult checking in or another adult present.

Q: Absent a child saying, "I have been abused," what signs should a parent look for?

Kotevicki: The best indicator is any change in behavior of the child, whether they used to always like going to practice and now they don't want to go to practice anymore, whether they used to be really outgoing and now they are sort of withdrawn — any change in your child's personality. It is rare that you will see any physical signs of sexual abuse ... Sometimes, you will see STDs, but it's rare.



A chance to air allegations of abuse

ST. CLOUD, MINN. - Expressing anger and frustration, people who say they were abused as children nearly 40 years ago by a former deacon and prominent child welfare advocate shared their stories Sunday during an unusual "listening session" arranged by Catholic church officials in St. Cloud.

Four alleged victims attended the meeting at Church of the Holy Spirit and recounted abuse by Michael W. Weber, now 67, who served as a deacon at the church from 1969-70. According to Jane Marrin, a spokeswoman for the diocese, a fifth purported victim was represented by someone else at the meeting and a sixth wrote a letter claiming abuse that was noted at the meeting.

The gathering, which is rare but not unprecedented for a Catholic diocese, comes at a time when unpunished child sexual abuse by adults in positions of authority has been much in the public consciousness, especially after allegations against a former assistant football coach at Penn State University.

About 35 people attended the meeting, including family members of alleged victims as well as area Catholics.

"We understand that this is a very hurtful experience to live with all these years," said Marrin after the four-hour meeting, which was not open to the media. "It's a first step for us in trying to help them deal with this experience and how we can move forward from here."

Marrin said the diocese's vicar general, the Rev. Robert Rolfes, read a letter on behalf of Bishop John Kinney apologizing to victims for any abuse they may have experienced.

She said the diocese plans to hold another listening session at the church on Dec. 19.

Diocesan officials have said they scheduled the meetings because the allegations were deemed credible.

A St. Cloud resident named Dave who reported to police in November that he was abused by Weber in 1969, when he was 11, said the meeting was a good first step toward healing, but added that he and other victims believe the diocese knew or should have known about Weber's reported behavior.

"It's frustrating, but we're happy something is being done, because this is new for everyone involved," Dave said. "It's a stepping stone to continued healing and bringing some justice and restoration to both the victims and their families. That's hopefully what can come out of this."

Reports of the abuse have been filed with St. Cloud police and sheriff's officials in Benton and Crow Wing counties but charges aren't likely because the statute of limitations has expired, authorities say.

Minneapolis attorney Francis Rondoni, who represents Weber, said last week that he had recommended to Weber that he not attend the listening session.

"It is very difficult to respond to purported allegations that are more than 40 years old," Rondoni said last week. Weber "has been a leader in the community here for many decades and has a spotless reputation. And this is very concerning to him."

Rondoni said he is "confident" no charges will be filed.

Patrick Marker, creator of a website that tracks accusations of clergy misconduct, has said he's aware of nine alleged victims. He also attended Sunday's listening session.

Weber, now a Twin Cities resident, resigned from the board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and other positions after the diocese announced the listening sessions in November.

He has served as associate director and acting executive director of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. He is past director of Hennepin County Community Services Department and was an assistant commissioner in the state Department of Human Services.

Besides the United Way position, Weber also resigned as chairman of the board of Rainbow Research in Minneapolis and as a volunteer mentor in the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University.

Marrin said Weber was nearing priestly ordination around the time of the alleged abuse, when he asked to leave the seminary. She said she's not aware of any reports of abuse at the time.

Buffalo residents Tim Cady and his wife, Mary, said they attended Sunday's gathering because they're "concerned for the church." Neither is a victim, nor do they know victims.

But "we would like to be involved in some way," said Tim Cady. "We're not here just out of curiosity. We're here because we love the church. We're concerned for the church and we're concerned first for the victims."

Rose French


Missouri A.G. wants tougher laws on reporting sexual abuse

December 5, 2011

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers should toughen the state's requirements on reporting the sexual abuse of children, state Attorney General Chris Koster said.

Koster wants Missouri to join 18 other states that require everyone to report suspected abuse or neglect of children. Right now, only certain professionals, such as teachers or physicians, are required to do so, according to The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Koster said in a recent statement that the allegations of sex abuse at Penn State highlight nationwide disparities in how state laws handle reporting child sexual abuse.

"If a citizen walks in on the sexual abuse of a child, his duty as a citizen should be clear. We are all mandatory reporters," Koster said.

Penn State administrators have been under fire for failing to contact law enforcement over reports that a former football defensive coordinator molested boys.

But whether those individuals were mandated by law to report the situation likely wouldn't have mattered, said Clark Peters, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri's School of Social Work. Peters said he is sympathetic to the revelations of possible child abuse but urges caution when reconsidering legislation.

"Solutions to rare problems, while well intended, often have broad effects that might have wide-ranging, unintended harms," he said in an email. "For example, expanding the number of people mandated to report abuse will likely include those who have less training to identify abuse and the more problematic ‘neglect,' and distinguish it from benign behavior or injuries."

State Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, also said additional legislation could get "intrusive."

"Every time there's a big problem, somebody wants a new law about it," he said. "If we're not careful, we'll pass an intrusive and over-leaning statute."


RI to announce unit to combat child abuse

A new unit is being formed by state prosecutors in Rhode Island to combat child abuse.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is set to announce details Monday about the effort. The announcement will take place at Day One, an agency that serves victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent crimes.

Organizers say Day One will also discuss the reaccreditation of its Child Advocacy Center by the National Children's Alliance. The center works with children who have been sexually or physically abused.


Recent Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children in Hollywood Just Tip of Iceberg, Experts Say

by Meaghan Murphy

If a spate of recent allegations proves true, Hollywood may have a hideous epidemic on its hands. The past two weeks have brought three separate reports of alleged child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.

Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors, was charged in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 with sexually abusing a former client. His accuser, who was under 12 years old during the time of the alleged abuse, reported to authorities that Weiss told him "what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry." Weiss has pleaded not guilty.

On Nov. 21, Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “ Sesame Street,” was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. The Juilliard-trained composer was also charged with production and distribution of child pornography.

Registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, worked as a casting agent in Hollywood for years before his past kidnapping and sexual abuse of a boy was revealed by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17. Murphy's credits include placing young actors in kid-friendly fare like "Bad News Bears," " The School of Rock," "Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the forthcoming " Three Stooges.”

Revelations of this sort come as no surprise to former child star Corey Feldman.

Feldman, 40, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, unflinchingly warned of the world of pedophiles who are drawn to the entertainment industry last August. "I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman told ABC's Nightline. “That's the biggest problem for children in this industry... It's the big secret.”

Another child star from an earlier era agrees that Hollywood has long had a problem with pedophilia. “When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head,” Paul Peterson, 66, star of The Donna Reed Show, a sitcom popular in the 1950s and 60s, and president of A Minor Consideration, tells “Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game.”

“This has been going on for a very long time,” concurs former “Little House on the Prairie” star Alison Arngrim. “It was the gossip back in the ‘80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone's had them.' People talked about it like it was not a big deal.”

Arngrim, 49, was referring to Feldman and his co-star in “The Lost Boys,” Corey Haim, who died in March 2010 after years of drug abuse.

“I literally heard that they were ‘passed around,'” Arngrim said. “The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful – these were kids, they weren't 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, ‘set guardians' on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way.”

In fact it is the very nature of a TV or movie set that invites predators, experts tell

“A set in Hollywood with children can become a place that attracts pedophiles because the children there may be vulnerable and less tended to,” explains Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman. “One thing we know about actors, psychologically speaking, is that they're people who like a lot of attention. Kids naturally like a lot of attention, and when you put a kid on a set who is unsupervised and getting attention from someone who is powerful, it creates a vulnerability for a very dangerous situation.”

Feldman, who claims he was “surrounded” by pedophiles when he was 14, says the sexual abuse by an unnamed “Hollywood mogul” led to the death of his friend Haim at the age of 38. "That person needs to be exposed, but, unfortunately, I can't be the one to do it," Feldman told Nightline.

“There's more than one person to blame,” says Arngrim. “I'm sure that it was not just one person who sexually abused Corey Haim, and I'm sure it wasn't only him and Corey Feldman that knew about it. I'm sure that dozens of people were aware of the situation and chose to not report it.”

Arngrim, a board member and the national spokeswoman for, an organization that works to protect children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, says greed in Hollywood allows sexual predators to flourish. “Nobody wants to stop the gravy train,” says Arngrim. “If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let's press charges'? No, because it's going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks. So, the pressure is there is not to say anything.”

“It's almost a willing sacrifice that many parents are oblivious to – what kind of environment do they think that they're pushing their kid into?” said Peterson. “The casting couch is a real thing, and sometimes just getting an appointment makes people do desperate things.”

Arngrim, who revealed her own sexual abuse in her 2010 autobiography, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” explains: “I've heard from victims from all over the country. Everyone tells the same kind of story, everyone is told to keep it secret, everyone is threatened with something. Corey Feldman may have opened a can of worms by speaking out, but yes, this does go on.”

Even though Feldman spoke candidly about the abuse, he hasn't named the predator. “People don't want to talk about this because they're afraid for their careers,” says Peterson. “From my perspective, what Corey did was pretty brave. It would be really wonderful if his allegations reached through all of the protective layers and identified the real people who are a part of a worldwide child pornography ring, because it's huge and it respects no borders, just as it does not respect the age of the children involved.”



'90s Red Sox sexual abuse case rekindled

2 men seek $10m, accuse late clubhouse manager

by Bob Hohler

Aug. 22, 1991, Sox clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick asked 16-year-old Charles Crawford to report early from his Dorchester home to Fenway Park.

Crawford, a student at St. Sebastian's School in Needham, treasured his summer job with the Sox. He rubbed elbows with some of the franchise's greatest players: Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ted Williams.

Crawford said he arrived early that day to help pack for the team's departure for the West Coast. That night, he alleges, Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted him in the clubhouse restroom.

His accusation - and that of a second man who, like Crawford, was a teenage clubhouse attendant in the 1990s - is the latest chapter in a sex abuse scandal many believed had been relegated to the Red Sox's past. The allegations mark the first time that Fitzpatrick is accused of assaulting boys in the Sox clubhouse - other cases involved spring training - and come at a time of heightened awareness of the issue in the sports world.

The men notified Sox executives last week they are seeking $5 million each in damages. They said there were no witnesses to their alleged abuse, and they did not discuss it with each other until recently. Medical records show Crawford reported the alleged abuse to Norwood Hospital counselor in 2006. Fitzpatrick died in 2005 at age 76.

The Globe does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, but Crawford consented to go public. He maintains the Sox were at fault. “I've held one of Boston's darkest secrets all these years, knowing people would have been blown out of their seats if they knew what the Red Sox let happen to me,'' he said.

Sox officials responded: “The Red Sox have always viewed the actions of Mr. Fitzpatrick to be abhorrent,'' the club's legal counsel, Daniel Goldberg, said in a prepared statement. “When the team, then under a previous ownership group, became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties.

“The club is unaware of any specifics regarding the matters brought forward recently by two individuals,'' Goldberg said, adding that the team would not comment further.

Crawford and his friend, who asked not to be identified, are the ninth and 10th former Sox clubhouse attendants - and the first from Boston - to publicly accuse Fitzpatrick of sexual abuse.

In 2003, the team settled a $3.15 million lawsuit with seven Florida men who alleged Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the early 1970s. Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty in 2002 in Florida to four counts of attempted sexual battery related to the case.

In 1991, the Sox paid $100,000 to a former clubhouse attendant after he displayed a sign at a televised game against the Angels in Anaheim that said, “Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.'' The incident is alleged to have occurred on the first leg of the West Coast trip for which Crawford said he helped Fitzpatrick prepare.

Fitzpatrick remained with the team for about two weeks after the Anaheim incident. Sox officials said then that Fitzpatrick elected to take an indefinite leave of absence. He never returned.

Crawford said he decided to come forward because he felt empowered by Senator Scott Brown's revelation in February that he was sexually abused as a child more than 40 years ago at a Cape Cod summer camp.

The second man said he came forward in part to show the scandal damaged youths in Boston as well as Florida. “It gives me a chance to help people heal and reveal the hidden truth,'' he said. “This is a point of history that should not be ignored.''

The statute of limitations has expired for the latest alleged victims to seek criminal charges or file a civil suit. The Sox have scheduled a meeting this week with the accusers' lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, to discuss the financial demand of the men.

The new allegations widen the sexual abuse scandal in sports in the wake of accusations against former coaches Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, Bernie Fine at Syracuse, and Bob Hewitt in professional tennis.

The case also sharpens the focus on the obligation of institutions to protect their employees from sexual assault.

All the men who have publicly accused Fitzpatrick of sexually abusing them are African-American.

“Don Fitzpatrick was molesting children over the course of more than 20 years, and someone in the Red Sox organization had to know about it and turned their back on the children,'' said Garabedian, who helped successfully sue the Archdiocese of Boston and the Rev. John J. Geoghan for a combined $95 million in the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal.

“No amount of money is going to help these men regain what was stolen from them by a serial pedophile and irresponsible supervisors,'' Garabedian said.

Social Security records show Crawford earned $1,260 for working 30 days - $42 a day - for the Red Sox in the summer of '91. He said he got the job from the other alleged victim, who also grew up in Boston and commuted to St. Sebastian's.

The other man, who is 37, married with children, and working in public education, said he landed the job with help from former state Senator Dianne Wilkerson, who is serving a 3 1/2-year federal prison sentence on an unrelated bribery conviction. The man said he was traveling with the Sox during the 1991 allegation in Anaheim.

After that incident came to light, he said, he waited for team officials to ask him and other teenage attendants if Fitzpatrick had ever acted inappropriately with them. “No one from the team pulled us aside afterward and said, ‘I just want to make sure you're OK,' '' he said. “It seemed like they just wanted to move on to the next chapter in Red Sox history. Unfortunately, this is part of that history.''

Crawford's life deteriorated after his Red Sox experience. After high school, he played one year of basketball at Endicott College, then attended the University of Hartford before dropping out.

Crawford then bounced from one social service job to another before he spent six months in jail in 2007 for a drug conviction. He has fathered five children with five women and has faced legal action over child support issues.

He attributed his problems in part to his alleged sexual abuse.

“I definitely think suppressing everything for so long hurt me,'' he said. “I feel like I've been running all my life. I've burned a lot of opportunities.''

Fitzpatrick was a favorite of owner Tom Yawkey, often playing catch with him at Fenway. A Brookline native, Fitzpatrick rose from batboy in 1944 to longtime clubhouse manager, first for visiting teams, then the Sox. He counted many players, including Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, among his friends.

When he died, Fitzpatrick was serving a 10-year suspended sentence and 15 years probation for the Florida convictions. The court also had ordered him to pay each victim $10,000 in restitution.

Before sentencing, a judge reviewed evidence that included a transcript of a phone conversation between Fitzpatrick and one of the victims.

“I couldn't help it,'' Fitzpatrick was quoted as saying. “You satisfied me,'' but “I hated myself for it.''


Penn State to Donate Bowl Game Revenue to Fight Sexual Abuse

by Erik Matuszewski

Dec 5, 2011

Penn State University, which accepted an invitation for its football team to play in the TicketCity Bowl, said it will donate its postseason revenue from the sport to groups seeking to protect children from sexual abuse.

Penn State will face the University of Houston in the Jan. 2 game at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas.

The Nittany Lions had a 9-3 record this season, losing two of their final three games after Joe Paterno was fired as coach in the wake of a child sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky. School officials had previously said Penn State would play in a bowl game because the players had nothing to do with the scandal.

“As Penn State continues to move forward from recent events we are committed to help break the silence that surrounds child sexual abuse and lead to better protection of our children,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement on the school's website.

Erickson said revenue received from the Big Ten Conference's bowl payout will be used to support the school's recent partnerships with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, as well as other related initiatives.

Penn State is among a record 10 Big Ten schools invited to postseason bowls, with two teams headed to Bowl Championship Series games. The University of Wisconsin plays Oregon in the Rose Bowl and the University of Michigan meets Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. The Big Ten received $27.2 million from the BCS to distribute to its member schools last season after having two schools in BCS games, the SportsBusiness Journal said.

Return to Dallas

Penn State will be playing in Dallas for the first time since the 1975 Cotton Bowl, and the Nittany Lions' opponent is a Houston team that was 12-0 before losing the Conference USA championship game 49-23 to Southern Mississippi. Led by quarterback Case Keenum, Houston's offense was No. 1 in the nation with 444 passing yards a game this season.

“The opportunity to play in the TicketCity Bowl is fitting acknowledgment of the hard work, dedication and perseverance our student-athletes have exhibited during this especially challenging season,” interim coach Tom Bradley said in a statement.

Penn State will be making its 44th bowl appearance and its 27th postseason victories are third all-time.

Sandusky, 67, was charged with 40 counts of molesting eight boys in a period from 1994 to 2009. He has denied wrongdoing.

Paterno, 84, who won a record 409 games as Penn State's coach, was fired and Graham B. Spanier, 63, was removed as the university's president by the Board of Trustees for inaction after word of possible assaults became known in 2002.

Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz were charged with perjury and failure to report the allegations. They have denied the charges.


North Carolina

Human trafficking: a crime that flies below radar

by Charlie Hall

Human trafficking and exploitation of minors in areas such as prostitution and Internet pornography often fly under the radar for citizens in rural regions such as Eastern North Carolina.

“Educate yourself, and then educate others,” is the advice of Jerry Miller of Raleigh, director of Pastors against Trafficking.

He was among representatives of anti-trafficking organizations on hand Saturday for a forum on the subject, sponsored by the New Bern Interact Club, an affiliate of local Rotary Club.

The forum featured programs by members of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, targeting two areas — “Sexual Assault 101” and “Human Trafficking.” The range of the problem includes labor and the sex trade.

The trafficking topics included an explanation of what it is, the scope of the problem, identifying victims and what teens and citizens can do.

The information was not confined to the school theater, the site of the forum.

Groups such as Pam Strickland's Eastern North Carolina Stop Trafficking Now had lobby displays, which included what she described as “fair trade” merchandise. Some of the items were made by former victims of trafficking and all by workers who are not in forced-labor or sweatshop conditions. She pointed to a “Fair Trade Certified” logo that consumers can look for when shopping for items such as coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar and even flowers.

“I became aware it is not just an international issue,” said Strickland, who first heard about the issue at a church mission conference near her home in Pitt County. “I realized it was a national issue and an issue here in North Carolina and even in Eastern North Carolina. Here, in our part of the world, it is often migrant farm workers being exploited.”

She advocates checking the labels and said it is simple.

“Can you change the kind of coffee you drink? Can you switch to Fair Trade, so we know the coffee you drink is slave free?” she asked. “Another thing is the current federal legislation for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 is up for reauthorization. We encourage people to let their senators and representatives know that this is important to them.”

Adrienne Miller, the Raleigh representative of the international organization Shout! 2 Stop Trafficking, said it is an issue that should concern people at a local level, such as in Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties.

“The FBI says that human trafficking for labor and sex for North Carolina is number six in the nation,” she said, adding that the hot spots include the High Point area, which tops in female sex traffic and Durham for child exploitation.

“The reason is we have the Interstate (road) system here,” she said. “We've got major commerce going up and down, from Florida to New York and across the country. North Carolina has labor and sex trafficking. But North Carolinians also need to be concerned because the fastest growing segment of victims is domestic minors. Those are our kids, born here, and they are under the age of 18.”

She said the problem does not always involve kidnapping, which has been an issue in Florida.

“A lot of kids are seduced by traffickers. They built a relationship with them, telling them, ‘Hey, you are my only girl,'” she said. “That's how they get started. Sometimes these girls have bad home environment, low self esteem, or they may have been molested.”

She said prostitution is an overlooked segment of society, often linked to pornography.

“It can be a gateway into trafficking,” she said. “A lot of girls start stripping and they are dancing on the pole and the next thing you know they are drugged and pushed onto the street.”

On the Web: and



Child Sex Trafficking Documentary To Premier In San Diego

December 5, 2011

by Amita Sharma

The horror of child sex trafficking in San Diego County will be featured in a documentary that premieres on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

One of the stories depicted in“Indoctrinated: The Grooming of our Children into Prostitution” is that of a 12-year-old San Diego girl. Within hours, the girl goes from playing videogames online and befriending a teenaged girl to being gangraped and forced into prostitution.

Manolo Guillen of the youth advocacy group The ACTION Network said the goal of the documentary is to educate people.

“One of the biggest things we can do to help children is to warn them and their parents to prevent this nightmare from happening in the first place," Guillen said.

The documentary shows the shocking ease with which children are sexually trafficked in San Diego County. Local girls are brainwashed, tricked and manipulated into sexual slavery by street gangs. Guillen said gang members busily recruit young girls for their illicit business and they know how to do it well.

“They make the girls fall in love with them and then they make them feel that the only way they can remain in the relationship with the pimp is in prostitution," Guillen said

No statistics exist on the scale of child sex trafficking in San Diego County but investigators believe it is a growing problem.

Broken Souls -- Young girls are bought and sold daily for sex in San Diego County. Some are forced into the life. Others are coerced. The girls can make six-figure salaries for their pimps without ever seeing a penny of their earnings. San Diego is trying to cut demand by educating Johns about the perils of picking up prostitutes especially if they're underage.



Student organization looks to fight human trafficking problems
Group holds campus awareness events, lobbies with state government to change legislation

by Sara Dorn, Chief News Writer

December 04, 2011

According to a CNN estimate, between 10 to 30 million people are enslaved worldwide, and the University of Dayton New Abolitionist Movement organization is working to combat that crime.

Alex Kreidenweis and Alisa Bartel, both public administration MBA students, said they founded the organization through the human rights studies department in 2009 as undergraduates. Since that time, they have lobbied six times at the Ohio Statehouse, spread awareness at four local high schools, organized awareness events and collaborated with similar organizations in the Dayton area.

Kreidenweis said he and Bartel, both 2010 graduates, were compelled to start the group when they recognized the lack of awareness surrounding the issue, as demonstrated at the 2009 Dayton Human Trafficking Accords hosted at UD.

"What we found out was people were coming [to meetings at the accords] just to find out what trafficking was - policy makers, social service workers, police - people who should know what it is," Kreidenweis said. "... And that was a critical breaking point."

The U.S. Department of State defines human trafficking as "an umbrella term for activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service." Forms of trafficking range from debt bondage to child sex trafficking.

Bartel said the dynamics of a student organization are ideal for fighting human trafficking.

"We have a lot of resources on our hands through our professors, a network of people here and we're young and passionate," Bartel said. "If we use that passion and combine it with the resources we have and the expertise of our faculty, we can do a lot."

Jemima Homawoo, a senior international studies and political science major, said she is a former vice president of the New Abolitionist Movement and has been a member since it began.

"I always kind of knew about human trafficking, but I didn't know the extent," Homawoo said. "I heard a trafficking victim from Dubai speak about her experience, and I actually lived in Dubai, so it was really powerful."

Kreidenweis said the organization's focus recently has turned to the 2011 reauthorization of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Originally signed in 2000, the act appropriates funds to efforts to end international human trafficking. It is required to be reauthorized every three years by Congress.

The law has been amended in committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives and reported to both the full House and the full Senate as two separate bills: HR 2830 and SB 1301. If the majority leadership on either side does not introduce it for a vote, the program will receive no new funding, according to the text of the bills.

"We've organized a couple call-ins and write-ins to Congressmen," Kreidenweis said. "We're really just trying to get laypeople to write to their Congressmen."

Kreidenweis said the organization's first call to legislative action was lobbying for the passage of Senate Bill 235, an Ohio law that made human trafficking a felony when it was passed in December 2010.

Twice, professor Anthony Talbott's political science course focused on human trafficking joined the New Abolitionist Movement to lobby at the Ohio Statehouse. The organization frequently works with the class.

"We formed NAM right at about the same time that SB 235 was proposed, so that gave us some great direction for action," Kreidenweis said. "We started almost immediately and it was a critical piece. ... It was one of our most prolific achievements."

Kreidenweis said the organization meets every Wednesday at 10 p.m. in the Women's Center in Alumni Hall, and new members are welcome.

The organization will be hosting a fair-trade chocolate sale in Kennedy Union Plaza this week through Friday, Dec. 9, according to minutes from a recent meeting.

For more information, contact the organization at
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