New Voices: Laws aren't enough to protect children from sexual abuse
by Lauren Book
As a survivor of years of traumatic sexual, emotional and physical abuse, I've had a difficult time watching the Jerry Sandusky trial unfold.
Listening with the rest of the country as the survivors' retell their stories brings me back to a time when I felt alone and vulnerable.
From ages 11 to 16, I was abused by my female nanny in my own home, under the noses of my parents. For years I didn't tell anyone about the abuse, and I truly thought that I might live my entire life with the disgusting secret I was hiding. Little did I know that my secret was one that 39 million other people in the U.S. were hiding, too.
Unfortunately, child sexual abuse has become an epidemic, and, sadly, it takes a scandal like the one at Penn State
to prod our country into doing something about it.
According to national child-abuse prevention organizations:
Every two minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted and almost half of those assaulted will be children.
One in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
It was statistics like these, and my own personal story, that compelled my father and me to start the Lauren's Kids Foundation in 2007 to fight for legislation that would protect victims of abuse and prevent future victimization.
Since 2007, we have worked with our elected officials to make the protection of children a high priority. So far, legislation has been passed that created a statewide abuse-prevention education curriculum for kindergarteners called Safer, Smarter Kids; ended the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse; and created predator residency restrictions to protect children.
Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 1355 and Senate Bill 1816, "Protection of Vulnerable Persons." This law, created in response to the mandatory reporting loopholes brought to light during the Penn State scandal, imposes a fine of up to $1 million on any public or private college or university whose administration or law-enforcement agency willfully and knowingly fails to report child abuse that occurs on its campus, in any of its facilities, or at/during college or university-sponsored events and functions.
The law also makes clear that everyone must report abuse, not just professionals previously specified as mandatory reporters, such as teachers and health-care professionals.
With this change, Florida has the strongest and only fully mandatory abuse-reporting law in the country and sets a national standard for child protection. This law tells the world that we require our institutions to put the safety of children before the protection of their own reputations.
But a law is not enough.
It will take the commitment of every parent, teacher, neighbor, family member, store clerk and passerby to act and protect a child.
I work with survivors every day who say they wish someone had fought to protect them and had taught them how to protect themselves.
That someone has to be us — every single one of us.
Today, talk with the children in your life about safety. Ask them if they feel safe, if they feel that they can talk with you about anything, and if any situation or person in their lives makes them feel uncomfortable, confused or "icky."
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Ending the abuse and exploitation of children requires every member of the village to stand up and say "no more."
Today is the day to say, "no more."
The Department of Children & Families offers a hotline for reporting abuse: 1-800-962-2873.
Lauren Book, 27, is CEO of Lauren's Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Aventura with a mission to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors heal.
Why media -- and we -- don't grasp scope of abuse
by Dan Hillman
Why is this so difficult to understand?
As I write this, retired Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has not been convicted of child molestation – yet. Personally, I believe he is guilty. There appears to be abundant evidence in the case to convict him.
What is astounding to me is that the general public seems to find this so unbelievable, as in: It is so horrible; how could this happen? Yes, it is horrible, but, please do not believe that it is unusual or rare. Child sexual abuse is common. Statistically, one in four girls and one in six boys have been sexually abused by age 18 in the United States.
The media is so predictable – and I must say unethically theatrical – when it comes to a case such as Sandusky's. I watched three cable news channels, and laughed out loud at the men and women who were feigning disgust and outrage in one breath and moving on to another story about ice cream or banning big sodas in the next breath.
ONE NEWSWOMAN actually stated that the testimony given Wednesday was too horrible to be repeated. Really? With all of the filth and gore and murder out there, testimony about someone being sexually abused as a child is too horrible to be repeated? Is that part of the reason why our society cannot reduce or stop child sexual abuse? Why can't we talk about this?
And why are some newspapers publishing this story within the sports pages? It is not a sports story.
One cable newsman stated
that graduate assistant coach Mike McCreary is the man who brought Penn State to its knees and prematurely ended the career of legendary head coach Joe Paterno.
Don't blame Penn State or Joe Paterno. Almost all of us are failing to protect children.
The real story is about children, and the fact is that we are not protecting them. We are not protecting children very well at all. When Darkness to Light: Stewards for Children, a leading child abuse prevention organization, reported last year that there are 39 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse, I was stunned. Thirty-nine million! The Penn State “story” is captivating, yet it is not at all significant in the entire picture of child abuse.
IT IS MORE common for child abuse and child sexual abuse to not be reported. Children are threatened by perpetrators of abuse to not tell anyone. It takes tremendous courage on the part of child victims to make disclosures about their abuse. Adults owe it to children to be courageous, too. Pay attention, listen, observe, ask questions and be ready to believe what you hear or see.
The “scandals” of authorities going to great efforts to cover up child abuse and child sexual abuse within their organizations are common. Protecting alleged perpetrators – often predators who torture children – is common. We see this every week in our work at Child Enrichment Inc.
The fears that people experience about reporting suspected child sexual abuse must be addressed.
Whatever you think that keeps you from calling law enforcement, if you know or suspect that a child is being mistreated, is mostly
cowardice. If you fail to report, you are helping to protect perpetrators of abuse, and enabling more child victims to be abused and tortured.
Sex offenders, some of whom have dozens of victims, are mostly very careful and clever about finding opportunities to have access to children, and all parents should be very concerned if any adult – friend, family member, teacher, coach, clergy, or other – seeks to spend significant amounts of time alone with your child.
DO YOU SUSPECT that a child is being abused, severely neglected or put at serious risk? If the answer is yes, you must make the call to the law enforcement office in the area that the abuse is happening.
Besides reporting suspected abuse and neglect, anyone can help abused children by supporting your local Child Advocacy Center, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. In Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties, you know us as Child Enrichment, and for our work to help child victims recover from abuse, trauma and torture. We work with law enforcement and the district attorney on many cases of child abuse or child sexual abuse. Last year, 695 child abuse victims received the specialized services of Child Enrichment. With help, child victims recover.
Child Enrichment is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit charity, and we need donations. We need volunteers, too. You can become a CASA and work with abused children until a safe, permanent home can be found. You also can attend a Darkness to Light child abuse prevention program. View a January 2012 video on www.ChildEnrichment.org . Support fund-raisers such as Cookin' for Kids each year in March, and Art of Chocolate on Oct. 12.
I beg you to summon the courage to report any suspected child maltreatment, and by doing so, you may help save the emotional or physical life of a child today. Your help is needed, and you are capable.
(The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment Inc., the Child Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocates.)
Child abuse: Has Pennsylvania learned its lesson?
You can't listen to or read the trial testimony of the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky without shuddering.
The showers. The basement bedroom with toys. The “tickle monster” games that turned into something more sinister.
It makes you want to hug your kids — and never let them out of your sight.
The Sandusky case is a wake-up call for us all.
We all have responsibilities to watch out for kids. There are the legal responsibilities, but there also are moral ones.
As former Penn State and NFL football standout LaVar Arrington wrote in a powerful blog piece this week, “I will never just wonder why a child is mad. I will never just assume ever again. I will always ask, and let them know that it's OK to tell the truth about why they are upset.”
The Penn State story is full of people who wish they had done more.
Pennsylvania lawmakers also should be asking what more they could have done — and should do now.
Whether anyone is found guilty in the cases related to Sandusky, it is clear that state law let kids down.
There is widespread confusion about who classifies as a mandatory reporter, and, worse, whom mandatory reporters have to tell.
Is it the police? A superior? The state child abuse hotline?
You would think it would be common sense when a child sex abuse incident comes to light to inform police and call the state hotline.
But it's obvious that common sense is not enough. We need a clearer law.
Those close to the child welfare system have spoken out about these issues for years.
Gov. Tom Corbett and the Legislature convened a Task Force on Child Protection that is meeting this year to examine state law, especially reporting issues.
But the group's report isn't due until the end of November — right when lawmakers plan to go on a lengthy break.
Are Pennsylvania lawmakers really content to wait until 2013 for any action to reform these laws?
If so, shame on them. At the least, Senate Bill 449, a measure requiring training of mandatory reporters in schools, should be on a fast track.
It's not a perfect bill, but it's a start.
The Protect Our Children Committee conducted a survey last year of more than 1,200 mandatory reporters. Almost 40 percent said they had never or not recently been trained.
At a recent task force meeting, someone pointed out that college students studying to be teachers are not getting this training, either.
Training is something so basic that we can correct that issue.
Similarly, legislation to make clearer reporting laws and stiffen the penalties for those who fail to report abuse should be on the table, at least for discussion. The proposals can be tweaked after the task force report comes out, but now is the time for momentum.
And if we really want to talk about justice for abused children, especially sexually abused kids, it is time for lawmakers to stop listening to lobbyists and pass a year or two window suspending the statute of limitations to give victims a chance to come forward.
Presently, victims can only file criminal charges until age 50 and civil charges until age 30. At the very least the age should be raised for those filing civil cases. Similar efforts in other states have not bankrupted religious or educational institutions. This is about getting justice. For kids.
All eyes are on Pennsylvania as the gruesome details on alleged abuse — and cover-up — come out in a Bellefonte courtroom. We all have to do more, but only our elected officials have the ability to strengthen our laws.
Experts: Fathers can help fight sexual abuse, but aren't a cure-all
by Peter E. Bortner
While it is not a panacea, having a full-time father committed to good parenting can help reduce the likelihood that a child will be sexually abused, according to some experts.
"The presence of the biological father in the child's life reduces the chance of any abuse," said Pottsville psychologist Joseph B. Sheris.
However, others who deal with sexual abuse say the father's presence alone does not help.
"There is no effect in the home," from what she has seen, said Jenny Murphy-Shifflet, president and CEO of Lebanon-based Sexual Abuse Resource & Counseling Center, which has an office in Pottsville.
Experts agree, however, that fathers can do a lot to help prevent sexual abuse of their children.
"Certainly, a father in the house is a good thing," said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. "It's fair to say that good, loving parenting ... is beneficial and helps reduce the risk."
With much of Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation glued to the Jerry Sandusky trial, which is scheduled to resume Monday, sexual abuse of children no longer is ignored.
Those who spend their lives studying or trying to prevent such abuse warn that even a traditional two-parent home is not enough to prevent it from occurring.
"The risk is still there for kids no matter what their family situation is," Berkowitz said. "Perpetrators don't care if there's a parent there."
Sheris said that fathers can play a strong role in helping their children recognize problems.
"Providing just the basic education to the children, stranger danger, having an open communication" are things fathers can do well, Sheris said.
Murphy-Shifflet said fathers can be role models for their children.
"Model good, healthy relationships with their partners," she said. "I know it's important that children grow up in homes where they see adults being respectful."
Berkowitz said how fathers relate to their children can play a vital role in reducing and preventing sexual abuse.
"A kid who has a good relationship with their parents is, hopefully, more likely to let their parent know if someone is mistreating them," he said.
David Finkelhor, a professor at the University of New Hampshire and director of its Crimes against Children research center, said that how a father relates to his family matters more than his mere presence in reducing sexual abuse.
"I do think the quality of the parental relationship is the most important thing," he said. "Having an open, secure and communicative relationship with at least one parent is important."
That means fathers must be involved in their children's lives in order to prevent sexual and other forms of abuse, according to Sheris.
"(Setting) clear boundaries, monitoring the child" are things they should do, Sheris said. "You have to show interest in their activities."
That includes setting times when a child must be home, knowing his or her friends and knowing where they are going, he said.
"For a younger child, you're going to monitor a little bit closer," Sheris said.
Finkelhor said a father having a high-quality relationship with both the child's mother and the child helps, and he can do even more to stop sexual abuse.
"The two aspects of parenting that are most important are emotional support and the supervision," he said.
Emotional support includes caring for and loving the child, while supervision includes providing guidance and information to help children stay away from danger, according to Finkelhor.
Some children must live through the nightmare of having their abuser in their home.
"Sometimes, the father is the one who does it," said District Attorney Karen Byrnes-Noon, who has prosecuted dozens of sexual abuse cases in her career. "We've had cases with stepfathers. We've had cases with paramours."
Elizabeth Joyce, senior writer with the National Center for Victims of Crime, said children more commonly face threats of sexual abuse from people who should not pose any such threat.
"Many predators are known to the children. They're either members of the family, or even the nuclear family," Joyce said. "Often, the fathers themselves are the predators."
Murphy-Shifflet said that while her agency teaches children about protecting themselves, the responsibility for sexual abuse does not lie with its victims.
"We teach healthy relationships, which includes body safety and boundaries," she said. "The responsibility for abuse lies with the adult who abuses his or her power to hurt a child."Ways fathers can help reduce the risk that their children will suffer sexual abuse include:
1. Talk - Talk often with your child and set a tone of openness. Talking openly and directly will let your child know that it's OK to talk to you when they have questions. If your child comes to you with concerns or questions, make time to listen and talk to them.
2. Teach - Teach your children key safety principles. For instance:
Teach children the names of their body parts so that they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts.
If your child is uncomfortable or if someone is touching them, (s)he should tell a trusted adult immediately.
Let your children know that if someone is touching them or talking to them in ways that make them uncomfortable that it shouldn't stay a secret.
3. Empower - Your child should know that (s)he has the right to speak up if they are uncomfortable, or if someone is touching them. It's OK to say "no" even to adults they know and family members.
4. Implement - Implement Internet safety protocols, and parental controls through platforms such as the Google Family Safety Center. Work with older children to set guidelines for who they can talk to online, and what information can be shared. For instance, be cautious when leaving status or away messages online and when using the "check-in" feature on Facebook or Foursquare.
5. Educate - Educate yourself about the warning signs of childhood sexual abuse. Know what to look for, and the best way to respond.
DHS abuse hotline evolves
by GINNIE GRAHAM
OKLAHOMA CITY - The call center resembles an office of people making sales, but operators are actually hearing horrific stories.
"Are you suggesting he is slipping this into the child's food?" asks one worker.
"Where exactly is the child burned?" asks another.
Mary Gauss got off the phone with a man who cannot find his children and fears for their safety with his ex-wife.
"This will be a hard one because he doesn't know where she is living," Gauss said. "The mom is not in communication with him, he doesn't know where his children are and he wants us to do a welfare check."
The child-welfare worker with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services joined the staff of the statewide child abuse and neglect hotline a year ago. She has six years of experience in child welfare.
"When I interviewed here, the people had such an enthusiasm for the job and vision for what the hot line can be that it was infectious," Gauss said. "I wanted to be part of it. It's an exciting time for the hotline."
The hotline continues to evolve into more than passing along basic information to county investigators.
Oklahoma was the seventh state to implement a centralized system for screening and prioritizing reports of child abuse and neglect. Now, at least 20 states are making that move.
The purpose is to have consistent practices for prioritizing calls and eliminating bias. Previously, county directors made decisions on whether a further investigation or assessment was needed.
DHS officials found a screen-out rate among counties ranging from 20 percent to 60 percent. Also, complaints were made about county officials making decisions based on personal relationships and personality conflicts.
"We don't know the people calling in, so we have no built-in bias," Gauss said. "We also don't have any perceived bias or conflicts that some people might feel they get in their county office."
The current screen-out rate is about 50 percent - with about 20 percent of those being duplicate calls on the same situation and 25 percent not dealing with child abuse and neglect. The rest may not meet the definition of abuse or neglect, such as differences in parenting styles.
Officials say people calling with non-child abuse and neglect tips may clog the system, leading to longer wait times.
The earlier hotline version was a front door for other DHS matters, including leaving messages for workers in different counties.
"We had to work hard to change that method of operation," said Esther Rider-Salem, DHS hotline director.
The change to a centralized system was gradual, starting with a few counties in 2009 and going live for all counties in January.
It wasn't without growing pains.
Planning was based on the average number of calls coming in at certain peak times. Between 300 to 500 calls are made daily.
"But we never know when there will be a newsworthy event or television or news reports that will spark a lot more calls," said Rider-Salem.
More than 500 additional calls were made the Monday after the story came out about the numerous sexual-assault charges being sought against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
That response didn't let up for a few weeks.
"That starts people thinking or talking to their children," said Rider-Salem. "It caught us off guard, compounded by having 25 percent of calls having nothing to do with child abuse or neglect. We're not opposed to calls going up. We want the safety for children."
This resulted in wait times increasing to up to an hour.
A triage plan is now in place when an inordinate number of calls come in. This involves pulling in more staff, informing callers of the wait time and giving callers options such as return calls or forms to submit online.
Recent funding increases from the Legislature will allow the hotline to hire more staff, from 56 workers to 90.
"No one should wait more than three minutes, but it might take up to five minutes," said Rider-Salem.
Workers go through a series of questions lasting at least 20 minutes. Then, workers look up any DHS history with the family and have supervisors finalize a decision on the priority of the case.
The information is sent to an investigator in the county. Top-priority calls are received by county workers within an hour. For emergencies, callers are told to call 911.
"I'm always thinking of the worker who will get this," Gauss said. "I think about what that worker will need in the background to help in the case and keep them safe. They are going into these situations with a badge and notebook."
For callers leaving a name, they can get a referral number to follow up on what action DHS took.
Gauss said some people are emotional and want immediate removal, particularly if it involves family members.
"Part of our job is to educate the public on what we can and can't do and what scope the agency has," Gauss said. "They tend to think we can fix everything and all the issues. But that's not reality or the law."
Child abuse hotline
To report child abuse and neglect, call 1-800-522-3511
For other DHS matters, go to the website tulsaworld.com/dhs or call the local county office.
Once-secret Boy Scout files on child abuse to be released
by Michael Martinez
(CNN) – The Oregon Supreme Court has ordered the release of an archive of more than 1,000 once-secret Boy Scouts of America files that chronicled decades of abuse of boys.
The public release of the Boy Scouts' 1,247 “ineligible volunteer files” will not contain, however, the names of the victims and those who reported the alleged abuse, the state's high court said.
The Boy Scouts opposed the public release of the files, amounting to about 20,000 pages, but the state Supreme Court upheld a lower-court decision to release the documents as requested by media outlets.
“The court had discretion to order, on good cause shown, the release of those documents subject to the redaction of names set out in the exhibits to protect victims of child sexual abuse and reporters of child sexual abuse from embarrassment, retaliation, or other harm,” the state Supreme Court said in its order Thursday. “The court in this case properly exercised that authority.”
The Boy Scouts still expressed concern about making public files that “are maintained to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting, and Scouts are safer because those files exist,” spokesman Deron Smith said.
“While we respect the court, we are still concerned that the release of two decades' worth of confidential files into public view, even with the redactions indicated, may still negatively impact victims' privacy and have a chilling effect on the reporting of abuse,” Smith said in a statement.
The media companies seeking the release of the files are the Associated Press, The Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting, KGW (a CNN affiliate), The New York Times and Courthouse News Service.
Those media outlets intervened in a 2010 lawsuit in Oregon that resulted in the largest judgment against the Scouts in a molestation case.
That year, an Oregon jury found the Boy Scouts liable for the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy more than 25 years earlier, returning a verdict of $18.5 million in punitive damages.
The plaintiff, Kerry Lewis, then 38, allowed his name to be used publicly during the trial, according to his attorneys. He was among six men suing the Boy Scouts over allegations of sexual abuse.
During the six-week trial, Lewis' attorney, Kelly Clark, produced documents that he said were part of an archive of previously secret Boy Scout files chronicling decades of abuse of boys.
Clark said that when his clients were boys during the 1980s, the Boy Scouts knew that at least one of them had been abused by a former assistant scoutmaster. At the time of the 2010 trial, that former assistant scoutmaster was a 53-year-old convicted sex offender released from prison in 2005 and paroled until 2013.
Clark also alleged that though the scout leader was removed, he was allowed to stay on as a volunteer and the abuse continued. In 1983, the assistant scoutmaster told troop leaders he abused 17 scouts, according to plaintiff's attorneys.
In its verdict, the jury held the Boy Scouts of America 60% negligent; the Cascade Pacific Council, which oversees scouting activities in the region, 15% negligent; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 25% negligent.
The church has sponsored a number of Boy Scout troops, including the one to which the plaintiff belonged. A lawyer representing the church said then that the verdict had no impact on the church, because it settled the case out of court more than a year earlier.
Child abuse expert: Privacy violations are serious
by Abbie Alford
The softball coach accused of hiding cameras in the team's locker room is still in jail.
Howard H. Harjo, 54, confessed to police he secretly put two cameras in a trash can in the Sapulpa School Softball Facility and recorded the female players going to the bathroom.
Police are working to identify the girls whose privacy was violated.
Nationally known child abuse expert Sharon Doty said this type of abuse is just as serious as physical abuse.
"This kind of violation has a long term emotional impact that is almost not measurable because it's so distinct for each one,” said Doty.
She said teens start to develop trust to determine who is trustworthy.
In this case, it was Harjo who was well liked and respected.
Court records show Harjo admitted to taping the girls for sexual gratification.
Doty said that trust was wiped away when Harjo admitted to the crimes.
Police said the video showed Harjo on camera adjusting the camera angles to face the bathroom stall.
"It's unbelievable to us that a human being that we trust would do that,” said Doty.
She said the psychological trauma can be more damaging than physical abuse.
"These girls who now have had a really powerful relationship with this coach are likely now going to be saying to themselves: ‘what is the basis on which you determine someone is safe? I thought I could trust someone I know,'” said Doty.
The uncertainty of who is on the video may not be measured.
Harjo told police he'd been taping the players since 2009 in the locker room. That is three softball teams that could be on camera.
Police said some of the pictures are blurred and some of the victims cannot be identified.
Detectives do not anticipate the potential victims will have to identify themselves on the video.
"Some of them will never know if they are on the video. But the trauma is still there because it doesn't matter if there is an actual picture of them. What matters is that somebody violated their space,” said Doty.
For the parents who trusted Harjo and are outraged, which Doty said is a normal reaction, she recommended that parents be cautious of how they react and try and put their child's feelings first.
"Listen. Do not ask them any questions,” said Doty. "Don't make excuses for anything and do not tell them it is not important, it's not a big deal, you really didn't get hurt. Yes, you did,” said Doty.
Doty said in one case a parent asked their child who was victimized to write a letter. When the parent read it that encouraged the victim to verbally talk about the situation which helped the healing process.
Harjo coached competitive softball for the Oklahoma Diamondbacks from Sapulpa.
Right now the allegations against Harjo are associated only with the hidden cameras at the Sapulpa Softball Facility.
Police also seized computers, cameras, and cellphones from Harjo's home.
The computers will be sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations for forensic analysis which could take several months.
Investigators also found photos of girls in the stands at baseball games.
Harjo is still in jail and being held on $50,000 bond.
Harjo faces child porn and electronic “Peeping Tom” charges.
The Sapulpa School Superintendent said Harjo's background check was clean and it was also clean when police ran a federal search. Harjo has been fired.
The case against Harjo reminds some of a similar case.
In 2000, Harry “Noonie” Red Eagle Jr., was the girls basketball coach at Skiatook High School. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 20 years probation for secretly taping the girls' basketball team.
After that case, legislators strengthened the electronic “Peeping Tom” law to a felony offense.
9 San Diego students suspended for cell phone porn
SAN DIEGO - Nine students have been suspended from a San Diego middle school after classmates claimed they were watching porn on cell phones in class, the U-T San Diego reported Friday.
The paper said the suspended students were in an all-boys English class at Bell Middle School in Paradise Hills. Other students in the class said some of those involved were masturbating, the newspaper reported.
Bell Middle School officials would not comment Friday when contacted by The Associated Press. The district's deputy general counsel Andra Donovan also would not confirm the suspensions. She stated in an email to AP on Friday: "We are legally prohibited from discussing student and personnel issues. I am sorry I cannot be more helpful."
Vice Principal Kathleen Gallagher told the paper that the nine students were suspended after school officials collected statements from classmates and interviewed them individually about what had happened. Gallagher told the U-T that the students involved in watching the pornography were being held accountable for their actions. She could not be reached for comment Friday.
The U-T said it reviewed testimonials written by 22 students in the class about the incident. Several said they raised their hands to report the behavior but the teacher kept reading a book.
The teacher did not reply to the newspaper's request for comment and could not be reached for comment. Teacher union officials did not respond to a request for comment by the AP.
Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general, said the case illustrates a growing problem. Thornburgh helped author a study for the National Academies' National Research Council in 2002 on how to protect youth from Internet pornography.
The years long study involved social scientists, educators and others, and what researchers found is it's nearly impossible to control with today's expanding technology, Thornburgh said.
"It's so easy to conceal," he said. "The images are perishable, so if a teacher is concerned about someone using a cell phone to look at pornographic images, all you've got to do is press a button and it's gone. So it poses all kind of challenges."
Thornburgh said researchers found the best solution is relying on parents, teachers, community leaders and others to teach children what is appropriate and what's not.
Parents of students in the class told the U-T the school has not told them anything about the incident.
In April, a Southern California school board voted to fire a junior high school teacher in Oxnard after footage surfaced of her performing in a pornographic video.
Student claims that the teacher was moonlighting as a porn star were initially dismissed after school officials said they couldn't find any images of her on the Internet. The investigation was quickly restarted, however, when other teachers showed administrators downloads from smartphones in early March.
The video was shot before she was a teacher and the Oxnard teacher has hired an attorney to fight her dismissal.
Psychologist to examine Sandusky on Sunday
by Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, on trial on child rape charges, is expected to be examined Sunday by a prosecution psychologist, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
The examination is the result of a court order Friday allowing the defense to introduce testimony on whether Sandusky suffers from a disorder.
The development is not expected to delay the trial, which is scheduled to resume Monday.
The defense is expected to begin presenting their client's case this week after the prosecution rests.
In a motion, Sandusky's lawyers said the content of letters written by Sandusky to alleged victims may be a result of histrionic personality disorder, rather than the prosecution's contention that the letters were part of "grooming techniques" commonly employed by sexual predators.
The defense said it intends to offer expert testimony from a psychologist who "will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a histrionic personality disorder."
According to the National Institutes of Health, those with histrionic personality disorder "act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves."
"The goal of a person suffering from this disorder in writing those letters would not necessarily be to groom or sexually consummate a relationship in a criminal manner, but rather to satisfy the needs of a psyche belabored by the needs of such a disorder," the defense lawyers wrote in their motion.
Judge John Cleland issued an order on Friday granting the defense motion, under one condition: that Sandusky "make himself available to (prosecutors) for the purpose of preparing rebuttal psychological/psychiatric testimony."
Sandusky remains free on bail and under house arrest during his trial.
The longtime Nittany Lions defensive coordinator faces 52 counts tied to what prosecutors say was his abuse of at least 10 boys over a span of 15 years. The state says Sandusky met many of his alleged victims through Second Mile, a charity for underprivileged youths that he founded.
Now 68, Sandusky pleaded not guilty and has maintained that his contact with children was not sexual.
Calif jury awards $28M in Jehovah's sex abuse case
A Northern California jury has awarded $28 million in damages to a woman who said the Jehovah's Witnesses allowed an adult member of a Fremont church to molest her when she was a child in the mid-1990s.
Alameda County jurors awarded $7 million in compensatory damages on Wednesday and another $21 million in punitive damages on Thursday to Candace Conti, her attorney, Rick Simons said.
“This is the largest jury verdict for a single victim in a religious child abuse case in the country,'' Simons told The Associated Press.
Metro Warns Parents About Sex Trafficking in Nevada
by Joe Bartels
LAS VEGAS -- Human sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar per year industry in the United States. The problem is wide spread in Southern Nevada and Metro says gangs are now using the sex trade to fund their operations.
Metro teamed up with the Las Vegas Dream Center to get the word out to parents about the dangerous sex trade in Southern Nevada.
Dozens of parents showed up to an awareness event aimed at educating people on the warning signs, Saturday.
Kaycee Frost is a mother of 3 daughters, ages 9, 10 and 16. She says when it comes to them, there is nothing she would not to do protect them.
"I can't even describe how much I love my kids, there is nothing I wouldn't do for them," said Frost.
Metro says sexual predators are targeting girls as young as 12 years old.
"I am hoping that we all gain a new awareness, a new awareness we already have awareness but a new perspective," said Frost.
Vice cops said education is crucial when it comes to preventing more victims.
"A lot of kids that get sucked into this are going to alienate themselves from their parents there are going to be a lot of secrecy a lot of things on their phone that will be warning signs," explained Lt. Karen Hughes from Metro's Vice Section.
Other warning signs include withdrawn behavior, or even young girls expressing themselves in a sexual way.
Metro says predators are using any means they can, including social media to lure kids into the sex trade.
"Whether it's a fancy car, designer clothing, things that they can offer a young child or a kid that is maybe not exposed to that sort of thing," explained Lt. Hughes.
There is no group that is immune to becoming a sex trade target.
Parents said they were surprised to learn that kids you would never suspect could become a victim.
"I didn't even know they were targeting honor roll students and that just opened my eyes real quick," said Frost.
Experts said having an open honest discussion with kids about the dangers could save their lives.
Asked about sex-trafficking bill, NYC mayor says it might not be obvious who's a prostitute
by Associated Press
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday it's not always easy to spot a prostitute.
The subject came up during Bloomberg's weekly radio show when WOR host John Gambling asked him about an anti-sex-trafficking bill passed by the City Council on Wednesday.
The bill is intended to stop cabbies from knowingly driving prostitutes to meet their johns. One provision of the bill would enlist drivers to help steer prostitutes away from illegal activities.
But several young women rallied outside City Hall on Thursday to say that not everyone who looks like a hooker actually is one.
The women said they fear that if the bill becomes law, cabbies will be afraid to pick up women wearing short skirts or spike heels. “They don't even know who is a prostitute or not!” said Diana Estrada, who wears shorts or miniskirts to her bartender job.
An apparently sympathetic Bloomberg told Gambling, “If I were a young lady and I dressed in a sporty way ... and there's nothing wrong with that — maybe it's not appropriate to go to the workplace, but at night sometimes sure, why not — I would not want somebody thinking that I'm a prostitute.”
The mayor said he did not know if the sex-trafficking legislation was a good idea or not.
Mobilizing men to safeguard girls
Campaign kicks off to inspire men to help stop child sex trafficking
by Laura McVicker
A father of three girls, Vancouver resident Tomas Perez was horrified when he read in the news two years ago about a La Center teen, Brianna, who narrowly escaped being trafficked for sex.
Perez began taking part in regional training sessions and events on the issue. After hearing Linda Smith, founder of the nonprofit Shared Hope International, speak about child sex trafficking, "it lit a fire," he said.
But as he delved into learning more about the topic, Perez saw a problem: "I saw all these amazing women doing the heavy lifting," he said. "There was just this conspicuous absence of men."
On Father's Day, Perez, who heads a Portland nonprofit called the Epik Project, is launching a campaign in partnership with the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Committee in Multnomah County to get men in the Vancouver-Portland area involved in combating child sex trafficking. He hopes to enlist 1,000 men by Father's Day 2013.
"What better time to sound the alarm than Father's Day?" Perez said.
The campaign, called "Just. Men. Oregon," will solicit men to donate $13 a month to the Sexual Assault Resource Center, a Portland nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual assault. Perez also is asking men to take part in a series of events. Those events will include tailgating at an University of Oregon Ducks game this fall as well as a motorcycle rally.
In addition, there will be several lectures or conferences in the winter and next spring for men to take part in, he said. Events will be posted on the campaign's website, www.justmenoregon.com.
"I believe dads in this state care too much to look the other way," Perez wrote in a commissioning letter to fathers. "Let's stand together in defense of our kids and in defiance of those who seek to victimize them."
Perez has 25 years of experience of pastoral ministry at churches; he has been on staff at Crossroads Community Church and Summit View Church, both large churches in the Vancouver area.
He now works full-time with his nonprofit, the Epik Project, which he started in early 2011 as a response to the growing child sex trafficking issue in the region. The organization, like the campaign, aims to assemble men volunteers to combat the issue.
Perez said the heart of the sex trafficking issue is that the male culture has created a supply-and-demand for sex -- seen also in other places such as pornography and strip clubs.
"Men created this problem," Perez wrote in his commission letter. "Better men will have to solve it."
'Great strides' made combating human trafficking
The Justice Department set a record last year for the number of people charged in human-trafficking cases
by Jerry Seper
WASHINGTON — Human trafficking is modern-day slavery whose victims include young women coming to the U.S. in search of a new life, children who grew up here but fall into a life of desperation and migrant workers robbed of the means to ensure their independence, a top Justice Department official said Wednesday.
"Although human trafficking may take many forms, it often has one thing in common - it is hidden in plain sight," Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole told the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Women Mayors meeting in Orlando, Fla. "While we have made great strides in attacking the problem, there is still so much yet to be done.
"These victims depend on us for their rescue," he said. "It is incumbent on us not to let them down."
Mr. Cole said the Justice Department is "fully engaged in combating human trafficking," with an array of law enforcement agencies involved in the effort, including the FBI, U.S. attorneys' offices across the country and a number of offices within the department.
Mr. Cole said the department set a record last year for the number of people charged in human-trafficking cases, and in the past three years, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of people charged in forced-labor and human-trafficking cases.
But what makes human trafficking even worse, he said, is the difference between a thing, such as an illegal drug, and a person being treated as a thing. "One of the greatest horrors of this crime is that traffickers view their victims as nothing more than a commodity, something that can be bought and sold, or simply taken," he said.
"Because the victims are mostly poor, uneducated and without resources, and often have no local language skills, many of the perpetrators think engaging in sex trafficking is a relatively low-risk crime that promises a steady stream of ill-gotten cash," Mr. Cole said.
Mr. Cole said the victims of human trafficking often are traumatized and reluctant to cooperate with authorities. And while at first blush it may seem illogical that trafficking victims would hesitate to work with those trying to help them, he said, hesitation is understandable.
"Trafficking victims have a healthy fear of their captors, who may have made quite clear the consequences of disobeying them," he said. "And, the victims may not initially trust law enforcement either. If you're being forced to participate in criminal activity, you might not trust a cop. Moreover, some trafficking victims may have come from parts of the world where it is natural to be wary of the police."
Mr. Cole said the Project Safe Childhood program, which began in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children, now will encompass all federal crimes involving the sexual exploitation of a minor, including domestic sex trafficking.
Project Safe Childhood's expansion builds on the "Innocence Lost Initiative," begun in 2003 by the FBI in conjunction with the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In the nine years since its inception, it has developed 47 dedicated task forces and working groups throughout the U.S. involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
As of May, the FBI said, the task forces have recovered more than 2,100 children and convicted more than 1,000 pimps, madams and their associates who exploit children through prostitution.
Bringing the heat
On June 13, more than 400 people, mainly from law enforcement and non-profits, gathered for a conference in downtown Oakland's Marriott Hotel. Outside, a group of angry protesters gave impassioned speeches before trying to enter the hotel. The complex set of issues involved? The conference was organized to discuss tactics for arresting and charging child sex traffickers, but the protesters said that the conference would do nothing but further the state's harmful impact on the lives of sex workers.
I wasn't able to attend the conference itself; the Alameda County District Attorney's office decided at the last minute that press would not be permitted inside. But from the conference's description and a talk with Casey Bates, head of DA's Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT), it seemed that the conference was mostly focused on improving efforts to by law enforcement to find people underage people who are having sex for money and prosecute their “traffickers,” a designation not much different than “pimps.”
According to Bates, the HEAT unit has focused on people selling sex on the street and online, and most are from California or nearby states, although he hopes the efforts can expand to people who are trafficked in from other countries.
Under the law, anyone selling sex under 18 years of age is classified as a CSEC- commercially sexually exploited child.
As DA Nancy O'Malley emphasizes on the HEAT unit website  , “We have been fighting to shatter the perception of children as prostitutes and criminals undeserving of protection. These young people are victims of child abuse.”
The sex workers rights movement, organized by people in the sex industry who see their work as legitimate, has largely called for decriminalization of prostitution and other forms of sex work since the movement off in the 1960s, with new concerns  in the 21st century. Many groups have argued that police increase the violence in the lives of prostitutes, harassing and arresting them while not taking violence against sex workers seriously. The much older anti-trafficking movement, (or, as it was called at the beginning of the 20th century, anti- “white slavery,”) has many proponents who disagree, saying all prostitution involves some form of coercion. The two movements have a long history of conflict, and on June 13, this dynamic was thrust into the public eye.
Policing the problem
This conference was described as “comprehensive event designed to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and practitioners to combat commercial sex trafficking of children (CSEC).”
“Of course we support refuges, housing, and other services for these children,” said Rachel West, an organizer with US Prostitutes Collective. “Why aren't the police focused on that instead of spending hours on the net looking for women, or going out on the street doing street sweeps?”
But US Prostitutes Collective, part of the International Prostitutes Collective  , which has been campaigning for decriminalization of prostitution since 1975, didn't organize last week's protest. This time it was Occupy Patriarchy, an Occupy Oakland affiliated group.
Occupy Oakland has not been shy about calling out police behaviors, from infamous incidents like the tear gas-heavy offensive on the Occupy Oakland camp last fall to shootings  of local teenagers. The HEAT Conference, which was organized by the DA's office and played host to law enforcement from across the country, was no exception.
“Whose inside this conference?” said one demonstrator who spoke during a 20-minute speak-out in front of the hotel that afternoon. “61 official speakers are law enforcement agents, DA workers, or politicians with anti-sex worker reputations. 39 speakers are individuals or representatives of non-profits. The vast majority of these work directly with law enforcement or politicians to criminalize sex workers. Where is the voice of the sex workers?”
"What we find disturbing as anti-capitalists and anti-authoritarians is these police who, to sex workers, are oppressing us,” Clarissa McFaye, a sex worker who attended the demonstration, told me in an interview. “We know that police are a very violent, fearsome presence in the lives of all sex workers, and we feel the only way that we can abolish child trafficking and exploitative forms of labor, which is all labor in actuality, is to abolish the police state.”
“They think working to enforce criminalization isn't going to help child victims of sexual slavery. We know they exist, but we don't feel this is a solution. We don't think enhancing the ability to arrest people is a solution,” said McFaye.
“We really appreciate a lot of the effort that some of the non profits are doing,” McFaye continued, “We want to talk to them and form a sense of camaraderie with them and tell them that we don't need the cops. We don't want them. They're bad for us.”
Sex workers rights groups have long spoken out about police treatment of prostitutes. Stories of police harassing sex workers, going through with sexual acts while undercover before making prostitution arrests, and demanding sex in exchange for letting an arrest slide are fairly common. As McFaye told me, “they're condoning child trafficking because they make deals with pimps.”
“Not to mention that hella cops are tricks,” she added.
Pimps and traffickers, children and minors
The HEAT Unit's website lists 237 charges and 160 convictions made by the unit between 2006 and 2011. The statistics include trafficking as defined by California Penal Code Section 236.1, California's Human Trafficking Statute. But they also include charges and convictions for pimping and pandering, sexual assault, kidnapping, and burglary, and the website specifies that “these statistics do not differentiate between child and adult victims, though the majority of HEAT victims are minors.”
The anti-trafficking statute defines a human trafficker as “Any person who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to effect or maintain a felony violation of ” one of several anti-pimping, pandering, and solicitation Penal Code violations.
This includes Penal Code section 266 which defines a pimp as someone who, knowing another person has commercial sex, “lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person's prostitution.”
But for Bates, “The way a pimp-prostitute relationship works is the pimp takes 100 percent of the cash.”
I brought up the pimp question with Cyd Nova, harm reduction services coordinator at San Francisco's for sex workers-by sex workers health clinic, the St. James Infirmary  .
“I know a lot of street-based sex workers who are totally independent,” said Nova. “Some do split their money with pimps or managers.”
Nova also said pimping's legal definition can often have questionable consequences. “Legally that would be most peoples partners, children, friends.”
“I have met sex workers who have had their partners charged under pimping codes, which was not their relationship with that person," Nova told me.
Many “pimping” relationships fall somewhere in between “peoples partners, children, and friends” and “the pimp takes 100 percent of the cash.” Sex workers, a criminalized class, often experience violence from both pimps and clients- but fear for their own consequenes if they report the crimes. I asked Bates his opinion on granting immunity from prostitution charges or a person who comes forward to report all too common violations committed against sex workers like rape, assault and theft.
“We do this all the time in the context of other types of crime that we work with. If it's a murder, we may be willing to negotiate with our witness to determine whether or not is appropriate to give immunity for the person to testify against this other person, in exchange they won't be prosecuted for the crime that they committed.”
But Nova said that striking that deal can be a major problem.
“One thing that is an issue for people forced into the industry is they are unable to receive services until they agree to testify against their trafficker. This doesn't work for the majority of people, and it's a major issue when you're talking about services for trafficking victims,” he said.
At the St. James Infirmary, “We have people who have been in situations where they feel that they wanted to leave, but are not willing to bring criminal charges against the person,” he continued.
Nova also described a distinction between the terms “child” and “minor.”
“People have choices in how they use their bodies, and that includes youth. We are living in a world where sometimes people have to choose options that are not ideal,” he said.
McFaye painted a similar picture, saying that “sex work is a form of work that all genders do sex work can make a lot more money than other options.”
“It allows me to do my political work as well as work a few times a week, instead of working at McDonalds. When I was 17 years old I tried to get a job, couldn't find anything but shitty house cleaning jobs. Then some sex workers I knew showed me the ropes, and my life's been a lot better ever since,” she said.
I described a similar situation, in which a minor chooses prostitution to make desperately needed money or escape an abusive situation, to Bates. “There are going to be people that make that claim," he responded. "There's no doubt about it. Part of the phenomenon is that a lot of people that are being abused, when they're being abused, don't even realize that they're being abused. That's a big issue,” said Bates. “People have made the claim, they did what they had to do in a difficult circumstance, and they don't really see themselves as being a victim of crime. And what I'm suggesting is, that's not uncommon, it's part of the victimology actually."
He added, “I'm speaking specifically to people that are being trafficked. What you described doesn't sound as much like a trafficking situation.”
But the law doesn't allow for that kind of nuance.
“That is a clear distinction that we want to draw. This is focused on commercial sexual exploitation of children,” Bates said. “When you become 18, you're given a set of rights and you're treated differently under the law.”
The HEAT Unit's model is unique, and if the conference has its intended consequences, it may be replicated throughout the country.
For minors that the HEAT unit identifies as CSEC, “The goal is to try to stabilize them, to figure out what services they need, what situation they came from and figure out how we can get that child back on track,” Bates told me.
“Sometimes, that requires that we detain them for a period of time so we can figure out what services are necessary. That's somewhat controversial, because some people say that's not appropriate. We believe that it's in the interest of these girls initially, to figure out what's necessary. That to turn them back on the street means to turn your back on them, period.”
Many sex workers' rights groups, however, argue for antoher solution entirely- decriminalization of prostitution. Part of the argument for decriminalization is that sex workers would feel more comfortable coming to police with reports that they are their colleagues had been victims of crimes like rape, assault or theft.
As Nova said, “California is currently using anti-trafficking federal funds to target all sex workers. They say, if we arrest a bunch of sex workers, some of them are going to be trafficked. This has not proven to be very effective, whereas decriminalization would result in people, who are in coercive work situations, feeling more comfortable coming forward and asking for help.
“They need an evaluation of what kind of practices are going on and what results they're turning out,” Nova said. “A study where they have conversations with people who have been arrested and detained and talk about what their life was like, what was detrimental and what was beneficial.”
For some of the more anarchist-leaning protesters, however, the police should play no role in the solution.
“What we think would help is if we as sex workers come together is if we come together and combat this exploitation," McFaye told me.
I asked if there was anything the police could do.
“No,” said McFaye. “They can turn in their badges. That's what they could do.”
When the sex workers' rights movement took off in the '60s, they joined the debate that had been going on surrounding prostitution and policing for a century. The movement continues- and on Wednesday, a distinctly anti-capitalist side of it made noise. These groups may be piping up more, as the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, which would increase funding and resources for policing sex traffickers, goes to the ballot this November.
Help for men sexually abused as kids available in Northumberland
Survivor shares personal story of path to healing
COBOURG -- When his mother married his stepfather, an Ajax man said life was "absolutely perfect."
Hayden Jones, 48, who was 10 at the time, said he loved his newfound father and was overjoyed to find the dad he'd been missing all his life. Mr. Jones was the keynote speaker at the Northumberland Community Counselling Center annual general meeting held at The Mill Restaurant in Cobourg on June 12.
But heaven quickly turned to hell as his stepfather betrayed his love and trust, subjecting him to six years of sexual abuse, Mr. Jones told counselling centre board members, staff and residents at the meeting.
"He told me I was special and I needed to be special," he said. "I knew at some level what he was doing was wrong and I tried to tell since he was doing the same thing to his daughter, but fear held me back."
His stepfather was an alcoholic and a womanizer and Mr. Jones said he worried about the complete chaos that would result in the family if he opened his mouth. He also worried for his mother's safety.
"So at the age of 11, I learned to have sex with a girl, I learned how to keep secrets and locked the sexual abuse deep inside me for the next 22 years," he explained.
But the guilt and shame he felt about the sexual abuse wreaked havoc on his life. As an adolescent, Mr. Jones was always uncomfortable, shy and insecure, he distrusted men and avoided situations where he might be alone with them. He didn't know how to say no and suffered confusion over his sexual identity.
"On the outside, I looked well-adjusted but I was living a double life," he explained. "No one, not even my wife, knew that I had been sexually abused as a child."
Mr. Jones said a crisis of awareness at the age of 32 made him decide to seek help.
"I had this intense fear that I would sexually abuse my three year old, but it was a fear and not an urge," he said. "I was uncomfortable seeing my children's genitals and uncomfortable about giving them a bath. Fear prevented me from being the father and husband I needed and wanted to be."
He asked his family doctor for a therapist referral and in 1996, spent six week in individual therapy. Then he heard about a now-defunct therapy group for men who were subjected to sexual abuse as children, the only program of its kind in the GTA at that time. At the program, run by the Scarborough Agencies Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, he came in contact with the group facilitator and social worker, Dawn Forrest, now with the Northumberland Community Counselling Center.
Mr. Jones said he was ready to heal and get rid of the secrets bottled up inside him. But it wasn't an easy task since he had lived with his secret for more than 20 years.
"There were times when the fear was so overwhelming but I went back to the group week after week for over a year," he said. "With the love, understanding, trust, mentorship and brotherhood I shared with group members and facilitators. I was finally able to tell my wife and confront my adoptive father."
His stepfather showed no remorse for the terrible things he had done, a typical response of child abusers, noted Mr. Jones.
"He said he treated me wonderfully, bought me everything I wanted and said that I was ungrateful. There was no sorry, no asking for forgiveness," he recalled. "I told him what he did to me was not love, that it was a set-up, the manipulation of a young boy to satisfy his sexual urges."
His stepfather is no longer a part of the family's life and although Mr. Jones reported the abuse to police, the perpetrator was never charged.
Mr. Jones has taken his healing journey to another level, acting as a mentor to other adult male sexual abuse survivors.
"Men don't have access to the resources needed to heal and there's a societal expectation that men are supposed to be strong, macho and be able to get over it, since the abuse happened a long time ago," he explained. "But I can tell you living with this horrible secret was the darkest, loneliest, most isolated place I've ever been."
His transition from wounded to well means he now laughs freely, can use a public washroom and be the father to his children he wants to be.
"I understand what normal, healthy relationships are, am able to say no, recognize what normal, healthy sex is and understand how a father can nurture, care and love his children," said Mr. Jones. "I take no responsibility for my abuse... it is my abuser who needs to feel fear and shame."
The Northumberland Community Counselling Center currently has eight area adult male victims of childhood sexual abuse undergoing individual counselling, noted centre executive director Pat Hollingsworth. The service is free, thanks to recent provincial program funding through the Ministry of the Attorney General, and completely confidential, said Ms. Hollingsworth. Other funding sources include Northumberland United Way, Northumberland County and Ontario Trillium funding.
The centre is currently recruiting an experienced male therapist with clinical experience in the field of sexual abuse to work alongside Ms. Forrest to start up a group for adult male survivors of sexual abuse, she said. And Mr. Jones has agreed to act as a mentor for the group, something he has done in the past in the GTA.
"My experience was a path I had to take and was lucky to be surrounded by supportive, loving people," said Mr. Jones. "Acting as a mentor helps me give back and keeps me grounded. It's important to be a mentor, to help raise public awareness about male sexual abuse and help remove the ignorance and stereotypes from our cultural thinking."
For more information on counselling services offered through Northumberland Community Counselling Center, located at 12 Elgin St. E. in Cobourg, call 905-372-6318, 905-372-6425, 1-866-748-5720 or visit www.northumberlandccc.com .
Assembly panel OKs bill lifting limits on child sex abuse civil suits
by COLLEEN DISKIN
Child sexual-abuse victims told state lawmakers Thursday that they were denied the chance to exact justice from the churches, schools and other organizations that failed to protect them because of a two-year limit on their rights to file civil cases.
After the sometimes tearful testimony, the Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 in favor of a bill that would lift that time limit for such lawsuits against alleged abusers as well as the institutions that employed them. The bill also would establish a two-year window for anyone to refile a suit that was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.
Critics – including the Catholic Church – argued that the measure could lead to a flood of lawsuits from people who claimed to have been abused decades ago, cases that would be hard to prove and expensive to litigate.
Supporters said the only way victims can make organizations responsible for improving their screening and supervision of employees who work with children is to allow victims to pursue civil judgments against them.
“There has to be a line drawn where we hold institutions accountable,” said Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, who is sponsoring an identical bill that will be the subject of a Senate hearing Thursday.
Vitale said he's optimistic the measure will pass despite differences with some members of his own party, including Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-Camden. A previous bill died in January when the legislative session ended.
Greenwald has introduced a competing measure that eliminates a time limit for victims to sue their alleged abusers but still sets a deadline for suing institutions. On Thursday, Greenwald did not respond to specific questions about his alternative version, instead issuing a one-sentence statement: “I look forward to working together with my colleagues on efforts to protect children from abuse.”
Under current law, victims of child sexual abuse have two years after they reach adulthood – or two years after they first realize, as an adult, that they had been abused – to sue the institution where the alleged abuse occurred.
Victims and advocates say it can take many years for an adult to come to terms with the abuse and to be able to talk about it, much less pursue legal action.
“No one can tell how long it will take a victim to heal,” said Christopher Anderson, executive director of the advocacy group Male Survivor, who cited his own experience of being abused while growing up in Mahwah as an example.
Representatives from the Catholic Church, as well as some tort-reform groups, argued that some time limit should remain.
“How can those who run institutions today respond to claims that are 40, 50 or 60 years old?” said Patrick R. Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference.
“Witnesses die, memories fade and documents are lost,” said Brannigan, contending the law would benefit lawyers but “do nothing to protect a single child.”
Letter to the Editor
The Reality of Child Abuse
To the Editor:
Re “ A Troubled Silence ” (Op-Ed, June 8): Richard B. Gartner, in supporting the need for a longer time frame in which survivors of childhood sexual abuse can bring a legal case against their abusers, focuses on the struggles that men have with victimhood. What he says is important, but he doesn't mention a significant factor in the reluctance of both men and women who were abused as children to come forward.
Despite the media attention to abuse by teachers, clergymen, neighbors and others, most abusers are believed to be family members. Even for an adult, reporting such abuse often leads to alienation from the family.
If siblings were not abused or are simply unable to acknowledge what happened to them, the one who steps forward is labeled a liar or even a traitor. In a common twist, the survivor is portrayed as the transgressor while the abuser garners support from the family members who resent the survivor's “doing this to poor Dad.” Thus, the accused abuser is portrayed as victim.
Even in adulthood, to tell of one's abuse is to risk not being believed; it is to risk devastating rifts in the family. Many survivors suffer quietly rather than lose even more.
Chicago, June 8, 2012
The writer is a minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The Grave Truth Threatening Orthodox Communities
Chaim Levin - Jewish LGBT activist
This past sunday, a townhall meeting was held in Crown Heights to raise awareness regarding the epidemic of child sexual abuse within Orthodox communities and their problematic responses. The event hosted by Eli Federman, a long time community activist and champion of these important causes, and included incredible panelists: Rabbi Yosef Blau, a vocal advocate and supporter of survivor's rights; Irwin Zalkin, an attorney for survivors of clergy sexual abuse; Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney; Mordechai Feinsten, a survivor and advocate; and Zvi Gluck, community activist and founder of Our Place , a safe space for survivors. Along with the panelists, the Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes spoke. He attempted to justify his legally dubious and controversial practice of keeping confidential the names of religious Jews prosecuted for these heinous crimes , adding "I created a system that keeps the names of offenders out of the public only to protect victims, and I'll be damned if I change that."
Perhaps, he should be. The Orthodox community is his most powerful voting block, and his policy protects Orthodox offenders and complies with the community's general suppression of sexual abuse, which the D.A. himself acknowledges involves more "intimidation [than] in organized crime cases". The Orthodox community, especially leaders and educators were conspicuously absent from this event, but, three weeks ago, they had come out en masse.
On May 20th 40,000 religious Jews gathered at Citi Field to discuss the "grave" threat the internet poses to their religious lifestyle. From the moment I found out about this event, I was dumbfounded. I simply could not understand how a rally on the "dangers" of the internet was rational, productive or even fair -- not just fair to all the real issues ignored in these religious communities, but also to the people themselves, who were blindly following their religious leaders.
Just before this event took place, leaders of the Williamsburg Satmar community held a fundraiser for a man accused of raping a young girl repeatedly over the course of years; community leaders called for everyone to come donate money to fund his defense. The leaders further claimed that such allegations in general pose a great threat to the future of their community. While the community embraced the accused abuser, it has harassed, ostracized and intimidated the survivor. While I and a few others were protesting this event, a religious woman said to us simply, "I know him [the accused]; it can't be true" -- as if she had some special method of knowing for a fact that Weberman did not commit the crimes he was accused of. Such blanket denial is something I witnessed firsthand while growing up. It was an ignorant and dangerous response from a parent, that is indicative of actual grave threat facing the children of religious communities such as Williamsburg, which would rally to raise funds for a man accused of ruining an innocent life. Four days later and three million dollars spent, 40,000 religious Jews came to Citi Field proudly and listened as their religious leaders proclaimed the evils, ills and dangers of the internet. The internet is seen as a threat to religious life; otherwise suppressed stories of abuse within religious communities are being revealed via the internet.
Trying to come to terms with being sexually abused from the ages of 6 to 10, I had kept my childhood traumas out of the public eye for as long as I could. It had been my deepest secret, my biggest shame and the most toxic driving force in my life. Coming out as a survivor seemed especially important now. Given the very clear denial of the threat that children face and leaders' attempts to suppress rather than address the problem, publicly acknowledging what I have struggled with for most of my life seemed imperative in order to shed light on the problem and provide people some hope.
Before coming forward, I was concerned with the pernicious yet persistent misconception that being molested makes people gay. Numerous studies and the American Psychiatric Association have concluded, " no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, than in children who identify as heterosexual ." Nonetheless, when I was younger, I was mislead into harmful and dangerous "reparative" therapy, which maintains this unscientific misconception. The biggest shanda (shame), the worst part of the abuse for some in my family is that I "turned out" gay. Sadly, these people and many others fail to realize that it is far more likely that I was molested because I was gay and consequently vulnerable because I was different and felt isolated; my abuser counted on me remaining silent. And, I had suffered silently through the abuse and its long lasting effects. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, severe anxiety, extreme difficulty concentrating, constant nightmares, those are only some of the results of being molested. My orientation is most certainly not. I am very blessed to be who I am; I am very proud of my gay identity, which is not related to the horrific trauma that I endured for four years of my childhood.
Stories of precious childhoods stolen by sexual abuse are coming out now more than ever. These stories were kept secret for years as survivors suffered silently, faulted themselves for the trauma they endured and believed that did not deserve justice. Every day, the media hands us another heart-wrenching story about an innocent child or young adult who was abused by someone more powerful and were then forced to keep quie t and intimidated into not reporting the crimes, in some cases with threats against their livelihood or their families. Many such stories are shared on the internet.
In order to denounce the internet as a danger facing the Jewish people, approximately three million dollars was spent to rally every Hasidic Jew who would listen. Child abuse was not mentioned once. Many other demonstrators and I held signs reading "the internet never molested me", "how many children can $3,000,000 save" and others that made clear our reasons and motives for protesting this event, which many of the attendees claimed was a "great kiddush HaShem" (sanctification of G-d's name). Every second standing there, I was shocked by the masses of attendees showing up, many with children and grandchildren. I could not help but feel sad and concerned for the younger innocent ones who might be harmed because their gedolim (most revered rabbis) concluded that the threat to their lives was the internet rather than the gnawingly obvious problem of child abuse that enough survivors had bravely come forward to expose. The internet has been a vital resource we survivors have used to attempt at healing ourselves and sparing others.
Rabbi Zwiebel of Agudath Israel of America (an umbrella organization for Orthodox Judaism in America) lambasted discussion of sexual abuse on the internet stating, "through the pressure [bloggers] have created, communal issues that need to be confronted were moved to the front burner and taken seriously. A case in point is abuse and molestation issues. The question is, if the fact that [bloggers have] created some degree of change is worth the cost. At the very least, it's rechilus [gossip], lashon hara [derogatory language], and bittul zman [waste of time]. That's a high price to pay." From the Agudath's standpoint, preventing molestation and sparing children are wasteful and less important than avoiding disclosing and reporting true but disparaging information about others.
This same organization has been directing followers not to report sexual abuse without the permission of a rabbi. The New York Times reported that when Rabbi Zwiebel discussed this policy with the Brooklyn District Attorney who allegedly "expressed no opposition or objection". The Brooklyn D.A. appears to have been complicit in making sure that sexual abuse in religious communities is not prosecuted. On June 20th, a protest will be held outside the Brooklyn D.A.'s office to protest " the history of colluding with Rabbinical authorities to enable the cover up of child abuse in Ultra Orthodox communities of Brooklyn, NY. As a result molesters have remained free to victimize children at will ."
While religious leaders would obstruct justice and suppress exposure of sexual abuse over the internet and the DA seems unable or unwilling to fairly pursue abuse that is reported, others would divert attention from the problem by extolling the virtues of the Orthodox lifestyle. A Hasidic woman named Chaya wrote What Women's Media Needs to Know about Chassidic Women in response to the buzz surrounding the internet rally, which women weren't invited to attend. Chaya's assertion that women who keep the Jewish laws of family purity have lower rates of cervical cancer and portrayal of lives of Hasidic women as glorious and fulfilling went viral. When I posted a link to one of the many responses to the article, strangers bombarded my facebook page with comments along the lines of: Stop trying to represent us; the real Hasidic women choose our lifestyles and are happy with it. I was berated by some for not being fair in disagreeing with Chaya's belief that she wrote was actually what the media needed to know.
Chaya failed to mention that she didn't grow up within the fold of the Orthodox community. When she bragged about her college experience ("magna cum laude baby"), she did not mention that in Crown Heights where I was raised Orthodox, the idea of even going to college was a foreign one . Those of us who lived through horrors created by oppressive environments like the one Chaya attempted to glorify are still struggling with our nightmares as the people who hurt us walk around freely without any accountability and posing a danger to others because a corrupt system is more interested sparing the community the imagined shame in addressing sexual abuse than in protecting its children.
Many people ask, or rather complain, why I don't just leave the community behind and let them live their lives in peace and do as they choose. Rosa parks did not leave her seat, and she did not leave Alabama; she stayed, and that taught me a lot. While I do plan to leave Brooklyn in the near future, I simply cannot turn a blind eye to problems I am painfully aware of, and I certainly will not disconnect from the internet.
The internet has been an invaluable resource for many of us who suffered abuse, oppression and torment in our communities. When Ricky Martin discussed having feared coming out, he said, "If someone asked me today, 'Ricky, what are you afraid of?' I would answer, 'the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith.' But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, it fills me with strength and courage." The internet has been one thing that offered us strength, courage and hope; it allows us to know that we are not alone and, hopefully, others to be spared. The internet forced the issue of child abuse in religious communities into the public eye, and the reprehensible behavior of leaders who protect offenders is now coming to light and may be investigated further. The internet may very well spur change that will save those in religious communities, for which the only real threat is abuse and its suppression.
Sandusky prosecution brings 8th accuser to stand
by MARK SCOLFORO
The Associated Press , June 15, 2012
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jurors in Jerry Sandusky's case were told Thursday the trial would not resume until next week after prosecutors finished calling to the stand eight young men who claimed the former Penn State assistant coach sexually abused them when they were children.
Sandusky's trial on 52 criminal counts has moved more quickly than many observers have expected, and his lawyers could begin to put on their witnesses as early as Monday. There are two alleged victims have never been identified.
Testimony on Thursday included three more accusers, including a young man who claimed the 68-year-old Sandusky raped him as a teen guest in Sandusky's basement.
That witness, now 18, told jurors his abuse began with fondling and forced oral sex and led to several instances of rape in Sandusky's State College home, where he spent more than 100 nights and where his muffled screams went unanswered by Sandusky's wife, Dottie, who was upstairs.
He said he figured the basement must be soundproof.
"He got real aggressive, and just forced me into it," he said. "And I just went with it — there was no fighting against it."
Under cross-examination by Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola, he said the attacks sometimes left him bleeding, but that he never sought medical attention.
"I just dealt with it," he said.
Described as Victim 9 in court records, he became known to investigators after Sandusky was first arrested in November and his mother summoned police to their home. He said he didn't want to talk to them at first.
"Who would believe kids?" he said.
A few weeks later Sandusky was charged with two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other offenses in his case, among the most serious set of the charges Sandusky has denied and is fighting.
A third accuser, known as Victim 3, was an Army National Guard sergeant who testified Thursday that despite being fondled by Sandusky, he had viewed him as a father figure and was crushed when he was sent to a group home and Sandusky never contacted him again.
"I would pray he would call me and maybe find a way to get me out of there," he said, "but it never happened."
He testified that he felt uncomfortable when Sandusky touched his genitals in bed, and that he would roll over to prevent anything else from happening, but that he didn't tell Sandusky not to get into bed with him.
"He made me feel like I was a part of something, like a family," the man said. "He gave me things that I hadn't had before." He said that he loved Sandusky, and that Sandusky treated him like he was part of an extended family and feel "unconditionally loved."
Sandusky's arrest brought disgrace to Penn State and led to the ouster of both the school's president and Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno.
Sandusky's attorney questioned accusers about connections they had with other alleged victims. The defense has claimed that the accusers have financial motives, although several have said that police contacted them and that they expressed their reluctance to get involved.
Earlier in the day, an accuser called Victim 6 testified that Sandusky described himself as a "tickle monster" and embraced the then-11-year-old boy in a Penn State shower in 1998, an encounter that prompted an investigation but ended without any charges filed.
Now 25, he told jurors Sandusky embraced him in a locker room shower, lathered up his back and shoulders then lifted him chest-to-chest to a shower head to rinse out his hair.
The man said the shared shower happened after a brief workout at a campus gym, even though he hadn't broken a sweat. His mother went to authorities when she saw her son come home with wet hair, although the inquiry spawned by her report didn't lead to any charges.
The witness, who described himself as a big football fan, testified that Sandusky showed him Penn State football facilities and let him try on players' equipment.
One of the investigators who interviewed the boy and Sandusky at the time, Ronald Schreffler, told the court that he thought charges were warranted but that the district attorney, Ray Gricar, disagreed.
Gricar cannot explain his decision; he disappeared in 2005 and was later declared legally dead.
On cross-examination, the man testified that in recent years he and Sandusky exchanged text messages, sent notes for holidays and special occasions and last summer met for lunch. He also told the court that Sandusky and his wife had supported a mission trip he took to Mexico.
"As I started to go over it in my mind I quickly realized, my perception changed thinking about it as an adult as opposed to an 11-year-old," he said. "That was inappropriate, what happened to me."
Asked whether he was looking for financial benefit from coming forward, the man replied, "Zero."
Also testifying was Anthony Sassano, an investigator with the attorney general's office who disclosed that officials learned of a key witness, Mike McQueary, after an anonymous letter was sent to Centre County prosecutors.
Sassano said authorities obtained lists of children who attended events sponsored by Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile, sending investigators across a wide swath of the State College region to talk to participants. They also poured through Sandusky's biography, "Touched," and other documents found in his home and office.
They brainstormed about who else could have been in university buildings during off hours, including janitors and others. Eventually, they issued subpoenas to Penn State.
"Penn State, to be quite frank, was not very quick in getting us our information," he said.
Oregon Justices Approve Release of Boy Scouts' ‘Perversion Files'
by KIRK JOHNSON
SEATTLE — Oregon's highest court cleared the way on Thursday for the release of thousands of pages of documents detailing accusations and investigations of sexual abuse or other improprieties by Boy Scout leaders around the nation from the mid-1960s into the 1980s.
The files played a central role in a civil case in 2010 over the abuse of six boys by a scout leader in Portland, Ore., in the 1980s. That trial ended with an $18.5 million punitive judgment against the Boy Scouts of America, the largest ever by far against the organization in a sex case jury trial.
The “perversion files,” which the Boy Scout organization said were kept as a way of weeding out bad leaders and preventing abuse, instead became evidence in the trial. And the state judge in the case, John A. Wittmayer, ruled that as evidence, the files should be released to the public under the open records provision of the Oregon Constitution, but with the names of possible victims and people who had reported accusations redacted. Thursday's ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America, and said the judge had not exceeded his authority.
“Oregon's framers sought to require the courts to conduct the business of administering justice in public — that is, in a manner that permits scrutiny of the court's work,” the court said in its unanimous 31-page ruling .
But the court also rejected a petition by various news organizations, including The New York Times, which had sought access to everything in the exhibits that the jurors had seen. The Times's assistant general counsel, George Freeman, said the paper would doubtless not have published victim's names, but that, “as a point of principle, the ruling should have included a presumption of the public's viewing everything that was in open court.”
The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that the file system was kept confidential to encourage reporting of bad or questionable behavior by scout leaders, and that details of old cases, coming to light years after the fact, could still harm innocent victims.
“While we respect the court, we are still concerned that the release of two decades' worth of confidential files into public view, even with the redactions indicated, may still negatively impact victims' privacy and have a chilling effect on the reporting of abuse,” the statement said.
A lawyer for the victims in the Portland case, Paul Mones, said the documents were not likely to lead to criminal prosecutions or many civil actions because of restrictive statute of limitations laws around the country. The documents in their current form, as shown to the jury and at issue before the Supreme Court, included the names of those accused of abuse, he said.
The 2010 case initially involved six former scouts in a troop led by a scout volunteer named Timur Dykes, who was convicted in 1993 of sex crimes against young boys and is now on parole. One of the plaintiffs, Kerry Lewis, took the case to trial, and the other five settled separately after trial with the Boy Scouts of America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which supervised the troop through a local church ward in Portland, settled before the trial with all the plaintiffs and was not involved in the jury judgment.
Mr. Mones said the stories and cases documented in the files, in whatever form they emerge for public inspection, would still give voice to victims who suffered anonymously. “They suffered very silently, and this is a way to recognize the real devastation that was wrought on their lives,” he said.
The Oregon sex offender registry system lists Mr. Dykes, 55, as homeless, living on the streets in Portland.
ACLU friends sex offenders
Group backs Facebook access for child predators
By Robert Knight
Well, there they go again, carrying water for their army of odd men in raincoats. The American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) of Indiana is suing to strike down a state law forbidding convicted sex offenders from using social media such as Facebook .
The state argues that allowing released felons on social media opens up opportunities for them to troll for children on the Internet.
“It's hard to come up with an example of a sexual predator who doesn't use some form of social networking anymore,” said Steve DeBrota
, an assistant U.S. attorney in Indianapolis who prosecutes child sex crimes, to the Associated Press in defense of the law.
The case, Doe v. Marion County Prosecutor, is in the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana . The ACLU of Indiana contends that Indiana's prohibition overreaches, punishing people who have served their sentences.
“To broadly prohibit such a large group of persons from ever using these modern forms of communication is just something the First Amendment cannot tolerate,” Ken Falk , legal director of Indiana's ACLU chapter, told AP.
Well, here's hoping it's not too large a group, given the nature of the offenses. State laws make distinctions for sex offenders, even after release. Convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences cannot work as teachers, be youth-group leaders or work in jobs that put them in contact with children. Registered offenders in Louisiana, for instance, cannot hold certain jobs, such as operating a taxi, bus or carnival and amusement rides.
“Few sex offenders get treatment for their psychological disorder behind bars,” Patrick Trueman , president and CEO of Morality in Media, told me recently. “Thus, most sex offenders, even those who get treatment, have a very high probability of recidivism, as law enforcement knows. That is why most states require that such offenders be listed in sex-offender registries for a lifetime. Like most every position of the ACLU , this one in Indiana is wrong and dangerous.”
Several states are wrestling with how to protect children online without violating First Amendment rights. In Nebraska, where, according to AP, “a federal judge in 2009 blocked part of a law that included a social networking ban,” an Omaha-area sex offender's legal challenge to the law will go to trial in July.
Louisiana is taking a second crack at curbing online sex offenders following the ACLU 's success last year in getting a judge to strike down the social-media law.
A new statute that takes effect Aug. 1 allows sex offenders to access certain sites, such as news and government pages, email and shopping sites. Photo-sharing and instant-messaging systems also are allowed.
In 2011, Louisiana legislators, backed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal , passed a law barring sex offenders from chat rooms, peer-to-peer sharing and other social media that would include Facebook .
Naturally, the ACLU sued Louisiana, an action Mr. Jindal called “disgusting.” In February, U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, based in Baton Rouge, struck down the law, saying it was too broad. The legislature then passed a more tightly drafted bill (H.B. 620) which Mr. Jindal signed a couple of weeks ago, saying:
“Louisiana families should have the comfort of knowing their children are able to access the Internet without the threat of sex predators. We already restrict sex offenders from playgrounds, daycares and schools, and they should not be allowed to prey on our children in our homes through our computers. As technology advances, so too must law enforcement's tools, so that we can stay ahead of the monsters that prey on our children.”
What a killjoy, that Bobby Jindal .
But he's in good company. When Jesus warned about divine punishment for corrupting children, he was talking about more than losing Internet access:
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the ocean.” (Matthew 18:6).
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.
Rahab's Hideaway opens in-house program for children in Ohio
by Holly Smith
WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2012 - Last month, the Associated Press reported that three men were convicted in a child sex-trafficking ring run mostly by Somali gang members that spanned from Minnesota to Tennessee, including Columbus, Ohio. The article reported that a Somali victim, identified only as Jane Doe Number Two, testified that she was “used as a prostitute by gang members starting at the age of twelve.”
Child sex trafficking is not a new issue in Columbus, Ohio. As far back as 2009, the FBI reported having rescued 45 potential underage victims of sex trafficking, some as young as thirteen, in a state-wide sweep. Survivors know from experience that the pain for a victim of sex trafficking does not end upon rescue; the process of healing takes time and specialized care.
Many have stepped forward in the anti-human trafficking movement, but a survivor's voice is the strongest and most powerful among them. One such survivor, Marlene Carson of Columbus, Ohio, founded a grassroots outreach ministry called Rahab's Hideaway, Inc. in 2008. Marlene led this ministry into the darkest hours of the night to rescue homeless teenage girls and adult young women involved in prostitution.
“We dare[d] to face what most fear,” Marlene said, “the traffickers…traffickers and pimps always tell their victims that no one cares about [them] or is looking for [them], but [we] are [the] people out here who will not stop until [they] are all free.”
Marlene's outreach ministry eventually grew into a shelter for adult women. Marlene collaborated with community members in order to provide victims with connections to many resources including maternal and pediatric health care, mental health services, child and youth development programs, education, and job training. Rahab's Hideaway also collaborated with a part-time housing advocate whose primary responsibility was to assist residents in their permanent housing search. Individual meetings were provided to ensure that residents were working constructively towards their goals.
Marlene also opened a restaurant called Boujhetto's Soul Food in order to provide survivors with job skills and experience.
“We watched these women grow, mature, progress, and survive,” Marlene said, “This is a story of liberation from physical, emotional, and even spiritual control…the only piece missing was a shelter for the youth.”
Well, not anymore.
Rahab's Hideaway is partnering with the Rosemont Center in east Columbus to provide the first fully-comprehensive treatment facility for child victims of sex trafficking. Rahab's at Rosemont Center is slated to open this fall, in September 2012, and will be able to house up to 32 girls, aged 11 to 18, for up to two years.
“We are a means to…education,” Marlene stated, “For [those] who have been sold so much that they feel they have nothing left, we instill value.”
According to the organization's website, more than a thousand children from the state of Ohio fall into the hands of traffickers each year. The website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) cites the following nationwide statistic:
“Each year thousands of children run away from home, are forced out of their homes, or are simply abducted by their parents or guardians. The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children 2 (NISMART-2), conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), estimates that in 1999 more than 1,680,000 children had runaway or thrownaway episodes.”
As I have explained in a past article , many runaway children who wind up in the clutches of sex traffickers were abused or exploited in their childhood; this is the reason they are often unable to identify themselves as currently being exploited or victimized. Marlene aims to provide these children with a program that will not only provide refuge but will facilitate recovery. The staff at Rahab's at Rosemont Center recognize that treatment for prior abuse is required in order to properly care for child victims of sex trafficking. Their brochure states the following:
“It is estimated that 80 percent of prostituted persons within the United States have suffered physical or sexual abuse before entering the sex trade. Experts agree that this population, which includes women and children from a variety of socioeconomic conditions, were often victims of abuse long before they were introduced to prostitution. Chronic sexual exploitation often causes victims to feel powerless, forcing them to stay in their circumstances. The traffickers who control such women and children often remove any last hope for alternatives.”
On Thursday this week, Rahab's at Rosemont Center will be hosting a housewarming and fundraising event. Stacy Jewell Lewis , a playwright, producer, artist, and survivor of trafficking, will be performing a spoken word monologue at the event.
“Marlene really is inspiring, direct, and a no-nonsense kind of person,” said Stacy, “I love the fact that she's open to supporting other survivors' missions and is totally giving of herself to victims…truly an inspiration of where dedication and hard work can get you.”
“Yes, I am a survivor of human trafficking,” Marlene said, “and I thank God for second chances... for those who are looking for a way out, Rahab's Hideaway is a beacon of light.”
For more information, please visit the Rahab's at Rosement Center website or contact Marlene at Mcarson@RahabsHideaway.org .
If you are looking to place a victim, please call Rahab's 24-hour hotline at 614-593-5033 or call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 888-373-7888.
Drivers Aiding in Sex Trafficking Will Lose License Under New Law
by Cindy Rodriguez
The City Council passed a law Wednesday that would fine and revoke the licenses of taxi and livery car drivers if they are convicted of committing a sex trafficking crime.
Drivers for hire will be fined $10,000 under the new law, which will go into effect later this year.
"What they're doing is driving victims from customer to customer, directing victims what to do with each customer and at the end of the evening, confiscating half the victim's earnings," said Attorney Dorchen Leidholdt of Sanctuary for Families, a group that assists victims.
But director of Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai said its the unauthorized cars — those not licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission — that are to blame.
"To scapegoat us not only maligns drivers but does a disservice to a serious issue," Desai said, adding that cabs are tracked by the TLC making it highly unlikely that drivers would be involved in the sex trade.
The new legislation also requires drivers seeking new licenses or renewals to complete a program that educates them about sex trafficking violations.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said three airlines — Jet Blue, Delta and American — had agreed to train their employees about how to identify a sex trafficking victim and what to do if one approaches them.
"Our hope here is we'll really establish an airline standard for best practices," said Quinn.
Trafficking bill sails past House, Senate to Kasich's desk
Governor likely to sign it in Toledo
BY JIM PROVANCE
COLUMBUS -- After two unanimous votes in the Ohio House and another in the Senate, a bill going after those who force minors into the sex trade and those who hire them is headed for Gov. John Kasich's desk.
"To victims and survivors, today is your independence day," said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), sponsor of House Bill 262. "It's OK now to come forward, ask for help, and receive it. We can and will rescue you from this horrific crime. We're committed to helping put the pieces of your lives back together."
Before reaching a final vote on the measure Wednesday, an emergency clause was added to allow it to take effect immediately upon the governor's signature instead of waiting the usual 90 days. Mr. Kasich has made the bill one of his priorities, making an emotional push for its passage during a private meeting with House GOP caucus members.
He is expected to sign the bill in Toledo, which has gained unwanted attention as a recruiting center for minors into the sex trade.
The human-trafficking spotlight fell on Toledo in 2005 when a federal sting in Harrisburg, Pa., broke up a sex-trafficking operation involving 177 females. Seventy-seven of the victims were from the Toledo area, including a 10-year-old girl.
"The number of Ohio kids being trafficked across the state today could fill a large high school," Mr. Kasich said. "These are boys and girls in our own backyards, exploited and forced into hard labor and prostitution. It's a modern-day slave trade. This bill sends a very loud and clear message to human traffickers," he said. "If you're going to take advantage of Ohio's boys and girls, you're going to get caught and severely punished."
The bill increases penalties for those who traffic in people, particularly minors, for the purpose of prostitution and pornography, as well as the "johns" who hire them. It attempts to shift the focus away from prosecuting minors as prostitutes and gives juvenile court judges the power to instead divert trafficking victims to treatment, counseling, and other services.
The bill will allow victims to sue those who coerced and forced them through drugs, threats, and even feigned acts of kindness into selling themselves and allow police to confiscate traffickers' assets upon conviction to fund services for their victims. Ms. Fedor noted that apparent human trafficking was felt again in northwest Ohio this week.
"Just this Monday a Kentucky man was arraigned in Ohio for kidnapping and possibly trafficking two teenagers from Kentucky," she said. "One was 17, and the other one was 16 years old."
The trucker apparently had forced one of the girls from his truck at a Wood County rest stop and left with the other. Based on information provided by the girl, the truck was stopped on its way to Louisville.
From the Department of Justice
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Event
Washington, D.C. ~ Thursday, June 14, 2012
Thank you for that kind introduction.
The Attorney General very much wanted to be here, but is headed to Canada, where he will be meeting with his foreign counterparts. It is therefore my privilege to join my colleagues, Secretary Sebelius and Director Cordray, and all of you today to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
At the outset, I want to commend Secretary Sebelius for forming the Elder Justice Coordinating Council. This critical first step firmly demonstrates this Administration's commitment to protecting our older Americans and we look forward to working with our federal partners on the Council.
It's worth noting that in anticipation of the Coordinating Council, the Department of Justice, with support from HHS, began working earlier this year on developing an Elder Justice Roadmap. The Elder Justice Roadmap project has already sought input from hundreds of stakeholders from around the country in order to help identify potential policy, practice, and research priorities in the field of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. We expect the results of this Roadmap to help inform the Coordinating Council as it moves ahead in developing its strategic agenda.
I also want to thank Kathy Greenlee and her staff at the Administration on Aging for their tireless efforts to protect our older Americans and for organizing today's event.
Elder abuse is a hidden epidemic that annually impacts the health and well-being of six million older people, as well as their families and caretakers. It includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse; neglect; and what we're here to talk about today -- financial exploitation. Victims come from all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. And sadly, perpetrators of financial exploitation are more likely to be family members than strangers.
This type of elder abuse depletes the resources of individuals, families, businesses, and public programs including Medicare and Medicaid, by billions each year, placing enormous burdens on our health care, financial, and judicial systems.
For me, and for today's Department of Justice, protecting older Americans is a top priority that we advance on multiple fronts.
For example, in order to protect the financial integrity of the Medicare program, upon which so many of our older Americans rely, both the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services decided early on to make combating healthcare fraud an enforcement priority and created the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, or HEAT.
Since HEAT began in May 2009, we've recovered over $8 billion dollars in cases involving fraud against the Medicare program and other federal health care programs. We believe this has sent a strong and clear message that Medicare fraud will not be tolerated and that DOJ and HHS will act swiftly to where it does occur.
Just as important as protecting the fiscal integrity of the Medicare program, is our commitment to ensuring that our nation's nursing homes and other health care providers are actually providing the care and services to which our Medicare beneficiaries are entitled, rather than exploiting those beneficiaries (and the Medicare program) for their own profit. Tony West, the Department's Acting Associate Attorney General, has taken a particularly active role in supporting these cases and will discuss a particularly egregious example of financial exploitation this afternoon.
Protecting older Americans from consumer scams and fraud is also a top priority of the Department. Just this past March, the Department hosted an historic consumer protection summit that brought together federal and state law enforcement and regulators with consumer advocates to harness our collective experiences, to discuss strategies for enhancing our civil and criminal enforcement of consumer fraud crimes, and to increase public awareness about common schemes so that ordinary citizens can fight back themselves.
Likewise, the Department's Consumer Protection Branch has done terrific work combating fraud on the elderly as part of a broader emphasis on fraud targeting vulnerable populations. We have had successful prosecutions of a number of fraudsters targeting the elderly through reverse mortgage fraud scams and lottery scams. And we have enhanced public awareness about these schemes through collaboration with others such as AARP.
Our health care fraud and consumer protection efforts are just some of the ways that the Department protects our nation's older Americans from financial exploitation. But while we have made strides to address this form of elder abuse, enforcement alone is not a complete strategy. We can't simply prosecute our way out of this problem.
Everyone here today knows that the way we can be most effective in protecting older Americans from financial exploitation is by combining our resources and expertise, and by collectively deploying the myriad tools at our disposal.
We need the federal agencies represented on this stage, Adult Protective Services workers, long term care ombudsmen, domestic violence advocates, geriatric specialists, the financial services industry, health care providers, advocates, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors, and – what has been a “missing link” in this area – civil legal aid lawyers.
Legal services programs have a unique opportunity to prevent and remedy elder abuse, especially the scourge of financial exploitation. For example, they can help prevent mortgage foreclosures resulting from a family member's theft of a senior's life savings; they can counsel worried older clients about legal options for responding to debt brought on by a financial scam, or better yet counsel them on how to avoid the scam in the first place; they can advise clients on how to revoke a power of attorney that is being used by someone unscrupulous to exploit them; and they can offer elders a safer future by representing abused clients in obtaining a protective order.
While this expertise can be critical to preventing or addressing abuse, legal services program staff too often don't have the specialized training on how to identify and support older victims, and how to harness their existing expertise to respond to older victims' special needs.
That's why, with the essential cooperation of Legal Services Corporation President Jim Sandman, who is with us here today, I'm delighted to announce the “Missing Link Project,” a new collaborative effort by the Department's Elder Justice Initiative, our Office for Victims of Crime, and our Access to Justice Initiative to develop such training materials for legal services providers. President Sandman has pledged that when the training has been developed, it will be made available to all LSC programs, which together provide critically needed services to every county in this country. We are hopeful that the trained legal aid lawyers' efforts will be further leveraged by private lawyer pro bono volunteers, thus increasing the overall capacity to serve elderly victims. Jim, we thank you for your commitment. And I also want to thank Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary and the staff of the various offices involved for their strong support of this effort.
Too many elderly Americans are suffering alone. Together we can change that.
We know the importance of your work on the front lines of the battle against elder abuse and financial exploitation. What you do every day makes an extraordinary difference in ordinary lives. I want you to know that the U.S. Department of Justice is honored to be your partner.
Learn how to talk to your children about potential abuse
The trial of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky began this week and it is sparking conversations about the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse.
The executive director of Shepherd's Counseling Service, Janice Palm, one of the only centers in the entire U.S. dedicated to helping adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, talks on how to speak with your children about an issue as serious as this, and signs you can look for to make someone in your life isn't being abused.
There are countless others that have reached out and gotten help, and so can you!
If you'd like to find out more online, feel free to visit Shepherd's Counseling Service by clicking here.
If you're an adult who has been sexually abused, call Shepherd's Counseling Services to get help and support: 206.323.7131
If you suspect your child has been sexually abused call Harborview Sexual Assault Hot Line: 206.744.1600.
Preventing child sexual abuse
The trial of former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky, started this month, bringing child sexual abuse back in to the media spotlight. This story has captured our attention like no other.
Is it because of the horrific nature of these crimes?
Is it because well-known people or an institution that is known for its values of honor and integrity are involved?
Is it because the alleged perpetrator was such a beloved community figure who does not fit the stereotype of what people think is a "typical" sexual predator?
Regardless of the reasons, the attention is welcome because child sexual abuse thrives in silence -- the silence of an abuser, the silence of a victim, the silence of a community.
The renewed attention on this case and child sexual abuse presents all of us with the golden opportunity to have an honest conversation about child sexual abuse with our friends, within our families and in our community. Seize this opportunity to learn the signs of sexual abuse and what you should do if you suspect a child is being abused.
Parents, educate yourselves on how to speak with your children about boundaries and their bodies and how you can protect your children from abusers. Learn what to ask when evaluating programs for your children and what behaviors to watch for when adults are with your children. (Remember, sexual abuse is most often perpetrated by adults you and your child know and trust -- and it's more common than you think).
The Chicago Children's Advocacy Center has a number of resources available on our website (www.chicagocac.org) to educate parents and all members of this great community on what we all can do to prevent child sexual abuse.
As the Sandusky trial continues to unfold, we believe that some good can come from this terrible event. The tragedy at Penn State has been a wake-up call for all of us, and we must be vigilant in taking a stand against child sexual abuse, breaking the silence and, together, making our communities safer for our children.
-- Char Rivette, executive director, Chicago Children's Advocacy Center
Online child abuse images 'becoming more extreme, sadistic and violent'
Sheer number of images and limited resources makes identifying new abuse victims difficult, according to new study
Online child abuse images are becoming "more extreme, sadistic and violent", with the vast number of images and pressure on resources making identifying new victims increasingly difficult, according to a study from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
"The children in these images are getting younger and the offences committed against them are getting more serious and extreme," said Andy Baker, deputy chief executive of the CEOP Centre. "Not only has a child been abused when these images were taken but they are being abused again each time that image is viewed."
There was a correlation between viewing child abuse images and committing child sexual abuse - with 55% of those who had viewed images likely to go on to physically abuse, he added. He urged police forces to make a risk assessment of every offender not only on the content and number of images they possessed but also their potential contact with children.
The report indicates the volume of images coupled with budget cuts is putting unprecedented pressure on already stretched specialist units tackling online child abuse images, leading to the risk that identifiable child victims of sexual abuse were not being rescued.
"Not all images found on storage media are reviewed and classified due to a lack of time and resource to process the large collections of images [...] consequently the chances of identifying new images and their victims are reduced," the report says. In a perfect world all cases would be investigated as soon as police became aware of the offence, but "in a time where resource is sparse and priorities continually modified, this has become increasingly unachievable" it adds.
Baker said: "We must recognise that the professionals dealing with these cases have a passion for child protection but if there is a small unit and many cases to look at that is a real challenge."
The report also says people working with children - in schools or in care - were among the most dangerous offenders. Analysis of 97 case studies, from 34 UK police forces, showed that dual offenders - those harbouring indecent images and also sexually abusing children - were most likely to be between the ages of 19 and 45 and out of work, with people working with children the second most likely group to dual offend.
Offenders looking at child abuse images were also likely to have contact with children, in the majority of cases studied offenders were living with a spouse or partner, and of them more than half were living with children.
Child victims found in online pictures and videos were getting younger, with the offences committed against them more brutal, said the report. According to the study, A Picture of Abuse, images depicting penetrative abuse had risen by 7.6% between 2008 and 2010. But despite evidence that offenders possessing the worst types of sexual images, in many cases perpetrators are avoiding jail terms. In one police force only 18% of people convicted of possessing indecent images of children had been sent to prison over a three year period.
The report warned that although a caution for possessing child abuse images was regarded as unsuitable, the number of cautions were increasing,probably owing to the low number of jail sentences resulting from prosecutions for possession.
In the past year 26 forces reported a total of 2,625 reports of indecent images from January to December 2011, with 246 victims of sexual abuse identified, but the report suggested that as the problem was often difficult to detect and not all forces had been counted the true figure was likely to be higher. In this study data received from 17 forces identified 3% of offenders who had indecent images had also committed a physical offence.
Advances in technology were also putting increasing numbers of teenagers as risk, as they were persuaded to share indecent images of themselves. "Once that image has been sent it is out of your control, and can easily be passed from offender to offender," said Baker.
In one of the most harrowing examples of cases that CEOP have tackled in the report detailed the abuse of two children in care by their foster father and his son. After arrest the father, who had been a foster carer for a number of years, admitted to a range of offences including rape, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent images of children, while his son pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, sexual assault and making indecent images.
The father told police that the abuse had begun after he took an indecent image of one of the children, while the son said he had begun to abuse the children after discovering the images that his father had taken. The father was sentenced to ten years in prison while the son was given an indeterminate public protection sentence.
The report quoted one child who had appeared in explicit images related to a different case as saying: "I feel like I had my childhood taken away from me, I wasn't allowed a childhood."
Donald Findlater, of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, said: "There is no doubt that the possession of indecent images of children is a growing problem. But our responses need to include prevention of this behaviour and we need to distinguish those at low risk of contact abuse - probably the majority - from the minority who are high risk. Children and families deserve a full and balanced analysis of this problem and of the effective responses to it."
Sex offenders in pilot drugs trial
by Liz Shaw BBC News
Whatton Prison in Nottinghamshire is a jail with a difference.
Every one of its 840 adult male inmates is a sex offender - and 70% of them are paedophiles. It is Europe's largest sexual offender rehabilitation centre.
Rehabilitation is at the core of this category C prison. Only those who have agreed to treatment get sent here, although they might face a wait of up to three years to get on the courses they need.
Most prison sex offender treatment programmes take the form of group psychological therapy sessions. But a more controversial experiment is going on at Whatton - the use of drugs to suppress sexual thoughts and urges.
Lynn Saunders, the governor, has worked with sex offenders for 20 years and says she loves her job.
The initial evaluation of the "anti-libidinal" drugs pilot she introduced in August 2009 appear to show it is working.
It is early days, and the number taking part is small - so far fewer than 60 - but the graphs illustrating such measures as prisoners' strength of sexual urges, or time spent thinking about sex, all show a downward trend.
The Ministry of Justice is pleased with the initial evaluation of the scheme. The treatment will continue to be available to high-risk sex offenders who are assessed as being suitable, it says.
"There are some really encouraging results", Ms Saunders says.
"The important thing to say is this is voluntary, there's no element of compulsion. This doesn't give people an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card.
"This is part of a range of initiatives that we need to put in place to enable prisoners to demonstrate that their risk is reduced."
'Difficult for her'
There are two types of drugs being trialled here: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, more commonly known as anti-depressants, and anti-androgens.
Dr Adarsh Kaul, clinical director for offender health at Nottinghamshire NHS Trust, explains how they work.
"One of the groups of drugs acts on the brain - it turns down the volume of sexual thoughts. The other depresses the sex hormone testosterone. By doing so, it reduces the level of sexual arousal."
“I personally believe that my offence is the thing that was evil, I'm not”
David (we have changed his name and those of the other offenders we spoke to) is in his mid-30s, and five years into an indeterminate sentence for public protection. He pleaded guilty to an offence involving phone sex with a 14-year-old girl.
"I can't really imagine how difficult it was for her," David says, and agrees his crime could affect his victim for the rest of her life.
He describes how he used to constantly fantasise about teenage girls. Now voluntarily taking anti-depressants, he says his preoccupation with sexual thoughts has reduced significantly.
"I want to make sure I don't commit more offences. I understand the perception outside in the community that I possibly am evil, but I personally believe that my offence is the thing that was evil. I'm not."
'Deserve the chance'
The senior forensic psychologist at Whatton, Kerensa Hocken, is in charge of the prison's sex offender treatment programmes.
"What we're finding with the treatment programmes and the medication is that men can change, and they can take responsibility for managing their behaviour," she says.
Robert was convicted in 2008 of raping young girls over a number of years. He was given an indeterminate sentence. He says he knows what he did is very wrong and admits to being haunted by his crimes. Like David, he is taking anti-depressants.
"Somebody who destroys the innocence, who offends, hurts, violates a child - they have to accept they are putting their own human rights in jeopardy”
Peter Saunders Napac charity for abuse survivors
He volunteered because he wanted to quash the sexual thoughts that were in his head 24 hours a day.
"It's hell," he said. "You can't really think about anything else."
When it is suggested that some would like to see people like him locked away for life, he argues the case for rehabilitation.
"We're human beings as well. Fair enough, we've made quite substantial mistakes in our lives. I think we deserve the chance to rehabilitate, just like any other prisoner."
But Peter Saunders, a victim of child sex abuse himself who now runs NAPAC, a charity providing support to adult survivors of child sex crimes, disagrees.
"Offences against children are unique, they're unlike any other crime.
"Somebody who destroys the innocence, who offends, hurts, violates a child, they have to accept they are putting their own human rights in jeopardy.
"Children only get one shot at childhood. That victim probably has to live with the consequences for the rest of their life."
Of course whilst inside prison, the anti-libidinal drugs pilot is taking place in a highly controlled environment. Ms Hocken concedes the temptations outside prison would be very different.
What about when a paedophile is seeing children again on a daily basis?
"We spend a lot of time practising how they will manage those sorts of situations, so when they do see children for the first time, perhaps, what their reactions will be, who they can seek out for support," Ms Hocken says.
A paedophile with "hundreds, possibly thousands" of victims, Mike was convicted of common assault.
He describes himself as a voyeur and is now taking anti-androgens to suppress the male sex hormone testosterone.
"I wish I'd done this programme years ago," he tells me.
As with the other two offenders, Mike talks about having been preoccupied with thoughts about sex.
"Since being on the meds, my behaviour has changed completely." His voice starts to break slightly.
"It is such a relief not to be thinking about sex all the time. Being able to speak to a woman. Being able to view the woman as a woman, as a human being, as a person, not a sexual object."
Mike says he has no problem with the idea of taking the anti-androgens for the rest of his life.
When asked about being back in the community and seeing lots of young women around he admits, though, to being concerned.
"In all honesty, it's frightening", he says.
"But hopefully by the time I'm viewed as safe enough to be released I will have a strong support, people I can turn to if I feel myself going down the old road again. I don't want to create any more victims."
Witnesses tell jurors of gifts, threats in Sandusky trial
Describe abuse by Sandusky
by Mark Scolforo and Genaro C. Armas
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — One, a foster child, said he was threatened, warned he would never see his family again if he ever told anyone what happened. Another said he stayed quiet because he didn't want to stop getting tickets to the hottest game in town - Penn State football.
That was how two of Jerry Sandusky's accusers explained the former Penn State assistant coach's hold over them.
“He told me that if I ever told anyone that I'd never see my family again,” the former foster child said Wednesday, the third day of testimony in Mr. Sandusky 's child sexual abuse trial.
He said it terrified him when Mr. Sandusky uttered the threat after the coach pinned him while wrestling in the basement of the Sandusky home and performed oral sex on him.
Mr. Sandusky, 68, is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, accusations he has denied. His arrest last fall rocked Penn State and led to the firing of football coach Joe Paterno for not taking stronger action against Mr. Sandusky after allegations emerged a decade ago.
Three of Mr. Sandusky's accusers testified Wednesday, bringing to five the number of them to take the stand.
Tom Kline, the lawyer for one of them, told reporters outside the courthouse: “It's just remarkable how many children one man can shower with.”
The 25-year-old man who told jurors about the threat to keep him away from his biological family when he was younger said he believed Mr. Sandusky 's wife was inside the home, on a different floor, at the time. A foster child placed with another family, he occasionally stayed in the Sanduskys' basement in State College in the late 1990s.
Speaking in a calm but sometimes hesitant voice, he said Mr. Sandusky later apologized for the threat: “He told me he didn't mean it and that he loved me.”
The man, identified in court papers as Victim 10, said Mr. Sandusky also assaulted him on other occasions in 1998 and 1999, including once at a pool and another time in the basement. He said he was about 11 at the time.
An expressionless Mr. Sandusky sat mostly still at the defense table during his testimony, occasionally turning his head to look the accuser in the eye.
The accuser is one of two who came forward after Mr. Sandusky was initially charged in November with assaulting eight boys. Mr. Sandusky's attorneys have suggested his accusers have financial reasons for coming forward.
Under cross-examination, the man testified that he was the roommate of another Sandusky accuser at a camp sponsored by Mr. Sandusky's charity, the Second Mile. He also acknowledged spending nearly two years in prison for a robbery and involvement with drugs and alcohol but said he is doing better now.
Jurors also heard excerpts from a television interview Mr. Sandusky did on NBC's “Rock Center” soon after his arrest in November. In the interview with Bob Costas, Mr. Sandusky said he's not a pedophile but shouldn't have showered with boys.
The judge said the prosecution's case should wrap up by the end of the day on Friday.
Maureen Dowd: An American horror story
BELLEFONTE, Pa. • Standing a few feet away from Jerry Sandusky, as he laughed and reminisced with friends in the front row of the courtroom, made me want to take a shower.
Just not in the Penn State locker room.
That was the gateway to horror where innocence was devoured by evil, over and over and over again, without a word being said. Just rhythmic smacking and slapping noises, silent screams, gutted psyches.
The lead witness in Sandusky's trial — the former defensive coach at Penn State is charged with molesting 10 boys over 15 years — was a nice-looking, short-haired 28-year-old in white shirt and tie, a narrow parenthesis of a man.
He seemed confident enough when he started, but, as he talked, he grew more and more agitated, running his hand and fist over his face, sliding glances at the 68-year-old, no-neck monster Sandusky at the defense table, staring at the pictures of himself as a young boy with a big grin and bowl cut, relishing the thrilling new world of football heroes that Sandusky had opened up to him. In the photos the prosecution put up on a screen, Sandusky's hand was usually gripped, mano morta, on the boy's shoulder.
By the end of his testimony, he looked haunted and acted jittery. His pain seemed fresh.
The prosecution charges that Sandusky used Second Mile, his charity for disadvantaged kids, as a perverted recruiting tool, putting asterisks next to the names of boys who were fatherless and blond, making up weird contracts for boys to sign, giving them money, ostensibly for doing good schoolwork, but really as a way to keep them from fleeing — and telling.
Like pedophile priests, Sandusky was especially vile because he allegedly targeted vulnerable boys. Later, when victims finally spoke up, there was a built-in defense: those boys were trouble; you can't believe them.
The first witness, who met Sandusky through Second Mile, said he was 13 when the nightmare started. His father was not in the picture and he didn't get along with his stepfather, so he mostly lived with his grandmother. The attention, trips and sports-equipment presents from Sandusky, who "would act like he was my dad" in front of others, seemed heaven-sent, until hell yawned when Jerry allegedly kept putting his hand on the boy's knee in his car.
"Basically, like, I was his girlfriend," the witness said, adding: "It freaked me out extremely bad."
The horror grew worse. After racquetball and basketball games, the coach allegedly would say, "Let's get a shower."
It would begin with a soap battle with liquid soap from the dispenser, the witness said, escalate to bear-hugging, slapping, rubbing, soaping, wrestling, maneuvering the child on the ground, kissing his thighs, forcing him to give and receive oral sex and attempting anal sex.
"I was a little kid; he was a big guy," the witness said, adding that he weighed "a hundred pounds, soaking wet."
When he tried to push the slab of an older man away, he said, Sandusky would get mad and "play box" with open-hand slaps. Asked why he didn't tell his mother, he replied bluntly that he was "too scared," and "other than that, the other things were nice and I didn't want to lose that" — going from unloved kid to a petted mascot for a legendary football team.
They never spoke of "the shower thing."
"It was basically like, whatever happened there never really happened," he said.
On road trips to bowl games, the witness said, Sandusky would share a room with the boy, then covertly put a hand under the cover to grope him before he was awake. When the boy would wake up, he said, Sandusky would act as though he'd been doing sit-ups next to the bed. If the boy was recalcitrant, Jerry would threaten to send him home.
When the boys would try to get away, Sandusky allegledly grew clingy and possessive; he allegledly would even stalk them.
A string-bean who graduated from high school last week repeatedly broke down in sobs on Tuesday, recalling a similar pattern with Sandusky that would begin with blowing on his stomach. "I kind of thought he sees me as family, and this is just what his family does," he said.
When he distanced himself, he said, Sandusky stalked him to his house and argued with his mother and grandfather about spending more time with him as he hid behind a bush. When he and his mother tried to tell authorities at his school, where Sandusky was a revered volunteer football coach who was routinely able to pull the boy out of classes and assemblies, they were met with skepticism. Sandusky, they were told, had a heart of gold.
When a wrestling coach walked in on the two lying on the floor face to face, after hours in a room with a rock-climbing wall, he accepted Sandusky's lame excuse that they were practicing a wrestling hold because, as he told the court on Tuesday, "Jerry would never do anything inappropriate." Adding, "I had the utmost respect for Jerry."
It's hard to believe that a monster like Sandusky is accused of being was harbored by Happy Valley for so long. It was an open joke in Penn State football circles that you shouldn't drop your soap in the shower when Jerry was around.
Only the boys in the shower weren't laughing.
Child Abuse Expert: Sandusky Jury Doesn't Need To Hear From Experts
by Patrick Perion-
(Editor's Note: Patrick has been a child abuse investigator since 1994 and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He will weigh in with his thoughts as a special 670TheScore.com contributor throughout the Jerry Sandusky Trial. Patrick is otherwise known as “Quad City Pat”, a frequent caller to the Boers & Bernstein Show.)
(CBS) Day 3:
Media pundits were wondering why the prosecution isn't calling a psychiatrist specializing in pedophiles to explain Jerry Sandusky's behavior. Some people in social media were wondering why the victims didn't come forward sooner.
Finally, defense attorney Joe Amendola questioned why Victim 7 wrote nice things about Sandusky in a Second Mile scholarship application; why Victim 10 returned to Second Mile camps after being abused and why Victim 5 changed the year of his abuse from 1998 to 2001.
First off, I hesitate to call Sandusky a pedophile, because that is a clinical definition and I'm not a clinician. Serial child sexual abuser serves the same purpose.
An “expert” in child sexual abuse could help, but could also be detrimental.
Sandusky's behavior was obvious grooming and that is very typical of most child sexual abusers. However, if an expert is called to delineate that for the jury, they will also be asked questions from the defense like “Is grooming behavior present in 100 percent of sex abuse cases?” “Is it possible that my client was just affectionate with his charges?”
These types of questions are used to foment doubt in that one juror they're trying to get to hang the jury. Most jurors are smart enough that they don't need an expert to tell them that Sandusky was grooming, abusing and bribing victims.
The defense continues to try to form a conspiracy theory around why the victims did not come forward sooner.
I've already commented on the emotional torture these victims go through but there are other reasons not to come forward. According to their testimony, some of these young men were threatened. Victim 10, a foster child at the time of the abuse, said that he was threatened with never seeing his family again. This is powerful and scary stuff to a young kid, especially a foster child.
Foster children pretty much feel like everything bad in their lives is their fault. Pretty easy for someone as slick as Sandusky to prey on that. Other victims have said, they wanted to keep going to games, they wanted to keep getting things, they didn't want to get in trouble etc.
As to why he returned to camps after the abuse? At camp he was never really alone with Sandusky. In his world, camp was a hell of a lot safer than Sandusky's car, house or office. Plus camps in general are fun. 11 or 12 year old kids seldom apply the logic of adults to their decision making.
Victim 7 testified and was cross examined. According to reporters in the court room, Amendola made “some headway” with his cross of Victim 7. Victim 7 admitted that he wrote wrote “Jerry Sandusky, he has changed my perceptions on life in a positive way”; “Jerry Sandusky, he has changed my perceptions on life in a positive way”; and “Jerry Sandusky, he has helped me understand so much about myself. He is such a kind and caring gentleman and I will never ever forget him” on a scholarship application.
This is not the bombshell it appears to be at first glance. Child sexual abusers can display good qualities and be “nice” (a relative term) to children. Its part of their game of grooming victims, be nice, play nice etc. Victims can and frequently do compartmentalize their abuse. Their abusive relationship is just one facet. In their minds, the gifts, going to games, trips and the like are all too good to pass up. Since this kid was applying for a scholarship, of course he's going to write nice things about a guy who in some way did help him.
Victim 5's testimony was fairly brief. The cross examination was short as well. Amendola was concerned that Victim 5 changed the year of abuse from 1998 to 2001. Victim 5 stated simply and I think truthfully that he matched up the calendar year with his school grade after testifying in the Grand Jury. Again, nothing here that will derail the case.
These first three days have been riveting. I'm curious to see who the prosecution closes with. They started with a strong witness. My guess is that the final witness will be just as strong. At the end of their case, the prosecution doesn't want anyone on the jury asking ‘why?'
Patrick is a 1990 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport IA. He's been working in child welfare since 1988. Since 1994, he has been a child abuse investigator and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He was certified in forensic interviewing of child sexual abuse victims in 1999 and received an advanced certification in 2001. He's also been a trainer of forensic interviewing for child welfare professionals and law enforcement officials.
Stopping Sexual Abuse by Clergy
by Fred Bodimer, KMOX Religion Editor
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It's been ten years now since America's Roman Catholic bishops met in Dallas to draw up their first national charter to deal with sexual abuse by clergy. So, is the bishop's zero tolerance plan working, one decade later?
The director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the St. Louis Archdiocese — Deacon Phil Hengen — says the charter has had an incredible impact in protecting kids.
“We are now screening every adult who has any kind of contact with children; regular contact that would include, bishops, priests, deacons, teachers, volunteers, parents who volunteer who are assistant soccer coaches, so that's been an enormous effort that's been very successful in the past ten years, nationally and locally.”
But clergy abuse survivors strongly disagree — and are calling on America's bishops — meeting this week in Atlanta — to totally scrap and revamp the charter — and this time include tough penalties for church officials who ignore, conceal or enable child sex crimes.
Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits
by LAURIE GOODSTEIN and ERIK ECKHOLM
While the first criminal trial of a Roman Catholic church official accused of covering up child sexual abuse has drawn national attention to Philadelphia, the church has been quietly engaged in equally consequential battles over abuse, not in courtrooms but in state legislatures around the country.
The fights concern proposals to loosen statutes of limitations, which impose deadlines on when victims can bring civil suits or prosecutors can press charges. These time limits, set state by state, have held down the number of criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against all kinds of people accused of child abuse — not just clergy members, but also teachers, youth counselors and family members accused of incest.
Victims and their advocates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York are pushing legislators to lengthen the limits or abolish them altogether, and to open temporary “windows” during which victims can file lawsuits no matter how long after the alleged abuse occurred.
The Catholic Church has successfully beaten back such proposals in many states, arguing that it is difficult to get reliable evidence when decades have passed and that the changes seem more aimed at bankrupting the church than easing the pain of victims.
Already reeling from about $2.5 billion spent on legal fees, settlements and prevention programs relating to child sexual abuse, the church has fought especially hard against the window laws, which it sees as an open-ended and unfair exposure for accusations from the distant past. In at least two states, Colorado and New York, the church even hired high-priced lobbying and public relations firms to supplement its own efforts. Colorado parishes handed out postcards for churchgoers to send to their representatives, while in Ohio, bishops themselves pressed legislators to water down a bill.
The outcome of these legislative battles could have far greater consequences for the prosecution of child molesters, compensation of victims and financial health of some Catholic dioceses, legal experts say, than the trial of a church official in Philadelphia, where the jury is currently deliberating.
Changing the statute of limitations “has turned out to be the primary front for child sex abuse victims,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who represents plaintiffs in sexual abuse suits.
“Even when you have an institution admitting they knew about the abuse, the perpetrator admitting that he did it, and corroborating evidence, if the statute of limitations has expired, there won't be any justice,” she said.
The church's arguments were forcefully made by Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, in testimony before the State Legislature in January opposing a proposal to abolish the limits in civil cases.
“How can an institution conceivably defend itself against a claim that is 40, 50 or 60 years old?” Mr. Brannigan said. “Statutes of limitation exist because witnesses die and memories fade.”
“This bill would not protect a single child,” he said, while “it would generate an enormous transfer of money in lawsuits to lawyers.”
Timing is a major factor in abuse cases because many victims are unable to talk about abuse or face their accusers until they reach their 30s, 40s or later, putting the crime beyond the reach of the law. In states where the statutes are most restrictive, like New York, the cutoff for bringing a criminal case is age 23 for most serious sexual crimes other than rape that occurred when the victim was a minor.
In more than 30 states, limits have already been lifted or significantly eased on the criminal prosecutions of some types of abuses, according to Professor Hamilton. The Supreme Court ruled that changes in criminal limits cannot be retroactive, so they will affect only recent and future crimes.
In New York, the Catholic bishops said they would support a modest increase in the age of victims in criminal or civil cases, to 28. But their lobbying, along with that of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders, has so far halted proposals that would allow a one-year window for civil suits for abuses from the past. The bishops say the provision unfairly targets the church because public schools, the site of much abuse, and municipalities have fought successfully to be exempted.
The New Jersey proposal to abolish time limits for civil suits could pass this summer, said its sponsor in the Senate, Joseph Vitale, a Democrat of Woodbridge. The main opposition has come from the Catholic Church, he said. Mr. Brannigan of the Catholic Conference has testified at hearings, and bishops have “reached out to scores of legislators,” Mr. Vitale said, warning that an onslaught of lawsuits could bankrupt their dioceses.
California was the first state to pass a one-year “window” law to bring civil suits, in 2003, and those involved say that the legislation moved so quickly that the church barely responded. But the experience proved a cautionary tale for the church: more than 550 lawsuits flooded in.
Since then, only two states have passed similar laws: Delaware, in 2007, and Hawaii, in April. Window legislation has been defeated in Colorado, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New York.
Joan Fitz-Gerald, former president of the Colorado Senate, who proposed the window legislation, was an active Catholic who said she was stunned to find in church one Sunday in 2006 that the archdiocese had asked priests to raise the issue during a Mass and distribute lobbying postcards.
“It was the most brutal thing I've ever been through,” she said of the church campaign. “The politics, the deception, the lack of concern for not only the children in the past, but for children today.” She has since left the church.
The Massachusetts Catholic Conference has spoken out strongly against a bill that would eliminate both criminal and civil statutes of limitations, but advocates still hope to win a two-year window for filing civil claims.
If that happens, “we'll see a lot more victims come forward, and we'll find out more about who the abusers are,” said Jetta Bernier, director of the advocacy group Massachusetts Citizens for Children.
The landmark trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn in Philadelphia, who is accused of allowing predators to remain in ministry, almost did not happen because of the statute of limitations.
A scathing grand jury report in 2005 described dozens of victims and offending priests and said that officials, including Philadelphia's cardinal, had “excused and enabled the abuse.” But the law in place at the time of the crimes required victims to come forth by age 23. “As a result,” the report said, “these priests and officials will necessarily escape criminal prosecution.”
But victims emerged whose abuse fell within the deadline and in 2011, a new grand jury brought charges against Monsignor Lynn, who had supervised priest assignments.
Pennsylvania expanded the limits, and for crimes from 2007 on, charges will be possible up to the time that victims reach age 50. Advocates are now pushing to abolish the statute of limitations for child sex abuse and open a window for civil suits over long-past abuses. But the legislation appears stalled in the face of church opposition.
The new archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, who led the successful campaign to defeat such a bill in Colorado, says that current restrictions exist for “sound legal reasons.”
Aid exploited children
by David Wilkins
This week, Florida becomes a pioneer in the battle against the complex and difficult issue of human trafficking. On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 99, The Safe Harbor Act, which provides services to help victims who have been sexually exploited. In addition, Gov. Scott also signed House Bill 7049, which gives prosecutors the ability to better fight this despicable crime by imposing tougher penalties.
The words "human trafficking" conjure up images of women being brought to this country illegally to be sexually exploited, and that is a very brutal reality. However, there is another reality that we at the Florida Department of Children and Families battle every single day. Across America, almost 300,000 youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. They are being trafficked in our own communities.
Children are being exploited for sex across this state, and in many cases we cannot even tell who they are. They are entrenched in a life of sexual exploitation and live in constant fear. Even when they are identified, it is complicated and difficult to give them the help they need to free them from the life they lead and the people who use them for their own gain.
These children are very vulnerable. Many of them have been victims of previous abuse or come from families that have abandoned them. Most suffer from low self-esteem, have ongoing substance abuse or mental health issues, and run away any chance they can. But just like all children, they are looking to be accepted and loved and to belong to someone. This leaves them as easy prey for criminals who exploit and abuse them. The lives of these children revolve around violence, drug use, forced sex and constant threats.
But thanks to courageous and committed people at our department and among our many community partners like the Kristi House in Miami where Gov. Scott signed the new law, there is a unified commitment to crack down on criminals who are using and abusing our children and to offer an improved system of care to rescue and counsel the survivors.
The Safe Harbor Act allows children who are rescued from prostitution to get help through the dependency system instead of being placed in juvenile delinquency. The Human Trafficking bill allows law enforcement to focus on the true criminals, those who sexually exploit these vulnerable youth. Together, these bills allow our agency and our local contracted providers across the state to treat and help the victims of this abuse. They will receive intensive services in "safe harbors."
These children are under physical and psychological control of their trafficker. Existing foster homes and foster parents may not be appropriate for their needs. The Safe Harbor Act will allow our community-based care partners to provide these children with specific services that will help them cope with the trauma they have endured.
These youth are not criminals. They aren't damaged, broken or a lost cause. They are children who have had horrible things happen to them, and it is up to all of us to provide them with the Safe Harbor they need to have a safe and healthy future and a fulfilling life.
If you are aware of any child or adult in an unsafe situation, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873. Thank you for joining us in improving our state's future, one family at a time.
David Wilkins is secretary of Florida's Department of Children and Families.
Microsoft fights child sex trafficking with research dollars
by Josh Peterson
Microsoft announced Wednesday that it is aggressively funding research aimed at fighting child sex trafficking.
First announced on Seattle public radio station KUOW, six research teams received $185,000 in funding “to advance deeper understanding of the advertising and selling of children and the use of technology by ‘johns' in the child sex trade.”
The software and computer technology giant first requested academic grant proposals in December.
The institutions represented among the award recipients are Montclair State University, the Center for Court Innovation, Mount Royal University, Catholic University of America, University of New Hampshire Crimes against Children Research Center, Wellesley College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
One research project conducted through Mount Royal University will focus on “demand and how technology has changed the recruiting, buying and selling process in trafficking.”
Another project, coordinated in Lincoln, Neb., will research “the role of the Internet in child sex trafficking and the clandestine language used in Web advertising to facilitate child sex trafficking.”
“We are energized by the insights we anticipate will emerge from these researcher's efforts and look forward to applying the knowledge gained to continue our collaboration with public and private sector leaders to make a substantial difference in the fight against trafficking and child sexual exploitation,” said Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit spokeswoman Samantha Doerr.
15-Year-Old Girls Arrested For Running Prostitution Ring
by Shannon McKarney
Human trafficking and prostitution rings are despicable things, run by people who thrive on their ability to exploit the weak and vulnerable for their own financial gain. However, human trafficking took a new and disturbing twist in Ottawa this week when two 15-year-old girls were arrested
on multiple charges related to an alleged prostitution ring involving girls as young as 13
Charges include human trafficking, robbery, procuring, forcible confinement, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats and abduction, all related to the ring the girls were allegedly operating in the south end of the city. They allegedly lured other girls through social media and then held or drove them to other locations for the purposes of prostitution. A third girl, age 17, is still being sought by the local police.
Those who study sexual exploitation and its victims, however, were not surprised by the case. They believe the girls were likely prostitutes themselves in the past and turned to running the operation in a way to regain power. The real question, says Janine Benedet, a law professor who researches sexual violence against women, is why aren't we arresting the men who are buying?
The police are largely tight-lipped about the situation, saying only that on three separate occasions the girls lured victims as young as 13 to a city residence for “social reasons,” later driving them to other locations where the forced acts of prostitution took place.
Support group for adult survivors of child abuse to begin in June
Midland Daily News,
May 31, 2012
Midland will be the site for a support group strictly for the purpose of assisting adult survivors of child abuse in moving on with life, according to the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (www.NAASCA.org
The group, Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, will start in June.
The primary focus of such a group is emotional support, practical support and information exchange. The Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Program was designed by the Morris Center (www.ASCAsupport.org
) in San Francisco. Support groups bring together people facing similar issues, whether it is illness, relationship problems or major life changes. Members of support groups often share experiences and advice.
Weekly meetings will be on Friday evenings. There is no fee for attendance. Contributions are appreciated and, ultimately, applied towards recovery literature and contributions to The Morris Center. Interested people may request more information by sending an email to MovingOnWithASCA@gmail.com
AAU bans 1-on-1 adult-youth contact after abuse inquiry
by Curtis Eichelberger
The Amateur Athletic Union banned all one-on-one contact between adults and youths as part of steps to prevent abuse following allegations last year that a former president of the group molested two basketball players.
The organization, which says it has 500,000 youth participants, released the policy Tuesday after a review by two independent task forces. The studies were implemented after two former athletes said the group's one-time president, Bobby Dodd, 63, abused them in the 1980s when they were 12 and 16. Dodd has denied the allegations and no formal charges have been brought against him.
In addition to the ban on one-on-one contact, the AAU will require that all adults — from volunteer coaches to the organization's staff — have detailed background checks, and that all volunteers and staff be required to report any incidents of suspected child abuse to law enforcement and to officials of the AAU and related sports clubs.
"The new steps the AAU is taking will safeguard children participating in amateur sports across the country, so that we can continue our proud philosophy of 'Sports for All, Forever," AAU President Louis Stout said in a statement. "These steps are not being implemented because we suspect anyone — rather, we must make these changes because we expect everyone to be willing to help us build a deeper trust and culture of safety."
Dodd stepped down in November to undergo colon-cancer surgery after being the organization's president since 1992.
The AAU, based in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, created two task forces in December — one of child-safety experts and another of law-enforcement officials — to review its policies for protecting young athletes from sexual predators and for screening adult volunteers.
The AAU's study of its policies resulted in a 31-page report with 42 recommendations, including education programs, reporting policies and the banning of people from participating in AAU activities for breaking the rules.
Stout says the recommendation likely to have the most immediate impact is the requirement for background screening of staff and volunteers at the club level. The AAU has contracted LexisNexis Solutions to conduct background screenings whenever a coach, volunteer or other individual registers for or renews an AAU membership. This will begin Sept. 1.
"Every adult who wants to volunteer or wants to be involved with AAU athletes will be screened," James Parker, director of operations for the AAU, said in a statement. "This screening process will be an effective deterrent to keep the bad guys away."
Parker said the new policies will require changes that will affect the thousands of adults who have done nothing wrong. For instance, when an athlete is disciplined, the coach will no longer be allowed to be with the youngster alone. At least two adults will have to be in the room at all times. Parker said special emphasis will be placed on this rule when traveling to AAU competitions.
Many national youth organizations have policies that include background checks and pre-employment screening for adults.
USA Swimming promoted Susan Woessner to the role of athletic protection officer in September 2010, about nine months after the sentencing of former San Jose-area swim coach Andy King, who pleaded no-contest to 20 molestation charges and is serving a 40-year prison sentence.
The swimming governing body used to conduct background checks on coaches, but expanded that to include any of the 30,000 adults, whether coaches or volunteers, who interact with youths. It also now requires pre-employment screenings for local clubs that include reviews of motor-vehicle records and education and requires clubs to check references. It also lists the names of coaches and volunteers who have been banned from the sport.
Little League Baseball oversees 7,000 leagues worldwide, with more than 1 million volunteers and more than 2.5 million players. Every adult, whether a coach or concession-stand worker, must fill out an application that matches their names against the national sex-offender registry as part of a background check. The system has been in place since 2003.
Child sex-abuse cases dropped 55 percent to 65,964 in 2009 from about 150,000 in 1992, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A second study mandated by Congress reported in 2010 that the number of sexually abused children decreased 38 percent to 135,300 in 2006 from 217,700 in 1993.
The numbers from the second study are larger because it includes additional data collected by teachers, police officers, health-care professionals and day-care workers.
- Culture: The AAU should establish and foster a culture that clearly and explicitly makes child protection an overarching value and priority. This includes requiring all adult volunteers, staff, parents and other youth to report questionable behavior.
- Protocols: The AAU should adopt clear policies, procedures and protocols to protect children from abuse and exploitation to the fullest extent possible, including policies to prevent adults from being alone with children and eliminating other opportunities for abuse to occur.
- Screening: The AAU should implement significant initial and ongoing screening procedures for all adults who participate in AAU activities to help identify and exclude individuals who may pose a threat to youth participants.
- Participation: Anyone who is prohibited from participating in an organization that serves youth or who violates the AAU's child protection policies should be barred from participating in AAU activities, even if they have not been convicted of a crime.
- Training: The AAU should educate staff, adult volunteers, parents/guardians, and youth participants on safety protocols, appropriate vs. inappropriate behaviors and other information they need to keep children safe while participating in AAU activities.
- Reporting: All AAU volunteers and staff should be considered mandatory reporters and should be expected to report suspected child abuse to appropriate law enforcement authorities and child abuse hotlines, as well as to AAU authorities.
- Full task force report
McQueary recounts what he saw in Sandusky trial
Another accuser follows former coach on witness stand
by Mark Scolforo and Genaro C. Armas
BELLEFONTE, Pa. | Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary told jurors in Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse trial Tuesday that he saw his ex-colleague with a prepubescent boy in an on-campus shower and that he heard “skin-on-skin smacking sound.”
His account of the night differed little from his appearance in December at a preliminary hearing for Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. The one difference: He said the shower encounter took place in 2001 instead of 2002.
But the effect of what he saw, and heard, was unchanged, he said, responding to questions from Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan.
Mr. Sandusky is on trial on 52 criminal counts related to purported assaults of 10 boys during a 15-year period. Authorities say Mr. Sandusky abused boys at his home and inside the football team's on-campus facilities among other places.
Mr. McQueary told the jury that he was at home, in bed, watching the film “Rudy,” when he decided to go to the football team building. He said he walked into the support staff locker room to put away a pair of new sneakers and, as he opened the door, he heard the noise.
“Very much skin-on-skin smacking sound,” he said. “I immediately became alert and was kind of embarrassed that I was walking in on something.”
He said that he turned and glanced over his right shoulder at a mirror that had a 45-degree angle and saw Mr. Sandusky “standing behind a boy who was propped up against a wall.” He estimated the boy to be 10 to 12 years old.
He said that the “boy's hands [were] up on the wall. The glance would have taken only one or two seconds. I immediately turned back to my locker to make sure I saw what I saw.”
Then he put his shoes in the locker and slammed it shut, hard.
“I made the loud noise in an attempt to say ‘Someone's here. Break it up,' ” Mr. McQueary said.
Mr. McQueary's testimony came after a teenager told jurors that a school district guidance counselor initially didn't believe his abuse claims because the former Penn State assistant football coach was considered to have “a heart of gold.”
The teen, labeled Victim No. 1 by a grand jury, tearfully recounted for jurors repeated instances of abuse, which he said included kissing, fondling and oral sex during sleepovers at the coach's home.
A social worker who spoke to Mr. Sandusky about the boy's claims testified that the coach denied having sexual contact with the boy but did acknowledge lying on top of him and blowing “raspberries” on the boy's stomach. The social worker, Jessica Dershem, also said Mr. Sandusky told her he couldn't recall whether he had ever touched the boy below his waistline.
The charges against Mr. Sandusky - and two university officials accused of perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse - touched off a massive scandal that led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the departure of the university president. Paterno died in January of lung cancer, just over two months after his ouster.
Alleged Sandusky victim details abuse
by the CNN Wire Staff
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Prosecutors are expected to call more witnesses Wednesday to testify against Jerry Sandusky, the day after jurors heard from a man whose accusations upended the Penn State football program.
The man, identified as "Victim No.1," said he stayed at Sandusky's house more than 100 times as a boy, and the former assistant football coach repeatedly sexually abused him.
Now 18, the man said he grew up without a father, living with his mom and siblings, and met Sandusky at Second Mile, a foundation the former coach created for needy children.
"At first he would kiss me on the forehead goodnight," Victim No.1 testified on Tuesday. "Then it was kissing me on the cheek, then rubbing my back and cracking my back."
Sandusky's roaming hands would later move to "rub underneath my shorts," he said. The alleged abuse further escalated when Sandusky "put his mouth on my privates."
Jerry Sandusky trial: All you need to know about allegations, how case unraveled
"I spaced," the alleged victim said. "I didn't know what to do."
Later, the former coach allegedly told him that "it's your turn," he added. "He made me put my mouth on his privates."
The man's emotion-filled descriptions were often accompanied by tears, kicking off the second day of testimony in the high-profile child rape case.
The grand jury report cited evidence that Sandusky, who has pleaded not guilty, "indecently fondled Victim 1 on a number of occasions, performed oral sex on Victim 1 on a number of occasions and had Victim 1 perform oral sex on him on at least one occasion."
The teenager, who transferred schools amid the fallout from the investigation, graduated from his new high school this past weekend, according to his attorney Michael Boni.
He is one of 10 boys who, prosecutors say, were sexually abused by the Nittany Lions' longtime defensive coordinator over a span of 15 years. Sandusky's trial on 52 charges is expected to continue for about three weeks.
The alleged victim's elementary school wrestling coach also testified Tuesday, saying that he'd seen interactions between Sandusky and the boy and "thought it was a great thing because (the boy) needed a father figure."
But Joe Miller recalled one day when returned to the weight room and found Sandusky and the alleged victim "laying together side to side" with his arm on the boy.
"At the point Jerry propped up and said 'Hey there, we're working on wrestling moves,' " he testified. "They were both startled that I came in."
On Monday, the first person to take the stand after opening statements was a now 28-year-old man identified as Victim No. 4. He said that Sandusky routinely had the then-teenage boy perform oral sex on him while the two showered together on the school's campus and elsewhere
"It would have to be 40 times, at least," he said, adding that the abuse started when he was 14-years-old.
The man on the stand Monday, as well as Victim No.1, met Sandusky through Second Mile, the nonprofit group the ex-coach founded.
He described growing up without parental oversight before Sandusky took to him -- playings sports with him, paying for uniforms, a snowboard and other items, taking him to Penn State games and doing other special things. Victim No. 4 said Sandusky also drove him to buy marijuana once when he was 15 or 16 and had bought him cartons of cigarettes.
Despite what he described as systemic sexual abuse, the witness said he was "scared" and reluctant to talk about it and "lose the good things I had." But he said he decided to tell his story after hearing that "this happened over and over and over again."
While Sandusky said he wanted him to succeed and was nice to him in public, Victim No. 4 said their relationship was different in private.
"He treated me like a son in front of other people. Outside of that, he's treating me like his girlfriend," he said, noting Sandusky's habit of putting his hand on the then-teen's thighs when they drove in a car together.
Besides the alleged oral sex, Victim No. 4 detailed other instances of alleged abuse, including Sandusky trying to penetrate him in the shower, caressing him and "kissing ... my thighs."
This allegedly took place in athletic buildings on Penn State's campus, as well as the Toftrees Golf Resort and hotels, including on trips to Florida and Texas to watch the Nittany Lions play at the Outback and Alamo bowls, respectively, Victim No. 4 testified.
Jurors were shown excerpts of letters Victim No. 4 said Sandusky wrote to him. In one, it states, "I know that I have made my share of mistakes. ... My wish is that you care and have love in your heart. Love never ends."
Defense attorneys had filed a motion earlier Monday seeking to keep out testimony involving prosecutors' allegations Sandusky exhibited "grooming behavior," including the letters to Victim No. 4.
The lawyers said they intend to offer expert testimony from a psychologist who "will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder," the documents said.
According to the National Institutes of Health, those with histrionic personality disorder "act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves."
"The goal of a person suffering from this disorder in writing those letters would not necessarily be to groom or sexually consummate a relationship in a criminal manner, but rather to satisfy the needs of a psyche belabored by the needs of such a disorder," the defense lawyers write in their motion.
LaVar Arrington, a former Penn State star linebacker whom Victim No. 4 mentioned, wrote in The Washington Post on Tuesday that he "knew this young man fairly well but didn't grasp the full extent of what he was going through."
"He always seemed mad or kind of distant," Arrington wrote. "I remember distinctly asking him: 'Why are you always walking around all mad, like a tough guy?' "
Arrington had defended Sandusky when the allegations first surfaced, but offered his apology in Tuesday's article.
"I hate everything that has happened, and now I must admit I feel even worse, knowing what allegedly was happening so close to me, and that I was unaware," he wrote. "All I can do is hope that Victim #4 finds this entry and can see that I'm offering my sincerest apologies. I am so sorry this happened."
Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary also testified Tuesday, describing what he thought appeared to be Sandusky having anal sex with a boy in a shower inside the university athletic facilities.
He said he informed university officials of the incident, though did not use the words "anal sex" when telling the officials because he "didn't feel comfortable."
Defense attorney Karl Rominger cross-examined McQueary, asking the former graduate assistant about angles of his view and the date of the alleged incident.
Last month, the attorney general's office determined that the incident in question occurred around February 9, 2001, rather than in March 2002, which was originally listed in the grand jury report.
Prosecutors meanwhile say Gary Schultz, a former Penn State vice president who oversaw campus police, held a file that detailed alleged incidents pertinent to the investigation of Sandusky.
Schultz and Tim Curley, Penn State's former athletic director, have pleaded not guilty to charges of perjury and failing to report an alleged sexual assault of a child.
The file, which prosecutors say was initially withheld during the investigation, shows inconsistencies with what Schultz and Curley told a grand jury, according to court documents filed by prosecutors and obtained by CNN Tuesday.
"The Commonwealth is entirely justified in using those documents as evidence to support the charge of perjury against Schultz," the court documents say.
Prosecutors say e-mails from Schultz, Curley and others further contradict that testimony.
The firm representing Louis Freeh, an ex FBI Director investigating Penn State's handling of the scandal, said Tuesday that his office "discovered these e-mails in the course of its work."
"These e-mails were then provided to the State Attorney General, consistent with the investigation's prior commitment to share certain information," the firm said. "These materials will be fully discussed in the report to the Task Force, and beyond that Judge Freeh and the investigation team has no further comment."
In opening statements, defense lawyer Joe Amendola suggested his client would take the stand and say he routinely "got showers with kids" after working out.
Sandusky has always maintained his innocence, Amendola said, claiming his client's alleged victims had changed their stories and were questioned until authorities received the answers they wanted.
"A lot of people lied," Amendola said. Some of the alleged victims have civil attorneys, he noted, calling that unusual. Others, he said, have a financial interest in the case.
"One of the keys to this case, one of the keys to your perception ... is to wait until all the evidence is in," Amendola told jurors. "Some of it will be graphic ... it's going to be awful. But that doesn't make it true."
Tom Kline, an attorney for Victim No. 5, told reporters later that his client had no financial interest and "never sought this out," but considers it "an obligation of citizenship" to testify.
And Victim No. 4 said he's never talked with his lawyer, whom he said he hasn't paid "a dime," about being part of any civil lawsuit against Sandusky.
Amendola told jurors former Second Mile children will testify that Sandusky affected their lives in a positive way, and he later showed a letter to Victim No. 4 in which the former coach wrote "I'm proud of you and really care."
The defense lawyer also questioned some alleged victims' behavior, including one who went to a football game with Sandusky prior to his arrest.
A jury of five men and seven women, along with four alternates, was selected last week. Half of the 16 jurors and alternates have ties to Penn State, including one retired professor and one current professor, three graduates, two employees and one current student, showing the prominence of the university in the local community.
The case has raised questions about Penn State's response to allegations, with some claiming the school put its reputation ahead of protecting potential child victims.
Horace Mann Case Incites New Look at State Sex Abuse Laws
by Mary Ann Giordano
In the news on Wednesday, the fallout over the allegations of sexual abuse at Horace Mann, reported in Sunday's Times magazine, continues.
As William Glaberson reports in The New York Times, accusations of decades-past abuse at the private school in the Bronx has sparked a renewed focus on New York's laws.
In the days since they were first described in an article in The New York Times Magazine, the accounts of abuse by several now-dead Horace Mann teachers have put a sharp new focus on state laws that make New York among the most restrictive in limiting legal recourse in child sexual abuse cases.
For years, efforts in Albany to liberalize the laws have failed, often encountering fierce resistance from the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions that feared financially devastating lawsuits.
“New York is one of the worst states in the country for child sex abuse victims,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who specializes in sexual abuse law.
Ask the GAL: How child abuse cases are handled in Manatee County
by PAM HINDMAN
Q: What should you do if you suspect child abuse?
A: Florida Statutes, Chapter 39.201, directs everyone, including mandated witnesses (teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.), to contact the Florida Abuse Hotline when they know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused, abandoned, neglected or exploited.
The number to call is 1-800-962-2873 (1-800-96-ABUSE). Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take the calls.
If it is not an emergency situation, you can report online to http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.
Be prepared to provide as much specific information as possible. Counselors will want the details of the incident. They will ask for name, age, race and gender of the child involved. They will also ask for an address or a means to locate the victim.
But it is always best to report an incident, even if you don't have all of the identifying information. The information reported is tracked and may be useful in case of a future report or one made by another witness.
Callers may remain anonymous unless they are mandated witnesses. All reports are confidential. Information contained in the reports is only released to people specifically authorized by Florida law. The operators will not acknowledge the existence of a report, or that they have talked to a particular person.
After the hotline takes the call, they send a report of the allegations to the Manatee Sheriff's Office so a child protective investigator can initiate an investigation. The child protective investigator has 24 hours to do an investigation unless it is determined that the child is in imminent risk of harm.
In Manatee County, the child protective investigators treat each report as an immediate response and attempt to investigate within three hours.
Q: How many child abuse reports were made last year in Manatee County?
A: The Department of Children and Families, Manatee County Reports and Removals Analysis for May 2011 through April 2012 indicates 3,810 calls were received and forwarded to the Manatee County Sheriffs Office's Child Protective Investigation Division for investigation. Of those calls, 280 resulted in the removal of a child.
Q: What is happening in the community to help combat child abuse?
A: One recent initiative that started in Sarasota is now reaching into Manatee County. BAANK (Believers Against Abuse and Neglect of Kids) seeks to create a bridge between the faith community and the child welfare community by assisting the forming of partnerships that address matters of prevention to adoption.
BAANK promotes such initiatives as Foster Nights Out (respite care for foster parents), the posting of DCF hotline posters in the faith community, and court-approved faith parenting programs throughout the 12th Circuit.
BAANK is a ministry of the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota. It is one of the responses the church has made to the 2004 death of Carlie Brucia on church property. BAANK director Rod Myers serves on the Family Safety Alliance, the Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Work Group and the Comprehensive Abuse Prevention Plan committee.
Through relationship building, trust is established and opportunities for faith/state partnerships emerge. BAANK is developing a data base of partners with whom to communicate information and opportunities.
They invite the community to become a part of the circle of friends.
Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/06/13/4075216/ask-the-gal-how-child-abuse-cases.html#storylink=cpy
Rod can be reached at 941-374-1818 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam Hindman, director of the Guardian ad Litem program for the 12th Judicial Circuit, writes this weekly column for the Herald. Readers who have questions for "ASK the GAL" about child abuse, foster care, child protection, adoption, or who might be interested in learning more how to become a GAL volunteer can e-mail Pam at email@example.com, or write to her at Guardian ad Litem Program, 1051 Manatee Ave. W, Hensley Wing, Suite 330, Bradenton 34205.
Student-teacher sex: Where does it end?
Numbers of cases under covers
by Ben Wolfgang
The cases seem to be popping up everywhere - and with alarming frequency.
Married English teacher Erin Sayar, 35, is accused of having sex with an 11th-grader at least eight times while supposedly tutoring him at his Brooklyn high school.
Michael Montgomery, a 49-year-old language instructor in Salem, Ore., is in jail and awaiting trial on sex abuse charges stemming from suspected sexual contact with a student.
In Bangor, Pa., just last week, former high school reading teacher Rachel L. Farrell was sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty to having an affair with a student.
Dozens of other relationships between teachers and students have been reported just this year, but analysts say it's difficult, if not impossible, to know what is media hype and what is a genuine national problem.
A 2007 Associated Press study found that at least 2,500 educators were punished for sexual misconduct in just the five-year period from 2001 to 2005. Other surveys have been conducted since, but none of them tells the full story. Nor do they determine whether the number of cases is rising or whether media outlets are simply shining a bigger spotlight on the often salacious stories.
“There's been no longitudinal study, and there's no empirical data. The only ones we know about aren't just the cases that get reported, but the ones that end up in some sort of litigation or action [against a teacher]. What we're seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert Shoop, director of the Cargill Institute for Ethical Leadership at Kansas State University and author of several books on student-teacher sex and sexual harassment in schools.
“The problem is more severe than even the media would have us believe. The only thing we have to go on are reported cases, and there's no question that the reporting has significantly increased,” he said.
Fifteen years after teacher Mary Kay Letourneau of Washington state grabbed the nation's attention and became a tabloid sensation by admitting a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student, a boy she subsequently married and with whom she had children, teacher-student sex cases make the news only when an instructor faces criminal charges or gets fired.
Mr. Shoop and other analysts think there could be hundreds of cases each year that either go unreported entirely or are swept under the rug by school districts trying to protect their reputations.
“It's an epidemic. It's an epidemic that's been created by the concealment of these educators nationwide,” said Terri Miller, president of SESAME , the Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation organization.
Ms. Miller has taken aim at several states, such as Pennsylvania, which have what many consider lax laws dealing with sexual abuse by teachers. The state Senate's Education Committee last month passed the SESAME Act, designed to tighten reporting requirements and offer more safeguards for districts.
Under current law, substantiated cases of sexual abuse can be kept quiet unless criminal charges or other police action have been taken.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, a Philadelphia-area Democrat, is one critic who says the system desperately needs to be changed.
After introducing the SESAME Act last year, he called the state's laws “a tragedy” and said such weak regulations “further magnify” a growing epidemic in America.
But the disturbing trend, while taken seriously by most, still gets mined for laughs. At its height in the late 1990s, the Letourneau case provided weeks of material for late-night comics.
Hollywood is also cashing in. On Friday, Adam Sandler's flick “That's My Boy” hits theaters, telling the tale of a high school student who fathered a son with his teacher.
Those instances, along with many others, underscore another problem in dealing with sexual abuse by teachers, specialists say. When cases involve a male instructor and an underage female student, it's usually viewed as sexual abuse.
When the perpetrator is a woman and the victim a boy, it's a different story. Those male students often take pride in having slept with an attractive teacher, analysts say.
“That's how male victims are often discovered, by bragging in the locker room that they just had sex with Miss So-and-So,” Mr. Shoop said. “But the [psychological] damage that is done is typically not something that a 14-year-old boy has any awareness of.”
While tightening laws and changing public opinion are important, analysts say, the most important steps occur inside individual schools. Many districts offer little training for their faculty members on how to identify sexual abuse by teachers.
Too often, principals and administrators try to spot the classic pedophile at the expense of missing other offenders, said David Finkelhor , director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
“People have this model in mind that there are child molesters roaming around looking for opportunities, so they go into fields like teaching. That happens, but I don't think that's the predominant scenario,” he said. “The predominant scenario is that teachers have problems. They have marital problems, they suffer from depression, or they feel inadequate.
“Working with kids, there are plenty of opportunities for sexual feelings to be evoked. Teachers find themselves attracted to students and aren't equipped in how to deal with those feelings, so they end up acting on them,” he said.
Technology places even more responsibility on parents to discover abuse. No longer are teachers confined to initiating relationships in the school hallway. Facebook, Twitter and other social media give predators a new world of opportunities, making parents' watchful eyes more vital than ever.
“There was a time when if a parent wanted to keep their child from having contact with someone, they stood by the door and didn't let them in the house,” Mr. Shoop said. “Now, [predators] can have access to a child at 3:30 in the morning and parents have no idea it's taking place.”
Abused or neglected children often physically unhealthy adults, research finds
by Brie Zeltner
Anyone who has spent time on a therapist's couch can tell you how important early childhood experiences -- both positive and negative -- are to our emotional well-being later in life. But research continues to accumulate connecting these impressionable years to adult physical health, too.
Many of the health effects are sadly predictable. Abused and neglected children are much more likely to become alcoholics, to be depressed, and to be infected with HIV. Some health effects, though, are surprising. These same children are more likely to be obese as adults, for example, and they die younger on average than peers who have not suffered abuse or neglect.
Two recent studies by researchers at Ohio State University, the University of Toledo and Ball State University offer tantalizing clues as to why this may be the case, and some hope of how to help people who have come through such difficulty.
At Ohio State, a research group led by tumor virologist Ronald Glaser and his wife, clinical psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, has been studying the health effects of stress for nearly 30 years. In their most recent study, the team focused on how the immune systems of adults with a type of skin cancer who had been abused or neglected as children responded to a tumor after a recent life stress.
"We were particularly interested in the combination of the two," says Chris Fagundes, lead author of the OSU study and a postdoctoral fellow. "So if you experienced childhood stress and then in the past year experienced some major stress in your life like the death of a loved one, if those individuals would have the poorest response to a tumor."
That's exactly what they found. In 91 patients who had a previous basal cell tumor, a type of skin cancer that activates a strong immune response to heal, response to a new tumor was the worst among those who had been abused or neglected as children and had recently experienced another life stress.
The paper was released last week in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
It didn't matter if the abuse or neglect was at the hands of a mother or father, and the effect was independent of a person's current depressive symptoms.
Interestingly, the adults who had been abused or neglected but had not experienced a recent stress saw no effect of their childhood on their tumor response.
"In general, you can imagine that if things are going well, someone who is vulnerable may not look any different from someone who's not vulnerable because there's nothing perturbing the system," Fagundes says. "When they really look different is when they're confronted with another stressor in their lives."
This immune response to stress is no surprise to Ronald Glaser -- he's seen its effects in every study he's conducted on the topic -- from the common cold to cancer.
The real work remains in figuring out why and how emotional and physical abuse hard-wires children for later health problems, he says.
"We don't know the mechanism on how that could work," he says. "But clearly the effect is there, and that understanding will come."
Part of that explanation may come from recent work by a team at the University of Toledo and Ball State University, who studied blood samples from female migraine sufferers to see if early childhood experiences had any impact on their headaches and their level of inflammation, stress and clotting.
The team looked at women because migraines are more prevalent in women, and because young women with migraine, especially those who experience a visual aura, have an elevated risk of stroke.
Compared to a control group, the group of 125 women with migraine were more likely to have had adverse childhood experiences (defined as a range of family abuse and neglect situations such as divorce, alcoholism, rape and abandonment) and to have higher blood levels of markers for inflammation, stress and stroke risk.
And there was a dose-response relationship between the two, meaning that more exposure to adverse experiences as a kid led to higher migraine frequency and poorer blood-test results.
The study was published online last month in the journal Headache.
It's impossible to put a cause-and-effect stamp on the relationship, though, says Jagdish Khubchandani, assistant professor of community health at Ball State. "For that we'd have to run an unethical study." In other words, half of the women would suffer abuse to see how it affected them later in life.
It's possible that children in abusive and neglectful households lacked some other basic necessities like healthy food and health care access that predisposed them to chronic health problems, he says.
Or, it may be that the inflammation and blood disturbances seen in Khubchandani's study are the common underlying factor that explain abused children's tendency to become obese, develop heart disease and die younger.
Either way, early life experiences need to be taken seriously by parents, legislators, child advocates, patients and doctors.
"Funding mechanisms and policies have to be more focused and streamlined to prevent child abuse," Khubchandani says. "And for adults in the clinic, doctors need to think about stress management and what may help to alleviate these experiences from the past. It's not all about saying take XYZ pill and be done."
Report: Penn State officials withheld 2001 Sandusky claim
by Associated Press
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier and another top university official exchanged emails discussing an allegation that Jerry Sandusky molested a boy in a university shower in 2001 but ultimately decided against alerting child welfare authorities, NBC News reported Monday.
Mr. Spanier and former Vice President Gary Schultz, who headed the campus police department, agreed not to take the case to outside authorities out of concern for the retired assistant football coach, according to internal emails obtained by state law enforcement officials and given to NBC. The report aired on the “Today” show Monday.
Mr. Spanier, who was ousted in the wake of Mr. Sandusky's November arrest, did not immediately respond to an email message from the Associated Press.
The emails were discovered in the course of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's internal probe of the Sandusky scandal and “immediately turned over to the state attorney general,” Penn State spokesman David La Torre told the Associated Press. Mr. Freeh was hired by the Penn State board of trustees to investigate, among other things, what school officials knew about Mr. Sandusky's conduct and what they did with the information.
Mr. La Torre declined to comment on the contents of the emails but said, “We will continue to cooperate fully with all legal processes to determine what happened and ensure personal accountability.”
Mr. Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial began Monday with opening statements. He has denied the allegations that he abused 10 boys over 15 years.
Mr. Schultz, who is retired, told a grand jury that head coach Joe Paterno and assistant Mike McQueary reported the 2001 shower encounter “in a very general way” but did not provide details.
Mr. Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, who is on leave, are charged with lying to the grand jury and with failure to properly report suspected child abuse. Both deny the allegations and are seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Lawyers for Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz said in a statement that the NBC report “confirms that, as they testified at the grand jury, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz conscientiously considered Mike McQueary's reports of observing inappropriate conduct, reported it to the University President Graham Spanier, and deliberated about how to responsibly deal with the conduct and handle the situation properly.”
Alleged victims in Sandusky child sex abuse case
Pennsylvania prosecutors say 10 young men were sexually abused by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, charges he has repeatedly denied. The trial began Monday, with the first witness, now 28, saying he regretted having kept the alleged sexual abuse a secret.
Here's a breakdown of alleged Victims 1-10, as they are referred to in charging documents, and the alleged abuse.
—Victim 1: Sandusky allegedly fondled him and performed oral sex on him multiple times, in his home and local hotels. The boy was 11-15 years old at the time. Sandusky was barred from his central Pennsylvania school in 2009 after the boy's mother alerted school officials, triggering the investigation that produced charges. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (two counts), indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 2: A boy of about 10 that a graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, has said he saw being attacked by Sandusky in the team showers in February 2001. Investigators have not been able to determine the boy's identity. McQueary reported what he saw to head coach Joe Paterno, and Paterno's handling of it contributed to the university board of trustee's decision to fire him shortly after Sandusky was arrested in November. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 3: Sandusky hugged him in the shower and fondled him twice, according to the grand jury report. The incidents allegedly occurred between July 1999 and December 2001, at Sandusky's home and in team showers. The boy was 12-14. Indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 4: Sandusky is accused of repeated involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Prosecutors say more than 50 alleged incidents occurred between 1996 and 2000, at the Sandusky home, hotels and university facilities, while the boy was 12-17. He also traveled with the Sandusky family to bowl games in Texas and Florida. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (three counts), aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 5: Sandusky put his hand on the boy's leg while in a car, they showered together and he placed the boy's hand on his genitals, according to allegations in court records. The alleged incident occurred in August 2001, while the boy was 12 or 13. Indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 6: While showering together in May 1998, Sandusky allegedly grabbed him and said, "I'm going to squeeze your guts out," according to the grand jury. The boy's mother complained when he came home with wet hair, prompting a police investigation at the time that did not result in charges. The boy was 11. Indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 7: They showered together and Sandusky bear hugged him in 1995-96, and more than once he put his hands down the waistband of the boy's pants, according to the grand jury. Sandusky did not touch his genitals, the jury said. The boy was 9-11. Attempted indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 8: Boy of about 11 to 13, seen in late November 2000 by a university janitor allegedly being subjected to sexual abuse by Sandusky in the team showers. The janitor now has dementia and is not available to testify. The boy has not been identified by investigators. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 9: Part of second set of charges. Boy was subjected to sexual abuse by Sandusky at the Sandusky home, a local hotel and other locations between July 2005 and December 2008, according to prosecutors. He was 12-15 at the time. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (two counts), indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
—Victim 10: Part of second set of charges. Boy was subjected to sexual abuse between September 1997 and July 1999 at the Sandusky home and car and at an area pool, prosecutors allege. The boy was 10-12. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (two counts), indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
Sources: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, grand jury reports.
Sandusky witness describes abuse, ‘creepy' letters
by Mark Scolforo and Genaro C. Armas
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — The first witness in Jerry Sandusky's trial said the former Penn State assistant football coach sexually abused him as a young teenager on campus and in hotels and later sent him “creepy love letters.”
The witness, dubbed Victim No. 4 by prosecutors, said what began as “soap battles” in the shower escalated into inappropriate touching and oral sex. He said under cross-examination that he feels responsible for what happened to other alleged victims because he didn't come forward earlier.
The man, now 28, was the first of eight alleged victims expected to testify during the trial, which began Monday with opening statements.
Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he has denied. His arrest and the fallout led to departures of longtime football coach Joe Paterno and the university president.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III opened Sandusky's highly anticipated trial Monday by telling jurors that the 68-year-old retired coach was a pedophile who took advantage of fatherless children or those with unstable home lives, plied them with gifts and sexually abused them for years.
Defense lawyer Joseph Amendola countered that some of the alleged victims had hired civil lawyers and had a financial interest in pursuing the criminal case.
Sandusky sat still as the first witness explained that he began showering with the former assistant coach in 1997, when he would have been about 13 years old. The man said he had met Sandusky through the Second Mile, the children's charity the assistant coach had founded.
The witness spoke calmly and firmly when questioned by McGettigan. Wearing a white shirt, dark tie and dark pants, he looked straight ahead at McGettigan during questioning. He gestured at times when asked to describe interactions with Sandusky .
“He would put his hand on my leg, basically like I was his girlfriend … it freaked me out extremely bad,” the man said, extending his right arm out and pushing it back and forth.
“I pushed it away … after a little while, it would come right back. That drove me nuts,” he said.
Instances in the shower, the man testified, escalated to the point where either Sandusky maneuvered himself so his head would be near the boy's genitals, or vice versa. The man testified that there were “a few occasions” where Sandusky ejaculated in the Penn State locker room showers.
Pictures of Sandusky and the then-boy were shown at times on a video screen. The man was asked to identify photos handed to him by McGettigan, including those with Penn State football players, but rarely looked over when the pictures were displayed on a screen large enough for jurors to see.
The man said he stayed either at his mother's or grandmother's home at times. He never told his grandmother.
“No, no way. I was too scared to … The other things were nice. I didn't want to lose that,” he testified.
A self-described college football fan, the man said he enjoyed the access to Penn State football games and facilities. At one point, the man said, Sandusky let him wear the No. 11 uniform of LaVar Arrington. Prosecutors also showed a picture of the man, as a boy, with Arrington.
The man testified that Sandusky also took him to bowl trips including the Outback and Alamo bowls. He also gave him golf clubs, snowboards, drum sets and various Penn state memorabilia including a watch from the Orange Bowl, the man testified. He said he would wear gift jerseys to school.
The witness said that, as he got older and after he got a girlfriend, he was “basically getting sick about what was happening to me.”
He testified to one alleged interaction before a bowl game banquet in Texas, in a hotel bathroom before taking a shower, that Sandusky pushed down on him in a “downward motion.”
The man said he resisted, when he testified that Sandusky responded, “You don't want to go back (home), do you?”
Asked by McGettigan to clarify, the man said “that he was trying to get me to have oral sex, and threatening me if not.”
He said about 10 seconds later, Sandusky's wife, Dottie, called out from another room, and that an apparently surprised Sandusky left the bathroom.
Sandusky also sent the man letters, he testified. One shown briefly on a video screen in court was a handwritten on Penn State letterhead, signed “Jerry”
“I know that I have made my share of mistakes,” the letter read. “However I hope that I will be able to say that I cared. There has been love in my heart.”
The man described some of the correspondence as “creepy love letters … Others would be, ‘Hey, do you want to come to a football game?' Those kinds of things.”
The man said he was reluctant to cooperate with the investigation into Sandusky .
Under cross-examination by Amendola, the witness said: “I feel if I just said something back then … I feel responsible for what happened to other victims.”
He also said he had spent years “burying this in the back of my head.”
“I thought I was the only person,” he said. “I just came to terms with that and just wanted to go away.”
Last week, the trial judge said the accusers couldn't testify under aliases. The Associated Press typically doesn't identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes.
During his opening statement, McGettigan told jurors he would prove that the abuse included oral and anal sex involving boys Sandusky met through the Second Mile and that it took place “not over days, not over weeks, not even over months, but in some cases over years.”
McGettigan called the Second Mile, which Sandusky established in 1977, the “perfect environment for the predatory pedophile” and his way to get close to his victims.
Amendola said the young men who would take the stand were accusers, not victims. He said jurors may find it odd that Sandusky showered with children, but that it was innocuous, and part of Sandusky's upbringing.
“In Jerry's culture, growing up in his generation, where he grew up, he's going to tell you it was routine for individuals to get showers together,” Amendola said. “I suspect for those of you who might have been in athletics, it's routine.”
Amendola said the defense will argue that Mike McQueary, the football team assistant who reported seeing Sandusky naked in a shower in 2001, was mistaken about what he saw.
“We don't think Michael McQueary lied,” Amendola told jurors. “Are you surprised? We don't think that he lied. What we think is that he saw something and made assumptions.”
Amendola also told jurors that at least six of the alleged victims have civil lawyers, including several in the courtroom gallery on Monday.
”These young men had a financial interest in this case and pursuing this case,” Amendola said.
Child Advocates Give Thumbs Down to New Adam Sandler Comedy
by Jim McKay - State coordinator, Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia
Leading national organizations in the fight against child sexual abuse are criticizing Adam Sandler's new movie That's My Boy for making light of statutory rape in its depiction of a 13-year old boy's sexual relationship with his teacher at school. That relationship results in the teacher's pregnancy, a jail sentence and Sandler's character being forced to raise the child himself. When the child turns eighteen, he leaves home and does not interact with his father again until the eve of his wedding.
Although the story ultimately focuses on the characters' reconciliation, organizations such as Prevent Child Abuse America, Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! are strongly criticizing the movie's outdated views on child sexuality, and the sexuality of boys specifically. The movie also minimizes the long term impact of sexual abuse on children.
As someone who works to protect children from abuse and exploitation, I must say that it should be unacceptable that Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison Productions would promote child rape as a joking matter, and as a means for making a profit. The movie also clearly highlights a double-standard when dealing with sexuality of boys as compared to girls.
Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, issued the following statement in response to the film:
"It goes without saying that Adam Sandler and Columbia Pictures would never have made a similar movie about a thirteen-year old girl and a teacher of hers. How is it that in 2012 they still find it acceptable to make such a movie about a character who is a boy? This is a movie about rape, plain and simple, and while we could have an endless dialogue about how this is a comedy, or a story that highlights the resilience of children, I call upon the viewing public to express their strong disapproval.
Along with my colleagues from Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! we have sent the producers of the film an offer to discuss how misguided this attempt at humor is, and what message can be salvaged from this screenplay. All of us regardless of what we do in our lives have a responsibility to the children and families in this country. I suggest we figure out together how they can fulfill that responsibility in a way that supports the healthy child development of all children.
Given the national conversation about protecting children from sexual abuse that has occurred in the wake of the scandal at Penn State, it is troubling that we now see a high profile comedy movie that trivializes statutory rape of a boy. It's not a laughing matter.
Just as it is no longer acceptable for comedians like Don Rickles to tell racially stereotypical jokes, I look forward to the day when it is no longer acceptable to joke about exploiting or causing harm to children.
Dad Kills Daughter's Alleged Attacker
A father beat to death with his hands a man who he said tried to molest his 4-year-old daughter after the little girl was heard screaming at the family's rural Texas ranch, authorities said.
Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said the father, whose name has not been released, will probably not be arrested for Saturday's killing and that no evidence so far has led investigators to doubt his story.
"There doesn't appear to be any reason (for the killing) other than what he told us," Harmon said Monday.
Harmon said the victim was a 47-year-old man from nearby Gonzales with no apparent prior criminal history. Authorities withheld his name because they had yet to track down any of his family.
The victim was an "acquaintance" of the father who had come to help care for some horses, Harmon said. He did not know how long the two men had known each other. The girl was taken to a hospital to be examined and has since been released, Harmon said.
The father called police late Saturday afternoon and told them he attacked a man he caught trying to sexually assault his daughter, Harmon said. The alleged attack happened near a barn where some horses were being kept.
"In the course of trying to get her away from him, and protect her, he struck the subject several times in the head and the subject died," Harmon said.
Harmon said a grand jury will decide what, if any, charges the father will face.
The victim's body was sent to the Travis County medical examiner for an autopsy.
The ranch near Shiner is about 130 miles west of Houston. Killings are rare in rural Lavaca County. Harmon said his office has only investigated six in his eight years as sheriff.
Jaycee Dugard talks of personal growth in afterword to memoir
Nearly three years after Jaycee Dugard was rescued from the ramshackle compound where she gave birth to two daughters while being held captive, she is still learning how to be a free woman.
“My growth has not happened overnight, and every day brings new challenges and choices that I have to make,” she writes in a new afterword to her 2011 memoir, “A Stolen Life,” which comes out in paperback July 3. “Living out in the world has its share of problems, and I am learning what works and what doesn't.”
Now 32, Dugard was kidnapped in 1981. The gap-toothed 11-year-old had said goodbye to her stepfather and was headed off to catch her morning school bus in South Lake Tahoe when she was abducted by Phillip and Nancy Garrido.
For the next 18 years, the couple kept Dugard in a series of tents and soundproof sheds in their Antioch backyard. Phillip impregnated her twice during years of methamphetamine-fueled rape. Nancy helped deliver Dugard's daughters.
The Garridos pleaded guilty to rape and kidnap charges 14 months ago; he will spend the rest of his life in prison, while she could be up for parole in 30 years.
“A Stolen Life” became an immediate bestseller last July. In the original version, Dugard wrote about missing her mother and raising her children. She spared no detail of her ordeal and chronicled the growth she had undergone during her first months of freedom.
In the short section produced for the paperback version, Dugard acknowledged that she felt like that kidnapped 11-year-old when she worked on the memoir. But “as I write this addition for the book, I feel a whole heck of a lot older. I have truly started to take back my life and live in the sunshine.”
She is still learning to feel comfortable with everyday activities, she says, like eating out: "When I go to a restaurant as much as possible I sit with my back to the patrons so they can't see my face,” she writes. “Why? Is this old behavior or new? I think it is a combination. What am I afraid of? If asked then, I would say, of being seen. If asked now, I would say of being seen.
“What has changed?” she continues. “Yes, I'm free, but to truly be free, I must fully accept who I am and what I have been through. Not just for me, but for my kids.... I feel that in order for my children to move forward with their lives they have to see that I am moving forward with mine.”
Human Trafficking Hotline Received 10,000 Calls In 2011
by Carrie Johnson
A national hotline for human trafficking victims received more than 10,000 calls last year, from every state in the union.
A new report out today by the Polaris Project, which runs the 24-hour hotline through a federal grant, says the volume of calls for help is on the rise, as awareness of the problem grows.
The report says about half the cases Polaris identified involve U.S. citizens, with most of the calls emanating from California, Texas, Florida and New York. Calls are coming from people exploited for sex or labor, as well as teachers, social workers, truck drivers and cabbies, according to the report.
Sarah Jakiel, deputy director of the group, tells NPR in an interview that victims have many unmet needs.
"Consistently people are calling in, either in crisis situations or submitting tips to the national hotline and one of the most immediate needs they have is access to a safe place to stay," Jakiel says.
The report says victims could use more money to find long term housing, and transportation from one part of the country to another.
Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of Congress from both political parties have sought to put a spotlight on human trafficking over the past year.
"This is absolutely an issue that is happening in our communities and in our back yard," Jakiel says. "It's very much present in the United States."
Local father fights to end sex trafficking of children
A local father of three is asking 1,000 men in Oregon to join his fight to end sex trafficking of children.
Tom Perez started the Epik Project about a year and a half ago when he realized, "men are the ones creating the problem."
Perez said his goal is to get men, just like him, involved in this issue.
"The hard part for men, if you're not a cop, a counselor, or a politician, it's hard to know where to jump in or what to do," Perez said.
He created justmenoregon.com to help other men understand the problem in a simple way.
Perez said he wants 1,000 men in Oregon to join the fight from Father's Day 2012 to Father's Day 2013.
"If men don't rise up in large numbers and do something the problem is never going to get solved," Perez said.
The Epik Project asks men to donate $13 a month to the Sexual Abuse Resource Center and learn how to leverage their influence their communities to make a difference. Perez said the $13 donation is symbolic, as 13 is the average age of entry into prostitution.
Experts estimate 100,000 kids under the age of 18 are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. each year.
"The hard part for men is to look at the culture we've created deliberately or have allowed to evolve that makes victims out of kids," Perez said, "we don't want to realize we are part of that."
Michelle Bart, co-founder of Northwest Coalition Against Trafficking (NWCAT), said Perez saw a problem in our backyard and wanted to do something.
"There are more men like him and hopefully this story will get others to join in efforts in educating men and boys on how to be a voice against the war on women and girls," Bart said.
To find out how you can eat spagetti to held raise money to end human trafficking go to Perez's website: http://justmenoregon.com/just-men-events/
5-month-old given formula made with alcohol; mother arrested
A 5-month-old Stockton girl was hospitalized after her family said they accidentally used a water bottle filled with alcohol to make baby formula.
The girl's 26-year-old mother, Lesha Hill, was arrested Saturday on child abuse charges, authorities said. Hill's mother, Tressie Piggee, said she didn't think her daughter should face charges "because it was an accident."
The family took the girl to a hospital after the incident, and medical staff called police before transporting her to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
"A 5-month-old baby ingesting any amount of alcohol — that's definitely a serious situation which has to be dealt with immediately," Officer Joe Silva of the Stockton Police Department told Fox40 in Sacramento.
Piggee said her granddaughter was continuing to recover.
"We feel bad for the baby because she's up there suffering right now because of our mistakes," she said.
Hill is due in court Tuesday.
Tulsa judge wants unified approach to child abuse and delinquency
by GINNIE GRAHAM
Editor's note: Hearings on the Oklahoma deprived docket, which deals with abused and neglected children removed from their homes, are closed to the public. Tulsa County District Judge Doris Fransein, chief of the Juvenile Bureau, granted the Tulsa World permission to observe two days of hearings with the agreement not to use names of families.
The teenager surprised many in the courtroom by showing up.
The 15-year-old had been missing for eight months.
His father was upset with officials, claiming he missed his earlier custody hearings and treatment plan requirements because he had to look for his son.
"I have to stand up for myself," the father said. "I have some things in my past, but that's not my future. Why be in my business if I'm doing the right thing? I'm trying to raise my son."
After noting he did not contact officials about leads on his son's location, Tulsa County District Judge Doris Fransein read over what brought the family into the deprived docket less than two years before.
The boy was arrested for making and selling drugs. Officials found him and his father squatting in a warehouse with no kitchen, bathroom, water or electricity. The father used drugs and was known to be violent when drunk. The mother is an addict who left years earlier.
The father's custody reunification plan requires drug treatment, which he had not done. Fransein offered a drug test that afternoon, which he declined.
"Your primary issue is substance abuse," she said. "I would have concerns about any parent who continued to use while raising a child. You have some business to take care of."
During the hearing, the boy never looked up.
Wearing baggy, unclean jeans and a dingy white T-shirt, his eyes kept slipping shut, his head occasionally resting in his hands.
"He looks tired," whispered Tera Snelson, court case manager.
Fransein turned to the boy, who had run away from a youth shelter and foster home. She decided to have sheriff's officers place him in detention while social workers search for a better placement. He was led away in handcuffs.
"I can't have you running around," the judge told him. "I would place you somewhere different, but I think you'll run again. It's not my intention to have you stay in detention. My intention is to find you a home where you can be stable."
'A new movement'
The Child Welfare League of America found that one-half to two-thirds of children entering foster care nationally have behavior problems warranting mental health services.
Several studies show an increased likelihood of future delinquency and crime in children experiencing abuse or neglect.
The odds increase for delinquency and adult criminal behavior by 29 percent for children suffering abuse or neglect at 11 years old or younger, according to the Child Welfare League.
Breaking that statistic down, a child abused or neglected has an increased likelihood of being arrested as a juvenile by 59 percent, as an adult by 28 percent and for a violent crime by 30 percent.
Some children who are abused and neglected end up on the delinquency docket or develop psychological needs.
"There's a new movement to understand that a number of abused and neglected children will enter into the delinquency system," Fransein said. "Most kids don't end up on the delinquency docket, but we should be doing something more as a community to help those who do."
Fransein has been pushing for a single child-focused bureau that breaks down walls between agencies, dockets and community services.
Fransein - nationally recognized for her work in deprived and delinquency issues - said the disconnect between abuse and delinquency began in the 1980s when communities started to fear young criminals. Laws were changed to toughen criminal charges against juveniles.
"Everyone got hysterical and pushed to treat juvenile offenders like adults," Fransein said. "So, we had a huge influx of adult offenders. But they are kids and should be treated like kids. Juvenile justice (workers) understand you have to deal with them very different than you do with adults."
Oklahoma faces a significant problem: The lack of substance abuse and mental health treatment beds and programs for children and youth.
Coordinating child welfare and juvenile justice programs would result in long-term savings, more efficient resource allocation and healthy children and families, the league states.
The model would reduce costly treatments such as inpatient hospitalizations and detention. It would seek prevention of delinquency and intervention for repeat offenders.
Tulsa attorney Gwendolyn Clegg welcomes the concept.
"A lot of the kids in the juvenile system probably should be (deemed) deprived as well," Clegg said. "It's not like a kid just becomes delinquent all of a sudden. There are usually neglect or abandonment issues that have led to that.
"It would be great to have a center like what Judge Fransein is talking about," she said. "Children are not getting the help they need."
Some preteens and teens end up being deemed deprived because their parents simply give up, willingly surrendering their rights. A few have been abandoned at the door of the Juvenile Bureau.
When a 17-year-old girl's review came up on the deprived docket, a hush came over the courtroom.
She has mental health disorders and is a methamphetamine addict. She has been missing for five months and has been banned from shelters for her drug use.
Tears streamed down the cheeks of the DHS worker who has been searching for her.
"I'm scared I'll get a call she's dead," Francia Allen said. "If I can get her, where do I take her?"
Fransein was quiet for a moment.
"It would be nice to have a bed waiting for her," she said, knowing that is impossible.
The girl's attorney, public defender Lara Russell, described her last appearance as "boney" and unclean.
"She's very sick," Russell said.
"If you get her, somehow, someway, we'll all convene," Fransein said.
Juvenile justice and child welfare systems
Since 2000, the Child Welfare League of America has been researching the link between abuse and later delinquency, treatment and services available to at-risk youth and the programs best meeting the needs of these youth.
"There has been little attention or direction provided to help these systems determine in what ways they might integrate or better cooperate to improve outcomes for children and families," a 2004 report stated.
The league notes that the two systems have a lot in common, often employing the same disciplines derived from the same body of knowledge and research.
"They may use many of the same treatment providers and can have an overlap or duplication of services. Mental health needs are critical."
Some places creating integrated models or written agreements between child-welfare and juvenile systems include New York City, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Oregon and Baltimore, Md.
Agencies vary, but most lump together all family-based programs such as early childhood, child protection, juvenile justice services and family support.
Some areas are more specific with collaborations, such as in Milwaukee, Wis., which targets mental health needs in youth. The program WrapAround Milwaukee has decreased the use of residential treatment by 60 percent and inpatient treatment by 80 percent.
Orthodox Counselor on Trial in BK Sex Abuse Case
The community holds longstanding beliefs that problems should be dealt with from within and that elders have more authority than the young
by Colleen Long
The abuse went on for nearly three years before the schoolgirl told anyone that her spiritual adviser was molesting her while he was supposed to be mentoring her about her religion, authorities said.
But in Brooklyn's ultra-orthodox Jewish community, 53-year-old Nechemya Weberman has been embraced and defended as wrongly accused. The girl has been called a slut and a troublemaker, her family threatened and spat at on the street.
The rallying around Weberman, who goes on trial this month, and ostracizing of his accuser and her family reflects long-held beliefs in this insular community that problems should be dealt with from within and that elders have far more authority than the young. It also brought to light allegations that the district attorney was too cozy with powerful rabbis, a charge he vehemently denies.
"There are other people that claim misconduct and they can't come out because they're going to be re-victimized and ostracized by the community," said Judy Genut, a friend of the accuser's family who counsels troubled girls.
Brooklyn is home to about 250,000 ultra-orthodox Jews, the largest community outside of Israel. Step onto a Williamsburg street and tall guys in skinny jeans and tattoos are mingling with a flush of men in dark coats and hats carrying prayer books and speaking Yiddish. The Hasidic Jews appear to outsiders as though they come from another time; embracing centuries-old traditions, they wear black clothes, tall hats, long beards and earlocks. Women wear long skirts and cover their heads after they marry.
They have their own ambulances and schools, called yeshivas, their own civilian police and rabbinical courts. Members are encouraged to first speak to a rabbi before going to secular authorities — and as a result, cases rarely make it to outside law enforcement.
The topic has been studied and reported in the Jewish media for years and has recently made headlines in New York papers.
"They think that anyone who turns over anyone to the outside authorities is committing a transgression to the community at large," said Samuel Heilman, a professor of Jewish studies at Queens College.
The girl, now 17, was sent to Weberman at age 12 because she'd been asking theological questions and he had a reputation for helping people back on the spiritual path. He often counseled people, though he had no formal training. But during sessions, authorities say, he forced the girl to perform sex acts.
The girl started dressing immodestly, was deemed a troublemaker and removed from her school — one Weberman was affiliated with — and sent to another, family friends said. The allegations surfaced in 2011 when she told a guidance counselor there she'd been molested.
Weberman has pleaded not guilty, and articles in Hasidic newspapers have proclaimed his innocence and begged the community for support. More than 1,000 men showed up for a fundraiser aiming to raise $500,000 for his legal fees and, if he's convicted and jailed, money for his family.
"It's very hard for the town to believe the things that he's being accused of because he has a reputation of doing good and being good," Genut said.
George Farkas, Weberman's lawyer, said his client isn't guilty but is damned regardless because the allegations will taint his reputation.
The family has said they would've preferred to handle the allegations within the community. But when accusations are managed from the inside, victims are rarely believed and abusers aren't punished — in part because the word of an elder is respected over the word of a child, victims and advocates say.
Joel Engelman said he tried to work with yeshiva officials, finally confronting them at age 22 about a rabbi who abused him as a child. Engelman was given a lie detector test and encouraged to keep quiet about the allegations, and the rabbi was temporarily removed — long enough for Engelman to turn 23, making him too old under state law to file a complaint.
"It's that they don't want to believe that the rabbis that they've been raised to respect could be so cruel and could be so criminal," said Engelman, now 26.
His mother, Pearl, herself an activist, said the community is overwhelmingly good and believes people must be educated about the crime to start standing up for the victims.
"I'm not an anarchist, I'm not a rebel," said the 64-year-old mother of seven. "I love this community, and I want to change it for the better and make it safer for children."
Outside law enforcement has also had a difficult time. Before 2009, only a handful of sex abuse cases were reported within the ultra-orthodox community. Then, District Attorney Charles Hynes created a program called Kol Tzedek (Voice of Justice) aimed at helping more victims come forward about abuse, an underreported crime everywhere.
Part of the deal, along with a designated hotline and counseling, is that prosecutors don't actively publicize the names of accused abusers. The cases are still tried in open court, where the names are public.
Before Kol Tzedek, Hynes said, he struggled to mount a successful prosecution. "As soon as we would give the name of a defendant ... (rabbis and others) would engage this community in a relentless search for the victims," he said. "And they're very, very good at identifying the victims. And then the victims would be intimidated and threatened, and the case would fall apart."
Since then, 100 of the total 5,389 cases in the borough have come from the ultra-orthodox community, the district attorney's office said. Hynes also started a taskforce to combat intimidation attempts — and has said rabbis have a duty to come forward if they have been told of abuse.
But victims' rights advocates say Hynes has purposefully ignored some cases and hasn't pushed as strongly for full prosecutions of others — bowing to powerful rabbis in exchange for political support, a charge he strongly denies.
"He doesn't take care of victims," said Nuchem Rosenberg, a rabbi who says he was ostracized for speaking out about abuse. "He takes care of those in power, so they can all keep power."
Genut said the accuser is ready to testify. Her family, though, is looking for a higher judgment than criminal court.
"They believe that God's going to take revenge on him," she said. "They're suffering a lot and they say one nice day God's going to show us that he did stick up for us."
Jerry Sandusky Trial: The Major Players
by COLLEEN CURRY
Charges of child sex abuse were brought against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky on Nov. 4, 2011, igniting a firestorm of scandal around the prestigious football program that led to the dismissal of the university's president and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, and charges against two school officials.
The investigation began in 2008 when a high school student in Centre County, Pa., told his mother and school administrators that Sandusky had molested him, launching a widespread but secretive effort to interview dozens of boys Sandusky mentored through his charity, The Second Mile, as well as Penn State officials who may have seen or heard about inappropriate actions.
Now, Sandusky faces 52 counts of molestation from 10 alleged victims, eight of whom are expected to testify during his trial. Two of the alleged victims have never been located or identified by the attorney general's office. The identity of the others will be revealed for the first time during their testimony.
Following is a description of the main players in the Jerry Sandusky trial, what they knew, what they did and what happened to them.
The former assistant football coach has been charged with sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year period. He allegedly preyed on the boys through a charitable organization he founded called, The Second Mile.
As a former Penn State coach, Sandusky had free use of the university's facilities, including its locker rooms and showers, and often took Second Mile boys to Penn State football games, an indictment claimed.
Sandusky's arrest and his alleged ability to operate freely at Penn State despite people witnessing his alleged actions over the years has roiled the Penn State campus.
Sandusky, 68, will face eight of his accusers during a trial beginning Monday, June 11.
The trial against Sandusky will likely hinge on the testimony of eight alleged victims, all of whom are now adult men and testified to the investigating grand jury that they were molested by Sandusky when they were young boys.
The man known as Victim 1 is responsible for the grand jury investigation into Sandusky, and led the way in telling his story about the alleged abuse. As a freshman in high school in 2008, the boy told his mother and then his high school administrators that Sandusky molested him, prompting the 3-year investigation and eventual charges.
Two of the alleged victims described in the grand jury presentment were never identified by the attorney general's office and are the subject of witness accounts.
The boy known as Victim 2 was reportedly seen by assistant coach Mike McQueary being raped in the shower by Sandusky in February 2001, while the boy known as Victim 8 was seen by a janitor being molested by Sandusky in the fall of 2000. Neither child was ever located by the school or the attorney general's office.
Five of the victims petitioned Judge John Cleland to remain anonymous, but the petition was denied.
The men who have come forward and plan to testify against Sandusky were allegedly the subject of grooming habits, and told the grand jury they were plied with gifts including golf clubs, watches, and trips to watch the Nittany Lions play in big football games. Sources told ABC News that Sandusky allegedly wrote "creepy" love letters to some of the victims which featured lewd content.
Mike McQueary was 28 and a graduate assistant in 2001 when he allegedly came upon Sandusky in the football building's showers raping a boy who appeared to be about 10 years old.
McQueary was startled and left without saying anything, although the boy and Sandusky both saw him, the grand jury report said. He spoke with his father and on his father's advice, McQueary reported what he saw to the team's head coach, Joe Paterno, the next day.
He was questioned about a week and a half later by top school officials -- athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz -- and told them he saw Sandusky having anal sex with a boy, according to the grand jury report. Later, Paterno was fired and Curley and Shultz were charged criminally for not reporting the abuse to police.
Curley and Schultz claim that McQuery never mentioned that the boy was being raped. The date of the incident was also changed from McQuery's original claim of March 2002 to February 2001. And authorities have never been able to figure out who the child was that McQueary allegedly saw with Sandusky in the showers that day.
McQueary was placed on leave by the university in the wake of the scandal, with the school noting that there had been death threats made against him after Paterno was fired. McQueary has since filed notice of a lawsuit against the university.
Paterno, who died in January at the age of 85, had been hailed as a hero and affectionately known as JoePa on the school's campus for his stellar reputation as the winningest college football coach in history. But during the week of Nov. 4, 2011, after his former assistant coach was arrested for child sex abuse, Paterno's legacy came crashing down.
According to the grand jury report, Paterno was informed by McQueary on a Saturday about Sandusky's alleged sexual assault of a boy in the shower. On the following day, Paterno relayed the allegation to his superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley.
Paterno recalled that McQueary told him that Sandusky was seen "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy," the report said.
The coach testified before a grand jury and was described as a cooperating witness and not a target of the investigation. Authorities said Paterno did what was required of him by reporting the incident to a superior.
Paterno was fired just days after the scandal exploded following Sandusky's arrest. The Penn State Board of Trustees criticized him for not doing more to stop Sandusky after McQueary's report. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and died eight weeks later.
The former Penn State athletic director is charged with perjury and failure to report sexual abuse. He has been placed on administrative leave and the school is paying for his legal defense. His attorney has said he will take the fifth amendment if asked to testify in the Sandusky trial.
Schultz, Penn State's senior vice president for finance and business when Sandusky was arrested, is charged with perjury and failure to report abuse. He had retired in 2009, but held the senior vice president job on an interim basis at the time of his arraignment. Schultz was allowed to retire again and Penn State is paying for his legal defense. His lawyer has also said he will take the fifth amendment if called to testify in Sandusky's trial.
University President Graham Spanier was dismissed by the school's board of trustees shortly after Sandusky's arrest.
He is on a witness list for Sandusky's trial.
Sandusky started a charity for underprivileged boys in 1977 and called it The Second Mile, a reference to a Bible quote. The charity had close ties to Penn State's football program, hosting fundraisers with coaches and players and bringing Second Mile participants to athletic games and camps at the school.
Following his arrest, prosecutors said that Sandusky used the charity to find and prey on boys to molest, singling out those from unstable homes or without fathers. At least six of the alleged victims mentioned in the grand jury presentment testified that they met Sandusky through the Second Mile.
The charity folded in the wake of the scandal.
A colorful defense attorney from State College, Pa., Joe Amendola was enlisted by Sandusky immediately following his arrest to help defend him against the child molestation charges. Amendola vowed to fight the charges, poke holes in the testimony of witnesses and alleged victims, and prove that Sandusky was innocent.
In the weeks after the scandal broke, Amendola raised eyebrows by accompanying Sandusky to an interview on NBC. When asked if he was sexually attracted to underage boys, Sandusky repeated the question back, "am I sexually attracted to underage boys?" before answering: "Sexually attracted, you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Amendola has vowed to go after the alleged victims, questioning their motives and personal histories to discredit them.
Amendola will be joined by Karl Rominger, another defense attorney who joined the case in December.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan, who gained prominence for winning a conviction in the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Shultz in 1997, will be the lead prosecutor in the case.
McGettigan will focus on the testimony of the eight accusers, as well as witnesses including McQueary, to convince the jury Sandusky had a grooming pattern, picking Second Mile children who were vlunerable and plied them with gifts before molesting them on Penn State's campus and in his home.
Employee training program underway to recognize, report child abuse
Monday, June 11, 2012
University Park, Pa. -- Over the past six weeks, nearly 2,000 Penn State employees have attended the University's professional training program designed to help employees recognize and report suspected child abuse.
The program is part of Penn State's initiative to help ensure a safe community for children, said Susan Cromwell, director of Workplace Learning and Performance in Penn State's Office of Human Resources.
The effort is being led by a team of individuals from Penn State's Center for Workplace Learning and Performance, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), WPSU Learning and Media Design Team, University Police, Penn State Student Affairs, Intercollegiate Athletics, Centre County Women's Resource Center, faculty experts and professionals throughout the community.
"Our goal is to educate the University community about child abuse and reporting and move people from an awareness of the issue toward having confidence to take action," said Cromwell.
The program is being implemented in two stages. For the summer, the University had to address an immediate need to train employees, also identified as "authorized adults," who will be working with children at numerous camps and workshops at University Park and on campuses across the state. These face-to-face training sessions began on April 18.
The second stage, slated to be available in the fall, will include an interactive online program for all remaining University employees, at every location.
Initially, the training is required for employees who work with children directly as part of their jobs -- considered "mandated reporters" under state law.
According to the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, a mandated reporter must file a report, or cause a report to be filed, when that person, "who in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes in direct contact with children and has reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of medical, professional or other training and experience that there is a victim of child abuse."
In order to foster a safer community for children, Cromwell noted it is important that even those considered permissive reporters -- Penn State employees who are not mandated by Pennsylvania law to report abuse -- participate in training. The online module, available in the fall, will teach employees how to recognize abuse and report it to the appropriate resources, even if they are not required by law to do so.
"We often tell children to tell an adult, but the problem with that action is that it puts the responsibility on the shoulders of the children to report the abuse," she added. "There are many reasons that kids don't tell; that's why we must shift the responsibility for reporting from the child to the adults."
The training sessions start out with definitions and explanations, asking: "What is a mandated reporter?" "What is the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law?" "How do I recognize the signs of abuse?" and "What are the reporting requirements?"
Participants in the sessions learn some surprising statistics. For instance, it is estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys in the United States will be sexually abused by the age of 18. Stephanie Flanagan, senior program coordinator for performance management in the Center for Workplace Learning and Performance and a mandated reporter trainer, also noted that more than 90 percent of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their abuser in some way.
Session leaders then delve into University policy and what is expected of participants in their roles as Penn State employees. For example, if abuse is suspected, the reporter's first step is to notify their program director/functional director, and then together they must call Pennsylvania's reporting ChildLine. In addition, the director will notify University Police, the University's general counsel and Office of Risk Management.
ChildLine's mission is to provide information, counseling and referral services for families and children to ensure the safety and well-being of the children of Pennsylvania. ChildLine accepts calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and each call is answered by a trained specialist. Actions include forwarding a report to a county agency for investigation as child abuse or general protective services; forwarding a report directly to law enforcement officials; or referring the caller to local social services, such as counseling, financial aid and legal services.
The employee and volunteer training session then focuses on how to recognize the possible signs of child abuse, how to respond to a child's disclosure of abuse, and the proper process to report any suspected abuse.
"The behaviors that we talk about are examples, of course, because the truth is that every child responds to abuse differently," said Flanagan. "Raising the awareness of adults in the child's environment -- that's what this training is about. Abuse is less likely to go unreported in an environment where children feel safe to talk to adults, and adults understand the signs and symptoms of abuse, and know how and when to report their suspicions."
Questions and concerns about reporting abuse, including protection that may be afforded to someone who does report abuse, and the consequences of willfully not reporting abuse, are also addressed during the training. Finally, facilitators take the participants through several possible scenarios, asking "What would you do?" and prompting discussion and deeper thought by attendees, who may not otherwise have considered various situations.
Flanagan said the response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and feedback from the face-to-face sessions will be incorporated into the online training.
"A lot of people think they know what they would do when in this situation," she said. "But in reality, they may be shocked and confused about what to do next. The training helps them to know what they are required to do. We take the guesswork out of it."
Betsy VanNoy, prevention and training coordinator at Centre County Women's Resource Center, and a trainer, added, "Abuse is something that survives in silence. When you walk into a community that is talking about this issue -- that is taking concrete steps to prevent child abuse, and knows what to look for -- that sends a strong message to potential abusers."