Spotting child abuse: What to do to help
by Lindsey Erdody
It's unknown how many cases of child abuse or neglect aren't reported every year, but experts know cases are underreported. More often than not, somebody saw or heard something suspicious but didn't do anything about it.
Most child abuse and neglect happens behind closed doors, so the signs aren't always obvious and often fall into a gray area. You may see a child with multiple unexplained bruises. Maybe it's a little boy wandering around your neighborhood alone. Or maybe you see a stranger lose their cool at the grocery store, and she smacks her kid.
What would you do?
Would you recognize the signs of child abuse? Would you know who to call?
Suzanne Schunk, director of family-support services for Southwest Human Development, said there's usually a history of abuse when a child dies from maltreatment.
“It doesn't start out one day that everything is fine, and the next day the child is dead,” Schunk said.
Of the 70 children who died from maltreatment in 2010, Child Protective Services only had prior involvement with 18, according to statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The law requires certain people to report potential child abuse or neglect. This includes health professionals, church leaders, child guardians, school personnel or anyone else responsible for the care of the child. But neighbors and the general public also have an obligation to keep children safe.
Schunk said most cases go unreported because people are scared to get involved.
She said people tend to think it's none of their business, and that they shouldn't interfere with other families. Other reasons: They're in denial that anything wrong is happening. They fear they will be dragged into court. They worry they will break up a family.
Even so, she said it's better to do something than to do nothing at all.
“We have too many cases in the papers where the neighbors or even family members knew the child was being hurt or being beaten or that they heard screams, and they did nothing. And that's tragic,” Schunk said. “It's better that we make a phone call, whether it be to CPS or the police, and everything's OK than that we do nothing and things get worse and children get seriously injured or die.”
As part of The Arizona Republic's yearlong series on the child-welfare system, we explore some of the most common questions about how and when people should get involved when they suspect child abuse or neglect.
No obvious abuse
Scenario: Someone you know has become aggressive with their child, and it's clear things aren't quite right even if there's no obvious abuse yet.
What to do immediately: Schunk said it's acceptable to step in. She suggests making a comment like: “Parenting is a tough job.” Or using humor to let the parent know you've been there: “Kids can really act up, can't they?”
Deidre Calcoate, adoption program and resource home development manager for the Arizona Department of Economic Security.said making a quick comment can calm the parent down.
“A lot of times we believe we're the only ones going through things,” Calcoate said. “Sometimes just the little things help.”
What you shouldn't do: Don't criticize. “The cardinal rule is don't criticize the parent, because you will immediately antagonize the parent,” Schunk said.
Next steps: Turn the attention to the child, so you can talk about what's best for him or her. Mention resources, such as support groups or churches, and ask how you can help, perhaps by watching the child for a few hours.
The stressful moment you witnessed usually isn't a one-time thing, so don't reach out once and just let it go, Schunk said. If the problems continue people need to call CPS.
“If it makes you uncomfortable, go with your gut and call CPS,” Schunk said. “Let CPS decide what's going on.”
Obvious signs of abuse
Scenario: You don't have an established relationship with the potential abuser — as in the case of a neighbor, for example — and you hear or see abuse next door.
What to do immediately : Call 911 or CPS at 1-888-SOS-CHILD.
Schunk said a common misconception is that calling CPS will result in the state removing the child from the family, which is not true. Sometimes it just helps get some services available to the family. If you feel threatened or worried about repercussions, you can provide information anonymously.
What you shouldn't do: Don't investigate the situation on your own. Let CPS handle it because you don't want to put yourself in danger or escalate the situation.
“I would caution people never to put themselves in harm's way,” Calcoate said.
Next steps: If the situation persists and no one has responded, call again. Experts advise against getting personally involved.
Making a scene in public
Scenario: The child is screaming, and the parent “loses” it as she walks through the grocery store, but there is no physical harm to the child.
What to do immediately: Make a quick comment and try to calm the parent down.
Even when it's a stranger, Schunk said all it takes in a situation like this is to smile at the parent and say, “Gosh, it's hard. It is so hard. I remember when I was there.”
Schunk said it's more likely for a parent that feels embarrassed to take her anger out on the child. If the parent knows other people understand what she's going through, then she will probably calm down.
What you shouldn't do: Don't criticize. Again, that will only anger the parent more.
Next steps: If the situation continues to escalate, and the parent physically harms the child, call the police and try to get a license plate number. Don't intervene personally because you could put yourself in danger.
Scenario: You see a young child wandering the streets or any public place alone.
What to do immediately: If you can find the parent, make a joke and get their attention. If you're in a store, help the child find the parent.
“The parent's just not supervising and keeping that child safe,” Schunk said.
What you shouldn't do: Don't criticize the parent. Don't discipline the child personally. Don't walk away and ignore it.
Next steps: If you can't find the parents, call the police or CPS.
Warning signs that a child is being abused or neglected:
The child is unhappy or hungry frequently
There are unexplained bruises, burns or sores on the child
The child wears dirty or ill-fitting clothes on a regular basis
The child misses a lot of school
There are unsupervised children outside or being left home alone
The child talks about family violence
The parent or child is harming animals or pets.
The child is expressing fear of something or someone
The child has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or is having nightmares.
Sources: Suzanne Schunk, director of family-support services for Southwest Human Development; American Humane Association
Numbers to call:
911, if the abuse is happening in public or needs police attention
1-888-SOS-CHILD, Child Protective Services Hotline
Partnering to stop sex abuse
by Joan Tabachnick, Jetta Bernier, Mary R. Lauby, Meg Bossong and Tom King
All eyes are on Pennsylvania where Jerry Sandusky's trial is underway. The former Penn State football coach is charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 boys over 15 years. As the world watches the case unfold, these allegations demand more than a fascination with what happens in the courthouse. It brings attention to what we all can do to stop and prevent child sexual abuse.
Talking about prevention, of course, also requires that we talk about all forms of sexual violence. As survivor advocates, child abuse investigators and responders, sex offender treatment providers, and community educators, it is clear from our work with victims, abusers, and communities that discussions about sexual abuse can be very difficult. Despite the saturation of sex and sexual violence in entertainment, video games, and other media and the daily news coverage of cases of child sexual abuse and other forms of sexual violence, when it comes to actually talking about these issues with our children, our co-workers, our neighbors and other family members, people become embarrassed or anxious about discussing the issue.
We must work around this resistance to really talk about sexual abuse. The silence puts children at risk. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse often talk about how alone they felt because they didn't know it was something they could talk about. At the same time, many people who have sexually abused say they count on that isolation to keep their crimes secret. It takes courage to challenge the current culture of silence and adults must take an active role in that conversation.
First and foremost, we must educate parents and other adults about ways to prevent child sexual abuse from ever happening and mobilize communities to establish child sexual abuse prevention programs and policies in all organizations that serve children and youth. And when a child has been sexually abused, we ensure a swift comprehensive, victim-focused response from law enforcement, investigators and service providers.
We need to learn to trust our instincts. If we see or hear something that doesn't seem right, we need to speak up and ask questions. We need to listen to the children in our lives and keep the lines of communication open. We need to pay attention to any behavior changes. By having honest, age-appropriate conversations with children and teens, they'll know they can talk to us any time. Talking with the adults around us — parents, guardians, professionals working with youth and other adults in the community — about this issue will ensure that we all are more accustomed to discussing the issue, responding to someone who may have questions, or listening and knowing what to do when a child or teen discloses sexual abuse. And we need to ask organizations working with children and youth what policies they have put into place to ensure that the children in their care are safe.
As the Sandusky case demonstrates, it is often only high-profile cases that garner this level of media coverage, but in reality sexual abuse is widespread. Sexual violence happens every day, in families, communities, workplaces and schools. In fact, here in the Commonwealth as well as throughout the U.S., nearly 20 percent of the population has experienced some form of sexual assault during their lives, one in four women and one in six men report having experienced some form of sexual abuse before age 18. In most cases, those who abuse are never arrested, because more than 80 percent of the cases of child sexual abuse are not reported to police.
When sexual violence does occur, our response to these unacceptable levels of violence must include adequate access to justice and support systems for every victim of sexual abuse as well as effective treatment for individuals who perpetrate sexual abuse. However, these programs that support people through the healing and treatment processes cannot be the only answer. Our organizations are working towards developing public policy work that will work. Our policy efforts range from legislation that would provide legal justice for victims and accountability for abusers to establishing training and protocols in child- and youth-serving organizations.
Whether we are a clinician, teacher, friend, family member, coach, community leader or policy makers we are obligated to invest our collective efforts in using what we have learned to prevent sexual abuse and keep our communities and children safe.
Joan Tabachnick is the executive director of the MA Adolescent Sex Offender Coalition and MA Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Jetta Bernieris the executive director for Massachusetts Citizens for Children. Mary R. Lauby is the executive director of Jane Doe Inc. Meg Bossong is the community mobilization project manager of Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.Tom King is the executive director of the Massachusetts Children's Alliance
After Sandusky case, we must connect the dots on child abuse
by AARON ANDERSON
Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a period of 15 years. The allegations against the former Penn State assistant coach sent shockwaves throughout the nation, helping raise awareness of the reality and evil of child abuse.
As the Sandusky case fades out of the media, will the outrage also fade from the collective memory of our community?
Will it take story after story of adults sexually preying on and physically abusing little children to maintain the community's disgust of child abuse?
Child abuse is the No. 1 public health issue facing the nation, our commonwealth and yes, even York County. This place we call home is currently near the top of the pile in abuse-related cases.
The mother of victim No. 6 said it best following Sandusky's verdict: "Nobody wins. We've all lost." We all lose every time a child is either sexually abused, physically abused or fails to receive necessary daily care and nourishment through neglect.
We lose because a child fails to properly grow in an environment of love and nurture. We lose because that child's brain architecture is hardwired the wrong way, a tangled mess that may never get unsorted.
Statistics tell us that abused children will grow up with a host of developmental issues that will make becoming a healthy, contributing citizen less likely. These kids may struggle in school, wrestle with insecurity, and simmer internally with unresolved anger.
Left unchecked, these once precious young children may themselves repeat the pattern of their perpetrators, becoming monsters in their own right.
We all lose when we fail to learn how to prevent child abuse before it ever begins. The public has a vested interest in this issue. If we don't get this issue under control, not only will children be damaged in the process, but also the community we are trying so hard to build will erode.
Abused kids will likely struggle to know how to live in healthy, loving relationships, and so future marriages will fall apart, families will crumble and more and more children will be left in the wake of the destructive act of abuse. The county's mental health budgets will skyrocket. We will need to beef up the staff of the county's Children, Youth and Family office, hiring an endless stream of caseworkers to investigate allegations of abuse.
Children will need to be taken from their homes and will need places to go. As the courts become inundated with an increased caseload, we will need to increase their capacity, costing taxpayers more money to fund the system. Prisons will have to be built to house future offenders.
I know it sounds like a doomsday scenario. It is shocking and fear inducing, but is it that far from reality? If you have ever met an adult who was abused as a child you know what an incredible struggle it is for them to live successfully. Many survivors have moved on to be productive citizens, and they deserve our highest respect and compassion. But many survivors will not and in the end we will all lose.
The Jerry Sandusky case exposes the need to have a community conversation around the subject of sexuality. There are dots that need to be connected. On the one hand, most of us are disgusted by the sexual abuse of little kids. But on the other hand, we have developed a culture that encourages little self-control in the area of sexuality.
We have unconsciously created a pornography culture that fosters unhindered sexual gratification. Men are lusting after younger and younger girls. Female schoolteachers are hooking up with 15-year-old boys. Parents refuse to consider the folly of allowing their daughters to dress provocatively.
The community has to start connecting the dots. An unbridled, unhindered sexual ethic encourages men, women and even kids to transgress boundaries that should be clearly fixed for our own collective good.
In our community conversation, we may disagree about where the boundaries of a healthy sexuality exist. Some of us will argue that sex should be encouraged only in marriage.
Others will make the case that sex is OK between consenting adults and still others will argue that sex is nothing more than an animal appetite akin to hunger. Surely we can come together and agree that an adult should never seek sexual gratification from a child.
And if that is the case, it means we need to collectively frown on and discourage anything that encourages it.
I for one believe the conversation can start around the issue of pornography. The dots between pornography addiction and sexual abuse are obvious. It doesn't matter where the conversation on sexuality begins.
What matters is that the conversation begins.
Have that conversation with your kids.
Let them know what healthy sexuality looks like and what adults are forbidden to do with their bodies.
Listen to them and, for heaven's sake, please take them seriously if they report abuse to you.
We all stand to lose if even one more child becomes the object of an adult's sexual gratification. Prevention is possible but we all have to get involved. I hope you will.
The Rev. Aaron J. Anderson is pastor of City Church York and a member of the advisory board of Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the York County Children, Youth and Family Council.
Juror: Sandusky accusers' credibility boosted case
by Genaro C. Armas and Mark Scolforo
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The credibility of the accusers who testified at the trial of Jerry Sandusky solidified the case against him, a juror said Saturday, a day after the retired Penn State coach once viewed as the successor to Joe Paterno was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse.
“It's hard to judge character on the stand because you don't know these kids,” Joshua Harper told NBC's “Today.” ”But most were very credible — I would say all.”
“It was very convincing,” he added.
After a swift trial and less than two days of deliberations, Sandusky was found guilty Friday. Mandatory minimums mean he will likely die in prison.
Sanduksy's own impassivity as the verdict was read was also a confirmation that the jury's decision was the right one, Harper said.
“I looked at him during the reading of the verdict and just the look on his face. No real emotion,” he said.
Sandusky appeared to be accepting his fate, Harper said, “because he knew it was true.”
The verdict is not the end of the scandal that took down Paterno and deeply shook the state's most prominent university. It will play out for years in courtrooms and through a set of ongoing investigations.
But the trial did present one piece of finality: Sandusky was taken away in handcuffs to the county jail. Sentencing will be in about three months.
“One of the recurring themes in this case was, ‘Who would believe a kid?'” Attorney General Linda Kelly said. “The answer is, we in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid.”
Sandusky, a retired defensive coach, showed little emotion as the verdict was read, giving his wife, Dottie, and family members a half-wave as the county sheriff led him away.
There were only three acquittals among the charges related to 10 victims, eight of whom took the stand to describe fondling, forced oral sex and anal rape. Many of the accusers testified that they had told no one of the abuse that dated as far back as the mid-1990s — not parents, not girlfriends and not police.
The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6, whose mother alerted authorities in 1998 after Sandusky took her son into a shower, broke down in tears upon hearing the verdicts in the courtroom. Afterward, a prosecutor embraced him and said, “Did I ever lie to you?”
The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the “tickle monster” in a shower assault. He declined to comment to a reporter afterward. His mother said: “Nobody wins. We've all lost.”
One of the three counts for which Sandusky was acquitted concerned Victim 6, an indecent assault charge. The man testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just “blacked out.”
The other acquittals were an indecent assault charge related to Victim 5, who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower, and an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge regarding Victim 2, the boy graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw being attacked in a campus shower.
That charge resulted in an acquittal because McQueary did not see penetration, Harper said. But, Harper said, McQueary made it apparent he saw something “that was wrong and extremely sexual.”
“We did not have the evidence that that very first charge happened,” Harper said. “… And we were in agreement amongst all the jurors that because of that, we could not convict him of that first count.”
Almost immediately after the judge adjourned, loud cheers could be heard from a couple hundred people gathered outside the courthouse as word quickly spread that Sandusky had been convicted. The crowd included victim advocates and local residents with their kids. Many held up their smartphones to take pictures as people filtered out of the building.
As Sandusky was placed in the cruiser to be taken to jail, someone yelled at him to “rot in hell!” Others hurled insults and he shook his head no in response.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola was interrupted by cheers from the crowd on the courthouse steps when he said, “The sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence.”
In addition to the eight who testified, there were two yet-unidentified victims for whom prosecutors relied on testimony from a university janitor and McQueary, whose account of a sexual encounter between Sandusky and a boy of about 10 years old ultimately led to the Paterno's dismissal and the university president's ouster.
Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.
After the verdict was announced, defense attorney Karl Rominger said it was “a tough case” with a lot of charges and that an appeal was certain. He said the defense team “didn't exactly have a lot of time to prepare.”
The ex-coach had repeatedly denied the allegations, and his defense suggested that his accusers had a financial motive to make up stories, years after the fact. His attorneys also painted Sandusky as the victim of overzealous police investigators who coached the alleged victims into giving accusatory statements.
One accuser testified that Sandusky molested him in the locker-room showers and in hotels while trying to ensure his silence with gifts and trips to bowl games. He also said Sandusky had sent him “creepy love letters.”
Another spoke of forced oral sex and instances of rape in the basement of Sandusky's home, including abuse that left him bleeding. He said he once tried to scream for help, knowing that Sandusky's wife was upstairs, but figured the basement must be soundproof.
Another, a foster child, said Sandusky warned that he would never see his family again if he ever told anyone what happened.
And just hours after the case went to jurors, lawyers for one of Sandusky 's six children, Matt , said he had told authorities that his father abused him.
Matt Sandusky had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors, his lawyers said in a statement. The lawyers said they arranged for Matt Sandusky to meet with law enforcement officials but did not explain why he didn't testify.
“This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy,” the statement said. It didn't go into details about his allegations.
Defense witnesses, including Dottie Sandusky, described Sandusky's philanthropic work with children over the years, and many spoke in positive terms about his reputation in the community. Prosecutors had portrayed those efforts as an effective means by which Sandusky could camouflage his molestation as he targeted boys who were the same age as participants in The Second Mile, a charity he founded in the 1970s for at-risk youth.
Sandusky's arrest in November led the Penn State trustees to fire Paterno as head coach, saying he exhibited a lack of leadership after fielding a report from McQueary. The scandal also led to the ouster of university President Graham Spanier and criminal charges against two university administrators for failing to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury.
The two administrators, athletic director Tim Curley and now-retired vice president Gary Schultz, are fighting the allegations and await trial.
The family of Paterno, who died exactly five months before Sandusky's conviction, released a statement saying: “Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.”
In a statement, Penn State praised the accusers who testified and said that it planned to invite the victims of Sandusky's abuse to participate in a private program to address their concerns and compensate them for claims related to the school.
Sandusky had initially faced 52 counts of sex abuse. Prosecutors dropped one count and the judge tossed three others during the trial, on grounds two were unproven, one was brought under a statute that didn't apply and another was duplicative.
Breakdown of Sandusky verdicts, by victim
The Associated Press
Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted Friday of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys. Here's a breakdown, by victim, of what he was found guilty of doing and the three counts of which he was acquitted.
Victim 1 • Sandusky was accused of fondling him and performing oral sex on him multiple times, in his home and State College hotels. The boy was 11-15 years old at the time. Sandusky was barred from his central Pennsylvania high school in 2009 after the boy's mother alerted school officials, triggering the investigation that produced charges. Sandusky was found guilty of 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's decision to fire him shortly after Sandusky was arrested in November. Sandusky was found guilty of indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare. He was acquitted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
Victim 3 • Sandusky was accused of hugging him in the shower and fondling him between July 1999 and December 2001, at Sandusky's home and in team showers. The boy was 12-14. Sandusky was found guilty of indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
Victim 4 • Prosecutors said more than 50 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. Sandusky was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, 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 his testimony in court. The alleged incident occurred in August 2001, while the boy was 12 or 13. Sandusky was convicted of unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare. He was acquitted of indecent assault.
Victim 6 • While showering together in May 1998, he testified that Sandusky grabbed him and said, “I'm going to squeeze your guts out” and that the ex-coach said he was the “tickle monster.” 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. Sandusky was found guilty of unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare. He was acquitted of indecent assault,
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. Sandusky was found guilty of attempted indecent assault, 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, but a co-worker testified to what the janitor told him. The boy has not been identified by investigators. Sandusky was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
Victim 9 • Now 18, he testified that he was sexually abused by Sandusky at the Sandusky home where he spent more than a hundred nights in a room in the basement that had a waterbed. He testified he was subjected to oral then anal sex and screamed for help. He was also abused in a State College hotel and other locations between July 2005 and December 2008, according to prosecutors. He was 12-15 at the time. Sandusky was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse [two counts], indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
Victim 10 • Boy was subjected to sexual abuse between September 1997 and July 1999 at the Sandusky home and car and at an area pool. He testified Sandusky said he would never see his family again if he said anything. The boy was 11. Sandusky was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse [two counts], indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, endangering a child's welfare.
Sources • Jury verdicts, Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, trial testimony, grand jury reports.
After Sandusky verdict, focus now shifts to Penn State
by Kevin Johnson
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — It's over, but it's not.
The verdicts in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky represent the conclusion of only one chapter in a scandal that has shadowed Pennsylvania's largest university and much of central Pennsylvania for the past seven months.
At least six of the eight known victims of the former Penn State University assistant football coach have private attorneys who will soon decide whether to file civil lawsuits against Sandusky and the university.
A separate criminal trial looms for Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, who are accused of related perjury charges, alleging they lied to a state grand jury investigating the abuse charges.
Penn State administration officials also are bracing for the results of an internal investigation headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired by the university to review whether the university ignored or failed to act appropriately on early allegations leveled against the former coach.
At the same time, a state grand jury continues its wide-ranging criminal inquiry, including a review of the university's dealings with the former coach.
"The moment the verdict was announced against Sandusky, the landscape of this scandal shifted toward a new focus on Penn State,'' said attorney Tom Kline, who represents one of Sandusky's victims.
"There is no doubt that we are going to file a claim against Penn State,'' Kline said. "Jerry Sandusky may have been the perpetrator, but Penn State was his enabler.''
Penn State, meanwhile, moved quickly to avert a wave of civil lawsuits, announcing their intention to "compensate'' victims of Sandusky's abuse.
"Now that the jury has spoken, the university wants to continue that dialogue and do its part to help victims continue their path forward," the university said in a statement released immediately after the verdicts.
"To that end, the university plans to invite victims of Mr. Sandusky's abuse to … facilitate the resolution of claims against the university arising out of Mr. Sandusky's conduct.''
Wes Oliver, a Widener University law professor who has been closely monitoring the case, said it is in Penn State's "best interest to attempt to resolve the lingering matters quickly.''
"The verdicts were so overwhelming against Sandusky,'' Oliver said, "that it suggests there shouldn't have been any doubt early on'' that Sandusky represented a threat to children.
"It could take years to resolve these claims, but it is in everyone's best interest to settle these differences quickly.''
Yet one major part of the scandal — the perjury cases against Curley and Schultz — is no longer in the university's control.
Specifically, the two administrators are charged with telling a state grand jury that assistant football coach Michael McQueary never told them in 2001 that he saw Sandusky engaged in sexual activity with a young boy in a university shower room.
Like Sandusky's attorney, lawyers for Curley and Schultz have assailed McQueary's credibility, saying that the Penn State assistant coach has given conflicting accounts of what he saw. Those conflicts include a decision to change the date of the incident, initially listed as taking place in March 2002, to February 2001.
McQueary was questioned closely in the Sandusky trial, where he testified that he saw his former coaching colleague with a young boy engaged in what he believed was sodomy.
While McQueary said he could not be "1000 percent certain'' that the coach was raping the boy, he described the activity as "extremely sexual.''
In its verdict Friday, the Sandusky jury found the former coach not guilty of sodomy but convicted him on four other sex abuse charges involving the victim, based on McQueary's testimony.
Oliver said the jury's verdict appeared to bolster at least the core of McQueary's account: that he saw Sandusky engaged in some kind of sexual activity.
Lawyers for Curley and Schultz could not be immediately reached through their spokeswoman for comment. And a trial date has not been set.
Meanwhile, Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said that his client's case is not completely settled even though the 68-year-old former coach sits in a Centre County jail cell — under suicide watch — awaiting his formal sentencing.
"We think we have a few avenues of appeal and we will be pursuing them,'' Amendola said.
A sentencing date has not been set.
Sad parallels link abuse at Church, Penn State
by Margery Eagan
J ust hours before a jury on Friday found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty of raping and sexually abusing boys as young as 9, a Philadelphia jury convicted a Catholic monsignor of allowing a known pedophile priest to continue his ministry with children — resulting in the sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy.
The parallels between the two cases and the church sex abuse crisis here just take your breath away.
One parallel: The predators were not strangers in trench coats but respected, supposedly upstanding members of powerful, all-male, insular and elite communities. “A saint,” is the word a local wrestling coach used to describe Sandusky, legendary for his charisma, charm and generosity to the disadvantaged children he helped and even adopted. Now one adopted son has accused Sandusky of abusing him, too.
How ironic that so many parents today, fearing strangers, won't let our children play outside or walk anywhere alone. Yet we now know that attackers almost always turn out to be those both we and our children know and trust, those we may not suspect even after the abuse occurs.
A second parallel: How people who do suspect, or even witness the crime, either do nothing or fail to tell police. At Penn State both a janitor and an assistant football coach saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old in the shower. Mike McQueary, a mountain of a man, could easily have intervened. Instead, he told his father what he saw, then his boss, the late Joe Paterno. Paterno told his own bosses. And that was the end of that.
Another parallel: It was the perseverance of mothers at Penn State and in the church crisis that eventually brought these rapists into the justice system. In the Sandusky case, a mother alerted high school officials, who then went to police. But by then it was 2009 — at least a decade after the Sandusky assaults we know about began and stories of deviant priests had been reported all across the country.
Yet other mothers, here and in Pennsylvania, have said they noticed nothing awry years into their own children's abuse.
A particularly poignant moment came last week when a heartbroken mother, who suspected Sandusky but never intervened, testified through tears how “I'd just make him go anyways” to Sandusky's over her son's protests. Like mothers of many children targeted by priests, she was an overwhelmed single parent working two jobs. She said she valued Sandusky's attention because he was “a very important person ...”
This mother said she felt responsible, though she is not. Neither is her son, now 18. But responsibility for these nightmares continuing does spread beyond the rapists themselves, and even beyond their Penn State or Catholic hierarchy of co-conspirators. It spreads to those whose first instinct always is to blame victims, to those who won't admit that these evils happen, to those whose downright hostility toward victims makes it too hard for them to admit the truth. So they don't. And the cycle goes on.
Founder of Charity to Take Over The Second Mile Programs Responds to Sandusky Verdict
HOUSTON, Jun 23, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Mark Tennant, founder and CEO of Arrow Child & Family Ministries, the charity selected by The Second Mile to assume operations of their programs, issued the following statement today in response to the verdict in the Jerry Sandusky trial:
"I want to thank the young men who suffered the pain of child sexual abuse inflicted by Jerry Sandusky for coming forward. Your courage and perseverance is not only the first step in your healing, but it has opened a national dialogue regarding the abuse of young boys by adult male perpetrators that is long overdue.
"I founded Arrow Child & Family Ministries 20 years ago because of my personal experience growing up in the foster care system. And while I have been very open about the trauma and abuse I experienced as a child at the hand of my mother's live-in boyfriend, it wasn't until two years ago that I was able to speak about the sexual abuse I endured. For victims of child sexual abuse, healing is a life-long journey, but I pray the Sandusky victims will find the strength and forgiveness needed to walk that path.
"I also want to commend Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and the people of Bellefonte and Central Pennsylvania for their willingness to believe a child. Puzzling actions or subtle words are often signs of deeply hidden and embarrassing pain. We as a nation must listen to these innocent cries and stand strong against child predators regardless of their social, economic or church status.
"Finally, as we respectfully await a decision from the court regarding the petition filed by The Second Mile to transfer their programs to Arrow Child & Family Ministries, let me assure the many dedicated employees, volunteers, board members, and donors of The Second Mile that we will always place the safety and well-being of children first. Know that these programs will be under the watchful eye of a founder who was a victim of the horrific crime of child abuse and has committed his life to offering hope and healing to other survivors."
On May 25, 2012, The Second Mile filed a Petition with the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County requesting that the Court approve the transfer of the programs and some assets to Arrow Child & Family Ministries. The Second Mile intends to run the programs until Court approval is final. If approved, Arrow Child & Family Ministries will operate The Second Mile's mentoring programs, an institute to promote leadership skills, support for foster families and a camp program aimed at teaching life skills.
Arrow Child & Family Ministries' founder and CEO, Mark Tennant, was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania. He was physically and sexually abused as a child and removed from his home. He spent years in the foster care system until being placed with a loving, Christian family in Bedford, Pa., as a teenager. It was there his troubled life turned around.
Tennant earned a pastoral degree from Oral Roberts University and dedicated his life and career to ensuring children and families in crisis have access to effective and caring resources. In 1992, he formed Arrow Child & Family Ministries in Texas. The organization helps abused and neglected children achieve their greatest potential through foster care, adoption services and an array of preventative services for families at-risk. Over the years, the ministry expanded to Maryland, California, Honduras and Altoona, Pa., where Tennant's extended foster family reside today. Arrow Child & Family Ministries currently has 382 employees and since its formation in 1992, has served approximately 40,000 children and families.
Talking through complexities
by Sarah Willie-LeBreton
Sarah Willie-LeBreton chairs the department of sociology and anthropology at Swarthmo
As the child-sex-abuse trials involving Pennsylvania State University and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia progressed, revelations of abuse were surfacing regularly in cities across the country. As a parent, I want to protect my child, perhaps with constant surveillance, from the predators out there. But as a sociologist, I know at least two things:
First, constant surveillance is not possible, and not necessarily positive. Second, when this many people betray the trust of children, the problem probably has multiple causes, is structural, and deserves a public and thoughtful response beyond punishment only.
The problem of sexual abuse against children is made worse by the paradox that it is both invisible and hyper-visible: invisible because children are usually abused in the absence of other adults and with threats if they reveal their abusers; hyper-visible because the porn market, including child pornography, is robust and the sexualization of children is evident everywhere.
As a parent, I'm tempted to characterize abusers as monsters, but as a sociologist, I know that adults who abuse children have likely undergone a trauma themselves. I also know that the desire to act inappropriately is not always carried out, and that understanding where the desire comes from can be crucial to curbing it.
Observations from clinical psychology indicate that people who endure trauma are sometimes drawn to re-create it, hoping with each reenactment to resolve it or break free from its spell. Exploring the trauma through talk — from psychotherapy to co-counseling to 12-step programs — is a proven alternative to letting the trauma drive one's behavior. People battling these feelings need to know that it is better to seek help than to remain hidden. And the help works.
Although we have reached a legal consensus that adults should not have sex with children, we need to develop a social consensus. We must start by having conversations with one another. Put it on the agenda in the places where you spend time — your book club, community center, place of worship. Let your neighbors, coworkers, and parishioners know that we need to start talking about teaching children what their rights are so they can stand up for themselves or call for help. Let your state and federal representatives know we need programs and mental-health treatment for those who have been traumatized so they don't traumatize others.
These conversations will be difficult, not only because most of us are uncomfortable talking about sex, but because sex and power are fused in our culture. Many people find sexual excitement in either giving in to or conquering another. But abuse is not harmless fantasy: It is repeated, intimate, shameful, and nonconsensual. One participant has an advantage over the other, and it often feels inescapable.
What's the good news? Survivors of abuse who have loving family and friends, and good counseling, can and do emerge from abusive experiences emotionally intact and able to thrive in relationships.
Doing nothing is not an option. The best way to ensure that children do not remain silent when an adult in their midst transgresses boundaries is to make sure they learn about their bodies, their rights, and where to turn if they're in trouble or just need to talk.
Being a sociologist has taught me how complicated life is. Being a parent has given me the courage to face its complexity. If not now, when? If not us, who?
'That's not why I'm here'
Scrutiny of Medford church raises moral, ethical, legal issues associated with having known sex offenders in congregations
by Sanne Specht
Officials of a local church are battling their insurance company over demands that sex offenders who come to worship be treated as if they had come to prey, rather than pray.
Chad McComas, pastor at Set Free Christian Fellowship in Medford, said his church disclosed to its insurance company that there were known sex offenders within its congregation. That honesty may spell the end of Set Free, a church he started in 1997.
On May 1, the insurance company, Church Mutual, sent a letter requiring McComas to disclose to his congregation the identity of any and all sex offenders, allow those offenders to attend only one predetermined service each week where they must report in and be assigned an escort who will accompany them at all times, and bar them from participating in any child or youth programs.
"Please respond by June 15, 2012. We will review your procedures. If you have not met all the requirements, we may no longer be able to continue your coverage," the letter states.
McComas is challenging the insurance company rules, which he said will have a chilling effect on disclosure, encourage abusers to go underground, and are the same for an 18-year-old boy who is convicted of sex abuse for having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
"Where does that line go? They're throwing everyone in the same boat," McComas said.
Dave Schmidt, a 66-year-old convicted sex offender who attends Set Free, said he is a devout Christian who attends services to worship God, not to prey on youths.
"Certainly there are people who have not accepted the Lord who come to church (with evil intent)," Schmidt said. "That's not why I'm here."
Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing for Church Mutual, declined to discuss the specifics of his company's interaction with Set Free. Church Mutual insures more than 100,000 religious organizations. It has covered close to 5,000 sex-related claims since 1984.
The rules, developed by outside legal counsel, are designed not only to protect the organization from the "legal hot water" of sexual misconduct and molestation claims but also to protect potential victims, Moreland said.
"Our No. 1 goal is to protect our churches and our children," Moreland said.
Schmidt abused drugs and alcohol and had a long history of sexually abusing children prior to becoming a Christian, he said, adding he pleaded guilty to first-degree sex abuse and sodomy in 1993 after he succumbed "to temptation" one last time.
Two days after Schmidt was arrested on those charges, he was released on his own recognizance and confessed his crimes to McComas, who was then an assistant pastor at another church.
Schmidt said he tendered his guilty plea in Jackson County Circuit Court to spare the child victim from having to testify. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation and treatment, he said.
"I didn't put the blame on anyone but me," Schmidt said. "I didn't want the minor to have to testify."
McComas is loathe to have his church, which has about 100 members, identified as "the sex-offender church." But this issue is a matter of principle and practicality, he said.
"We deal with a lot of members who have addiction backgrounds. That's part of who we serve. But that's not all of who we serve," McComas said. "We know who our members are. We are being careful and diligent. But how often are we going to have to tell the congregation that someone is a sex offender? The congregation changes all the time."
Sex-based claims and crimes occur in cities big and small, in rural areas and in any denomination, Moreland said. Set Free received the same letter that Church Mutual would send to any church, camp or school that disclosed it had a sex offender in attendance, he said.
"What if you have a known offender who offends again? What's a jury going to say?" Moreland said.
Ashland resident Randy Ellison, board president of Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. Ellison was 15 when a charismatic youth minister at a popular Portland church began sexually abusing him.
For more than 40 years, Ellison remained silent about the devastation wrought by the trusted leader in his community. Now he is a vocal advocate in the fight to end child sex abuse.
The church and the community at large have a responsibility to protect children, Ellison said. Disclosure to the congregation and restricting offenders from being alone with a child are realistic and necessary provisions, he said.
"If there is a sex offender in my church with my children, I want to know about it," Ellison said.
But the insurance company overreached by requiring Set Free to assign an offender a constant escort and limiting his attendance at worship, Ellison added.
"As a man of faith, I have to say, wouldn't you rather have this person in church?" Ellison said.
Offenders must take responsibility and be accountable for their acts. Church services, addiction recovery meetings and other cognitive and behavioral programs are vital to "rewiring brains," he said.
"We're better off as a society having him go to church with an agreement about what can and cannot happen," Ellison said. "We want them there safely. But we want them there as often as we can get them to go."
As heinous as their crimes are, sex offenders are a part of the community's collective family. In fact, 40 percent of perpetrators are within the victim's immediate family, he said.
"Perpetrators aren't devils in trench coats," Ellison said. "Look at any family photo. Perpetrators look like your father, uncle or grandpa. And that, in fact, is who they are."
If society isolates and excludes perpetrators once they are out of prison, it becomes impossible for them to be a part of a community in a positive way. And the odds of recidivism increase dramatically, Ellison said.
"Humans need to be in relationships," Ellison said. "But we're going to watch and make sure it's a safe and positive relationship."
Schmidt gave up the right to be alone with a child when he molested his first one, Ellison said.
"His past behavior has burned that bridge," Ellison said. "But that doesn't mean that we don't worship with him."
There is no safety in numbers when it comes to these kinds of dangers, McComas said. If offenders have ill intent, they are much more likely to go to a church with a large congregation.
"That's where they want to go, because they can hide and groom these kids," McComas said.
Ellison's minister is the Rev. Pam Shepherd of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ashland. Shepherd agrees with Ellison that churches have a responsibility to keep children and youth safe. UCC is insured and performs background checks on all Bible school teachers, youth ministers and others who are in positions to deal with minors.
But Shepherd said she has never seen a letter like the one McComas received from Church Mutual. And no one in their membership has disclosed any sex crimes, she said.
"There are no known sex offenders coming to our church," Shepherd said. "But if all sex offenders glowed orange, people might be surprised to see who they are sitting next to."
Schmidt said he has been labeled as a "predatory" child sex abuser. He served additional time in prison during his 10-year probationary period for failing two of six polygraph tests and refusing to participate in therapies he deemed counter to his religious beliefs, he said.
"I was convicted of one offense with one minor," Schmidt said. "But I was open and I disclosed my history of molestation with minors."
Schmidt doesn't believe in "self help," he said. Prayer helps him stay focused on God and not on sin. In addition to attending worship services, Schmidt works in food pantries at Set Free and at his old church, he said.
"We're here to love one another. Not lust after one another, and I was guilty of that," Schmidt said.
Schmidt must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He is used to being watched. Just last week, Oregon State Police were at his door, where he lives with three other men who have been convicted of sex crimes, after a young developmentally challenged man went missing.
"They searched the house, didn't find anything and thanked me for cooperating," Schmidt said.
Schmidt said if he gets driven out of Set Free by Church Mutual's policies, he will simply go to another church, then another. One week at a time, if necessary, he said.
Schmidt was one of seven known sex offenders at a larger church in Medford. Schmidt said policies were put in place and an elder was assigned to watch him. The man sat a few rows behind Schmidt at services. One day he didn't realize Schmidt had gone to the restroom. When the man realized Schmidt was not in his seat, "he got up and he had a look of panic on his face," Schmidt said.
Schmidt was later asked to sign a contract promising not to molest anyone. He opted to leave that church and began attending Set Free, he said.
"You know who I am. If you want to watch me, watch me. But don't ask me to participate in it," Schmidt said. "There are murderers coming into churches. You don't ask them to sign a contract not to kill anyone."
Mother of girl found in barricaded closet is charged with child abuse
The emaciated 10-year-old told police she had no room and no bed and sometimes went days without food.
by DAWN BORMANN
The Kansas City Star
In an apartment that reeked of urine, a Kansas City police officer called out.
“Is anyone in here?”
Neighbors had said not a soul was home. But a tiny voice answered from a barricaded closet.
Officers pushed aside a crib stuffed with blankets and shoes. Using a pocketknife, they cut open the doors that had been tied shut with a shoelace or rope.
Inside they found a 32-pound, 10-year-old girl surrounded by her own waste.
Hours after her discovery Friday morning, police tracked down her mother, Jacole Prince, 29, at her boyfriend's place. Her two other daughters, ages 2 and 8, seemed well fed and clean by all accounts. The girls were taken into protective custody and Prince was arrested.
On Saturday, she was charged with assault, abuse of a child and endangering a child's welfare.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker described the child's living conditions as “completely atrocious.”
“All indicators are she spent a substantial amount of time in that room,” Baker said at a news conference.
The girl — identified only as “LP” — explained to police her appalling living conditions. According to court records, she had no room and no bed and was rarely allowed to leave the closet. And she regularly went for days without food.
She fit into a 2T shirt suited for a toddler. Her pants, a 4T, sagged on LP's tiny frame.
Children's Mercy Hospital officials told authorities that LP had been treated there in 2006 and weighed 26 pounds. She had gained only six pounds in the six years since that visit, court records showed.
Longtime neighbors said they had never even seen the child.
LP told officers the day she was freed from the closet that she wasn't allowed to go out to breakfast with her mother that morning because “she messes herself.” LP told them that when she pees in her pants, her mother strikes her in the back really hard.
The little girl also told detectives that she had not left the closet for two days and does not eat every day. The child said she had not eaten Friday.
In court records, Prince acknowledged that she didn't allow her daughter to leave the house because she was embarrassed of the girl's appearance. She admitted that LP was so malnourished that she would probably be in trouble if someone saw her in that condition.
LP remains hospitalized.
The mother's boyfriend, who has denied knowing that the child was confined to the closet, hasn't been charged in the case. However, Baker did not rule out further charges because the investigation is ongoing and it is too early to say if the abuse occurred for months or years.
“But amazingly, as children tend to surprise all of us, she had very good spirits. She was very cooperative with police. She let them know she doesn't want to go back home,” the prosecutor said.
Baker said authorities were trying to determine whether LP had ever attended school. It also wasn't immediately clear whether LP's living conditions had been reported to authorities before.
But Baker said an anonymous phone call probably saved the little girl's life. Someone called the child abuse hotline for the Missouri Children's Division. The caller said three children lived at the apartment, but one child was forced to live inside a closet.
The state agency notified police. When they arrived at the apartment in the 1300 block of Highland Avenue, Prince wasn't home.
Authorities asked neighbors about the mother and three girls.
“She only has two daughters that stay here,” a neighbor told police.
After announcing the charges Saturday, Baker urged people to use the hotline whenever they suspect abuse.
“Friday was really a tremendous day where the hotline was used. Law enforcement was engaged and this little girl was literally saved from a horrendous situation,” she said.
Everyone must be vigilant in reporting neglect and abuse, said Roxane Hill, vice president of development at the Children's Place in Kansas City. The nonprofit agency helps abused and neglected children.
Hill urged people to call authorities even if they are only suspicious a child is being mistreated.
“Call the hotline. Let them know,” Hill said. “It's everybody's task in this community to care for children.”
Sandusky found guilty on child sex abuse charges; appeal expected
by the CNN Wire Staff
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in jail after a jury convicted him on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys, ending a painful chapter for victims and the entire university.
But the ordeal is not over, as one of Sandusky's attorney announced plans to appeal despite the mountain of convictions against his client.
"If you win on one of the appeal issues, everything probably falls," attorney Joe Amendola said. "So all we have to do is convince an appellate court that one of the issues that we will raise is worthy of a reversal. ... It doesn't matter, it could be 100 counts, and it would still all come back if an appeal is granted."
Jurors delivered the verdict late Friday night after deliberating for 21 hours over two days. They brought convictions related to all 10 sexual abuse victims, with the three not-guilty verdicts applying to three different individuals.
Sandusky stood slightly hunched, looking down with his hand in his pocket but showing no visible emotion as the guilty verdicts were read out in court. His wife, Dottie, blinked back tears.
Judge John Cleland revoked Sandusky's bail and ordered his arrest.
As Sandusky left the courthouse in handcuffs, reporters asked if he had anything to say to the victims. The 68-year-old remained silent as he ducked into the back seat of a police car destined for the Centre County jail.
All you need to know about allegations, how case unraveled
"The Sandusky family is very disappointed by the verdict of the jury, but we respect their verdict," Amendola told reporters gathered outside. Jeering crowds occasionally interrupted his comments.
At the same time, Amendola pointed to a "tidal wave of public opinion" against his client as one of several factors that led him to believe this outcome wasn't surprising.
"It was the expected outcome because of the overwhelming evidence against Jerry Sandusky," he said.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, expressed satisfaction in the jury's decision to hold the ex-coach accountable. She was especially thankful for the victims who testified, in some cases many years after they were abused.
"It was incredibly difficult for some of them to unearth long buried memories of (what) they had suffered," Kelly said. "This trial was not something that they sought, but rather something that forced them to face the demons of their past."
Back inside the courtroom, the young man identified in court documents as Victim 6 was in tears as he hugged prosecutors.
Sandusky should be sentenced in about 90 days, the judge said. Jurors did not speak with the media immediately after the verdict.
iReport: Share your reaction
The case has gripped the nation since last fall and led to the dismissal of legendary coach Joe Paterno and one of America's highest-paid university president, Graham Spanier.
The family of Paterno, who died in January, issued a statement Friday after the verdict.
"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone," the statement said. "The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."
The university, meanwhile, said it had "tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly."
"No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path
to healing," Penn State said in a statement.
Penn State said it will invite the victims to participate in a program to facilitate resolution.
"The university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the University."
'The Sandusky 8' describe seduction, molestation and betrayal
The Sandusky case has infuriated the Penn State community, students say, not just because of the heinous nature of the crimes but also because the scandal has unfairly defined the university.
"It's a relief. Now we can begin to heal," Penn State senior Karisa Maxwell said of the verdict. "I've never seen Jerry Sandusky. He has no effect on my education. For people to say he's Penn State is disgusting. That's not the case."
After a week of testimony, during which time witnesses graphically described sexual encounters with Sandusky that they said occurred during their boyhoods, jurors made their decision without ever having heard from Sandusky on the witness stand.
What Sandusky has said about child rape allegations
During closing arguments, prosecutors described the ex-Nittany Lions defensive coordinator as a pedophile who preyed on victims using a charity he founded for troubled children, repeatedly abusing young boys in his care.
The defense tried to pick apart the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former graduate assistant who testified that he witnessed Sandusky apparently sodomizing a boy in a university shower.
In a bombshell announcement Thursday evening, Matt Sandusky -- one of Jerry Sandusky's six adopted children -- said through his attorney that he was sexually abused by the former coach, adding that he had been prepared to testify against him.
Legal analysts say the accusation could bring additional charges, including incest charges, against the former coach.
The broader scandal has also brought charges against vice president Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley for perjury and failing to report the abuse.
Eight young men testified, often in disturbingly graphic detail, of how Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches' locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home.
On Tuesday, Sandusky's wife told jurors that she could remember at least six of her husband's accusers staying overnight at their house, but that she never witnessed sexual abuse.
The defense challenged the accusers' timetable, questioned the various allegations and called multiple character witness to defend Sandusky's stellar reputation in the community.
Though Friday night's verdict prompted cheers outside the courtroom, inside, the mother of Victim 6 did not claim victory.
"Nobody wins. We've all lost," she said before hugging her son.
Jerry Sandusky trial: Verdict will give other victims courage
by IVEY DEJESUS
Advocates for victims of child sex abuse rejoiced Friday night as verdicts in two key Pennsylvania cases renewed confidence in the justice system and gave hope that those wronged will be given the confidence to come forward.
The stunning guilty verdict
handed down for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky came just hours after a Philadelphia jury convicted
a ranking Roman Catholic church official of child endangerment by failing to stop and report child sex abuse by clergy.
“Both juries have essentially said you can be the biggest fish in the smallest pond and it doesn't matter. If you commit or conceal child sexual crimes, you will be held responsible. Regardless of your title or position or power or prestige,” said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
A Philadelphia jury convicted Monsignor William Lynn of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia guilty on one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He is the first senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be convicted for covering up child sex abuse. Lynn was acquitted on two other counts.
Both cases underscored what research shows — that 90 percent of child sex crimes go unreported, Clohessy said.
In both cases, victims came forth, decades after the abuse had happened.
“So anything that might empower or embolden a suffering child of sexual abuse to speak up is extraordinarily valuable,” he said.
“A key reason victims stay silent is helplessness, a belief that sticking your neck out or taking a huge risk will be fruitless, if not self damaging,” Clohessy said. “These verdicts are concrete proof that sometimes when victims find the strength and courage to step forward, sometimes justice prevention and healing will happen.”
Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. praised what he called an excellent prosecution in the Sandusky trial.
“These victims have suffered at the hands of this monster for years, and now everybody knows how these cases can play out and how victims can keep silent for years for various reasons,” he said.
The Sandusky verdict came as a result of credibility and bravery, he said.
“This case will hopefully give other victims the courage to come forward and report crimes committed against them.”
Tracy Cox, a spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said the verdicts showed overwhelming support for victims.
“A verdict like this shows that when crimes occur and victims courageously come forward, it shows to them they were believed and supported,” Cox said.
“Other people that are out there that remain silent, it gives them hope as well,” she said. “A lot of times, they don't speak up because they don't think they will be believed. Sexual violence is one of the most underreported crimes, and something like this really gives hope to other victims.”
Cox said the Sandusky case, which has been followed worldwide, has impacted countless lives.
“Everybody had something invested in this case,” Cox said. “Either they knew someone who went to Penn State or they themselves went to Penn State or they loved the football program. It was a really high-profile case with everybody watching.”
Cox praised the media for taking care to guard against doing anything to reveal the identities of the victims, despite the fact that the full names were used during the trial.
Tina Nixon, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, which runs the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, said the verdict will help strengthen their mission.
The program sees 35 to 50 children a month who have been sexually abused, she said.
“We're hopeful [victims] will come forward to seek services, to seek justice,” Nixon said. “And that they know that people are listening. We'll take it seriously and justice will prevail.”
Child Abuse Expert: One Monster Down, Plenty More To Go
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) In child sexual abuse trials, there is really no substitute for hearing “guilty” as each charge is read. The victims are vindicated, the abuser is brought to justice. The prosecution gloats a little. The defense backpedals. Everyone on the side of right feels good.
What happens now?
First and most importantly, every one of the victims must get into counseling to work through their issues. Many already have, but they all need it.
At one point early in my career I had no idea what sexual trauma did to victims. 22 years ago, I was driving a female victim of sexual abuse in a stick shift pick up truck, to a visit with her family. She was uncomfortable with sitting in the middle seat where the shifter was. I thought she was being dramatic. I was an idiot.
I've quoted these stats before, 1-in-6 girls have been sexually abused. 1-in-10 boys. Sexual abuse is horribly under reported.
Please educate your children. If they have a secret, if someone tells them a “bad” secret, tell an adult. If an adult asks them to do something that they think is icky tell another adult.
I don't know what will happen with Penn State and Sandusky. There may be more charges. There may be appeals. There will be civil suits. Frankly I don't care, these men came forward to tell the world about the unthinkable and they won. That's enough for now.
Finally, I have a few thank yous. First my wife Nicole and my girls, coming home to you makes my job doable, I love the three of you more than I can say. Adam Hoge at The Score for asking me to do this blog and his bosses for letting it happen. Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers for promoting the blog during their show, and for putting up with me when I'm AKA Quad City Pat. Finally to you, the Score listener, reader and commenter, I'm happy that I could shed some light on a dark corner of humanity for you.
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.
Catholic official convicted of endangerment
by Maryclaire Dale
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial, becoming the first U.S. church official convicted of a crime for mishandling abuse claims.
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced — conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted only on one of the endangerment counts, leaving him with the possibility of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.
The jury could not agree on a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan , who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.
Lynn has been on leave from the church since his arrest last year. He served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
No matter the verdict, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests. Rarely an hour of testimony went by without Bevilacqua's name being invoked.
Bevilacqua had the final say on what to do with priests accused of abuse, transferred many of them to new parishes and dressed down anyone who complained, according to testimony. He also ordered the shredding of a 1994 list that warned him that the archdiocese had three diagnosed pedophiles, a dozen confirmed predators and at least 20 more possible abusers in its midst. Prosecutors learned this year that a copy had been stashed in a safe.
Lynn didn't react when the verdict was read and remained sitting in his chair, his head lowered, even when the judge took a brief recess to thank the jury. He also didn't acknowledge the dozen or so family members, some of whom were weeping, sitting behind him in the gallery.
The judge ordered that Lynn's bail be revoked and he was led to jail. The judge said she would at some point entertain a motion for house arrest.
With the verdict, jurors concluded that prosecutors failed to show that Lynn was part of a conspiracy to move predator priests around.
The jury, however, did find that Lynn endangered the victim of defrocked priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty before trial to a 1999 sexual assault.
Lynn had deemed Avery “guilty” of an earlier complaint by 1994, and helped steer him into an inpatient treatment program run by the archdiocese. But Lynn knew that Avery later was sent to live in a northeast Philadelphia parish, where the altar boy was assaulted.
Karen Polesir, a spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests who was outside the courthouse, said it was a historic trial because it revealed “the abuse and the cover-ups that have been going on in the Philadelphia archdiocese for a long time.”
She said her immediate reaction to the verdict was tears.
“I'm brokenhearted for all the victims that were brave enough to come forward, and the whistleblowers that were brave enough to come forward,” Polesir said. “I'm glad for the one count of guilty, but that is not enough to vindicate the victims and survivors. I feel that there was overwhelming evidence against Monsignor Lynn and that the decision is just heartbreaking.”
Defense lawyers say Lynn alone tried to document the complaints, get priests into treatment and alert the cardinal to the growing crisis. Church documents show therapists had called one accused priest a ticking “time bomb” and “powder keg.”
During the 10-week trial, more than a dozen adults testified about wrenching abuse they said they suffered at the hands of revered priests.
A former seminarian said he was raped by a priest throughout high school at the priest's mountain house.
A nun testified that she and two female relatives were sexually abused by a priest described by a church official as “one of the sickest people I ever knew.”
A troubled young man described being sexually assaulted in the church sacristy in 1999 by Avery after the 10-year-old altar boy served Mass. Avery is serving a 2 1/2- to five-year prison term.
“I can't explain the pain, because I'm still trying to figure it out today, but I have an emptiness where my soul should be,” another accuser testified. His mother had sent him to a priest for counseling as an eighth-grader because he'd been raped by a family friend. The priest then followed suit, he said.
Seven men and five women sat on the jury, along with eight alternates. Many have ties to Catholic schools or parishes, but said they could judge the case fairly. There are about 1.5 million Catholics in the five-county archdiocese, and Philadelphia neighborhoods were long identified by their local parishes.
Defense lawyers called the decision to send Lynn to prison overly harsh, given his ties to the community and lack of any prior criminal record. They said they would move for house arrest on Monday. Lynn will spend at least the weekend in a Philadelphia jail.
“He's upset. He's crushed. He's in custody and he didn't want anything else but to help kids,” defense lawyer Jeffrey M. Lindy said.
Brennan, Lynn's co-defendant, was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1996. With the jury unable to agree, the judge declared a mistrial on the attempted rape and child endangerment charges against him.
Lynn's lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, pledged in opening statements in late March that the monsignor would not run from the sins of the church. However, he said in closing arguments that Lynn should not be held responsible for them.
He suggested his client was a middle manager-turned-scapegoat for the clergy-abuse scandal. Lynn, he said, documented the abuse complaints and did his best to get reluctant superiors to address it.
“And now, now of all things, the commonwealth wants you to convict him for documenting the abuse that occurred in the archdiocese, …. the evil that other men did. They want to hold him responsible for their sins.”
Philadelphia prosecutors have been investigating the archdiocese for 10 years, since the national crisis erupted in the Boston archdiocese. Lynn testified several times before a grand jury that sat from about 2002 to 2005.
That panel produced a blistering report that identified 63 suspected child molesters in the archdiocese, but said no one could be charged because of legal time limits.
Afterward, then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham helped fight for state reforms that gave reluctant victims more time to come forward in Pennsylvania — and enabled her successor, Seth Williams, to charge Monsignor Lynn and four others last year based on more recent complaints.
In a hotly contested ruling in Lynn's case, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina let prosecutors tell jurors about 20 of the accused priests named in the first grand jury report, even though they were never charged, because Lynn worked on their files to some extent.
Prosecutors said they showed a pattern at the archdiocese of lying about why priests were removed, sending them to “company doctors” at church-run therapy centers and failing to warn new parishes where they were later transferred.
“They put so many innocent children in danger,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said in his closing remarks, noting that it can take years or decades for victims to come forward. “That's what's so scary about this. We have no idea how many victims are out there.”
By Bergstrom 's count, the commonwealth spent about 36 of 40 trial days on the tangential cases.
An appeal based on the inclusion of that evidence is considered likely.
Among Catholics, anger and sorrow after the Lynn verdict
by David O'Reilly, Jennifer Lin, Melissa Dribben, and Anthony R. Wood
As news circulated Friday afternoon that a jury had found Msgr. William J. Lynn guilty of child endangerment, many around the region praised the decision as fair, while some found it too gentle and a few maintained that the priest should have been set free.
"He only got one count?" asked Erin McGonigal, 31, who gasped when told of the verdict.
"What about all the kids, all the people who suffered?" she asked, standing outside Immaculate Mary nursing home in Northeast Philadelphia. She expressed doubt that Lynn would get the maximum prison sentence of seven years.
Her mother, Marybeth McGonigal, 57, said Lynn had officiated at her wedding in 1980 at St. Bernard's parish in Frankford. Although she thought he was likable and "hip" at the time, she said she now found it "scary" that he married her and her husband.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was "absolutely right" to put Lynn on trial, she said, adding, "Those poor kids."
Lynn, 61, was found guilty on one charge of endangering the welfare of children in connection with his duties as secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He was acquitted on two other charges.
Prosecutors charged that Lynn put children in harm's way by recommending the parish assignments of priests he knew had sexually abused children.
The jury could not reach a verdict on the charges against his codefendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, who faced two counts of sexual assault on a 14-year-old boy in the 1990s.
At St. Joseph's parish in Downingtown, where Lynn was pastor until his indictment last year, reaction to the guilty verdict was subdued.
Patricia Colombini, 73, entered the sanctuary late in the afternoon to light a candle for Lynn and the Catholic Church, which she described as "a beautiful church" that "needs to be cleaned up."
Colombini said she did not feel qualified to offer a view on the verdict: "I don't know if the man is a scapegoat or what."
Parishioner Rose Graveno called Lynn "a great man, a wonderful person," and an outstanding priest who "doesn't deserve" to go to prison.
A woman visiting from another parish agreed.
"I don't want to see him go to jail," said the woman, who declined to give her name.
But if he did commit crimes, she added, he should not be spared prison.
Outside the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Center City, John Barone of Rochester, N.Y., said Friday's verdict "puts people on notice that no matter how high you are, you cannot shield yourself with your collar."
A physician's assistant who graduated from Hahnemann University Hospital two decades ago, Barone said such a verdict was "a long time in coming - to finally hold someone in the hierarchy accountable."
Of 10 people interviewed outside the basilica Friday afternoon, most said they did not accept Lynn's defense that he had simply followed the orders of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.
"If you know an order is flagrantly wrong, then you can disobey," said 67-year-old Kit Crissey, who spent 30 years in the Navy Reserve.
A Protestant who teaches English to foreign adults at St. Joseph's University, Crissey called Lynn's position as clergy secretary under Bevilacqua a classic case of "if you obey, you keep your job. If you don't, you're finished."
But, he added, "when it comes to the health and safety of children, to just shuffle the priests around is a mistake."
Brandon Reid, 31, of South Philadelphia, said he was "surprised that the verdict wasn't more overwhelming in the direction of putting people in prison."
"It's unfortunate not to see more people held accountable for their actions," he said.
Joellen Layne, 65, a nonpracticing Catholic from Flourtown, said she believed the verdict would put the leadership of the Catholic Church on notice.
"The church tends not to react to things; they bury their heads in the sand," said Layne, who was escorting visitors from California on a tour of the basilica.
Sex Abuse Scandal Cost US Catholic Church Over $2 Billion and Counting
(Plymouth Meeting, PA)- American Catholic Dioceses have spent $2.1 billion so far on settlement-related costs for the multi-decade sexual abuse scandals involving their priests and bishops, reports Reuters.
Recently, American cardinal Joseph William Levada announced that more than 4,000 cases of sexual abuse of children by priests have been investigated during the last ten years.
"The number is shocking and dramatic but, sadly, more cases are likely to emerge," says Peter S. Pelullo, a frequent guest on the Dr. Drew show and author of the recently released
book "Betrayal and the Beast."
In his book Mr. Pelullo focuses on his own journey as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and sexual predation. For many years he kept hidden and refused to face his own debilitating issues as a survivor-the shame, frustration, multiple addictions, depression, and other influences that directly impacted his life. Finally, at the age of fifty-five, Mr. Pelullo confronted the sexual abuse he endured as a child.
Mr. Pelullo's personal experience of sexual abuse led him to create the Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation, which helps and supports adult victims of childhood sexual abuse throughout the world. The foundation is committed to supporting the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and its research toward preventing child sexual abuse and improving treatment for survivors of abuse.
According to the Vatican, there are nearly 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide—that's approximately one fifth of the world's population.
The cost of the lawsuits are so high it may even threaten the retirements of former and current employees and leave them without pensions, NPR reports.
Here is a closer look at Catholic Church sex abuse scandals by the numbers:
- $2 billion so far spent on legal settlements, attorney fees, etc.
- 16,000 victims, mainly teenage boys, since 1950
- 6,100 accused priests since 1950
- $660 million paid by the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese
- 4,000 sexual abuse cases have been investigated
"If there is any good news in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals it's that survivors finally feel empowered to talk publicly about the heinous crimes committed against them when they were children," says Mr. Pelullo. "Fortunately, today there are sexual abuse recovery resources available for them."
Peter S. Pelullo was the founder of Philly World Records and owner of a premiere recording studio in the '70s, where he worked with the Rolling Stones, Evelyn "Champagne" King, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He is now an entrepreneur and financier focusing on technology startups. During his journey in recovery, he created the Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation, which supports adult victims of childhood sexual abuse throughout the world and is presently subsidizing trauma therapy sessions for a couple of the alleged victims from the Jerry Sandusky incidents at Penn State University.
For more information contact Gretchen Paules at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.letgoletpeacecomein.org.
Only Serenity LLC
610 / 825-8805
Sandusky case underscores problem of child abuse locally
by Joanne Beck
BATAVIA — When it comes to child abuse, there's something that Kathy Colgan wants people to know.
It's not going away any time soon.
“I just think the community needs to know that it's a big problem,” the forensic interviewer said Tuesday at Justice for Children Advocacy Center. “One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. In more than 90 percent of the cases, the child knows the perpetrator. I have seen children physically abused, sexually abused and children who have witnessed abuse.”
OK, you may have heard the statistics and warnings before. But, with the topic front and center via the trial and Friday's conviction of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Colgan and others at the Bank Street center think it's an opportunity for a timely reminder. Child abuse is happening here just as it is anywhere else in the country.
At this time last year, there were 72 cases of child abuse brought to the center. This year that total is up to 110 and growing, Victim Advocate Grace Flannery said. She believes that it's better to “err on the side of safety” and call someone if child abuse is at all suspected.
“If someone is even thinking something is questionable or of concern, call,” she said. “If you call the hotline, they will walk you through the whole process. If there's not enough information, you will be asked to get more. The professionals can identify whether something is going on.”
While it is a criminal offense to knowlingly file a false police report, it is not against the law to bring forth valid suspicions, city police Detective Pat Corona said.
So who to call?
Call the child abuse hotline at (800) 342-3720. Professionals will ask questions and help determine if in fact it seems a child has been or is being physically or sexually abused or has witnessed some type of abuse. If it's a current threat for the child, don't hesitate to call 911 first.
“Many, many people call 911 if it's an emergency or for a nonemergency, they'll call Genesee County Dispatch,” Corona said.
The only way that city police can take on a case is if it's reported to police or to Child Protective Services or the victim may have been taken to a hospital for treatment. CPS gets involved when a family member has been accused of doing the abuse to a child under age 18. A lot has changed in recent years for how agencies deal with suspected abuse, Corona said.
It used to be each entity handling one portion of the investigation within its own turf and not in the child-friendly Center. At one time, victims went to the police station for an interview. With this current collaboration, the victim and “non-offending parent or guardian” can go to the center and talk to a number of professionals to get help with legal, law enforcement, investigative, physical and mental aspects of the case. There is also a core review group that goes over the case, asks questions and offers input, all with the child's best interests in mind, he said.
How does it work?
A mother calls police to report she believes her 6-year-old child has been abused because he has been exhibiting suspicious behaviors. Specifically, the little boy pulled on his penis and said that “daddy did that” to him.
Police contact the Children's Advocacy Center to schedule a forensic interview. The mom takes her son there, where Colgan meets with the boy to see what information he is ready to divulge. Meanwhile, a victim's advocate meets with the mother to explain the process, what would happen during each step and list the services available for the family.
Colgan is an independent consultant who does not work for law enforcement or any legal entity. She plays an unbiased role while gleaning whatever information the little boy can and wants to say at the time.
“Disclosure is a process,” she emphasized. “People expect kids to come in here and tell everything, but it doesn't work that way.”
It can take days, weeks and even months for a child to feel comfortable enough to talk about what happened, Colgan said. And some 90 to 95 percent of cases do not have concrete physical findings.
In this example case, the boy did offer more details and the case went to court. The father was convicted and sent to jail.
That doesn't mean the problem is solved, Flannery said. The mother can submit a Crime Victim's Board application to get reimbursed for uncovered medical and counseling services that resulted from the crime. The boy will be offered counseling to deal with the related trauma.
All of these services are free of charge and it's a team approach, Colgan, Flannery, Corona and social worker Julie Walsh agreed.
“The team approach comes into play, it's about how to keep that child safe,” Walsh said.
She focuses on the victim and will help to assess his/her needs and make referrals where necessary. She may see someone from a few days up to a year or more.
Corona (or another police agent) will usually observe the forensic interview from an adjacent room with a one-way window. Flannery will offer the reporting parent services and resources to move forward with the case. For example, the mother may have lost her income and/or home by filing a report against her husband and will need assistance.
It all begins with a phone call, with the willingness to break the secret.
“I think the bigger picture it that it's a problem and people don't want to talk about it,” Colgan said. “I think you need to have that understanding, that education ... if it's more accepted, it brings the conversation into a more positive light.”
Donna Harris, a victim's advocate at Genesee Justice, said to “follow your instincts, and call somebody.” And if life falls apart due to the sole bread-winner going to jail, the reporter needs to know who is the priority, Walsh said.
“What's the alternative? To stay in a home with someone abusing your child?” Walsh said. “You're doing the right thing.”
They acknowledge that it's a difficult situation and there really are no easy answers. The bottom line should be the welfare of a child.
“Secrecy becomes a promise of safety and a source of fear,” Colgan said, adding that it's a favorite borrowed quote. If the child or non-offending parent keeps abuse a secret, it may seem to be a place of safety but the child is getting hurt. The parent who is aware but does not report it should also consider that it's not only a moral responsibility but may make the parent legally liable, she said.
Defining the predator is a whole other topic, they agreed, but is often someone who can gain a child's trust and has some type of authority, such as a father, grandfather, coach, neighbor or other community leader. Most people don't want to think that such a leader is capable of abuse, but those 90-plus percent figures don't lie, Colgan said. That's the amount of times it is someone close to the child.
What to do?
Preventative education should go much further than talking about “stranger danger” and the basics in sixth-grade health class, Flannery said. She'd like to see a strong education effort go out into churches, businesses, schools (starting as early as universal pre-kindergarten) and other organizations to spread the word about what child abuse is and that it's real.
That would ideally use grant funding, which is in limited supply, she said. But the more that people are willing to discuss it, the less of a secret it becomes.
Donna Ferry, president of the Justice for Children GLOW Foundation, said it is truly all about that innocent youngster. Foundation members are concerned that the numbers of cases are outgrowing the Center's facility. They are hoping, along with supporting groups such as Batavia Kiwanis Club, to get into a larger place to accommodate multiple families at a time.
“The bottom line is to protect the child,” she said. “For everyone here, that's the main concern.”
In 2011, Justice for Children Advocacy Center served 183 children. Of that total, 80 were from Genesee, 48 from Wyoming and 20 from Orleans counties. The rest are from Livingston.
What is the Advocacy Center?
A child-friendly place where children of all ages come for special interviews and/or medical exams after a report of abuse has been made. Instead of a sterile hospital or police station room, visitors are greeted in a living room with toys, games and stuffed animals, which is complemented by a therapy room with more toys, books and dolls and a medical exam room featuring an underwater mural and homemade blankets that each child gets to use and keep.
Law enforcement, medical, forensic, social services, mental health and victim advocacy professionals come together at this one-stop location in an effort to help the child.
Located at 108 Bank St., Batavia, the site serves Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
What does it cost to use the services?
It is free of charge. Reports are made to the police, Child Protective Services or at a hospital if treatment is being immediately sought. The Center has resources for children and parents including “Got a Secret?” which speaks directly to children about sexual/physical abuse; and “A Parent's Guide” of how to handle the situation, whether to ask your child about it, refer him/her to counseling and what to expect during the visit to the Center.
Why this topic right now?
With all of the press of the Jerry Sandusky trial, involving allegations of sexual abuse by young men who mostly kept it to themselves for years, those involved in the Center want to make it clear that children have a right to be safe.
Why don't children tell someone what's going on?
Because the abuser is often someone well known, a person the child believes would never do anything to hurt him or her. So they go along with the abuse, which may also come with gifts or special trips.
Who is the abuser?
More often than not, it's not a crazy person or a dirty old man, it is someone the child knows and often loves and trusts. They are people who are often the least expected to do such a thing.
Where to call?
If you're uncertain whether to file a report, the national child abuse hotline at (800) 342-3720 offers professionals who will ask questions and help determine if the situation is child abuse. General questions may also be handled by Center staff at (585) 344-8576. If it's an emergency situation, call 911.
On Radio, Mayor Signs Taxi Sex-Trafficking Bill
by MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
For the New York City government, it was almost certainly a first: a sitting mayor signing a bill into law in the midst of a live radio interview, applying his signature from the unglamorous confines of a Lower Manhattan studio.
So it was that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday ended the suspense over a City Council bill about cabbies and sex trafficking that, improbably, became the talk of city politics this week.
The legislation, which creates a fine of up to $10,000 for cabdrivers who are convicted of abetting or organizing prostitution, had been one of seven bills expected to be signed by the mayor with little fuss at a ceremony on Wednesday.
Instead, after hearing from a series of speakers who opposed the measure, Mr. Bloomberg decided to hold off, saying he needed more time to consider the practicality of the law.
His hesitation, which followed several days of chatter about whether the bill might discourage cabbies from picking up women dressed in revealing outfits, prompted a furious reaction from Christine C. Quinn , the Council speaker, who issued a rebuke, saying it would be “unconscionable” if Mr. Bloomberg did not sign it.
Proponents of the measure say some drivers play an active role in arranging assignations between prostitutes and their clients.
On Friday morning, at the start of his regularly scheduled radio interview with John Gambling on WOR-AM, the mayor said he wanted to make some news.
“The more I read it and the more I talked about it, the better I thought your idea is,” Mr. Bloomberg said to the bill's sponsor, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who joined him on the show by telephone.
“I'm very happy this is finally happening today,” Ms. Ferreras said.
The mayor explained that he needed to confer with his staff and Ms. Ferreras about the exact consequences of the bill. He determined that the law would not encourage cabbies to avoid passengers who may resemble prostitutes; instead, it would simply levy an additional fine on drivers who have been convicted of a sex-trafficking crime.
Last week, Mr. Bloomberg drew attention when he pondered aloud whether women dressed in “a sporty way” — his words — might find it hard to land a taxi if the bill became law. At the ceremony on Wednesday, he again asked if women dressed “risquély” could be put at a disadvantage.
The mayor's staff apparently later disabused him of this notion.
On Friday morning, Mr. Bloomberg defended his decision to delay granting his approval. “We don't hold hearings just to be a rubber stamp,” he said. “That's what hearings are about. You want people to think you listen.”
The law also includes a requirement that all city-licensed cabdrivers and livery drivers attend a training course intended to help them identify the signs of a potential sex-trafficking operation so they can report any suspicions to the authorities.
Anti-Child Sex Trafficking Group Comes to Washington To Say: 'Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale'
by Elizabeth Flock
Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale, a campaign in its first of a five-year campaign dedicated to ending underage prostitution in Minnesota, is leading a delegation early next week to Washington, where it hopes to bring more attention to child prostitution.
The Women's Foundation of Minnesota, which runs the campaign, told Whispers it will meet with members of the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and congressional delegations from Minnesota.
Child prostituion already has the attention of the State Department, which last week a released a global study focused on human trafficking titled " Trafficking in Persons." One angle the study focused on is child prostitution in America, finding that 83 percent of girls prostituted in the U.S. are born in the country.
The issue also has the attention of the FBI, which has said Minnesota is a magnet for child prostitution, naming the Twin Cities as one of the nation's biggest centers of the activity.
According to the Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale campaign, about 213 underage girls are sold every month in the state, which on average, means up to six times every day.
But with five years and $5 million, the campaign hopes to change all that, by redefining prostituted girls in the state as victims, not criminals, and by decreasing demand for child prostitution with better law enforcement targeting of pimps.
The campaign also hopes to attract change on the federal level.
Lee Roper-Batker, president and CEO of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, tells Whispers that the campaign has already seen progress.
A Minnesota man was charged with four felony counts Thursday of buying sex with two teenage girls under Minnesota's new sex trafficking law. Roper-Batker calls it a "sea change" in terms of punishment for a customer of a child prostitute.
"Major highways run through our state in all directions, where girls are trafficked across state lines. Many of them are vulnerable in poverty and homelessness," Roper-Batker told Whispers. "We're seeing changes happening... But Washington needs to be part of the solution."
Abuse Survivor: Victims should seek help
by Peter S. Pelullo
Peter S. Pelullo experienced sexual abuse as a child. He wrote a memoir on his experience and his path to recovery. Today , he works to assist adult survivors of sexual abuse.
My name is Peter S. Pelullo and I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. While I was sexually molested by two trusted sons of my parent's friends at the age of 7, I would not face the devastation of those attacks from 1959 until a life altering event would force me into recovery in 2007. I write extensively about this event in my memoir Betrayal and the Beast: One man's journey through childhood sexual abuse, sexual addiction and recovery as well as the nervous ticks, addictions and maligned human interactions with every person that came into my life; all of these life altering events were the direct result of being so sexually violated by my perpetrators.
My journey in healing compelled me to start the Let Go… Let Peace Come In Foundation 18 months into the recovery process to create a platform and voice for the millions of adult survivors in our country and throughout the world. Shortly thereafter I would create a survivor fund to assist men and women to receive the mental healthcare that I had the ability to receive. I did not expect the response that came to the foundation's website. The Foundation's site now has had visits from all 50 states (thousands of cities), 141 countries (over half the world), and has been read in 38 languages.
In November 2011, when the Sandusky case broke, being the only foundation in the country that subsidized therapeutic recovery sessions, we were contacted to help some of the young men from the Penn State tragedy. Today we are assisting two of the eight young men from the trial and one of the seven that came forward following the indictment.
Also in the year of 2011 my journey would bring me to the front door steps of the number one public health school in the world, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The foundation is now aligned in a common goal with this esteemed institution to prevent childhood sexual abuse and the harm and suffering it inflicts and to improve treatment for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. With one out of three girls and one out of four boys (Beverly Engle, (2000). Families in Recovery: Healing the Damage of Childhood Sexual Abuse (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: LowellHouse.) (http://www.malesurvivor.org/news-releases.html) being sexually violated before the age of 18 bringing the approximate total of adult survivors in our country to north of 60 million, (Doak, Melissa J. 2011. Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.New York,NY: Gale Cengage Learning.) I am hopeful that the research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will tell men and women it wasn't their fault and they need and should seek the mental healthcare to live the life that they were meant to live.
'Save The Children' Child Abuse Ads Win Awards At Cannes Lions Festival
(PHOTOS ON SITE)
A series of advertisements have garnered recognition for highlighting the negative effects of child abuse.
Three ads for the Save The Children foundation were named winners at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for their powerful illustrations showcasing the statistic that "70 percent of abused children turn into abusive adults."
Y&R Mexico, the advertising agency behind the campaign, offered a dark glimpse into the repetitive cycle of abuse by depicting young children becoming turning into the abusers they once feared.
The ads highlight images of the abuse occurring in a kitchen, living room and bedroom, while the data and charity information can be seen in the top right right corner.
More than 1,500 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2010, according to the National Children's Alliance.
Of those committing some form of child abuse, about 54 percent are women, while 45 percent are men. In addition, the majority of child abuse victims (44.8 percent) are white, according to the New York State Child Advocacy Resource and Consultation Center.
However, data regarding the number of abused children who grow up to be abusive adults can vary from the statistic showcased in the advertisements.
DoSomething.org, an organization promoting social change, and the Family Resource Center in Missouri report that although children who have been abused have a higher chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, only one-third of them will grow up to abuse their children.
Additionally, Advocates For Victims of Violence points out that many adults who were abused as children do their best to protect their children from the abuse they endured.
Jerry Sandusky's son says his father abused him
by Mark Scolforo and Genaro C. Armas
BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Lawyers for one of Jerry Sandusky's adopted sons said the man has told authorities the former Penn State assistant football coach abused him.
The lawyers issued a statement Thursday naming Matt Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky's six adopted children, and saying that the 33-year-old had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors at his father's sex abuse trial.
"During the trial, Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse," Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici wrote in the statement. "At Matt's request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators.
"This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment."
The statement was issued after jurors in the ex-coach's child sex abuse trial began deliberating 48 charges against him. The jurors are sequestered during deliberations.
Lawyers for Matt and Jerry Sandusky and prosecutors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Matt Sandusky went to live with Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, as a foster child and was adopted by them as an adult.
Shortly after the former coach's arrest in November, Matt Sandusky's ex-wife went to court to keep her former father-in-law away from their three young children. Jill Jones successfully obtained a restraining order forbidding the children from sleeping over at their grandparents' home.
At around the same time, details emerged that Matt Sandusky had attempted suicide just four months after first going to live with the couple in 1995. He had come into the home through The Second Mile charity, which Jerry Sandusky founded, and was first a foster child before being legally adopted.
During testimony last week, an accuser known as Victim 4 said Matt Sandusky was living at the Sandusky home at the time he stayed there overnight.
When asked by prosecutors whether Jerry Sandusky ever engaged him in a soap battle in the showers, he recounted the time when he and Matt Sandusky had been playing racketball. After they were done, he said, they went back to a locker room. Matt got undressed and got into the shower and then Victim 4 and Sandusky followed him in there, he testified.
"Me and Jerry came in. He started pumping his hand full of soap," he said.
At that point, Matt shut off his shower and left and went to another locker room to shower, the witness said.
Asked by prosecutors about Matt's facial expression when the soap battles started, he replied: "Nervous."
Jurors began their deliberations Thursday after prosecutors described him as a serial molester who groomed his victims, while his defense lawyer said the former Penn State assistant football coach was being victimized by an overzealous prosecution and greedy accusers.
Prosecutors said Sandusky was "a serial, predatory pedophile" who used gifts and the pageantry of Penn State's vaunted football program to lure and abuse vulnerable boys who came from troubled homes.
"What you should do is come out and say to the defendant that he molested and abused and give them back their souls," Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III. "I give them to you. Acknowledge and give them justice."
Standing behind Sandusky, McGettigan implored the jury to convict him
"He molested and abused and hurt these children horribly," McGettigan said. "He knows he did it, and you know he did it.
"Find him guilty of everything."
Sandusky's attorney said the 68-year-old former coach was being victimized by investigators who led accusers into making false claims about a generous man whose charity gave them much-needed love.
"They went after him, and I submit to you they were going to get him hell or high water, even if they had to coach witnesses," Amendola said in a sometimes angry closing argument. If convicted, Sandusky could spend the rest of his life in state prison.
Child Abuse Expert: Matt Sandusky Abuse Beyond Statute Of Limitations
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) Thursday marked the closing arguments of both the prosecution and defense and the case being given to the jury. The big news of the day happened outside the court house as two more victims came forward. One of them is Matt Sandusky, an adopted son of Jerry and Dottie Sandusky.
I'll get to that in a moment, but first a quick look at the closing arguments:
Let's first look at the prosecution's which was particularly good. Reading excerpts reported by several outlets, it appears that Mr. McGettigan did his job to the best of his ability. It will be hard for the jury to forget the faces of the eight men shown on a 12-foot screen as young boys. That's the sort of thing that connects juries to the people who were victimized. It humanizes the victims and they are no longer randomly titled “Victim 1 through 10?.
In the many trials that I have been a part of, anything done with the big projection screen seems to have an impact. I had a case a while back in which the defense used the projector and the prosecution did not. The perp was found not guilty despite a mountain of evidence against him. Juries are funny that way.
I'll say this for Joe Amendola, he really sold his side of the case. His close hit all the points he made in the trial. The one point he made that made me laugh was when he said that Sandusky didn't start being a pedophile until his 50's because all the alleged incidents started in the 1990's. No, Joe, Sandusky didn't start in his 50's, no one before then has come forward. That's a big distinction.
In the big news of the day, two more people came forward. Travis Weaver, a 30-year-old man came forward, has filed a civil suit and was interviewed on Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC.
Matt Sandusky also came forward. He was prepared to be a rebuttal witness if Jerry Sandusky took the stand. Matt Sandusky, through his attorney, issued a statement that he was a victim of molestation by Jerry Sandusky and was later adopted by the Sanduskys as an adult.
Several questions were tweeted and emailed to me today about why the prosecution did not use these two witnesses. First, if I am reading Pennsylvania law correctly, both of these men are beyond the statute of limitations. Abuse that occurred under the age of 18 can only be prosecuted 10 years after the victim turns 18.
In Illinois, the law is similar. Victims outside the statute can be used for rebuttal in some instances, but because of bans on presenting prior bad acts as prejudicial, I have not seen any case in which they were allowed to testify. Usually prior victims are used during sentencing to show patterns of behavior.
The other question that was posed today was, why did Dottie Sandusky not notice behavior changes in her foster son and, later, adopted son, Matt?
The reason is tragic on many fronts. Foster kids and adoptive kids make perfect victims for serial sexual abusers. Foster kids and adopted kids — especially those adopted later in life — have a myriad of behavioral, mental and social problems. Any unusual behavior by that child is chalked up to being a foster kid. They become sullen, withdrawn, perhaps even act out sexually, and it's all chalked up to being a foster or adopted kid with attachment disorders. Unless the kid makes a disclosure, these behaviors are almost always attributed to other factors.
The children Sandusky had living with him as foster and adoptive children are even more perfect prey than the boys with no father figure and no self esteem that he groomed through Second Mile.
This case is finally with the jury. Unfortunately, no matter the verdict, the atrocities that Jerry Sandusky committed will never go away.
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.
Drama won't end with Sandusky verdict
by Jeremy Roebuck
No matter what decisions the jury reaches in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse trial, the drama is far from over.
Two former Pennsylvania State University officials face criminal charges, and a third could be indicted.
Some victims have already filed civil suits against Sandusky, his charity The Second Mile, and Penn State, and more could follow, especially if Sandusky is found guilty.
In addition, two new accusers, including one of Sandusky's adopted sons, stepped forward last night, which could give prosecutors a second chance at a conviction if the jury votes to acquit.
The FBI might also be looking into federal charges against Sandusky because some of the abuse incidents might have involved travel to other states.
And that's not to mention the possibility of more bombshell accusations, books and even movies that might compete for public attention in the coming months and even years.
Sandusky, who has denied all allegations, could face life in prison if found guilty of the 48 charges related to abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
The jury began deliberating on Thursday. Their verdict probably won't be the last courtroom reckoning tied to the scandal.
Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a former vice president in charge of the campus police, face charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse stemming from their response to a since well-publicized accusation from Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary. He testified last week that he walked in on Sandusky in 2001 sodomizing a boy in a locker room shower.
A physician and family friend, testifying for the defense, however, said McQueary, despite being pressed, was not explicit about sexual contact in his initial descriptions.
McQueary, at the urging of his father and the doctor, informed head coach Joe Paterno, who informed university officials, but said "I wish I could have done more" before being fired by the trustees. Additional testimony could change lasting impressions, for good or ill, of the legendary coach's legacy. Paterno died in January.
Prosecutors say both Curley and Schultz did not report the incident to outside authorities and later lied about their knowledge of it to grand jurors. They maintain their innocence and expect to take their case before a Dauphin County jury in the next year.
As soon as next month, Penn State officials could hear from former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired to conduct an internal investigation into the university's handling of allegations against Sandusky.
That report could play a role in how the university responds to filed future civil suits from victims.
One of those suits involves an Ohio accuser who emerged last night on national TV. Travis Weaver, 30, said on the NBC's "Rock Center" that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times over four years. Weaver was not involved in the trial.
Neither was Sandusky's 33-year-old adopted son, Matt, who said Thursday he had been abused by his father and had offered to testify as a prosecution witness.
University president Rodney Erickson has said the university hopes to settle as many cases as possible without subjecting the victims to more legal proceedings.
Penn State already has taken major measures to repair its tarnished reputation. It has donated more than $2.6 million to child-abuse programs and to found a new child-protection institute at its Hershey Medical Center, while vowing to become a world leader in research and treatment of child neglect and sexual abuse.
Although gifts to the university have been holding steady, Erickson acknowledged that some people have said they put on hold plans to include Penn State in their wills.
Last week, as Sandusky's trial began, the university also began preparing trustees for the possibility of an indictment against former president Graham B. Spanier. Though prosecutors did not initially charge Spanier with a crime, grand jurors have reportedly focused on his role in handling McQueary's claims.
Spanier resigned his position at the university in November on the same day trustees fired revered head coach Paterno.
Citing child abuse concerns, administrator urges halting Spirit Lake's funding
A federal human services administrator is urging sweeping steps to correct what he calls bureaucratic “inaction and excuses” in failing to protect endangered children at Spirit Lake Nation
by Patrick Springer
A federal human services administrator is urging sweeping steps to correct what he calls bureaucratic “inaction and excuses” in failing to protect endangered children at Spirit Lake Nation.
The regional federal administrator wrote state and federal officials, in a detailed June 14 email, that many children on the reservation in north central North Dakota are subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse — including the unprosecuted murder of two siblings more than a year ago.
Thomas Sullivan, Denver region administrator for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, advocated declaring a state of emergency at Spirit Lake and suspending all state and federal funding to the tribe until qualified professionals can be put in place to run programs.
Sullivan's email letter was blunt in criticizing the tribe as well as state and federal officials in failing to adequately address what he called a “daunting problem.”
“The children of the Spirit Lake Reservation are being subjected to actual abuse or the threat of such abuse due to the actions and inactions of adults who have responsibility to protect them from such abuse,” Sullivan wrote.
He went on to list tribal officials, singling out Roger Yankton, the chairman of the Spirit Lake Tribe, as well as state and federal program leaders who have been notified of problems but allowed conditions to persist.
Call to action
Sullivan's letter, obtained by Forum Communications, is the latest call to action by a frustrated federal official in recent months warning of the dire threat to Spirit Lake children.
As administrator for the Administration for Children and Families in the six-state Denver region, which includes North Dakota, Sullivan has oversight responsibility for a broad range of human services programs.
Although assigning blame broadly, Sullivan was harshest in his condemnation of Spirit Lake Nation leaders for what he views as their callous failure to protect children.
“They have hung signs at the borders of the Spirit Lake Nation, ‘Pedophiles Welcome.' They have made these signs operational by firing professional qualified staff, directing their replacements to ignore reports of abuse and neglect, refusing to prosecute the most egregious cases of abuse, even the murder of children, by demonizing those who speak out on behalf of these children and then claiming piously, ‘Our children are sacred' while all look the other way . ...”
Sullivan went so far as to suggest that Yankton should be charged with felony child abuse and endangerment. “The existing record will provide more than adequate evidence to substantiate these charges and result in a conviction,” Sullivan wrote.
Yankton, he claims in his letter, placed many children in danger by ordering them removed them from “loving, caring foster home placements” and returned to abusive homes.
“When placed back in these previously abusive homes, the abuse and neglect began again,” Sullivan wrote.
Among other allegations cited by Sullivan:
• Children enrolled at the tribe's Head Start program were seen simulating a sex act on each other in the playground and classrooms.
“No one from Head Start or any other program has initiated an investigation to determine where these children learned this behavior,” Sullivan wrote, wondering if the children might have been subjected to or observed such contact in their homes.
• A new hire in the tribe's social services program was sent to investigate a report that a toddler from an off-reservation foster home was returned to previously abusive and negligent parents.
“The toddler was publicly reported to have ‘more than 100 wood ticks all over his body,” adding that “all were dug in.”
Quoting an unnamed informant, Sullivan wrote, “As gut-wrenching as this story is … remember: This is not an isolated case of neglect. It is common out there and it is the LEAST of the neglect/abuse that goes on. It is the LEAST.”
The new tribal social services staff member, after looking into the toddler's welfare, reported back that there was no problem except a “miscommunication” between the child's parents. The child was not taken to the clinic to have the wood ticks removed, according to Sullivan.
“At what point does such neglect become abuse?” he wrote.
• Sullivan repeated a report passed along earlier by Michael Tilus, a clinical psychologist for the Indian Health Service at Spirit Lake, of a suicidal girl who was allowed to be shuttled back and forth between homes with sex offenders. When informed of the girl's plight, the tribe's social services director purportedly did nothing.
• Credible reports have been made that the tribe's drug and alcohol screening program has been “fully compromised,” subverting criminal background checks or ignoring results for those who are “politically connected.”
“What is written here,” Sullivan wrote, “is simply the tip of the iceberg.”
Efforts to reach Yankton and tribal administrators, by phone and fax messages, were not successful Thursday, but Yankton has earlier cited staff turnover and inadequate federal funding for the tribe's problems.
In a “letter of grave concern” dated April 3, Tilus, cited “dozens of cases” where tribal social services officials failed to investigate child abuse and neglect reports over five years.
Tilus, who is the IHS behavioral health director in Fort Totten, complained of “unchecked incompetence” and “dangerous malpractice” of Spirit Lake social services.
As reported earlier by Forum Communications, Tilus advocated revamping the tribe's entire social services system, saying problems were too entrenched and systemic to solve by simply bring in a new acting tribal social services director.
In his letter, Sullivan refers to Tilus' allegations, and agrees the tribe's problems are booth rooted and systemic. Sullivan said Yankton and the Spirit Lake tribal council should be removed from office for cause if they are “unwilling to actively contribute to the effort” and replaced by enrolled tribal members.
Sullivan was not available for comment Thursday, and directed questions to a spokesman, who did not immediately return messages asking about official responses to Sullivan's allegations and recommendations.
North Dakota officials bristled at suggestions they have failed to act, and said they have taken action and continue to monitor 36 Spirit Lake foster children or children pending adoption.
Funding provided by the state for the children was suspended in February and will not be restored until the tribe demonstrates that it is in compliance with requirements.
“Where they have authority they're exercising that authority,” said Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Gov. Jack Dalrymple, referring to the North Dakota Department of Human Services. “Where they can act, they're acting.”
Tara Muhlhauser, the state's director of children and family services, said she did not respond to Sullivan's letter because North Dakota Department of Human Services has limited jurisdiction and has acted where it can.
Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, said he met with Spirit Lake officials in mid-February and believes they are moving to correct problems.
“I know there's been unrest there for some time,” Davis said, adding that the state's jurisdiction is limited because of the tribe's sovereignty. He said his offers to provide more help to the tribe have not resulted in a request for follow-up from his office.
Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, a recipient of Sullivan's letter, said the Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for social services programs, under contract with the Spirit Lake tribe. BIA officials did not immediately respond to an interview request from Forum Communications.
In an email response to Sullivan, Purdon referred to the “alleged double homicide” of a brother and sister, found dead May 21, 2011, whose rape and murders Sullivan highlighted in his letter, and said the FBI and BIA have an “active and ongoing investigation into these deaths.”
In an interview with Forum Communications, Purdon said he is proud of his office's record in prosecuting violence as well as criminal child abuse and neglect at Spirit Lake and other reservations, and added of the murder case:
“This investigation is a priority for me and my office and it has been since the date of the incident.”
Abused children more likely to commit crimes
by Gordon Taylor
People who are sexually abused as a child are five times more likely than the general population to commit a criminal offence as an adult.
The study of more than 2,700 child sexual abuse victims by the Institute of Criminology goes back 45 years.
It found a strong link between childhood abuse and adult criminality.
This is the largest study of its kind carried out in the world and has followed the lives of young sexual abuse victims from as far back as 1964.
The study's author Margaret Cutajar says the majority of abuse victims do not offend in later life.
But she says that child sexual abuse victims who do have contact with police are more likely to commit a violent or sexual offence.
"The picture is for them a lot more severe than the general population in terms of offending more times and of a more severe nature, probably ending up in prison more often than if you hadn't been sexually abused," she said.
The study also found that child sexual abuse victims are more likely to be victims of abuse later in life.
Between 5 and 10 per cent of all children are subjected to severe sexual abuse.
Victim advocates see silver lining in sex abuse case
by Greg Bock
BELLEFONTE - With the Jerry Sandusky trial entering its final stages, local and national advocates for victims of sexual abuse said they hope the publicity given the trial will help bring the issue out of the shadows and ultimately help prevent it.
Matt Bodenschatz, a Penn State student who created Voices for Victims after he came out publicly about his sexual abuse as a child in a letter to a local newspaper last fall in the days following Sandusky's arrest, has attended the trial every day.
It gave the 38-year-old the opportunity to listen to the eight young men who testified that Sandusky sexually molested them as well as connect with others who have shared similar experiences.
"Regardless of the outcome, whether guilty or innocent, it doesn't at all diminish the importance for them and themselves what facing your accuser with solidness, with courage, with confidence can do," Bodenschatz, who never got confront his abuser who has since passed away, said. "That, no matter what, can't be taken away from them."
The trial has helped bring to the forefront the issue of childhood sexual abuse, particularly of boys.
It's a subject victims aren't eager to discuss, especially as children, he said. Even now, as young adults, the victims who took the stand were reticent, some shaking and crying as they told the jury their stories, Bodenschatz pointed out.
"They were not chomping at the bit, seeking out 'who's in charge here, I have information,'" he said. "They had to be made gradually comfortable enough to do the huge thing that they did. That doesn't match the dynamic of somebody who's, you know, I can't wait to line my [pockets]."
Bodenschatz called it "ludicrous but predictable" that Sandusky's defense tried to portray the alleged victims as fable creators seeking financial gain.
"I think it's laughable as a motivation to make you go through what they've gone through," Bodenschatz said.
Two of the eight alleged victims who testified, Bodenschatz added, don't have attorneys, and he said he didn't think less of them than the ones who did.
"What's their motivation except the truth?" he said of the two victims who at this time do not have legal representation. "That's not a profit motive."
Of the six who do have attorneys, Bodenschatz said he doesn't begrudge them, should they seek civil suits, and it doesn't diminish what they've been put through.
"They were violated," Bodenschatz said. "The way that we speak as a society, and it's an unfortunate fact, is in terms of dollars and cents. If the recompense that's potentially offered to them is also in dollars and cents, it is their right to decide whether or not to pursue that."
Chris Anderson, executive director of MaleSurvivor, a group dedicated to helping male survivors of child abuse, said the trial has provided a unique opportunity to focus attention of the prevalence of sexual abuse in our society, something he said was a "shockingly common epidemic."
Anderson claims 20 to 25 percent of children are sexually abused and said it's crucial people speak out when abuse is suspected.
"If you see something, say something," Anderson said. "Abuse thrives when silence is golden. It is important that we encourage our children and all victims to feel empowered to speak to adults, parents and caregivers when they are harmed."
The trial, he said, highlights what happens when adults "turn their backs" on children who are abused.
"Children will not disclose immediately if they have been abused," Anderson said. "They need to be encouraged and supported and listened to."
In institutions across this country, safeguards to help children and encourage people to speak out about abuse are lacking, Anderson said.
"We know at Penn State there were files kept on Sandusky and the leadership decided that it was more humane to protect their employee than to protect the children who were making allegations that there was improper behavior occurring," Anderson said.
Since January, he said, child abuse allegations have surfaced at The Citadel military college in South Carolina, Syracuse University and the Horace Mann School as well as the Delbarton School, a New Jersey prep school.
"Schools in every state across this country, not to mention the Boy Scouts, the Catholic church, the Mormon church," Anderson said. "This happens everywhere."
Silence about the issue within families about the issue of child sex abuse, especially in households without fathers, is still all to common, Janet Rosenzweig, interim executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, said.
"We have to stop treating sex abuse like it's a secret that can't be spoken about," Rosenzweig said. "Offenders, pedophiles - they count on that shame. They traffic in the kid's shame about talking about what happened to him or her sexually."
Betsy VanNoy, prevention and training coordinator with the Centre County Women's Resource Center, which provides resources locally for victims of sexual assault, said the group is expanding its educational efforts about child sex abuse beyond just telling kids to tell an adult if something inappropriate happens.
"We've got to do more in the community to make sure this doesn't happen again," VanNoy said, adding the resource center is participating in the Child Safety and Protection Collaboration, chaired by Centre County Judge Brad Lunsford, to address the issue locally.
The collaboration has allowed the center to create partnerships with the the local YMCA and the Youth Service Bureau and also create Stewards of Children, a broad-based education program for Centre County residents on the subject, she said.
Prevention of child abuse has frequently focused on the children, but adults carry a responsibility to learn about the subject and know what they can do.
"It's the responsibility of adults to pay attention to the children in their environment, to ask questions and to know the signs of child abuse, child sexual abuse and to know the steps to take," VanNoy said.
When the community is educated, it sends a powerful message to those who commit these crimes, she said.
Scotty's House wants to shed light on abuse
by Rosalee Getterman
Scotty's House, Precinct 3 Constable Rick Starnes and his deputy Gary Norton launched a campaign Wednesday to offer the “Darkness to Light” program to the Brazos Valley community.
The workshop will be provided throughout the summer and into the fall on a demand basis, and will be available to anyone who asks for the program to be presented. The attendance fee is $10, which covers a workbook that is used during the program.
As a child, Starnes said, he experienced physical abuse. Though the abuse was not sexual, it has motivated him to educate the public to recognize when a child is being harmed.
“Wouldn't it have been good to have people that were around who knew what to do?” Starnes said of his childhood experience. “We need to do what we can to get [an abused child] out of that situation.”
In order to lead the program, Starnes and Norton received training from Darkness to Light, a national organization whose mission is to empower people to prevent child abuse.
Starnes said that the training taught him that before a child has reached the age of 18, there is a one in six chance that a boy has experienced abuse and a one in four chance that a girl has.
Norton said that when Starnes suggested they receive training, his response was: “Absolutely.”
“As a [person with a] career in law enforcement, we always come in after the fact,” Norton said. “This gives me the chance to come in and educate the public, and hopefully stop it before it happens.”
Much of the program is a video called Stewards of Children, in which adult survivors of sexual abuse share their stories and experts specify warning signs that indicate child abuse.
Scotty's House is a child advocacy organization that has served suspected victims of abuse or violence in the seven counties of the Brazos Valley since 1995.
Linda Patton, the executive director of the advocacy center, said that, for the past few years, Scotty's House consistently has helped between 350 and 400 children a year. On Wednesday alone, the organization saw five cases.
Hunter Goodwin, one of the directors on the board for Scotty's House, said that in the approximately five years he has worked with the advocacy group, he has been amazed by the number of local cases.
“It's so distasteful that we don't want to talk about it; we want to pretend that it's not happening,” Goodwin said. “But the reality of it is that it is happening.”
Child Abuse Expert: Possible Reasons For Sandusky Not Testifying
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) Wednesday, the defense in the Jerry Sandusky trial rested its case without having Sandusky take the stand in his own defense. This perplexed some, outraged others and caused an endless stream of columns today. As Dan Bernstein wrote Wednesday, if you're planning your defense around a hail mary strategy, you let the guy testify.
There are a couple possible reasons for Sandusky sitting this one out. First, let me say that not having him testify completely defuses the argument that he has Histrionic Personality Disorder. A man with this disorder is someone who loves to be the center of attention. He tells his attorney, “I'm testifying, period.”
I've sat through dozens of trials of child sexual abusers, child murderers and child batterers. There are no two alike. I've seen cases in which the prosecution has a mountain of evidence, the defendant testifies, and is later acquitted. I've seen cases where the defendant is ripped to shreds on the stand and is found guilty. Trials in which the defendant doesn't testify happen all the time. It can be disappointing but it's been common in the sexual abuse trials that I have been involved in.
In Sandusky's case, Jerry may just not be capable of testifying without sounding pathetic and creepy. Attorneys spend hours upon hours prepping witnesses. In a trial about allegations this horrible, the defense certainly does not want Sandusky to sound as creepy on the stand as he did in the already played tapes from NBC.
It's also entirely possible that Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger think that they've proved their case. That these boys are making it up for money, that Mike McQueary was mistaken and not credible, that Jerry really is just a great guy who wants to help kids.
I think they're deluded. Even their defense character witnesses helped the prosecution. A 21-year-old, David Hilton, testified that he spent many nights at Sandusky's home and was never molested. He also testified that he spoke to police and prosecutors several times and was always told to just tell the truth and don't make anything up. This completely destroys the case that the other boys made it up and were coached by police to embellish the abuse.
Their assault on McQueary's credibility really didn't accomplish anything either. It did raise a question as to why he didn't report this to someone besides Joe Paterno. Simply put, mandated reporting only covers people who are directly working with children in a professional capacity. If McQueary was a coach of high school kids, he'd be required to call. Other people didn't report because there was no outcry from the victims until they were adults. Sandusky's type of serial sexual abuse depends on victims slipping through the cracks. Unfortunately that happens a lot more than you might suspect.
Closing arguments are set for tomorrow. Don't be surprised if some charges are dropped or consolidated — again, it happens all the time. The closing statements both sides make will be very telling about where they think they stand with they jury. No matter what's said, it'll be a fascinating day in Centre County.
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.
State Department: U.S. Needs To Better Track Human Trafficking Trends
Sec. of State Clinton released annual human trafficking report and signals that more work still to do.
by Lauren Fox
The State Department released a report Tuesday that estimates 27 million people worldwide are victims of slavery, be it sex trafficking, indentured servitude, bonded labor or forced military service.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the 2012 Trafficking In Persons Report Tuesday, which sheds light on international human trafficking worldwide from the United States to North Korea.
While the report ranks countries like North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as some of the most egregious offenders of human rights, it also offers a unique perspective into the United States' own problems regarding the problem.
"This report gives a clear and honest assessment of where all of us stand," Clinton said Tuesday. "It takes a hard look at every government in our world including our own...It is important that we hold ourselves to the same standard as everyone else."
The U.S. ranked as one of the most active in combating human trafficking, however, the report reveals the need for the U.S. to improve local, state and federal data collection techniques in order to monitor human trafficking trends.
Overall, the efforts of human trafficking advocates across the U.S. are helping combat the problem.
The Polaris Project, a non-profit focused on stopping human trafficking, reported last week that they received more than 19,000 phone calls in 2011 from people reporting instances of trafficking, wanting to learn more about the issue or requesting services for themselves.
"We received 64 percent more calls in 2011 than we did in 2010," says Mary Ellison, the director of policy for the Polaris project. "We are seeing the scope is still there."
All but one state in the U.S. has a statute against human trafficking and all 50 states have laws prohibiting underage prostitution.
In 2011, the Department of Justice and the FBI reached out to train more than 27,000 individuals on how to recognize and fight against trafficking in their communities.
The report also notes that last year, the government and advocacy groups helped more foreign victims attain T-visas, a non-immigrant status that allows victims to stay in the U.S. as they heal and access services than ever before.
In 2011, 557 foreigners and 722 family members took advantage of the visas, compared to the previous year's numbers of 447 and 349.
The report also offered insight into the growing need for more support victim funding, which has remained stagnant.
Clinton said that since her time as secretary of state, she has had a chance to meet with victims who are "living, breathing reminders that the work to eradicate slavery [has not ended.]"
Earlier this year Clinton traveled to Kolkata, India where she stopped at a trafficking shelter and had a chance to meet a 10-year-old victim, who performed a self-defense routine for her.
"As she performed her routine, I was impressed with the skills she had learned; but more than that, I was moved by the pride in her eyes – her sense of accomplishment and strength," Clinton said in the report.
U.S. Midwest in crosshairs of child sex trafficking fight
by Deborah Feyerick & Sheila Steffen, CNN
Tamara Vandermoon is barely recognizable in the photo she holds up; her face is swollen and bruised, her eyes nearly battered shut. She was 19 at the time. "My pimp had beaten me and stomped my face," she says. "I was black and blue."
The Minnesota woman has seen a lot in her relatively short life. Abandoned by her father and angry at her mother, she ran away when she was 12, the same age she turned her first trick trading sex for money and gifts.
"I just wanted to be accepted and loved. I was told how beautiful I was and if you do this I'll get you this ... and I'll make you my girlfriend." Before she knew it she was prostituting herself up to 50 times a night, the money going to her pimp or to feed the drug habit she developed, she says, to "numb the pain" of her life.
Her eyes fill with tears as she remembers: "I was just a baby. I was 12 and they preyed on me. What would a grown man want with a twelve-year-old child?!" Now 31, she is finally getting out after nearly two decades in the sex-trade.
When it comes to child and adolescent sex-trafficking in the United States, the FBI ranks Minneapolis-St. Paul among the top 13 places in the nation. With its tangle of highways known as Spaghetti Junction, its year-round sporting events and frequent conventions, millions pass through on any given day. "There's the thought no one's going to catch you in the Midwest," says Dan Pfarr who works with teens in crisis.
Like Vandermoon, many teens who wind up in the sex trade are runaways targeted by men who coerce or threaten them through physical or psychological abuse.
"They don't say they're pimps. They say they're boyfriends," says Vednita Carter founder of the non-profit group, Breaking Free which has helped hundreds of women in Minnesota escape what they call "the lifestyle."
"It's very easy to lure somebody into believing that this person doesn't mean any harm for them," she says.
In other cases, girls are drugged or abducted and simply disappear. Their phones are confiscated. And as with international sex-trafficking, they are moved from city to city and state to state, kept isolated from anyone who may be able to help. Carter says once the girls are taken finding them is almost impossible.
For more than a decade, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Grant Snyder has been trying to uncover and fight sex exploitation and adolescent sex-trafficking in the Midwest. The pimps, he says, are "very good at first identifying who's vulnerable, and then working those vulnerabilities."
Though difficult to confirm, the statistic most cited by police and child advocates is that within 48 hours of running away, one in three teens will be approached by someone in the sex trade.
With hundreds of thousands of runaways every year in the midwestern U.S., the pool of potential victims is immense. Yet ask about adolescent sex trafficking in the U.S. and most people don't realize how many American girls are forced into prostitution every year.
"We think the children being trafficked are not our children but they are our children and they come from our communities," says John Choi, the chief prosecutor for Ramsey County, Minnesota.
The prosecutor has seen an increase in the number of cases involving underage girls and says: "They are ... easier to control, as well as in greater demand, though it's a sick demand."
Attorney Mike Freeman of Minnesota's Hennepin County says the pimps he's encountered are "skilled and dexterous in manipulation." His office is also prosecuting a higher number of child-sex traffickers.
One of Freeman's recent cases involved a 14-year-old runaway who spent more than three years in a world she couldn't escape. "I know that she was doing what she had to do, in her mind, to survive," says her mother who asked CNN to call her Violet to protect her daughter's privacy.
Prosecutors say the teenager was at a bus stop and approached by a man and his girlfriend. "They wanted to know if she wanted to go hang out, and she got in the car," Violet says. "That's where it all started." It took less than a week to post an ad on an adult services website selling the teenager for sex.
"Threats were made that if she told anything about what she was doing or told on him that he would come back and kill her family," says Violet describing how her daughter was beaten and psychologically tortured.
Last October, police rescued the teen during an undercover operation. In February, prosecutors arrested and charged Akmal Saleem Karon with eight counts of solicitation, inducement and promotion of prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Yet according to the criminal complaint, the Minnesota man advertised Violet's daughter on an internet escort site – one ad allegedly featured a $99.00 special that included sexual intercourse.
Asked about the emotional impact on her child Violet says: "It has wrecked her life completely. She has to rewind and repair." The girl, now 18, is at a facility getting psychological counseling and trying to heal.
The problem of child sex trafficking in the Midwest is growing – in part because of the surge of online advertising that gives buyers and sellers greater anonymity.
Minnesota has aggressively made anti-trafficking a priority. Last year, numerous police chiefs, top prosecutors and advocate groups lobbied the state legislature to pass the Safe Harbor Act, which modified Minnesota law to classify underage prostitutes as victims not criminals.
Instead of locking them up, police officers like Sergeant Snyder have been able to recruit girls to testify against their accused sex traffickers, while getting them the resources and help they need as victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.
"This is a sea change," says Choi who pushed for the bill. "We've heard so many times from runaways ... "had I known I could get help from police, I would have gone.""
The Women's Foundation of Minnesota has also launched a campaign with the slogan "Minnesota Girls are Not for Sale."
Lee Roper-Batker heads the $4 million public awareness campaign that will give grants to anti-trafficking groups. "We've got to have zero tolerance for the buying and selling of girls. No girl chooses prostitution," she says.
Roper-Batker says most men buying sex from children "don't think of it as a horrific act of violence ... and because they're paying for it, somehow that legitimizes it for them."
Snyder agrees pointing out that prostitution is a felony but buying sex is a misdemeanor. "We need to treat the men that are clients of women and girls in the sex trafficking industry as part of the conspiracy to kidnap, imprison, enslave and to traffic these women."
At a court-mandated 'school for Johns' a group of men - all with first time convictions of paying for sex and many wearing weddings bands - listen as survivors of teen prostitution describe the abuse, drugs and reality of the "life."
Run by Joy Friedman, of Breaking Free, she says men need to understand how devastating it is for young women. Friedman, who is also a survivor, warns the men they can no longer say they "didn't know."
"I can walk the streets all I want, or advertise ... but until you stop, until you pick up the phone to call, until you open your car door, no harm comes to me. No violence comes to me." Friedman pauses, makes eye contact and let's the Johns know they can end this.
They can help stop the cycle of demand that fuels prostitution and sex trafficking. She tells them: "You are ... the solution to this problem."
Council acts to aid victims of sex trade
McNamara proposal aims to strengthen state trafficking bill
by CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
Toledo, with its high ranking as a national leader in the recruitment of minors for the sex trade, could soon be leading state efforts to address the problem.
On Wednesday, Toledo City Council President Joe McNamara announced he is sponsoring a proposal that would mandate all sexually oriented businesses in the city to display posters printed with a toll-free hot line number that victims of sex trafficking can call. The legislation would strengthen part of a state bill on human trafficking expected to soon become law.
"I think we have special issues here in Toledo given our history with the problem and the hope is this ordinance will create awareness to the victims of human trafficking that there are resources available out there for you," the councilman said. "There's a correlation obviously between individuals who work in sexually oriented businesses that we hope this will get the information to the population that we're trying to help."
Under the Ohio legislation, House Bill 262, adult entertainment businesses are encouraged but not mandated to display the posters. If the Toledo ordinance passes, establishments could face a $1,000-a-day fine and other penalties if they fail to comply, Mr. McNamara said.
House Bill 262, which recently passed the Ohio House and Senate, could be signed into law by Gov. John Kasich as early as next week, most likely in Toledo. The bill also encourages poster displays at highway truck stops, hotels, beauty salons, hospitals, fairs, sporting events, and massage parlors. Mr. McNamara said he would consider expanding his proposed mandate if he secures the support of fellow councilmen.
Under the proposal, establishments would have to display the posters where employees can see them. The posters will list a number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center that victims can call to receive help. People who suspect human trafficking is taking place can also call the number to make a report.
Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), sponsor of the state legislation, lauded Mr. McNamara's attempt to add teeth to the House bill's provision on poster displays, something she said she had tried unsuccessfully to do. She said posters already put up by state highway patrolmen along Ohio roadways, the turnpike, and at rest stops have helped save victims of human trafficking by giving them a number to call.
Toledo's major role as a recruiting center for minors into the sex trade came to light following a 2005 federal sting in Harrisburg, Pa. There, authorities broke up a sex-trafficking operation involving 177 females, 77 of them from the Toledo area, including a 10-year-old girl.
Celia Williamson, co-chairman of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, said citizens need to become aware of the signs of sex trafficking, particularly of minors.
These include children with cash, jewelry, or electronic gadgets that don't match their family's income; teens in relationships or spending time with much older men, and kids with sexually transmitted diseases.
Ms. Williamson encouraged people to call the hot line and report anything they find suspicious.
The hot line number is 1-888-373-7888. More information about human trafficking can be found at www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking .
Church-abuse victim faces trial for beating priest
by Gillian Flaccus
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of beating an aging Jesuit priest who he says molested him and his younger brother more than 35 years ago.
William Lynch has said the priest abused him and his brother during a camping trip in Northern California's Santa Cruz Mountains. Now 44, Mr. Lynch will get his longtime wish to face the Rev. Jerold Lindner in court for the first time.
Mr. Lynch faces felony charges of assault and elder abuse after prosecutors say he beat Father Lindner in 2010 in front of startled witnesses at a retirement home for priests.
In the months since his arrest, Mr. Lynch has refused to discuss a plea deal and has grown intent on using his own legal trouble to try Father Lindner in the court of public opinion in a potentially explosive proceeding likely to include testimony from Mr. Lynch , the priest and several more of his alleged victims .
The trial will take place in Santa Clara County Superior Court, where several other victims are expected to attend. Mr. Lynch faces up to four years in prison if convicted on all charges.
The judge overseeing the case recently ruled that Mr. Lynch 's lawyer can ask the priest about Mr. Lynch 's allegations during cross-examination. If Father Lindner denies the accusations, attorney Pat Harris can call up to three other witnesses who claim they also were molested by Father Lindner as children, including Mr. Lynch 's younger brother.
The Lynches, who were 7 and 4 at the time, were raped in the woods and forced to have oral sex with each other while Father Lindner watched, according to a civil lawsuit. Father Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews, but never was criminally charged because the allegations were too old.
Father Lindner hung up Monday when the Associated Press called him for comment. He previously has denied abusing the Lynch boys and said in a deposition from the late 1990s that he didn't recall the siblings. The brothers settled with the Jesuits of the California Province for $625,000 in 1998.
Getting Father Lindner into court — even as a victim — has helped Mr. Lynch find the peace of mind he's been searching for his whole life, he said.
“I don't want to go to jail, but I've come to realize that this whole thing is really bigger than me, and the way that I've chosen to handle this is to make a statement,” Mr. Lynch told the AP. “I'm prepared to take responsibility for anything I've been involved in. I'm willing to do it. I think it's a small sacrifice to get Father Jerry into court.”
The priest likely will testify at the trial, but Mr. Lynch 's attempt to shame and expose Father Lindner is misguided, Deputy District Attorney Vicki Gemetti said.
Even if the molestation allegations are true, the judge's order only allows the defense to ask general questions about sexual abuse for the purpose of challenging Father Lindner's credibility as a witness. Other defense witnesses who allege abuse by the priest can't be questioned about specific details that could inflame the jury.
“What the jury needs to be deciding is did an assault take place? There might be sympathetic reasons for an assault, but yes, it's an assault,” Ms. Gemetti said. “The victim is not squeaky clean, but that doesn't change the fact that you can't take the law into your own hands.”
It's unlikely testimony about Mr. Lynch 's abuse allegations could tip the case in his favor — but not impossible, said Jody Armour, a professor at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law who specializes in criminal law and social justice issues.
Jurors will have to be reminded not to be swayed by their prejudices or by any sympathy they may feel for Mr. Lynch .
“These are some of the toughest cases in criminal law,” Mr. Armour said. “Even though that jury will be told, ‘Don't think about this, this is not evidence, it just goes to credibility,' how are people going to keep those two things separate in their mind?”
There have been several other instances of violence, sometimes fatal, against priests accused of abuse since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal unfolded in 2002.
In Baltimore, a man who claimed he was sodomized and fondled by a priest a decade earlier shot the clergyman three times in 2002 after the priest told him to go away when he demanded an apology. The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder but served 18 months of home detention on a gun conviction.
The following year, priest John Geoghan was strangled in his cell by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles. Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year sentence for groping a boy and was at the center of the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He had been accused of molesting as many as 150 boys.
Police said they connected Mr. Lynch to the May 2010 attack using phone records. A half-hour before the beating, a man identifying himself as “Eric” called the rest home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Father Lindner of a family member's death.
When Father Lindner showed up in the lobby, Mr. Lynch asked the 65-year-old priest if he recognized him. After the priest said he did not, Mr. Lynch began punching him, according to a police account. On a 911 tape, the assailant can be heard yelling, “Turn yourself in or I'll (expletive) come back and kill you,” as a receptionist speaks to a dispatcher.
Father Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital and has since recovered.
Father Lindner was removed from ministry and placed at the Los Gatos retirement home in 2001. He was named in two additional lawsuits for abuse between 1973 and 1985, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Those cases were included in the record $660 million settlement between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.
Even if he is convicted, Mr. Lynch hopes that facing the priest in court will help him deal with the demons that he said have held him hostage for years. He has battled depression and alcoholism, attempted suicide and a failed marriage.
“He still comes into my dreams now. He just took ownership of me in a way that's hard to get rid of, and I have to learn how to live with him,” Mr. Lynch said of the priest.
“My expectations are realistic, but I'm also coming into this for the first time sort of in control of my life.”
Many Who Are Sexually Abused Keep Quiet
(Audio on site)
Psychologists say many people who are sexually abused as kids carry the secret for decades. Many never reveal what happened at all, and few file charges. Sarah Pleydell, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and clinical psychologist David Lisak talk about the challenges of carrying those secrets.
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last week on the first day of the sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a 28-year-old man referred to as Victim Four in court papers took the stand and offered graphic detail of years of abuse.
He also expressed regret for not coming forward earlier. He told the jury he had spent, quote, so many years burying this in the back of my head forever that when he heard there were other cases like his, he felt responsible.
But his reluctance is not uncommon. Earlier this month, an article in the New York Times raised allegations of widespread sex abuse of studies at the Horace Mann School in New York City, most of it in the 1970s and '80s. Psychologists say that many people sexually abused as children are silenced by fear and shame and never reveal what happened. Those who do can carry the secret for years or even decades.
If this is your story, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, email@example.com. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org. Later in the program, the art of the ultimate counterfeiter, but we begin with Sarah Pleydell, who joins us here in Studio 3A. Thanks very much for coming in.
SARAH PLEYDELL: Hi.
CONAN: And this is your story.
PLEYDELL: Yes, it is.
CONAN: When did you become aware as an adult that you needed to say something?
PLEYDELL: Oh, well into my 20s and into my 30s. It was an experience that, you know, had lain buried for 25, 30 years.
CONAN: What happened, briefly?
PLEYDELL: I grew up in a household in London, in the '50s, '60s. My parents were professionals. My father was one of those sort of debonair charmers, you know, sort of a Cary Grant kind of type. But he was a profound drunk. And my mother couldn't stand him. He totally exasperated her, and she would, you know, fly into a rage and pack up and leave.
And so he repeatedly abused my sister and me between the ages of eight and 11. I was left to give him dinner and put him to bed. I think one of the most poignant pieces of it is that in that kind of strange, childish heroism, I thought that if I were his caretaker that I could prevent him doing any damage to my sister.
CONAN: So you didn't know at the time that your sister was being abused, as well.
PLEYDELL: No, and when I discovered in my late 20s, it was just horrifying. It was, you know, one of the most devastating things.
CONAN: How did you find out?
PLEYDELL: Well, we didn't talk about it until we were in our late 20s, and by then, I was flooded with the kind of graphic dissociative images that survivors, you know, are flooded with. And I began to share them with her.
But up until that point, you know, none of it had really made any sense to me. I think that people don't speak up because of the way that sexual abuse impacts the body and the mind and the heart. My father was, when he wasn't drunk, my primary caregiver. I adored him. I was the apple of his eye, and the idea that he could betray me in this way was unthinkable. You know, I just couldn't engage it as a complete thought. And so my mind just scrambled up the images, scrambled them all up.
CONAN: And what did your sister say when you started to talk about it?
PLEYDELL: She asked me what I remembered, and I told her the kind of strange, dissociative, graphic images that I had that, you know, they were out of sequence, that didn't make any sense but were very vivid, had, you know, free-floating sort of sensory horror to them, smells and sounds and words. And, you know, she sort of revealed that she had the same things, the same things.
CONAN: And that's the devastating moment.
PLEYDELL: Yeah, well, we helped each other piece together what our immature brains could not do.
CONAN: Were your parents still alive at that point?
PLEYDELL: My father, because he was an addled drunk, unfortunately, well, in some ways fortunately, had a massive stroke in his 50s. So by the time I was ready to talk to him, he didn't really know who I was or not for more than five minutes. But my mother was still alive and still very together.
CONAN: And did you talk to her?
PLEYDELL: Finally in my 30s I made the choice to talk to her. I don't think it's the only choice to be made, but I did make that choice. And I confronted her when she came to visit me. And she at first was very defensive. She was - denied it, and I was very angry. So I can see why, in some ways.
And gradually she accepted it, and then she became incredibly sorry that she had not left my father earlier because she did leave him. And to fair to her, I mean, the symptoms that we were demonstrating would now be considered classic symptoms of child abuse, I mean, bedwetting and anorexia and all the rest of it, but then, you know, she just knew we were being hurt, and she did kick him out.
But we did this over a period of 10 years. Every time she came, we would go through this until finally I felt I'd done it enough.
CONAN: The range of emotions that must have warped back and forth between you and your mother, and your sister of course, too, feeling abandoned, lack of protection, a mother's obligation, her guilt yet her own need to be out of a situation that was clearly - she didn't know what was going on but clearly not healthy for her, either.
PLEYDELL: No, no, but it was the '60s, and it was a hard thing for a woman to get up and leave a husband. And the information wasn't out there. So, you know, I respect her for doing it; I wish to hell she'd done it a whole lot earlier.
CONAN: We want to hear from people in the audience today whose story this is, too. Give us a call if you've kept these memories quiet for years or decades afterwards, 800-989-8255. Email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll start with Al(ph), Al's calling us from Phoenix.
AL: Yeah, thank you for taking my call. I was abused by several different people, cousins and neighbors and a few other people, as was my wife. And she was repeatedly abused by someone that she had babysat for, which led to later on choosing I guess abusive relationships as an adult.
And by the time she was really ready to deal with what had happened, when she and I came together, and she sort of started trying to heal and deal with things, the statute of limitations had run out to prosecute this man. And he's now in his late 60s and is now married to a 19-year-old girl, and we have since also found out that in the years when my wife had moved away from where he was, he had abused several other girls.
And to me the statute of limitations is extremely problematic not only because you can't prosecute someone but because it sort of implies that the victim should have gotten over it already.
CONAN: It does vary state to state.
AL: If you haven't done something about it in a certain amount of time, then you really couldn't have felt that bad about it is what it seems like.
CONAN: I understand, just - I don't think you could hear me, Al, but it does vary from state to state. In some states, there's no statute of limitations on rape, as there is none on murder.
AL: Right. Where we are, it is, so...
CONAN: How did you and your wife find each other?
AL: How did we meet, or how did we find each other?
CONAN: Well, how did you find out that you shared this background?
AL: Well, I think I have dealt with mine much earlier. I've lived on my own since I was a very, very young man and also had a lot of friends that had been molested, and I had helped some friends sort of move out of their homes or move out of abusive relationships. And so I think very early on in my relationship with my wife, I recognized the personality traits.
And she and I had been friends for many, many years, and she had been dating someone else, and I had recognized the type of relationship that she was in was also very abusive and a symptom of someone who had been abused as a younger person.
CONAN: Well, David - Al, thanks very much for sharing your story, and good luck to you both.
AL: Thank you very much.
CONAN: And Sarah Pleydell, he raises an interesting question. The effects later on, abusive relationships, clearly in your case it could have led to alcoholism, abusive relationships, a lot of things.
PLEYDELL: You develop a vulnerable personality, and you're susceptible to patterns that have been imprinted from childhood. And it takes a lot of work to change those patterns.
CONAN: David Lisak is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He's a clinical psychologist, a founding board member of oneinsix.org, an organization that serves men who were sexually abused as children, and he joins us today from member station WUSF in Tampa. Thanks very much for being with us.
DAVID LISAK: Thank you, Neal.
CONAN: And this is not just a topic you research, this is your story, too.
LISAK: That's right. I was abused when I was a kid.
CONAN: And when did you come to terms with it?
LISAK: Well, that started really only in my late 20s into my 30s. I either completely repressed the memories for about 25 to 27 years, and then over the course of several years began to come to terms with it and eventually told my surviving parent, my mother, about it.
CONAN: It was your father who abused you, too?
LISAK: No, no it wasn't. It was a babysitter, a boarder who was taken into our house to help pay the rent.
CONAN: So again, the emotions are unbelievably powerful. Your mother, again, is supposed to be your protector.
LISAK: Yes, and one of the - you know, there are so many effects that children who are abused suffer, both at the time and then as the years go by. And for myself, as for so many, when you're five years old, even though your mother does not know what's happening, you inevitably interpret it as an abandonment, as a betrayal, and why isn't she protecting me, why isn't somebody rescuing me from this.
And there's really just no way that a child that young can see it as any other - in any other way. And that really can so undermine the child's relationship with their parents, with adults, with authorities, and that can last a long time.
CONAN: We're talking about carrying the painful secret of childhood sexual abuse for years or even decades. If this is your story, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, email@example.com. I'm Neal Conan. Stay with us. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan. Jerry Sandusky's defense team continues to call witnesses in the former assistant coach's trial on dozens of counts of alleged sexual abuse. High-profile cases like this often spur conversations and sometimes revelations of past abuse.
As we've heard, victims often suffer in silence, alone, in many cases blaming themselves. We're talking today about why it's so difficult to talk about childhood sexual abuse and what happens when the truth comes out. If this is your story, our phone number is 800-989-8255. Email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org.
Our guests are Sarah Pleydell, herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. And David Lisak, associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He researches the effects of childhood sex abuse. He's also spoken out about his own past abuse.
And David Lisak, some of these effects down the years, they can vary with different individuals.
LISAK: Yes, and they do, and that's an important thing to remember, that - the circumstances of the abuse, the context in which it occurs. You know, in my case, I was abused by somebody who was really outside the family. I had, I at least had a mother who was a good mother in so many ways. And in my other work, I do a lot of forensic work, I evaluate men who have committed serious crimes, most of whom have also been terribly abused as kids.
But most of them had no parents who were there to help them in any way, and that's one of the factors that can really alter what happens over the long run. So despite the abuse, I was able to get an education and get a foundation under me and recover from those experiences, and that's not always possible.
CONAN: That vulnerable personality that Sarah was talking about a moment ago, was that you too?
LISAK: Oh yes, for many, many years, and you know, to this day, you know, I - I'm an adult, I'm a professional, I do all kinds of research, I do forensic work and so forth, but the abuse lives on in me. And you know, there are still nights when I wake up with nightmares because of things that have triggered me during the day, and that's just part of, at least in my case, that's part of the reality that I live with, and it is for many survivors.
They can thrive in many ways but still suffer many of the symptoms.
CONAN: Sarah Pleydell, you were nodding there, yeah.
PLEYDELL: My sister has a very strong image. She says that childhood trauma is like a house with a horrible room in the middle of it, and you do your very best to keep the doors locked, but every now and again you wake up and there you are, and you're eight years old, and your heart's racing, and it's happening all over again, and you have to very slowly and carefully turn on the light and pick yourself up and take yourself out of there, and the room never goes away.
But the house changes, and the house over time can become a safer place.
CONAN: Let's get Tammy on the line. Tammy's calling us from Buffalo.
CONAN: Hi, you're on the air, Tammy, go ahead, please.
TAMMY: (Unintelligible) bring back so many memories because as a child going through the same experiences, and coming from an African-American community, sometimes you could be alienated when you're up front about the experiences that happened to you as a child, especially molestation.
And even as an adult with my kids, I'm like very, very protective. I don't do overnights over at a friend's house. Certain smells trigger off, like, depression. And when I decided to finally get counseling, a part of my childhood, when my daughter was asking me about things, what happened to you when you were nine, or - I can't remember anything.
So when I decided to get counseling, and they suggested maybe I should, you know, rethink what happened to me when I went to the court and just get the information about my case, I was denied because in order for me to even - for them to even open the books on my case, I would have to get a lawyer, then the lawyer has to go to the judge. It was just really, really a stressful process. I mean, I'm still dealing with it, even today like with relationships and commitment.
And it's just like a lifelong struggle that you go through on a constant basis.
CONAN: I'm intrigued - smells?
TAMMY: Yeah, just certain smells like the cologne, it just triggers it off.
CONAN: You too, Sarah Pleydell?
PLEYDELL: Yeah, the book I've just written is called "Cologne."
PLEYDELL: And it's about this very topic, yeah, smells, absolutely.
CONAN: David Lisak, I know smell is a very powerful stimulant to memory. Is this common?
LISAK: Oh yes, it is, and it's just as your guests have been saying. All of the senses record just very sometimes microscopic but incredibly vivid details. And they are profoundly etched in memory, and they come back, sometimes because they're triggered by something that you've encountered, and it can be quite overwhelming when they come back.
CONAN: Especially 'cause it jumps up at you when you least expect it.
LISAK: Exactly, there's no (unintelligible).
PLEYDELL: And they're dissociated from one another. They don't add up. They just, you know, assail you.
LISAK: Yes, that's right.
CONAN: Tammy, are you continuing to get counseling?
TAMMY: Yes, I am. I mean, some people think, you know, I think there are a lot of misconceptions. People think you just go to counseling, and then after a certain period of time it just gets better. It just doesn't. I mean, just - it's a lifelong struggle.
CONAN: There's no cure certificate they hand you after a certain period of time, yeah.
CONAN: Well, good luck to you, Tammy, thanks very much for sharing the call.
TAMMY: Oh, thank you. Bye-bye.
CONAN: And David Lisak, she raises an interesting question. Are cultural differences in different communities - is it more or less - it's always going to be difficult, let's be honest about it, but is - some factors can exacerbate that?
LISAK: Yes, certainly, and there are differences amongst communities and the degree to which a child or an adolescent feels that they can speak about this. Of course there are differences between families and the degree to which a child may feel like they can disclose and speak out.
There are also gender differences, and we have very good data, there's good research that boys who are abused are far less likely to disclose at the time. They're far less likely to disclose over the years. There are many more obstacles that boys seem to have to tell anybody about the abuse and also then to seek help, whether professional help, any kind of help as they get older.
CONAN: Here's an email from Charlie(ph) in Portland: I was sexually abused by two women, first at the age of three or four by a church nursery volunteer, later at the age of 14 by my own alcoholic mother. I haven't been silent about this but have received a lot of denial by those who refuse to believe that women are capable of committing such abuse.
Others seem to think female abuse is somehow a lesser crime than abuse committed by men. The biggest impact of the abuse on my life has been a lifelong aversion to physical and emotional intimacy, leading to four divorces and no children. And Sarah Pleydell, that aversion to physical and emotional intimacy, I don't mean to probe too much, but is that something that has happened in your life?
PLEYDELL: You have to work very hard at it, and I'm very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and four children, but it's been a lot of work.
CONAN: Let's see if we can go next to - this is Debbie(ph), Debbie with us from Jackson, Michigan.
DEBBIE: Yes, hi, Neal. I have five children, and to our knowledge it was disclosed to us about nine years ago that at least three of the five have been molested by family members and by an ex-son-in-law. Now, one is male, the other two are female, and until it was disclosed by the daughter that was married to, you know, to our ex-son-in-law, we had never - we were never aware and had no idea this was going on, you know, prided ourselves on being aware and alert and, you know, thought we would know and thought we had taught our children that they had come to us.
And watching - I've been following - I follow everything I can, but watching the Sandusky trial, especially these brave young men that have come forward, I just as a mom, it's just heart-wrenching. And then to hear I think it was David talking about, you know, you think your mother protects you. And what do you do?
My children have not sought therapy. I've watched their lives, and I've watched alcohol creep into some of their lives. It's very difficult, very difficult.
CONAN: David Lisak, is there any advice you might be able to offer?
LISAK: Well, some of this depends on age. We know that with time, more survivors of sexual abuse become more able and more willing to seek help. It is - it's really impossible to make that happen from the outside. You can do everything you can to make it available, you can do everything you can to, for example, make sure you have the name of one or two good therapists, clinicians in your community that you've researched so that if the time does come where you have a child who's willing then to see somebody, you at least increase the odds that that will be a good experience and it will take, that they will stay in therapy and actually - and get some benefits from it.
But there are also, you know, there are a lot of resources now, online, on the Web, that men and women can go to get information. We know for male survivors that so many of them are loathe to disclose this to anybody, and so we know that, for instance, that the One in Six website, we know we have a lot of visitors to that website from men all over the world who are on their own, completely in private, visiting the site to get information, to begin approaching this. And then we hope, of course, that with time, that they will seek more help.
CONAN: And is it also possible that when, finally, you admit it to yourself, anger becomes so powerful that there is useful recourse to the police?
LISAK: Well, yes. But that's complicated, as I know you know. The - you know, the only sort of really sort of outlet for that anger, other than - you know, I spent months and months. For a long period of time, I put a mattress up on my wall, and I would go up there whenever I had to and just pound on the mattress. And that's useful for at least that - you know, for as far as it goes.
But if you want an actual outlet for that anger, something that you would actually do in the world or something, some way to hold the offender accountable, then the criminal justice system, the civil justice system, they're there. But as your callers have already noted, sometimes the statute of limitations gets in the way.
Very often, the criminal justice system itself is not a very hospitable place for victims of sexual crimes. It's a tough row to hoe. And that's why, I think, as several people have already commented, the courage of these young men in the Penn State case who've come forward to testify is really truly remarkable. And they're doing something for the whole community, not just for themselves.
DEBBIE: And - excuse me, but we discovered that the criminal justice service did us no favors. And then the statute, as far as civil lawsuits, statute of limitations, we're only one year past the age of majority. So that - you know, there's a lot that needs to be changed within the system that we've worked hard to try to get changed. But the - that's a long, long, long road, and has been a long road.
And we've been as active as we can in our community. And we have research and we have tried to seek counseling and made that available and offered it up to our children. But, you know, when they're in their 20s and 30s, and they, you know, they have to come to that - as you know - they have to come to that on their own.
But it's just so hard to sit back and watch their lives and - I'm not saying that they're destroying their lives, but in certain aspects, they are. And they're doing a lot of good, too. But to see that - and to see that - you can just see the, as you mentioned, anger sometimes. One of my children has now started taking boxing. So that's a good thing. I mean, she...
CONAN: The heavy bag taking the place of that mattress up in...
CONAN: ...David Lisak's attic.
DEBBIE: She's a female, and she's, you know, in there with all the men, boxing away. And it's just very hard to watch, very hard.
CONAN: Good luck...
DEBBIE: Thank you.
CONAN: ...Debbie. Thank you very much for the call.
DEBBIE: Thank you, Neal. OK.
CONAN: We're talking about holding stories of your abuse in for years, even decades. Our guests are Sarah Pleydell, a writer and educator, and David Lisak, associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.
And this email from Meg in Chicago: I went to Horace Mann School in New York City. Recently, The New York Times published an expose of decades of sexual abuse. I'm talking about this with fellow students, while more and more victims come forward. I wasn't sexually abused, but I was there. I feel overpowering guilt that I didn't help. I know I was a teenager at the time, but what can I do to support the victims? What can I do to overcome my feelings of helplessness?
And I wonder, Sarah Pleydell, it's not unlike you're feeling - you feeling you failed to protect your sister.
PLEYDELL: Yes. It's a - fortunately for me, I had my sister. I always had my sister to share my story with. We always had one another as touchstones. I always felt that I could - that she was there for me, and I was there for her. I think if I hadn't been abused and she had, it would have been annihilating, totally annihilating.
CONAN: Here's another email, this from Maka(ph): Yes, abused by father, older brother, tried to speak out, told to be quiet. Oddly, the phrase that was given to me was: Loose lips sink ships. I never got the meaning of that phrase until much later. When I finally did speak out as a young adult, family was angry at me for blabbing, for embarrassing them. The last two decades, mom, dad, rest of family rally with abuser. He has the will, I'm guessing is the reason. It's troubling as they know what was happening, yet I was called horrid names like slut or others. I am the ostracized member of the family for daring to speak out and say something.
PLEYDELL: Mm-hmm. I know women who go - who've gone through that. I was fortunate to have my sister, as I said. But I know women who have spoken out and been the single voice in the family.
CONAN: It's your fault.
CONAN: It's your fault.
PLEYDELL: And you shouldn't speak about it. You know, you are abusing us by talking about it.
CONAN: David Lisak, if there's one thing that I think we learn from this is that not speaking about it is the continuing crime.
LISAK: Yes, it is. And I think it - not speaking about it, not disclosing it is ultimately very hard, very harmful for the survivor. But it is also, of course, the cumulative silence that allows this to go on. So when we survivors don't speak out, when we are silenced by family members or by other members of the community, the silence is what these perpetrators rely on, and it's what they are camouflaged in. And that's why we need to speak out about it.
PLEYDELL: I've also found that writing is a wonderful vehicle to work it through. It creates a context for exploring a lot of your feelings. In the book that I've been working on, I was able to kill my father.
PLEYDELL: It's satisfying symbolically.
CONAN: How'd you do it?
PLEYDELL: He dies in a car crash...
PLEYDELL: ...at the beginning of the book, and at the end. And it was tremendously - I wouldn't say - cathartic.
CONAN: A car accident he caused, his own fault?
PLEYDELL: Mm-hmm. Well, yes. I mean, yes. And actually...
CONAN: I don't mean to steal your ending, but...
PLEYDELL: ...the character sort of wills it on him, and she knows she's willed it on him. And she has to struggle with that because, in a way, her fantasy is to kill her father, and she has to live with the consequences that maybe it did impact his ultimate, you know, his death.
CONAN: Well, I look forward to reading that.
CONAN: Thank you so much for being with us today. Sarah Pleydell, writer and educator, teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. David Lisak, thank you for your time today, as well.
LISAK: Thank you, Neal.
CONAN: David Lisak joined us from member station WUSF in Tampa, where he's an associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I suspect it's not in Tampa, but in Boston. And thanks to everybody who called and wrote. We know these are difficult stories to share. We thank you so much for coming on and being willing to talk to us, and we're sorry we just couldn't get to everybody.
Coming up, one of the best counterfeiters in the world is not a hardened criminal, but an artist. We'll explain next. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.
New law mandates child abuse reporting
The Jerry Sandusky child molestation trial could help save many of Florida's children from being abused. A new law will require you to report any child abuse you see.
The accusations against ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky were shocking. He's suspected of molesting as many as ten children. Some of his supervisors may have known about the abuse and failed to act.
“Failing to protect a child is also inexcusable,” said Carrie Hoeppner with the Department of Children and Families.
This fall, Florida will have what child advocates call the toughest law requiring you to report suspected child abuse. Starting in October, not reporting any child abuse you witness will be considered a felony and not a misdemeanor.
Hillary McRorie said she saw a woman physically abusing a child and called police. She said it was a tough decision, but one she had to make.
“You never want to meddle in someone else's business, but if it's a child you have too,” explained McRorie. “At the time I was pregnant with my son, and it made me very upset, because I would never do something like that to him and I would never want anyone to do anything like that to their child.”
The Department of Children and Families said they handled 300,000 child abuse calls last year.
Hoeppner said she expects the number to increase when the new law takes effect.
DCF said they plan to hire nearly four dozen people to help investigate.
“If everything is fine, then everything is fine and we can step out of that family's life just as quickly as we stepped in, that is always the goal. We don't know unless we get called,” said Hoeppner.
Universities and colleges that fail to report child abuse to police face even harsher fines of $1 million and losing state funding for two years.
Child abuse warning signs
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child's problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Information is from the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services
Child Abuse Task Force Meeting in Arkadelphia Keeps Focus on Kids
by Marci Manley
"The focus I want to get back on is the children," State Senator Percy Malone said, addressing the crowd on Tuesday. "What happened in Arkadelphia is a terrible situation. But I don't want to talk about the adults, I want to put the focus back on the children. They should be the focus here."
The meeting of the Arkansas Legislative Task Force on Abused and Neglected Children left grandmother and former teacher Farrell Ford walking away hopeful for her hometown.
"It's a good thing happening here," she said. "I left the school system 20 years ago, and we had situations like this, reporting them through the outdated system, and it doesn't seem we've learned much here since then. But this training, education, and learning. I think it will help."
Malone chose Arkadelphia for the meeting after a swirl of controversy about a sexual situation between Perritt Primary students, which apparently went unreported by school officials.
"I wanted my community to see what resources we have to protect children in our state. I wanted them to see the system and understand how it works. The model is there if we just implement it," Malone said. "That includes reporting child abuse, getting the kids interviewed by trained investigators, and then getting them into counseling."
"I think once all these people know what they're really supposed to do as far as their task is concerned it will permeate through the community and country," Ford said.
Tuesday's Task Force meeting didn't focus on child abusers or those who fail to report, because according to Malone, people get consumed by wanting perpetrators punished.
"As soon as that is done we tend to forget it, and these children are left all alone with no support and their little lives are ruined," he said. "We need to focus on the kids and getting them the help they need after the fact so they aren't left alone.
The crowd in Clark County was introduced to representatives from several agencies ranging from the Department of Human Services
to the Prosecuting Attorneys Association
who all play a role in helping children deal with the damage done by abuse.
Janice McCutcheon, Director of the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center, explaining how the system works, why Advocacy Centers can be a safe haven for abused children, and stressed the need for children to receive services to help heal.
"Imagine being a five year old girl who had been raped by her uncle," she said. "How would you even put that into words at that age. How would you deal with the guilt that you feel, because children think in very tangible terms, that it's your fault?"
These professionals point to advocacy centers
, counseling services, and a range of other agencies that all have a place at the table to help young victims heal.
"We may have our feelings hurt we may have some horrible feelings about what's gone on but the damage is done to the children if the children are not healed we are not healed," Malone said.
"There are grown adults who were victims of this as children, and they are still walking around with this burden. At some point, somehow, we have to figure out a way to allow them to put that burden down. I think this is the answer," Ford said.
Missouri Task force hearing on child sexual abuse
by Brandon Smith
KIRKSVILLE, MO -- The spotlight on prevention of childhood sexual abuse has become brighter.
That issue hit the Heartland as the state's task force heard comments and concerns from multiple professionals responsible for children's safety.
The special task force has been going around to several Missouri communities to get input on what child sexual abuse measures should continue, and which ones need improvement or don't work.
As the task force hears input it will compile all the data.
Childcare officials say some of the responsibility of protecting the child should be placed on the parent or guardian.
"It's not the general public's job to investigate to be sure before they call," said Kelly Schultz, the Director of Office of Child Advocate. "You need to trust that gut instinct when you have concern about the safety of a child because you may be the only chance to protect that child or future victims as well."
Schultz adds, the national attention this issue has received has made everyone involved more concerned with child sex abuse.
Dottie Sandusky breaks silence about sex-abuse allegations against husband
by Associated Press
She's been a constant, if silent, presence by Jerry Sandusky's side.
Dottie Sandusky had not spoken publicly in more than six months until taking the witness stand Tuesday in her husband's child sex-abuse trial.
Critics say she also stood quietly by while Sandusky — the once-revered Penn State assistant football coach — molested boys in the basement of their State College home. They say she must have known, or at least suspected, and looked the other way out of allegiance to the man with whom she'd spent decades of her life and adopted six children.
In fact, sex offenders are typically adept at concealing their proclivities, even from those closest to them, and spouses are often in the dark about what's going on in the bedroom down the hall, according to experts in child sexual abuse.
“None of this stuff that happens to kids ever happens in the public arena. It always has to happen in the context of secrecy. It has to happen out of sight. The intent on the part of the perpetrator obviously is not to get caught,” said Dr. Martin Finkel, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience treating abused children.
Jerry Sandusky, 68, is charged with 51 counts of abuse involving 10 accusers. Prosecutors say he met his victims through the charity he and his wife founded, groomed them, and sexually abused them in motels, in his home and in the Penn State football building. He denies all the charges, and his attorney suggests the accusers are making up stories in hopes of a civil case jackpot.
Until Tuesday, Dottie Sandusky, gray-haired and bespectacled at 69, had been largely invisible throughout her husband's trial, sequestered from the central Pennsylvania courtroom because of her status as a defense witness.
In her first public remarks since a December statement in which she proclaimed her husband's innocence, Dottie Sandusky told jurors Tuesday that she never saw him engage in inappropriate behavior with the boys who often stayed overnight at their house.
The most devastating courtroom account in which she was mentioned came from the accuser known as Victim 9, who estimated he spent 100 nights in the basement of the Sandusky home, even taking his meals there.
The witness, now 18, told jurors his abuse began with fondling and forced oral sex and led to several instances of rape in the basement. On one occasion, he said, he screamed for help, knowing that Dottie Sandusky was somewhere in the house. But no one came.
Sandusky denied the man's allegation. She testified that the basement where Victim 9 stayed wasn't soundproof, and that her hearing is “pretty good. I hear lots of noises.”
She rebutted another victim's claim that Sandusky tried to engage in oral sex with him while in a hotel bathroom at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The man said the assault was interrupted when Dottie Sandusky walked into an adjoining room. But Sandusky said they were both fully clothed — and arguing about the accuser's attendance at a luncheon.
She also told jurors about her life with Jerry Sandusky, how he worked long hours while devoting his life to The Second Mile, the charity for troubled youths where prosecutors say he found his victims.
Her testimony could help cast doubt on accusers' claims about assaults in the home, while presenting “a more favorable image of Sandusky as someone attracted to his wife, as someone who had a genuine care and interest in children, and to portray more elements of Sandusky's life than the jury has heard,” Paul DerOhannesian, a defense attorney from Albany, N.Y., who has been following the case, said ahead of her appearance.
The former Dorothy Gross, originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., met her husband-to-be in his hometown of Washington, Pa. They married in 1966.
Unable to have children of their own, the Sanduskys decided to adopt. Dottie ran the home and cared for the children while Jerry kept the grueling schedule of a big-time college coach.
“I'm strict, and I like for things to run a certain way,” she testified Tuesday. “And we expect a lot of our kids.”
Her husband wrote in his 2001 autobiography “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story” that “Dottie has always been there to look after (the children) when I was away, and usually from the minute I was back in town, I became another big kid for her to supervise as well.”
Dottie Sandusky bailed her husband out of jail after his arrest, posting $50,000 cash and using their $200,000 home as collateral for the rest.
While she has denied any knowledge of abuse and says her husband never hurt a child, some spouses do harbor suspicions, said Finkel, the pediatrician. But they cast them aside because they are invested in the marriage and unwilling to believe their partner capable of so heinous an act. Or they fear public humiliation and the loss of financial security.
“Denial is a very powerful thing,” said Finkel, co-director of the CARES Institute at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.
Lisa Friel, vice president of T&M Protection Resources LLC and former chief of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan district attorney's office, agreed with Finkel that spouses are most often in the dark about their offending spouses — but that sometimes they are enablers.
Friel said she has spoken with plenty of victims who don't understand how their mothers could not have known about abuse in their own homes.
“They certainly think that Mom, because of her own weaknesses, did not protect them,” said Friel, who consults schools and businesses on sexual misconduct issues. “You can say that for Dottie Sandusky, too. If she didn't see it, couldn't take it in, didn't believe it, in the end she didn't protect these kids — all of the children who were in their home.”
Despite Sandusky's wife, defense falters
by Rich Hofmann
BELLEFONTE, PA. —It was just after 4 p.m. on Jerry Sandusky's best day since the trial began.
The courtroom was warm, and it was full, and the people inside it had heard the first somewhat-effective elements of the defense of the former Penn State football coach charged with 51 counts of sexually assaulting 10 young boys.
In the morning, two investigators tripped over themselves on the stand, and tripped over their stories, and mischaracterized words that happen to have been tape-recorded, and gave the defense an opportunity at least to make the assertion that one of the alleged victims was coached into telling the story he eventually told.
In the afternoon, Dottie Sandusky, Jerry's wife, offered 40 minutes of placid, effective testimony that was more than just the last in a string of character witnesses who have been presented. She plausibly rebutted at least one of the allegations — the claim that she walked in on an assault in a hotel room at the Alamo Bowl.
But then, after Dottie left the stand and after a bench conference, Judge John Cleland announced that the prosecution would call a witness out of order. And with that, the defense's day was ruined.
The witness' name is John S. O'Brien, a psychiatrist who examined Sandusky on Father's Day, and in a half-hour on the stand, he eviscerated the defense's claim that Sandusky is suffering from something called Histrionic Personality Disorder.
Not only that, O'Brien was allowed to testify that the tests showed just how deceptive a man Sandusky is, and how the "creepy love letters" written by Sandusky to one of the alleged victims were not the result of a personality disorder but were, in O'Brien's opinion, "highly manipulative."
Oh, and that — also in his opinion — there was the possibility that the testing showed Sandusky was really suffering from a "psychosexual" disorder with regard to adolescents.
If the jury had not wilted, and was still attentive, this case really is over.
It was only because the defense tried out this last-minute, hocus-pocus histrionic stuff that O'Brien was allowed to examine Sandusky and testify. He said on the stand that he makes $450 an hour, and he is worth every cent of it. In a case without any CSI elements, this psychological discussion gave the jurors at least a little bit of science, if they wanted it — and almost none of it went Sandusky's way.
Under cross-examination, the defense psychologist, Elliot Atkins, was forced to admit that one of the two standard tests given to Sandusky showed no indication that he suffered from Histrionic Personality Disorder, and that the other one listed it only as a possibility.
Worse, though, Atkins was forced to acknowledge that both of those tests showed that Sandusky was being deceptive when he answered some of the questions. Remember, this is Sandusky's guy doing the testifying, telling the jury that the guy lied to make himself look good. He said, "There were many responses that [Sandusky] gave ... that he was trying to present himself in a better light."
So even Sandusky's expert had to admit that the man is deceptive. Then the prosecution's expert added that he not only was manipulative, but could be suffering from a psychosexual disorder. Oh, and that far from having Histrionic Personality Disorder, Sandusky's long career as a Penn State assistant coach, and later when he ran the Second Mile charity that he founded, showed someone who "was an individual who kept all the balls in the air" of a busy life, who never exhibited the distress such a disorder would cause.
The whole thing was a disaster. And it spoiled a good day for Sandusky. The two investigators who testified in the morning really were ineffective as witnesses. They couldn't even agree on whether they had discussed their testimony in a courthouse hallway.
One of them said he never shared details about other alleged victims, or how many other alleged victims there were, with one of the men being interviewed. Then, the jury listened to a contradictory tape recording in which the investigator told the young man, "I want to let you know, you're not the first victim that we've spoken to," and that other victims had described "actual oral sex" and something "classified as a rape."
So the defense had that going for it, at least a hint of coaching. It also had Dottie Sandusky. She said she never heard a child scream for help from her basement, as was testified by one alleged victim. She also offered another version of one of the case's most infamous allegations: that she walked into a San Antonio hotel room when, according to alleged victim No. 4, Sandusky was attempting to force him to perform oral sex in the shower, threatening to send him home if he didn't.
In her testimony, Dottie Sandusky said she walked in on the two of them in the hotel room when they were fully clothed. She said, "I came in one day and they were ... they were standing there. I said, ‘What's going on?' because Jerry was very upset."
It turned out, she said, that the alleged victim — who had originally asked that they spend $50 for a ticket to a luncheon for the boy — was now refusing to go. She said, "Jerry knew I would be very upset because we spent the money."
Dottie would go on to describe alleged victim No. 4 as "very demanding" and "very conniving." Another was said to be "very clingy" and "would never look people in the eye." Another was "a charmer" who "knew what to say and when to say it."
But why would they lie? Why would former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary lie about witnessing a rape? What would be the reason?
"I ... I don't know what it would be," Dottie said.
Even with that, her testimony had been good. The day had been good for Sandusky. But then the defense lost the duel of the experts.
Psychologist in trial says Sandusky has personality disorder
(Note: explicit sexual content)
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A psychologist called by the defense in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial testified on Tuesday that the former Penn State assistant football coach suffers from a personality disorder that is characterized by a deep need for attention and may lead to inappropriate, sexually seductive behavior.
Elliot Atkins, an important defense witness, told jurors he spent six hours interviewing the 68-year-old Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.
"Based on my evaluation of Mr. Sandusky, I have diagnosed a histrionic personality disorder," Atkins said.
The psychologist's testimony followed attempts by defense lawyers earlier in the day to discredit the prosecution's case by suggesting investigators had coached testimony from one of the Sandusky's alleged victims.
Sandusky faces 51 counts of child molestation after the prosecution dropped one charge of unlawful contact with minors on Monday. If convicted on all counts, the former defensive coordinator for Pennsylvania State University's successful football program faces a sentence of more than 500 years in prison.
The case has focused renewed national attention on the issue of child sexual abuse and prompted the firing in November of Penn State President Graham Spanier and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.
It was unclear whether Sandusky would testify as the trial entered its final stages. Asked as he arrived at court whether he would call his client to the witness stand, defense attorney Joe Amendola told reporters: "Stay tuned. Come on, it's like a soap (opera), you have to wait and see."
"Is it 'Days of Our Lives?'" a reporter asked in return, referring to a long-running U.S. daytime television drama.
"I think it's 'General Hospital,'" Amendola answered. Then, a moment later, after returning from parking his car, he said, "Actually it could be 'All My Children.'"
Amendola said previously that Sandusky would testify.
Eight alleged victims, now men aged 18 to 28, testified for the prosecution last week, describing in often graphic detail being molested by Sandusky as boys, including oral and anal sex and shared showers. Two other alleged victims have never been identified.
'CONFIRMED MY DIAGNOSIS'
Atkins told jurors that histrionic personality disorder is characterized by excessive emotionality and attention seeking, and symptoms include inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.
The psychologist testified that letters Sandusky wrote to one of his accusers - which prosecutors described as love letters - were consistent with his analysis. Sandusky's memoir, "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story," which was published in 2001, "absolutely confirmed my diagnosis," Elliot said.
Earlier in the day, defense lawyers took aim at law enforcement officers' testimony that they had not discussed abuse accounts offered by fellow accusers with other alleged victims in the closely watched case.
Amendola questioned Pennsylvania state trooper Corporal Scott Rossman and retired trooper Joseph Leiter about a taped interview they held with one of the accusers, known in court documents as Victim 4, and his attorney in April 2011.
The interview was played in court and Leiter was heard saying to Victim 4 during a break that investigators had interviewed about nine other potential victims. In some cases "oral sex has taken place by both parties," which would be considered rape under state law, he said.
Leiter could be heard saying telling the accuser that his story "word for word" followed those of others. "He has taken advantage of you. We need you to tell us what happened," Leiter is heard saying.
Under cross examination by a prosecutor, Leiter said he considered the interview technique to be appropriate and never suggested to a victim what he should say.
It was the second day of the defense case after the prosecution rested its case on Monday. Judge John Cleland told jurors on Monday he expected closing arguments to take place on Thursday.
Two university officials also face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse in an alleged incident involving Sandusky and a boy at a Penn State locker room.
Soap opera comparison in Sandusky trial adds insult to tragedy
Alleged abuse victims weren't characters on daytime drama, and coaches showering with kids just isn't normal
by John Kass
An accusation of serial child abuse — and a Penn State football coach on trial for allegedly sexually abusing young boys in the showers — isn't some daytime soap opera.
Only a creep would say so.
But Joe Amendola is a defense lawyer, representing Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State University defensive coordinator accused of raping children under his care. And Amendola thinks he's starring in a soap.
Asked Tuesday if he'd put Sandusky on the witness stand — and there are reports that Sandusky may testify in his own defense Wednesday — Amendola said something astonishing.
"Stay tuned," he teased reporters. "Come on, it's like a soap, you have to wait and see."
"Is it 'Days of Our Lives'?" a reporter asked.
"I think it's 'General Hospital,'" Amendola said. And later he added, "Actually, it could be 'All My Children.'"
All My Children?
There were 10 boys who believed Sandusky cared about them when they were part of The Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for at-risk youth. They were children once. As men, they testified against Sandusky. They testified that Sandusky put his hands on them and raped them in the showers at Penn State, groped them at university facilities, initiated oral sex at his home on sleepovers.
And Sandusky's lawyer makes jokes about "All My Children."
A criminal defense lawyer's job is to defend his client, and sometimes that involves making aberrant behavior seem normal. You've seen it in political corruption trials. But in Pennsylvania, Sandusky's defense took it one step further, arguing that coaches taking showers with kids was no big deal.
If you don't think something's wrong with an adult naked in a shower with kids, then you're not a parent. But this week, Amendola put witnesses on the stand to say that it's not unusual for grown men to take showers with children at Penn State. The witnesses said it was normal.
So we asked some experienced coaches if it was normal here, in Illinois.
"That type of thing is not part of any culture or system I've been in in high school or college or as a coach," said Brett Detering, 1st vice president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. "There are separate facilities for coaches and students."
Detering is the head coach at Anna-Jonesboro High School in southern Illinois. He played football in high school and in college, and he's been coaching for 17 years. And he doesn't take showers with his players. He's never taken showers with his players.
"I don't think that's a regular occurrence anywhere," he said. "It's typical lawyering, grasping at straws."
When I was a high school football player eons ago, our coaches were good guys, great coaches, but very old school. We hit hard every day in practice. They didn't give us water to drink. Instead, they gave us salt pills. Water was for showering.
"Get in the shower," the coaches said the first day. "And use soap."
But they never showered with us. Ever. My brothers were athletes, too, and they never saw it. None of our friends showered with coaches. Ever. And guys I talked to at work Tuesday said their coaches never showered with them either.
Coach Detering said he doesn't know of any policies or guidelines against showering with players. But then, I suppose there are no policies in the coaching manuals warning against sticking a fork into an electric socket.
"I would say that's just common sense," Coach Detering said of not showering with his players. "How anyone could be confused about that is beyond me."
John Elder, executive director of the Illinois Coaches Association, spent 40 years as a football coach at Alexis High School in western Illinois, and retired from coaching eight years ago. He played at Alexis as a boy.
"But it was not normal, even then, for coaches to shower with the team," Elder said. "It wouldn't have been done back in the day, and it definitely wouldn't be done today."
In the pursuit of an alleged sexual predator, there's something we shouldn't forget. The victims who were hurt the most were the boys at Penn State. But there are other victims, too, in Pennsylvania and beyond. Coaches everywhere have been victimized by the Penn State scandal.
"Sometimes people paint with a very wide brush," Elder said, noting that the average coach just wants to help kids.
There's not much money in coaching, not for the vast majority of coaches, especially in high school. The reason they do it is because they care about those kids. A high school coach is responsible not only for the kids' bodies, but also for their spirits.
Some kids need discipline. Some are spoiled and must be motivated to train. But most young athletes are driven. And most try so hard in training, and in games, that they can break their own hearts. The good athlete doesn't obsess about success, but rather, about failure, and uses it as motivator to push even harder, even through pain.
The kids with great hearts are often more vulnerable to manipulation. And the kids whose hearts are broken, with either overwhelmed or indifferent or nonexistent parents, are the most vulnerable of all.
That's why the Sandusky trial is so terribly sad.
It's no soap opera.
42,000 modern-day slaves rescued but millions in bondage, trafficking report says
by Ian Johnston
More than 42,000 adults and children kept as slaves, forced into prostitution or otherwise trafficked were discovered by authorities around the world in 2011, according to a new report by the U.S. State Department.
However this figure was a tiny fraction of the estimated number of people held in bondage with the International Labor Organization estimating earlier this month that there are about 20.9 million victims of modern slavery, the State Department Trafficking in Persons Report noted.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, foreign governments must supply information about trafficking investigations and prosecutions to the State Department in order to be considered by the U.S. as working to eliminate slavery.
The report details the problem of trafficking in countries around the world, including victims' accounts.
"I walk around and carry the physical scars of the torture you put me through. The cigarette burns, the knife carvings, the piercings … how a human being can see humor in the torture, manipulation, and brainwashing of another human being is beyond comprehension. You have given me a life sentence," it quotes a victim of sex trafficking in the U.S. as telling her trafficker at his sentencing.
US expands human trafficking blacklist to 23 countries
Another trafficking survivor in the U.S. named "Tonya" said she "always felt like a criminal."
"I never felt like a victim at all. Victims don't do time in jail, they work on the healing process. I was a criminal because I spent time in jail," she said.
'Like she was our own daughter'
Ken Burkhart, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, described the liberation of a Latin American sex trafficking victim.
"I told my agents we're going to treat this little girl like she was our own daughter. We're going to hunt this little girl down and get her out of this trailer," he said, according to the report.
After she was found, "I told her we'd been in touch with her sister and I shook her hand and I just gently led her right out the door," he added.
The offense of trafficking involves "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."
It applies where people have been forced into prostitution; victims do not necessarily need to have been physically moved from one location to another.
Police rescue 24,000 women, children from Chinese human trafficking gangs
In a letter included in the report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted the U.S. would celebrate the 150 th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in the coming months and said that "governments across the globe are united in this struggle."
"Yet, despite the adoption of treaties and laws prohibiting slavery, the evidence nevertheless shows that many men, women, and children continue to live in modern-day slavery through the scourge of trafficking in persons," she added.
Clinton moved by girl's 'pride'
Clinton said earlier this year she had visited a trafficking shelter in Kolkata, India.
"The young women and girls there had suffered terrible
abuse. But with their own drive and determination and with the help of some remarkable women and men they were getting their lives back on track," she said.
"I met one girl, about ten years old, who asked if I wanted to see the martial arts she had learned at the shelter. As she performed her routine, I was impressed with the skills she had learned; but more than that, I was moved by the pride in her eyes – her sense of accomplishment and strength," she added.
The Secretary of State said trafficking people deprived people of the "most basic freedom" – being able to determine their own future.
"A century and a half after the promise of freedom was fought and won in the United States, freedom remains elusive for millions," Clinton said. "We know that this struggle will not truly be won until all those who toil in modern slavery, like those girls in Kolkata, are free to realize their God-given potential."
US adds Syria to human trafficking blacklist, recognizes efforts of Myanmar, Venezuela, others
by Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday added Syria to the list of countries that could face U.S. sanctions for not doing enough to combat trafficking. Sixteen other nations were included among those not even making significant efforts to meet minimum standards, while Venezuela and Myanmar were among those removed from the group of worst offenders.
In its annual Trafficking in Persons report, the State Department said that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime fails to investigate and punish offenses or offer protective services to victims. It says thousands of women, from countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Somalia, have been trafficked into forced labor and prostitution in Syria after being falsely recruited by employment agencies as domestic servants.
Traffickers in Syria particularly prey on Syria's large Iraqi refugee population, said the report, which analyzed conditions in more than 180 nations, including the United States, and ranked them in terms of their effectiveness in fighting what many term modern-day slavery. The State Department says up to 27 million men, women and children may live in such bondage around the world.
“These victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of what kind of inhumane treatment we are still capable of as human beings,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “Some are lured to another country with false promises of a good job or opportunities for their families. Others can be exploited right where they grew up, where they now live.”
Seventeen countries in all were included in the worst-offending group of countries not reaching minimum international standards to fight the scourge, which claims mainly women and children as victims, and not making any significant effort to do so. That's down from 23 last year. More than 40 other nations were placed on a watch list that could lead to sanctions unless their records improve.
Venezuela still doesn't fully comply with minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, but is now making an important effort, the report said. President Hugo Chavez's government has clashed repeatedly with Washington over the last decade, but it was commended it for strengthening anti-trafficking laws, undertaking public information campaigns and training law enforcement and borders personnel in prevention.
“However, prosecution and conviction efforts appeared to remain weak, and specialized victim services were lacking,” said the report, which included Venezuela on the U.S. watch list. The efforts of Nicaragua, another Latin America country with a leftist government that has been at odds with the U.S., also were recognized. It joined the list of countries in full compliance.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was urged to continue with its “unprecedented steps” to address trafficking after long being considered among the world's worst respecter of labor rights.
Luis CdeBaca, U.S. ambassador-at-large for human trafficking issues, said Burma's status was upgraded after the government repealed an antiquated law that had been used to justify forced labor and replaced it with a law expressly forbidding the practice. The government made progress identifying and helping victims, and a national trafficking hotline introduced in September has led to the rescue of 57 victims.
Nevertheless, the report said many Burmese men, women and children traveling abroad for work are subjected to forced labor or sex trafficking, as trafficking by both private individuals and government officials “continues to be a significant problem.” The military conscripts child soldiers and is the leading perpetrator of forced labor within the country, particularly in conflict-prone ethnic areas.
Beyond Syria, the blacklist includes Algeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
U.S. NATO ally Portugal was dropped from the top tier into the list of countries not quite reaching minimum standards, while Israel was promoted to the top group.
Human Traffickers Will No Longer Be Able to Keep Their Profits Under New Legislation
by Erin Sherbert
It only makes sense that human traffickers convicted of enslaving young girls should have to pay -- literally. A new state bill passed through committee today would force those criminals to give up any profits they make from trafficking minors in California.
San Francisco Senator Mark Leno
authored the bill, which passed the Assembly 's Public Safety Committee, expanding on the current list of assets traffickers must forfeit upon conviction. What's more, those diverted finances will go toward helping victims of human trafficking, providing them with treatment and other much-needed services, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris.
"Sex trafficking of minors is a horrendous crime that is driven by the prospect of lucrative profits," Leno said in a statement. "This legislation aims to deprive convicted criminals of the financial resources and assets that would allow them to continue luring young people into the sex trade."
was passed unanimously, and is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.
In addition to the bill, Harris, who has made human trafficking a priority
since assuming her post as attorney general -- is sponsoring a bill of her own that will require more victims of human trafficking to get restitution. That bill will be heard on June 26. She also announced this week plans to work with Yahoo! to combat human trafficking as it has migrated to the Internet.
Group Hopes to Increase Sex Trafficking Awareness
A group called AA Aware! aims to put more eyes on the problem in Anne Arundel County
by Elizabeth Janney
Haven't heard about sex trafficking? That's about to change.
A group in Anne Arundel County called AA Aware! held its inaugural meeting on Monday in Severn.
Through a $10,000 grant from Anne Arundel Women's Giving Together, AA Aware! will educate the county about sex trafficking through forums, videos and other materials over the next year.
Approximately 50 people gathered at Heritage Community Church in Severn to learn more about the issue, including law enforcement from the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
It's difficult to point to numbers that indicate the scope of the problem, according to officials.
“Prostitution doesn't always get prosecuted—it will often get dropped along the way and related crimes of assault, battery or theft [remain]," said Jeanne Allert, of the Maryland Rescue and Restore Coalition, which helped get money to fund the group.
As an example, Allert said that a prostitute may get cheated out of her money and assault the man who doesn't pay her. The incident would be reported by police as an assault rather than prostitution charge.
“You see a lot of that,” said a detective with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. "They're arrested for a variety of other crimes and it's only through interviewing them that we learn they were prostituted out."
It's hard to quantify how much human trafficking is actually going on, he explained, but said it is definitely present.
"I can tell you from interviewing these girls extensively, Baltimore is one of the top five cities in the country [for prostitution]," said the detective.
Officials explained that "Baltimore" refers to the Baltimore metropolitan area, which includes anywhere in driving distance, from Baltimore to Howard and Anne Arundel counties. And in Anne Arundel, the detective outlined the pockets where different types of issues arise.
"BWI is where Internet trafficking occurs; and we have Brooklyn, where you see girls walking the street; and Annapolis and Fort Meade are unique because of the amount of people," he said.
Movement is a key component of human trafficking, keeping victims disoriented so they cannot ask for help.
“A pimp will not house them in the area where they work,” said the detective. “That's what makes Laurel, Annapolis and some of the smaller hotel clusters so viable for an operation like this.”
Since the victims are not in one area for very long, AA Aware! aims to educate the citizenry in Anne Arundel County so that people can identify what is going on below the surface of a situation.
“The vast majority of the tips … come from just average citizens, just good Samaritans who are saying, ‘Something just doesn't seem to be right, that salon doesn't seem to be a salon,'” said Allert.
Citizens should report anything suspicious to police.
“Those tips can be incredibly important for law enforcement at all levels," she said. "You can be the eyes and ears to help deal with this.”
AA Aware! will meet monthly. Its next get-together will be July 16 at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park.
The Importance of Media Literacy in Preventing Child Sex Trafficking
by Holly Smith
WASHINGTON , DC, June 19 2012 - I was trafficked when I was fourteen years old. It was the summer between eighth grade middle school and ninth grade high school. The man who trafficked me convinced me to run away from home with stories about Hollywood. He said he could help me become a model, an actress, or a songwriter, and that he could introduce me to famous people. Some say that a 14-year-old is old enough to understand that wasn't a reality.
I beg to differ.
The world created by the media for young teens is saturated with stories about celebrities. The idea of being famous or becoming famous is pushed on almost all types of media. From 16 and Pregnant to American Idol , teens are watching girls transform from being regular kids to becoming household names. And these are the names deemed to be important and worthy enough to be mentioned on teen-driven media like MTV, the radio, and fashion magazines.
Traffickers are fully aware of what popular culture is telling your teens. This is why my top prevention strategies for child trafficking include media literacy programs in intermediate, middle, and high schools.
Role Models. Today's role models for children and teens consist mainly of movie actors, mainstream musicians, and other television celebrities. This encourages children to aim for one goal: fame. Traffickers will entice young girls and boys with false promises for Hollywood stardom. I strongly encourage educators to promote local young role models via posters, class trips, and invitations for speaking engagements inside the classroom. Although many role models are entertainers, they can also be involved in sports, nutrition, advocacy, volunteering, politics, entrepreneurship, and other areas which promote critical thinking and positivity. To help children understand these effects from advertising, try showing Nicole Clark's documentary, Cover Girl Culture .
Advertising. Traffickers recognize that, from billboards to commercials to magazines, advertisers are telling your children that they must have a certain product or line of clothing in order to be cool. Those kids who can't afford these products often feel less worthy, leading to decreased self-value and depression. If children are shown the process behind marketing, then they will better understand that a celebrity or model is getting paid to tell them that they need this or that product. Traffickers capitalize on a child's need to feel accepted, and they often entice them with trendy clothes and shoes. An excellent documentary for this topic is Adriana Barbaro & Jeremy Earp documentary, Consuming Kids: the Commercialization of Childhood.
Unrealistic Beauty. Advertisements are saturated with images of women with impossibly thin figures and impossibly perfect complexions. The fact is most of these models sit through hours of make-up applications and hair treatments; plus, the final pictures are typically photo-shopped to shave off inches and to conceal imperfections. Without educating them about it, children and teens don't understand this. And those who are left in the dark often compare themselves to these unrealistic images, often leading to low self-esteem. This is the reason traffickers often romance teens and preteens with affirmations about their beauty. Educators can counteract this culture by showing Jean Kilbourne's documentary, Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women and by hanging posters of role models in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Objectification and Self-Objectification. Advertisements often show women as objects. From convenient store posters of bathing-suit clad models toting beer bottles to television commercials of seemingly nude women promoting a webhosting company, women are constantly shown as sexual objects. This overload of imagery causes girls to self-objectify, meaning they begin to view themselves as objects to display and critique. Self-objectification leads to a myriad of health issues including eating disorders, body shame, and depression. Educating children about the negative effects of this culture is the only way to expose the marketing industry and to empower young people to overcome the devices of deception used by enterprise tycoons. Jean Kilbourne and Nicole Clark both address this topic in their documentaries.
Oversexualization of Girls. The ages of objectified girls in the media are getting younger and younger. What this tells young girls is that they must have sex appeal. A sex trafficker once said that he didn't have to groom his victims because society did that for him. I can personally attest to this. The media is saturated with messages about sex, from rap music lyrics to Abercrombie & Fitch advertisements. Educators should have open discussions with students about the meanings behind music lyrics and advertising images. I highly recommend assigning M. Gigi's Durham's book, The Lolita Effect, or watching Elizabeth Massie's documentary, What a Girl Wants.
Violence against Women . Scenes containing sexual images are often rife with violence against women, especially in music videos. Not only does this lead young women to accept, and even expect, a certain level of violence, but it leads young men to also believe that a certain level of violence is acceptable. Educators must have open discussions with students about the meanings behind music videos, lyrics, and scenes in popular movies. I highly recommend that college professors show Sut Jhally's documentary, Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video .
To order the above-mentioned documentaries and others, please visit the Media Education Foundation and Women Make Movies.
Holly Austin Smith is a survivor advocate, author, and speaker.
Texan who saved daughter won't face murder rap
by Paul J. Weber and Ramit Plushnick-Masti
SHINER, Texas — A young Texas father who beat to death with his fists a man molesting his 5-year-old daughter will not be charged, authorities said Tuesday as they released a dramatic 911 tape of the dad frantically pleading for help before the hired ranch helper died.
A Lavaca County grand jury Tuesday declined to indict the 23-year-old father in the death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47. Prosecutors said the grand jury reached the same conclusion as police after reviewing the evidence: The father was authorized to use deadly force to protect his daughter.
Flores was killed June 9 on a family ranch so remote that the father is heard profanely screaming at a dispatcher who couldn't locate the property.
“Come on! This guy is going to die on me!” the father yells. “I don't know what to do!”
The Associated Press is not identifying the father in order to protect the daughter's identity. The AP does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The tense, nearly five-minute 911 call begins with the father saying that he “beat up” a man found raping his daughter. The father grows increasingly frazzled, cursing and crying into the phone so loudly at times that the call often becomes inaudible.
At one point, the father tells the dispatcher he's going to put the man in his truck and drive him to a hospital before sheriff's deputies finally arrive.
“He's going to die!” the father screams. “He's going to [expletive] die!”
V' Anne Huser, the father's attorney, sternly told reporters several times during a news conference at the Lavaca County courthouse that neither the father nor the family will ever give interviews.
“He's a peaceable soul,” Ms. Huser said. “He had no intention to kill anybody that day.”
The attack happened on the family's ranch off a quiet, two-lane county road between the farming towns of Shiner and Yoakum. Authorities say a witness saw Flores “forcibly carrying” the girl into a secluded area and then scrambled to find the father. Running toward his daughter's screams, investigators said, the father pulled Flores off his child and “inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area.”
Flores was not born in the U.S. but was here legally with a green card, authorities said. They said the family had hired him before to help with horses on the ranch.
Although the father was never arrested, the killing was investigated as a homicide. Ms. Huser, the Lavaca County sheriff and the district attorney did not take questions during the news conference.
Across the street from the ranch, neighbor Michael James Veit, 48, described the father as easygoing and polite down to always first asking permission to search his property for animals that had wandered off the ranch, even though the families have long known each other.
“They won't find a jury pool here that will convict him,” Mr. Veit said.
Shiner, a town of about 2,000 people about 80 miles west of San Antonio, revolves around the Spoetzl Brewery that makes Shiner, one of the nation's best-selling independent beers. Even gas stations here sell it on tap.
Flores‘ death is only the sixth homicide the sheriff's department has investigated in the last eight years, and half of those killings involved one triple-murder. Shiner residents boast their squeaky-clean image on a highway welcome sign: “The Cleanest Little City in Texas.”
Murray man who sexually abused children gets 35 years in prison Courts
Defendant asks for treatment and forgiveness
by Brooke Adams
A man who sexually abused a child he got to know while serving as a mentor for a youth service organization will spend 35 years in a federal prison and be on supervised probation for the rest of his life.
Antonio Cardenas, 32, pleaded guilty in February to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped other counts of aggravated sexual abuse, production of child pornography and distribution of child pornography and agreed to recommend he spend 30 years, rather than life, in prison.
But U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said during a sentencing hearing Monday that Cardenas deserved more time behind bars given the nature of his crimes. Waddoups said Cardenas was a victim of "early sexualization" and "repeated incidents" that "perhaps placed in him urges that are not normal."
But the judge said Cardenas' longer sentence was warranted given the trust the family and victim had placed in him. The judge said Cardenas showed little regard for his victim by his conduct and added to the damage by distributing images of the abuse online. He also noted that a psychosexual exam shows Cardenas continues to be at risk of offending; he'll get sex offender treatment during his incarceration.
The victim's mother told the judge that the family met Cardenas in 2004 after she sought a mentor for her then 7-year-old child, who was being teased at school and struggling because of a learning disability, through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. At first, it seemed a good fit, she said — so much so that in 2005 the family began inviting Cardenas on camping trips and other activities with them. But beginning in third grade the child began acting out violently at school, behavior that continued through sixth grade.
That eventually led to the discovery that Cardenas had not only raped the child, but filmed the acts and posted them on the Internet, where they circulated globally. Some of the sexual abuse and filming occurred when Cardenas traveled with the child to Las Vegas; he also enticed two children to engage in sexual acts while he filmed them.
The victim, now a teenager, also addressed the court, speaking softly while weeping and then briefly leaving the courtroom. A sibling spoke about the sense of betrayal, guilt and anger the family has had to deal with because of Cardenas' actions. The sibling and the victim's mother told the judge Cardenas has blamed the family and police for causing the victim's pain by prosecuting the crime.
"This man clearly has no remorse for the pain he has caused" my child, the mother said.
Cardenas sexually abused at least four other victims, including children within his extended family.
Cardenas told the judge he couldn't imagine the pain he'd caused his victims and their families. "It was choices that were made and now I've got to pay the consequences of those choices," he said, adding that he hoped the families would some day be able to forgive him.
Police campaign targets prevention of child abuse
by Charlene Sharpe
BERLIN -- Members of the Berlin Police Department are working with the Child Advocacy Center of Worcester County to educate the community about child abuse.
The Berlin Police Department is launching an Enough Abuse campaign in Worcester County aimed at preventing child sexual abuse through teaching and building support in the community. The effort comes as the Child Advocacy Center received a $5,000 grant from The Family Tree for community education.
"Once you're a victim it carries through your entire life," said Berlin Pfc. Jessica Collins. "It never goes away."
She said she and Senior Officer Janine Jerscheid had learned a lot about child abuse and how it could be prevented at a recent training seminar and were hoping to put that knowledge to use in Worcester County, as child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, was increasingly in the news. Their effort will be aided by Wendy Myers, director of the Cricket Center, Worcester County's child advocacy organization, in Berlin.
At the Cricket Center, staff conduct in-house interviews with children who are suspected to be abuse victims, conduct physical examinations and offer therapy. Myers said she was anxious to help the police officers get the information to the community.
"We'd like to talk to groups," she said. "We're really making the effort to get out there."
Collins and Jerscheid said they'd be using a multi-part curriculum to educate community members. It would encourage people to talk to the police and support the victim. Specific advice would be given to different audiences, Jerscheid said, explaining that one aspect of the program would be geared toward people who worked with toddlers while another would be geared toward teenagers. She said sexual abuse was a "silent epidemic" that affected as many as one in four girls and one in six boys.
Collins said that between March 2010 and February 2011, there had been 7,210 investigations into child sexual abuse in Maryland. In Worcester County, there were 83 such investigations in 2011. In 2012 there have already been close to 50.
"I know it's an uncomfortable topic but it's really something we need to talk about as adults," Myers said.
Council member Lisa Hall voiced her support of the initiative after it was presented to the mayor and council. She said more people needed to be aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse.
"People care more about DUIs than the molestation of our children," she said. "I'm a firm believer that we're not protecting our youth."
Mayor Gee Williams recommended that the officers set up an information booth at certain town events.
"It's a captive audience and it's constantly changing," he said.
DCF expects 30,000 more child abuse calls a year under new law
by Alex Hill
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This week, as chilling testimony in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case gets underway, here in Florida the Department of Children and Families is busily preparing for a new law to go into effect.
Come October, Florida will have one of the toughest child abuse reporting laws in the nation.
"What we're saying to the public is - if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected by anybody contact us," said DCF spokesman John Harrell.
Current state law only requires mandatory reporting of child abuse if the abuser is a parent or a caregiver. But once the "Protection of Vulnerable Persons" law takes effect, DCF will be able to get involved no matter who the suspect may be. The agency is projecting this new flexibility will spur a major influx of calls to their abuse hotline.
"Based on our research, with this new law we're expecting about 30,000 more calls," Harrell said.
The DCF abuse hotline already gets approximately 400,000 calls a year. To handle the increase, the agency is hiring 47 additional staffers statewide.
The new law will also strengthen penalties, from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, for those who knowingly fail to report child abuse.
State universities and colleges could face a $1 million fine.
"All these changes are going to help keep children safer in this state," said Harrell.
According to Harrell, the majority of child abuse cases nationwide go unreported.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected you can report it by calling DCF's hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. You can also submit an online report at www.dcf.state.fl.us.
Hasidic child sex abuse allegations
Areas of Brooklyn, N.Y. feel like a trip back in time. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities live a lifestyle that mirrors their ancestors from centuries ago. The dress, hair, language, education, food, values, prayers, traditions and community structure have been passed down and preserved through many generations and across oceans. All of those are an expression of the residents' profound faith in God.
What is not visible are shameful secrets: Child sex abuse scandals have been making headlines for years and bringing unwanted attention to a group bent on privacy.
For Hasidim, every waking act is defined by the laws of the Torah; they depend on the teachings of rabbis to guide them in all parts of their day. Influence from the secular world threatens to invade their insular community.
Now revered leaders of the community are accused of protecting child predators and punishing the victims who dare to speak out about what was done to them, all to avoid outside involvement.
CNN's Gary Tuchman talked with Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg who is trying to change that attitude. He has created a hotline for victims and their families. As a result, he received death threats. He told Tuchman, “The rabbis feel very hurt that this is what's happening in the community so they want to push it under the cover, so that it shouldn't come out.”
Crimes against children by adults who claim to live the word of God are not new. Many religions have demons, and the ultra-Orthodox Jews are no exception. Most deny it could happen in their midst. Child rape and molestation don't fit their pious image.
In Brooklyn, there are allegations of abuse in schools, homes and religious settings. Several boys say they were assaulted in a ritual bath called a mikvah. For all branches of Judaism, the mikvah is the ultimate symbol of purity. Some Orthodox men go there before each Sabbath. Under the guise of observance, the accused find their victims where they are most vulnerable and trusting – a heinous strategy.
Still some victims and their families choose to bury the assaults or seek redress in a rabbinic court to avoid the alternative: Rabbis losing authority, bringing disgrace to the community, and suffering the backlash of friends and neighbors.
Pearl Engelman says her son was repeatedly molested by a school official as a young boy 20 years ago. After she found out about the abuse, she reported it to religious leaders but there was little sympathy for her family. “We stand for truth, for justice. And the cover-up is deeply painful to me,” she told Tuchman. The statute of limitations has now expired.
The Hasidim in Brooklyn are a powerful voting block. That's why District Attorney Charles Hynes is accused by victims' rights advocates of going easy on alleged Hasidic child molesters and rapists. He's been elected six times, and is accused of appeasing the rabbis in order to get their support and keep his position.
Hynes strongly denies the allegations. In 2009, he established a program and a hotline to help victims called Kol Tzedek (“Voice of Justice” in Hebrew). But critics are outraged because he refuses to disclose the names of the men arrested through the initiative. The Jewish Daily Forward's request for the records filed under the state's Freedom of Information Law was denied.
Hynes claims that revealing the names of the suspects could lead to the community identifying the victims and intimidating them. That decision raises concerns about the rights of the public, the legality of shielding the men, and the DA's motives.
Tuchman asked Hynes how he reconciles instituting a policy for the Hassidim, but no other groups, like the Roman Catholic Church. He says because “there's never been any intimidation by priests.”
In a May 16 op-ed, Hynes wrote:
Since the inception of Kol Tzedek, we have made 95 arrests; 53 cases have been adjudicated, with a conviction rate of 72%.
I stand by these numbers.
The statistics show how absurd it is to suggest that we cover up, downplay or in any way “give a break” to sex offenders in the Orthodox Jewish community. Like any other defendants, they are often arrested in public by the police, and their court appearances are open and available to the public as part of the public record. I welcome scrutiny of these cases.
The suggestion that I have ever condoned the practice of first seeking a rabbi's advice before an Orthodox Jewish community member reports sexual abuse is a distortion of my record. I have never suggested that someone seeking the advice of a rabbi is then relieved of the obligation of reporting sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities.
While some may persist in protecting the community ahead of justice for the young victims, there are signs of progress. On June 10, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews held a meeting in Crown Heights to talk about combating child sex abuse. Hynes was on the panel. In some communities, leaders have said anyone with knowledge of abuse should go to the police and do not need to talk first with a rabbi. It will take the courage of the victims and the compassion of the community to make lasting change.
Chicago: A survivor of gay sex trafficking speaks up about his ordeal
This is Part I of a two part series on LGBT youth sex trafficking in Chicago.
WASHINGTON , DC, June 18, 2012 - Sex trafficking victims are not just teenage girls from rural villages in Thailand. A young American boy is just as vulnerable to sexual slavery as Thai youths. Today, a survivor of gay youth sex trafficking unlocks his past about sexual slavery of the American Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth in Chicago.
When Sam's father found out that he was gay, he threw him out of the house. Having nowhere else to turn, Sam loaded up his car to leave for Chicago. When he arrived in “Boy's Town", a hub of sex industry for homosexuals in the city, his first pimp snuck up behind him, put a rag laced with sedatives over his mouth to knock him out, and literally dragged him off the street,
When Sam woke up, his pimp and another man were urinating in his mouth. The other man was holding Sam's hands around Sam's neck. His pimp later introduced Sam to cocaine by blowing it in his mouth and forcing him to ingest it.
His pimp then forced Sam into prostitution in Chicago and Michigan. His pimp made $400 to $500 a day from Sam's prostitution, but Sam never saw a dime of it.
Approximately a week after his abduction, Sam escaped his first pimp, but his slavery continued. When Sam needed a way to support himself, he responded to an ad for an escort service in a Gay Chicago Magazine.
There, Sam found his second pimp, Cal.
Cal ran a gay escort agency and had an exclusive and limited client list. Cal later told Sam that an exclusive cliental kept him away from law enforcement's radar. Most of Cal's clients were upper middle class married men. Sam estimates that Cal made over $200,000 a year by prostituting 20 boys.
LGBT homeless youth are much more vulnerable to sexual exploitation than other homeless youths. Though only 20% of homeless youth are LGBT, 58.7% of them are exploited through sexual prostitution. This is a much higher rate than 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth that are at risk of sexual exploitation on the street.
Studies show that many LGBT youth are victims of molestation themselves. In three different studies, 60%, 64%, and 61% of the homosexual respondents claimed that their first partner was someone older who initiated the sexual experience.
In Britain, a nationwide random survey on LGBT youth shows that 35% of boys and 9% of girls said adult homosexuals approached them for sex. In another study of over 400 London LGBT teens, half of the boys said that their first partner were 20 years or older.
In the U.S., 37% of males and 9 % of females reported having been approached for homosexuals for sex. In addition 65% of the youth respondents said that someone older initially invited them into homosexual sex.
The law is far from justice when it comes to tackling exploiters like Sam's pimps and his high profile clients. Currently, Illinois law says that first time buyer of sex or a pimp is a class A misdemeanor. Subsequent violation of buying sex and pimping a man or woman is a Class 4 Felony. A class A misdemeanor is punishable for up to one year in jail and fined up to $2500. A Class 4 felony carries fines up to $25000 and up to $50,000 for corporations.
Sam's pimps made minimum $140,000 and maximum $468,000 off of exploiting youth like Sam. It is a no brainer that pimps will continue exploit youths like Sam.
Services and shelters are rarely available in the U.S. nationwide to care for someone like Sam. Sam hopes that his story will prevent youth from entering prostitution and change lawmakers and the society to take sex trafficking and prostitution of youth, including LGBT teens, more seriously.
A 'Crime in the Dark': Human Trafficking
Howard County Advocacy Group Against Sex Trafficking works to shed light on dark issue
by Elizabeth Janney
Keeping tabs on sex trafficking is a challenge Maryland is working to address.
“Currently, there is no streamlined method of collecting data for human trafficking incidents, victims or suspects in Maryland,” Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a recent report on the issue.
The governor presented the report at Maryland's first forum on human trafficking last month in Catonsville.
During a June workshop about the issue in Howard County, more than 20 people showed up to see how they could help through the volunteer organization Howard County Advocacy Group Against Sex Trafficking (HoCoAGAST).
HoCoAGAST formed in 2011 “because we were ‘aghast' to realize this modern day slavery and exploitation exists for millions in the world and for an estimated 300,000 sex and labor slaves in the U.S.,” said co-founder Judy Colligan.
“This thing exists in Howard County,” said Tahirra Mussarat Hussein, who identified herself as the U.N. ambassador to Pakistan, at the HoCoAGAST meeting.
Agencies like Department of Justice and the National Institute for Missing and Exploited Children have estimated how many children are at risk or involved in trafficking, ranging from 100,000 to 300,000.
“By extrapolating other numbers, like how many children get arrested for prostitution, how many show up in domestic violence centers repeatedly…it's been suggested that the number could be in the 200,00 to 300,000 range” nationally, said Jeanne Allert, chair of the Maryland Rescue and Restore Coalition, in an interview with Patch at HoCoAGAST's June meeting. “Then when you talk to the feds, they say that's incredibly conservative.”
She said numbers are difficult to pin down due to the nature of the problem.
“It's a lot like saying, ‘How many people beat their wife?'” said Allert. “This is a crime in the dark. This is a crime that goes unreported.”
HoCoAGAST's growing membership has been raising awareness of the issue by lobbying in Annapolis for legislation to protect victims and to crack down on criminals. It is also organizing forums to educate the community, including three last year at Howard Community College.
Joining other organizations, like the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, HoCoAGAST has provided additional perspective on the issue and is attracting others to its membership. Nonprofits at HoCoAGAST's recent meeting included Amnesty International of Baltimore and Kiwanis Club of Ellicott City.
HoCoAGAST has also participated in trainings with the Howard County Police Department, which reports human trafficking exists on the streets and behind storefronts.
“In 2011, dozens of arrests were made on prostitution, and one of those arrests included a runaway from Prince George's County,” said Cpl. Kris Knutson, of the Howard County Police Department, at a forum this spring hosted by HoCoAGAST. “She had been missing for about four months. You can only imagine what happened in those four months.”
Police in Montgomery County found that massage parlors were "havens for human trafficking," according to The Sentinel, and Knutson said Howard County has probed into the massage industry as well.
“In 2010 we conducted four investigations on massage parlors. These investigations led to the criminal arrests of these individuals," said Knutson. "They seem to be the hardest ones."
There is not only a language barrier but also a cultural one that makes protecting the victims difficult in massage parlor "fronts," said Allert.
To combat those obstacles, Allert is now working with Chinese Victim Advocates, a pilot program in Howard and Baltimore counties in which churches in the Chinese-American community reach out to victims.
Organizing and partnering with others is important to creating change, according to victim advocates. As such, the AA Aware group is forming in Anne Arundel County to collaborate on combating human trafficking, with support from organizations like the Maryland Rescue and Restore Coalition, which Allert said hopes to model it on HoCoAGAST. The first meeting of AA Aware was on June 18 in Severn, and approximately 50 people attended.
Community comes together to fight sex trafficking
by Natasha Sweatte
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
Since more sex trafficking cases in Lubbock have surfaced, more people have stepped up to help.
Whether it's Legislators like Rep. John Frullo, state programs like the Rape Crisis Center or just concerned individuals, many want to learn more about the world's 2 nd largest criminal industry.
When Kale York went overseas on a mission trip with YWAM "Youth With a Mission", he attended a Muy Thai kickboxing fight. What he witnessed changed his life forever.
"They brought two women up to be auctioned out to the highest bidder," said York. "It's wrong and it's terrible."
Many concerned locals have banned together for a weekly workshop on sex trafficking. Members of the group are going over a course that includes the handbook "Hands that Heal." The workshop differentiates between human trafficking and human smuggling, among other misconceptions surrounded by the industry which generates $12 million annually.
"We can do something about this, we can work towards the change of laws and just work towards the best way of dealing with this," said Sex Trafficking Abolitionist, Peggy Galanos. Galanos is just one concerned citizen attending the workshop. She hopes to be better equipped to help educate others about the modern day slavery.
Megan Lee Norman, 20, was one of those victims. She ran away when she was 15 and became stuck in a dangerous predicament. It was a shocking revelation to the community when Norman and Chanze Lamount Pringler, 25, were arrested after being implicated in a prostitution operation in Lubbock that advertised the prostitution services of Norman and a teenage female.
"I also thank God everyday for saving me, because it was either prison or death," said Norman.
A big misconception is that all prostitutes actually want to sell themselves. Megan Lee Norman is one prime example of how difficult it is for victims to leave their situation. She shares the dangers she faced when she tried to get out of the modern day slavery. "At the time, I didn't even realize it, I didn't realize it until I got older and started getting abused and couldn't get out of it. It took me getting incarcerated," said Norman.
In addition to the mental abuse, Pringler was physically abusive towards Norman. "I had scars, marks, bruises, scratches and burns all over my body. My attitude changed and I was depressed all the time."
Norman said he threatened her life if she tried to leave. "A lot of these dangerous men are emotional predators. They have a sixth sense about how women operate," said Norman.
The local task force has worked on their community needs assessment survey since October. "We pulled people together from all walks of life," said Lubbock Rape Crisis Center Executive Director, Kim Stark.
The next step is to work with co-founder of Forensic Nurse Staffing of West Texas Dr. Carrie Edwards, to go over the specifics of the questionnaire. Stark says the task force wants to identify all factors before they provide the data to lawmakers, such as Rep. John Frullo.
Members of the task force will travel to Houston Tuesday to visit the Freedom Place, where victims of sex trafficking are in recovery. "They are also scheduled to meet with Houston's YMCA, who also has an effective human trafficking program."You don't want to duplicate services, of course, but you want to see if someone has done it before and are doing a great job at it. Then let's figure out a way to mirror what they're doing," said Stark.
Norman is now in the process of turning her life around and resides at the Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca. Norman is working on a memoir. She wants to share her story to help prevent girls from getting stuck in an abusive situation. She also offers advice to those already in enslavement.
She is in the process of writing a memoir, entitled "You Are Not Alone." Norman is also seeking out other training, such as public speaking, so she can be an advocate and spokesperson to help assist victims. She wants to share her story to help prevent girls from getting stuck in an abusive situation. She also offers advice to those already in enslavement. Norman shares with parents what potential warning signs to look out for. Click here to read Norman's full story: http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/kcbd/news/6-18-2012Scan.pdf
Her projected release date is August 4, 2015.
York will be attending film school in Australia in August. He feels compelled to educate others about what he saw firsthand, to help put an end to sex trafficking.
Galanos is in the process of writing a book about girls who have been sexually exploited. If you have been victimized and want to share your story, you can send an email to email@example.com. Galanos said submissions can remain anonymous.
Jerry Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts of sexual abuse
Jerry Sandusky, Penn State's former assistant football coach, faces 52 criminal counts of sexual abuse against 10 boys over a 15-year period. An indictment of this magnitude would be a tragedy for any organization and these charges have been devastating to Penn State, where the football program has been known for all-American values of honor, integrity and hope.
If the allegations are true, Sandusky deeply violated those values. Penn State may have also violated those values if, as alleged, they failed to report these sexual abuse allegations to authorities.
It would be easy to end the story with the firing of key university staff and a quick conviction of Sandusky. It would be easy to say we should always report suspicions of abuse, even if we are unsure what really happened or whether the actions were sexually abusive. It isn't that simple.
Telling someone you have been abused, reporting suspicions of abuse and talking about child abuse all take courage. In the wake of all that has appeared in the media, we must take a deeper look at our responsibilities.
This tragedy is a wake-up call to every parent, family and organization that works with youth. I hope organizations will educate themselves, staff, families and children about child sexual abuse and what they must do to respond to sexual abuse. I hope they will implement effective screening tools and put policies in place that clearly define what constitutes inappropriate touching and conduct. I hope all of us learn from Penn State and ask questions to help put effective policies in place before any child is harmed.
All adults need to be aware of – and talk about – the risks of child sexual abuse. Let's use the Sandusky trial as a call to action and begin conversations about how we can make communities safer for children and teens.
The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara offers Stewards of Children, the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors while starting the conversation about child sexual abuse in our community. This training is available to all community organizations, youth organizations and caregivers in Western New York that want to work to prevent child sexual abuse.
To schedule the Stewards of Children training for your organization, contact the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara at (716) 285-0045.
For additional resources, visit:
Sandusky defense begins; jury could start deliberating Thursday
by GENARO C. ARMAS and MARK SCOLFORO BELLEFONTE
Friends and ex-colleagues of Jerry Sandusky testified Monday on behalf of the former Penn State assistant football coach as his defense sought to counter prosecution witnesses' claims that he sexually abused boys in the shower on Penn State's campus.
The testimony came on what was a truncated day in a trial that has moved at a brisk pace since testimony began last week. Judge John Cleland told jurors that the defense could rest its case by Wednesday, which would mean closing arguments could come Thursday morning.
"This is all very tentative, you understand," he told the 12 jurors and four alternates, adding that since they will be sequestered in a hotel while they deliberate they should "pack appropriately."
It was still unclear how Sandusky's defense team, led by attorney Joe Amendola, would proceed Tuesday. After the proceedings ended for the day, when asked if he would testify on his own behalf, Sandusky looked an Associated Press reporter in the eye and said nothing.
Cleland told jurors of the possible timeline after three defense witnesses testified that Sandusky was an admired local figure because of his ties to Penn State and the outreach of The Second Mile, the charity for at-risk youth that the defendant founded in 1977.
Former Penn State assistant coach Dick Anderson, who worked with Sandusky for several years, testified that he and other members of the football staff were present when Sandusky brought young boys into the team's showers.
He said he never witnessed anything inappropriate.
"If Jerry would bring someone in with The Second Mile, they had been working out, for whatever reason they came in, it was not uncommon ... with the other coaches in the shower as well," Anderson said.
Anderson, who coached at Penn State from 1970 to 1983 and again from 1990 to 2011, said adults and children often shower together at gyms. He noted, for example, that it's not unusual for him to be in the showers with boys at the YMCA.
Anderson took the stand after prosecutors presented their 21st, and final, witness, a woman whose son said Sandusky raped him in the basement of the coach's home.
The woman said her son, labeled Victim 9 in court records, told her that Sandusky called him late one night after the first round of charges were filed in November, asking if he'd be a character witness. But the next month, prosecutors brought charges against Sandusky, alleging he'd had forced anal sex with the boy.
The woman said her son's laundry would often be short of underwear and he would claim he had thrown it away because he had an accident. Last week, the teen said Sandusky forced him to have anal sex that made him bleed.
"I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry," she said. "There was never any underwear, any socks ... that was odd to me."
Also Monday, prosecutors withdrew one count against Sandusky, saying the statute he was charged under did not apply at the time of the alleged illegal contact.
That leaves 51 counts involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span. Sandusky, whose November arrest led to the ouster of Penn State's president and the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, has denied wrongdoing.
During his testimony, Anderson said Sandusky had a "wonderful reputation" in the community.
"He was well thought of in every regard," Anderson said.
He also testified about the busy schedule Penn State coaches kept.
Another former Penn State coach, Booker Brooks, took the stand to vouch for Sandusky's character, as did a State College area political consultant, Brent Pasquinelli, who raised money for The Second Mile. Brooks said Sandusky's reputation was "exemplary, top-notch," while Pasquinelli called Sandusky "a local hero."
Besides Anderson, Brooks and Pasquinelli, three other witnesses testified for the defense Monday: a woman who ran a golf-related charity that one accuser was recommended for by Sandusky, a young man who knew Sandusky through The Second Mile and vouched for his reputation, and a schoolteacher who said Sandusky seemed genuinely interested in helping one of the alleged victims in the case. Each was on the stand for no more than 10 minutes.
A number of potential witnesses could still testify. Along with Sandusky himself, they include his wife, Dottie; an expert who could discuss whether Sandusky has "histrionic personality disorder," as his lawyers have said in court papers; and a physician who spoke with key prosecution witness Mike McQueary the day he alleges he saw Sandusky attack a child in the shower in 2001.
The defense list of potential witnesses also included members of Paterno's family, but it was unclear how they might fit into the defense case or whether they will be called.
Tom Kline, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents one of the accusers, said he was served a defense subpoena on Monday, ordering him to produce a copy of the fee agreement he has made with Victim 5, along with copies of his interactions with reporters.
Lawyers involved in the criminal case are barred from speaking in detail about the case under a gag order imposed by Cleland.
In their questions to prosecution witnesses, the defense has sought to show how the stories of accusers have changed over time, that they were prodded and coached by investigators and prosecutors, that some are motivated to lie by the hopes of a civil lawsuit jackpot, and to paint Sandusky's interactions with children as misunderstood and part of a lifelong effort to help, not victimize, them.
Amendola pressed the accusers for dates and locations, details of their involvement with the kids' charity Sandusky founded, arrests or drug problems, contacts they had with Sandusky in the years since the alleged abuse ended and the terms of representation deals with civil lawyers. At least six said they told incorrect or incomplete stories in early contacts with police, and three testified that some of the details only came back to them in recent years.
Child Abuse Expert: Sandusky Defense Digging Bigger Hole
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) Monday saw the prosecution call one last witness, then rest its case. Time for Joe Amendola to defend the indefensible. I wrote last week that Amendola had a bad day in opening arguments and his cross examination of the first witness.
If anything, Monday might have been worse.
We learned today from the testimony of Richard Anderson and Booker Brooks, both former Penn State coaches, that coaches frequently showered with boys. Per Anderson, he showered with boys as young as 11 “at the YMCA, at Penn State at other places.” Brooks stated that he showered with coaches in high school.
First, what. the. hell? Who does that? I played high school football and was never ever once in a shower with a coach — and I went to a Catholic School!
Second, this testimony really worked in the prosecution's favor. Even if the defense convinces the jury that all this wanton showering is pretty normal, the witnesses clearly delineated that they never engaged in the sexual abuse of those boys, nor did they engage in the wrestling, soaping and grabbing that good ‘ol Jerry already admitted to.
The simple question from the prosecution to the jury will be: If all this showering was common, why did the victims identify only one man as the perpetrator?”
The other line of defense today was that Sandusky was just busy, busy, busy all the time with the Penn State program. Too busy to work out with his young Second Mile charges, too busy to have them over on weekends and rape them, just too damn busy.
Alas for the defense, this theory is so full of holes you could drive a tickle monster through it. Most of the victims discussed abuse that occurred after Sandusky “retired” from Penn State.
At the risk of sounding insensitive to the other victims, the most egregious rape happened six or seven years ago. Victim 9 testified about anal rape and bloody underwear. His mother testified about underwear that was always missing when he came home from Sandusky's rape room. In 2006, he had plenty of time to take his prey under his wing and do with him what he wanted.
Victim 9's rape seems to have been far more frequent and aggressive than some of the other victim's, this suggests that the free time Sandusky had in retirement made it much easier for him to abuse boys. If he was too busy to do all this while he was coaching, it reinforces the credibility of Victim 9 who was abused well after Sandusky stopped coaching.
One final bit. I wrote last week that serial child abusers like Sandusky are not acting, they just don't get that they did wrong.
As if to prove my point, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports reported today that at the lunch break, Sandusky was pouring over dates of Victim 9's testimony. He determined that the kid really started having problems at school after Sandusky was no longer ‘mentoring' him. Sandusky was even heard saying: “See, that was after he was with me.”
Yeah Jerry, we all see it. Too bad that even when you're locked up for the rest of your life, you'll never see what horror you've wrought.
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.
Peru rebels abduct children for fighting, breeding
by Kelly Hearn
LIMA, Peru — Renewed fighting between Peruvian security forces and a remnant faction of the Shining Path guerrillas has brought to light new evidence that the Marxist rebel group is using children as combatants.
In April, a band of rebels, which witnesses said included fighters as young as 13, kidnapped and later released of 40 workers at natural gas company in a jungle hamlet in Peru's central Amazon.
The brazen raid, the first of its kind in years, prompted a crackdown by state forces in Peru's deadly Apurimac and Ene River Valleys, known as the VRAE, where half the country's cocaine is produced.
The raid also has generated more evidence against the notorious terrorist group, which waged an ideological war against the state in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to convert children as young as 7 into combatants and impregnate captured adolescents in order to sustain their ranks.
“We must save these children from the terrorists,” Oscar Valdes, president of Peru's council of ministers, said shortly after the raid.
Mr. Valdes called on nongovernmental organizations to help bring an end to the group's recruitment.
Teresa Carpio, director of the Peruvian branch of the international advocacy group Save the Children, said the Peruvian government has not provided estimates on how many children the group is holding. But based on journalists' accounts, she said, an estimated 80 minors are being detained inside a 12,000-square-mile swath of remote jungle.
Young children indoctrinated
Ms. Carpio said the scale of the problem in Peru pales in comparison with regions such as Africa, but it stands out for another reason.
“The case here in Peru is different from Africa because the Shining Path are using children starting at the ages of 4, 5 and 6,” she said.
A Peruvian television station, Canal N, recently broadcast video of child combatants thought to have been taken in 2010. It shows small children marching through the high jungles, some with machine guns, others with cargo.
Some footage shows soldiers, including some who appear to be preteens, in military formation with AK-47 assault rifles. Children are shown studying communist propaganda. In one shot of a jungle encampment, toddlers are clearly visible.
According to media reports and testimony of children who escaped, the group begins a Marxist education as early as age 2. By 5, many are sent to a military camp. They enter training to become snipers by 11, and the “little pioneers” become full-fledged combatants by 13.
Officials say the children also serve as human shields to prevent airborne strikes from military helicopters.
An additional problem, officials say, is that young captives freed from remote jungle encampments must be resocialized because they have grown up knowing only their captors.
Adolescent females are forced to bear children. In 2011, Peruvian forces rescued a 19-year-old woman and her baby son. She said she was kidnapped when she was 9 years old and forced to have a child.
In April, a pregnant teenager said she was forced to work in jungle cocaine laboratories.
Recent events have opened painful memories. The Shining Path is infamous for its barbaric treatment of children. The Peruvian government's Commission on Truth and Reconciliation has documented evidence that rebels tortured minors to strike fear in villages and sometimes killed them to prevent them from being recruited into the Peruvian army.
Peruvian prosecutor Julio Galindo recently recalled that one of the Shining Path's worst massacres, in the state of Ayacucho in April 1983, involved the killings of 69 villagers who opposed their struggle. A quarter of those, he said, were children.
All in the family
Many of the minors under the Shining Path's control today are said to be children or grandchildren of the group's founders. Much of what is known about them comes from a handful of interviews given to journalists in recent years and from testimonies by captured rebels or their victims who escaped.
In 2010, police arrested Victor Quispe Zaga, the eldest son of Victor Quispe Palomino, a Shining Path leader. He left the rebels after learning that his father had killed his mother. The younger Quispe told authorities of growing up in horrible conditions that compelled him to undergo ideological and military training starting at age 5.
Other minors being held are thought to be Ashaninka native children kidnapped from marginalized jungle communities in the VRAE, which often lack even the most basic government services.
In April, Save the Children and another Peruvian rights group, known as Iprodes, formally requested that the government arrest the rebel group's remaining leaders specifically on charges related to their mistreatment of children.
“No one in Peru, none of the Shining Path leaders, has been charged specifically with the forced recruitment of children,” Ms. Carpio said.
Peru is a signatory to international conventions that give authorities legal grounds for prosecuting those accused of using children as soldiers, said Fabian Novak Talavera, of Peru's Catholic University, a researcher on child combatants.
One Peruvian congressman is pushing a modification to Peru's anti-terrorism legislation to specifically deal with the issue.
Congressman Octavio Salazar has proposed legislation that would impose a minimum 25-year sentence on anyone who captures minors for the purposes of arming and educating them in terrorist practices. Mr. Salazar said he plans to submit a document to congressional leadership this week asking for an urgent debate on his proposal.
“If passed, it will be the first law of its kind in Peru,” he said.
Analysts say the U.S. government has taken no stance on the issue. Ms. Carpio of Save the Children said that when she worked at Amnesty International, she was contacted by a U.S. Embassy official and asked about human rights relating to children.
“But I've had no contact with anyone from the embassy on the matter of child soldiers, nor have I heard of any memorandums between the U.S. and Peru,” she said. “They've said nothing despite the fact that our proclamations have been all over the international media lately.”
The U.S. Embassy in Peru declined to comment.
Man travels 10,000 miles combating child sexual abuse, makes pit stop in Brownsville
by Hannah Linn
A journey across three countries on a slow moving bike may seem hard to believe.
But it's the message behind the journey that Thomas Burick says, makes it all worth it.
Burick is travelling by himself for 10,000 miles to raise awareness for child sexual abuse.
A survivor of molestation himself, Burick says the pedophile that allegedly abused him was never brought to justice.
"It causes a person a lot of damage. And I held that damage for 30 years and I didn't deal with it. I'm 43 years old, and one day I realized how much damage that it actually caused my life," said Burick.
Riding for three charities, Burick is trying to raise $20,000.
All three charity groups combat child sexual abuse, but these charities also have one more thing in common.
"All three have a heart in their logo. So my journey is a gigantic 10,000 mile long heart that spans Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. This is a global problem. This just isn't something that we deal with in the U.S., so it was important for me to go beyond boundaries," he said.
He started this journey on April 16 of this year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, right in front of the home where his alleged assaulter lives today.
Along the way, he sleeps in camps, eats cheap meals, and drives a bike that only travels up to 35mph.
"I need to show people that this is worth doing, and it's worth the struggle. It's worth the fight to do this. That's why I chose that bike, that's why I stay in campgrounds, that's why I eat so cheaply. Because it's really important to let people know that it's hard, and it's worth it."
He says his goal is to get people to open up about this problem, to a place where awareness is widespread and action is taken.
"Parents can talk to their kids. Kids can talk to their parents. Teachers can talk to parents. We can get that on the table and really just talk about it without shame, without embarrassment, without awkwardness, and just get it to that place," said Burick.
Burick says this journey will take him up to 8 months to complete.
If you would like to donate to this fight against child sexual abuse, visit their website.
‘Empower mothers to control children's sexual abuse'
by Merlin Francis
June 18, 2012
A father rapes his three-year-old daughter. Another man rapes his four-year-old niece. While these cases may shock the general public, not only is the occurrence common, but also most of the time they remain a secret.
Most children do not tell anybody about the abuse. When they do, often parents do not believe them as mostly the abusers are family members or closely associated with the family.
Estimates say that about 20% of child abuse victims are below the age of eight years. Fifty-three per cent of 12,447 children interviewed by the ministry of women and child development across 13 states, in 2007, were sexually abused.
According to Recovering and Healing from Incest (RAHI), 64% of those who are sexually abused are the victim of a family member. Eighty-seven per cent of the children who were sexually abused by a family member were abused repeatedly and 19% of these children were still living with at least one of the abusers. Seventy-two per cent of the victims do not talk about it.
Officials in the child welfare committee believe that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to addressing the issue is the social stigma attached to it. This is also why statistics about the cases are only estimates of the real number, which is likely to be much higher.
“Most of the time, mothers are unwilling to file an FIR because of the stigma. In some cases, the mother separates from the father, but there are a lot of cases where the mother continues to live with the father and we cannot do anything about it as the mother claims that she can look after the child,” said the official.
“When the mother does not give us anything, what can we do?”
One of the reasons for this, according to Ellen Shinde of 1to1help.net, an online counselling service, is that women worry about the future, of how they are going to manage if the husband walks away.
Educate the child
“The only way we can protect our children is to make sure that there are open channels of communication. The child has to identify a person to whom he/she can go if something untoward happens,” she said. This is just as important as teaching the child the difference between good and bad touch, and a hug and wanting something more.
“These lessons have to be a routine and parents should not wait for something to happen before they tell the child,” she emphasises.
Unlike popular perception, studies also show that sexual abuse happens across all sections of society. Parents read about these incidents and think, there's no way this will happen in my family. It can.
“What is common about most cases of sexual abuse is that more often than not, it is someone known to the family, someone parents trust the child to be with, alone. Social groups, income groups, nothing matters. The only way we can protect the child is by being prepared and the only way to protect other children is by creating awareness,” she said.
Pope to Irish: Child abuse by clergy 'a mystery'
by Frences D'Emilio
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI told Irish Catholics on Sunday it is a mystery why priests and other church officials abused children entrusted in their care, undermining faith in the church "in an appalling way."
By describing the decades of child abuse in Catholic parishes, schools and church-run institutions and parishes in Ireland as a "mystery," the pontiff could further anger rank-and-file faithful in Ireland.
Benedict commented on the scandals of sexual abuse and cover-ups by church hierarchy in a pre-recorded video message for an outdoor Mass attended by 75,000 Catholics, many from overseas, in Ireland's largest sports stadium. Ireland's prime minister and president attended the Mass, the final event of a Eucharistic Congress aimed at shoring up flagging faith.
The weeklong Eucharistic Congress, held by the Vatican every four years in a different part of the world, took place against a backdrop of deep anger over child abuse cover-ups and surveys showing declining weekly Mass attendance in Ireland, where church and state were once tightly entwined.
"How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord's body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way?" said the pope, referring to church staff who abused children.
"It remains a mystery," he said. "Yet evidently their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ. It had become merely a matter of habit."
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said the church in Ireland is facing a grave fight for survival.
"Your forbears in the church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives," Benedict said.
In a reference to the Vatican's insistence on Sunday Mass attendance, Benedict said Catholic faith "is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished" at Mass.
Yet, he said, "thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care."
"Instead of showing them the path toward Christ, toward God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the church's message," the pope said.
For more than a decade, advocates for those abused by clergy have been demanding that church leaders in Ireland and at the Vatican accept blame for protecting pedophile priests.
Four state-ordered investigations have documented how tens of thousands of children suffered sexual, physical and mental abuse at the hands of priests, nuns and church staff.
Republic Charities grants $560K to agencies against child abuse
by Lindsey Erdody
Arizona Republic Charities on Friday awarded more than $560,000 to 22 agencies that support child-abuse and neglect prevention.
The grants are mostly funded from the sales of “It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child” license plates. The rest comes from matching funds.
The Child Abuse and Prevention License Plate Donation Grant is a collaboration between the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families and The Arizona Republic /12 News. Motorists can buy the plates for $25, with $8 for a Department of Transportation administration fee and $17 as a donation. Currently, more than 21,000 vehicles are registered with the plates, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
In a yearlong series of stories, The Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News is examining the welfare of Arizona's children. As part of this effort, the media organizations are promoting the specialty license plates.
The total grant money includes matching donations from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way.
Despite the plate's popularity, the funding is down from previous years. In 2011, the program donated $597,280 to 16 agencies, and in 2010, $633,417 to 19 agencies.
Gene D'Adamo, vice president of community relations for Republic Media, said the numbers have decreased because the number of other specialty license plates has increased.
“In the beginning there was less competition,” D'Adamo said. “We're trying to reverse that trend.”
Since the program began in 1999, it has awarded more than $8 million.
The program awarded the largest grant of $40,400 to Flagstaff Medical Center for its program First Steps and its Mom to Mom support group.
Crisis Nursery is receiving a $35,000 to support its Family Day Respite program, which allows families under stress to drop their children off for the day or a few hours.
“It really is another way to help prevent abuse and neglect. It really helps family that are under stress,” said Natalie Miles Thompson, director of resource development at Crisis Nursery. “This funding will help us continue to provide that service for families.”